South American scientists unearth gigantic lake under volcano

The lake was discovered almost 15 kilometers under this dormant volcano and scientists claim that this could probably help in unlocking facts on how volcanoes erupt.

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2016, 09:31 AM IST
South American scientists unearth gigantic lake under volcano
Gigantic lake discovered under volcano in South America (Representational image)

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Scientists in South America have unearthed a huge gigantic lake under a dormant volcano.

The lake was discovered almost 15 kilometers under this dormant volcano and scientists claim that this could probably help in unlocking facts on how volcanoes erupt.

The body of water - which is dissolved into partially molten rock at a temperature of almost 1,000 degrees Celsius - is the equivalent to what is found in some of the world's giant freshwater lakes, such as Lake Superior.

The finding by researchers from University of Bristol in the UK and colleagues has led scientists to consider if similar bodies of water may be 'hiding' under other volcanoes and could help explain why and how volcanoes erupt.

"The Bolivian Altiplano has been the site of extensive volcanism over past 10 million years, although there are no currently active volcanoes there," said Professor Jon Blundy, who was part of the project at Cerro Uturuncu volcano in the Bolivian Altiplano.

"The Altiplano is underlain by a large geophysical anomaly at depths of 15 km below the surface of Earth.

"This anomaly has a volume of one-and-a-half million cubic kilometres or more and is characterised by reduced seismic wave speeds and increased electrical conductivity. This indicates the presence of molten rock," said Blundy.

"The rock is not fully molten, but partially molten. Only about 10 to 20 per cent of the rock is actually liquid; the rest is solid. The rock at these depths is at a temperature of about 970 degrees Celsius," he said.

The researchers hope that better understanding of how water can trigger volcanic eruptions can improve predictions of when it is going to erupt.

(With PTI inputs)