Intensified eruption at Sinabung

Impressively glowing pyroclastic flow captured on the fifteenth of january by photographer Opss Frans.

Impressively glowing pyroclastic flow captured on the fifteenth of january by photographer Opss Frans.

Since the last post about Sinabung the eruption has continued with ever increasing amounts of pyroclastic flows and nue ardentes. On occation the extended 7 kilometer evacuation zone has been tested in the direction of the gorge that the majority of the flows has followed. There have though been no reports of them extending beyond the 7 km boundary. Also the amount of material in the individual pyroclastic flows have increased. This leads to the conclusion that the amount of extruded lava has increased over time from the initial 3.5 cubic meters per second.

Around midnight CET Sinabung suffered an explosion that was beyond any seen so far. The previous pure explosions have been rather small ranging up to a few kilometers. Todays explosion caused en ash column that according to local sources in excess of 8 kilometers. Remember that this is from eye witness reports that so far is not officially confirmed.

Image showing approximately the bottom half of the ash column during the explosive event. The image is hard to see. I hope to get a better one soon.

Image showing approximately the bottom half of the ash column during the explosive event. The image is hard to see. I hope to get a better one soon.

As some of you know the authorities in Indonesia issued a warning 10 days ago that there where seismological signs that a major eruption might be on the way. It seems that we might now be seeing the start of such a thing, or at least a more explosive phase. As I am writing this the webcam location is covered in dust.

We will get back to this as new things unfurl and as we get new data. As soon as we get something we will publish an update.

For background I refer to my main article about Sinabung and the info-page Cryphia has made:

https://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/the-road-to-sinabung/

https://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/whats_going_on_at_sinabung/

CARL

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202 thoughts on “Intensified eruption at Sinabung

    • Hi

      the blue color comes from sulfur burning in air and hence producing SO2 (sulfur dioxyde). SO2 is very dangerous as it is a suffocant.

      • Most of all, SO2 when combining with the mucal fluids in your respiratory system, turns into sulfuric acid, which is highly corrosive. Not the sort of stuff you want to inhale over extended periods … but normally, the intense stench will drive you away from such places in a hurry.

        And of course, the burning stuff is NOT lava at all – lava is molten rock emitted in a volcanic eruption, elementary sulfur is not.

        • Yes, for having been doing analyses in a chemistry lab, you learn to avoid inhaling this type of compounds. Which makes me wonder at the sulfur miners there, especially as they have nearly no protection. The eyes also should be very irritated.

          • I suspect the sulphur miners probably have very much shortened lifespans. They must be doing terrible damage to their lungs and probably their eyes as well.

            • This is a very good report about the sulfur miners (in German). According to the author the average life expectancy of the workers is 40 to 50 years, if they not die in an accident.

        • Hi Boris, i thought SO2 reacted with water to Sulphurous acid, H2SO3. A bit of a weird acid with sulfites as the salts. S03 reacts to sulphuric acid, H2SO4, with sulfates as the salts, much more corrosive. I thought oxidising SO2 to SO3 needs either a catalist or UV radiation, as happens in the upper atmosphere.
          Highly irritating none the less from first hand experience, it will drive you away for sure.

          • The sequential oxidation of sulfur dioxide followed by its hydration is used in the production of sulfuric acid.
            2 SO2 + 2 H2O + O2 → 2 H2SO4

            I think it needs a catalyst (Vanadium or something like it)

            source wiki

            • Yeah correct.SO2 reacts to SO3 in the presence of water and di vanadium penta oxide on an industrial scale. Or reacts in the upper atmospere as we know from Lurkings ruminations 🙂

  1. Due to problems with the editing functions and me having to run to town the Friday post and Riddles will be 2 hours delayed.

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