Wednesday Whatzits: Drilling still causing concern at Campi Flegrei, the hazards of volcanic air and the latest GVP report
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.
Busy as I get back from Fall Break - and only a week and change until the Geological Society of America Meeting in Denver. If you haven't check already, commenting has had some renovations on the site ... but onto some quick news:
Drilling at Campi Flegrei: The news story that will never die returns with more about the so-called hazards of drilling to learn more about the Campi Flegrei in Italy. I still heavily lean towards the idea that there is much more danger in not learning more about the caldera than any perceived threat from drilling. I am also a little irked about the comparison is Newsweek article makes between drilling at the Campi Flegrei and the Lusi mud volcano - the two situations are only vaguely related in both process and form.
The hazards of volcanic air: Not surprisingly, breathing air that is filled with volcanic ash and gases is not good for your lungs. A new study by Dr. Bernadette Longo (and others) in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health shows the connection between eruptions on the big island of Hawai`i at Kilauea and spikes in health complaints from breathing the volcanic air. This is especially so for children who breath through their mouth more than adults. It is also startling to see how much sulfur dioxide makes it into buildings, so even being indoors might not protect you.
Last week's GVP Volcanic Activity Report: Somehow I completely skipped posting last week's update, so here it is. Good stuff in there about the activity at Planchon-Peteroa, Poas and Soufriere Hills.
Top left: A skylight on an Kilauea lava tube - volcanic gases are a serious health hazard in Hawai`i.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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