OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Case Studies

 

 

Left:  Mt. Pinatubo eruption plume, July 1991, from Clark Air Base control tower.  Photo by J.N. Marso, U.S. Geological Survey.

The effects of several historic eruptions have been observed and the impacts of larger, prehistoric eruptions can be estimated.

 

Estimates of the fraction of sunlight transmitted through stratigraphic aerosols after major eruptions. Roza refers to a flood basalt eruption in the northwestern United States. Graph from Rampino and others (1988).

 

The pages in this section explore the following case studies for their impact on global climate

Toba, 75,000 years ago
Laki, Iceland, 1783
Tambora, Indonesia, 1815
Krakatau, 1886
El Chichon, Mexico, 1982
Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines, 1991

 

Impact of some major historic eruptions.

Eruption

VEI  (Explosivity Index)

Magma Volume (km3)

Column height (km)

H2SO4 aerosols (kg)

Northern Hemisphere temperature decrease

Laki, 1783

4

14-15

 

<1 x10 11

about 1.0

Tambora, 1815

7

>50

>40

2x10 11

0.4-0.7

Krakatau, 1883

6

>10

>40

5x10 10

0.3

Santa Maria, 1902

6

about 9

>30

<2x10 10

0.4

Katmai, 1912

6

15

>27

<2x10 10

0.2

St.Helens, 1980

5

0.35

22

3x10 8

0-0.1

Agung, 1963

4

0.3-0.6

18

1-2x10 10

0.3

El Chichon, 1982

4

0.3-0.35

26

1-2x10 10

0.4-0.6

Data from Rampino and Self, 1984.