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Thu, 27 Jan 2022
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Bizarro Earth

Is Vesuvius taking an extended siesta?

Located near Naples, Italy, Vesuvius last had a violent eruption in 1944, towards the end of the Second World War. It could be a few hundred years before another dangerous, explosive eruption occurs, finds a new study by volcano experts at ETH Zurich.
Streets of Pompeii
© Jörn-​Frederik Wotzlaw
Pompeii was destroyed in 79 AD during a massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Vesuvius is one of Europe's most dangerous volcanoes. More than three million people live in its immediate vicinity, and in historical and prehistoric times, there were explosive eruptions that destroyed entire settlements and towns in the area.

So, the pressing question is: When will Vesuvius erupt again and how strong could the eruption be?

To answer this question, a research group at ETH Zurich, in collaboration with researchers from Italy, has taken a close look at the four largest eruptions of Vesuvius over the last 10,000 years so that they can better assess whether a dangerous event might be expected in the foreseeable future.

The four eruptions studied include the Avellino eruption of 3,950 years ago, which is considered a possible "worst case scenario" for future eruptions, and the eruption of AD 79 that buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The latter was documented by the Roman writer Pliny the Younger, and so all eruptions of this type are referred to as "Plinian" eruptions. Further, the volcanologists studied eruptions of 472 AD and 8890 y BP. The sub-​Plinian eruption of AD 472 is the smallest of the investigated eruptions but still similar in size compared to the recent Tonga eruption.


Costa Rica's Turrialba volcano erupts...again

Located due east of San José, Turrialba is just two hours from the San Jose airport yet feels like a different world entirely and that was never more the case when the volcano, one of Costa Rica's most active, erupted last night at 9:27 pm. according to Ovsicori, Costa Rica's volcanic ministry.

It I also reported that an ash cloud of over 1000 meters rose above the volcano.

Reports of light ash and the smell of sulpher as far away as Escazu, San Pedro and Belen were reported.

The volcanic activity has stopped for now. The National Park had recently reopened after a period of consistent volcanic activity had caused concerns, resulting in its closure. You can see the volcano in action below.


Tonga volcano: Footage shows widespread damage at beachside village from eruption, tsunami

Footage by a Tongan politician posted on Thursday showed some of the widespread damage left by a tsunami that hit the island nation in the wake of a massive undersea eruption on Saturday, as a state of emergency was declared and repair efforts underway.

Bizarro Earth

Aerial images show destruction of Tonga's volcanic eruption, tsunami

tonga volcano before after

Aerial images show the Tonga volcanic island split in two after a massive eruption on January 15, 2022
Aerial images taken of Tonga on Tuesday offered the first glimpse of the destruction inflicted by the volcanic eruption and tsunami — as the government revealed all homes on one of its islands were wiped out and at least three people had been killed.

In its first statement since the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted three days ago and triggered 49-foot tsunami waves, the Tongan government said the kingdom of islands had suffered an "unprecedented disaster."

At least three people have been confirmed dead, including British charity worker Angela Glover, 50, and two Tongans — a 65-year-old woman and 49-year-old man — who lived on separate low-lying islands.

Comment: And the most dramatic comparison of all:
tonga volcano comparison
© Copernicus/ESA/Sentinel Hub, PlanetLabs/Maxar


Tonga eruption likely the world's largest in 30 years - scientist

Tonga eruption
© AFP/National Institute of Information and Communication
Footage taken by Japan's Himawari-8 satellite, January 15, 2022.
Early data from Tonga's violent volcanic eruption suggests it is the biggest since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago, volcanologist Shane Cronin says.

The eruption of the underwater Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano, about 65km north of Nuku'alofa, on Saturday shot thick ash and steam 20km skywards.

University of Auckland volcanologist Professor Shane Cronin said scenes on the ground would have appeared apocalyptic after the eruption: ash clouds blotting out the sun, thunderclaps of booming shockwaves and thousands of lightening strikes.
"The clouds that people could see in the distance, the booming noises and then the waves coming from the first tsunami...The next step is when the ash clouds spread across Tongatapu, and that ash cloud is so dense with fine ash particles that it blocks the sun completely, so it gets really dark."
Cronin said rain, small pebbles and many centimetres of ash would have rained down. "This is an eruption best witnessed from space," he said.

Comment: See also:

Ice Cube

Tonga eruption could have 'cooling effect' on southern hemisphere - scientist

Hunga Tonga volcano  january 2022
© Agence France-Presse
The effects of the undersea volcanic eruption in Tonga, January 14, 2022, was felt across the Pacific.
It is possible the Tongan volcanic eruption could lead to a slightly cooler winter and possibly beautiful sunsets in the southern hemisphere this winter.

When a volcano erupts, it releases huge amounts of sulphur dioxide (SO2) into the air, which bounces some of the sun's radiation away.

Climate scientist Jim Salinger has researched the impacts of major volcanic eruptions, including Pinatubo, on the climate in New Zealand. He said it was not nearly as large eruption as Pinatubo, and would not have a global impact on the climate, but there could be some local effects in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dr Salinger said it could take a few months to kick in and have cooling of about 0.1 to 0.5 degrees, lasting until spring.



Volcano eruption in Tonga deemed 'once-in-a-millennium' event

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano
The eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga, which triggered a tsunami warning for several South Pacific island nations, is seen in an image from the NOAA GOES-West satellite taken at 05:00 GMT January 15, 2022.
The underwater Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption has already triggered a tsunami, a sonic boom and thousands of lightning bolts, and could now lead to acid rain

The massive explosion of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano in Tonga on Saturday was its most powerful eruption since AD 1100. The after-effects have been felt around the globe and the damage is still being assessed.

The volcano, located about 65 kilometres north of Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa, exploded with violent force at 5:10pm local time on 15 January. Satellite images show a mushroom cloud of ash billowing 30 kilometres high and later sweeping more than 3000 kilometres west to Australia.

Comment: Earth can unmake and remake itself at remarkable speeds. The now-destroyed island was just formed in 2015. It's arrogance on the part of the human race to think they have any control over the process.


Adapt 2030 Ice Age Report: An in-depth look at why Tonga erupted

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano erupted (pictured, satellite images of the volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday)

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano erupted (pictured, satellite images of the volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday)
An in-depth look at the Tonga eruption which sent ash to 95,000 feet and that ash cloud is heading to Australia. What does this mean for global agriculture and crop yields, food pricing and can we foresee any other large eruptions from now to 2024?



Tsunami waves hit Tonga after massive underwater volcanic eruption sends debris and ash 20km into the sky

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano erupted (pictured, satellite images of the volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday)

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano erupted (pictured, satellite images of the volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday)
Australia has become the fifth nation to issue a tsunami warning after an undersea volcano in the Pacific Ocean caused havoc in Tonga.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued an urgent alert that dangerous waves will start to affect Australia from 9.45pm on Saturday.

A tsunami struck Tonga sending terrified residents fleeing for their lives as surging waves crashed into homes and volcanic ash rained down from the sky.

Locals were warned to get out of the water and move to higher ground from as far away as Fiji as homes in the small South Pacific nation were swept away by the rising torrent.

Comment: Note how there's a lightning strike at 0:27, just as another vent erupts. This is due to an electric charge differential between the ash cloud, which is eruption debris that is now higher up in the atmosphere, and the freshly erupted material, which has just burst forth from inside the planet!

Comment: Spaceweather.com further reports:
The shockwave was recorded as a sudden uptick in air pressure as far away as Alaska, Belize and multiple locations in Florida. The global wave is expected to converge on southern Algeria, giving an especially strong signal there.

High-altitude balloon and satellite measurements indicate that the exhaust plume has reached the stratosphere, as high as 60,000 feet.
Here's footage showing the eruption's global shockwave:


Geomythology looks to ancient stories for hints of scientific truth

Everyone loves a good story, especially if it's based on something true.

Consider the Greek legend of the Titanomachy, in which the Olympian gods, led by Zeus, vanquish the previous generation of immortals, the Titans. As recounted by the Greek poet Hesiod, this conflict makes for a thrilling tale - and it may preserve kernels of truth.

The eruption around 1650 B.C. of the Thera volcano could have inspired Hesiod's narrative. More powerful than Krakatoa, this ancient cataclysm in the southern Aegean Sea would have been witnessed by anyone living within hundreds of miles of the blast.

Thera Volcano
© Steve Jurvetson, CC BY
The massive eruption of the Thera volcano more than 3,500 years ago left behind a hollowed out island, today known as Santorini.
Historian of science Mott Greene argues that key moments from the Titanomachy map on to the eruption's "signature." For example, Hesiod notes that loud rumbles emanated from the ground as the armies clashed; seismologists now know that harmonic tremors - small earthquakes that sometimes precede eruptions - often produce similar sounds. And the impression of the sky - "wide Heaven" - shaking during the battle could have been inspired by shock waves in the air caused by the volcanic explosion. Hence, the Titanomachy may represent the creative misreading of a natural event.

In 2021 I published the first textbook in the field, Geomythology: How Common Stories Reflect Earth Events. As the book demonstrates, researchers in both the sciences and the humanities practice geomythology. In fact, geomythology's hybrid nature may help to bridge the gap between the two cultures. And despite its orientation toward the past, geomythology might also provide powerful resources for meeting environmental challenges in the future.