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Thursday Throwdown: Updates from Gaua, Reventador, Soufriere Hills, Mayon and Cleveland

There are quite a number of volcanoes looking like they might be ready to erupt, from Vanuatu to Alaska.

I did an excellent job of forgetting my notes from GSA 2009, so no wrap up on the meeting until tomorrow, but we do have some new volcano news to digest:

The crater of El Reventador in Ecuador in an undated photo.

  • Ecuadorian officials have called for evacuations around El Reventador. The Ecuadorian Geophysics Institute says that the volcano’s “activities were measured at a level considered high, with permanent seismic signals indicating explosions while the southern side of the volcano crater could be seen as incandescent.”. Three provinces near the volcano were put on alert evacuated as a precaution as activity at the volcano increases (in spanish).
  • Gaua in Vanuatu continues to rumble as well. The Geohazards Observatory in Vanuatu have warned residents of the island that lahars could be produced if volcanic material mixes with the lake waters from the crater lake on Gaua. They also raised the alert level to two (on a scale of five). Mount Garat, part of the caldera system, has been producing ash and sulfur odors for the past month. Local officials have also submitted a plan for evacuation if the eruption worsens.
  • Mayon in the Philippines has also shown signs it might be headed for a larger eruption – although it didn’t stop people from doing the Mayon Trail Run, a 21-km run near the volcano. Most troubling, volcanowise, is the increase in seismicity and sulfur dioxide emissions. In the meantime, a non-eruption-triggered lahar came down the slopes of the volcano last week.
  • After Cleveland’s brief outburst a few weeks ago, the volcano has settled back down again. The Alert Level as Cleveland was reduced from Yellow/Watch after nothing came after the explosion on October 2.
  • The NASA Earth Observatory posted another stunner of an image, this time of Soufriere Hills at Montserrat. The volcano continues to erupt after 10 months of quiet and in this image taken from the ISS, you can clearly see the ash-and-steam plume drifting to the northwest, along with the big volcaniclastic debris fans on the north and west sides of the island.

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