US Volcano Update: Kilauea, Cleveland and the Axial Seamount
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.
Well, this week at the SERC Teaching Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry Workshop has been busier than I thought (and yes, there was a Red Sox game mixed in), so not a lot of time to blog, but a few brief updates to share:
Hawai`i: Lots going on with the ongoing activity at Kilauea that is appearing to slow down - and a lot of USGS timelapse videos as well to check out. I glanced at the HVO Kilauea status and it seems that the activity at Pu`u O`o has prompted the draining of the lava lake at the summit crater, so we might be seeing some significant reorganization of the magmatic system at the volcano.
Alaska: We also got our first decent glimpse of the new dome on Cleveland volcano in the Aleutians. AVO doesn't seem to think that this activity is likely to lead to a big explosive event at Cleveland, but for aviation safety, a close eye will be kept on the volcano if the dome ends up plugging the conduit.
Off the coast of Oregon: I'll likely have more to say on this subject, but there has been a flurry of news about the eruption at Axial Seamount off the coast of Oregon. The eruption isn't going on right now, but rather it appears to have occurred in April, but only know did undersea research crews find the evidence (lava flows and new hydrothermal vents). I am a little disconcerted by all the media attention to the idea that the eruption was "predicted" - the study in question merely said that it would likely erupt "before 2014" ... so, you can drive a truck through that prediction. However, the discovery of the eruption is cool nevertheless.
Top left: Some of the new lava flows on Kilauea, August 2011. Image courtesy of USGS/HVO.
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