New Method May Predict Volcanic Eruption - The New Indian Express

New Method May Predict Volcanic Eruption

Published: 05th May 2014 05:00 PM

Last Updated: 05th May 2014 05:02 PM

Scientists are working on a new method that can predict volcanic eruption behaviour to help prevent disasters more effectively.

Volcanologists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that a process called frictional melting plays a role in determining how a volcano will erupt by dictating how fast magma can ascend to the surface, and how much resistance it faces en-route.

The process occurs in lava dome volcanoes when magma and rocks melt as they rub against each other due to intense heat.

This creates a stop start movement in the magma as it makes its way towards the Earth's surface.

The magma sticks to the rock and stops moving until enough pressure builds up, prompting it to shift forward again, a process called stick-slip.

"Seismologists have long known that frictional melting takes place when large tectonic earthquakes occur. It is also thought that the stick-slip process that frictional melting generates is concurrent to 'seismic drumbeats' which are the regular, rhythmic small earthquakes which have been recently found to accompany large volcanic eruptions," said Dr Jackie Kendrick, who led the research.

"Using friction experiments we have shown that the extent of frictional melting depends on the composition of the rock and magma, which determines how fast or slow the magma travels to the surface during the eruption," said Kendrick.

Analysis of lava collected from Mount St Helens, US and the Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat showed remnants of pseudotachylyte, a cooled frictional melt.

Evidence showed that the process took place in the conduit, the channel which lava passes through on its way to erupt.

"The closer we get to understanding the way magma behaves, the closer we will get to the ultimate goal: predicting volcanic activity when unrest begins. Whilst we can reasonably predict when a volcanic eruption is about to happen, this new knowledge will help us to predict how the eruption will behave," Kendrick added.

The research was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

comments powered by Disqus

Disclaimer: We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the NIE editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.


Read More



follow us Mobile Site iPad News Hunt Android RSS Tumblr Linekin Pinterest Youtube Google Plus Twitter Facebook