Turriabla mini-update for 1/11/2010

The streaming crater of Turrialba in an image taken in mid January 2010.

I have a moment to spare here at WMU, so I thought I would pass some of this confusing news along concerning Turrialba. Some of the latest reports refer to a "crack" in the crater of the volcano ... specifically:

Geologists and volcanologists were at least able to confirm that the crack on the wall of the volcano is getting larger, confirmed by flybys by helicopters during a break in the weather. The experts say the constant spewing of gases is causing the crack to get bigger and could collapse the volcano's crater wall, causing the volcano to spew out the falling material.

Now, I'm not entirely certain what this is referring to - a fissure at the crater where fumarolic activity is focused; a crack caused by upward deformation of the edifice; a crack caused by a collapse of part of the crater rim. None of the articles are very clear. Apparently a small ridge that formed between two of the phreatic craters that formed last week has collapsed, which is not surprising if it was made of loose, unconsolidated volcaniclastic material. There has been no sign of juvenile material (i.e., new magma), but ash continues to be generated at the summit - mostly made of crushed older erupted rock. The volcano will remain on yellow alert status even though it has quieted some - however, when the evacuees can return is still anyone's guess.

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Re. your posting yesterday about Fox news and coal spouting volcanoes, now that former Governor Palin has signed on with Fox (reported today), I'm sure that we can expect their science reporting to rise up to her standards. Afterall, you actually can see Mt. Redoubt and several other active volcanoes from Wasilla. Just stare in the direction of Russia and shift your eyes to the left a bit.

Isn't it fun when the scientists are so specific that you get to make up your own mind as to what is going on.

I noticed on John Seach's site that Monserrat has produced several pyroclastic flows and one reached the sea. One of the blasts caused the seizmic results to last for 7min. That is one large blast.

The people in Northern CA managed to avoid major damage from the 6.5 quake they had, though it did create major messes of glass in the streets and in stores and also caused power outages. Seems like most are taking it in store. One lady who lost a lot of antique glassware is goign to hold a sale for those who like to do mosaics. I bet a number of people will like to get some of that beautiful stuff.

I keep monitoring Mammoth. Still quite a few quakes over there and a few below the mountain. Not sure what is going on over there except the activity. Just about anything can happen over there. It will be 30yrs ago this coming May they had four 6+ quakes that started all the activity that continues today, though on a very limited basis. I remember being in Yosemite over the 4th of July and I felt a lot of aftershocks from those quakes. The largest ones were about 2.5-3.5mag. I am guessing at that based on how they felt. Interesting time.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Erik: I'm wondering if the 'cracks' mentioned are the same as those described in the GVP monthly updates for Turrialba? (the last two entries, 2008/9) I still suspect we may be hearing more from Turrialba yet

Thanks for this site and the comments. I know very little about volcanic activity compared to all else here but am in San Jose, Costa Rica for the next 8 days on business followed by another 5 in Bogata, Colombia, so it seems I am in somewhat of an active volcanic zone from what I have read int he past 24 hours. Locals here were all talking about an earthquake at 1am this morning but there seems to be no mention of it on the USGS site. No one here seems alarmed, except this visitor who agrees with Mike that we may be hearing more!

Kathryn, I think you will be just fine. If you monitor this site, you will learn a lot about volcanoes.

Iceland had a simular curtain of fire some years ago. That one is splitting the island. I watched a program on it and the man that was talking about it was walking in the fissure. Iceland is an interesting place and I wish I could go there. Of course, there are a lot of places I would like to go and see volcanoes, erupting or not. They are a bit more interesting if you can watch an eruption from a safe distance.

Boris, I envy you sometimes. ;-D

It sure looks like some ash is erupting as I type this.

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