Wednesday, March 31, 2010

pragMAGMAtic view of Marsili

Guambat, sitting smack dab in the middle of the Ring of Fire as he does, was very keen to understand the news of the day that the Marsili underwater volcano, sitting like a soccer ball above the Boot of Italy, was very fragile and could blow or collapse as soon as tomorrow, inundating swaths of the Mediterranean Sea, not to mention all those pizzas and piazzas in Southern Italy.

See, e.g., this: Volcano tsunami could sink southern Italy 'at any time'

But a quick squidge at some of the more rationally informed indicates it's a beat up of media frenzy, with perhaps a bit of budget boosting hyperbole salting the minestrone.

Marsili seamount: tsunami threat for Southern Italy?
Marsili is currently unmonitored, observes Dr Boschi: ‘A network of seismometers should be installed around the edifice, connected on land to a volcano monitoring centre. But this is beyond the budget’.

And it seems reasonable to suggest that the budget is what this article is actually all about. Despite the new attention this story will bring to Marsili as it gets cut-and-pasted around the web, there is nothing substantially new here, as Aldo Piombino notes in a very comprehensive post published on his blog today. No new activity lies behind this report, and nor has the potential threat, such as it is, changed in any way. The novelty, he observes, is in public attention being drawn to the need to monitor Marsili, which has been invisible in every sense as far as the Italian public is concerned.
The Eruptions blog also pours a bit of cold Italian soda on the flames:
The long and short of what I can tell from the articles is that Marsili, a submarine volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea, could be a threat to create a significant tsunami that would hit Italy (amongst other Mediterranean countries).

thus future activity is likely - it could be soon, it could be hundreds or thousands of years from now, but the volcano is likely not extinct.

Guambat will settle back down now and sip on a Sambuca, knowing that when they come seeking a virgin to throw into the volcano to appease the gods, they will scuttle right past Guambat's burrow.

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