Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Study 100-Million-Year-Old Volcanism In The Indian Ocean

Date:
December 14, 1998
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Clues to Earth's internal dynamics may lie in the remote southern Indian Ocean, in a submarine plateau one-third the size of the United States. For the next two months, geologists with the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), funded in large part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), will unearth the secrets of the Kerguelen Plateau, an example of a unique type of Earth feature, a large igneous province.

Clues to Earth's internal dynamics may lie in the remote southern Indian Ocean, in a submarine plateau one-third the size of the United States. For the next two months, geologists with the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), funded in large part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), will unearth the secrets of the Kerguelen Plateau, an example of a unique type of Earth feature, a large igneous province (LIP).

LIPs are areas where magma wells up from deep beneath Earth's surface and forms molten rock; they may be expressions of the largest volcanic events in the planet's history. One of the least understood features in the ocean basins, LIPs preserve a record of volcanism and may have affected Earth's past environment by altering ocean circulation, climate conditions and sea level.

A team of 28 scientists will study an LIP that originally formed from the Kerguelen Plateau and a now separate but related nearby feature, Broken Ridge. To investigate the history of Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge, the scientific team will retrieve core samples from as deep as one kilometer below the seafloor using advanced drilling technology aboard the JOIDES Resolution, the world's largest scientific drill ship.

The JOIDES Resolution is scheduled to depart Fremantle, Australia, on December12, and conclude the expedition on February 11, 1999. Mike Coffin of the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics and Fred Frey of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will lead the scientific team. The scientists hope to resolve questions about the Kerguelen Plateau's eruption history by analyzing samples of sediment and lava collected in cores taken from deep beneath the seafloor. Since its formation, the plateau has subsided to water depths of more than a kilometer.

Earth has experienced massive volcanic episodes with magma emanating from the deep mantle many times. Such episodes were relatively common between 150 and 50 million years ago, but have been infrequent during the past 50 million years. Due to their inaccessibility beneath the oceans, few large igneous provinces have been sampled and dated for comparison with similar provinces on land, explains Bruce Malfait, ocean drilling program director at NSF. Adds Frey, "When results of the expedition are combined with previous seafloor drilling studies, the Kerguelen 'hot spot' will provide the best understood long-term record of hot spot volcanism."

Subsequent analysis of the core materials, both aboard the ship and in land-based laboratories, will enable scientists to reconstruct the volcanic history of this region, including both the timing of eruptions and changes in the chemical composition of the lavas.

States Coffin, "Large igneous provinces provide the only known record of ancient deep Earth dynamics. Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge hold the history of one of the largest and longest-lived volcanic events on Earth. The results of this expedition will contribute greatly to our understanding of how mantle hot spots behave through time, and their possible effects on the global environment." The Kerguelen hot spot continues to erupt today at Heard and McDonald Islands in the Indian Ocean.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Scientists Study 100-Million-Year-Old Volcanism In The Indian Ocean." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 December 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981214075355.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (1998, December 14). Scientists Study 100-Million-Year-Old Volcanism In The Indian Ocean. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981214075355.htm
National Science Foundation. "Scientists Study 100-Million-Year-Old Volcanism In The Indian Ocean." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981214075355.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. 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