Tuesday Tidbits: Chaiten webcam, Soufriere Hills images and should airlines pay for ash monitoring?

News bits from Chaiten, Soufriere Hills, Shiveluch and Alaska legislators wondering if airlines should pay for ash monitoring.

Not a lot of big news, but a lot of little news:

Soufriere Hills at night during the late January 2010 dome growth episode. Note the hot rock falls from the collapsing dome. Image courtesy of Photovolcanica.

  • This might not be new, but Dr. Boris Behncke brought the new webcam at the rim of Chaiten in Chile to my attention. You get a birds-eye view of the growing dome from the edge of the caldera - pretty nifty view for a once-in-a-hundred-years sort of event.
  • The NASA Earth Observatory has posted a close-up of the Soufriere Hills imagethat I posted yesterday, showing the February 11 plume. The plume was caused by a collapse of ~10-20% of the summit dome - yes, it only took a small portion of the dome to collapse to create an explosion like that! If you want to see some more stunning images of Soufriere Hills' activity this year, check out the collection on Photovolcanica.
  • Another great NASA EO shot have Shiveluch showing off either lava flows or lahars coming down the flanks of the volcano and an impressive steam plume. You can compare this new shot taken on February 13 to one from December 18 of last year.
  • In news that could be interpreted in many ways, state legislators in Alaska are wondering if commercial passenger and cargo airlines should be kicking in money to help pay for the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Although it makes aesthetic sense, it is a slippery slope to start privately funding offices for the public good. If you are in Fairbanks tonight, you can check out a talk by Dr. Michael West on forecasting volcanic eruptions.
  • Related Articles

    Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

    It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

    Image: Nissim Benvenisty
    Surprising Science
    • 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.
    Keep reading Show less

    How exercise helps your gut bacteria

    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.

    National Institutes of Health
    Surprising Science
    • 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.
    Keep reading Show less

    Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

    A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

    Image: damn_unique via Flickr
    Surprising Science
    • 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
    Keep reading Show less