A pile of news for the new week!

The glow of new lava flows from Nyamuragira in the Congo, taken from the Virunga Park Headquarters, January 2, 2010.

PHIVOLCS may lower the alert status at Mayon to Level 2 after almost a week of lower seismicity and no ash explosions since December 29th. Schools that were being used as evacuation centers were also returned to teachers and students for the start of classes after the Christmas holiday. However, the Albay provincial government is now considering a plan to permanently move everyone who lives within the 6-km danger zone around Mayon, even if the volcano no longer shows signs of eruption.

Over in the Congo, Nyamuragira continues to erupt. The United Nations has been called in to help monitor the situation from the air – mostly to make sure officials in the Congo know where the lava is going in the Virunga National Park and whether it might become a threat to the city of Goma. Some villages near the volcano are now coming under threat from the lava flows, but thus far, no injuries have been reported. Kenyan TV has posted some great video of the rift eruption that is producing tall fire fountains of the especially low viscosity (unlike what the video says) high-potassium basalts erupted from Nyamuragira. These high K lavas are so low in viscosity thanks to the potassium breaking the bonds in the silica network that makes up most magmas that erupt on Earth – so even though basalts are usually quite runny, the basalts from Nyamuragira are especially so – thus, the ability to flow tens of kilometers from the vent.

Jumping across the Atlantic, Galeras has settled down after its impressive explosive eruption over the weekend. INGEOMINAS lowered the alert level at Galeras on Sunday after signs of more explosions dissipated. However, considering how unexpected Saturday’s eruption was, people should stay on alert for more activity. Some more video of the eruption clearly shows lightning as well as the eruption plume during Saturday’s big boom.

One more continent! Redoubt in Alaska seems to also be coming down from its late 2009 signs of life. Currently, AVO reports that “seismic activity at Redoubt Volcano remains low” and only a faint steam plume is visible when not obscured by clouds. Seems like Redoubt was just teasing us for attention.

Say, did you know that January is Volcano Awareness Month? It is … at least in Hawai`i. Not that anyone who lives in the big island wouldn’t be aware of the volcanoes of the state, but rather HVO is holding a month’s worth of educational features to help educate the public on the wonders and hazards of the world’s most closely watched volcano. This month also marks the 27th anniversary of the start of the current eruption of Kilauea – you can also see video of the current activity at the Haleuma`uma`u crater, including the draining of the lava lake that occurred last week.


  1. #1 Gijs de Reijke
    January 4, 2010

    Nyamuragira is also ejecting an interesting amount of SO2:

  2. #2 Gijs de Reijke
    January 5, 2010

    Hmm… Tungurahua shows a little SO2 cloud today as well. Washington VAAC concurs with this.

  3. #3 Diane
    January 5, 2010

    I have a question about SO2 and CO2. It seems SO2 is the one measured most of the time. Is CO2 released along with the SO2? I thought it was as well as other gases. My DH and I think that a lot of the “global warming” talk takes what humans are releasing as the main “cause” when volcanoes, erupting or not, release far more than any of the industrial activity going on. Are there any reports of how much CO2 volcanoes are emitting? I know SO2 is one of the most dangerous because of the acid rain and other things it causes, but the CO2 shouldn’t be ignored because there is a tree kill zone in Long Valley because of the CO2 coming out of the ground there. Then there is the Norris Basin in Yellowstone. So I am just wondering about the amounts of CO2 being released.

    Thanks for any info.

  4. #4 Chance Metz
    January 5, 2010

    Any info that disproves something about global warming is ignoring by those who beleive in it and thrown under the rug. Tell Al Gore about that and see what nonsense he spews out. And they call that science when you disregard some facts and tell other people lies. That is a Psedoscience like Astrology! As for Co2 they know volcanoes produce way more CO2 then humans do but they just ignore that fact or try to tell you it does not matter.

  5. #5 Diane
    January 5, 2010

    Actually, I am more interested in how much volcanoes produce than what the “global warming” people say. And what other kinds of gases are produced by them. I mean you can be killed by some of those gases if you don’t wear a gas mask if you are near them.

    I know the Al Gores etal are telling a lot of nonsense. That came out recently and I think it was really funny that it snowed in Copenhagen during the conference. Yeah, it was warm. Yeah, right! I could say more about it, but this is not the place.

    So any info about the amount of gases some of the volcanoes are releasing would be interesting to me. I could compare SO2 with CO2 emissions and learn something.

  6. #6 Chance Metz
    January 5, 2010

    It’s a lot more then humans produce by burning fossil fuels I can tell you that.

  7. #7 stephen tierney
    January 6, 2010

    Redoubt now lowered to green.

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