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Scientists discover magma building up below a town in New Zealand

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posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 10:50 AM
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Science alert

Fiona MacDonald 6 Jun 2016

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www.sciencealert.com...
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Scientists have discovered magma building up beneath a town on New Zealand's North Island, and say it could signal the birth of a brand new volcano.
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Since 1950, the researchers report that enough magma to fill 80,000 Olympic-size swimming pools has forced itself beneath the surface of the coastal town of Matata, about 200 kilometres southeast of Auckland, pushing the land up by 40 cm.
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. . .
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"Although the ultimate fate of the magma remains unclear, its presence may represent the birth of a new magma chamber on the margins of arguably the world’s most active region of silicic volcanism, which has witnessed 25 caldera-forming eruptions over the last 1.6 million years," the researchers write in Science Advances.
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. . .
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I guess it could bring new meaning to the old saying about "A hot time in the old town tonight!"
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I'm glad it's being monitored closely!
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Still, I think I'd look for a new home on South Island! LOL.
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I don't think I'd relate well to an eruption between the bed and the bathroom.
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I wonder if they'd have as much warning as Mt St Helens? Do all eruptions give some clear warning with so much monitoring? I don't know.
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Given that half the area is off shore, it sounds like some new NZ land could be in the offing.
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I guess the Hobbits might need to consider relocating?
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posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 11:08 AM
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I have no idea on the logistics involved, but if this is a real "coastal town", couldn't they directional drill down to it giving it a way to escape into the ocean? Just a quick thought with absolutely no research behind it!



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 11:16 AM
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a reply to: superman2012

All the geologist responses I've ever read about drilling into a magma chamber etc. to try and relieve pressure on a looming volcanic eruption have been negative.

Virtually all of them are more concerned that it would merely open up a channel for a quicker eruption . . . or some such.



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 11:33 AM
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Hakuna matata.

Seriously, I'd be moving if I lived there. That can't be good.



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 12:21 PM
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originally posted by: jtrenthacker
Hakuna matata.

Seriously, I'd be moving if I lived there. That can't be good.
Surely one key aspect will be the size of the magma chamber?



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 03:13 PM
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a reply to: BO XIAN

Well New Zealand is on the ring of fire so it wouldn't surprise anyone. Frankly I'd be more worried about the baby krakatoa that's growing, here's a scary description of the original Krakatoa eruption.




The explosions were heard on Rodriguez Island, 4653 km distant across the Indian Ocean, and over 1/13th of the earth’s surface.

Every recording barograph in the world documented the passage of the atmospheric pressure wave, some as many as 7 times as the wave bounced back and forth between the eruption site and its antipodes for 5 days after the explosion.

Blue and green suns were observed as fine ash and aerosol, erupted perhaps 50 km into the stratosphere, circled the equator in 13 days.


source

If that's what Krakatoa was capable of, imagine what Yellowstone is capable of...I shudder at the thought.



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 03:49 PM
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Scientists say the presence of a magma body does not mean an eruption might be imminent and it has not changed the volcanic hazard of the Bay of Plenty region.


GNS Science

GNS is the 'homebase' of the lead authour.

Here's the full, open-access article, published in 'Science Advances'


Abstract

Continental rifting and seafloor spreading play a fundamental role in the generation of new crust. However, the distribution of magma and its relationship with tectonics and volcanism remain poorly understood, particularly in back-arc settings. We show evidence for a large, long-lived, off-axis magmatic intrusion located on the margin of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand. Geodetic data acquired since the 1950s show evidence for uplift outside of the region of active extension, consistent with the inflation of a magmatic body at a depth of ~9.5 km. Satellite radar interferometry and Global Positioning System data suggest that there was an increase in the inflation rate from 2003 to 2011, which correlates with intense earthquake activity in the region. Our results suggest that the continued growth of a large magmatic body may represent the birth of a new magma chamber on the margins of a back-arc rift system.


Matata is situated in the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ) and the area is also home to a number of faults (see:Edgecumbe earthquake 1987).

The South Island has a number of natural hazards to factor in, not least of all the Alpine Fault.

Nowhere is safe when you straddle plate boundaries!

edit on 7-6-2016 by aorAki because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 08:34 PM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie

CERTAINLY Krakatoa is NOT to be treated lightly.

What's the latest on its status?

Thanks.



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 08:39 PM
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a reply to: aorAki

Thanks for the great links and articles.

Interesting.

So, is there, or is there not . . . a relatively safe area of NZ in terms of quakes and volcanoes?

I assume it would have to be on South Island and not near Christchurch?



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 09:05 PM
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a reply to: BO XIAN


Hmm...The Chatham Islands?


A lot depends on the prevailing wind (regarding volcanic plumes), so Northland might be a good bet (plus it has a pleasant climate), and parts of Otago (lower east coast, South Island) might be safer as well...it will take a few million years for the plate boundary to migrate that far south.

Relatively safe? It's all relative. One could argue now that Christchurch is pretty safe, especially with earthquake strengthening undertaken and the rebuild underway. There are still earthquakes, but that is the 'new normal' and most don't raise the pulse. However, depending where the Alpine Fault ruptures, the shaking will be long and drawn out.
Definitely not Wellington (our capital city). It's built on fault lines and reclaimed land, with limited routes of access.



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 10:15 PM
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a reply to: BO XIAN

So, they have monitored this for years, and no one is relocating?!?!? Yikes! Forty centimeters isn't a small amount. Something like that could go off with very little warning, too.



posted on Jun, 7 2016 @ 11:12 PM
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a reply to: LadyGreenEyes

This should put your mind at rest:


We suggest that long-term uplift along the Bay of Plenty coast is the result of the continuous intrusion of magma at depth and that the occurrence of frequent earthquake swarms in the region is in response to periodic increases in melt supply, like that observed between 2005 and 2011. The city of Tauranga is located only ~50 km to the west of the activity, emphasizing the need to better understand rifting processes in the region for improved volcanic and seismic hazard assessment. Continued monitoring will allow us to identify future pulses of inflation and potentially enable us to predict earthquake swarms in the region. Although the ultimate fate of the magma remains unclear, its presence may represent the birth of a new magma chamber on the margins of arguably the world’s most active region of silicic volcanism, which has witnessed 25 caldera-forming eruptions over the last 1.6 My


(bolding mine)

Source

Just kidding, it's another reason not to live in the Bay of Plenty. Gosh, it's gorgeous there though:

Bayofplentynz.com



posted on Jun, 9 2016 @ 07:04 PM
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originally posted by: aorAki
a reply to: LadyGreenEyes

This should put your mind at rest:


We suggest that long-term uplift along the Bay of Plenty coast is the result of the continuous intrusion of magma at depth and that the occurrence of frequent earthquake swarms in the region is in response to periodic increases in melt supply, like that observed between 2005 and 2011. The city of Tauranga is located only ~50 km to the west of the activity, emphasizing the need to better understand rifting processes in the region for improved volcanic and seismic hazard assessment. Continued monitoring will allow us to identify future pulses of inflation and potentially enable us to predict earthquake swarms in the region. Although the ultimate fate of the magma remains unclear, its presence may represent the birth of a new magma chamber on the margins of arguably the world’s most active region of silicic volcanism, which has witnessed 25 caldera-forming eruptions over the last 1.6 My


(bolding mine)

Source

Just kidding, it's another reason not to live in the Bay of Plenty. Gosh, it's gorgeous there though:

Bayofplentynz.com


Amazingly beautiful, for certain!! All in all, I'd prefer a place with less likelihood of melting, though!! At least they seem to be keeping a close watch.




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