The inner life of volcanoes

Two new studies at the University of Leeds, UK, on the inside of volcanoes may help scientists come closer to the prediction of powerful eruptions. The main work carried out in Afar, Ethiopia, and in Iceland, since that is where the mid-ocean ridge comes to the surface, which greatly facilitates the organization of observations.

Volcanic ridges occur when tectonic plateau crush or disperse. Magma, molten rock that seeps into fractures thinned crust in the form of lava, and solidify to form new crust. Accumulations of magma work as sewage systems, high pressure paving the way to the surface through underground passages.

The study describes the new facts on the Magma tanks, how they move within the earth's crust, which can simplify the prediction of volcanic eruptions. To do this, an analysis of satellite images of some areas of the Earth, before, during and after the eruption. On the basis of these images have been created and tested computer models that indicate how faults are formed.

It turned out that the magma in northern Ethiopia in Afar (eruption in 2008) lies at a depth of 1 km, although the normal way to indicate the depth of 3 km, and hence lower the magnitude of the eruption. For these fault zones, as the Afar Depression, where tectonic plates diverge slowly, at the speed at which human fingernails grow, shallow magma — a very uncharacteristic thing. For university geologists it was a real surprise and changed the idea of the volcanoes of the mid-ocean ridge.

And in Africa, and the layers of magma in Iceland took both vertical and horizontal position, so she gushed in all directions, creating separate eruptive episodes. In Afar crust began to rise a few months before the eruption, as the pressure in the magma began to rise. Now, knowing this feature, one can clearly identify the location of future eruptions, even if the volcanoes are under water, because in most cases, faults and oceanic ridges are located at a depth of 2 km or more.

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