GVP Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for January 12-18, 2011
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've got a new USGS/Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for a wintry January Thursday.
Some highlights (with post report updates) include:
Russia: The Kamchatkan volcano, Kizimen, has been active all week, producing intermittent plumes that have reached as high as 6 km / ~20,000 feet, along with experiencing over 200 small earthquakes over the last day. The ash from Kizimen is falling on one of the few populated areas of the peninsula, the city of Petropavlovsk. You can also check out KVERT's latest update to see all the activity along the peninsula, including Karymsky and Shiveluch, which along with Kizimen, sit at orange alert status.
Indonesia: The increasingly active Anak Krakatau has been busy producing ash plumes that have reached 2.5-3 km / 8,000-10,000 feet. Poor weather has not allowed direct monitoring of the activity at the volcano in over a month (Indonesian), however the PVMBG still has the volcano at alert status 2 and earthquakes from the explosions (Indonesian) have reported to have been felt along the coasts of the nearby Java and Sumatra.
Costa Rica: Turrialba has seen an increase of activity at the summit over the last week - most in the form of an marked increase in gas emissions, producing a strong sulfur odor. There appears to be little emissions of ash in the the plumes and any ash has not been of juvenile material, but the steam/gases are very obvious on the Turrialba webcam. Fellow Costa Rican volcano Poás has also been active, producing a number of small phreatic eruptions. You can see a lot of these updates on the Twitter feed for a blog that follows the activity of the Costa Rican volcanoes.
Japan: Usual suspects Sakurajima and Suwanosejima both show up in this week's report, however, I wanted to mention an article I saw in the Wall Street Journal website. Most of you know I am especially interested in the social aspect of volcanic activity - the resettlement of Chaiten, the evacuation of Manam in Papua New Guinea. Well, this article looks at the island of Miyakejima, also known as Oyama, where people are finally being allowed to return after 11 years. Of course, things are not the same on the island, with over 20% of previously livable land now deemed inhabitable.
Italy: Etna was the big news maker in Italy over the last week, but the NASA Earth Observatory also posted an image captured on January 13 showing the weak plume from remote Stromboli. That image definitely shows how little of the island is populated relative to the size of the volcano - definitely perched on the edge.
Hawai`i: Finally, in Hawai`i, Kilauea continues its relentless march through the Kalapana subdivision and the lava flows destroyed their third house in the past 6 months (video). If that wasn't enough, there is also a new NASA EO image taken January 15 of the Halema`uma`u Crater area as well.
Top left: A webcam capture on January 20, 2011 of the steaming crater area of Turrialba, Costa Rica.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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