Researchers study magmatic crystals from volcanoes to predict eruptions

Before a volcano erupts, certain warning signs can be announced, even several years before… for example, earthquakes can be detected. The detection of these precursor signals is essential to be able to protect the population living in volcanically active regions…

Recently active volcanoes are monitored and scrutinized by seismometers… this means that we know well for them the seismic signs heralding an eruption…. but this is not the case for all volcanoes… they are not all monitored.

So the idea of [ces chercheurs,](Communications Earth & Environment) is to develop another method of detection, this time not with a seismic signature, but a petrological signature… therefore a signature in the rock which would explain past eruptions.

To validate this method, these scientists went to collect samples on the Kizimen volcano, located in Kamchatka, located in the extreme northeast of Russia…. and by analyzing the crystals present in these rocks, their nature, their number, their heterogeneity, we can go back to times, to times when little by little, an imbalance occurred in the volcano… the moment when the magma mixed… long before producing the eruption.

The crystals are therefore used as time capsules. And these petrological times, of change of stability of the system which feeds the volcano correspond to the earthquakes which have been recorded…. which validates this method. This petrological clock could therefore be used as a pre-eruption clock.

Interview with Hélène Balcone-Boissarlecturer at the Paris Institute of Earth Sciences at Sorbonne University and co-author of the study


1 min

Over a billion people believe in witchcraft

Witchcraft takes many forms depending on myths and cultures… but it can be defined as the ability to cause harm to people through supernatural means…. And to estimate the importance of this belief in the world,

an American researcher compiled data from surveys that posed religious and supernatural questions. Together, the data covers nearly 140,000 individuals, from 95 countries…. and it turns out that 40% of respondents believe in witchcraft… with great variations between countries. This, reduced to the population of the countries studied, makes it possible to estimate that more than a billion people believe in witchcraft. The sample is all the same quite small… and does not take into account all the countries… China and India, for example, are excluded, for lack of data, whereas these two countries represent a third of the world’s population.

A new species of semi-aquatic dinosaur discovered

The discovery of this fossil actually dates back to 2008, in the Gobi desert in Mongolia, but

the analysis has only just been published. They show that this Natovenator polydontus species has a particular anatomy… never observed for a fossil dating from the Upper Cretaceous, 70 million years ago.

Natovenator has a ribcage similar to that of swimming-adapted animals. His body shows that he was unable to fly. It’s not the first semi-aquatic dinosaur… but the first with such a complete skeleton. The rest of the analyzes show that he had teeth, was a carnivore…. and somehow looked like a duck.

A Roman ruler believed to be invented did exist

This is Sponsianus… whose effigy and name were found on four gold coins discovered in Romania at the beginning of the 18th century… Only, almost no trace of this Sponsianus in writings… and the coins have no not struck between dies as is usually the case, but cast in molten metal…and there were even spelling mistakes…and therefore these coins were simply considered to be fakes and that this leader had never existed.

But a thorough analysis of these pieces by

researchers from the University of London show that they are genuine. In particular, the electron microscopy images show that there are real traces of wear…. and that the coins circulated well… and the dating of deposits inside these micro-scratches indicate that one of the coins is well over 2000 years old… So these coins are true, and Sponsien did reign over Dacia, a isolated territory of the Empire that covers present-day Romania. The authors believe that he may have been an army commander… and that a military crisis in the region could have brought him to power.

Thanks to Hélène Balcone-Boissard for her explanations

For further

[L’étude sur les dynamiques pré-éruptives du Kizimen](Earth & Environment Communications)

New advances on the pre-eruption dynamics of magmatic reservoirs (CNRS)

The study of witchcraft (PLoS One)

More than a billion people believe in witchcraft, especially in countries where institutions are failing (Meditation Guru)

The study on the new species of dinosaur (Communications Biology, in English)

Fossil analysis reveals new species of semi-aquatic dinosaur, a kind of carnivorous duck (GEO)

The study on Sponsien (PLoS One)

The “false” Roman emperor who really existed, or how a gold coin could rewrite history (Science and Future)

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Researchers study magmatic crystals from volcanoes to predict eruptions

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