Friday, August 24, 2007

Alaska volcano is under close watch

The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reported Saturday that it is keeping a close watch on the Pavlof Volcano located on the Alaska Peninsula. The AVO reported steady earthquake activity and lava flow events continue at Pavlof Volcano, and several discrete explosion earthquakes continue to be recorded.

"An AVO field party conducted an overflight of the volcano Saturday and report that a vigorous eruption of lava at the volcano continues. While a primary hazard from this eruption is airborne ash, explosions producing ash do not seem to be significant at this time and any ash produced is likely staying below 15,000 ft above sea level. AVO is maintaining aviation color code Orange and volcanic activity alert level WATCH at this time," the AVO reported on its Web site.

"If activity continues to increase in intensity, larger ash clouds that could affect aircraft may be produced. The most immediate ground hazard in the vicinity of the volcano includes light ash fall on nearby communities," according to the Observatory report.

Previous historical eruptions from Pavlof caused only a few millimeters (about 1/10th of an inch) of ash to fall on the Alaskan communities of King Cove, Nelson Lagoon, Cold Bay, and Sand Point.

"Mudflows in drainages from the flanks of the volcano, and lava flows and avalanching of hot debris on the upper reaches of the volcano are also of concern in the uninhabited areas around the volcano. Satellite and seismic data and eyewitness observations suggest most of the surface lava activity is occurring on the southeast sector of the steep-sided volcano; this suggests that the Pacific Ocean side of the volcano is at most risk from avalanching hot debris," the AVO reported Saturday.

The AVO said it will continue to monitor the activity closely; adding that satellite and seismic data are checked frequently around the clock. An abrupt increase in earthquake activity began at Pavlof Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula early Tuesday (August 14) morning. At this time, we expect this eruption to follow the pattern of previous eruptions. The last eruption of Pavlof began in September, 1996 and consisted of a several-month-long series of ash explosions, lava-fountaining, and lava-flow production.

Ash clouds reached as high as 30,000 ft ASL on one occasion. However, most ash clouds were below 20,000 ft ASL. Prior to 1996, Pavlof erupted in 1986 sending ash as high as 49,000 ft ASL on at least one occasion.The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is a joint program of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAFGI), and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (ADGGS).

AVO was formed in 1988, and uses federal, state, and university resources to monitor and study Alaska's hazardous volcanoes, to predict and record eruptive activity, and to mitigate volcanic hazards to life and property.Intellpuke: You can read this Alaska Volcano Observatory report in context here: You can also find maps showing Pavlof Volcano's location, at the above web site url, and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration AVHRR photo satellite image showing a strong thermal anomaly observed at the summit of Pavlof Volcano taken August 16, 2007 at 07:50 AM AKDT (1550 UTC) here:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Predicted volcano eruption happens!

Pavlof Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula started erupting Wednesday, a day after scientists issued a warning based on a sudden surge in local earthquakes.

The volcano, one of the most active in the Aleutian rim of fire, is spewing molten rock in what could be a buildup to a bigger ash explosion, scientists said.

Eyewitnesses on a fishing boat reported seeing incandescent blocks falling down the east-southeast flank of the volcano early Wednesday, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported. The observatory had already raised its aviation alert code for the volcano from yellow to orange, and the alert level from Advisory to Watch, based on heat readings by weather satellites and an escalating swarm of earthquake signals from sensors on the mountain.

A pilot reported a weak ash plume Wednesday extending five miles southwest of the summit at about 8,400 feet elevation.

Scientists said the eruption could become stronger at any time. In previous eruptions, the mountain spewed lava for a week or more before suddenly sending ash clouds miles into the sky, said Steve McNutt, a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute who works with the observatory.

Low clouds Wednesday obscured views of the steep cone-shaped mountain from the nearest community, Cold Bay, 37 miles to the southwest. Pavlof is located 590 miles from Anchorage.
Immediate hazards around the volcano include light ash fall on nearby communities, mudflows in local drainages, and lava flows and avalanching of hot debris on the upper reaches of the volcano, the observatory said.

With nearly 40 historic eruptions, Pavlof is closely watched and heavily wired for seismic readings. Attention was drawn to the volcano Tuesday when earthquake activity increased abruptly. Similar patterns of seismicity occurred before eruptions in 1996, 1986, 1983 and 1981, observatory scientists said. They issued their first alert at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The 1996 eruption resulted in a series of ash explosions, lava fountaining and lava flows over several months. Ash clouds reached as high as 30,000 feet. An eruption 10 years earlier sent a cloud as high as 49,000 feet. Ash clouds can present a hazard to aviation.

McNutt said Pavlof has experienced its longest period of repose on record -- 11 years.
One of Pavlof's peculiarities is that its eruptions in the past half-century have been noticeably seasonal, coming between September and November, said McNutt. A hypothesis, tested by modeling and as yet unrefuted, is that the seasonal fall buildup of low pressure in the Aleutians piles an extra foot of water onto the beaches, squeezing the magma at depth, he said.
"This one's a little early," McNutt said.

Two people are missing following a volcano eruption

A volcano in north-eastern Ethiopia's Afar region erupted over the weekend, leaving two people missing and forcing hundreds to flee, state-run media reported on Wednesday.The Ethiopia News Agency (ENA) said the volcano spewed lava on Sunday, forcing mainly salt-mining Afar nomads living around the mountain's range to escape."The volcano at Alama'ari locality in the Afar regional state forced residents of the nearby villages of Dayulu and Gomoyta to flee for their lives, two among them are still missing," regional official Mohamed Hayu told ENA."People living in nearby mountain ranges were also forced to retreat," he added.

top.Arteale had been largely dormant for the previous six decadesThe state's disaster prevention agency has dispatched investigators and relief supplies to the area that lies about 980km north-east of the capital, near the frontier with Eritrea and Djibouti, according to ENA.The volcano's name was not given, and it was not immediately clear if it was Mount Arteale, the only active volcano in Ethiopia, which erupted about two years ago.That eruption, releasing a thick blanket of ash and plumes of smoke, caused the displacement of more than 50 000 Afar nomads and the death of hundreds of livestock.

Arteale had been largely dormant for the previous six decades, but started to spew molten lava after a series of earthquakes rattled the region in September 2005.Experts have previously said the eruptions were caused by the expansion of tectonic plates under the Great Rift Valley, which for years has been regarded as highly susceptible to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Alaska: Volcano eruption is near

A volcano alert has been issued for the Pavlof Volcano near Cold Bay on the Alaska Peninsula.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory issued the advisory alert, which is the first step in watching for an eruption.

Observatory scientists say similar activity occurred before eruptions in 1996, 1986, 1983 and 1981.

Pavlof is a steep volcano that is 8,262 feet high. It is 1 of the most active volcanos in the Aleutians. Cold Bay is 37 miles southwest of the volcano.

In 1996, the volcano produced a number of ash explosions, lava fountains and lava flows over several months.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Earthquake causes concerns about possible volcano eruptions

Volcanologists in Indonesia are keeping a close watch on the country's many active volcanos after a big earthquake shook the main sland of Java yesterday.

There are fears that the earthquake, which measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, might set off new volcanic activity.

Pak Surono, head of Indonesia's Volcanology Centre, said his scientists were closely monitoring two volcanos, Mount Ceremai and Mount Slamet, because the pressure in both was quite high and it was feared the quake might cause them to erupt.

The earthquake, though large, was quite deep in the earth, meaning it was felt over a large area but produced little destructive activity.

Indonesia state oil company, Pertamina, shut down a major refinery in west Java after the quake triggered a power failure and engineers are continuing to assess the situation.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Ring of Fire has an average of 5 volcanic eruptions every year

The Indonesian Geology Agency has predicted five volcano eruptions for the country annually as it sits on a highly vulnerable zone, local press said Monday.

Indonesia is positioned at a zoen called "the Pacific Ring of Fire," where two continental plates meet and cause frequent seismic and volcanic movements. An estimated 129 active volcanoes spread across the sprawling archipelago and five eruptions were a reasonable estimation, reported English daily The Jakarta Post.

The country's volcanoes accounted for 13 percent of volcanoes worldwide, head of volcanology mitigation and disaster Surono was quoted as saying.

Last month, the 700-meter-high Mount Gamkonora in West Halmahera, North Maluku, unexpectedly erupted, causing thousands to temporarily flee their homes.

Agency officials Sunday remained on warning as the Papandayan volcano in Garut, West Java, and Merapi volcano in Yogyakarta were registered as being in a "cautious" status.

Another volcano, Soputan in North Sulawesi, was in a higher "alert" status.

The agency has set four levels to define the activity of Indonesia's volcanoes, including normal activity, caution, alert and dangerous.

The 2,665-meter Papandayan was put on the cautious level Thursday after the agency recorded increased seismographic activity and on the back of reports from an observation post in nearby Pangauban village.

Iceland could see volcano eruption soon!

A series of small earthquakes around Upptyppingar north of Vatnajökull since this February has prompted speculations from geologists that a volcanic eruption could be imminent in the area.
According to national radio RÚV, a particularly intense sequences of quakes occurred during the nights of July 31 and August 1.

Around 130 small quakes were reported during that period. Geologists believe the quakes are related to movements of magma underneath the surface and if they continue with increasing power a volcanic eruption might take place.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Volcano erupts in the Phillipines!

A volcano erupted in the eastern Philippines on Tuesday, raining ash on two towns, but there were no reports of casualties, volcanologists said. No immediate evacuation of nearby communities was necessary unless the apparently short-term eruption of Bulusan volcano worsens, Julio Sabit of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told AFP.

Located on the southeastern tip of the main island of Luzon, the 1,559-meter (5,145-foot) Bulusan erupted at about 9:30 am (0130 GMT) with a burst of ash that shot up six kilometers (3.7 miles) above the crater, Sabit said.

The column drifted west toward the towns of Juban and Irosin. Government volcanologists were going to the site to evaluate the scale of the volcanic activity, he added.

"The eruption is nearly over although there could be more to follow based on previous activity," Sabit said. "People's lives are not in danger as of the moment and no evacuations have been ordered."

However, if the eruption persists several villages near the lower slopes could be under threat from volcanic ash carried down by rivers and streams, he added.

Bulusan is one of the Philippines' 22 active volcanoes. It is known to have erupted 16 time previously, the last one in early 2006.

Human settlements are banned within four kilometers (2.5 miles) of the crater.

Philippines prays for typhoons as dry spell bites Manila

A senior weather forecaster said Tuesday he hoped more typhoons would lash the Philippines this year to ease a lengthening dry spell that has caused power outages and threatens agriculture.
Typhoons and storms kill hundreds in the southeast Asian archipelago every year, but Nathaniel Cruz, the government's chief weather forecaster, said rain induced by the strong winds could ease the "drier than usual" conditions on the main island of Luzon.

Scant rain has pushed water levels at Luzon dams below normal, affecting power generation and causing three-hour power outages last week.

"We need tropical cyclones," Cruz said over ABS-CBN television.

The weather bureau expects between two and three to hit the country in August and "let's hope that these winds will (bring rain)," he said. "We need the rainfall."

The bureau said that June and July rainfall patterns in much of Luzon, including Manila were "below normal" and "this has led to dry spell conditions."

It said this has been "felt in the various sectors, such as agriculture, water resources, health and energy."

If these conditions persist in the coming months it "may develop into drought conditions."

President Gloria Arroyo had asked the public to save water and ordered all agencies to prepare for a drought if rains do not come by August.

Zanu volcano still active

The 44 years of existence of Zanu (with or without PF) has been characterized by what the late UZ Professor of Political Science Masipula Sithole coined as “Struggles within the Struggle”. These are basically reflected by countless internal assassinations, squabbles, divisions, disputes, internal revolts, coups, etc.

Robert Mugabe receiving an Honorary doctorate from a Scottish University in the eighties. The doctorate has since been revoked
Thus, since 1963, Zanu simply resembled a volcano in every form, way, definition and description. Those who know volcanoes very well understand what I mean to say.

Volcanoes are simply natural openings or ruptures in the earth’s crust where red hot molten rock is squeezed out and erupts or explodes on to the surface and flow as lava. They are often located on mountain tops.

Volcanoes are either dormant or active. They are dormant when they are inactive, meaning volcanic activity or eruptions and flow is not being registered or noted during certain specified periods of time. They are active when lava starts exploding and flowing out on the surface of the earth.

This is exactly what characterizes the history of the patriotic party. When President Matibili took over the leadership of Zanu in 1977, it almost became a dormant volcano, thanks to his divide and rule tactics, network of patronage and iron fist rule.

Nonetheless, factors like tribalism. regionalism, nepotism, old age, need to safeguard personal and group interests forever have always kept this volcano boiling, cooling and fuming with pressure ready to explode. The volcano is now very active and dangerous to every living creature and environment in Zimbabwe.

It is now exploding and spilling lava from every point on the mountain top. The countless divisions in Zanu PF simply resemble a multi-cratered volcano. The biggest and most dangerous one is the central crater (President Matibili and RBZ Governor Gideon Gono), followed by other two very active craters namely Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Retired Army General Solomon Mujuru.

Other notable and important craters, disguisingly lying dormant, are Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo, Security Minister Dydimus Mutasa, Politburo Members Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa. National Commissar Eliot Manyika and Sylvester Kasukuwere are other possible eruption points.

This volcano called Zanu PF if not monitored and people not warmed in time shall bring dire consequences to both humanity and the biodiversity. This is a very devastating man made volcano. Come 2008 Zimbabweans need to run away and resettle in safer parts of the nation called MDC.

Scuba divers to study volcano eruptions under the sea!

Imagine diving 6,000 feet under the ocean's surface in a submersible to bear witness as a new island is born.

Then climbing more than 13,700 feet to the summit of a million-year-old dormant volcano.
At the top, you're treated to an up-close look at the vast universe beyond, through one of the world's most powerful telescopes.

That's exactly what a group of scientists from the Tampa Bay area will do in October at Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island. Operation: Deep Climb is the joint venture of an impressive gathering of scientists.

And some of them haven't even entered high school yet. It's all made possible by SCUBAnauts International, a science organization for 12- to 18-year-olds.

"Kids can look at us and be like 'I can do that too,' " said participant Savannah Manning, 14, of Tampa.

That's exactly the point, said U.S. Navy Capt. Dave Olson, one of the founders of SCUBAnauts International.

"The whole idea here is to inspire a new generation of 21st century explorers and promote scientific understanding of the universe and marine environment," Olson said.

The group hopes to expand within the next two years with assistance from NASA, which recently awarded it a $340,000 grant to collect data that will help map areas of Tampa Bay.

The project will be led by Dr. Chris Moses of the Institute for Marine Remote Sensing at USF's College of Marine Science, and a team of scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and USF's College of Marine Science.

The project comes at a critical juncture in American science.

A 2005 U.S. Department of Education study showed that only 54 percent of high school seniors performed at or above the basic level in science in 2005. Fewer college students are choosing science majors, and a new National Science Foundation report found that the number of U.S. science and engineering articles in major peer-reviewed journals flattened in the 1990s.

The data gathered by the SCUBAnauts will be used by scientists in a variety of ways, including as validation of satellite imagery.

"It's just really cool to think that someone with NASA wants to support a little group of kids to do this stuff," said Mary Silk, 14, of St. Petersburg.

* * *

Formerly known as SCUBA Scouts, the group was formed in 2001 by Olson and Walter Jaap, a longtime marine biologist now retired from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

There are more than 30 active divers from across the Tampa Bay area. Before their first dive, the kids are rigorously trained and certified in scuba diving. They must attend science classes and dry-run meetings before each dive.

"It's serious business. There's an inherent risk to diving and we want to prevent any possible avenues for an accident," Olson said.

Under the guidance of Jaap, the group teamed up in 2002 with a Houston company that built the natural gas pipeline in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

The company had transplanted coral formations and sponges to limestone artificial reefs to mitigate damage from construction. The SCUBAnauts monitor several of the mitigation sites to assess the health of organisms living on the reefs.

"We take pictures and video record to be able to document the progress and growth on the rock," said Santannah Manning, Savannah's twin sister.

"It's great because the kids can actually see their data being used by real scientists," said Jen Dupont, a doctoral student at USF's College of Marine Science.

The kids also perform yearly coral reef monitoring dives in the Florida Keys. They've visited the Eco-Discovery Center at the Florida Keys Natural Marine Sanctuary, where they learned how to clean corals waiting to be transplanted.

SCUBAnauts have also had the chance to board Aquarius, a submersible deep-sea habitat owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Santannah Manning said she never knew she was capable of marine research. "In elementary school ... I was not a fan of science, but now all the great scientists have really opened it up for us and made it easy to understand."

* * *

The Hawaii expedition is a collaboration between the SCUBAnauts, the Explorer's Club, NASA, NOAA, the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory and the U.S. Air Force.

The three-phase expedition will begin when the kids descend in submersibles to study undersea volcanic eruptions. Then, they'll study volcanic ecosystems as they climb to the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, considered the world's tallest mountain. (Though the summit is 13,796 feet above sea level, another 20,000 feet of the volcano lies beneath the Pacific Ocean.)
There, they'll unfurl an expedition banner that will be flown into space by NASA astronaut Dom Gorie during a space shuttle mission in 2008. The kids will watch the launch and later speak to Gorie in space.

Olson said they hope to take as many as 20 kids on the trip, but are well short of the $150,000 needed. The sea-land-space expedition is being billed as the first of its kind.

"It's pretty cool to think you might be the first person to see what you're seeing," Santannah Manning said.

Dive in

To learn more about SCUBA- nauts or make a donation, call (727) 772-3314 or visit the Web page at

Mexican volcano wakes up in smoke!

A small eruption has just occurred minutes ago at Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico. I just got this picture from their webcam a few minutes before posting this news. I will update this story if there are any developments.

Update 07.29.07 12.39 GMT Since posting this story I have not seen anymore eruptions only puffs of smoke. I have posted the latest image from the volano webcam taken a few minutes ago.

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