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Eyjafjallajökull: no end in sight 4 May 2010

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Yesterday the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) issued a bulletin (PDF) on the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull which reported that ‘there are no indications that the eruption is about to end’.

Eyjafjallajokull 4 May 2010 10:49 GMT

The image above comes from the Vodafone Þórólfsfell webcam, captured at 10:49 GMT today (original image here), and shows Eyjafjallajökull erupting a fairly vigorous steam-and-ash plume from its main vent. Steam plumes can be seen rising from the gully where lava is interacting with meltwater as it descends the slope. The main ash plume has been varying in height (the IMO bulletin and VAAC reports indicate up to around 5.5 km altitude) and density yesterday and today; on occasion the cameras have shown a very black plume indeed. Tremor has reduced since the IMO issued its bulletin, but there have been more earthquakes under Eyjafjallajökull over the last 24 hours, some shallow (1.1-2.2 km) but some very deep: between around 21:00 yesterday and 01:00 today there were four quakes of magnitudes between 1.4 and 1.8, at depths varying from 13.0 to 21.6 km. There also appears to be a north-south alignment to recent earthquake activity:

Eyjafjallajokull earthquakes 4 May 2010 12:55 GMT

The very deep earthquakes could represent magma moving at depth, or subsidence of magma chambers which have been emptied by the eruption; the IMO bulletin reports deformation measurements which indicate continued subsidence at Eyjafjallajökull. Time will tell what implications this has for the future development of the eruption.

Erik Klemetti has more on the IMO Eyjafjallajökull bulletin at Eruptions.

For all our Eyjafjallajökull coverage: Eyjafjöll « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Icelandic Meteorological Office – bulletins on Eyjafjallajökull activity
Data for Eyjafjallajökull/Myrdalsjökull – a range of near-real-time data from sensors on and around Eyjafjallajökull: tremor, seismicity, deformation, webcam images etc., from the Iceland Met Office

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Those Eyjafjallajökull webcams 4 May 2010

Posted by admin in eruptions, Eyjafjöll, Iceland, volcano monitoring, volcanoes.
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I’ve had some e-mails asking where webcams covering the Eyjafjallajökull eruption are to be found. Eyjafjallajökull is not camera-shy volcano – plenty of cameras, lots of coverage, lots of images. Here’s a summary of the current webcam links:

Vodafone Þórólfsfell webcam.

Eyjafjallajökull frá Þórólfsfelli.

Eyjafjallajökull frá Hvolsvelli.

Eyjafjallajökull frá Valahnúk.

Web camera Eyjafjallajökull – Múlakot.

The Icelandic Met Office has a list of Icelandic webcams with locations, and Jón Frímann has compiled another Iceland volcano webcam list which can be found here. More webcam information, along with a great deal else, can be found at the excellent Eyjafjallajökull links list at the Islande 2010 blog.

For all our Eyjafjallajökull coverage: Eyjafjöll « The Volcanism Blog.

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Ireland closes airspace as Icelandic volcanic ash returns (updated) 3 May 2010

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The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has re-imposed a total flight ban on Ireland’s airspace for a six-hour period tomorrow because of the hazard presented by airborne ash from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland. All flights into and out of Irish airports will be banned from 06:00 to 12:00 GMT on 4 May 2010, although overflights of Ireland from the UK and Europe will not be affected. The IAA statement on the closure is here: IAA forced to restrict flights in Irish airports.

In the United Kingdom there is a possibility that Scottish airspace may be affected as the ash moves eastwards, although the UK authorities are currently waiting for further Met Office and VAAC reports on the nature and movement of the ash cloud. This cloud is denser than the plume which caused all the problems last month, but smaller in extent, so it may be easier for aircraft to re-route around it.

The latest volcanic ash advisory (in graphic PNG form) from London VAAC (archive here) reports Eyjafjallajökull plumes reaching FL180 (18,000 feet / 5,500 metres altitude) this afternoon, but no significant ash above FL200 (20,000 feet / 6,000 metres altitude).

UPDATE 4 May 2010. Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland airspace has re-opened, but in Scotland airports in the Outer Hebrides will remain closed until later this afternoon (source: BBC).

For all our Eyjafjallajökull coverage: Eyjafjöll « The Volcanism Blog.

News
Flight disruption threat as new ash cloud approachesDaily Telegraph, 3 May 2010
Volcanic ash alert for Western Isles flights – BBC News, 3 May 2010
Ireland to re-impose flight bans due to volcanic ash – BBC News, 3 May 2010
Volcanic cloud shuts down Irish airspaceDaily Telegraph, 3 May 2010
Ireland to ground all flights on Tuesday morningThe Guardian, 3 May 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Data for Eyjafjallajökull/Myrdalsjökull – a range of near-real-time data from sensors on and around Eyjafjallajökull: tremor, seismicity, deformation, webcam images etc., from the Iceland Met Office

The Volcanism Blog

Eyjafjallajökull serves up plenty of tremor, and flight ban blame game continues 3 May 2010

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The Eyjafjallajökull eruption has been at a constant and fairly low level of activity over the past few days: strombolian activity at the vent and lava flows descending the flanks, some steam from lava-water interaction, and occasional ashfall south of the volcano. However, tremor has been rising markedly since yesterday, indicating that magma movement is under way. This could produce an upsurge in activity (and perhaps more explosivity and ash production), or it could fade away and have no effect on what happens at ground level at all. It’s notable that the incidence of earthquakes, as distinct from tremor, is currently at a low level around Eyjafjallajökull, suggesting that whatever the magma may be doing at depth it is not yet making its way to the surface. Worth watching carefully, anyway – and of course that is precisely what the experts in Iceland and elsewhere are doing.

Meanwhile, changing wind patterns are raising fears that the ash cloud currently lying to the west of the British Isles may be pushed back towards Britain’s coasts. The blame game over the ash-related airline disruption continues, with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority telling the BBC that it’s the fault of the engine manufacturers that the flight ban lasted so long: the manufacturers, afraid of the commercial consequences of deciding what level of ash (and thus, in effect, what level of potential engine damage) was acceptable, dragged their feet over determining a new and more flexible standard. And in a new outbreak of nonsense at The Guardian, Peter Singer ruminates that ‘the greatest risks by far [in flying into a known volcanic ash hazard] are borne by the passengers and crew. If they are fully informed of the risks, and are still willing to fly – perhaps the crew has been offered more money, as workers in dangerous occupations often are – should we prevent them from making the decision to fly?’ Presumably there would be some kind of vote taken at the terminal in advance of each departure, with flight crews – steely glints in their eyes, extra cash in their pockets – standing ready to take the daring and the dauntless into the sky.

For all our Eyjafjallajökull coverage: Eyjafjöll « The Volcanism Blog.

News
Iceland volcano rumbles on, life does tooIceNews, 1 May 2010
There is a limit to the price of safetyThe Guardian, 2 May 2010
Fresh volcano ash cloud prompts fears for hospital patientsAberdeen Press & Journal, 3 May 2010
Volcano ash flight ban ‘might have ended sooner’ – BBC News, 3 May 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Data for Eyjafjallajökull/Myrdalsjökull – a range of near-real-time data from sensors on and around Eyjafjallajökull: tremor, seismicity, deformation, webcam images etc., from the Iceland Met Office

The Volcanism Blog

Two years on at Chaitén 2 May 2010

Posted by admin in Chaitén, Chile, eruptions, volcanoes.
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View of Chaitén caldera and lava dome before the May 2008 eruption, © Eric Manríquez
View of Chaitén caldera and lava dome before the May 2008 eruption (© Eric Manríquez).

The eruption of Chaitén volcano in southern Chile began two years ago today, on 2 May 2008. Since that date eruptive activity at the volcano has continued uninterrupted: the intensity has varied, but the activity has never ceased.

View from May 2009 of the dome complex (courtesy Mr Javier Romero, Vialidad MOP, Puerto Montt)
View from May 2009 of the Chaitén dome complex (courtesy Mr Javier Romero, Vialidad MOP, Puerto Montt).

During the coming week, to mark the second anniversary of Chaitén’s awakening, there’ll be a series of posts here at the Volcanism Blog looking at various aspects – volcanological, social, economic and environmental – of this remarkable and endlessly fascinating eruption.

Secuencia de imagenes del volcan Chaiten correspondientes al mes de Marzo del 2010 (SERNAGEOMIN)
Sequence of images of the Chaitén lava dome during March 2010 (SERNAGEOMIN).

[The first illustration above, showing Chaitén before the eruption, was originally published here in May 2008; the second is from SERNAGEOMIN bulletin no. 91, translated here in May 2009; and the third is from the March 2010 bulletin (PDF) issued by SERNAGEOMIN which we will be reporting here very shortly.]

UPDATE. Family problems of a serious nature mean I’ve been unable to provide the Chaitén coverage promised in this post – please accept my sincere apologies. I will catch up with Chaitén, and with much else, when I am able to do so.

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

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Continuing Gaua activity at the NASA Earth Observatory 27 April 2010

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Eruption of Gaua Volcano, 24 April 2010 (NASA ALI/EO-1 image)

As reported here last week, activity is continuing at Gaua volcano in Vanuatu, with the government planning for evacuations of Gaua Island. The NASA Earth Observatory has been providing some excellent satellite imagery of Gaua, most recently the above image, captured on 24 April 2010 by the Advanced Land Imager aboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The brown areas on the left of the image, to the west and south-west of the volcano, show where volcanic emissions and ashfall have damaged and killed vegetation.

The world is paying little attention to the activity at Gaua, but it is shaping up to be a very nasty, hazardous and disruptive eruption. Ashfall, poisonous gases, volcanic bombs and mudflows are being produced by the active cone, Mount Garet, and emissions are tainting local crops and water supplies. Rising water levels in the crater have been reported, increasing the risk of still more dangerous mudflows. The population of Gaua has already had to abandon the western side of the island and seek refuge in the east, away from the worst of the volcano’s ash and fumes, but as the activity increases they may have to evacuate completely. Radio Australia News quotes Vanuatu Geohazards Technical Advisor: ‘The current risk is mainly ash falls and then mudflows. It’s true that we have an increase in activity but not like a level 3. Evacuation is ready the plan is ready the location is ready, it’s a very tough situation for the local population of Gaua, they’re scared they’re afraid, it’s a very new situation for them’.

The alert level for Gaua is still at level 2, according to the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory.

For all our coverage of Gaua: Gaua « The Volcanism Blog.

News
Vanuatu volcano may force evacuationsSydney Morning Herald, 20 April 2010
Vanuatu volcano taints water suppliesSydney Morning Herald, 21 April 2010
Vanuatu authorities monitor Gaua volcano – Radio Australia News, 23 April 2010
South Seas volcano threatens thousands – Earthweek, 23 April 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Gaua – summary information for Gaua (0507-02=)
Vanuatu volcanoes and volcanics – information from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory
Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory – home page for geohazards monitoring in Vanuatu

The Volcanism Blog

Guatemala: explosive eruption at Santiaguito 27 April 2010

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The Santiaguito lava dome complex at Guatemala’s Santa María volcano erupted yesterday, producing four explosions between approximately 18:50 and 20:00 local time and throwing an ash-laden plume up to altitudes of between 7.3 and 8.5 km. The Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (Insivumeh) described two of the explosions as ‘strong’ and the other two as ‘moderate to strong’ in intensity. Guatemalan newspaper El Periódico reports that ash reached 8.5 km above sea level, while Washington VAAC gives the altitude as FL 240 (24,000 feet / 7.3 km) in a volcanic ash advisory issued at 14:44 GMT on 26 April (later advisories issued at 15:15 GMT and 17:43 GMT say that some ash was reported at FL280 (28,000 feet / 8.5 km) and FL300 (30,000 feet / 9.1 km).

According to an Insivumeh volcanologist quoted by El Periódico, people in local communities were alarmed by small earthquakes during the eruption, and ashfall created visibility problems on nearby roads. Local people had noticed rumblings from the volcano during the night of 25 April, reports El Quetzalteco. The districts of Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán, San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Suchitepéquez, Retalhuleu and Sololá have been affected by ashfall, and classes in local schools have been suspended. Largely because of the ashfall hazard, Guatemala’s state emergencies agency, the Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (Conred), has raised the alert level at Santiaguito to Orange (Naranja).

Research Note. For expert insight into ever-active Santiaguito, check out Jessica Ball’s richly-illustrated reports at Magma Cum Laude: Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (19 March 2010), Looking backward: Past eruptions at Volcán Santa Maria (15 March 2010), Santiaguito lava dome complex (27 March 2009), Lava domes, coffee, and a little bit of shaking (20 March 2009). Santiaguito is the focus of Jessica’s work on lava domes. Highly recommended.

News
El volcán Santiaguito hace declarar alerta naranjaEl Periódico de Guatemala, 26 April 2010
Alerta Naranja por ceniza de volcán – El Quetzalteco, 27 April 2010
Declaran en Guatemala alerta naranja por erupción de volcán Santiaguito – ABC, 27 April 2010
Volcano spews sand, ash over GuatemalaSydney Morning Herald, 27 April 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Santa María – summary information for Santa María (1402-03=)
Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia – main page for Guatemala’s volcanological authority

The Volcanism Blog

Just some of the things Eyjafjallajökull has screwed up 23 April 2010

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(In addition to grounding European aviation for days on end and exhausting headline-writers’ supplies of volcano puns.)

The UK General Electionbetting on 2010 temperaturesSouthern California music festivalUK schoolgirls’ geography field tripthe Norwegian Government (iPad to the rescue) … touring wrestlers … Boston Marathon runnersthe London Book Fairhealth of petsfootball, ice hockey and runningPremier League refereesthe gilded progresses of celebs and pop starsJohn Cleese’s trip homefootball, cycling and runningPolish state funeraltransport of wounded soldiersDubai luxury hotel openingMorocco golf tournamentsexams, exotic foods and surgery … yet more celebs (Hollywood ‘paralized’, no less)Japan MotoGPthe international oil marketand even more celebsEuropean stocks and sharesKenyan flower growersKenyan vegetable growersmovie premieresBMW production in South Carolinaand still more celebs (superstar forced to take Irish Sea ferry)youth boxingequestrianismfootball (also boxing, running, tennis, motorcyle racing)organ transplants … Ghana farming, war crimes trials, rose growing, car making, flowers for New York weddings … travel plans of dogs, horses, snakes, geckos, turtlesclassical concerts in San Diego … classical concerts in Salt Lake Cityclassical concerts in New YorkTribeca Film FestivalMetallica tour (kings of heavy metal fight back, take bus) … supplies of sea urchins, monkfish livers and scallops to British restaurantsart shipmentsweddingsweddingscomputer gaming eventsairline emissions regulationIndian TV host’s IPL contract (seems rather unfair) … Italian guitar playerssupply chain resilience, whatever that  iscollege admissionsscareware cyberscams

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Ash grounds RAF jets 22 April 2010

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The BBC reports this afternoon that RAF Typhoon training flights in Lincolnshire have been suspended after volcanic ash was found in one aircraft’s engines. Update: more at Flightglobal.

Military jets fly a great deal faster than civilian aircraft and their engines draw in more air and at a more rapid rate, making them more vulnerable to ash ingestion and consequent damage. But it goes to show that the ash is still up there and the threat to aviation it represents is not an invention of a conspiracy of regulators bent on spoiling everyone’s holidays.

UPDATE. The United States Air Force also has ash concerns, about its F-15s flying from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk: US Military fears volcano could harm jets.

The Volcanism Blog

An Eyjafjallajökull miscellany (further updated) 21 April 2010

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More on the eruption itself later, but for the moment here is a fairly random selection of Eyjafjallajökull links, some good, some bad, some just, you know, strange. [Updated 24 April 2010, new links marked with a *; and updated again 26 April 2010, new links marked with a #.]

UK political crackpot: Iceland volcano a message from God – eruption ‘a clear Biblical sign of repentance’, a reminder that ‘the human race is powerless compared to God’, claims Christian Peoples Alliance election candidate in outpouring of contemptible garbage.#

(How) Are Birds Affected by Volcanic Ash? – some of the effects of ashfall on non-human life: GrrlScientist has the details.

Finnish F-18 meets volcanic ash – pictures of damage to the engines of a Finnish Air Force F-18 fighter that flew through Eyjafjallajökull’s emissions on the morning of 15 April.

Eyjafjallajökull images from the NASA Earth Observatory – the Earth Observatory has been publishing some great satellite imagery of the eruption: the Eyjafjallajökull collection so far can be found here.

Volcanic lightning, Eyjafjallajökull, and how it works – theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Seigel explains volcanic lightning, with gorgeous pictures.

The Big Picture: Iceland’s disruptive volcano – stunning images from The Boston Globe. More Eyjafjallajökull images from the Globe here.

Daily Mail: Iceland volcano – some wonderful pictures that happen to have shown up in the pages of one of the world’s more disgusting newspapers.

Ignorant idiot sounds off on volcanic ash threat (1) – Simon Jenkins in The Guardian‘s reliably appalling Comment is Free section: what’s all the fuss about, it’s just ‘a volcano and a bit of dust’.

Ignorant idiot sounds off on volcanic ash threat (2) – Frank Furedi at the generally loathsome Spiked Online: ‘I claim no authority to say anything of value about the risks posed by volcanic ash clouds to flying aircraft’, he says, but surprisingly he does not then shut up.

Ignorant idiot sounds off on volcanic ash threat (3) – rambling buffoon Max Hastings in the vile Daily Mail, has the nerve to say expert atmospheric scientist Dr Grant Allen of Manchester University ‘hasn’t a clue’.*

Ignorant idiot sounds off on volcanic ash threat (4) – prize twit Christopher Booker roams his enclosure at the Telegraph, rattling the bars: ash crisis all a fuss about nothing, evil European plot, global warming is wrong, blah blah blah.#

Eyjafjallajökull Art Project – art inspired by the eruption (Claire Iris Schencke‘s work is great).

Iceland Volcano Mispronunciation Video – lots of US television people coming a cropper trying to say Eyjafjallajökull.

Cybercrooks befuddled by Icelandic volcano name – scareware merchants and scammers can’t latch on to the Eyjafjallajökull story, the name is just too hard for them.

Icelandic singer explains how to say Eyjafjallajökull – with the help of her trusty ukelele.*

The Volcanism Blog