Alaskan volcano erupts

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Location of Mt. Redoubt (Image: J. Schaefer/AVO/ADGGS)

It’s a good week for gelogy nerds. After last week’s undersea volcanic eruption in the South Pacific, the Alaskan volcano Mt. Redoubt erupted violently several times last weekend, and continues to rumble. Ash clouds rose to about 16 km according the Alaskan Volcano Observatory (AVO) and the eruption caused significant flooding (see this cool picture). The Alaskan volcanoes form part of the Pacific Ring of Fire which is littered with active volcanoes and a frequent site for earthquakes and eruptions.

Check out the AVO page on Redoubt for updates or follow on Twitter.

**Update, 29/03/09** Redoubt isn’t done erupting yet, more explosive eruptions took place in the last couple of days. The AVO Twitter feed is the best way of keeping up to date!

Webcam image of Redoubt erupting on Saturday. (Image: AVO/USGS)

Webcam image of Redoubt erupting on Saturday. (Image: AVO/USGS)

**Update, 30 March 09**. Explosive eruptions have continued at Redoubt in thel last few days and AVO is reporting the first ash falling on Achorage. There’s no danger to the population though. More spectacular pictures have appeared on the AVO website, this one is particularly striking.

Lightning during one of Redoubt's eruption events on 28 March (image credit: Higman, Bretwood)

Lightning during one of Redoubt's eruption events on 28 March (image credit: Higman, Bretwood)

Big Picture: Volcano violence

tonga

The Big Picture series in the Boston Globe has had two awesome features this week. The first is a series of photos of the undersea volcano that erupted near the South Pacic island group of Tonga, triggering a series of earthquakes and a tsunami warning. The Guardian is reporting today that the eruption has created a new landmass in the Tongan archipelago. Amazing! The Earth can kick our asses any day.

Image credit: AP Photo/Trevor Gregory

Citizen Geology: Earthquake-spotting @ home

Earthquake in Reno, Nevada in April this year, as detected by traditional earthquake sensors (black) and by laptops participating in QCN (blue).

Earthquake in Reno, Nevada in April this year, as detected by traditional earthquake sensors (black) and by laptops participating in QCN (blue).

Citizen science is a term loosely used to describe scientific research projects that use resources offered by the general public, without specific training, often enabled by the internet. The SETI@home initiative was one of the first high profile projects in astronomy to use computing power in the homes of non-scientists to process large volumes of data; more recently the Galaxy Zoo project enlisted volunteers to help with the identification of galaxy shapes.

Now geology has also joined the fray of citizen science with the Quake-Catcher Network, led by scientists from Stanford University and UC Riverside. Using the same BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Networked Computing) infrastructure that enabled SETI@home, it links thousands of laptop and desktop computers around the world to help gather data from earthquakes, as they occur.

[Read more…]

Awesome Kilauea

Hawaiian volcano Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, erupting more or less continuously since 1983. One of five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii (the others are Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Hualalai and Kohala), Kilauea has had 61 recorded historic eruptions, with no less than 34 times since 1952. In Hawaiian, “Kilauea” means “spewing” – yeah, no sh*t! In recent months the volcano’s has been particularly unsettled, with several explosive eruptions taking place. The most recent one of these took place on 12 October, and USGS cameras recorded the event. Watch it below, it’s *so* awesome.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtH79yxBIJI&hl=en&fs=1]

For detailed information on Kilauea’s daily activity, check out the status page on the USGS’s dedicated Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website. The USGS Volcano Hazards Program publish regular updates on all the world’s major volcanoes. For a natural disasters geek like me it’s fantastic (as is their earthquake notification service – but I’ll talk about that another time).

You can even follow the USGS on Twitter!