Volcano “super eruption” would come with little warning, scientists say

A Supervolcano
July 2016SUPERVOLCANO A new study has determined that super-eruptions -volcanic events so large they spew out hundreds of cubic kilometers of magma and ash -typically give only one year’s warning before they erupt, a prospect which would leave humanity little time to prepare for the worldwide devastation produced by such an eruption.The 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland disrupted air traffic and coated much of Northern Europe with volcanic ash, while the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State in May of 1980, which was the deadliest and most economically costly volcano blast in U.S. history, covering 11 states with ash and killing approximately 57 people.
But neither of these disasters comes close to the power and devastation of what geologists refer to as super-eruptions volcanic explosions that register highest on the Volcanic Explosivity Index and send up between 100 and 1000 cubic kilometers of ejecta into the atmosphere.
Scientists have long tried to pinpoint when and where the next supervolcano will erupt. Now, researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Chicago have used microscopic analysis of quartz crystals to conclude that the decompression process which releases gas bubbles prior to an eruption begins less than a year before the actual event.
“Super-eruptions have been described as the ultimate geologic hazard,” say the study’s authors, whose research is published in the scientific journal Plos One. “And in many ways, understanding the potential hazards associated with super-eruptions is the ultimate geologic exercise, in which we are pressed to learn as much as possible from the geologic record of past super-eruptions.”
Researchers looked at quartz collected from the Bishop Tuff rock formation in eastern California, created by a super-eruption 760,000 years ago, and found that the telltale rims which form on quartz crystals in the lead-up to an eruption had developed in just the days and months before the explosive event. “More than 70 per cent of rim growth times are less than 1 year,” say the study’s authors.
The closest thing to a such an event in recent history was the Mount Tambora eruption in Indonesia in 1815, which ejected approximately 180 cubic kilometres of material in just a few days and precipitated what was called the “Year without a summer” in 1816 – a volcanic winter that plummeted global temperatures and caused massive famine and civil unrest for the decade to follow. The last true super-eruption occurred 26,000 years ago in the Taupo Volcanic Zone in New Zealand, preceded by the Toba super-eruption in Sumatra some 75,000 years ago.
Historically, North America has seen super-eruptions at the Yellowstone Caldera in the state of Wyoming and in Canada at what’s known as the Blake River Megacaldera on the border between Ontario and Quebec. Why is a super-eruption so devastating? Volcanic ash is the main problem, as billions of tonnes of particulate travel through the air, making breathing difficult, blocking out the Sun and covering everything in sight for thousands of kilometres around. The ash from a super-eruption would contaminate lakes and rivers and make much of the region close to the volcanic site uninhabitable, while sulfur compounds in the ash which reflect sunlight would bring about a volcanic winter and threaten agricultural production worldwide.
The chances of a super-eruption occurring in the near future are slim, however, as geologists have not seen the telltale signs of significant magma buildup underneath any of the known supervolcano sites around the world. “As far as we can determine, none of these places currently house the type of melt-rich, giant magma body needed to produce a super-eruption,” says Guilherme Gualda, professor of earth and environment sciences at Vanderbilt University and co-author of the new study. “However, they are places where super-eruptions have happened in the past so are more likely to happen in the future.”  –Cantech Letters
This entry was posted in Black Swan Event, Dormant fault activation, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earthquake Omens?, Environmental Threat, Extinction Threat, Hazardous chemical exposure, Health guideliness issued, High-risk potential hazard zone, Human behavioral change after disaster, Magma Plume activity, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Prophecies referenced, Supervolcano News, Time - Event Acceleration, Volcanic Ash, Volcano unrest, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Volcano “super eruption” would come with little warning, scientists say

  1. charking1946 says:

    Thanks for posting this and for including a reference that states that a super volcanic eruption although not out of the question is not likely, due to the lack of magma buildup under the caldera.
    I appreciate reading an article such as this one that is not all doom, gloom and destruction.


    • W

      No worries. Que Sera Sera. What will be will be. Destruct, Construct, or simply sale for a measly buck – in the end, all we can do is take as it comes, if it comes, when it comes.

      Nature is not under the dictates of men.

      thanks for dropping us a line to weigh in on the article


  2. Dennis E. says:

    So does death


  3. jimmydbz says:

    Why dont they make a huge structure that inclose the vocano in and has a filter system at the top of it to minimize the ash.and the explosion. I know that the ground will shake and all but its seems that its worth a shot dont you think?


    • Y

      Nothing on Earth could contain a supervolcanic explosion. The ground within a 20 mile radius of the volcano has been known to collapse and fall into the mouth of the caldera. Krakatoa’s 1883 eruption was so loud, it was heard 3,000 miles away. A supervolcano eruption, like Yellowstone, is two levels above that. A Yellowstone eruption would be heard across the entire U.S. (and most of Canada) and the ear-splitting sound of multiple explosions could run for days or weeks on end. The force in a supervolcano explosion is simply mind-boggling and there are few forces on earth which we’ve experienced to even compare it to.

      However, let’s try to imagine this: a Yellowstone eruption would be the rough equivalent of 1,000 Hiroshima size atomic bombs exploding every second.

      Even if you could survive the ash-fall, which would blanket 2/3 of the country – most people couldn’t live with the noise from the explosive eruptions. 3/4 of North America would likely be left uninhabitable.


  4. Our good GOD IS SENDIN G US MANY SIgns, and we need to look at ourselves and our country and come back to faith and live godly lives. Death is not the end only the beginning of eternity. We need to pray and ask for forgiveness for our sins.


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