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Sat, 24 Feb 2018
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Volcanoes

Bizarro Earth

Indonesia's Mount Karangetang volcano spews lava, gas; 4 feared dead

Image
© USGS
One of Indonesia's most active volcanos erupted Friday, sending lava and a searing gas cloud tumbling down its slopes. At least four family members were swept away and feared dead, officials said, and several others were badly hurt.

"It happened so fast," said Surono, the director of the volcanology and mitigation agency. "There was no time for an evacuation."

Mount Karangetang, located on Siau, part of the Sulawesi island chain, burst just after midnight when heavy rains broke the volcano's hot lava dome, which spit out 1,110 degree Fahrenheit (600 Celsius) clouds of gas.

Ash and lava crashed down the mountain's western slope, destroying at least nine houses, a church and a school, said Priyadi Kardono, an official with the national disaster management agency. A road and a bridge also were badly damaged, leaving more than 2,000 people in the remote area completely isolated.

Kardono said four family members were missing and feared dead. Five others were hospitalized, one in critical condition.

Authorities were trying to evacuate residents living in at least one nearby village, said Tony Supit, a district chief.

Bizarro Earth

Scientists Discover and Image Explosive Deep-Ocean Volcano

underwater volcano
© NOAA and NSF
ROV Jason gets a close view of magma explosions and lava flows on West Mata volcano (May 2009).
Scientists funded by NOAA and the National Science Foundation recorded the deepest erupting volcano yet discovered, describing high-definition video of the undersea eruption as "spectacular." Eruption of the West Mata volcano, discovered in May, occurred nearly 4,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, in an area bounded by Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

Imagery includes large molten lava bubbles approximately three feet across bursting into cold seawater, glowing red vents explosively ejecting lava into the sea, and the first-observed advance of lava flows across the deep-ocean seafloor. Sounds of the explosive eruption were recorded by a hydrophone and later matched to the video footage.

"We found a type of lava never before seen erupting from an active volcano, and for the first time observed molten lava flowing across the deep-ocean seafloor," said the mission's Chief Scientist Joseph Resing, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Washington who collaborates with NOAA through the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean. "Though NOAA and partners discovered a much shallower eruption in 2004 in the Mariana Arc, the deeper we get, the closer the eruption is to those that formed most of the oceanic crust."

Meteor

Eyjafjallokull: The terrible beauty that is a Sign of our Times

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© AP
Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice and on the slopes of the Eyjafjallajokull glacier this has never been more true as these pictures show its volcano spewing molten ash into the sky at around 100 metres a second.

This is the dramatic crucible of lava and lightning which has grounded flights across the Atlantic and northern Europe, bring chaos to hundreds of thousands of passengers.

Ripping a half-mile fissure in a field of ice just over four weeks ago, the volcano ejected lava bombs and created forks of lightning, thought to be caused by charge-inducing collisions in volcanic dust. And, as these pictures taken late on Sunday show, it is still wreaking havoc.

As people in Britain and the rest of Europe are caught up with the unprecedented travel chaos caused by the eruption, those in Iceland are living with blankets of ash falling from the sky and fears of volcanic floods.

Almost completely blocking out an otherwise blue sky, the cloud released from the volcano resembles a tornado as it sweeps across the landscape.

On remote farms, animals, houses and nearby mountain ranges have been coated in grey as the wall of fog moves across the sky, creating the impression it is the middle of the night.

Comment: The jury's still out on whether the eruption of Eyjafjallokull merited shutting down European airspace for six days. While Sott.net leans towards this being an hysterical over-reaction from the point of view of air safety, the event itself is another significant marker as we approach catastrophic climate change brought on by the build-up of comet dust in the upper atmosphere. The marked increase in the number of strong earthquakes and volcanism strengthens our theory that the planet's rotation is slowing down, however slightly, weakening the magnetic field and thus literally "opening up" the planet.

Cosmic Climate Change
What we suspect has really been happening, based on our research thus far, is that the upper atmosphere is cooling because it is being loaded with comet dust, which shows up in the form of noctilucent clouds and other upper atmospheric formations. The comet dust is electrically charged which is causing the earth's rotation to slow marginally. The slowing of the rotation is reducing the magnetic field, opening earth to more dangerous cosmic radiation and stimulating more volcanism. The volcanism under the sea is heating the sea water which is heating the lower atmosphere and loading it with moisture. The moisture hits the cooler upper atmosphere and contributes to a deadly mix that inevitably leads to an ice age, preceded for a short period by a rapid increase of greenhouse gases and "hot pockets" in the lower atmosphere, heavy rains, hail, snow, and floods.

Expect this trend to continue but don't believe in "man-made global warming". Whatever warming there has been, it's really a prelude to the way ice ages begin. Let's hope that there aren't any catastrophically large chunks in that stream of comet dust cycling through our solar system.



Binoculars

Incredible Images of Iceland Volcano from Just a Few Kilometers Away

Image
© Snaevarr Gudmundsson
Lightning visible in the plume of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland on April 17, 2010.
Astronomer Snaevarr Gudmundsson from Iceland was able to travel to within just a few kilometers from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, and shared his incredible close-up images with Universe Today. "I stayed near the volcano from about 16:00 hours to 22:00 hours on Saturday and watched its impressive eruption," Gudmundsson said in an email to me. "Amazing event, awesome explosions of 1200 °C hot magma reaching ice and water. I shot more than 550 images during these hours of continuous enjoyment. Sounds ridiculous but its ever changing appearance was never boring."

The massive plume put on an impressive display - from lightning forming within the plume to an incredible amount of spewing ash. On one of following pictures you can see helicopter for size comparison of the plume.

Gudmundsson said he and other photographers were a safe distance from the eruption, but were a few kilometers away. "Nearby was a small river and its prominent sound prevented us from hearing much in the eruption itself except a loud roar from thunders from time to time," he said. "During daylight we even glimpsed some lightning but at dusk (the photo is taken at about 22:00 in the evening) they were easily spotted especially during active periods of explosions."

Bizarro Earth

Volcanic lightning around Eyjafjallajokull eruption

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© Harald Edens
It is well known that volcanic eruptions produce strong lightning. Less well known is why? Ordinary lightning in thunderstorms is not fully understood; volcanic lightning is even more of a mystery.

To investigate, a team of researchers from New Mexico Tech has traveled to Iceland to monitor the Eyjafjallajokull volcano--and they have found it crackling with electricity.

"On the evening of April 16th, there were some small eruptions producing ash clouds up to about 6-7 km, with lightning," says photographer Harald Edens. "The sky was nice and clear, so I was able to photograph the bolts from the town of Hvolsvollur using my Nikon D700 and a 80-200/2.8 lens."

Bizarro Earth

A New Kind Of Lightning Discovered

Image
© Bretwood Higman
Lightning in the ash cloud atop Mount Redoubt from the March 28 eruption.
When volcano seismologist Stephen McNutt at the University of Alaska Fairbanks's Geophysical Institute saw strange spikes in the seismic data from the Mount Spurr eruption in 1992, he had no idea that his research was about to take an electrifying turn.

"The seismometers were actually picking up lightning strikes," said McNutt. "I knew that I had to reach out to the physicists studying lightning."

With McNutt's curiosity about volcanic lightning sparked, he teamed up with physicist and electrical engineer Ronald Thomas and Sonja Behnke, a graduate student in atmospheric physics at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, N.M. for a unique collaboration in order to learn more about volcanic lighting.

When the Mount Redoubt volcano started making seismic noise in January 2009, McNutt alerted Thomas and Behnke that this would be a great opportunity to capture some new volcanic lightning data. By the time the volcano erupted in March, the team had four Lightning Mapping Arrays set up to monitor the lightning from the eruption.

Blackbox

Ye gods! Ancient volcano could have blasted Atlantis myth

Santorini Volcanoe Map

Schematic geological section of Santorini
Little wonder the ancients believed in lightning-bolt-throwing gods and smoking monsters emerging from the underworld. As a new marine geology survey of an ancient volcano in the Aegean Sea reveals, they may have been justifiably cowed.

Not much is left of the Santorini Islands, among Greece's prettiest tourist sites. They encircle a massive volcanic crater, where more than 3,500 years ago one of the largest eruptions in recorded history took place.

The blast entombed an ancient town, Akrotiri, and seemingly altered the course of world history.

And now the survey indicates that the eruption was even more powerful than once believed.

Bizarro Earth

Sarychev Peak Volcano Eruption Earlier This Month Affecting Sunsets (and Weather?)

Sarychev Peak Eruption, Kuril Islands
© NASA Earth Observatory
Sarychev Peak Eruption, Kuril Islands
Thanks to Spaceweather.com for coverage of this eruption.

Perfect timing. On June 12th, just as Russia's Sarychev Peak volcano was erupting for the first time in 20 years, the International Space Station flew directly overhead. Astronauts had their camera ready and snapped one of the most dramatic Earth-science photos ever taken from space.

Researchers are studying this rare photo to learn about the early stages of powerful volcanic eruptions. A few phenomena stand out.

(1) The volcano erupted with such force, the plume actually punched through the atmosphere. Note how clouds around the volcano have parted in a circular ring--that is a result of a shock wave produced by the upward blast.

(2) The plume is a mixture of brown ash and white steam. A "dirty thunderstorm" complete with lightning could be in progress within the roiling cloud.

(3) The smooth white bubble on top of the plume is probably a mass of water condensing from air shoved upward by the rising ash column. If so, it is akin to the iridescent pileus clouds sometimes featured on spaceweather.com.

Bizarro Earth

Supervolcano may be brewing beneath Mount St Helens

Image
© MAI / Rex Features
The US volcano may be connected to a semi-molten magma chamber that could fuel a giant eruption.
Is a supervolcano brewing beneath Mount St Helens? Peering under the volcano has revealed what may be an extraordinarily large zone of semi-molten rock, which would be capable of feeding a giant eruption.

Magma can be detected with a technique called magnetotellurics, which builds up a picture of what lies underground by measuring fluctuations in electric and magnetic fields at the surface. The fields fluctuate in response to electric currents travelling below the surface, induced by lightning storms and other phenomena. The currents are stronger when magma is present, since it is a better conductor than solid rock.

Graham Hill of GNS Science, an earth and nuclear science institute in Wellington, New Zealand, led a team that set up magnetotelluric sensors around Mount St Helens in Washington state, which erupted with force in 1980. The measurements revealed a column of conductive material that extends downward from the volcano. About 15 kilometres below the surface, the relatively narrow column appears to connect to a much bigger zone of conductive material.

Cloud Lightning

Kilauea Volcanic Lightning

Image
© Stephen O'Meara
On May 19th, adventure photographer Stephen O'Meara was monitoring an eruption of the Rabaul volcano in Papua, New Guinea, when something happened that, he says, "I'll remember for a very long time. A storm cloud approached the volcano's 2 km plume, and lightning began to arc between the two." He set up his camera in a secure location and recorded the "awesome and blinding" spectacle.

This isn't the first time lightning has been observed around a volcano. Recent examples include Alaska's Mt. Redoubt, Chile's Chaitin volcano and Kilauea in Hawaii. Clouds of water vapor shoot out of these volcanoes in a dusty mixture likened to a "dirty thunderstorm," and lightning emerges from within the turbulent plume.