jump to navigation

Volcano Week at Atlas Obscura 22 April 2010

Posted by admin in volcano culture, volcano tourism.
Tags: , ,
comments closed

Atlas Obscura is a great travel site, ‘a compendium of this age’s wonders, curiosities and esoterica’, and in honour of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption it is currently running Volcano Week, bringing together lots of volcano-related content and imagery.

What is nice about Atlas Obscura’s Volcano Week is that the site is featuring not only volcanoes themselves (Erebus, Erta Ale, Toba, Mauna Kea and more) but an intriguing range of landscape features and monuments with a sometimes offbeat volcanic connection: thus we have Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe, a medieval chapel on a peak formed of the eroded core of an ancient volcano in France; Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral, constructed entirely from local dark volcanic rock (it’s Volvic trachyandesite); sulphur mining at Kawah Ijen in the Ijen Volcanic Complex in eastern Java; the fulgurites of Mt Thielsen in the Oregon High Cascades; and the scarily toxic Laguna del Diamante in Argentina, home to a flock of singularly tough flamingoes. There’s much more – take a look.

The Volcanism Blog

Chaitén: tourists flood in, despite red alert 18 February 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chaitén, Chile, volcano monitoring, volcano tourism.
Tags: , , , ,
comments closed

The Chilean state emergencies office ONEMI has felt the need to remind everyone that Chaitén volcano in southern Chile is still dangerous and on red alert. Recently activity at Chaitén had appeared to be in decline, but in a bulletin issued on 15 February 2010 ONEMI notes that ‘although seismic activity has declined overall in recent months’ there was an increase in the number of events recorded during the period 21 January to 5 February (as reported in SERNAGEOMIN’s bulletin for that period) and warns that the continuing seismic activity around the volcano and constant gas emissions and incandescence at the dome suggest that ‘the volcanic system retains a high degree of instability’, and that the danger of collapses, explosions and debris flows remains, meaning that red alert still applies to Chaitén.

This reminder that Chaitén remains dangerous may have been at least partly provoked by an influx of tourists, both Chilean and foreign, to the area. The officially abandoned town of Chaitén seems to have been playing host to large numbers of visitors. ‘All the [tourist] cabins are open, and other hotels as well. It’s surprising how many gringos are walking the streets’, says one local. Another dismisses the red alert warning as ‘a lie told by the Government … there has been no shaking, and there is nothing stopping people coming’. The pressure group ‘Hijos y Amigos de Chaitén’ (sons and friends of Chaitén) also attacked the Government for issuing the warnings: ‘The situation is completely normal today. There are no tremors, no fumaroles, ONEMI is lying’, says the group’s chairwoman, Rita Gutiérrez. Local councillor Bernardo Riquelme claims that a group of tourists have recently climbed the volcano and encountered neither tremors nor emissions. La Tercera reports that visitors to Chaitén are up by 50% on this time last year: ‘There is no light and no drinking water, but this does not prevent the flow of visitors that has increased in the last few months’.

In neighbouring Argentina there is anger at the ‘alarmist’ nature of some of the Argentinian press reporting of the Chaitén (and Llaima) warnings. The Patagonian paper Diario El Chubut reports the comments of one ‘visibly annoyed’ Environment Ministry official in Esquel who criticizes uncritical and sensationalist reporting by the press ‘who wanted to report something much more catastrophic than the reality’. The national press in Argentina, he complains, failed to communicate with either the Chilean or the Argentinian authorities, and put out distorted and alarmist reports based on their misunderstandings of the information released in Chile: ‘These are … technical reports intended for technicians, and it often happens that these reports come into the hands of untrained people who end up distorting the information’.

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog.

News
Arribo de turistas chilenos y extranjeros a Chaitén crece 50%La Tercera, 9 February 2010
Chaitén recibe cientos de turistas – Publimetro, 16 February 2010
Residentes de Chaitén afirman que ‘no hay temblores ni fumaroles’ en la zona – Terra.cl, 16 February 2010
Critican a la prensa nacional por cobertura alarmista en torno al volcán ChaiténDiario El Chubut, 18 February 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-41)
SERNAGEOMIN – Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería
Erupción del Volcán Chaitén – extensive coverage of the Chaitén eruption

The Volcanism Blog

Mayon still quiet: Phivolcs considers lowering alert level to 2 12 January 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Mayon, Philippines, volcano tourism.
Tags: , , ,
comments closed

Mayon volcano on Luzon remains quiet following its burst of activity last month. The latest Phivolcs bulletin for Mayon, no. 30 of 12 January 2010, reports low seismic activity and ‘weak to moderate emission of white steam’ at the summit crater, with a pale glow visible at the crater overnight. Ground deformation measurements show a deflationary trend compared with early December 2009. Sulphur dioxide emissions have been variable over the past few days: 672 tons/day on 6 January, 1,077 tons/day on 7 January 7, 1,345 tons/day on 8 January, 759 tons/day on 9 January and 820 tons/day on 11 January. The danger of explosions remains, and Phivolcs warns that ‘the 6-km radius Permanent Danger Zone and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone on the southeast flank of the volcano should be free from human activity because of sudden explosions that may generate hazardous volcanic flows’.

The Inquirer reports that Phivolcs ‘could downgrade the alert level of Mayon Volcano from 3 to level 2 within a week’s time should the abnormal condition of the volcano continue to wane’. Meanwhile the United Nations Development Program has praised the response of the Albay Provincial Disaster Co-ordinating Council to the Mayon emergency. ‘I have worked in disaster situations in many countries around the world and, in my own professional opinion, the provincial preparedness and planning is amongst the best that I’ve seen … I believe it could make a good case study for disaster management training’, says the UN’s John English.

The show Mayon has put on over the last month has certainly been good for local tourism, says the Philippine Information Agency. Tourism and hotel occupancy rates surged compared with December 2008 as thousands of people visited Albay province to see the eruption, although that doesn’t mean that the volcanic activity was, overall, a good thing: the ‘benefits of disaster tourism are simply outweighed by the actual destruction on the livelihoods, crops and properties’. Also putting Mayon’s recent restlessness in perspective is Tito Genova Valiente at Vox Bikol, who reflects on perceptions of Mayon from the nineteenth century to the present: ‘Mayon is really part of Nature, invasive and majestic perhaps, but still indicative of the workings of the Earth’.

For all our Mayon coverage: Mayon « The Volcanism Blog.

News
UNDP hails Albay’s Mayon disaster preparedness program – Vox Bikol, 9 January 2010
Re-visiting Mayon – Vox Bikol, 9 January 2010
Mayon still emitting gas – PhivolcsPhilippine Daily Inquirer, 9 January 2010
Mayon eruption brings biggest surge of tourists to Albay – Philippine Information Agency, 11 January 2010
Mayon’s alert level may be lowered to 2Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 January 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs

The Volcanism Blog

A volcanic miscellany: Ibu, Toba, Kasatochi, Cotopaxi 21 August 2009

Posted by admin in Alaska, Ecuador, Ibu, Indonesia, Kasatochi, Toba, United States, volcano tourism.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Catching up with some volcanic bits and bobs that have been hanging around on my desktop/in my inbox/on little pieces of paper in my pocket for the last couple of weeks:

Heightened alert at Ibu. The alert level for the Indonesian volcano Ibu on the island of Halmahera was raised to level 3 (orange/siaga) on 5 August. The last increase in alert level, from 1 (green) to 2 (yellow/waspada), was less than a month earlier, on 15 July. Eruptions of incandescent material accompanied by elevated seismicity occurred with increasing frequency at the end of July. Meanwhile, the lava dome continues to grow. Some very nice pictures of the dome from August 2007 can be found in this Flickr collection (thanks to Volcanism Blog reader Bruce S. for letting me know about this).

Weather wonders and supervolcanoes. Randy Cerveny, geographical sciences professor at Arizona State University, has a new book out called Weather’s Greatest Mysteries Solved! (the exclamation mark is, apparently, part of the title) which looks at the role of the weather in Earth’s prehistory and history, from the extinction of the dinosaurs to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s via the end of the Mayan civilization and the parting of the Red Sea. One chapter is devoted to the Toba eruption of about 74000 years ago, which may (or may not) have brought about the near-extinction of humanity. This topic naturally leads to speculation about possible future ‘supervolcano’ eruptions and the potential threat posed by Yellowstone: ‘It’s overdue’, says Prof. Cerveny, but ‘I don’t think it’s a run into the night screaming kind of thing yet, but if it were to happen civilization as we know it would probably break down’. He also has a nice message of humility for humanity, pointing out that however much ‘We like to think we are masters of our fate … the thing about climate is that there are simply a lot of things we can’t control or even begin to control or totally understand’.

‘Our island blew up’. The August 2008 eruption of Kasatochi volcano in the Aleutians brought an abrupt end to scientific fieldwork being carried out there by two U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists: ‘our island blew up’, is the deadpan observation in their research report. Today Kasatochi, formerly green here and there, is black and barren, and about 32 percent larger than it was before the eruption. A scientific team is revisiting the island to assess the aftermath of the event, and will be accompanied by a reporter from the Alaska Daily News who will file regular reports on their researches.

Music and dance at Cotopaxi. It’s 34 years since the Cotopaxi National Park was created around Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador, and local communities have been celebrating the anniversary with music and dance, reports El Comercio. The Ecuadorian Minister for the Environment has been at the celebrations, and the locals have taken the opportunity to lobby her for more support and funding for the park and the people who live in and around it. The Parque Nacional Cotopaxi is one of Latin America’s top tourist attractions, receiving more than 100,000 visitors per year.

The Volcanism Blog

Beauty! Passion! Pahoehoe! Volcanic excitement at Environmental Graffiti 27 April 2009

Posted by admin in Hawaii, volcano images, volcano tourism, volcanoes.
Tags: , , ,
comments closed

That unusual and always interesting corner of the web Environmental Graffiti (‘an eclectic mix of the most bizarre, funny and interesting environmental news on the planet’) has a long-standing and thoroughly admirable interest in volcanoes.

Their latest article of volcanic interest, ‘Anything for the perfect volcano shot!’ by Karl Fabricius, talks to Dr Tom Pfeiffer of VolcanoDiscovery about the excitements and dangers of volcano-visiting, and includes some stunning photographs from the heart of the action in Hawaii.

Environmental Graffiti: Anything for the perfect volcano shot! (27 April 2009)

The Volcanism Blog

Arenal activity continues, tourists dice with death 17 April 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Arenal, Costa Rica, natural hazards, volcano tourism.
Tags: , , , ,
comments closed

Seismicity at Arenal volcano in Costa Rica remains elevated, with continuing rock-fracture earthquakes caused by magma movement within the volcanic system (online seismograph displays for Arenal, along with other Costa Rican volcanoes, are available from the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica: Sismogramas en línea). Monitoring was stepped up at Arenal at the beginning of this month, and warnings were issued to tourists visiting the Arenal National Park over the Easter holiday.

It seems to have made no difference, however. The Costa Rican newspaper La Nación reports today that Costa Rican and foreign tourists ‘are entering dangerous areas in the vicinity of the crater of Arenal volcano, despite the presence of notices warning of the increased seismic activity that could cause avalanches’. Visitors have apparently been getting in via neighbouring private property to evade police and park ranger controls, or are being brought into the park by people masquerading as official guides in order to earn money, regardless of the risks. ‘Because [the tourists] are uninformed or unconcerned, they are wandering through the area of greatest danger. They are putting their lives on the line’, warns the head of the tourist police, José David Rojas.

Arenal and its surrounding park form a popular tourist attraction, but the volcano is not tame and has to be treated with respect. In August 2000 three people died on Arenal when they were engulfed by a pyroclastic flow: they were in an area identified as dangerous at the time.

News
Turistas invaden zonas de riesgo en volcán ArenalLa Nación, 17 April 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Arenal – summary information for Arenal (1405-033)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica – home page for Ovsicori

The Volcanism Blog

Southern Chile shakes off the ashes and welcomes tourists 29 September 2008

Posted by admin in Chaitén, Chile, volcano culture, volcano tourism.
Tags: , ,
comments closed

Some volcanoes are good for tourism: the reasonably quiet, predictable ones that let people enjoy the spectacular volcanic scenery without running the risk of being cooked, crushed or choked. Others are not so good. In particular, a volcano combining a long-term ongoing eruption with a tendency towards unpredictability is nobody’s ideal tourist attraction. Chaitén is such a volcano.

Despite the localized devastation the Chaitén eruption has brought, however, much of southern Chile is either completely unaffected or has recovered from the volcano’s attentions, and the message from the Chilean tourist industry is that this region, one of the most beautiful in the world, is very much open for business. The province of Palena, says a report in La Nación, ‘is shaking off the ashes to reveal its green’.

The Governor of Palena, Alberto Riffo, used a World Tourism Day event in the town of Futaleufú to clarify that ‘the area is not devastated as some of the media coverage has indicated’ and that ‘with minimal precautions’ the natural wonders of Palena can be fully enjoyed by tourists as normal. ‘In fact five months after the evacuation of urban Chaitén, the other three communes of the province – Hualaihué, Palena and Futaleufú, are ready to show the world that their mountain valleys, rivers and lakes are not buried, but are more alive than ever’.

The Chilean tourist authority Sernatur has introduced security measures to ensure the safety of tourists visiting the area, with newsletters and signage to ensure that visitors use safe routes and avoid delays and potential dangers.

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog.

News
Chile volcano zone ready for tourism seasonPatagonia Times, 26 September 2008
Palena se sacude las cenizas para mostrar su verdorLa Nación, 26 September 2008

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-41)
ONEMI, Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Chilean government emergencies office (Spanish)
SERNAGEOMIN – Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (Spanish)
Erupción del Volcán Chaitén – extensive coverage of the Chaitén eruption

The Volcanism Blog

Chaitén as a tourist attraction 21 August 2008

Posted by admin in Chaitén, Chile, volcano culture, volcano tourism.
Tags: , , ,
comments closed

According to a story from the Spanish news agency EFE, reported today in Periodista Digital, the Chilean national tourism service Sernatur is looking into exploiting the Chaitén volcano (still erupting) as a tourist attraction.

‘There are countries where it is part of their tourist industry for people to observe active volcanoes and the aftermath of the eruption’, explains Oscar Santelices, the director of Sernatur. He goes on to suggest guided tours of the area affected by the eruption and even ‘a festival of ash’ next September, an idea which will surely go down well with locals who have seen their homes and livelihoods destroyed by Chaitén’s ash over the past three months. The idea, explains Santelices, is for Chile to combine science with tourism, ‘and with volcanology we have a link to tourism, as we have with glaciology and ufology’.

The reference to ‘ufology’ may seem a little bizarre. It should be pointed out that Sernatur has just inaugurated a ufo-themed tourist trail in central Chile to encourage ‘turismo ufológico’.

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog

The Volcanism Blog

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 126 other followers