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Wed, 15 Jul 2020
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Volcanic island in Pacific Ocean having 'vigorous growth spurt'

Image of Nishinoshima taken by the Japan Coast Guard on June 29.
A volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean appears to be experiencing a "vigorous growth spurt," with images from space showing it expanding in size since the middle of June.

The island, Nishinoshima, is located about 600 miles south of Tokyo, Japan. While it first emerged from the sea in the 1970s, it started growing in 2013 following an eruption of an underwater volcano. Initially, another volcanic island was formed around 1,600 feet from Nishinoshima, but in 2014 satellite images showed the two had joined together to form one landmass.

Scientists thought the second island would disintegrate with time. However, the island continued to grow and in the last month, more volcanic eruptions have led it to increase in size even further.

Images from a NASA satellite taken on July 4 showed heat signatures from erupting lava. Aerial photographs from Japan's Coast Guard also show how volcanic activity appears to have started up in May, with more ash and lava being produced than had been over previous months.

Comment: Japanese volcanic island grows 12 times in size since forming in 2013

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SOTT Earth Changes Summary - June 2020: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

Sheets of rain, floods and hail left a path of destruction all over the world, and the northern hemisphere still got snow in June.

The unbelievable amount of precipitation during the past months can be explained with the increasing amount of charged particles in upper layers of the atmosphere.

When meteors and meteorites pass through our lower atmosphere, or when our planet goes trough a comet dust stream, charged particles accumulate between the ionosphere and the surface of the earth causing storms to intensify, clouds to grow and more rain to fall. Wildfires and volcanic eruptions, for example, also contribute to this accumulation of particles.

At the same time, rain can conduct the accumulated electrical charge of the ionosphere to the ground, which increases the occurrence of other electrical phenomena, as tornadoes, hurricanes and plasma formations.

The accumulation of charged aerosols and increasingly colder temperatures in upper layers of the atmosphere - caused by the current solar minimum - can also be responsible of the increasing amount of hail and unseasonable snow around the world.

Charged particles influence weather much more than has been appreciated.

Heavy rain and raging floods took the life of hundreds and affected millions in south China, and destroyed 1,470 houses and 3 bridges in Gorontalo Province, Indonesia. Heavy floods also hit Assam, India leaving 16 dead and over 253,000 affected.

While Romania got its second coldest day in June, Montana got more than 1 foot of snow and southeast Wyoming got 6 inches... just at the beginning of summer.

Siberia got a share of extreme weather this month, from tornadoes to floods and extreme temperature swings.

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake rattled large swaths of southern and central Mexico, killing at least five people. No major damage was reported.

Locusts continued to ravage Africa, India, Brazil, Argentina and the Middle East, with no sign that they'll be gone soon.

All that and more in our SOTT Earth Changes Summary for June 2020:

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Nishino-shima volcano, Japan erupts to 27,230 ft (8.3 km) - Its highest since 2013

Nishino-shima volcano

The worldwide volcanic uptick associated with the next Grand Solar Minimum is continuing. We can now add Nishino-shima volcano to the list after its ongoing effusive-explosive, high-level eruptions which started in mid-June.

Nishino-shima volcano (Volcano Islands, Japan) awoke last December after a two-or-so year quiescence. And now, on the back of June's string of 12,000 ft vulcanian-strombolian-type eruptions and active lava flows on its northern slopes, the volcano has ejected a very dense ash plume to an altitude of 27,230 ft (8,300 m).

Today, July 6, both the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and HIMAWARI-8 satellite data have confirmed the July 4 eruption, which is considered to be the highest ash plume of the volcano since 2013.


Lava spews from Guatemala's Pacaya volcano

Pacaya Volcano

Pacaya Volcano
Guatemala's Pacaya Volcano erupted on Friday, June 19, spewing lava and ash into the air.

The country's National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred) confirmed the volcano emitted a continuous flow of lava and explosions on Friday and said it would continue to monitor the situation. No injuries or damage were reported.

Credit: Deybin Garcia Tomas via Storyful


Strong eruptions at Nishino-shima volcano, Japan - ash plume 8,500 ft above summit

High activities continue at the Nishinoshima volcano

High activity continues at the Nishinoshima volcano
The activity of the volcano continues at elevated levels.

The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) observed strong explosions that generated a dense dark ash plume, which reached approx. 8,500 ft (2,600 m) above the summit. Volcanic ash is extending about 330 km to the northeast of the volcano.

Lava effusions continue to be active on the northeastern slopes of the volcano.

Very high thermal anomaly was observed in satellite images.

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency volcano activity update 25 June 2020


Indonesia's Mt Merapi erupts, spewing ash 6 km high

A view of Mount Merapi following an eruption, as seen from Sawit village, Boyolali, Central Java Province, Indonesia June 21, 2020
© Antara Foto/Aloysius Jarot Nugroho
A view of Mount Merapi following an eruption, as seen from Sawit village, Boyolali, Central Java Province, Indonesia June 21, 2020
Indonesia's Mount Merapi, one of the world's most active volcanoes, erupted twice on Sunday, sending clouds of grey ash 6,000 meters into the sky, the country's geological agency said.

The two eruptions lasted around seven minutes, according to the agency, and prompted local authorities to order residents to stay outside a three-kilometer no-go zone around the rumbling crater near Indonesia's cultural capital Yogyakarta.

The agency did not raise the volcano's alert status after the eruptions, but it advised commercial planes to be cautious in the area.

Local media reported that people in neighboring areas including Sleman and Klaten heard strong rumbling sounds this morning.


Increased seismic activity near Kick 'em Jenny underwater volcano

Kick'em Jenny volcano
Grenada's National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) has noted an increase in seismic activity near the Kick 'em Jenny underwater volcano.

In an update shared June 14, 2020 via social media, NaDMA said it received technical advice from the monitoring team at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre St Augustine Campus Trinidad and Tobago (UWI SRC), showing increased seismic activity at the Kick 'em' Jenny Volcano.

The latest activity was observed over a seven-day period in the month of June.

"Though the Alert level remains at YELLOW, which is a 1.5 km exclusion zone around the summit of the volcano. However, with the increased activity, the Agency encourages marine operators to be vigilant when traversing the area, as increased seismic activity also results in the emission of gases, which can reduce the density of the water around the summit."


Iceland's Grímsvötn volcano showing signs of increased activity, eruption possible

Grímsvötn volcano, Iceland
Grímsvötn, a volcano located in southeast Iceland, is giving strong indications that an eruption may be coming in "the next weeks or months", a summary from the Icelandic Met Office reports. An atmospheric volcanologist The Grapevine spoke with says that if it does, it will probably be smaller than the eruption of 2011.

Dr. Melissa Anne Pfeffer, the atmospheric volcanologist in question, is part of a team of scientists who regularly study the activity of Iceland's volcanoes, Grímsvötn amongst them. She told The Grapevine that she had detected high levels of magmatic gasses which are usually not present when there is not an eruption happening. Furthermore, Grímsvötn is experiencing inflation, indicating an increase in magma.

As Grímsvötn's lake drains during the summer, this means less pressure on the volcano. Given the current conditions, when the flooding starts this summer, preparations for an eruption will begin. This may happen in the weeks or months to come.


Weakening of Earth's magnetic field probed

Earth’s magnetic field
© Aubert et al./IPGP/CNRS Photo library
A simulation of the Earth’s magnetic field.
Geophysicists have been puzzling over a gradual weakening of the Earth's magnetic field in an area stretching from Africa to South America, which has resulted in technical disturbances in satellites orbiting Earth.

Scientists have resorted to data from the European Space Agency's (ESA) Swarm constellation to probe the disturbing weakening of Earth's magnetic field in the area known as the "South Atlantic Anomaly".

Jurgen Matzka, from the German Research Centre for Geosciences, and a team of experts from the Swarm Data, Innovation and Science Cluster (DISC) have been using data from ESA's Swarm satellite constellation to identify and measure the different magnetic signals that comprise Earth's magnetic field.
"The new, eastern minimum of the South Atlantic Anomaly has appeared over the last decade and in recent years is developing vigorously. We are very lucky to have the Swarm satellites in orbit to investigate the development of the South Atlantic Anomaly. The challenge now is to understand the processes in Earth's core driving these changes," said Matzka.


New hints of volcanism under the heart of northern Europe

Water Filled Maars Eifel
© Martin Schildgen / Wikimedia Commons
Three water-filled maars in the Eifel, Germany (Gemündener Maar, Weinfelder Maar, Schalkenmehrener Maar). Created by volcanic activity, maars are also found in other parts of Europe and on other continents, but Eifel-Maars are the classic example worldwide.
Scientists have discovered new evidence for active volcanism next door to some of the most densely populated areas of Europe. The study 'crowd-sourced' GPS monitoring data from antennae across western Europe to track subtle movements in the Earth's surface, thought to be caused by a rising subsurface mantle plume. The work is published in Geophysical Journal International.

The Eifel region lies roughly between the cities of Aachen, Trier, and Koblenz, in west-central Germany. It is home to many ancient volcanic features, including the circular lakes known as 'maars'.

These are the remnants of violent volcanic eruptions, such as the one which created Laacher See, the largest lake in the area. The explosion that created this is thought to have occurred around 13,000 years ago, with a similar explosive power to the cataclysmic Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991.

The mantle plume that likely fed this ancient activity is thought to still be present, extending up to 400km down into the Earth. However, whether or not it is still active is unknown: "Most scientists had assumed that volcanic activity in the Eifel was a thing of the past," said Prof. Corné Kreemer, lead author of the new study. "But connecting the dots, it seems clear that something is brewing underneath the heart of northwest Europe."