Pink pumice is the key to revealing the explosive power of an underwater volcanic eruption

Credit: Queensland Institute of Technology

The presence of pink pumice in the giant pumice raft of the 2012 Havre eruption drifting in the southwestern Pacific has led researchers to recognize the immense power of underwater volcanic eruptions.

In the study published in Nature Portfolio journal Communication Earth and environment, Professor Scott Bryan, Dr. Michael Jones, PhD and researchers. Candidate Joseph Naferk was intrigued by the outbreak of pink pumice in the giant pumice raft caused by the 2012 Havre deep-sea eruption.

The announcement of new research comes after the recent dramatic explosion of Hunga Tonga Hunga Haapai. Volcano In Tonga, about 1200 km north of Havre volcano, the potential and danger of explosions associated with submarine eruptions has attracted worldwide attention.

Professor Brian, who has been studying pumice raft for over 20 years, said the pink pumice produced by the 2012 Havre eruption provided insights into how magma erupted. Underwater Volcano.

“Unlike Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai, Havre is far away. Its peak is 900 meters above sea level and the closest densely populated area is about 800 km away on the North Island of New Zealand,” said Professor Brian.

When the volcano erupted in 2012, no one saw it happen. But the color of the pumice stone tells what happened.

The study’s lead author, Joseph Naferk, said the new model proposed in the study pushed the limits of the known depth of explosive eruptions.

“The general theory is that underwater eruptions, especially in deep seas like Havre, are not explosive and instead create lava flows on the seafloor,” Knafelc said.

“However, submarine eruptions were barely observable, and past studies could not consider the presence of pink pumice in the pumice raft.

“The color is important in this case. The pink to red color indicates that pumice must be released into the air at temperatures above 700 ° C in order for the small iron minerals to oxidize and turn red. increase.

“The problem is that it was an underwater eruption that had to push up the ocean near 1 km. The only way to do this is because the eruption was so powerful that it pierced the water of the ocean and was a column of eruptions. Is it possible to generate air. “

Studies detail how the core of the eruption was a powerful jet that could protect it from the surrounding water.

“The pink pumice and its thermal history show that the core of the eruption was not affected by the cooling effect of seawater,” said Professor Brian.

“The pillars of an explosive eruption can release hot pumice into the atmosphere in just a few seconds.

“This was a very powerful eruption. The problem is that previous studies did not recognize or downplay the potential for submarine eruption explosions, and thus the dangers posed by submarine eruptions, even in very deep waters. ..

“As a timely reminder, we recently witnessed the power of an explosive submarine eruption in Tonga and its devastation and impact. The impact may be detected worldwide.”

The research team included Professor Andrew Berry and Dr. Guil Mallman of the Australian National University, Dr. David Gust and Dr. Henrietta Cathy of QUT, Dr. Eric Ferré of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Daryl Howard of the Australian Synchrotron. QUT researchers are from the QUT Earth and Atmospheric School and the Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF).

Submarine volcanoes: ways in which changes in sea color can indicate an imminent eruption

For more information:
Joseph Knafelc et al, Havre 2012 Pink Pumice is evidence of a short-lived, deep-sea magnetite nanolite explosive eruption. Communication Earth and environment (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s43247-022-00355-3

Quote: Pink pumice is an underwater volcanic eruption acquired from https: // on February 8, 2022 (February 8, 2022). It is the key to clarify the explosive power of. html

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Pink pumice is the key to revealing the explosive power of an underwater volcanic eruption

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