BREAKING NEWS: New Explosive Eruption at Bogoslof Volcano – Code RED

A new explosive eruption occurred at Bogoslof volcano that lasted for about 30 minutes and produced a cloud that rose as high as 20,000 ft and drifted northeast as seen in satellite images. Last night’s event was first detected by seismic stations on neighboring Umnak Island, and was also seen in more distant infrasound sensors.

As a result of the recent pattern of Bogoslof, the likelihood of continued eruptions remains high keeping the Aviation code at RED and Volcano Alert Level at WARNING. The explosive event was preceded by 4 ½ hours of elevated seismic activity from Bogoslof, providing some indication an explosive eruption was imminent. Other explosions during the eruptive sequence have started more suddenly with either subtle or no preceding increase in seismicity.

Because a local geophysical network does not monitor Bogoslof, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is using seismic and infrasound (airwave sensors) on neighboring Umnak and Unalaska Islands to monitor activity. In addition, we are using satellite imagery and information from the Worldwide Lightning Location Network to identify volcanic lightning; lightning strikes in the erupted plume have been detected during the current eruptive sequence.

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As a result of natural disasters occurring more often (no surprise for us paying attention), I find myself engaged in the onsite events more often, and less available to maintain my alternative ventures keeping SOC healthy. But thanks to my wife’s exorbitant creative thinking, I believe we found a way to stay on top.

Between now and January 1st 2017, by donating $10 you will be grandfathered into a full one year membership. Beginning January 1st 2017, we will be going back to our annual memberships starting at $34.95 per year. Yes, this is to say with just $10 you will have a full membership for the next full year of 2017.

For those of you who can do a bit more, we graciously appreciate when you can provide larger amounts – it truly goes a long way in keeping us alive and well.

Go to the following link which takes you to a page. On the right side of our home page under where it says “Science of Cycles Community Support” you will find a drop-down menu to choose your amount. Beginning next year we will have other methods for you to purchase a membership, for now please use PayPal. Remember, you do not have to join PayPal to use it. Just look for the tap that says Pay with Debit or Credit Card. No sign-up is necessary.   Click Here

I have more breaking news I am sitting on right now, and will be posing and sending out over the holidays.     Cheers, Mitch

UPDATE: Aleutian Island Volcano Spews Ash 35,000 Feet Altitude, Prompting USGS to Issue “RED ALEART”

For the second straight day, the Alaska Volcano Observatory issued its highest alert level for aviation when a volcano erupted with a towering ash cloud in the Aleutian Islands.

Observatory volcanologist Robert McGimsey says yesterday afternoon’s eruption of the Bogoslof volcano was “almost a carbon copy” of an eruption 24 hours earlier. He says both eruptions prompted the highest alert level, “Red Alert” for Aviation and level “Warning” for Volcano Activity Notice, then hours later by one level.

The first eruption sent ash and steam 34,000 feet into the air, while the second burst went 1,000 feet higher. Officials say both volcanic explosions were also short-lived. The observatory said early Thursday that it was reducing the alert level because there had been no recent volcano activity. The volcano is on an island of the same name in the Bering Sea about 850 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Recent satellite imagery shows that this eruption dramatically changed Bogoslof Island, and that a new, small island has formed just offshore of the northeast end of the main island. The former shore and much of the northeast side of Bogoslof Island adjacent to this island has been largely removed, and deposition of material has occurred on the west side of the island. The excavated area of the former northeast shore is likely the vent for this recent eruption, which appears to be just below sea level.

One Of The Most Dangerous Submarine Volcanoes On Earth

One of the most dangerous submarine volcanoes where two tectonic plates separate has been captured in more detail than ever before. A University of Washington study published this week shows how the volcano behaved during its spring 2015 eruption, revealing new clues about the behavior of volcanoes where two ocean plates are moving apart.

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“The new network allowed us to see in incredible detail where the faults are, and which were active during the eruption,” said lead author William Wilcock, a UW professor of oceanography. The new paper in Science is one of three studies published together that provide the first formal analyses of the seismic vibrations, seafloor movements and rock created during an April 2015 eruption off the Oregon coast. “We have a new understanding of the behavior of caldera dynamics that can be applied to other volcanoes all over the world.”

The studies are based on data collected by the Cabled Array, a National Science Foundation-funded project that brings electrical power and internet to the seafloor. The observatory, completed just months before the eruption, provides new tools to understand one of the test sites for understanding Earth’s volcanism.

Axial volcano has had at least three eruptions, that we know of, over the past 20 years,” said Rick Murray, director of the NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences, which also funded the research. “Instruments used by Ocean Observatories Initiative scientists are giving us new opportunities to understand the inner workings of this volcano, and of the mechanisms that trigger volcanic eruptions in many environments.

“The information will help us predict the behavior of active volcanoes around the globe,” Murray said.

It’s a little-known fact that most of Earth’s volcanism takes place underwater. Axial Volcano rises 0.7 miles off the seafloor some 300 miles off the Pacific Northwest coast, and its peak lies about 0.85 miles below the ocean’s surface. Just as on land, we learn about ocean volcanoes by studying vibrations to see what is happening deep inside as plates separate and magma rushes up to form new crust.

The submarine location has some advantages. Typical ocean crust is just 4 miles (6 km) thick, roughly five times thinner than the crust that lies below land-based volcanoes. The magma chamber is not buried as deeply, and the hard rock of ocean crust generates crisper seismic images.

“One of the advantages we have with seafloor volcanoes is we really know very well where the magma chamber is,” Wilcock said.
“The challenge in the oceans has always been to get good observations of the eruption itself.”

All that changed when the Cabled Array was installed and instruments were turned on. Analysis of vibrations leading up to and during the event show an increasing number of small earthquakes, up to thousands a day, in the previous months. The vibrations also show strong tidal triggering, with six times as many earthquakes during low tides as high tides while the volcano approached its eruption.

Once lava emerged, movement began along a newly formed crack, or dike, that sloped downward and outward inside the 2-mile-wide by 5-mile-long caldera.

“There has been a longstanding debate among volcanologists about the orientation of ring faults beneath calderas: Do they slope toward or away from the center of the caldera?” Wilcock said. “We were able to detect small earthquakes and locate them very accurately, and see that they were active while the volcano was inflating.”

The two previous eruptions sent lava south of the volcano’s rectangular crater. This eruption produced lava to the north. The seismic analysis shows that before the eruption, the movement was on the outward-dipping ring fault. Then a new crack or dike formed, initially along the same outward-dipping fault below the eastern wall of the caldera. The outward-sloping fault has been predicted by so-called “sandbox models,” but these are the most detailed observations to confirm that they happen in nature. That crack moved southward along this plane until it hit the northern limit of the previous 2011 eruption.

“In areas that have recently erupted, the stress has been relieved,” Wilcock said. “So the crack stopped going south and then it started going north.” Seismic evidence shows the crack went north along the eastern edge of the caldera, then lava pierced the crust’s surface and erupted inside and then outside the caldera’s northeastern edge.

The dike, or crack, then stepped to the west and followed a line north of the caldera to about 9 miles (15 km) north of the volcano, with thousands of small explosions on the way.

“At the northern end there were two big eruptions and those lasted nearly a month, based on when the explosions were happening and when the magma chamber was deflating,” Wilcock said.

The activity continued throughout May, then lava stopped flowing and the seismic vibrations shut off. Within a month afterward the earthquakes dropped to just 20 per day.

The volcano has not yet started to produce more earthquakes as it gradually rebuilds toward another eruption, which typically happen every decade or so. The observatory centered on Axial Volcano is designed to operate for at least 25 years. “The cabled array offers new opportunities to study volcanism and really learn how these systems work,” Wilcock said. “This is just the beginning.”

Enormous Dome In Central Andes Driven By Huge Magma Body Beneath It

A new analysis of the topography of the central Andes shows the uplifting of Earth’s second highest continental plateau was driven in part by a huge zone of melted rock in the crust, known as a magma body.

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The Altiplano-Puna plateau is a high, dry region in the central Andes that includes parts of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile, with vast plains punctuated by spectacular volcanoes. In a study published October 25 in Nature Communications, researchers used remote sensing data and topographic modeling techniques to reveal an enormous dome in the plateau.

About 1 kilometer (3,300 feet) high and hundreds of miles across, the dome sits right above the largest active magma body on Earth. The uplifting of the dome is the result of the thickening of the crust due to the injection of magma from below, according to Noah Finnegan, associate professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz and senior author of the paper.

“The dome is Earth’s response to having this huge low-density magma chamber pumped into the crust,” Finnegan said.

The uplifting of the dome accounts for about one-fifth of the height of the central Andes, said first author Jonathan Perkins, who led the study as a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz and is now at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif.

“It’s a large part of the evolution of the Andes that hadn’t been quantified before,” Perkins said.

The other forces uplifting the Andes are tectonic, resulting from the South American continental plate overriding the Nazca oceanic plate. The subduction zone where the Nazca plate dives beneath the western edge of South America is the source of the magma entering the crust and feeding volcanic activity in the region. Water released from the subducting slab of oceanic crust changes the melting temperature of the overlying wedge of mantle rock, causing it to melt and rise into the overriding plate.

Perkins and Finnegan worked with researchers at the University of Arizona who had used seismic imaging to reveal the remarkable size and extent of the Altiplano-Puna magma body in a paper published in 2014. That study detected a huge zone of melted material about 11 kilometers thick and 200 kilometers in diameter, much larger than previous estimates.

“People had known about the magma body, but it had not been quantified that well,” Perkins said. “In the new study, we were able to show a tight spatial coupling between that magma body and this big, kilometer-high dome.”

Based on their topographic analysis and modeling studies, the researchers calculated the amount of melted material in the magma body, yielding an estimate close to the previous calculation based seismic imaging. “This provides a direct and independent verification of the size and extent of the magma body,” Finnegan said. “It shows that you can use topography to learn about deep crustal processes that are hard to quantify, such as the rate of melt production and how much magma was pumped into the crust from below.”

The Altiplano-Puna Volcanic Complex was one of the most volcanically active places on Earth starting about 10 million years ago, with several super-volcanoes producing massive eruptions and creating a large complex of collapsed calderas in the region. Although no major eruptions have occurred in several thousand years, there are still active volcanoes and geothermal activity in the region. In addition, satellite surveys of surface deformation since the 1990s have shown that uplifting of the surface is continuing to occur at a relatively rapid rate in a few places. At Uturuncu volcano located right in the center of the dome, the uplift is about 1 centimeter (less than half an inch) per year.

“We think the ongoing uplift is from the magma body,” Perkins said. “The jury is still out on exactly what’s causing it, but we don’t think it’s related to a supervolcano.”

The growth of the crust beneath the Altiplano-Puna plateau, driven by the intrusion of magma from below, is a fundamental process in the building of continents. “This is giving us a glimpse into the factory where continents get made,” Perkins said. “These big magmatic systems form during periods called magmatic flare-ups when lots of melt gets injected into Earth’s crust. It’s analogous to the process that created the Sierra Nevada 90 million years ago, but we’re seeing it now in real time.”

In addition to Perkins and Finnegan, the coauthors of the paper include Kevin Ward, George Zandt, and Susan Beck at the University of Arizona and Shanaka de Silva at Oregon State University. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Turrialba Volcano (Costa Rica): Intense Activity And Ash Emissions

After a day of relative calm, a new pulse of ash emissions occurred from the volcano this morning.

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The current phase of activity at the volcano began around 13 Sep with renewed, but sporadic and weak ash emissions, but intensified drastically on 19 Sep reaching a new peak of activity (so far).

Between 02:53 and 15:30 local time, the volcano produced several phases of near-continuous explosive activity with strong ash emissions, generating several ash plumes that rose more than 1000 m, drifted west into the Central Valley, causing moderate to heavy ash falls and forcing a temporary closure of the capital’s Juan Santamaria International Airport.

Some of the explosions were strong enough that part of the dense eruption columns collapsed into small pyroclastic flows that spread onto the crater floor. There are no reports of damage or injuries.

Volcano Is Heating Up Again

Given its previous eruptions, Mount Ruapehu is one of the most closely watched volcanoes in New Zealand.

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Those monitoring the active volcano say there have been sharp increases in the temperature of a crater lake and a rise in volcanic tremors.

The crater lake reached its lowest recorded temperature of 12ºC in August but has since heated up to 17.6 ºC.

The volcano, part of the backdrop for Mordor in the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy, last erupted in September 2007.

“It’s certainly not a regular cycle but we typically see temperatures getting up to 40 degrees. The tremor has started again, and again we often see that at the same sort of time … the processes are all linked together,” duty volcanologist Michael Rosenberg told Stuff NZ.

“Obviously it is an active volcano and it has the potential to erupt at very short notice.”

In May this year, the alert level for Mount Ruapehu was raised after the mountain’s crater lake temperature almost doubled in just a few weeks.

At the time, earthquake and monitoring service GNS Science said recent visits to the volcano had shown an increase in the output of volcanic gas, sparking concerns that an eruption is imminent.

Contained deep within the Earth, volcanos are vents where molten rock, debris, and gases from the planet’s interior are emitted.

When thick magma and gas build up under the surface, volcanoes expel lava, rocks and ash into the air. The mountain-like mounds that we associate with volcanoes are what remains after material spewed during eruptions has hardened around the vent.

A large eruption can be extremely dangerous for people living near a volcano. Flows of searing lava can reach 1,250 degrees or more, burning everything in its path, including humans and entire towns. Ash and toxic gases can cause lung damage and other problems.
It’s estimated that more than 260,000 people have died in the past 300 years from volcanic eruptions and their aftermath.

About 1,900 volcanoes on Earth are considered active, meaning they show some level of activity and are likely to explode again.

Many other volcanoes are dormant, showing no current signs of exploding but likely to become active at some point in the future. Others are considered extinct.

Deep Sea Volcano Hot Spot For Mysterious Ocean Life

GEOLOGIST SEAMOUNTS, Hawaii – The turquoise waters became darker and darker, and squiggly glow-in-dark marine creatures began to glide past in the inky depths like ghosts.

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The three-man submarine went down, down, down into the abyss and drew within sight of something no human had ever laid eyes on: Cook seamount, a 13,000-foot extinct volcano at the bottom of the sea.

Scientists aboard the vessel Pisces V visited the volcano earlier this month to examine its geological features and its rich variety of marine life, and an Associated Press reporter was given exclusive access to the dive. It was the first-ever expedition to the Cook seamount by a manned submersible.

Among other things, the researchers from the University of Hawaii and the nonprofit group Conservation International spotted such wonders as a rare type of octopus with big fins that look like Dumbo’s ears, and a potentially new species of violet-hued coral they dubbed Purple Haze.

Conservation International hopes to study 50 seamounts, or undersea volcanoes, over the next five years.

“We don’t know anything about the ocean floor,” said Peter Seligmann, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Conservation International. “What we know is that each one of those seamounts is a refuge for new species, but we don’t know what they are. We don’t know how they’ve evolved. We don’t know what lessons they have for us.”

During the Sept. 6 dive, the submarine splashed into the water, and as it dove, the only sounds were radio communications from the surface, the hum of an air scrubber that removes carbon monoxide from the passenger chamber, and the voices of the crew. The thick, hot tropical air inside the steel sphere became cooler and drier as the submarine descended.

“We don’t know what we’re going to find,” said Conservation International’s Greg Stone, a marine biologist on board. “There will always be the unexpected when you go into the deep ocean.”

Halfway to the volcano’s summit, which is 3,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific, no sunlight penetrated. The only light that could be seen from the submarine’s face-sized windows was the bluish glow of the vessel’s own bright lights. Occasionally, bioluminescent creatures drifted past in the darkness.

Stone and subpilot Terry Kerby, who helps run the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory at the University of Hawaii, watched as the volcano and its rugged basalt walls hundreds of yards high came into view.

Seamounts are either active or dormant volcanoes that rise dramatically from the bottom of the ocean and never reach the surface. They are hotspots for marine life because they carry nutrient-rich water upward from the sea floor. Seamounts are believed to cover about 18 million square miles of the planet.

Cook, situated over 100 miles southwest of Hawaii’s Big Island, is part of a group of undersea volcanoes known as the Geologist Seamounts that are about 80 million years old and could hold many new animal species, as well as elements such as nickel and cobalt that mining companies could extract.

“My goal today is to … find out what’s living on them, find out how they support ocean life, what their effect is from ocean currents and essentially what drives the ocean, what makes the ocean what it is,” Stone said. “Seamounts are a key part of that, and something which humanity knows very little about.”

Within minutes of the vessel’s arrival at the summit, life began to appear — a starfish clinging to a rock, joined shortly after by eels, sharks, chimaera (also known as “ghost sharks”), shrimp, crabs and two rare Dumbo octopuses. One of the octopuses changed color from white to pink to reddish brown as it swam by.

Several types of deep-sea corals were found along the seamount’s cliffs, including a vibrant purple one.

“I need to go home, look through the literature … and also go and run some genetic analyses,” said Sonia Rowley, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii who is taking part in the project. “But as this is a new seamount … that no one had dived on before, it won’t be any surprise to me whether this is going to be a new species.”

Two other seamounts were studied over three days of expeditions: McCall, home to a large number of small deep-sea sharks, and Lo’ihi, an active volcano.

Lo’Ihi has been extensively surveyed by manned submersibles over the past 30 years. The past few times Kerby was there, he saw a large Pacific sleeper shark lurking about the volcano’s crater.

As hot vents shot out volcanic gases around them, the team released bait in the water and the 7-foot shark appeared in front of the submarine. Kerby was delighted to see his “old friend.”

The team also saw 6-foot eels and a number of new geological formations around the crater. Scientists say Lo’ihi is likely to someday become the newest island in the Hawaii chain as volcanic activity pushes the summit upward.