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Category: volcanology

Borealis Meditation – S05E01 Hunga Volcano Tonga

Welcome back to Borealis Meditation and welcome to season 5! You can listen to the episode here:

Transcript Available here: (work in progress check back soon)

In this episode we talk about the eruption in Tonga on Jan. 15th of Hunga volcano. This eruption was spectacular and in this episode I go over the eruption but also some context in terms of how we monitor volcanoes and tsunami early warning systems.

I have some extra reading for this episode I will put at the end of this post. Also I am working on having transcripts for all my episodes this season. They may take a little time to come out and will definitely be a learning curve but I am working on making my content more accessible.

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Further reading:
NASA post on the eruption: HERE
Global Volcanism Program page for the volcano: HERE (You can read weekly updates on each volcano that has activity)
NOAA Post on this eruption and the future of tsunami research: HERE
An update on the undersea cable situation: HERE

Borealis Meditation Minisode! Fun things! Volcanoes and earthquakes!

Listen to me here!

Show notes:
Volcanoes are HOT!

Super awesome animation of arc volcanoes!
Super awesome sea floor volcanoes animation!
Hawaiian volcanoes being made! animation

Earthquakes? In Oklahoma? It’s more likely than you think.
New Theory of why mid-continent faults produce earthquakes

Calais, E., Freed, A.M., Van Arsdale, R., Stein, S., 2010, Triggering of New Madrid seismicity by late-pleistocene erosion, Nature 466, 608-611

Oh hello blog, I have been ignoring you! its earth science week! :)

Ok, wow I need to get my ass in gear.

Thoughts for a podcast:
– Volcanoes, myths and lore (+ a little science)
– Aurora, basic explanation and a little bit of well known lore up here
– color?
– metallic and magnetic minerals in magic and life
but really this is a blog as well as being about my podcast.
I have 10-15 minutes before my ride comes to get me and we drive home in the now very slick snow. I have a story to share about a volcano in Alaska. I’ll link to some articles but this is my reflections of a talk I went to.
(Quickbird true-color satellite image of Kasatochi Island collected on April 9, 2004. Image copyright Digital Globe.)
Little Kasatochi. Its a very small island way out in the Aluetian islands. Home in the past to many birds. An important nesting site and a haul out place for sea lions. A biologists dream! its never been inhabited that I know of except by fox trappers. The foxes are gone and the small shack was refinished and every summer biologists would hang out and count birds and enjoy the small island. In terms of the geology it was known that it was a volcano, but hadn’t been active except for some possible activity in the 1800s. Pretty dormant. A small green island with a central lake in the crater, a little blip in the ocean, but the top of a large submarine volcano.
The summer of 2008 was no different then the ones before. Two biologists were dropped off by the research boat that went into the Aleutians every summer to stay on the island and count birds. In early August these biologists began to feel earthquakes on the island. By August 4th they contacted the volcano observatory. Now imagine. You are on a volcano you know its a volcano out in the middle and I mean middle of no where. There is NO instrumentation on the volcano and you feel earthquakes. At first it was no big deal, there are earthquakes in the Aleutians all the time, its not monitored it could be a normal amount of events. There is no background to compare it to. At this point the earthquakes were of a magnitude and possible location that it was considered normal and non-volcanic.
By the 6th however it was very clear that this was very not normal activity. By that night there was a warning listed for the volcano and it was decided those scientists needed to get off the island. The next morning there was a M 5.8 and the closest seismic station on a neighboring volcano began to record volcanic tremor usually seen as being caused by the migration of fluids, water or magma. They needed to get those men off the island now.
The boat that had dropped them off was too far out, the coast guard chopper that was closest to them was in need of a part, and the weather was very over cast. They waited on the shore. They used the sat. phone to call home, the volcano rumbling below their feet. Finally a fishing boat was able to make the seas to get them. The weather was horrible but they got out to the boat and back to safety. Within an hour of their departure….
there was confirmation of a plume. Kasatochi had erupted less then an hour after they left. Two weeks later they returned. The island was grey. Nothing remained. The cabin was under 20-30m of material the beaches were built out. They would not have survived the eruption that much is clear. Rocks the size of cars were sitting on beach where once there had been water.
The official report is that the biologist were off the island less then 30 minutes before the eruption.
That was on close call. The island is getting back to normal again. The birds are nesting, there is some green taking root. Again Kasatochi is an important island for biologists.
Kasatochi is the most energetic volcanic eruption since the inception of the Alaska Volcano Observatory. It was an unmonitored volcano.
*dramatic music*
Welcome to the world I love, the drama, the joy, the excitement of volcanoes.
I hope you enjoyed that! 🙂

Why I Blog: Erik Klemetti (Eruptions) article on AGU website

(an article about a geology blogger I found interesting)

Why I Blog: Erik Klemetti (Eruptions)

I started blogging out of frustration with the lack of knowledgeable commentary on volcanic eruptions on the Internet in early 2008. It all came to a head when a mystery volcano in southern Chile erupted (this turned out to be the eruption of Chaitén). I searched in vain for some place that was collecting the unfolding information on the eruption and putting it in a geologic context (in other words, the opposite of most mainstream media coverage of geologic events). So, I decided to start my own blog to do just that: take all the random news reports, volcano observatory news releases, satellite images/remote sensing data, and downright rumors and offer commentary on it all through the lens of someone who studies volcanoes for a living…. (READ THE ARTICLE)

The Eruptions Blog

Today in volcanology history

Today in 1991 Katia and Maurice Krafft were on Mt Unzen with Harry Glicken and 41 journalists covering the eruption. All of them were killed when a pyroclastic flow made an unexpected turn.

Why are they so important to me? The day before they died Maurice is recorded as saying “I am never afraid because I have seen so much eruptions in 23 years that even if I die tomorrow, I don’t care”

Harry Glicken was supposed to be on duty at Mt St Helens on the morning of May 18, 1980 and David A. Johnston took his place and was killed.

These are the kinds of people who inspired me to study volcanoes (don’t tell my mother) people whose love of this dangerous beauty of nature took them closer to the action then most people would dare. They did amazing work, and inspire the rest of us.

wikipedia entry on the Kraffts
Harry Glicken on CVOs website
AND the ever full of surprises Mt Unzen!

I giggled

PAGAN Mariana Islands (Central Pacific) 18.13°N, 145.80°E; summit elev. 570 m

Gas-and-steam plumes from Pagan continued to be observed in satellite imagery during 21-28 May. Reports from researchers camped on the island, and imagery analyses, suggested that trace amounts of ash were intermittently present in the plumes during 23-26 May. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Geologic Summary. Pagan Island, the largest and one of the most active of the Marianas Islands volcanoes, consists of two stratovolcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus. Both North and South Pagan stratovolcanoes were constructed within calderas, 7 and 4 km in diameter, respectively. The 570-m-high Mount Pagan at the NE end of the island rises above the flat floor of the caldera, which probably formed during the early Holocene. South Pagan is a 548-m-high stratovolcano with an elongated summit containing four distinct craters. Almost all of the historical eruptions of Pagan, which date back to the 17th century, have originated from North Pagan volcano. The largest eruption of Pagan during historical time took place in 1981 and prompted the evacuation of the sparsely populated island.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, Office of the Governor, United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program

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