Only a few days left in 2011 and plenty of volcano news continues to roll in:
If you missed the NASA Earth Observatory image of the new island forming in the Red Sea off Yemen, be sure to check it out. It is the first clear evidence that we likely had both submarine and subaerial eruptions as new land emerged between Haycock and Rugged Islands in the Zubair Group.
There has been a lot of news out of Indonesia as a number of volcanoes have been seeing an uptick in activity. First off, Lokon-Empung produced another moderate eruption with a 3.5 km / 11,500 plume and loud explosions. There were no apparent casualties from the activity, but over 5,000 people were evacuated. Meanwhile, heavy rains remobilized material erupted from Gamalama to generate lahars that swept down the river valleys around the volcano. These lahars did kill at least 4 people and dozens were injured while others evacuated the areas most affected by the flows. I think I've mentioned this before, but special note to the media: lahars (volcanic mudflows) are not, I repeat, not called "cold lava flows" or "lava floods" or whatever lava-related nonsense you want to put in your articles. There is volcanic material in most lahars, but it is cold. Lava is molten rock (i.e., hot). I know lahar and lava might look alike, but you are grossly misrepresenting events when you have a headline like "Lava flood kills four in eastern Indonesia". The recent activity at Gamalama has also struck a hard blow on the spice-growing region around the volcano, although in the longterm, the volcanic ash is what helps make the soils so fertile. Three other Indonesia volcanoes (Ijen, Semeru and Bromo) are also being closely watched for new activity.
You want something new to listen to after the holidays? Check out the infrasound recordings of volcanic events. Infrasound uses very low frequency (20 Hz down to 0.001 Hz) sound to "listen" over long distances for volcanic (and other) events. ScienceFriday also has a post about using infrasound to examine activity at Antarctica's Erebus.
In "shoot yourself in the foot" news, PHIVOLCS has put out a plea for the return of digital tilt meter that was stolen from the flanks of Mayon this month. These instruments help in understanding that the volcano might up working up to, so the theft of one of the tiltmeters makes this job more difficult for PHIVOLCS.