Sakurajima Eruption Video

I am back from the ion microprobe lab at Stanford after a few days of data collection, so I’ll be trying to get back on posting schedule here at Eruptions.

UPDATE 3/10/2009 12:45PM: Here is a little (and I mean a little) more information, mostly adding that the local residents have been given a “warning” about the activity.
However, I did notice this morning at Sakurajima in Japan erupted after rumbling over the weekend. There aren’t many details about the eruption beyond the fact that volcanic chunks were thrown a few kilometers from the vent, but the BBC does have some nice video of the eruption (after the required commercial). From the looks of it, the eruption is a fairly typical Strombolian-style eruption that is common at Sakurajima.
{Hat tip to reader Doug for the link to the BBC Video}

A third ocean lava entry at Kilauea

Lava issuing from the current eruptions at Kilauea have started a third ocean entry (and the second within the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park). The entry is not as dramatic as some, forming a slow, dripping entry of lava into the ocean (see linked video footage), but every little drip adds a little more land to the big island of Hawai’i.
In some other Hawaiian volcano news, the USGS have also posted a video showing the filling and draining of the lava lake in Halemaumau that started last year. Usually, the crater was surrounded by steam and fumes from the degassing magma, but the thermal camera pierced the veil to show the lava rising and falling within the crater.

Eruptions Mailbag #2

I get a fairly steady stream of emails from Eruptions readers, some of which are very worth a post, but sometimes it takes me a while to get around to posting. This is my second attempt to catch up on these mailbag emails. Remember, feel free to email me questions or comments whether you want.

Thanks for the emails!

Ongoing submarine volcanism in the Mariana Islands

For those of you interested in what happens in the realm of submarine volcanism, I can pass on some tidbits I’ve gotten about NW-Rota 1, a submarine volcano in the Mariana Islands (see bathymetry above). Dr. Ed Kohut (Petrogenex), a friend of mine from my days at Oregon State Univ., is currently on a JAMSTEC research cruise in the Mariana Islands, visiting the area about NW Rota-1. He reports:

“We just reached NW-Rota 1. It is still actively erupting. To put that in perspective, it has been observed erupting every time it has been visited since 2003. Today’s actvity is not as vigourous as in past visits, but there are billowing sulfur laden plumes and the summit has increased ~15 meters since the last ROV visit  (in ’06?).”

Seems that this seamount continues to chug away under ~500 meters of seawater. It is most famous for the 2004 eruption that coated an ROV that visited the volcano with ash and molten sulfur during an eruption (all under water). Below is a short video from a 2006 research cruise of the vigorous behavior at the vent called “Brimstone Pit”, which produced the 2004 eruption. You can clearly see the ash, rock and gases being ejected from the vent, all under half a kilometer of seawater!

New webcam at Redoubt

A quick note (as I’m buried in zircon): The Alaska Volcano Observatory has installed a webcam at Redoubt to monitor for an eruption. It is a little cloudy today (not the image above), so not much can be seen, but who knows, maybe you can catch the volcano in action if it erupts. The status remains at Orange (heightened risk of eruption) and AVO will monitor the volcano around the clock until things change (eruption or return to background).
UPDATE (11:34 AM): Just as I posted this, I saw a very brief article that mentions something I hadn’t heard before: AVO has noted some muddy debris flows along the glacier that is downslope of the summit. This might suggest that things are getting warmer near the vent as the magma ascends in the edifice. Things might begin to move quickly at Redoubt.

Ruapehu video help

I wouldn’t normally use this blog for something like this, but google has failed me. When I was in New Zealand, I saw a video on the 1995-96 eruptions at Ruapehu titled Witness to Eruption made in, I believe, 1999. It had some excellent footage of the eruptions in the 1990s as well as the 1950s, along with some great examples of interactions between the populations/businesses near the volcano and the eruption (namely the ski areas). I assumed I could get back to the states and look up the video on google to buy a copy, but no luck! Does anyone have any knowledge about where I could find this video for purchase, hopefully on DVD? Leave a comment or send me an email if you have any information.

More details on the deadly Huila eruption

I’ve found a few more details about the ongoing activity at Huila in Colombia, including a video report from the BBC. It seems that the eruption at Huila is a photocopy of what happened at Nevado del Ruiz in 1985 in its style: hot ash and gasses erupted from the crater melted ice/snow near the summit to create a lahar – a deadly mix of volcanic material and water that ends up like a surging flow of liquid concrete. The lahars travelled down the Rio Paez valley (see linked map – the landslide on the map is not volcanically related).
Beyond the unfortunate victims caught in the mudflows, many roads and bridges have been damaged in the area near Belacazar. However, the BBC video does mention that many people were, luckily, given sufficient warning to escape the lahars – about an hour according to the man in the video – and resident went uphill to escape the flows. The death toll might be much lower than it could have been, a testament to how far Colombia’s volcano mitigation has come since the 1985 disaster.

Lava flow destroys house in Hawai’i

The headline for this entry sounds more dramatic than it is, but one of the last structures in the ill-fated Royal Gardens subdivision on the big island of Hawai’i finally met its fiery demise over the weekend. For those of you unfamiliar with the plight of the subdivision, Royal Gardens is part of Kalapana, and it was unfortunately situated quite close to the Pu’u O’o rift that has been erupting since 1983. Most of the subdivision has been overrun by lava flows since then, but one of the last two structures still being used was done in by the basaltic lava. The first link has a great map showing the October lava flows and where they have gone, along with some stills of the flows overtaking the house (in the video).

Ash eruption video from Halemaumau

On Sunday afternoon, a large ash eruption occurred at Halemaumau Caldera at Kilauea. Not only did the volcano belch more grey ash than usual, but also red-hot incandescent material can be clearly seen being thrown from the vent during the vigorous eruption. The coolest thing about the eruption is that it was all caught on film by the USGS/HVO. Take a look (at three times speed) – this video is from the morning of October 12, but there are a series of video from the whole weekend on the website.

New lava lake sighted at Kilauea

Not sure how it was kept quiet for most of the week (well, at least to me), but geologists at the HVO have noticed a new lava lake in Halemaumau Caldera on Kilauea (Hawai’i). The lava lake is around 330 feet (~100 meters) below the crater rim and ~160 feet (50 meters) across with sections of reddish, glowing lava and black crust on the surface. It seems that an explosion on Tuesday helped reveal the lava lake from the surface. The USGS has posted some video of the lava lake for your enjoyment. There are only a few active lava lakes worldwide (such as those at Villarrica in Chile and Erebus in Antarctica), so it is always exciting when a new one forms. The longevity of lava lakes is controlled (partially) by the supply rate of magma to the vent area, so it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.
UPDATE 9/7/2008
Here is the official word on the lava lake from the USGS:

For the first time since the new vent opened in Halema`uma`u Crater on
March 19, HVO scientists in a helicopter hovering over the crater were
able to see the surface of a sloshing 50 m (160 ft) diameter lava lake
about 100 m (330 ft) below the vent rim. HVO scientists have speculated
that a lava pond existed a few hundred meters below the vent, but have not
been able to get visual confirmation until this morning.
A second viewing early this afternoon revealed a roiling pond with
multiple bursting bubbles changing into a central upwelling circulation
pattern. The lake level dropped slightly before the cycle restarted. This
behavior has been witnessed before, most recently in Pu`u `O`o vents and
the July 21 lava ponds on Kilauea’s east rift zone, and is known as ‘gas
pistoning.’ One model explains pistoning as small gas bubbles coalescing
into larger bubbles beneath a crust on a lava pond, rising to the surface,
and then bursting. The released pulse of hot gas carries rock dust from
the collapsing vent walls, bits of the lava lake crust, and small amounts
of spatter.
The Halema`uma`u vent has produced six significant explosive eruptions in
the past 5.5 months, most recently on September 2, 2008 at 8:13 p.m.
H.s.t., during which noteworthy amounts of fresh lava spatter and lithic
material (rock fragments and dust) were ejected on to the crater rim. Just
prior to this event, incandescence from the vent was almost nonexistent
except for brief pulses of glow.
Nearly eight hours later, Kilauea’s summit abruptly inflated, signaling
the end of 39 hours of deflation. Summit deflation-inflation (DI) events
have been observed at least 20 times since the Halema`uma`u vent opened.
Each DI event has been interpreted as the fall and subsequent rise in
magma levels beneath the summit.
Less than 8 hours after inflation started, episodic tremor bursts began
which are visible at night as pulses of bright incandescence every 5-6
minutes.  Episodic tremor bursts have been a nearly constant feature of
the Halema`uma`u vent over the past few months and were one of the early
pieces of evidence pointing toward a gas pistoning source.
This unusually bright incandescence over the past two nights and the
volume of material erupted on September 2 are consistent with a lava
surface at relatively shallow depths beneath the vent. Molten lava is not
directly visible from the Jaggar Museum overlook, but that vantage point
provides excellent views of the glowing vent at night.
Jim Kauahikaua, Scientist-in-Charge
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory