Supervolcanoes: Ticking Time Bomb

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Supervolcanoes: Ticking Time Bomb

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Here’s a compilation from two recent articles, one Shaky faultline raises the threat of a super-volcano written by and published in news.com.au Roberta Mancuso in the Australian news entitled Super volcanoes 'ticking time bomb'.”
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HUGE volcanoes with the potential to kill millions and trigger catastrophic effects for life on earth are well overdue for an eruption, a scientist says. Eruptions could be so powerful that huge amounts of rock and ash could be flung into the atmosphere and there was a risk of tsunamis from volcanic flows hitting the ocean. The blast will toss hundreds of thousands of cubic kilometers of rock and ash into the atmosphere, dwarfing the eruptions of Krakatoa, Mount St Helens, Pinatubo and any conventional volcanic explosion of the past tens of thousands of years.

"These super-volcanoes are potentially the greatest hazard on Earth, the only greater threat being an asteroid impact from space," said Ray Cas, a vulcanologist with Monash University in Melbourne. "A super volcano will definitely erupt," said Cas. "It could be in a few, 50 or another 1000 years but sooner or later one is going to go off."

Prof Cas, of the university's School of Geosciences, said super volcanoes were the largest on Earth and could be found in Italy , New Zealand, Indonesia, South America and the United States. The largest was Indonesia 's Lake Toba, which had a crater diameter of 90km.

The last significant eruption from a super volcano, known scientifically as a caldera, occurred 2000 years ago in New Zealand, said Cas. The 2000-year eruption cycle of many of these volcanoes had passed, said Cas, and vulcanologists around the globe were simply watching and waiting for an imminent disaster. "The potential death toll could reach the hundreds of thousands to millions," Prof Cas said.

“A super-volcanic eruption might cover an entire continent with ash that could take decades to erode,” said vulcanologist Stephen Self of Britain's Open University. "(Such an eruption) could result in the devastation of world agriculture, severe disruption of food supplies and mass starvation."   http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12717924%255E30417 ,00.html
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