Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Autopsy of a eruption: Linking crystal growth to volcano seismicity

Date:
May 24, 2012
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
A forensic approach that links changes deep below a volcano to signals at the surface could ultimately help to predict future volcanic eruptions with greater accuracy.

False colour image of zoned orthopyroxene crystal used in forensic-style analysis of Mount St Helens 1980 eruption.
Credit: Kate Saunders

A forensic approach that links changes deep below a volcano to signals at the surface is described by scientists from the University of Bristol in a paper published May 24 in Science. The research could ultimately help to predict future volcanic eruptions with greater accuracy.

Using forensic-style chemical analysis, Dr Kate Saunders and colleagues directly linked seismic observations of the deadly 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption to crystal growth within the magma chamber, the large underground pool of liquid rock beneath the volcano.

Over 500 million people live close to volcanoes which may erupt with little or no clear warning, causing widespread devastation, disruption to aviation and even global effects on climate. Many of the world's volcanoes are monitored for changes such as increases in seismicity or ground deformation. However, an on-going problem for volcanologists is directly linking observations at the surface to processes occurring underground.

Dr Saunders and colleagues studied zoned crystals, which grow concentrically like tree rings within the magma body. Individual zones have subtly different chemical compositions, reflecting the changes in physical conditions within the magma chamber and thus giving an indication of volcanic processes and the timescales over which they occur.

Chemical analysis of the crystals revealed evidence of pulses of magma into a growing chamber within the volcano. Peaks in crystal growth were found to correlate with increased seismicity and gas emissions in the months prior to the eruption.

Dr Saunders said: "Such a correlation between crystal growth and volcanic seismicity has been long anticipated, but to see such clear evidence of this relationship is remarkable."

This forensic approach can be applied to other active volcanoes to shed new light upon the nature and timescale of pre-eruptive activity. This will help scientists to evaluate monitoring signals at restless volcanoes and improve forecasting of future eruptions.

The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. Saunders, J. Blundy, R. Dohmen, K. Cashman. Linking Petrology and Seismology at an Active Volcano. Science, 2012; 336 (6084): 1023 DOI: 10.1126/science.1220066

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Autopsy of a eruption: Linking crystal growth to volcano seismicity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524143444.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2012, May 24). Autopsy of a eruption: Linking crystal growth to volcano seismicity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524143444.htm
University of Bristol. "Autopsy of a eruption: Linking crystal growth to volcano seismicity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524143444.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014) — Iceland evacuates an area north of the country's Bardarbunga volcano, as the country's civil protection agency says it cannot rule out an eruption. Authorities have already warned airlines. As Joel Flynn reports, ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — China's energy revolution could do more harm than good for the environment, despite the country's commitment to reducing pollution and curbing its carbon emissions. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — Aluminum giant, Novelis, has partnered with Red Hare Brewing Company to introduce the first certified high-content recycled beverage can. (Aug. 22) 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:
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