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Hazards are coming. Dragons and wights? No. But just like in Game of Thrones small actions can have big impacts. Tiny bubbles forming in magma can create dragon fire like eruptions. While in the North slight changes in temperature can awaken frozen dangers,. Melting frozen ground can release methane gas which can rapidly warm the atmosphere and cause landslides which can bring down even the mightiest of walls. This evening we will explore how science can identify these hazards and reduce the impact they may have. This night is sponsored by Cardiff University School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.
Unfreezing the tundra: the hazards of warming permafros
Dr T.C. Hales (Lecturer in Geomorphology)
Under the open ground of our poles and high mountains lies a large store of ice, called permafrost. This permafrost has existed through past glacial cycles and expands and contracts with changes in global temperatures. Locked within this ice, reducing bacteria produce greenhouse gasses, particularly methane that is released as it melts. Also, melting permafrost increases the propensity for hazards that can affect, in particular, oil and gas pipelines. This talk will examine how humans are changing the frozen tundra and how these changes may affect the global climate system.
Flow or blow: how do bubbles control volcanic eruption style?
Dr Wim Degruyter (Lecturer)
Volcanoes can erupt in a wide variety of styles, from slow outpourings of lava to violent explosions of ash-rich plumes. The style of an eruption determines the hazards to which the environment, human life, and infrastructure are exposed when a volcano erupts. In this talk, I will explore how the peculiar flow behaviour of magma and its ability to form bubbles governs the eruption style we observe at the surface.
CSI Volcano: how do geologists unravel past magmatic eruptions?
Once volcanic activity has stopped, geologists are left to answer critical questions such as: What triggered the eruption? How long did the magmas take to form, ascent through the earth’s crust and erupt? Did external factors influence the eruption? By treating volcanic deposits like crime scenes, geologists can attempt to unravel how volcanoes behave and what controls them. In this talk, I will explore the various ways geologists carry out this forensic work by studying the products of volcanic eruptions from the scale of continents to that of the atom.