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Christchurch volcanoes could erupt

sooner than thought


Possibly a matter of months

 

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10 Mar 11 - With all of the earthquake activity in the Christchurch area in the past few months, I'm becoming more and more concerned about a possible volcanic eruption.

More than 5,400 earthquakes have struck Christchurch since the big one on September 4th, with well over a hundred (142 to be exact) in the past seven days alone. (See http://www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz/ )

When readers first broached the idea of an imminent volcanic eruption, I laughed. But then I learned that Banks Peninsula, just south of Christchurch, consists of two overlapping "extinct" volcanoes, the Lyttelton Volcano and the Akaroa Volcano. (See http://www.iceagenow.com/Is_Christchurch_headed_for_a_volcanic_eruption.htm )

Long considered dormant, scientists have not been overly concerned about these volcanoes. However, new information may change their minds.

No Such Thing as a Dormant Volcano

In a fortuitous bit of timing, Science Daily published an article just this week entitled
"No Such Thing as a Dormant Volcano? Magma Chambers Awake Sooner Than Thought". (Science Daily, Mar. 6, 2011)

"Until now it was thought that once a volcano's magma chamber had cooled down it remained dormant for centuries before it could be remobilized by fresh magma," says the article.

However, a theoretical model developed by by Alain Burgisser of the Orléans Institute of Earth Sciences and George Bergantz of the Earth and Space Science Department in Seattle, has completely overturned this hypothesis.

Reawakening could occur "in just a few months"

Their new mathematical model shows that "the
reawakening of a chamber could take place in just a few months."

The new research is published in the journal Nature dated 3 March 2011.

According to previous theories, when a volcano is not erupting  it cools down to an extremely viscous mush until fresh magma from deep inside Earth 'reawakens' it, a process thought to occur over a period of several hundred or even thousands of years.

However, according to the new model, and depending on the size of the chamber and the viscosity of the magma it contains, "a few months may be sufficient to rekindle its activity."

The two researchers tested the validity of their model against both the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in March 1991.

Twenty to eighty days

The model "predicted that 20 to 80 days were sufficient to remobilize the underlying chamber, whereas the conventional theory gave a figure of 500 years."

Not just in Christchurch, this research should lead to a reassessment of the dangerousness of other so-called "dormant" volcanoes.

See entire article:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110304114856.htm
Thanks to Stephanie Relfe and William Dougan
for this link
 

Comments


A problem Robert

One: Journal Nature cred is low after their insane agw support.

Two: Its yet another Model, like climate models? They could use xray sonar radar to do REAL time lookies into pinataubo st helens etc. So why havent they?

Models are NOT what I would trust ever again after the recent misuse.

Laurel

 

 

 



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