Evidence of massive simultaneous supervolcano eruption in NZ
December 24, 2006
Eruptions of supervolcanoes capable of causing planetary climate disruptions and mass extinctions can be worse than previously thought according researchers from Auckland University in New Zealand.
Darren Gravley, a geologist at Auckland University, and colleagues published an account of one of the largest supervolcano eruptions on record, at Taupo, New Zealand some 250,000 years ago. They found that the eruption was twice as large as previously believed, ejecting massive amounts of sulphur dioxide and ash into the atmosphere and creating a giant crater known as a caldera.
According to Gravley, the Taupo eruption actually consisted of two supervolcanoes some 18 miles (30 kilometers) apart which erupted within days or weeks of each other. The discovery marks the fist evidence of a close pairing between supervolcano eruptions and could help explain past mass extinction events that some scientists have linked to periods of elevated volcanic activity. Some researchers argue that volcanism could have played a part in the Cretaceous, Permian, Triassic and Jurassic extinctions.
The research is published in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America.
More information: Scientists show NZ eruption was double trouble
This article uses information from an article written by Kent Atkinson of NZPA.