As the second anniversary (May 29) of the eruption on the Indonesian island of Java approaches, scientists have also found that the centre of the volcano – named Lusi – is collapsing by up to three metres overnight.
Such sudden collapses could be the beginning of a caldera - a large basin-shaped volcanic depression - according to the research team, from Durham University UK, and the Institute of Technology Bandung, in Indonesia.
Their findings, based on Global Positioning System (GPS) and satellite measurements, are due to be published in the journal Environmental Geology.
Lusi first erupted on May 29, 2006, in the Porong sub-district of Sidoarjo, close to Indonesia’s second city of Surabaya, East Java, and now covers seven square kilometres and is 20 metres thick.
In January 2007 Durham University published the first scientific report into the causes and impact of Lusi, revealing that the eruption was almost certainly manmade and caused by the drilling of a nearby exploratory borehole(1) looking for gas.
Fourteen people have been killed and 30,000 people have been evacuated from the area. More than 10,000 homes have been destroyed while schools, offices and factories have also been wiped out and a major impact on the wider marine and coastal environment is expected.
The researchers say the subsidence data could help determine how much of the local area will be affected by Lusi.
Their research used GPS and satellite data recorded between June 2006 and September 2007 that showed the area affected by Lusi had subsided by between 0.5 metres and 14.5 metres per year.
The scientists found that if Lusi continued to erupt for three to 10 years at the constant rates measured during 2007 then the central part of the volcano could subside by between 44 metres and 146 metres – 26 metres longer than a football pitch.
They propose the subsidence is due to the weight of mud and collapse of rock strata due to the excavation of mud from beneath the surface.
Their study has also found that while some parts of Sidoarjo are subsiding others are rising suggesting that the Watukosek fault system has been reactivated due to the eruption.
Co-author Professor Richard Davies, of Durham University’s Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems (CeREES), said: “In the two years since she first erupted Lusi has continued to grow. Our research is fundamental if we are to understand the long-term effects of the mud volcano on the local and wider environment and population.
“Sidoarjo is a populated region and is collapsing as a result of the birth and growth of Lusi. This could continue to have a significant environmental impact on the surrounding area for years to come.
“If we establish how long the volcano will continue to erupt for then the subsidence data will allow us to assess the area that will ultimately be affected by this disaster. This could have implications for future plans aimed at minimising the volcano’s overall impact.”
(1)The borehole is owned by Indonesian oil and gas company Lapindo Brantas. For more information about the January 2007 Durham University study go to: http://www.dur.ac.uk/news/newsitem/?itemno=5090&rehref=%2Fnews%2Farchive%2F&resubj=%20Headlines
Claire Whitelaw | alfa
Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute
Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine