Brief Merapi Update (10/27/2010) and Discussion Thread

Quick post (Department commitments now), but in an attempt to get comments working again, I've opened this new thread. I'll inquire about the problem with the comments - my guess is we either maxed out the commenting on a single post or the spam filter is being over aggressive - either way, I'll try to get it fixed asap.


The brief news on Merapi is bad - pyroclastic flows have killed at least 28 people who didn't get a chance to escape. This is consistent with the reports of burns on many of the victims - the seering gas and ash from the pyroclastic flows will do that, even if you're on the periphery of the flow (if you're in the middle, you're dead). From what I've read, the pyroclastic flows were generated by a dome collapse at the summit crater and funneled down the channels on the south side of the volcano. Much of the area and many homes (see below) have been covered in ash as well. There is video of the destruction as well, but be warned, it is graphic. It is also hard to believe that people are already trying to return to their homes on the volcano. Reports today suggest Merapi has settled down some, but is still highly danger - for more details check out the comments from Eruptions readers on the previous Merapi post.

Ash covering towns near Merapi in Indonesia.

More to come later today.

Top left: Early rock fall generating block-and-ash flows on Merapi.

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less