Science Diary: Volcano – Eruption

music; ambience: Volcano eruption sounds, wind

“Such peace and tranquility belies the inferno that awaits us at the summit. I can’t wait.”

It is estimated that 500 million people live near active volcanoes around the world. Scientists are working on a new way to monitor volcanoes, using sound. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Milton Garces is a geophysicist working with the infrasounds emitted by volcanoes. Infrasounds are extremely low-frequency noises, below the range of human hearing. Milton’s hoping to find patterns in these sounds which may one day be used to predict large eruptions. He sent us this recording from atop Stromboli volcano in Italy.

“It’s windy. As we ascend, ash comes out of the volcano. We are in the bomb shelter. The idea is, if there is increased activity, explosive activity, you can run underneath one of the shelters and protect yourself so you don’t get knocked down by a flying rock. (volcano sounds) The eruption you just heard now started with a lot of ash being ejected, and now it continues at a much lower level. As the light fades away, the incandescence coming from the vents becomes more apparent. Glowing rocks come out during the explosions. You can see steam, because it’s lighter in color than the ash an obscure, opaque gray. The explosions themselves have very low amplitudes of sound, and they’re mostly deep.”

We’ll hear more about Milton Garces’ research in future programs.

Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Science Diary: Volcano - Eruption

Geophysicist Milton Garces studies an active volcano's low frequency sound patterns in an effort to predict large-scale eruptions.
Air Date:07/28/2011
Scientist:
Transcript:

music; ambience: Volcano eruption sounds, wind

"Such peace and tranquility belies the inferno that awaits us at the summit. I can't wait."

It is estimated that 500 million people live near active volcanoes around the world. Scientists are working on a new way to monitor volcanoes, using sound. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Milton Garces is a geophysicist working with the infrasounds emitted by volcanoes. Infrasounds are extremely low-frequency noises, below the range of human hearing. Milton's hoping to find patterns in these sounds which may one day be used to predict large eruptions. He sent us this recording from atop Stromboli volcano in Italy.

"It's windy. As we ascend, ash comes out of the volcano. We are in the bomb shelter. The idea is, if there is increased activity, explosive activity, you can run underneath one of the shelters and protect yourself so you don't get knocked down by a flying rock. (volcano sounds) The eruption you just heard now started with a lot of ash being ejected, and now it continues at a much lower level. As the light fades away, the incandescence coming from the vents becomes more apparent. Glowing rocks come out during the explosions. You can see steam, because it's lighter in color than the ash an obscure, opaque gray. The explosions themselves have very low amplitudes of sound, and they're mostly deep."

We'll hear more about Milton Garces' research in future programs.

Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.