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 GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

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...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

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...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>