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Based on its astonishing inflation rate, scientists have determined that the pocket of magma beneath Bolivia’s Uturuncu volcano is growing by about 27 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) per second.

Uturuncu volcano

“That’s about 10 times faster than the standard rate of magma chamber growth you see for large volcanic systems,” said Jonathan Perkins, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who presented work on the mountain at this year’s Geological Society of America meeting in Minneapolis.

“It’s one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth,” says Oregon State University professor Shan de Silva, a volcanologist on the research team.

“It’s not a volcano that we think is going to erupt at any moment,” says de Silva, “but it certainly is interesting, because the area was thought to be essentially dead.” [See images of the inflating volcano here.]

Uturuncu, the highest peak in SW Bolivia, is surrounded by one of the most dense concentrations of supervolcanoes on the planet, all of which fell silent some 1 million years ago. [Related: The 10 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History]

Though Uturuncu itself is in the same class as Mount St. Helens in Washington state, its aggressive rise could possibly indicate that a new supervolcano is on the way.

Or not. The scientists just simply do not have enough information as of now.

De Silva said it appears that local volcanoes hoard magma for about 300,000 years before they blow — and Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago.

See entire article:

Thanks to Robert Fleming, Len Soet, Wanda and Caroline Snyder for this link


13 Responses to Is a giant super volcano awakening in Bolivia?

  1. Jon says:

    2 cm per year. After a century it will have risen 2 meters. Perhaps it will erupt in the next 1000 years.

    • Tom says:

      And, of course, it may have been going on for 1000 years, which is what they are trying to find out. And perhaps it will erupt in the next 1000 days or 1000 hours. Don’t you love a good mystery?

      • Frank says:

        Certainly could get exciting! But don’t you think it is a Big Coincidence how all these earthquakes, and volcanoes, etc. are happening on the cusp of 2012?

        Only time will tell……..

        • Jeremy says:

          Frank – what is the significance of 2012?

          • Sonya Porter says:

            —the Maya calendar comes to an end on 23rd December 2012 which has given to rise to speculation about the end of the world or at least some great change on that date. Google 2012 for more information

            • Matt says:

              it has more of a religious meaning than a physical one. its a lot like an equinox and unless it effects the sun or the earths orbit it shouldn’t have a great effect on earth.

      • John says:

        I agree Tom!!! Popcorn is in the micro!

  2. Stew says:

    Twenty-seven cubic feet is a little low, Robert. It’s closer to 35.3 cubic feet in a cubic meter; but we still get the point.

  3. Laurel says:

    laughing imagining the carboncrowd and ultra greens going into spasmo mode over the rainforest destruction it May…cause.
    better give some of em a pin to go pop it:-)

  4. scizzorbill says:

    None of this matters. Today is the end of the world, or something, according to Pastor Harold Camping. I hope this doesn’t interfere with happy hour.

  5. Kornel says:

    2012 is significant because its when were suppost to have our solar maximum.

  6. Kornel says:

    2,332,000 feet^3 per day
    851,472,000 feet^3 per year

    Looks like a lot

  7. QuentinF says:

    I see the 2012 mythbusters are at it again!!! haha

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