Volcano Under Glacier Offers Clues To Thicker Antarctic Ice

A region of West Antarctica is behaving differently from most of the rest of the continent: A large patch of ice there is thickening, unlike other parts of West Antarctica that are losing ice. Whether this thickening trend will continue affects the overall amount that melting or collapsing glaciers could raise the level of the world’s oceans.

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The track hidden in the middle of the ice sheet suggests that the current thickening is just a short-term feature that may not affect the glacier over the long term, the new study indicates. It also suggests that similar clues to the past may be hiding deep inside the ice sheet itself.

SHUTTING IT DOWN
“What’s exciting about this study is that we show how the structure of the ice sheet acts as a powerful record of what has happened in the past,” says first author Nicholas Holschuh, a postdoctoral researcher in Earth and space sciences at the University of Washington.

The data come from the ice above Mount Resnik, a 1.6-kilometer (mile-high) inactive volcano that currently sits under 300 meters (0.19 miles) of ice. The volcano lies just upstream of the thickening Kamb Ice Stream, part of a dynamic coastal region of ice that drains into Antarctica’s Ross Sea.

Studies show Kamb Ice Stream has flowed quickly in the past but stalled more than a century ago, leaving the region’s ice to drain via the four other major ice streams, a switch that glaciologists think happens every few hundred years. Meanwhile, the ice inland of Kamb Ice Stream is beginning to bulge, and it is unclear what will happen next.

“The shutdown of Kamb Ice Stream started long before the satellite era,” Holschuh says. “We need some longer-term indicators for its behavior to understand how important this shutdown is for the future of the region’s ice.”

BENEATH THE ICE

The paper analyzes two radar surveys of the area’s ice. Coauthors Robert Jacobel and Brian Welch collected one using the ice-penetrating radar system at St. Olaf College in Minnesota in 2002. Coauthor Howard Conway, a research professor of Earth and space sciences, collected the other in 2004. Conway noticed the missing layers and asked his colleagues to investigate.

“It wasn’t until we had spent probably six months with this data set that we started to piece together the fact that this thing that we could see within the ice sheet was forming in response to the subglacial volcano,” Holschuh says.

The study shows that the mysterious feature originates at the ice covering Mount Resnik. The authors believe that the volcano’s height pushes the relatively thin ice sheet up so much that it changes the local wind fields, and affects depositing of snow. So as the ice sheet passes over the volcano a section missed out on a few annual layers of snow.

“These missing layers are common in East Antarctica, where there is less precipitation and strong winds can strip away the surface snow,” Holschuh says. “But this is really one of the first times we’ve seen these missing layers in West Antarctica. It’s also the first time an unconformity has been used to reconstruct ice sheet motion of the past.”

CHECKING THE RECORD

Over time, the glacial record shows that this feature followed a straight path toward the sea. During the 5,700-year record, the five major coastal ice streams are thought to have sped up and slowed down several times, as water on the base lubricates the glacier’s flow and then periodically gets diverted, stalling one of the ice streams.

“Despite the fact that there are all these dramatic changes at the coast, the ice flowing in the interior was not really affected,” Holschuh says.

What the feature does show is that a change occurred a few thousand years ago. Previous UW research shows rapid retreat at the edge of the ice sheet until about 3,400 years ago, part of the recovery from the most recent ice age. The volcano track also shows a thinning of the ice at about this time.

“It means that the interior of the ice sheet is responding to the large-scale climate forcing from the last glacial maximum to today,” Holschuh says. “So the long-timescale climatic forcing is very consistent between the interior and the coast, but the shorter-timescale processes are really apparent in the coastal record but aren’t visible in the interior.”

Holschuh cautions that this is only a single data point and needs confirmation from other observations. He is part of an international team of Antarctic scientists looking at combining the hundreds of radar scans of Antarctic and Greenland glaciers that researchers originally did to measure ice thickness. Those data may also contain unique details of the glacier’s internal structure that researchers can use to recreate the history of the ice sheet’s motion.

“These persistent tracers of historic ice flow are probably all over the place,” Holschuh says. “The more we can tease apart the stories of past motion told by the structure of the ice sheet, the more realistic we can be in our predictions of how it will respond to future climate change.”

Drone-Dropped “Dragon Eggs” Made To Monitor Volcanoes

Would you want to climb up an active volcano to deposit a sensor at its crater? Probably not, and it’s something that safety-conscious volcanologists would prefer not to do, too. With that in mind, British scientists have created drone-deployed sensing devices known as “dragon eggs.”

Developed by a team at the University of Bristol, the eggs are small electronics-packed boxes that can be dropped off right at the heart of a volcano, using a remote-control quadcopter.

As long as the volcano isn’t about to erupt, each device remains dormant, consuming very little power – in fact, they’re claimed to feature “the lowest stand-by power consumption in the world.” Upon detecting even slight volcanic tremors, however, they wake up and begin sensing/recording temperature, humidity, vibrations, and the presence of various toxic gases. They can operate individually, or in a linked multi-egg network.

The sensor data can be wirelessly transmitted in real time to a base station located up to 10 km away (6 miles), and from there transmitted via a satellite uplink to scientists at a research facility. There, it could be used in geological studies, or even to provide warnings of impending eruptions.

Because the eggs use so little power, they could reportedly remain operational for several months utilizing one battery. To that end, they could conceivably be used to remotely monitor not only volcanoes, but also hazardous settings such as glaciers, geological faults, or nuclear waste storage sites.

The technology has already been successfully field tested at the top of Italy’s Stromboli volcano, and is now being commercially developed by spinoff company Sensor Driven Ltd.

Lava Flow Seen On Restless Alaska Volcano

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A lava flow has been spotted on an Alaska volcano that recently became active again.

Alaska Volcano Observatory scientists say witnesses aboard the state ferry Tustumena saw the lava flow and fountaining on Mount Veniaminof (VEN’-ee-ah-mean-off) Monday morning.

Scientists say satellite images obtained Sunday shows the lava flow is about one-half-mile long on the 8,225-foot (2,500-meter) volcano, one of Alaska’s most active.

The observatory last week increased the threat level of Veniaminof from yellow to orange. That color designation indicates sudden explosions could send ash above 20,000 feet (6,100 meters) and threaten international airplanes.

The volcano erupted for several months in 2013. Other recent eruptions occurred in 2005 and between 1993 and 1995.

Veniaminof is 480 miles (772 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula. Perryville, a town of about 100 people, is 20 miles southeast of the volcano.

Why Is Mount St. Helens The Most Active Volcano In The Cascades?

New research offers clues as to why Mount St. Helens is one of the most explosive volcanoes in the Cascade range and why it stands apart from the chain of other Cascade volcanoes.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon State University, and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand found that the mountain is sitting right on top of the spot where two tectonic plates were welded together millions of years ago. That created a weak point where magma can rise up through the crust.

“These volcanoes are built upon all the accumulated tectonic events of the past which has left cuts and bruises and scars, and that complexity can really influence the volcanoes and the hazards that we face today,” said Paul Bedrosian, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist, who was one of the authors on a study released this week.

Scientists used data from stations near Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Adams to create a 3D image of how well rocks conduct electricity across the region. This map helps them better understand the structure beneath the volcanoes and led researchers to pinpoint the scar beneath Helens.

“We had known that this suture zone or this scar exists somewhere in the area, but all the lava flows coming from the volcanoes in the Cascades have obscured it and covered it up,” Bedrosian said. “The exact location and the fact that it sits right beneath Mount St. Helens is a result of this study.”

The volcano’s location has previously puzzled scientists, because it sits about 40 miles west of the main line of Cascade volcanoes, such as Mount Rainier.

This study found that the area between Mount St. Helens and the main line of Cascade volcanoes is like a plug that keeps magma from getting through, explaining the lack of volcanic vents.

“That upper crust…it’s sort of a filter in that some areas the melt can ascend easier than others,” Bedrosian said. “And St. Helens is in its particular place, because it happens to be an easy place for melt to rise.”

Mount St. Helens was formed about 275,000 years ago, according to USGS. It last catastrophic eruption was in 1980, spewing ash, rock, and hot gas and triggering the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in U.S. history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The mountain isn’t the only volcano that has formed in an unexpected location. Bedrosian said scientists hope to study other Pacific Northwest volcanoes, such as the Boring Lava Field near Portland, that haven’t been active in historic times.

“Our current understanding of how these systems work suggests you should not have melt beneath these regions,” Bedrosian said. “This study is one avenue for understanding what could be controlling them.”

Papua New Guinea Villagers Forced To Flee After Manam Volcano Erupts

A team from Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Center will visit Manam Island to inspect the damage from a volcanic eruption that forced at least 2,000 villagers to flee to the mainland.

The volcano on Manam Island, off the north coast of Papua New Guinea, erupted early on Saturday, sending plumes of ash 15 kilometers into the air, the National Disaster Center said.

Manam Island, just 10km wide, is one of the Pacific nation’s most active volcanoes and is home to roughly 9,000 people.

Three villages were directly in the path of the lava flow and residents had to be evacuated to safer ground, Martin Mose, director of the PNG National Disaster Centre, said.

Mr Mose said the volcanic activity has since subsided.He said the team sent to Manam Island will assess the current conditions, the potential for further eruptions and whether any more evacuations are required.

‘A new vent had opened’
The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported the eruption began at 6:00am (local time) and ash falls were so heavy that trees broke under the weight.

“The most affected areas are Baliau and Kuluguma and due to the very poor visibility caused by the ash fall, people are using torch light to move around,” it said.

The RVO’s Steve Saunders said it was an unusually large eruption.

“There’s a heavy thick blanket of ash on the flank and if there is heavy rainfall, we are making people aware of the threat.”

Mr Saunders said the initial phase of the eruption was over but a new vent had opened, indicating more activity may be likely.

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (DVAAC) issued a threat warning to aviation to reroute around the cloud, which was above the cruising level of commercial airlines.

The cloud was expected to dissipate over the next 12 hours, DVAAC meteorologist Amanda Alford said.

Previous eruptions on Manam have killed residents who breathed in the ash or were buried by landslides, according to volcanic information website volcanodiscovery.com.

Devil’s Woodyard Volcano Erupts Again

The Devil’s Woodyard mud volcano erupted this afternoon almost at the same time a 6.9 magnitude earthquake shook TT, Venezuela, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and Guyana.

Councillor from the Princes Town Regional Corporation for Hindustan/St Mary’s, Michelle Benjamin, told Newsday that residents reported hearing a loud sound coming from the volcano at the same time the first tremors from the earthquake began.

Benjamin said residents fled their homes, seeking open ground, and saw the volcano spewing mud several feet in the air.

She said no one had reported any structural damage to their homes and there were no reports of further cracking of the earth around the volcano.

In a 47-second clip posted to social media, residents are heard exclaiming over the sound the volcano made while erupting. In the video, gas can be seen shooting up.

It last erupted on February 13 after being mostly inactive for years.

Part II – Lunar and Solar Eclipse and Related Earth Changing Events

First, thank you for your well wishes, and a pleasant surprise from some who responded to my addressing the love I have for my work and in ways reflects that of my marriage and family.

“I think you know I love what I do, but what’s really rewarding is when it loves me back. I attribute my thoughts to that of a healthy marriage. To give a hundred percent is a good thing, but many of us who are married, add a bit more if you have kids, realize that sometimes a hundred percent is not enough. This is to say; even on those times when you are absolutely right on this, that, or the other, it’s better to let your partner be right too.”

This was written without conscience, which ironically, defines its literal meaning. This gives me hope that just maybe my inside matches my outside. So it really touched me to see your response, and I’m guessing it must have touched a part of you, or at least caused you to pause if only for a second or minute. If those of you who commented bringing your thoughts to my attention, I would not have noticed any such possible deeper understanding. Thanks

But to maintain full disclosure…I do not always measure up to this worthy principle mentioned above. Nonetheless, I do hold it as an ideal, trying at most turns to maintain it as my default. Oh, and btw, the piggy bank is still pretty empty. Go to the following link to help keep us alive: CLICK HERE

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Okay, now let’s get to the science of things:

You will see a list of significant earthquakes following below. But first, let me highlight the ’cause’ of events as it relates to both Lunar and Solar eclipse. My research points to a 14 day prior and 14 day post window lunar or solar events.

As it relates to a lunar eclipse, the stimulant which precipitates events such as earthquakes and volcanoes is the ‘fluid displacement’ initiated by gravitational tugs causing unusual high tides placing additional weight (pressure) on tectonic plates causing slippage.

The term fluid displacement is not just related to oceans; it includes fluids such as magma, oil, liquefied sediment, and even gas processes. It is the expansion [or contraction] of fluids on tectonic plates which cause the increase of larger earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.

As it relates to solar eclipse, it is the sudden temperature fluctuation which can cause a chain reaction. By presenting a sudden and rapid shift in both the jet stream and ocean currents, this in-turn can cause a destabilizing of set seasonal patterns. Although temperature flux may be subtle, if tectonics are at their tipping point, it would not take much to set them off. Additionally, the rapid temperature change can cause an expansion and contraction of Earth’s lithosphere, even if ever so slight, can set off a chain reaction of tectonic slippage resulting in significant earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Remember, the majority of volcanoes are submarine (ocean bottom); hence the rapid shift in ocean temperatures is also prone to set off a rippling effect which is often unpredictable due to the spider webbing tentacles which connect a system of mantle plumes and volcanoes.

Significant Earthquakes Between JULY 15TH – AUGUST 19TH

2018-08-19  T15:16:34.100Z  5.9  8km ESE of Sembalunbumbung, Indonesia

2018-08-19  T14:56:28.090Z  6.9  2km S of Belanting, Indonesia

2018-08-19  T04:28:59.760Z  6.8  282km ESE of Lambasa, Fiji

2018-08-19  T04:10:21.570Z  6.3  6km NE of Sembalunlawang, Indonesia

2018-08-19  T00:23:02.740Z  6.3  259km NNE of Ndoi Island, Fiji

2018-08-19  T00:19:37.970Z  8.2  280km NNE of Ndoi Island, Fiji

2018-08-17  T23:22:24.900Z  6.1  14km N of Golfito, Costa Rica

2018-08-17  T15:35:02.070Z  6.5  109km NNW of Kampungbajo, Indonesia

2018-08-16  T18:22:53.350Z  6.3  250km SE of Iwo Jima, Japan

2018-08-15  T21:56:54.780Z  6.6  50km S of Tanaga Volcano, Alaska

2018-08-14  T03:29:53.440Z  6.1  126km NE of Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

2018-08-12  T21:15:01.841Z  6.1  65km SSW of Kaktovik, Alaska

2018-08-12  T14:58:54.286Z  6.3  90km SW of Kaktovik, Alaska

2018-08-10  T18:12:06.880Z  5.9  267km SSW of Severo-Kuril’sk, Russia

2018-08-09  T05:25:31.910Z  5.9  3km SE of Todo, Indonesia

2018-08-05  T11:46:38.190Z  6.9  0km SW of Loloan, Indonesia

2018-07-28  T22:47:38.740Z  6.4  5km WNW of Obelobel, Indonesia

2018-07-28  T17:07:23.370Z 6.0    149km N of Palue, Indonesia

2018-07-23  T10:36:00.330Z 5.9  Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

2018-07-21  T20:56:19.940Z  5.9  Southeast Indian Ridge

2018-07-19  T18:30:32.710Z  6.0  91km W of Kandrian, Papua New Guinea

2018-07-17  T07:02:53.020Z  6.0  116km SE of Lata, Solomon Islands

2018-07-15  T13:09:16.470Z  6.0  159km SSE of Sayhut, Yemen

2018-07-15  T01:57:19.410Z  6.0  137km SSE of Sayhut, Yemen

Part III – identifies the latest in cosmic ray discoveries and its effect on our galaxy-solar system-Sun-Earth. There will be many surprises.

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