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Primeur weekly 2016-02-15

Quantum computing

Nanoscale cavity strongly links quantum particles ...

Focus on Europe

The Academy of Finland is funding research infrastructures with 13,6 million euro ...

Record for fastest data rate set ...

Middleware

SDSC and Intel open second Intel Parallel Computing Center at SDSC ...

Hardware

New supercomputer to address needs of Ohio researchers ...

Altera SoC FPGA technology demonstrations showcase the future of embedded designs ...

Further expansion in the Netherlands of Bull supercomputer at SURFsara in 2016 ...

Cray reports 2015 full year and fourth quarter financial results ...

GridGain Enterprise Edition 7.5 increases speed and scalability of the In-Memory Data Fabric ...

Chip could bring deep learning to mobile devices ...

Applications

Researchers to use supercomputer to 'hack' Ebola ...

Seven University of Wyoming projects awarded use of Cheyenne supercomputer ...

Cornell astrophysicists play vital role to validate detection of gravitational waves ...

Study challenges widely accepted theory of Yellowstone formation ...

What was NCSA's role in the discovery of gravitational waves? ...

Georgia Gwinnett College physicist leads team in innovative black hole research ...

The Cloud

NICE to join forces with Amazon Web Services ...

Bell teams up with IBM to bring new hybrid Cloud capabilities to Canadian market ...

IBM achieves highest U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency authorization for Cloud services ...

VMware introduces next-generation hyper-converged software enabling simple, high performance infrastructure for the software-defined data centre ...

VMware accelerates the shift to digitization and hybrid Cloud with the introduction of vRealize Suite ...

Study challenges widely accepted theory of Yellowstone formation


Geology professor Lijun Liu used computer simulations to study the origins of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer.
10 Feb 2016 Champaign - Understanding the complex geological processes that form supervolcanoes could ultimately help geologists determine what triggers their eruptions. A new study using an advanced computer model casts doubt on previously held theories about the Yellowstone supervolcano's origins, adding to the mystery of Yellowstone's formation.

"Our model covered the entire history of Yellowstone volcanic activities", stated Lijun Liu, a geology professor at the University of Illinois. Lijun Liu's computer model accounted for the last 40 million years, prior to even the earliest signs of Yellowstone's volcanism.

Yellowstone is one of the largest remaining active supervolcanoes. True to its name, a supervolcano is capable of erupting on a much larger scale than an ordinary volcano. The origins of Yellowstone are still under much debate. One of the most prevalent views is that Yellowstone's supervolcano was formed by a vertical column of hot rocks rising from the top of the earth's core, known as a mantle plume.

"The majority of previous studies have relied on conceptual, idealized models, which are not physically and geologically accurate", Lijun Liu stated. Some recent studies reproduced key geophysical factors in a laboratory setting, including a rising plume and a sinking oceanic plate. However, these studies failed to account for the comprehensive set of geological variables that change over time, influencing the volcanic history.

"Our physical model is more sophisticated and realistic than previous studies, because we simultaneously consider many more relevant dynamic processes", Lijun Liu stated.

Using the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, Lijun Liu's team created a computer model that replicated both the plate tectonic history of the surface and the geophysical image of the earth's interior. This study is the first to use a high-performance supercomputer to interpret the layers of complicated geophysical data underlying Yellowstone, Lijun Liu said.

The main goal of the study was to examine whether the initiation and subsequent development of the Yellowstone volcanic system was driven by a mantle plume. The simulated data showed that the plume was blocked from traveling upward toward the surface by ancient tectonic plates, meaning that the plume could not have played a significant role in forming Yellowstone, Lijun Liu said.

The researchers published their findings in the journalGeophysical Research Letters.

The researchers also examined many other factors that could have played a role in forming Yellowstone. These simulations discounted most of the other theories of Yellowstone's origins, Lijun Liu said. As a result, formation of the Yellowstone volcanic system remains mysterious.

Supervolcanoes are hazardous natural phenomena that evoke public concern, partly because their formation is not well understood. While this area of research is still far from predicting eruptions, Lijun Liu said, improving the fundamental understanding of the underlying dynamics of supervolcano formation is key to many future applications of relevant geophysical knowledge.

"This research indicates that we need a multidisciplinary approach to understand complicated natural processes like Yellowstone", Lijun Liu stated. "I know people like simple models, but the earth is not simple."

The National Science Foundation supported this work.
Source: University of Illinois

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2016-02-15

Quantum computing

Nanoscale cavity strongly links quantum particles ...

Focus on Europe

The Academy of Finland is funding research infrastructures with 13,6 million euro ...

Record for fastest data rate set ...

Middleware

SDSC and Intel open second Intel Parallel Computing Center at SDSC ...

Hardware

New supercomputer to address needs of Ohio researchers ...

Altera SoC FPGA technology demonstrations showcase the future of embedded designs ...

Further expansion in the Netherlands of Bull supercomputer at SURFsara in 2016 ...

Cray reports 2015 full year and fourth quarter financial results ...

GridGain Enterprise Edition 7.5 increases speed and scalability of the In-Memory Data Fabric ...

Chip could bring deep learning to mobile devices ...

Applications

Researchers to use supercomputer to 'hack' Ebola ...

Seven University of Wyoming projects awarded use of Cheyenne supercomputer ...

Cornell astrophysicists play vital role to validate detection of gravitational waves ...

Study challenges widely accepted theory of Yellowstone formation ...

What was NCSA's role in the discovery of gravitational waves? ...

Georgia Gwinnett College physicist leads team in innovative black hole research ...

The Cloud

NICE to join forces with Amazon Web Services ...

Bell teams up with IBM to bring new hybrid Cloud capabilities to Canadian market ...

IBM achieves highest U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency authorization for Cloud services ...

VMware introduces next-generation hyper-converged software enabling simple, high performance infrastructure for the software-defined data centre ...

VMware accelerates the shift to digitization and hybrid Cloud with the introduction of vRealize Suite ...