Massive uplift observed in Andean Mountains due to enlarging magma chamber

October 14, 2012 BOLIVIAGeophysicists at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have identified a unique phenomenon in Altiplano-Puna plateau, located in the central Andes near the borders of Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Magma underneath the Earth’s crust is forcing the ground up in one spot, and at the same time sinking the ground around it. The result is something the researchers have described as the “sombrero uplift,” after the popular Mexican hat. According to their report on the phenomenon, published in the journal Science, the two UC San Diego scientists recorded uplift in the crust that measured about 0.4 inches per year for 20 years across an area 62 miles wide; the surrounding area sunk at a lower rate—about eight-hundredths of an inch. “It’s a subtle motion, pushing up little by little every day, but it’s this persistence that makes this uplift unusual. Most other magmatic systems that we know about show episodes of inflation and deflation,” said Yuri Fialko, a professor of geophysics at UCSD and Planetary Physics at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Fialko and co-author Jill Pearse said the phenomenon was the result of a diapir, or a blob of magma, that rises to Earth’s crust like heated wax inside a lava lamp. Using satellite data from European Remote Sensing (ERS) and Envisat missions, the geophysicists were able to study the uplift in great detail. In 2006, the team asked for the satellites to gather more data from their orbits over Altiplano-Puna. “It was really important to have good data from different lines of sight, as this allowed us to estimate contributions from vertical and horizontal motion of Earth’s surface, and place crucial constraints on depth and mechanism of the inflation source,” Fialko said. “Back in 2006, it looked like the satellites stopped acquiring data from the ascending orbits over the area of interest. Fortunately, ESA was very responsive to our requests, and generated an excellent dataset that made our study possible. Satellite data and computer models allowed us to make the important link between what’s observed at the surface and what’s happening with the magma body at depth,” he added. Fialko said the study’s findings could fuel future research around magmatic events, including the formation of large calderas. Although this diapir in the Altiplano-Puna plateau appears unlikely to cause such a phenomenon—the creation of large calderas, “supervolcanoes,” are highly destructive events that spew thousands of cubic kilometers of magma into the atmosphere. An event of this type would dwarf the Icelandic volcano eruption in 2011 that ejected large amounts of ash into the atmosphere and disrupted global air travel, Fialko said. Diapirs have been known to exist before, but this new study is the first to recognize an active diapir currently rising through the crust. Fialko said a less prominent uplift phenomenon is taking place near Socorro, New Mexico. The Altiplano-Puna plateau is a highly active area for magma and is part of a South American volcanic arc that extends along the northwest side of the continent. Experts have described the area as the largest known active magma body in Earth’s continental crust. –Red Orbit  
See: Earthchanges article
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17 Responses to Massive uplift observed in Andean Mountains due to enlarging magma chamber

  1. Dave says:

    This is a very interesting article. The same process but perhaps in an accelerated form could explain the evidence that indicates a recent and catastrophic uplift of the Bolivian Altiplano, including the puzzling anomalies found at Lake Titicaca, and many mountain ranges around the world, as examined in Allan and Delair’s research –

    “A little-understood feature of geological understanding is that virtually every mountain range on the planet rose “at the end of the Pleistocene (12,000 to 13,000 years ago).” All the mountains of the world belong to either of two great systems—the Circum-Pacific or the Alpine-Himalayan. When the great plate of the Indian subcontinent moved far enough north to contact the Eurasian plate, the two compressed and folded, forming the immensely high Hima­layas, nowhere lower than 24,000 feet. The Kashmir valley rose 6,000 feet simultaneously. The process can be dated precisely—the valley contained Pleistocene fossils, and the Himalayas were folded over Pleistocene gravel beds. The Pir Panjals, part of the western Himalayas, and the rugged, soaring Kailas rose at the same time. To the west, the Afri­can plate moved north as well, up-folding the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Atlas range. The highest Alpine peaks reach 15,000 feet, and the uplift of the original 2,000-feet-high north Italian hills was another 13,000 feet. There is little erosion on these peaks; they are recent creations. A recent academic study breathlessly announced the “surprising discovery” that the Andes rose “quickly,” over the course of three million years, beginning only seven million years ago. For this theory, Tiahuanaco emits a sigh.”


    • StevenJ says:

      Incredible story – Thanks Dave! And it sounds very plausible – I could see where the mainstream, rather “harrumph” crowd of geologists would prefer to ignore these findings as they do not fit in to their preconcieved hypotheses (which many have based their careers – and reputations- on). My question would be: Where did this massive object go after wreaking havoc on our solar system, and could it be coming back?


      • Dave says:

        If you’re referring to the supernova fragment postulated by Allen and Delair, I’m not sure, for me the jury is still out on that one as to the cause.
        If you find that kind of thing interesting I’d recommend reading The 7th Protocol, also The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes by Richard Firestone and Allen West and Earth Under Fire by Dr Paul LaViolette, they all do a good job of clarifying in the enigma of what occurred on this planet in the geologically recent past.


    • barry says:

      Yellowstone park registered 7 earthquakes tonight biggest was 3.0


      • Anjith AK says:

        I think its gonna blow soon.It over 30000 years due 4 and another eruption


      • The day that volcano blows, will be the day we will see the annhilation of untold millions. The magmatic inflation rate under Uturuncu is believed to be the fastest and largest ever observed in recorded history. This is clearly a new breed of super-volcano.


  2. steve says:

    Socorro New Mexico. the same thing is happening??? well i think this is info that has been quiet 1st I’ve heard of it. I happen to live a little close to there for comfort. I love the Media in this country. Thanks for the heads up Alvin


    • S

      Yes, there is a similar uplift of magma intrusion occurring in Socorro, New Mexico. This is all part of the Rio Grande Rift…geologically speaking, it’s a very troubling region of the U.S. southwest, where the crust if very thin, and fractured.

      The Rio Grande Rift


  3. Marshallrn says:

    Uptick in 4.9-5.9 globally???


  4. Absolutely fascinating article. I sent it to the three friends I know who might be interested enough to read the whole thing. One a Ph.D. in Science, one a Mensa member, and one a person with no particular degree who is nevertheless a brilliant researcher about our disease Porphyria.


  5. tonic says:

    Any thoughts, or links, to what the hell is going on in Bolivia would be greatly appriciated Alvin.
    Been trying to find a site that is monitoring what is happening there, without any luck.
    Thank you as always for your awakeing.


  6. Irene C says:

    Fascinating article. Thanks for posting this. And thank you Dave for that information. Fascinating.


  7. Sue says:

    There is some new activity going on at Yellowstone. USGS is reporting 6 small tremors as of midnight. Might be interesting to see what tomorrow brings! We know the big one is coming…somewhere, sometime. Soon. All glory to God. ~Sue


  8. Tim says:

    Earth is really shaking around this past week. 28 EQ’s at 5.0 or higher with 4 of those above 6.0. Now we see a swarm in Yellowstone, and that’s scary to me. The numbers are even higher if you use the EU or AU reports. The USGC seems to list at a lower number. (??) Many volcanoes in the awaking stage too.
    3.0 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming
    2012-10-15 04:02:15 44.389°N 111.053°W 6.2
    2.7 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming
    2012-10-15 03:45:20 44.395°N 111.049°W 8.0
    2.8 21km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming
    2012-10-15 03:20:44 44.386°N 111.050°W 7.1
    2.6 22km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming
    2012-10-15 03:06:13 44.376°N 111.087°W 1.1
    2.9 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming
    2012-10-15 02:54:51 44.379°N 111.095°W 0.9
    2.5 16km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming
    2012-10-15 02:52:58 44.384°N 111.007°W 10.7


  9. Emanni says:

    Yellowstone Earthquake Swarm
    3.0 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 04:02:15
    2.7 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:45:20
    2.8 21km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:20:44
    2.6 22km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:06:13
    2.9 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:54:51
    2.5 16km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:52:58


    • sheba says:

      There has been 23 earthquakes above 5.0 since oct 9. I find that a huge increase. As well as a geomagnetic storm lasted for 15 continuous hours over oct 13 -14. In my opinion these storms do effect earthquakes but i cant say for certain not enough evidance gathered and not a scienctist


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