- It's similar in size to Mount Pinatubo, which in 1991 gave us the biggest eruption of the 20th century
- Billions of tons of ash and magma would be ejected
- Southern England would be covered in ash
Last updated at 1:39 PM on 2nd January 2012
A sleeping super-volcano in Germany is showing worrying signs of waking up.
It's lurking just 390 miles away underneath the tranquil Laacher See lake near Bonn and is capable of ejecting billions of tons of magma.
This monster erupts every 10 to 12,000 years and last went off 12,900 years ago, so it could blow at any time.
Hidden menace: Laacher See looks tranquil, but beneath its waters lies a volcano that could devastate Europe
Water deceptive sight: The lake was formed when the land collapsed following the last eruption
Monster: The Laacher See volcano is similar in size to Mount Pinatubo, which caused a 0.5C drop in global temperatures when it erupted in 1991
It covered 620 square miles of land with ash and rocks and several small earthquakes in the region last year indicate that it could be awakening from its deep sleep.
Experts believe that if it did go off, it could lead to widespread devastation, mass evacuations and even short-term global cooling from the resulting ash cloud blocking the sun.
The effect on the UK is hard to predict but it’s possible that large parts of southern England could be covered ash.
If the Laacher See eruption is as powerful as the last one, volcanic material could land over 600 miles away
It’s thought that the volcano is similar in size and power to Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, which blew in 1991 and became the biggest eruption of the 20th century.
It ejected 10 billion tons of magma, 20 billion tons of sulphur dioxide 16 cubic kilometres of ash and caused a 0.5C drop in global temperatures.
Volcanologists believe that the Laacher See volcano is still active as carbon dioxide is bubbling up to the lake’s surface, which indicates that the magma chamber below is 'degassing'.
Read more: Daily Mail
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