An international study led by Monash scientists has discovered how volcanoes experience stress. The study, published today in Scientific Reports, has implications on how the world can be better protected against future volcanic eruptions.
Volcanic eruption is the worst situation during volcanic crises. It can trigger dangerous tsunamis or destructive pyroclastic flows (for example Mount Saint Helens).
“But, these events are very difficult to predict because we often do not know what is going on inside the active volcanoes, and what forces can stabilize them,” the study’s lead author said. and Dr. Sam Thiele, a recent Ph.D. graduated from Monash University School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment.
“Volcanic growth research helps us understand the internal processes and the associated forces that can trigger a deadly collapse or eruption,” he said.
The drone research team used a cm-resolution map of the interior structure of a now dormant volcano in La Palma in the Canary Islands, and measured the width of 100 of the thousands of cracks in which magma flowed through previous explosions.
They are allowed to estimate the forces acting within the volcano, and show that they form slowly over time, causing stress and possibly volcanic instability.
By measuring the width of the crater in the volcano where the magma was carried they were able to estimate the forces involved, which would help predict future volcanic eruptions.
The geological features mapped out by the research team are formed when molten intrusions, called dykes, stabilize to form a framework within what is a weak structure made up of most layer of lava and ash.
“This is one of the first studies to look at the long-term effects of magma movement within a volcano,” said co-author Professor Sandy Cruden, from Monash University School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment.
“We have found that volcanoes have gradually become ’emphasized’ by the repetitive movements of this magma, which could potentially destroy the entire volcano, influencing future collapses and eruptions,” he said.
What lies beneath a volcano?
Samuel T. Thiele et al. Dyke records the accumulation of stress during prolonged volcanism, Scientific Reports (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-020-74361-w
Provided by Monash University
Citation: Stressed volcanoes more likely to collapse and erupt (2020, October 16) obtained on October 17, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-stressed-out-volcanoes-collapse -erupt.html
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