Two volcanoes down, two volcanoes up!

Fire fountain on Nyamuragira in the Congo, January 2010.

Activity at Mayon has continues to drop – although PHIVOLCS warns that an eruption could happen at any moment and without much warning. About a quarter of the evacuated families have no returned home since PHIVOLCS gave the OK to return home on January 2 – but Philippine officials are still on alert in case evacuations have to be reinstated.

The resurgent Redoubt is no long … er … resurging? AVO lowered the alert status to Green – meaning normal/background levels of activity. Seismicity and degassing have both returned to typical background states for the volcano. So much for Redoubt.

The eruption of Nyamuragira in the Congo is still going strong. The AP posted some video of the sheet of fire fountaining coming from the fissure vent on the southern flank of the volcano while ITN captured video of a small cone building around one of the vents. It appears that multiple areas on the volcano are issuing lava and gases, so it seems like a significant event. Two days ago the lava flows had already travelled over 4 km. And in a bit of a “huh?” moment, UN troops are being used to protect the endangered chimpanzee in the area from the eruption. If you want some context for Virunga National Park and the significance of the area, you can check out a couple articles written by other ScienceBloggers on Nyamuragira and the Congo.

Finally, to follow up on yesterday’s news that Turrialba is erupting for the first time in over 100 years, the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias in Costa Rica has put the volcano on a “medium level” alert after the ash explosion on Tuesday. Fifty people have so far been evacuated from the slopes of the volcano as a precaution.


  1. #1 Ralph
    January 6, 2010

    ‘Troops protect chimps from volcano lava’ – an early entrant for my favourite volcano-related headline of 2010. Happy new year, Erik!

  2. #2 stephen
    January 6, 2010

    Heard it all now….

    When a lava flow is involved, I think peoplereally shouldnt monkey around lol…

    Question for Boris… if you would kindly explain… What is the unusual noise that appears on the vesuvius seismographs now and again.. by that I mean the none standard quake patterns? I’m guessing low hydrothermal activity but remain uneducated. Thanks for any help.

  3. #3 mjkbk
    January 6, 2010

    “Troops protect chimps from volcano lava”? With loopy science writing like that, maybe the publication needs to change its name, from “New Scientist” to “New Age Scientist”.

  4. #4 Boris Behncke
    January 6, 2010

    Updated info about Turrialba is coming from the La Nación newspaper ( geologists visited the volcano during the day (6 January 2010) and reported “continuous vigorous activity” with emission of ash, whereupon the alert status of the volcano was raised from green to yellow. We have yet to await the results of analysis of tephra samples to learn whether this is all old pulverizd rock (and therefore a phreatic eruption) or if it contains fresh magmatic material, which would indicate a higher risk of a major, hazardous eruption.

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