Hotspot volcanoes

The secret to the fiery heart of volcanoes gives clue to predict eruptions


Australian researchers have unlocked a secret hidden in the fiery hearts of many volcanoes, which could lead to better detection of when they might erupt.

While volcanoes typically form in places on Earth where tectonic plates meet, hot spot volcanoes can form anywhere and are fueled by magma pushed through cracks in the plates by convection currents of magma. under the earth’s crust.

Researchers have discovered that some volcanoes “lie” about the origin of their lava.Credit:Getty

Geologists previously believed that the lava flowing from the hotspot’s volcanoes is “virgin” and comes from deep within the Earth. However, researchers at the University of Queensland have now found that it was actually a much shallower depth.

UQ vulcanologist Dr Teresa Ubide said she realized that hotspot volcanoes had a natural “filter” that removed impurities in the lava, making it look like it came from much deeper into the sea. Earth.

“This lava is kind of like a rocky road chocolate – if you did a chemical analysis on it, you would get a mixture of marshmallows, nuts, etc.,” Dr Ubide said.

“What we realized was that if we analyze the lava on its own, without the marshmallows and nuts, so to speak, then the chemistry is very different, and in fact, it indicates that it is much shallower than it is. ‘we never thought before. “

Volcanologist Dr Teresa Ubide says UQ's research has implications for early detection of impending eruptions.

Volcanologist Dr Teresa Ubide says UQ’s research has implications for early detection of impending eruptions.Credit:University of Queensland

The magma fueling the hotspot’s volcanoes was initially thought to come from about 50 kilometers below the surface, but research indicates it could have come from “only” about 15 kilometers deep.

Researchers examined lava samples from El Hierro Island in the Canary Islands and found that they matched many other samples from volcanoes in similar hot spots.