Skip to comments.Big Bangs: 'Stirring' Secrets Of Deadly Supervolcanoes Uncovered
Posted on 05/31/2008 2:28:14 PM PDT by blam
Big Bangs: 'Stirring' Secrets Of Deadly Supervolcanoes Uncovered
Supervolcanoes are orders of magnitude greater than any volcanic eruption in historic times. They are capable of causing long-lasting change to weather, threatening the extinction of species, and covering huge areas with lava and ash. (Credit: iStockphoto/Koch Valérie)
ScienceDaily (May 30, 2008) Researchers from McGill University and the University of British Columbia (UBC) have simulated in the lab the process that can turn ordinary volcanic eruptions into so-called supervolcanoes, with potentially devastating worldwide impact.
The study was conducted by Dr. Ben Kennedy and and Dr. Mark Jellinek of UBCs Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and Dr. John Stix, chair of McGill Universitys Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Their results were published May 25 in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Supervolcanoes are orders of magnitude greater than any volcanic eruption in historic times. They are capable of causing long-lasting change to weather, threatening the extinction of species, and covering huge areas with lava and ash.
Using volcanic models made of plexiglass filled with corn syrup, the researchers simulated how magma in a volcanos magma chamber might behave if the roof of the chamber caved in during an eruption.
The magma was being stirred by the roof falling into the magma chamber, Stix explained. This causes lots of complicated flow effects that are unique to a supervolcano eruption.
There is currently no way to predict a supervolcano eruption, said Kennedy, a post-doctoral fellow at UBC. But this new information explains for the first time what happens inside a magma chamber as the roof caves in, and provides insights that could be useful when making hazard maps of such an eruption.
The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815 the only known supervolcano eruption in modern history was 10 times more powerful than Krakatoa and more than 100 times more powerful than Vesuvius or Mount St. Helens. It caused more than 100,000 deaths in Indonesia alone, and blew a column of ash about 70 kilometres into the atmosphere. The resulting disruptions of the planets climate led 1816 to be christened the year without summer.
And this was a small supervolcano, said Stix. A really big one could create the equivalent of a global nuclear winter. There would be devastation for many hundreds of kilometres near the eruption and there would be would be global crop failures because of the ash falling from the sky, and even more important, because of the rapid cooling of the climate.
There are potential supervolcano sites all over the world, most famously under Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, the setting of the 2005 BBC/Discovery Channel docudrama Supervolcano, which imagined an almost-total collapse of the world economy following an eruption.
Adapted from materials provided by McGill University.
This is the first time I’ve ever seen the 1815 Tambora eruption listed as a supervolcano, even a small one.
Great! Something else to worry about!
We’re all living on the crust of one gigantic, all-around zit. Sooner or later...
We’re all going to die!!!!!!
Tambora erupted in 1815 with a rating of seven on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, making it the largest eruption since the Lake Taupo eruption in AD 181.The explosion was heard on Sumatra island (more than 2,000 km or 1,200 mi away). Heavy volcanic ash falls were observed as far away as Borneo, Sulawesi, Java and Maluku islands. The death toll was at least 71,000 people (the most deadly eruption of all time), of whom 11,00012,000 were killed directly by the eruption; the often-cited figure of 92,000 people killed is believed to be an overestimate. The eruption created global climate anomalies; 1816 became known as the Year Without a Summer because of the effect on North American and European weather. Agricultural crops failed and livestock died in much of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in the worst famine of the 19th century.
Big Science meet Big Corn
Clearly, We Are Doomed. Does the article say if Gorebal Warming causes super volcanoes?
A current volcano, Chaiten in Chile, dramatically erupted after 9000+ years on May 5, and, it is still erupting. There have been concerns that as it weakens in its eruption, there might be a chaldera collapse and a resultant pyroclastic flow....some reports do not fear an explosion. This volcano is worth following, even as the news media have lost interest. One of the most dramatic volcano eruption photos ever taken is from this eruption. It is here...
and another less dramatic here: http://jeanhuets.livejournal.com/32840.html
Well, those ARE super!
We live on an active planet. An inactive planet would not be hospitable to life. It’s a trade off. Enjoy your life while it is yours.
Suppose I was having trouble proving super volcanoes ever occurred. It would be tempting to look back on the limited records at hand, pick out a big one, and move the definition to accommodate my theory.
Chicken Little is ALIVE and very, very WELL!
One can only hope that a super volcano eruption will happen soon, to save us from global warming and the melting of all ice on the surface of Mother Earth ( sarc. off).
Nobody has the remotest problem proving the existence of supervolcanoes. The evidence is obvious.
There's no real official definition of a supervolcano. Tambora was indeed pretty small for one.
What’s remotely fear-mongering about this article? And what remotest scrap of evidence do you have that the scientists are “liberal?”
Apparently the climate absorbed that glich and returned to "normal" within a couple of years. Obviously there was no cascading effect on the climate in spite of an event so tremendous that its effects were almost immediate.
I’m unclear why snide comments about global warming must be dragged onto any discussion of science. That a scam is being run in one field doesn’t invalidate all scientific investigation and analysis. Dynamic-earth Geology is a fairly straight-forward field of study.
This is the first time I've ever seen the 1815 Tambora eruption listed as a supervolcano, even a small one.Hey, standards have changed as more data (quantity and quality) has accumulated.
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However, even this did not seem to affect the length or depth of the ice age that was going on at the time. Although the temperature did drop at that time, the temperature pattern doesn't really differ much from the previous ice age. So maybe, be happy, don't worry.
It is that simple and that complex. We are only beginning to grasp the vast amount of systems that keep our planet friendly and habitable much less know what they do.
The earth is has a yummy, sugary candy center?
Whenever the Supervolcano under Yellowstone Nat’l Park goes off it will be beyond castrophic, 8,000x as much ash and lava as Mt. St. Helens. Hopefully it won’t happen for at least a few thousand years more, and maybe humans will have some way of dealing better with the aftermath:
Even the eruptions at Yellowstone pale in comparison with Toba.
Two hundred billion tons of sulphur dioxide alone.
Worldwide, the temperature plummeted 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit, spawning a mini ice age that lasted a thousand years.
Except for the 2-5 thousand humans who survived, we wouldn’t be here.
Refresh yourself with 'space beer'!
Look at the bright side. If man-made global warming exists, we just found a cure for it!
This sounds scary and stuff. There’s a computer model for it, has anyone told Al Gore?
He could raise awareness and make a documentary about it. Maybe we could get congress to make it illegal for volcanoes to go all supery, or something.
Contingency plan: lots of short season, cool weather, low light crops.
And they made it only because they were airlifted out by a fleet of UFO's piloted by Greys.
;’) If there’s any way to conduct such a scam, I’m sure Gore will find it. Beats workin’.
Dunno what I’m supposed to do with this Lava Light... I mean, is it risky to keep in the house? Will it go “super” on my ass?
Amazing how quickly these archaeology/geology threads turn sour. I don’t post science threads anymore.
Ping to post # 10.
“...a fleet of UFO’s piloted by Greys”
What the heck is a grey and why aren’t they purple?
What the heck is a grey and why arent they purple?
Beats me, but according to this they do tend towards a bluish grey:
thanks for the ping DC, have’t seen your posts in a while - how are ya?
From the maps I’ve seen Denver is right on the border of the kill zone from a Yellowstone eruption. I hope it won’t be a few thousand more years!
I’ve seen those reports, and I’ve tried to reconcile them with temperature data from Greenland ice cores. Although there is a drop in temperature at the point of increased sulfur deposits from Toba, the temp graph of the last ice age looks very similar to the temp graph of the one just before that. Perhaps the drop in temperature and rebound to the “normal” rate of change was so rapid that it doesn’t show up well in the ice cores. A volcanic winter lasting a few centuries, or even just a few decades, might have been long enough to create the human bottleneck, but not long enough to have altered the general climate trend nor have shown up in the core samples.
“Using volcanic models made of plexiglass filled with corn syrup”
I wonder if they ended up looking like Marsha(?) Brady after the experiment?
The climate guesstimates I heard were all based on O16-O18 ratio in microfauna from sea floor sediments.
How well that correlates to other data we will never be sure, but the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
Toba was a monster event.