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2018-03-30. Are We Prepared for the Next Mega Eruption?

posted Apr 6, 2018, 9:10 PM by Alan Gould
By Fabio Florindo, AGU-Eos. For GSS Energy Flow chapter 2. Excerpt: In April 1815, Mount Tambora, on the Indonesian island of Sambawa, experienced a colossal eruption, with a rating of 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). Tens of thousands of people died, about 100 cubic kilometers of rock blasted into the air, and the resulting sulfate aerosol in the upper atmosphere led to drastic weather changes in North America and Europe, causing food shortages. The following year, 1816, is known as the “Year without a Summer” due to the major climate abnormalities, and proved to be inspirational for art and literature (for example, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, J.M.W. Turner). A previous VEI 7 eruption in the region, of the Indonesian volcano Samalas at Mount Rinjani in 1257 CE was implicated in the onset of a centuries-long cold period between the 14th and the 19th century called the Little Ice Age. Fortunately, the recurrence frequency of VEI 7 eruptions somewhere in the world is between one and two per thousand years, but this should not cause complacence in preparing for future events. Volcanologist Chris Newhall, with co-authors Stephen Self and Alan Robock, have recently published a paper in Geosphere exploring the potential consequences of the next VEI 7 eruption.... https://eos.org/editors-vox/are-we-prepared-for-the-next-mega-eruption