Sunday, June 22, 2008
Two underwater volcanoes have been discovered by Australian scientists
Mining companies are already looking at ways to retrieve the valuable metals.The scientists were mapping the sea floor near Fiji, when they discovered the first volcano and geology professor, Richard Arculus, says the second was stumbled upon by accident."
Just by pure chance, one of the engineers had a chronic back problem and it was decided to take him to Samoa, basically get him off the ship and get him into some other medical care," he said. "And we set off for Samoa and as we sailed east of our target area, we came across another volcano."
Volcanoes spewed precious minerals!
The discovery came during a sea floor mapping expedition in the region, in part sponsored by exploration companies.
Measuring 50 kilometres wide by almost 4,000 metres tall, the volcanoes are bubbling away at 1,100 metres and 1,500 metres below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, in an area known as the North Lau Basin, between Tonga, Fiji and Samoa.
They are within the Pacific rim of fire, an area of high earthquake activity, and are spewing into the sea black smoke containing precious minerals.
Chief scientist at the Australian National University, geology professor Richard Arculus, was among the discoverers aboard the CSIRO research ship, the Southern Surveyor, and describes the volcanoes as quite remarkable.
"Some of the features look like the volcanic blisters seen on the surface of Venus," he says.
"It provides a model of what happened millions of years ago to explain the formation of the deposits of precious minerals that are currently exploited at places like Broken Hill and Mt Isa," he says.
It may also provide exploration geologists with clues about new undiscovered mineral deposits in Australia.
"These deep-sea features are important in understanding the influences that have shaped not only our unique continent but indeed the whole planet," Professor Arculus says.
CSIRO's Director of Research Vessels, Fred Stein, who was captaining the ship during the discovery, says finding the volcanoes was serendipitous.
"It was a reminder that at the beginning of the 21st century it is still possible, on what is often regarded as a thoroughly explored planet, to discover a previously unknown massif larger than Mt Kosciuszko," he says.
The two volcanoes have been named Dugong and Lobster.
Though they are in a seismologically unstable area, Professor Arculus says the volcanoes are not likely to trigger a Tsunami. The real danger he says is not eruption but rather collapse. Any eruption though would be a hazard for the neighbouring Pacific nations.
The black smoke pouring out of the calderas leaves behined minerals containing lead, zinc, copper and gold.
Professor Arculus says several exploration companies, who were also sponsors of the voyage, are interested in high grade metals and want to mine such underwater volcanoes, with preparations already underway to mine similar sites near Papua New Guinea.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Another volcano eruption for Vanuatu
Moderate quake 5.8 magnitude on richter scaleTuesday, June 10, 2008 at 03:13:35 PM at epicenter 45 km South West of PORT-VILA, Efate, Vanuatu.There is no immediate reports of casuality or damge done by this tremblor.Official termed the shocks moderate but still to verify any loss of human life or damage done by this current natural catastrophe.Vanuatu sits on the Pacific
Ring of Fire,the known earthquake fault lines and volcanoes stretching from Chile up through the Aleutian Islands and down the western Pacific past Vanuatu to New Zealand.
Republic of VanuatuVanuatu is a 'Y' shaped archipelago of 83 islands. It is located about 1,750 kilometers east of Australia. Fiji lies to the east, New Caledonia to the south, and the Solomon Islands to the northwest, all within the area of the South Pacific called Melanesia.The two largest islands, Espiritu Santo (or Santo) and Malakula, account for nearly one-half of the total land area. They are volcanic, with sharp mountain peaks, plateaus, and lowlands.
The larger islands of the remaining half also are volcanic but are overlaid with limestone formations; the smaller ones are coral and limestone. Volcanic activity is common with an ever-present danger of a major eruption, the last of which occurred in 1945. Rainfall averages about 2,360 millimeters (94 in.) per year but can be as high as 4,000 millimeters (160 in.) in the northern islands.The population of Vanuatu is 94% indigenous Melanesian.
About 33,700 live in the capital, Port Vila. Another 10,700 live in Luganville (or Santo Town) on Espiritu Santo. The remainder live in rural areas. Approximately 2,000 ni-Vanuatu live and work in New Caledonia. Although local pidgin, called Bislama, is the national language, English and French also are official languages. Indigenous Melanesians speak 105 local languages.Christianity has had a profound influence on ni-Vanuatu society, and an estimated 90% of the population is affiliated with one of the Christian denominations.
The largest denominations are Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Anglican. John Frum, a syncretic sect, also is important on Tanna Island.The prehistory of Vanuatu is obscure; archaeological evidence supports the commonly held theory that peoples speaking Austronesian languages first came to the islands some 4,000 years ago. Pottery fragments have been found dating back to 1300-1100 B.C.
The first island in the Vanuatu group discovered by Europeans was Espiritu Santo, when in 1606 the Portuguese explorer, Pedro Fernandez De Quiros, spied what he thought was a southern continent. Europeans did not return until 1768, when Louis Antoine de Bougainville rediscovered the islands. In 1774, Captain Cook named the islands the New Hebrides, a name that lasted until independence.In 1825, trader Peter Dillon's discovery of sandalwood on the island of Erromango began a rush that ended in 1830 after a clash between immigrant Polynesian workers and indigenous Melanesians.
During the 1860s, planters in Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, and the Samoa Islands, in need of laborers, encouraged a long-term indentured labor trade called "blackbirding." At the height of the labor trade, more than one-half the adult male population of several of the Islands worked abroad. Fragmentary evidence indicates that the current population of Vanuatu is greatly reduced compared to pre-contact times.It was at this time that missionaries, both Catholic and Protestant, arrived on the islands.
Settlers also came, looking for land on which to establish cotton plantations. When international cotton prices collapsed, they switched to coffee, cocoa, bananas, and, most successfully, coconuts. Initially, British subjects from Australia made up the majority, but the establishment of the Caledonian Company of the New Hebrides in 1882 soon tipped the balance in favor of French subjects.
By the turn of the century, the French outnumbered the British two to one.The jumbling of French and British interests in the islands brought petitions for one or another of the two powers to annex the territory. In 1906, however, France and the United Kingdom agreed to administer the islands jointly.
Called the British-French Condominium, it was a unique form of government, with separate governmental systems that came together only in a joint court. Melanesians were barred from acquiring the citizenship of either power.
Challenges to this form of government began in the early 1940s. The arrival of Americans during World War II, with their informal demeanor and relative wealth, was instrumental in the rise of nationalism in the islands. The belief in a mythical messianic figure named John Frum was the basis for an indigenous cargo cult (a movement attempting to obtain industrial goods through magic) promising Melanesian deliverance.
Today, John Frum is both a religion and a political party with a member in Parliament.The first political party was established in the early 1970s and originally was called the New Hebrides National Party. One of the founders was Father Walter Lini, who later became Prime Minister. Renamed the Vanua'aku Pati in 1974, the party pushed for independence; in 1980, the Republic of Vanuatu was created.Cause of EarthquakeThe quake phenomenon is explained stress on the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's crust.
Tectonic plates are in constant vibration plus constant motion caused by currents in the Earth's liquid mantle. Earth which is composed of more than 70 % of hydrospeher which is water.This earth with watery ballon rotating on its axis and revolving round the sun in solar system make it vibrate to produce waves.This waves are the natural vibration moving in horizontal direction vertical and upwards a cause of total life in the world.
These continous vibes makes the Tectonic plates edges grind against each other, creating frictional stress. Frictional movement between two surface creates load of energy and the buoyancy of hydrosphere causes plates to relieve energy inform of waves and heat.Waves is termed Tsunami and heat Volcanic erruptions.
The continous cumulative energy between the plates increases until the strain is released by a violent displacement of the Earth's crust. The resulting waves of energy, called seismic waves, are radiated through the ground and cause an earthquake of the type we feel on the surface.
Earth's atmosphere and hydrosphere developed from the degassing (loss of gaseous elements such as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) of the early-formed core and mantle during this volcanic activity. In the present, abundant gases are still released from the Earth during volcanic eruptions and these are mainly composed of water (77%), carbon dioxide (12%), sulfur dioxide (7%), and nitrogen (3%), with minor amounts of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, sulfur, chlorine and argon.
The most powerful earthquakes, called 'mega-thrust' quakes, can exceed 9.0 on the Richter Scale and cause enormous damage around the world. A mega-thrust quake was the cause of the tsunami that ravaged much of South East Asia in 2004.
Mud volcano caused by mining!
Researchers say the finding disproves the theory, long-argued by the exploration well's operator, that an earthquake 250km away was to blame.
The mud volcano burst through the earth two years ago during deep drilling at the exploratory gas well, linked to Indonesia's richest man and also part-owned by Australian company Santos.
It has spewed millions of cubic metres of hot, stinking sludge in heavily populated East Java over the past two years.
"We are more certain than ever that the Lusi mud volcano is an unnatural disaster and was triggered by drilling the Banjar-Panji-1 well," Professor Richard Davies, of Durham University in the UK, said.
The mud now covers 7 sq km, and has displaced 30,000 people and swallowed 11 villages, thousands of homes, businesses, paddy fields and mosques.
It continues to spurt 100,000 cubic metres of mud each day.
The study – described as the most detailed scientific analysis to date – was published in the academic journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters this week.
It follows a study by Durham University last year which found the mud eruption was "almost certainly man-made", and caused by the exploratory drilling.
But the well's operator Lapindo – linked to the powerful family of Indonesia's Public Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie – has long argued it was a natural disaster caused by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Yogyakarta two days earlier, a claim backed by a Jakarta court ruling last year.
In the latest study, University of California researchers tested claims that the eruption was caused by the Yogyakarta tremor and found it did not play a role.
"We have known for hundreds of years that earthquakes can trigger eruptions – in this case, the earthquake was simply too small and too far away," said the university's Professor Michael Manga.
The report found the effect of the earthquake was minimal, with only a "tiny" resulting change to underground pressure.
It said scientists were 99 per cent certain drilling operations were to blame.
The research comes just weeks after another study by Durham University, which found the mud volcano was in danger of collapsing on itself.
It warned the bleak, sodden landscape is sinking – and could subside by as much as 146 metres over the coming years.
Comment was being sought from Lapindo.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Volcano erupts in Indonesia!
Mount Soputan in North Sulawesi started to erupt this morning at around 9:59 am (0159 GMT), sending heat clouds as far as four kilometers (2.5 miles) and throwing ash two kilometers into the air, Agus Budianto from the volcanology office told AFP.
"The eruption is still going on," he said.
There was no order to evacuate as the nearest village was eight kilometers away on the western side, but people had been warned not to come within six kilometers of the mountain.
Soputan, one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes, last erupted in 2004 when lava oozed down its southwest slope. No fatalities were recorded.
Galapagos Island's volcano eruption threatens giant tortoises
The 5,541-feet- (1,690-meter-) high Cerro Azul mountain started spewing lava on Thursday after 10 years of inactivity on the largest island of the Galapagos archipelago, which is formed from volcanoes thrusting out from the Pacific Ocean.
"If the tortoises are in (actual) danger we will have to airlift them out as we did in 1998," said Eliecer Cruz, the islands' governor and a conservationist.
"This is a natural event and we should let nature go its course, but because they have been almost exterminated by humans we have to do something."
In the last eruption in 1998, several rare tortoises were burned by lava flows spurting from the mountain.
"I could see the red glow from my house last night," said Jacqueline Brunf, a New York native who owns a tour operator business on another of the islands. "It was really strange we didn't feel anything or hear anything."
The Galapagos islands are part of Ecuador and lie 600 miles
west of the South American mainland.
English naturalist Charles Darwin developed his evolution theory after studying their unique animal population.
On Friday, National Park workers flew over the volcano to assess the size of the eruption and whether lava was flowing near tortoise nests. The islands are considered one of the world's most active volcanic sites.
The islands are scarcely populated, but the United Nations last year said the Galapagos' pristine environment was in danger due to booming tourism and immigration.
Mud volcano erupts!
A government official from Sittwe said that the volcano, situated on Nantha Kyunt Island along the Arakan Coast, erupted first at 12:30 am and a second time at 4 am.
Molten lava spewed from the mouth of the volcano, reaching estimated heights of 120 feet into the sky.
After the lava erupted, the area surrounding the volcano was inundated with mud that came from the volcano.
In Arakan State, there are a few mud volcanoes that occasionally erupt. On 5 January, 2008, Nagar Gri (Dragon) Volcano on Rambree Island also erupted and flooded nearby areas with lava.
6000 tons of salmons were saved from Chilean volcano eruption
He said that farm was the last of several to be evacuated because officials recently reduced the size of the prohibited-entry zone around the volcano, making it accessible again to workers.The volcano began erupting on May 2, spewing vast columns of ash and gas that spread across South America from the Pacific to the Atlantic and beyond.All 4,500 residents of the town of Chaiten were evacuated soon after the eruption began and the future of the town is now uncertain.
It has been flooded by a river that overflowed its banks, damaging scores of houses, and it has been coated in ash.Authorities rescued hundreds of pets eight days after the eruption and removed thousands of heads of livestock. They then authorized the removal of the salmon.Odebret told The Associated Press by telephone that small teams worked for days in the salmon operation, aided by the navy, which had speedboats on hand "in case something happened that forced a quick departure.
"He said the relocated fish amount to only about 1.5 percent of the annual production of Chile's salmon industry, which has exports exceeding $2 billion a year.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Chilean volcano is active and dangerous!
"These small collapses which generate minor flows of pyroclastic material are normal, they are not that serious in that they affect a small area, the top part of the volcano," Lara said."But that doesn't make the worst case scenario disappear," he said. "As long as the eruptive column is high in the air, (a major collapse) is a possibility.
"Thousands of people have been evacuated from within a 30-mile (50 km) radius of Chaiten volcano, 760 miles (1,220 km) south of the capital Santiago.Chaiten began erupting on May 2 for the first time in thousands of years. The ash has turned turquoise lakes and fjords a dirty gray in the southern region of Patagonia -- home to majestic peaks, log cabins and adventure tourism -- and has coated animal fodder and vegetation.
Satellite images show a white stripe smeared across the southern part of South America, much of the ash carried into neighboring Argentina, where some towns have also been submerged in ash.Thick ash has caked rooftops, settled on the backs of animals and also formed a sediment in a river near Chaiten, which overran its banks briefly on Monday due to heavy rains and flooded about 40 houses on the outskirts of Chaiten town.Footage from the area showed a cluster of wooden houses at tilted angles in a river of gray ash.
President Michelle Bachelet's government was due on Tuesday to unveil a package of aid measures for around 7,000 evacuees, some of whom are staying in makeshift shelters set up in schools in the southern town of Puerto Montt.Many are staying with family and friends but have lost their livelihoods for now, with no inkling of when or if they will be able to return to Chaiten.Chile's chain of volcanoes, the second-largest in the world after Indonesia, includes some 2,000, and 500 of those are potentially active.
New Zealand volcano displays signs of activity!
Ruapehu's elevated alert level has not been changed, but scientists said on Tuesday that activity within the mountain was greater, with high levels of gas spewing out, a warmer than average crater lake and ongoing volcanic tremors.
"The volcano remains in a status of unrest and the possibility of further activity remains. If further eruptions occur, they may occur without warning," Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) said in a statement.
Last September's eruption injured a climber after a boulder crashed through the roof of a hut near the summit where a party of four climbers were staying.
The highest mountain in New Zealand's North Island at 2,797 meters (9,177 feet), Mt Ruapehu has one of the most active crater lakes in the world.
In March 2007 a mudflow, or "lahar" flowed down the side of the mountain after the crater lake overflowed, and large eruptions in 1995 and 1996 blanketed the surrounding area in ash.
In 1953 a lahar swept away a railway bridge at Tangiwai at the base of the mountain and 151 people were killed when an Auckland-to-Wellington train plunged into a river.