Laser technology to monitor volcanic eruptions

An international team of researchers from Australia and Spain, led by SRAP-member Associate Professor Teresa Ubide from The University of Queensland, have applied laser-powered technology to interrogate volcanic rocks from the 2021 eruption of La Palma, which affected more than 7000 people and generated losses of more than €860 million (AU$1.4 billion). The research has been published in the peer-review journal Science Advances: Discrete magma injections drive the 2021 La Palma eruption. The team has also published science communication articles in The Conversation in both English (Australia) and Spanish (Spain).

Early eruption main cone in La Palma 2021 eruption. Photo taken on 23 Sep 2021. Crédit: JJ Coello-Bravo (co-author of the research).

The research team analysed the magmatic liquid erupted at La Palma throughout the 3 months of the eruption. They found the magmatic chemistry changed with the style of the eruption and found indications of waning magma supply two weeks before the end of the eruption. Their method and results could help monitor the evolution, and termination, of future volcanic eruptions, helping protect the millions of people around the world living close to active volcanoes.

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