Monday, January 2, 2012

Laacher See, the European supervolcano that may be waking up (Updated)

Updated to include Prof. Klemetti's rebuttal to the Daily Mail article.

I have been meaning to review the volcanic action from 2011, and also to make a correction to one of my graphs that I discovered has a flaw in it, and I will do that this week. I noticed that 2011 was rife with eruptions from long-standing active volcanoes and also eruptions from dormant ones. Personally, I think volcanic action was one of the least covered news items of the year, in both secular news and in Christian eschatological sites. Now here comes more information on a supervolcano from the Daily Mail with its predictable hypberbolic and misleading headline:

Is a super-volcano just 390 miles from London about to erupt?
--It's similar in size to Mount Pinatubo, which in 1991 gave us the biggest eruption of the 20th century
--Billions of tons of ash and magma would be ejected
--Southern England would be covered in ash

"A sleeping super-volcano in Germany is showing worrying signs of waking up. It's lurking just 390 miles away underneath the tranquil Laacher See lake near Bonn and is capable of ejecting billions of tons of magma. This monster erupts every 10 to 12,000 years and last went off 12,900 years ago, so it could blow at any time. ... Volcanologists believe that the Laacher See volcano is still active as carbon dioxide is bubbling up to the lake’s surface, which indicates that the magma chamber below is 'degassing'.

Wikipedia offers information about Laacher See volcano, "The Laacher See is a potentially active volcano, proven by seismic activities and heavy thermal anomalies under the lake. Carbon dioxide gas from magma still bubbles up at the southeastern shore, and scientists believe that a new eruption could happen at any time, which today, even with a much smaller Volcanic Explosivity Index, would result in a major disaster, especially considering that Germany is a heavily populated country and this caldera lies just 8 km from the Rhine at Andernach" and the Romanian Disaster Seismic site says "which, today, would be a disaster beyond all description."

Germany's old supervolcano Laacher See is also known as the West Eifel Volcanic Field and is described here at the Smithsonian Volcanism Program website.

Now the volcano may or may not erupt in the near future. The volcano has always degassed. See Prof. Erik Klemetti's note below, and in addition, he has written a rebuttal article about the Daily Mail article. Daily Mail tends to be sensationalist and the article doesn't contain information that the volcano is about to erupt.

But the interesting thing I like to note is not that the DM says it is or is not waking up. It's this: supervolcanoes are being discussed in the news, where even five years ago hardly anyone except scientists and volcano enthusiasts knew what a supervolcano was, never mind where they all are and that they are becoming active. Even Geology Professor Erik Klemetti wrote in 2010 of "Laacher See: The caldera in the middle of Europe," "We’ve been discussing calderas recently on Eruptions (I wonder why) and the Laacher See in Germany came up. I’ve actually been to the Laacher See on a field trip lead by one of the world’s experts on the caldera, Dr. Gerhard Worner. So, I thought I’d post some pictures and talk a little about this feature that up until maybe 5 years ago, I didn’t even know existed."

THAT is the news, that they are in the news, not their imminence or not imminence of activity. Because truthfully, there is a lot of volcanic activity lately. Given the Tribulation's prophetic promise of such activity and the nearness of the Tribulation to us in time, it stands to reason that the supervolcanoes may be waking up and that their existence is brought to mind. I wrote about the effects supervolcanoes have had on climate change in the past and showed through scriptures that they are indeed prophetically promised to erupt given the effects we see promised in scripture which match the historic effects. That essay is here.

Of Laacher See's volcano's activity from a more scientific source than Daily Mail, Prof. Klemetti wrote, "There is some suggestion that the Laacher See eruption could have had a strong effect on the climate of Europe after the eruption and the human populations living there at the time. Although it has been quiet since the climactic eruption ~12,900 years ago, the caldera should still be considered potentially active as CO2 seeps exist in some parts of the lake, suggesting that there is still magma degassing under the lake. In fact, the CO2 can be a hazard, supposedly killing some Medieval monks in their sleep."

Here is another supervolcano that IS waking up in Japan. In this scientific paper published Sept. 2011, titled "Remotely-triggered seismicity in the Hakone volcano following the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake" the scientists examined the after-effects of the 9.0 quake in Japan last March. In the paper, the scientists concluded that the 9.0 seismic event triggered the volcano's awakening-

"Seismic activity in the Hakone volcano was significantly activated just after the occurrence of the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake. The onset of seismicity was initiated during the Love and Rayleigh waves from the main shock. The seismic activity persisted for approximately one month, with more than 1600 events occurring. The large dynamic stress changes of 0.6 MPa probably contributed to initiate a sequence of seismic activity. The features of the hypocenter distribution and the focal mechanisms are almost consistent with those of the earthquakes that ordinarily occur in the Hakone volcano. We would like to note that seismicity around the northern end of the Tanna Fault was activated after the main shock, where earthquakes were previously hardly observed. We installed 21 offline temporary stations in and around the Hakone caldera prior to the main shock and we are continuing the observation. [emphasis mine]

Keep looking up!


  1. Wow...I didn't realize there were so many SUPER volcanoes waking up at once! Yellowstone alone gives me the shivers and there will be more! Wow, judgement is near and God is setting the earth in place right before our eyes. I pray people wake up from their delusion before God gives them over to their cold, unbelieving hearts.

  2. Debbie, there are three volcanoes that a recent quake has said to have woken up. This from Indonesia press three days ago:

    People living the vicinity of three volcanoes in East Java have been warned to be on the alert as they were showing signs of increased vulcanic activity. The three volcanoes are Mt Ijen, Mt Semeru and Mt Bromo.

    East Java district disaster management head Timur Siswanto said the authorities were in a state of readiness to handle any volcanic disasters and had established command posts for relief work should any of the volcanoes erupt.

    He was reported as saying by the local media that Mt Ijen was showing the most activity and that people living in its vicinity had been warned not to come within a 1.5 kilometre raidus of the mountain.

    Besides the above three, five other volcanoes – Mt Gamalama (Ternate Island, Moluccas), Mt Papandayan (Garut, West Java), Gunung Karangetang (northern Sulawesi ), Gunung Lokon (northern Sulawesi) and Anak Krakatau (Sunda Strait) – were also reported to have started “rumbling”.

  3. Santorini, a volcano caldera and island area in Greece, is also increasingly active.

  4. What's this, I live there. The volcano is closely observed and seismic activity patterns do'nt give any reasons for concern.
    Panicmaking to draw a little bit of attention?

    Gutenabend und schlaf wohl!

  5. Panicmaking to draw attention to what?


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