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Fire

Volcanoes, their eruption and risk management

Professor Steve Sparks University of Bristol, UK

7 November 2022 - 18h30

Venue : Uni Dufour

Volcanoes are the most dramatic of geological processes that show that we live on a dynamic planet. Volcanism has characterised the Earth since its formation and ultimately has contributed to formation of the Earth’s crust, the oceans and the atmosphere. Life on Earth depends on the recycling of materials between the Earth’s interior and surface environments and may have been provided environments where the ingredients of life could develop. Volcanoes show that the interior of the Earth is very hot and temperatures exceeding 1000oC are typically found at depths of only 100 kilometres in most places. Although the Earth’s interior is mostly solid the rocks are very close to melting so volcanoes can form easily in different tectonic situations. Most volcanoes are formed at plate boundaries where tectonic plates are formed or collide with one another, but can also form by upwelling of very hot rocks in the Earth’s interior below the tectonic plates. Volcanoes refresh the Earth’s surface and often form landscapes of great beauty and attractive places to live. However, volcanic eruptions can also cause great destruction of loss of life. The largest volcanic eruptions even affect global climate, so that, for example, the 1815 eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia caused summer frosts and snow in the northern hemisphere, resulting in inflated food prices and hardship. When volcanoes erupt scientists need to monitor the activity, make forecasts and assess the risks to nearby populations in order to protect life and livelihoods. I will discuss some examples of volcano risk management during volcanic emergencies, including the eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano from 1995 to 2010 on the island of Montserrat in the Eastern Caribbean. I will also discuss the largest volcanic eruptions on Earth and their potential for planet-wide impacts.

Public talks 2020

Water

The turbulent ocean: technological frontiers, new paradigms, and the emerging Arctic

8 November 2022 - 18h30

Professor Ilker Fer, Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Norway
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Earth

How rock weathering sets Earth’s thermostat

9 November 2022 - 18h30

Professor Friedhelm von Blanckenburg, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam
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Air

Tiny critters, huge impacts: Ocean microbes, climate, and health

10 November 2022 - 18h30

Prof. Kimberly A. Prather, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
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Life

How can we know anything about the origin of life?

11 November 2022 - 18h30

Professor Nick Lane, University College London
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Previous editions

2021

Le hasard existe-t-il vraiment?

2018

Gravity, l'attraction universelle

2016

La révolution génomique

2014

Les secrets du soleil

2012

Architecture moléculaire

2010

La révolution quantique

2008

Grandes épidémies: le retour ?

2006

[r]évolution climatique ?

2004

Cellules souches et médecine rgénératrice

2002

Aux Portes du Nano-Monde