Tag Archives: VOLCANOES


Over the weekend, the Tungurahua’s volcanic eruption had a strong explosion that caused gravel to fall down in the nearby town of Pillate, Ecuador. The explosion, characterized by its loud “cannon ball shot”, was immediately detected by locals and scientists observing the volcano’s progress. The explosion was later followed by a slight tremor and a constant pulsation of “high energy” said reports. The constant cloud coverage surrounding the volcano has caused scientists, from the Geophysical Institute branch of the National Polytechnic School to have trouble determining its current state. Most of the direct observations are conducted in the Guadalupe Observatory, the closest in the vicinity. Tungurahua, located in the Andes Mountains in Ecuador, is 5,016 meters high and its eruptions began in 1999. Since then, the volcano has transitioned from times of high activity and those of calm. However, Tungurahua is not the only volcano causing extreme damage and concern in the Hispanic world. Popocatépetl, located in Mexico City, has also been under close watch due to its recent activity which included ash blasts.


Santorini’s volcanic basin is showing signs of resumed volcanic activity. According to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, satellite research tools suggest that a build-up of some 14m cubic metres of lava at a depth of 5km took place between September and January last. Widely touted by academics as the cause of the Minoan civilisation’s obliteration, what is left of the volcano – a small archipelago – last witnessed significant geological activity in January of 2011. Having published his findings in the latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters, the Institute’s Andrew Newman says “our research shows that the lava build-up is accelerating,” suggesting that even though the build-up may not indicate an imminent eruption, it may cause minor volcanic events, including ash fall-out, landslides and even tsunami type phenomena.


During an overflight on 13 April, an explosion from Sangay volcano was observed at 08:25 local time. It generated an ash and steam column of 2 km above the summit crater. A new vent was detected, both on visible and thermal images, located next to the active dome on the SE flank (Ñuñurqu). The activity in this area has intensified since October, when the last aerial survey had taken place. Extensive lava flows are descending on the SE flank of the dome and reaching the base of the cone. Strong fumarolic activity was seen on the SE flank of the dome and on the S flank of the central crater.

Popocatépetl Volcano in Mexico Exhales

Popocatépetl, the nearly 18,000 foot volcano that hovers like a sentinel on the southeastern fringe of Mexico’s capital, awakened again Sunday, punctuating an especially shaky seismic season. Popo, as the mountain is widely called, spewed at least seven exhalations overnight Saturday and through the day Sunday, sending vapor, smoke and gas billowing into the clear sky. The most serious occurred just after 9 a.m. Sunday, sending a vapor cloud a mile into the air. Mexico’s National Disaster Prevention Center issued a precautionary warning to residents, advising them to stay alert for a worsening situation and to keep at least seven miles away from the volcano’s crater. The service predicted continuing “moderate exhalations, some with ash, sporadic low to moderate explosions with likely burning fragments emitted close to the crater, and flaming magma within the crater visible at night.” Popo’s latest fuming comes amid a series of earthquakes striking southern and central Mexico in the past three weeks. Several 6 magnitude quakes struck Wednesday, but no damage. A midday 7.4 quake on March 20 damaged hundreds of buildings in Oaxaca and Guerrero states and sent hundreds of thousands of residents scrambling into Mexico City’s streets.

The volcano, whose full name means Smoking Mountain in the Nahuatl tongue of the Aztecs, is a fairly active volcano, with such exhalations occurring regularly. Events like Sunday’s serve to prevent more dangerous pressure from building inside the volcano, scientists say. Popo experienced similar moderate activity several times in 2011 and again at the beginning of this year. Though more than 40 miles from downtown Mexico City , Popo and its adjoining snow-capped sister mountain, Iztaccihuatl dominate the Valley of Mexico and the surrounding highlands, home to some 25 million people. Mexico City’s teeming working class suburbs now lick at the mountains’ base. The city of Puebla, home to 1 million people, stands a few dozen miles from the volcano eastern slopes. Aztec legend held that Popocatepetl was a warrior deeply in love with Izta, whose silhouette can resemble a sleeping woman from the right angles. Sent by her father to battle to prove his worth, Popo was falsely reported killed. Iztaccihuatl died grief-stricken. When he returned from battle, Popo hunched next to her body, bowed his head and died of heartbreak.


Thursday morning the Turrialbla volcano unleashed a new series of eruptions, with experts converging on the colossus to take a close look at the smoke emanations coming from its centre. According to the Red Sismológica Nacional (RSN) and the Observatorio Vulcanologio y Sismologico de Costa Rica (OVISCORI) the activity does not present any danger, but will continue to monitor the volcano much closer. The alert followed reports by area residents of hearing a large rumble and then the sighting of dark coloured smoke, produced by gas fumes from the volcano. Last January the volcano became a concern for residents and experts following the emanation of white gas fumes. Several RSN experts are on their way to the top of the volcano and the OVISCORI is keeping the national park closed and under a green alert.

Mount Etna is erupting again!

Mount Etna is erupting for the sixth time this year with lava and plumes of smoke and ash from a new crater on the volcano’s southeast side. The new activity was preceded by new phase that began last night and that, according to experts from the INGV in Catania, has the same characteristics as the one before this one. Ash, carried by wind towards the east, has not yet created problems at the Fontanarossa airport, which is fully operational.

Iceland volcano: and you thought the last eruption was bad…


An Icelandic volcano even bigger than the one that shut down European air travel when it erupted in 2010 is showing signs of activity, scientists say. Erratic movements of the surface of the volcano, measured by precise GPS instruments, and bursts of high earthquake activity have been recorded beneath Katla’s caldera, researchers said. Both are possible signs that magma has risen to shallower depths beneath the caldera, they said. While the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull left millions of travelers stranded across Europe and cost airlines an estimated $200 million a day for six days, signs of high activity beneath the much larger, neighboring Katla caldera are a possible sign of an impending eruption that could be more dangerous, Andy Hooper at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands said. Historically, Katla has erupted on average of every 60 years but has not had a significant eruption since 1918, Hooper said. Also, he said, eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull in 1821-23 and 1612 were followed within months by eruptions of Katla, and Katla’s 1918 eruption produced five times as much ash as the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull one.


It’s hard to believe that volcanic activity can come to seem routine, but Mount Cleveland, an active volcano located in Alaska’s Aleutian island chain, is almost becoming just that. On Wednesday, the volcano was again upgraded by the Alaska Volcano Observatory to alert level “Orange,” meaning the volcano is showing “heightened or escalting unrest” and could potentially erupt at any time. It’s become a regular song-and-dance for the volcano, which had been downgraded less than a week before after a series of small explosions earlier in March appeared to settle the steady activity that had been occurring over several weeks. In all, the volcano has been upgraded to “orange” five times in the last year, with a month or two of lessened activity before a sudden spike takes it back up. The most significant eruptive activity to actually occur at the peak in since 2010 was a minor eruption on Dec. 29 of last year, which launched an ash cloud to 15,000 feet but signalled the end of further eruptive activity. The three small explosions detected by remote seismic sensors earlier in March 2012 followed. A lava dome building in the volcano prompted the most recent elevation. There is no real-time monitoring at Cleveland volcano, making updates sporadic and often based on satellite imagery.

Anak Krakatau volcano (Indonesia): growing lava dome

An active lava dome is growing inside the summit crater of Krakatau volcano. Our tour expedition leader Andi just returned from a visit and reports that the dome is now about 100 m wide, and has 2 main active vents that eject jets of incandescent gas.
At night, the glow from the dome is clearly visible from Rakata and Sertung islands, and a continuous intense solfatara plume is rising about 500 m above the summit. Andi and our group observed also that there are now more and larger fumarole fields on the southern part of the cone. According to our observations and the opinion of local scientists, this area is inflated due to the pushing of the lava dome. The seismic recordings from the observatory of Krakatau also show an increase in activity. On 26 March, there were 138 volcanic-tectonic (A-type) earthquakes and 300 long-period (B-type) quakes alone. The question is how long the lava dome remains quiet and purely effusive in style. Explosive, also larger vulcanian-type ones, activity could occur any time.




Some 8,500 chickens have been culled and 1,500 eggs destroyed in Lalitpur, following the detection of the avian influenza (H5N1) causing bird flu there. The bird flu virus was detected in chickens of a poultry farm owned by one Dhiren Gurung of Sainbu-5 some five days ago. This was the first bird flu case in the district. Similarly, lab test of the sample extracted from chickens of the poultry farm adjoining Gurung’s farm turned out to be positive on Sunday. The farm was owned by one Kamal Ghimire. The District Livestock Service Office, however, had faced problems to destroy chickens excreta following the obstruction from Gurung. Gurung wanted compensation for destroying the chicken excreta in his farm. But, later he was agreed to have it destroyed following a meeting held among the bodies concerned on Monday. Chief of the District Livestock Service Office, Department of Animal Health Services, representatives from police administration and poultry entrepreneurs were present at the meeting. “We were forced to take the help from the police administration after the technicians’ team deputed by the Office was barred from carry out their duty”, said Office Chief Dr Mugal Saha. Meanwhile, over 150 birds died all of sudden at Divarna VDC on Arghakhanchi district in the past three days. Bird flu has been suspected behind the death of birds of locally known Sari species. A specimen of the dead birds has been sent to Kathmandu for lab test, according to Chief of District Livestock Service Office in Arghakhanchi, Dr Gopal Giri.


A 17-year-old has died of bird flu in Indonesia, the country’s sixth fatality from the virus so far this year. Health ministry spokeswoman Murti Utami said Tuesday the boy from eastern Lombok island developed symptoms early this month after coming into contact with sick chickens. He died March 9 after one week’s hospitalization. Ms. Utami says laboratory results came back several days ago confirming he had the deadly H5N1 virus. Bird flu began ravaging poultry in 2003 and has killed 352 people worldwide. It is still present in some areas of Asia and the Middle East. Indonesia has been the hardest-hit country, accounting for 156 of the deaths.


As our colleague Marc from vulkane.net reports, the volcano Batu Tara in the Sunda Sea off the island of Flores in Indonesia had a larger than usual ash eruption today, which triggered an alert of the VAAC Darwin, who raised the aviation color code to “orange”, as the drifting ash cloud is be a hazard to local air traffic. Batu Tara is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia and is characterized, similar to Stromboli volcano, by semi-permanent explosive summit activity.