Indonesian mud volcano ‘likely to continue erupting for another 26 yrs’

February 26th, 2011 - 1:24 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 26 (ANI): Researchers have estimated that the world’s largest mud volcano, which left 13,000 families homeless, is likely to continue erupting for another 26 years.

The volcano, in East Java, Indonesia, first erupted back in May 2006, and - at its peak - was spewing 180,000 cubic metres of mud a day, equivalent to 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

This is the first reliable estimate on how long Lusi (derived from the Indonesian word for mud, lumpur, and the place where the eruption occurred, Sidoarjo) would continue erupting.

Co-author Richard Davies, a geologist from Durham University’s Department of Earth Sciences, added that the team now had confidence to publish an estimate because they also had four year’s worth of data on how much material was coming out of Lusi, allowing them to calibrate the computational model developed by co-author and fellow Durham University researcher Simon Mathias.

He added that the team used a lot of different probabilities and combined them, creating a huge number of outputs (called realisations).

“Out of the 10,000 realisations, we actually rejected a large number because we wanted to fit the actual rate which the mud had come out of the volcano to fit those data points,” the BBC quoted Davies as saying.

They ended up with 381 realisations, which allowed them to reach the estimate of 26 years.

But Davies added: “Within the modelling, there is a 10 pc chance that it will last for more than 100 years, and there is a 90 pc chance that it will last longer than 10 years.”

The team worked on the assumption that the aquifer was not being recharged from another source, so there was no way for pressure to return once it had been discharged.

“If there is recharge taking place then the 26-year estimate will be too short,” he conceded.

The findings have been published in the Journal of the Geological Society. (ANI)

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