Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sand dunes tell tale of volcanic devastation

06.05.2004


University of Leicester scientists have made a unique discovery at an Atlantic island popular with British holidaymakers.



They have uncovered giant sand dunes on Tenerife that tell a tale of terrifying destruction in ancient times, when fiery clouds swept right across the island, leaving very little in their wake.

Volcanic islands - volcanoes whose summits poke out of the oceans - make popular holiday destinations, like Madeira, Hawaii and the Azores. Some, like Hawaii, erupt lava flows, but others explode catastrophically with devastating effect.


Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, has behaved in both ways in the past million years. Two volcanologists from the University of Leicester investigating ash layers on the island for forensic clues to deduce what happened there long before human colonisation, have unearthed a tale of particularly destructive behaviour.

They discovered giant sand-dunes of volcanic ash, formed when a hurricane-like pyroclastic current, a fiery flow of incandescent hot ash and noxious gases, swept across most of the island, an area about the size of Cornwall.

The two Leicester volcanologists Dr Mike Branney and Dr Richard Brown have deduced that the devastating pyroclastic current that created the dunes must have been sustained for several hours, while part of the island collapsed and its ancient forests were swept away.

In an article this month in GEOLOGY, an international magazine published by the Geological Society of America, they show how despite the extended duration of this catastrophic event, surprisingly little trace remains. This is because the vast tonnage of ash and rocks erupted from the volcano simply bypassed the island entirely and flowed into the ocean.

Geologists, who use ash layers to decipher past behaviour of violent volcanoes, are concerned that past occurrences of such devastating currents are easy to under-estimate, or even overlook, because so little trace of them is left behind. The remarkable dunes, perched on the side of the volcano near the tiny fishing resort of Poris, are the first of their type to be discovered.

"It seems amazing that these devastating currents flowed for such a long time, yet leave such little record of their passage" says Mike Branney who has been working on Tenerife for seven years; "finding the dunes was the key, and we shall be looking out for similar examples elsewhere, so that we can recognise where else this particular type of hazardous volcanic behaviour has occurred."

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA eyes Pineapple Express soaking California
24.02.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht 'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field
23.02.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>