Skip to comments."Super volcano" could dwarf Indonesia's earthquake catastrophes (4/2/05)
Posted on 04/02/2005 6:31:22 PM PST by AntiGuv
SYDNEY (AFP) - As Indonesians struggled to recover from the second deadly earthquake to strike them in three months, an Australian expert warned the country faced the prospect of a "super volcano" eruption that would dwarf all previous catastrophes.
Professor Ray Cas of Monash University's School of Geosciences said the world's biggest super volcano was Lake Toba, on Indonesia's island of Sumatra, site of both the recent massive earthquakes.
Cas told Australian media Friday that Toba sits on a faultline running down the middle of Sumatra -- just where some seismologists say a third earthquake might strike following the 9.0 magnitude quake on December 26 and Monday's 8.7 temblor.
Those quakes occurred along faultlines running just off Sumatra's west coast and created seismological stresses which could hasten an eruption.
Cas said Toba last erupted 73,000 years ago in an event so massive that it altered the entire world's climate.
"The eruption released 1,000 cubic kilometers (240 cubic miles) of ash and rock debris into the atmosphere, much of it as fine ash which blocked out solar radiation, kicking the world back into an ice age," he said.
The scientist said super volcanos represented the greatest potential hazard on earth, "the only greater threat being an asteroid impact from space".
"A super volcano will definitely erupt," he said.
"It could be in a few, 50 or another 1000 years but sooner or later one is going to go off."
Other super volcanos are found in Italy, South America, the United States and New Zealand -- where Mount Taupo could be ready for eruption.
"It has a big eruption every 2,000 years, and it last erupted about 2,000 years ago," Cas said.
The potential death toll from a super volcano eruption "could reach the hundreds of thousands to millions and there are serious implications on climate, weather and viability of food production," Cas said.
"The big problem is a lot of the volcanoes that potentially could erupt are perhaps not monitored to the degree that they should be, and of course we learnt that lesson from the Boxing Day tsunami disaster," he said.
ping! I seem to recall you two are interested in supervolcanos.
50 years, 1000 years, sometime in the future...well, that really pinned it down.
Note to self: Do *not* invite this guy to a party!
"Let's Blame The USA!"®
Aren't all things that haven't happend yet said to be in the "Furture"?
Should I start building my bomb shelter or nor?
The countries that are at risk should fund something like this.
"scientists"... (Eddie Murphy laugh)...
It's more of a dramatization, but hopefully with at least some attempt to incorporate actual science, unlike disastrous jokes like the "10.5" miniseries.
If AFP told me the sun would come up tomorrow, I would worry until I saw the dawn....
Damn. Didn't know volcanoes could drive!
"I kept telling them they were doomed, but would they listen? Nooooo!"
#4 is not an option. There is no doubt that a supervolcano will erupt again at some time in the future.
WE'RE ALL GONNA DIEEEEEEEEEEE!!! [/sarcasm]
At 50k years vs. 20 million for an asteriod to hit, this threat is 400 times as likely to end the good times. Also, of course, we're in one of the brief inter-glaciation stages in the Ice Ages that have dominated the earth for 1 to 3 million years. (Eight in the last 750k years). We just don't know how lucky we've been or how tenuous civilization is.
I am looking forward to the Discovery Channel show about super volcanoes. Looks like it is primarily about Yellowstone. My Tivo has already been programmed to record that.
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