The Sciences

Eruption Update for October 8, 2013: Tangkuban Perahu, Sakurajima, Veniaminof, Copahue and White Island

Rocky Planet iconRocky PlanetBy Erik KlemettiOct 8, 2013 7:26 PM


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An ash plume from Sakurajima captured via webcam on October 4, 2013. Image: Mike Lyvers. So, last night I had a dream that I was staying at a lake house in what looked like New Hampshire (to me in my dream) but in the middle of the lake was, more-or-less, Sakurajima. Most people didn't seem to concerned that the island in the middle of the late was producing increasingly large explosions ... and somehow I had to convince them all to get on a school bus to escape. Take that dream as you will. One other note: right now, important gathering of volcanic information, such at the Global Volcanism Program's Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, is not being done because of this childish US government shutdown. Essential USGS personnel will be able to respond to volcanic crisis within the US, but each day that the shutdown continues, more field equipment remains in disrepair, more volcanic research is left to stagnate and the further behind the US falls in science. It is a shame that politicians in Washington have become so short sighted and obsessed with their own electoral standing with a vocal minority of Americans. Anyway, onto volcano news: IndonesiaTangkuban Perahu on Lembang continues to have small explosive eruption and an increase in earthquakes -- all signs that the unrest that started last fall is persists. The volcano had a series of smaller phreatic explosions this past spring, but the increase in seismicity over the last year could suggest new magma continues to rise up into the system at Tangkuban Perahu. So far, the activity has been fairly minor, but with all of these Indonesian volcanoes, abundant precautions need to be taken due to the proximity of populated areas to the volcanoes. The PVMBG raised the alert status at Tangkuban Perahu to Level 2 (of 4). Japan Speaking of Sakurajima, the volcano has had an increasingly restless fall. VolcanoDiscovery captured a pile of great shots of the explosions currently ongoing at the volcano - some of which have been producing plumes topping out at over 3 km (~10,000 feet). The volcano has now also had over 700 explosions over the course of 2013. The alert status at Sakurajima still sits at Level 3 (do not approach the volcano). Alaska On Sunday, AVO reported that the eruption at Veniaminof resumed after a lull in activity. Seismicity began early on October 6 and new thermal anomalies were seen on satellite images. However, there have not been any direct observations of potential new lava flows and no new ash emissions have been noticed either (with the minimal staffing permitted by the shutdown). With this new eruptive activity, Veniaminof has been moved back to Orange/Watch status from Yellow/Advisory, which it had been since September 20. Chile Meanwhile, the unrest at Copahue in Chile that started last Decembers continues as well. A number of people on Twitter have posted images of small ash emissions from the volcano. Alberto Caselli from OVDAS links this activity to continued clearly with the conduit of the volcano, but doesn't suggest that it is leading to anything bigger from the volcano that straddles the Chilean-Argentine border. Although ash did fall on towns near the volcano, the alert status at Copahue has not changed from Yellow and regional authorities are telling people to remain calm during these small explosions. You can watch for these explosions on the SERNAGEOMIN webcam pointed at Copahue. New Zealand Finally, the aviation alert status at White Island was bumped up from Green to Yellow after a small steam explosion last Friday (October 4) and an increase in tremor beneath the island volcano in the Bay of Plenty. White Island has had an eventful 2013, with small explosions occasionally rocking the tourist destination. Thus far, the size of the eruptions has been small, but larger eruptions are not out of the question for White Island. This all being said, GNS Science has kept the volcanic alert status at 1 for the volcano. You can see the three webcams pointed at the island or the crater on White Island (along with its webicorder) on its GeoNet page.

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