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 Supervolcanoes 'can grow in just hundreds of years'

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Suzanne Sawatski



Number of posts : 31
Registration date : 2012-02-10

PostSubject: Supervolcanoes 'can grow in just hundreds of years'   Thu May 31, 2012 5:05 pm

New research suggests that the largest volcanoes (supervolcanoes) can take as little as hundreds of years to form. Previously, it was believed that supervolcanoes existed for as much as 200 000 years before they released their molten rock. This information, and the little other that is known about supervolcanoes, comes from the study of crystals of zircon, which contain small amounts of radioactive elements which allows their age to be determined. Studies from these crystals showed the time between formation and eruption was hundreds of thousands of years. However, in a recent study the team targeted crystals of quartz, from which they suggested the pools of magma lasted as little as to 500 years before eruption (this information was determined by studying how long it took the quartz crystals to form, which was between 500 and 3000 years). This was learned through the study of the supervolcano site of Long Valley in California, which is estimated to have erupted 760 000 years ago and cover half of North America in ash. The eruptions of supervolcanoes are believed to release more debris that any eruption seen by humanity and to release enough ash to effect the global weather for years.
The only problem posed in the research of volcanoes and supervolcanoes is that magma formation occurs in historical time, instead of geological time. However, a greater understanding of pool development and the ability to predict eruption will be sought. Future research might not only broaden our understanding, but provide us with different information once again depending on what crystal is studied.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18269593
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Belinda Ongaro



Number of posts : 32
Registration date : 2012-02-02

PostSubject: Re: Supervolcanoes 'can grow in just hundreds of years'   Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:23 am

I recently posted an article review regarding predictions made for our galaxy 4 billion years into the future. This article on the other hand discusses methods used by scientists to look into the past and better understand the development of super-volcanoes... It seems as though science spends very little time in the present. None the less, the means by which scientists obtain a glance into our geological history is incredible and leads me to wonder what the future holds in terms of uncovering the details of our past. Radiometric dating is the method currently used to determine the age of materials containing radioactive elements, for example in quartz as mentioned by Suzanne. Age is dependent upon the ratio of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes as compared with its decay products. Known decay rates allow scientist to accurately calculate the age of rocks, or as in this case volcanoes. As Suzanne stated, their is surely potential for this research to open our eyes up to the wonders of our planet.
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