Research has shown that the drought has altered Mammoth Mountain’s carbon dioxide emissions

Research has shown that the drought has altered Mammoth Mountain's carbon dioxide emissions

On Horseshoe Lake is the well -trained hunting ground at Mammoth Mountain (bottom right). Yes: SR Brantley / USGS

Thirty years ago, on the side of a volcano in California’s Sierra Nevada, trees began to die out, their roots being blocked by carbon dioxide erupting from the depths of the ocean. mountain after many small earthquakes.

The wave of tree deaths on Mammoth Mountain, which is part of one of the nation’s largest volcanic systems, has prompted scientists to begin monitoring volcanic eruptions.

Now, researchers led by Stanford University geologist George Hilley have uncovered a surprising insight into a long history: The ebb and flow of carbon dioxide from Mammoth Mountain is related. strong in the weight of snow and ice over the Sierra Nevada, and the amount of water that enters from the surface of the volcano.

“This really shows how the solid Earth interacts with the sky and the things that travel on the surface,” said Hilley, a professor of science at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford). Earth). “Drought can change the way volcanoes breathe.”

The study, published March 9 at Geophysical Research Mapcoming in the middle of a dry winter that California left below average snowfall for this time of year, with less than a week left in the state’s wet season and no snow winds great in prophecy.

By the end of this century, state officials predict that the Sierra Nevada’s ice sheet will drop by 48 to 65 percent from the April 1 average. “ Climate change can really affect something like the kind of gas released from volcanic systems, “Hilley said.

Lake Shoe

Hilley and the authors analyzed the carbon footprint taken every 30 minutes for six years from Horseshoe Lake, the best -studied drug site on Mammoth Mountain. The mountain rises on the southwestern side of the Long Valley Caldera, a volcano formed by a large volcano 760,000 years ago.

The results show a 20 percent reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide flowing from the earth in the spring of 2017. The reduction is in line with the country’s problem from severe drought and drought. the mound of the Sierra Nevada’s largest iceberg over the years.

The study builds on research by USGS volcano Jennifer Lewicki which shows that carbon dioxide emissions at the Horseshoe Lake slaughterhouse have changed from year to year for many years. causes not related to lava flow.

Seeking to explain these differences, Lewicki and Hilley – with co -author Curtis Baden of Stanford – developed mathematical models to test suitable machines. Ice and rain can wash undetected carbon dioxide from the soil, for example. But their calculations show that Mammoth Mountain has far less rainfall than the average for low CO.2 levels seen in 2017.

The most comprehensive explanation of the changes in the Mammoth Mountain carbon scene is in relation to a subsoil, or faulty, visible to the naked eye trained in plant species and topography. of the land. Changing the distribution of stress across the entire mounting surface seems to open and close the fault as a valve, or as small gaps between the old floor layers slow down. measuring under weight.

Using GPS data and ice depth measurements, the authors found that the compressive strength at fault between 2014 and 2020 typically increases in the winter when ice collects in mid -Sierra Nevada and easy during the frost -free months. High levels of carbon dioxide emissions were released as the weight of ice and water in the mountains shifted around the Earth’s neck, reducing rocks on either side. of the Mammoth Mountain crime.

A limitation of the study is that it does not provide an example of the physics of the motion of faults and the flow of gases. “We’re using critical changes as a conduit for the opening and closing of a canal,” Hilley said. “An interesting study is going to run a three -way model of taking gas through a valley that you can open and close, and then run that model several times to see if it’s consistent. his predictions with the carbon measurements we’re working on. “

Predicting future eruptions

The ability to separate between CO2 The climate -led changes from those led by an upcoming eruption could lead to better disaster predictions, based in part on signs that magma is rising to rise. earthquakes, changes in the surface of the earth, or the removal of gases. “The comparison of the three is a common knowledge that an eruption is going to happen,” Hilley said.

For many years, climate change and seismicity around some of the United States’ strongest volcanoes have been constantly monitored using GPS and satellites, and scientists have been able to determine view data in near real time. But they are even more hostile to volcanic gas. “In the past, in most volcanoes, scientists had to go to a volcano before the eruption, or between eruptions, and go and collect this gas for observation. “It’s kind of like Indiana Jones,” Hilley said.

The difficulty of collecting volcanic gases has resulted in little records, sometimes with only one image of volcanic melting each year, making it difficult to see changes. showing a volcano – or understanding features of the Earth’s climate system. .

The new study provides insights into the future as scientists gain access to volcanic emission data, thanks in part to the development of more efficient and longer -lasting devices.

“Hopefully, in the next couple of years, we can have a history of gas performance in real time,” Hilley said. “When you look at the details, you can see that there are changes over time that may not be related to the actual volcanic condition.”


The new model could improve the Bay Area seismic disaster maps


More information:
George E. Hilley et al, Seasonal Changes and Years in CO 2 Degassing in Mammoth Mountain Described by Solid – Earth – Driven Fault Valving, Geophysical Research Map (2022). DOI: 10.1029 / 2021GL096595

Presented by Stanford University

Directions: Research finds that drought has altered Mammoth Mountain’s carbon dioxide emissions (2022, March 30) Retrieved March 30, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-03-drought -mammoth-mountain-carbon-dioxide.html

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