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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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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

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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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

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

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

Kanaga quietens: alert level lowered 3 March 2012

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, Kanaga, United States.
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A couple of weeks ago eruptive activity was reported at Kanaga volcano in the Aleutian Islands: Eruptions has all the information and relevant links, as well as one of those impressive, almost abstract, coldly beautiful Alaskan volcano pictures. It seems that the rumblings have ceased, and the Alaska Volcano Observatory has lowered the Alert Level for Kanaga from Advisory to Normal, and the Aviation Color Code from Yellow to Green.

News
Alert level for Kanaga Volcano lowered – Alaska Public Radio, 2 March 2012
Alert level reduced for remote Aleutians volcanoAnchorage Daily News, 3 March 2012

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Kanaga – summary information for Kanaga (1101-11-)
Alaska Volcano Observatory – main page for the AVO

The Volcanism Blog

The Daily Volcano Quote: bombing Mauna Loa 2 March 2012

Posted by admin in daily volcano quote, Hawaii, Mauna Loa, United States.
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From the Army’s Hickham Field outside Pearl Harbor huge bombers departed five weeks ago on a new kind of mission. Their assignment was to bomb the famed volcano, Mauna Loa, on the island of Hawaii, 200 miles away. On April 26 restless Mauna Loa had rumbled into new activity, hurling tons of molten rock into the Pacific sky. Two days later, fountains of lava spouted from two fissures in the moutain-side, a few thousand feet below the summit. Like red snakes, twin lava rivers coiled down Mauna Loa’s skirts, piling up great ramparts of hot rock, firing forests, imperiling the city and harbour of Hilo, and threatening to dam its water supply. To divert these angry streams Army airmen dropped bombs in their path … By May 10 the disturbance had slackened, Hilo was safe, and Mauna Loa had subsided again into smoky slumber.

‘Army bombs Mauna Loa volcano to divert lava flow from Hilo Harbor’, Life, 1 June 1942, p. 36. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has an account of the 1942 eruption and the attempt to divert the lava by aerial bombing, noting that ‘Though most appeared to hit their mark, the bombs had little or no impact on the eruption or on the flow’s direction’.

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

The Volcanism Blog

Smithsonian/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 22-28 February 2012 1 March 2012

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, Bezymianny, Canary Islands, Chile, Cleveland, Costa Rica, Ecuador, eruptions, Guatemala, Hawaii, Hierro, Japan, Kamchatka, Kanaga, Karymsky, Kilauea, Kizimen, Mexico, Popocatépetl, Puyehue, Russia, Sakura-jima, Santa María, Shiveluch, Spain, 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 22 February to 28 February 2012. The report is compiled by Sally Kuhn Sennert. Some of the highlights:

  • Rincón de la Vieja: two eruptions from Rincón de la Vieja’s active crater
  • Tungurahua: moderate activity continues, with ashfall, incandescence, steam-and-ash plume
  • Puyehue-Cordón Caulle: low-level eruptive activity continues, with lava flows and ash plumes
  • Santa María: explosions produced 0.6-1.3 km plumes and ashfall, pyroclastic flows reported

SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 22-28 February 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 22-28 February 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: Cleveland (Alaska, USA), Kanaga (Alaska, USA), Rincón de la Vieja (Costa Rica), Tungurahua (Ecuador).

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

Note: ‘a.s.l.’ = ‘above sea level’.

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