Friday Flotsam: Eyjafjallajökull and the news, Kilauea's past and a new Mystery Volcano Photo (#30)
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.
Long week. I gave two exams, so I get to look forward to an exciting weekend of grading. Yup, that is the part of the job that is likely the least enjoyable (except maybe better than the meetings), but it has to be done.
Some brief news snippets before I disappear with a green pen and plenty of life-sustaining coffee.
The Media and Eyjafjallajökull: Eruptions reader (and more) Suw Charman-Anderson has a nice piece the mainstream media and how it responded to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Her post stems from a discussion EBU Radio News Conference 2010 about how the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull threw a lot of media for a loop and that many people turned to social media/new media for information. I'll let you read her post for Suw's take on it. She brings up a number of points about what people around the world wanted for information - and how they found it - that I also touched upon in my AGU post last week.
I am troubled by one conclusion from one of the mainstream (radio) media speakers that if the eruption happened again, they would approach science and experts with more caution. I can interpret that one of two ways: (1) media would make sure to more carefully vet their experts and make sure they get the science right; (2) they would avoid the science and experts because it makes things too complicated. I am hoping it is the former (note: I did talk to a number of reports from the Associated Press, LA Times, KIRO in Seattle and more for what it is worth).
Kilauea: Sometimes we forget that Kilauea isn't always erupting. In fact, back in the 1930's there was a stretch where the Hawaiian volcano was quiet for almost 3 years (a long time for Kilauea), but the month-long eruption at the Halema`uma`u Crater in 1934 broke that spell of silence - and you can read all about it in this week's Volcano Watch article on Hawai`i 24/7. Currently, there are still lava flows associated with the East Rift and plenty of glowing from the lava in the Halema`uma`u Crater.
New Mystery Volcano #30: Last week we had our 29th Mystery Volcano Photo and Chris - Reykjavik got the answer with Tangkuban Perahu in Indonesia - a shield volcano near Bandung that last erupted in 1983. That leaves our current MVP standings looking like this:
So, I'll leave you for the weekend with a new MVP - and be specific for this one! Good luck on big #30!
MVP #30. Click here to see a larger version.
Top Left: An April 16, 2010 plume from Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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