A new study has shown that a trail of islands off the coast of southern Alaska might be part of a single giant volcano. Experts have observed a far-flung island cluster in the preliminary analysis. The findings of the analysis will be presented at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. Scientists have said that it is possible that the newly reported volcanic giant, which has erupted in a blast, has been enough to dwarf the cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. The behemoth has been marked by a semi-circular clump of peaks in the Aleutian Islands, which are known as the Islands of the Four Mountains (IFM). The six peaks, Herbert, Carlisle, Tana, Cleveland, Uliaga, and Kagamil, that have been considered independent volcanoes might be a series of linked vents along the edge of a massive volcanic caldera, said the experts. However, these findings do not indicate any future catastrophe.
Scientists have not tried to find any evidence for the mighty blast while they have been sailing through the IFM in 2014. Rather they have focused on the region’s archaeology. The second group of experts has looked into the volcanoes’ tectonic foundation during the next couple of years. They have examined the local geology and used a set of technologies to analyze the region. They have used seismometers to collect tiny tremors and chemical analyses to identify the compositions of gases flowing from the ground. While working on the data, experts have found puzzling features, which have been cropping up. These mystifying facts about the region have confirmed that the IFM might belong to a massive and ancient eruption. The half-ring shape of the closely clumped IFM volcanoes has been the first puzzle, experts have come across. Calderas are made when a massive reservoir of magma suddenly goes empty and overlying ground crumples. It leads to a vast depression on the surface of the earth from one to 30 miles across. The formation of Calderas leads to a series of cracks through which magma seeps to the surface. Therefore, volcano clumps are common nearby their edges or centers. Experts have thought that IFM volcanoes show a chain of linked geological shapes around a 12-mile wide caldera, which might be laying hundreds of feet beneath the surface of the frosty Pacific waters.
The discovery of rocks, also known as welded ignimbrites has been another puzzle found by the experts. These materials are created when a massive eruption lays down burning volcanic ash so thick that the grains bind together to become solid rock. Experts have been prompted by these puzzling facts and they tried to find other information to support this phenomenon. They have gathered an array of evidence such as gravity anomalies from satellite data and bathymetric surveys, which have been done in the region right after World War II. As per the experts, the seafloor mapping has shown many curved ridge formations and a depression more than 40 feet deep, which might be a part of the caldera. Experts believe that the potential underwater basin might be an outcome of a volcanic explosion.