Etna puts on a show, but keeps the curtains closed
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.
The week buzzed by … and we actually end with a bang (albeit a cloudy one).
Dr. Boris Behncke brings us news that Etna seemed to have another eruption, however unlike the events of January 12-13 of this year (top left), these events have been obscured by clouds on the volcano. However, there are plenty of other signs that the volcano is active, including strong seismicity and evidence of hot pyroclastic material. All of this is happening in the Southeast Crater Cone. Here is the description from the latest INGV update on the events of this morning:
"Simultaneously with the onset of Strombolian activity, the INGV-Catania seismic network on Etna recorded a rapid increase in the volcanic tremor amplitude, which continued until about 14:30 GMT and then started to decline sharply. A lava flow descended eastward, following the same path as that of the 12-13 January paroxysm, in the direction of the Valle del Bove. Ash falls were reported from the Linguaglossa area on the northeast flank of the volcano in the morning, and later, as wind directions changed, on the western flank around Bronte."
This new INGV post also mentions some explosive activity at Stromboli as well (see a IR webcam capture below), so it is a busy time for the Aeolian volcanoes. If you've ever wanted a peak at what the control room at INGV-Catania looks like during an Etna eruption, check out the annotated image that Dr. Behncke has posted - if you scroll over the image you can see what many of the monitors are showing and what events were going on when the image was shot today. Hopefully the weather will clear out soon so we can see the products of this new activity (which seems to be calming down as Italy enters the evening), but until then, you can follow Dr. Behncke on Twitter for the latest and keep your eyes on one of the many Etna webcams (hopefully) to catch a glimpse of the action.
IR webcam capture of an explosion at Stromboli on February 14, 2011 by Eruptions reader Thomas Wipf.
Top left: Lava flows from Etna as seen on January 12, 2011.
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