Rapid Formation Of Bubbles In Magma May Trigger Sudden Volcanic Eruptions

It has long been observed that some volcanoes erupt with little prior warning. Now, scientists have come up with an explanation behind these sudden eruptions that could change the way observers monitor active or dormant volcanoes.

magma

Previously, it was thought eruptions were triggered by a build-up of pressure caused by the slow accumulation of bubbly, gas-saturated magma beneath volcanoes over tens to hundreds of years. But new research has shown that some eruptions may be triggered within days to months by the rapid formation of gas bubbles in magma chambers very late in their lifetime.

Using the Campi Flegrei volcano near Naples, southern Italy, as a case study, the team of scientists, from the universities of Oxford and Durham in the UK, and the Vesuvius Volcano Observatory in Italy, demonstrate this phenomenon for the first time and provide a mechanism to explain the increasing number of reported eruptions that occur with little or no warning.

The study is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Lead author Mike Stock, from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, said: ‘We have shown for the first time that processes that occur very late in magma chamber development can trigger explosive eruptions, perhaps in only a few days to months. This has significant implications for the way we monitor active and dormant volcanoes, suggesting that the signals we previously thought indicative of pre-eruptive activity – such as seismic activity or ground deformation – may in fact show the extension of a dormant period between eruptions.

‘Our findings suggest that, rather than seismic activity and ground deformation, a better sign of an impending eruption might be a change in the composition of gases emitted at the Earth’s surface. When the magma forms bubbles, the composition of gas at the surface should change, potentially providing an early warning sign.’
The researchers analysed tiny crystals of a mineral called apatite thrown out during an ancient explosive eruption of Campi Flegrei. This volcano last erupted in 1538 but has recently shown signs of unrest.

By looking at the composition of crystals trapped at different times during the evolution of the magma body – and with the apatite crystals in effect acting as ‘time capsules’ – the team was able to show that the magma that eventually erupted had spent most of its lifetime in a bubble-free state, becoming gas-saturated only very shortly before eruption. Under these conditions of slow magma chamber growth, earthquakes and ground deformation observed at the surface may not be signs of impending eruption, instead simply tracking the arrival of new batches of magma at depth.

Professor David Pyle from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, a co-author of the paper, said: ‘Now that we have demonstrated that this approach can work on a particular volcano, and given apatite is a mineral found in many volcanic systems, it is likely to stimulate interest in other volcanoes to see whether there is a similar pattern.

‘This research will also help us refine our ideas of what we want to measure in our volcanoes and how we interpret the long-term monitoring signals traditionally used by observers.’

The Campi Flegrei volcano system has had a colourful history. The Romans thought an area called Solfatara (where gas is emitted from the ground) was the home of Vulcan, the god of fire. Meanwhile, one of the craters in the system, Lake Avernus, was referred to as the entrance to Hades in ancient mythology.

Additionally, Campi Flegrei has long been a site of geological interest. In Charles Lyell’s 1830 Principles of Geology, he identified the burrows of marine fossils at the top of the Macellum of Pozzuoli (an ancient Roman market building), concluding that the ground around Naples rises and falls over geological time.

Ancient Rocks Of Tetons Formed By Continental Collisions

University of Wyoming scientists have found evidence of continental collisions in Wyoming’s Teton Range, similar to those in the Himalayas, dating to as early as 2.68 billion years ago.

himalayas

The research, published Jan. 22 in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, shows that plate tectonics were operating in what is now western Wyoming long before the collisions that created the Himalayas starting 40 million years ago.

In fact, the remnants of tectonic activity in old rocks exposed in the Tetons point to the world’s earliest known continent-continent collision, says Professor Carol Frost of UW’s Department of Geology and Geophysics, lead author of the paper.

“While the Himalayas are the prime example of continent-continent collisions that take place due to plate tectonic motion today, our work suggests plate tectonics operated far, far back into the geologic past,” Frost says.

The paper’s co-authors include fellow UW Department of Geology and Geophysics faculty members Susan Swapp and Ron Frost.

The researchers reached their conclusions by analyzing ancient, exposed granite in the northern Teton Range and comparing it to similar rock in the Himalayas. The rocks were formed from magma produced by what is known as decompression melting, a process that commonly occurs when two continental tectonic plates collide. The dramatically thickened crust extends under gravitational forces, and melting results when deeper crust rises closer to the surface.

While the Tetons are a relatively young mountain range, formed by an uplift along the Teton Fault less than 9 million years ago, the rocks exposed there are some of the oldest found in North America.

The UW scientists found that the mechanisms that formed the granites of the Tetons and the Himalayas are comparable, but that there are significant differences between the rocks of the two regions. That is due to differences in the composition of the continental crust in Wyoming 2.68 billion years ago compared to crustal plates observed today. Specifically, the ancient crust that melted in the Tetons contained less potassium than the more recently melted crust found in the Himalayas.

Unprecedented: Expedition Recovers Mantle Rocks With Signs Of Life

An international team of scientists — recently returned from a 47-day research expedition to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean — have collected an unprecedented sequence of rock samples from the shallow mantle of the ocean crust that bear signs of life, unique carbon cycling, and ocean crust movement. Led by Co-Chief Scientists Dr. Gretchen Früh-Green (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) and Dr. Beth Orcutt (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, USA), the team collected these unique rock samples using seabed rock drills from Germany and the UK — the first time in the history of the decades-long scientific ocean drilling program that such technology has been utilized.

scientist

The aims of the expedition are to determine how mantle rocks are brought to the seafloor and react with seawater — such reactions may fuel life in the absence of sunlight, which may be how life developed early in Earth’s history, or on other planets. The team also hopes to learn more about what happens to carbon during the reactions between the rocks and the seawater — processes that could impact on climate by sequestering carbon.

“The rocks collected on the expedition provide unique records of deep processes that formed the Atlantis Massif. We will also gain valuable insight into how these rocks react with circulating seawater at the seafloor during a process we call serpentinization and its consequences for chemical cycles and life” stated expedition Co-Chief Scientist Gretchen Früh-Green.

“During drilling, we found evidence for hydrogen and methane in our samples, which microbes can ‘eat’ to grow and form new cells,” explained Beth Orcutt, Co-Chief Scientist from Bigelow Laboratory. “Similar rocks and gases are found on other planets, so by studying how life exists in such harsh conditions deep below the seafloor, we inform the search for life elsewhere in the Universe.”

The scientists are part of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 357, conducted by the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) as part of the IODP. The expedition set off from Southampton, UK, on October 26, 2015, aboard the Royal Research Vessel James Cook (operated by the National Environment Research Council, UK), returning on December 11, 2015. They brought with them the Rock Drill 2 from the British Geological Survey and the MeBo rock drill from MARUM in Bremen, Germany, for around-the-clock operations to collect rock cores from the Atlantis Massif, a 4,000-m tall underwater mountain along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The rock drills were equipped with new technologies to enable the scientists to detect signs of life in the rock samples.

During the past two weeks, the science party has been studying the rock samples in detail at the IODP Bremen Core Repository in Bremen, Germany. The science party consists of 31 scientists (16 female/15 male) from 13 different countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA), ranging from students to tenured professors. At the end of this sampling party, the first results of the expedition will be reported.

New Confirmation Galactic Cosmic Rays Have Increased Intensity

Further confirmation advocating my research related to external sources outside our solar system is synchronous to our interplanetary cycles. The Sun-Earth connection, analogous to its 11, 22 year cycle reacts in congruous with larger galactic cycles of 500, 1,000, 5,000, 44,000, 100,000 (Centrennium) and beyond into (Megaannus) 1,000,000 year cycles.

milky_way_system9_m

Only the most recent research has been able to identify such events as a result of almost magical new hardware of satellites, telescopes, spacecraft, and of course the software that goes with it. You might remember an article I wrote almost 2 years ago, as I reported to you what my sources directly connected to international space agencies, had told to me. It went something like this: “New information is coming in so fast, and is challenging our known formulas, templates, equations etc, we had to shut it down (figuratively) and begin our unsettling task of creating a new paradigm.”

galactic cosmic ray chart

As our brilliant, yet mostly isolated scientific disciplines, have begun to slowly unwind data that reaches memory sizes beyond Terabytes, beyond Petabytes, beyond Exabytes, now beyond Zettabytes, and currently is filling Yottabytes.  As the slow untangling of new insights unfold, we can now see a direct connection to cyclical patterns far beyond our solar system borders and into our home galaxy Milky Way.

Memory Scale: 1 yottabyte = 1024 zettabytes = 1048576 exabytes = 1073741824 petabytes = 1099511627776 terabytes = 1125899906842624 gigabytes.

nagoya

New information collected from neutron monitor measurements from the University of Oulu Cosmic Ray Station intensification of cosmic rays is making itself felt not only over the poles, but also over lower latitudes where Earth’s magnetic field provides a greater degree of protection against deep space radiation.

Earth’s magnetic field is currently weakening more rapidly. Data from the SWARM satellites have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past. Previously, researchers estimated the field was weakening about 5 percent per century, but the new data revealed the field is actually weakening at 5 percent per decade, or 10 times faster than thought.

cosmic ray stream - solar system_m

New Equation:
Increase Charged Particles Decreased Magnetic Field → Increase Outer Core Convection → Increase of Mantle Plumes → Increase in Earthquake and Volcanoes → Cools Mantle and Outer Core → Return of Outer Core Convection (Mitch Battros – July 2012)

new_equation 2012

In a recent study using neutron monitor measurements from the University of Oulu Cosmic Ray Station, show an accelerated amount of cosmic rays are now hitting lower latitudes likely due to a weakened magnetic field. This is cause for alert as radiation measurements have increased which could have a long-lasting effect on airline ceilings.

More on this research coming this week…………….

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Scientists Decode Brain Signals Nearly At Speed Of Perception

Using electrodes implanted in the temporal lobes of awake patients, scientists have decoded brain signals at nearly the speed of perception. Further, analysis of patients’ neural responses to two categories of visual stimuli — images of faces and houses — enabled the scientists to subsequently predict which images the patients were viewing, and when, with better than 95 percent accuracy.

The research is published in PLOS Computational Biology.

brain

University of Washington computational neuroscientist Rajesh Rao and UW Medicine neurosurgeon Jeff Ojemann, working their student Kai Miller and with colleagues in Southern California and New York, conducted the study.

“We were trying to understand, first, how the human brain perceives objects in the temporal lobe, and second, how one could use a computer to extract and predict what someone is seeing in real time?” explained Rao. He is a UW professor of computer science and engineering, and he directs the National Science Foundation’s Center for Sensorimotor Engineering, headquartered at UW.

“Clinically, you could think of our result as a proof of concept toward building a communication mechanism for patients who are paralyzed or have had a stroke and are completely locked-in,” he said.

The study involved seven epilepsy patients receiving care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Each was experiencing epileptic seizures not relieved by medication, Ojemann said, so each had undergone surgery in which their brains’ temporal lobes were implanted — temporarily, for about a week — with electrodes to try to locate the seizures’ focal points.

“They were going to get the electrodes no matter what; we were just giving them additional tasks to do during their hospital stay while they are otherwise just waiting around,” Ojemann said.

Temporal lobes process sensory input and are a common site of epileptic seizures. Situated behind mammals’ eyes and ears, the lobes are also involved in Alzheimer’s and dementias and appear somewhat more vulnerable than other brain structures to head traumas, he said.

In the experiment, the electrodes from multiple temporal-lobe locations were connected to powerful computational software that extracted two characteristic properties of the brain signal: “event-related potentials” and “broadband spectral changes.”

Rao characterized the former as likely arising from “hundreds of thousands of neurons being co-activated when an image is first presented,” and the latter as “continued processing after the initial wave of information.”

The subjects, watching a computer monitor, were shown a random sequence of pictures — brief (400 millisecond) flashes of images of human faces and houses, interspersed with blank gray screens. Their task was to watch for an image of an upside-down house.

“We got different responses from different (electrode) locations; some were sensitive to faces and some were sensitive to houses,” Rao said.

The computational software sampled and digitized the brain signals 1,000 times per second to extract their characteristics. The software also analyzed the data to determine which combination of electrode locations and signal types correlated best with what each subject actually saw.

In that way it yielded highly predictive information.

By training an algorithm on the subjects’ responses to the (known) first two-thirds of the images, the researchers could examine the brain signals representing the final third of the images, whose labels were unknown to them, and predict with 96 percent accuracy whether and when (within 20 milliseconds) the subjects were seeing a house, a face or a gray screen.

This accuracy was attained only when event-related potentials and broadband changes were combined for prediction, which suggests they carry complementary information.

“Traditionally scientists have looked at single neurons,” Rao said. “Our study gives a more global picture, at the level of very large networks of neurons, of how a person who is awake and paying attention perceives a complex visual object.”

The scientists’ technique, he said, is a steppingstone for brain mapping, in that it could be used to identify in real time which locations of the brain are sensitive to types of information.

Lead author of the study is Kai Miller, a neurosurgery resident and physicist at Stanford University who obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. at the UW. Other collaborators were Dora Hermes, a Stanford postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience, and Gerwin Schalk, a neuroscientist at the Wadsworth Institute in New York.

“The computational tools that we developed can be applied to studies of motor function, studies of epilepsy, studies of memory. The math behind it, as applied to the biological, is fundamental to learning,” Ojemann said.

Bringing Time And Space Together For Universal Symmetry

New research from Griffith University’s Centre for Quantum Dynamics is broadening perspectives on time and space.

universe

In a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Associate Professor Joan Vaccaro challenges the long-held presumption that time evolution — the incessant unfolding of the universe over time — is an elemental part of Nature.

In the paper, entitled Quantum asymmetry between time and space, she suggests there may be a deeper origin due to a difference between the two directions of time: to the future and to the past.

“If you want to know where the universe came from and where it’s going, you need to know about time,” says Associate Professor Vaccaro.

“Experiments on subatomic particles over the past 50 years ago show that Nature doesn’t treat both directions of time equally.

“In particular, subatomic particles called K and B mesons behave slightly differently depending on the direction of time.

“When this subtle behaviour is included in a model of the universe, what we see is the universe changing from being fixed at one moment in time to continuously evolving.

“In other words, the subtle behaviour appears to be responsible for making the universe move forwards in time.

“Understanding how time evolution comes about in this way opens up a whole new view on the fundamental nature of time itself.

“It may even help us to better understand bizarre ideas such as travelling back in time.”

According to the paper, an asymmetry exists between time and space in the sense that physical systems inevitably evolve over time whereas there is no corresponding ubiquitous translation over space.

This asymmetry, long presumed to be elemental, is represented by equations of motion and conservation laws that operate differently over time and space.

However, Associate Professor Vaccaro used a “sum-over-paths formalism” to demonstrate the possibility of a time and space symmetry, meaning the conventional view of time evolution would need to be revisited.

“In the connection between time and space, space is easier to understand because it’s simply there. But time is forever forcing us towards the future,” says Associate Professor Vaccaro.

“Yet while we are indeed moving forward in time, there is also always some movement backwards, a kind of jiggling effect, and it is this movement I want to measure using these K and B mesons.”

Associate Professor Vaccaro says the research provides a solution to the origin of dynamics, an issue that has long perplexed science.