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.
Bomb shelter? The problem is food. The last year without a summer due to volcanic eruption was 1816. Americans didn't starve, although in some parts of the world lots of people did. Is there enough cereal grain warehoused to get us through another one? I hope so.
There are twelve more or less 'confirmed' supervolcanos worldwide: four in the lower 48 (WY, CA, OR, NM); one in Alaska; two in Japan; and one each in Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and Ecuador. There's also evidence of possible supervolcanos beneath Guatemala, Vanuatu (in the South Pacific), the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and under Loch Ness in Scotland.
End civilization? What they will do is lower temperatures a fair amount for a couple years. If we have a couple years worth of rice and wheat saved up, civilization should barely burp except in the area of the volcano.
Just imagine how incredible that will be.
10 Billion people dead...where the heck are we going to bury all of them?
Soooo Indonesia how's the Muslim Religion treating you?
Basically all the damage from the last quake was on Nias Island, which is 95% Christian.
I'm aware of the Supervolcano candidates in all the other areas you list, but the only reference to a Supervolcano under Loch Ness on the internet comes from a couple unsourced assertions on worthless nutty Apocalyptikook sites; can you provide a legitimate source for that assertion?
Interestingly nobody has actually defined a supervolcano or attempted to rigorously list them yet; there is a paper coming out the Bulletin of Volcanology soon that seems like it will do so, though.
Dont worry, the greenies will blame the eruption of a super volcano on either the US not signing Kyoto, or the Israelis, just for general purpose.
Cereal? I'd better get me Lucky Charms!
Sooo, is OK to drive SUVs?
Yo, envirowakos, you are doomed! Fuggetabout global warmint! It is seriesly insignificant. Now stop yaping about it and start eating some meat!!!
This could be HUGH!!!
And I MEAN HUGH!!!
Not enough to report on in the Jacko trial?
And they're magically delicious!
I will go hang out with some of my Mormon friends.
(1)Where else does an asteroid come from but space? (2)I guess the sun falling from the sky wouldn't be considered a "great threat".
PS. And even that source seems sketchy to me. I was listing all the ones I had seen speculation about, so maybe this shouldn't qualify.
Yeah, I saw that one...back up to the front page of that site; it's either a kook site, or a humor site.
"Professor Tom Plume" doesn't exist, and there is no "EU Volcanic Research Committee."
It's the equivalent of an India Daily article.
However, it seems the usual idiot apocalypse sites like armageddononline were easily duped by the story.
Much of Scotland and Northern Ireland is indeed volcanic in origin; however, the volcanism was several hundred million years ago when the Atlantic ocean opened up. Nothing remotely active recently.
All of the others are legitimate, I'm curious about exactly how many (recently active) ones there are myself, but while they have been much discussed there's no actual listing, yet. And people can't agree on how big something has to be to be a supervolcano.
Speak for yourself.
Good plan. Mormons, as part of their theology, prepare for widespread disasters and famine.
"Cas said Toba last erupted 73,000 years ago in an event so massive that it altered the entire world's climate."
So much for global warming!
Yeah, but when Toba blew, it was 10,000 times the size of the Krakatoa eruption.
And if the Yellowstone caldera goes up, it will be at least an order of magnitude larger than that. But, that hasn't kept me away from either the Yellowstone or the Toba calderas and both are among the most beautiful places on Earth.
Visit them while they are still there!
I would imagine that most of the so called civilized world is only a few missed meals away from Anarchy.
Most of it, sure.
Some of us "nutballs" have been expecting revolution/famine/disaster for some time.
I live in a rural area 45 miles from a major city, in the hills, in an non- flood/earthquake/volcanism area.
If my family survives the initial upheaval (whatever it is) we will live. From food to shelter to protection, the smart policy is the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.
Thanks for the info! Hadn't occurred to me anyone would be motivated to make up a supervolcano..