Friday, March 15, 2013

Montserrat volcano poses a constant danger - Montserrat's volcano is a threat to the island's inhabitants even when it is not erupting, say scientists. New research has found evidence of previously unknown eruptions and landslide deposits. And some of the landslides occurred when the volcano was not considered to be erupting. "It seems Montserrat was more active than we previously thought".
The Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat has been erupting since 1995. In that time it has built a dome of lava so large that it regularly collapses, causing huge avalanches of hot rock and gas called pyroclastic flows. The volcano is so unstable that large landslide events called mass flows, lead to the sides of the volcano falling into the ocean. These mass flows happened during times where they had thought the volcano was resting.
"75% of erupted material ends up in the sea. On land, eruptions are buried or eroded away by the next eruption. But in the sea they form clear layers that we can date in order to get a good eruption history...People had thought the volcano might erupt for a few years, then sleep again for hundreds or thousands of years. If that had been case then the south of the island could be redeveloped, Plymouth could be rebuilt and the long term strategy for the island would be very different".
"Planning for the development of the island needs to take account of the high probability of further eruptions in the coming decades. Reoccupation and development of the south of the island does not seem an option for the foreseeable future." The largest mass flow during the current eruption resulted in seven billion cubic feet (200 thousand cubic metres) of material racing into the sea. It resulted in a ten metre high tsunami along Montserrat's coastline. These huge mass flows can happen during an eruption, but the study found they are often unrelated to volcanic activity.
"The volcano has been quiet for three years now, and if that continues and it goes back into a quiet phase maybe they can open up the south for tourism and get some economic benefit from it, but they need to live with the idea it may well erupt again. It's important for future planning to consider tsunamis and landslides. They need to be added into risk assessments."
Recently, there has been interest in the possibility of huge landslides occurring on other volcanic islands, which could result in devastating tsunamis, particularly at the Canary Islands. This debate has centred on whether these landslides occur incrementally or in one go, with the entire side of the volcano falling into the sea at once – an event which could cause an extreme tsunami. "What we've seen in Montserrat is evidence for both styles of collapse. We have evidence that the single units we see in the cores come from a landslide where the whole side of the mountain went in one go. But the largest deposit we have evidence for, the largest landslide we see, fell in stages."

**I think we all have had experiences where
someone may not have even known they were
changing our lives.
Looking back we recognize turning points
that may have seemed insignificant at the time.
So we have to have faith and believe in what we can not see.**
Fred Green

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
3/14/13 -

California - Monday's earthquake tested early warning system. Monday's earthquake in Riverside County offered scientists one of their first opportunities to match data from an earthquake early warning pilot program to what they could actually feel. Seismologists said that California's Earthquake Early Warning System gave them a 30-second heads-up on Monday's 4.7-magnitude temblor Thirty seconds doesn't sound like much, but it could someday be enough time to save countless lives.

Volcano Webcams

Russian Volcano Carves Lava River - Fresh lava flows down Tolbachik volcano in Russia's Kamchatka peninsula in a new space snapshot from NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite. The fiery volcano erupted on Nov. 27, 2012, pouring fast-moving basalt lava through snow and ice.

In the Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone Tim was located approximately 130 nm east-northeast of Willis Island, Australia.

Tropical Cyclone Tim Strengthens - Newly named Tropical Cyclone Tim was gathering steam off northeastern Australia on Thursday. Strengthening over the Coral Sea, the storm was of no immediate threat to any land, making its way to the east-southeast.


Parts of Europe still reeling from severe weather - The Channel Islands normally immune from extreme weather has suffered its WORST CONDITIONS IN DECADES. Parts of southern England have been snowed under and police in the county of Sussex have been called to 300 road traffic accidents.


Australia - Early whale arrivals stump Victoria scientists. Humpback whales appear to be getting a jump on their autumn travels. The whales don't usually appear off the Victorian coast until April or May, when they migrate from chilly Antarctic waters to breed in the balmy seas off Queensland.
But two early sightings - one of a young calf off the Gippsland coast last month and another of three whales near Marengo this week - have scientists scratching their heads. "We don't know why these whales are appearing early. It could be a response to climatic conditions or a result of population recovery, or both." Victorians are being urged to keep an eye out for any marine mammals on the move in the first few weeks of autumn. It's hoped this information will help scientists solve the mystery of why the whales have made such a quick start to the season.


Solar eruption may set off northern lights fury - The sun unleashed a huge cloud of superheated plasma Tuesday morning in a solar eruption known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). This cloud is not headed straight for Earth, but it could deliver a glancing blow to our planet today.