Fwd: Shaky Faultline Raises Threat Of Super-Volcano
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SHAKY FAULTLINE RAISES THE THREAT OF A SUPER-VOLCANO
By Leigh Dayton
April 01, 2005
As if earthquake-ravaged Indonesia doesn't have enough to worry about, now
scientists warn that a Sumatran super-volcano might blow its top at any
If it does, the blast will toss hundreds of thousands of cubic
rock and ash into the atmosphere, dwarfing the eruptions of Krakatoa,
St Helens, Pinatubo and any conventional volcanic explosion of the
of thousands of years.
"These super-volcanoes are potentially the greatest hazard on Earth, the
only greater threat being an asteroid impact from space," said Ray Cas, a
vulcanologist with Monash University in Melbourne.
Professor Cas said a "major tectonic event" could be enough to trigger a
deadly super-volcanic eruption.
The likelihood that the Toba -- the largest super-volcano on Earth -- will
erupt has increased significantly due to geological stresses generated by
the recent quakes.
Worse, Toba sits directly atop the faultline running down the spine of
Sumatra. That is where seismologists say a third quake might strike.
Because of the increased risk, Professor Cas called for increased
"With enough precursor information and signals like gas releases, we
warn of a significant eruption in days, weeks or months," he said.
Professor Cas's call follows a report early this month to the British
Government's Natural Hazard Working Group by the Geological Society of
London. The report called for increased awareness of the risks posed by
super-volcanoes and development of mitigation strategies.
Vulcanologist Stephen Self of Britain's Open University said a
super-volcanic eruption might cover an entire continent with ash that
take decades to erode.
"(Such an eruption) could result in the devastation of world agriculture,
severe disruption of food supplies and mass starvation," he told the
Professor Cas said super-volcanoes tended to erupt in 2000-year
Toba super-volcano last erupted 73,000 years ago.
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