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Monday Musings: Soufriere Hills and Mayon (UPDATED) prompt evacuations

Increasing activity at Mayon in the Philippines (UPDATED with video) and Soufriere Hills on Montserrat have prompted evacuations. Also, two new NASA Earth Observatory images of volcanoes in action.

It’s the last week of classes and it’s also AGU (which I will be missing for the first time in 5 years). If you happen to be at the big meeting in SF and hear something you think we’d like to hear, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment so we can live vicariously through you.

Pyroclastic flows at Sourfriere Hills, December 2009. Image courtesy of MVO.

Some news:

  • UPDATE 12:40PM 12/14/2009: Just to update the Mayon news from earlier today, PHIVOLC is reporting that lava has been spotting flowing from the main crater on Mayon. Sounds like the eruption we’ve been waiting for is beginning. Here is some TV footage of the glowing dome and new lava flow (youtube link) as well (hat tip to Boris Behncke).

    Mayon continues to belch ash, leading PHIVOLC to continue to have concern for a larger eruption of the Philippine volcano. The activity has increased to the point where 20,000-30,000 of villagers were ordered to evacuate on Monday. Mayon experienced at least 4 explosions that sent ash and incandescent material to the northwest and over the last 24 hours, the volcano has emitted 535 tonnes of SO2. This comes with increased seismicity and 5 mm / 1 inch of inflation (although in what period this inflation has occurred is unclear) as well. The 7-km exclusion zone remains in effect with Mayon on Yellow status.

  • Another resurgent volcano, Soufriere Hills, seems to be ramping up activity. Evacuations were announced for some villages on the west side of the island of Montserrat after the volcano sent pyroclastic flows in that direction. The flows have reached as close as 4 km to populated areas, but Paul Cole of MVO notes that the flows are traveling further and further down the valleys from the crumbling crater dome. Soufriere Hills now sits at hazard level 4 (of 5).
  • Two NASA Earth Observatory images for your perusal: vog drifting to the west over the Pacific from Kilauea on December 9, 2009 and excellent overhead view of Kliuchevskoi (aka Klyuchevskaya). This view of the Russian volcano shows the beautiful radial symmetry and the thin tongue of dark ash deposits on the east side of the volcano (taken on December 11).

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