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Vikings Volcanic Activity Thread


Guest Viking141

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Guest Viking141

Thought I'd start this thread to update you all on the state of current volcanic activity around the world. As many of us are already aware, Volcanic eruptions, particularly large ones, can have a major impact on our climate. For example, the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia, reduced global temperatures by as much as 1.2C which had disastrous implications for the harvest world-wide as well as producing vivid sunsets which were captured by several well-known artists, indeed it has been suggested that the blood-red sky depicted in the famous painting "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, is a depiction of the sky over Norway after the eruption.

It took some 5 years of chaotic climate before things settled down again. The Krakatoa eruption measured VEI 6 on the 9-point Volcanic Explosivity Index (more on this later) which means that it had an eruptive column which reached over 25km into the atmosphere and ejected in the order of 10 cubic kilometres of material!

I hope to provide regular updates, particularly if a volcano is being spectacularly active and will provide links to some good volcano sites, webcams etc as well as some learning points for those who are unfamiliar with terms relating to volcanoes such as the types of eruption etc.

Volcanoes are a spectacular natural phenomenon and, as I have said before, play a role in the climate of our planet so I hope you find this thread useful and interesting.

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Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea

    An excellent idea, Viking; well done. Reckon you'll have your work cut out, though, so here's one to start things rolling: El Salvador, Yellow Alert issued this week: http://visz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/woalert_read....is〈=eng

    Looking forward to some spectacular webcams!

    :)P

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    Guest Viking141

    Learning Point - The Volcanic Explosive Index (VEI) Scale

    During the course of my updates, I will refer, from time-to-time to the VEI as an indicator of how large an eruption is, so for the unititiated here is a brief rundown of how this scale works.

    This scale was designed by Chris Newhall of the USGS (United States Geological Survey) and Steve Self of the University of Hawaii as a means of providing a relative measure of volcanic eruptions and has much in common with other such scales e.g. the Richter Scale (earthquake magnitude) and the Beaufort Scale (wind speed scale).

    It gives a description of the eruption type and an idea of the height of the eruptive plume and the amount of material ejected in such an eruption. Each interval on the scale represents a ten-fold increase on the previous one.

    Information for each interval is as follows: VEI No; Classification; Description; Plume Height; Ejecta Volume & Example)

    0 - Hawaiian; Non-explosive; <100m; >1000m3; Kilauea

    1 - Hawaiian/Strombolian; gentle; 100-1000m; 10,000m3; Stromboli

    2 - Strombolian/Vulcanian; explosive; 1-5km; 1,000,000m3; Galeras 1993

    3 - Vulcanian/Pelean; severe; 3-15km; 10,000,000m3; Nevado del Ruiz 1985

    4 - Pelean/Plinian; cataclysmic; 10-25km; 0.1km3; Galunggung 1982

    5 - Plinian; paroxysmal; >25km; 1km3; St Helens 1980

    6 - Plinian/Ultra-Plinian; colossal; >25km; 10km3; Krakatoa 1883

    7 - Plinian/Ultra-Plinian; super colossal; >25km; 100km3; Tambora 1815

    8 - Plinian/Ultra-Plinian; mega-colossal; >25km; 1000km3; Toba 73,000BP

    An excellent idea, Viking; well done. Reckon you'll have your work cut out, though, so here's one to start things rolling: El Salvador, Yellow Alert issued this week: http://visz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/woalert_read....is〈=eng

    Looking forward to some spectacular webcams!

    :)P

    Thanks P3, San Miguel is one of three volcanoes to have burst into life in the past week or so and I shall give further details below.

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    Guest Viking141

    Currently, there are some 15 volcanoes worldwide in various states of activity. In my updates I will classify them into two sections - New Activity (featuring Volcanoes which have recently started a cycle of activity) and Ongoing Activity (featuring Volcanoes which have been active for some time).

    Obviously this means a lot of activity so I will tend to concentrate more on newer or more spectacular activity rather than those which are essentially grumbling away without major impact or effect!

    So for my first update:

    New Activity

    New activity or unrest has been reported at the following Volcanoes:

    Fourpeaked, Alaska, USA; Rabaul, Papua New Guinea & as P3 has already pointed out San Miguel, El Salvador.

    Fourpeaked Volcano lies in the Katmai National Park, Alaska. It is difficult to assess at times as it is surrouned by (and partly covered by) the Fourpeaked Glacier. Latest information from Alaska Volcano Observatory shows continuing low-level earthquake activity, as well as rising steam and ash from the craters.

    AVO website

    Rabaul Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reports that the Rabaul Volcano, New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea, burst into life on 11th October with an eruption which produced a plume of some 7.6km (25,000ft) and continues to produce both low-level emissions and occasional Vulcanian (explosive) eruptions on and off over the past week or so, which have prodcued plumes up to 1km high. Rabaul has produced some major explosive eruptions, the most recent in 1994 which resulted in the evacuation of nearby Rabaul City.

    New Volcanic Ash Advisory from Darwin VAAC

    San Miguel According to Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET), El Salvadors most active volcano, San Miguel had show signs of increased seismic activity and that an alert had been issued. San Miguel (known locally as Chaparrastique) is a symmetrical cone volcano and one of El Salvadors most prominent landmarks. The Yellow alert issued earlier this week has now been downgraded to Green for the time being.

    Ongoing Activity

    There is ongoing activity at the following volcanoes:

    Bulusan & Mayon (Philippines); Karymsky (Russia); Kilauea & St. Helens (USA); Langila (Papua New Guinea); Piton de la Fournaise (Reunion Island); Sangay & Tungurahua (Ecuador); Soufriere Hills (Montserrat); Suwanose-jima (Japan) & Ubinas (Peru).

    Most of these are "grumbling" i.e. the activity is fairly routine seismic activity, emissions of steam etc apart from a couple which are worth mentioning:

    Soufriere Hills Many will remember the spectacular pictures of the eruption of this volcano from several years ago and this eruption continues unabated. There continues to be growth of a lava dome in the NE part of the volcano, with frequent heavy ashfall, plumes rising to heights of 2.1 to 4.6km (7,000 to 15,000ft), pyroclastic flows and mudflows (lahars) produced by heavy rainfall on 11/12th October

    Montserrat Volcano Obsy

    St.Helens Again a volcano which sticks in many peoples memories after the monumental explosive eruption in 1980. St. Helens is still highly active with continued growth of a new lava dome, small rockfalls and seismic activity.

    Cascades Volcano Obsy website

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    Guest Viking141

    Attached are some photographs of the recent activity at Fourpeaked, Alaska. All photos courtesy of Kate Bull, Alaska Volcano Observatory.

    post-4448-1161512962.jpgpost-4448-1161512979.jpgpost-4448-1161512992_thumb.jpg

    Note the yellow, sulphur stained snow in the right-hand photograph.

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    Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea

    I'm looking for an update on Popocatepetl ( mainly to see if you can spell it, Viking!); any help? Also, can you find out any more about the eruption/ash plumes reported at Barren Island on the 20Th?

    Thanks,

    :)P

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    Guest Viking141
    I'm looking for an update on Popocatepetl ( mainly to see if you can spell it, Viking!); any help? Also, can you find out any more about the eruption/ash plumes reported at Barren Island on the 20Th?

    Thanks,

    :)P

    Ask and ye shall receive P3!

    "Popo" whilst currently classified as "active" is relatively quiet at the moment with the odd plume of smoke rising from the crater. Attached is a photograph taken on 20th October which shows only slight emissions from the crater.

    post-4448-1161515481_thumb.jpg

    According to the Darwin VAAC, aircraft reported ash clouds rising from Barren Island on 19th & 20th October to between 2000-5000ft. Barren Island, in the Andaman Islands (Indian Ocean) began erupting on 2nd May this year and was highly active for a time. Latest reports from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and the Indian Coast Guard suggest that this eruption is now quietening down (apart from the occasional outburst of steam and ash). A survey carried out by the Indian Coast Guard on 23rd September reported "much less lava" but that the volcano was going through episodes of smoke and ash production. It also has to be remembered that the western end of the caldera is open to the sea and a mixture of steam/smoke/ash production is quite frequent - it also leads to some very powerful explosive eruptions! One worth watching I think.

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    Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea

    Thanks, Viking. I'll keep looking for the updates. I could also benefit from a description of some of the eruption 'types', as there are several, and they don't explain them on the summary reports.

    :)P

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    Guest Viking141

    Learning Point - Eruption Types

    Many of the links I will give you will classify eruptions as being of one type or another so to give you an idea of what they are talking about, here are descriptions of the main eruption types:

    EFFUSIVE: Characterised by the oozing of low-viscosity lava which has a fairly low volatile content. In effect the opposite of an explosive eruption. Stromboli is a prime example of this (although Stromboli is also prone to other types of eruption as we shall see later!)

    EXPLOSIVE: As its name suggests a very violent explosion caused by the interaction of gas (including water vapour) under great pressure and hot rising magma, which then interacts with groundwater before bursting through the overlying rock. Often this initial explosion is not the most violent as the huge amount of gas, partially dissolved in the magma, resumes its gaseous form violently and explosively. The Mt St Helens eruption of 1980 is a prime example.

    HAWAIIAN: Gentle, low-level eruptions of an effusive nature with very low gas content and little or no ash production. Obviously named for Hawaiian volcanoes, Kilauea being a prime example. This can sometimes produce impressive lava "fountains" where the lava shoots as much as 1900ft into the air!

    PELEAN: The main features of Pelean eruptions is the production of Pyroclastic Flows (fast moving avalanches of hot gas, ash and rock (Tephra) at temps between 100-800C and moving at speeds of up to 150km/h) and the formation of lava domes. Named after Mt Pelee in Martinique whose eruptions are typically of this nature.

    PHREATIC: These occur when rising magma comes into contact with ground water which leads to an explosive eruption including rock fragments and "bombs." They can also produce large amounts of Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen Sulphide gas emissions, but dont normally include lava. It is believed that the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa was a massive Phreatic Eruption.

    PLINIAN: This type of eruption (named for Pliny the Younger who described the eruption Mt Vesuvius in 79AD) is characterised by massive smoke/ash columns rising high into the Stratosphere, large and continuos gas explosions and the ejection of large amounts of pumice. They usually produce pyroclastic flows and can cover enormous areas in fine volcanic ash.

    STROMBOLIAN: Named after the Italian volcano Stromboli, these eruptions produce rhytmical ejections of lava bombs, incandescent cinders and lapilli (small lava spheres).Only sporadically violent, this type of eruption throws Tephra into the air up to to tens of thousands of metres and, having been red hot when it left the vent, usually cools and solidifies by the time it reaches the ground.

    VULCANIAN: Fairly violent eruptions which produce pyroclastic flows, large amounts of ash, and can hurl large metre sized blocks up to a distance of a few kilometres. The beginning of one opf these eruptions has been described as "throat clearing" where frequent loud explosions clear old rock from the vent followed by large scale production of ash and finally ending with viscous lava flows. Stromboli in 1930, the current Montserrat eruption and Mt Unzen 1991 are examplesof this type of eruption.

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    Posted
  • Location: Louth, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Misty Autumn days and foggy nights
  • Location: Louth, Lincolnshire

    Good stuff Viking - I always felt volcanic activity was an underappreciated element of worldwide climate conditions.

    I've been on Fourpeaked, about 7 years ago, doing some survey work on wolverines for the Alaska state wildlife service. Interesting to see the photographs now!!!

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    Guest Viking141
    Good stuff Viking - I always felt volcanic activity was an underappreciated element of worldwide climate conditions.

    I've been on Fourpeaked, about 7 years ago, doing some survey work on wolverines for the Alaska state wildlife service. Interesting to see the photographs now!!!

    Lucky so and so! Must be a very beautiful part of the world.

    :)

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    Guest Viking141

    Learning Point - Aviation Colour Codes

    From time-to-time, both in the links I provide and in my own text, you will hear Volcanoes being referred to as being at Colour Code Yellow or Yellow Alert. This refers to Aviation Colour Codes. As you can imagine, volcanic activity is of major concern to the aviation industry. Inhalation of volcanic dust has been likened to inhaling glass fragments so you can imagine what this would do to the sensitive parts of a modern day jet engine.

    In order to warn aircraft of potential hazards, when volcanoes erupt they are given an Aviaton Colour Code which gives an idea of the eruptive state of the volcano. This is handy for us land-lubbers as well as it gives aquick reference as to the state of a volcano. The colour codes are as follows:

    GREEN: Normal, non-eruptive state, ]or, after a change from a higher level: Volcanic activity considered to have ceased and volcano reverted to its normal, non-eruptive state.

    YELLOW: Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background levels. Or, after a change from a higher level: Volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored for possible renewed increase.

    ORANGE: Volcano is exhibiting heightened unrest with increased likelihood of eruption. Or: Volcanic eruption underway with no or minor ash emission.

    RED: Eruption is forecast to be imminent with significant emission of ash into the atmosphere likely Or: Eruption is underway with significant emission of ash into the atmosphere.

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    Guest Viking141

    Mt.St Helens giving cause for concern

    Mt. St Helens, famous for the cataclysmic eruption of 18 May, 1980, is again giving cause for concern. Whilst all the other Cascades Range volcanoes remain at or near normal rates of seismicity etc, Mt. St Helens continues to threaten to erupt at any time.

    St. Helens is now at Aviaton Colour Code ORANGE (see above post). According to the latest report issued yesterday, from the USGC Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington State, Mt St Helens continues to show low rates of seismicity, low emissions of steam and volcanic gases and minor ash production. Growth of the new lava dome inside the crater continues unabated. USGS is warning that the eruption could intensify at any time without warning. Latest observation show a magnitude 3.5 earthquake occurred at 1513 local time on Saturday afternoon whic shook loose a lava spine from the dome and lava has been observed extruding into the southern crater accompanied by small earthquakes and occasional rockfalls and avalanches.

    USGS continues to monitor the situation very closely and will issue additonal updates in the alert level if warranted.

    St Helens Volcano Cam

    The above link is to the Mt St Helens Volcano Cam, so hopefully during daylight hours over there we should be able to see whats going on, currently dark at the mo.

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    Posted
  • Location: Louth, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Misty Autumn days and foggy nights
  • Location: Louth, Lincolnshire
    Lucky so and so! Must be a very beautiful part of the world.

    :)

    It is, particularly in Autumn after the mosquitos of death have disappeared. The Volcano at the time was fairly quiet, though there had been some glacier-melt that summer on a scale greater than normal summer retreat. It is beautiful though, the Volcano rises out of the side of Cook Inlet and has a fantastic glacier on its landward side.

    There were USGS personnel there when we were there and understand it's quite a well-researched volcano. When we came off the peninsula I was on a seaplane (no roads!) with a guy from the ADGGS, so clearly they were very interested in it even back then. If I recall correctly, there were concerns about the possibility of a lateral eruption causing a major landslide into Cook Inlet, the north-eastern end of the Inlet has Anchorage, so a large enough landslide into a narrowing inlet like cook presents some interesting flood defence complications!

    I do remember it being cold - It's not high compared with some of the other peaks in the Aleutian Range but that far north you don't have to climb that high for the cold to get painful. It was also the only place we actually caught up with a wolverine and it's supposedly the best place in the world to see brown bears - we regularly blundered into them (not literally, you understand!)

    For anyone else interested in the Fourpeaked volcano, it's part of the Katmai National Park and Wilderness Preserve.

    http://www.nps.gov/katm/index.htm

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    Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea

    Here's another one for you, Viking: the Kamchatka peninsula is one of the most active volcano zones in the world; how much impact does the activity on this area have on the climate, for example the spread of sulphates into the atmosphere?

    Another question: I haven't been able to find up-to-date figures on how much Sulphate has been emitted into the atmosphere in total this year; any idea, or any links?

    :)P

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    Guest Viking141
    Here's another one for you, Viking: the Kamchatka peninsula is one of the most active volcano zones in the world; how much impact does the activity on this area have on the climate, for example the spread of sulphates into the atmosphere?

    Another question: I haven't been able to find up-to-date figures on how much Sulphate has been emitted into the atmosphere in total this year; any idea, or any links?

    :)P

    Funny you should mention Kamchatka P3, Ive just been looking at the latest report regarding Karymsky Volcano (more to follow). Also you seem to have read my mind as I am curently trawling through stuff re volcanic emissions at the moment so I will see what I can find. Might be a day or two beacuse theres a lot of stuff and I have to work tonight.

    :)

    Slight Increase in activity at Karymsky

    Karymsky Volcano in the far-eastern Kamchatka Region of the Russian Federation has shown increased signs of activity this week. According to KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) the number of weak, shallow earthquakes at the volcano now measures some 100-290 per day. According to satellite observations a thermal anomaly was noted over the crater on 13th, 15th and 17th-19th October and they are warning of possible ash plumes rising to heights of 6kms (19,700ft). Karymsky is currently at Aviation Colour Code ORANGE.

    KVERT website

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    Posted
  • Location: Castle Black, the Wall, the North
  • Weather Preferences: Spanish Plumes, Blizzards, Severe Frosts :-)
  • Location: Castle Black, the Wall, the North

    Very Good Thread Bob,

    Much more interesting than our rubbish weather this autumn, well done mate!

    Karl :)

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    Guest Viking141
    Very Good Thread Bob,

    Much more interesting than our rubbish weather this autumn, well done mate!

    Karl :)

    Tks Karl. Yes the weathers not pretty at the mo is it?! Volcanoes are fascinating creatures and since they contribute to our planets climate I thought, why not?

    :)

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    Guest Viking141

    Tungurahua showing increased signs of unrest

    Tungurahua, one of Ecuadors most active volcanoes, is showing signs of increased activity once again. Tungurahua ("Throat of Fire") which had a major eruption as recently as August this year is again showing dangerous signs. The latest advisory from the Washington VAAC timed at 1412 UTC today cites a pilot report seeing a volcanic ash cloud to 21,000ft.

    According to local sources lava and ash being erupted from the volcano forced the evacuation of approx 300 villagers. Tungurahua lies approx 85 miles south of the capital Quito.

    Experts are warning explosions could come at any time. Hugo Yepes, Director of the Instituto Geofisico-Escuela Politechnica Nacional said: "What we have seen now is evidence that something there could be something similar to the episodes in July and August." He continued: "Inside the ground there is a chamber of magma much larger than the volcano itself."

    post-4448-1161626410.jpg

    Picture shows Tungurahua erupting in July 2006

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    Posted
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
  • Location: Sunny Southsea
    Tungurahua showing increased signs of unrest

    Tungurahua, one of Ecuadors most active volcanoes, is showing signs of increased activity once again. Tungurahua ("Throat of Fire") which had a major eruption as recently as August this year is again showing dangerous signs. The latest advisory from the Washington VAAC timed at 1412 UTC today cites a pilot report seeing a volcanic ash cloud to 21,000ft.

    According to local sources lava and ash being erupted from the volcano forced the evacuation of approx 300 villagers. Tungurahua lies approx 85 miles south of the capital Quito.

    Experts are warning explosions could come at any time. Hugo Yepes, Director of the Instituto Geofisico-Escuela Politechnica Nacional said: "What we have seen now is evidence that something there could be something similar to the episodes in July and August." He continued: "Inside the ground there is a chamber of magma much larger than the volcano itself."

    post-4448-1161626410.jpg

    Picture shows Tungurahua erupting in July 2006

    This is definitely one to watch, I think; it hasn't really stopped rumbling since July, and has a good track record of activity.

    :)P

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    Guest Viking141

    Ongoing activity - Tungurahua - update

    Latest info from the Washington VAAC - ash cloud could not be observed by the GEOS-8 satellite due to cloud cover, however, the Instituto Geofisical reported an ash cloud trending Northwards at 1930 UTC.

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    Posted
  • Location: Bognor Regis West Sussex
  • Location: Bognor Regis West Sussex

    Brilliant thread Viking, the second love of my life after the weather, have you any links to active volcano webcams?

    I have the Mt St helens one which I check daily on the assumption it has to do something interesting soon. Actually the rate of growth is pretty amazing (been watching it for over a year now) and it looks like it wont be too long before it reaches above the height of the old blast crater.

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    Guest Viking141
    Brilliant thread Viking, the second love of my life after the weather, have you any links to active volcano webcams?

    I have the Mt St helens one which I check daily on the assumption it has to do something interesting soon. Actually the rate of growth is pretty amazing (been watching it for over a year now) and it looks like it wont be too long before it reaches above the height of the old blast crater.

    Hi coldfingers tks for that. Ive only just started this thread so as time goes by I will increasingly be able to post links to various volcanocams around the world. I think you're right about St Helens, all the signs are that we could be in for something rather interesting in the not too distant future! The lava dome which has sprung up in the crater is, as you rightly say, growing at an amazing rate. Its only a matter of time before things blow. All the activity in this area seems to be centred on St Helens at the moment as all the rest of the Cascade Volcanoes are relatively quiet.

    :whistling:

    Try this list of volcano webcams:

    USGS volcanocams list

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