Showing posts from August, 2015

Keeping an eye on Cotopaxi Volcano

- Janine Cotopaxi volcano is Ecuador's most intensively monitored volcano. With an active past, glacier-covered summit, and surrounding population it is watched very closely by the local team of volcanologists at IGEPN . Monitoring network on and around Cotopaxi volcano that has been growing since the first seismic station installation in 1976. Courtesy of IGEPN. Cotopaxi started quietly rumbling to life again in April with an increase in seismic activity. A Seismic swarm on 14th of August preceded phreatic (water) explosions on the 15th, and now Cotopaxi is on Yellow Alert in a phase of near-continuous ash emission (for more details see the Smithsonian Reports ). The above video was posted on August 18th and shows white steam/gas plume emission and ash fall on the snowy flanks. The above video shows ash emission on the 21st of August with the ash plume that did not exceed 2 km on this day. Ashfall affected the south to west, west, and northwest of the vol

In the footsteps of Apollo astronauts, literally!

-Alison  No, really! I’ve walked in the same places that the Apollo astronauts honed their geology skills here on Earth. Actually, many a geologist has trained in locations that were used for Apollo training for the precise reason that they are great places to learn geology. Apollo training locations include a fair number of volcanoes, a few impact craters, and other barren rocky landscapes. The point of training, after all, was to prepare them to describe the rocky and otherworldly surface of the moon, and the moon is covered in lava and lots of big impact craters.  Volcanic moon rock at the Chabot Space Center in Oakland California. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   I encourage geologists and outdoor enthusiasts alike to check out this list of training locations and see how many places you have been that was used to prepare the Apollo astronauts for the moon. I was pleased to note how many places I have visited. In fact, many of the training locations includ

Volcanoes inside and out. Or how your intro text book lied to you.

 -Alison It can be very exciting to watch an erupting volcano or look at super fresh deposits. You get to see rock that was inside the earth days to moments before. The inaccessible becomes accessible, and in a dramatic way. The author touching fresh rock from Kīlauea Hawaii 2009. While I love watching active processes and fresh rock, I also love looking at rocks that have been sitting on earth's surface for millions of years waiting to share their story. The exhumed insides of volcanoes provide a great opportunity to see a more complete history of how a volcano grew. One of the cornerstones of volcanology is understanding what volcanoes have done in the past, that way we can better understand what might happen in the future. While a regularly erupting volcano like Stromboli or Etna gives us an idea of the most frequent processes, we need to look at older volcanoes to get an idea of the range of eruption types and sizes and to understand their long term growth.    Ear