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Volcano growing at an astounding rate

16 May 2012

A sea mount north of New Zealand, on what is known as the Tonga-Kermadec subduction zone, underwent an amazing episode of rapid growth – in just five days (see www.stuff.co.nz/science/6915463/Volcano-grows-at-astounding-rate/). It added 8.75 million cubic metres of rock to its summit in less than a week – a volume that sounds a lot but it then defined as 3500 Olympic size swimming pools. It was in effect a volcanic eruption beneath the sea and appears to indicate the sea mount grows or collapses in dramatic pulses – but caused it to happen? The rapid growth is in line with what has been seen at Vesuvius and Mount St Helens – so how many other volcanoes grow quickly, in the modern world and in the geological past? The research is published by Nature Geoscience, online version, and they add, some geological processes can be rapid, stating the obvious, but referring primarily to undersea volcanoes and undersea land slips (also associated with fault lines and plate boundaries). In addition, movements of the crust beneath the waves is able to create tsunami waves, currently fashionable, but in this instance, it did not. How many other geological processes take place quicker than uniformitarians would have us believe? Why is the geological consensus view able to suppress alternative ideas, many of them never being expressed other than inside the heads of geologists in the field (as they know it would be futile to express their thoughts in words and text)? Is this evidence of science in a straitjacket, the sort of thing you might expect of web sites such as Bad Astronomy, rigidly conforming to the consensus view and disparaging of anything outside of the ordinary? The Mount St Helens eruption was an eye opener, one that has had the lids closed in the years after the event. Sedimentary layers were produced instantaneously.

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