An sudden magma chamber discovered below a volcano within the Mediterranean close to a well-liked vacationer spot

An sudden magma chamber discovered below a volcano within the Mediterranean close to a well-liked vacationer spot

A brand new examine has found a beforehand undiscovered magma chamber beneath Columbus, an lively underwater volcano within the Mediterranean Sea close to Santorini, Greece.

In keeping with a January 12 launch from the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a crew of worldwide researchers used a brand new volcano imaging approach that produces high-resolution pictures of the properties of seismic waves.

The examine was revealed within the AGU journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, and the authors famous that the presence of the chamber “poses a critical danger because it may set off a extremely explosive tsunamigenic eruption within the close to future.”

The researchers suggest organising real-time hazard monitoring stations close to different lively underwater volcanoes to higher predict when an eruption may happen.


“The present state of the reservoir signifies that an explosive eruption with a big public affect is feasible (though inevitable) sooner or later, so we suggest to ascertain a everlasting observatory with everlasting earthquake monitoring… and seafloor geodesy,” they wrote.

The eruption proven can be much like the current one, however much less highly effective Eruption of Hung Tonga-Hunga Haapaibringing the anticipated tsunami and an eruptive column tens of kilometers excessive.

An sudden magma chamber discovered below a volcano within the Mediterranean close to a well-liked vacationer spot

Maxar satellite tv for pc pictures present the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai volcano in December. January 24, 2021, earlier than the January eruption. March 14, 2022 in Hungah Tonga-Haapai Islands, Tonga.
(Maxar through Getty Photos)

The examine was reportedly the primary to make use of full-wave inversion seismic imaging to search for modifications in magmatic exercise beneath the floor of submarine volcanoes alongside the Greek Arc, the place the volcano is situated.

Underwater volcanic activity along the seafloor portion of Columbus Crater as observed by SANTORY monitoring equipment.

Underwater volcanic exercise alongside the seafloor portion of Columbus Crater as noticed by SANTORY monitoring tools.

The expertise is utilized to seismic profiles, or information of floor movement alongside kilometer traces, and evaluates variations in wave speeds that will point out subsurface anomalies. The crew discovered that full-scale inversion expertise can be utilized in volcanic areas to seek out potential areas, sizes and melting charges of transferring magma our bodies.


The seismic profiles have been constructed after scientists fired airguns from aboard a analysis vessel cruising over the volcanic area, inflicting seismic waves that have been recorded by seismometers on the ocean ground situated alongside the arc.

A significantly lowered pace of seismic waves propagating beneath the seafloor signifies the presence of a cellular magma chamber beneath Columbus, based on the examine, with traits of the wave anomalies used to higher perceive the magma chamber’s potential hazard.

The pictures helped determine a big magma chamber that has been rising at a median price of about 4 million cubic meters per yr since then The final eruption of the Columba volcano befell in 1650virtually 400 years in the past.

A view of the town of Oia with its whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches on Santorini in the Aegean Sea.

A view of the city of Oia with its whitewashed homes and blue-domed church buildings on Santorini within the Aegean Sea.
(Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket through Getty Photos/File)

The final time Columba erupted was this 70 folks died in Santorini.

The examine’s lead writer famous that if the magma chamber’s present development price continues, someday within the subsequent 150 years, the volcano may attain the two cubic kilometers of soften quantity estimated to have been ejected in the course of the 1650 AD eruption.

Though the amount of volcanic soften might be estimated, there is no such thing as a approach to say precisely when the following eruption of Columbus, which is at a depth of about 500 meters.


“We’d like extra correct knowledge about what’s truly beneath these volcanoes,” Kaetan Hrapkiewicz, a geophysicist at Imperial School London and lead writer of the examine, stated in a press release. “Steady monitoring techniques would permit us to higher estimate when an eruption may happen. With these techniques, we are going to most likely find out about an eruption days earlier than it occurs, and folks can evacuate and keep protected.”

Throughout the previous couple of years, scientists have been engaged on the creation of SANTORY (volcanic observatory on the ocean ground of Santorini), which can be capable to measure the progress of the volcanic exercise of Columbus. It’s nonetheless below growth.

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