The occurrence of a super-eruption would have severe environmental effects and might threaten global civilisation. This is the assessment of a Geological Society of London working group [Notes 1,2] composed of senior Earth Scientists. The effects of a super-eruption would be comparable to those predicted for the impact of a 1km-diameter asteroid with the Earth. In fact, super-eruptions are 5-10 times more likely to occur than such an impact. The assessment of the working party has been presented to the UK Government’s Natural Hazard Working Group [Note 3].
Many very large volcanoes on the Earth are capable of colossal eruptions with global consequences. Such eruptions are quite frequent on a “geological” timescale, although not one has occurred on Earth in the short time that an interdependent human civilisation has existed. However, our present civilisation depends on global trade and food production, air travel and space-borne communications, all of which could be at considerable risk if a super-eruption occurred.
There may be several super-eruptions large enough to cause a global disaster every 100,000 years. This means super-eruptions are a significant global humanitarian hazard. They occur more frequently than impacts of asteroids and comets of comparable damage potential.
1. Sparks, R S J & Self, S et al., 2005: Super-eruptions: global effects and future threats: Report of a Geological Society of London Working Group. Other authors include: Dr David Pyle (Cambridge University) Dr Clive Oppenheimer (Cambridge University) Dr Hazel Rymer (Open University) and Dr John Grattan (University of Wales, Aberystwyth) Published at: www.geolsoc.org.uk/supereruptions
2. The Geological Society of London is a learned and professional body, of some 9000 Earth scientists with a remit to investigate, interpret, discuss, inform and advise on the nature and processes of the Earth, their practical importance to humanity, and, in the interests of the public, to promote professional excellence. The Society offers advice to Parliament and Government, at individual and corporate levels. Registered Charity No. 210161.
3. The Natural Hazard Working Group (NHWG) has been established under the auspices of Sir David King, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, as an ad hoc advisory group to advise the Prime Minister on the mechanisms that could and should be established for the detection and early warning of physical natural hazards. This group has been established as part of the Government’s Response to the Asian Tsunami disaster. http://www.ost.gov.uk/policy/bodies/nhwg/
Ted Nield | alfa
Wandering greenhouse gas
16.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System
14.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.03.2018 | Event News