As Magma Rises Rapidly, Cornell Experts Monitor Ancient Uturuncu Volcano

Released: 1-Nov-2011 10:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
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Newswise — Matt Pritchard, Cornell associate professor of geology, is part of an international effort to study Bolivia’s Uturuncu volcano, where the magma is uplifting rapidly. Cornell graduate students Jennifer Jay and Scott Henderson are part of the research team. Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago.

Pritchard says:

“Uturuncu — a volcano in the Bolivian Andes Mountains — was thought to be inactive. The region is populated by ‘supervolcanoes’ that erupted between 1 and 10 million years ago.

“Now the Uturuncu magma is accumulating in the crust and we’re observing whether it is moving upward toward the surface. Right now, we have no reason to think that an eruption is imminent.

“The area at Uturuncu has had hundreds of shallow earthquakes per year, but the rate of earthquakes increased briefly due to last year's tremors in Chile. These characteristics are unusual for a volcano that has not erupted in 300,000 years.”


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