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Rare volcanic rocks lift member on dangers of little-studied eruptions



 Rare volcanic rocks lift member on little-studied eruptions
Researchers doing fieldwork at Aluto in East Africa. Credit: Ben Clarke
            

Unusual rocks discovered on a remote mountainside have alerted scientists to the dangers posed by a little-studied type of volcano.
                                               


Researchers say that the rocks, found in East Africa, provide vital clues into the hazards associated with active volcanoes elsewhere.

The volcanic remnants from Aluto in Ethiopia were formed by intense eruptions that could be more dangerous than previously thought , researchers say.

Their findings provide fresh insight into the hazards posed by a type of volcanic activity — known as a pumice cone eruption — which, until now, was poorly understood.

Previous studies had suggested the eruptions — which last took place on Aluto more than 2,000 years ago ̵

1; were quite small and presented a low risk to all but those living very near them.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh used a range of precise techniques to analyze the rocks and better understand the eruptions that formed them. Their findings could build a clear picture of the risks posed by these rare volcanoes, which are among the most common types found in East Africa. Others are found in Iceland and on Mayor Island, New Zealand.

The rocks are composed of a thin layer of volcanic glass surrounding a porous, foam-like interior. Rare volcanic rocks lift member on little-studied eruptions ” title=”Researchers at site of Aluto volcano is East Africa. Credit: Ben Clarke”/>

Researchers at site of Aluto volcano is East Africa. Credit: Ben Clarke
            

These small, ultra-light rocks were found a long way from the volcano, suggesting they were carried in a hot jet of volcanic material — known as an eruption column — and fell from the sky.

Eruption columns are formed The study, published in Nature Communications was funded by the Natural Environment Research, and collapse to form fast-moving avalanches of super-heated rock, ash and gas, researchers say. Council. The work involved researchers from Addis Ababa and Wollega Universities in Ethiopia. It is part of the collaborative RiftVolc project between UK and Ethiopian universities.

Ph.D. student Ben Clarke, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: "Many people live on and around these volcanoes, which also hosts valuable geothermal power infrastructure. To cause significant harm, further from the volcano than we previously thought. Continued interdisciplinary research to understand and manage this risk is required to safeguard people and infrastructure in Ethiopia. "
                                                                                                                        


Tracking the hazards and benefits of volcanoes in East Africa


More information:
Ben Clarke et al. Fluid pyroclasts reveal the intensity of peralkaline rhythmic pumice cone eruptions, Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-019-09947-8

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University of Edinburgh

Citation :
                                                 Rare volcanic rocks lift member on dangers of little-studied eruptions (2019, May 23)
                                                 retrieved May 23, 2019
                                                 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-rare-volcanic-lid-dangers-little-studied.html
                                            

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