Monday Musings: Indonesia, Bulusan, Hawaiian lava flows, signs at Hekla and more
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.
Lots of news here on the last Monday of November!
Indonesia: Bromo in the Tengger Caldera continues to look like its ramping to a new eruptive cycle. There have been a number of low-level ash explosions from the scoria cone, some large enough to prompt the closure of a nearby airport (~25 km away) until December 4. The government of Indonesia is preparing for potential evacuations near the volcano, but so far, only warnings to prepare for an eruption have been issues to the local residents. Meanwhile, damage to forests near Merapi has been estimated at over $611 million and potentially hundreds of years to recover. However, as Mount St. Helens shows, recovering after an eruption can be surprisingly rapid. Finally, if you are keeping score at home, reports continue to come in about increasing activity at the ever-busy Anak Krakatau, although weather and ash have made monitoring difficult.
Philippines: Bulusan continues to be a concern for the Philippine government as well. However, some of the hazards are more related to weather than eruptions, as intense rains have increased the threat of remobilization of ash to produce lahars. So far the lahars have only caused damage in valley towns around the volcano, but residents are being warned as some lahars have been approaching homes near the volcano. In fact, the threat of persistent lahars near Bulusan has prompted the discussion of permanent resettlement of people who live near the volcano. The volcano continues to experience earthquakes and explosions and sulfur dioxide emissions are still relatively low, at ~13 tonnes/day, according to PHIVOLCS, and the alert status remains at level 1.
Hawai`i: The lava flows at Kilauea continue to finish off houses in the ill-fated Kalapana Gardens subdivision. Lava flows ignited fires that burned down two more structures. You can see images and watch video of the destruction as well as check on the current status of all activity at Kilauea.
High above our heads: Japanese astronaut and current ISS resident Soichi Noguchi snapped an image of a steaming (not erupting as he called it) volcano in South America (see below). He didn't ID the volcano, but some Eruptions readers on Twitter guessed this is likely Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia … any other guesses?
An unnamed South American volcano snapped by ISS resident Soichi Noguchi.
Rumors and hints: Finally, there are two stories out there pertaining to potential eruptions that proved to be false and potential future eruptions. First was a rumor that Taranaki in New Zealand had erupted, but it turns out that the plume observed was from a debris fall on the volcano. Heavy erosion causes Taranaki, located to the west of the main Taupo Volcanic Zone, to be unstable. The last eruption at Taranaki was in 1854. Around the world (literally), there are observations that streams issuing from Hekla are drying up, which has sometimes been a sign that the volcano may be headed towards an eruption. As Jon Frimann points out, however, there has also been very little precipitation in Iceland, so this could also be merely a sign of this drought. In any case, these streams are well-worth watching in the near future - Hekla last erupted in 2000.
Top left: Bromo producing an ash cloud on November 29, 2010.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.