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Smithsonian/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 29 February – 6 March 2012 8 March 2012

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, Bagana, Bezymianny, Canary Islands, Chile, Cleveland, Ecuador, eruptions, Etna, Fuego, Guatemala, Hawaii, Hierro, Italy, Japan, Kamchatka, Kanaga, Karymsky, Kilauea, Kizimen, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Popocatépetl, Puyehue, Russia, Sakura-jima, Santa María, Shiveluch, Spain, Suwanose-jima, Tungurahua, United States, Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports.
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The latest Smithsonian Institution and United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report has been published by the Global Volcanism Program, covering the week 29 February to 6 March 2012. The report is compiled by Sally Kuhn Sennert. Some of the highlights of the volcanic week:

  • Continuing activity at Etna including strombolian eruptions, lava fountaining and lava flows
  • Explosions at Fuego produced plumes that reached 0.6 km above the crater
  • Plumes rose to 1 km above Puyehue-Cordón Caulle as low-level eruptive activity continues

SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 29 February - 6 March 2012

Click on the map for a larger version (1211 x 784 pixels).

The Smithsonian Institution/United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 29 February – 6 March 2012 is now available on the Global Volcanism Program website. The following is a summary and not a substitute for the full report.

New activity/unrest: Bezymianny (Russia), Cleveland (Alaska, USA), Etna (Italy), Kanaga (Alaska, USA), Tungurahua (Ecuador).

Ongoing activity: Bagana (Papua New Guinea), Fuego (Guatemala), Hierro (Canary Islands), Karymsky (Russia), Kilauea (Hawaii, USA), Kizimen (Russia), Popocatépetl (Mexico), Puyehue-Cordón Caulle (Chile), Sakura-jima (Japan), Santa María (Guatemala), Shiveluch (Russia), Suwanose-jima (Japan).

Note: ‘a.s.l.’ = ‘above sea level’.

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The Daily Volcano Quote: the angry gods of Bali 7 March 2012

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When Java was lost to the Mohammedans 485 years ago, so the legend goes, the disgusted Hindu gods hunted around for a new home. They chose the island of Bali, and since their exalted rank demanded a high dwelling place, they created a chain of mountains. On the most sacred eastern end of the island, the gods erected the highest of Bali’s mountains, the 10,308-foot volcano of Gunung Agung, regarded by the Balinese as “The Navel of the World.” Halfway up the slope of Agung, the pious Balinese built the huge mother temple of Besakih, and every hundred years they have held a solemn rite there to rid the island of ghosts. Last week, in the midst of the once-a-century festival, Agung erupted with catastrophic fury. Agung gave fair warning. Only last month, after more than 100 years of inactivity, it burst forth with a shower of smoke and brimstone that killed 17 persons. There was worried talk on Bali that the gods were angry because the people had not asked permission to hold their festival. But the priests and their disciples stayed on to pray. At 7 o’clock one morning, Agung erupted again. The villages of Sebudi, Sorgah, and Sebih were engulfed by a lethal black cloud of searing 230° ash that roasted hundreds where they knelt. Rivers of grey-black lava boiled over Agung’s southern lip and flowed in fiery rivulets down stream beds, raising clouds of steam; heavy rains, possibly caused by the heat of the volcano, mixed with the sulphurous ash to form an acid that killed plant life for miles around.

‘Bali: the gods speak’, Time, 29 March 1963, p. 26. The eruption of Agung described here took place on 17 March 1963 and was a VEI5 event, one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the twentieth century. Approximately 1500 people were killed and widespread devastation was caused by pyroclastic flows and lahars. The Mother Temple of Besakih, however, survived the eruption.

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

The Volcanism Blog

Bezymianny on alert for eruption – KVERT 7 March 2012

Posted by admin in activity reports, Bezymianny, Kamchatka, Russia.
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Bezymianny volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east has been put on red alert for a possible eruption by the Kamchatka Volcano Emergency Response Team (KVERT). In a bulletin issued late yesterday KVERT reports: ‘Activity of the volcano continuously increases. Strong ash explosions up to 42,640 ft (13 km) a.s.l. possible at any time. Ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircraft’. Based on increasing seismic activity since mid-February and the presence of a thermal anomaly which abruptly increased in ‘size and brightness’ on 2 March, KVERT scientists suspect that ‘a strong explosive eruption’ of the volcano is in preparation.

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

Tree rings, volcanoes and climate 7 March 2012

Posted by admin in climate, current research.
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Is dendrochronology always a reliable guide to past climatic variations? And apropos the theory that large volcanic eruptions in the latter half of the thirteenth century AD were responsible for the cool period known as the Little Ice Age (LIA), can it perhaps be argued that the eruption did not so much begin the LIA as end the MWP (Medieval Warm Period)? That kind of conceptual re-focusing appeals to me as a historian. It is the type of game historians (well aware that all periodization is a human construct) like to play: flip the structuring principles you apply to the past around and see what difference it makes. And what do the trees say?

These musings are provoked by this article at Bits of Science. Have a look and see what you think.

The Volcanism Blog

The Daily Volcano Quote: seawater necessary for volcanic fermentations 6 March 2012

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What is the nature of that mixture which gives birth to these eruptions, that produce lava and throw up mountains? What we observe as certain is, that the introduction of the water of the sea is necessary to excite these fermentations, as containing marine acid and other salts, which, united to the sulphuric acid, the bases of which are contained in abundance in the subterranean strata, determine these fermentations, which produce the disengagement of fire and other fluids, and all the grand effects that are the consequence.

G. A. Deluc, ‘Observations on volcanoes and their lava’, The Philosophical Magazine, vol. XXI (1805), p. 268.

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

The Volcanism Blog

New Zealand to fund volcano monitoring improvements in Vanuatu 6 March 2012

Posted by admin in natural hazards, Pacific, Vanuatu, volcano monitoring.
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Vanuatu has plenty of volcanic activity: Ambrym, Aoba, Gaua, Yasur are perhaps the best-known of the archipelago’s historically active volcanoes, all of which have produced violent and disruptive eruptions in the past, and have plenty of destructive potential for the future.

The news that Vanautu’s volcano monitoring capacity is to be enhanced in a five-year programme with the help from New Zealand is therefore very welcome. The New Zealand Government’s aid agency is providing NZ$500,000 for real-time seismic and camera monitoring of Ambae (Aoba), Gaua and Tanna (Yasur) volcanoes. A programme of community outreach and education, technical training and volcanic emergency response plan development is also being supported in a partnership between GNS Science in New Zealand and the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department.

News
Five-year project to see seismic cameras placed on three Vanuatu volcanoes – Radio New Zealand International, 6 March 2012
NZ volcano project to help Vanuatu – MSN NZ, 6 March 2012
NZ scientists introduce volcano life-saving monitoring devices to Vanuatu – Bernama, 6 March 2012

Information
Volcanoes of the world: Vanuatu – information from the Global Volcanism Program on Vanuatu’s volcanoes

The Volcanism Blog

Restless Tungurahua causes ash problems 6 March 2012

Posted by admin in activity reports, Ecuador, Tungurahua.
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Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador is one of the world’s more active volcanoes, and it is certainly restless at the moment, with an upswing in activity and explosive eruptions being reported over the weekend. Activity continues at a ‘moderate’ level according to reports from Ecuador’s Instituto Geofísico: an explosion occurred in the early hours of Monday 5 March which produced ashfall in the Choglontus area, which lies ~13 km WSW of the volcano (IG report for 5 March 2012 PDF). Much of the region around Tungurahua has been covered in low cloud which has obscured views of the volcano: a weak emissions column in a westerly direction was visible on 5 March at an altitude of under 1 km. The bulletin for 6 March (PDF) reports the summit of Tungurahua is still obscured by cloud. Elevated seismicity has continued, with seven episodes of emission tremor and one explosion, so some eruptive activity has occurred today.

The ashfall from the current activity has been causing problems, with reports of crop damage in agricultural areas to the west of the Tungurahua.

News
Cuatro explosiones se registraron en el volcán TungurahuaEl Comercio, 4 March 2012
Desde anoche aumentó actividad de volcán ecuatoriano TungurahuaEl Universo, 4 March 2012
Volcán Tungurahua mantiene nivel de actividad moderado – Confirmado.net, 5 March 2012
Ceniza del volcán Tungurahua vuelve a causar problemasEl Universo, 5 March 2012

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Tungurahua – summary information for Tungurahua (1502-80=)
Instituto Geofísico (Escuela Politecnica Nacional) – Geophysical Institute of Ecuador

The Volcanism Blog

The Daily Volcano Quote: great circum-Pacific eruptions 5 March 2012

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The series of great circum-Pacific eruptions began with the explosion of Krakatoa in 1883, and of Tarawera, New Zealand, and Niauafau in the Tonga Islands in 1886. In 1894 was the first great eruption of Ambrym since about 1820; in 1902 began the eruptions of Savaii, which were repeated in 1905 and 1906; in 1902 happened the explosive eruptions of Mts. Colima and Santa Maria in Central America, followed by those of Mts. Pelée and St. Vincent in the Atlantic border of the West Indian area; in 1906 occurred the eruptions of Topia and Fanua-lai; in 1908 that of Puna in Hawaii, and in 1909 that of Korintzi, Sumatra; in 1912 the explosion of Katmai in Alaska caused sunset glows in Europe; Sangir Island, on the edge of the Pacific, between the Philippines and Celebes, broke into eruption in March, 1913, followed by that of Ambrym in December of the same year.

J. W. Gregory, ‘The Ambrym eruptions of 1913-14′, Geological Magazine, vol. 4, no. 12 (December 1917), pp. 538-9. The belief that the period after about 1880 represented a marked increase in global volcanic activity after decades of quiescence was widespread in the early twentieth century.

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

The Volcanism Blog

The wonder of volcanoes at Bad Astronomy 5 March 2012

Posted by admin in blogs, volcano images, volcano monitoring.
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Recently-active Tinakula volcano in the Solomon Islands

Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog will, I’m sure, need no introduction to many Volcanism Blog readers (and if you do need an introduction, nothing I could say would beat just going there and seeing for yourself). In a beautiful post today Phil lets rip with his love for volcanoes and gives us some of the most stunning satellite images of volcanoes he’s been able to lay his hands on, including the stunning view of Tinakula above. It’s not just pretty pictures, though: Phil points out that observing volcanoes from space tells us more about them and what they are up to, adding to the knowledge of geologists, volcanologists and seismologists: ‘And given the number of people who live near active volcanoes, this knowledge saves lives. It really is that simple: the better we understand the world — the Universe — around us, the better off we are’.

The Volcanism Blog

Renewed activity at Tungurahua 4 March 2012

Posted by admin in activity reports, Ecuador, Tungurahua.
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Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano had a busy year in 2011, notably producing its biggest eruption for several years in April, and ending with a period of marked restlessness from November into January of this year including significant explosive events on 27 and 28 November 2011. Since then the level of activity has been rising and falling, with episodes of moderate activity including steam plumes and lahars throughout January and February interspersed with more active episodes involving significant ash plumes, strombolian activity and the eruption of significant quantities of incandescent material.

In bulletins issued yesterday Ecuador’s geological service, the Instituto Geofísico, reports a new upswing in activity at Tungurahua marked by the eruption of incandescent blocks, rumbling sounds and emission columns, and lava fountains reaching 500 metres above the crater. There are press reports of ashfall in nearby communities.

News
El volcán Tungurahua se reactivó ayerEl Comercio, 4 March 2012

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Tungurahua – summary information for Tungurahua (1502-80=)
Instituto Geofísico (Escuela Politecnica Nacional) – Geophysical Institute of Ecuador

The Volcanism Blog

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