So, the start of the week has now officially ranked on the busiest I have had in, well, years, so the posts have been more than a little sparse – and I apologize for that. Luckily, most of the volcano news has been about volcanoes calming down rather than heating up, so I can play a little catch up here with a brief summary of all the simmering systems.
All three of the eruptions that have been in the news over the last few weeks were downgraded to lower alert status by their host country’s respective volcano monitoring agencies. Bromo and Merapi in Indonesia have seen the alert status lowered at both volcanoes. Bromo was lowered to the Alert Level 2 (of 4) after observations of the volcano showed declining activity (according to Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center monitoring chief Agus Budianto). At Merapi, the alert status was also lowered to Alert Level 3, but the threat of lahars from remobilized ash or collapse of the “cold” lava dome are still distinct hazards. A 2.5-km exclusion zone around the volcano is still in place. Many of the 250,000 returning evacuees are also finding that their lives have been significantly altered by the eruption. And if you missed it, there was an interesting video about Merapi by Miles O’Brien of PBS about the eruption and the superstition surrounding the volcano.
Around the globe at Ecuador’s Tungurahua, after a busy weekend, the activity at the volcano has also seen a couple days of lower activity, although the volcano is still throwing incandescent bombs over 1 km from the crater.
However, even with all this downgrading of activity, we can always count on Kamchatka to keep making noise. The NASA Earth Observatory posted an image of the renewed activity at Kliuchevskoi from December 4, showing the steam-and-ash plume the volcano is producing. The latest KVERT update and Smithsonian/USGS GVP Weekly Update has Kliuchevskoi at Orange Alert status, with active explosions that could reach as high as 7 km / 23,000 feet.
Top left: The steaming summit of Merapi. Image from December 5, 2010.