Wednesday Whatzits: Katla Update, Cleveland heads back to Orange and Russia's Valley of the Geysers
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.
After a little (ahem) confusion this morning, we're back on track (for now). A few quick hits for a grey Ohio morning:
Iceland: The news from Katla hasn't changed much since I updated the post yesterday evening. Seems like the prevailing idea is meltwater from within the caldera percolated into some of the fractures in the caldera and may have helped produce some of the harmonic tremor that was registered. However, it is unclear from what I can read whether any actual eruption occurred - most likely there could have been some very minor steam exhalations. The seismicity at Katla has settled down some, but everyone will still keep a watchful eye on the Icelandic volcano. UPDATE: Jon Frimann added a link to an article (in Icelandic) that suggest a lot of yesterday's action was hydrothermal in origin - which doesn't contradict the idea that water was the culprit for some of the tremor. However, it all does mean that things are getting hotter inside Katla. Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson from the University of Icelands adds that "These signs usually indicate that magma is coming into the volcano in relatively shallow and the increased likelihood of eruption. But if we look at the examples we have the is common for such activity dies out before the eruption occurs, but we can never know beforehand." The article also had this image of melting on the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap:
Alaska: After lowering the alert status at Cleveland in the Aleutians, AVO has had to turn around and raise the status back to Orange/Watch after spotting continued growth of the dome in the active crater. Cleveland is so remote that it is hard to get an idea of exactly what is going on, especially when clouds obscure the summit from the prying eyes of satellites.
Russia: I ran across this article that talks about Russia's desire to make Kamchatka's Valley of the Geysers into a tourist site. In fact, the Russian government is pumping in over $3 billion to get the location, famed for its over 90+ active geysers and springs, on the travel map. Of course, Valley of the Geysers does have the disadvantage of being on the Kamchatka Peninsula, which makes the place that people like to compare it to - Yellowstone - look like it is easily accessible. However, even if you can't take the trip to Valley of the Geysers, you can check out the virtual tour including 3D models that has been created for the area.
Top left: Undated image of Giant Geyser in Russia's Valley of the Geysers.
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