It has been a fairly hectic week in volcano land. No less than 3 volcanoes have been discussed during the week. Most of them are known to the readers of the blog, but I thought I should write a bit about them anyhow.
Global Volcanism Program
Tomorrow Monday the new GVP site premieres to the joy of all interested in volcanoes. The old site functioned fairly well as a “who’s who” among the volcanoes. But it was antiquated from both a technical and a scientific standpoint. The hopes are high, so let us not be too disappointed if our obscure favorite volcanoes are not mentioned this time around.
Out in the Aleutian arch we find the Emmons Field Caldera. On the flank we is the most active volcano in the chain. So, it is no great surprise that Pavlof is erupting yet again. Ash has been ejected up to 3 kilometers above the crater and magma is now showing at the crater rim.
One thing to remember about Pavlof is that the eruption normally tends to increase towards the end of the eruption. So we will probably have time to get back to this particular volcano. The biggest problem with the Alaskan volcanoes is the cut backs in the funding of the Alaskan Volcano Observatory. Something that greatly endangers flight traffic in the area, short sighted politicians once again hindering both science and endangering civilian lives.
Activity at the second tallest volcano in North America has been ongoing since the latest eruptive cycle started in 2011. Last couple of weeks the activity has increased enough for the authorities to prepare for evacuations, and also to increase the size of the exclusion zone.
Nothing points towards this eruption growing out of control even though Popocatépetl has the potential for something really dangerous, namely Mount St Helens type explosive failures spreading large debris fields. The current risks are lahars and pyroclastic flows travelling down valleys surrounding the volcano.
Some volcanoes really fly under the radar. Tolbachik is a stunning example of this. It is having the largest effusive eruption since the Krafla Fires, and the largest eruption of any volcano this century. With the latest increase in activity it is estimated to have erupted 2 cubic kilometers of lava in the form of a flood basalt, built a few cones, and suffering from constant strombolian activity at the central vent.
Let us put that into perspective. Total amount of ejecta is about one fifth of the VEI-6 eruption of Pinatubo, one ninth of Lakí and a whopping twenty times more material ejected then during Eyjafjallajökull.
One thing that I started thinking is that Tolbachik is about as gassy as its Icelandic counterparts. The likely hood is that the gas has affected the weather inside the temperate zone weather cell across the globe. We have to wait for the temperature tally, but I would not be surprised if that was the fact in the end. Remember, we are talking about 1/9 of Lakí.
Name those Volcanoes Riddle
1 point for each volcano …. enjoy
No 1 – Eponymous geological feature associated with European (French) girls’ hairstyles.
No 2 – It could be raised to 3613, all the info you need is in the clue!
No 3 – Reuters erroneously put the inconvenience down to this one. SOLVED Dubbi
No 4 – Deke’s guys studied its geology. SOLVED Kitts Peak
No 5 – The name of a silent movie and a volcano classed as having ‘cataclysmic potential’? (Not Vesuvius – The Last days of Pompeii – this movie is simply titled the name of the volcano)
“I’m in the shadow of an iconic conical but not volcanic hill that could easily be a dessert. I’m a Basaltic Andesite scar that was visible to a young explorer long before he discovered the land where neighbours live. You ought to know that my nether regions mull over their Tertiary origins. I gave the world this rather beautiful slice of loveliness. See if you can home in on what it is, what I am and where I erupt through the landscape.”