Mt. Sinabung linked to the Toba supervolcano – Video

Oregon State University researchers linked recent eruptions at Sumatra’s Mt. Sinabung to the last supervolcano eruption on Earth, which took place 74,000 years ago at the Toba Caldera some 25 miles away.

Lake Toba – Photo courtesy Shan de Silva

When Toba erupted, it emitted a volume of magma 28,000 times greater than that of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. It was so massive, it is thought to have created a volcanic winter on Earth lasting years, and possibly triggered a bottleneck in human evolution.

To qualify as a supervolcano, the eruption must reach at least magnitude 8 on the Volcano Explosivity Index, which means the measured deposits for that eruption are greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers, or 240 cubic miles.

This short video explains how Lake Toba was formed.

“Supervolcanoes have lifetimes of millions of years during which there can be several supereruptions,” said Shanaka “Shan” de Silva, an Oregon State University volcanologist and co-author on the study. “Between those eruptions, they don’t die. Scientists have long suspected that eruptions continue after the initial eruption, but this is the first time we’ve been able to put accurate ages with those eruptions.”

The study also found that the magma in Toba’s system has an identical chemical fingerprint and zircon crystallization history to Mt. Sinabung, which is currently erupting and is distinct from other volcanoes in Sumatra. This suggests that the Toba system may be larger and more widespread than previously thought, de Silva noted.

“Our data suggest that the recent and ongoing eruptions of Mt. Sinabung are part of the Toba system’s recovery process from the supereruption,” he said.

The discovery of the connection does not suggest that the Toba Caldera is in danger of erupting on a catastrophic scale any time soon, the researchers emphasized. “This is probably ‘business as usual’ for a recovering supervolcano,” de Silva said.

“The hazards from a supervolcano don’t stop after the initial eruption,” de Silva said. “They change to more local and regional hazards from eruptions, earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis that may continue regularly for several tens of thousands of years.

“Toba remains alive and active today.”

As large as the Toba eruption was, the reservoir of magma below the caldera is much, much greater, the researchers say. Studies at other calderas around Earth, such as Yellowstone, have estimated that there is between 10 and 50 times as much magma than is erupted during a supereruption.

Other well-known supervolcano sites include Yellowstone Park in the United States, Taupo Caldera in New Zealand, and Campi Flegrei in Italy.

Mucek and de Silva are affiliated with OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. The study was supported by the National Science Foundation.

The above info came from a news release issued by Oregon State University on May 16th of this year. See entire news release:

Thanks to John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia, for this link

8 thoughts on “Mt. Sinabung linked to the Toba supervolcano – Video”

  1. 28,000 years ago was near the end of the last ice age.
    A volcanic winter while an ice age is going on?
    Something to think about.

    • I have often thought that the trigger for the ending of an Interglacial and the start of major Glaciation period requires four events to take place or be in play at the same time.
      1. Orbit and tilt of the Earth to be in the cooling phase of the orbital progression.
      2. The Sun to be in the disordered phase of its energy output.
      3. A deep Grand Solar Minimum similar to Spoorer, or Maunder.
      4. A major geological event such as a disturbance to the overturning warm current to the Atlantic basin, similar to the Younger Dryas or aT7/8 volcanic eruption.

      The latter major eruption in Indonesia could affect the overturning current as well as dumping 10 years’ worth of Ash and Sulphur into the atmosphere.

    • Last Toba VE=8 eruption around 74,000 BCE. However another VE=7/8 eruption – possibly Taupo may have caused a briefer cold event around 24,000 years BCE.

      Toba crater lake is actually made up from 3 seperate major eruptions – the last 74,000 years BCE

      The VSI (Indonesian government Volcano team) studied Sinabung from 2012 after the start of the current event. Geo Physical studies confirmed that Sinabung magma chamber was part of the TOBA field. There is a technical report from 2013 with all this information. I have it somewhere.
      The Oregon report confirms the geo physical.
      The VSI need all the help they can get. Any outside university or Geo physical study unit help is welcome.

      To be fair to the VSI. Indonesia has more active volcanoes than any other country. Their resources are stretched. they mainly monitir the volcanos that put peoples lives at risk. Sinabung erupted after a long period of inactivity so there were no real monitoring of it at the time. Information on Sinabung was mainly anecdotal. It was rumored to have had a minor eruption in 1881.
      (there was a large earthquake similar to the 2004 Sumatera one around 1880). In 1881 Krakatau took every bodies attention.

  2. reading the deceptive weather map reorting and then this
    today the ausie media report that agung is still swelling the sulphur vents are increasing and its watch n wait..
    then later the same online paper has Balis govt? or some fool in it.. …saying the evacuated people should go home now.
    wonder if that person will be held responsible if anyone follows the advice?

    • Out of fear many villagers who are not actually in harms way (with respect to the expected risk area) have moved to evacuation centres. The Indonesian Government is stretched – looking after so many evacuees.

      The OZZIE media as you know are just sensationalist and looking to any angle to keep their “Journalists” faces on the idiot box.

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