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Volcanic activity and the local environment

Date:
09 December 2015
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Event type:
Lecture
Organised by:
1. Geological Society Events
Venue:
Burlington House, London
Accessibility:
Event status:
EVENT CLOSED

The local environmental effects of pyroclastic flows and lavas are obvious in their coverage and destruction of the land surface. Persistently active volcanoes by their very nature erupt in a regular manner and effects over time are not so obvious.

For the most part, persistently active volcanoes emit gases rather than rock. High profile debates and international agreements to reduce anthropogenic pollutants, which are major contributors to the greenhouse effect, have focused attention away from the ongoing and uncontrollable volcanic output of these and other gases.

However, it is increasingly obvious that the volcanic gas flux is a significant proportion of the total flux. 

Our interdisciplinary study is based at Masaya volcano (Nicaragua) because of the varying environmental conditions at Masaya seen through time and the persistent, low level of eruptive activity. This project seeks to track and quantify the volatile flux at Masaya from the source magma, through the volcanic plume, to the local environmental sinks in the soil and water, and the flora and fauna.

A highly significant feature of this work is its longevity. This work builds on a project that began in 1993 and already represents a uniquely long and continuous data set of integrated volcanological and ecological surveys. 

Speaker 

Hazel Rymer - Open University

Hazel is presently Dean and Director of Studies in the Faculty of Science and Professor of Environmental Volcanology.

She has developed and championed the use of microgravity as a tool for monitoring active volcanoes and has used this method to identify sub-surface processes at calderas in a state of unrest and at persistently active volcanoes. This has given geoscientists considerable insight into the range of mechanisms responsible for initiating and sustaining volcanic activity.

The technique she pioneered is now the standard method for gravity monitoring on volcanoes; it remains the only way to quantify the sub-surface mass changes that occur before, during and after eruptions. Her current research integrates geophysical methods with environmental & ecological monitoring to determine the local impact of persistently active volcanic activity.


Geolsoc Contact

Sarah Woodcock

Geological Society of London
Burlington House
Piccadilly, London
United Kingdom
W1J 0BG