AGU continued …

Today was a lot of talking and posters. Talking mostly about all things concerning Taupo and Okataina volcanism in New Zealand. Posters ran the spectrum from learning some nifty new tricks to extract zircon crystals from a crushed rock to what happens to clay when you breathe it into your lungs.
I also learned that being head of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory take a level head and focus (so Supervolcano was a lot closer to the truth than many might think – well, minus the whole eruption).
Speaking of which, Chaiten continues to confound me. The first stuff out in the eruption was actually really crystal poor – something like <1% crystals, which is surprising for such an explosive eruption. Looks like Chaiten might be a once-in-a-century high silica rhyolite eruption … that doesn’t seem to end.

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5 thoughts on “AGU continued …

  1. Hi all — thanks for the comments! I’ll have some cool new info on St. Helens and Chaiten sometime tomorrow (I hope) … I did have to miss the Alaska session, but there is only so much meeting one can take before your brain implodes.

  2. Many thanks for your blogging updates from the AGU meeting, Erik! Looking forward to more, especially on Chaitén and the Aleutian activity. And let’s not forget that recent Alu/Dalaffilla business in Ethiopia…

  3. Erik, I should have said if an earthquake compresses one area of the large magma chamber then I would be concerned about the pressure to be increased in the whole magma chamber. And so an earthquake in one area theoretically could cause an eruption anywhere above the “50km X 160km” chamber (the size of the Taupo chamber).

  4. hey Erik,
    great to see you blogging AGU!
    about chaiten, it’s not so surprising that it’s crystal poor and explosive, that’s
    actually quite common in other systems it’s size in the west US. my
    poster tomorrow will address this. please come by!

  5. The link below relates to Taupo and some caldera systems in general.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4202557a7693.html
    The article in my link (immediately above) tells about a study that revealed a layer of molten rock 50km X 160km that underlies the region to the northeast of Taupo.
    Among other things the author wrote,
    ‘It was thought magma lurked in unconnected pockets under volcanoes and geothermal zones, said Hugh Bibby of GNS Science.
    But new measurements have revealed the molten rock lies across a zone 50 kilometres wide and 160km long, northeast of Taupo.
    “The key is that it is like a continuous film wetting the surface. The wet surface is right across the Taupo Volcanic Zone, not just little blobs under each geothermal system or volcano,” Dr Bibby said.’
    Eric, if an earthquake crimps one part of this huge magma source I’d fear it may cause a volcanic eruption at some other point in this large system.
    I’d like to see more investment in geology. These eruptions can be dangerous and troublesome for the entire world. If we appreciated the risks from caldera volcanoes we would probably maintain a world reserve food supply.
    And of course different areas will have different types of magma chambers. I’d be curious to learn how magma is dispersed under the Andes volcanoes.

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