New Deccan Trap turns out to be downed power line

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A link to this video popped up on my Twitter feed this morning:


The person who posted it asked for guesses as to what it was. I guessed; "Baby Deccan Traps?".
She said "No."
Then she posted the explanation:

Maharashtra: Panic of volcanic lava trigerred after Beed locals witness rocks melted due to fallen power line
The local residents took the substance to be volcanic lava, which, however, later turned out to be rocks. The rocks had melted after coming in contact with a high tension power cable of the state electricity distribution company that had fallen to the ground.

It happened in the town of Beed.
So I googled that, and came up with:

Beed is a city in central region of Maharashtra state in India.

Maharashtra is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan plateau.

The Deccan Traps
The northwestern part of the plateau is made up of lava flows or igneous rocks known as the Deccan Traps. The rocks are spread over the whole of Maharashtra and parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, thereby making it one of the largest volcanic provinces in the world.


Beings that I live on a fairly large basalt flood plain, if I saw lava coming out of the ground, I'd have panicked, too.

ps. Wasn't sure if I should put this in Earth Sciences or Electrical Engineering. But since "lava" was involved, I went with geology.


That must indeed have been scary to see :nb)

Wrichik Basu

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Never knew something like that can happen. Didn't see this in our newspapers too. Thanks for the information.


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Well, it is known that the volcano Popocatepel started as a heat and steam issuing crack in a farmer's corn field.

As pointed out by others below, the correct cornfield volcano is Paricutin. Thanks OmCheeto!
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Well, it is known that the volcano Popocatepel started as a heat and steam issuing crack in a farmer's corn field.
Interesting. Never heard of such a thing.
But after some googling, I suspect you've gotten the name wrong.

Location: 19.493056, -102.251111​
The volcano surged suddenly from the cornfield of local farmer Dionisio Pulido in 1943, attracting both popular and scientific attention.​
Location: 19.022222, -98.627778​
Another eruption about 50,000 years ago caused that to collapse, and Popocatépetl rose from that.​

Google Earth says those locations are about 380 kilometers apart.

Anyways, no biggy. It'll keep me on the lookout for lava spouts in my back yard.
It did after all, happen to a bunch of people in Hawaii about a year ago. Leilani Estates?

Never knew something like that can happen.
Me neither!
There was some minor discussion on the Twitter page, and one of the people asked; "Can electricity cables really melt that much rock???"

So I calculated the the Pacific DC Intertie could melt a 1 m3 block of basalt in 86 seconds. Of course, that's a 3.1 gigawatt, 1 million volt source, and would only use 1% of it's capacity to do that, so the operators might not even notice. Given enough time, a much smaller source can do the same thing. Dirt is a very bad thermal conductor.

I also learned a couple of new words when researching that:

The liquidus temperature, specifies the temperature above which a material is completely liquid, and the maximum temperature at which crystals can co-exist with the melt in thermodynamic equilibrium. It is mostly used for impure substances (mixtures) such as glasses, alloys and rocks.​
...the solidus is the locus of temperatures (a curve on a phase diagram) below which a given substance is completely solid (crystallized). The solidus is applied, among other materials, to metal alloys, ceramics, and natural rocks and minerals.​


Give them credit for knowing their geology, if this happened along the New Jersey Palisades dont think anyone would make the association


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Parícutin was a nasty surprise, but it proved to be 'monogenetic' and stopped after a decade.
Lusi, the Indonesian mud volcano, just keeps giving and giving...
Lusi reminds me of a "mud looking" volcano I learned about from the same person who posted about the India "FAKE!" volcano.
But she posted; "Have you heard of Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano in Tanzania? It produces very runny, cool (500-600 C) carbonatite lava (contains a lot of carbonate) that comes out dark grey & cools to white-ish."
Looking at the "lava" coming out, it looks exactly like mud. But at 500-600 °C, it couldn't be mud!

Really fascinating to look at:

Ol Doinyo Lengai is unique among active volcanoes in that it produces natrocarbonatite lava, a unique occurrence of volcanic carbonatite.​
Due to this unusual composition, the lava erupts at relatively low temperatures of approximately 510 °C (950 °F). This temperature is so low that the molten lava appears black in sunlight, rather than having the red glow common to most lavas. It is also much more fluid than silicate lavas, often less viscous than water. The sodium and potassium carbonate minerals of the lavas erupted at Ol Doinyo Lengai are unstable at the Earth's surface and susceptible to rapid weathering, quickly turning from black to grey in colour. The resulting volcanic landscape is different from any other in the world.


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Thanx OmCheeto, knew it was one of those and should have googled fer the correct one, is the problem having so much data swimming the headspace with an outdated card-file system. Darn Dewey and his decimals anyhow


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Thanx OmCheeto, knew it was one of those and should have googled fer the correct one, is the problem having so much data swimming the headspace with an outdated card-file system. Darn Dewey and his decimals anyhow
I can totally relate. And don't ever ask me which hole in Kilauea is called what.
If I remember correctly, there was an article in either Scientific American, or maybe Popular Science about 20-30 years ago that talked about some experiments about electrical glassification of soil as a means of sealing hazardous waste in situ.

If you've ever played around with an arc welder, you can get some interesting, but not particularly useful, results pouring sand or small pebbles into the arc. Just remember your protective equipment because it splatters, and sometimes the pebbles can rather explosively fracture as the arc flashes the water into steam.
"If you've ever played around with an arc welder, "
No, but from his language, our former neighbour had some adventures thus...
Tangential, around the time electro-deposition of 'SeaCrete' was first touted for island building, I've a vague recollection of 'artificial fulgurites' proposed for dune stabilisation.

This may have been one of NS' oft-whimsical 'Daedalus' notions, or a spin-off from something else. FWIW, like early workers on sustained nuclear fusion learned, 'tis fairly easy to get a few neutrons from the system, but much harder to scale...

'Wild' sand, it seems, does not play nice in-situ. Like trying to melt snow for drinking water, turns out to be much easier to warm a little water and add the snow to that. Doing that with silica 'lava' is surely less fun...

As for SeaCrete, well, electro-deposition does work, but the rate is diffusion limited, so declines rapidly as layer thickens. I've heard of small reef remediation and beach stabilisation schemes, but those are patient endeavours, cost-effective due 'renewable' local power. When the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow, natural diffusion slowly equilibrates the interstitial pores ready for the next session...
For this application, such variations in 'renewable' local power are a feature, not a bug...

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