Humanity ‘woefully unprepared’ for cataclysmic volcanic eruption that devastates civilization & More Latest News Here

CAMBRIDGE, UK —The world is “woefully underprepared” for a massive volcanic eruption that could cause civilization to collapse, a new study warns.

Researchers in the UK say there is a one in six chance of a massive magnitude seven eruption occurring within the next century. This type of eruption would have seismic consequences on the planet’s climate and food supply.

The Cambridge University team say there is a “major misconception” that the risk of major eruptions is low. The effect of such a huge eruption would be similar to that of a mile-wide asteroid hitting Earth, but the chances of a massive eruption are much higher than the combined chances of an asteroid or a comet hitting the planet.

However, the team believes there are steps society can take to stop complete devastation, including better monitoring, better public education, and magma manipulation. They say that while hundreds of millions of dollars are spent preparing for an asteroid to hit Earth, not enough is happening to prepare for a massive volcanic eruption.

Recent eruptions are a wake-up call

An eruption on the Pacific island of Tonga in January was the largest ever recorded by modern instruments. If the eruption lasted longer, released more gas or ash, or occurred in an area near critical infrastructure, the consequences could have been devastating.

An eruption 10 to 100 times the size of the Tonga explosion occurs once every 625 years, twice as often as scientists thought. The last magnitude seven eruption occurred in Indonesia in 1815. It killed 100,000 people and dropped global temperatures by one degree, leading to crop failures that led to famine, violent uprisings and epidemics.

The blow to the economy would be in the trillions and comparable in size to the coronavirus pandemic. Researchers say that to help prepare, society needs to know where massive eruptions could occur.

Over the past 60,000 years, researchers have only discovered the locations of a handful of the 97 eruptions classified as large on the ‘Volcano Explosivity Index’, meaning there could be dozens of extremely dangerous volcanoes in the world that scientists do not know about. .

Only 27% of eruptions since 1950 have had a seismometer nearby, and only a third of that data has entered the global database for “volcanic unrest.”

Mount Rinjani in Indonesia, which experienced one of the largest eruptions of the last millennium in 1257 (magnitude 7). (Credit: Dr. Mike Cassidy)

“We completely underestimate the risk”

The team wants to study how aerosols created by a massive eruption could be neutralized and how pockets of magma beneath the Earth could be manipulated.

“Data collected from ice cores on the frequency of eruptions over deep time suggests that there is a one in six chance of a magnitude seven outburst within the next hundred years. dice,” study co-author and CSER researcher Dr. Lara Mani, a global risk expert, said in an academic statement.

“Such gigantic eruptions caused abrupt climate change and the collapse of civilizations in the distant past.”

“Hundreds of millions of dollars are pumped into asteroid threats every year, but there is a severe lack of global funding and coordination for volcano preparedness,” Mani adds. “This needs to change urgently. We completely underestimate the risk that volcanoes pose to our societies. »

“The Tonga eruption was the volcanic equivalent of an asteroid narrowly missing Earth and should be treated as a wake-up call,” Mani continues.

“Volcanologists have been calling for a satellite dedicated to monitoring volcanoes for more than twenty years,” says Mani. “Sometimes we have to rely on the generosity of private satellite companies to get quick images. The current underinvestment to address this risk is simply unwise.

“The last magnitude seven eruption was in 1815 in Indonesia,” adds co-author Dr Mike Cassidy, volcano expert and CSER Visiting Fellow, now at the University of Birmingham.

“We now live in a world with eight times the population and more than forty times the level of trade. Our complex global networks could make us even more vulnerable to the shocks of a major eruption.

“We may not even know about relatively recent eruptions due to a lack of research on marine and lacustrine cores, especially in neglected regions such as Southeast Asia,” Cassidy concludes. “Volcanoes can lie dormant for a long time, but still be capable of sudden and extraordinary destruction.”

The results are published in the journal Nature.

South West News Service writer Gwyn Wright contributed to this report.

Humanity ‘woefully unprepared’ for cataclysmic volcanic eruption that devastates civilization

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