What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Increasing carbon dioxide emissions at Taal cause concern

March 31, 2011, 10:16 PM

Over the last year, we've been hearing about unrest at the Taal caldera in the Philippines. Last year, PHIVOLCS even raised the alert status briefly when seismicity at the volcano increased to a level that raised concerns it could erupt. The seismicity waned and the alert status was lowered, but PHIVOLCS has been keeping a close eye on the caldera that sits a mere 50 km from the capitol of the Philippines, Manila. The volcano is a case where careful monitoring and mitigation will hopefully save lives - one of the reasons it was a Decade Volcano.

As a refresher, the last eruption of Taal was over 30 years ago, in 1977, but these were mostly small phreatic (steam explosion) events. Taal is capable of producing significant explosive eruptions, including a potential VEI 6 eruption in ~3850 BC, multiple VEI 4 eruptions in 1716, 1749 and 1965, and frequent VEI 3 events. With this much potential for explosive eruptions so near a population center, the volcano must be watched closely.

Undated image of Taal in the Philippines.

Signs that some sort of eruption might be in the works continue at Taal. PHIVOLCS released a warning today about increasing carbon dioxide emissions at Taal, which that apparently quadrupled since this time last year - from ~1,000 tonnes/day to 4,600 tonnes/day. The current values are double that was observed in January of 2011. All of this suggests that magma is actively degassing somewhere under the volcano, and the increasing levels of CO2 suggest the magma might be slowly rising towards the surface. This does not mean an eruption is imminent or that any eruption would be catastrophic. On the contrary, the likelihood is high for a small eruption, starting as phreatic in nature and the hazard maps for Taal reflect this. Tourists and locals were warned to be wary of the threat of these increased carbon dioxide emissions and avoid the crater of the volcano.

PHIVOLCS issued a full report on the current activity at Taal that includes this increased carbon dioxide emissions, increased seismicity, periodic increases in steam emissions and very slight inflation - a combination that all indicate a higher probably of eruptive activity. It would seem that Taal is a volcano we should all watch very carefully in the near future.

Top left: Undated image of the active crater at Taal in the Philippines.


Increasing carbon dioxide e...

Newsletter: Share: