Can One Eruption Trigger More? My Top 5 Volcano Myths

A tiny 2009 tear at Sakurajima in Japan. Kimon Berlin / Wikimedia Commons.

A tiny 2009 tear at Sakurajima in Japan. Kimon Berlin / Wikimedia Commons.

Whenever volcanoes are in the news, we see a lot of furious rumors roaming the interwebs. The misfortune kind are those that try to boar panic and fear among the people vital nearby an erupting or potentially erupting volcano by possibly swelling fake news or sensationalizing the events. Sometimes it is some-more innocent, where the media just gets the scholarship or vernacular wrong, like referring to the things coming out of a volcano as “smoke” (it’s not) and that the “Ring of Fire” relates to anything over a good literary image. However, there are a few things we see consistently whenever a volcanic predicament emerges and we wanted to tackle these misconceptions of volcanoes. I’m certain there are some-more out there, but these are the ones that really bug me.

  • One volcanic tear will trigger another: This is a common explain when a volcano erupts in a country with a lot of other volcanoes, such as Indonesia or Japan. Although the source of magma competence eventually be from the same routine (the layer melting), almost all volcanoes are eccentric of one another. That is to say: all the volcanoes in an area are not all connected to a big, subterraneous vat of magma they all share. So, an tear at Agung is not going to means other volcanoes to erupt. The closest thing to other volcanoes getting into the act during an tear was the 1912 tear of Novarupta in Alaska (the largest of the 20th century), where Katmai collapsed to form a caldera even yet the tear was happening in a saddle between Katmai and other volcanoes.
  • Eruptions get bigger the longer they last: There is the enticement to consider that once a volcano starts erupting, it is only going to get worse. This is because we see headlines about Agung observant that people “are watchful for an eruption” when the tear is already going, despite in a sincerely low level. Anytime something over volcano gases leave a volcanic event, it is an eruption. It competence be plume that shoots up to 30 kilometers (100,000 feet) or a trifling hiccup that throws element 10 meters (3 feet) from the vent. Both are eruptions. Many times, the volcano will start erupting at a low turn and just stay that way, so but signs that an tear is going to get worse, like earthquakes or deformation to the volcano, don’t assume that eruptions are heading to something bigger.
  • A volcano is “due” for a vast tear (along with ‘the universe is “due” for a vast eruption’): Let’s all take a low exhale and contend to yourself “volcanoes are never due for an eruption.” It’s true! No matter what you review in the news or see in the movies. Some volcanoes erupt frequently, some erupt every few thousand years. Neither is “due” to erupt if they haven’t in some volume of time (which is customarily flattering arbitrary). They will next erupt when the conditions are met for an eruption, customarily as new magma rises from whatever source feeds that volcano … and then there is an eruption. Volcanologists have not identified patterns or cyclicality to magma feeding many volcanoes. Take Fuji in Japan for example. It had VEI 4 or 5 (relatively large) eruptions in 1350 BCE, 1030 BCE, 930 BCE, 800 CE and 1707 CE. That’s intervals of ~320, 100, 1730 and 1107 years. It means it can have big eruptions, but they’re not spaced in any sold pattern. We’re not “due”.  Volcanoes caring not for your schedule.

These last two (well, three) to are associated to how volcanoes correlate with the Earth’s climate. Every time there is even the intensity of a assuage eruption, lots of the media coverage refers to the times that a very vast tear had some impact on the global climate. The best new instance would be the “Year but a Summer” in 1816 after the 1815 tear of Tambora. Those are the exceptions to the rule. Even some of the largest new eruptions like the 1991 tear of Pinatubo or the 1982 tear of El Chichón really only disturbed the global meridian by fractions of a degree. It takes a very vast tear that sends element into the stratosphere to really impact climate.

  • Volcanoes will stop meridian change/cause meridian change: Volcanic eruptions are flattering much a consistent over time. They competence see spikes and lulls due to their mostly pointless distribution, but we have not seen any boost in volcanic activity on Earth in the past few millennia. So, even yet volcanoes can evacuate CO dioxide, they aren’t causing the thespian boost in CO dioxide in the atmosphere (maybe it is the blazing of all that CO that was buried in the belligerent … just maybe). So, volcanoes aren’t to blame. Also, making the own synthetic volcanoes or triggering eruptions to chuck aerosols that can cold meridian (like sulfur dioxide) into the atmosphere is a flattering terrible thought deliberation we don’t really know how it competence impact the other tools of the global meridian system.
  • “Super-eruptions” means extinctions*: One of the biggest misconceptions is that a big bomb tear will means global extinctions. It hasn’t happened, or at the very least, we’re never identified one. The eruptions that have been related to extinctions are flood basalts, that are lava upsurge eruptions that can last millions of years … and even not all of those have caused wide-spread extinctions. So, even a vast bomb eruptions like the last one at Yellowstone will not meant the “end of life on Earth.” Sure, it competence do in complicated civilization for decades or more, but the universe will go on. You can stop being worried about “super-eruptions”.
  • Bonus: Climate change is causing some-more eruptions: This is a new one, formed on investigate that says that as ice melts in areas with volcanoes, the obscure of vigour on the membrane will means some-more eruptions. Now, there is genuine justification that this happened in Iceland or tools of the Cascades. However, it was after the last Ice Age and it took thousands of years to perceptible itself. There is no justification that the stream changing meridian are causing volcanoes to act any differently and likely, it won’t be for centuries or some-more that the melting of ice in Iceland or Antarctica could means volcanoes to potentially be some-more active in those locations.

So, rest easier about volcanoes. They can be very hazardous, but a lot of the hype is just that: hype.

  • The Hortas are restless.

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