New monitoring equipment on Ruapehu and "volcano diplomacy" in Korea
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 definitely hasn't been quiet geologically around the planet, but news about volcanism seems to be in a bit of a lull right now. Most of what I've run across is either about the continuing activity in Indonesia or news about volcano monitoring ...
Korean Peninsula: We have heard about the Baekdu (Changbaishan) caldera numerous times over the last year, which is odd considering it hasn't erupted in over 100 years. However, much like any volcano that has been quiet but has an explosive past, there is a lot of incentive to keep an eye on it. If anything, Baekdu* might be an excellent opportunity to get the two Koreas to talk about anything - think of it as "volcano diplomacy". In this case, the two nations are discussing the threat that the caldera poses to North Korea and China, along with how to improve monitoring efforts on the volcano, especially after what the Koreas have seen in Japan since the Sendai earthquake. Bear in mind, though, there is no evidence that an eruption is coming "within years" are some of the articles imply.
* Apparently Kim Jong Il calls Baekdu his "sacred birthplace". Go figure.
New Zealand: One of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, Mt. Ruapehu, is getting a much needed upgrade to its monitoring systems. A major challenge on Ruapehu, which generates frequent lahars both during and inbetween eruptive periods, is that monitoring equipment can easily get damaged. This prevents much-needed information about mudflows or other activity from getting to authorities, much like what happened during Ruapehu's last eruption in 2007. The new monitoring equipment will be in a location less prone to being destroyed by explosions or lahars and will send data directly to the ski areas on the slopes of the volcano, hopefully allow for more time to evacuate the slopes. The crater lake at Ruapehu has entered a new heating cycle according to the latest GNS report and steam plumes have been reported recently at the volcano as well, but the volcanic alert level remains at 1.
Top left: A shot of the crater area at Ruapehu after the September 2007 eruption, showing the lahars generated with volcanic material mixed with crater lake water, snow and ice at the summit. Click here to see the original image, courtesy of Geonet/GNS Science.
These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.
We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.
Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.
For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.