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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
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.
COMMUNITY OF EXPERTS
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.
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.
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.
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