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O que os cientistas aprenderam com a última erupção do Kilauea (texto original em Inglês) - Notícia OVGA 08-01-2019


Lava gushed from fissures in Kilauea’s lower east rift zone, as seen in this image from June, at an estimated rate of more than 100 cubic meters per second.

Créditos: USGS / Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)


After a stunningly explosive summer, Kilauea, the world’s longest continuously erupting volcano, finally seems to have taken a break. But the scientists studying it haven’t. Reams of new data collected during an unprecedented opportunity to monitor an ongoing, accessible eruption are changing what’s known about how some volcanoes behave.

“It was hugely significant,” says Jessica Larsen, a petrologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and “a departure from what Kilauea had been doing for more than 35 years.”

The latest eruption started in May. By the time it had ended three months later, over 825 million cubic meters of earth had collapsed at the summit. That’s the equivalent of 300,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, Kyle Anderson, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geologic Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., said December 11 in a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

As the summit crater deflated, magma gushed through underground tunnels, draining out through fissures along an area called the lower eastern rift zone at a rate of roughly 50 meters per day. That lava eventually covered 35.5 square kilometers of land, Anderson and his colleagues reported in a study published December 11 in Science.

The volcano also taught scientists a thing or two.


Caldera collapse

Scientists previously believed that groundwater plays a big role in how a caldera collapses. When craters were drained of their magma, “cooling, cracking depressurized the caldera, allowing groundwater to seep in and create a series of explosive eruptions,” Anderson said. “But groundwater did not play a significant role in driving the explosions this summer.”

Instead, the destruction of Kilauea’s crater is what’s called a piston-style caldera collapse, he said. Sixty-two small collapse events rattled the volcano from mid-May to late August, with each collapse causing the crater to sink and pushing the surrounding land out and up. By the end, the center of the volcano sank by as much as 500 meters — more than the height of the Empire State Building.

That activity didn’t just destroy the crater.  “We could see surges in the eruption rate 40 kilometers away whenever there was a collapse,” Anderson said.

Assista ao vídeo-timelapse do colapso da caldeira do Kilauea aqui


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