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Guest Thinkers

Wednesday Whatzits

A brief update on the monitoring of Mayon, more great pictures of volcanoes from space and the news that the Toba eruption might have caused a decade of volcanic winters (but didn't try to kill all the humans).

Two papers submitted, one to go. Keeps you quite busy, let me tell you.

Lava flow from a 2006 eruption on Mayon in the Philippines.

A few bits of news today:

  • A few more details about the ongoing watch of Mayon in the Philippines . There have been apparently no changes in the shape of the floor of the crater as you might expect if magma was rising underneath. However, there has been an overall inflation of Mayon since the unrest began a few weeks ago. PHIVOLCS will be checking the sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide output of the volcano soon as well.
  • Lots of articles this week about the “shocking” study that shows that the giant Toba (Indonesia) eruption ~76,000 years ago did, indeed, cause a significant climate change. This shouldn’t be too surprising for an event that erupted ~2,800 km3 of magma (which ~800-1000 km3 was ash). There are always lots of people trying to connect this Toba eruption with the so-called “human bottleneck“. There is not any strong evidence that these two events are directly connected, but clearly there must have been some hardships for our ancestors during this potential decade of cooler weather.
  • I’ve talked a little bit about Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea and the humanitarian problems associated with the volcano. Manam has been faintly steaming away for the past few months and the NASA EO-1 satellite captured a great shot of the volcano on June 28th. You can clearly see some of the younger volcanic deposits in grey and block against the heavily vegetated green. Remote sensing of volcanoes has not only revolutionized how we monitor volcanoes, but how we study them as well.
  • And for those of you who like to keep up with the scientific literature on volcanoes, might I interest you in PubVolc (run out of Durham University in the UK)? If you haven’t been there already, the website lists the latest volcano-related articles to come out in most of the major journals. The site updates monthly with new information.

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