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Archive for the ‘magma’ Category

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano: ASTER data

Posted by feww on April 24, 2010

ASTER data of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano

The following data have been acquired by the ASTER instrument on the NASA Terra satellite, and posted on Internet by University of Pittsburgh volcanologist Michael Ramsey. The data were collected both day and night. ASTER acquires data in the visible/near infrared (VNIR) and thermal infrared (TIR) during day time overpasses and in the TIR at night. The VNIR images are at 15 m/pixel resolution and the TIR are 90 m/pixel (each image covers approximately 60 km by 60 km).

Eyjafjallajokull Eruption Day time visible/near infrared image (13.5 MB) dated April 19, 2010.

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Posted in eyjafjalla, Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull eruption, Iceland volcano, iceland volcanoes, magma, Volcano Hazards, Volcanology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Eyjafjallajökull Eruption – UPDATE 23 April

Posted by feww on April 23, 2010

Ash Fall from Eyjafjallajökull Eruption Closes Icelandic Airports

Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport was closed earlier today due to volcanic ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull eruption.

The wind direction had reportedly changed pushing the ash cloud in southern Iceland in a southwesterly  direction; however,  little or no ash fall was forecast in the capital Reykjavik, Icelandic Review reported.

The closure of Keflavík airport was expected to affect all international flights to and from Iceland.

Webcam views of Eyjafjallajökull eruption recorded at 11:40UTC on April 23, 2010 – Click images to enlarge

Hvolsvelli View

Thórólfsfelli (Þórólfsfelli) View

The Institute of Earth Science Nordic Volcanological Center

Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull

Eruption update 22 April
Similar situation as yesterday (see 21 April report)

Seismic tremor recorded by the Icelandic Meteorological Office: Some fluctuations, with a peak shortly after midnight 22 April related to a small flood of meltwater. Since the onset of the explosive eruption the tremor has overall been gradually increasing, with superimposed fluctuations.

Visual observations yesterday: Regular explosions at intervals of few minutes were observed in afternoon, with fluctuations in intensity and tephra content. Previous entries …

The following two images are from Frettabldid-Island and may be subject to copyright.

Electric Eyjafjallajokull

Prime Real Estate

Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland – Current events Report by Icelandic Met Office

Status as of:  23 April 2010 10:45(UTC)

Volcanic tremor has been similar the last 24 hours. GPS stations around Eyjafjallajökull showed deflation associated with the eruption.

The plume could be seen on IMO’s radar till 04:00. This morning it rose up to 16.000 feet, ca 4.8 km, and ash is blowing towards west.

Water in Markarfljot river increased slightly yesterday, probably due to continuous flow from the eruption area (Gigjökull).

Eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland as seen by RADARSAT-2 (Canadian Space Agency)

Left: RADARSAT-2 image of April 9 – RADARSAT-2 Multi-Look Fine, beam 4 – April 9, 2010, 07:34 :48 UTC, Descending orbit – Nominal resolution: 8 m.
Right: RADARSAT-2 image of April 20 – RADARSAT-2 Extended High, beam 4 – April 20, 2010, 07:13 :53 UTC, Descending orbit -Nominal resolution: 25 m.
Click image to enlarge.

Image Notes and Observations:

  • New volcano craters are evident on April 20 image (Right).
  • Glacial lake on the north slope of the volcano is now filled with volcanic sediments.
  • Local drainage network is swamped by the melt water.
  • The radar backscatter has changed drastically, probably caused by the melted ice and by the presence of ash and dust on the ice.
  • Agricultural land on the south slope of the volcano covered by volcanic ash and debris.
  • The wavelength used by RADARSAT-2 is only slightly affected by the  ash and airborne particles.
  • For larger images click here

Iceland’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management – Media team

News Release: # 22 – April 23, 2010, 06:30(UTC)

A little after midnight, the volcanic cloud became quite dark, according to the police, and the wind turned during the night.

The Weather Bureau expects southeasterly winds today, and the wind force will gradually increase. An ashen mist is expected towards the north-east of the volcano, and small quantities of ash might even reach Reykjavík. The terms “ashen mist” refer to a view impaired by the ash, according to the Weather Bureau. Some ash is falling in the direction of Fljótshlíð and will continue to do so in a northwesterly direction from the volcano.

Flights to and from the airports of Keflavík and Reykjavík are being cancelled and travellers are requested to follow the news and the websites of the flight operators and Keflavík Airport.

According to the police at Hvolsvöllur, no traffic is permitted in the vicinity of the volcano. The area closed to traffic encompasses the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, its slopes, the Fimmvörðuháls pass and Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Please respect these restrictions.

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Posted in Eyjafjallajökull eruption, eyjafjallajokull map, iceland ash cloud, Iceland volcano, magma | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Eyjafjallajökull Eruption – UPDATE 22 April

Posted by feww on April 22, 2010

Volcanic tremors continue unabated, Eyjafjallajökull ash plume stays low

The explosive activity at Eyjafjallajökull is less vigorous, with only one of two main craters in the summit caldera remaining active.

Webcam views of Eyjafjallajökull eruption recorded at 15:23UTC on April 22, 2010 – Click images to enlarge

Hvolsvelli View

Thórólfsfelli (Þórólfsfelli) View

“Eruption rate is inferred to have declined over last few days and now be an order of magnitude smaller than during the initial 72 hours of the eruption. Present eruption rate is estimated to less than 30 m3/s of magma, or 75 tonnes/s , with a large uncertainty.” The Institute of Earth Science Nordic Volcanological Center said.

The eruptive style was reported as: “Phreatomatic explosive activity” with “lava spatter” at the summit craters, with the plume height reaching 3,000 m asl.

Seismic tremor showed some fluctuations but remained mostly stable, said the Icelandic Meteorological Office. “Tremor is not decreasing and does not reflect the decline as inferred from the eruption rate.”

Freeze frame from a video of Eyjafjallajökull Eruption shot by Icelandic Coast Guard.

The Institute of Earth Science Nordic Volcanological Center said:

Tephra dispersal: local towards the south

Meltwater: minor, but what is melted flows down into Markarfljót, no signs of water accumulation in craters

GPS-measurements: indicate continuing small pressure decrease under the volcano at a similar rate.

Composition of erupted material: Samples collected April 19 show same composition as early in the explosive phase, but fluorine content is higher. Samples collected 19 April have 850 mg/kg (initially it was 25-35 mg/kg). This is due to the change in eruptive style – tephra is now not washed to the same extent by water in the eruptive plume.

Amount of erupted material: Uncertain but on the order of 100 millon cubic meters. Tephra next to craters is 20-30 m thick.

Iceland’s Civil Protection Office confirmed that the ash emissions had been considerably reduced. “The volcanic cloud is quite low and not visible on radars. The ash is not expected to reach an altitude of 20.000 feet (6 – 7 km) for the nex few days. The ashes will continue falling on the area south and south-east of the glacier today, yet the wind will turn and blow from the north-easterly today, and the ashes will start falling to the south-west tonight. The wind is expected to be mild. That, and a lessened ash emission, will cause the ashes to fall near the eruption site. There is no cause to believe that the ashes will fall on the south-western regions of Iceland.”

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Eyjafjallajökull Eruption – UPDATE 21 April

Posted by feww on April 21, 2010

Eyjafjallajökull Rumbling, Churning out Magma

Eyjafjallajökull has entered a Strombolian-like phase of explosive of  activity, producing magma splatters, but less ash and smoke than the previous days.The plume, however, is till rising to a height of about 3,500m.

The magma in Eyjafjallajökull cauldron seems to be more viscous  than in its neighboring Fimmvörðuháls fissure,  the Icelandic  Met Office reported, adding that the interaction of magma with ice and melt water had decreased.

Icelandic Met Office:  Update on activity
Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland
Current events
Deflation – 20 April 2010 13:30 [22:30UTC]

Latest available results from GPS stations around Eyjafjallajökull showed deflation associated with the eruption. This suggested that the volume of eruptive material which has been ejected already, relieves pressure off the volcano.

No movements associated with the Katla volcano are presently observed. END

Thórólfsfelli (Þórólfsfelli) View

Hvolsvelli View

Valahnúk View

Latest webcam images of Eyjafjallajökull show the volcano is still petty much active. Frames frozen at 08:42UTC on April 21, 2010. Click images to enlarge.

There is no sign of lava flow as yet, but the situation could change rapidly.

“It seems that the ice cauldrons over the eruption site have coalesced to form a larger cauldron. In spite of magma splatters, no lava flow has been detected yet.”

“Heavy sound blasts have been heard and found near Eyjafjallajökull, especially south and east of the mountain. The viscosity of the magma from Eyjafjallajökull is higher than on Fimmvörðuháls and this enhances the explosive sound effect which can be heard over long distances.” it said.

Nearly all of the European airports have now reopened, however, the travel chaos with an unprecedented backlog of about 100,000 flight cancellations continues. The 6-day flight ban has cost the airlines more than one billion dollars. The actual cost to the unsustainable economies of Europe may be even larger.

Eldgosið í Fimmvörðuhálsi var undanfari eldgossins í Eyjafjallajökli. Árni Sæberg. Source: MBL-Island. Image may be subject to copyright.

A Silver Lining to the Ash Cloud?

University students in Britain have estimated the amount of carbon dioxide released by  Eyjafjallajökull Eruption  at 150,000 metric tons per day. The figure compares with 510,000 tons of CO2 per day emitted as a result of the planes flying normally over Europe. Their estimates seem to imply a ‘saving’ of 360,000 tons of CO2 per day as a result of the flight restriction over Europe. Source:  Reuters report.

ASTER on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired the above image at 1:50 p.m. local time on April 19. The image shows both the eruption plume and the heat signature of lava at the volcano’s summit and at nearby Fimmvörduháls fissure. Source: NASA. Click image to enlarge.

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Posted in Eyjafjallajökull eruption, eyjafjallajokull map, iceland ash cloud, Iceland volcano, magma | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

What triggers supervolcano formation?

Posted by feww on April 10, 2010

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Largest supervolcanoes in the world

The following information bulletin released by the Texas A&M University is an introduction to a study of  what triggers formation of supervolcanoes by the IODP Shatsky Rise expedition.

Deciphering the mysteries of an ancient seafloor Goliath

The eruptions of “supervolcanoes” on Earth’s surface have been blamed for causing mass extinctions, belching large amounts of gases and particles into the atmosphere, and re-paving the ocean floor. The result? Loss of species, increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and changes in ocean circulation. Despite their global impact, the origin and triggering mechanism of these eruptions remain poorly understood. New data collected during a recent Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) scientific research expedition in the Pacific Ocean may provide clues to unlocking this unsolved mystery in Earth’s geologic record.

In fall 2009, an international team of scientists participating in IODP Expedition 324 “Shatsky Rise Formation,” drilled five sites in the ocean floor to study the origin of the 145 million-year-old Shatsky Rise volcanic mountain chain. Located approximately 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Japan, Shatsky Rise measures roughly the size of California. This underwater mountain chain represents one of the largest supervolcanoes in the world: the top of Shatsky Rise lies three and a half kilometers (about two miles) below the sea surface, while its base plunges to nearly six kilometers (four miles) below the surface. Shatsky Rise is composed of layers of hardened lava, with individual lava flows that are up to 23 meters (75 feet) thick.

“Seafloor supervolcanoes are characterized by the eruption of enormous volumes of lava. Studying their formation is critical to understanding the processes of volcanism and the movement of material from the Earth’s interior to the surface,” remarked Dr. William Sager of Texas A&M University, who led the expedition together with co-chief scientist Dr. Takashi Sano of Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo.

About a dozen supervolcanoes exist on Earth – some are found on land, while others lie at the bottom of the ocean. Those found on the seafloor are often referred to as “large oceanic plateaus.” Current scientific thinking suggests that these supervolcanoes were caused by eruptions occurring over a period of a few million years or less – a rapid pace in geologic time. Each of these supervolcanoes produced several million cubic kilometers of lava – about three hundred times the volume of all the Great Lakes combined – dwarfing the volume of lava produced by the biggest present-day volcanoes such as Hawaii.

Since the 1960s, geologists have debated the formation and origin of these large oceanic plateaus. The mystery lies in the origin of the magma, which is molten rock that forms within the Earth. A magma source rising from deep within the interior of the Earth has a different chemical composition than magma that forms just below the Earth’s crust. Some large oceanic plateaus exhibit signs of a deep-mantle origin. Others exhibit chemical signatures indicative of magma originating from a much shallower depth.

The IODP Shatsky Rise expedition focused on deciphering the relationship between supervolcano formation and the boundaries of tectonic plates, which may prove crucial to understanding what triggers supervolcano formation. A widely-accepted explanation for oceanic plateaus is that they form when a huge blob of magma source (a “plume head”) rises from deep in the Earth to the surface. An alternative theory suggests that large oceanic plateaus can originate at the intersection of three tectonic plates, known as a “triple junction,” but this mechanism is poorly understood. Shatsky Rise could play a key role in this debate, because it formed at a triple junction, but also displays certain characteristics that could be explained by the plume head model.

“Shatsky Rise is one of the best places in the world to study the origin of supervolcanoes,” Sager pointed out. “What makes Shatsky Rise unique is the fact that it is the only supervolcano to have formed during a time when Earth’s magnetic field reversed frequently.” This process creates “magnetic stripe” patterns in the seafloor. As Sager explained, “We can use these magnetic stripes to decipher the timing of the eruption and the spatial relationship of Shatsky Rise to the surrounding tectonic plates and triple junctions.”

According to preliminary results, sediments and microfossils collected during the expedition indicate that parts of the Shatsky Rise plateau were at one time at or above sea level, and formed an archipelago during the early Cretaceous period (about 145 million years ago). Shipboard lab studies further show that much of the lava erupted rapidly and that Shatsky Rise formed at or near the equator. As analyses continue in the months and years ahead, data collected during this expedition may help scientists to resolve the 50 year-old debate about the origin and nature of large oceanic plateaus.

IODP Expedition 324 “Shatsky Rise Formation” took place onboard the scientific ocean drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution from September 4 to November 4, 2009. The JOIDES Resolution is one of the primary research vessels of IODP, an international marine research program dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of the Earth through drilling, coring, and monitoring the subseafloor. The vessel is operated by the U.S. Implementing Organization of IODP, consisting of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Texas A&M University, and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

Contact: Kristin Ludwig
Texas A&M University

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Redoubt Volcano settling down?

Posted by feww on July 1, 2009

Is Redoubt going back to sleep?

After Redoubt’s last explosive eruption about three month ago, the researchers at the Alaska Volcano Observatory say the volcano may be settling down. The aviation alert level has been lowered to code yellow (advisory), however, constant monitoring continues.

Redoubt has been oozing magma and ejecting steam since the last eruption on April 4, 2009.

“The last couple of months at Redoubt, we have been building a mountain,” said one of the researchers, referring to the colossal lava dome.

As of June 9, the giant dome had grown to approximately 67.5 million m3 in volume. the dome is unstable and can collapse  at any time, causing  explosions, and flooding the Drift River valley.

Redoubt from the east. Picture Date: July 01, 2009.  Image Creator: Cyrus Read. Image courtesy of AVO/USGS.

Redoubt photo taken by DFR Webcam. AVO. Camera is co-located with seismic station DFR, approximately 12.2 km NE of Redoubt.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 4:38 PM AKDT (Wednesday, July 1, 2009 0038 UTC)

Redoubt Volcano
60°29’7″ N 152°44’38” W, Summit Elevation 10197 ft (3,108 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Extended Information Statement

The 2009 eruption of Redoubt volcano began March 15th, 2009 with a steam explosion. Between March 22nd and April 4th, Redoubt produced multiple significant explosions that sent ash and gas clouds to as high as 65,000 feet (19.8 km) above sea level. After April 4th, the eruption continued with extrusion of a lava dome within the summit crater, eventually producing a blocky lava flow that currently extends ~0.6 miles (1 km) down the north flank of the volcano. Redoubt entered its 14th week of eruptive activity the week of June 22nd. More …

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No Doubt about Redoubt Volcano!

Posted by feww on February 4, 2009

Latest photo of Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano

Hot smoke and gas were ejected from two new fumaroles that appeared in the snow and ice layer on Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano.

Photo by Chris Waythomas, Alaska Volcano Observatory /U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The AVO researchers reported that the ice layer surrounding the volcano is melting rapidly because of the hot gasses  that are spewing out of the fumaroles. The gases reportedly include carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide, which means magma is edging upward. AVO scientists also believe new magma has entered Redoubt, which means that there is strong possibility the volcano will explode in the near future.

The 3,108-meter volcano, considered the 9th most active in the U.S., is about 170 kilometers from Anchorage, Alaska.

AVO report dated 2009-02-03 15:02:56

“Unrest at Redoubt Volcano continues. Seismic activity remains elevated above background. Clear web camera images show no activity at the volcano. An AVO crew is working near the volcano today. They have installed one new seismic station and are presently working on a second installation.  AVO is monitoring the volcano 24 hours a day.”

AVO Redoubt Scenarios

Based on their knowledge of  Redoubt’s past activities, both historical and from the geologic record, and their analysis of the current episode of unrest, AVO suggests four possible scenarios:

  1. Failed Eruption
    Unrest continues to escalate culminating in an eruption that is similar to or smaller than the one that occurred in 1989-90.
  3. Larger [than 1989-90] Explosive Eruption
  4. Flank Collapse

Based on all available monitoring data and AVOs knowledge of the volcano, scenario number two, an eruption similar to or smaller than that of 1989-90, appears to be the most probable outcome at this time. We consider one and three to be somewhat less likely, and scenario four to be much less likely. —AVO

For more information see Redoubt Interpretation and Hazards.

Geologic Summary: Redoubt is a 3108-m-high glacier-covered stratovolcano with a breached summit crater in Lake Clark National Park about 170 km SW of Anchorage. Next to Mount Spurr, Redoubt has been the most active Holocene volcano in the upper Cook Inlet. Collapse of the summit of Redoubt 10,500-13,000 years ago produced a major debris avalanche that reached Cook Inlet. Holocene activity has included the emplacement of a large debris avalanche and clay-rich lahars that dammed Lake Crescent on the south side and reached Cook Inlet about 3500 years ago. Eruptions during the past few centuries have affected only the Drift River drainage on the north. Historical eruptions have originated from a vent at the north end of the 1.8-km-wide breached summit crater. The 1989-90 eruption of Redoubt had severe economic impact on the Cook Inlet region and affected air traffic far beyond the volcano. [Source: GVP]

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Posted in Explosive Eruption, magma, Mount Spurr, Redoubt Scenarios, Redoubt unrest | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »