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Are we heading for a catastrophe!? Planet Earth can throw some deadly disasters at society, with violent volcanic eruptions towards the top of the list. But were you aware of the threat posed by catastrophic changes in Earth’s magnetic field? Tamsin and Conall will talk about the cutting edge science behind forecasting volcanic hazards and the likelihood of the earth having a magnetic meltdown.
Volcano watching: weapons of ash eruption
Volcanoes can be deadly natural hazards but they have also shaped the world around us today. While active volcanoes can seem distant from the UK, the travel chaos caused by the 2010 eruption in Iceland highlighted their disruptive power even in our relatively tectonically benign corner of the planet. Volcanoes are complex and varied. Volcanologists must use all the tools at their disposal to understand them and forecast their activity and impacts. This talk will explore some of these tools including recent developments pushing our satellite capabilities towards global volcano monitoring.
Are we heading for a magnetic reversal?
The Earth has a magnetic field, powered by motions of liquid iron deep within the Earth’s interior. This field has long been used for navigation, and acts as an “invisible shield” protecting us from harmful solar radiation. Direct measurement of the field over the past 180 years has revealed a 10% decrease in the intensity of the field over that time, leading to speculation that we might be heading for a reversal of the magnetic field. I will discuss the consequences of a field reversal, against the context of the longer-term record of past field variations recorded in rocks.