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Friday Flotsam: Eruption updates for Merapi and Kizimen, frostquakes in Iceland and Bromo up and close.

January 7, 2011, 11:57 AM

Lots of things going on the planet right now concerning volcanoes, but many don't have a lot of information to go with the news. I'll try to fill in as I can find new info, but this is what people are hearing/reading:

Merapi: According to the Breaking News Twitter feed, Merapi has a new eruption today. UPDATE: Big mistake by me - this tweet was from October 28! Sorry about any confusion and misinformation. I take the blame here. No eruption at Merapi, but there is still the threat of lahars from remobilized ash. This is after the volcano was placed on Alert Status 2 over the last week. No word on how big the eruption might have been, but no damage or casualties have been reported by the Associated Press. However, I haven't been able to find any other news about this other than the tweet, so take it cautiously.

Kizimen: I've also been seeing lots of reports and radar loops sent to me by readers showing ash plumes from Kizimen that might have topped 12 km / 40,000 feet however the weather is also bad over Kamchatka. The Tokyo VAAC has warnings for aircraft near Kizimen to FL200 (6 km / 20,000 feet). I have found any articles/posts that can corroborate or add more details to this news, but Kizimen has been on the upswing for activity for the last week. UPDATE: Sure, enough, the NASA EO posted an image from January 6 of the Kizimen activity. Healthy but not apocalyptical plume, if you follow me.

Eyjafjallajökull: There was some buzz about renewed earthquakes near the Icelandic volcano that could suggest it might start to erupt again. However, ever-diligent Icelandic volcanic watcher Jon Frimann has mentioned that it has become especially cold over Iceland and that much of the seismicity is, in fact, "frostquakes" caused by water freezing and fracturing rock.

Some news of the non-breaking variety:

Popocatepetl: The NASA Earth Observatory posted an image of the crater area of the Mexican volcano, showing the weak steam plume being emitted on January 4, 2011.

Bromo: This isn't really news as much as some great images, but my friend Dr. Philipp Ruprecht (LDEO) sent me some images from Indonesia where he and his wife are vacationing. They visited the area near Bromo, and you can see the crater from the volcano producing a significant ash-and-steam plume while they were there. There are also some shots of the ash that has been deposited during this period of activity - all the images are from January 3, 2011. (All images courtesy of Philipp and Nina Ruprecht).


Philipp and Nina in front of the Bromo crater.

Close up of the Bromo Crater.

Three images of ash from the Bromo activity - you can see how easily the ash is reworked by the abundant rain in this area of Indonesia.

Philipp and Nina also had a chance to visit the Kawah Ijen Sulfurworks - you can also check out another set of great images of Kawah Ijen recently captured by Olivier Grundewald.

That is it for today - next Monday I will be in lovely Minnesota giving at talk at Gustavus Adolphus College. Hopefully it will be a little warmer than the predicted 9F. Now that is cold.

Top left: The barren landscape around Bromo. Image provided by Philipp Ruprecht.


Friday Flotsam: Eruption up...

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