Volcanic vortex rings


06:31 AM

1 min read
Volcanic vortex rings Blog Image

What’s in today’s article?

● Why in News?

● What is Mount Etna?

● What are Volcanic vortex rings?

● Does producing volcano rings mean Etna is about to erupt very soon?

Why in News?

Mount Etna, the largest volcano in Europe, and among the world’s most active and iconic volcanoes, has been sending up almost perfect rings of smoke into the air. The rings are a rare phenomenon that scientists refer to as volcanic vortex rings.

What is Mount Etna?

  • About
    • Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.
    • It is Europe’s most active volcano and one of the largest in the world. Its recorded volcanic activity dates back to 1500 B.C.
    • Since then, it has erupted more than 200 times.
    • Etna has displayed a variety of eruption styles, including violent explosions and voluminous lava flows.
  • Features of Etna
    • Etna’s summit has five craters, which are responsible for most of the volcano’s eruptions.
    • Etna has been a World Heritage Site since 2013, and according to UNESCO, the volcano’s eruptive history can be traced back 500,000 years.
  • Other volcanoes erupt for much longer than Etna
    • One of the most famous long-term eruptions was Kilauea volcano on Hawaii.
  • Its spewing spree in 1983 continued — almost nonstop — for 35 years until 2018, only to start again in 2021. The eruption is still ongoing.
    • Dukono in Indonesia started erupting in August 1933 and is still continuing.
    • Santa Maria in Guatemala began erupting in June 1922 and continues to this day.
    • Yasur in Vanuatu first rumbled to life in about 1270 (± 110 years) and as of June 2023, was still erupting.

What are Volcanic vortex rings?

  • About
    • Vortex rings are generated when gas, predominantly water vapour, is released rapidly through a vent in the crater.
    • The vent that has opened up in Etna’s crater is almost perfectly circular, so the rings that have been seen above the mountain since recently are also circular.
    • The rings are produced by the explosion of gas bubbles within a narrow conduit, which shoots the gas at high speed toward the surface.
  • Attrition along the conduit walls slows the movement of the gas jet, relative to the center of the conduit.
  • Examples
    • Volcanic vortex rings have been observed at volcanoes such as:
      • Redoubt in Alaska,
      • Tungurahua in Ecuador,
      • Pacaya in Guatemala,
      • Eyjafjallajökull and Hekla in Iceland,
      • Stromboli in Italy,
      • Aso and Sakurajima in Japan,
      • Yasur in Vanuatu,
      • Whakaari in New Zealand, and
      • Momotombo in Nicaragua.

Does producing volcano rings mean Etna is about to erupt very soon?

  • Volcanologists do not believe so. As per them, this event signifies that the activity from the new vent was slowing down.
  • They claim that this can stop because the properties of the conduit that allowed for the formation of these volcanic vortex rings can change, maybe with obstructions.

Q.1. What is UNESCO?

UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It was established on November 16, 1945, and its headquarters are located at 7, place de Fontenoy in Paris.

Q.2. What is stratovolcano?

A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a type of volcano with a steep slope and a summit crater, made up of many layers of hardened lava, ash, and tephra. Stratovolcanoes form through explosive eruptions that deposit material near a central vent.

Source: A Sicilian volcano is blowing smoke rings in the sky. What are volcanic vortex rings?