volcano (38)

Earth Watch Report - Volcanic Events

Chirpoi volcano (Kurile Islands, Russia) activity update: steaming, hot spot detected on satellite images


Volcano Discovery

Steam plume from Chirpoi volcano on 16 Nov (NASA)
Steam plume from Chirpoi volcano on 16 Nov (NASA)
Hot spot at Chirpoi (summarized 10-17 Nov data, MODIS / Univ. Hawaii)
Hot spot at Chirpoi (summarized 10-17 Nov data, MODIS / Univ. Hawaii)

A hot spot is visible on recent MODIS satellite images at the volcano and a dense steam plume drifting SE can be seen on a Aqua satellite image from 16 Nov 2012. Although KVERT lists the volcano as green, it is likely that some activity is occurring at the volcano.

The Kuril Islands form part of the ring of tectonic instability encircling the Pacific ocean referred to as the Ring of Fire. The islands themselves are summits of strato-volcanoes that are a direct result of the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Okhotsk Plate, which forms the Kuril Trench some 200 kilometers (120 mi) east of the islands. The chain has around 100 volcanoes, some 40 of which are active, and many hot springs and fumaroles. There is frequent seismic activity, including a magnitude 8.5 earthquake in 1963 and one of magnitude 8.3 recorded on November 15, 2006, which resulted in tsunami waves up to 5 feet (1.5 m) reaching the California coast.


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Earth Watch Report - Volcanoes

New Zealand volcano on verge of eruption: vulcanologists

WELLINGTON, Nov. 16 (Xinhua)

The government's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences ( GNS Science) said the temperature beneath Ruapehu's Crater Lake was about 800 degrees centigrade, but the lake itself was only 20 degrees centigrade, which suggested a vent was partly blocked.

That could lead to a pressure build-up beneath the Crater Lake, indicating a heightened likelihood of eruptions over the coming weeks to months.

"We think the pressure beneath Ruapehu Crater Lake has increased and this makes an eruption more likely over the next weeks to months," GNS Science duty volcanologist Steve Sherburn said in a statement.

A build-up of pressure beneath the Crater Lake was thought to have caused the last eruption in 2007 and a smaller eruption in 2006.

Since late October, small earthquakes had been occurring about 5 km beneath the summit area of Ruapehu, a popular winter skiing ground, but these might not be directly related to the high temperatures beneath the Crater lake as they were much deeper.

As a result, GNS Science had increased the aviation color code warning for aircraft from green to yellow, which reflected a change from a normal non-eruptive state to showing elevated signs of unrest.

However, the volcanic alert level remained at 1 on the scale of 0 to 5, indicating initial signs of possible volcano unrest.

In August, two other New Zealand volcanoes erupted, but no damage or casualties were reported.

Mount Tongariro, also in the central North Island, erupted on Aug. 6, throwing out small amounts of ash in its first eruption since 1897.

Two days later, White Island, a marine volcano about 50 km off the east of the North Island, erupted, sending up an ash plume 200 to 300 meters in the air, in its first eruption since 2001.

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Experts say one of Iceland's most feared volcanoes looks ready to erupt, with measurements indicating magma movement, raising fears of a new ash cloud halting flights over Europe.

The Hekla volcano is close to the ash-spewing Eyjafjoell, which last year caused the world's biggest airspace shut down since World War II, affecting more than 100,000 flights and 8 million passengers.

The Iceland Civil Protection Authority says it is closely monitoring the situation.

"The movements around Hekla have been unusual in the last two to three days," University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson said.

While this might not necessarily mean an immediate blast, he says "the volcano is ready to erupt".

"The mountain has been slowly expanding in the last few years because of magma buildup," he said.

Another geophysicist, Ari Trausit Gudmundsson, also says the measurements around Hekla are very "unusual" and that the volcano looks ready to blow.

The volcano, dubbed by Icelanders in the Middle Ages as the "Gateway to Hell," is one of Iceland's most active, having erupted some 20 times over the past millennium, most recently on February 26, 2000.

Over the past 50 years, Hekla has gone off about once a decade.

It measures 1,491 metres and is located about 110 kilometres east of Reykjavik, not far from Eyjafjoell.

The news of a possible imminent eruption comes just over a month after this year's violent eruption at the Grimsvoetn volcano, in the south-east of the country.

That eruption subsided after less than a week, having spit out far more ash than Eyjafjoell, but due to more favourable winds for Europe caused far less air traffic disruption.

Mr Gudmundsson says the volcano tends to "produce both ash and lava within the first seconds of an eruption".

He says lava eruptions are far less disruptive to air travel.

"If the next eruption is of the same character [as the previous ones] it is unlikely that it will have any effects on flights in Europe," he said.

"But of course this depends on the size of the eruption, which is something that is impossible to predict."

Both of Iceland's latest eruptions provided warning signs several hours before, but Hekla is known for having a very short fuse.

"Hekla never gives you much of a warning," Mr Einarsson said.

He says in 2000, it began rumbling an hour-and-a-half before the outbreak of magma, which "was actually an unusually long warning".

"In 1970 we only got 25 minutes notice," he said.

Rongvaldur Olafsson, a project manager at the Icelandic Civil Protection Authority, says no immediate safety precautions are being taken.

"We will watch the mountain and developments very closely," he said.

After Iceland's last two eruptions, geologists have warned that the country's volcanoes appeared to have entered a more active phase and that more eruptions could be expected, with Hekla believed to be first in line.


Eruptuions have occurred in 874, 1158, 1206, 1222, 1300, 1341, 1389, 1510, 1597, 1636, 1693, 1766, 1845, 1947, 1970, 1980, 1991 and 2000.

Some of these eruptions caused great damage, especially the eruptions in 1510, 1693 and 1766.

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Mount Bromo typically erupts once a year but - unlike nearby Mount Merapi - rarely spits debris and hot gas far from the crater and nearby towns are not considered to be in harm's way.

The government decided to raise Bromo's danger level after it started shooting ash into the air, the Ministry of Mines and Energy said in a statement. It warned that a bigger blast could still be on the way.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/23/1939484/indonesia-raises-alert-level-at.html#ixzz16AQmX6q0

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