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Supervolcano eruption mystery solved

Posted on Tuesday, 7 January, 2014 | Comment icon 11 comments

The best known supervolcano lies under Yellowstone National Park. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 David Monniaux
Scientists investigating what causes a supervolcano to erupt believe that they've found the answer.
One of the most destructive forces on the planet, a supervolcano eruption is as deadly as it is unpredictable. While it isn't too difficult to determine that a supervolcano is forming at a location, knowing whether it will erupt in 1 year or in 100,000 years remains a challenge.

Now scientists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble believe that they've discovered the secret to what it is that sparks a supervolcano to erupt. Surprisingly, it appears that the sheer volume of magma alone is enough to trigger an eruption.

"We knew the clock was ticking but we didn't know how fast: what would it take to trigger a super-eruption?" said lead author Wim Malfait. "Now we know you don't need any extra factor - a supervolcano can erupt due to its enormous size alone. Once you get enough melt, you can start an eruption just like that."

Source: BBC News | Comments (11)

Tags: Supervolcano

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by mushymopman on 7 January, 2014, 16:31
yes i knew this before i went to high school.
Comment icon #3 Posted by ROGER on 7 January, 2014, 20:55
I watched a special on T.V. not long ago about Mt. Vesuvius [/color][/size]
Comment icon #4 Posted by DemonicCupcake on 7 January, 2014, 22:16
I feel like human kind should be much more aware of their mortality. They seem to think that they are the smartest and strongest on the earth. Nothing like a good super-volcano to straighten that mindset.
Comment icon #5 Posted by moonshadow60 on 7 January, 2014, 23:43
Nature has us all beat, hands down. Earth can shake us off like fleas if she wants to.
Comment icon #6 Posted by nothinglizx2 on 7 January, 2014, 23:45
Just use a lazor drill and cut from the pacific inwards towards the area in question and have the lava drain into the deepest part of the pacific. Sure there may be a rise in sea level, but the effected part of the land can always be evacuated, it will save alot more than it will destroy if we don't. But you see the elite know already what to do, however but to destroy enough population they just need to sit back and not do anything.Just use a lazer drill and cut from the pacific inwards towards the area in question and have the lava drain into the deepest part of the pacific. Sure ther... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Rolci on 8 January, 2014, 1:25
"Once you get enough melt, you can start an eruption just like that" - That's genius. Glad you get paid to figure out stuff like that. And you needed how many years of research and how much research money to come up with that?
Comment icon #8 Posted by GreenmansGod on 8 January, 2014, 2:00
Eat drink and drum for tomorrow we my die. Not much can be done about it. BOOM happens.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Sundew on 8 January, 2014, 4:38
Volcanos often make very rich soil and we all need food; it is quite natural humans exploit this. Also, people think that something like that will never happen to them, and the odds are they are correct, many generations have lived and died on the flanks of known deadly volcanos, without seeing the destruction they can cause. That is little comfort if you happen to be alive when the big blow happens. I would not be too surprised to find that people have already started moving back into the general area of Mt. St. Helens, and who knows when it may erupt again? If the caldera at Yellowstone ... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by pallidin on 8 January, 2014, 20:18
You do know how expensive, complicated and "functionally" physically challenging that would be.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Sundew on 8 January, 2014, 22:28
I would suggest you do some research on these amazing beams of light. The term is LASER, an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation" and these devices have their limits. While they are coherent light and expand relatively little with distance compared with most light sources, the beam would be scattered by sea water. The beam is also scattered by the vapors that it creates when a substance, say a rock, is vaporized. So it is not a simple matter to point a LASER at the ocean (or even at the earth), aim it toward the magma within the earth and drain it a... [More]

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