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Betting on a big bang 2 January 2010

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Forecasting volcanic eruptions is always something of a gamble. However, if you fancy your chances of predicting where the next big volcanic eruption is likely to be and are willing to back your hunches, Irish bookmakers Paddy Power will happily relieve you of your cash.

Paddy Power have begun taking bets on the next volcano to produced a VEI=3 or greater eruption. At the moment Mount Unzen in Japan, which as far as we know has never produced anything bigger than VEI=2, is leading the field at 3/1. The offering of Mauna Loa at 9/1 suggests even more strongly that form has not been studied with sufficient care. Among the more sensible contenders are Merapi (10/1), Avachinsky (22/1) and Vesuvius (28/1). Yellowstone has just made it into the top twenty at 33/1, a state of affairs for which the supervolcano obsessives at the Discovery Channel are surely responsible. If you bet on Yellowstone and it does erupt, good luck collecting your winnings.

This may or may not all be in rather bad taste, and it’s a lousy way to try to make some money (unless you are Paddy Power, of course). On the other hand, it may increase the number of people around the world watching volcanoes with close, if mercenary, interest.

If you fancy a flutter, or are just interested to see how punters view the current state of the world’s volcanoes (‘Casade Range’ at 16/1, anybody?), the latest odds can be found at oddschecker.com.

More reaction: nice write-up (and comments) at Erik’s Eruptions blog, and a fairly dumb article at Popular Science.

The Volcanism Blog

Comments

1. damon hynes - 2 January 2010

What the heck? Mayon could do a VEI 3 within hours! And where’s Redoubt?

2. Chance Metz - 3 January 2010

Looks like Galeras joined the trio of erupting volcanoes with another eruption. Already looks lke a busy year for us lava lovers.

Received FVXX22 at 02:30 UTC, 03/01/10 from KNES
VA ADVISORY
DTG: 20100103/0228Z

VAAC: WASHINGTON

VOLCANO: GALERAS 1501-08
PSN: N0113 W07722

AREA: COLOMBIA

SUMMIT ELEV: 14029 FT [4276 M]

ADVISORY NR: 2010/002

INFO SOURCE: GOES-12. GFS WINDS. VAFTAD.
INGEOMINAS

ERUPTION DETAILS: EXPLOSIVE ERUPTION AT 03/0043Z

OBS VA DTG: 03/0145Z

OBS VA CLD: SFC/FL400 N0131 W07732 – N0114 W07710
– N0050 W07734 – N0108 W07753 – N0131 W07732 MOV
W 20KT

FCST VA CLD +6HR: 03/0800Z SFC/FL350 N0154 W07801
– N0135 W07740 – N0046 W07831 – N0104 W07854 –
N0154 W07801

FCST VA CLD +12HR: 03/1400Z SFC/FL350 N0228
W07856 – N0157 W07804 – N0006 W07915 – N0045
W07958 – N0228 W07856

FCST VA CLD +18HR: 03/2000Z SFC/FL350 NO ASH EXP

RMK: SATELLITE IMAGERY THROUGH 0145Z SHOWED AN
ASH CLOUD EXTENDING 25NMI N…20NMI W…AND 15NMI
N…OF THE SUMMIT. ASH WAS MOVING GENERALLY W AT
20KTS. …

NXT ADVISORY: WILL BE ISSUED BY 20100103/0830Z

3. Boris Behncke - 3 January 2010

Some fine photos of Nyamuragira’s current eruption:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/46142829@N04/
and of Piton de la Fournaise’s current eruption:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo974/
Finally, a spectacular image of the bush fires caused by Galeras’s latest explosion:
http://www.eltiempo.com/yopublico/imagen/home/multimedia.php?id_recurso=6876487

4. john Pyke - 4 January 2010

I liked your remark about Yellowstone – though I suppose if it does its once every 640,000 years (+ or – a few 10s of thous) trick it could start with a few VEI 3 or 4s before the VEI gazillion-or-so, couldn’t it? So the punters could collect their winnings and quickly move to Melbourne…

5. R. B. Trombley - 4 January 2010

Hi All – I would be interested to know how Paddy got his stats on these forecasts. We here at the INTLVRC perform a forecast of volcanic eruptions based on a software programme, Eruption Pro 10.7. It has been over 90% accurate since 1998. You can check out the lastest forecast on our website in the “INTLVRC News, etc” section.

6. Guillermo - 4 January 2010

Take a look to this:
http://www.segemar.gov.ar/db/


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