Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Philippine Volcano Spews Rocks, Killing 5 Climbers - Rescue teams and helicopters were sent to Mayon volcano in the central Philippines to bring out the dead. At least seven were injured from a group of about 30 mountaineers who were caught by surprise by the sudden eruption of rocks, ash and plumes of smoke.
Mayon is one of the Philippines' most active volcanoes. It spewed huge rocks and ash after daybreak Tuesday, killing at least the climbers and trapping more than a dozen others near the crater in its first eruption in three years. No one might have died if climbers were not near the peak at the time of the sudden "phreatic eruption," a steam blast caused by hot magma deep in the earth. The climbers reportedly died in a hail of large room-sized rocks.
The climbers and their Filipino guides had spent the night camping in two groups before setting out at daybreak for the crater of Mayon volcano when the sudden explosion jolted the mountain. Rocks "as big as a living room" came raining down, killing and injuring members of the group, some of whom were in critical condition. Among the dead were three Germans and their Filipino guide. Another foreigner was presumed dead, but everyone else on the mountain was accounted for by midday.
Eight people were injured, and the others were being brought down the mountain. Ash clouds have cleared over the volcano, which was quiet later in the morning. "The injured are all foreigners ... they cannot walk. If you can imagine, the boulders there are as big as cars. Some of them slid and rolled down. We will rappel the rescue team, and we will rappel them up again."
Tuesday's eruption was normal for the restive Mayon said the head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The 2,460-meter (8,070-foot) mountain about 340 kilometers (212 miles) southeast of Manila has erupted about 40 times during the last 400 years. In 2010, thousands of residents moved to temporary shelters when the volcano ejected ash up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the crater.
No alert was raised after the latest eruption and no evacuation was being planned. Climbers are not allowed when an alert is up, and the recent calm may have encouraged this week's trek. However, even with no alert raised, the immediate zone around the volcano is supposed to be a no-go area because of the risk of a sudden eruption. They will now enforce a ban on climbers. Despite the risks, Mayon and its near-perfect cone is a favorite spot for volcano watchers. Most enjoy the occasional nighttime spectacle of the rim lit by flowing lava, viewing from the safety of hotels in Legazpi. The volcano has a trail to the crater that is walkable though it's steep and strewn with rocks and debris from past eruptions.
Raw Footage Mayon Volcano Explosion - YouTube

**Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.**
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Remote Alaska volcano eruptions could threaten US-Asia air traffic - The low-level explosions at Cleveland Volcano were not severe enough to cause a significant threat to planes. But the incident did prompt federal aviation authorities to divert some traffic. Like other active volcanoes in the Aleutian chain, which extends southwest of the Alaskan mainland toward Russia, Cleveland lies directly below the commercial airline flight path between North America and Asia.
Low-level explosive activity has become continuous at Cleveland volcano (Aleutian arc). Recent satellite images show a now pronounced “hotspot” at the volcano's summit. The ash cloud has reached an altitude of about 15,000 feet, which is well below the cruising altitude of commercial jetliners, which fly at 35,000 feet.
The volcano is in a sparsely populated part of Alaska. It is difficult for scientists to monitor the volcano because there is no seismic equipment on the mountain. Alaska Volcano Observatory scientists rely on satellite data, signals from a different volcano about 50 miles away, and any eyewitness reports.

Another Indonesian volcano awakening - Increased seismic activity was detected at the Papandayan volcano and VSI raised the alert level to 3 out of 4 (“Siaga, warning”) yesterday. Sudden phreatic explosions could occur with little warning at the volcano and present a significant hazard to visitors to the crater, which is a popular tourist site. The volcano last erupted in 2002.

Indonesian Volcano's Heat, Eruption Seen from Space - As the saying goes: Where there's smoke, there's fire. That's certainly the case for Indonesia's Paluweh volcano. When the Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite flew over Paluweh on April 29, it captured images of the smoke from the eruption.


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Weather Whiplash Strikes Again: Extreme Drought To Flood In Georgia - The remarkable storm that brought record-breaking May snows and cold to the Midwest last week continues to spin over the Southeast U.S. The storm is unleashing flooding rains, bringing a case of “Weather Whiplash” to Georgia: bringing flooding where extreme drought had been in effect.


Decline in snow cover could push some creatures to extinction - During long, bitterly cold winters, a thick blanket of snow helps protect creatures and plants that live in these harsh climates. That is why recently published findings showing a steady decline in snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere are so alarming.


News report says multiple Saudi hospitals treating nCoV cases - A media report suggests that the 13 novel coronavirus (nCoV) cases reported in Saudi Arabia in the past few days are not confined to just one hospital, contrary to a May 5 statement from the Saudi health ministry. Three new cases, with two deaths, increased a cluster of novel coronavirus (nCoV) cases in eastern Saudi Arabia to 13, and authorities had stated that the illnesses were associated with one healthcare facility.

Chinese woman's illness lifts H7N9 case total to 131 - A 79-year-old woman from China's Jiangxi province has been hospitalized with H7N9 avian flu, moving the outbreak total to 131 cases, including 31 deaths (a 24% fatality rate).