World’s longest erupting supervolcanoes were fuelled by a magma ‘conveyor belt’ in Indian Ocean

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Magma 'conveyor belt' fuelled world's longest erupting supervolcanoes
Magma ‘conveyor belt’ fuelled world’s longest erupting supervolcanoes. Photo shows Mount Rinjani eruption with volcanic lightning by Oliver Spalt, Wikipedia

According to a new science article in Geology, a supervolcanoes in the Indian Ocean continuously erupted for 30 million years fed by a constantly moving conveyor belt of magma in the Kerguelen Plateau.

This magma conveyor belt continuously delivered molten rock to flow for millions of years, beginning around 120 million years ago.

Extremely large accumulations of volcanic rocks — known as large volcanic provinces — are very interesting to scientists due to their links with mass extinctions, rapid climatic disturbances, and ore deposit formation,” Mr Jiang said.

The Kerguelen Plateau is gigantic, almost the size of Western Australia. Now imagine this area of land covered by lava, several kilometers thick, erupting at a rate of about 20 centimeters every year.

Twenty centimeters of lava a year may not sound like much but, over an area the size of Western Australia, that’s equivalent to filling up 184,000 Olympic-size swimming pools to the brim with lava every single year. Over the total eruptive duration, that’s equivalent to 5.5 trillion lava-filled swimming pools!

This volume of activity continued for 30 million years, making the Kerguelen Plateau home to the longest continuously erupting supervolcanoes on Earth.

The eruption rates then dropped drastically some 90 million years ago, for reasons that are not yet fully understood.

From then on, there was a slow but steady outpouring of lava that continued right to this day, including the 2016 eruptions associated with the Big Ben volcano on Heard Island, Australia’s only active volcano.

The volcanism lasted for so long because magmas caused by the mantle plume were continuously flowing out through the mid-oceanic ridges, which successively acted as a channel, or a ‘magma conveyor belt’ for more than 30 million years.

Other volcanoes would stop erupting because, when temperatures cooled, the channels became clogged by ‘frozen’ magmas. For the Kerguelen Plateau, the mantle plume acts as a Bunsen burner that kept allowing the mantle to melt, resulting in an extraordinarily long period of eruption activity.

More information about this coveyor belt of magma on Geology, Phys.org, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder how many swimming pools the 33 billion tons of CO2 our civilization is currently producing yearly would fill up ? Just another existential threat to our species we cant blame on nature !

  2. We are going out to be surrounded by major Third World War due to Corona Virus 2.0 , and Volcanoes , Quakes, and Typhoons flooding continue to kill humans world wide events will not stop until we all stop hate and division in the world. Either we kill all the wars or War will kill all mankind?

    • Your comment didn’t make much sense. It sounded like a Starbucks, Subaru, snowflake trying to describe all of the worlds problems by blaming wars for volcano death statistics.

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