Eruption Updates: Bulusan, Lokon-Empung and Kilauea
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.
A couple quick updates on new and ongoing eruptions:
Lokon-Empung, Indonesia: Eruptions reader Ton Van Der AA brought us news about a small, new eruption at Lokon-Empung (Indonesian) in Indonesia. Ruskanda Farid of the local volcano observatory described the eruption as a phreatic event - a stream-driven explosion that shattered old rock at the summit of the volcano. The report mentions increased seismicity and higher temperatures at the summit crater as well. Lokon-Empung, which is actually twin volcanoes called Lokon and Empung (see top left), typically produces VEI 2-3 explosive events every few years, with the last eruptive episode happening in 2003.
Bulusan, Philippines: People have begun to leave the area around Bulusan after the explosions of earlier this week, including 2,000 people moved by the army. This comes with warnings from PHILVOLCS geologist Ed Laguerta that the ash from the eruption might trigger lahars if there is increased rainfall. The ash fall from this and other eruptions have already caused problems with the farmers whose livelihood depends on crops located on the slopes of Bulusan, along with reports of respiratory issues in towns near the volcano.
Kilauea, Hawai`i: We've been following the increased activity at Pu`u O`o and the Halema`uma`u Crater over the last few weeks. The most recent HVO update on Kilauea mentions that a new cycle of inflation started Monday evening. The deflation period that ended at 9:15PM on 2/21/11 was the largest amplitude and longest duration event at Kilauea since 2000. However, the switch back to inflation might suggest a new period of vigorous activity is coming soon.
As always, be sure to check out the available webcams for these volcanoes to see the action.
Top left: Undated image of Lokon-Empung in Indonesia.
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