Dangerous volcanoes can suddenly erupt even after 100,000 years of inactivity, study reveals

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BUDAPEST, Hungary — Don’t sleep on dormant volcanoes — they will nonetheless be extraordinarily harmful. An alarming new research reveals that even after tens of hundreds of years of dormancy, a volcano can turn out to be lively once more, probably posing a newfound menace to surrounding areas. This raises questions on clarify volcanic eruptions and what components make them extra harmful and explosive.

Scientists from ELTE Eötvös Loránd College and the HUN-REN-ELTE Volcanology Analysis Group, in collaboration with different European researchers, carried out the research, looking for to determine indicators previous these sudden eruptions. Their analysis focuses on Ciomadul, the youngest volcano within the Carpathian-Pannonian area of Romania, providing insights into volcanic hazard assessment.

Can a volcano erupt after tens of thousands of years of dormancy?
Can a volcano erupt after tens of hundreds of years of dormancy? In that case, how can this be defined and what makes volcanic eruptions extra harmful, i.e. explosive? These are key questions in volcanic hazard evaluation and also can draw consideration to volcanoes that look like inactive. Even in a quiet dormant part, a volcano can quickly turn out to be lively and its eruption can pose a beforehand unknown menace to the encircling space. New analysis by Hungarian scientists helps to disclose the indicators earlier than such a volcano erupts. (credit score: István Fodor)

Ciomadul, a typical instance of a long-dormant volcano, has skilled a number of durations of quiescence (inactivity) in its almost one million-year existence. Regardless of tens of hundreds, and even over 100,000 years of dormancy, volcanic eruptions have resumed. Essentially the most vital volcanic exercise in latest historical past occurred within the final 160,000 years, together with lava dome extrusions between 95,000 and 160,000 years in the past. After over 30,000 years of dormancy, eruptions restarted 56,000 years in the past, leading to extra harmful and explosive eruptions in comparison with the earlier lively interval. The volcano has been dormant once more for the previous 30,000 years.

“They have been fashioned by extra harmful, explosive eruptions in comparison with the earlier lively episode,” says Barbara Cserép, a PhD scholar at ELTE, in a media release. “So, you will need to know what was causing this transformation in eruption fashion.”

The analysis depends on the research of rock-forming minerals to uncover the reason for volcanic eruptions and the components controlling their fashion. Detailed examination of those minerals helps researchers decide magma conditions, the structure of the magma reservoir system, and the processes resulting in eruptions. One vital mineral within the research is amphibole, which may present insights into magma situations. Chemical variations in amphibole composition revealed variations in magma situations, particularly the inflow of higher-temperature recharge magmas, which performed a task in making eruptions explosive.

Can a volcano erupt after tens of thousands of years of dormancy?
Can a volcano erupt after tens of hundreds of years of dormancy? In that case, how can this be defined and what makes volcanic eruptions extra harmful, i.e. explosive? These are key questions in volcanic hazard evaluation and also can draw consideration to volcanoes that look like inactive. Even in a quiet dormant part, a volcano can quickly turn out to be lively and its eruption can pose a beforehand unknown menace to the encircling space. New analysis by Hungarian scientists helps to disclose the indicators earlier than such a volcano erupts. (credit score: Bianca Németh)

“In comparison with the earlier, lava dome-forming eruptive interval, these recent recharge magmas carried amphibole with a definite composition, i.e. these magmas have been barely completely different, and this might play an necessary function in why the eruption became explosive,” explains Szabolcs Harangi, the chief of the analysis undertaking.

The composition of the outermost rim of crystals and iron-titanium oxides supplied perception into the situations instantly previous eruptions, indicating magma temperatures and oxidation ranges.

Whereas Ciomadul presently reveals no indicators of reawakening, the research emphasizes the potential for speedy reactivation within the presence of recharge by scorching, hydrous magma. This analysis highlights the significance of quantitative volcano petrology research in understanding volcanic hazards and higher predictions of eruptions, even in long-dormant volcanoes.

The reconstructed magma reservoir system beneath Ciomadul volcano during the last eruptive period from 56 to 30 thousand years ago
The reconstructed magma reservoir system beneath Ciomadul volcano over the last eruptive interval from 56 to 30 thousand years in the past. (credit score: Bianca Németh)

“This analysis is novel within the sense that it’s carried out in a long-dormant volcano, and because of this, the Ciomadul volcano is receiving an growing worldwide consideration,” concludes Harangi.

The research is printed within the journal Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology.

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