GVP Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for June 1-7, 2011: Puyehue-Cordón Caulle and Yasur
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.
It has been a busy week for me - and I think I've alluded to why - and this is likely my last live post until June 21. Look for some special features next week that will appear in my absence. However, before that we can look at this week's Global Volcanism Program Weekly Volcanic Activity Report - lots of good stuff inside this week's report, but I thought I'd start off with something we've been talking about since the weekend.
Chile: The eruption at Puyehue-Cordón Caulle appears to weakening, which is good news for all the areas in southern South America that have been hit by the ash (video). However, SERNAGEOMIN volcanologist Vincente Nunez said that although seismicity is decreasing that the eruption itself could go on for days to weeks. All this ash is still causes flight disruptions, along with significant contamination of water supplies, some of which have lead to fish kills in the region. Overall, over 4,000 people have been evacuated due to the eruptions. Laurence Golborne, the Minister of Energy and Mining, did mention that Chile will be stepping up monitoring efforts at many of its volcanoes, hopefully increasing the number of actively monitored volcanoes from 14 to 43 by 2014. Eruptions readers Fabrice and Ruben pointed out that OVDAS has now posted links to two webcams for Puyehue-Cordón Caulle (Entrelagos and Futangue), so you might be able to catch a glimpse of the eruption yourself. It is remarkable to see that the ash plume itself may have been 5 km wide at the base of the plume!
Vanuatu: Remember, whenever there is one volcanic eruption in the news, there are many more that never get more than local coverage. One of these events this week was at Yasur in Yanuatu. The volcano has been raised to alert status 3 (of 4) by the Vanuatu Geohazard Obervatory (VGO) after showing increasing ash emissions, explosions and bombs from all three vents of the volcano. Yasur is a very active volcano in the island nation, with the current "eruption" starting in 1774!
Two other volcanoes we've been watching closely - the Dieng Volcanic Complex in Indonesia and Popocatépetl in Mexico - both showed signs of unrest over the week, but no real change in the level of activity.
Top left: An undated image of one of the craters at Vanuatu's Yasur volcano.
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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