SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, March 25. (EUROPE PRESS) –
Doctor Pablo González, a researcher with the IPNA-CSIC Volcanology group, affirms in an article published in the journal ‘Science’ that the eruption of Cumbre Vieja, in La Palma, may be an “opportunity” to study and understand the collapse of the volcanoes.
González reports that the magma that feeds the volcanoes of the Canary Islands, as in many other oceanic islands, rises to the surface through dikes, specifically relatively vertical, flat and very elongated conduits, that is, much longer than what they are in width.
The longest axis is oriented in a direction that usually coincides with a line of weakness of the volcano.
This pattern, he continues, was true for most of the course of the 2021 eruption but was broken during the second half of November.
From that moment and until the end of the eruption, some fractures and eruptive mouths broke the ground surface in another direction (east-west).
González underlines the relevance of this “surprising fact” and invites specialists in the field to pay more attention to these indications since they could find the answer that allows the scientific community to “better understand” what causes the collapse of volcanoes.
In this way, he indicates that the eruption, which has caused so much damage, could also become an opportunity to advance this knowledge and help the inhabitants of the islands to “live more safely in the shadow of a volcano.”
In addition, he points out that the collapse of volcanoes is an increasingly frequent phenomenon, citing the Santa Cruz volcano as an example.
Helena in 1980 or December 2018 at the Anak Krakatau volcano in Indonesia.
The author recalls that it has been 60 years since Professor Telesforo Bravo published a study on the underground geology of the island of Tenerife.
SUBMARINE DEPOSITS AS A RESULT OF THE COLLAPSE
In ‘On the circus of Las Cañadas and its dependencies’, this pioneer of the discipline in the archipelago postulated a radical idea: the horseshoe-shaped valleys that open towards the sea and that plague are the consequence of massive collapses of volcanoes that grow quickly.
Just two years later, the American James Moore would publish maps of the seabed around the Hawaiian Islands.
These new bathymetric maps were “irrefutable and revealing evidence” of the existence of colossal underwater deposits due to these collapses, he details.
Since then, he notes that science has come a long way but the mechanisms capable of weakening volcanoes to the point of collapse “remain unknown.”
González acknowledges that Cumbre Vieja has long been identified as a “candidate for a future collapse” but there is no unanimous opinion among the scientific community regarding the impact it would generate.
Thus, a large number of model scenarios have been simulated that would indicate from catastrophic futures to very local effects and this disparity of opinions is indicative of the great lack of knowledge with which to refine these forecasts.
For this reason, he points out that the “only remedy” is to carry out rigorous and multidisciplinary research.