UPDATE: Mexico Quake Fallout Has Been Personally Disturbing

As mentioned in yesterday’s article, an elementary school had collapsed as a result of the mag. 7.1 quake just south of Mexico City. It is hard for me to report on casualties related to any disaster, but when it comes to children, my emotions become a bit overwhelming. As many of you know, I have two young children, Alexa age 9 and Sophia age 5. Among my activities, I volunteer as a WatchDog at their elementary school (which I encourage every father to participate), giving me a great opportunity to enter-act with these bright beautiful children.

You might have guessed where I have been over the last several days last week… Yes, I got the call to venture off to Georgia dealing with that nasty Irma. Just got a call to head to Mexico, but this time my answer was ‘no’. We all have our limits and or, Achilles heel, mine is children. Perhaps I’m reacting to my own PTSD, or perhaps I’m just getting a bit older, or I just love my kids so much I would rather stay home with them and my wife being damn grateful we are all safe…for this time around.

As an aside, the Mexico City Emergency Management Team is well qualified, and it just so happened they were just completing ‘active scenario training’ at the time of this 7.1 quake.

More than 300 children were studying in their classrooms at Enrique Rébsamen primary school, in Mexico City’s southern Coapa district when the earth started violently shaking.

In an instant, concrete walls and ceilings in parts of the school came crashing down, crushing students as young as first-graders. Neighbors, relatives of the children and even a passing taxi driver rushed toward the giant plume of dust, prying away debris with their bare hands, desperately searching for any sign of life Tuesday afternoon. They worked through the night.

By Wednesday morning, rescuers had carried out at least 25 bodies, twenty-one of them were students with names like Daniela, Diana and Oscar. They were all believed to be 7 or 8 years old and were still dressed in their white and black school uniforms.

Those killed at the school were among at least 230 people who perished across five states in Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Dozens of buildings collapsed across central Mexico, including large office buildings and apartment towers in Mexico City.

Details of the girl located on Wednesday have not been given. Rescuers detected her after she moved her hand and a hose was lowered to supply her with water.

Civil Protection volunteer Enrique Gardia told the assembled crowd that a thermal scanner had detected several survivors trapped between slabs of concrete.

“They are alive! Alive!” he shouted. “Someone hit a wall several times in one place, and in another there was a response to light signals with a lamp,” he added.

One mother, standing nearby waiting for news of her seven-year-old daughter, told reporters: “No-one can possibly imagine the pain I’m in right now.”

At least 209 schools were affected by the quake, 15 of which have suffered severe damage.

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NOTE:I am sending money and supplies to some connections I have made in Mexico. If you can help in making those who have been directly affected, go to the bottom of this article and click on the donation banner.

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Popocatépetl Volcano Activity

The National Center for Disaster Prevention reported that, so far, there has not been an increase in the activity of the Popocatépetl volcano and remains at Alert Level ‘Advisory’ and Aviation code ‘Orange’.  The most recent report indicated the monitoring systems identified 256 low intensity exhalations, one explosion, as well as 15 volcano-tectonic earthquakes with magnitudes between 1.5 and 2.5.

During the night, no incandescence was noticed on the crater and since the morning of this Wednesday the volcano has been observed with a weak emission of water vapor and gas.

From dawn and up to the time of this report the volcano has been seen with a weak emission of steam and gas. NCDP emphasizes that people ‘Should Not’ go near the volcano, especially near the crater, due to the hazard caused by ballistic fragments.

The scenarios foreseen for this phase are:

Explosive activity of low to intermediate level – Ash fall in nearby towns – Possibility of short range pyroclastic flows and mudflows.

Special emphasis is placed on the following recommendations:

Continue the safety radius of 12 km, so staying in that area is not allowed – Keep the controlled traffic between Santiago Xalitzintla and San Pedro Nexapa through Paso de Cortés – Civil Protection authorities, keep your preventive procedures, in accordance with their operational plans – People, be alert to the official information disseminated.

In case of ashfall, address the following recommendations:

Cover nose and mouth with a wet handkerchief or face mask – Clean eyes and throat with pure water – Avoid contact lenses to reduce eye irritation – Close windows or cover them up, and stay indoors as much as possible.

Popocatepetl Volcano monitoring is performed continuously 24 hours a day. Any change in activity will be reported in due course.

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Bali’s Mt. Agung Volcano Threatens to Erupt

A marked increase in the number of earthquakes happening below Mount Agung volcano in eastern Bali, Indonesia, over the past few weeks has authorities keeping a close watch on the situation. Stopping just short of calling for evacuations, the latest alert issued by the national and local government agencies now forbids climbing of the mountain and orders evacuations within 7.5 km of the summit.

Although infrequent, eruptions of Mt Agung have been among the largest of the past 100 years of global volcanic activity. More than 1,000 people died during the last eruption in 1963.

Our ability to predict eruptions has improved dramatically since this last event, so we can hope such a death toll will not occur again.

Mt. Agung is one of many similar volcanoes in Indonesia and the Ring of Fire surrounding the Pacific and eastern Indian oceans. But during its sporadic eruptions, Agung has been one of the most prominent injectors of volcanic ash and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere.

This type of activity can have effects that are more widely felt than by just the population of Bali.

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Earthquakes on the Rise Near Yellowstone Supervolcano

Recent data from the University of Utah shows the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park has seen a spike in earthquakes. Miles underneath the park sits one of the world’s largest volcanoes, known as the Yellowstone super volcano.

According to FOX31’s sister station, there have been 1,200 earthquakes in the park since the beginning of June. Jamie Farrell, Research Professor of Seismology at the University of Utah, says this is a large swarm, but adds the activity is otherwise pretty normal for the volcanic area.

“We get a lot of calls as to whether people should cancel plans to go to Yellowstone and the answer is decisively no,” he said. “This is how volcanoes act, and it’s pretty normal.”

Researchers say that there are typically between 1,500 and 2,000 earthquakes a year in Yellowstone.

 

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Science Of Cycles Multi-Disaster Relief Initiative

Be a part of Science Of Cycles Multi-Disaster Relief Initiative. Lets come together and help those who need a helping hand. Notice I did not specify a hurricane name, why? Because there is more than Harvey and Irma heading our way. The banner is set up for you to be able to place any amount you wish.   Cheers, Mitch

 

 

NASA Lays Out Plan to Defuse Yellowstone Supervolcano

Lying beneath the tranquil settings of Yellowstone National Park in the US lies an enormous magma chamber. It’s responsible for the geysers and hot springs that define the area, but for scientists at NASA, it’s also one of the greatest natural threats to human civilization as we know it.

“I was a member of the NASA Advisory Council on Planetary Defense which studied ways for NASA to defend the planet from asteroids and comets,” explains Brian Wilcox of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology. “I came to the conclusion during that study that the supervolcano threat is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat.”

There are around 20 known supervolcanoes on Earth, with major eruptions occurring on average once every 100,000 years. One of the greatest threats an eruption may pose is thought to be starvation, with a prolonged volcanic winter potentially prohibiting civilization from having enough food for the current population. In 2012, the United Nations estimated that food reserves worldwide would last 74 days.

When NASA scientists came to consider the problem, they found that the most logical solution could simply be to cool a supervolcano down. A volcano the size of Yellowstone is essentially a gigantic heat generator, equivalent to six industrial power plants. Yellowstone currently leaks about 60-70% of the heat coming up from below into the atmosphere, via water which seeps into the magma chamber through cracks. The remainder builds up inside the magma, enabling it to dissolve more and more volatile gases and surrounding rocks. Once this heat reaches a certain threshold, then an explosive eruption is inevitable.

I came to the conclusion that the supervolcano threat is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat – Brian Wilcox, NASA

But if more of the heat could be extracted, then the supervolcano would never erupt. NASA estimates that if a 35% increase in heat transfer could be achieved from its magma chamber, Yellowstone would no longer pose a threat. The only question is how?

One possibility is to simply increase the amount of water in the supervolcano. But from a practical perspective, it would likely be impossible to convince politicians to sanction such an initiative.

“Building a big aqueduct uphill into a mountainous region would be both costly and difficult, and people don’t want their water spent that way,” Wilcox says. “People are desperate for water all over the world and so a major infrastructure project, where the only way the water is used is to cool down a supervolcano, would be very controversial.”

Instead NASA have conceived a very different plan. They believe the most viable solution could be to drill up to 10km down into the supervolcano, and pump down water at high pressure. The circulating water would return at a temperature of around 350C (662F), thus slowly day by day extracting heat from the volcano. And while such a project would come at an estimated cost of around $3.46bn (£2.69bn), it comes with an enticing catch which could convince politicians to make the investment.

“Yellowstone currently leaks around 6GW in heat,” Wilcox says. “Through drilling in this way, it could be used to create a geothermal plant, which generates electric power at extremely competitive prices of around $0.10/kWh.

You would have to give the geothermal companies incentives to drill somewhat deeper and use hotter water than they usually would, but you would pay back your initial investment, and get electricity which can power the surrounding area for a period of potentially tens of thousands of years. And the long-term benefit is that you prevent a future supervolcano eruption which would devastate humanity.” But drilling into a supervolcano does not come without certain risks. Namely triggering the eruption you’re intending to prevent.

“The most important thing with this is to do no harm,” Wilcox says. “If you drill into the top of the magma chamber and try and cool it from there, this would be very risky. This could make the cap over the magma chamber more brittle and prone to fracture. And you might trigger the release of harmful volatile gases in the magma at the top of the chamber which would otherwise not be released.”

Instead, the idea is to drill in from the supervolcano from the lower sides, starting outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park, and extracting the heat from the underside of the magma chamber. “This way you’re preventing the heat coming up from below from ever reaching the top of the chamber which is where the real threat arises,” Wilcox says.

However those who instigate such a project will never see it to completion, or even have an idea whether it might be successful within their lifetime. Cooling Yellowstone in this manner would happen at a rate of one meter a year, taking of the order of tens of thousands of years until just cold rock was left. Although Yellowstone’s magma chamber would not need to be frozen solid to reach the point where it no longer posed a threat, there would be no guarantee that the endeavour would ultimately be successful for at least hundreds and possibly thousands of years.

But to prevent a catastrophe, such long-term thinking and planning may be the only choice. “With a project like this, you’d start the process and the main ongoing benefit you’d see in everyday terms is this new supply of electrical power,” Wilcox says.

Such a plan could be potentially applied to every active supervolcano on the planet, and NASA’s scientists are hoping that their blueprints will encourage more practical scientific discussion and debate for tackling the threat.

“When people first considered the idea of defending the Earth from an asteroid impact, they reacted in a similar way to the supervolcano threat,” Wilcox says. “People thought, as puny as we are, how can humans possibly prevent an asteroid from hitting the Earth.”

Well, it turns out if you engineer something which pushes very slightly for a very long time, you can make the asteroid miss the Earth. So the problem turns out to be easier than people think. In both cases it requires the scientific community to invest brain power and you have to start early. But Yellowstone explodes roughly every 600,000 years, and it is about 600,000 years since it last exploded, which should cause us to sit up and take notice.”

Live Updates: Blasts at Plant in Crosby, Texas, Underscore Worries About Storm Damage

A series of small explosions shook a chemical plant northeast of Houston on Thursday and more blasts were expected, after floodwaters shut down the cooling systems that kept the chemicals stable. It was one of a host of new dangers emerging in the aftermath of Harvey, once a Category 4 hurricane, as floodwaters receded in many Houston neighborhoods and the storm moved through northeastern Louisiana and into Mississippi.

In a region dotted with chemical factories, oil refineries, natural gas plants, and other potential sources of combustion and toxins, the explosions at the Arkema plant near Crosby, Tex., underscore the worries that many people have about the lingering dangers that damage from the storm, which was downgraded to a tropical depression on Wednesday night, poses to the region’s infrastructure, economy and health.

It appeared that the health and safety risk from the plant was limited; Houston Methodist San Jacinto hospital in Baytown treated 21 first responders for chemical exposure, decontaminating them and then discharging them. The area within 1.5 miles of the plant was evacuated, but it is sparsely populated.

The plant produces chemicals called organic peroxides, and Rich Rennard, an Arkema executive, said that smoke from the blasts was “noxious,” an irritant to the lungs, eyes and possibly skin, but he would not say whether it could be called toxic. A total of eight containers at the plant lost refrigeration and can be expected to detonate as the chemicals in them decompose, officials said, but they could not predict how soon others would explode.

In Beaumont, about 70 miles east-northeast of Houston, flooding shut down the system that supplies running water to the entire city on Thursday, prompting a hospital to evacuate. With most roads in and out of the area under water, and the Neches River still rising, federal officials are trying to get enough bottled water into Beaumont to prevent a health crisis.

In Houston, officials ordered mandatory evacuation of areas around the Barker Reservoir, as flooding from that overwhelmed basin, and the nearby Addicks Reservoir, continued to pour into neighborhoods on the city’s western edge. In other parts of the city, floodwaters receded, exposing countless losses and new hazards, like ruined and abandoned vehicles blocking roads, damaged electrical systems, and mold.

Here is more on the latest:

Local officials said there were at least 38 deaths in Texas so far that were related or suspected to be related to the storm. Officials throughout southeast Texas said they were prepared for that number to inch higher as floodwaters began to recede.

Vice President Mike Pence and other cabinet officials were visiting the Corpus Christi, Tex., area on Thursday to meet with storm survivors.

President Trump plans to donate $1 million of his own money to help storm victims in Texas and Louisiana, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said on Thursday afternoon.

Tom Bossert, the White House official spearheading the administration’s response to the storm, on Thursday estimated that 100,000 houses in Texas and Louisiana have been damaged or destroyed — and said Mr. Trump will seek billions in aid in the coming weeks.

More than 30,000 people remained in shelters in the region, and Houston fire officials said they would begin the painstaking search of homes in the city to make sure no one was left behind. The process could take up to two weeks. “The shelter mission is the biggest battle that we have right now,” said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA also reported that 95,745 people in Texas have been approved for emergency assistance, which includes financial help with rent, repairs and lost property. The agency has so far disbursed about $57 million to citizens in Texas.

The police in Houston rescued 18 people overnight, Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Twitter on Thursday morning. The mayor also said there had been no arrests or citations for breaking the city’s curfew for the second night in a row.

What went wrong at the chemical plant?

The plant’s owner, Arkema, said the site had been without power since Sunday and the water was six feet deep in some areas. But the organic peroxides stored there need to be refrigerated or they become unstable. With a storage warehouse warming up, the crew transferred the chemicals to diesel-powered refrigerated trailers.

Then the backup generators designed to keep refrigeration units operating were flooded as well. The units apparently warmed to the point where the chemicals exploded overnight.

The chemicals, which are used in making plastic and other materials, start to decompose as they warm, which creates more heat and can quickly lead to a rapid, explosive reaction. Some organic peroxides also produce flammable vapors as they decompose.

Mr. Rennard said that Arkema employees had no plans to enter the site until the water had significantly receded, given the instability of the chemicals there. The blasts were not expected to affect chemicals in other parts of the plant, he said, and the company was able to monitor the status of the containers remotely.

“We’re not going to put anyone in harm’s way to try to restore refrigeration,” he said.

Pence: ‘The American people are with you.’

Vice President Mike Pence and several cabinet officials arrived to a sunny, hot and humid Corpus Christi, Tex., around midday on Thursday before heading to nearby Rockport to speak with victims of the storm.

“The American people are with you,” he told a crowd in Rockport, outside a church that was damaged by the storm. “We are here today, we will be here tomorrow and we will be here every day until this city and this state and this region rebuild bigger and better than ever before.”

About 21,000 federal workers have been mobilized in response to the storm and Congress is expected to debate passage of a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package in the coming weeks.

Mr. Pence said that he had spoken with Mr. Trump by phone from Air Force Two earlier in the day and asked if he had any words for survivors of the storm. “He just said ‘Just tell them we love Texas,’” Mr. Pence said.

Mr. Trump, who visited the area earlier in the week, is expected to return to Texas on Saturday. Mr. Pence was joined in Texas by the secretaries of homeland security, energy, transportation, veterans affairs and labor.

Beaumont is running out of water, and a hospital is evacuating.

With a record-breaking flood sweeping through Beaumont, taps there ran dry Thursday morning, and officials there said they could not predict when homes and businesses in the city of almost 120,000 residents would have running water again.

The city manager, Kyle Hayes, said at a midday news conference that he would not be able to assess flood damage to the city’s water pumps, or give a timeline for fixing them, until water began to recede, which he said would happen no earlier than Saturday. He added that the city was working on setting up bottled water distribution centers.

Lack of drinking water poses a survival risk for people trapped in the city, and Mr. Long, in his morning update, said that it was of particular concern to FEMA, which would look to distribute water. But Harvey dropped 47 inches of rain in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, and most roads into the cities remain impassable, making relief shipments of bottled water difficult.

Executives at Baptist Beaumont Hospital decided to evacuate because of the water shutdown. The hospital began to transport most of its 193 patients by ambulance and helicopter to hospitals outside the city, and to discharge those who could safely go home, said Mary Poole, a hospital spokeswoman.

Christus Southeast Texas-St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont decided not to evacuate, but until the city water supply resumes, it will only admit new patients who need critical or emergency care. The hospital, which has 256 patients, told nonessential employees not to report for work.

Beaumont’s water comes from two pumping plants, a primary one on the Neches River, and a secondary one drawing from wells north of the city, Mr. Hayes said. But both were inundated, and by Thursday morning, the pumps were out of action. The Beaumont Police Department posted pictures of the flooded main pumping station on its Facebook account.

City officials made it clear that Beaumont was in the early stages of dealing with the flooding, and did not provide details of the number of dead, or how many people had been rescued or were in shelters.

Our reporter Rick Rojas is in Beaumont, his hometown. Read more about his journey home here.

‘So much despair,’ one evacuee says.

At the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston’s main shelter, evacuees have been learning of deaths from social media and from watching news reports on an enormous projection screen.

“Part of me wants to just break down crying because it’s so much despair,” said Billy Cartwright, a construction worker who has been staying at the convention center since Monday. “I feel pretty grateful, but part of me’s pretty sad. It’s pretty bad.”

Mr. Cartwright, 44, said he believed he had lost all of his possessions to the flood.

“I try to think that when all of this passes, just like any other tragedy, America always bounces back,” he said.

The flooding threat has not passed.

The rain continued across the far eastern part of Texas and the western part of Louisiana on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, even as the storm lost power as it moved northeast.

Flash flood warnings were in effect in East Texas, the lower Mississippi Valley and in the western parts of the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, where the storm was expected to spread over the next several days. Some rivers in southeastern Texas remained at record levels Thursday — some were still rising and setting more records — as the deluge made its way downstream, and swollen reservoirs released some water into streams.

Near the Louisiana border, the Neches River at Beaumont rose on Thursday to more than five feet above its previous record — more than 14 feet above flood stage — and it was projected to keep rising through Friday. Beaumont has received about 47.35 inches of rain since the storm first arrived.

At two flood gauges in the suburbs west of Houston, the Buffalo Bayou remained two to three feet above the old record for the fourth straight day, nine to 11 feet above flood stage, and it was not expected to drop for several days. Southwest of Houston, the Brazos River at Richmond broke its flooding record on Thursday, reaching 10 feet above flood stage, and was not expected to crest until Friday.

A Houston school district delays reopening as Austin offers help.

After initially saying schools would open on Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Houston Independent School District announced Thursday that classes would not resume until Monday, Sept. 11. Superintendent Richard Carranza said more than 10 percent of the city’s schools sustained water damage or had lost power.

Families have reported that they lost hundreds of dollars’ worth of new school supplies and clothing in the storm. The district also announced, via Twitter, that uniform rules would be relaxed through January. Houston public school students will have access to three free meals per day, regardless of family income, for the duration of the 2017-2018 school year.

Also on Thursday, officials in Austin announced plans to open their classrooms to potentially hundreds of displaced students whose families have fled there to move in with relatives or seek refuge in shelters.

“We want them to know we have their back,” Mayor Steve Adler said. “They’re welcome in our town and there is a place for them in our schools.”

School officials have been circulating through shelters to advise families from storm-battered southeast Texas that their children will be able to enroll in Austin schools as early as this week, said Paul Cruz, superintendent of the Austin Independent School District.

At least 100 students staying in the shelters have signaled their interest in attending. The students are also being invited to attend any of the district’s Friday night football games, he said.

Port Aransas is trying to get back on its feet.

When 120 m.p.h. winds lashed this beach town where Hurricane Harvey made landfall, they smashed some things and spared others. Houses were pushed off their foundations, while shacks next door were spared. Big trees stood as small trees toppled.

At Spanky’s Liquor on the main street, the windows shattered, the walls collapsed. “The roof? It’s about 100 feet that way,” the owner, Tom Hamilton, said as he paused from sweeping the pieces and pointed toward a house with a boat capsized against the porch and a surfboard lodged in a tree.

But miraculously, nearly every bottle of liquor was still intact on the shelves, now standing under an open sky.

On Wednesday — the first full day Mr. Hamilton had been allowed back to his store — a crew of employees packed boxes of bottles in the sun.

Like many on the island, Mr. Hamilton and his staff were beginning the long, often quiet ordeal of loss and recovery. Christy Lambert pulled out her phone to find a photo of her home in Aransas Pass, just across the bay. There was nothing left but a single kitchen wall. Most of her possessions had blown away.

“When I saw it, I cried, I cried for hours,” said Ms. Lambert, who fled the storm and returned Monday.

“I don’t really have anything but a few things I packed and $40,” she said. “It’s going to be hard to come back from that, but as long as I can keep working, I’ll be O.K.”

Legal aid lawyers are preparing for more cases.

Lawyers for the poor in Texas are expecting more cases in the wake of the storm, on matters including the denial of disaster relief claims by FEMA and landlord-tenant disputes.

David Hall, executive director of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, said his office, which is based in Austin, expects to handle an additional 15,000 client matters this year, on top of the 20,000 to 25,000 client cases it usually opens each year, and to field a 1,000 calls a day related to damage.

BREAKING NEWS: Hurricane ‘Harvey’ Escalates to Cat. 4 – Another Volcano Erupts

Hurricane ‘Harvey’ now Category 4, has begun to pound the Texas coast and its millions of residents, with hurricane-force winds knocking down trees, power poles and signs, and with torrential rain deluging streets. The storm surge, downpours and harsh winds are already pummeling the shores. In its 9 p.m. ET update, the National Hurricane Center said the eye wall, the most dangerous part of the storm, has begun to move onshore along the middle Texas coast.

The hurricane center warns that some areas will see as much as 13 feet of storm surge and large, destructive waves. Maximum sustained wind speeds were at 130 mph on Friday night. And there’s the rain that the slow-moving storm is expected to produce. Because it is expected to come to a near halt inland, Harvey could drop as much as 40 inches of rain in some places, and up to 30 inches in others, by Wednesday. The combination of wind and water could leave wide swaths of South Texas “uninhabitable for weeks or months,” the National Weather Service in Houston said.

BREAKING NEWS: Coast Rica ‘Poas’ Volcano Erupts

The Poás Volcano in Alajuela, Costa Rica began its eruption today starting at 3:17p.m. local time. The eruption blasted soot and ash which elevated around 500 meters above the crater, 3,100 meters (2 miles) above sea level according to the report by the National Seismology Network and Dr. Mauricio Mora.

This new eruption comes at a time where the National System of Areas of Conservation (SINAC) has been evaluating the possibility of reactivating tourism to the area through controlled visitations to the National Park following certain security protocols. A team of experts continue monitoring the volcano and evaluating the situation.

I wish to thank you for your continued support….. Cheers, Mitch

 

Coming Next: More Earth Changing Events to Occur. Civil Disturbance Appears to Continue Escalation.

Costa Rica’s Poas Volcano Erupts

A three hour volcanic eruption in Costa Rica sends vapor and gas emissions into the air.

The Poas Volcano has been active for the past several months, resulting in disruptions in the local tourist industry.

The national park surrounding the volcano has been closed since April, and local commerce has suffered losses due to its heavy reliance on the influx of tourists.

In 2016 over 400,000 tourists from Costa Rica and abroad visited the park.

Officials expected to earn around three million dollars in revenue this year, but the volcano activity capped the income at just one million dollars.

The park is expected to remain closed while frequent activity continues, and a team of volcanic experts will remain on site for close evaluation.

Stunning Satellite Photo Reveals Volcanic Eruption Near Alaska

Eruptions from one of the most active volcanic regions in the world sent plumes of ash and steam into the sky this week, as captured in a spectacular image by an Earth-monitoring satellite.

Shiveluch, a massive stratovolcano made up of ash and hardened lava, is located in the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula, near the Pacific Ocean. The volcano rises 10,771 feet (3,282 meters) above sea level, according to NASA, and behaves similarly to the volcanoes located in the nearby islands of Alaska. The Aleutian Islands, which sit in the Bering Sea and extend toward this Russian peninsula, are part of Alaska. According to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, the 49th state has produced 70 percent of all historical eruptions in the United States, and a “vast majority” of those have occurred in this region in particular.

In the image, Shiveluch is seen releasing a stream of ash that moves west, and the slightly smaller Bezymianny volcano is also seen jettisoning an eruption — of steam rather than ash — to the south, NASA officials said in a statement. The ASTER satellite captured the phenomena on Aug. 20, and the image covers an area of 12 miles by 14 miles (19.5 by 22.7 kilometers). [Astronaut in Space Sees Mount Etna Volcano Eruption (Photo)]

ASTER, which stands for Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, is a dual-nation project: it is operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Japan Space Systems. ASTER observes changes to Earth’s surface and provides scientists from various disciplines with useful data, NASA officials said in the statement. The satellite monitors glacial movement, potentially active volcanoes, the physical properties of clouds, the degradation of coral reefs, the surface temperature of soils and crop stress, and thermal pollution.

The volcanoes themselves have also helped scientists to understand ancient vegetation. Millions of years ago, volcanic ash settled on sequoia and metasequoia trees after a volcanic eruption, which created the petrified forests that paleontologists can study today in places such as Unga Island in Alaska.

BREAKING NEWS: Mexico’s Popocatepetl Volcano Erupts – VIDEO

Popocatépetl volcano began its rumbling on Monday with intermittent burst of ash. Today it erupted with a volcanic plume reaching altitudes upwards of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). Authorities warned the public not to approach the volcano or crater due to risk of falling “ballistic fragments.”

Located in central Mexico, the volcano erupted suddenly and was visible from Mexico City, only 70 km away. Ashes have fallen on several localities near the volcano, but no major injuries or damage have been reported. FULL ARTICLE: CLICK HERE