Sunday, May 25, 2008

Violent volcano eruption!

Mt Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait on Sunday sent up fireballs coupled with earsplitting bursts for about five minutes.Juwono of the Mt Anak Krakatau monitoring post in Pasauran village, Cinangka sub-district, Serang regency, on Sunday night reported that the fireball bursts were coupled with very loud explosions and heard up to the Anyer coastal areas.

He said that in the last five days, Anak Krakatau was rather quiet, adding that the earsplitting bursts followed by fireballs was caused by the widening of the craters` cauldron south of the volcano.For these reasons, Anak Krakatau is still in level-three alert status, so that it would be too dangerous and risky for visitors, including fishermen, to get within a 2-km radius from the active volcano as suggested by the Volcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation Center, and the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry in Bandung.

The frequency of the eruptions and tremors of Anak Krakatau had been increasing as the result of its crater`s widened cauldron south of the volcano.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chaiten's volcano eruption kills one and causes evacuation

A long-dormant South American volcano's awakening is the latest example of the planet letting off a little steam (not to mention ash, lava and smoke).

Lava began to flow today from Chile's Chaitén volcano, chasing remaining residents out of a nearby town and putting the government of the affected Palena Province on high alert. The country had already been on edge following the volcano's initial eruption this past weekend, spewing hot ash, gas and smoke into the air for several days, forcing the evacuation of more than 4,200 residents and leading to the death of a 92-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack aboard a navy boat as she was being taken to Puerto Montt, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of the volcano.

No lava flow, however, had been reported until Tuesday.Volcanoes are openings, or vents, in Earth's crust through which magma—formed when the planet's upper mantle and lower crust melts—and gases are discharged. Once the magma percolates to the surface and begins to flow from the volcano, it is called lava.

Ash, more than six inches (15 centimeters) thick in some places, had already coated houses, vehicles, trees and water supplies.The eruption came as a surprise, given how long the volcano had been dormant—various news reports state that the volcano's last eruption was anywhere between 400 and 9,000 years ago. The eruption was the first for Chaitén volcano in recorded history and followed two days of unusual seismic activity in the zone, The Patagonia Times reported Monday.

Chile's volcano woes come just weeks after Colombia's Nevado del Huila volcano—located about 155 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of Bogotá—forced the evacuation of up to 15,000 people. This was Nevado del Huila's first eruption in 400 years. Even after the eruption, dangers such as avalanches and mud flows continued to be a concern.

Earlier this year, Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's largest island piped up with explosive eruptions and toxic sulfur dioxide emissions, sending U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists scrambling to predict the volcano's next move and whether neighboring villagers would be in harm's way. Predicting when an eruption will occur requires measuring a number of parameters, including earthquake activity and gas emissions at the volcano.

The methods are far from foolproof, so scientists are experimenting using lasers to examine changes in carbon isotopes in carbon dioxide, which might signal an influx of carbon dioxide from magma either building under or rising through the volcano.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Chilean volcano erupts and causes evacuation

Some 1,500 people have been led to safety from the slopes of the Chaiten volcano in southern Chile after it erupted, hurling hot rocks and belching clouds of ash into the sky. There have so far been no reports of casualties or damage.

The volcano is located some 1,300 kilometers south of the capital, Santiago. Thick clouds of ash have also spread to towns in the southern Argentine province of Chubut, where authorities closed schools and issued warnings due to low visibility on some roads.

Volcano displays some activity in New Zealand

New Zealand's active volcano Mount Ruapehu is showing increased signs of activity, the Department of Conservation (DOC) warned on Friday, but it held back from banning climbers on the 2,797-metre-high mountain which last erupted in September.

A statement said there was a higher than normal risk to people entering the hazard zone near the summit and increased gas concentrations from the 17-hectare crater lake, about 250 metres below the peak, would affect some people.

DOC said there was 'an anomalous state of activity' on the mountain and while it was unclear if it indicated eruptions in the near future they could occur without warning.

The department did not raise its alert above the standard Level One.

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