Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No updates this Friday through Sunday - Taking a mini vacation!

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.
Immanuel Kant

This morning -

Yesterday -
4/27/10 -


ITALY - The volcano of Ischia, a resort island famed for its thermal waters off the coast of Naples, could potentially erupt, Italian disaster experts say. While Vesuvius is more commonly considered the nation's most worrisome volcano, Ischia, which last erupted 700 years ago, is experiencing a build-up of magma. No eruption is imminent, but "if I had to say which is the volcano with the most loaded gun barrel, I'd say it's not Vesuvius but the island of Ischia." Ischia's "magma chamber is loading up." An eruption on Ischia "could be worse than a hypothetical Vesuvius eruption." While scientists detect no sign of an eruption, Ischia's volcanic potential is being monitored along with that of Vesuvius, the mountain that looms over Naples and destroyed Pompeii when it blew in 79 AD. Vesuvius is a disaster planner's nightmare, since its slopes are officially inhabited by some 500,000 people, although perhaps as many as 150,000 more live in illegal, unregistered housing in the 18 hamlets clinging to its side. Considering that parts of crowded, chaotic Naples could be in the path of Vesuvius' fury, more than a million people might ultimately be ordered to evacuate in case of eruption. Seismologists have detected no signs of the quakes that are expected to rattle Vesuvius before any major eruption. Italian volcano and earthquake experts are about to launch a several-year project to monitor and explore 13 largely unstudied undersea volcanoes in the Mediterranean, near Sicily and the southwest Italian coast.

GUATEMALA - An eruption at Guatemala's Santiaguito volcano has sent a plume of ash 27,300 feet (8,300 meters) above sea level, dusting parts of at least four provinces. The volcano has calmed since Monday's big burst - though it is still seeing weak to moderate explosions. The eruption damaged local flower harvests, but caused no injuries. Schools were closed in 10 communities as a precaution and flights have been banned for 12 miles (20 kilometers) around the volcano. Santiaguito is a crater on the slope of the Santa Maria volcano about 120 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of Guatemala City.

VANUATU - In early April, activity at Gaua Volcano in the Vanuatu Archipelago increased. The ash column, which first appeared in October 2009, became thicker and higher, and volcanic bombs were frequently sighted from the coastal villages surrounding the volcano. Vanuatu government officials are preparing to evacuate residents of Gaua Island, who are threatened by ash, poisonous gases, and landslides.
(satellite photos, map)

No current tropical cyclones.


NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has just observed a massive eruption on the sun. Billions of tons of material blasted into space while debris from the explosion rained down around the blast site. Moon-sized fragments of plasma splashed brightly when they landed back on the sun's surface. Veteran solar physicists say they've never seen anything quite like it. (video, photos)
The Earth-facing side of the sun has had no sunspots for 13 days.
A solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole could reach Earth on or about May 3rd.