Kliuchevskoi and Shiveluch erupt in a busy week for volcanoes

So, maybe I spoke too soon when I mentioned in passing how quiet the fall has been in the world of volcanic eruptions. In less than a week since I said this, we've had one of the more dramatic and tragic eruptions in the last decade in Indonesia (more on Merapi's eruption later today) and, lost in the Merapi news, were two eruptions on Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia.


The first eruption occurred on Sunday, when Kliuchevskoi produced an ash plume that reached over 9 km / ~30,000 feet with the plume drifting over 300 km to the north - and sometimes could be traced over 1,200 km over the Pacific Ocean. This was one of several explosive events at the volcano this week that have produced plumes over 8 km / 25,000 feet, all of which came after a change in the volcanic tremor and a sharp increase in earthquakes to over 100/day. The strombolian activity at the summit (images) that had been occurring and producing modest plumes of 6-7 km / 21-23,000 feet became much more explosive.

Meanwhile, yesterday Shiveluch produced its own explosive eruption as well. This eruption produced a 10 km / 32,000 foot ash plume (see satellite image below) and the ash from the plume noticeably fell on towns upwards of 90 km from the volcano. The eruption at Shiveluch has since ended - but these sorts of outbursts are common at Shiveluch, happening usually at least once if not more times per year. You can see some video of the eruption at the BBC and a satellite loop of the ash plume drifting over the Pacific. KVERT has a great image of the glowing dome in the Shiveluch crater, the likely source of this explosive eruption.

Radar image of the plume from Shiveluch over the Kamchatka Peninsula on October 27, 2010.

Both volcanoes are on Red Alert status for aviation over the Kamchatka Peninsula - you can always see the status of all the busy eastern Russian volcanoes on the KVERT status page.

UPDATE:

  • Here is some more video of the ash fall from the eruptions. Thanks to Sherine for the video link.
  • We also have links to webcams for Kliuchevskoi and Shiveluch.
  • Apparently the eruptions are disrupting air traffic as well.
  • Brand spanking new Aqua satellite image of the Shiveluch plume (from NASA).
  • {Special thanks to M. Randolph Kruger for keeping me informed of these eruptions and providing images for this post.}

    Top left: The summit area of Kliuchevskoi in Kamchatka taken October 28, 2010 after several large explosive eruptions this week. Image courtesy of KVERT. Click on the image to see a larger version.

    Related Articles

    How does alcohol affect your brain?

    Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.

    (Photo by Angie Garrett/Wikimedia Commons)
    Mind & Brain
    • Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
    • Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
    • Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
    Keep reading Show less

    Scientists sequence the genome of this threatened species

    If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.

    Surprising Science
    • A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
    • It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
    • Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.

    If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.

    Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.

    elephant by Guillaume le Clerc

    Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons

    13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.

    It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.

    But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.

    John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."

    What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.

    Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.

    Why cauliflower is perfect for the keto diet

    The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.

    Purple cauliflower. (Photo: Shutterstock)
    Surprising Science
    • The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
    • The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
    • It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
    Keep reading Show less