Geologists groped for the pulse of a sleeping supervolcano

Geologists groped for the pulse of a sleeping supervolcano – the hidden hot currents of magma that feed it from the inside. A study by scientists from Uppsala University is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The supervolcano investigated by geologists is called Altiplano Pune – it is located under the Andes at the junction of the borders of three countries, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. A huge crater holds 500,000 cubic kv of molten magma.

According to scientists, the last major eruption of a supervolcano occurred almost 4 million years ago and was the last in a series of very large explosive eruptions that began 10 million years ago.

In a new study, scientists tried to find the answer to the question of why magma remains molten for millions of years. To do this, they are researchers of lava samples that were ejected as a result of the relatively recent minor eruptions of Altiplano Pune.

Chemical analysis of the composition of oxygen isotopes showed that the volcano is constantly fed by magma flows rising from the bowels of the Earth.

“Volcanic eruptions can lead to disastrous consequences. The last such event known to us was the eruption of the Tob super volcano in Indonesia 73 thousand years ago – this led to the extinction of a significant number of human ancestors. Even if we cannot prevent such an event, it would be wise to use the time until the next eruption to find out as much as possible about it and increase our chances of survival”.

Valentin Troll, lead author of the study

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