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  • richardmitnick 7:52 am on August 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists Reveal The Full Danger of The World's Largest Active Volcano", , , , , , Volcanology   

    From The University of Miami-Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Via “Science Alert (AU)” : “Scientists Reveal The Full Danger of The World’s Largest Active Volcano” 


    From The University of Miami-Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science


    The University of Miami



    “Science Alert (AU)”

    3 AUGUST 2022

    Active for at least the last 700,000 years, and dominating the landscape of Hawaii, Mauna Loa is the largest shield volcano on Earth (above water, at least) – and scientific data reveals more about what might be enough to set off future eruptions.

    Looking at shifts in the ground tracked by GPS and satellite data, researchers in 2021 were able to model the flow of magma on the inside of the volcano, as well as figuring out what would and wouldn’t be likely to trigger the next major eruption from Mauna Loa.

    In the ‘would be likely’ column: a sizable earthquake. That conclusion is based on measurements of magma influx that have happened since 2014, directed by the topographic stress of the surrounding rock.

    “An earthquake of magnitude 6 or greater would relieve the stress imparted by the influx of magma along a sub-horizontal fault under the western flank of the volcano,” said Bhuvan Varugu, a geologist at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, in a press release accompanying the 2021 study [Scientific Reports 2021 (below)].

    “This earthquake could trigger an eruption.”

    The scientists determined that 0.11 square kilometers (about 0.04 square miles) of new magma flowed into a new spot in the volcano chamber between 2014 and 2020, changing direction according to the pressures being placed on it.

    These kinds of magma body changes haven’t been measured before. Together with surface lava flows and ground shifts along the fault the volcano is sitting on, magma intrusions change the shape of the volcano – and the likelihood of it erupting.

    Volcanologists already know that flank activity and eruptions are closely related at Mauna Loa, which means that changes in these flanks caused by magma injections can make a substantial difference in terms of how the volcano behaves.

    “An earthquake could be a game changer,” explained marine geologist Falk Amelung from the University of Miami.

    “It would release gases from the magma comparable to shaking a soda bottle, generating additional pressure and buoyancy, sufficient to break the rock above the magma.”

    According to the data, Mauna Loa is already under a “pretty heavy” topographic load.

    Further magma intrusions will increase the likelihood of an earthquake and an eruption, but it might not necessarily be needed: A lack of movement under the volcano’s western flank makes the researchers think this is where an earthquake might be due.

    Recent eruptions emphasize just how important an early warning could be: In 1950, lava from a Mauna Loa eruption reached the coast in just three hours. The 1950 eruption and another major one in 1984 were both preceded by substantial earthquakes.

    Predicting the timings of eruptions is an incredibly complex task, with a lot of variables and estimates involved – but careful magma mapping strategies like the one in this new study can provide invaluable data for future modeling.

    “It is a fascinating problem,” said Amelung.

    “We can explain how and why the magma body changed during the past six years. We will continue observing and this will eventually lead to better models to forecast the next eruption site.”

    The research has been published in Scientific Reports.

    Science paper:
    Scientific Reports 2021

    See the full article here.


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    The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is an academic and research institution for the study of oceanography and the atmospheric sciences within the University of Miami. It is located on a 16-acre (65,000 m^²) campus on Virginia Key in Miami, Florida. It is the only subtropical applied and basic marine and atmospheric research institute in the continental United States.

    Up until 2008, RSMAS was solely a graduate school within the University of Miami, while it jointly administrated an undergraduate program with UM’s College of Arts and Sciences. In 2008, the Rosenstiel School has taken over administrative responsibilities for the undergraduate program, granting Bachelor of Science in Marine and Atmospheric Science (BSMAS) and Bachelor of Arts in Marine Affairs (BAMA) baccalaureate degree. Master’s, including a Master of Professional Science degree, and doctorates are also awarded to RSMAS students by the UM Graduate School.

    The Rosenstiel School’s research includes the study of marine life, particularly Aplysia and coral; climate change; air-sea interactions; coastal ecology; and admiralty law. The school operates a marine research laboratory ship, and has a research site at an inland sinkhole. Research also includes the use of data from weather satellites and the school operates its own satellite downlink facility. The school is home to the world’s largest hurricane simulation tank.

    The University of Miami is a private research university in Coral Gables, Florida. As of 2020, the university enrolled approximately 18,000 students in 12 separate colleges and schools, including the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Miami’s Health District, a law school on the main campus, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science focused on the study of oceanography and atmospheric sciences on Virginia Key, with research facilities at the Richmond Facility in southern Miami-Dade County.

    The university offers 132 undergraduate, 148 master’s, and 67 doctoral degree programs, of which 63 are research/scholarship and 4 are professional areas of study. Over the years, the university’s students have represented all 50 states and close to 150 foreign countries. With more than 16,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff, The University of Miami is a top 10 employer in Miami-Dade County. The University of Miami’s main campus in Coral Gables has 239 acres and over 5.7 million square feet of buildings.

    The University of Miami is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The University of Miami research expenditure in FY 2019 was $358.9 million. The University of Miami offers a large library system with over 3.9 million volumes and exceptional holdings in Cuban heritage and music.

    The University of Miami also offers a wide range of student activities, including fraternities and sororities, and hundreds of student organizations. The Miami Hurricane, the student newspaper, and WVUM, the student-run radio station, have won multiple collegiate awards. The University of Miami’s intercollegiate athletic teams, collectively known as the Miami Hurricanes, compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The University of Miami’s football team has won five national championships since 1983 and its baseball team has won four national championships since 1982.


    The University of Miami is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. In fiscal year 2016, The University of Miami received $195 million in federal research funding, including $131.3 million from the Department of Health and Human Services and $14.1 million from the National Science Foundation. Of the $8.2 billion appropriated by Congress in 2009 as a part of the stimulus bill for research priorities of The National Institutes of Health, the Miller School received $40.5 million. In addition to research conducted in the individual academic schools and departments, Miami has the following university-wide research centers:

    The Center for Computational Science
    The Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS)
    Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy
    The Miami European Union Center: This group is a consortium with Florida International University (FIU) established in fall 2001 with a grant from the European Commission through its delegation in Washington, D.C., intended to research economic, social, and political issues of interest to the European Union.
    The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies
    John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics – studies possible causes of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration.
    Center on Research and Education for Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE)
    Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research

    The Miller School of Medicine receives more than $200 million per year in external grants and contracts to fund 1,500 ongoing projects. The medical campus includes more than 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m^2) of research space and the The University of Miami Life Science Park, which has an additional 2,000,000 sq ft (190,000 m^2) of space adjacent to the medical campus. The University of Miami’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute seeks to understand the biology of stem cells and translate basic research into new regenerative therapies.

    As of 2008, The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science receives $50 million in annual external research funding. Their laboratories include a salt-water wave tank, a five-tank Conditioning and Spawning System, multi-tank Aplysia Culture Laboratory, Controlled Corals Climate Tanks, and DNA analysis equipment. The campus also houses an invertebrate museum with 400,000 specimens and operates the Bimini Biological Field Station, an array of oceanographic high-frequency radar along the US east coast, and the Bermuda aerosol observatory. The University of Miami also owns the Little Salt Spring, a site on the National Register of Historic Places, in North Port, Florida, where RSMAS performs archaeological and paleontological research.

    The University of Miami built a brain imaging annex to the James M. Cox Jr. Science Center within the College of Arts and Sciences. The building includes a human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) laboratory, where scientists, clinicians, and engineers can study fundamental aspects of brain function. Construction of the lab was funded in part by a $14.8 million in stimulus money grant from the National Institutes of Health.

    In 2016 the university received $161 million in science and engineering funding from the U.S. federal government, the largest Hispanic-serving recipient and 56th overall. $117 million of the funding was through the Department of Health and Human Services and was used largely for the medical campus.

    The University of Miami maintains one of the largest centralized academic cyber infrastructures in the country with numerous assets. The Center for Computational Science High Performance Computing group has been in continuous operation since 2007. Over that time the core has grown from a zero HPC cyberinfrastructure to a regional high-performance computing environment that currently supports more than 1,200 users, 220 TFlops of computational power, and more than 3 Petabytes of disk storage.

  • richardmitnick 7:37 pm on July 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Supervolcano in New Zealand Is Rumbling So Much It's Shifting The Ground Above It", , , , , Volcanology   

    From “Science Alert (AU)” : “A Supervolcano in New Zealand Is Rumbling So Much It’s Shifting The Ground Above It” 


    From “Science Alert (AU)”

    12 JULY 2022

    Taupo volcano, New Zealand.

    Regional setting and structural features of Taupo volcano in the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ), New Zealand (map inset) [modified from Wilson & Charlier (2009)].

    The vast expanse of Lake Taupō’s sky blue waters, crowned by hazy, mountainous horizons, invokes an extreme sense of tranquility.

    Lake Taupō is the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, located at the center of New Zealand’s north island. And while it appears peaceful today, the lake has a violent origin story.

    The lake’s waters sit within a prehistoric caldera – a word based on the Spanish for ‘cauldron’ or ‘boiling pot’ – formed during Earth’s most recent supereruption, the Oruanui eruption, 25,400 years ago.

    When magma is released from a supervolcano (defined as having released at least 1,000 cubic kilometers of material in any one eruption) in an event like the Oruanui eruption, the depleted magma vents cave in, Earth’s surface sinks, and the landscape is permanently changed into a caldera.

    In the last 12,000 years, the Taupō volcano has been active 25 times. Its most recent eruption in 232 AD is described by authors of the new paper as “one of the Earth’s most explosive eruptions in historic times”. Since then, the volcano has had at least four documented “episodes of unrest”, causing destructive earthquakes and, in 1922, a massive ground subsidence.

    It’s the supervolcano’s more modern periods of unrest that the researchers have studied, analyzing up to 42 years of data collected at 22 sites dotted around and across the lake. And there’s evidence that the supervolcano is still rumbling.

    “In 1979 [researchers] began a novel surveying technique which uses the lake surface to detect small changes, with four surveys made every year since,” lead author and Victoria University of Wellington seismologist Finn Illsley-Kemp explained. This technique involves the use of a gauge that measures vertical displacement of the lake bed.

    To ensure the data are reliable, these gauges are weighted to reduce the impact of waves, and several measurements are taken for each datapoint, to detect degrees of variation and outliers. A backup gauge is also installed at each site as an insurance against disturbance by other forces.

    In the project’s beginning, the measurements were recorded from manual gauges set up at just six stations. Eight more stations were added between August 1982 and July 1983, and during this time, the value of these measurements began to show.

    In early 1983, the system detected rising or falling across different sites. Not long after, a swarm of earthquakes gently shook the region, resulting in the rupturing of several faults that pushed the central Kaiapo fault belt down and caused other areas at the lake’s south end to rise.

    The 1983 earthquake swarms were only the first of seven discreet episodes of unrest recorded over the past 35 years.

    By 1986 routine surveys were being carried out each year with additional sensors, with extra observations in the wake of earthquakes, creating a robust dataset that has only become more detailed over time.

    The authors noticed that during periods of geological unrest, the north-eastern end of the lake (which is closest to the volcano’s center and the adjoining fault lines) tended to rise; the lake bed near the fault belt’s center sank; and at the lake’s southern end, there was some minor subsidence.

    “Within the lake, near Horomatangi Reefs, the volcano has caused 160 mm [16 cm or 6.3 inches] of uplift, whereas north of the lake the tectonic faults have caused 140 mm [5.5 inches] of subsidence,” Illsley-Kemp said.

    He thinks this region, which has very few earthquakes compared to the surrounding areas, is the location of Taupō ‘s magma reservoir, with deep rock that is too hot and molten for earthquakes to occur.

    The researchers say the 16 cm of uplift – which, while not catastrophic, is definitely enough to cause some damage to buildings or pipes – is possibly due to magma moving closer to the surface during periods of unrest.

    Illsley-Kemp said the research shows Taupō is an active and dynamic volcano, intimately connected with the surrounding tectonics.

    The researchers think the northeastern end of the volcano – which has the youngest vents – is more likely to be affected by the expansion of hot magma, pushing the ground upwards. They think the ‘sinking’ center of the Taupō fault, and the subsidence at the lake’s southern end is likely due to deep magma cooling (and therefore shrinking), a tectonic extension of a rift, or both.

    Illsley-Kemp has regularly assured people that while it’s in a state of unrest, there is no evidence the volcano will erupt anytime soon.

    “However, Taupō will most likely erupt at some stage over the next few thousand years – and so it’s important that we monitor and understand these unrest periods so that we can quickly identify any signs which might indicate a forthcoming eruption,” he told the New Zealand Herald in a 2021 article.

    Ultimately, this research is more about understanding the normal ‘behavior’ of the caldera, and what to look for when things are getting more heated.

    The science paper is published in The New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 6:59 am on July 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dynamics of Volcanic Processes", , , , Eruptions are often preceded by variable styles and magnitudes of precursory signals., , Volcanology   

    From “Eos” : “Dynamics of Volcanic Processes” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”



    6 July 2022
    Olivier Roche
    Yosuke Aoki
    Nikolai Bagdassarov
    Michael Heap
    Sigrun Hreinsdottir
    Qinghua Huang
    Daniel Pastor-Galan
    Michael Poland
    Maria Sachpazi
    Fang-Zhen Teng
    Gregory Waite
    Marie Edmonds
    Paul Asimow
    Minghua Zhang
    Graziella Caprarelli

    Flank eruption at Cumbre Vieja volcano (La Palma, Canary Islands, September 26, 2021). Credit: Raphaël Paris.

    The recent awakening of the Fagradalsfjall (Iceland), Cumbre Vieja (La Palma, Canary Islands) and Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (Tonga) volcanoes reminded us that eruptions are often preceded by variable styles and magnitudes of precursory signals, can have a range of sizes and impacts, and represent serious threats to the environment and society. These events show that despite considerable progress in the understanding of volcanic processes in recent decades, there are still scientific barriers to better predict the occurrence, style, and magnitude of eruptions and to anticipate their consequences. These manifestations are controlled by physico-chemical processes that occur at various time and length scales and largely out of view in the subsurface, and that depend on the chemical composition of the magmas as well as the pressure and temperature conditions.

    Fundamental questions remain concerning many aspects of volcanic processes (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017). For example, how do batches of eruptible magmas assemble, evolve over time, and ascend to the surface? Under what circumstances do volcanic edifices become unstable and collapse? What processes control the effusive or explosive style of eruptions and possible transitions over time? What processes control the dispersion of volcanic products at the Earth’s surface and in the atmosphere?

    Addressing these questions and forecasting volcanic eruptions requires the use of complementary methods employed from different fields (Sparks, 2003; Poland and Anderson, 2020). Analysis of samples and data acquisition using ground and remote sensors produces time-series data that provide key information about fundamental processes and are essential for forecasting eruptions. These data also serve to define input parameters and test models, with applications that are constantly improving due to ever-evolving computational capabilities. Models are also fed by the results of laboratory experiments that aid in the interpretation of field observations.

    Vulcanian eruption at Sakurajima volcano (Japan). Credit: Olivier Roche.

    New types of models have emerged in recent years to simulate volcanic eruptions and mitigate hazards. Estimation of uncertainties due to ranges of values of the input parameters and the nature of the models themselves enables the production of probabilistic hazard maps (Bevilacqua et al., 2015; Neri et al., 2015), while machine learning algorithms can filter through enormous databases to identify patterns useful for eruption forecasting (Curtis et al., 2020; Ren et al., 2020).

    Many volcanic phenomena are characterized by multiphase flows. Although very different in appearance, flows of crystal and gas bubble-laden magmatic liquids (in magma reservoirs and dikes or as lava flows at the Earth’s surface), of mixtures of gas and magma fragments (eruptive plumes, pyroclastic density currents), or of water and solid particles (lahars) generally obey the same physical principles (Iverson et al., 2010; Dufek, 2016; Bachman and Huber, 2019). The dynamics of these flows depend fundamentally on the relative proportions of the different phases and their interactions. Better understanding the mechanisms of these multiphase mixtures and defining rheological laws are crucial steps for the development of robust models.

    Increasing focus on climate change is opening new fields of study for the volcano research community. Melting of glaciers due to climate warming causes crustal stress relaxation and may be a factor in increased eruptive activity (Rawson et al., 2016). A growing number of studies also suggest that volcanic eruptions that inject large amounts of aerosols into the stratosphere may affect atmospheric currents and consequently the evolution of climate (Khodri et al., 2017; DallaSanta et al., 2021). In this context, investigating the impact of the largest volcanic eruptions, which are relatively rare but may have significant forcing effects, appears to be a major issue (Guillet et al., 2017).

    The new special collection on Advances in understanding volcanic processes is intended to address the many open challenges in volcanology. The collection will bring together articles that present new scientific results and highlight developments or applications of modern techniques employed to investigate volcanic processes. Contributions are expected to clearly identify new knowledge and understanding of volcanic phenomena.

    This is a joint special collection between JGR: Solid Earth, JGR: Atmospheres, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, and Earth and Space Science. Manuscripts can be submitted to any of these journals, depending on their fit with the journal’s scope and requirements. At JGR: Solid Earth, submissions will be handled by a team of Guest Editors: Yosuke Aoki, Nickolai Bagdassarov, Michael Heap, Sigrun Hreinsdottir, Qinghua Huang, Daniel Pastor-Galan, Michael Poland, Olivier Roche, Maria Sachpazi, Fang-Zhen Teng, and Gregory Waite, along with regular Editors. At G-Cubed, submissions will be handled by the Editors Marie Edmonds and Paul Asimow. At Earth and Space Science, submissions will be handled by the Editor in Chief, Graziella Caprarelli. At JGR: Atmospheres, submissions will be handled by the Editor in Chief and editors.


    Olivier Roche (olivier.roche@uca.fr(ORCID logo0000-0002-6751-6904), Associate Editor, JGR: Solid Earth; Yosuke Aoki (ORCID logo0000-0002-2539-4144), Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth;
    Nikolai Bagdassarov (ORCID logo0000-0003-0674-3078), Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth;
    Michael Heap (0000-0002-4748-735X), Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth;
    Sigrun Hreinsdottir (ORCID logo0000-0003-0143-1251), Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth;
    Qinghua Huang (ORCID logo0000-0002-1923-3002), Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth;
    Daniel Pastor-Galan (ORCID logo0000-0002-0226-2739), Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth;
    Michael Poland (ORCID logo0000-0001-5240-6123), Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth; Maria Sachpazi, Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth;
    Fang-Zhen Teng (ORCID logo0000-0003-3415-6137), Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth;
    Gregory Waite (ORCID logo0000-0002-7092-8125), Associate Editor of JGR: Solid Earth;
    Marie Edmonds (ORCID logo0000-0003-1243-137X), Editor of Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems;
    Paul Asimow (ORCID logo0000-0001-6025-8925), Editor of Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems;
    Minghua Zhang (ORCID logo0000-0002-1927-5405), Editor-in-Chief of JGR: Atmospheres;
    Graziella Caprarelli (ORCID logo0000-0001-9578-3228), Editor-in-Chief of Earth and Space Science

    Citation: Roche, O., Y. Aoki, N. Bagdassarov, M. Heap, S. Hreinsdottir, Q. Huang, D. Pastor-Galan, M. Poland, M. Sachpazi, F. Teng, G. Waite, M. Edmonds, P. Asimow, M. Zhang, and G. Caprarelli (2022), Dynamics of volcanic processes, Eos, 103, https://doi.org/10.1029/2022EO225019. Published on 6 July 2022.

    See the full article here .


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    “Eos” is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

  • richardmitnick 12:12 pm on July 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Iceland volcano eruption opens a rare window into the Earth beneath our feet", , , , The Fagradalsfjall eruption site, Volcanology   

    From “phys.org” : “Iceland volcano eruption opens a rare window into the Earth beneath our feet” 

    From “phys.org”

    June 29, 2022

    The Fagradalsfjall eruption site viewed from above. The photo shows lava emanating from multiple vents. Tourists for scale. Credit: Alina V. Shevchenko and Edgar U. Zorn, GFZ Germany.

    The recent Fagradalsfjall eruption in the southwest of Iceland has enthralled the whole world, including nature lovers and scientists alike. The eruption was especially important as it provided geologists with a unique opportunity to study magmas that were accumulated in a deep crustal magma reservoir but ultimately derived from the Earth’s mantle (below 20 km).

    A research team from University of Oregon, Uppsala University, University of Iceland, and Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) took this exceptional opportunity to collect lava samples every few days in order to construct a time-integrated catalog of samples and to monitor the geochemical evolution throughout the eruption to a degree of detail rarely achieved before. Usually, when volcano scientists look at past eruptions they work with a limited view of the erupted materials—for example older lava flows can get wholly or partially buried by newer ones. However, at Fagradalsfjall, the eruption was so well monitored and sampled that scientists had a chance to capture the evolution of an Icelandic eruption in near real-time.

    The team were interested in oxygen isotopes. Why? Because oxygen makes up about 50% of all volcanic rocks and its isotope ratios are very sensitive tracers of mantle and crustal materials. In this way, oxygen isotopes can help scientists to determine if magma is mantle-derived or if it interacted with crustal materials as it made its way to the surface. However, in addition to oxygen, the other vast suite of elements making up the volcanic rocks threw up some surprises. For instance, the team observed that this single eruption contains roughly half of the entire diversity of mantle-derived magmas previously recorded for the whole of Iceland.

    In brief, geochemical results show that the latest Iceland eruption was supplied by magmas derived from multiple sources in the Earth’s mantle, each with its own distinctive elemental characteristics. To the amazement of scientists, each of these domains had identical oxygen isotope ratios. This result was remarkable and has never been observed before at an active eruption. The study provides new and compelling evidence for distinct mantle-sourced magmas having uniform oxygen isotope ratios, which can help us to better understand mantle dynamics and refine mantle models for Iceland.

    Collecting red-hot lava samples at the Fagradalsfjall eruption site. Samples were collected regularly in order to create a detailed time-line of erupted material for analysis. Credit: Jóna Sigurlína Pálmadóttir, University of Iceland.

    The research was published in Nature Communications.

    See the full article here .


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    About Science X in 100 words
    Science X is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004 (Physorg.com), Science X’s readership has grown steadily to include 5 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Science X publishes approximately 200 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Science X community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.

    Mission: 12 reasons for reading daily news on Science X Organization Key editors and writers include 1.75 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Phys.org publishes approximately 100 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Quancast 2009 includes Phys.org in its list of the Global Top 2,000 Websites. Phys.org community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, RSS/XML feeds, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.

  • richardmitnick 12:31 pm on July 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Unlocking the Magmatic Secrets of Antarctica’s Mount Erebus", , , CO2-rich volcanic systems are less well understood than the more common H2O-rich arc volcanoes., Data taken by measuring natural electromagnetic waves traveling through Earth revealed the volcano’s magmatic system brings lava much closer to the surface than subduction arc volcanoes., , , , , One of Antarctica’s only active volcanoes is home to one of the few long-lasting lava lakes on Earth., Past studies into Erebus relied on seismic data to probe its inner workings., Research has revealed the plumbing underneath Mount Erebus that keeps the lake full., The snow-covered Mount Erebus is the southernmost active volcano on Earth and shares Antarctica’s Ross Island with three other volcanoes-all dormant., Unlike arc volcanoes such as the Cascades in western North America Erebus has very little water in its magma. Instead it’s rich in carbon dioxide (CO2)., Unprecedented images of Mount Erebus’s inner workings show the unique trappings of a CO2-rich rift volcano., Volcanology   

    From “Eos” : “Unlocking the Magmatic Secrets of Antarctica’s Mount Erebus” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”



    22 June 2022
    Jenessa Duncombe

    Unprecedented images of Mount Erebus’s inner workings show the unique trappings of a CO2-rich rift volcano.

    Mount Erebus, Antarctica, is the most southerly active volcano on Earth. Credit: Josh Landis/National Science Foundation, Public Domain.

    One of Antarctica’s only active volcanoes is home to one of the few long-lasting lava lakes on Earth. The lake occasionally blasts out lava bombs from the summit crater of Mount Erebus, 3,794 meters high.

    Now, research has revealed the plumbing underneath Mount Erebus that keeps the lake full.

    Data taken by measuring natural electromagnetic waves traveling through Earth revealed the volcano’s magmatic system brings lava much closer to the surface than subduction arc volcanoes.

    Unlike arc volcanoes such as the Cascades in western North America Erebus has very little water in its magma. Instead it’s rich in carbon dioxide (CO2). This dryness allows magma to travel much closer to the surface than water (H2O)-rich volcanoes that stall out at about 5 kilometers below the surface.

    CO2-rich volcanic systems are less well understood than the more common H2O-rich arc volcanoes.

    “If we can also get an idea of where the magmatic system is, you can better understand the monitoring data when these systems enter periods of unrest,” said lead scientist and geophysicist Graham Hill at the Institute of Geophysics at the Czech Academy of Sciences.

    “This is the first great image of one,” said geophysicist Phil Wannamaker at the University of Utah, who participated in the work.

    Erebus has long been familiar to polar explorers—this photo was taken by Robert Falcon Scott on his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Credit: Robert Falcon Scott/Wikimedia, Public Domain.

    Fire and Ice

    The snow-covered Mount Erebus is the southernmost active volcano on Earth and shares Antarctica’s Ross Island with three other volcanoes-all dormant. Mount Erebus overlooks McMurdo Station, and nearby sits the hut built by legendary polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his men before they summited Erebus in 1908. Although its name ultimately harkens to Greek mythology’s personification of darkness, Captain James Ross named the volcano after one of his ships, the HMS Erebus, in 1841.

    Past studies into Erebus relied on seismic data to probe its inner workings. Scientists use seismic waves traveling through Earth to ascertain the material below. But Erebus has very few crustal-scale earthquakes, hamstringing the method to shallow depths.

    So Hill, Wannamaker, and their colleagues took a different approach: magnetotelluric data.

    During summers between 2014 and 2017, the team visited Erebus via helicopter. They visited 129 sites on Erebus and Ross Island, taking exhaustive measurements. “Hats off to Graham for the energy and drive to cover the entire island,” said Wannamaker.

    At each site, they’d recorded the natural electromagnetic waves that travel through Earth from the Sun and distant lightning bolts. “A lightning bolt is an impulsive antenna, if you will, and electromagnetic waves ripple out from that into your survey area,” said Wannamaker. Solar weather also produces waves that propagate through Earth.

    Captured by custom “voltmeters” on the surface and fed into a modeling algorithm, the waves can create a 3D picture of the electrical resistivity of material below, “kind of like a CT scan of the human body,” said Wannamaker.

    Mount Erebus is fed by a column of hotter rock extending vertically from at least 100 kilometers deep (yellow) and melted magma that extends up through the crust (red). Yellow and red represent unusually low resistivity below Erebus (10 and 5 ohm meters, respectively). DGFZ = Discovery Graben fault zone; EFZ = Erebus fault zone. Credit: Hillet al., 2022.

    The picture below Erebus is “very glorious.” Areas with lower electrical resistivity indicate the material is hot and, to some extent, melted. The image shows a hot region that extends to at least 100 kilometers below Erebus. There is also a channel of melt going upward through the crust that feeds the volcano, the new research shows.

    A languid plume rises from Mount Erebus’s lava lake in 1983. Credit: Bill Rose/Michigan Technological University, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

    Using this method gave the researchers a much higher resolution: It gave them a continuous view from a few hundred meters to about 100 kilometers deep. “That’s an advantage over other geophysical methods, such as most seismology,” said Wannamaker. The resolution got fuzzier the deeper they looked, however.

    In the image, a lower-resistivity area, likely magma, shoots toward the surface. This magma feeds the lava lake.

    Clues from the Deep

    “This material has been lurking down there,” said Wannamaker. This image “gives us some picture of the longer-term volatile recycling of the mantle and the crust, in particular to CO2.”

    More commonly studied volcanoes like the Cascades are rich in water. Water is very volatile (it easily bubbles out of the magma like fizz in a soda), and as the pressure drops as it gets nearer to the surface, it can suddenly saturate the magma and cause an explosive event, like the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens.

    Erebus is different. The magma’s birthplace in the upper mantle has little water, and the small amount of water it possesses disappears as the magma rises to the surface. The result is dry magma “reaching all the way to the very near surface, which is what we haven’t seen elsewhere.” The team published the results in Nature Communications last month.

    Another notable feature in the new Erebus image is the magma skewing eastward as it nears the surface. For more than 200 million years, Antarctica was splitting in two at the West Antarctic Rift. The separation stopped 11 million years ago, but local movements on Terror Rift, which underlies Mount Erebus and other volcanoes, continued.

    The magma reaches a choke point at the intersection of faults. There, magma and gas pressure build up in the lower middle crust. Occasionally, the magma and gas break through, carrying magma to the lake.

    “Accessible” Mount Erebus

    “This is a landmark study,” said Rick Aster, a professor at Colorado State University who was not involved in the new work. The latest findings address “one of the most remarkable features of Erebus volcano—that it has been able to sustain a convecting phonologic lava lake in its inner crater for at least many decades.”

    Although the new data are the most detailed yet, the researchers can’t see deeper into the mantle unless they take measurements over a larger footprint. A bigger footprint would require taking more measurements on sea ice and the ice shelf, like they did for about a dozen sites in the present study.

    Surprisingly, Erebus is “one of the more accessible systems in the world, if not the most accessible,” said Hill. Although it’s far away, “you have none of the other restrictions of forest cover and accessibility. You can pretty much go anywhere on Erebus to make your measurement.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    “Eos” is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

  • richardmitnick 4:47 pm on June 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A landslide and a tsunami and then a flood:: the massive hazard cascade that shook the world", A signal comparable to a magnitude-5.0 earthquake emanated from deep within the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia., , , British Columbia’s mountainous terrain is no stranger to landslides or floods and tsunamis., , , , New research reveals the intensity of British Columbia’s 2020 hazard cascade as members of the Homalco First Nation continue to pick up the pieces., , Recovery could take decades., , The fifth largest landslide on record in British Columbia., The sheer scale of the cascade can be hard to comprehend even when viewing the valley from a helicopter., Volcanology   

    From temblor : “A landslide and a tsunami and then a flood:: the massive hazard cascade that shook the world” 


    From temblor

    June 30, 2022
    Lauren A. Koenig, Ph.D.

    New research reveals the intensity of British Columbia’s 2020 hazard cascade as members of the Homalco First Nation continue to pick up the pieces.

    In late November, 2020 a geological mystery appeared on seismographs around the world. A signal comparable to a magnitude-5.0 earthquake emanated from deep within the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada.

    The cause of this ground-shaking event remained unknown for two weeks, until forestry workers passing through traditional territory of the Homalco First Nation happened upon its aftermath in the Elliot Creek watershed. The glacier-carved valley, narrowly framed by mile-high rocky walls, was decimated by a massive hazard cascade — a chain reaction of geological events — involving a landslide, tsunami, outburst flood and sediment plume. What was once a verdant environment for the region’s famed salmon is now an ashen alley that fans out into a sea of debris.

    The sheer scale of the cascade can be hard to comprehend even when viewing the valley from a helicopter, said Marten Geertsema, a research geomorphologist with the B.C. Ministry of Forests and the lead author of a new study that describes the events [Geophysical Research Letters].

    British Columbia 2020 hazard cascade aftermath.

    “It’s staggering when you just stand there,” said Geertsema. “It’s kind of hard to wrap your head around how powerful that all was.”

    Homalco First Nation and researchers from the B.C.-based Hakai Institute are assessing the long-term ecological impacts on the region, especially for fisheries. Ongoing unstable conditions in the valley suggest that recovery could take decades. Moreover, Elliot Creek has erratically changed course numerous times in the past year, which can make restoration plans irrelevant essentially overnight.

    “If we get a massive rain event like last year, the whole river could change again and it’s not money well spent,” said Erik Blaney, an environmental technical of the Tla’amin Nation who was contracted by the Homalco Nation to lead assessment and recovery efforts. “You’re playing with mother nature.”

    A cascade of unfortunate events

    The hazard cascade began with the fifth largest landslide on record in British Columbia, involving, according to study co-author Göran Ekström, the equivalent of the combined mass of Canada’s 25 million cars. Ekström is a seismologist at Columbia University. Nearly half of the debris crashed onto the toe of West Grenville glacier, near the base of the valley. The rest ran up the opposite wall of the valley before gravity carried it down once again. Traveling at more than 100 miles per hour (170 kilometers per hour), the landslide plunged into an alpine lake left behind by the glacier during its retreat over the last century.

    Like the splash after a jump off a high-dive, the landslide’s impact was fast and violent: the rockfall catapulted enough water out of the lake to reduce its area by nearly 20%, creating islands in its newly shallow depths. In just over a minute, a tsunami wave towering more than 330 feet (100 meters) high sped across the lake before cresting the opposite shore, creating what is known as a glacial lake outburst flood.

    The view down valley showing the eroded creek bed and lack of vegetation. Credit: Briar Stewart/CBC.

    The water was then forcefully channeled down the confines of the valley like a marble in a Rube Goldberg machine. Though it generally takes millennia for water to steadily erode deep ravines, the flood gouged out a groove 160 feet (50 meters) deep in the stream bed within minutes.

    As the creek bank gave way and trees were mowed down, the flood became a thick soup of debris that left an enormous fan of sand, mud and wood extending from the mouth of the valley. It contaminated local fresh and marine waterways, creating a sediment plume — suspended organic materials — that destroyed water quality.

    “You need certain elements in place to create these massive domino effects,” said Geerstema. “This goes to show us the damaging footprint of these events when you have water in the right place.”

    Looking with LiDAR

    The landslide’s remote location meant that fortunately no one was around when the hazard cascade took place. To map out what happened, Geertsema, who regularly scours satellite imagery for evidence of landslides in high-mountain areas, worked with members of Canada’s First Nations, the Hakai Institute and other institutions around the world to simulate the events using numerical modeling and LiDAR — a survey method that pulses lasers from an airplane to create 3D representations of the surface.

    Geertsema, who compared post-landslide images with those taken only one year prior, said the team was very lucky to have such detailed imagery. “We wouldn’t have been able to produce these models without that input data,” he said.

    The view of the lake looking towards West Grenville glacier and the sheer vertical slide face. Credit: Brian Menounos.

    Fewer glaciers, more hazards

    British Columbia’s mountainous terrain is no stranger to landslides or floods and tsunamis. Climate change, however, has exacerbated the impacts and frequency of these hazards — especially as warming temperatures cause ground-stabilizing permafrost and glaciers to melt away.

    As glaciers retreat, weak bedrock loses the support that prevents its collapse, said Tom Millard, a research geomorphologist with the B.C. Ministry of Forests and co-author of the study. The meltwater lakes left in their wake, such as at Elliot Creek, also tend to get larger, which ratchets up the hazard of a potential tsunami or outburst flood.

    Living with the consequences

    The chain reaction of geological events created a cascade of ecological effects that will linger for decades. The flood destroyed most of the salmon population, as well as the spawning habitat that they return to each year. The fish are unable to survive current turbidity levels, which remain more than 25 times higher than normal (especially after a rainstorm), said Blaney.

    More than food, salmon are an important part of the Homalco First Nation’s culture and livelihood. Grizzly bears’ annual feasting on salmon draws in tourism that helps the community thrive. But this past year, low salmon numbers meant the bears went hungry.

    As recovery effort coordinator, Blaney has ideas for sustainable ways to help the ecosystem return to some semblance of normal. One solution is to prune crab apple trees as another source of food for the bears.

    “It’s something that our people did before,” said Blaney.

    Blaney is also considering installing a platform that would provide a safer way for researchers to monitor the salmon population, diverting the creek through a more stable area with remaining trees, and planting native vegetation to control for erosion.

    Finding funding for these projects, however, is only one obstacle that is part of an even greater challenge: living with the increasingly stark effects of climate change. Severe wildfires in summer 2021 burned across B.C., and the Coast Mountains are experiencing some of the highest rates of glacier loss on earth, meaning hazard cascades like the one at Elliot Creek could become more frequent.

    “I don’t think the average person living in a city can really understand or see the changes that we’re seeing and the devastation that they’re having on salmon and other important pieces of our survival and our culture,” said Blaney. “We’re seeing change, and it’s happening fast and it’s beyond any scope we could have imagined.”

    Further Reading

    For the full multimedia feature by the Hakai Institute — which includes video, interactive maps, and more — click here.

    Geertsema, M., Menounos, B., Bullard, G., Carrivick, J. L., Clague, J. J., Dai, C., … & Sharp, M. A. (2022). The 28 November 2020 landslide, tsunami, and outburst flood–a hazard cascade associated with rapid deglaciation at Elliot Creek, British Columbia, Canada. Geophysical research letters, 49(6), e2021GL096716.

    Menounos, B., Hugonnet, R., Shean, D., Gardner, A., Howat, I., Berthier, E., … & Dehecq, A. (2019). Heterogeneous changes in western North American glaciers linked to decadal variability in zonal wind strength. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(1), 200-209.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    Earthquake Alert


    Earthquake Alert

    Earthquake Network projectEarthquake Network is a research project which aims at developing and maintaining a crowdsourced smartphone-based earthquake warning system at a global level. Smartphones made available by the population are used to detect the earthquake waves using the on-board accelerometers. When an earthquake is detected, an earthquake warning is issued in order to alert the population not yet reached by the damaging waves of the earthquake.

    The project started on January 1, 2013 with the release of the homonymous Android application Earthquake Network. The author of the research project and developer of the smartphone application is Francesco Finazzi of the University of Bergamo, Italy.

    Get the app in the Google Play store.

    Smartphone network spatial distribution (green and red dots) on December 4, 2015

    Meet The Quake-Catcher Network

    QCN bloc

    Quake-Catcher Network

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

    After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).

    The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

    There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

    Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

    USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

    If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.


    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan



    About Early Warning Labs, LLC

    Early Warning Labs, LLC (EWL) is an Earthquake Early Warning technology developer and integrator located in Santa Monica, CA. EWL is partnered with industry leading GIS provider ESRI, Inc. and is collaborating with the US Government and university partners.

    EWL is investing millions of dollars over the next 36 months to complete the final integration and delivery of Earthquake Early Warning to individual consumers, government entities, and commercial users.

    EWL’s mission is to improve, expand, and lower the costs of the existing earthquake early warning systems.

    EWL is developing a robust cloud server environment to handle low-cost mass distribution of these warnings. In addition, Early Warning Labs is researching and developing automated response standards and systems that allow public and private users to take pre-defined automated actions to protect lives and assets.

    EWL has an existing beta R&D test system installed at one of the largest studios in Southern California. The goal of this system is to stress test EWL’s hardware, software, and alert signals while improving latency and reliability.

    Earthquake Early Warning Introduction

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with state agencies, university partners, and private industry, is developing an earthquake early warning system (EEW) for the West Coast of the United States called ShakeAlert. The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program aims to mitigate earthquake losses in the United States. Citizens, first responders, and engineers rely on the USGS for accurate and timely information about where earthquakes occur, the ground shaking intensity in different locations, and the likelihood is of future significant ground shaking.

    The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System recently entered its first phase of operations. The USGS working in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is now allowing for the testing of public alerting via apps, Wireless Emergency Alerts, and by other means throughout California.

    ShakeAlert partners in Oregon and Washington are working with the USGS to test public alerting in those states sometime in 2020.

    ShakeAlert has demonstrated the feasibility of earthquake early warning, from event detection to producing USGS issued ShakeAlerts ® and will continue to undergo testing and will improve over time. In particular, robust and reliable alert delivery pathways for automated actions are currently being developed and implemented by private industry partners for use in California, Oregon, and Washington.

    Earthquake Early Warning Background

    The objective of an earthquake early warning system is to rapidly detect the initiation of an earthquake, estimate the level of ground shaking intensity to be expected, and issue a warning before significant ground shaking starts. A network of seismic sensors detects the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, and the location and the magnitude of the earthquake is rapidly determined. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated. The system can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, which brings the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage. Warnings will be distributed to local and state public emergency response officials, critical infrastructure, private businesses, and the public. EEW systems have been successfully implemented in Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, and other nations with varying degrees of sophistication and coverage.

    Earthquake early warning can provide enough time to:

    Instruct students and employees to take a protective action such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On
    Initiate mass notification procedures
    Open fire-house doors and notify local first responders
    Slow and stop trains and taxiing planes
    Install measures to prevent/limit additional cars from going on bridges, entering tunnels, and being on freeway overpasses before the shaking starts
    Move people away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments
    Shut down gas lines, water treatment plants, or nuclear reactors
    Automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems

    However, earthquake warning notifications must be transmitted without requiring human review and response action must be automated, as the total warning times are short depending on geographic distance and varying soil densities from the epicenter.

  • richardmitnick 7:33 am on June 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "AGWs": acoustic-gravity waves, "Scientists provide explanation for exceptional Tonga tsunami", A single AGW can stretch tens or hundreds of kilometers., A single AGW can travel at depths of hundreds or thousands of meters below the ocean surface transferring energy from the upper surface to the seafloor and across the oceans., AGWs are produced by volcanic eruptions or earthquakes., AGWs are very long sound waves travelling under the effects of gravity., , , , , , , , The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on 15 January 2022 was the largest volcanic eruption of the 21st century and the largest eruption since Krakatoa in 1883., The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai tsunami propagated directly into the Caribbean and the Atlantic without having to travel around the South American landmass., Volcanology   

    From Cardiff University [Prifysgol Caerdydd] (WLS) : “Scientists provide explanation for exceptional Tonga tsunami” 

    From Cardiff University [Prifysgol Caerdydd] (WLS)

    13 June 2022


    Scientists say they have identified the exact mechanism responsible for the exceptional tsunami that spread quickly across the world after the colossal eruption of the Tonga volcano earlier this year.

    In a new paper published today in Nature, an international team including researchers from Cardiff University say the exceptional event was caused by acoustic-gravity waves (AGWs) triggered by the powerful volcanic blast, which travelled into the atmosphere and across the ocean as the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted.

    As these waves converged with each other, energy was continuously pumped into the tsunami which caused it to grow bigger, travel much further, much quicker and for much longer.

    The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on 15 January 2022 was the largest volcanic eruption of the 21st century and the largest eruption since Krakatoa in 1883.

    It’s been described as the biggest explosion ever recorded in the atmosphere and was hundreds of times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

    The eruption was the source of both atmospheric disturbances and an exceptionally fast-travelling tsunami that were recorded worldwide, puzzling earth, atmospheric and ocean scientists alike.

    “The idea that tsunamis could be generated by atmospheric waves triggered by volcanic eruptions is not new, but this event was the first recorded by modern, worldwide dense instrumentation, allowing us to finally unravel the exact mechanism behind these unusual phenomena,” said co-author of the study Dr Ricardo Ramalho, from Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

    AGWs are very long sound waves travelling under the effects of gravity. They can cut through a medium such as the deep ocean or the atmosphere at the speed of sound and are produced by volcanic eruptions or earthquakes, among other violent sources.

    A single AGW can stretch tens or hundreds of kilometers, and travel at depths of hundreds or thousands of meters below the ocean surface transferring energy from the upper surface to the seafloor and across the oceans.

    “In addition to travelling across the ocean, AGWs can also propagate into the atmosphere after violent events such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes,” said co-author of the study Dr Usama Kadri, from Cardiff University’s School of Mathematics.

    “The Tonga eruption was in an ideal location below the surface, in shallow water, which caused energy being released into the atmosphere in a mushroom-shape close to the water surface. Thus, the interaction of energetic AGWs with the water surface was inevitable.”

    Using sea-level, atmospheric and satellite data from across the globe at the time of the volcanic eruption, the team has shown that the tsunami was driven by AGWs that were triggered by the eruption, travelling fast into the atmosphere and, in turn, were continuously ‘pumping’ energy back into the ocean.

    A comparison of atmospheric and sea-level data showed a direct correlation between the first sign of air disturbance caused by AGWs and the onset of a tsunami in many locations around the world.

    The team say the transfer of energy back into the ocean was caused by a phenomenon known as nonlinear resonance, where the AGWs interact with the tsunami they generated, causing the latter to be amplified.

    In the new study, they estimate that the tsunami travelled 1.5 to 2.5 times faster than a volcano-triggered tsunami would, crossing the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans in less than 20 hours at speeds of around 1000 km/h.

    “Moreover, because the tsunami was driven by a fast atmospheric source, it propagated directly into the Caribbean and the Atlantic, without having to travel around the South American landmass, as a ‘normal’ tsunami would. This explains why the Tonga tsunami arrived at the Atlantic shores almost 10 hours before what was expected by a ‘normal’ tsunami,” added Dr Ramalho.

    “The Tonga tsunami has provided us with a unique opportunity to study the physical mechanism of formation and amplification of global tsunamis via resonance with acoustic-gravity waves. Such a resonance at this scale allows us to move beyond ‘proof of concept’ of the mechanism, and the development of more accurate forecasting models and real-time warning systems, into the potential of developing a new energy harnessing technology,” Dr Kadri concluded.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Cardiff Unversity [Prifysgol Caerdydd] (WLS) is a public research university in Cardiff, Wales. Founded in 1883 as the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (University College Cardiff from 1972), it became a founding college of the University of Wales in 1893. It merged with the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST) in 1988 to form the University of Wales College, Cardiff (University of Wales, Cardiff from 1996). In 1997 it received its own degree-awarding powers, but held them in abeyance. The college adopted the public name Cardiff University in 1999; in 2005 this became its legal name, when it became an independent university and began awarding its own degrees.

    Cardiff University is the third oldest university in Wales and contains three colleges: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Biomedical and Life Sciences; and Physical Sciences and Engineering. It is the only Welsh member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities. In 2018–2019, Cardiff had a turnover of £537.1 million, including £116.0 million in research grants and contracts. It has an undergraduate enrolment of 23,960 and a total enrolment of 33,190 (according to HESA data for 2018/19) making it one of the ten largest UK universities. The Cardiff University Students’ Union works to promote student interests in the university and further afield.

    Discussions on the founding of a university college in South Wales began in 1879, when a group of Welsh and English MPs urged the government to consider the poor provision of higher and intermediate education in Wales and “the best means of assisting any local effort which may be made for supplying such deficiency.”

    In October 1881, William Gladstone’s government appointed a departmental committee to conduct “an enquiry into the nature and extent of intermediate and higher education in Wales”, chaired by Lord Aberdare and consisting of Viscount Emlyn, Reverend Prebendary H. G. Robinson, Henry Richard, John Rhys and Lewis Morris. The Aberdare Report, as it came to be known, took evidence from a wide range of sources and over 250 witnesses and recommended a college each for North Wales and South Wales, the latter to be located in Glamorgan and the former to be the established University College of Wales in Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University). The committee cited the unique Welsh national identity and noted that many students in Wales could not afford to travel to University in England or Scotland. It advocated a national degree-awarding university for Wales, composed of regional colleges, which should be non-sectarian in nature and exclude the teaching of theology.

    After the recommendation was published, Cardiff Corporation sought to secure the location of the college in Cardiff, and on 12 December 1881 formed a University College Committee to aid the matter. There was competition to be the site between Swansea and Cardiff. On 12 March 1883, after arbitration, a decision was made in Cardiff’s favour. This was strengthened by the need to consider the interests of Monmouthshire, at that time not legally incorporated into Wales, and the greater sum received by Cardiff in support of the college, through a public appeal that raised £37,000 and a number of private donations, notably from the Lord Bute and Lord Windsor. In April Lord Aberdare was appointed as the College’s first president. The possible locations considered included Cardiff Arms Park, Cathedral Road, and Moria Terrace, Roath, before the site of the Old Royal Infirmary buildings on Newport Road was chosen.

    The University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire opened on 24 October 1883 with courses in Biology, Chemistry, English, French, German, Greek, History, Latin, Mathematics and Astronomy, Music, Welsh, Logic and Philosophy, and Physics. It was incorporated by Royal Charter the following year, this being the first in Wales to allow the enrollment of women, and specifically forbidding religious tests for entry. John Viriamu Jones was appointed as the University’s first Principal at the age of 27. As Cardiff was not an independent university and could not award its own degrees, it prepared its students for examinations of the University of London or for further study at Oxford or Cambridge.

    In 1888 the University College at Cardiff and that of North Wales (now Bangor University) proposed to the University College Wales at Aberystwyth joint action to gain a university charter for Wales, modelled on that of Victoria University, a confederation of new universities in Northern England. Such a charter was granted to the new University of Wales in 1893, allowing the colleges to award degrees as members. The Chancellor was set ex officio as the Prince of Wales, and the position of operational head would rotate among heads of the colleges.

    In 1885, Aberdare Hall opened as the first hall of residence, allowing women access to the university. This moved to its current site in 1895, but remains a single-sex hall. In 1904 came the appointment of the first female associate professor in the UK, Millicent Mackenzie, who in 1910 became the first female full professor at a fully chartered UK university.

    In 1901 Principal Jones persuaded Cardiff Corporation to give the college a five-acre site in Cathays Park (instead of selling it as they would have done otherwise). Soon after, in 1905, work on a new building commenced under the architect W. D. Caröe. Money ran short for the project, however. Although the side-wings were completed in the 1960s, the planned Great Hall has never been built. Caroe sought to combine the charm and elegance of his former (Trinity College, Cambridge) with the picturesque balance of many Oxford colleges. On 14 October 1909 the “New College” building in Cathays Park (now Main Building) was opened in a ceremony involving a procession from the “Old College” in Newport Road.

    In 1931, the School of Medicine, founded as part of the college in 1893 along with the Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, was split off to form the Welsh National School of Medicine, which was renamed in 1984 the University of Wales College of Medicine.

    In 1972, the institution was renamed University College Cardiff.

  • richardmitnick 11:58 am on June 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Tonga volcano eruption's echoes heard 6200 miles away", , , , Massive eruption of Tonga volcano provides an explosion of data on atmospheric waves., , Volcanology   

    From The National Science Foundation: “Tonga volcano eruption’s echoes heard 6200 miles away” 

    From The National Science Foundation

    June 2, 2022

    Massive eruption of Tonga volcano provides an explosion of data on atmospheric waves.

    Just before nightfall reached Tonga, the Hunga eruption sent atmospheric waves around the globe.

    The Hunga volcano ushered in 2022 with a bang, devastating the island nation of Tonga and sending aid agencies, and Earth scientists, into a flurry of activity. It had been nearly 140 years since an eruption of this scale shook the Earth.

    The University of California, Santa Barbara’s Robin Matoza led a team of 76 scientists from 17 nations to characterize the eruption’s atmospheric waves, the strongest recorded from a volcano since the 1883 Krakatau eruption.

    The U.S. National Science Foundation-supported team’s work, compiled in an unusually short amount of time, details the size of the waves originating from the eruption, which the researchers found were on par with those from Krakatau.

    “Understanding the global impacts of this extraordinary volcanic event would not be possible without this team of scientists combining an unprecedented set of Earth observations,” said Eva Zanzerkia, a program director in NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences. “This effort could transform how we research natural hazards and the connections between the deep Earth, atmosphere and oceans.”

    The data provide exceptional resolution of the evolving wavefield, the researchers said. Their resulting paper, published in the journal Science, is the first comprehensive account of the eruption’s atmospheric waves.

    Evidence suggests that an eruption on January 14, 2022, sank the volcano’s main vent below sea level, priming the massive explosion the following day. That next-day eruption generated a variety of different atmospheric waves — including booms heard 6,200 miles away in Alaska.

    It also created a pulse that caused the unusual occurrence of a tsunami-like disturbance an hour before the actual seismically-driven tsunami began. “This atmospheric-waves event was unprecedented in the modern geophysical record,” said lead author Matoza.

    “The atmospheric waves were recorded globally across a wide frequency band,” added co-author David Fee of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “By studying this remarkable dataset we will better understand acoustic and atmospheric wave generation, propagation and recording. Our hope is that we will be better able to monitor volcanic eruptions and tsunamis by understanding the atmospheric waves from this eruption.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

    We fulfill our mission chiefly by issuing limited-term grants — currently about 12,000 new awards per year, with an average duration of three years — to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system. Most of these awards go to individuals or small groups of investigators. Others provide funding for research centers, instruments and facilities that allow scientists, engineers and students to work at the outermost frontiers of knowledge.

    NSF’s goals — discovery, learning, research infrastructure and stewardship — provide an integrated strategy to advance the frontiers of knowledge, cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens, build the nation’s research capability through investments in advanced instrumentation and facilities, and support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization. We like to say that NSF is “where discoveries begin.”

    Many of the discoveries and technological advances have been truly revolutionary. In the past few decades, NSF-funded researchers have won some 236 Nobel Prizes as well as other honors too numerous to list. These pioneers have included the scientists or teams that discovered many of the fundamental particles of matter, analyzed the cosmic microwaves left over from the earliest epoch of the universe, developed carbon-14 dating of ancient artifacts, decoded the genetics of viruses, and created an entirely new state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.

    NSF also funds equipment that is needed by scientists and engineers but is often too expensive for any one group or researcher to afford. Examples of such major research equipment include giant optical and radio telescopes, Antarctic research sites, high-end computer facilities and ultra-high-speed connections, ships for ocean research, sensitive detectors of very subtle physical phenomena and gravitational wave observatories.

    Another essential element in NSF’s mission is support for science and engineering education, from pre-K through graduate school and beyond. The research we fund is thoroughly integrated with education to help ensure that there will always be plenty of skilled people available to work in new and emerging scientific, engineering and technological fields, and plenty of capable teachers to educate the next generation.

    No single factor is more important to the intellectual and economic progress of society, and to the enhanced well-being of its citizens, than the continuous acquisition of new knowledge. NSF is proud to be a major part of that process.

    Specifically, the Foundation’s organic legislation authorizes us to engage in the following activities:

    Initiate and support, through grants and contracts, scientific and engineering research and programs to strengthen scientific and engineering research potential, and education programs at all levels, and appraise the impact of research upon industrial development and the general welfare.
    Award graduate fellowships in the sciences and in engineering.
    Foster the interchange of scientific information among scientists and engineers in the United States and foreign countries.
    Foster and support the development and use of computers and other scientific methods and technologies, primarily for research and education in the sciences.
    Evaluate the status and needs of the various sciences and engineering and take into consideration the results of this evaluation in correlating our research and educational programs with other federal and non-federal programs.
    Provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation and analysis of data on scientific and technical resources in the United States, and provide a source of information for policy formulation by other federal agencies.
    Determine the total amount of federal money received by universities and appropriate organizations for the conduct of scientific and engineering research, including both basic and applied, and construction of facilities where such research is conducted, but excluding development, and report annually thereon to the President and the Congress.
    Initiate and support specific scientific and engineering activities in connection with matters relating to international cooperation, national security and the effects of scientific and technological applications upon society.
    Initiate and support scientific and engineering research, including applied research, at academic and other nonprofit institutions and, at the direction of the President, support applied research at other organizations.
    Recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of basic research and education in the sciences and engineering. Strengthen research and education innovation in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States.
    Support activities designed to increase the participation of women and minorities and others underrepresented in science and technology.

    At present, NSF has a total workforce of about 2,100 at its Alexandria, VA, headquarters, including approximately 1,400 career employees, 200 scientists from research institutions on temporary duty, 450 contract workers and the staff of the NSB office and the Office of the Inspector General.

    NSF is divided into the following seven directorates that support science and engineering research and education: Biological Sciences, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, and Education and Human Resources. Each is headed by an assistant director and each is further subdivided into divisions like materials research, ocean sciences and behavioral and cognitive sciences.

    Within NSF’s Office of the Director, the Office of Integrative Activities also supports research and researchers. Other sections of NSF are devoted to financial management, award processing and monitoring, legal affairs, outreach and other functions. The Office of the Inspector General examines the foundation’s work and reports to the NSB and Congress.

    Each year, NSF supports an average of about 200,000 scientists, engineers, educators and students at universities, laboratories and field sites all over the United States and throughout the world, from Alaska to Alabama to Africa to Antarctica. You could say that NSF support goes “to the ends of the earth” to learn more about the planet and its inhabitants, and to produce fundamental discoveries that further the progress of research and lead to products and services that boost the economy and improve general health and well-being.

    As described in our strategic plan, NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. NSF is tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in a wide range of scientific areas, from astronomy to geology to zoology. So, in addition to funding research in the traditional academic areas, the agency also supports “high risk, high pay off” ideas, novel collaborations and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today, but which the public will take for granted tomorrow. And in every case, we ensure that research is fully integrated with education so that today’s revolutionary work will also be training tomorrow’s top scientists and engineers.

    Unlike many other federal agencies, NSF does not hire researchers or directly operate our own laboratories or similar facilities. Instead, we support scientists, engineers and educators directly through their own home institutions (typically universities and colleges). Similarly, we fund facilities and equipment such as telescopes, through cooperative agreements with research consortia that have competed successfully for limited-term management contracts.

    NSF’s job is to determine where the frontiers are, identify the leading U.S. pioneers in these fields and provide money and equipment to help them continue. The results can be transformative. For example, years before most people had heard of “nanotechnology,” NSF was supporting scientists and engineers who were learning how to detect, record and manipulate activity at the scale of individual atoms — the nanoscale. Today, scientists are adept at moving atoms around to create devices and materials with properties that are often more useful than those found in nature.

    Dozens of companies are gearing up to produce nanoscale products. NSF is funding the research projects, state-of-the-art facilities and educational opportunities that will teach new skills to the science and engineering students who will make up the nanotechnology workforce of tomorrow.

    At the same time, we are looking for the next frontier.

    NSF’s task of identifying and funding work at the frontiers of science and engineering is not a “top-down” process. NSF operates from the “bottom up,” keeping close track of research around the United States and the world, maintaining constant contact with the research community to identify ever-moving horizons of inquiry, monitoring which areas are most likely to result in spectacular progress and choosing the most promising people to conduct the research.

    NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. We do this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the U.S. The Foundation considers proposals submitted by organizations on behalf of individuals or groups for support in most fields of research. Interdisciplinary proposals also are eligible for consideration. Awardees are chosen from those who send us proposals asking for a specific amount of support for a specific project.

    Proposals may be submitted in response to the various funding opportunities that are announced on the NSF website. These funding opportunities fall into three categories — program descriptions, program announcements and program solicitations — and are the mechanisms NSF uses to generate funding requests. At any time, scientists and engineers are also welcome to send in unsolicited proposals for research and education projects, in any existing or emerging field. The Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) provides guidance on proposal preparation and submission and award management. At present, NSF receives more than 42,000 proposals per year.

    To ensure that proposals are evaluated in a fair, competitive, transparent and in-depth manner, we use a rigorous system of merit review. Nearly every proposal is evaluated by a minimum of three independent reviewers consisting of scientists, engineers and educators who do not work at NSF or for the institution that employs the proposing researchers. NSF selects the reviewers from among the national pool of experts in each field and their evaluations are confidential. On average, approximately 40,000 experts, knowledgeable about the current state of their field, give their time to serve as reviewers each year.

    The reviewer’s job is to decide which projects are of the very highest caliber. NSF’s merit review process, considered by some to be the “gold standard” of scientific review, ensures that many voices are heard and that only the best projects make it to the funding stage. An enormous amount of research, deliberation, thought and discussion goes into award decisions.

    The NSF program officer reviews the proposal and analyzes the input received from the external reviewers. After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the program officer makes an “award” or “decline” recommendation to the division director. Final programmatic approval for a proposal is generally completed at NSF’s division level. A principal investigator (PI) whose proposal for NSF support has been declined will receive information and an explanation of the reason(s) for declination, along with copies of the reviews considered in making the decision. If that explanation does not satisfy the PI, he/she may request additional information from the cognizant NSF program officer or division director.

    If the program officer makes an award recommendation and the division director concurs, the recommendation is submitted to NSF’s Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA) for award processing. A DGA officer reviews the recommendation from the program division/office for business, financial and policy implications, and the processing and issuance of a grant or cooperative agreement. DGA generally makes awards to academic institutions within 30 days after the program division/office makes its recommendation.

  • richardmitnick 8:46 am on June 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Great timing and supercomputer upgrade lead to successful forecast of volcanic eruption", , , , , , Volcanology   

    From The University of Illinois-Urbana–Champaign: “Great timing and supercomputer upgrade lead to successful forecast of volcanic eruption” 

    From The University of Illinois-Urbana–Champaign

    Jun 3, 2022
    Lois Yoksoulian

    Former Illinois graduate student Yan Zhan, left, professor Patricia Gregg and research professor Seid Koric led a team that produced the fortuitous forecast of the 2018 Sierra Negra volcanic eruption five months before it occurred.
    Photo by Michelle Hassel.

    Sierra Negra Volcano Eruption in June 2018 Credit: Detour Destinations

    In the fall of 2017, geology professor Patricia Gregg and her team had just set up a new volcanic forecasting modeling program on the Blue Waters and iForge supercomputers.

    NCSA National Center for Supercomputing Applications

    NCSA iForge supercomputer.

    Simultaneously, another team was monitoring activity at the Sierra Negra volcano in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. One of the scientists on the Ecuador project, Dennis Geist of Colgate University, contacted Gregg, and what happened next was the fortuitous forecast of the June 2018 Sierra Negra eruption five months before it occurred.

    Initially developed on an iMac computer, the new modeling approach had already garnered attention for successfully recreating the unexpected eruption of Alaska’s Okmok volcano in 2008. Gregg’s team, based out of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, wanted to test the model’s new high-performance computing upgrade, and Geist’s Sierra Negra observations showed signs of an imminent eruption.

    “Sierra Negra is a well-behaved volcano,” said Gregg, the lead author of a new report of the successful effort. “Meaning that, before eruptions in the past, the volcano has shown all the telltale signs of an eruption that we would expect to see like groundswell, gas release and increased seismic activity. This characteristic made Sierra Negra a great test case for our upgraded model.”

    However, many volcanoes don’t follow these neatly established patterns, the researchers said. Forecasting eruptions is one of the grand challenges in volcanology, and the development of quantitative models to help with these trickier scenarios is the focus of Gregg and her team’s work.

    Over the winter break of 2017-18, Gregg and her colleagues ran the Sierra Negra data through the new supercomputing-powered model. They completed the run in January 2018 and, even though it was intended as a test, it ended up providing a framework for understanding Sierra Negra’s eruption cycles and evaluating the potential and timing of future eruptions – but nobody realized it yet.

    “Our model forecasted that the strength of the rocks that contain Sierra Negra’s magma chamber would become very unstable sometime between June 25 and July 5, and possibly result in a mechanical failure and subsequent eruption,” said Gregg, who also is an NCSA faculty fellow. “We presented this conclusion at a scientific conference in March 2018. After that, we became busy with other work and did not look at our models again until Dennis texted me on June 26, asking me to confirm the date we had forecasted. Sierra Negra erupted one day after our earliest forecasted mechanical failure date. We were floored.”

    Though it represents an ideal scenario, the researchers said, the study shows the power of incorporating high-performance supercomputing into practical research. “The advantage of this upgraded model is its ability to constantly assimilate multidisciplinary, real-time data and process it rapidly to provide a daily forecast, similar to weather forecasting,” said Yan Zhan, a former Illinois graduate student and co-author of the study. “This takes an incredible amount of computing power previously unavailable to the volcanic forecasting community.”

    Bringing the moving parts into place to produce a modeling program of this strength requires a highly multidisciplinary approach that Gregg’s team did not have access to until working with NCSA.

    “We all speak the same language when it comes to the numerical multiphysics analysis and high-performance computing needed to forecast mechanical failure – in this case of a volcanic magma chamber,” said Seid Koric, the technical assistant director at NCSA, a research professor of mechanical sciences and engineering and a co-author of the study.

    With Koric’s expertise, the team said they hope to incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning into the forecasting model to help make this computing power available to researchers working from standard laptop and desktop computers.

    The results of the study are published in the journal Science Advances.

    Geist is a program director at the National Science Foundation and a professor of geology at Colgate University. Falk Amelung of the University of Miami; Patricia Mothes of Instituto Geofísico Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Ecuador; and Zhang Yunjun of the California Institute of Technology also contributed to this research.

    The National Science Foundation, NASA and NCSA supported this study.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign community of students, scholars, and alumni is changing the world.

    The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a public land-grant research university in Illinois in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana. It is the flagship institution of the University of Illinois system and was founded in 1867.

    The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”, and has been listed as a “Public Ivy” in The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities (2001) by Howard and Matthew Greene. In fiscal year 2019, research expenditures at Illinois totaled $652 million. The campus library system possesses the second-largest university library in the United States by holdings after Harvard University (US). The university also hosts the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

    The university contains 16 schools and colleges and offers more than 150 undergraduate and over 100 graduate programs of study. The university holds 651 buildings on 6,370 acres (2,578 ha). The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign also operates a Research Park home to innovation centers for over 90 start-up companies and multinational corporations, including Abbott, AbbVie, Caterpillar, Capital One, Dow, State Farm, and Yahoo, among others.

    As of August 2020, the alumni, faculty members, or researchers of the university include 30 Nobel laureates; 27 Pulitzer Prize winners; 2 Turing Award winners and 1 Fields medalist. Illinois athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Fighting Illini. They are members of the Big Ten Conference and have won the second-most conference titles. Illinois Fighting Illini football won the Rose Bowl Game in 1947, 1952, 1964 and a total of five national championships. Illinois athletes have won 29 medals in Olympic events, ranking it among the top 40 American universities with Olympic medals.

    Illinois Industrial University

    The original University Hall, which stood until 1938, when it was replaced by Gregory Hall and the Illini Union. Pieces were used in the erection of Hallene Gateway dedicated in 1998.

    The University of Illinois, originally named “Illinois Industrial University”, was one of the 37 universities created under the first Morrill Land-Grant Act, which provided public land for the creation of agricultural and industrial colleges and universities across the United States. Among several cities, Urbana was selected in 1867 as the site for the new school. From the beginning, President John Milton Gregory’s desire to establish an institution firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition was at odds with many state residents and lawmakers who wanted the university to offer classes based solely around “industrial education”. The university opened for classes on March 2, 1868 and had two faculty members and 77 students.

    The Library which opened with the school in 1868 started with 1,039 volumes. Subsequently President Edmund J. James in a speech to the board of trustees in 1912 proposed to create a research library. It is now one of the world’s largest public academic collections. In 1870 the Mumford House was constructed as a model farmhouse for the school’s experimental farm. The Mumford House remains the oldest structure on campus. The original University Hall (1871) was the fourth building built. It stood where the Illini Union stands today.

    University of Illinois

    In 1885, the Illinois Industrial University officially changed its name to the “University of Illinois”, reflecting its agricultural; mechanical; and liberal arts curriculum.

    During his presidency Edmund J. James (1904–1920) is credited for building the foundation for the large Chinese international student population on campus. James established ties with China through the Chinese Minister to the United States Wu Ting-Fang. In addition during James’s presidency class rivalries and Bob Zuppke’s winning football teams contributed to campus morale.
    Like many universities the economic depression slowed construction and expansion on the campus. The university replaced the original university hall with Gregory Hall and the Illini Union. After World War II the university experienced rapid growth. The enrollment doubled and the academic standing improved. This period was also marked by large growth in the Graduate College and increased federal support of scientific and technological research. During the 1950s and 1960s the university experienced the turmoil common on many American campuses. Among these were the water fights of the fifties and sixties.

    University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

    By 1967 the University of Illinois system consisted of a main campus in Champaign-Urbana and two Chicago campuses- Chicago Circle (UICC) and Medical Center (UIMC). People began using “Urbana–Champaign” or the reverse to refer to the main campus specifically. The university name officially changed to the “University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign” around 1982. While this was a reversal of the commonly used designation for the metropolitan area- “Champaign-Urbana” – most of the campus is located in Urbana. The name change established a separate identity for the main campus within the University of Illinois system which today includes campuses in Springfield (UIS) and Chicago (UIC) (formed by the merger of UICC and UIMC).

    In 1998 the Hallene Gateway Plaza was dedicated. The Plaza features the original sandstone portal of University Hall which was originally the fourth building on campus. In recent years state support has declined from 4.5% of the state’s tax appropriations in 1980 to 2.28% in 2011- a nearly 50% decline. As a result the university’s budget has shifted away from relying on state support with nearly 84% of the budget now coming from other sources.

    On March 12, 2015, the Board of Trustees approved the creation of a medical school, the first college created at Urbana–Champaign in 60 years. The Carle-Illinois College of Medicine began classes in 2018.


    The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is often regarded as a world-leading magnet for engineering and sciences (both applied and basic). Having been classified into the category comprehensive doctoral with medical/veterinary and very high research activity by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Illinois offers a wide range of disciplines in undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

    According to the National Science Foundation the university spent $625 million on research and development in 2018 ranking it 37th in the nation. It is also listed as one of the Top 25 American Research Universities by The Center for Measuring University Performance. Beside annual influx of grants and sponsored projects the university manages an extensive modern research infrastructure. The university has been a leader in computer based education and hosted the PLATO project which was a precursor to the internet and resulted in the development of the plasma display. Illinois was a 2nd-generation ARPAnet site in 1971 and was the first institution to license the UNIX operating system from Bell Labs.

  • richardmitnick 2:03 pm on May 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Study reveals how the world’s most active volcano was born", , , , , , Volcanology   

    From Monash University (AU): “Study reveals how the world’s most active volcano was born” 

    Monash Univrsity bloc

    From Monash University (AU)

    26 May 2022

    Silvia Dropulich
    Marketing, Media & Communications Manager
    Monash Science
    T: +61 3 9902 4513
    M: +61 435 138 743

    A new international study led by Monash University has described for the first time what may have triggered the birth of Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in Hawaii.

    Kilauea in Hawaii.

    Located along the south eastern shore of Hawaii, Kilauea is estimated to be between 210,000 and 280,000 years old and to have emerged above sea level approximately 100,000 years ago.

    In a study published today in Nature Communications lead author Dr Laura Miller, from the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University shows for the first time that Hawaiian volcanoes were born from magmas that evolved in an unusually deep (>90 km) magma chamber.

    A magma chamber is a large pool of liquid rock beneath the surface of the Earth.

    “We obtained some of the very first volcanic products erupted by Kilauea,” said Dr Miller.

    “We explored the formation of these samples through experimental work, which involved melting synthetic rocks at high temperatures (> 1100 ˚C) and pressures (> 3 GPa), and by using a new method for modelling their rare earth element concentrations

    “We found that the samples could only be formed by the crystallisation and removal (fractional crystallisation) of garnet.”

    Kilauea, is Hawaiian for ‘spewing’ or ‘much spreading’ and refers to the constant flow of lava.

    “Our study demonstrates unambiguously the role of garnet crystallisation in the formation of pre-shield stage Hawaiian melts,” Dr Miller said.

    “This challenges the current viewpoint that fractional crystallisation is solely a shallow process and suggests that the development of a deep (> 90 km) magma chamber is an important early stage in the birth of a Hawaiian volcano.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Monash U campus

    Monash University (AU) is an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. Monash is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight and the ASAIHL, and is the only Australian member of the influential M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. Monash is one of two Australian universities to be ranked in the The École des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) ranking on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies. Monash is in the top 20% in teaching, top 10% in international outlook, top 20% in industry income and top 10% in research in the world in 2016.

    Monash enrolls approximately 47,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate students, It also has more applicants than any university in the state of Victoria.

    Monash is home to major research facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centres and 17 co-operative research centres. In 2011, its total revenue was over $2.1 billion, with external research income around $282 million.

    The university has a number of centres, five of which are in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Berwick, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Malaysia. Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy, a graduate research school in Mumbai, India and a graduate school in Jiangsu Province, China. Since December 2011, Monash has had a global alliance with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.

    The Clayton campus contains the Robert Blackwood Hall, named after the university’s founding Chancellor Sir Robert Blackwood and designed by Sir Roy Grounds.

    In 2014, the University ceded its Gippsland campus to Federation University. On 7 March 2016, Monash announced that it would be closing the Berwick campus by 2018.

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