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The Daily Volcano Quote: Aleutian volcanoes 13 March 2012

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A complete chain of active volcanoes exists along the whole line of the Aleutian islands, and serves to connect the volcanoes of Kamtschatka and Cook’s Inlet. Near the latter sea rises the Ilaman mountain, to a height of 12,066 feet (1,000 feet higher than Aetna), emitting fire and smoke incessantly, yet covered with perpetual snow … Every island in the Aleutian chain is a volcano, either extinct or active. Each is liable to frequent earthquakes, and on each may be found sulphur, lava, and stones displaying evident traces of fire. The active volcanoes are on the following islands: Konushy, Atkha, Seguam, Yunasko, Tshetirekhsoposhnoi, Oonalashka, Akutan, Akuna, and Oonimack, on which there are no less than three … New volcanoes, it appears, are constantly breaking out, and others becoming extinct, along the Aleutian chain.

‘Russian America’, The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany, 1 June 1843, p. 153.

The Daily Volcano Quote: from Monday to Friday, a new eruption of volcanic verbiage each day.

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The Daily Volcano Quote: on the summit of Etna 12 March 2012

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Smoke was belching out continuously as if from a furnace and, where the surface of the mountain had been split by a long line of fires, under pressure from the winds inside (which on that day were raging quite violently), it also forced an exit for itself in many places; sometimes it even broke out beneath our very feet and would not let us stay still. It also happened that we might be watching some place particularly closely because it was encrusted with stones which had only just been poured out and were still smoking and sulphurous, when it would crack open somewhere, and a stream of fire would flood it, while the stones shot out with this would scorch our feet.

Pietro Bembo, De Aetna (1496), xxvii; from Pietro Bembo: Lyric Poetry, Etna, edited & translated by Mary P. Chatfield (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), p. 223.

The Daily Volcano Quote: from Monday to Friday, a new eruption of volcanic verbiage each day.

The Volcanism Blog

Alaska: another small explosion at Cleveland 11 March 2012

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, Cleveland, eruptions, Iliamna, United States.
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The Alaska Volcano Observatory reports another small explosive event at Cleveland volcano, following the small explosion detected on 7 March. This one happened in the afternoon (local time) of 9 March, as the AVO Volcanic Activity Notification reports:

Another small, short duration explosion from Cleveland Volcano was detected on distant seismic stations and infrasound arrays on about 1:55 March 10, UTC (4:05 PM March 9, AKST.) No ash cloud from this event was detected in satellite imagery probably due to cloudy weather conditions. This explosion was similar to recent small events that occurred on March 7 and in December 2011. These events produced small ash clouds that dissipated quickly and did not affect air traffic.

The Volcano Alert Level for Cleveland remains at Watch, the Aviation Colour Code at Orange. The same report gives an update on Iliamna, where seismic activity remains above background. Iliamna’s alert status is currently one notch below Cleveland’s, at Volcano Alert Level Advisory, Aviation Colour Code Yellow.

News
Cleveland volcano rocked by explosionAnchorage Daily News, 10 March 2012.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Cleveland – summary information for Cleveland (1101-24-)
Global Volcanism Program: Iliamna – summary information for Iliamna (1103-02-)
AVO Cleveland Activity Page – information on current activity at Cleveland
AVO Iliamna Activity Page – information on current activity at Iliamna
Alaska Volcano Observatory – AVO main page

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Alert level raised at Iliamna volcano, Alaska 10 March 2012

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Increased seismic activity has been evident at Iliamna volcano in Alaska since late last year. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has been watching Iliamna closely, and has decided that the elevated activity is significant enough to merit an increase in the volcano’s alert level. The new status of Iliamna is Advisory/Yellow. The AVO volcanic activity notice reads as follows:

Over the past three months the earthquake rate at Iliamna Volcano has steadily increased and now exceeds normal background levels. Although it is not certain that this sustained increase in earthquake activity represents the movement of magma at depth, it is a significant change and AVO has increased the Alert Level to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code to Yellow. The current activity does not mean an eruption is imminent or certain. A similarly energetic episode of seismic unrest from September 1996 to February 1997 was likely related to the intrusion of new magma at depth, but an eruption did not occur.

Iliamna has a real-time seismic network, and AVO will continue to monitor the volcano’s activity closely.

News
Alert level raised for Alaska volcano – WKYC, 9 March 2012
Alert level raised for Alaska’s Iliamna volcanoAlaska Dispatch, 9 March 2012
Increased seismic activity prompts alert level change for Alaska volcanoWashington Post, 9 March 2012

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Iliamna – summary information for Iliamna (1103-02-)
AVO Iliamna activity page – AVO page for Iliamna activity
Alaska Volcano Observatory – AVO main page

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The Daily Volcano Quote: a basic goal of volcanology 9 March 2012

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It is a basic goal of volcanology to investigate what causes the change from an inactive or weakly active state to an active phase, as well as the accompanying phenomena, We can only deduce from observations and plausible arguments that over the long term, increased activity is a consequence of the rise of a batch of magma from the depths. We cannot know why, when, where, or how big.

Rolf Schick, The Little Book of Earthquakes and Volcanoes (New York: Copernicus Books, 2002), p. 142.

The Daily Volcano Quote: from Monday to Friday, a new eruption of volcanic verbiage each day.

The Volcanism Blog

Puyehue Cordón Caulle at the NASA Earth Observatory 9 March 2012

Posted by admin in Chile, NASA Earth Observatory, natural hazards, Puyehue.
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The eruption under way at the Puyehue Cordón Caulle volcanic complex in Chile, which began in June 2011 and which caused large-scale evacuations and much disruption last year, may yet reach its first anniversary but appears to be waning. The NASA Earth Observatory has published images of the volcano captured in February and March 2012 which show a small diffuse plume, much reduced from the voluminous ashy emissions that were causing so many difficulties across South America and further afield last year. Click on the image below (MODIS/Terra image, 7 March 2012) to go to the article at the NASA Earth Observatory.

Puyehue Cordon Caulle, 7 March 2012 (NASA MODIS/Terra image).

As the Earth Observatory article points out, although ash levels are much reduced the legacy of Puyehue’s emissions remains for the local environment, with vegetation killed and lakes coated in floating particulates. An article at the Nature News Blog discusses some of the effects of the eruption on regional ecosystems. Recovery will of course occur, as the article recognizes, ending with the confident prediction by an Argentinian scientist that ‘the ecosystems will recover in due course’. Indeed, it is somewhat anthropocentric to talk, as the Nature News article does, of volcanic ash ‘disrupting’ local ecosystems when volcanoes are themselves a part of those systems.

Puyehue-Cordón Caulle – NASA Earth Observatory, 9 March 2012
Chilean volcano’s ash is still disrupting ecosystems – Nature News Blog, 22 February 2012

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Forthcoming: ‘Volcano: Nature and Culture’ 9 March 2012

Posted by admin in book reviews, volcano culture.
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Exciting news from the website of the wonderful Reaktion Books: this spring sees the launch of a new series under the title Earth, exploring the natural and cultural history of natural phenomena, and one of the first books to be published in this series is Volcano: Nature and Culture by James Hamilton.

Author of books on, among others, J. M. W. Turner and Michael Faraday, James Hamilton, University Curator and Honorary Reader at the University of Birmingham, curated the exhibition Volcano – from Turner to Warhol at Compton Verney in 2010.

The book is due to be published in May this year, and I hope to be reviewing it here in due course.

The Volcanism Blog

Alaskan activity update: Cleveland and Iliamna (updated) 9 March 2012

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, Cleveland, eruptions, Iliamna, United States.
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Beautiful, symmetrical Cleveland volcano in the Aleutians, which has been rumbling on and off over the last few months as its lava dome has grown, produced a small eruption last night, reports the Alaska Volcano Observatory:

A small, short duration explosion was detected from Cleveland Volcano on distant seismic stations and infrasound arrays. The time of the explosion was approximately 4:05 UTC March 8 (7:05 PM March 7, AKST.) Weather cloud conditions prevented the detection of an eruption cloud in satellite images or visual observation of the summit. This explosion was similar to recent small events that occurred in December 2011 and produced small ash clouds that dissipated quickly and did not affect air traffic. At this time, no further activity has been detected.

Alaska Public Radio gets a bit over-excited, reporting that ‘Cleveland Volcano has blown its top again’. Talking of Cleveland blowing its top is putting it a little strongly. This latest eruption, as AVO says, was a small event. There may well be more of this kind of small-scale explosion, often caused by localized rock fracturing and movement, as the lava dome continues to grow. Cleveland does not have a real-time seismic monitoring network, but AVO will continue to monitor Cleveland closely. Cleveland is currently at Orange/Watch.

UPDATE. An article in the Anchorage Daily News quotes Steve McNutt of the Alaska Volcano Observatory airing the possibility that the explosion last night may have ‘blasted away a lava dome building inside the volcano’s summit crater’. AVO volcanologists are hoping that satellite images will shortly show what exactly happened during this eruption. It will be interesting to see if all or part of the lava dome has indeed gone missing.

Another Alaskan volcano, Iliamna, which does have real-time seismic monitoring, has been experiencing episodes of increased earthquake activity and is being carefully watched by AVO. So far the alert status for Iliamna has not been raised and remains at Green/Normal.

News
4.1 earthquake comes as scientists watch Alaska’s Iliamna volcanoAlaska Dispatch, 8 March 2012
Explosion detected at Alaska’s Cleveland volcanoAlaska Dispatch, 8 March 2012
Two Alaska volcanoes show signs of activityChicago Tribune, 8 March 2012
Seismic stations pick up Cleveland blast – alaskapublic.org, 8 March 2012
Blast shakes restless volcano in remote Aleutian IslandsAnchorage Daily News, 8 March 2012

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Cleveland – summary information for Cleveland (1101-24-)
Global Volcanism Program: Iliamna – summary information for Iliamna (1103-02-)
AVO Cleveland Eruption Page – information on current activity at Cleveland
Alaska Volcano Observatory – AVO main page

The Volcanism Blog

Eruption at Bezymianny: ash reaches over 8 km a.s.l. 9 March 2012

Posted by admin in activity reports, Bezymianny, eruptions, Kamchatka, Russia.
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As the scientists at the Kamchatka Volcano Emergency Response Team (KVERT) anticipated, Bezymianny has erupted. KVERT reported at 2226Z last night:

Strong explosive eruption began about 21:27 UTC on March 08 – according to seismic data. Explosive eruption will continue and strong ash explosions up to 43,000 ft (13 km) a.s.l. possible at any time. Ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircraft.

The same bulletin reports plumes then reaching 5 km a.s.l. A later bulletin, issued at 2313Z, described the eruption by this time as ‘moderate’ and reported ‘Culmination phase of the explosive eruption occurred at 21:40 UTC on March 08, when ash plumes from pyroclastic deposits rose up to 26,200 ft (8 km) a.s.l.’ The latest bulletin, released at 0700Z today, summarizes the activity as follows:

Activity of the volcano after strong explosive phase of eruption is gradually decreasing but continues. Ongoing activity could affect low-flying aircraft. Strong explosive eruption began at 21:27 UTC on March 08. According to seismic data, the culmination phase of the eruption occurred from 21:27 till 22:10 UTC on March 08, a magnitude of volcanic tremor was 7.52 µm/s at that time. From 23:00 UTC on March 08, volcanic tremor was not registering. Ash plumes from pyroclastic deposits rose up to 26,200 ft (8 km) a.s.l. and extended to the northeast of the volcano on the height about 19,700 ft (6 km) a.s.l. At about 00:15 UTC on March 09, probably a new portion of ash began to extending a little to northern to northeast of the volcano. According to satellite data, a length of ash plume was about 434 mi (700 km) at 04:32 UTC on March 09. At present, the moderate eruption is continuing. According to video data, gas-steam plumes containing ash are raising up to 11,500-13,100 ft (3.5-4.0 km) a.s.l. and extending to the north-east of the volcano.

Tokyo VAAC issued its latest advisory for Bezymianny at 0559 today, describing ‘emissions continuing’ and ash moving NE of the volcano and reaching airspace at FL270 (27,000 feet or 8.2 km a.s.l.). Things currently look reasonably quiet (and, of course, dark) at the Bezymianny webcam. KVERT has uploaded some pictures of the March 8-9 activity to its Bezymianny activity page; latest images at the top.

News
Bezymianny volcano (Kamchatka): new explosive eruption sends ash to 27,000 ft altitude – VolcanoDiscovery, 9 March 2012
Bezymianny volcano erupts again – Voice of Russia, 9 March 2012

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Bezymianny – summary information for Bezymianny (1000-25=)
KVERT: information releases – current activity summary for Kamchatka volcanoes
Alaska Volcano Observatory – Activity – includes AVO reports on Kamchatka volcanoes
Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team – KVERT information page from the AVO

The Volcanism Blog

The Daily Volcano Quote: a missionary’s view of Tongariro 8 March 2012

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It will perhaps at first sight be thought by some of your readers that an article on volcanoes has little to do with missionary work; and so it has, and I only entitle the contribution I am sending you ‘Tongariro Volcano’ because of the close connection that mountain has with the Maori superstition of ‘Tapu’. If any spot was considered tapu, or sacred, by New Zealanders it was the Volcano Tongariro … The volcanic fires of Tongariro were kindled by no hand of man, but by supernatural agency; its various natural phenomena, so mysterious and awful, were accepted by them as auguries and omens, and foretold future destinies by the periods of its rumbling and activity; war and calamity were supposed to be predicted; and when it was silent and its fires at rest, peace and prosperity.

T. S. Grace, Jr., ‘Tongariro Volcano’, Church Missionary Gleaner, 1 October 1874, p. 110.

The Daily Volcano Quote: from Monday to Friday, a new eruption of volcanic verbiage each day.

The Volcanism Blog

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