Friday Flotsam: Back from break with Kamchatka, Bulusan and Etna
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.
I am back from my break - it was a good time in New England, even with the Snowicane that kept us at home for a couple days. I definitely needed the break and considering how little I actually thought about geology most of the time, I think it was time well spent. Now, I just need to start getting my act back together to actually start 2011 on the right foot. I thought for today I'd try to catch up a little bit with any news I missed (well, at least some of the news I missed) and then look for the announcement of the 2010 Pliny for volcanic event of the year on Monday. You still have time to make your voice heard for the 2010 Pliny - so head over and leave your comments/votes for the award.
Kamchatka: Sounds like looking at your comments over my vacation that Kamchatka was being noisy as usual. The latest USGS/SI Volcanic Activity Report did have plenty to sat about Kizimen, Shiveluch and Karymsky. All these volcanoes produced some sort of explosive eruption over the past week, including a 4-km ash plume at Karymsky. Most recently, the activity at Kizimen has been downgraded to "Orange" from "Red", but the NASA Earth Observatory posted a great image of the swirling ash over the volcano on December 30 (UPDATE: and here is another from December 31). Speaking of the Kamchatkan volcanoes, I had neglected to post anything about a recent article I saw about using lightning to detect ash clouds before they show up on radar or satellite images - sounds promising and Kamchatka is a great location to test the tool.
Philippines: Bulusan also made a little noise over my vacation, with a few small explosions reaching ~500 meters / 900 feet and an slight uptick in seismicity. The latest report from PHILVOLC says that the volcano experienced 8 earthquakes over the last day but much of the summit area has been obscured by clouds, so any hope of seem small explosions is limited. The volcano remains at alert status 1 with a 4-km "no entry" zone around the volcano.
Etna/Stromboli: And with Dr. Behcke has been keeping us so well appraised, I sometimes forget to post about the activity in Italy, including small explosions and earthquakes at both Etna and Stromboli over the Christmas holiday. There are some great thermal images made of the explosions from last week on the INGV Catania website where you can see the plume of material bursting from the crater during each event.
Have a safe and happy New Year's (i.e., don't climb into Mt. Bromo) and I'll see you all in 2011!
Top left: Kizimen on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia.
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Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.
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- Time travel may be possible.
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- But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
- Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
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