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Can a volcano's past predict its future ?

Posted on Sunday, 27 May, 2012 | Comment icon 6 comments | News tip by: Karlis

Image credit: Oliver Spalt

New research in to the history of a volcano could one day allow scientists to predict future eruptions.

University of Bristol's Kate Saunders and her team are focusing their efforts on Mount St. Helens, examining orthopyroxene crystal samples collected between 1980 and 1986 when the volcano last erupted. Different layers or "zones" within the crystals grow in concentric circles like tree rings, offering clues as to the time it took for each ring to form.

"Elements move between one zone and another to maintain equilibrium," said Saunders, "and we know how fast elements move in different crystals, so we can work out how long it took them to reach equilibrium."

"No one can forecast exactly when the next big volcanic eruption is going to happen."

  View: Full article |  Source: Popular Mechanics

  Discuss: View comments (6)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by csspwns on 27 May, 2012, 23:30
a supervolcano explosion could destroy the earth by disrupting the atmosphere and destroying it which would cause uv light from the sun fry up everything on the planet or the explosion would be so explosive tat it throws the earth off orbit and make it crash into mars or something.
Comment icon #2 Posted by the L on 28 May, 2012, 12:07
Well, you dont need super volcano for catastrophe. Lets say volcano in La Palma in Canary islands force part of island drop into ocean you will have tsunami 50 meters high. That wave would reach US in 12 hours. Meaning 100 million people would be force to flee or.. else.
Comment icon #3 Posted by csspwns on 4 June, 2012, 2:08
Comment icon #4 Posted by Englishgent on 4 June, 2012, 2:53
The Earth has suffered many supervolcanic eruptions in it's history and has yet to crash into Mars. It would definitely be devastating for mankind though, probably causing a mini iceage and preventing crops from growing worldwide etc As for the topc, I believe that studying a volcano's previous history is the right way to go in predicting when it may erupt again. It's the same with earthquakes. They can generally be predicted to occur within a few years due to their previous history. This is nothing compared to the timescale of Earth's history but is not much use for us as hu... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by Hilander on 10 June, 2012, 3:00
If a supervolcano went off at least half of the life on Earth would perish from starvation. With all that dust in the air it would probably be colder than normal and many would die from that without proper nutrition. You would also see cannibalism. Hopefully by studying these volcanoes eruption patterns we can make a good guess at when they will erupt again unless there really isn't a pattern.

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