Tuesday Tidbits: Indonesian action, Puyehue-Cordón Caulle still erupting, volcanoes and rain 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.
I am feverish packing/prepping for the start of field season (well, field work at Mineral King, field trip to Lassen Peak with lab work sprinkled in for good measure). So, I'm not long for words right now ... so onto quick updates (and post #1,001):
Lokon-Empung: The evacuations continue to expand at Indonesia's Lokon-Empung, now encompassing over 1,000 people. The volcano continues to be restless, with some ash and steam plumes that rise into the hundred of meters, which is relatively small (see top left), but locals are being warned to take this activity seriously. In other parts of Indonesia, Soputan was captured erupting by the NASA Earth Observatory late last week as well.
Puyehue-Cordón Caulle: It is hard to believe, but the eruption on the Chilean-Argentine border continues (spanish) - and flights in South America are still being disrupted. The NASA Earth Observatory recently posted an image of the current activity as well, showing the ash plume spreading across South America.
Volcanoes and climate: I haven't had a chance to really digest these popular press articles about a new study in PNAS, but the implication is that volcanic eruptions might cause increased rainfall. This is caused by sulfuric acid acting as "seeds" in clouds for raindrops to nucleate. We already have some evidence that volcanoes can interact with weather systems - accretionary lapilli are ash coated/cored raindrops - but the exact relationship between volcanoes and weather is still mostly unknown.
Atlantic Ocean: Finally, the mapping of the ocean floor continues to uncover new volcanoes. It doesn't mean these volcanoes are actively erupting (or even unexpected), but now we know where they are - and these are near the South Sandwich Islands. Some of these new volcanoes may have erupted in the past few years based on evidence collected by the team of geologists from the British Antarctic Survey.
Top left: The small eruptive plume from Lokon-Empung in Indonesia, seen on July 12, 2011.
Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club
- Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
- It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
- This ability may come from a common ancestor
The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.
- The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
- Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
- Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.
- Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
- The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
- One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.