Monday, May 14, 2012

And Speaking of Nails and Cornered Rats...

...it seems science journalists are finally going to talk about underwater volcanoes. Perhaps some discussion of the role played by these volcanoes, which are far greater in number than the above ground ones, in global warming may not be far behind.
""A lot of luck was attached to this find," said Anthony Watts, a geologist at the University of Oxford who led the study.

His team's findings indicate that submarine volcanoes, some of the Earth's most mysterious features, may shrink and swell in dramatic pulses of activity.

Rotten eggs and compelling clues
As they surveyed the seafloor near Monowai seamount, which lies at the intersection of the Pacific and Indo-Australian tectonic plates at the Tonga-Kermadec subduction zone, Watts and other scientists aboard the ship noticed yellow-green water and gas bubbles rising above the volcano.

"As the ship was leaving the area, we went through a patch of discolored water with a very strong smell, like rotten eggs," Watts told OurAmazingPlanet. "We suspected that maybe the volcano was venting gases, but we didn't know that it was about to erupt."

A week later, while surveying another area, Watts got some compelling information. A seismic station in the Cook Islands had detected an intense five-day swarm of seismic activity and traced it to an eruption at Monowai seamount. Watts and the ship returned to find that parts of the volcano had collapsed and grown in dramatic fashion.

Using advanced bathymetry tools, the scientists saw that a large section of the volcano's flank had collapsed — a volume equal to about 630 Olympic-size swimming pools. The peak of the volcano, however, had grown by 236 feet, adding 3,500 swimming pools' worth of volume to the summit."
[---]
"To account for Monowai's growth between 2007 (the last time Monowai's height was measured) and 2011, the volcano would have needed 10 to 13 events like the one Watts' team documented. That's about 2.5 large, quick eruptions each year, with relatively long pauses between each eruption, Watts said."
[---]
"Submarine volcanoes like Monowai are much more difficult to study than volcanoes on land, which can be monitored with techniques that can't penetrate ocean waters. Because so little is known about submarine volcanoes, it's unclear whether others also grow in rapid pulses, or whether Monowai marches to its own beat, Watts said.

"Terrestrial volcanologists get very excited when they see differences of 10 or 20 centimeters," he said. "What we've seen here is on a scale that has rarely — if ever — been repeated."
Trust Anthony Watts to lead the way. For years, his blog Watts Up With That? has been a leading antidote to the "catastrophic global warming" nonsense being spewed out by leftards.

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