(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara have discovered an unusual phenomenon associated with volcanic activity. The results of the corresponding study were published on September 14 in the journal Nature.
It is reported that experts analyzed the magma of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland, which erupted in March 2021. According to the results of the study, the rate of change in key chemical parameters of the lava was more than a thousand times faster than in other eruptions.
An example is the Kilauea volcano, whose magma changes took decades. The total range of chemical composition of the samples taken during the month covers the entire range of magmatic emissions in the southwest of Iceland over the past 10 thousand years.
According to past studies, it was assumed that the magma chamber of volcanoes slowly fills up over time and the mass becomes well mixed, and then erupts to the surface during the eruption. This two-stage process was supposed to ensure that the chemical composition of the magma could remain constant for a long time.
According to the researchers, the unusually rapid change in the chemical composition of the lava at Fagradalsfjadl is caused by successive flows of volcanic mass that enter the chamber from deeper layers of the mantle.
However, during the study of the rocks, it turned out that the magma of the Fagradalsfjall volcano was extremely heterogeneous and formed at different depths. Initially, the erupted lava was dominated by melts derived from the shallowest mantle, the reservoir of which is located about 16 km from the surface.
However, it soon became clear that the chamber was refilled with melts that formed at greater depths. According to scientists, the new magma comes from a different region of the mantle plume under Iceland.
Scientists at the University of California believe that this phenomenon may indicate the beginning of a new centuries-old volcanic cycle in southwestern Iceland.
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