Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long Lava Flows May Have Taken Years, Causing Global Cooling And Extinctions

Date:
October 28, 1998
Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
A multidisciplinary group of scientists is challenging the century old theory that long lava flows must be formed by massive, but short lived, volcanic eruptions. Their research, reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research, suggests that some ancient flows of up to 100 miles in length built up gradually over years, rather than quickly in just days. This finding could have broad implications for the study of Earth and nearby planets.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A multidisciplinary group of scientists is challenging the century old theory that long lava flows must be formed by massive, but short lived, volcanic eruptions. Their research, reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research, suggests that some ancient flows of up to 100 miles in length built up gradually over years, rather than quickly in just days. This finding could have broad implications for the study of Earth and nearby planets.

One result of long but slow moving lava flows may have been global cooling caused by continuing emissions of sulphur dioxide. This cooling could have caused many major extinctions during the past 500 million years. For example, a major eruption in the North Atlantic might have wiped out most dinosaurs by eliminating their plant food supply, even before the presumed asteroid impact that finished the job.

The study is not limited to Earth. Lava flows significantly longer than any known on Earth have been observed on Venus, Mars, and the Moon, and their excellent exposure, coupled with improved spacecraft imagery may actually make them easier to study.

The latest findings on long lava flows are reported in the November 10 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research, published by the American Geophysical Union. A special section of the journal is devoted to follow-up studies developed from an AGU conference at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. The meeting brought together volcanologists working on active flows in various parts of the world, other volcanologists analyzing flood basalt lava flows, planetary geologists, marine geologists, theoreticians, and economic geologists studying ancient ore-bearing lava flows.

The duration of a lava flow affects the amount of sulfur dioxide released into the atmosphere and therefore the degree of global cooling it causes. This cooling effect was noted following the relatively small eruption of the Laki volcano in Iceland in 1783. Therefore, the study of both active lava flows and ancient long lava flows can help in the assessment of future hazards. For example, there is now is an increased awareness of the role of lava tubes, through which molten lava can be transported over great distances with little loss of temperature. These tubes may play a role in future volcanic eruptions by carrying large amounts of lava to distant populated areas, as they have in the past.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Geophysical Union. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Geophysical Union. "Long Lava Flows May Have Taken Years, Causing Global Cooling And Extinctions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981028075540.htm>.
American Geophysical Union. (1998, October 28). Long Lava Flows May Have Taken Years, Causing Global Cooling And Extinctions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981028075540.htm
American Geophysical Union. "Long Lava Flows May Have Taken Years, Causing Global Cooling And Extinctions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981028075540.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins