Within the last few months, there has been a lot of talk regarding volcanic eruptions, whether it was regarding volcanoes that have recently erupted or those that are expected to erupt in the near future. Just last week, one of the most powerful volcanoes found within Europe erupted for the second time in the last year.
Volcanic eruptions occur when magmas rise through the cracks and weak points in the Earth’s crust. As the pressure builds below the surface, once an opening releases the pressure due to a plate movement, the magma explodes, causing a volcanic eruption. However, with so much volcanic activity taking place throughout the world, we must question why the Earth is releasing so much magma. What exactly is taking place beneath Earth’s crust that would suddenly cause this much activity?
Despite the fact that Mount Etna may have been one of the only eruptions to make headlines, the fact is, that volcanic eruptions are presently taking place all over the world. Volcano Discovery, a website which reports on volcanic activity throughout the world shows 35 volcanos that are currently erupting or have recently erupted.
Included in those that have recently erupted, or that are currently active, is the Barren Island volcano located in India. In 1991, the volcano erupted for the first time in over 150 years, and since then, it has erupted intermittently.
Iceland is also experiencing an increase in volcanic activity. Four of Iceland’s volcanos are now showing increased amounts of activity, that would indicate the likelihood of yet another eruption. Included in those are Katla , which is now experiencing more activity than it has seen in over four decades. Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist stated that “Katla has been unrestful since this autumn.”
The others that are showing more activity are Hekla, Grímsvötn and Bárðarbunga.
Mexico’s Colima volcano has also recently erupted in February. The massive 12,500-feet volcano in Tuxpan, western Mexico has experienced an increase in eruptive activity since last October. The volcano itself is located just 30 kilometers away from a residential area that has a population of around 300,000 people.
To top the list, Ethiopia’s “gateway to hell” has also seen a surge in activity within the past few months. While this particular volcano has been active for over 100 years, it recently began baffling scientists after a variety of cracks were detected on the surface of the volcano. On top of that, its lava lakes have begun to overflow, which in turn has caused it to begin oozing red-hot magma.
And to put it into perspective, take a look at the following graphs depicting activity which occurred in the previous century compared to our current activity.
Obviously, this massive increase in volcanic activity is not just taking place within one region. Even Campi Flegrei, a super volcano in Italy, appears to be preparing for a massive eruption. If it does, millions of people could die, and a countless number of others would be left in devastation. For whatever reason, something strange and mysterious is taking place beneath the ground we walk on.
Has Mother Earth decided to enact some sort of self-defense mode in response to our constant exploitation of her resources? While scientists have been searching for an explanation behind the upsurge in volcanic activity, some have theorized that the increase is a normal response to Earth’s natural shift. Others, however, believe that it could have something to do with other forms of climate change as well. As it stands, we can only speculate as to what could be causing this massive shift beneath Earth’s crust. But as scientists continue to research volcanos and their activity charted over time, perhaps they will be able to better understand what is causing our planet to violently react.