Taxonomy term

magma

Chemical tipping point triggers eruptive transitions

During an eruption, some volcanoes vacillate unpredictably between effusive and explosive behavior. New research has identified a chemical tipping point in some magmas that may trigger the transition between such mild and violent eruptive cycles.

 
02 Apr 2018

Beneath one volcano, enough water to fill Lake Superior

Beneath a Bolivian volcano called Cerro Uturuncu sits one of Earth’s largest-known magma reservoirs, the Altiplano-Puna Magma Body (APMB), which may have a volume as large as 500,000 cubic kilometers. Dissolved in the APMB magma, scientists report in a new study in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, is enough water to fill Lake Superior or Lake Huron — two of the largest lakes in the world.

01 Mar 2017

New magma chamber discovered beneath New Zealand

New Zealand is no stranger to volcanism, but a newly discovered magma chamber 9.5 kilometers below the surface was an unexpected find for scientists studying ground movement around the country’s most active volcanic zone. The new chamber doesn’t sit directly beneath New Zealand’s familiar volcanoes, but just north and west of them beneath the Bay of Plenty coast. The find suggests recent intrusions of molten rock into a previously unknown magmatic zone.

01 Nov 2016

Geologic Column: The notion of mantle plumes

EARTH’s feature on mantle plumes in the January/February issue reminded the author of his own evolving trip along the plate tectonic road.

01 Sep 2016

Bubble accumulation could explain massive volcanic sulfur releases

The spectacular 1815 eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora spewed large amounts of sulfur gases into the atmosphere, which formed fine sulfur-rich particles that blocked sunlight and lowered global temperatures by more than half a degree Celsius, causing famine and death on a global scale.

23 Aug 2016

Researchers profile magma chamber beneath North Korean volcano

An enigmatic volcano straddling the border between North Korea and China has been investigated for the first time by an international team of seismologists. In 2013, researchers installed seismometers near the volcano — called Mount Paektu in North Korea and Changbaishan in China — to determine what was going on beneath the surface. The team’s results, detailed in a new study published in Science Advances, reveal a potential source of magma that may have created one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the last few thousand years — and that could cause the volcano to erupt again.

22 Jul 2016

Reading the ridges: Are climate and the seafloor connected?

New research suggests that midocean ridge volcanoes respond to variations in sea level, potentially leaving topographic records of past glaciations in the form of abyssal hills. But could those volcanoes also influence the climate cycles that drive sea-level changes?

25 Apr 2016

How supervolcanoes are set off

If a supervolcano were to erupt today, its impacts could be catastrophic. Fortunately, no such eruption has occurred during human history. The lack of eyewitness accounts, however, makes it difficult for scientists to understand how supervolcanoes evolve and erupt. Based on a recent modeling, researchers have offered a new hypothesis for how supervolcano eruptions might be triggered by external, rather than internal, forces.

01 Mar 2016

Magma pancakes underlie Toba supervolcano

Giant eruptions from so-called supervolcanoes eject tremendous volumes of lava and ash, but details about the source of all that volcanic material have been unclear. Now, a new study has found that magma reservoirs intrude into the crust under volcanoes over millions of years in the form of multiple horizontally oriented chambers stacked on top of each other, like a stack of pancakes.

 
11 Mar 2015

Magma mobilizes quickly beneath Mount Hood

In a recent study in Nature, researchers found that magma beneath Oregon’s Mount Hood spends minimal time in an eruptible state. Instead, magma remobilization and eruption occur within a short time frame. What this means for volcanic hazards in the Pacific Northwest has yet to be determined. 

10 Jun 2014

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