We really need to be ready for volcanoes in the Southwest

TetiIla Peak is the southernmost andesite volcano in the Cerros del Rio volcanic field

In my neck of the prairie we call this volcanic plateau the Caja del Rio. I live a few miles due North of La Tetilla. The southern end of the Caja del Rio lies due West of us – aligned North/South.

The southwest United States has thousands of volcanoes that were only active for a very short period of time and, a new analysis published in the journal Geosphere urges emergency managers to be aware of the potential for further volcanic activity.

The authors of the study counted 2,229 volcanoes in 37 volcanic fields located in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. While it is dotted with volcanic fields, the region has not received the same amount of attention for its volcanism as some other areas of the country such as the Pacific Northwest, which is home to volcanoes like Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier.

Greg Valentine, a lead author on the paper and a geology professor at the University of Buffalo, said one reason that the volcanoes in the southwest have not received as much attention is that no eruptions have occurred since geology became an official science in the 1700s. Meanwhile, the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest has had modern explosions, such as Mount Saint Helens.

The type of volcanoes found in the southwest are also different from those of the Pacific Northwest. While scientists monitor Mount Saint Helens and other volcanoes for activity that could signal another eruption, Valentine said the future eruptions in the southwest are unlikely to come from the same spot, or vent, where past eruptions occurred…

“For this issue in the southwest, though, it’s a much more complicated problem because the area that we’re talking about is huge, obviously,” Valentine said.

Our “little” next door neighbor – the Caja del Rio – is 84,000 acres.

Nearest dead volcano, BTW = half-mile away

9 thoughts on “We really need to be ready for volcanoes in the Southwest

  1. Meanwhile: says:

    Long Valley Supervolcano: World’s Most Dangerous Volcano Shows Signs of ‘Imminent Eruption’ https://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/48332/20211124/massive-destruction-imminent-long-valley-supervolcano-erupts.htm
    California’s Long Valley Caldera is one of the world’s biggest calderas, measuring 20 miles long by 11 miles broad and up to 3,000 feet deep. The Bishop tuff, a welded tuff that characterizes the area, was produced 760,000 years ago when a cataclysmic eruption ejected hot ash that eventually cooled and became the Bishop tuff.
    Upon eruption, the ash went eight miles into the air, with deposits reaching as far east as Kansas.

  2. p/s says:

    The violent eruption of Tonga’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano injected an unprecedented amount of water directly into the stratosphere — and the vapor will stay there for years, likely affecting the Earth’s climate patterns, NASA scientists say.
    The massive amount of water vapor is roughly 10% of the normal amount of vapor found in the stratosphere, equaling more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.
    “We’ve never seen anything like it,” said atmospheric scientist Luis Millán, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Millán led a study of the water the volcano sent into the sky; the team’s research was published in Geophysical Research Letters.
    The Jan. 15 eruption came from a volcano that’s more than 12 miles wide, with a caldera sitting roughly 500 feet below sea level. https://www.npr.org/2022/08/03/1115378385/tonga-volcano-stratosphere-water-warming
    Video: Hunga Volcano Eruption 14 January 2022, 5:48PM Tonga Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4NpOIdV8To (soundtrack sucks) See also aftermath https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGLBZaxLpwE

  3. Malpais says:

    New photos from the International Space Station taken back in June highlight an ancient lava flow stretching across the desert in New Mexico. According to NASA, on June 30, a member of the Expedition 67 crew took photos of the Carrizozo Malpais, a large basaltic lava flow on the west side of Carrizozo. https://www.krqe.com/news/space-news/nasa-captures-ancient-lava-flow-in-new-mexico/
    Dr. Larry Crumpler, Research Curator at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, explains that, due to its size, the Carrizozo Malpais is in the same order as the Laki fissure eruption of 1783 [in Iceland], which had a hand in causing the Irish potato famine. That eruption produced 14 cubic kilometers of basalt lava and the Carrizozo lava flow created five. “These large eruptions like the Carrizozo flow are, you know, they’re bad things. And so 5,000 years ago…it probably had some continental lift influence,” says Dr. Crumpler.

    The Laki eruption and its aftermath caused a drop in global temperatures, as 120 million [metric] tonnes of sulfur dioxide was spewed into the Northern Hemisphere. This caused crop failures in Europe and may have caused droughts in North Africa and India.

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