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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.
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.
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.Home Page - geological - eruption