Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

URI Geological Oceanographers Investigate the Possible Link between the Last Ice Age and Volcanic Eruptions in Indonesia

27.01.2004


Approximately 75,000 years ago, a massive explosive eruption from a volcano in western Indonesia (Toba caldera) coincided with the onset of the Earth’s last Ice Age.



In the current issue of Geology, University of Rhode Island geological oceanographers Meng-Yang Lee and Steven Carey; Chang-Hwa Chen and Yoshiyuki Iizuka of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan; and Kuo-Yen Wei of National Taiwan University describe their investigation into the possibility that eruptions from the Toba caldera on the island of Sumatra caused a severe "volcanic winter" and the initiation of a glacial period.

The magnitude of the oldest Toba eruptions had not previously been documented due to the difficulty in recognizing their widespread erupted products in marine sediments. Lee and the team of scientists present new data on the distribution of volcanic ash from the oldest Toba eruption in Ocean Drilling Program cores and piston cores in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean. By using high-resolution litho-, magneto-, and oxygen isotope stratigraphic records, the geologists were able to clarify the correlation between distribution patterns in the cores, refine the age of the layers, and reestimate the eruptive volume of the early eruption of Toba.


The results of their analysis indicate that the glass shards from the first Toba eruption 788,000 years ago were dispersed more than 2000 miles from the source. Fallout from the eruption was deposited from clouds that drifted over both the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, producing an extensive ash blanket that may have been comparable in size to that of the last Toba eruption 75,000 years ago.

Comparing material from the oldest Toba eruption to that of the youngest, or last, Toba eruption, the scientists were able to draw surprising conclusions. The youngest Toba eruption (75,000 years ago) has been proposed as a triggering mechanism for the onset of large-scale glaciation, which brought the last interglacial stage to its end. The coincidence of the oldest Toba eruption with the transition from a glacial stage to an interglacial stage, however, appears to be an opposite effect.

Although the estimated volume of the oldest Toba eruption is not as large as the youngest Toba, they are both enormous eruptions involving discharges of tremendous amounts of magma. However, the warming trend following the oldest supereruption of the Toba appears to suggest that factors other than volcanism have played more influencing roles in governing glacial to interglacial transitions over the last 3 million years.

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the country’s largest marine science education programs, and one of the world’s foremost marine research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions to such problems as acid rain, harmful algal blooms, global warming, air and water pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal Institute, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography, and the National Sea Grant Library.

Lisa Cugini | URI
Further information:
http://www.news.uri.edu/releases/html/04-0126-04.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting eruptions using satellites and math
28.06.2017 | Frontiers

nachricht NASA sees quick development of Hurricane Dora
27.06.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Predicting eruptions using satellites and math

28.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

Extremely fine measurements of motion in orbiting supermassive black holes

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>