Global Volcanism Program Weekly Report for May 11-17, 2011: Fissures on Tungurahua, Russia from space and Katmai
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.
Well, when it rains, it pours. We've gone from some rather sparse Smithsonian/USGS Global Volcanism Program Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports to a quite busy one. So, in an attempt to catch up with a lot of this activity, I thought I'd try to combine this week's report with a pile of other links to news, images and more that I've been trying to squeeze in over the last week.
Special thanks, as always, to Sally Kuhn Sennert for putting together the Report!
Ecuador: I've been behind in following what has been going on at Tungurahua, where the volcano appears to be in the midst of a longer period of large explosive eruptions. Local media in Ecuador are reporting "cracks" on the side of the volcano, about 1000 meters below the summit, where volcanic gases are escaping (see image below). The Instituto Geofisico noted that the renewed ash emissions seen on May 17 (after 10 days of relative quiet), combined with the observation of the fumaroles on the side of the volcano, all suggest that magma is continuing to rise into the edifice, so a close eye should be kept on Tungurahua for more explosive eruptions.
New fumaroles observed on the slopes of Tungurahua. Image courtesy of the Instituto Geofisico de Ecuador.
Russia: It is always busy in Kamchatka, but what I wanted to point out was a number of nice images from the NASA Earth Observatory of volcanoes - both active and quiescent - on the Far Eastern Russian peninsula. The first image shows the thin, grey plume from Karymsky drifting out to the east over the Pacific Ocean - the volcano has been consistently producing plumes that reach 3-6 km over the volcano. There was also an image of Avachinsky peaking up through a cloud layer, showing the cone of the volcano growing in the crater from a debris avalanche. The volcano is built on the edge of another large Kamchatkan volcano, Kozelsky. Avachinsky last erupted in 2001 while Kozelsky has no known historical eruptions.
Alaska: The presence of Katmai in any GVP Report has got to give anyway pause, but luckily the only mention was the remobilization by winds of ash from the 1912 eruption. Next year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the largest eruptions in human record, creating one of my favorite geographic features, the "Valley of 10,000 Smokes" (top left). The valley got its name from the degassing of the large ignimbrite that was deposited by the eruption, some hot enough to allow cooking on the fumaroles (see below) in the years after the event.
Two gentlemen cooking on the fumaroles within the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, Alaska in 1915. Click here to see source.
Top left: The Valley of 10,000 Smokes, showing the extensive erosion through the ignimbrite deposited in the 1912 eruption of Katmai, Alaska. Click here to see original.
These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.
- A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
- This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
- Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
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