09 February 2011

Volcanoes in the News

5 Adar `א

Icelandic volcano 'set to erupt'Scientists in Iceland are warning that another volcano looks set to erupt and threatening to spew-out a pall of dust that would dwarf last year's event.
Geologists detected the high risk of a new eruption after evaluating an increased swarm of earthquakes around the island's second largest volcano.

Pall Einarsson, a professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland, says the area around Bárdarbunga is showing signs of increased activity, which provides "good reason to worry".

He told the country's national TV station that a low number of seismometer measuring devices in the area is making it more difficult to determine the scale and likely outcome of the current shifts.

But he said there was "every reason to worry" as the sustained earthquake tremors to the north east of the remote volcano range are the strongest recorded in recent times and there was "no doubt" the lava was rising.

...The last recorded eruption of Bárdarbunga was in 1910, although volcanologists believe its last major eruption occurred in 1477 when it produced a large ash and pumice fallout. It also produced the largest known lava flow during the past 10,000 years on earth.

It is the second largest volcano on Iceland and is directly above the mantle plume of molten rock.

By comparison, Bárdarbunga dwarves the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which shutdown most of Europe's airspace last year after its ash cloud drifted across the continent's skies.

Russian volcano activity causes global concern

...A string of volcanoes on Russia's eastern seaboard of Kamchatka have been unusually active for the last six months. The dust they threw up diverted winds in the Arctic, pushing cold air over Europe and North America and causing the unusually cold winter this year, say scientists.

The volcanoes (160 in total, of which 29 are active) are still on the go and could create more problems this year, depressing harvests around the world just as global food prices soar and culminating in a second freezing winter next Christmas.

The eruptions have come at the worst possible time. The Pacific Ocean has already been cooled by the so-called La Nina - which contributed to the deluge in Australia and Tropical Cyclones - while at the same time the Atlantic Ocean is warmer than usual, say climatologists. Erste Bank says the combination of this means the weather forecast for the first quarter of this year is extreme, which will hit both the agricultural and mining sectors, sending already spiking prices up even faster. "These climatic conditions reduce the outlooks of harvest for agricultural commodities (last year was also bad) and prevent the mining of commodities like coal," says Erste. "The extreme weather will probably culminate in the [first quarter] - this is the reason why the prices of commodities will be influenced by this weather... then an acceleration of consumer inflation... There are also problems for transport due to strong storms."


Growing Fears in Japan As 2 Volcanoes Erupt Again
Amid growing fears that a massive eruption could still be on its way the latest eruptions covered nearby villages with rocks and ash. The two volcanoes spewed plumes of smoke and ash up to 2-thousand meters into the air resulting in multiple injuries and destroyed homes.

...volcanic experts are warning that the recent eruptions on Shinmoedake and other peaks in Japan resemble the highly destructive blasts that occurred 300 years ago which killed more than 30 people.



(H/T Global Disaster Watch)