Posts Tagged ‘volcano’

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Thar She Finally Blows – Cleveland Volcano Spewing 15,000 Feet of Ash

29/12/2011

The Alaska Volcano Observatory said satellite images showed Cleveland Volcano had spewed ash 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) into the air in a cloud that moved east-southeast. U.S. Geological Survey scientist-in-charge John Power called it a small explosion.

“It’s not expected to cause a disruption to big international air carriers,” he said.

But the event drew strong interest from air carriers.

“Any time you put an ash cloud up into the atmosphere, the airlines, the air carriers, air freight companies — it’s a major concern,” Power said.

The ash cloud was significant enough to raise the alert level from yellow, representing elevated unrest, to orange, representing an increased potential of eruption, or an eruption under way with minor ash emissions or no emissions.

Cleveland Mountain is a 5,675-foot (1,729-meter) peak on uninhabited Chuginadak Island about 940 miles (1,512 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.

Scientists in July noted increased activity in the crater at the summit of the volcano. Satellite images showed lava building and forming a dome-shaped accumulation.

Chris Waythomas of the USGS said in September that lava domes form a lid on a volcano’s “plumbing,” including the chamber holding the magma. When they grow big enough, lava domes can become unstable and will sometimes collapse. When the magma chamber decompresses it can lead to an explosion as the conduit inside the volcano suddenly becomes unsealed and gases escape.

Radar images earlier this month showed the dome had cracked and subsided, Power said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the airline industry get concerned for trans-Pacific flights when an ash cloud has the potential to exceed the 20,000-foot (6,096-meter) threshold, as Cleveland Volcano has done in the past.

Cleveland Volcano’s last major eruption was in 2001. It has had bursts of activity nearly every year since then, and the ash cloud Thursday was not out of character.

“It’s not unexpected for a volcano like Cleveland to do things like this,” Power said. “Unfortunately, Cleveland is one of those that is so remote, we have no on-ground monitoring or instrumentation there, so it’s hard for us to pinpoint things any more accurately than we can do with satellite imagery.”

The observatory Thursday morning had no satellite images of the crater after the eruption.

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Red Sea Volcano – New Island Forms Off Coast of Yemen

27/12/2011
New Island in Red Sea

© NASA
The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this high-resolution, natural-color images on December 23, 2011 showing an island being formed in the Red Sea.
New Island in Red Sea_1

© NASA
Satellite image of the same region from October 24, 2007.

An eruption occurred in the Red Sea in December 2011. According to news reports, fishermen witnessed lava fountains reaching up to 30 meters (90 feet) tall on December 19. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites observed plumes on December 20 and December 22. Meanwhile, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite detected elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, further indicating an eruption.

The activity in the Red Sea included more than an eruption. By December 23, 2011, what looked like a new island appeared in the region. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured these high-resolution, natural-color images on December 23, 2011 (top), and October 24, 2007 (bottom). The image from December 2011 shows an apparent island where there had previously been an unbroken water surface. A thick plume rises from the island, dark near the bottom and light near the top, perhaps a mixture of volcanic ash and water vapor.

The volcanic activity occurred along the Zubair Group, a collection of small islands off the west coast of Yemen. Running in a roughly northwest-southeast line, the islands poke above the sea surface, rising from a shield volcano. This region is part of the Red Sea Rift where the African and Arabian tectonic plates pull apart and new ocean crust regularly forms.

References:

    • Global Volcanism Program. Zubair Group. Smithsonian Institution. Accessed December 27, 2011.
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Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery

19/10/2011

Uturuncu© Noah Finnegan

Uturuncu, a Bolivian volcano that is inflating at an incredible rate.

Should anyone ever decide to make a show called “CSI: Geology,” a group of scientists studying a mysterious and rapidly inflating South American volcano have got the perfect storyline.

Researchers from several universities are essentially working as geological detectives, using a suite of tools to piece together the restive peak’s past in order to understand what it is doing now, and better diagnose what may lie ahead.

It’s a mystery they’ve yet to solve.

Uturuncu is a nearly 20,000-foot-high (6,000 meters) volcano in southwest Bolivia. Scientists recently discovered the volcano is inflating with astonishing speed.

“I call this ‘volcano forensics,’ because we’re using so many different techniques to understand this phenomenon,” said Oregon State University professor Shan de Silva, a volcanologist on the research team.

Researchers realized about five years ago that the area below and around Uturuncu is steadily rising – blowing up like a giant balloon under a wide disc of land some 43 miles (70 kilometers) across. Satellite data revealed the region was inflating by 1 to 2 centimeters (less than an inch) per year and had been doing so for at least 20 years, when satellite observations began.

“It’s one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth,” de Silva told OurAmazingPlanet.”What we’re trying to do is understand why there is this rapid inflation, and from there we’ll try to understand what it’s going to lead to.”

The peak is perched like a party hat at the center of the inflating area. “It’s very circular. It’s like a big bull’s-eye,” said Jonathan Perkins, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who recently presented work on the mountain at this year’s Geological Society of America meeting in Minneapolis.

Scientists figured out from the inflation rate that the pocket of magma beneath the volcano was growing by about 27 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) per second.

“That’s about 10 times faster than the standard rate of magma chamber growth you see for large volcanic systems,” Perkins told OurAmazingPlanet.

However, no need to flee just yet, the scientists said.

“It’s not a volcano that we think is going to erupt at any moment, but it certainly is interesting, because the area was thought to be essentially dead,” de Silva said.

Uturuncu_1© Jonathan Perkins

Sunset at Uturuncu.

Uber-Uturuncu?

Uturuncu is surrounded by one of the most dense concentrations of supervolcanoes on the planet, all of which fell silent some 1 million years ago.

Supervolcanoes get their name because they erupt with such power that they typically spew out 1,000 times more material, in sheer volume, than a volcano like Mount St. Helens. Modern human civilization has never witnessed such an event. The planet’s most recent supervolcanic eruption happened about 74,000 years ago in Indonesia.

“These eruptions are thought to have not only a local and regional impact, but potentially a global impact,” de Silva said.

Uturuncu itself is in the same class as Mount St. Helens in Washington state, but its aggressive rise could indicate that a new supervolcano is on the way. Or not.

De Silva said it appears that local volcanoes hoard magma for about 300,000 years before they blow – and Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago.

“So that’s why it’s important to know how long this has been going on,” he said.

To find an answer, scientists needed data that stretch back thousands of years – but they had only 20 years of satellite data.

Uturuncu_2© Noah Finnegan

Jonathan Perkins, along with his advisor, Noah Finnegan (he’s behind the camera), conduct field work in the barren landscape surrounding the volcano.

Volcano rap sheet

“So that’s where we come in as geomorphologists – to look for clues in the landscape to learn about the long-term topographic evolution of the volcano,” Perkins said.

Perkins and colleagues used ancient lakes, now largely dry, along the volcano’s flanks to hunt for signs of rising action.

“Lakes are great, because waves from lakes will carve shorelines into bedrock, which make lines,” Perkins said.

If the angle of those lines shifted over thousands of years – if the summit of the mountain rose, it would gradually lift one side of the lake – it would indicate the peak had been rising for quite some time, or at least provide a better idea of when the movement began.

The local conditions, largely untouched by erosion or the reach of lush plant and animal life, lend themselves to geological detective work, Perkins noted.

“It’s a really sparse, otherworldly landscape,” Perkins said. “Everything is so well preserved. There’s no biology to get in the way of your observations.”

Perkins said that surveys conducted on the lakes last autumn didn’t indicate long-term inflation. However, tilting lakes are only one indicator of volcano growth, he said.

De Silva said the geological detective team is working to combine data from a number of sources – seismic data, GPS data, even minute variations in gravity – to pin down when and why the mountain awoke from its 300,000-year-long slumber, and better predict its next big move.

source: ouramazingplanet
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Swarm of quakes around Mount Rainier

19/10/2011
via AP – SEATTLE
Scientists in Washington state say there has been a spate of earthquakes around Mount Rainier in recent weeks but that it isn’t a concern.Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network’s Bill Steele says the activity is normal. But he says scientists are watching the volcano a closer because of two quakes recorded Friday. The first was a 3.4 magnitude quake that struck west of the mountain near Ashford. It was followed about an hour later with a 2.9 magnitude quake under the volcano.University of Washington emeritus professor Steve Malone says data shows at least seven earthquakes in two weeks. He says there are frequently earthquakes around Rainier, averaging several each month, and that recent activity shouldn’t cause alarm.

INFORMATION ON MOUNT RAINIER

Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located 54 miles (87 km) southeast of Seattle in the state of Washington, United States. It is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with a summit elevation of 14,411 feet (4,392 m).Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and it is on the Decade Volcano list. Because of its large amount of glacial ice, Mt. Rainier could potentially produce massive lahars that would threaten the whole Puyallup River valley.

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Pagan Volcano Marianas Islands Pacific – Yellow Alert Advisory

14/10/2011

OCT/14/2011 – BFE NEWS – Pagan volcano is located 173 nautical miles north of Saipan.  The island contains two stratovolcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus.  It has been reported by the USGS (see below) that there is a “persistent gas and steam plume” hence the Yellow aviation level. No other significant activity in the Mariana Islands has been noted so far. It had been reported by Volcano Live that Pagan was displaying signs of “small ash emissions” at the end of August 2011.

Pagan volcano is displaying "persistent gas & steam plumes"

The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines. The United States Census Bureau reports the total land area of all islands as 179.01 square miles (463.63 km2).

Marianas Islands - Pacific Ocean

The Northern Mariana Islands has a population of 53,883 (2010 census).More than 90% of the population lives on the island of Saipan. Of the fourteen other islands, only two — Tinian and Rota — have a significant population. The islands of Agrihan and Alamagan have fewer than ten residents each, and the remaining islands are unpopulated.

We have been watching El Hierro (VIDEO of ERUPTION ZONE & NEWS CLICK HERE) Canary Islands Spain with its subsea eruptions like mad this past week, but it is important to note, as you will see in the video news, that a wide variety of volcanoes are active and awakening – such as in Vanatua with Tanna set now at Yellow and 3 other volcanoes set at “awakening” level. Can’t forget the 6 volcanoes in Indonesia, including Anak Krakatau.  Iceland also has been reporting much activity at Katla. Shevelich Kamchatka Russia also reported a red disturbance on Oct5/6 but this has now been downgraded to an orange.

USGS REPORT

NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS UPDATEFriday, October 14, 2011 11:15 AM ChST (Friday, October 14, 2011 01:15 UTC)

Report prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey.

PAGAN VOLCANO (CAVW #0804-17=)
18°7’48” N 145°48′ E, Summit Elevation 1870 ft (570 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Clear to partly cloudy satellite images showed a persistent gas and steam plume extending from Pagan Volcano throughout the past week. Except for a particularly robust plume observed in satellite imagery on October 12, the plume was similar in character to those observed the previous week. USGS has received no other reports of unrest or activity at the volcano this week.

Pagan Volcano is not monitored with ground-based geophysical instrumentation and the only sources of information are satellite observations and occasional reports from observers who pass by or visit the island. We will continue to evaluate satellite imagery, on-island, and mariner reports when they become available, but because the volcano is not monitored with ground-based instruments, we cannot provide advanced warning of activity.

Access to the island may be restricted by the CNMI government. Contact the EMO for the latest information.

No eruptive activity or significant unrest has been detected at other volcanoes in Northern Mariana Islands this week.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
USGS Northern Marianas Duty Scientist (808) 967-8815
http://volcano.wr.usgs.gov/cnmistatus.php

CNMI Emergency Management Office (670) 322-8001
http://www.cnmiemo.gov.mp/

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El Hierro Video & News – Volcano Eruption Spots – Images Indicate Lava, Gases Released

13/10/2011

VIEW VIDEO OF SUBSEA ERUPTIONS ZONES OCT 13/2011:

Experts believe that the spots at sea “could be associated with a fumarole greater than 150 meters”

Las manchas de la erupción volcánica se acercan a 1,85 kilómetros de La Restinga.Volcanic eruption spots are close at 1.85 kilometers from La Restinga. Canary Islands Government

EFE spots generated by the underwater eruptions taking place in the Sea of Calm are already a nautical mile (1.85 km) from La Restinga, the southernmost population of the island of El Hierro, as photographs show, released by the Canarian Government.

This aerial image, taken by the National Geological Survey and the National Research Council, shows a patch of light green, with tan areas, approaching the coast, the Canary Islands government said in a statement.

Experts believe that spots in the sea “could be associated with a fumarole greater than 150 meters” and has “different characteristics” than originally observed.

During the afternoon of Wednesday, the team that traveled to El Hierro announced that it had detected two spots in the sea with a strong smell of sulfur and an area containing dead fish at a distance of between 1.5 and 2 nm (2 , 77 and 3.70 miles).

As explained by the Director General of Security and Emergency, Canarian Government, these two spots in turn signal subsea eruptions, one up to 2 miles and 750 feet deep and another 1.5 miles of the coast and 500 meters under the sea.

The spots generated by these subsea eruptions can be seen with the naked eye from the highlands of El Hierro, in which several people have gathered to observe this natural phenomenon, and has been witnessed on terrero Efe.

source: laopinion.es

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Increasing Activity at 6 Volcanoes, On High Alert – Indonesia

12/10/2011

Anak Krakatau producing 5000 tremors per day

BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Sunday that the volcanoes on high alert were Mount Tambora in West Nusa Tenggara, Anak Ranakan in East Nusa Tenggara, Papandayan in West Java, Karangetang and Lokon in North Sulawesi, and Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait.

“These volcanoes are on alert level III, which means all volcanic parameters show that activities could develop into an eruption or disaster,” he told The Jakarta Post via text message.

He said that Anak Krakatau was producing five thousand tremors per day. A 2-kilometer exclusion zone has been set up around the volcano.

Sutopo said the volcanoes were being monitored 24 hours a day.

source: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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