Do 40,000 volcanoes matter? In a word, Yes.

The world is watching one volcano in Bali, but it’s sobering to think there may be hundreds of others going off, and almost certainly ones we don’t even know about.

The article  Is the Bali volcano making us warmer or cooler? by William F Jasper, reminded me of Ian Plimer’s words about there being squillions of undersea volcanoes so I found the 2007 paper, by Hillier, that tried to count them.

Trying being the appropriate word. Volcanoes are biggish things, but when they are under one or two kilometers of water they are hard to hear, hard to see, and, by crikey, we know more about the moon than the bottom of the Marinara, and it’s only 11km “away”.

People are constantly discovering new volcanoes, like a 3,000m one off of Indonesia that no one realized was there til 2010. It turns out the second largest volcano in the solar system is apparently not on Io, but 1,000 miles east of Japan.

It’s the size of the British Isles, but who knew? A few months ago a team found 91 new volcanoes under Antarctica. (This is getting serious, someone should talk to the Minister of Lava!)

Not only can we not predict when volcanoes will erupt, we don’t even know how many there are

The scope of our ignorance on the sea floor is really something. There are 1,500 active volcanoes on land, but on the seafloor, we are still discovering them all the time.

At least 39,000 of them rise one kilometer off the sea floor, but there are suspicions there might be up to 3 million, holy moly.

The Hilliers paper estimates that 24,000 submarine volcanoes were not yet discovered in 2007. Wikimedia is trying to list them. Good luck.

Does hot magma leaking into the oceans that we haven’t measured and don’t know about, change the currents, the temperature, and eventually our weather?

If it’s a bit hotter at one end of a trench than the other, does the water flow alter? Has the big ball of magma got anything at all to do with ENSO/AMO long-term trends? Your guess is better than a Global Climate Model.

So here is the closest thing we have to kind of being “A Map”.

…Hilliers 2007

Is the Bali volcano making us warmer or cooler?

I don’t think there is any chance the Bali volcano will be warming the world. But undersea volcanoes are releasing a lot of greenhouse gases. Time to tax them?

William F Jasper

Many of the undersea volcanoes are regularly oozing molten lava, as well as CO2, methane, and other gases. In addition, there are untold thousands — perhaps millions — of undersea “vents” that are regularly discharging gases, oil, and tar. Last year researchers found hundreds of new vents along the west coast of the United States. “Scientists have found 500 seabed vents bubbling methane into the Pacific Ocean off the United States, roughly doubling the number of known U.S. seeps of the powerful greenhouse gas,” reported by Reuters on October 19, 2016.

“Methane naturally escapes from the seafloor in many places around the world and can stoke global warming if it reaches the atmosphere,” the Reuters article continued. “Worldwide, scientists are trying to see if rising ocean temperatures cause more leaks. ‘It appears that the entire coast off of Washington, Oregon, and California is a giant methane seep,’ Robert Ballard, who is famed for finding the wreck of the Titanic and has now discovered the 500 new seeps, said in a statement. ‘The discoveries double to about 1,000 the number of such vents now known to exist along the continental margins of the USA,’ the statement said.”

Supervolcanoes might happen more often than we thought:

As it happens, this week a new study came out showing The Next Big One may be sooner than we think. Though we have no idea when, but we used to think they were 45,000- 700,000 years apart.

But now some new researchers think the new best guess is somewhere from 5,000 – 48,000 years.  If the Big-One goes off, forget carbon, forget climate, forget a whole continent.

Jonathan Rougier, Professor of Statistical Science, said the best guess value is “17 thousand years.”

According to geological records, the two most recent super-eruptions were between 20 and 30 thousand years ago.

The good Prof is careful to keep politically correct priorities in order:

On that basis, Professor Rougier says there is little need to plan now for a super-eruption, especially with many other pressing issues to address, which will affect the current and the next generation of humans.

Nothing to see here.

Though if you like, you can check out this volcano map.

Read more at JoNova

Comments (6)

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    AND to what extent does volcanism affect polar ice changes, seas levels, various gas emissions,? We don’t even have a clue. And the Climate change establishment could care less. OTOH, they’re absolutely certain that the most ridiculous and trivial human activities (translate as “non-politically correct” activities) have enormous impact on a changing climate. …Please keep a straight face.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    I can still remember when Mt St Helens in the state of Washington eurupted back in may of 1980 and i live with in a 50 mile or more radius of Mt Shasta

  • Avatar



    40,000 volcanoes, kinda like 40,000 kettles.
    All you have to do is stare at them and they’ll never go off. There’s 40,000 jobs for environmentalists.

  • Avatar

    David Lewis


    I will again mention it is estimated by geophysicists that only three volcanic eruptions, Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947), spewed more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all of human activities in our entire history. Now, the climate activists are very willing to accept the IPCC climate model predictions, so they should also accept that the IPCC says once released it takes a thousand years to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If you buy what the IPCC says, that means over half of the increase in carbon dioxide since the beginning of the industrial revolution is from these three volcanoes.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    Mt Lassen eurpted in 1915 over 100 years ago and some Euruptions changed the weather and long before there was any Cars or Air Condtioners

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    YET another attempt to blame any thing, any where for the current state of our climate.
    WE have always, ALWAYS had volcanoes….so what has changed ?
    WHAT (so suddenly) ENDED Earth’s 8000 year decline in temperatures toward our next GLACIATION? (ice age)
    HUMANS are producing well over 100 times more CO2 than all of the volcanoes combined.
    ….that is new in the geological scheme of things ! !
    …..and THAT is the primary force of climate change TODAY ! !
    Why you feel
    drawn to provide
    ANY OTHER EXCUSE in the world
    in order to MAINTAIN AND INCREASE the Fossil Fuel Industry’s MONOPOLY on ENERGY
    thereby MAINTAIN AND INCREASE their POWER in governments around the world.
    Profits still go to the BILLIONAIRE ENERGY MONOPLIES….
    but the thousands of open air Earth-Lined
    TOXIC pits & ponds & old mine shafts
    are used to store, with out standards or supervision,
    Dumping Toxic Waste
    Every year,
    EACH OF the nation’s coal plants produces 140 million tons of coal ash pollution/yr., the toxic by-product that is left over after the coal is burned.
    All that ash has to go somewhere,
    so it’s dumped in the backyards of power plants across the nation
    —into earth lined open-air pits & precarious surface-waste ponds.
    Many/most of these sites lack any adequate safeguards, leaving nearby communities at risk from potential large-scale disasters like the massive coal ash spill in Tennessee in 2008,
    from gradual yet equally dangerous contamination as coal ash toxins seep into
    drinking water sources
    are blown into nearby communities.
    Coal ash pollution contains high levels of toxic heavy metals such as
    and other cancer-causing agents.
    The public health hazards and environmental threats to nearby communities
    from unsafe coal ash dumping have been known for many years, including increased risk of cancer, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, birth defects, reproductive failure, asthma (1 million new cases/yr.),
    and other illnesses.
    Coal ash is not subject to federal protections, and state laws governing coal combustion waste disposal are weak or nonexistent.
    The result:
    Millions of tons of coal ash are being stored in ponds, landfills, and abandoned mines. Many of these sites lack any/adequate safeguards, leaving nearby communities at risk from potential large scale disasters like the December 22, 2008,
    TVA disaster in Tennessee in which a EARTHEN dike holding back decades’ worth
    of coal ash failed at the Kingston Fossil Plant, flooding the surrounding residential area with more than one billion gallons of toxic coal ash
    —enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep.
    While dramatic events like the coal ash spills in Tennessee garner national media attention, dangerous contaminants are quietly seeping from coal ash dumps into groundwater supplies across the country or blowing into the air of communities, exposing people and wildlife to toxic substances.
    …data indicates
    that at least 535 (The total is nearly 2000 in 47 states)
    coal ash ponds KNOWN to operate without a simple liner to prevent dangerous chemicals and heavy metals from reaching drinking water sources.
    The Hazards of Coal Ash
    Living near a wet coal ash storage pond is significantly more dangerous than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, according to a risk assessment done by the EPA.
    The toxins found in coal ash have been linked to organ disease, cancer,
    respiratory illness, neurological damage, and developmental problems.
    People living within one mile of unlined coal ash ponds can have a 1 in 50 risk of cancer
    —more than 2,000 times higher than what the EPA considers acceptable.
    Coal ash contains arsenic, lead, mercury, and selenium, as well as aluminum, barium, boron, and chlorine.
    All can be toxic.
    Particularly where there is prolonged exposure,
    these toxins can
    cause cancer,
    heart damage,
    lung disease,
    respiratory distress,
    kidney disease,
    reproductive problems,
    gastrointestinal illness,
    birth defects,
    impaired bone growth in children, and behavioral problems.
    In short, coal ash toxics have the potential to injure all of the major organ systems in adults (including pregnant women) and children.
    Exposure to toxic coal ash can lower birth rates, cause tissue disease, slow development,
    even kill plants and animals, leading to changes in wildlife concentrations
    and disruptions to entire ecosystems.
    The toxic pollution from coal ash builds up in exposed animals and plants,
    causing the pollution to make its way up the food chain when they are eaten.
    Children are more susceptible to the health impacts of coal ash
    —and according to the EPA,
    1.54 million children live near coal ash storage sites.

    Not only is coal ash toxic, it is also likely to grow increasingly dangerous.
    Air pollution control technologies, like scrubbers, selective catalytic reduction,
    and activated carbon injection, capture mercury and other hazardous air pollutants and are able to stop increasing amounts of toxic pollution from
    going up the smokestacks.
    However, when those pollutants are captured they are shifted from the air to the coal ash.
    Mercury and other pollutants that previously contributed to air pollution are now becoming solid wastes
    —and when they leach into water, their toxicity is carried into the water as well.
    one toxic environmental problem is being traded for another.

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