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 information on the Haitian earthquake that devastated the capitol Port Au Prince, Highly Allochthonous has post on the tectonics of the quake. Right now, it is hard for me to come up with a worse location in terms of devastation for a quake to have hit in the Caribbean Basin.
- Back in volcano news, a lot of the eruptions that were in the news last week have settled down - or at least stayed the same. PHIVOLCS lowered the alert at Mayon to Level 2 (from 3) based on the reduced seismicity and volcanic gas emissions - but they offered the usual caveat that the volcano may go back up to 3 at any moment. Meanwhile, Turrialba in Costa Rica continues to give off copious gas emissions but no repeat of the explosions from last week. There is a report by OVSICORI on the changes in the crater (albeit as a PDF in Spanish). Nyamuragira also continues to erupt, but the eruption is diminishing, with lava flows reaching down the slopes but still within the Virunga National Park.
- We had been hearing rumblings that Tungurahua in Ecuador was coming back to life and overnight the volcano erupted. The volcano had already been experiencing explosions and earthquakes, but this eruption produced a 3 km / ~10,000 foot ash column along with reports of lava at the summit. No one was injured in the eruption.
- The NASA Earth Observatory has posted a number of great images over the last couple of weeks, including the plume (and tephra deposits) of the Gaua eruption in Vanuatu and a stunner of a shot taken above Soufriere Hills, showing all the new pyroclastic deposits formed since the volcano made a comeback this fall.
- If you're looking for extraterrestrial volcanism, NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter team posted an image of lava flows in the Athabasca Valles. The shot shows evidence of phreatic cones (eruptions with a large water component) along with 100 meter deep lava flows.
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Once more, the tragedy within the tragedy is that the Haiti earthquake does not really come as a surprise for geologists: less than 2 years ago, at the 18th Caribbean Geological Conference, a group led by University of Texas geologist Paul Mann warned of an earthquake of up to M 7.2 right in the area now stricken by disaster:
No further comment
That is quite the report, Boris. It is sad to think that Haitian officials might have known that an event like this could very likely happen, but lack any resources to mitigate against it.
Reasonably strong SO2 signal coming off of Mount Nyamuragira
Aver. long. : 24.6 deg.
Aver. latit. : -0.9 deg.
Aver. sza : 37.5 deg.
Max. SO2 vcd : 15.3 DU
Geologists may have warned about the possibility of a quake like this, but now it is a moot point. Thing is, they need help and need it now and it is going to take some time to get the help there. Fortunately, there are several nations who are rising to the occassion to get the help there and that is the bright spot. Since they had very little infrastructure, not much could have been done to prepare for something like this.
Let's all remember them in our thoughts and prayers.
Can anyone else see the Easter Island face carving in that eruption plume (complete with the round stone on top)? :) Obviously the pagan gods are angry about something again...
Yep. I see it now that you mention it, MadScientist. As for pagan gods? I don't believe in them. Cool pic, though.
MadScientist: Maybe they're telling us that old Thor Heyerdahl was right all along in his theory that the Polynesian Islanders came from South America :o)
So Doc, What is the eruption looking thing north and east of of Port-au-Prince/ it sure looks like a lava flow at night.
We noticed what looks like lava NE of Port-au-Prince tonight as well. We are stationed at the airport and had a good view. Big debate among the Soldiers here is whether it is actually lava or not. Don't believe there is an active volcano in Haiti- could it be coming up from cracks that were formed by the earthquake? We would love your insight.
I saw something about this topic on TV last night. Good article.
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