From the GVP website, the Tongariro complex is at the front.
Tongariro is a volcanic complex, which is shown in the picture to the right in the foreground, with Ruapehu behind. On the 20th November it had its second significant explosion of 2012 from the Te Maari crater (video below).
Historically Tongariro (from current centre of activity Ngauruhoe) and the nearby Ruapehu are the most active in New Zealand. Tongariro last erupted in 1977 in a very small eruption classified as VEI 1 and generally throughout history it has experienced little strong activity above VEI 3, an exception being a VEI 5 event a few thousand years ago. It is highly likely therefore that the current period of inactivity will follow the same trend.
After finding the below video from the recent Eruptions blog post, I thought it would be a nice idea to discuss briefly what is potentially occurring in the conduit for the duration of this video. It is not often that you have videos as good as this (click the read more button on the right!).
Taken by Oleg Volynets, eruption in 1975.
After the eruption of Plosky Tolbachik for the first time in 36 years, I thought it might be useful to have a quick background look at the volcano. When looking at the previous eruption history eruptions were spaced more closely together prior to 1975 and were generally smaller in nature than the VEI 4 category of the 1975 eruption (pictured to the right). It certainly has a rich amount of activity stretching back several thousand years.
As ever eruptions blog has provided information and will likely give regular updates on the eruption. I highly recommend taking a look at the Russian website for Kamchatkan activity (KVERT) where there is a nice overview of various volcanoes not just Plosky Tolbachik (here I link to Plosky Tolbachik). By looking at the following link on the same website, you can see images of the summit area taken at different times over the past few years. The most recent was taken during August 2012 and I note the visible absence of steam from the volcano. Suggesting (tentatively) that at this stage there may have been no evidence of a reawakening at the summit.
Furthermore, when looking at the seismic activity this seemed only to increase a few days prior to the eruption, as detailed on Volcano Discovery. All this illustrates that there can be a minimum amount of activity detected prior to the eruption of a volcano!
Personally I find the volcanoes of Kamchatka fascinating and it will be thoroughly interesting to see how this eruption develops over the coming months and potentially longer.
In the evening I occasionally like to watch a documentary (and have talked about their importance) or two and yesterday evening was no different. I am used to the cheesy nature of National Geographic and Eden type programmes but have never physically burst out laughing as much as I did during this one! The culprit - Amazing Planet: Born of Fire on Eden in the UK at the moment.
It is evidently an American made documentary with a female speaker and if you watch it you will understand when I say that I have never heard someone make volcanoes sound so much like moody teenagers and the sexual connotations were everywhere!
The script writers certainly need to look at what they have written...here are some examples:
- "Why is it some volcanoes go BOOM instead of BLOOP?" - I don't know....she never really got round to telling me and have you ever heard a volcano go BLOOP?!
- "Pyroclastic flows are hotter than your oven." - Brilliant thanks for that incite!
- "The mantle is like glowing taffy" - First of all what is taffy and what the hell does it look like when its glowing!
- "Plates perform their catastrophic mating dance" - Talking about subduction - WOW - also used the terms - plunging, ramming and thrusting a lot when talking about ridges - not really sure there is much of that going on at volcanoes love!
- "The Earth is like something Dr Frankenstein put together"- Really, are you sure? I think its quite beautiful myself...
- How did the Himalayas form? Like this apparently - "Then 50 million years ago, BOOM" - BRILLIANT!
- "For a glimpse of what could be giving the globe major indigestion-go to Hawaii" - Why? Is the Earth ill? Should I be concerned at all? Should I call a Doctor?
- "The Earth, spits and vomits and generally has a bad case of indigestion" - Poor Kilauea its going through a tough time it would seem...
- "Earth soup performing its acrobatics" - more an Hawaiian eruptions.
And finally: "Montserrat is totally repressed" - have no idea where she was going with this one...should I be offering counselling to the lava dome? Is it going through a difficult time?
Anyhow, if you get chance to watch it, I highly recommend it, very amusing!
There has been a lot banded round in the press recently about the L'Aquila trial and the manslaughter charges of 6 years which have been passed on to the scientists involved:
Gian Michele Calvi
Bernado De Bernardinis
I am not going to go into the in's and out's of the trials, good summaries can be had on the BBC website and from other sources. I am not a lawyer or judge, but a scientist, therefore my knowledge of the law and how it works is very sketchy.
I want to say a couple of things about the possible global implications of this decision. Lets take a hypothetical example from the UK, perhaps the Environmental Agency 'falsely reassures' a neighbourhood about the risk of a flood and the flood actually ends up occurring or a tv meteorologist plays down the effects of a blizzard. From the events in Italy, someone could now say, well, they were prosecuted and imprisoned in Italy, why not here?
Will this mean in the future, any event such as this will be met with a more severe warning? What if nothing happens? What if there are several warnings and nothing happens? People will start to get complacent and the job of scientists will get more difficult.
Science is based upon the interpretation of data or information that they believe to be correct and on theories that are currently believed to be the best available. Scientists on the whole, will act to the best of their ability to try and prevent any harm coming to a population. Lets take another example: Mt. Vesuvius, a dormant volcano with the large population of Naples nearby. Volcanologists think that it may erupt so they issue advice to the authorities to evacuate. The evacuation turns out to be unnecessary, can the authorities prosecute volcanologists for damages or even imprison due to inaccurate information?
As you can see, this trial throws up several scientific dilemmas, which need to be addressed or we will see more controversial decisions such as this. Could this lead to less talented scientists in important decision making roles, or a reluctance to make a decision in fear of imprisonment?
To finish if any appeal is thrown out (or even if they are freed) the results of this trial will surely be felt globally throughout the scientific community and threatens the progress of science, particularly with respects to hazard prediction.
I would like to finish with this message; free the seven, liberen a los siete, rilasciare il sette.
If you feel strongly that the seven should not be charged with manslaughter please sign this petition.