The volcanic islands of the Aleutian chain of Alaska could be part of a single unknown giant volcano If correct, the discovery of a single volcanic caldera would place it in the same category as the Yellowstone volcano responsible for some of the most violent super-eruptions in history.

The islands of the Four Mountains in the Central Aleutian Islands are a tight group of six stratovolcanoes

One of those studied and the most active in the chain, mount cleveland, generated multiple pieces of evidence indicating that the islands share a single interconnected caldera.

Stratovolcanoes typically exploit small to modest sized magma reservoirs, while calderas form conversely by exploiting much larger reservoirs in the earth's crust.

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When the tank pressure exceeds the resistance of the crust, huge amounts of lava and ash are spewed out in a catastrophic eruption

The proposed caldera under the Four Mountain Islands is believed to be even larger than the nearby Okmok volcano

Experts now suggest that Okmok was involved in the disruption of the Roman Republic when it erupted in 43 of.

According to geophysicist Diana Roman of the Carnegie Institution for Science, discovery could become the first caldera found hidden underwater in the Aleutians

Dr Roman, co-author of the study, said: “We rummaged under the sofa cushions for data”

Despite enticing evidence, Dr. Roman and lead author of the John Power study, researcher at the US Geological Survey (USGS), warn that the existence of the caldera is not yet confirmed

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Dr Roman said: «Our hope is to return to the Four Mountain Islands and take a closer look at the seabed, to study volcanic rocks in more detail, to collect more seismic and gravity data and to sample many other geothermal areas.”

However, researchers' giant caldera theory helps explain frequent explosive activity seen at Mount Cleveland

This is widely regarded as the most active volcano in North America over the past two decades

Such eruptions regularly pose hazards to aircraft using the busy air routes between North America and Asia

“It can also help us understand what kind of eruptions to expect in the future and better prepare for their dangers.”

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News – United States – Volcano discovery: Alaskan chain of volcanoes could form giant supervolcano caldera


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