Guest Videos: Deception Island’s Penguins, Ghosts, and Eruptions

That’s a summer beach scene in Antarctica, taken on the shores of the ring-shaped caldera that is Deception Island.

And here’s a video–too short, as are most penguin videos.

A somewhat longer video focuses on this remote volcanic island’s surprisingly busy human history (there are also some eruption shots from the 1960s):

So, is anyone keeping an eye on the volcano, whose eruptions in the past have been huge?

Yes, the Spanish and others.

. . . Because the Spanish seismologists spend around three months each year on Deception Island (generally between Late November and late February), which also corresponds to the major period of human activity on the island, they also provide volcanic warnings to the island’s visitors including masters of vessels intending to arrive at the island and pilots of aircraft flying near the island. The warnings are colour-coded and come through bulletins from either Gabriel de Castilla Station (Spain) or from a spokesperson from one of the other national Antarctic programmes such as the Argentine Antarctic Institute, British Antarctic Survey or National Science Foundation.

— from Robert Brears’s interesting overview of the island’s volcanic history.

Per the volcano’s Global Volcanism Program page, observers raised the alert level to yellow for a few days in 2015 because of inscreased seismicity and deformation.

Also, Argentina has a Deception Island Observatory page (Spanish). Here is more observatory information in English.

And here, via Google Translate, is some information from Spain’s University of Cadiz on an earlier volcanic crisis at Deception Island around the turn of the century.

Featured image: Christopher Michel, CC BY 2.0


Popocatepetl Crater Overflight This Morning

This is also in the Popocatepetl updates (see link at top of page), but it’s awesome enough to share in a separate post, too.

The volcanologists say the dome is 250 meters (roughly 820 feet) by 30 meters (98 feet) and has a volume of 1.5 million cubic meters/530 million cubic feet. Extrusion rate is 31 cubic meters/1,100 cubic feet per second. (Again, this type of volcano has “sticky” gray lava, not “runny” red lava like Kilauea.)

Per CENAPRED’s post this morning (via Google Translate and my own translation, with added link)

In the last 25 years of activity of the Popocatépetl volcano, 80 domes have formed; the recording of their growth and subsequent destruction has been possible thanks to the overflights made with the support of the Ministry of the Navy and the Federal Police.

In addition to the overflights, it should be noted that the monitoring of the Popocatépetl volcano includes seismic, geochemical, geodetic monitoring, remote sensor image analysis, etc.

The National Center for Disaster Prevention issues a bulletin [here it is in English] every 24 hours on the activity of the Popocatépetl volcano 365 days a year. Any change in the activity of the volcano is communicated in a timely manner by the official accounts of Civil Protection @PcSegob.

Of note, here is a time-lapse video of four webcams showing Popo this moring; of course the scale is too big to see the helicopter.

Per G. K. Chesterton, 114 years ago: Fight the thing that you fear.

Update on Popocatépetl

Volcanologists at the University of Mexico released a bulletin (Spanish) this morning; here is the Google Translate version. Click the link in the top menu for more information about Popocatépetl as well as updates.

Bulletin UNAM-DGCS-620
University City
11:00 hs. September 29, 2018

Ramón Espinasa Pereña

Ana Lillian Martín del Pozo


• Exhalations and vulcano-tectonic earthquakes have been increasing, because a significant amount of magma is rising, said Ramón Espinasa, from the Cenapred
• The Geophysics Institute placed well seismographs to monitor the activity and predict a major eruption
• Don Goyo has not gone to sleep since December 1994 and the tremor of September 19 of last year, whose epicenter was in a relatively nearby area, affected him, said Ana Lillian Martín del Pozzo, of IGf

The Popocatépetl volcano presents a lot of activity, and is increasing; An example of this is the increase in volcano-tectonic exhalations and earthquakes, the latter of an order of magnitude greater than that seen in the last 24 years.

This data indicates that a significant amount of magma is rising and “within months, a year or the day after tomorrow”, could present an even more important activity than it had, said Ramón Espinasa Pereña, deputy director of Volcanic Risks at the UNAM. the Research Directorate of the National Center for Disaster Prevention (Cenapred).

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Meanwhile, at Yellowstone . . .

September 25, 2018: Cool! (in a manner of speaking)

Original post:

Here is the whole article (click this link to get images):

Recent Changes to Thermal Features Closes Part of Upper Geyser Basin
September 19, 2018

In the past week, there have been changes afoot to the thermal features on Geyser Hill in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin. Ear Spring, a normally docile hot pool, had a water eruption that reached 20 to 30 feet high on Saturday, September 15, 2018. The eruption ejected not only rocks, but also Continue reading

Popocatépetl update

August 30, 2018, update: This uptick in restlessness is too slight for CENAPRED to raise the volcano alert level, but it’s interesting and worth keeping an eye on. I’ve therefore given Don Goyo its own page, which you can access here or via the menu at the top of this page.

And here’s the Webcams de Mexico YouTube livestream–oops; YouTube took it down for some reason.

Featured image: Popocatépetl from Cholula, by Graham C99, CC BY 2.0.

Livestream of Kilauea’s Summit Crater

The lava fountains and human drama in Hawaii’s Lower Puna District are getting all the headlines, but geologists know there is also drama ongoing at the summit, where the volcano’s crater seems to have been slowly collapsing since the lava lake drained.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory staff were forced to move farther away from the summit area because the many earthquakes there were damaging the building. Now, they have set up a livestream, and it’s fascinating to watch. Basically, the crater walls are slowly crumbling inward, and there is a pile of rocks at the bottom that may be suppressing the explosions — after a period of suppression, of course, there will likely be a big steam blast to relieve pressure, But no one knows if or when that will happen, or what will happen next.

Anyway, here’s the livestream:

For comparison, here’s a video they recorded in March to mark the ten-year anniversary of the lava lake first appearing in the summit crater. Where he’s standing has already collapsed now.

Here is a drone overlight of Halemaumau they did on May 31st. As you can see, the vent where the lava lake used to be has expanded to almost fill the whole crater. And there’s the rock pile down at the bottom, probably supressing, to some extent, the explosions.

And, about an hour ago, the USGS posted this:

Featured image: USGS. Those curved lines on the left is where the visitor’s parking lot used to be.

Guest Videos: Monitoring Volcanoes With Cosmic Rays

You might have heard that they found another chamber in the Great Pyramid recently. Archaeologists and physicists did this by using muons–a type of subatomic particle–to see inside the rock.

Here’s how they did it:

There is another way muon tomography is helping scientists keep people safe: by looking through volcanoes.

This is cutting edge stuff, and work still continues at Soufrière Guadeloupe, where at least five working telescopes were in place in February 2017.

Unfortunately, the last online bulletin of the volcano observatory at Guadeloupe (English translation of website here) is from 2014.

I hope the Great Pyramid discovery may encourage more volcanologists around the world to check out the technique!

If Twitter Was Around When Mount St. Helens Blew

It’s wonderful (from a distance) to follow the ongoing eruption at Kilauea via the Web. Twitter is especially helpful.

I’ve been wondering what the 1980 reawakening and eruption of Mount St. Helens would have been like on Twitter. Here are some tweets I’ve found from volcanologists and other interested people who have not forgotten May 18, 1980, as well as a movie from the National Archives.

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Guest Video: The Biggest Eruption of the 20th Century

This 2012 presentation tells the story of the VEI 6 eruption of Katmai/Novarupta in 1912.

Alaskans are still experiencing ashfall from that eruption’s deposits whenever the wind is right, most recently in November 2017 according to the Smithsonian.

This huge eruption was unusual in that it was associated with a caldera collapse in nearby Katmai Volcano.

The Internet Archive has the 1922 National Geographic Society report on their expedition to the volcano here.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory monitors Katmai around the clock, but the only trouble the volcano has caused lately has been remobilized ash from the 1912 eruption.

Featured image: NASA