The Laacher See Volcano a sits within an oval shaped caldera lake located in northeast Germany with a diameter of 2km and surrounded by high banks. It has been the scene of sporadic volcanic activity for thousands of years, with blasts usually taking place in spring and summer. The last of which took place almost 13,000 years ago, shooting magma rock with a blast that was of a similar size to Mount Pinatubo’s in 1991 – one of the biggest in history.
The lake that exists today was formed by the volcano’s blast, from which the ash can be found today in the North Sea and throughout Central Europe.
The crust collapsed into the magma chamber below a few days after the initial eruption, which measured at 6 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, the same as Krakatoa from 1883.
This made it 250 times larger than the eruption of Mount St.Helens in 1980, in which 57 people died.
Eruptions at the famous Yellowstone National park reached a VEI of 8 according to researchers.
The remains of the Laacher See are used to date sediments and a number of unique minerals can be found in the periphery of the lake.
While it hasn’t erupted for tens of thousands of years, is still considered active due to seismic activities still being measured today.
Carbon dioxide gas from magma still bubbles under its surface, as it has done for centuries.
Some researchers have warned that another eruption today would have devastating consequences.
In his 2019 book ‘Disaster By Choice’, Professor Ilan Kelman highlights the millions of people who could have affected and the billions of pounds in costs another eruption would cause.
He said: “Scientists calculate that a similar eruption today would affect over two million people and the damage to housing alone would cost between 18billion and 27billion euros.
On whether an eruption is likely, Dr. Torsten Dahm told DW news that activity is observable but that an eruption is not close.
He said: “We don’t actually expect an immediate eruption very soon, or in the near future.
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“But it shows us that there is activity going on, and also magmatic activity. And it’s the first time that we have direct evidence, meaning direct in the sense of observing seismic signals. So we know it’s really occurring now.”
In regards to monitoring the lake, Professor Dahm also highlighted the ways in which its activity can be measured.
He added: “The observations we have now — we’ve only been able to resolve these kinds of signals because we improved a seismic network.
“But it’s actually not optimal. There are other important signals that should be measured continuously and in real time — for instance, the gas flows, or the chemical analysis of gases, in the places where we know that gas from the deep mantle source is coming.
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