Comments from the U.S. Geological Survey are sparking questions about a potential volcanic eruption in Imperial Valley that could bring clouds of ash to San Diego County.
"Most definitely… Volcanic activity is possible," said geologist Pat Abbott.
Abbott was part of a research group that collected footage of muddy pits and volcanic gasses about 100 miles east on the southern end of the Salton Sea. The area is the home of four buttes that are several hundred feet tall.
The buttes are small volcanoes with an explosive past. Miles below them is a pool of magma that is 15 miles wide. About 8,000 years ago, the buttes erupted, causing magma to flow which cooled into obsidian rock.
The damage from those eruptions was limited to the surrounding area, but if a major earthquake hit along the San Andreas Fault, geologists said there could be trouble.
Though ash clouds like those seen in Iceland last year is a remote possibility, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey recently said in an article from the Palm Springs Desert Sun that "I would not anticipate an Iceland eruption, but we didn't anticipate Mount St. Helens either."
The Battle of Two Chiefs: Mount Mazama and Mount Shasta
The Klamath Indians of the pacific Northwest tell a legend about a fight between two chiefs. Llao was the chief of the Below World and was at Mount Mazama in Oregon. Skell was the chief of the Above World and stood at the summit of Mount Shasta in northern California. The two mountains are only a hundred miles apart. As darkness covered the land the two chiefs threw rocks and flames at each other. Llao, injured, fell back inside of Mount Mazama and was never seen again. A huge hole was left where he fell into the Below World. Over time, the hole filled with water to make Crater Lake. Volcanologists now know that Crater Lake is a caldera that formed by large explosions and collapse about 6,800 years ago. From Vitaliano (1973).
The events were big enough to register on earthquake sensors, and seismologists at the University of Washington called the park to see what was going on.
Though impressive to bystanders high on the mountain, the rockfalls and the muddy flows they spawned don't pose danger to park visitors or people living downstream by the Nisqually River, said Jim Vallance, a volcanologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Cascades Volcano Observatory.
Mount Rainier has unleashed massive mudslides, or lahars, in the past. But the current avalanches are tiny by comparison. Nor is there any hint of volcanic activity, which would be required to trigger a lahar from Rainier's south side, Vallance said.
Originally posted by westcoast
reply to post by Shenon
Great find! Thank you for that, I had been wondering about those signals. Been watching them for a few days now. I almost posted about it. But I always hesitate to speculate about rainier. I figured it was probably avalanches. To find out they were mud and rockslides is kinda scary after the show I recently watched on it. Those are one of the BIG warning signs to watch for. So far it sounds like the experts are saying no worries ...but I'll be keeping a close eye on it!
ScienceDaily (July 6, 2011) — Bringing fresh insight into long-standing debates about how powerful geological forces shape the planet, from earthquake ruptures to mountain formations, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have identified a new mechanism driving Earth's massive tectonic plates.
Scripps scientists Steve Cande and Dave Stegman have now discovered a new force that drives plate tectonics: Plumes of hot magma pushing up from Earth's deep interior. Their research is published in the July 7 issue of the journal Nature.
Using analytical methods to track plate motions through Earth's history, Cande and Stegman's research provides evidence that such mantle plume "hot spots," which can last for tens of millions of years and are active today at locations such as Hawaii, Iceland and the Galapagos, may work as an additional tectonic driver, along with push-pull forces.
Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have discovered previously unknown volcanoes in the ocean waters around the remote South Sandwich Islands.
Using ship-borne sea-floor mapping technology during research cruises onboard the RRS James Clark Ross, the scientists found 12 volcanoes beneath the sea surface -- some up to 3km high. They found 5km diameter craters left by collapsing volcanoes and 7 active volcanoes visible above the sea as a chain of islands.
The research is important also for understanding what happens when volcanoes erupt or collapse underwater and their potential for creating serious hazards such as tsunamis. Also this sub-sea landscape, with its waters warmed by volcanic activity creates a rich habitat for many species of wildlife and adds valuable new insight about life on earth.
Speaking at the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences in Edinburgh Dr Phil Leat from British Antarctic Survey said, "There is so much that we don't understand about volcanic activity beneath the sea -- it's likely that volcanoes are erupting or collapsing all the time. The technologies that scientists can now use from ships not only give us an opportunity to piece together the story of the evolution of our earth, but they also help shed new light on the development of natural events that pose hazards for people living in more populated regions on the planet."
Originally posted by westcoast
Pleaese keep in mind that this is a theory....I hope it is wrong, but based on what I have read and now seen happening I really think there is potential is correct either in part or whole.