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March 4th 2019

California's Hidden Threat: High-Risk Volcanoes That Might Erupt in the Next Decade

For years now, California has been bracing for the "big one" — the magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake that is expected to send ripples through the state within the century. But there's another deadly threat that is is almost as likely — and that people may be much less prepared for.

Within the next 30 years, there's a 16 percent possibility of a small to moderate-size volcanic eruption occurring somewhere in California, according to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report posted Monday (Feb. 25). This prediction is based on 5,000 years of volcanic activity records. About 200,000 people live or work in a region at risk of an eruption, and millions visit every year, according to the report.

In comparison, there is a 22 percent possibility that an earthquake at the San Andreas Fault — sometimes known as "the big one" — will hit within that time frame.

"The potential for damaging earthquakes, landslides, floods, tsunamis, and wildfires is widely recognized in California," researchers wrote in the report. "The same cannot be said for volcanic eruptions, despite the fact that they occur in the state about as frequently as the largest earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault."

There are systems in place to detect potential volcanic eruptions — but understanding the hazards in specific parts of the state is important to reduce damage and loss of life from such events, they wrote.

There are eight volcanic areas throughout the state that experts say are "threatening" to people or property nearby, according to the report. At least seven of the eight volcanoes sit atop magma and are thus considered "active." [Countdown: History's Most Destructive Volcanoes]

Of these, Mount Shasta, Medicine Lake volcano and Lassen Volcanic Center in Northern California; as well as the Salton Buttes near the southern border, have erupted within the last 3,000 years and are considered to be high- to very high-risk areas. The Long Valley Volcanic Region in the east has also erupted in that time, but is considered moderate to very high risk. And the Clear Lake Volcanic Field north of San Francisco is also considered to be high to very high risk, though it hasn’t erupted in the last three millenia.

A volcano can cause widespread damage, even when it's not erupting, according to the report. An erupting volcano can cause ballistic showers of rocks, fast-moving currents of ash or lava called pyroclastic flows and acid rain. But even volcanoes that are not currently erupting can cause hazards — grounds around the volcano may be unstable and can cause landslides, for example.

While these effects are most strongly felt near the site of an eruption, mudslides or floods can reach over 50 miles (80 kilometers) away, and ashfall can even reach areas 1,000 miles (1,600 km) away, according to the report.

"Volcanic hazards are likely to be more than a local problem, confined to a single county or region," the report said. "A future eruption in northern California, for example, could adversely impact natural resources and infrastructure important to our statewide water, power, and transportation systems, and will certainly require a multi-jurisdictional response effort." The eruption itself, increasing and decreasing in intensity over time, can last for months, years or decades, as can its after-effects.

While volcanic eruptions can't be prevented, they can sometimes be predicted.

The USGS California Volcano Observatory uses GPS receivers to record ground deformations, seismometers to measure shaking and spectrometers to detect gas emissions from the ground. An increase in activity on any of these three measurements may be the first sign that a volcano will soon erupt, according to the report.

"Although eruptions cannot be stopped, measures to limit exposure and enhance tolerance can make society less vulnerable to their effects," they wrote. This includes evacuating hazard zones during an eruption, making infrastructure more resistant to its effects, swiftly cleaning up after the event and diverting lava or removing combustible material from its path. In the case of ash fall, people can wear particle masks, avoid driving, seal off buildings, shelter livestock and shelter in place.


Dec 23rd 2018

Volcano' tsunami hits Indonesia killing at least 222 after Krakatoa eruption

At least 222 people have been killed after a tsunami likely triggered by a volcanic eruption devastated beaches around Sunda Strait in Indonesia.

Another 843 other people have been injured and dozens are missing after giant waves slammed into the islands of Java and Sumatra on Saturday night.

Terrifying footage showed beachgoers fleeing waves on the sand and residents heading to higher ground as homes were flattened.

Villagers said there was no warning a tsunami was going to hit.

Officials said it was triggered by undersea landslides after the Krakatoa volcano erupted in yet another natural disaster for Indonesia, which has seen a string of tragedies leaving thousands dead in 2018.

Footage posted on social media by the head of the disaster agency showed cars floating in flood water as the waves hit.

Hundreds of homes and other buildings were wiped out or "heavily damaged".

Rescue workers and ambulances were finding it difficult to reach affected areas because some roads were blocked by debris from damaged houses, overturned cars and fallen trees.

The waves washed away an outdoor stage where a local rock band, Seventeen, was performing in Tanjung Lesung in Banten province, a popular tourist getaway not far from the capital, Jakarta, killing at least one musician. Others were missing.

Wiping away tears, lead singer Riefian 'Ifan' Fajarsyah said in a video on Instagram: "We lost our bassist, Bani and our manager Oki."

Ifan's wife, actress Dylan Sahara, and several other band personnel were among the missing, he confirmed.

He added that "the rest of us are safe, despite injuries and bone fractures".

Coastal residents reported not seeing or feeling any warning signs, like receding water or an earthquake, before waves of up to two metres washed ashore, according to media.

But authorities said a warning siren went off in some areas.

The Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Krakatoa, an active volcano roughly halfway between Java and Sumatra, has been spewing ash and lava for months. It erupted again just after 9pm local time on Saturday and the tsunami struck at around 9.30pm, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

"It was caused by a combination of an undersea landslide resulting from volcanic activity on Anak Krakatau and a tidal wave," disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

The western coast of Banten province in Java was the worst-hit area, Nugroho told reporters in Yogyakarta.

He has apologised after initially saying the public should not panic because the wave was not a tsunami, but a tidal surge.

He told reporters there had been confusion because no earthquake had been recorded.

According to a statement from BMKG, "the tsunami hit several areas of the Sunda Strait, including beaches in Pandeglang regency, Serang, and South Lampung."

The tsunami struck at around 9.30pm local time on Saturday night, it said.

Endan Permana, head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency in Pandeglang, told Metro TV police were providing immediate assistance to victims in Tanjung Lesung in Banten province, a popular tourist getaway not far from Jakarta, as emergency workers had not arrived in the area yet.

"Many are missing," Permana said.

Authorities warned residents and tourists in coastal areas around the Sunda Strait to stay away from beaches and a high-tide warning remained in place through Tuesday.

President Joko Widodo, who is running for re-election in April, said on Twitter that he had "ordered all relevant government agencies to immediately take emergency response steps, find victims and care for the injured".

Neighbouring Malaysia and Australia both said they were ready to provide assistance if needed.

Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it is "monitoring the situation".

The British Embassy in Indonesia tweeted: "On Sat, 22 Dec 2018 the coastline around Sunda Strait which lies btween Java & Sumatra experienced a tsunami/high-tide, with damage & casualties reported.

"If in the area, please follow local authorities’ advice & check our Travel Advice."

Ben van der Pluijm, an earthquake geologist and a professor in the University of Michigan in the US, said the tsunami may have been caused by a "partial collapse" of Krakatoa.

He said: "Instability of the slope of an active volcano can create a rock slide that moves a large volume of water, creating local tsunami waves that can be very powerful.

"This is like suddenly dropping a bag of sand in a tub filled with water."

Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area once occupied by Krakatau, which was destroyed in 1883. It first appeared in 1927 and has been growing ever since.

Saturday's tsunami was the latest in a series of tragedies that have struck Indonesia, a vast archipelago, this year.

Successive earthquakes flattened parts of the tourist island of Lombok, and a double quake-and-tsunami killed thousands on Sulawesi island.

Nearly 200 people died when a Lion Air passenger plane crashed into the Java Sea in October.

On Boxing Day in 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

The eruption of Krakatau in 1883 killed more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis.

The Southeast Asian country sits on the horseshoe-shaped Pacific Ring of Fire, where almost all of the world's largest earthquakes occur.

June 18th 2018

U.S. Geological Survey
Sunday, June 17, 2018, 10:28 PM HST (Monday, June 18, 2018, 08:28 UTC)

19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED

Kīlauea Volcano Lower East Rift Zone

The Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption in Leilani Estates continues with little change.

Fountains ranging between 60 - 165 ft from the Fissure 8 spatter cone continue to feed lava into the well-established channel that flows to the ocean at Kapoho. Occasionally, minor amounts of lava briefly spill over the channel levees. The ocean entry remained fairly broad with laze blown onshore. Fissures 16/18 continue to ooze lava. Incandescence (visible in PGcam to the left of fissure 8 most nights) and mild spattering were observed from Fissure 6. The flow field is relatively stable with little change to its size and shape for the past few days.

Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass fragments from the lava fountain at Fissure 8 continue to fall downwind of the fissure, dusting the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the vent. High winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents are urged to minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.

The most recent map of lava flows can be found at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html

HVO field crews are on site tracking the fountains, lava flows, and spattering from Fissure 8 as conditions allow and are reporting information to Hawaii County Civil Defense. Observations are also collected on a daily basis from cracks in the area of Highway 130; no changes in temperature, crack width, or gas emissions have been noted for several days.

Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from Fissure 8 eruptions. Winds are expected to bring VOG to the central, south, and western parts of the Island of Hawaii. VOG information can be found at https://vog.ivhhn.org/

The ocean entry is a hazardous area. Venturing too close to an ocean entry on land or the ocean exposes you to flying debris from sudden explosive interaction between lava and water. Also, the lava delta is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. Additionally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates "laze", a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Magma continues to be supplied to the Lower East Rift Zone. Seismicity remains relatively low in the area with numerous small magnitude earthquakes and low amplitude background tremor. Higher amplitude tremor is occasionally being recorded on seismic stations close to the ocean entry.

Additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava in the area of the active fissures are possible. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Hawaii County Civil Defense messages and warnings.

Kīlauea Volcano Summit

Inward slumping of the rim and walls of Halemaʻumaʻu continues in response to ongoing subsidence at the summit. After the explosive collapse at 6:26 AM HST this morning, seismicity at Kīlauea's summit gradually increased reaching 30-35 events per hour by 10 PM HST this evening. If the pattern of the last several days holds, another explosive collapse could occur within the next 12 hours or so.

Sulfur dioxide emissions from the volcano's summit have dropped to levels that are about half those measured prior to the onset of the current episode of eruptive activity. This gas and minor amounts of ash are being transported downwind, with small bursts of ash and gas accompanying intermittent explosive activity.

For forecasts of where ash would fall under forecast wind conditions, please consult the Ash3D model output here: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/ash_information.html

Information on volcanic ash hazards and how to prepare for ash fall maybe found at http://www.ivhhn.org/information#ash (health impacts) OR https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanic_ash/ (other impacts).


Activity Summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8862

Subscribe to these messages: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/

Webcam images: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_webcams.html

Photos/Video: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_chronology.html

Lava Flow Maps: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html

Definitions of terms used in update: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/extra/definitions.pdf

Overview of Kīlauea summit (Halemaʻumaʻu) and East Rift Zone (Puʻu ʻŌʻō ) eruptions:

Summary of volcanic hazards from Kīlauea eruptions:

Recent Earthquakes in Hawai'i (map and list):

Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes:

June 16th 2018

Dangerous, Golden 'Hair' Sprouts from Hawaii Volcano

Golden, sharp strands of so-called goddess hair are covering parts of Hawaii's Big Island. But what are these potentially dangerous threads — called Pele's hair — and where did they come from?

The mats of Pele's hair — a product of the ongoing eruption from Kilaueavolcano — consist of thin glass fibers that form when gas bubbles within lava burst at the lava's surface, said Don Swanson, a research geologist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

"The skin of the bursting bubbles flies out, and some of the skin becomes stretched into these very long threads, sometime[s] as long as a couple of feet [0.6 meters] or so," Swanson told Live Science. [Photos: Fiery Lava from Kilauea Volcano Erupts on Hawaii's Big Island]

These gossamer strands are thin, just a micron (one-thousandth of a millimeter) or two in diameter, although some of them are coarser. "Often, they are really like human hair, so the name is very apt," Swanson 

These strands of lava-turned-glass usually have a small sphere at the end, but this usually gets broken off, Swanson added. Pele's hair — named after Pele (peh-leh), the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes — is so lightweight that it usually gets blown downwind from where it formed. Because these glass fibers have sharp ends, they can be dangerous to pick up, Swanson noted.

In previous volcanic eruptions, Pele's hair has caused trouble for the many Hawaiians who collect rainwater for drinking water. These glass strands land in rainwater that falls on people's roofs and is then funneled into a catchment system. "If the filters aren't fine enough to filter out the hair, then you can get hair in the water," which can harm anyone who drinks it, Swanson said.

"Imagine inhaling tiny slivers of glass. That's what the Pele's hair is," he said. "It can inflame and irritate anything that comes in contact with it."

Moreover, there are cattle ranches downwind of Kilauea volcano. In the past, Pele's hair floated downwind and fell into the cattle's water troughs, where thirsty bovids slurped it up. This likely injured the cattle's esophagi and stomachs, Swanson said.

However, he hasn't heard any reports of people or cattle hurt by drinking water contaminated with Pele's hair from the current eruption, Swanson said.

Rather, Pele's hair has been more of a nuisance this time around, albeit a rather beautiful one, he said.

 "You can get drifts of Pele's hair that may be a foot or two thick interwoven with one another," Swanson said. "It can be quite striking."


June 10th 2018

Lava and Ash from Fuego Volcano Kills 62 in Guatemala

A volcanic eruption in Guatemala that spewed out ashy plumes and scorching-hot lava on Sunday (June 3) has killed at least 62 people, according to news reports.

The volcano, known as Volcán de Fuego (Volcano of Fire), erupted just before noon local time. Lava as hot as 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 degrees Celsius) sped down the volcano's slopes and into the surrounding villages, covering roads, burning houses and hampering rescue efforts, Eddy Sánchez, director of the country’s seismology and volcanology institute, told the Associated Press (AP).

Among the dead are two children — a brother and sister who were burned to death as they watched the eruption from a bridge, Sergio Cabanas, the country's national disaster coordinator, told the AP. [Amazing Images: Volcanoes from Space]

Volcán de Fuego is a stratovolcano, meaning its 12,346-foot-tall (3,763 meters), mountainous peak is made up of layers of lava, volcanic rock fragments called tephra and pyroclastic flows — a dense mix of ash, lava fragments and gases that rocket out of volcanoes at high speeds.

The volcano is part of the Central American Volcanic Arc, which extends about 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) along the Pacific coast of Central America. These volcanoes sit on the western edge of the Caribbean tectonic plate, along an active subduction zone. In this case, the adjacent Cocos Plate is subducting under the Caribbean Plate, according to a 2017 report from the Complutense University of Madrid.

Yesterday's eruption is the deadliest that Guatemala has experienced since 1902, when the country's Santa María volcano killed thousands of people, according to the BBC. However, Volcán de Fuego has erupted continuously since 1999, and it commonly has dozens of small explosive eruptions every day, according to the Guatemalan government. This past February, the volcano had a slightly larger eruption that spewed out ash reaching 1.1 miles (1.7 km) high, the BBC said.

Nearly 50 people are still missing after yesterday's eruption, which also injured at least 20 victims and prompted the evacuation of more than 3,200 people, the AP reported. Today, rescuers are using heavy machinery and shovels to search for survivors, as well as victims who died in the pyroclastic flows that blasted out of the volcano, the AP said.

Some locals are blaming the government, which didn't tell them to evacuate ahead of time.

"Conred [the country's disaster agency] never told us to leave. When the lava was already here they passed by in their pickup trucks telling us to leave, but the cars did not stop to pick up the people," Rafael Letran, a resident of El Rodeo, told the AP. "The government is good at stealing, but when it comes to helping people, they lack spark."

In the meantime, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has declared three days of national mourning, according to the BBC.

June 7th 2018 update

Hawaii volcano: Seaside neighbourhoods engulfed by lava in just two days

An ever-creeping wall of lava from Kilauea Volcano has engulfed two entire seaside neighbourhoods at the eastern tip of Hawaii's Big Island.

Key points:

·       Lava from Kilauea Volcano has engulfed the neighbourhoods of Vacationland and Kapoho

·       About a total of 400 homes have now been destroyed in the eruption

·       Lava evaporated all the water in Hawaii's largest freshwater lake in less than four hours

It brings the total number of homes destroyed in the eruption to about 400.

"Vacationland is gone, there's no evidence of any properties there at all," Wendy Stovall, a volcanologist with the US Geological Survey (USGS), said.

"On the northern end of that, there are just a few homes in the [Kapoho] beach lots area."

County officials said there were 279 homes between the two low-lying coastal communities.

"Over the course of essentially two days, that entire area was covered by lava," Dr Stovall said.

Authorities began evacuating the Kapoho area last week, with most residents ushered to safety by early Saturday, just hours before lava severed all road access to the region.

"I just locked my doors and walked away," 28-year Vacationland resident Betty Oberman said.

"It's an emotional roller coaster."

The river of lava then spread out into a towering blob about 800 metres wide as it crept through the flat, open expanse of the subdivisions, swallowing everything in its path.

A handful of residents who initially stayed behind rather than heed evacuation orders were airlifted by helicopter on Sunday.

The lava also evaporated all the water in Green Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the Hawaiian Islands, in less than four hours.

The inundation from Kilauea is among the most destructive and costly in volcano property loss in US history.

While no-one has been killed and only one lava-related injury has been reported, the number of destroyed homes dwarfs other recent American eruptions.

In Hawaii, previous eruptions have destroyed small towns, but nothing on the scale of the recent outbreak.

Just one volcanic vent is still spewing large volumes of molten rock from the ground — Fissure 8. That fissure is the origin of the lava flow that devastated Kapoho.

The other two dozen vents have grown largely quiet over the past week but scientists recording the vigorous volcanic activity in the area say there is no way to know when it will end.

Lava has covered nearly 20.7 square kilometres of landscape as of Monday — an area about the size of the island nation of Nauru.

About 9,900 earthquakes have been recorded on the Big Island since Kilauea rumbled back to life last month. That is nearly 10 times the monthly historic average for seismic activity on Hawaii Island, the USGS said.

Meanwhile, a volcano that erupted in Guatemala on Sunday and Tuesday left at least 99 dead and nearly 200 missing.


May 30th 2018 recent history of this eruption

The Science Behind Hawaii's Surprising 2018 Volcanic Eruption

Kilauea volcano is spewing lava and belching hazardous gases on Hawaii's Big Island, forcing more than 1,700 people to evacuate their homes.

Eruptions aren't anything new on Kilauea. In particular, the Pu'u 'Ō'ō vent, where lava is visible, has erupted almost continuously since January 1983. But the latest eruption took volcanologists by surprise when it invaded Leilani Estates, a residential area near Kilauea.

Signs of trouble began in mid-March, when increased magma in the system prompted the Pu'u 'Ō'ō vent to inflate in size, like when a chef pumps cream into a cream puff, Janet Babb, a geologist and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory spokesperson, previously told Live Science. This surge of magma ultimately caused Pu'u 'Ō'ō's crater floor to collapse on April 30. After this, the excess magma traveled southeast toward the residential Puna District, Babb said. [Photos: Fiery Lava from Kilauea Volcano Erupts on Hawaii's Big Island]

Small earthquakes had shaken the region all that week, but residents were taken aback by 5.0- and 6.9-magnitude earthquakes on May 3 and 4, respectively, which preceded lava eruptions. Now, newly opened fissures are bubbling with lava almost daily, and Hawaii County Civil Defense has warned sightseers to stay away for safety's sake.

Resources for residents

·       The @HawaiiRedCross Twitter page has information on evacuees and available shelters.

·       For a list of shelters, evacuation orders, road closings and other information related to the eruption, check out Hawaii News Now.

·       See Hawaii Civil Defense Messages and Alerts via text and email.

·       The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has up-to-date photosalert levelsmapswebcams and other information about the current eruption.

May 29 An ash explosion at the summit from May 27.

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

"Vigorous" lava eruptions continue to inundate the residential areas of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) said.

Fissure 8 reactivated yesterday (May 28) and fountained lava to heights of 200 feet (61 meters) last night. Fissure 8 even released "Pele's hair" — delicate threads of volcanic glass — into the air, which were blown downwind and fell west of the fissure.

Meanwhile, fissures 18, 19 and 20 had weak lava activity, with Fissure 18 churning out lava that advanced about 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometers) toward the coast. These active fissures continue to release hazardous volcanic gas emissions. Because of trade winds, the emissions may soon reach the southern and western sides of the Big Island, the HVO said.

At the summit, the vent within the Halema'uma'u lava lake spewed out ash that reached 15,000 feet (4,500 m) above sea level early this morning local time.

May 25 The Hilo Civil Air Patrol took this photo on May 23 along the Big Island's coastline, where lava is flowing into the ocean. There are now three ocean entry points. Photo courtesy of J. Ozbolt/Hilo Civil Air Patrol.

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

An ashy explosion jetted out of Overlook Crater late last night (May 24) Hawaiian time, and reached about 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Small explosions at the summit continued today — "a consequence of magma withdrawing from a shallow reservoir beneath the east margin of [the lava lake at the summit] Halema'uma'u," the USGS said.

Meanwhile, fissure 22 is belching out more lava, and there is low-level spatter (airborne lava clumps) at fissures 15 and 16. Fissure 13 has a little lava fountain in its lava pond, the USGS added.

There is also action at the shore, where three lava channels are now flowing. When lava hits the ocean, it creates a mixture of condensed acidic steam, hydrochloric acid gas and tiny shards of volcanic glass, the USGS said. When these components are blown by the wind, they form a downwind flowing haze, which is known as laze (short for lava haze). This laze irritates the lungs, eyes and skin, USGS said.

May 24 A lava flow emerges from fissure 22 on May 23. Notice how the lava is flowing downhill, from right to left in the photo.

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Several lava fissures reactivated last night within the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens residential areas. These include fissures 2, 3, 7, 8, 14 and 21, which are spattering lava, meaning they're throwing chunks of molten rock into the air, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).

There are other hazards, too: The fissure eruptions are releasing hazardous volcanic gases, and the ground is still shaking with small earthquakes.

At Kilauea's summit, small ash emissions continue to hiccup out of Overlook Crater. In fact, ash plumes reached 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) during several energetic explosions, but this ash dispersed quickly, the HVO said.

Meanwhile, the HVO just reported that Leilani Estates saw eerie blue flames Tuesday night (May 22) as lava burned plants and shrubs, which, in turn, released methane, a blue-burning gas. [Read more: Why Eerie Blue Flames Just Erupted from Hawaiian Volcano]

May 23 Fountaining at fissure 22 has reached as high as 160 feet (50 meters). This photo was taken May 22.

Credit: U.S Geological Survey

Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens are still home to intrusive guests: erupting lava and cracking ground. Just like yesterday, the middle part of the fissure system is sizzling, with fissures 5, 6, 19, 22 and 23 showing the most activity, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) said. Fissure 9 has a faint glow but isn't producing any lava flows.

Overnight, methane burned in the area's road cracks, the HVO noted.

Lava is likely still pouring into the ocean, where it is producing small explosions, the HVO said. The lava channel there is now quite high — about 36 feet (11 meters) aboveground. Meanwhile, volcanic gas emissions are still elevated from the fissure eruptions, and small earthquakes are still rocking the area from the active magma underground.

At Kilauea's summit, Overlook Crater is releasing small gas plumes. Winds are blowing these plumes to the southwest, meaning ash may fall in that area, the HVO said.

May 22 An aerial view of a lava breakout on May 22.

Credit: U.S Geological Survey

The Leilani Estates residential area can't catch a break: Erupting lava and ground cracking continue to besiege the subdivision.

The most active fissures are in the middle of the fissure system, including fissures 5, 6, 19, 22 and 23, although fissure 17, in the northeastern part of the fissure system, is still weakly active, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). Fissures 6 and 22 are feeding lava flows, and fissures 5 and 23 have fountaining lava in the eastern part of Leilani Estates, the HVO said. Moreover, the flow of magma underground continues to cause small earthquakes in the region.

At the summit, Overlook Crater is burping out small ash clouds.

May 21 A bird's-eye view of lava erupting out of fissure 22 on May 21. Photo courtesy of Volcano Helicopters.

Credit: U.S Geological Survey

A small explosion tore through Halema'uma'u, the lava lake at Kilauea's summit, early this morning, at 12:55 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time. The blast produced an ash plume reaching about 7,000 feet (2,133 meters) above sea level, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. This plume is big but not as large as the 30,000-foot-high (9,100 m) plume that the volcano belched out last week following an even larger explosion at the summit.

May 18 A geologist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory stands next to cracks on Nohea Street in Leilani Estates yesterday (May 17).

Credit: U.S Geological Survey

The lava isn't taking a break. A "moderate level" of lava continues to erupt from the active fissure system in the residential Puna District, which sits next to Kilauea volcano, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).

There is spattering (airborne chunks of lava) from fissures 15, 17, 18, 20, 21 and 22, as well as pahoehoe lava — smooth undulating or ropy masses of lava — flowing from fissures 17, 18 and 20, the HVO said.

Volcanic gas levels are still high, and weak winds today mean that other areas on the Big Island might be affected. Click here for forecast information. Moreover, lava moving underground (where it's called magma) continues to cause small earthquakes in the area.

The summit is somewhat calmer than yesterday, when an explosion sent ash 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) into the sky. But there is some activity: A "robust plume of gas and steam is billowing out of the Overlook vent and drifting generally southwest," the HVO reported.

May 17 Webcams that operate 24/7 faithfully recorded the ashy cloud that reached as high as some commercial airplanes fly.

Credit: U.S Geological Survey

The summit at Kilauea exploded today as boulders and a volcanic cloud, more than 5 miles (8 kilometers) high, spewed out of the Overlook vent at the top of the volcano.

The explosion happened shortly after 4 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time, and sent a plume about 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) into the sky, an altitude where commercial airplanes fly, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

There are no reports of injuries, but the National Weather Service issued an ashfall advisory. Also, due to high levels of sulfur dioxide, several local schools are closed. [Read more: Kilauea Spews Boulders in 5-Mile-High Eruption]

May 16 Civil Air Patrol flight CAP20 reported plumes as tall as 9,500 feet (2,900 meters), with the dispersed plume rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,300 m) on May 15. Ash from this plume fell on communities downwind of Kilauea.

Credit: U.S Geological Survey

Lava flows escaping from Fissure 17 are slowing down, only advancing about 100 yards (91 meters) in the past 24 hours, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). Meanwhile, high levels of volcanic gas are being emitted downwind of the volcanic vents, and trade winds hitting Hawaii today may bring these hazardous gases to other parts of the island, the HVO said.

At the summit of Kilauea, enormous ash plumes — some reaching as high as 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level — astonished onlookers yesterday (May 15). These plumes came from the Overlook vent, where the lava lake Halema'uma'u sits. It's likely that rockfall into the lava lake led to these plumes, the HVO said. The ash from these clouds dusted communities from Pahala to Discovery Harbor with ash and made it hazardous to operate aircraft in the area.

The surprises didn't end there. Two-foot-wide (60 centimeters) ballistic blocks were found in the parking lot, just a few hundred yards from Halema'uma'u.

"These reflect the most energetic explosions yet observed and could reflect the onset of steam-driven explosive activity," the HVO said. "Additional such explosions are expected and could be more powerful."

May 15 Steam jets out of fissure 17 on May 14.

Credit: U.S Geological Survey

Lava continues to pour from several active fissures. Lava flows crept forward at about 20 yards per hour (0.01 kilometer per hour) from fissure 17 last night, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Meanwhile, a new fissure opened this morning in the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision, northeast of fissure 19. And volcanic gas emissions are still high, especially in areas downwind of the volcanic vents. Little earthquakes, many of them magnitude 2 to 4, continue to shake the region as magma roils underground.

At Kilauea's summit, a plume from the Overlook vent — where the lava lake Halema'uma'u is housed — is "steady and gray" because of volcanic ash, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. This plume is enormous — it's rising several thousand feet above ground and drifting southeast. Ashfall is already falling down to earth in the upper Ka'u Desert and downwind of the summit.

May 14 At 8 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time (HST) on May 13, a slow and sticky flow emerges from a new fissure — No. 17 — northeast at the end of Hinalo Street.

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

There was a stupendous lava show this morning from fissure 17 (the cracks that have opened up during this eruption are numbered, starting with No. 1), with lava fountaining and explosions of spatter that are being hurled more than 100 feet (30 meters) into the air. Fissure 17 also had lava flowing from it. Meanwhile, Fissure 18, which opened yesterday, is only weakly active now, and fissure 19 is emitting a sluggish lava flow, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. 

May 10

Although Pu'u 'Ō'ō is getting much of the public's attention, geologists have also been monitoring the lava lake at Kilauea's summit. This lava lake — called Halema'uma'u — is dropping dramatically, and if it goes below the water table, there could be a steamy and rocky explosion, geologists said. [Read more: Kilauea Volcano Could Launch 10-Ton Ballistic Boulders in a Dramatic Explosion]

May 7

A total of 10 volcanic fissures have opened, pouring lava into the residential area of Leilani Estates. Fires from the lava have burned down 35 structures — mostly homes. Volcanic air pollution known as "vog" has prompted authorities to caution that people with breathing problems should stay inside and use air purifiers if needed. [Read more: Incredible Video Shows the Fiery Toll of Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island]

May 4

A magnitude-5.0 earthquake that struck the Big Island on May 3 was followed by lava eruptions that sounded as loud as a jet engine. This prompted mandatory evacuations of the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions. [Read more: Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Erupts Dramatically After a 5.0-Magnitude Quake]

May 3

More than 600 earthquakes have rattled Hawaii's Big Island over the past four days as magma from Kilauea volcano moves toward the residential area of Leilani Estates. [Read more: Do Hundreds of Earthquakes in Hawaii Mean Kilauea Could Blow?]


May 26th 2018

Hawaii street swallowed by 'lava tide' as more homes burn

A rising tide of lava turned a Hawaii street into a smoking volcanic wasteland on Friday, destroying at least eight homes as residents stood on the road and watched their houses burn.

The destructive fury of the erupting Kilauea volcano has been unleashed on the Big Island's Leilani Estates housing development, with the number of homes and other structures destroyed jumping to 82 from a previous count of 50 only a few days ago, according to David Mace, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Some 15,000 acres (6,070 hectares) of land - about half the size of Florida's Disney World resort - have been torched by lava since May 3, in what is likely to be the most destructive eruption of Kilauea in over a century, according to the County of Hawaii.

"There were eight houses taken on this road in 12 hours," said Ikaika Marzo in a Facebook video as he stood on Kaupuli street and showed a black, glass-like lava field where his cousin's house previously stood.

Where there were once houses and tropical back gardens in Leilani Estates, magma spews from 100-foot-high (30-meter-high) cinder cones and forms elevated ponds of molten rock that cascade over their banks to engulf the next street.

"It's this tide of lava that rises up and overflows itself on the edges and keeps rising and progressing forward," said U.S. Geological Survey geologist Wendy Stovall told journalists on a conference call.

Around 37 structures are "lava locked," meaning homes are inaccessible, and people who do not evacuate them may be hemmed in by 30-foot-high (9-meter-high) walls of lava.

Magma is draining underground from a sinking lava lake at Kilauea's 4,091-foot (1,247-meter) summit before flowing around 25 miles (40 km) east and bursting from giant cracks, with two flows reaching the ocean just over three miles (4.83 km) distant.

Stovall declined to comment on lava volume being emitted. Marzo said he was told by a USGS geologist there was much more to come from Kilauea.

"What has been coming out is just a small fraction of what was in the volcano," he said he was told.

Though lava destruction from the volcano is confined to a roughly 10-square-mile (26-sq-km) area, the eruption is hurting the island's tourist-driven economy as potential visitors fear ashfall or volcanic smog belching from Kilauea's summit.

A 4.4 magnitude earthquake at the volcano's summit on Friday prompted County of Hawaii Civil Defense to reassure the island's 200,000 residents that there was no risk of a tsunami.

Year-to date 2018 visitor numbers to the Connecticut-sized island are "trending a little bit lower" than 2017, with the cancellation of some port visits by cruise ships expected to have a $3 million impact, said Ross Birch, head of the island's tourism board on a conference call.

May 23rd 2018

Look at Mount Mayon Right Now

The most active volcano in the Philippines looks utterly terrifying after a day of eruptive activity that prompted the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) to ratchet up the warning level to 4. According to authorities, a violent eruption could be imminent.

Mayon Volcano, which has been rumbling since Jan. 13th and started dribbling lava down its flanks early last week, has gotten a lot angrier over the past 48 hours. Per PHIVOLCS, a “dense, five-kilometer tall eruption column was generated by a short-lived phreatomagmatic eruption” at 12:43 pm local time yesterday. In human-speak, that’s an eruption involving both magma and water, generally resulting in the release of steam alongside pyroclastic material (hot, dry masses of ash and rock).

That eruption was followed, several hours later, by five episodes of “intense but sporadic lava fountaining” that reached up to 700 meters (2,300 feet) high and ended around 5:30 am this morning. Earthquakes, tremors, and rockfalls are being recorded all over the volcano.

This uptick in activity is what prompted PHIVOLCS to raise its alert level on the volcano from a 3 (an explosive eruption is possible within weeks) to a 4 (any day now, kids). A larger eruption could involve deadly pyroclastic flows that even Chris Pratt can’t outrun, tall eruption columns, and major ash fall throughout the region. Heavy rainfall could also drive mudflows and trigger landslides, according to the Associated Press.

Filipino authorities are taking no chances. The higher alert level extends the “danger zone” to a radius of 8 kilometers (5 miles) surrounding the volcano. As of Tuesday, the AP reports that more than 56,000 residents had been evacuated to shelters. Aviation authorities are being advised to avoid flying planes anywhere near the volcano’s summit.


May 14th 2018

An 18th fissure began spewing magma on Sunday as officials in Hawaii warned of the possibility for an "explosive eruption" as lava continues to withdraw from the summit lake at Kilauea.

Hawaii's Civil Defense Agency announced an 18th fissure had opened Sunday on private property in the Lanipuna Gardens neighborhood. Overhead video showed homes just a short distance from where the earth had cracked open.

"Continued earthquake activity and additional outbreaks in the area are likely," the Civil Defense Agency warned in its 6 p.m. local time (midnight Eastern time) update.

Two new fissures -- the 16th and 17th -- had cracked open during the day Saturday. Both fissures were located in the lower East Rift Zone, east of the Puna Geothermal energy plant and northeast of homes in the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision.

The Kilauea volcano first erupted April 3, sending toxic gases into the Big Island's atmosphere and eventually leading to more than a dozen cracks opening in the neighborhoods of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

Nearly 2,000 people were evacuated from the neighborhoods last week.

Vacation rentals in lower Puna were asked to "cease operations to relieve the demand for water" and in order to decrease the number of residents in the area.

Officials already said last week they had moved flammables from Puna Geothermal uphill in case anything starts flowing near them.

The agency said activity from the 16th fissure, which is located in a mostly forested region away from homes, was "minor" and "no significant lava flow was issued from this area."

In addition to the new fissures, officials with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory were concerned another volcanic eruption could occur on Kilauea.

"HVO has cautioned about the possibility of an explosive eruption at Halema’uma’u Crater due to the ongoing withdrawal of lava from Kilauea summit lake," the Civil Defense Agency said in a statement. "This could generate dangerous debris very near the crater and ashfalls up to tens of miles downwind."

The agency warned previously that boulders the size of refrigerators could be launched from the crater should another eruption take place.

President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Hawaii on Friday in order to open up federal funding for those on the island affected by the volcano's eruption.

At least 35 structures, including two dozen homes, have been destroyed since the beginning of the volcanic activity 10 days ago.

May 12th 2018

Kilauea Volcano Could Launch 10-Ton Ballistic Boulders in a Dramatic Explosion

Rockfalls and trapped lava could launch 10-ton "ballistic rocks" at Hawaii's fiery Kilauea volcano, officials at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said yesterday (May 9).

That's because a lava lake near the summit of Kilauea is draining, setting the stage for a steam explosion.

The volcano has been undergoing big changes over the past few weeks, culminating in a dramatic eruption following a 5.0-magnitude earthquakeand a subsequent magnitude-6.9 earthquake last week. That powerful outburst occurred after rockfalls caused the collapse of the Pu'u 'Ō'ō crater at the summit of Kilauea, which had been puffed up like a soufflé filled with red-hot lava. That lava had to go somewhere, and it oozed underground to the east rift zone of the mighty volcano, where magma doesn't usually travel. New volcanic fissures or cracks opened up in the ground, allowing lava and toxic gases to escape into the surrounding residential areas, called Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens. [Photos: Fiery Lava from Kilauea Erupts on Hawaii's Big Island]

A side effect of all these shifts is that a lava lake on the summit called Halema'uma'u has been draining like a bathtub; as of May 6, it had dropped 722 feet (220 meters), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. As it continues to descend, the magma column could drop below the water table, the point where the ground is saturated with water, and heat up the groundwater.

And that could spell danger for the surrounding areas. With the lava in Halema'uma'u, the walls surrounding the dwindling lake are now steep and unstable, and rockfalls are inevitable, said Don Swanson, a geologist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said at a news conference yesterday.

"When you remove that support from the conduit and the crater, it causes instability and causes material to fall in," Matt Patrick, a geologist with Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said at the news conference.

In turn, there will be an increased risk that falling rocks will plug the conduit for Halema'uma'u; as lava heats the underground pool of water, steam will form but will have nowhere to go.

As pressure builds, eventually Kilauea will explode steam, hurling any loose rocks with it — a phenomenon known as a phreatic explosion, Tina Neal, a geologist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said at the news conference.

The volcano could eject rocks weighing as much as 10 to 12 tons over a distance of half a mile (1 kilometer) and launch pebble-size rocks across a couple of miles, according to geologists from the observatory.

This explosion could also eject dangerous amounts of ash, sulfur dioxide and acid rain. The clock begins to tick when the magma drops below the water table, which is likely to happen in mid-May, Swanson said.

Kilauea has been erupting continuously for decades, but it hasn't spewed rocks in such an explosive manner since 1924, according to the Associated Press.

While the surrounding areas will be affected, the whole island is unlikely to see dramatic effects, Swanson said.

"Past explosive eruptions at Kilauea have been comparatively small on a worldwide scale," Swanson said. "We don't anticipate there being any wholesale devastation or evacuation."

Meanwhile, the lava in the east rift zone is inching dangerously close to the Puna Geothermal Venture plant that houses 50,000 gallons (190,00 liters) of pentane, a volatile gas. But all of the pentane is expected to be removed by the end of the day today (May 10), the Associated Press reported.


May 4th 2018

Due to persistently unstable volcanic activity and the possibility of a new eruption, park officials temporarily closed Nāulu Trail, parts of Nāpau Trail and adjacent wilderness in Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone for public safety today.

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake around 10:30 Thursday morning triggered a small collapse at Pu‘u Ō‘ō vent that sent a rose-colored plume billowing skyward, and deposited ash downwind. Earlier, the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the volcano’s summit dropped about 100 feet or more below the vent rim. Lava is no longer visible within Halema‘uma‘u.

“Today’s activity further supports the continued instability in the East Rift Zone,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Safety of visitors and staff is our highest priority,” she said.Approximately 31,660 acres (9.5 percent) of the 333,308-acre park are closed. Most of the park remains open, including Jaggar Museum, Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Mauna Loa Road and much more.On Wednesday, park officials extended the closure of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō cone to the ocean, closing the gravel emergency access road from the eastern gate near Kalapana, to the western gate at the end of Chain of Craters Road, and all land on the makai (ocean) side of the emergency road.On April 30, the crater within Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō collapsed, and a swarm of low-magnitude earthquakes continue to rattle communities in lower Puna. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory report that an intrusion of magma is heading eastward from the vent towards Highway 130.Puna residents are encouraged to sign up for Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/, and to subscribe to volcanic updates via USGS: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/.

Jan 22nd 2018

Philippine volcano explodes, authorities raise alert level to 4

MANILA, Philippines –  The Philippines' most active volcano has exploded thunderously and authorities warn a hazardous eruption is possible within days.

Renato Solidum of the Philippines Institute of Seismology and Volcanology and other officials said Mount Mayon ejected a huge column of volcanic fragments, ash and steam into the sky around noon Monday, shrouding nearby villages in darkness.

Authorities raised the alert level to four on a scale of five, which means an explosive eruption is possible within days.

Mayon has been acting up for more than a week, causing more than 27,000 villagers to flee to safety.

Jan 15th 2018

Thousands evacuated as lava flows from Philippine volcano

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines' most active volcano rumbled back to life Sunday with lava rising to its crater in a gentle eruption that has prompted authorities to evacuate thousands of villagers.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned that a "hazardous eruption" of Mount Mayon, in Albay province in the northeastern Philippines, was possible within weeks or even days.

Renato Solidum, who heads the volcanology institute, said three steam explosions at the volcano since Saturday have spewed ash into nearby villages and may have breached solidified lava at the crater and caused lava to start to flow out of the 8,000-foot volcano.

"Lava has flowed out of the volcano's crater already, but it's just starting. It's a non-explosive eruption," Solidum told The Associated Press. "We have to verify tomorrow if it will flow continuously."

Disaster response officials said nearly 1,000 families have been moved to emergency shelters, including some from a permanent danger zone around Mayon, since the volcano started spewing steam and ash on Saturday.

Mayon, a popular tourist attraction because of its near-perfect cone, lies in coconut-producing Albay province, about 200 miles southeast of Manila.

The volcano has erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years, sometimes violently, endangering thousands of poor villagers who insist on living or farming in the danger zone.

Villagers living near the volcano, which last erupted four years ago, have erected huge white crosses at the entrance of their neighborhoods, hoping they will protect them from harm.

On May 7, 2013, the volcano suddenly spewed ash, killing five climbers, including three Germans, who had ventured near the summit despite warnings of possible danger.


Dec 5th 2017

Bali volcano

The question Indonesian volcanologist Devy Kamil Syahbana gets most is the one he cannot answer - when, or if, rumbling Mount Agung on Bali island will blow up in a major eruption.

The 3,000 meter (9,800 ft) Agung - a so-called strato-volcano capable of very violent eruptions - has recorded a sharp rise in activity that has raised worries about a repeat of a 1963 eruption that killed more than 1,000 people.

"There's no instrument in the world that can estimate precisely when there will be a major eruption," said Syahbana, who runs an observatory monitoring the towering volcano, just outside a 10-km exclusion zone.

Sensors beeped and walkie-talkies crackled he spoke to Reuters at the monitoring station.

"People expect certainty but volcanology is a science of probability," he said pointing to charts showing dramatic fluctuations in the seismic activity deep under Agung.

Authorities raised the alert status to the maximum after the volcano started erupting last month, spewing out ash over the holiday island and causing travel chaos by closing its airport for three days last week.

While hot magma has produced an eerie orange glow just above the crater, and thousands of villagers have fled from their homes on the mountain's slopes, Agung has, this time, yet to explode violently.

Syahbana, who studied volcanology in Brussels and Paris, said his team's main job was to "increase the preparedness of the communities here in the event of a major eruption".

He said safety was his priority, never mind that raising the alert level has spooked residents and tourists alike.

Syahbana said he had not come under any pressure to lower the alert, though his team was “aware of the costs” for Indonesia's main tourist destination famous for its beaches and temples.


Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

Syahbana has surveyed and installed instruments on many of the most active ones, including Mount Merapi on Java island, to the west of Bali, and on Mount Sinabung in the north of Sumatra island.

His team of 16 scientists takes six-hour shifts to monitor seismic stations on Agung that record tremors deep inside the mountain, GPS trackers that record changes in land features and CCTV cameras that provide 24-hour surveillance.

"The difference between other volcanoes and Mount Agung is that there are no scientific records about previous eruptions here, only people's experiences," Syahbana said.In 1963, pyroclastic flows of lava and rocks poured out of the volcano, killing more than 1,000 people and razing dozens of villages.

According to survivors, that eruption was preceded by earthquakes, volcanic mudflows, and ashfall – all signs that Mount Agung is showing again now, said Syahbana.


This time, with the internet and live feeds on social media, experts around the world are watching the smouldering Agung.

U.S.-based volcanologist Janine B. Krippner has been closely following since the alert status was first raised to the highest in September, and uses Twitter to share official information and bust myths and hoaxes circulating online. An eruption is "usually a good time for the volcanology community to pull together and share their knowledge", she said.

"But I’ve never seen it happen on this scale before. It's partly due to social media and partly because it's a small and supportive community anyway,” Krippner, who has also remotely monitored eruptions in Iceland, Hawaii and Chile, said by telephone.

With every passing day, and no big eruption, a danger is that a false sense of security creeps in. Syahbana and other experts said everyone has to stay on alert.

“We know this can be a very dangerous eruption," Krippner said.

"We shouldn’t be complacent."

Nov 28th 2017

Cancelled flights, missed connections and expiring visas have turned Bali into a nightmare for thousands of tourists scrambling to leave, as a volcano on the Indonesian vacation paradise threatens a major eruption.

Hundreds of flights have been grounded as the main international airport was shuttered for a second day on Tuesday, leaving 120,000 stranded visitors in need of shelter -- or an exit plan.

Hundreds joined the mad rush to board buses headed to an international airport in Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya -- 13 hours' drive and a ferry ride away -- as torrential rains dampened spirits even more in one the world's top tourist draws.

The imminent eruption of Mount Agung may mean more five-star hotel living for some well-heeled visitors who are happy to sit out the minor inconvenience, but Mukesh Kumar Gupta and two-dozen members of his family aren't going to be staying at the Four Seasons.

"We are practically helpless -- how can we get back to India?" said the Chennai-based member of the heaving 26-member clan.

Gupta's family -- 23 adults and three kids -- arrived in Bali 10 days ago from different Indian cities.

They were all supposed to fly back Tuesday but now they say they are stuck, and nearly broke, as chaos ensued at the airport with frustrated travellers and overwhelmed staff.

"The refund money (from the airline) won't be enough to buy us new tickets," another family member, Navin Saraf from Kolkata, told AFP at Bali's main airport.

"We booked everything online beforehand, so we don't have much cash right now," he added.

Towering columns of thick grey smoke have been rising from Agung since last week, and in the last few days the volcano has begun shooting smoke and ash into the sky, forcing all flights to be grounded until at least Wednesday morning.

Ash is dangerous for planes as it makes runways slippery and can be sucked into their engines.

'Nobody's fault

Agung is 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the beach-and-sandal tourist hub of Kuta, but that wasn't making German student Alex Thamm feel much better.

"We are supposed to go back to Germany via Singapore on (Friday) but the situation seems not good," he said nervously.

"Is it dangerous here? Do you think [the volcano] will explode?"

The delays weren't putting a smile on Juan Gajun's face either, after he missed a connecting flight Monday.

"We have to leave the island and we can't. We were planning to go to Singapore but we have to stay here for I don't know, maybe two or three days more," said the 30-year-old Argentine.

Colin Cavy, a French dive master who has been in Indonesia for a couple of months, had other problems.

"I've just come to Bali two days ago to leave the country," he told AFP.

"My visa has expired...I need to go to the immigration office."

Meanwhile, cash-strapped Gupta and his bulging brood were weighing their options, which he lamented would not include help from India's consulate in Bali.

"No one can beat nature, but at least people can help," said Gupta's relative Abhisek Garg, who lives in Delhi.

They might want to call inn operator I Wayan Yastina Joni, who is among the few hoteliers willing to take up an appeal by Bali's governor and tourism agency to supply free rooms to out-of-luck visitors.

"I don't mind giving free accommodation for tourists I already know," said the owner of the Pondok Denayu Homestay.

"This is nobody's fault. It's a natural disaster that no one expected."

Nov 27th 2017

Some of the images coming out of Mt Agung, the volcano in Bali which could be on the brink of a major eruption, have been spectacular. But the pictures also tell the story of what is going on inside, as volcanologist Janine Krippner explains.

Over the last two months Mt Agung has seen increased seismicity. This is the increased fracturing of rocks inside the volcano as magma, a volatile mixture of molten rocks, fluids and gases, moves from deep within the earth right up to the top.

In the past week we have seen thick plumes of steam and ash being belched out, as well as lava glowing at the surface of the crater, and flowing rivers of cold mud down river valleys.

Steam rising up

In most of the first pictures of the mountain two months ago, you wouldn't have been able to tell there was an eruption brewing. That information came to us from the data within the mountain that detected its increased seismicity - and from tremors that began shaking the area.

The most you would have seen is steam rising up, which was simply the water inside the volcano heating up and coming out of its surface. The mix of volcanic ash and lava that make up the mountain is like a sponge - and in rainy Indonesia the water soaks onto it and is held there until it gets heated up.

Since then it has been relatively quiet and this is typical for a volcano. These fluctuations in activity are what makes it so hard to predict.

§  Bali volcano alert raised to highest level

§  Preparing for a big volcanic eruption

§  Is an eruption inevitable?

Dense plumes of ash

The volcano first began belching thick ash and steam last Tuesday, its first eruption in more than 50 years.

This was a phreatic eruption - the expulsion of pressurised steam from inside the volcano because the magma within is heating up water. This can lead to a build-up of pressure which causes an explosion blasting rock and bits of the crater into tiny pieces of ash.

The magma has been moving up from inside and it's breaking rock as it goes along. As the magma moves up, water inside the volcano heats up, steam builds up pressure and it gets to a point where the rock just can't hold it back any more. That is what we are seeing now.

So the magma has moved so high up the volcano there was not enough rock to hold it back, so it is being blasted into tiny pieces of ash and being spread about. Rocks, glass and crystal are flying out of the volcano.

If the eruption columns or plumes of ash are going straight up regardless of wind, it means the velocity is very high. The speed at which it comes out and the amount of ash determines how high a plume can get.

In the 1963 eruption of Mt Agung, eruptions reached as high as 26km (16 miles) above sea level.

At volcanoes like Agung, the magma can travel 5-15km to the surface from deep within the earth leading to an eruption.

The orange glow of the crater

At night, the orange glow at the surface of the crater is simply incandescence because it is just so hot. The magma is at the surface, and as it reaches the surface it becomes known as lava.

One of the reason the authorities increased the alert level to four is because the magma is getting higher and higher - and these images show exactly how high it is now.

The volcano at sunrise

But the magma is not responsible for the spectacular images of pink and orange hues in the smoke at dawn. That is simply the sunrise being reflected by the ash plume - the sun's rays hitting the volcanic ash.

Different shades of ash

You can also learn a lot from the different shades of ash that rise up from the surface of a volcano. It's possible that pictures showing two distinct ash colours could point to two vents in the crater - one that is producing more ash and another that is producing more steam.

In the 1963 eruption of Mt Agung some researchers thought that it was possible there were two vents.

Dangerous rivers of mud and debris

The very latest images out of Bali point to a new development, which are volcanic mud flows - or lahars. The ash and rock depositing around the volcano when combined with rain can create dangerous fast-flowing rivers with the consistency of water up to wet concrete, and that can move and raise the river level very quickly.

It is not just water, they can carry debris such as boulders and trees and at the moment are something authorities are moving swiftly to warn residents about.

Janine Krippner is a volcanologist in Pittsburgh, USA.


Oct 14th 2017

Beneath Yellowstone National Park lies a supervolcano, a behemoth far more powerful than your average volcano. It has the ability to expel more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash at once — 2,500 times more material than erupted from Mount St. Helens in 1980, which killed 57 people. That could blanket most of the United States in a thick layer of ash and even plunge the Earth into a volcanic winter.

Yellowstone’s last supereruption occurred 631,000 years ago. And it’s not the planet’s only buried supervolcano. Scientists suspect that a supereruption scars the planet every 100,000 years, causing many to ask when we can next expect such an explosive planet-changing event.

To answer that question, scientists are seeking lessons from Yellowstone’s past. And the results have been surprising. They show that the forces that drive these rare and violent events can move much more rapidly than volcanologists previously anticipated.

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The early evidence, presented at a recent volcanology conference, shows that Yellowstone’s most recent supereruption was sparked when new magma moved into the system only decades before the eruption. Previous estimates assumed that the geological process that led to the event took millenniums to occur.

To reach that conclusion, Hannah Shamloo, a graduate student at Arizona State University, and her colleagues spent weeks at Yellowstone’s Lava Creek Tuff — a fossilized ash deposit from its last supereruption. There, they hauled rocks under the heat of the sun to gather samples, occasionally suspending their work when a bison or a bear roamed nearby.

Ms. Shamloo later analyzed trace crystals in the volcanic leftovers, allowing her to pin down changes before the supervolcano’s eruption. Each crystal once resided within the vast, seething ocean of magma deep underground. As the crystals grew outward, layer upon layer, they recorded changes in temperature, pressure and water content beneath the volcano, much like a set of tree rings.

“We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption,” said Christy Till, a geologist at Arizona State, and Ms. Shamloo’s dissertation adviser. Instead, the outer rims of the crystals revealed a clear uptick in temperature and a change in composition that occurred on a rapid time scale. That could mean the supereruption transpired only decades after an injection of fresh magma beneath the volcano.

The time scale is the blink of an eye, geologically speaking. It’s even shorter than a previous study that found that another ancient supervolcano beneath California’s Long Valley caldera awoke hundreds of years before its eruption. As such, scientists are just now starting to realize that the conditions that lead to supereruptions might emerge within a human lifetime.

“It’s shocking how little time is required to take a volcanic system from being quiet and sitting there to the edge of an eruption,” said Ms. Shamloo, though she warned that there’s more work to do before scientists can verify a precise time scale.

Kari Cooper, a geochemist at the University of California, Davis who was not involved in the research, said Ms. Shamloo and Dr. Till’s research offered more insights into the time frames of supereruptions, although she is not yet convinced that scientists can pin down the precise trigger of the last Yellowstone event. Geologists must now figure out what kick-starts the rapid movements leading up to supereruptions.

“It’s one thing to think about this slow gradual buildup — it’s another thing to think about how you mobilize 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma in a decade,” she said.

As the research advances, scientists hope they will be able to spot future supereruptions in the making. The odds of Yellowstone, or any other supervolcano, erupting anytime soon are small. But understanding the largest eruptions can only help scientists better understand, and therefore forecast, the entire spectrum of volcanic eruptions — something that Dr. Cooper thinks will be possible in a matter of decades.


May 31st 2017

A volcano in Alaska that has been active for the past six months has erupted again, raising the aviation alert level to red. According to Bloomberg, the Alaska Volcano Observatory detected an eruption of the Bogoslof Volcano in the Aleutian Islands at approximately 2:16 p.m. on Sunday. The eruption lasted for 55 minutes and sent an ash plume at least 35,000 feet into the air.

In response to the eruption, the Aviation Color Code has been raised to red, the highest possible level. Airborne volcanic ash can interfere with and even destroy jet engines above 20,000 feet. Flights between North America and Asia are likely to be grounded, potentially for several days.

Bogoslof Volcano is a submarine stratovolcano, a conical volcano built up over many layers. Its absolute summit forms Bogoslof Island, located on the southern edge of the Bering Sea, 35 miles northwest of Unalaska Island, 850 miles southwest of Anchorage. Over the last six months, according to U.S. News & World Report, the island has more than tripled in size as a result of frequent eruptions. The last eruption occurred on May 17, sending ash clouds 34,000 feet high; Sunday’s eruption marks the most significant to date. Starting in December, the volcano erupted almost daily. As of March 11, 2017, Bogoslof Island had grown to 242 acres in size and is expected to continue to grow.

The first known emergence of Bogoslof above sea level was in 1796, during an underwater eruption; another island about 2,000 feet northwest of Bogoslof, called Castle Rock, represents another cone of the same volcano which erupted later that year. Before December, 2016, Bogoslof’s last known eruption was in 1992, and Bogoslof’s current period of activity has come as a surprise to scientists.

Geophysicists, meanwhile, are excited, saying that the Bogoslof Volcano is providing new research opportunities.

“It’s different from most of the other volcanoes we deal with,” said Hans Schwaiger, a geophysicist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory. “It comes through the ocean, and so there’s a different character to the plumes, there’s more lightning detection we’re getting off these so it’s an interesting science study as well.”

“If we think it may have another explosive event, if seismicity is still high we might keep it at Red for a while, but it had dropped down to lower levels and it was essentially at background levels, so we wanted to reduce it down to orange,” he added of the May 17 eruption – today’s was relatively unexpected.

Scientists still have a lot to learn about both the location and activity of underwater volcanoes; many modern techniques for identifying submarine volcano eruption rely entirely on sound.

According to the AVO, the ash cloud may reach as high as 45,000 feet, and while seismic and infrared detectors on neighboring islands, as well as satellite imagery, show all-quiet at Bogoslof, the volcano is “unpredictable” and AVO has issued a warning that “Bogoslof volcano remains at a heightened state of unrest and in an unpredictable condition. Additional explosions producing high-altitude volcanic clouds could occur at any time.” They also warned that low-level explosions occurring below their detection threshold may be ongoing and that approaching the island is unwise.

The National Weather Service Alaska Aviation Weather Unit also issued an alert that the ash cloud may climb as high as 50,000 feet.

Local observers reported a “large white-gray mushroom cloud” over the volcano, which was causing continued ash fallout to the west of the eruption.

Update: The National Weather Service has also issued a warning for a trace dusting of ash over the coastal waters near the island.


Oct 2nd 2016

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Eruptions at the Colima volcano in western Mexico continued Saturday, forcing authorities to evacuate hundreds of people from three hamlets on the volcano's slopes. 

The civil defense office in Jalisco state said glowing-hot rock continued to flow down the volcano's southern and southeastern slopes, and vapor and ash emissions continued.

The office said 26 people had been evacuated from a hamlet known as Juan Barragan, 17 of whom went to a shelter in the nearby community of San Marcos. 

The government of the neighboring state of Colima said 230 people had been evacuated from the hamlet of La Becerra and 80 from Yerbabuena. Civil defense officials said many went to a shelter in the town of Comala.

Eruptions Friday sent lava or glowing rocks down the volcano's slopes and a column of ash and vapor into the air.

 Also known as the Volcano of Fire, the 12,533-foot (3,820-meter) volcano is 430 miles (690 kilometers) west of Mexico City.

Feb 6th

A Japanese volcanic eruption has fired ash nearly 2km into the sky and sent molten lava flowing down its slopes.

The Sakurajima volcano lies 50 km from the Sendai nuclear plant but the authorities said there was no risk.

The facility reopened this year after a shutdown following the earthquake which crippled the Fukushima reactor.
People were warned not to approach the volcano, which lies in a remote area.

I consider personally that a geological volcanic eruption is a killer event that can ruin everyone's lives. Somehow it can affect people lives in a BAD way and is GOOD in some ways.

How does this geological disaster give us good ways? Well, we will explain that to you. In a BAD way, as it can kill everyone in the area, damage your property and leave you heartbroken for losing your love ones.

And GOOD ways as it can leave us with spectacular scenery and rich soils for farming. There are important facts that you need to know about Volcanic Activitys which occur when molten rock, ash and steam come through a vent in the earth’s crust.

We can give very important geological details about volcanoes which are classified as active (in eruption), dormant (not active at the present time), or extinct (having ceased activity; no longer active).

We can give you helpful advice here and give you a list of safety measures for volcanic events

Knowing the important details that you need to know about volcanoes is very important and could very well save your life.

Our scientists nowadays are equipped with technologies that can easily detect volcanic activity and is some cases can even predict it we advise you to keep yourself updated with the local news.

Should the local authorities or government or the news tell you to evacuate then you should not IGNORE their warning, but HEED the advice.

If you are living in a geological area with a volcano you will know if the volcano is active, dormant or extinct (no longer active). And you should get prepared for any eventuality.

If you are living in a geological area with active or dormant volcanoes you need to have a volcano evacuation plan and have your Grab-bag with medicine/safety kit and battery operated radio ready.

We should not have to tell you that watching actual volcanic activity up close is very unwise and could be a DEADLY IDEA we advise you to never try doing this.

Volcanic activity is commonly associated with lava flows which are sometimes too slow to run over people but they will destroy everything in their path so we advise you to STAY WELL AWAY.

Fortunately with modern communication systems these dangerous situations can be monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense, police, local radio and television.

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we advise the World

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