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Friday Flotsam: Australian volcano watch continued, the impact of the Siberian Traps and the threat from Hualalai

More threats to life and limb by Australian volcanoes, real threat posed by Hualalai and the impact of the Siberian Traps on trees.

News to finish up your week:

Summit area of Hualalai in Hawai’i

  • Another day, another “threat” of volcanic eruption in Australia. I’m impressed with the abject fear Aussies seem to have for this perceived increased threat of an eruption – or at least what the press wants you to believe. This time, watch out near Bundaberg, Townsville and Cooktown in southeast Queensland!
  • In more press-related exaggeration, the Siberian Traps – a flood basalt eruption from, well, thousands of rift/vents in Siberia – is boiled down to being one Siberian volcano by the Telegraph. Dr. Mark Sephton of the Imperial College London has found more evidence that the Traps, which erupted ~251 million years ago, could have had a very significant effect on global climate, possibly being the cause of the great Permian Extinction. The research itself sounds fascinating, but as usual, the science journalism drops the ball. If you want to read a little less dramatic version of the research, try here.
  • Hawaii 24/7 has a short piece on the threat posed by Hualalai. The volcano is definitely still considered “active” and last erupted in 1801, but there have been a number of earthquake swarms at the volcano since then. Hualalai is on the tail-end of its active Hawaiian volcanism lifespan, but can still pose a real threat to communities near the volcano.

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