October 26, 2012 by sincedutch
Mystery smells in southern California – coming from the Salton Sea …
CONFIRMED were indeed from magma movement / volcanic activity at the
buttes around the south portion of the sea.
Below is a screenshot of one of the Buttes at the south end of the Salton Sea:
I’m viewing this as a full confirmation of what we saw over the past year in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.
Several Earthquakes — several fume events — several boom events —
several plume events — just a sign that magma is indeed moving. (all
plume events linked below the article)
Salton Sea Volcano Mystery Solved
Earthquake swarms and a
region-wide rotten egg smell recently reminded Southern California
residents they live next to an active volcano field, tiny though it may
At the time, scientists said the phenomena did not reflect changes in the magma chamber below the Salton Sea.
But now, researchers may need to revise estimates of the potential
hazard posed by the Salton Buttes — five volcanoes at the lake’s
The buttes last erupted
between 940 and 0 B.C., not 30,000 years ago, as previously thought, a
new study detailed online Oct. 15 in the journal Geology reports. The
new age — which makes these some of California’s youngest volcanoes —
pushes the volcanic quintuplets into active status. The California Volcano Observatory, launched in February by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), already lists the area as a high threat for future blasts.
“The USGS is starting to monitor all potentially active volcanoes
in California, which includes the Salton Buttes,” said study author
Axel Schmitt, a geochronologist at the University of California, Los
Angeles. “With our results, I think this will further enhance the need
to look into the system,” Schmitt told OurAmazingPlanet.
Schmitt and his colleagues dated zircon crystals in the hardened
lava of the buttes with a relatively new technique, a “helium clock”
that starts ticking once the minerals begin cooling at the surface.
Resolving the Obsidian Butte riddle
The revised age solves a
long-standing archeological conundrum, said Steve Shackley, emeritus
professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Artifacts created from one of the five buttes, Obsidian Butte, first
appear in Native American villages around 510 B.C. to 640 B.C. The
Kumeyaay people, whose territory ranged from the coast to the Coso
Mountains, crafted projectiles from Obsidian Butte glass, he said. “The
men produced some of the best in the world,” Shackley told
However, for decades,
researchers thought Obsidian Butte erupted thousands of years earlier.
To explain why no one collected the valuable obsidian, archeologists
hypothesized that Obsidian Butte was submerged under ancient Lake
Cahuilla, the precursor to today’s Salton Sea. But geologists had long
proved that Lake Cahuilla was ephemeral, flooding and emptying over and over again, so the explanation was always problematic.
“If this dating method is correct, then the Obsidian Butte
material wasn’t even available, and that makes more sense
archaeologically,” Shackley said.
Rifting brings rising magma
In fact, that Obsidian Butte
rises above the Salton Sea is what first attracted Schmitt’s attention. A
30,000-year-old butte should have been buried by a combination of
sediment and subsidence by now, he said. “It had to be very young,”
The buttes exist because California is tearing apart, forming new oceanic crust as magma wells up from below. The sinking Salton Trough
is the landward extension of the Gulf of California, and marks the
boundary between the Pacific and North America tectonic plates.
The lava source for the
volcanoes is a magma chamber beneath the Salton Sea, which also heats
water for a nearby geothermal plant. Decay of uranium isotopes in zircon
crystals show magma built up underneath the volcanoes for thousands of
years before the latest eruption, the study shows. [50 Amazing Volcano Facts]
If another eruption occurs at the Salton Buttes, it will likely
mimic past breakouts, Schmitt said. The volcanoes are made of sticky,
slow-moving rhyolite lava. At Obsidian Butte, the lava cooled so quickly
it turned into glass. However, pumice and ash found nearby means past
breakouts started with a bang.
Schmitt said he hopes to study the area in more detail to better
understand the most recent eruption. “The amounts of magma involved are
relatively small and the impacts of an explosive eruption, meaning an
ash cloud, would most likely be very local,” he said. “We don’t know
very well how far any ash would have been dispersed, and that’s
something I would like to follow up on in the research.”
Researching future hazards
The National Science Foundation’s EarthScope project funds an
extensive seismic imaging project in the Salton Sea that may soon reveal
more information about what’s happening deep underground.
“We’ll be looking with great interest to see what we can tell
from the Salton Seismic Imaging Project,” said Joann Stock, a Caltech
professor and an expert on the region’s volcanic hazards who was not
involved in the new study.
“I think [Schmitt's study] is a great contribution,” she said.
“It’s an area where we should be concerned. We know that there’s a lot
of hot stuff down there,” she told OurAmazingPlanet.
In August, an earthquake swarm
shook the nearby town of Brawley. The USGS attributed the temblors to
faults in the Brawley Seismic Zone. In September, a sulfurous stench
emanated from the Salton Sea and wafted across the Inland Empire. The
odor was tentatively linked to a fish die-off, but could also have been
caused by volcanic gases, Stock said.
Here are the past videos I have made on the subject:
Thanks t: http://sincedutch.wordpress.com