NASA Captures Spectacular Images Of Raikoke Volcano Spewing Ash Into The Atmosphere After Huge Eruption

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station has captured a spectacular image of a volcano with a 2,300ft-wide crater spewing ash into the atmosphere after a powerful eruption.

The Raikoke Volcano—located on an island in the northwestern Pacific’s Kuril archipelago—has been dormant for roughly a century. But this quiet period came to an abrupt end in the early morning of June 22, when Raikoke blew its top sending a vast ash plume up to 8 miles into the sky, according to the Volcanic Ash Advisories Center (VAAC).

In the picture, you can clearly see how the cloud rises up in a narrow column before coming to a stop when it meets air of similar density.

“What a spectacular image. It reminds me of the classic Sarychev Peak astronaut photograph of an eruption in the Kurils from about ten years ago,” Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Tech, said in a NASA statement.

“The ring of white puffy clouds at the base of the column might be a sign of ambient air being drawn into the column and the condensation of water vapor,” he said. “Or it could be a rising plume from interaction between magma and seawater because Raikoke is a small island and flows likely entered the water.”

Much of the plume is now drifting eastwards over the Bering Sea and authorities are warning aircraft in the region to be careful of volcanic ash. This could pose a danger to aircraft because it contains small pieces of rock and volcanic glass.

Satellite data also indicates that the eruption has spewed out large quantities of gas, namely sulfur dioxide, which may have reached into the stratosphere—the second main layer of Earth’s atmosphere which starts between 4.3 and 12 miles high depending on the location above the planet.

“Radiosonde data from the region suggest that the eruption cloud is mostly in the stratosphere,” Can said. “The persistence of large sulfur dioxide amounts over the last two days also indicates stratospheric injection.”

It is important to closely monitor ash plumes that reach the stratosphere because they have the capacity to stay in the atmosphere for much longer than those which stop at lower altitudes.

Indonesia Warns Of Further Eruptions After Volcano Spews Ash

KARO, Indonesia – Indonesian officials warned on Monday against the prospect of further eruptions from an active volcano on the island of Sumatra after it emitted a huge column of ash, causing panic among residents.

Mount Sinabung, which has seen a spike in activity since 2010, erupted for around nine minutes on Sunday, sending clouds of volcanic ash 7 km (4.4 miles) into the sky.

Although no casualties were reported, officials monitoring the volcano warned of possible fresh eruptions.

“After the eruption, from midnight until 6 a.m., there were a few aftershocks,” said Willy, a scientist at a Sinabung observatory post, who uses one name, like many Indonesians.

Authorities left unchanged the alert level for Sinabung, but urged residents to use face masks and keep indoors to guard against volcanic ashfall.

Mount Sinabung, which is 2,460 m (8,071 ft) high, is among Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, but had been inactive for four centuries before its 2010 eruption. Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

Extinct Volcano Has Woken Up And Scientists Say It Could Erupt ‘At Any Moment’

A volcano in the far eastern corner of Russia that was previously considered extinct may be waking up — and an eruption could be catastrophic.

The Bolshaya Udina volcano — part of the Kamchatka Peninsula’s Udina volcanic complex — was believed to be extinct until 2017, when increasing seismic activity was detected beneath it, scientists say.

Now, Ivan Koulakov, a geophysicist from Russia’s A.A. Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics who led a study into the volcano, believes it should be reclassified as active.

“At any moment, an eruption can occur,” Koulakov told CNN.

Between 1999 and September 2017, about 100 weak seismic events were detected beneath the volcano, which stands at 9,590 feet above sea level.

An “anomalous increase” in seismicity, however, began in October 2017. Between October 2017 and February 2019, about 2,400 seismic events were recorded.

February saw an earthquake of 4.3 magnitude occur under Udina — the strongest seismic event ever to occur in the area.

Researchers from Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia conducted a study of the volcano last year between May and July, which was published in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.

Installing four temporary seismic monitoring stations around Bolshaya Udina, the researchers recorded and analyzed 559 seismic events.

An “elliptical cluster” of seismic activity had formed around the volcano, they determined, with seismic events taking place more than three miles beneath the surface.

“These seismic properties may indicate the presence of magma intrusions with a high content of […] fluids, which may justify changing the current status of this volcano from ‘extinct’ to ‘active,'” the researchers wrote.

Moreover, they observed that the cluster of seismic events connected the volcano with the Tolud zone, to the south of the volcano, a region believed to store magma in the Earth’s lower crust. The Tolud zone was now feeding Bolshaya Udina with magma, they concluded, thanks to a new pathway that developed in 2018.

Bolshaya Udina shares structural characteristics with another formerly extinct volcano in the region, the Bezymianny, which erupted dramatically in 1956, Koulakov told CNN.

There is around a 50% chance that Bolshaya Udina will erupt, he said.
“Or it could just release the energy smoothly over a few months, or it may just disappear without any eruption,” he said.

If the volcano does erupt, it could pose a significant threat to the small villages nearby, he said, though he added: “There are not many people around.”

Mount Sinabung: Volcano Eruption Warnings After Huge Column Of Ash Prompts Panic In Indonesia

A huge column of ash was blasted almost five miles into the sky above the Indonesian island of Sumatra after an active volcano erupted.

Mount Sinabung blew for nine minutes on Sunday, causing panic among the island’s residents.

Indonesian officials warned that further volcanic activity was possible, although the volanco’s alert level remained unchanged.

“After the eruption, from midnight until 6 am, there were a few aftershocks,” said Willy, a scientist at a Sinabung observatory.

Residents have been told to stay indoors and to wear face masks, if venturing outside, to protect themselves from volcanic ashfall.

Standing at 2,460m tall, Sinabung was inactive for around 400 years before it erupted in 2010, killing two people.

Since then it has become one of south east Asian nation’s most active volcanoes.

More than a dozen people were killed and thousands were forced to flee when it erupted in 2014 and during a February 2018 eruption it released a plume of ash which blew away much of its summit.

The volcanic activity was accompanied by multiple earthquakes felt in nearby villages.

No casualties have been reported in the latest eruption.

Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

It is particularly prone to seismic activity due to its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Italy’s Mount Etna Volcano Spews Lava In New Active Phase

CATANIA, Sicily – Mount Etna, the largest of Italy’s three active volcanoes, is spewing ash and lava once again, but officials say the activity is taking place at its summit and does not pose a risk to people and towns.

Etna began a new phase of eruptions on Thursday as two new cracks in the volcano opened up, sending lava down its flank.

The volcano previously erupted in December. That eruption was linked to an earthquake which caused injuries and extensive damage to buildings on and near the volcano’s slopes.

Eugenio Privitera, the director in Catania of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, says this eruption is taking place at Etna’s summit and does not pose risks to residents. But he says visitors to Etna must stay away from the summit for their own safety.

Bali Volcano Spews Ash In New Eruption

A volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali erupted Friday, spewing a plume of ash and smoke more than 2,000 metres (6,500 feet) into the sky.

Mount Agung, about 70 kilometres from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been erupting periodically since it rumbled back to life in 2017, sometimes grounding flights and forcing residents to flee their homes.

The latest eruption shortly before noon on Friday shot a cloud of volcanic ash high into the sky, but caused no disruption to flights, Indonesia’s geological agency said.

Agung remained at the second highest danger warning level, and there is a four-kilometre no-go zone around the crater.

Last summer, dozens of flights were cancelled after Agung erupted, while tens of thousands of locals fled to evacuation centres after an eruption in 2017.

The last major eruption of Agung in 1963 killed around 1,600 people.

Indonesia is situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a vast zone of geological instability where the collision of tectonic plates causes frequent quakes and major volcanic activity.

Ethiopian Volcano Bacteria Are Analogues For Early Mars Life, Researchers Say

The discovery of living bacteria embedded in salt deposited in super-saturated and acidic hot water inside an Ethiopian volcano offers a viable analogue for possible life on Mars, researchers suggest.

The bacteria – spherical, ultra-small members of the order Nanohaloarchaeles – were found buried near a hydro-thermal vent inside the crater of the still-active Dallol volcano in Ethiopia, by researchers led by Felipe Gómez from Spanish Astrobiology Centre in Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain.

The environment, which features a water temperature of 89 degrees Celsius, an air temperature average of 38 degrees Celsius, and a highly acidic pH reading of 0.25, is recognised as one of the most life-unfriendly places on Earth.

It is also thought to be rather similar to conditions that existed early in the life of Mars, when it was geologically more active: notably in the Gusev Crater, where NASA’s Spirit Mars Exploration Rover landed. It was a comparison that Gómez and colleagues made recently, in a paper published in the journal Astrobiology.

“The Dallol area represents an excellent Mars analogue environment given that the active volcanic environment, the associated diffuse hydrothermalism and hydrothermal alteration, and the vast acidic sulfate deposits are reminiscent of past hydrothermal activity on Mars,” they conclude.

The latest work, describing the bacteria, appears in the journal Scientific Reports.

The harsh conditions in the Dallol volcano, which lies in an area known as the Danakil Depression, 125 metres below sea level, arise because it sits at the intersection of three lithospheric plates, which are moving apart.

The activity allows for precipitation by superheated water saturated with various salts, including silver chloride, zinc iron sulphide, manganese dioxide and normal rock-salt – creating an environment, it was thought, that was as barren as it is colourful.

During a two-year investigation, however, Gómez and colleagues discovered the existence of ultra-small microbes – some 20 times smaller than normal bacteria – inside salt deposits on a yellow “chimney stack”, and in magma-heated blue water adjacent.

“This is an exotic, multi-extreme environment, with organisms that need to love high temperature, high salt content and very low pH in order to survive,” says Gómez.

The nanobacteria, in situ, were surrounded by small needle-like crystals, leading the scientists to suggest that they may be an active catalyst in the biomineralisation process that creates the salt deposits.

And, given that nanohaloarchaeles are definitively living on Earth, might something similar once have inhabited the hydrothermal vents of Mars? The researchers certainly don’t rule the possibility out.

“The results from this study suggest the microorganisms can survive, and potentially live, within this extreme environment, which has implications for understanding the limits of habitability on Earth and on (early) Mars,” the conclude.