Graham Hill of GNS Science, an earth and nuclear science institute in Wellington, New Zealand, led a team that set up magnetotelluric sensors around Mount St Helens in Washington state, which erupted with force in 1980. The measurements revealed a column of conductive material that extends downward from the volcano. About 15 kilometres below the surface, the relatively narrow column appears to connect to a much bigger zone of conductive material.
Keep in mind this may come to nothing. But a massive volcanic eruption will happen sooner or later. The Mount Tambora eruption in 1815 and the Krakatoa event of 1887 were disruptive of global climate. Add in the solar Carrington event of 1859 and natural disruptions were far more frequent and drastic in the 19th century than anything we've seen since. Are we overdue?
The world's population is far larger than it was when eruptions in the 19th century caused massive crop failures. A larger fraction of the population today lives off of crops rather than hunting and gathering. They have less potential to fall back on hunting and gathering. I also worry large scale crop failures will cause people to hunt endangered species more heavily. A big enough eruption could therefore cause species extinctions.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2009 June 14 09:21 PM Dangers Natural Geological|