Mountain climbing is dangerous. Mountain climbing on a volcanic mountain is extra dangerous. A team of mountain climbers in the Philippines found that out today, five with very tragic results.
Check out this incredible video taken at the edge of a lava lake produced by Marum Volcano on Ambryn Island, Vanuatu near New Guinea. The astounding video was shot by Geoff Mackley, Bradley Ambrose, and Nathan Berg. I'm not sure which of them is in the suit posing at the edge but what a view he must have had! Apparently, without the heat-proof suit and breathing gear, you could only get within 30 yards of the boiling lake, and endure just six seconds of the blistering heat. The protective gear allowed the wearer to stand at the edge for 40 minutes! How cool would that be?
Courtesy USGS Preceded by a magnitude 5.1 earthquake, Washington state's Mount St. Helens explodes with a major eruption in 1980 that flattens the surrounding forest, blankets the immediate area with mud and avalanche debris, and unleashes more than 500 million tons of ash into the air that reaches as far as Oklahoma (although traces of the ash encircle the globe). Fifty-seven people lose their lives from the eruption.
You don't see this every day - a new land mass forming right before your eyes. This video shows a giant shield volcano erupting beneath the Red Sea and forming an island on the surface. Fishermen from Yemen first noticed erupting magma about a month ago, and now an island has appeared, adding to the chain of islands called the Zubair Island Group. The huge volcano sets on a rift where the African and Arabian continental plates are pulling away from each other. More information can be found on the Smithsonian Science website.
Sakurajima is a stratovolcano and former island, now connected to the mainland. It is part of the Kirishima-Yaku National Park, and its lava flows are a major tourist attraction. Sakurajima volcano has frequently produced eruption plumes with significant visible electrical discharges (volcanic lightning). Its eruption in 1914 was the most powerful in 20th-century Japan. Eruptions from Sakurajima have also affected air traffic from the airport in the nearest city, Kagoshima. Large lapilli has broken the windshields of planes on several occasions, although no major incident has occurred.
The eruption at 1min 20 sec is particularly interesting.
Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) raised the alert status for the Cerro Hudson volcano in southern Chile recently. The Chilean government reported that before this morning nearly 900 volcanic earthquakes were noticed, most of which were not felt by residents living in the area. 119 people are currently evacuated from the Lake Caro area, and authorities are trying to evacuate another 13 individuals.
There are now three steam vents on the volcano, one of which is also emitting ash. Some photos taken from a recent flyby of the volcano can be seen here.
The ice-filled caldera (10-km-wide, or ~ 6.2 miles) of the Cerro Hudson volcano was not recognized until its first 20th-century eruption in 1971. Cerro Hudson is the southernmost volcano in the Chilean Andes related to subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South American plate, and is 280 km (~ 174 miles) east of the Nazca-Antarctic-South American triple junction. An eruption about 6700 years ago was one of the largest known in the southern Andes during the Holocene, and a 1991 eruption was Chile’s second largest of the 20th century.
News report: Hudson Volcano forces evacuations in Southern Chile
Eruptions blogpost: Alert Status Raised to Red at Chile’s Hudson
There have been many reports online about an eruption currently happening off the coast of El Hierro (Spanish for "the iron"), which is one of the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. El Hierro is the smallest island in the archipelago, and the SW-most and least studied of the Canary Islands.
Earthquakes began in July, leading to speculation whether an eruption might occur. The eruption likely started before October 11, 2011, followed by a combination of gas bubbles and green & brown discoloration of the ocean surface, confirming people's suspicions that an undersea eruption was occuring.
Courtesy Dèsirée Martín
Volcanic gases mixing with seawater caused the water to become more acidic, resulting in a number of fish seen floating on the surface.
Currently, it appears that the activity is dying down, making it unlikely that a new island may appear. However, it is important to note that activity can change.
The Spanish newspaper El Mundo has an informative animation on the eruption, provding information on the geography of El Hierro, location and size of craters and cinder cones, and the ocean sea floor surrounding the island.
YouTube videos of the eruption are also available:
The Icelandic Meteorological Office announced Saturday May 21 at 2:00 pm CDT the eruption of the volcano Grímsvötn in Iceland (N64,24, W0172) following a short period of tremor. This is Iceland’s largest volcano. The eruption started under ice but spewed a plume up to 65,000 feet. Grímsvötn is a well monitored volcano. It last erupted in October 2004 and lasted about a week.
This eruption was larger than last year’s Eyjafjallajokull eruption, but will likely have less impact on air traffic. While Keflavik, the Iceland’s larges airport, was shut down, the ash plume from Grímsvötn is currently drifting east and north away from Europe.
Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers are set up across the globe to monitor volcanic ash and issue warnings as appropriate. These centers make use of satellite observations to monitor the eruptions and the movement of the ash cloud. Below is a link to a satellite animation of the eruption. This is a European satellite and the time between images is about 15 minutes.
Although it’s been in a constant state of eruption for nearly three decades, Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii has upped the ante with the appearance of a new fissure that’s been tossing a spectacular spray of molten lava up to 80 feet into the air. Recent rockfalls from the widening vent have produced rumblings and popping sounds as blocks of rock as large as small cars have dropped into the rising lava lake. The US Geological Survey’s Hawaii Volcano Observatory has set up a web cam to monitor the volcano’s activity.