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Trinity researchers find way to track volcano’s history

July 2015

Investigating Neoproterozoic Ca Isotopes in Oman

Every volcano has a story, but, until now, most of these stories were shrouded in mystery.

Trinity College Dublin Scientists have discovered how to prise volcanic secrets from magma crystals. These secrets include details of volcanic history, which explain global geography. Their discovery will help to better predict future eruptions of active volcanoes.

A team of geologists funded by SFI has optimised a laser ablation ICP-MS method to obtain the distribution of trace elements in magmatic crystals. Crystals record the history of magmatic processes taking place as they grow, therefore the trace element images or maps obtained with the new method can be used to prise pre-eruptive magma history and to hunt volcanic eruption triggers.

Full research: Ubide T, McKenna CA, Chew DM, Kamber BS (2015). High-resolution LA-ICP-MS trace element mapping of igneous minerals: in search of magma histories. Chemical Geology 409, 157-168, doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2015.05.020.

Investigating Neoproterozoic Ca Isotopes in Oman

Laser compositional image in 3D of a volcanic crystal. Different crystal zones are shown with different colours. Credit: Courtesy of Teresa Ubide, Trinity College Dublin