Tuesday Tidbits: Evacuations in Vanuatu, Shiveluch erupts and more

Gaua erupting in February 2010. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory.

As a certain famous Icelandic native would say, "there is more to life than this."

Some other volcano news from around the world:

More like this

Anyone buy this?


FYI-All. The stinkstorm is in full swing about sizes of ash particles, when you can fly, when you cant and who is going to be liable for it if they get it wrong. The ash is very fine, but the various insurance companies are letting the operators know in very terse emails and letters that if there are ANY incidents of any kind they will cancel the policies to the carriers who are flying through it. E.g. Power by the Hour engine lessors. I can get the mental picture. Its like leasing a car with tires, battery, maintenance and insurance. You lease it and on the way out you quietly mention that your new Chevy Malibu is going to be used for off road racing and you grin on the way out.

This hasnt happened before (eruptions) except in limited cases and the real difference is the types of aircraft engines that are being used. The newer ones will be far more sensitive to ash than the older ones as will the airplanes themselves. Thus if they come up with a standard (years away) the newer airplane engine operators will be at a disadvantage to the older ones because of the more open clearances in the engines..They can suck more down and burp it out. But we arent talking about the difference between miniscule and large pumice balls either. Type of ash is also going to have to be considered.

Now they want to be compensated for "the call". Well for me the CALL was made as a prevention to loss of life. They can go take a flying...... . None of these test flights were scientific "tests" and they pulled off a PR blitz to get them flying. Scientific in the airline industry in something like this is going to take years to develop and it may even be impossible due to the composition of ash. Going to have to take particles of sizes, wet them, heat them, shoot them in quantity, simulate altitudes...Anyone got a spare billion or two around to build that test bed?

There is something called condition monitoring or CM. The condition monitoring idea is to pull the components off of aircraft and replace them before they fail. For an ash standard to be produced it will likely have to be flown in a test cell and all sorts of conditions simulated to get a result. Each time that engine is going to have to be torn down to check the effects. It goes without saying that its like throwing sand down the car engine. How many before the SOB breaks? And it aint gonna be good on it and it will have to be built to new each time they do it. New blades, new bearings, seals.

They will have to produce a result for every component and blade section, pumps, electrics. All of this to produce a standard that will produce a CM that will produce a TBM (Time Between Maintenance) thats likely going to be so short that it will not be worth it. Its like funding a study that we all know will have the result we were looking with the only thing in question being how bad.

So, did they just get lucky or more like stupid?

There is a word for that-Politics.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink


Nup lol

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Scarlet Great video!

Eh... I must be daft or something. Any one know how old Lake Lake Leta is? Summit collapse? Holocene era? Earlier? (the lake is that kidney bean shaped one in the photo)

I do not know the dynamics of the volcano in Gaua. This might be a lead up to major eruption. But as I don't know the dynamic and I have almost no data. This is just nothing but a speculation.

It's not really the rebuilding of Chaitén. It's the building of a new town (Nueva Chaitén) at a safer place 10 km to the north.

By Guillermo (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

Gaua has been the site of a false alarm and evacuation in 1973-1974. The volcano did produce some explosive activity then, and a series of strong tectonic earthquakes at the nearby subduction zone prompted a seismologist to predict a devastating eruption likely to destroy the island. Thereupon the population was evacuated. The cataclysmic eruption never happened. The same scientist later predicted some major action at Stromboli after a series of subduction-related tectonic earthquakes below the Aeolian arc. Also this did not happen - if not with an 8-year delay, because Stromboli did erupt on a larger scale in 2002-2003 (and again in 2007). However, such a time lag is far too long to seriously consider a correlation especially at a volcano that erupts constantly on a rather modest scale.

But this time, it looks like the situation at Gaua is getting more serious. If not a cataclysmic (like, Krakatau-type) event, a major eruption could certainly threaten the lives and property of the population on this rather small island. And the volcano is indeed a cone in a lake, so that explosive magma-water interaction cannot be excluded especially if fracturing occurs on the side of the cone.

There has been a lot of speculation in the media wether there is a connection or not between Lady Eyaf and her big sister Katla.

I would like to ask you guys who knows alot more about the mechanics than i do if this might be true:

There are two volcanoes within close proximity of eachother. Eyafjallajökull which historically has set off Katla on 2-3 occasions.
Can the reason be related to inflating / deflating?

What I mean is that during the quiet years both Eyafjalla and Katla inflate due to increase in pressure from the magma reserviors
beneath them. Now that Eyafjalla has erupted the pressure releases and by logic it should deflate right? And since Katla has not
erupted it should by the same logic have more strain due to the deflation of Eyafjalla (like a rubberband between Eyaf and Katla).
And the magmatic pressure continues to build beneath Katla until she blows her top. And then she calms down and Katla deflates
back down to "normal" levels and settles right beside Eyafjalla.

This is just a theory i thought of and I might be dead wrong. I realize that there might be other factors involved also as elevation of
the two, if they share "plumbing" or not and so on...

But if Eyafjalla´s reservoir is more shallow that Katla´s then that would explain why Eyafjalla blows first and Katla a while after due
to increase in strain.

Just my 2 cents..please correct me if im wrong..:) Im here to learn..

@Boris, whats your take with the increased level on Yasur (with lava hot spot visible from satelitte) and Ambyrn ash eruption just recently. Are these volcanoes related in any way with Gaua?

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

Scarlet, that's a good question - but there's no good answer for it. All that can be said is that it's possible, but note that Yasyur and Ambrym are, like Stromboli, volcanoes that are continuously active and they have fluctuations in their activity, and what we see currently at these two volcanoes does not seem to be extraordinarily strong activity.

But it is true that sometimes there seem to be regional fluctuations in volcanic and seismic activity, which affect more than one volcano, like what we had here in Sicily in the fall of 2002 (6 September: earthquake in Palermo, 27 October: large eruption at Etna, 4 November: submarine (phreatic) explosion at Panarea, Aeolian Islands, 30 December: major eruption at Stromboli). So we will have to wait and see if this increase becomes more conspicuous.

Yasur and Ambrym (as well as Lopevi) have shown high activity on many occasions in the absence of any activity at Gaua, so I doubt they are linked. As I understand it, the current activity at Yasur and Ambrym is within the normal range of variation of these highly active volcanoes.

The Ãórólfsfelli cam is currently showing what appears to be a new flow of meltwater down the left side of the glacier. Also, it looks like the top vent up top slope of de glacier may be steaming. Comments?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

So does Ambrym tend to be more of a strombolic type of volcano with Lava lakes, but sometimes it goes into a big eruption like a few weeks ago, then it just quietens down. It's also one of the largest producers of SO2 in the world, is this because the lava lakes are so close to the surface or just the chemistry of the gases? It also seems to produce ash plumes on and off, are these from different craters, I mean does the crater with the lava lake produce the ash plume or a different one?

Did anyone see this study today, http://austrianindependent.com/news/Green_Austria/2010-01-18/433/New_st…

The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels (Thomas Gold) is worth a read, very interesting theories talking about the microbes in deep earth, I especially like his concepts on earthquakes.

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 21 Apr 2010 #permalink

Ambrym usually has 2, sometimes 3 lava lakes in its various craters so it pumps out lots of gas. When the lava lakes get buried by avalanches from the crater walls, ash emissions result. It is one of the most spectacular volcanic sites in the world.

@Mike so it's essentially after a collapse of a crater well which blocks the vent and causes the ash eruption, especially because so much SO2 is being pumped? So the recent ash eruption about 1-2 months ago was probably due to a collapse? There isn't much info on it I guess it's not that monitored....

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 21 Apr 2010 #permalink

You're right, its not that monitored. Many volcanophiles don't even know about Ambrym, which to me is surprising. It is a primitive place though with malaria rampant.

http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/en/photos/vanuatu/ Great photos here of it. So lots of Malaria, hmmm maybe I should see my Doctor before I go LOL. Do people live on that island (or mammals, you need hosts of malaria)

Have you been Mike?

Looks amazing on the pics such a colourful place

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 21 Apr 2010 #permalink

Yes I've been there. The lava lakes were very vigorous when I was there in 1997. I'd love to go back. Take an antimalarial and get yourself in shape if you want to go there.

@Kruger #1 Youâve got it just about right. It might just be possible to establish max. limits for the amounts of different types/sizes of ash particles that a specific engine type can ingest before the need to pull it in for condition monitoring, but I can think of no way of measuring what you have ingested over the course of a flight. Perhaps some system of hours in different zones, i.e. clean air, slightly ashy air, very ashy air, crap air. But who is going to say where the boundaries are, and when conditions have changed. Canât expect your average politician to have any idea what we are talking about, especially when they are being lent on by the bean counters.
Oh, all four engines have stopped, we're going to be stuck up here all day now.

@Mike One way we could get around the aircraft problem would be to bring back the Zeppelin. I think Germany still uses them a bit http://spot.colorado.edu/~dziadeck/airship/germany.htm

Sure it takes a bit longer, but it's quicker then boat, and if the engines stall, at least you don't die ;)

If Iceland is going to erupt for the next x number of years, this is an option.

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 21 Apr 2010 #permalink

Boris speaking of Gaua....Do you really think it could end in a possible Krakatau type event?

"But this time, it looks like the situation at Gaua is getting more serious. If not a cataclysmic (like, Krakatau-type) event"

Are we talking about a possibility of the whole caldera erupting or just Mt Garet? If we are talking about a 6 x 9 km caldera eruption then I am going to change the channel from EJ to Gaua. Please correct me if I am wrong but....the eruption of a 6 x 9 km caldera would be roughly the equivalent of any Katla eruption?

Speaking of SO2, there has finally been an SO2 alert issued for the Icelandic volcano eruption:


Gaua, on the other hand, has been cranking out SO2, as evidenced by this USGS EO photo of a long swath of VOG that stretches out over the South Pacific. I commented on reading an SO2 alert here, but I thought it might be Ambrym rather than Gaua, as both continuously active volcanoes have been intermittently releasing SO2 in the area.


Cool photo.

#22-Yeah, I can hear the rhetoric now by those guys in the EU now. The US is a rank amateur to the buyoffs, politics, and willingness to bend in the wind of a situation that the EU is capable of.

Fact is that it violates the principles of safety. We can get that on a good day, much less on a day where ash is clearly into the engines. The call from the Tom Cook could have just as easily been a MAYDAY call and squawking 7700.

Control -Thomas Cook xxx with you in rapid descent, right engine on fire, number 2 out, 132 souls on board, negative control of the plane, all electrics out. Position is 32 miles west of the airport descending from three, three thousand with information India. Request all traffic below us be cleared... We are a dead stick aircraft and trying to restart using aux generator power and are in a dive. Will advise.

Three minutes later-Control Thomas Cook xxx, unsuccessful restart on the number 2, fire out on #1, position 18 miles west of the airport passing 9000, slight control on aircraft, we will be taking a chance on the M Northbound between >>>> and >>>>. Please clear all traffic immediately.

And we all know what the result is.

But hey, once someone goes down -has a bad problem or St. Elmos Fire inside the cabin then they will be standing up and saying," I was the sole voice of reason. I told them we shouldnt do it, blah, blah, blah."

Maybe I should play them tapes of people going down and let them sit in that hot seat. Its the longest couple of minutes in your life I can tell you.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 22 Apr 2010 #permalink

Ce qui sont votre des conditions pour se syndiquer votre poteaux ? Nous serions intéressé dedans traduisant un couple de votre contenu dans Bengali pour mes emplacements visionneuses, et découvrir ce qui votre position sur ceci seraient. Nous soyez sûr d'inclure pleines références de source