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A super douper volcano

8 September 2013

At http://phys.org/print297607227.html … the Tamu Massif lies one thousand miles east of Japan and it is a giant volcano that has left its innards spread accross the sea floor, over an area the size of the British Isles, or New Mexico. There are even bigger volcanoes on Mars but the Tamu Massif is regarded as the largest one on Earth.

Volcanoes are not to be confused with magma outpourings such as the Deccan Traps. The Tamu Massif is a basalt formation that erupted from a single explosive event – dated 145 million years ago. The paper is published in Nature Geoscience and was written as a result of field research.

On the other hand somebody has been playing around with computer simulations as we have a press release accompanying a paper published in Nature that claims varying amounts of sunlight falling on Earth's surface as it orbits around the Sun (the Milankovitch model) are enough to make ice sheets ebb and flow in 100,000 year cycles see http://phys.org/print297582608.html.

Climate scientists, including Maureen Raymo, were responsible for the study, and apparently, the larger the ice sheet the more vulnerable it is to melt. This was achieved by computer simulation and may sound like standing logic on its head but the thinking is that the bigger the ice sheet the colder it has to be to preserve it. Henry Blatter adds, as the ice sheet pushed lower down in the direction of New York, at the height of the last Ice Age, a brief warm spell of climate was enough to trigger catastrophic melting and the retreat of the ice sheets – hundreds and hundreds of miles of thick ice which left permanent puddles, ponds, and lakes across NE North America. Needless to say, as cliamte scientists they have another agenda – rather than common sense. Raymo adds, it is a bit troubling to think what a small amount of warming can do to the stability of the polar ice sheets. Amazing stuff.

Even more amazing is the animation they supply of an expansion and contraction of the ice sheet over the last 400,000 years – where the ice gets bigger and smaller depending on the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, the amount of sunlight, and internal fast tracks (not provided in the abstract). Spiffing stuff. What a wheeze.

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