Category Archives: Volcano

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Director : John Hamburg.
Writer : John Hamburg, Ian Helfer, Nicholas Stoller.
Release : December 22, 2016
Country : United States of America.
Production Company : 21 Laps Entertainment, Red Hour Films.
Language : English.
Runtime : 111 min.
Genre : Comedy.

‘Why Him?’ is a movie genre Comedy, was released in December 22, 2016. John Hamburg was directed this movie and starring by James Franco. This movie tell story about Ned, an overprotective dad, visits his daughter at Stanford where he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward Silicon Valley billionaire boyfriend, Laird. A rivalry develops and Ned’s panic level goes through the roof when he finds himself lost in this glamorous high-tech world and learns Laird is about to pop the question.

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Eruption News and Volcanoes From Space for October 28, 2011 | Wired Science | Wired.com

Vulcan’s View: Eruption News and Volcanoes From Space for October 28, 2011 | Wired Science | Wired.com.

Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, Chile

 

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, Ecuador

 

Tungurahua, Ecuador

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

 

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, 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

 

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.

 

Popocatépetl, Mexico

 

Popocatépetl, Mexico

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.

 

Suwanose-jima, Japan

 

Suwanose-jima, Japan

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.

Yellowstone Supervolcano & Caldera

Yellowstone Supervolcano & Caldera ? Volcanic Eruptions & Seismic Activity ? Molten Rock, Magma Plume | Our Amazing Planet.

yellowstone-plume-110411-02.jpg

The volcanic plume of partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano. Yellow and red indicate higher conductivity, green and blue indicate lower conductivity. Made by University of Utah geophysicists and computer scientists, this is the first large-scale ‘geoelectric’ image of the Yellowstone hotspot. Credit: University of Utah.

 

The gigantic underground plume of partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano might be bigger than previously thought, a new image suggests.

The study says nothing about the chances of a cataclysmic eruption at Yellowstone, but it provides scientists with a valuable new perspective on the vast and deep reservoir of fiery material that feeds such eruptions, the last of which occurred more than 600,000 years ago. [Related: Infographic – The Geology of Yellowstone.]

Earlier measurements of the plume were produced by using seismic waves — the waves generated by earthquakes — to create a picture of the underground region. The new picture was produced by examining the Yellowstone plume’s electrical conductivity, which is generated by molten silicate rocks and hot briny water that is naturally present and mixed in with partly molten rock.

“It’s a totally new and different way of imaging and looking at the volcanic roots of Yellowstone,” said study co-author Robert B. Smith, professor emeritus and research professor of geophysics at the University of Utah, and a coordinating scientist of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

Ancient eruptions

Almost 17 million years ago, the deep plume of partly molten rock known as the Yellowstone hot spot first breached the surface in an eruption near what is now the Oregon-Idaho-Nevada border.

As North America drifted slowly southwest over the hot spot, there were more than 140 gargantuan caldera eruptions — the largest kind of eruption on Earth — along a northeast-trending path that is now Idaho’s Snake River Plain.

The hot spot finally reached Yellowstone about 2 million years ago, yielding three huge caldera eruptions about 2 million, 1.3 million and 642,000 years ago.

Two of the eruptions blanketed half of North America with volcanic ash, producing 2,500 times and 1,000 times more ash than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. Smaller eruptions occurred at Yellowstone in between the big blasts and as recently as 70,000 years ago.

Underground images

Smith said the geoelectric and seismic images of the Yellowstone plume look somewhat different because “we are imaging slightly different things.” Seismic images highlight materials such as molten or partly molten rock that slow seismic waves, while the geoelectric image is sensitive to briny fluids that conduct electricity.

Seismic images of the plume made by Smith in 2009 showed the plume of molten rock dips downward from Yellowstone at a 60-degree angle and extends 150 miles (240 kilometers) west-northwest to a point at least 410 miles (660 km) under the Montana-Idaho border — as far as seismic imaging could “see.”

The new electrical conductivity images show the conductive part of the plume dipping more gently, at an angle of perhaps 40 degrees to the west, and extending perhaps 400 miles (640 km) from east to west. The geoelectric image can “see” to a depth of only 200 miles (320 km).

The lesser tilt of the geoelectric plume image raises the possibility that the seismically imaged plume, shaped somewhat like a tilted tornado, may be enveloped by a broader, underground sheath of partly molten rock and liquids, Zhdanov and Smith say.

“It’s a bigger size” in the geoelectric picture, Smith said. “We can infer there are more fluids” than shown by seismic images. Despite differences, he said, “this body that conducts electricity is in about the same location with similar geometry as the seismically imaged Yellowstone plume.”

The new study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, which plans to publish it within the next few weeks.

El Hierro Submarine Eruption

El Hierro Submarine Eruption : Natural Hazards.

El Hierro Submarine Eruption

acquired October 23, 2011 download large image (779 KB, JPEG)
acquired October 23, 2011 download GeoTIFF file (3 MB, TIFF)

Off the coast of El Hierro, in the southwest reaches of the Canary Islands, Earth has been spewing gas and rock into the ocean. The island off the Atlantic coast of North Africa—built mostly from a shield volcano—has been rocked by thousands of tremors and earthquakes since July 2011, and an underwater volcanic eruption started in mid-October. The eruption is the first in the island chain in nearly 40 years.

On October 23, 2011, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color view of El Hierro and the North Atlantic Ocean surrounding it. A milky green plume in the water stretches 25-30 kilometers at its widest and perhaps 100 kilometers long, from a large mass near the coast to thin tendrils as it spreads to the southwest. The plume is likely a mix of volcanic gases and a blend of crushed pumice and seafloor rock.

Tremors were reported for the past several months from seismic stations on El Hierro, particularly in the northwest of the island. Then on October 12, 2011, the strength of the tremors significantly decreased while foaming, rock-strewn plumes appeared in the sea to the south of the island. The underwater plume of volcanic debris has persisted for nearly two weeks and has been mixed and dispersed by ocean surface currents. The eruption is occurring in water that is tens to a few hundred meters deep.

Geologist and blogger Erik Klemetti offered this analysis: “It looks like the main fissure might be 2-3 kilometers in length and is close to on strike with the rift axis for the main El Hierro edifice. Ramon Ortiz, coordinator of a government scientific team, said that if/when the eruption reaches shallower water, we should expect to see the surface water start to steam, followed by explosions of steam and magma and finally the emergence of an island.”

For local seismic information from El Hierro (in Spanish), visit the Instituto Geografico Nacional.

  1. References

  2. The Daily Mail (2011, September 29) Earthquake swarm on Canary Island of El Hierro sparks fears of volcanic eruption. Accessed October 25, 2011.
  3. Global Volcanism Program (2011, October 18) Smithsonian/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: Hierro. Accessed October 25, 2011.
  4. Klemetti, Erik (2011, October 21) Eruptions Blog: Vulcan’s View: Eruption News and Volcanoes From Space. Accessed October 25, 2011.

NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using data from the MODIS Rapid Response team. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.

Instrument: 
Terra – MODIS

Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery

Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery – Yahoo! News.

Yeah, just ’cause it’s growing a cubic meter per second, and it explodes every 300k years or so, and it’s been 300k years since the last one, no, there’s no reason to get excited, we don’t expect it to explode.

WTF??

Should anyone ever decide to make a show called “CSI: Geology,” a group of scientists studying a mysterious and rapidly inflating South American volcano have got the perfect storyline.

Researchers from several universities are essentially working as geological detectives, using a suite of tools to piece together the restive peak’s past in order to understand what it is doing now, and better diagnose what may lie ahead.

It’s a mystery they’ve yet to solve.

Uturuncu is a nearly 20,000-foot-high (6,000 meters) volcano in southwest Bolivia. Scientists recently discovered the volcano is inflating with astonishing speed.

“I call this ‘volcano forensics,’ because we’re using so many different techniques to understand this phenomenon,” said Oregon State University professor Shan de Silva, a volcanologist on the research team. [See images of the inflating volcano here.]

Researchers realized about five years ago that the area below and around Uturuncu is steadily rising — blowing up like a giant balloon under a wide disc of land some 43 miles (70 kilometers) across. Satellite data revealed the region was inflating by 1 to 2 centimeters (less than an inch) per year and had been doing so for at least 20 years, when satellite observations began.

“It’s one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth,” de Silva told OurAmazingPlanet.”What we’re trying to do is understand why there is this rapid inflation, and from there we’ll try to understand what it’s going to lead to.”

The  peak is perched like a party hat at the center of the inflating area. “It’s very circular. It’s like a big bull’s-eye,” said Jonathan Perkins, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who recently presented work on the mountain at this year’s Geological Society of America meeting  in Minneapolis.

Scientists figured out from the inflation rate that the pocket of magma beneath the volcano was growing by about 27 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) per second.

“That’s about 10 times faster than the standard rate of magma chamber growth you see for large volcanic systems,” Perkins told OurAmazingPlanet.

However, no need to flee just yet, the scientists said.

“It’s not a volcano that we think is going to erupt at any moment, but it certainly is interesting, because the area was thought to be essentially dead,” de Silva said.

Uber-Uturuncu?

Uturuncu is surrounded by one of the most dense concentrations of supervolcanoes on the planet, all of which fell silent some 1 million years ago.

Supervolcanoes get their name because they erupt with such power that they typically spew out 1,000 times more material, in sheer volume, than a volcano like Mount St. Helens. Modern human civilization has never witnessed such an event. The planet’s most recent supervolcanic eruption happened about 74,000 years ago in Indonesia. [Related: The 10 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History]

“These eruptions are thought to have not only a local and regional impact, but potentially a global impact,” de Silva said.

Uturuncu itself is in the same class as Mount St. Helens in Washington state, but its aggressive rise could indicate that a new supervolcano is on the way. Or not.

De Silva said it appears that local volcanoes hoard magma for about 300,000 years before they blow — and Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago.

“So that’s why it’s important to know how long this has been going on,” he said.

To find an answer, scientists needed data that stretch back thousands of years — but they had only 20 years of satellite data.

Volcano rap sheet

“So that’s where we come in as geomorphologists — to look for clues in the landscape to learn about the long-term topographic evolution of the volcano,” Perkins said.

Perkins and colleagues used ancient lakes, now largely dry, along the volcano’s flanks to hunt for signs of rising action.

“Lakes are great, because waves from lakes will carve shorelines into bedrock, which make lines,” Perkins said.

If the angle of those lines shifted over thousands of years  — if the summit of the mountain rose, it would gradually lift one side of the lake — it would indicate the peak had been rising for quite some time, or at least provide a better idea of when the movement began.

The local conditions, largely untouched by erosion or the reach of lush plant and animal life, lend themselves to geological detective work, Perkins noted.

“It’s a really sparse, otherworldly landscape,” Perkins said. “Everything is so well preserved. There’s no biology to get in the way of your observations.”

Perkins said that surveys conducted on the lakes last autumn didn’t indicate long-term inflation. However, tilting lakes are only one indicator of volcano growth, he said.

De Silva said the geological detective team is working to combine data from a number of sources — seismic data, GPS data, even minute variations in gravity — to pin down when and why the mountain awoke from its 300,000-year-long slumber, and better predict its next big move.

This story was provided by OurAmazingPlanet, a sister site to LiveScience. You can follow OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Andrea Mustain on Twitter: @andreamustain. Follow OurAmazingPlanet for the latest in Earth science and exploration news on Twitter @OAPlanet and on Facebook.

Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery

Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery – Yahoo! News.

Should anyone ever decide to make a show called “CSI: Geology,” a group of scientists studying a mysterious and rapidly inflating South American volcano have got the perfect storyline.

Researchers from several universities are essentially working as geological detectives, using a suite of tools to piece together the restive peak’s past in order to understand what it is doing now, and better diagnose what may lie ahead.

It’s a mystery they’ve yet to solve.

Uturuncu is a nearly 20,000-foot-high (6,000 meters) volcano in southwest Bolivia. Scientists recently discovered the volcano is inflating with astonishing speed.

“I call this ‘volcano forensics,’ because we’re using so many different techniques to understand this phenomenon,” said Oregon State University professor Shan de Silva, a volcanologist on the research team. [See images of the inflating volcano here.]

Researchers realized about five years ago that the area below and around Uturuncu is steadily rising — blowing up like a giant balloon under a wide disc of land some 43 miles (70 kilometers) across. Satellite data revealed the region was inflating by 1 to 2 centimeters (less than an inch) per year and had been doing so for at least 20 years, when satellite observations began.

“It’s one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth,” de Silva told OurAmazingPlanet.”What we’re trying to do is understand why there is this rapid inflation, and from there we’ll try to understand what it’s going to lead to.”

The  peak is perched like a party hat at the center of the inflating area. “It’s very circular. It’s like a big bull’s-eye,” said Jonathan Perkins, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who recently presented work on the mountain at this year’s Geological Society of America meeting  in Minneapolis.

Scientists figured out from the inflation rate that the pocket of magma beneath the volcano was growing by about 27 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) per second.

“That’s about 10 times faster than the standard rate of magma chamber growth you see for large volcanic systems,” Perkins told OurAmazingPlanet.

However, no need to flee just yet, the scientists said.

“It’s not a volcano that we think is going to erupt at any moment, but it certainly is interesting, because the area was thought to be essentially dead,” de Silva said.

Uber-Uturuncu?

Uturuncu is surrounded by one of the most dense concentrations of supervolcanoes on the planet, all of which fell silent some 1 million years ago.

Supervolcanoes get their name because they erupt with such power that they typically spew out 1,000 times more material, in sheer volume, than a volcano like Mount St. Helens. Modern human civilization has never witnessed such an event. The planet’s most recent supervolcanic eruption happened about 74,000 years ago in Indonesia. [Related: The 10 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History]

“These eruptions are thought to have not only a local and regional impact, but potentially a global impact,” de Silva said.

Uturuncu itself is in the same class as Mount St. Helens in Washington state, but its aggressive rise could indicate that a new supervolcano is on the way. Or not.

De Silva said it appears that local volcanoes hoard magma for about 300,000 years before they blow — and Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago.

“So that’s why it’s important to know how long this has been going on,” he said.

To find an answer, scientists needed data that stretch back thousands of years — but they had only 20 years of satellite data.

Volcano rap sheet

“So that’s where we come in as geomorphologists — to look for clues in the landscape to learn about the long-term topographic evolution of the volcano,” Perkins said.

Perkins and colleagues used ancient lakes, now largely dry, along the volcano’s flanks to hunt for signs of rising action.

“Lakes are great, because waves from lakes will carve shorelines into bedrock, which make lines,” Perkins said.

If the angle of those lines shifted over thousands of years  — if the summit of the mountain rose, it would gradually lift one side of the lake — it would indicate the peak had been rising for quite some time, or at least provide a better idea of when the movement began.

The local conditions, largely untouched by erosion or the reach of lush plant and animal life, lend themselves to geological detective work, Perkins noted.

“It’s a really sparse, otherworldly landscape,” Perkins said. “Everything is so well preserved. There’s no biology to get in the way of your observations.”

Perkins said that surveys conducted on the lakes last autumn didn’t indicate long-term inflation. However, tilting lakes are only one indicator of volcano growth, he said.

De Silva said the geological detective team is working to combine data from a number of sources — seismic data, GPS data, even minute variations in gravity — to pin down when and why the mountain awoke from its 300,000-year-long slumber, and better predict its next big move.

Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano

Puyehue-Cordón Caulle : Natural Hazards.

Puyehue-Cordón Caulle

acquired September 17, 2011 download large image (6 MB, JPEG)
acquired September 17, 2011 download large afternoon image (6 MB, JPEG)

As the eruption of Puyehue Cordón Caulle wanes, life is returning to normal in nearby communities. The Buenos Aires Herald reported that the first domestic aircraft landed at Bariloche, Argentina, in more than three months on September 17, 2011. Bariloche is an Andean town about 60 kilometers southeast of the eruption center. At the time, winds blew the ash plume from Puyehue Cordón Caulle towards the northwest, away from the town. An airport spokesperson expects future traffic to be dependent on the weather.

This natural-color satellite image shows Puyehue Cordón Caulle and the surrounding area at roughly local noon on September 17. A pale plume of volcanic gas and ash streams to the northwest from the active vent. The September 15 status report from the Chilean National Service of Geology and Mining (SERNAGEOMIN) stated that the eruption continued at a low level.

  1. References

  2. Buenos Aires Herald. (2011, September 17). Plane lands at Bariloche airport after months of inactivity. Accessed September 19, 2011.
  3. Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería. (2011, September 15). Reporte Especial de Actividad Volcánica No 138 Complejo Volcánico Puyehue-Cordón Caulle. Accessed September 19, 2011.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA-GSFC.

Instrument: 
Terra – MODIS

Mystery Fossils Link Fungi to Ancient Mass Extinction

Mystery Fossils Link Fungi to Ancient Mass Extinction | Wired Science | Wired.com.

By Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica

Of the five mass extinctions in the Earth’s past, one stands above the rest in magnitude: the Permian-Trassic extinction, known as the Great Dying. It saw the disappearance of almost 60 percent of all families, and over 80 percent of all genera — in the ocean, that added up to about 96 percent of all species. The cause of this event, 250 million years in the past, is still a matter of debate.

The most likely culprit is the prolific volcanism of the Siberian Traps— the erupted basalt still covers about 2 million square kilometers — but other events may have also played a role. Evidence for a massive destabilization of methane hydrates on the seafloor (a phenomenon described as “The Big Burp”), ocean anoxia and even contemporary asteroid impacts have all been found.

A couple of recent papers in the journal Geology have brought some new information to the discussion, and may help make the picture just a little bit clearer.

 

One source of significant mystery has been the nature of the organic microfossils that are common in rocks dated to the time of the extinction worldwide. The tiny fossils resemble filamentous colonies of cells, but have evaded positive identification.

Some researchers think they are the remains of fungi, while others argue that they are algae instead. There’s evidence on both sides, but the two scenarios represent very different conditions. The fungus indicates a widespread dying of woody vegetation, while algae suggest extensive swamps forming along river systems.

A paper published this month shows that the microfossils are almost identical morphologically to a group of pathogenic soil fungi that can infect trees. If its authors have identified these correctly, it fits in well with an overall picture showing loss of forests and topsoil. The demise of tree species is clear in pollen studies, and there is a lot of evidence for greatly accelerated soil erosion, including increased sediment deposition in deltas with lots of soil-derived organic debris.

Modern studies show that drought stress and UV damage, both of which could be caused by the massive releases of volcanic gases from the Siberian Traps, can make trees susceptible to fungal infection.

Connecting a fungus to a global mass extinction may seem tenuous, but the authors point out that processes down in the world of the very small are often overlooked in any extinction discussions. They summarize by saying, “There may have been a variety of other globally operating environmental stress factors, but whatever sequence of events triggered ecosystem destabilization on land, the aggressiveness of soil-borne pathogenic fungi must have been an integral factor involved in Late Permian forest decline worldwide.”

Separately, another recent paper has pinned down the timing of the extinction. It’s not considered to have been as sudden as the End Cretaceous extinction that killed off the dinosaurs, but the precise timeline has been tough to get a handle on, and estimates have varied.

The research group looked at some marine Permian-Triassic rocks in China that recorded cyclical global climate patterns. Climate controlled the amount of terrestrial sediment that was deposited in this area, which shows up as changes in grain size through the rock layers. Using a device that measures magnetic susceptibility, they were able to precisely quantify changes in grain size across the rock layers. Together with some uranium-lead isotopic ages, they were able to pick out the orbital cycles that control climate, including the prominent 400,000-year eccentricity cycle, and use them to precisely date the extinction interval.

A couple of interesting things show up in the data. For one, minima in several of the orbital cycles coincide shortly before the start of the extinction period. (Think of three sine waves with different wavelengths — at certain points in time, all three troughs will line up by chance.) That could have made for some unusual climatic conditions. Additionally, the effect of the 100,000-year orbital cycle on climate seems diminished for as long as 2 million years afterward.

It’s dangerous to extrapolate to the big picture from records like this, but there’s enough there to warrant further investigation of the orbital forcings.

In the end, they found that the extinction took 600,000 to 700,000 years to play out. This is consistent with the idea that several events acted in concert to destabilize ecosystems and cause the loss of so many species, meaning a significant length of time would be needed. It was simply a nasty time to be a living thing on planet Earth. Some advice for any time travelers out there — steer well clear of the Great Dying.

Image: Photomicrographic comparison of fossil and modern filamentous fungal structures. A: Sclerotium of modern Rhizoctonia aff. solani, aggregated monilioid hyphae (Paul Cannon/Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International, CABI). B: Modern R. solani, branched monilioid hyphae (Lane Tredway/American Phytopathological Society). C, D: Late Permian Reduviasporonites stoschianus, branched monilioid hyphae. E: R. stoschianus, aggregated hyphae with dominant narrow cells. F: R. stoschianus, aggregated monilioid hyphae. G: R. stoschianus, segment of small intact disk-like sclerotium. Scale bar for all images is 100 ?m.

See Also:

Citation: Geology, 2011. DOI: 10.1130/G32126.1 and Geology, 2011. DOI: 10.1130/G32178.1

Paroxysms at Mount Etna

Paroxysm at Mount Etna : Natural Hazards.

Paroxysm at Mount Etna

acquired August 12, 2011 download large image (568 KB, JPEG)
acquired August 12, 2011 download GeoTIFF file (3 MB, TIFF)
acquired August 12, 2011 download Google Earth file (KMZ)

Paroxysm
1: a fit, attack, or sudden increase or recurrence of symptoms (as of a disease)
2: a sudden violent emotion or action
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Throughout 2011, activity at Sicily’s Mount Etna has been characterized by paroxysms: short, violent bursts of activity. Each event has included volcanic tremors, ash emissions, and lava flows centered around the New Southeast Crater, just below the summit.

On August 12, 2011, Etna had its tenth paroxysm of the year, captured in this natural-color satellite image. Etna spewed a thick white plume of gas and ash to the southeast, towards the nearby city of Catania. The ash cloud was produced by vigorous lava fountaining at the New Southeast Crater. The Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center estimated ash emissions reached an altitude of 14,000 feet (4,300 meters); 2,000 feet (600 meters) above the 10,925-foot (3,330-meter) summit. The image was captured at 11:40 a.m. local time by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite.

Boris Behncke, a volcanolgist from the Istituto Nazionale Di Geofisica E Vulcanologia in Catania, Sciliy, provides updates on Etna’s activity on his Twitter feed, @etnaboris.

  1. References

  2. Klemetti, Erik. (2011, August 12). GVP Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for August 3–9, 2011: Cleveland’s Dome, Indonesian Volcanoes and a Busy Etna. Accessed August 12, 2011.
  3. Toulouse VAAC. (2011, August 12). Volcanic Ash Advisory. Accessed August 12, 2011.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA-GSFC. Caption by Robert Simmon.

Alaskan Volcano Gearing Up For Big Explosion?

Alaskan Volcano Could Be Gearing Up For Big Explosion | Care2 Causes.

44 comments Alaskan Volcano Could Be Gearing Up For Big Explosion

 

A volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands has been erupting since the end of July, and could be gathering steam for a much more severe explosion.

According to scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), the Cleveland Volcano, a 5,676-foot peak located about 940 miles southwest of Anchorage has been seeping magma for several days. But this activity could only be a precursor to an explosive event powerful enough to send ash into the atmosphere.

“The dome, if it continues to grow, could plug up the crater, creating pressure that could result in “a fairly sizable explosion that could throw ash up to flight levels,” said John Power, scientist in charge at the observatory, a joint federal-state operation.

Observers on a August 8 NOAA flight photographed a small, dark-colored dome centered at the bottom of the summit crater. In the last clear satellite view of the summit on August 9 the lava dome was about 60 meters (197 feet) in diameter.

Location of Cleveland volcano and other Aleutian volcanoes with respect to nearby cities and towns.

The volcano is situated on Chuginadak Island which is currently uninhabited, so no humans are in immediate danger even if the volcano does produce a bigger eruption. The closest community to the volcano is Nikolski, an Aleut village of about 20 people located 45 miles to the east. However, the island does lie directly in the North America-to-Asia flight corridor used by major airlines.

Powers also said that the secretion of lava and the building of a bigger dome is uncharacteristic for the Cleveland Volcano, but big explosions of other Alaskan volcanoes have occurred following  a dome-building event.

The observatory says the last significant eruption of the 5,676-foot volcano began in February 2001 and eventually produced a lava flow that reached the ocean.

You can keep up with the Cleveland Volcano’s progress at the AVO website.

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