Bizarro Earth

Colombia-Ecuador border earthquake sparking concern of possible imminent volcano eruption

Authorities in southwestern Colombia have raised alert levels on Tuesday after a 5.6M earthquake hit the border region, raising concerns that two nearby volcanoes might erupt in a matter of days. Colombia's Geological Service have changed the alert level of two volcanoes from yellow to orange. The two volcanoes are Cerro Negro and Chiles, both active on Colombia's southern border with Ecuador.

The orange alert level is defined by the Geological Service as "probable eruption in term of days to weeks." The earthquake that hit the border region caused a scare on both side of the border.

Officials in the Colombian town of Cumbal, near the quake's epicenter, were quoted as saying by The Associated Press that they formed an emergency committee to survey possible damage. But so far, there were no reports of injuries in the town of 36,000 residents, the majority of them members of an indigenous tribe.

"It was really strong, every house" felt it, Jose Diomedes Juezpesan, the town's top official, told AP. If the volcanoes are to erupt, it will mostly affect the state Nariño. Local state government have started to take security measures in order prevent tragedies.
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Colombia orders evacuation of around 12,000 people amid fears of volcanic eruptions

Authorities in southwest Colombia ordered the evacuation of around 12,000 people living near the Chiles and Cerro Negro volcanoes on the border with Ecuador, amid fears that recent volcanic activity may result in an eruption.

On Tuesday, Colombia's Geological Service have changed the alert level of two volcanoes from yellow to orange.

48 hours later, it was followed up by the National Disaster Risk Management Unit's (UNGRD) decision to evacuate more than 3,500 families belonging to indigenous reserves of Chiles , Panam and Mayasquer.

According to Carlos Ivan Marquez, the director of the UNGRD, the authorities set up an incident command post in the town of Cumbal where they have delivered 3,000 tents for the people in temporary shelters.

"In accord with the forecast given to us by the Geological Service, the change of alert level from yellow to orange means anticipated eruptions in the coming days or weeks," Marquez told the media.

If the volcanoes are to erupt, it will mostly affect the state Nariño. Local state government have started to take security measures in order prevent tragedies.
Bizarro Earth

A major volcanic eruption could make Japan 'extinct'

© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The newly created volcanic Nishinoshima island about 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo spews ash and smoke on June 13, 2014.
One major volcanic eruption could make Japan "extinct," a study by experts at Kobe University warns, although the chances of that happening are relatively slim.

The study, by Prof. Yoshiyuki Tatsumi and Associate Prof. Keiko Suzuki, concludes that the chance of a big eruption that would disrupt the lives of everyone in Japan are about 1% over the next 100 years.

The researchers based their findings on the cycles and impacts of major eruptions in Japan on the study of the Aira Caldera near what is now the city of Kagoshima on southern Kyushu island. The caldera was created 28,000 years ago and has a diameter of 20 kilometers.

If a similar eruption were to take place in the area today, within about two hours the flow of molten rock, lava and ash would cover an area in which seven million now live. A large amount of ash would be carried across the country, shutting down transportation and other key systems, disrupting the lives of nearly 120 million people, or almost everyone in Japan.

"We should be aware," the researchers warn in their report to be published in November. "It wouldn't be a surprise if such gigantic eruption were to take place at any moment."
Bizarro Earth

Around 70 earth­quakes in the last 24 hours at Iceland's Bárðar­bunga caldera rim

© Guðmundur K. Sig­ur­dórs­son
Ac­cord­ing to the Ice­land Met Of­fice, no sig­nif­i­cant changes are ob­served in the seis­mic ac­tiv­ity around the Bárðar­bunga vol­canic sys­tem.
Ap­prox­i­mately 70 earth­quakes oc­curred on the Bárðar­bunga caldera rim in the last 24 hours re­ports the Ice­land Met Of­fice this morn­ing. The strongest quakes were of the mag­ni­tude of 4.8 yes­ter­day at 13:21 and at 4.6 at 01:36. Seven earth­quakes al­to­gether ex­ceeded the mag­ni­tude of 4, and 15 earth­quakes were in the mag­ni­tude range of 3-3.9. Sub­si­dence of the caldera is con­tin­u­ous.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ice­land Met Of­fice, no sig­nif­i­cant changes are ob­served in the seis­mic ac­tiv­ity around the Bárðar­bunga vol­canic sys­tem.

Around 30 events have been de­tected in the north­ern part of the dyke in­tru­sion, be­tween north­ern Dyn­gju­jökull and the erup­tion site in Holuhraun. The strongest ones were both of the mag­ni­tude 1.4 yes­ter­day at 10:07 and 13:33.
Bizarro Earth

Japan's massive 2011 earthquake may trigger more, and larger, volcanic eruptions

© AFP Photo/Yoshikazu Tsuno
Snow-covered Mount Fuji is seen from Tokyo, Japan, on February 16, 2014
Japan's massive 2011 earthquake may trigger more, and larger, volcanic eruptions over the next few decades, perhaps even that of Mount Fuji - but predicting them remains close to impossible, a volcano expert said on Friday.

The nation last month suffered its worst volcanic disaster in nearly 90 years when Mount Ontake, its second tallest active volcano at 3,067 meters (10,062 feet), suddenly erupted, raining down ash and stone on hikers crowding the summit.

The eruption killed 56 people, exceeding the deaths in the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens in the United States. Seven victims remain missing, and recovery efforts have been suspended until the spring.

Japan may well be moving into a period of increased volcanic activity touched off by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake of March 11, 2011, said Toshitsugu Fujii, a volcanologist and professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo.

"The 2011 quake convulsed all of underground Japan quite sharply, and due to that influence Japan's volcanoes may also become much more active," Fujii told reporters.

"It has been much too quiet here over the last century, so we can reasonably expect that there will be a number of large eruptions in the near future."
Arrow Down

Surrounding volcanoes pose threat to Sendai nuclear plant, yet Japan plans to restart the reactor

Mt Ontake
© Reuters/Kyodo
Volcanic smoke rise from Mt. Ontake, which straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures, central Japan, September 30, 2014.
A Japanese volcanologist has refuted early claims that two nuclear reactors stationed near a hotbed of volcanic activity were safe, stating that it is impossible to predict an eruption accurately outside the time span of a few days.

The Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan could quite easily be the source of a national disaster should a cauldron eruption take place at one of the surrounding volcanoes posing an immediate threat to the site, Toshitsugu Fujii, head of a government-commissioned panel on volcanic eruption prediction told a press briefing on Friday.

"It is simply impossible to predict an eruption over the next 30 to 40 years," Fujii said. "The level of predictability is extremely limited." He added that prediction can happen only in the space of hours or days.

His statements contradict those of nuclear regulators who last month said that the two Sendai nuclear reactors were functioning within the nuclear safety regulations laid out in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Bizarro Earth

Ashen footprints may point to explosive future for Hawaii's Kilauea volcano

© Don Swanson
Footprints preserved in Kilauea volcano ash deposits.
Thousands of human footprints cast in ash at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano are the final steps of people killed in a 1790 phreatic eruption - the same kind of unpredictable blast that caught hikers at Japan's Mount Ontake volcano in late September.

The footprints are evidence that the goddess Pele's reputation for power and ferocity were well-earned in the past, even though Kilauea is a tourist's volcano today. From about 1500 to 1800, Kilauea hurled mighty ash plumes into the jet stream and heaved huge rocks out of its deep caldera, the crater at the volcano's summit. And geologist Don Swanson thinks another round of violent eruptions will happen again.

"Too often, geologists and the general public view Kilauea as safe. It's just a stage that you come to and view a performance of great beauty," said Swanson, a geologist and former director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. "I hope that people realize Kilauea is not that way at all. Kilauea is an explosive volcano, and when it gets into an explosive period it can be life-threatening."
Bizarro Earth

Indonesia's Mt. Slamet continues to erupt - hundreds of tremors are recorded every 24 hours

© ABC News
Mt Slamet
An expert has warned that Mount Slamet's seismic activity remains high although it has not spewed lava in the past month.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry's Geology Agency head, Surono, said Mt. Slamet's constantly high volcanic activity made it unsafe, forcing authorities to maintain its alert status at "siaga" (level 3).

"Its activities are still high. Hundreds of tremors are recorded every 24 hours; thus, the situation is not yet safe," he told journalists in Purwokerto, Central Java, on Monday.

Surono further said that due to such fluctuating conditions, Mt. Slamet was still closed to climbers. No activity is allowed within a 4-kilometer radius of the mountain.

Mt Slamet's increased volcanic activity during the past month has caused panic among residents in five regencies located on the slope of the volcano in Central Java. Among the five regencies located on the slope of Mt. Slamet are Banyumas, Brebes, Pemalang, Purbalingga and Tegal.

Tremors and harsh sounds have emanate dozens of times a day from the volcano, which in the past has also spewed volcanic ash up to 50 km away from the peak.
Bizarro Earth

Threat of pyroclastic flows from Mt. Sinabung still overshadows Karo residents

© Volcano Alert @infoVolcano / Twitter
Large pyroclastic flow on Sinabung on 9 Oct 2014
It has been reported that Mount Sinabung in Karo regency in North Sumatra is still prone to emitting deadly pyroclastic flows that could occur at any time. During the past week, the active volcano repeatedly erupted, spewing hot clouds and showering the nearby city of Berastagi with volcanic ash.

Head of the Sinabung observation post, Armen Putra, said the pyroclastic flows were expected to continue as the volcano displayed intensifying activity. He said there was a good chance that Mt. Sinabung would keep erupting during the following days. "Based on our observations Mt. Sinabung is still emitting huge pyroclastic flows that could be discharged at any time in greater volumes than ever," he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

He said the pyroclastic flows currently travelled down the slopes to the south of several villages. On Oct. 5 they reached 4.5 kilometers to the south, which was deemed the longest descent so far. As of Sunday at 12 p.m., Mt. Sinabung emitted the hot flows on five occasions, reaching 3 km to the south.

"Residents living around the volcano should remain alert because the pyroclastic flows have been continuously released during recent days," Armen said.
Bizarro Earth

Mayon volcano's sustained reduction in sulfur dioxide emission, continuous surface inflation may lead to violent eruption

Mayon volcano
A sustained reduction in sulfur dioxide emission and continuous surface inflation of Mayon Volcano may lead to a violent eruption, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned yesterday. Phivolcs-Bicol chief volcanologist Ed Laguerta issued the warning after Mayon's gas emission dropped to 308 tons last Thursday, way below the normal 500 tons per day in the past 48-hour monitoring period.

He said the reduction in sulfur dioxide emission could mean that the lava dome protruding at the summit of the volcano is gradually blocking the crater. "If Mayon's crater is clogged by lava dome, a violent eruption is very likely to happen," Laguerta told The STAR.

He said they are closely monitoring Mayon's gas emission to determine if the drop would be a prelude to a small or big eruption. But Laguerta noted that even a phreatic or ash explosion may be followed by bigger eruption once the deep-seated magma deposit is depressurized.

He added that the absence of volcanic quakes in the past three days is not an indication that Mayon has calmed down.