Monday Musings: Iceland update, St. Helens anniversary, earthquakes at Hood and Mikeno erupts(?)
More news on the ash disruptions from Eyjafjallajökull, the 30th anniversary of the eruption of St. Helens and news of activity from the Congo and Mt. Hood.
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.
Some news for a sleepy Monday:
\nMt. Hood in Oregon.
- The ash from Eyjafjallajökull is, once again, causing significant airspace closure over northern Europe - close of 1,000 flights today. However, much of the closures are fairly short-lived, but that isn't keeping people happy. The eruption hasn't actually changed much, just that the winds are bringing ash towards Europe. The ash for the next few days will likely effect the England, Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands, France and possibly other parts of northern Europe (along with airspace over Greenland and the north Atlantic). The ash plume is reaching upwards of 7-9 km (24,000 - 30,000 feet) with significant lightning in the plume (over 150 strikes/day). You can check out an amazing video of the eruption - up close and personal. \n
- There is a brief report of a eruption and avalanche at Mikeno in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mikeno doesn't even muster a description in the Global Volcanism Program database, so not much is known about the volcano beyond its location 45 km north of the city of Goma - and the large population of mountain gorillas on its flanks. The unconfirmed eruption at Mikeno has reportedly left 36 people missing after the avalanche. \n
- Remember, tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens - and if you haven't already checked out the eruption memories of Eruptions readers, you should! There is a lot of articles marking the anniversary about the eruption, the volcano and the recovery. \n
- And while all this is happening marking the 1980 eruption of St. Helens, there is a report of a small earthquake swarm at St. Helens' neighbor, Mt. Hood. In fact, the USGS reports that a series of small earthquake swarms have been occurring at the Oregon volcano for the past month. These swarms are relatively common, but are still worth watching. Hood's last confirmed eruption was in 1865-6, possibly as recently as 1906.
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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