Amazing Satellite Data Could Predict Volcano Eruptions Years In Advance
Newest research method reveals volcanic unrest that can lead to eruptions
Imagine being able to predict volcanic eruptions years in advance. This is precisely what some new exciting data has implied.
A study that was published in Nature Geoscience by NASA researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, claims that such a thing is possible. Using statistical analysis of infrared satellite-based data, they surmised that large-scale thermal unrest had preceded five different volcanoes. Specifically, subtle increases in their ‘radiant heat flux’ were observed.
Seeking precision in volcanic events
While several recognizable signals of an upcoming volcano eruption already exist, such as gas emissions and seismic activity, accurate predictions are always quite tricky.
In addition to this, no two volcanoes are ever identical. And only a few of Earth’s active volcanoes are closely monitored enough to render such precise predictions.
“Volcanoes are like a box of mixed chocolates: They may look similar, but inside there is a lot of variety between them and, sometimes, even within the same one,” stated JPL’s Paul Lundgren, who is a co-author of the study. “On top of that, only a few volcanoes are well monitored, and some of the most potentially hazardous volcanoes are the least frequently eruptive, which means you can’t rely strictly on historical records.”
Recently, seismologists were able to warn the residents on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent to immediately evacuate the ‘red zone’ surrounding the very active La Soufriere volcano. This was because they have observed an increase in seismic activity only hours before its eruption.
5 Awesome Ways Stem Cells are Advancing Medicine
Experts believe stem cells are game-changers
They hope that such warnings can be rendered much quicker in the near future. Such an improvement would be a Godsend to people like those who live near dangerous volcanoes.
Analyzing volcanic data
NASA reported the research team had analyzed over 16 years of radiant heat data. This information came from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS) that had been aboard NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites.
Their report also emphasized that while the data came from various types of volcanic eruptions, the conclusions drawn by the researchers were constant.
“In the years leading up to an eruption, the radiant surface temperature over much of the volcano increased by around 1 degree Celsius from its normal state. It decreased after each eruption,” wrote the agency, also adding the researchers believe that heat increases may come from the interaction between hydrothermal systems and magma reservoirs.
Bizarre Marine Life Movement Might be Indicating Future Mass Extinction
Marine life fleeing the equator is a disturbing sign
“We attribute large-scale thermal unrest to the enhancement of underground hydrothermal activity and suggest that such analysis of satellite-based infrared observations can improve constraints on the thermal budget of volcanoes, early detection of pre-eruptive conditions, and assessments of volcanic alert levels,” as concluded in the report.
These scientists now plan to test this new method on future volcanoes. They wish to refine their approach by applying what they’ve learned to augment existing tools, potentially saving many more lives in the future.
Could People Become Venomous in the Future?
Many scientists Fear This Will Eventually Happen To Humans
“One of the goals is to one day have a tool that can be used in near real-time to check for volcanic activity in volcanic areas,” said lead author Társilo Girona. “Even for small eruptions, there is evidence of thermal unrest before the initiation of the eruption event, so the new method helps bring us a little closer to that goal.”
Jane J. Lee, Ian J. O’Neill. (April 13, 2021). NASA Satellites Detect Signs of Volcanic Unrest Years Before Eruptions. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nasa-satellites-detect-signs-of-volcanic-unrest-years-before-eruptions.
Kristin Deane, Danica Coto. (April 12, 2021). ‘Huge’ explosion rocks St. Vincent as volcano keeps erupting. https://apnews.com/article/la-soufriere-volcano-eruption-st-vincent-caribbean-2c26166fa05e0ec6840669972ea1aaf0.