Questions tagged [volcanology]

The properties and behaviour of volcanoes.

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28
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4answers
1k views

Can pyroclastic flows cross water?

While reading the Wikipedia article on pyroclastic flows, I noticed that there's a section called 'Interaction with water'. This piqued my interest, as I was under the impression that lava generally ...
24
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1answer
641 views

Why did the Laki eruption of 1783 produce so much fluorine?

The Laki fissure eruption of 1783/4 in Iceland was not particularly large or explosive, but it is infamous for the large quantities of fluorine (or hydrofluoric acid) and SO2 that it produced, and the ...
22
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3answers
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Where can obsidian be found?

Where is obsidian found? Is it typically found on the surface or underground? If underground, how far under (meters or feet would be perfect)? Also, is it found everywhere on Earth, or just in areas ...
21
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2answers
380 views

What are some of the strongest theories against the existence of mantle plumes?

Among the people I interact with in the geodynamics community, it seems that almost all of us are in full support of the mantle plume theory. What are the strongest arguments against this theory? Is ...
20
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0answers
277 views

How are Mauna Loa $\ce{CO2}$ monthly trends computed?

The problem I am trying to figure out how $\ce{CO2}$ concentration trends are computed in the data provided by the Earth Systems Research Laboratory Mauna Loa Observatory. The data contains monthly ...
19
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2answers
313 views

Is there any consensus of what caused the Lusi Mud Volcano eruptions in Indonesia?

In May, 2006, the Lusi Mud Volcano in eastern Java, Indonesia came to life, smothering much of the surrounding land in mud. According to the article Indonesia's Infamous Mud Volcano Could Outlive ...
18
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3answers
4k views

Why don't scientists use fire entry suits to study volcanoes?

It seems like the only personal protective equipment (PPE) that volcanologists use are aluminized suits that don't provide any protection from direct contact with lava, making an unexpected splash ...
18
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3answers
1k views

Why does Volcano Lightning occur?

There are many pictures I've seen of lightning coming out of the plume of smoke caused by a volcano (Often called 'Volcano Lightning'). Example: Why does this happen?
18
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3answers
6k views

Do volcanos really create fertile soil?

I'm developing an ecology for a portion of my world that's geologically active and I remembered hearing that volcanic ash in soil makes it more fertile to agriculture. After extensive googling I've ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Is the magma in one volcano different from the magma in every other volcano?

First off, a confession: I'm asking this question because of The Lord of the Rings. If you're not aware already, in the story, a magical ring can only be destroyed in a specific volcano. The reason ...
18
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1answer
262 views

What percent of volcanoes are glaciated?

I have not been able to find an estimate of how many known volcanoes host perennial ice masses, and it would be very useful to me. Does anyone know of any attempts to do this?
16
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1answer
434 views

Why won't Yellowstone explode?

From my understanding Yellowstone is a massive super-volcano, so why isn't it active? Where has its (correct me if I'm using the wrong term) hot-spot gone? Can it still erupt?
16
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2answers
825 views

What processes produced the basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway?

The Giant's Causeway is, according to the Wikipedia page was formed during during the Paleogene Period, Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded ...
15
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6answers
710 views

Does volcanic activity fluctuate?

According to this person's surmises, volcanic activity appers to be increasing. However, according to this report, volcanic activity is probably not increasing. My question is: Does Volcanic activity ...
15
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1answer
2k views

Can impact events cause widespread volcanic activity on the other side of the planet?

The currently accepted theory for P-T mass extinction is environmental change triggered by the Siberian Traps volcanic activity. A paper(1) suggests that the Siberian Traps were caused by a hotspot ...
14
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3answers
1k views

Why is there a line of volcanoes along the northwest coast of North America?

Mount Hood in Oregon is a dormant volcano, and in Washington Mount St. Helens and Mt. Ranier are both active volcanoes. What causes this line of volcanoes running parallel to the coastline along the ...
13
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1answer
446 views

Why would volcano eruption cause cardiac arrest?

Following recent eruption of Mt Ontake and the sad news of over 30 people found in 'cardiac arrest', why would the eruption cause it? My initial thought would be that the cause of death would ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Why does the “Ring of Fire” pretty much define “Pacific Rim”

The Pacific Rim is pretty much defined by the so-called "Ring of Fire." It consists of the "stomping ground" for a disproportionate number of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the affected territory ...
13
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3answers
481 views

What, if any, paleoclimate data can be derived from igneous rocks?

Paleoclimate data often derives from sedimentary rocks. Metamorphic rocks can also contribute to paleoclimate information in a wide variety of ways. What about igneous rocks? I guess that this can ...
13
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1answer
304 views

Is this a former volcano in the Hamad Plateau, in the Syrian desert?

On my random explorations of google maps, I came across this interesting terrain: (link to map here) Apparently, this is part of the so-called Hamad Plateau, in the Syrian desert. If so, the rock ...
13
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1answer
1k views

What tectonic mechanisms cause the North and South Islands of New Zealand to be so geologically different?

New Zealand is a very active seismic and volcanic region of the Pacific Ring of Fire, on the boundary of the Australian and Pacific Plates; however, there is a difference between the 2 islands: ...
13
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1answer
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What are the high field strength and large ion lithophile (HFS or HFSE & LIL or LILE) elements?

There are two groups of elements that are frequently mentioned when discussing incompatible trace elements. They are the high field strength elements (HFS or HFSE) and the large ion lithophile ...
13
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1answer
288 views

What is likely to have happened with these newly discovered antarctic volcanos below the ice?

The Guardian article Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet highlights a recently published University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences discovery and cataloging of over ninety ...
13
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1answer
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What is it about ancient craton geology that results in associated kimberlite pipes containing economic diamond deposits?

According to the Australian Geological Survey Organisation paper Kimberlite and lamproite diamond pipes (Jaques, 1998), economic deposits of volcanically-formed diamonds are restricted to ancient ...
12
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1answer
240 views

How do mantle plumes travel from the core of Earth to the crust?

As mantle plumes begin in the core and move towards the crust, I would have thought that the heat in the mantle plume would disperse to the surrounding mantle, and the plume would cease to exist by ...
12
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1answer
71 views

Why are titanium oxides lumped in with magnetite for the purposes of analyzing water bubble nucleation?

I was reading a bit about the fluid mechanics of volcanoes to further understand some of the dynamics of "magma wagging" from my earlier question. From [2]: Heterogeneous nucleation, in which the ...
12
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1answer
180 views

How did this rock dome (pictured) form?

I saw this rock formation near Hveravellir, Iceland. It is probably of volcanic origin and looks like a dome. It is nearly symmetric and appears to consist of hardened lava maybe, with several very ...
11
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1answer
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Olympus Mons sized volcano on Earth?

The shield volcano Olympus Mons on Mars has the distinction of being the most massive single volcano in the solar system - this volcano, according to NASA, is 25km high with a diameter of over 600km - ...
11
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2answers
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Zeolites, odor control, and the witchcraft of sunlight

Various companies offer "volcanic crystals" or "volcanic rock" available in small mesh bags for odor control. The best description I have found is that these are made up largely of Zeolites. All of ...
11
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2answers
192 views

How did CO₂ originate on Earth before there was life?

To start life there has to be $\ce{CO2}$. $\ce{Solar energy + 6CO2 + 6H2O -> C6H12O6 (sugars) + 6O2}$ $C_6H_{12}O_{6} + O_2 \longrightarrow H_2O + {CO}_2 + \text{Energy}$ So to start this cycle, ...
11
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1answer
415 views

Is the Yellowstone National Park unique for its geysers?

The Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is unique for its large number of "thermal occurrences, of which there are some 30 geysers. This, in turn, appears to be the result of the presence of large ...
11
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1answer
219 views

Which percentage of $\text{CO}_2$ emissions are human made emissions?

I was watching a science/myth Youtube channel (science mixed with a lot of speculative/fantasy content) with 2M+ followers and the Youtuber said volcano made emissions were higher than human made ...
11
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1answer
3k views

Is a San Andreas volcano possible?

This question is, in part, inspired from the 1997 Hollywood movie Volcano, where a fictional volcano erupted out of the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. The San Andreas Fault is a transform fault ...
11
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1answer
1k views

How does the sand appear on Hawaiian beaches

It's quite surprising to me that there's only one beach with black sand on Hawaii (maybe not exactly one beach, but it's only a very small fraction). The concern is, if the whole Hawaii is volcanic, ...
11
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1answer
485 views

Are mantle plumes distributed around the core randomly or in a known pattern?

Background: The theory of mantle plumes is useful (although controversial) in explaining the occurrence of intra-plate volcanoes. The website here suggests that "hotspots" exist in fixed locations ...
11
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1answer
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Determining a rock age using volcanic ash layer

I wanted to know if volcanic ash deposits found in the geologic record are most useful in correlating the age of rock layers if the volcanic ash was distributed over a large area during a short period ...
11
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1answer
860 views

What evidence is there for geological mechanisms that formed the Siberian traps flood basalt?

The Siberian Traps are the modern day remnants of the flood basalt event. Its eruptions is widely believed to be a major contributing factor of the Permo-Triassic extinction event. In reading ...
11
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1answer
137 views

What is the mechanism behind changes in oxidation state (of iron, for example) as magma rises?

From this answer, I learned that rising magma may change oxidation state, which I wasn't aware of. In [#1], the authors state in the abstract The conventional view holds that the oxidation state ...
11
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1answer
159 views

What efforts have been made to separate the microseismic events related to wind-related ocean waves from the components of volcanic origin?

I have read the question What generates the microseism? and it's accompanying answer. In [#1, cited below], they use the azimuth values of seismographic activity on the flanks of the volcano ...
11
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1answer
250 views

What happens to the higher frequency content of the tremors associated with a volcanic eruption?

From [1]: The main characteristics of volcanic tremor depend strongly on whether a volcano is erupting explosively and on the intensity of the event. Long before an eruption, tremor is ‘narrow-...
11
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1answer
368 views

Did the Geothermal Power Plant contribute to Pahoa's Lava Fissures?

There was lava in the area near the wells that the Puna Geothermal Venture facility created. The plant has nine wells that run as deep as 8,000 feet, according to Wil Okabe, managing director for ...
10
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2answers
260 views

Is it possible to find the magma chambers that produce supervolcanos?

Supervolcanos have occurred in the recent geological past, but not within the past 74,000 years. Is it possible to find the magma chambers with no previous history of supervolcanic activity that are ...
10
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3answers
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Can volcanos change the climate?

I have heard politicians claiming that volcanoes are the sole cause of global warming and using so called "NASA data" to show that the Earth is actually cooling instead of warming. While the nature ...
10
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2answers
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Why are alkali basalts found at rifting centres and on top of 'plumes', whereas MORBs are generally tholeiitic?

So I was essentially wondering why it was that the basalts on top of 'plumes' at 'hotspots' (sometimes called OIBs, ocean island basalts) and at continental rifting centres are enriched in alkaline ...
10
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2answers
929 views

What precursor geological activity occurred prior to the Parícutin Volcano eruption in 1943?

Parícutin Volcano, sometimes referred to as the 'A Volcano Born in a Mexican Cornfield' (which is also the title of a book published in 1993, more information here), was one of the most well ...