Brief Merapi Update (10/27/2010) and Discussion Thread
I write the Eruptions blog on Big Think. I've been mesmerized with volcanoes (and geology) all my life. It helps that part of my family comes from the shadow of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, where I could see first hand the deadly effects of volcanic eruptions. Since then, I've taken a bit of a winding path to become a volcanologist. I started as a history major at Williams College, almost went into radio, but ended up migrating to geology, including an undergraduate thesis on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. I followed this up by changing coast to get my Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Then I ran a MC-ICP-MS lab at University of Washington for a spell (and wrote for an indie rock website). I spent three years as a postdoctoral scholar at University of California - Davis studying the inner workings of magmatic systems. I am now an assistant professor at Denison University and have projects in New Zealand, Chile and Oregon.
I am fascinated by volcanoes, their eruptions and how those eruptions interact with the people who live around the volcanoes. I started this blog after getting frustrated with the news reports of volcanic eruptions. Most of them get the information wrong and/or are just sensationalistic. I will try to summarize eruptions as they occur, translate some of the volcanic processes that are happening and comment on the reports themselves.
And no matter what people tell you, I definitely do not have a cat named Tephra. (OK, I do).
You can find out more about my research by visiting my website. If you have any comments, questions or information, feel free to contact me at eruptionsblog at gmail dot com.
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.
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