Watchman Newsletter

Der Spiegel: Geologists Warning Of �Mega-Eruption�

No Tricks Zone (Link) - P Gosselin (November 5, 2010)

Der Spiegel reports on the growling-ever-louder Indonesian Merapi volcano in an article titled: Geologists Warning of Mega-Eruption of Merapi. Hat-tip to reader Ike.

The Merapi eruptions are becoming more violent � and the big bang could be just ahead. The Indonesian volcano has been spewing 800�C ash clouds for days.

Indonesia�s volcanoes (Wikipedia)

According to Der Spiegel, 122 people have been killed, most on Friday. �Merapi is among the most dangerous volcanoes,� says geo-scientist Volker Steinbach of the German Federal Administration for Geoscience and Raw Materials (BGR). Der Spiegel adds:

Friday�s eruption is its worst this decade, says the chief geologist of the Energy Administration, Raden Sukhyiar, in the �Jakarta Post.� The biggest known eruptions occurred in 1006, 1369, 1786, 1822, 1872 � destroying a large number of villages � and 1930 when 1300 people perished.

Investigations of the volcano have revealed that an unprecedented Magma reservoir lurks underneath it, says Birger L�hr, a volcano researcher at the GFZ in Potsdam, Germany.

A rough estimate indicates that there is three times more magma than what was ejected by the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815 � the biggest eruption in the last 10,000 years, which led to a cooling of the climate globally.

Geoscientists aren�t sure what to make of this huge magma reservoir. As Der Spiegel reports, they are hesitant to make predictions of catastrophe (That�s only done in climate science, even though the odds are far less).

Word of a �mega-eruption� is making the rounds among scientists. But apparently they are avoiding the use of the word to avoid being labelled preachers of disasters. �We can only speculate what the volcano will do,� says Birger L�hr. Merapi is hardly predictable.

History shows, however, that volcanoes in Indonesia have a worrisome potential for catastrophic eruptions. Nature cannot be controlled. It can only be coped with. �

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