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18 September 2019
New study suggests gigantic masses in Earth’s mantle untouched for more than 4 billion years
Ancient, distinct, continent-sized regions of rocks, isolated since before the collision that created the Moon 4.5 billion years ago, exist hundreds of miles below the Earth’s crust, offering a window into the building blocks of our planet, according to new research.
5 August 2019
New study traces Io’s volcanic tides
Hundreds of volcanoes pockmark the surface of Io, the third largest of Jupiter’s 78 known moons, and the only body in our solar system other than Earth where widespread volcanism can be observed. A new study finds Io’s most powerful, persistent volcano, Loki Patera, brightens on a similar timescale to slight perturbations in Io’s orbit caused by Jupiter’s other moons, which repeat on an approximately 500-Earth-day cycle.
Geoengineering versus a volcano
Major volcanic eruptions spew ash particles into the atmosphere, which reflect some of the Sun’s radiation back into space and cool the planet. But could this effect be intentionally recreated to fight climate change? A new paper in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters investigates.
4 April 2018
Infrasound recordings give scientists a peek inside volcano’s plume
High-resolution recordings of the powerful infrasound waves generated by an eruption at Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano have given scientists a rare view inside the activity at the volcano’s mouth. The acoustic waves generated by the July 2013 eruption were one of the most powerful volcanic infrasound recordings ever captured. The low-frequency infrasound waves from the eruption are too low for human ears to hear but were as powerful as waves one meter (three feet) away from a jet engine.
17 January 2018
Scientists monitor volcanic gases with digital cameras to forecast eruptions
Scientists have shown for the first time that volcanoes emit distinctive pulses of gas a few hours before erupting, which could lead to real-time forecasting of dangerous volcanic eruptions that are difficult to predict, according to the researchers.
27 April 2017
Glass formed by volcanic lightning could be used to study eruptions
Researchers have developed a method to measure one of the most striking and difficult to measure volcanic features – volcanic lightning – using the tiny glass spheres formed by hot volcanic ash.
12 April 2016
New studies uncover mysterious processes that generate volcanic lightning (plus video)
Two new studies are unraveling some of the mysteries of this violent phenomenon and revealing the similarities – and differences – between volcanic lightning and the kind of lightning produced by thunderclouds. Understanding how this process works could enable scientists to use volcanic lightning to monitor and track the progress of powerful eruptions in real time, according to the studies’ authors.
2 February 2016
Increase in volcanic eruptions at the end of the ice age caused by melting ice caps and glacial erosion
The combination of erosion and melting ice caps led to a massive increase in volcanic activity at the end of the last ice age, according to new research. As the climate warmed, the ice caps melted, decreasing the pressure on the Earth’s mantle, leading to an increase in both magma production and volcanic eruptions. The researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, have found that erosion also played a major role in the process, and may have contributed to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
13 January 2016
Underwater volcanoes may have sent carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at the end of the last ice age
During the last glacial period, Earth’s land and sea stored carbon as both dissolved carbon dioxide and biomass. But as the ice receded, water warmed and organisms decayed, that carbon surged into the atmosphere. Most of the released gas came from the atmosphere originally, but in a new study, a data anomaly hints that a small percentage of it came from volcanoes erupting on the ocean floor.
12 December 2013
Volcanic eruptions bubbled beneath Earth’s largest extinction
Long before the dinosaurs died off, the “Great Dying” killed nearly all life in the ocean, 70 percent of terrestrial animals and even insects. But this mass extinction more than 250 million years ago – Earth’s greatest natural disaster – is still a scientific mystery. Little evidence remains of why and when life on the planet crashed to this long pause.