Lonely Planet Writer

Magmatic lake unearthed in Bolivia could help predict volcanic eruptions

Scientists are hopeful that a massive magmatic lake they have discovered in South America could help unlock the secret as to why volcanoes erupt.

Cerro Uturuncu
Cerro Uturuncu Image by einalem / CC BY-SA 2.0

The researchers from the University of Bristol worked in tandem with colleagues in Canada, France, Germany and Wales to find the lake buried 15 kilometres under a dormant volcano in Bolivia. According to the Science Explorer, the water dissolved into partially molten rock when temperatures touched 1000 degrees Celsius and is similar to what can be seen in some of the globe’s giant freshwater lakes like Lake Superior.

The findings have made the scientists consider that similar bodies of water may be lying undiscovered under other volcanoes. If there are, further work may help them to understand how and why volcanoes erupt. NDTV reports Professor Jon Blundy, who was part of the team at Cerro Uturuncu volcano – explaining that the Bolivian Altiplano had been the site of extensive volcanic activity over the past ten million years. However, he pointed out that currently there were no active volcanoes in the area. The researchers hope that their work will lead to a better understanding of how water can trigger volcanic eruptions. This could allow them, in future, to make accurate predictions of when volcanoes might be ready to erupt.