Daily Archives: September 9, 2014

What Would Happen if a Super Volcanic Eruption Happens Again ?


The Destruction Zone

Published on Jan 12, 2014

The largest volcanic eruption of the past two million years occurred on the Indonesian island of Sumatra some 75,000 years ago. The impact from the supervolcano Lake Toba decimated the local habitat, but gas, ash and debris from Toba made their way around the planet and formed a shield in the atmosphere that deflected the sun’s warming rays. Temperatures plummeted and the planet was thrown into a volcanic winter and may have even pushed the planet into an ice age. 3-D computer animation will recreate the storm and unveil how this one volcano could have brought humanity to the edge of extinction.

A supervolcano is any volcano capable of producing a volcanic eruption with an ejecta volume greater than 1,000 km3 (240 cu mi). This is thousands of times larger than normal volcanic eruptions. Supervolcanoes can occur either when magma in the mantle rises into the crust from a hotspot but is unable to break through the crust, thus pressure builds in a large and growing magma pool until the crust is unable to contain the pressure (This is the case for the Yellowstone Caldera), but they can also form at convergent plate boundaries (for example, Toba).

Although there are only a handful of Quaternary supervolcanoes, supervolcanic eruptions typically cover huge areas with lava and volcanic ash and cause a long-lasting change to weather (such as the triggering of a small ice age) sufficient to threaten species with extinction.

Terminology

The origin of the term “supervolcano” is linked to an early 20th-century scientific debate about the geological history and features of the Three Sisters volcanic region of Oregon, U.S.A. In 1925, Edwin T. Hodge suggested that a very large volcano, which he named Mount Multnomah, had existed in that region. He believed that several peaks in the Three Sisters area are the remnants left after Mount Multnomah had been largely destroyed by violent volcanic explosions, similar to Mount Mazama. In 1948, the possible existence of Mount Multnomah was ignored by volcanologist Howel Williams in his book The Ancient Volcanoes of Oregon. The book was reviewed in 1949 by another volcano scientist, F. M. Byers Jr. In the review, Byers refers to Mount Multnomah as a supervolcano. Although Hodge’s suggestion that Mount Multnomah is a supervolcano was rejected long ago, the term “supervolcano” was popularised by the BBC popular science television program Horizon in 2000 to refer to eruptions that produce extremely large amounts of ejecta.

Volcanologists and geologists do not refer to “supervolcanoes” in their scientific work, since this is a blanket term that can be applied to a number of different geological conditions. Since 2000, however, the term has been used by professionals when presenting to the public. The term megacaldera is sometimes used for caldera supervolcanoes, such as the Blake River Megacaldera Complex in the Abitibi greenstone belt of Ontario and Quebec, Canada. Eruptions that rate VEI 8 are termed “super eruptions”.

Though there is no well-defined minimum explosive size for a “supervolcano”, there are at least two types of volcanic eruption that have been identified as supervolcanoes: large igneous provinces and massive eruptions.

Large igneous provinces

Large igneous provinces (LIP) such as Iceland, the Siberian Traps, Deccan Traps, and the Ontong Java Plateau are extensive regions of basalts on a continental scale resulting from flood basalt eruptions. When created, these regions often occupy several thousand square kilometres and have volumes on the order of millions of cubic kilometers. In most cases, the lavas are normally laid down over several million years. They release large amounts of gases. The Réunion hotspot produced the Deccan Traps about 66 million years ago, coincident with the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. The scientific consensus is that a meteor impact was the cause of the extinction event, but the volcanic activity may have caused environmental stresses on extant species up to the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary.[citation needed] Additionally, the largest flood basalt event (the Siberian Traps) occurred around 250 million years ago and was coincident with the largest mass extinction in history, the Permian–Triassic extinction event, although it is also unknown whether it was completely responsible for the extinction event.

Such outpourings are not explosive though fire fountains may occur. Many volcanologists consider that Iceland may be a LIP that is currently being formed. The last major outpouring occurred in 1783–84 from the Laki fissure which is approximately 40 km (25 mi) long. An estimated 14 km3 (3.4 cu mi) of basaltic lava was poured out during the eruption.

The Ontong Java Plateau now has an area of about 2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi), and the province was at least 50% larger before the Manihiki and Hikurangi Plateaus broke away.

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BBC News – Animated guide: Volcanoes

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BBC News – Growing threat to American birds, says report

9 September 2014 Last updated at 09:59 ET
By Jane O’Brien BBC News, Washington

In less than 50 years, some states such as New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, have lost almost half their bird populations.

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Martha the passenger pigeon, who died 100 years ago, is being remembered this month as a prescient symbol of what can happen when man meets nature. A comprehensive new report finds that many more American bird species could meet the same fate.

Passenger pigeons were once the most common bird in North America – if not the world- but rapid land development in the 19th Century forced them from their natural forest habitat. Huge flocks descended on farms, destroying crops and livelihoods, and their doom was sealed. Considered a major pest (and a valuable source of meat and feathers), they were relentlessly hunted down.

On 1 September 1914, round about noon, Martha, the last of her species, died in the Cincinnati Zoo. Ectopistes migratorius, once numbering in the billions, joined the ranks of the dodo and the great auk.

One hundred years later, it is tempting think that we know better. But as a new report today makes clear, birds across the US are in deep trouble.

…(read more).

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BBC News – Warning over vulnerability of soil carbon to warming

3 September 2014 Last updated at 17:32 ET
By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News

Colder soils are more vulnerable to releasing extra carbon in a warmer world
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The huge stores of carbon locked in the world’s soils are more vulnerable to rising temperatures than previously thought.

Researchers found that microbes in the soil were more likely to enhance the release of CO2 in a warming world.

Soils from colder regions and those with greater amounts of carbon were seen to emit more as temperatures went up.

The research has been published in the journal Nature.

The world’s soils hold about twice the amount of carbon as the atmosphere.

Every year the activities of microbes in the soil on organic matter release around 60bn tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air.

…(read more).

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Ebola spreads exponentially in Liberia, many more cases soon

By Stephanie Nebehay and Umaru Fofana GENEVA/FREETOWN
Mon Sep 8, 2014 4:17pm EDT

Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare themselves before to carrying an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/2Tango

(Reuters) – Liberia, the country worst hit by West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, should see thousands of new cases in coming weeks as the virus spreads exponentially, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

The epidemic, the worst since the disease was discovered in 1976, has killed some 2,100 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria and has also spread to Senegal.

The WHO believes it will take six to nine months to contain and may infect up to 20,000 people. In Liberia, the disease has already killed 1,089 people – more than half of all deaths reported since March in this regional epidemic.

“Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially,” the U.N. agency said in a statement. “The number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in Ebola-specific treatment centers.”

…(read more).

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Inhofe Introduces Resolution for Military Action Against IS


JimInhofePressOffice

Published on Sep 9, 2014

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Important Ebola Information & Updates

Ebola updates can be found from EcoJustice.TV and by linking to:

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Health

The World’s Response To The Ebola Epidemic

September 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM
An urgent plea for more help to slow the epidemic of Ebola in West Africa. We look at the exploding challenge.

Health workers, attend to patients that contracted the Ebola virus, at a clinic in Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP/Abbas Dulleh)

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is hurtling now from bad to nightmare, with the world just beginning to wake up and respond. A terribly lethal disease that is easily contained in small numbers, but hellishly hard in big numbers is now headed into big numbers. Maybe 20,000 infections. Maybe far more. The US military is headed in to help. UN troops and supplies may follow. Africa’s economy is clutching up with fear. Health officials say we’re losing the containment battle. A “global security disaster,” says one. This hour, On Point: Ebola ratchets up.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Drew Hinshaw, covers West Africa for the Wall Street Journal. (@drewfhinshaw)

Brice de le Vingne, Director of Operations at Doctors Without Borders, where he is overseeing the Ebola response.

Lawrence Gostin, professor of global health law and director of the Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law School. Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights. (@lgostin)

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Animated guide: Earthquakes

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World Environment News – Climate change increases possibility of megadrought in Southwestern U.S. – Planet Ark

Date: 08-Sep-14    Country: USA  Author: John Russell

New study finds increased possibility of severe and long-term megadrought affecting Southwestern United States. John Russell reports.

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