We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Understanding 'Atlantis' Blast
As we come to appreciate the
astounding civilization of the Minoans that ended with Thera, we have also come
to understand that the successor empire was Atlantis based on the delta south
of Seville by Gibraltar and that this too was
reduced three centuries later by Hekla.
It appears Plato’s tale subsumed
the events and descriptions of Thera, Crete
and the later inundation of Atlantis into one jumbled story.
In the meantime, we learn that a
caldera volcano should give decent notice which makes a great deal of
sense.Magma does not flow smoothly or
fast and if it is filling a huge magma camber then a succession of events
appears probable. It also begs the
question of how can the energy for the blast be accumulated.It thus makes sense for it to enter a final
phase of heavy flows.
Thera is still a small Super
volcano and I still do not wish to be anywhere near one.
Around 1630 BC, a super-volcano blew apart the Aegean island of Santorini,
an event so violent that some theorists say it nurtured the legend of Atlantis.
More than three and a half millennia later, the big blast is yielding
forensic clues which help the search to predict future cataclysmic eruptions,
scientists said on Wednesday.
Bigger than the destruction of Indonesia's Krakatoa in 1883, the
Santorini event was a so-called caldera eruption, a kind that happens mercifully
only at intervals of tens of thousands of years, sometimes far more.
The chamber of a volcano becomes progressively filled with magma but
lacks vents from which to discharge this dangerous buildup of gas and molten
The pressure cooker culminates in catastrophe, ripping off the top of
the volcano and leaving a depression called a caldera, the Spanish word for
One of the great unknowns is when a caldera-type episode is in the
That question is a particular concern for YellowstonePark in Wyoming,
a truly massive volcano classified as "high-threat" by the US Geological
Vulcanologists led by French-based Timothy Druitt scrutinised crystals
of a mineral called feldspar that had been ejected from the Santorini eruption.
They looked for traces of magnesium, strontium and titanium, deposited
in waves over thousands of years by the slowly advancing magma. The chemicals,
they found, were a telltale of events over time.
From these signatures, the picture that emerges is of final, fatal
spurts of magma injection which happened in the last decades -- maybe even just
the final months -- before the great eruption.
The study, reported in the journal Nature, chimes with other research
that suggests magma reservoirs in caldera volcanoes undergo a
"pulsatory" buildup which probably accelerate before eruption.
If so, the findings are useful for vulcanologists poring over Yellowstone and other hotspots. They could detect such
pulses using satellite technology, which records ground deformation over time
as the volcano bulges, and ground-motion sensors.
But only close familiarity helps build a "pulse" model which
gives a good idea of when a volcano is about to blow its lid.
"Long-term monitoring of large, dormant caldera systems, even in
remote parts of the world, is essential if late-stage growth spurts of shallow
magma reservoirs are to be detected well in advance of caldera-forming
eruptions," says the paper.
Also called the Minoan Eruption, the Santorini event spewed out up to
60 cubic kilometres (14.4 cubic miles) of material, causing ash clouds that
devastated Bronze Age civilisations in the Aegean.
Some theorists say the event inspired Plato's tale, written some 1,300
years later, of a circular island-empire inhabited by people of great culture
and wealth, that sank to the depths of the sea in a single day and night of
earthquakes and floods.