facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Calif. volcano crater could come alive

Jan. 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM   |   Comments

DEATH VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A volcanic crater in California's Death Valley was created far more recently than previously thought and gives signs of future activity, researchers say.

Researchers from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory said the 600-foot deep Ubehebe Crater, formed when a rising plume of magma hit a pocket of underground water resulting in an explosion, formed just 800 years ago. Its relatively youthful age, geologically speaking, means there could be sufficient groundwater and magma for a repeat performance, a Columbia release said Monday.

Violent mixing of magma and water creates a so-called phreatomagmatic explosion, bursting through a hole in the overlying sedimentary rock and sending out superheated steam, volcanic ash and deadly gases such as sulfur dioxide, researchers said.

"It would be fun to witness -- but I'd want to be 10 miles away," study coauthor Brent Goehring said of such an explosion.

Recent geophysical studies have spotted what look like magma bodies under other parts of Death Valley, co-author Nicholas Christie-Blick said.

"There is no basis for thinking that Ubehebe is done," he said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
New dinosaur species with giant nose discovered in Utah New dinosaur species with giant nose discovered in Utah
2
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
3
'Finding Nemo' has some basis in science... some 'Finding Nemo' has some basis in science... some
4
Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware
5
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback