Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

CALIPSO monitors pulse of Soufriere Hills volcano

17.12.2004


Photo of the growing soufriere Hills Volcano lava dome taken 31 May 2003
Click here for a high resolution photograph.


A unique monitoring system in place on the island of Montserrat can record the everyday changes beneath the Soufriere Hills volcano and throughout the island, according to an international team of volcanologists.

The CALIPSO project (Caribbean Andesite Lava Island Precision Seismo-geodetic Observatory) is the first volcano monitoring system of its type installed at an andesitic volcano. Andesite volcanoes are the most important volcano type making up the Earth’s Ring of Fire, and have caused more fatalities than any other type of volcano. Intended to improve the understanding of how these volcanos erupt, the system investigates the dynamics of the entire magma system below the island.

"We had the system working just in time for the largest lava dome collapse ever seen anywhere," says Dr. Barry Voight, professor of geosciences at Penn State. "Montserrat is the only place where such an array of monitoring tools, including strain meters, surround the volcano," he told attendees at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Conference today (Dec. 16) in San Francisco.



The CALIPSO system features four bore holes, each 600-foot deep and 4.5 inches in diameter through most of its depth. The width of the last 30 feet is a bit narrower to accommodate the equipment, which must be bonded to the surrounding rock. Each bore hole houses a super-sensitive strain meter, a seismometer and a tiltmeter and a geographic positioning system sits above on the ground surface.

"The ground is a 100-times quieter down there than at the surface," says Voight. "We can record smaller events and deeper events than would be possible on the noisy ground surface, and we can record measurements continuously all day long."

By comparing the measurements with a computer model of the volcano, the researchers can begin to understand what is happening beneath the surface. The active magma reservoir system may extend to a depth of 10 miles, with its top about 3.5 miles deep. The researchers hope they will be able to measure the position, size and shape of the existing magma reservoir, the quantity of new magma inflow and the physical characteristics of the magma. They also hope to learn more about the earthquake mechanics associated with the dynamic volcanic system.

The institutions involved in the CALIPSO project include Penn State, University of Arkansas, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Duke University, Bristol University (UK), Leeds University (UK), Arizona State University and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

Andesitic volcanoes occur throughout the world in such places as Japan, Indonesia, the Andes, the Aleutian Islands and the North American Cascades. They often form lava domes when active. These lava domes can fail, causing either lava block avalanches or violent explosive hurricanes of hot ash and gas that can travel many miles and destroy everything in their paths. These explosive releases cause the most damage to life and property.

The Soufriere Hills Volcano has erupted on and off since July 1995. The latest dome collapse occurred in 2003 and explosions occurred in March and April 2004. Since then the surface activity of the volcano has quieted down, but activity at depth continues, as indicated by the monitoring system. While the volcano has only been active for the past nine years, the island shows a long history of volcanic activity extending back thousands of years.

Now that the CALIPSO equipment is in place, the researchers plan an island-wide experiment using 100 to 150 additional seismographs. From the data collected, the scientists will create a tomographic image of the island similar to PET scans done by hospitals. The scan will show the current and past magma chambers and provide an underground, three-dimensional map of the island and the volcanic system.

A’ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate change weakens Walker circulation
20.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

nachricht Shallow soils promote savannas in South America
20.10.2017 | Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Metallic nanoparticles will help to determine the percentage of volatile compounds

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Shallow soils promote savannas in South America

20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>