Scientists have a new research at hand after they discovered a large lake under a volcano in Bolivia and are hoping that the anomaly may help unravel the connection between water and volcanic eruptions.
The team to have foreseen the possible existence of the lake under a volcano is formed from a collaboration of various Universities from France, Germany, Wales, and Canada and also the United Kingdom-based University of Bristol.
The study of the Bolivian anomaly was released in the Earth and Planetary Science Letters journal after being named “Giant magmatic water reservoirs at mid-crustal depth inferred from electrical conductivity and the growth of the continental crust”.
The as yet uncommon anomaly was discovered in Bolivia, South America, as the Cerro Uturuncu dormant volcano was found to be housing a lake some 15 kilometers below its surface.
The large lake’s dimensions are in the same range as the world’s biggest freshwater bodies such as, for example, Lake Superior.
The unusual lake under a volcano was formed in an environment whose temperature reaches almost 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (or almost 970 degrees Celsius).
As such, its body of water was seen to have dissolved into and be housed by partially molten rocks whose consistency is about 10 to 20 percent liquid or molten.
One of the members of the expedition, the University of Bristol School of Earth Sciences professor Jon Blundy, went to give details on the area.
Although the Bolivian Altiplano does not currently have any active volcanoes, over 10 million years ago, the area used to be a highly active volcanic zone.
Scientists were clued on this specific volcano’s anomaly by a series of unusual natural behaviors. The traces which led to the discovery were the the increased levels of electrical conductivity and the slow speed of the area’s seismic waves.
As these factors hinted at the existence of molten rock and the possible existence of water, all of which led to the discovery of the lake which has more than one and a half million cubic kilometers in volume.
The properties of the Uturuncu volcanic rocks were replicated and examined in a series of tests which took place at the French University of Orleans.
The high pressure and temperature test values were seen to be consistent with the chemical composition of the rocks and of its crystals.
The silicate melt from which the rocks are composed could dissolve water only at high-pressure levels. If its levels come at a too low-pressure level, the water usually escapes the silicate and starts bubbling.
Professor Blundy also stated that these same bubbles could possibly lead to volcanic eruptions. As such, scientists will be continuing their studies so as to determine the possible relation between water and the volcanic activity.
Albeit the current lake under a volcano discovery is seen as an anomaly, researchers have started looking for similar traces that might point to the existence of more such natural formations, as they hope it might help them improve volcanic eruption predictions.
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