Italy’s Mount Etna Volcano Spews Lava In New Active Phase

CATANIA, Sicily – Mount Etna, the largest of Italy’s three active volcanoes, is spewing ash and lava once again, but officials say the activity is taking place at its summit and does not pose a risk to people and towns.

Etna began a new phase of eruptions on Thursday as two new cracks in the volcano opened up, sending lava down its flank.

The volcano previously erupted in December. That eruption was linked to an earthquake which caused injuries and extensive damage to buildings on and near the volcano’s slopes.

Eugenio Privitera, the director in Catania of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, says this eruption is taking place at Etna’s summit and does not pose risks to residents. But he says visitors to Etna must stay away from the summit for their own safety.

Bali Volcano Spews Ash In New Eruption

A volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali erupted Friday, spewing a plume of ash and smoke more than 2,000 metres (6,500 feet) into the sky.

Mount Agung, about 70 kilometres from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been erupting periodically since it rumbled back to life in 2017, sometimes grounding flights and forcing residents to flee their homes.

The latest eruption shortly before noon on Friday shot a cloud of volcanic ash high into the sky, but caused no disruption to flights, Indonesia’s geological agency said.

Agung remained at the second highest danger warning level, and there is a four-kilometre no-go zone around the crater.

Last summer, dozens of flights were cancelled after Agung erupted, while tens of thousands of locals fled to evacuation centres after an eruption in 2017.

The last major eruption of Agung in 1963 killed around 1,600 people.

Indonesia is situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a vast zone of geological instability where the collision of tectonic plates causes frequent quakes and major volcanic activity.

Part -V Short to Medium-Term Cycles to Long-Term Cycles and Back Again

Just as the Earth and other planets rotate around our Sun, our solar system has a rotating trajectory around our galaxy Milky Way. And I must say…before I leave this plane of existence, I feel confident future research will reveal new evidence announcing that our galaxy (along with neighboring galaxies), will have a periodicity rotation with cyclical parameters rotating around…what is yet to be discovered.

The Earth is regularly exposed to cosmic rays as it oscillates upward through the galactic disc. Every 60 million years or so, astronomers believe that our Sun and planets cycle northward in the galactic plane. Just as the Earth has her magnetic field, Milky Way has its own. Without the galactic plane’s magnetic field shielding our solar system, we would be at even higher risk of radiation exposure.

The idea the evolution of life is punctuated by major extinction events with intervals of many millions of years is well established. Familiar episodes include the Cretaceous – Paleogene transition (65.5 mya), which saw the final demise of the non avian dinosaurs and many shallow sea life-forms, and the end-Permian (251 mya) when an estimated 56% of marine genera became extinct.

It is hypnotized the closer our solar system travels to the galactic center, we researchers observed a correlation between these cyclical events and its concordance with partial and mass extinctions transpiring with measurable regularity on Earth over the past 500 million years.

Identifying mass extinction signals is part of a wider search of periodicity to causal processes associated with geological events. Previous studies have identified a variety of periods including:

1) 26-35 Myr. (million year) geo-period evidenced by mantle plumes, flood basalt, and large igneous provinces (LIPs): 2) A 60-62 Myr cycle identified by marine genera, sea level and LIPs: 3) A 135 -145 Myr. cycle established by marine genera, and oxygen isotope records and also identified a ice age epoch.

 

I’m guessing some of you know where I’m going with this new series of research articles. However, I believe most of you are still not quite sure. I must say, it has been a long-long time since I had to re-written 2 or 3 times on this article and the previous ones. I feel confident this series of articles are very important and perhaps it may be difficult for one to wrap their mind around this information realizing how closely connected our little planet is to our solar system and galaxy.

*If you find this information meaningful feel free to contribute. Go to the click here button to support this work.  CLICK HERE

At this moment I truly can’t say how many parts to this series there will be. I am certain of at least two more after this one, but 3 to 5 additional is not out of the question. I wish to thank you the two or three of you for your contribution. It comes at a good time. I have made a choice to dedicate a significant amount of time to these new understandings, and it is very important for me to present them to you in a method and style which most people will understand; and eventually all of you.

Coming Next: Part VI – Coming Friday but not sure of title as of know

Thermal Analog Black Hole Agrees With Hawking Radiation Theory

A team of researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology has found that a thermal analog black hole they created agrees with the Hawking radiation theory. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes building their analog black hole and using data from it to test its temperature. Silke Weinfurtner with the University of Nottingham has published a News and Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue.

One of Stephen Hawking’s theories suggested that not all matter that approaches a black hole falls in—he argued that in some cases in which entangled pairs of particles arise, only one of them would fall in, while the other escaped. The escaping particles were named Hawking radiation. Hawking also predicted that the radiation escaping from a black hole would be thermal and that its temperature would depend on the size of the black hole. Testing the theory has been difficult because of the nature of black holes—any radiation escaping from them would be too faint to observe. To get around that problem, researchers have been working on creating black hole analogs in the lab. In this new effort, the researchers built one designed to absorb sound instead of light. With such an analog, pairs of phonons served as stand-ins for the entangled particles in a real black hole.

The experiment consisted of chilling a group of rubidium atoms and using lasers to create a Bose-Einstein condensate. The atoms were then forced to flow in a way that resembled the trapping that occurs with a real black hole. With such a flow, sound waves were unable to escape under normal circumstances. In their experiment, the researchers were able to force one of a pair of phonons to fall into the flow of atoms while the other was allowed to escape. As they did so, the researchers took measurements of both phonons, allowing them to estimate their temperature to .035 billionths of a kelvin. And in so doing, they found it agreed with Hawking’s prediction. They also found agreement that the radiation from such a system would be thermal.

The work does not prove the theory, of course; the only way to do that will be to develop technology capable of actually measuring the radiation from a real black hole—but it does give the theory more credence.

Scientists Find Telling Early Moment That Indicates A Coming Megaquake

Scientists combing through databases of earthquakes since the early 1990s have discovered a possible defining moment 10-15 seconds into an event that could signal a magnitude 7 or larger megaquake.

Likewise, that moment—gleaned from GPS data on the peak rate of acceleration of ground displacement—can indicate a smaller event. GPS picks up an initial signal of movement along a fault similar to a seismometer detecting the smallest first moments of an earthquake.

Such GPS-based information potentially could enhance the value of earthquake early warning systems, such as the West Coast’s ShakeAlert, said Diego Melgar, a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oregon.

The physics-heavy analyses of two databases maintained by co-author Gavin P. Hayes of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado detected a point in time where a newly initiated earthquake transitions into a slip pulse where mechanical properties point to magnitude.

Melgar and Hayes also were able to identify similar trends in European and Chinese databases. Their study was detailed in the May 29 issue of the online journal Science Advances.

“To me, the surprise was that the pattern was so consistent, Melgar said. “These databases are made different ways, so it was really nice to see similar patterns across them.”

Overall, the databases contain data from more than 3,000 earthquakes. Consistent indicators of displacement acceleration that surface between 10-20 seconds into events were seen for 12 major earthquakes occurring in 2003-2016.

GPS monitors exist along many land-based faults, including at ground locations near the 620-mile-long Cascadia subduction zone off the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast, but their use is not yet common in real time hazard monitoring. GPS data shows initial movement in centimeters, Melgar said.

“We can do a lot with GPS stations on land along the coasts of Oregon and Washington, but it comes with a delay,” Melgar said. “As an earthquake starts to move, it would take some time for information about the motion of the fault to reach coastal stations. That delay would impact when a warning could be issued. People on the coast would get no warning because they are in a blind zone.”

This delay, he added, would only be ameliorated by sensors on the seafloor to record this early acceleration behavior.

Having these capabilities on the seafloor and monitoring data in real time, he said, could strengthen the accuracy of early warning systems. In 2016, Melgar, as a research scientist at Berkeley Seismological Laboratory in Berkeley, California, led a study published in Geophysical Research Letters that found real time GPS data could provide an additional 20 minutes of warning of a possible tsunami.

Japan already is laying fiber optic cable off its shores to boost its early warning capabilities, but such work is expensive and would be more so for installing the technology on the seafloor above the Cascadia fault zone, Meglar noted.

Melgar and Hayes came across the slip-pulse timing while scouring USGS databases for components that they could code into simulations to forecast what a magnitude 9 rupture of the Cascadia subduction zone would look like.

The subduction zone, which hasn’t had a massive lengthwise earthquake since 1700, is where the Juan de Fuca ocean plate dips under the North American continental plate. The fault stretches just offshore of northern Vancouver Island to Cape Mendocino in northern California.

Earth’s Mantle Is Geochemically Diverse Mosaic

In countless grade-school science textbooks, the Earth’s mantle is a yellow-to-orange gradient, a nebulously defined layer between the crust and the core.

To geologists, the mantle is so much more than that. It’s a region that lives somewhere between the cold of the crust and the bright heat of the core. It’s where the ocean floor is born and where tectonic plates die.

A new paper published today in Nature Geoscience paints an even more intricate picture of the mantle as a geochemically diverse mosaic, far different than the relatively uniform lavas that eventually reach the surface. Even more importantly, a copy of this mosaic is hidden deep in the crust. The study is led by Sarah Lambart, assistant professor of geology at the University of Utah, and is funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and the National Science Foundation.

“If you look at a painting from Jackson Pollock, you have a lot of different colors,” Lambart says. “Those colors represent different mantle components and the lines are magmas produced by these components and transported to the surface. You look at the yellow line, it’s not going to mix much with the red or black.”

Primitive minerals

Our best access to the mantle comes in the form of lava that erupts at mid-ocean ridges. These ridges are at the middle of the ocean floor and generate new ocean crust. Samples of this lava show that it’s chemically mostly the same anywhere on the planet.

But that’s at odds with what happens at the other end of the crust’s life cycle. Old ocean crust spreads away from mid-ocean ridges until it’s shoved beneath a continent and sinks back into the mantle. What happens after that is somewhat unclear, but if both the mantle and the old crust melt, there should be some variation in the chemical composition of the magmas.

So Lambart and her colleagues from Wales and the Netherlands, sought to discover what the mantle looks like before it rises as lava at a mid-ocean ridge. They examined cores, drilled through the ocean crust, to look at cumulate minerals: the first minerals to crystallize when the magmas enter the crust.

“We looked at the most primitive part of these minerals,” Lambart says, adding that once they located the primitive minerals they analyzed only the chemical composition from those very earliest minerals to form. “If you are not actually looking at the most primitive part you might lose the signal of this first melt that has been delivered to the crust. That is the originality of our work.”

They analyzed the samples centimeter by centimeter to look at variations in isotopes of neodymium and strontium, which can indicate different chemistries of mantle material that come from different types of rock. “If you have isotopic variability in your cumulates, that means that you have to have isotopic variability in the mantle too,” Lambart says.

When the blender turns on

That’s exactly what the team found. The amount of isotope variability in the cumulates was seven times greater than that in the mid-ocean ridge lavas. That means that the mantle is far from well-mixed and that this variability is preserved in the cumulates.

The likely reason, Lambart says, is that different rocks melt at different temperatures. The first rock to melt, for example the old crust, can create channels that can transport magma up to the crust. Melting of another type of rock can do the same. The end result is several networks of channels that converge towards the mid-ocean ridge but don’t mix — hearkening back to the streaks of paint on a Jackson Pollock painting.

To get at what this finding means for geology, picture a smoothie. No — go farther back than that and picture the blender carafe full of fruit, ice, milk and other ingredients. That’s like the mantle — discrete ingredients, as different from each other as a strawberry is from a blueberry. The fully blended smoothie is like the mid-ocean ridge lava. It’s fully mixed. At some point between the deep mantle and the mid-ocean ridge, Earth turns on the blender. Lambart says that her results show that at the very top of the mantle, the mixing hasn’t happened yet. The blender, it turns out, doesn’t turn on until somewhere in the crust.

Lambart’s work helps her and other geologists redefine their idea of how material moves up through the mantle to the surface.

“The problem is we need to find a way to model the geodynamic earth, including plate tectonics, to actually reproduce what is recorded in the rock today,” she says. “So far this link is missing.”

Now Lambart is setting up a new experimental petrology lab to study the conditions for the magmas to preserve their chemical compositions during their journey through the mantle and the crust.

Strange Martian Mineral Deposit Likely Sourced From Volcanic Explosions

Ashfall from ancient volcanic explosions is the likely source of a strange mineral deposit near the landing site for NASA’s next Mars rover, a new study finds. The research, published in the journal Geology, could help scientists assemble a timeline of volcanic activity and environmental conditions on early Mars.

“This is one of the most tangible pieces of evidence yet for the idea that explosive volcanism was more common on early Mars,” said Christopher Kremer, a graduate student at Brown University who led the work. “Understanding how important explosive volcanism was on early Mars is ultimately important for understand the water budget in Martian magma, groundwater abundance and the thickness of the atmosphere.”

Volcanic explosions happen when gases like water vapor are dissolved in underground magma. When the pressure of that dissolved gas is more than the rock above can hold, it explodes, sending a fiery cloud of ash and lava into the air. Scientists think that these kinds of eruptions should have happened very early in Martian history, when there was more water available to get mixed with magma. As the planet dried out, the volcanic explosions would have died down and given way to more effusive volcanism — a gentler oozing of lava onto the surface. There’s plenty of evidence of an effusive phase to be found on the Martian surface, but evidence of the early explosive phase hasn’t been easy to spot with orbital instruments, Kremer says.

This new study looked at a deposit located in a region called Nili Fossae that’s long been of interest to scientists. The deposit is rich in the mineral olivine, which is common in planetary interiors. That suggests that the deposit is derived from deep underground, but it hasn’t been clear how the material got to the surface. Some researchers have suggested that it’s yet another example of an effusive lava flow. Others have suggested that the material was dredged up by a large asteroid impact — the impact that formed the giant Isidis Basin in which the deposit sits.

For this study, Kremer and colleagues from Brown used high-resolution images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to look at the geology of the deposit in fine detail. Kremer’s co-authors on the work are fellow Brown graduate student Mike Bramble, and Jack Mustard, a professor in Brown’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and Kremer’s advisor.

“This work departed methodologically from what other folks have done by looking at the physical shape of the terrains that are composed of this bedrock,” Kremer said. “What’s the geometry, the thickness and orientation of the layers that make it up. We found that the explosive volcanism and ashfall explanation ticks all the right boxes, while all of the alternative ideas for what this deposit might be disagree in several important respects with what we observe from orbit.”

The work showed the deposit extends across the surface evenly in long continuous layers that drape evenly across hills, valleys, craters and other features. That even distribution, Kremer says, is much more consistent with ashfall than lava flow. A lava flow would be expected to pool in low-lying areas and leave thin or non-existent traces in highlands.

And the stratigraphic relationships in the area rule out an origin associated with the Isidis impact, the researchers say. They showed that the deposit sits on top of features that are known to have come after the Isidis event, suggesting that the deposit itself came after as well.

The ashfall explanation also helps to account for the deposit’s unusual mineral signatures, the researchers say. The olivine shows signs of widespread alteration through contact with water — far more alteration than other olivine deposits on Mars. That makes sense if this were ashfall, which is porous and therefore susceptible to alteration by small amounts of water, the researchers say.

All told, the researchers say, these orbital data strongly lean toward an ashfall origin. But the team won’t have to rely only on orbital data for long. NASA’s Mars2020 rover is scheduled to land in Jezero Crater, which sits within the olivine deposit. And there are exposures of the deposit within the crater. The olivine-rich unit will almost certainly be one of the rover’s exploration targets, and it might have the final say on what this deposit is.

“What’s exciting is that we’ll see very soon if I’m right or wrong,” Kremer said. “So that’s a little nerve wracking, but if it’s not an ashfall, it’s probably going to be something much stranger. That’s just as fun if not more so.”

If it does turn out to be ashfall, Kremer says, it validates the methodology used in this study as a means of looking at potential ashfall deposits elsewhere on Mars.

But whatever the rover finds will be important in understanding the evolution of the Red Planet.

“One of Mars 2020’s top 10 discoveries is going to be figuring out what this olivine-bearing unit is,” said Mustard, Kremer’s advisor. “That’s something people will be writing and talking about for a long time.”