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

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>