Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Seek Suspected Magma Chamber Below Active Volcano

29.04.2005


A group of international researchers plans to use studies by land and by sea to determine the size and shape of an underground magma chamber beneath an active volcano, which will help improve the ability to assess hazards and forecast volcanic events.



“We can look at changes on the surface and infer what is happening at depth, but we don’t know the physical dimensions,” said Glen Mattioli, professor of geosciences at the University of Arkansas.

Mattioli and colleagues from Penn State University, Duke University, Cornell University, the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., and from England, have extensively studied the Soufriere Hills Volcano on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean, which has been erupting sporadically since 1995. To date, they have focused their attention on the processes occurring beneath the earth’s surface both before and during eruption episodes – building knowledge that may help build better forecast models for areas with active volcanoes.


Based on years of data, the researchers believe they have detected a magma chamber that lies beneath the volcano. Determining the size and contents of the magma chamber would go a long way toward helping researchers determine the future behavior of the volcano. A small magma chamber, for instance, may produce shorter or fewer eruptions than a large magma chamber.

The researchers have obtained funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Natural Environmental Research Council to coordinate sensors already in place on the island with sensors used at sea to create an image of the magma chamber, estimated to be more than five kilometers beneath the surface. The project builds on the NSF-supported CALIPSO (Caribbean Andesitic Lava Island Precision Seismo-geodetic Observatory) project, which funded the installation of four high-sensitivity borehole seismic stations around the Soufriere Hills Volcano to measure ground deformation with strainmeters, tiltmeters, and cGPS. The stations enable researchers to take detailed measurements of volcanic activity.

The new experiment, dubbed SEA-CALIPSO (for Seismic Experiment with Air-gun source) will use air guns and a string of sensors off the back of a research ship combined with sensors on land to try to image the magma chamber. The air guns will create seismic waves that will reverberate through the earth. As the seismic waves propagate, a certain percentage of the energy created is reflected and can be measured by the sensors. The direction of that energy is related to the properties of the material the waves pass through, and based on the direction, scientists can determine if the material is gas, liquid or a combination of liquids and solids. The researchers also can use the speed of the waves to determine information about temperatures, which can help pinpoint whether or not the material in the magma chamber is liquid, solid, gas or a combination of the three. The researchers map the speed and direction of the various waves to get an image of the shape and contents of any underground chambers.

The experiment will require a large number of sensors in a small amount of space.
“We’re looking for something that’s pretty small,” Mattioli said. Estimates of the size of the magma chamber are between one kilometer to tens of kilometers in diameter.

The prolonged eruption on Montserrat, which began in 1995, drove away more than half of the island’s 11,000 inhabitants, killed the tourism industry and buried the airport in a pyroclastic flow. The island has become a living observatory for researchers who want to learn more about active volcanoes. They work closely with researchers at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory to help improve their ability to assess hazards and forecast events for the benefit of public safety.

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht A 3-D look at the 2015 El Niño
29.05.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht 'Tiny clocks' crystallize understanding of meteorite crashes
29.05.2017 | University of Western Ontario

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Camera on NASA's Lunar Orbiter survived 2014 meteoroid hit

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 3-D look at the 2015 El Niño

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>