Signs pointing towards a new eruption at Piton de la Fournaise

Here at the end of busy week, we have some news that Eruptions readers have been following on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Piton de la Fournaise, the active shield volcano on the island, is showing signs that it is likely going to erupt sometime soon. The volcano has already had an eruptive episode at the end of last year and the beginning of 2010, and just like before those eruptions, the volcano is experiencing high levels of seismicity (french). This has prompted local officials to raise the alert status (french) near Piton de la Fournaise (possibly my favorite name of a volcano) and restrict access to the volcano. There has also been significant deformation (french) noted on the volcanic edifice, suggesting that magma is rising up into the volcano. John Seach's Volcano Live website had this update:


A seismic crisis occurred at Piton de la Fournaise Volcano, Reunion on the evening of 23rd September. Several tens of earthquakes were located at the base of the summit area, in Dolomieu crater. The seismic crisis was associated with significant inflation (3 cm) of the volcano, especially near the summit. The data indicates that magma has moved towards the surface and an eruption is imminent.

Eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise are quite common - and can be quite the spectacle as well. They are commonly lava flows from fissure vents on the large shield edifice with some fire fountains as well - typical behavior for a Hawaiian-style eruption.

UPDATE: I meant to post this but forgot: Piton de la Fournaise webcam! There are also some live, updating images on the IPGP website for Reunion (french)

{Hat tip to all the Eruptions readers who provided links for this post.}

Top left: A 2007 lava flow from Piton de la Fournaise reaching the ocean. Note the active lava channel is only a fraction of the flow field, suggesting the lava flow meanders like a river before defining a clear flow channel.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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