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.

Related Articles


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 October 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 October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii was 225 yards from Pahoa Village Road on Wednesday night. The lava is slowing down but still approaching the village. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

AFP (Oct. 29, 2014) At the foot of the rugged Carpathian mountains near the Polish-Ukrainian border, ranchers and scientists are trying to protect the Carpathian pony, known as the Hucul in Polish. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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