The Sciences

Wednesday Whatzits: Taal quiet and quite tall

Rocky Planet iconRocky PlanetBy Erik KlemettiJul 7, 2010 10:04 AM

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A few very quick hits:

Ever-looming Mt. Rainier, with Tacoma, Washington in the foreground.

  • PHIVOLCS is pondering whether to lower the Alert Status at Taal back to Level 1. The volcano has been on Alert Level 2 for the past month after increasing signs of potential eruptive activity. However, seismicity is down at Taal, so PHIVOLCS will be sending a ground team to do a survey before deciding whether to lower the Alert Level. The heightened state of alert at Taal has lead to some people taking advantage of the populace, with little more than a fake text message to cause panic.

  • Just how tall is Mt. Rainier, anyway? Apparently this is a subject of some debate, with estimates anywhere from 3,700 to 4,700 meters (12,300-15,500 feet), with the current value at 4,392 meters (14,410 feet). Measuring the volcano accurately was harder than it seemed back in 1988 when the current elevation was established - at that time, it took 150 people to conduct the survey. Today, we're down to 12. Ah, technology!

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