Even small volcanic eruptions can cause global chaos


in spring Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in 2010 Exploded, Sending a mass of volcanic ash into European airspace.The resulting interruption of air travel (ash + engine = broken) was the largest on the African continent since World War II, causing Estimated 5 billion U.S. dollars.

However, the collapse of the Eyjafjallajökull was medium, As volcanologists classify it. exist”Volcanic eruption index“-This is based on the volume of ejecta like volcanic ash and rocks-it is 4. Compared with the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815, it got 7: it ejected so much material into the atmosphere, Thereby cooling the earth, resulting in Large crop failure. In the Philippines, Mount PinatuboThe eruption in 1991 was 6. Its economic impact (adjusted for inflation) lost $740 million, although it is 100 times larger than the Eyjafjallajokull.

In a new Paper Published in the magazine today Nature Communications, A group of researchers believe that the Eyjafjallajökull is a warning that smaller eruptions can cause huge civil suffering. This is not because they cause many deaths, but because they cause damage to valuable infrastructure such as submarine cables and waterways. (As the world learned recently, just let one ship get stuck in the Suez Canal collapse In your own right. )

Researchers have identified seven main “pinches” where critical infrastructure and active volcanoes that may erupt with low intensity exist together. The explosion of any of them could trigger a cascade of devastating economic effects, just as the Eyjafjallajokull destroys air travel. “I’ve been thinking that they are all in the same place—all these systems come together,” said Lara Mani, a sociovolcanologist at the Centre for Existential Risk Studies at Cambridge University (imagine their drinking fountains chatting), according to the new paper. The main author. “This is terrible. Why hasn’t anyone mentioned it before?”

A key point is in Taiwan, where the major computer chip manufacturers are located; their importance in everything from iPhone to cars lies in Current (non-volcano-induced) chip shortageThe other is in the south, between Taiwan and the Philippines. The Luzon Strait is full of submarine cables, nine of which were cut off by an underwater landslide after the 2006 earthquake, causing the Internet to be almost completely interrupted. At key points in China and South Korea, volcanic ash may disrupt some of the world’s busiest shipping routes, as well as shipping in the Sea of ​​Japan.

In Malaysia, the Strait of Malacca is a key point because it is also an important route, with 40% of global trade passing through this route every year. The same is true for another area in the Mediterranean: this area is home to Mount Vesuvius, Santorini, and Campiflegre, all of which have volcanic eruptions between 3 and 6. The author points out that the tsunami caused by the volcano here could damage underwater cables, destroy ports, and block the Suez Canal. In March, a ship was stuck there for only 6 days, causing global trade losses of up to 10 billion U.S. dollars. Now, imagine the tsunami that made it offline for longer.

Thanks to Eyjafjallajökull, we have seen what happens when volcanic ash is ejected from the North Atlantic pinch. Finally, in the Pacific Northwest, the threat is volcanic debris, which may flow far away and may reach Seattle. The author points out that about 5,600 years ago, Mount Rainier produced a mudslide that traveled more than 60 miles to reach Puget Sound and now the busy Port of Tacoma.Modeling shows that if the volcano produces a level 6 eruption today, the potential losses may total 7.6 USD trillion More than five years.


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