Scientists led by Maria Tsekhmistrenko of Oxford University say that there’s a Titanic-sized underground tree that feeds Earth’s volcanoes.
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An international team of scientists has mapped out a gigantic subterranean tree-like plume that feeds many volcanoes on Earth, and this plume could be Titanic in scale.
The massive plume looks to go to Réunion, a tiny French island in the Indian Ocean that also happens to be home to Piton de la Fournaise, or “peak of the furnace,” one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
While the existence of this plume had previously been speculated, scientists had never been able to see it seismologically until an international team led by Maria Tsekhmistrenko of Oxford University was able to map the massive “volcanic tree” using data collected by geological “telescopes” that detect the planet’s vibrations.
Sanne Cottaar, a seismologist at the University of Cambridge, told Quanta Magazine, “People have had a longer history and an easier time actually looking up at the stars.” “Looking down has actually been quite challenging.”
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The map was turned into a precise 3D model by the magazine.
The vast underground tree feeds not just Piton de la Fournaise, but also a few more volcanoes in East Africa, some 3,000 kilometers away. Furthermore, the Titanic-sized plume appears to be igniting the fires of Hawaiian volcanoes, which are located far from the well-known Ring of Fire, which feeds the majority of the world’s active volcanoes.
The massive plume erupted 65 million years ago, igniting the Deccan Traps. The area had enough seismological potential to encompass 1.5 million square kilometers of land beneath what is now India.