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Wednesday Whatzits: A Permian caldera find, the legends of Pele and a quieting Redoubt

Researchers find an excellently-exposed caldera in Italy, the legends of Pele may help uncover the history of Kilauea and Redoubt continues to settle down.

Some brief tidbits for your Wednesday:

The view of Mt. Saint Helens from the Johnston Ridge Observatory.

  • There is a decent article about research being done at a dissected caldera system in the Italian Alps’ Sesia Valley. The caldera in question is the Permian in age (248-298 million years old) so don’t expect to find it in the GVP database, but the outcrops of this ancient caldera are especially well exposed, allowing for a cross section of volcano and plutonic rocks across 25 km of crustal depth (all of which is now at the surface thanks to hundreds of millions years of tectonics). It does sound like a great location that exposes some of the volcanic-plutonic plumbing system that we don’t really understand, but I’m not 100% sure about calling it a “rosetta stone” – there are a few systems in the southwest U.S. (and Maine for that matter) that expose both the volcanic and plutonic parts of an ancient volcano (but the press loves any “supervolcano”). Take note, the image at the top is, in fact, the Bishop Tuff in Long Valley, not anything from this Italian study.
  • It seems that the visitors’ center at Mt. Saint Helens will be getting some help over the next year to make it a little more user-friendly. I like that, but reopening the Coldwater Creek visitors’ center might be nice, too.
  • In a little culture-meets-science talk, The Honolulu Advertiser has a piece about connecting native Hawaiian legends about the goddess Pele to the volcanic history of Kilauea. This isn’t really a new concept – trying to match legend with history – but I’m always pleased to read more efforts to do so.
  • And for those of you still following Redoubt, the seismic activity is continuing to wane, but the volcano continues to steam away. The steam doesn’t suggest much about any activity – just that water is coming into contact with the hot rocks in the new lava dome. In related news, Chevron says that oil production in the Cook Inlet has reached 75% of where it was before the Redoubt-related shutdown earlier this year.

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