The latest news from the world of volcanoes, brought to us by the Global Volcanism Program, USGS and the Smithsonian Institution. They are also brought to us by Sally Kuhn Sennert – and if you have a question for her about her job at the GVP preparing the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report and all things volcanic (and hopefully it won’t end like another recent volcanically-mitigated interview).

Some highlights (not including Gorely and Sakurajima):

  • Ioto (aka Iwojima) in the Volcano Islands of Japan produced an ash plume of unknown height. The volcano has frequent phreatic eruptions and abundant fumarolic activity.
  • Colombia’s Nevado del Huila has been experiencing increased seismicity and sulfur dioxide emissions from the volcano and there may have been some ash explosions. The INGEOMINAS elevated the alert status to Orange.
  • Batu Tara in Indonesia produced a 3 km / 10,000 foot ash plume – the volcano erupts highly undersaturated lavas such as basanites and tephrites thanks to its position north of the main volcanic arc.
  • Kilauea continues to impress, with activity at the summit lava lake producing tephra and fresh spatter downwind from the vent.
  • Soufriere Hills on Montserrat produced a number of pyroclastic flows produced from the collapse of the summit domes. There was also a lahar generated during the week’s activity.


  1. #1 Zander
    June 24, 2010

    Big E hasn’t finished just yet maybe, the GPS is showing marked upward movement in the last couple of days and to the north.

  2. #2 Raving
    June 24, 2010
  3. #3 leon
    June 24, 2010

    hi all just looking at the oil leak/spill photo on will this leak affect the gulf stream in the near future if they dont cap it in time

  4. #4 Lurking
    June 24, 2010

    Well, “can” and “will” are two very different critters.

    Can it affect the Gulf Stream? That really depends on what you define as “affect.” Yes the oil can get into it, and in all likelihood, it eventually will. The question then is how much and what nature the oil will be in when it gets there. (either globules, slicks, particles, or wads of crude)

    Can it affect the flow of the Gulf Stream? Probably… but how? Changing the evaporative rate of the gulf so that the heating/cooling ratios are different? Okay… how much change do you need to see an effect? How much does the oil move those ratios around? Does it change the reflectivity of the water? I don’t have an answer for that.

    I also don’t have an answer for how the characteristics of “spume” will change. Yes, “spume” is is a real word. It’s the stuff that is torn off of the tops of waves in a storm. The spray/foam and what ever else can be grabbed by the wind. It hangs out in the air just above the sea surface and then falls back into the water. Hurricane researchers argue all the time about how much heat energy is extracted from the spume and given up to the storm. One thing that figures in this idea is that of surface tension. At this point, surfactants come into the discussion. surfactants are substances that change the surface tension of the water. Surfactants are also used in detergent for your dishes to break up the grease and oil so that the water can take it off. Another place you will see them are as an ingredient in dispersants used in oil spills where they do the same job.

    How will that affect the spume? Will it make any tropical storms stronger? Weaker? Ya got me. It will definitely have an affect by changing the heat flow into and out of the storms, but good luck figuring out what it will be.

  5. #5 Kultsi, Askola, FI
    June 24, 2010

    The Nevado de Huila webcam sure is not up to date: it’s showing midnight view of last night, and it should be on EDT, about 11:20 AM.

  6. #6 Jean-François Fleury
    June 24, 2010

    A slight precision about soufriere hills activity. There is no new magma at the dome. The different little collapses of the summit dome were caused by heavy rainfall which provoked the fall of already instable spikes on the summit dome. Many hot point were observed but they were the result of the exposure of still hot magma after the different collapses.

  7. #7 Kultsi, Askola, FI
    June 24, 2010

    @[5] …and the reason is: the cam is down. The last view looks a bit like it’s being nuked…

  8. #8 Raving
    June 24, 2010

    @Kultsi (#5)

    It seemed to ‘time trip’ backwards. I “could have sworn” (…famous last words…) it was up to date when I posted the link a few hours ago. Shrug

  9. #9 Kultsi, Askola, FI
    June 24, 2010

    @Raving [8]

    I agree with you! I opened the link and it was showing a good pic of the volcano; now, nothing useful. Well, Murphy was an optimist, as s*t happens even when not thought to be possible.

  10. #10 Raving
    June 24, 2010
  11. #11 Passerby
    June 24, 2010

    @3 and 4:

    The Gulf of Mexico primary adverse water quality impacts from the oil spill are intensification of anoxic areas (‘Dead-Zones’) and physical impedance of oxygen and light penetration at the surface from the oil layer. Surfactants applied at high concentration can form their own ordered-strructure phase (called ‘micellar’) and float, like bubbles after entraining and dissolving oil. Thus we have very large massed patches of solubilized hydrocarbons forming reflective ‘sheens’ and floating oil, as seen in this image from the UMBC US Air Quality Blog:

    In early June, the effect of dissolved hydrocarbon biodegradation by bacteria and algae on dissolved oxygen in the water column, at depth and along monitored transects offshore, was reported on the Dauphin Island Marine Lab news blog: very low to zero. That situation has worsened over time and is complicated by changes in surface tension by undissolved and dissolved oil-surfactant phases.

  12. #12 Birger Johansson
    June 24, 2010

    Off-topic: Just at “Tiny clays curb big earthquakes”

  13. #13 Passerby
    June 24, 2010

    The report cited by Birger above begs the geoengineering question, of trickle injection of water-clay emulsions to slowly ‘lubricate’ certain fault sections in densely populated urban areas of Southern California that tend to ‘jump’ because they don’t have this clay nanolayer in place.

    An interesting article: ‘Nanocoatings of clay and creep of the San Andreas fault at Parkfield, California.’ (2010)
    A.M. Schleicher, B.A. van der Pluijm, and L.N. Warr.

  14. #14 Carl
    June 24, 2010

    Melimoyu to all!

    Melimoyo has had increased quake activity since mid march of this year.
    Sernageomin has released a special report on Melimoyu volcano due to the last set of quakes that started on the 17th of june with numerous afterquakes. This set of quakes are judged to be volcanic in nature and may be asociated with magma opening a route to refill the chamber. Melimoyu is located in Southern Chile.

    OVDAS/Sernageomin continues to have the volcano at a raised level of observation.

    And with that I leave you all to celebrate Midsummer festival in any way you wish. Since I am a Swede I will drink excessivly, chant strange viking songs about small frogs, dance around a cross with hanging balls, and of course celebrate fertility in a clearly heathen way that would make any ancient barbarian proud.

  15. #15 Greg
    June 24, 2010

    Remember the MET computer models of ASH.

    Computer models DO NOT WORK in complex systems and are open to political manipulation.

  16. #16 Lurking
    June 24, 2010

    @Passerby [13]

    Oh that just begs for a lawyer (intentionally lower case) to get involved. Supposed that is tried and the stress is relived through creep and a quake happens further up the fault.

    Who’s liable?

  17. #17 Passerby
    June 24, 2010

    You got the concept wrong. Stress is reduced incrementally along the treated fault line and not passed up the chain because stress-strain energy isn’t stored locally to the point of failure, at least not at the surface.

    My understanding is that stress is moved downward, deeper into the earth as a result of clay mineral action on faulting surfaces within subduction zones. The farther that energy is located downward (at depth), the less catastrophic the wave energy action at the surface.

    Deep earthquakes release more total energy, but releasing it at depth affords a large buffer in overlying strata to reduce transmission to the surface, especially if the surface fractures are made more elastic by the clay particle nanolayer than the deeper and more brittle rock strata in the crust.

    Could be a dumb idea, may be impossible to move clay into these layers. It’s just an idea, one that I’m reasonably confident has at least crossed the minds of the authors, and maybe reviewers, too.

  18. #18 Lurking
    June 25, 2010


    Okay. I accept that I have the concept wrong.

    But I have taken it upon myself to derive some life lesson from every ship that I had been on when on active duty.

    Ship one… I learned crisis management. “Grace under pressure” (usually denoted as grace under fire, but no one ever shot at us, so I got that going for me.)

    Ship two… It can always get worse, or go bad.

    Ship three… Contingency planning. In other words, what are you gonna do when it invariably does get worse?

    Ship four… Good luck with the plan. The Universe is quicker on its feet than any plan.

    So… despite me having the concept wrong… okay, but I’ve seen how that works out. :D.

  19. #19 Greg
    June 25, 2010

    Soon it will be level zero and your not allowed to climb or go near a volcano in the Phillipines. Lucky in Indonesia you can actually see the beauty of a volcano and not be hounded by the government

  20. #20 Dasnowskier
    June 25, 2010

    POPO seems to have a nice glow in the pre-dawn darkness.

  21. #21 Marginata
    June 25, 2010

    @Carl #14. Am intrigued by the dancing around a cross with Hanging Balls…this is just before celibrating fertility 🙂 Sounds like a great party!

  22. #22 Renato I Silveira
    June 25, 2010

    Someone is posing in front of Thórolsfell cam!

  23. #23 Renato I Silveira
    June 25, 2010

    Are they interfering with tremor plots?

  24. #24 Kultsi, Askola, FI
    June 25, 2010

    @Marginata [21]

    This gives you an idea of the Swedish Midsummer.

  25. #25 birdseyeUSA
    June 25, 2010

    @Kultsi 24 hahhaha 🙂 OT: In Greenland for Danish ‘Sankt Hans’ in the ’50’s the airfield guys and the mine guys would meet for a ‘football’ (soccer ) match – and a big outdoor feast – and burn the ‘witch’ in a big bonfire for good luck. One year we had to cross the river on a D-9 bulldozer to get to the party because the it had jumped its channel and was trying to wash out the airstrip. Big excitement for us kids.

  26. #26 Adrian,Dorset, UK
    June 25, 2010

    Hello Jón Frímann,

    Jón I just saw that your Hekla Semicorder was “stuck” at 09:56 but your probably aware of this,

    Kind regards, Adrian.

  27. #27 Adrian,Dorset, UK
    June 25, 2010

    Apologies,slight “brain fade” there.I meant to say Helicorder of course.

  28. #28 Passerby
    June 25, 2010

    IMO seems to have lost their english translation webpage.

    Popo is indeed showing vigorous steaming this morning. Worth keeping an eye on it, as it looks like fumerolic activity has erupted on the side of the volcano from a vent.

    I wonder what the seismometers are showing.

  29. #29 Raving
    June 25, 2010

    The tremors on Jón’s plot looks suspiciously like cultural noise of Swedes chasing flying hanging balls during surströmmingspremiär. Perhaps a few weeks early, no?

  30. #30 Marginata
    June 25, 2010

    @ Kultsi 24 – OT but thank you so much for that clip, it made my day! It looks like a Mad Hatters Tea Party being held on Fancy Dress Friday at T in the Park (big music festival in Scotland early July, cant wait!). Great stuff!

  31. #31 Raving
    June 25, 2010


    IMO’s regular page and ongoing spectral tremor analysis suggests that the “noise” is cultural. 🙂

  32. #32 Passerby
    June 25, 2010

    I didn’t mean the IMOs tremor plots, I meant the ones from CENAPRED for Popo. After carefully comparing time series photos for the past 10 days, it appears to be in the early stages of an eruption.

    In fact, it’s rapidly escalating.

  33. #33 Passerby
    June 25, 2010


  34. #34 Passerby
    June 25, 2010

    Fumerolic (steam) eruption. We’ll just wait to see if this yet one more large ‘exhalation’ that are quite common or another small eruption (couple weeks ago). The incandescence visible at daybreak suggests the latter.

    Three webcam stations are available

  35. #35 Alison, UK
    June 25, 2010
    Excellent views on the Popo webcam.

  36. #36 Raving
    June 25, 2010

    And while waiting for Popo to … here is a moonbow

  37. #37 Raving
    June 25, 2010

    In my recent wanderings regarding Taal I found the following document. Wouldn’t such methods be good for monitoring subglacial systems such as Katla and Eyjafjallajökull?


    Second Workshop organized by:
    The Electromagnetic Studies of Earthquakes and Volcanoes Working Group1
    The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Philippines2

  38. #38 Dasnowskier
    June 25, 2010

    The glow from Popo was very strong before day break. Lava must have been at the surface. Probably melting the glacier. Nice steam plume

  39. #39 Dasnowskier
    June 25, 2010

    Definite small amounts ash in the earlier pics of Popo around 7:30AM today.

  40. #40 Passerby
    June 25, 2010

    Electromagnetic, geochemical and thermal investigations of Taal volcano, abstract. Jacques Zlotnicki, Feb 2010
    (workshop online proceedings, per #37 above, with references)

  41. #41 Passerby
    June 25, 2010

    Steam plume continuing to increase in elevation and volume.

  42. #42 Kultsi, Askola, FI
    June 25, 2010

    They’ve also changed the refresh rate for the cams on El Popo – seems to be every 30 seconds, instead of the one minute they state in the caption.

    Very active, I’d say, just short of an eruption.

  43. #43 Raving
    June 25, 2010


  44. #44 Passerby
    June 25, 2010

    #38: Sorry to be the bearer of sad tidings, but the is no glacier on Popo. Done bit the dust due to recent eruptions. Good read:

    Impact of the eruptive activity on glacier evolution at Popocatépetl Volcano (México) during 1994–2004. (2008) Julio-Miranda et al. J. Volcan. Geothermal Res. 170:86–98.

    Excerpt from the abstract: The glacier evolution and subsequent extinction were induced by the eruptive behavior over the years. While not the only process at work, eruptive activity played the primary role in accelerating
    retreat and as a consequence in glacier extinction.

  45. #45 Passerby
    June 25, 2010

    Nice find, Raving.

  46. #46 Raving
    June 25, 2010

    @Passerby (#44) Your link has been 4Ofnord

  47. #47 Raving
    June 25, 2010
  48. #48 Passerby
    June 25, 2010

    Remove the period at the end of the pdf hyperlink.

    It’s the authors manuscript copy. There is a previously published related publication, ‘Glacier monitoring at Popocatépetl volcano, Mexico: glacier shrinkage
    and possible causes.’ (2003) Huggel and Delgado.

    I have an NASA EO satellite image from February 2009 showing the glacier remnant.

  49. #49 Adrian,Dorset, UK
    June 25, 2010

    Umm,Eyja is giving Popo a run for her money at present.

  50. #50 Raving
    June 25, 2010

    Some assembled video of today’s activity at Volcán Popocatépetl

  51. #51 leon
    June 27, 2010

    I was just thinking when a storm reaches the oil spill. just think how much oil the storm would pick up and hit landfall. Then rain on to the roads, then the roads become slippery?

  52. #53 Alton Yanez
    November 27, 2010

    Thanks for spreading the word about this.

New comments have been disabled.