Scientists say it’s time to monitor supervolcanoes with ground-based atomic clocks

Yellowstone Park
June 2015GEOLOGY An international team led by scientists from the University of Zurich finds that high-precision atomic clocks can be used to monitor volcanoes and potentially improve predictions of future eruptions. In addition, a ground-based network of atomic clocks could monitor the reaction of the Earth’s crust to solid Earth tides. Atomic clocks measure time with unbelievable accuracy. The best atomic clocks are so precise that they would lose less than one second over a period of 10 billion years. However, they are generally only used in laboratories. Science and industry have yet to take full advantage of their unprecedented ability to measure time. An international team including Dr. Ruxandra Bondarescu, Andreas Schärer and Prof. Philippe Jetzer from the Institute of Physics from the University of Zurich discusses potential applications for atomic clocks.
Their analysis shows that the slowdown of time predicted by general relativity can be measured by local clocks and used to monitor volcanoes. General relativity states that clocks positioned at different distances from a massive body like the Earth have different tick rates. The closer a clock is to a massive object, the slower it ticks. In a similar manner, subterranean objects influence the tick rate of local clocks that are located above the Earth’s surface. New lava filling a magma chamber beneath a volcano makes a clock located above that volcano tick more slowly than a clock that is located further away. Volcanoes are currently monitored using GPS receivers. The resulting data often has to be integrated over a period of several years before an estimate of the volume of new magma can be made. A network of local, highly precise atomic clocks may provide the same information within a few hours. This would make it possible to monitor processes inside volcanoes more closely and to make better predictions for future volcanic eruptions.
Atomic clocks can also be used to monitor the solid Earth tides. Tides occur because the Earth moves in the gravitational field of the Sun and the Moon. It reacts to this outer field by deforming, which in turn leads to ocean tides and to the ground on the continents lifting and falling regularly. The ground can rise as much as 50 cm. A global network of atomic clocks that are connected via fiber optic cables used for internet could provide continuous measurements of the Earth tides and check existing theoretical models. It would also be possible to examine any local differences in the response of the Earth’s crust to the Earth tides. The researchers hope that high precision clocks could be deployed in volcanic areas in the next few years. This is, however, subject to sufficient interest and investment from industry. “We need this additional tool to monitor magma movement under volcanoes such as the Yellowstone supervolcano, which is overdue for an explosion that would alter life on Earth as we known it”, explains Bondarescu. –Webwire
This entry was posted in Black Swan Event, Dormant fault activation, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earth's core dynamics, Earthquake Omens?, Geyser eruption, Ground inflation, High-risk potential hazard zone, Lithosphere collapse & fisssure, Magma Plume activity, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Prophecies referenced, Seismic tremors, Signs of Magnetic Field weakening, Tectonic plate movement, Time - Event Acceleration, Volcanic Eruption, Volcanic gas emissions, Volcano unrest, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Scientists say it’s time to monitor supervolcanoes with ground-based atomic clocks

  1. niebo says:

    “In addition, a ground-based network of atomic clocks could monitor the reaction of the Earth’s crust to solid Earth tides. . . . General relativity states that clocks positioned at different distances from a massive body like the Earth have different tick rates. . . . The ground can rise as much as 50 cm. . . .”

    OK, dudes, I’ll ask the question, even though when I read (and re-read and RE-re-read) an article like this, with all the perfect grammatical technicalese jargon, I jus’ wanna, you know, hide in my bong. But OK OK OK, I got this: Alvin, does any of this make any real rational sense to a geological-minded dood such as yourself? I mean, rise and fall of “earth tides” is as much as 50 cm, but when we talk about volcanical systems with rises/falls of a few centimeters, is an atomic clock REALLY gonna register a half-inch variation (from the massive earth-like earth) from “zero” in a way that serves any meaningful purpose other than as, like, you know, a “cash cow”?

    Oh, but wait: “The researchers HOPE that high precision clocks COULD BE DEPLOYED in volcanic areas in the NEXT FEW YEARS . . . subject to sufficient INTEREST AND [DOUBLE-PLUS GOOD!!] INVESTMENT from industry. ‘We need this additional tool . . . [in an area] which is OVERDUE for an explosion . . . .'”

    Sorry, Alvin, I think I reached my own conclusivity: NO. It’s useless. Expensive. Cool, maybe, but, otherwise, useless.

    Like

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