October 1, 2022

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Humanity is 'frustratingly unprepared' for a supervolcano eruption

Humanity is ‘frustratingly unprepared’ for a supervolcano eruption

The world is “frustratingly unprepared” for a massive volcanic eruption with effects being felt worldwide. Exceptionally Powerful volcanic eruptions can change the weather, disrupt supply chains, and even affect climate and food production.

That’s what scientists at Cambridge and Oxford Universities warned us in a paper published in Nature, one of the world’s most important science journals, where they say there is a common belief that the risk of such massive eruptions is low. not wrong.

They also add that most countries are not quite ready for it. Also, there is not enough network to monitor volcanoes. Researchers say this is completely reckless.

What are “giant volcanoes” and “super eruptions”? It’s easy to guess what it’s about Volcanic eruptions are thousands of times more powerful than the largest known eruptions of regular volcanoes.

They cause massive damage for thousands of kilometers. They throw hundreds of cubic kilometers (billions of cubic metres!) of gases and dust into the air. Including huge amounts of sulfur oxides that lower the temperature around the world for several years

It is included in the geological records Evidence of dozens of such super-explosions. The giant volcano in Yellowstone National Park recently erupted by 640,000 years ago. Toba in Sumatra – about 74 thousand years ago. Taupo in New Zealand about 26.5 thousand years ago.

Very powerful eruptions, defined as at least seven on an eight-point scale, don’t happen very often, however, because on average every 50-100 thousand years. But, as it turned out, the effects of weaker eruptions, which are six on the scale, will be equally deplorable.

The eruption of the Tonga volcano in January this year was just six On the scale (volcanic eruption index). It was the most powerful volcanic eruption ever recorded by machines.

The researchers calculate that if an eruption lasts longer or a similar event is closer to civilization than it is in the central Pacific, the consequences would be dire.

They also analyzed the effects of ancient volcanic eruptions – the sulfur content in the cores of glaciers and ice sheets. On this basis, they calculate that the eruptions are a hundred times more powerful than the eruption of the Tonga volcano (that is, “sevens” on the scale) They occur on average once every 625 years – much more than previously thought.

The last such case was the eruption of the volcano Tambora in Indochina (today Indonesia) in 1815. Its effects were severe throughout the year around the world.

In 1815 frost was not common even in the middle of summer which was very cold and rainy. The resulting crop failure contributed to several local famines and the death of about 100,000 people. It also led to the emergence of many violent social events. He went down in history “a year without a summer”..

There are now eight times as many people living on Earth. Business networks are more complex. It’s a recipe for disaster if something disrupts it – another volcanic eruption, for example.

The researchers added that only a few active volcanoes responsible for 97 very powerful eruptions were identified, and they found traces of them in the ice. This means that Most of these volcanoes remain dormant or are completely unknown to us.

Scientists add that it is not too late. The Lame Volcanoes Monitoring Network could be strengthened and was at risk of a supervolcanic eruption. We should also study volcanoes better, in the hope that their eruptions are predictable. We know little about it today.

Its strength is comparable to that of an asteroid with a diameter of one kilometer. But the risk of such a collision with the Earth is minimal, and the eruption of a supervolcano is hundreds of times greater. We watch asteroids carefully. Supervolcanoes don’t do that. Only a quarter of the volcanoes that erupted after 1950 are observed using seismographs.

Volcanologists have called for years to build a satellite to monitor volcanoes. Today they have to rely on the generosity of private companies from which they get their photos, and Dr. Mani adds: “That has to change.”

And is it possible to do something when such a volcanic eruption has already occurred? Today, such advanced geoengineering seems unimaginable to us. But let’s think that decades ago it seemed unimaginable to us Track potential asteroids, or the possibility of pushing them away from the path of impact with the earth.

“Data collected from the ice core suggests that the risk of such a volcanic eruption over the next hundreds of years is one in six,” said study co-author Dr Lata Mani. “Such giant eruptions in the past caused rapid climate change and contributed to the collapse of civilization,” he adds.

The danger of the Big Bang that harms civilization is great. Dr. Mani concludes that it is reckless not to invest to reduce the effects of such a disaster.

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