Thursday Throwdown: Turrialba, Mayon and the latest USGS/GVP Weekly Report


The steam plume from Turrialba on December 26, 2009. Image by Eruptions reader Sahrye Cohen.

Costa Rican officials extended the evacuation zone around Turrialba from 3 to 6 km, raising the alert status at the volcano to Yellow. Vanessa Rosales of the National Emergency Commission described the seismicity as "intense but low," but says the country is prepared to deal with the emergency. As always, the news chooses oddly what is the "news" of an event, and many article on Turrialba focus on Costa Rica's coffee - yes, it is safe, so far. A news report from the Tico Times quotes Raul Mora of the University of Costa Rica as saying that lava isn't likely from Turrialba - I'm guessing he was trying to say it will be explosive - but the article takes it as a comfort that this won't be like Hawai`i. It seems the steam plume from Turrialba was prominent in the weeks before this week's ash explosion. Eruptions reader Sahrye Cohen sent a picture of Turrialba taken on 12/26 (above) showing the steam plume coming from the volcano.

Mayon seems to be following the tried-and-true pattern of up-and-down for signs of an eruption (is this surprising? Not in the least.) Activity spiked at the volcano in the last day - it appears that the seismicity has increased again, but PHIVOLCS is keeping the alert status at "3" (down from "4".) The steam plume from the volcano has caused alarm in the Albay region, but likely, even if the volcano does not erupt again, the plume will remain. However, even the "small" eruption of Mayon can have a significant effect on the local economy, with fears that this activity at Mayon will stop people from investing in project at Lezpagi City.

Finally, we have a new USGS/GVP Weekly Volcano Report. We've been hearing a lot about Mayon, Turrialba, Nyamuragira and Galeras, but the last week also saw continued eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise, Indonesia's Rinjani, Ecuador's Tungurahua and pyroclastic flows at Soufriere Hills. A lot to keep track of if you're scoring at home.

More like this

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. MayonPHIVOLCS may lower the alert status at Mayon to Level 2 after almost a week of lower seismicity and no ash explosions since December 29th.…
Somehow I haven't posted a bunch of interesting items collected over the last few weeks, so I need to catch up. A pre-emptive hat tip to everyone who has sent me links or notes that might seem familiar in this post. Tungurahua in Ecuador erupting in 2000. First off, those of you looking for…
The weekly volcano report, brought to you by our friends at the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program and the U.S. Geological Survey. Highlights (not including Mayon, Nyamuragira and Turrialba): Eruptions continue at Piton de la Fournaise on Reunion Island - heck, this would be the volcano news if…
So, I'm a little late with this thanks to a little hiatus, but I thought I would post the latest GVP Weekly Volcanic Activity Report. Thanks again to the Smithsonian, USGS and especially Sally Kuhn Sennert! Some highlights include: There were more ash explosions spotted at Ebeko in Kamchatka,…

I guess Mayon will be fluxuating for a while, as usual, and keeping us in anticipation as to what it is going to do. When I let friends know how many volcanoes are actively erupting or steaming or whatever, they are surprised to know how many can be going off at the same time. I had no idea Tungurahua was doing anything. Now I know. Anyway, I have a feeling it will be an active year.

This night there was very vigorous lava lake activity within the active pit of Halema'uma'u of Kilauea, Hawaii. Maybe the most spectacular I've seen watching the Halema'uma'u ovelook web cam ( since active lava appeared in that pit, and thus we have another volcanic event gaining significance in this year, which - so far - has had quite a volcanic start.
As for Tungurahua, the Instituto Geofisico of the Escuela Politecnica in Ecuador has posted some photos of the renewed activity of this volcano, showing, amongst others, a lava dome growing on the crater floor and vigorous Strombolian activity:

Love that word Diane lol Fluxuating indeed. Couldnt have invented a new cooler volcanic term myself ;)

I agree looks like a very active year, and when I thought it real safe from geological disaster in UK.... We all in danger of freezing to death! Brrr

I blame the volcano's changing the weather lol

Maybe I should move to Cali?

By stephen tierney (not verified) on 07 Jan 2010 #permalink

Cali, Stephen? In terms of weather, it is pretty good. But volcanically? Let's see: there is Shasta, Lassen, the Sutter Buttes, Long Valley, a magma chamber under the China Lake area, Medicine Lake caldera, and for quakes, there is the San Andreas, Hayward, Monte Vista, Calveras, Williams, Clayton-Marsh Creek-Greenville, San Gorgoio faults and these are all in the SF Bay area! Down south it gets worse. The fault systems are very much broken up there. The San Andreas is the longest fault in CA and it is also what caused the Sea of Cortez or Gulf of California. Just three hundered years ago, the Gulf of California came clear up into southern CA and the Salton Sea is what is left of that. Story has it there is a Spanish ship buried out in the desert somewhere south of there and nobody has found it.

Get out you metal detectors, everybody. You never know what you will find in the desert. :-)

Even with all of this in CA, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. But, then, I was born here. :-D