Another day another end-of-the-world, doomsday scenario for you to get worried about, or scoff at.
This time scientists are claiming a volcanic eruption which could bring around the end of civilisation itself is nearer than we think.
Volcanic eruptions are the norm – every couple of years or so – such as the recent eruption in Bali which forced the airport to close down temporarily.
Even 2010’s Eyjafjallajökull eruptions in Iceland, which left a huge cloud of ash in the air effected everyone, including Blackburn Rovers’ chance to sign Polish centre forward Robert Lewandowski – I wonder what became of him – but their was no imminent threat to human life.
That’s because Eyjafjallajökull wasn’t a ‘super eruption’. Despite the uninspiring name these super eruptions are nothing to laugh at, in fact they have the potential to bring around the end of civilisation as we know it. The last known super eruption took place in Indonesia.
Up to 3,000 cubic kilometres of rock and ash was blasted into the air at a site, now known as Lake Toba, on the island of Sumatra. Eruptions of this nature have the potential to drape entire continents in volcanic ash, changing weather patterns around the world for decades to come, writes The Independent.
Scientists have predicted we are due for another super eruption closer than we can think.
Super eruptions usually occur every 45,000-714,000 years, something which Professor Jonathan Rougier of Bristol University, a statistician and lead author of this study, claims is ‘comfortably longer than our civilization’.
For those wondering, the beginning of civilisation is often pin-pointed to the time when man first started to focus on agriculture (12,000 years ago) and move away from hunting and gathering.
According to Professor Rougier and his team at the University of Bristol’s Earth and Planetary Science Letters study, they used a geological database to produce a new prediction of between 5,200 and 48,000 years.
Their ‘best guess value’ is the next one will occur within 17,000 years time with records showing the most recent super eruption took place took place between 20,000-30,000 years ago.
Professor Rougier claims:
On balance, we have been slightly lucky not to experience any super-eruptions since then.
Geochemist Dr Marc Reichow from the University of Leicester (who was not part of the study) backs up Professor Rougier and his team’s findings which are based on ‘sound statistical analysis’.
Dr Reichow told The Independent:
The approach and assessment are robust, and certainly will help us understand and most importantly may help predict future eruptions.
However nature, including volcanic eruptions, does not necessarily work as clock work.
Reichow believes the lack of super eruptions does not necessarily mean earth is due one soon, saying: ‘Nature is not that regular’.
What we can say is that volcanoes are more threatening to our civilization than previously thought.
For now efforts need to be focused on recent eruption of Mount Agung which has been hurling clouds of white and dark grey ash about 4.7 miles into the atmosphere.
Lava has been welling from the crater and it is unknown how bad the situation may get or how long it could go on for.