New Super Volcano Discovered

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1,812
Location
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
#2
I cringe at headlines like this as a geologist. We call these mantle plumes....and as stated, it is unknown if it will ever erupt into a volcano. A supervolcano has a specific definition (cubic area of deposits from the eruption), in which none of the criteria have been met for this region of the Northeast.

Let the media handle anything science and I guarantee it'll be wrong. It seems like his team is working with incomplete data from what I'm reading. To challenge such solid geological fundamentals of the North American craton will need A LOT more studying than this one study.
 

JayF

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Hartselle, al
#4
I cringe at headlines like this as a geologist. We call these mantle plumes....and as stated, it is unknown if it will ever erupt into a volcano. A supervolcano has a specific definition (cubic area of deposits from the eruption), in which none of the criteria have been met for this region of the Northeast.

Let the media handle anything science and I guarantee it'll be wrong. It seems like his team is working with incomplete data from what I'm reading. To challenge such solid geological fundamentals of the North American craton will need A LOT more studying than this one study.
That was my thought. I was like why even publish this. Are you trying to cause panic with people living in that area? With data being incomplete, wait until you have a full picture. And even if you believe there is a new Super Volcano looming, Then make sure people are aware upfront that it is thousands or millions of years away from actually erupting.
 
Messages
1
Location
Chattanooga, TN
#5
That was my thought. I was like why even publish this. Are you trying to cause panic with people living in that area? With data being incomplete, wait until you have a full picture. And even if you believe there is a new Super Volcano looming, Then make sure people are aware upfront that it is thousands or millions of years away from actually erupting.
It's basically a non story. But there's just enough there to make it into something they can get people to click on. Heck I did.
 
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39
Location
Corvallis, Oregon
#6
Well, we can't ask scientists to cover up their findings, especially on something unusual like this, given its location on a passive margin--is it left over from the Atlantic opening up hundreds of millions of years ago? That's why it's big news in science, not the population threat potential, which no one is saying is anywhere imminent.

Childhood memory from Western Massachusetts: There is a place called Lebanon Hot Springs somewhere there, and I recall (haven't time today to look it up) that's what experts said the heat came from - that long-ago ocean opening.

This magma could have been sitting there all this time and our instruments just got good enough to spot it. That's a success story.

Anyway, there's a good education opportunity here. Journalists write to their readers' expectations--we can't control the journalists (especially the click-bait and big-scare types) but we can let them know we expect better of them.

Some questions:

1. It's not a volcano; it hasn't erupted. And "Super" only refers to the volume of erupted products. (OK, this is a point, not a question)

2. Is it a plume? I haven't read that the ground above it is rising, one of the first things they look for when a plume is suspected. Perhaps instead it's a magma body: there are such things all over the place, sometimes in unusual places (Socorro, New Mexico, for instance). And, like that remnant of the failed Rio Grande rifting tens of millions of years ago, these are sometimes left-overs of ancient geologic events (though some aren't, like the huge Andean magma body in South America's active subduction zone).

3. It may well be only a little bit molten and well on the way to becoming another pluton, like the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Very cool to think that, in several million years, there may be a similar mountain range where the Northeast urban sprawl now sits!

4. Who's monitoring it and where can we check for updates on the research?



FWIW: Qualifications: Retired after 25 years of medical transcription and now earth-science blogging; forestry degree; a couple of additional years of undergraduate geology courses after that,, but geochemistry was not my thing (did well enough in geophysics, but went into transcription after that to support myself and loved it); volcanophile; writing an ebook series on how the cat family evolved.
 

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