The weekend! No updates until next Tuesday - I'll be off to give a talk at Western Michigan University.
Coal-erupting volcanoes defeat the Permian dinosaurs ... according to FOX News.
You know that mainstream media (FOXNews) must have done something appalling when even I can't write about it thanks to my seething rage. I'll let Chris Rowan at Highly Allochthonous and Ralph at the Volcanism Blog sum up how FOX News tried to explain the extinction of the dinosaurs (hint 1: it happened before dinosaurs even existed. hint 2: volcanoes erupt coal now).
In other news, Costa Rica scientists don't expect big things from Turrialba, even with the 100+ years since the last eruption. Apparently they have spotted a number of new explosion craters in the main summit area but weather conditions have made it difficult to observe the volcano. UPDATE 2:30PM 1/8/2010 - Here is the official report from OVSICORI:
Sounds like these events were driven by hot water and no new magma was erupted.It appears that minor ash made it as far as 12 km to the north of Turrialba, but 20 km to the south, no one noticed anything related to the eruption. You can also see a map of the farm animals in peril around the volcano here.
A visit to the field on Jan 6th shed light about what happened between the night of Monday 5th and early hours of Wednesday 6th. At least two vents (between 20 and 30m wide) opened along the inner walls of W crater, to eject an unestimated volume of preexistent fine particles. A narrow plume (8x40 km) of sediments moved SW up to 40 kms reaching a small portion of the populated Central Valley where most Costarricans live. Thickness of deposits vary from few mm (near the summit) to a fine sheet after some 15 km away from the volcano. Granulometry of particles vary from 1mm, in the proximal area to micras, in the distal areas.
No juvenile material was found in the described deposits, on the contrary its color, shape and general aspect coincide with the openings in the upper summit. Strong degassing accompanied of fractionated material is intermittently expelled from the new vents as we write this report. Although the tremor signal decreased, compared to two preceding days, energy is enough to produce columns of several hundreds of meters above the summit.
Fortunately nobody was hurt during the initial explosions and most of settlers, 3 kms around the volcano, got evacuated. Damage to crops, machinery and infrastructure has not been assessed although it is believed that it may increase if emissions persist.