New experiments have revealed that super-volcanoes that are found in different locations across the world do not necessarily need a trigger to explode.
Previously, it was believed that in order for a volcanic eruption to take place, an external catalyst, such as an earthquake, was needed. Unfortunately, it has been discovered that this is not the case.
An experiment was conducted at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, that led to new information concerning super-volcanoes.
According to the results, the scorching magma contained in the super-volcano amounts to such high quantities that the volume alone could cause an eruption. This is the first time that this information has been presented into the world and it is shocking. The size of a super-volcano is enough to cause an eruption, this implies it could erupt at any second of any day without any warning.
However, super-volcano eruptions are rare, with one occurring every 100,000 years or so, however, if they do erupt the damage is catastrophic causing huge amounts of volcanic ash to be projected into the atmosphere and spread across large distances.
It causes severe damage to the ecology of the surrounding region and may affect the overall circumstance of the earth.
This information, which was discovered thanks to a group of Swiss scientists of the ETH Zurich, may help us manage the situation in the future.
The experiment used specialist machinery to recreate similar conditions as that of a super-volcano. Incredibly high levels of heat and pressure were created, this was done using a high pressure beamline.
More specifically, the experiment used a diamond container that was filled with man-made magma. The container was then exposed to high-energy beams from an x-ray in order to change the pressure inside the container.
A scientist working at the ESRF in Grenoble said, “If we measure the density difference from solid to liquid magma we can calculate the pressure needed to provoke a spontaneous eruption.”
The reason for the eruption of the super-volcano is the magma. If the magma is in a solid state and transitions into liquid state, it introduces new pressure into the environment which can cause cracks in the earth’s crust.
A scientist working on the experiment from ETH Zurich explains what this could mean, “Magma penetrating into the cracks will eventually reach the Earth’s surface. And as it rises, it will expand violently – causing an explosion.”
There are 20 super-volcanoes in the world today that have been identified. They spread across the globe in countries like Italy, Indonesia, New Zealand and the United States.