Volcano activity of November 9, 2012 – Long Valley Caldera, Popocatepetl, San Miguel, Nevado del Ruiz, Tongariro and White Island
Volcanologists were horrified by news that the U.S. Geological Survey showed renewed volcanic activity in the Long Valley region in California.
The fear was that this could be the forerunner to another caldera-forming eruption in the area, which is when a new valley is created by a gigantic explosion. The one that initially formed the Long Valley caldera buried thousands of square miles of California under volcanic ash, some 760,000 years ago.
Long Valley Caldera is a depression in eastern California that is adjacent to Mammoth Mountain. The valley is one of the earth's largest calderas, measuring about 20 mi (32 km) long (east-west) and 11 mi (18 km) wide (north-south). The elevation of the floor of the caldera is 6,500 ft (2,000 m) in the east and 8,500 ft (2,600 m) in the west. The elevation of the caldera walls reach 9,800–11,500 ft (3,000–3,500 m), except in the east, where the wall rises only 500 ft (150 m) to an elevation of 7,550 ft (2,300 m).
Long Valley was formed 760,000 years ago when a hugevolcanic eruption released very hot ash that later cooled to form the Bishop tuff that is common to the area. The eruption was so colossal that the magma chamber under the now destroyed volcano was emptied to the point of collapse. The collapse itself caused an even larger secondary eruption of pyroclastic ash that burned and buried thousands of square miles. Ash from this eruption blanketed much of the western part of what is now theUnited States.
Aeromagnetic Survey of Long Valley and Mono Basin Volcanic Areas
October 12, 2012
In mid-October, U.S. Geological Survey volcanologists and geophysicists plan to conduct the first comprehensive, high-resolution airborne magnetic survey of the rock layers under Mono Basin and Long Valley, on the east side of the California Sierra Nevada mountains. The resulting 3D subsurface geologic map will improve assessment of both volcanic and earthquake hazards in the mapped region. For more information about the airborne survey and how the resulting data will be used, read the full press release. http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/calvo/
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