4 Most Active Volcanoes in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Most Active Volcanoes in the World

There are approximately 1,500 active volcanoes around the world today. When volcanoes erupt, they can cause immense damage, destroying towns, forcing massive relocation’s, and even grounding planes. While some volcanoes lie dormant for decades, others are more active. Here are four of the world’s most active volcanoes.

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Stromboli, Italy

Stromboli, Italy

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Located in the south of Italy among the Aeolian Islands, Stromboli is one of the most popular volcanoes for tourists to visit. Beautiful beaches and incredible vegetation surround it. Stromboli has been erupting almost non-stop since the 1930s and was fairly active for 2,000 years before that. Its fiery eruptions mean that it glows for miles in the night, which has led it to be nicknamed “the lighthouse of the Mediterranean.” Stromboli’s eruptions are generally small but frequent, with streams of lava spewing from its summit approximately every 20 minutes. This style of eruption is so distinct to Stromboli that scientists refer to any other volcano with small, frequent eruptions as “Strombolian.”

Stromboli is also unique in that ancient records all indicate that it has been active for as long as people have been able to keep track of it — this volcano has never lied dormant. Fortunately, it rarely erupts in any sort of catastrophic explosion. Only three times in the past 100 years has Stromboli caused human fatalities or property damage: once in 1919, once in 1930, and, most recently, in 2003. Otherwise, this volcano is relatively safe despite its steady stream of activity.

Of course, as with any natural phenomena like this, Stromboli does still pose a risk. One of its most significant hazards is the Sciara del Fuoco, or Stream of Fire — this large scar stretches along the northwest edge of the volcano. If it collapses, it could cause tsunamis and dangerous clouds of volcanic material to erupt into the air.

Piton de la Fournaise, France

Piton de la Fournaise, France

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Piton de la Fournaise is located on France’s island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. It erupts approximately once every nine months. Although it is in a state of nearly constant eruption, these eruptions are generally small and harmless. Piton de la Fournaise’s activity tends to consist of one explosion of lava, followed by a slow, steady lava stream down the mountain. While this could pose significant problems in populated areas, the lands around this volcano are mostly uninhabited due to its constant activity. This means that the eruptions cause little to no damage when they do occur.

Scientists closely monitor Piton de la Fournaise in the Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory. These scientists can predict eruptions several weeks before they happen, which gives them plenty of time to warn hikers, close the paths, and provide emergency instructions to anyone staying nearby. When no eruptions are expected, the volcano is open for people to hike and sightsee, and plenty of tourists visit — The La Réunion islands are a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This volcano has only had two catastrophic eruptions in the past 50 years. The first occurred in 1977 when an unusually strong lava flow made it to a populated area and caused severe damage to the village of Piton Sainte-Rose. The second was 30 years later, in 2007 — a considerable eruption released dangerous clouds of sulfur and sent a strong stream of lava down the mountain, destroying the island’s main road.

Mount Etna, Italy

Mount Etna, Italy

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The second most active volcano on earth, Mount Etna is in the south of Italy, near Sicily. Locally known as “Mongibello,” or “Beautiful Mountain,” this enormous volcano currently stands over 10,000 feet high, although this is subject to change — its frequent eruptions often cause Mount Etna to grow as lava solidifies along the top of the mountain. This volcano is the tallest in Italy.

Although Mount Etna’s eruptions rarely cause any damage, disruptions do still happen. In July of 2019, a particularly ashy eruption forced authorities to close two airports in Catania, Sicily. One flight had to be diverted, and several more could not take off. There was also once an attempt to divert a flow of lava that was threatening Catania. This attempt, which occurred in 1992, was called “Operation Volcano Buster.” It involved United States Marines working with the Italian government to take explosives and blast a large hole on the side of the volcano. They then dropped concrete into the hole in an attempt to slow down the lava. Unfortunately, they were ultimately unsuccessful.

However, Mount Etna is mostly harmless and is even good for Sicily’s economy. The fertile soil it creates ensures that residents do very well agriculturally. The volcano also brings in quite a bit of money from tourism, as visitors to the island flock to see it.

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Mount Kilauea, United States

Mount Kilauea, United States

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Mount Kilauea is currently the most active volcano in the world. It is on the island of Hawai’i, also known as The Big Island — the southernmost Hawaiian island. This unique volcano is in the middle of the longest eruption ever recorded, which began back in 1983. This eruption has produced lava covering over 100 square miles of land and has expanded the coastline of the island.

Mount Kilauea is so active that it has become part of Hawaii’s traditional Polynesian legends. According to these legends, Mount Kilauea is home to the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, Pele. Pele is both a destroyer and a creator — while the eruptions cause damage, the solidified lava creates new land and fertilizes the existing soil.

Kilauea is a UNESCO World Heritage property, part of a national park, and can be visited by tourists. Although sections of the park are closed due to recent eruptions, visitors can stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center to see what’s open, learn about hiking routes, and sign up for activities. But make sure you don’t take any lava rocks with you; this is considered disrespectful to Pele, and locals strongly discourage it.

3 Volcanoes You Can Hike

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Volcanoes You Can Hike

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to reach the summit of a volcano on foot and stare down into its crater? Achieving this entry on your bucket list is surprisingly a lot easier than you might imagine. And your reward for completing the adventure is unrivaled views, spectacular sunsets and a true edge-of-the-world sensation. Here’s three volcanoes that you can hike in a day.

Atitlán Volcano, Guatemala

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Soaring to a height of 11,598 feet, the Atitlán Volcano is the tallest point of a chain of volcanoes that tower over Lake Atitlán. This dormant stratovolcano has erupted over a dozen times since 1469, with the last activity recorded in 1853. Guided hikes depart from the lakeside town of San Lucas Tolimán and you can opt to return the same day or camp overnight. Gear up to hike amid coffee plantations, corn fields, a cloud forest, and craggy, arid landscapes. At the summit you can warm your hands over thermal steam and then sit and admire the views. Gaze over the rolling Guatemalan Highlands and down to Lake Atitlán. Spot the peaks of San Pedro Volcano and Tolimán Volcano. Keep an eye open for azure-rumped tanager and horned guan, among other rare bird species.

The best time to hike Atitlán Volcano is during the dry season between November and May.

Find more information about hiking Atitlán Volcano.

Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

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Eyjafjallajökull gained notoriety in 2010 when its eruption sent volcanic ash flying across North Europe and brought air travel to a standstill. Things have since calmed down at this 5,417-feet-tall ice-capped stratovolcano and it is among Iceland’s most popular summer hikes. So strap on your hiking boots and prepare to witness an authentic snapshot of Iceland’s dramatic countryside. The 8-hour trek takes you up mountainsides, along streams and to the top of glaciers. You’ll traipse through snow and ash before arriving at the about 2-mile-diameter crater. Views take in the Mýrdalsjökull and Tindfjallajökull glaciers and the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. On your return, rest up in the Seljavallalaug outdoor swimming pool.

The best time to hike Eyjafjallajökull is from March to September. Outside of these months temperatures can become dangerously low.

Find more information about hiking Eyjafjallajökull.

Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand

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Made famous as Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings, Mount Ngauruhoe stands at the heart of Tongariro National Park on the North Island. This 7,516-feet-tall behemoth is an active stratovolcano, although the last registered eruption was in 1977. A 90-minute hike brings you to the base of the volcano and the first section is suitable for all ages. After this is a challenging section up a 45-degree incline, over rocky terrain and across ice caps and lava flows. At the summit, you can walk around the outer rim of the crater and enjoy unsurpassed views of Mount Ruapehu and Mount Tongariro. The first section is part of the 12-mile-long Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which passes lakes, springs and volcanic craters.

Mount Ngauruhoe and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing are accessible year-round but you should prepare for snow and sub-zero temperatures at all times.

Find more information about hiking Mount Ngauruhoe.

10 Things You Never Knew About the Pacific Ocean

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Things You Never Knew About the Pacific Ocean

As a source of oxygen and food, a means of climate regulation and transportation, and the supporter of one of the world’s biggest economies, it’s safe to say that oceans are our livelihood. With all the oceans do for us, it may be surprising to learn that humans have only discovered about 5% of what lies beneath. With so much left uncovered, it’s clear there’s a lot more to explore.

While we wait for the remaining 95% of the oceans to be discovered, let’s delve deeper into the biggest and baddest of them all — the Pacific Ocean. Here are 10 things you might not know about the Pacific Ocean.

It’s the Biggest Ocean in the World

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We just said that, but it deserves to be stated again for the record. The Pacific Ocean spans from California to China, covering an incredible 60 million square miles. Let’s put that size into perspective; if you accumulated all the world’s landmasses together, the Pacific Ocean would still be bigger.

It’s Also the Deepest Ocean in the World

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Just as impressive as its size is the Pacific Ocean’s depth. The deepest point was found in 2010 in the Mariana Trench, an impossibly deep channel that bottoms out at just over 36,070 feet (roughly 7 miles deep). And just to put that into perspective, Mount Everest could be placed in the trench and still be covered by about a mile of water.

It Was Named for Its Pleasant Demeanor

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Despite its vast size and depth, the Pacific Ocean is also known, at times, for its peaceful waters. In fact, it was these characteristics that inspired Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to name the ocean“Pacific” — meaning “calm” or “peaceful” — as he sailed through a serene patch of water in 1520.

It’s a Force of Nature

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With its sprawling size and warm waters, the Pacific Ocean is the breeding ground for some of the strongest hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons our planet has ever seen. Not only that, the Pacific Basin (aka The Ring of Fire) is a hub of seismic activity. The majority of earthquakes and volcanic activity take place along these tectonic plates.

It’s the Home of the Blob

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Global warming is a growing problem, but do you know specifically how climate change has hurt our greatest ocean? There are many telltale signs, but perhaps the most shocking was the Blob, a mass of warm water that had harmful effects on the Pacific between 2014 to 2016. Residing in the Pacific Northwest, the Blob claimed responsibility for the death of hundreds of sea creatures. Many fear the Blob is a sign of what’s to come if humans don’t do their part to combat climate change.

It’s an Island Paradise

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The Pacific Ocean encompasses roughly 25,000 islands, most of which are south of the equator. That’s more than all the other islands in all the other bodies of water in the world combined. That’s good news for all you traveling beach bums out there — it means there’s no shortage of tropical destinations to choose from!

It’s a Goldmine and a Dumping Ground

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The Pacific Ocean houses both treasure and tragedy. Australia, Japan, Panama, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea all harvest pearls from the Pacific. On the contrary, the largest man-made dump in the world — dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — also exists in the Pacific Ocean. Located halfway between California and Hawaii, this pile of rubbish is twice the size of Texas and is mostly made up of microplastics and old fishing gear.

It Keeps Ancient Secrets

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Exploring underwater cities may seem like something better suited for a science fiction movie. However, there have been some real-life discoveries of past civilizations that now lie beneath the surface of our oceans. The most intriguing of these sites is in the Pacific Ocean. The underwater pyramids of Yonaguni Jima have scholars baffled and divers totally awe-struck. Some believe the ruins were once part of Mu,the legendary lost continent swallowed by the Pacific Ocean thousands of years ago.

It’s a Satellite Cemetery

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Point Nemo is widely acknowledged as the most remote place on earth. Located smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and 1,450 nautical miles from any landmass, many nations deorbit their satellites and old spacecrafts over this point. The space junk plummets into a watery grave, never to be seen or heard from again.

It’s Shrinking

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As big, beautiful and mighty as it is, the Pacific Ocean is actually shrinking. As North America moves away from Europe, the size of the Atlantic Ocean slowly increases while the size of the Pacific decreases. The change is small — the Pacific Ocean loses approximately one inch per year.

Italy volcano: Etna and Stromboli burst into life

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE UK EXPRESS NEWS)

 

Italy volcano: Etna and Stromboli burst into life as double eruption strikes Sicily

MOUNT Etna in Sicily has burst into life, releasing huge plumes of volcano ash into the sky – while erupting Stromboli caused lava flows and fires to break out.

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Explosive activity increased at Etna’s New Southeast Crater (NSEC). Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily’s second-largest city, has one of the world’s longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said their surveillance cameras showed increased gas emissions from the base of the southern flank of NSEC, indicating that a new fissure has opened at the crater. It created ash emissions, explosions and lava flows.

The volcanic ash cloud reached 4.5 km (15 000 feet) above sea level.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the nearby Mount Stromboli volcano’s activity intensified.

The Stromboli volcano also caused fires to break out in nearby Punta Lena.

Etna's volcanic activity increased on Saturday, sending plumes of ash into the sky

Etna’s volcanic activity increased on Saturday, sending plumes of ash into the sky (Image: GETTY)

Fires affected an area of around 100m and despite the continuous work of fire crews, it is still active.

The area is uninhabited and there is no danger for islanders and tourists.

Stromboli is continuously monitored by INGV and Italy’s Civil Protection agency.

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) Twitter account posted images showing lava flow in the southern part of Stromboli island

The tweet read: “#Sentinel2 has captured the lava flow along the Sciaria del Fuoco, but also the last hot spots from the fires that have affected the southern part of the island in the past few days.”

July has seen a succession of activity on two of Sicily’s three active volcanoes.

Imaging shows lava flows on Stromboli isand

Imaging shows lava flows on Stromboli island (Image: TWITTER/@CopernicusEMS)

Stromboli also increased its activitycaused fires to break out in nearby Punta Lena

Stromboli also increased its activity and caused fires to break out in nearby Punta Lena (Image: GETTY)

On July 21, a heavy emission of ash emanating from Etna into the sky forced the closure of two airports in Catania.

Mount Stromboli has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years.

On July 3 of this year, two major explosions occurred, alongside 20 additional minor explosive events.

A hiker near the volcano’s summit was killed after being struck by flying debris as the eruption began.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

China: Indonesia issues flight alert after W. Java volcano eruption

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Indonesia issues flight alert after W. Java volcano eruption

Xinhua

Indonesian authorities issued a flight alert notice following eruption of Tangkuban Perahu volcano in West Java province on Friday afternoon.

The orange Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation alert issued by the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s Geological Agency indicates that volcanic ash particles are still lingering 1,000 feet above the volcano crater.

“This level (of situation) may risk the flights. The VONA alert also shows that volcanic ash clouds are heading to south and northeast directions,” Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency of BNPB Spokesman Agus Wibowo said in a statement.

Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center continues evaluating impacts of eruption in the volcano whose alert is still set at normal grade of Level I at present, Agus said.

PVMBG said that rain of volcanic ashes has affected one to two kilometers of areas around the volcano’s craters.

Administrator of West Bandung regency, that hosts the volcano, has closed down the province’s popular destination for safety reason at present.

Located 161 kilometers southeast from Jakarta, Tangkuban Perahu volcano that stands 2,284 meters above sea level, is a popular destinations for foreign and domestic tourists.

The eruption that occurred at 15:48 Jakarta time has prompted local authorities to evacuate tourists from the volcano craters. The eruption spewed grayish volcanic ashes 200-meter high into the air.

PVMBG said low intensity of ground tremors were also felt during the eruption that lasted in 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

What causes a volcano eruption?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

What causes a volcano eruption?

Throughout the course of Earth’s history, there have been some pretty major geological events. From the Ice Age to earthquakes that helped to reshape the land, the Earth has been no stranger to major land events. Another aspect of geological events is volcanic eruptions. Whether we’re talking about Mount Vesuvius destroying Pompeii or the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state, volcanoes can be dangerous when they’re active. But why do volcanoes form, and what causes them to erupt?

A geology crash course

Credit: adventtr / iStock

Before we explain how volcanoes erupt, it’s time to get a simplified geology lesson. Earth is composed of four main layers: the crust, mantle, outer core, and the inner core. For the purpose of explaining volcanic activity, the crust and mantle are the two most important layers. We live on the Earth’s crust, and in comparison to the other layers, it is incredibly thin with a maximum depth of five miles. The continents and plates exist on this layer.

The mantle is the thickest Earth layer at 1,800 miles deep. Because the mantle is so dense, temperatures can vary widely in this layer. Close to the crust, the temperature reaches “only” 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, but closer to the core, that temperature can soar to 4,000 degrees! However, the mantle isn’t static. Even though it’s made of rock, the mantle moves slowly. Geologists believe this is because of convection currents that cause the hotter materials to rise within this layer and displace cooler rock that sinks to the bottom. As the mantle moves, so do the plates on the Earth’s crust.

So, what is a volcano anyway?

Credit: guenterg / iStock

The short answer is that a volcano is a vent in the earth’s crust that can occur above or below water. In the Earth’s mantle, molten rock or magma is constantly moving. Because the magma is lighter than the surrounding solid rock, it rises towards the Earth’s surface. When magma reaches a vent in the crust, this superheated material escapes and creates a volcano.

However, it’s important to note that volcanoes are not unique to the Earth. They have been found on other planets and moons. While Venus and Mars both have extinct volcanoes all over their surface, the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune are all home to active volcanoes.

Magma versus lava

Credit: Vershinin-M / iStock

You already know that magma is just melted or molten rock. So, what about lava? Lava is literally magma that has escaped the Earth’s surface.

Types of volcanic eruptions

Credit: Kalistratova / iStockPhoto

While explosive volcanoes get the most news attention, a volcanic eruption can also be a calm or steady stream of escaping magma. The explosiveness of an eruption is entirely dependent on the magma’s texture. Runny, thinner magma allows for the gases within it to easily escape, creating lava flows rather than eruptions. A perfect example of this type of volcanic eruption is in Hawaii. These eruptions don’t usually pose physical danger because the lava escapes slowly enough for people to easily avoid it.

In contrast, thick or sticky magma doesn’t allow for gas to easily escape. This means that pressure continues to build within magma tubes until it becomes unsustainable and an explosion occurs at a vent. These types of eruptions are the most dangerous because of the blast clouds known as tephra. Tephra is magma that is released into the air and falls as ash and other particles. Explosive volcanoes can trigger mudflows, destroy communities, and damage surrounding ecosystems.

Active, dormant, or extinct?

Credit: Lukas Bischoff / iStockPhoto

Now you know what a volcano is and what causes them. But there are a few different classifications for them: active, dormant, and extinct. The biggest difference between these categories is their activity and when activity was last recorded.

  • An active volcano has had activity within the last 10,000 years or since the      last Ice Age. Technically, an active volcano could be in the process of erupting or be dormant.
  • An erupting volcano is—obviously—one that is in the process of experiencing volcanic activity and is actively releasing lava.
  • A dormant volcano is classified as active but isn’t currently erupting. These types of volcanoes have the potential to erupt within the next 10,000 years.
  • An extinct volcano is one that hasn’t recorded an eruption in at least 10,000    years with no predictions of potential activity within the next 10,000 years. However, this classification can be misleading as events have been recorded from volcanoes that were considered extinct.

Volcanoes are complex geological events that are dependent upon a number of factors that we couldn’t fully cover in this article. But even if you’re not a geologist, Oregon State University’s Volcano World website is a great tool for gaining understanding of the mechanisms behind volcanoes and their worldwide frequency.

What causes a volcano eruption?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL GENIUS)

 

What causes a volcano eruption?

Throughout the course of Earth’s history, there have been some pretty major geological events. From the Ice Age to earthquakes that helped to reshape the land, the Earth has been no stranger to major land events. Another aspect of geological events is volcanic eruptions. Whether we’re talking about Mount Vesuvius destroying Pompeii or the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state, volcanoes can be dangerous when they’re active. But why do volcanoes form, and what causes them to erupt?

A geology crash course

Credit: adventtr / iStock

Before we explain how volcanoes erupt, it’s time to get a simplified geology lesson. Earth is composed of four main layers: the crust, mantle, outer core, and the inner core. For the purpose of explaining volcanic activity, the crust and mantle are the two most important layers. We live on the Earth’s crust, and in comparison to the other layers, it is incredibly thin with a maximum depth of five miles. The continents and plates exist on this layer.

The mantle is the thickest Earth layer at 1,800 miles deep. Because the mantle is so dense, temperatures can vary widely in this layer. Close to the crust, the temperature reaches “only” 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, but closer to the core, that temperature can soar to 4,000 degrees! However, the mantle isn’t static. Even though it’s made of rock, the mantle moves slowly. Geologists believe this is because of convection currents that cause the hotter materials to rise within this layer and displace cooler rock that sinks to the bottom. As the mantle moves, so do the plates on the Earth’s crust.

So, what is a volcano anyway?

Credit: guenterg / iStock

The short answer is that a volcano is a vent in the earth’s crust that can occur above or below water. In the Earth’s mantle, molten rock or magma is constantly moving. Because the magma is lighter than the surrounding solid rock, it rises towards the Earth’s surface. When magma reaches a vent in the crust, this superheated material escapes and creates a volcano.

However, it’s important to note that volcanoes are not unique to the Earth. They have been found on other planets and moons. While Venus and Mars both have extinct volcanoes all over their surface, the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune are all home to active volcanoes.

Magma versus lava

Credit: Vershinin-M / iStock

You already know that magma is just melted or molten rock. So, what about lava? Lava is literally magma that has escaped the Earth’s surface.

Types of volcanic eruptions

Credit: Kalistratova / iStockPhoto

While explosive volcanoes get the most news attention, a volcanic eruption can also be a calm or steady stream of escaping magma. The explosiveness of an eruption is entirely dependent on the magma’s texture. Runny, thinner magma allows for the gases within it to easily escape, creating lava flows rather than eruptions. A perfect example of this type of volcanic eruption is in Hawaii. These eruptions don’t usually pose physical danger because the lava escapes slowly enough for people to easily avoid it.

In contrast, thick or sticky magma doesn’t allow for gas to easily escape. This means that pressure continues to build within magma tubes until it becomes unsustainable and an explosion occurs at a vent. These types of eruptions are the most dangerous because of the blast clouds known as tephra. Tephra is magma that is released into the air and falls as ash and other particles. Explosive volcanoes can trigger mudflows, destroy communities, and damage surrounding ecosystems.

Active, dormant, or extinct?

Credit: Lukas Bischoff / iStockPhoto

Now you know what a volcano is and what causes them. But there are a few different classifications for them: active, dormant, and extinct. The biggest difference between these categories is their activity and when activity was last recorded.

  • An active volcano has had activity within the last 10,000 years or since the      last Ice Age. Technically, an active volcano could be in the process of erupting or be dormant.
  • An erupting volcano is—obviously—one that is in the process of experiencing volcanic activity and is actively releasing lava.
  • A dormant volcano is classified as active but isn’t currently erupting. These types of volcanoes have the potential to erupt within the next 10,000 years.
  • An extinct volcano is one that hasn’t recorded an eruption in at least 10,000    years with no predictions of potential activity within the next 10,000 years. However, this classification can be misleading as events have been recorded from volcanoes that were considered extinct.

Volcanoes are complex geological events that are dependent upon a number of factors that we couldn’t fully cover in this article. But even if you’re not a geologist, Oregon State University’s Volcano World website is a great tool for gaining understanding of the mechanisms behind volcanoes and their worldwide frequency.

At Least 373 Dead From No Notice Indonesian Tsunami

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Rescue crews are helping thousands of people who were injured or displaced after a tsunami struck the coasts of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia on Saturday night. Many residents did not receive any warning before the tsunami, which killed hundreds.

Volcanic activity on Indonesia’s famous Anak Krakatau island triggered underwater landslides that caused the tsunami, officials say. Anak Krakatau emerged from the site of an 1883 eruption that killed tens of thousands of people and has drawn tourists from around the world.

At least 373 people have died, with 128 missing and nearly 1,500 wounded, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster management agency.

Crews continue to search for survivors while retrieving bodies from the wreckage with heavy machinery and their hands, Reuters reports.

The Red Cross has dispatched 22 ambulances and more than 100 volunteers to transport the injured. Blocked streets have hindered access to health centers in Pandeglang, on the island of Java, where Doctors Without Borders volunteers are helping to treat patients injured by the tsunami and falling rubble.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived at the disaster zone on Monday, while members of the military and volunteers continue to search affected areas. Authorities have warned residents to stay away from beaches because of the risk of continued volcanic activity.

The tsunami caught residents by surprise because the country’s seismic activity detectors were not functioning properly, NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports. Nugroho acknowledged Indonesia’s detection buoys have been dysfunctional since 2012, according to The Associated Press, a result of vandalism and budget issues.

Kathy Mueller, a communications delegate with the Red Cross, was working in Indonesia when the tsunami hit — because of ongoing recovery efforts after a previous tsunami in September, which killed more than 1,700 people.

She says Saturday’s tsunami affected Java’s entire western coastline.

“There are a lot of communities we know … have not yet been accessed,” she told NPR’s David Greene. “It’s going to take some time before we get a fully clear picture of what the full extent of the damage is.”

The Indonesian Red Cross dispatched more than 117 volunteers to the affected area immediately after the disaster, Mueller says. They brought basic supplies, including blankets, clothes, food and water.

The tsunami struck Indonesia’s two most populous islands. Proximity to the nation’s capital, Jakarta, has facilitated the mobilization of volunteers, military and emergency personnel, compared to previous disasters.

Mueller adds that emergency respondents have become proficient at purifying drinking water since the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which killed more than 200,000 people.

But she says three major disasters since the summer — massive earthquakes on the island of Lombok in July and again in August, followed by September’s tsunami and earthquake on the island of Sulawesi — have taxed the country, even before the latest tsunami.

“People are a little bit tired now,” she says.

On Sulawesi, thousands of residents still live in tented camps, according to Mueller.

Now this disaster has displaced 11,000 more people in Java and Sumatra, who are residing in government buildings and camping out in tents beside hospitals.

“A lot of them were holidaymakers,” Kuhn says. “The government has tried to turn the western tip of Java into a new tourist destination to rival the island of Bali. But that effort has been suspended after this disaster.”

Several of the dead were members of the local pop-rock band Seventeen, which was performing at a year-end party in Java when the tsunami struck, sweeping away performers and concertgoers.

At least 222 dead as Tsunami set off by volcano sweeps Indonesia coast

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JOURNAL TIMES)

 

At least 222 dead as Tsunami set off by volcano sweeps Indonesia coast

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CARITA BEACH, Indonesia — A tsunami believed to be triggered by a volcanic eruption killed at least 222 people in Indonesia during a busy holiday weekend, sweeping away hotels, hundreds of houses and a group of people attending a beach concert.

More than 800 people were reported injured after the tsunami hit around the Sunda Strait at 9:27 p.m. Saturday, the Disaster Management Agency. At least 28 others were missing, but the toll could continue to rise because some areas had not yet been reached.

Scientists, including those from Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics agency, said Sunday that the tsunami could have been caused by undersea landslides or those occurring above sea level on the Anak Krakatau volcano’s steep outside slope following the eruption. The volcano’s name translates to “Child of Krakatoa,” a volcanic island formed over years after one of the largest eruptions in recorded history occurred at the Krakatoa volcano more than a century ago. The scientists also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon.

Dramatic video posted on social media showed an Indonesian pop band named “Seventeen” performing under a tent on a popular beach at a concert for employees of a state-owned electricity company. Dozens of people sat listening at tables covered in white cloths while others bobbed to the music near the stage as bright strobe lights flashed and theatrical smoke was released.

A child could also be seen wandering through the crowd. Seconds later, with the drummer pounding just as the next song was about to begin, the stage suddenly heaved forward and buckled under the force of the water, throwing the band and all their equipment into the audience.

The group released a statement saying their bass player, guitarist and road manager were found dead, while two other band members and the wife of one of the performers remained missing.

“The tide rose to the surface and dragged all the people on site,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, when the current receded our members are unable to save themselves while some did not find a place to hold on.”

Tourists were also affected during the long holiday weekend ahead of Christmas.

“I had to run, as the wave passed the beach and landed 15-20m (meters, or 50-65 feet) inland,” Norwegian Oystein Lund Andersen wrote on Facebook. The self-described photographer and volcano enthusiast said he was taking pictures of the volcano when he suddenly saw a big wave come toward him.

“Next wave entered the hotel area where I was staying and downed cars on the road behind it,” he wrote. “Managed to evacuate with my family to higher ground (through) forest paths and villages, where we are taken care of (by) the locals. Were unharmed, thankfully.”

The Anak Krakatau volcano lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, linking the Indian Ocean and Java Sea. It erupted about 24 minutes before the tsunami, the geophysics agency said.

The worst-affected area was the Pandeglang region of Java’s Banten province, which encompasses Ujung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, the disaster agency said.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 222 deaths had been confirmed and at least 843 people were injured. Rescue workers were still trying to access other affected areas.

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expressed his sympathy and ordered government agencies to respond quickly to the disaster.

“My deep condolences to the victims in Banten and Lumpung provinces,” he said. “Hopefully, those who are left have patience.”

In the city of Bandar Lampung on Sumatra, hundreds of residents took refuge at the governor’s office. At the popular resort area of Carita Beach, some survivors appeared lost.

Azki Kurniawan, 16, said he was undergoing vocational training with a group of 30 other students at Patra Comfort Hotel when people suddenly burst into the lobby yelling, “Sea water rising!” He said he was confused because he did not feel an earthquake, but ran to the parking lot to try to reach his motorbike. By the time he got there, it was already flooded.

“Suddenly a 1-meter (3.3-foot) wave hit me,” he said. “I fell down, the water separated me from my bike. I was thrown into the fence of a building about 30 meters (100 feet) from the beach and held onto the fence as strong as I could, trying to resist the water, which feels like it would drag me back into the sea. I cried in fear. … ‘This is a tsunami?’ I was afraid I would die.”

The 305-meter (1,000-foot) -high Anak Krakatau volcano, located about 200 kilometers (124 miles) southwest of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, has been erupting since June. In July, authorities widened its no-go areas to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the crater.

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However, Anak Krakatau remains much smaller than Krakatoa when it blew in 1883, killing more than 30,000 people. Krakatoa launched far-reaching tsunamis and created so much ash, day was turned to night in the area and a global temperature drop was recorded. The violent explosions sank most of the island into the volcanic crater under the sea, and the area remained calm until the 1920s, when Anak Krakatau began to rise from the site. It continues to grow each year and erupts periodically.

Gegar Prasetya, co-founder of the Tsunami Research Center Indonesia, said Saturday’s tsunami was likely caused by a flank collapse — when a big section of a volcano’s slope gives way. He said it’s possible for an eruption to trigger a landslide above ground or beneath the ocean, both capable of producing waves.

“Actually, the tsunami was not really big, only 1 meter (3.3 feet),” said Prasetya, who has closely studied Krakatoa. “The problem is people always tend to build everything close to the shoreline.”

Nine hotels and hundreds of homes were heavily damaged. Broken chunks of concrete and splintered sticks of wood littered hard-hit coastal areas, turning beach getaways popular with Jakarta residents into near ghost towns. Vehicles tossed by the waves remained belly up in the rubble or were lodged in the air under collapsed roofs. Debris from thatch-bamboo shacks was strewn along beaches.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and home to 260 million people, lies along the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In September, more than 2,500 people were killed by a quake and tsunami that hit the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, which is just east of Borneo.

Saturday’s tsunami rekindled memories for some of the massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake that hit on Dec. 26, 2004. It spawned a giant tsunami off Sumatra island in western Indonesia, killing more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries — the majority in Indonesia.

Roads and infrastructure are poor in many areas of disaster-prone Indonesia, making access difficult in the best of conditions.

Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SCIENCE MAGAZINE)

 

An 72-meter ice core drilled in the Colle Gnifetti Glacier in the Swiss Alps entombs more than 2000 years of fallout from volcanoes,  storms, and human pollution.

NICOLE SPAULDING/CCI FROM C. P. LOVELUCK ET AL., ANTIQUITY 10.15184, 4, 2018

Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’

Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he’s got an answer: “536.” Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. Not 1918, when the flu killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults. But 536. In Europe, “It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year,” says McCormick, a historian and archaeologist who chairs the Harvard University Initiative for the Science of the Human Past.

A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months. “For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year,” wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record “a failure of bread from the years 536–539.” Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse, McCormick says.

Historians have long known that the middle of the sixth century was a dark hour in what used to be called the Dark Ages, but the source of the mysterious clouds has long been a puzzle. Now, an ultraprecise analysis of ice from a Swiss glacier by a team led by McCormick and glaciologist Paul Mayewski at the Climate Change Institute of The University of Maine (UM) in Orono has fingered a culprit. At a workshop at Harvard this week, the team reported that a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed ash across the Northern Hemisphere early in 536. Two other massive eruptions followed, in 540 and 547. The repeated blows, followed by plague, plunged Europe into economic stagnation that lasted until 640, when another signal in the ice—a spike in airborne lead—marks a resurgence of silver mining, as the team reports in Antiquity this week.

To Kyle Harper, provost and a medieval and Roman historian at The University of Oklahoma in Norman, the detailed log of natural disasters and human pollution frozen into the ice “give us a new kind of record for understanding the concatenation of human and natural causes that led to the fall of the Roman Empire—and the earliest stirrings of this new medieval economy.”

Slivers from a Swiss ice core held chemical clues to natural and human made events.

NICOLE SPAULDING/CCI FROM C. P. LOVELUCK ET AL., ANTIQUITY 10.15184, 4, 2018

Ever since tree ring studies in the 1990s suggested the summers around the year 540 were unusually cold, researchers have hunted for the cause. Three years ago polar ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica yielded a clue. When a volcano erupts, it spews sulfur, bismuth, and other substances high into the atmosphere, where they form an aerosol veil that reflects the sun’s light back into space, cooling the planet. By matching the ice record of these chemical traces with tree ring records of climate, a team led by Michael Sigl, now of the University of Bern, found that nearly every unusually cold summer over the past 2500 years was preceded by a volcanic eruption. A massive eruption—perhaps in North America, the team suggested—stood out in late 535 or early 536; another followed in 540. Sigl’s team concluded that the double blow explained the prolonged dark and cold.

Mayewski and his interdisciplinary team decided to look for the same eruptions in an ice core drilled in 2013 in the Colle Gnifetti Glacier in the Swiss Alps. The 72-meter-long core entombs more than 2000 years of fallout from volcanoes, Saharan dust storms, and human activities smack in the center of Europe. The team deciphered this record using a new ultra–high-resolution method, in which a laser carves 120-micron slivers of ice, representing just a few days or weeks of snowfall, along the length of the core. Each of the samples—some 50,000 from each meter of the core—is analyzed for about a dozen elements. The approach enabled the team to pinpoint storms, volcanic eruptions, and lead pollution down to the month or even less, going back 2000 years, says UM volcanologist Andrei Kurbatov.

Darkest hours and then a dawn

A high-resolution ice core record combined with historical texts chronicles the impact of natural disasters on European society.

530530550640650660540540550560570580590600610620630640650660536Icelandic volcano erupts, dimming the sun for 18months, records say. Summer temperatures drop by1.5°C to 2.5°C.536–545 Coldest decade on record in 2000 years. Crops fail in Ireland, Scandinavia, Mesopotamia, and China.540–541 Second volcanic eruption. Summer temperatures drop again by 1.4°C–2.7°C in Europe.541–543 The “Justinian” bubonic plague spreads through the Mediterranean, killing 35%–55% of the population and speeding the collapse of the eastern Roman Empire.640 After declining in the mid-500s, a surge in atmospheric lead signals an increase in silver mining because of economic recovery.660A second lead peak reflects silver mining, probably at Melle, France, tied to a switch from gold to silver for coins and the beginnings of the medieval economy.
(GRAPHIC) A. CUADRA/SCIENCE; (DATA) C. P. LOVELUCK ET AL.ANTIQUITY 2018; M. SIGL ET AL., NATURE 2015; M. MCCORMICK

In ice from the spring of 536, UM graduate student Laura Hartman found two microscopic particles of volcanic glass. By bombarding the shards with x-rays to determine their chemical fingerprint, she and Kurbatov found that they closely matched glass particles found earlier in lakes and peat bogs in Europe and in a Greenland ice core. Those particles in turn resembled volcanic rocks from Iceland. The chemical similarities convince geoscientist David Lowe of The University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, who says the particles in the Swiss ice core likely came from the same Icelandic volcano. But Sigl says more evidence is needed to convince him that the eruption was in Iceland rather than North America.

Either way, the winds and weather systems in 536 must have been just right to guide the eruption plume southeast across Europe and, later, into Asia, casting a chilly pall as the volcanic fog “rolled through,” Kurbatov says. The next step is to try to find more particles from this volcano in lakes in Europe and Iceland, in order to confirm its location in Iceland and tease out why it was so devastating.

A century later, after several more eruptions, the ice record signals better news: the lead spike in 640. Silver was smelted from lead ore, so the lead is a sign that the precious metal was in demand in an economy rebounding from the blow a century before, says archaeologist Christopher Loveluck of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. A second lead peak, in 660, marks a major infusion of silver into the emergent medieval economy. It suggests gold had become scarce as trade increased, forcing a shift to silver as the monetary standard, Loveluck and his colleagues write in Antiquity. “It shows the rise of the merchant class for the first time,” he says.

Still later, the ice is a window into another dark period. Lead vanished from the air during the Black Death from 1349 to 1353, revealing an economy that had again ground to a halt. “We’ve entered a new era with this ability to integrate ultra–high-resolution environmental records with similarly high resolution historical records,” Loveluck says. “It’s a real game changer.”

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