Home LATEST NEWS In Mexico, scientists test their hypotheses on volcanoes and earthquakes

In Mexico, scientists test their hypotheses on volcanoes and earthquakes


In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, more than 700 km off the west coast of Mexico, the Revillagigedo archipelago is a kind of Mexican “Galapagos”, a reference to the islands off Ecuador rich in great biodiversity. .

Ten scientists from various backgrounds and universities (Dutch, Mexican, French, Cuban, German, American) took about thirty hours to reach these deserted islands by boat in mid-March – with the exception of a base Mexican Navy – renowned among scuba diving enthusiasts for its maritime fauna (whales, dolphins, sharks, etc.).

Better know the risk of eruption

The aim of their week-long mission last month on the side of volcanoes in a landscape of wild moors to sleep on the boat: to better understand the risk of eruption and the movement of tectonic plates.

We try to understand how explosive and dangerous these volcanoes can beexplains to theFrance Media Agency on his return to the Netherlands the mission leader, Douwe van Hinsbergen, professor of global tectonics and paleogeography at the University of Utrecht.

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The scientists will verify their hypotheses in the coming months based on the analysis of the rock and mineral samples they have collected.

Eruption of a volcano.

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano off the coast of Tonga, January 14, 2022.

Photo: Reuters/Tonga Geological Survey

For example, could an eruption have the same consequences on the Mexican coasts as the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in January in Tonga?

Wherever there are islands with active volcanoes, they can generate tsunamisemphasizes to theFrance Media Agency Mexican geologist Pablo Davila Harris, of the Institute for Scientific and Technological Research of San Luis Potosi.

Volcanologists are trying to find out when the next eruption will occur. »

A quote from Pablo Davila Harris, geologist, who discusses models based on past eruptions

One of the archipelago’s volcanoes, Barcena, erupted in 1953, and another, Evermann, in 1993. Both remain active.

On these islands located on the ocean ridges, the team also sought to understand the origin of earthquakes, which threaten Mexico.

Mineral analysis should help understand the movement of tectonic plates.

A large lake of rocks

The plates move on the Earth’s mantle. Does the mantle push the plates? Does the coat do nothing?asks Douwe van Hinsbergen.

His theory: the Earth’s mantle could be a large lake of rocks that does not cause convectionthat is to say the movement at the origin of plate tectonics.

It would rather be gravity pulling the plates down. And that would simplify the whole systemhe continues.

The mission received funding from a Dutch program to study ideas that are most certainly wrong, but if not, would have big implicationshe says, half-serious, half-ironic.

The rock and mineral samples were sent to Europe for analysis in laboratories.

Will we learn more about volcanoes and earthquakes? Answer at the end of the year.

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