New volcano theory rattles old notions of how eruptions work

By on October 2, 2014

Soufrière Volcano (Credit: NASA)

Scientists say that our understanding of volcanic eruptions may be flawed, according to a recent release by California Institute of Technology.  According to mantle-plume theory, volcanoes were thought to erupt by shooting lava in thin streams from constricted channels underground

Thorough study of the Earth’s seismic activity has confirmed that there is no evidence to support the theory.   Instead, California Institute researchers found that the channels the lava travels through are nearly four times as wide as the proposed plumes and much closer to the mantle than originally thought.  Their new theory, “top-down tectonics,” could change how rock formation is understood.

Image: Soufrière Volcano (Credit: NASA)

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