Supereruptions are rare but devastating. New research reveals these distinct volcanic systems.
Volcanic eruptions indicate geological activity. Over 1,000 volcanoes are active globally, and 50 to 70 erupt annually. Each eruption’s intensity, kind, and duration depend on tectonics.
Uncountable volcanic eruptions, some large, have occurred on Earth. Super-eruptions are violent and endure millions of years. Its origin and processes are unclear.
Supereruptions create tons of ash and plutons. Plutons develop when crustal magma crystallizes. Intrusive (plutonic) rocks are different from effusive (surface-crystallizing). The appearance and crystal size of plutonic and volcanic rocks depend on how long the magma cools. Analyzing plutonic rocks exposes the magma chamber’s development and the system’s global dynamics.
Crystallization, magma differentiation, magma injection all contribute to pluton formation.
Based on four super-eruptions in northern Chile, scientists were able to recreate the start of this kind of eruption and better comprehend its magmatic dynamics.
Their findings, published in Nature, reveal that whereas pluton placement takes millions of years, suggesting a continuous magma supply, the final re-ascent of magma to shallow magma chambers and the triggering of an eruptive event takes just a few decades.
In contrast to pluton-related volcanic systems, higher crust magma chambers fill quickly before an eruption. Certain crystals persist at 470 °C (the temperature required to sustain liquid magma) for long periods before becoming effusive magma. Magma would be held in a heated crust zone before being immediately ejected to generate super-eruptions. In this magmatic “incubator,” plutons crystallize. Magma erupts from a pocket above the incubator, say researchers. These statistics assist analyze and identify super-eruption-prone volcanoes.
Unusual supereruptions. Even though they occur every 20,000 years, they’re incredibly damaging and may alter the climate and ecosystem.