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Eruption Update for 1/5/2011: Etna, Kizimen, Tungurahua, Merapi

Some quick news updates on a cold Wednesday here in Ohio where I am buried in edits to a manuscript:

Etna: Dr. Boris Behncke and the staff at the INGV Catania has been keeping us up to date with the renewed activity at Sicily’s Etna. Most of the activity appears to be small explosions of incandescent material, but no new lava flows or fountaining of juvenile material so far. The INGV site has a series of images from the activity as does Dr. Behncke’s Flickr stream. A lot of this activity is likely a sign that magma is nearing the surface, but as with most volcanic eruptions, it is unclear when or even if juvenile (new) lava will erupt from Etna. You can check out all the INGV webcams as well.

Kizimen: Kamchatka looks to be starting the year running, with some big puffs out of Kizimen (see below). The latest statement from KVERT from January 3:

Explosive eruption of Kizimen Volcano continues. Ash explosions up to 10 km (or 32,800 ft) ASL possible at any time. Ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircraft. According to the seismic data, activity of the volcano began increasing from ~02:00 UTC on January 03 again. Strong volcanic earthquakes and volcanic tremor are registering at the volcano. According to satellite data, the explosive eruption of the volcano continues, and ash plumes extend > 200 km (124 mi) to the south-east from the volcano. The big bright thermal anomaly over the volcano is registering all time.

All of this sounds like some significant explosive activity at the volcano that will continue to drop ash on the region. {Special thanks to M.R. Kruger for the image below).

The plume from Kizimen above the clouds from a weather satellite image taken January 5, 2011.

Tungurahua: Speaking of ongoing activity, the NASA Earth Observatory posted two images of the summit area of Ecuador’s Tungurahua. One shows the current plume – a weak, mostly-steam plume – along with an enhanced false-color near IR image showing the hot material, likely a small lava dome, in the summit crater. New year, same old activity at Tungurahua.

Merapi: The eruptive activity at Merapi may have waned significantly – reduced to alert status 2 (of 4) on December 30, but that hasn’t lessened the threat of volcanic hazards to the region. Rain in the area near Merapi produced lahars from remobilized ash that knocked out bridges on the Putih River. One thing is clear, the recovery in the area near the volcano will take time.

Top left: Building destroyed by the fall 2010 eruption of Merapi (background).


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