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Volcanologist Warns Of Super Volcano This Century

June 2, 2011

Clive Oppenheimer, a leading volcanologist, has warned of a one-in-500 chance the earth will be hit with a “super-volcano” this century, reports the Telegraph.

The vulcanology expert said this statistic is worse than it sounds:  “It is a lot more likely than an asteroid impact.”

He highlighted natural disasters of recent years including the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland and more recently, the eruption of Grímsvötn.

“The events in Japan remind us that you can have a tsunami and earthquake and a nuclear plant there as well and you can have these chain reaction events that are actually quite calamitous and they are not unimaginable.”

Oppenheimer said, speaking at Hay on Wednesday, that poverty also posed a huge problem in countries prone to such natural disasters.

“The world population is bigger, for one thing, and many people are living in abject poverty who are already very vulnerable.”

He said evidence shows large earthquakes can trigger volcanoes up to 621 miles away, and that this year’s devastating earthquake off Japan’s coast could trigger another volcano in the vicinity.

“Statistically, we could say within the next six months there is likely to be an eruption in Japan because of the events this year,” he said while speaking at the event.

Image Caption: Overlooking the Eyjafjallajökull glacier and the ongoing volcano eruption from Hvolsvöllur on April 17th, 2010. Credit: Henrik Thorburn/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)   

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