Vulcan’s View: Eruption News and Volcanoes From Space for October 28, 2011 | Wired Science | Wired.com.
New Smithsonian/USGS Global Volcanism Program Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, new views of volcanoes from space!
Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, Chile
The eruption at Chile’s Puyehue-Cordón Caulle continues after starting in early June of this year. The current plume is much smaller than during the opening phases of the eruption, topping out at ~4.5 km (some as high as 7.5 km). However, high atmospheric winds are carrying the ash away and disrupting air travel throughout the region. Depending on the wind, the ash from Puyehue-Cordón Caulle is being carried 120-250 km from the vent, depending on the winds.
Once the ash and volcanic tephra is erupted, it isn’t the end to the hazard they pose. This image shows the accumulation of ash and volcanic tephra (video) on the waterways around Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, especially Lago Huishue, Gris and Constania on the eastern side of the image. Some smaller lakes are completely covered in volcanic debris. These deposits can be easily mobilized into the drainages and produce small lahars and mudflows that bring debris even further away. The drainage in the lower left hand side is grey with ash and volcanic debris that can clearly be seen entering Lago Puyehue as large, grey plumes. These accumulations of volcanic debris will likely be remobilized for years to decades after the eruption ends.
Image: The ash plume from Puyehue-Cordón Caulle seen on October 25, 2011. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory
Tungurahua, one of the more active volcanoes in South America, continues to rumble. Only 140 km from Quito, the volcano produced a 7.3 km / 24,000 ash/steam plume last week. The plume drifted in the opposite direction of the one pictured in this 2004 MODIS image of another eruption at Tungurahua.
Image: Ash plume from Tungurahua in Ecuador seen on January 14, 2004. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory.
Karymsky and neighboring volcanoes, Russia
The busy Kamchatka peninsula is well represented yet again in this week’s Volcanic Activity Report. I’ll focus on the activity at Karymsky, which was mostly moderate ash plumes that reached ~3.3 km / 10,000 feet and a thermal anomaly noted at the summit. This likely means a plug or dome of hot magma is the summit of the volcano and is the source for the explosive activity producing the plume. What you see above is a 2006 image of a plume from Karymsky that also captures of its notable volcanic neighbors, including Kronotsky, Krasheninnikov, Kikhpinych, Bolshoi Semiachik and Akademia Nauk.
Image: A collection of Kamchatkan volcanoes seen on November 29, 2006. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory.
Manam, Papau New Guinea
Manam is an island volcano off Papau New Guinea and really, there is nothing else on the island except the volcano. It has been quite active over the last decade and evacuations of the few people who choose to live in Manam have been problematic with the constant activity, even after fatalities during an eruption in 2004. Currently the volcano is producing 3.7 km / 12,000 ash and steam plumes that drift east over the Pacific.
Image: A close up view of Manam in Papau New Guinea with young dark ash and lava flows on the flanks separated by green, vegetated areas. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory.
El Hierro, Canary Islands
What Vulcan’s View would be complete without a shot of the ongoing eruption at El Hierro in the Canary Islands? This new image from October 27, 2011 shows the submarine plume from the new vents off the southern coast of El Hierro. Some of the material in the plume has made its way around the western shores to begin to wrap around the island. The most fascinating aspect of this plume is what sort of effect the plume will have on the ocean waters and ocean bottom environments, especially with how well mapped the plume has been by satellite. Be sure to check out the gallery of images from the BBC Mundo.
Image: An October 27, 2011 image of the submarine plume from the eruption at El Hierro. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory.
The activity at Popocatépetl isn’t exactly headline grabbing: steam-and-ash plumes with maybe some very minimal ash deposits. Par for the course for the Mexican volcano. I included Popo just to remind people about the threat the volcano poses to Mexico City and its outlying communities.
Image: A January 4, 2011 image of a diffuse steam-and-ash plume from Popocatépetl in Mexico. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory.
Another regular in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, Suwanose-jima, is one of the many volcanoes of the Ryukyu Islands. Unlike Sakura-jima, which gets a lot of the attention due to its proximity to a populated area, Suwanose-jima is on an depopulated island. The former population of the island left due to the volcanic threat posed by Suwanose-jima. The 2009 image of the volcano shows a moderate ash plume extending to the northeast from Suwanose-jima.
Image: The thick ash plume from Japan’s Suwanose-jima as seen on July 5, 2009. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory.