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Volcanic Crystal Clocks and CO2: Transforming our Prospects for Predicting Huge Eruptions

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Antonio M. M. Rodrigues.

Abstract: Volcanic eruptions can have a dramatic impact upon humans, from the brutally direct through to the insidious role of gas and ash on the global scale. Characteristic pre-eruptive behaviour has now been established for a handful of frequently active volcanoes. The most damaging eruptions are, however, infrequent, which presents challenges for understanding monitoring data from very large volcanic systems. How should we interpret, for example, deep earthquake swarms, ground deformation and gas emanations around huge subglacial volcanoes in Iceland? These volcanoes that have the potential to cause significant disruption and death in the UK. I will describe how exciting advances in Earth Sciences have allowed us to use crystals in volcanic rocks as chronometers of pre-eruptive processes. We can study ancient and damaging eruptions and resolve the likely magma storage depth, pre-eruptive gas release and timescales of magma transport to within days, or, in some cases, hours. These findings can help to guide future volcano monitoring activities and transform our ability to coexist with volcanoes.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Science Society talks series.

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