Showing posts from 2016

Spectacular volcano videos: Identifying eruption processes

- Dr. Janine Krippner We are fortunate that there is a large availability of volcanic eruption videos online for all of us to enjoy (see below warning), and we can learn a lot from them too. When I am looking at my satellite images of dome collapse block and ash flow and column collapse pyroclastic flow deposits on Shiveluch and Mount St. Helens volcanoes I have videos of these processes running through my mind. This is a short guide to what you are seeing in these incredible videos. WARNING: There are very dangerous and life threatening hazards associated with retrieving this footage, and here at In the Company of Volcanoes we strongly discourage anyone from trying to take your own. It is never, ever worth risking your life. --- This video shows the dome at Unzen volcano undergoing a partial collapse in 1991. This shows how a near-solid body of rock rapidly fragments down to smaller pieces of rock and ash, creating a billowing ash plume rising from the block and ash

Interpreting historic eruptions with old dusty hidden treasures: Introduction to historical and social volcanology

Guest Blogger Jazmin Scarlett Follow her on Twitter: @scarlett_jazmin Jazmin shares more of her adventures on her own blog: My name is Jazmin Scarlett, I am a PhD student in volcanology and I am not trained in geology, geophysics or geochemistry. I am trained in understanding hazardous processes and how humans interact with them. I am, therefore, a weird mix of physical and social scientist. I understand the processes behind volcanic activity, but I mainly understand the many characteristics of volcanic hazardous phenomena. I understand how they impact on the natural and built environment and in turn, I understand how humans respond, mitigate and prepare against them. However, the interactions between hazard and person is more often than not more complicated than just hazard + human = impact. As well as understanding the volcano and its hazards, what is around the volcano is just as important. Infrastructure, settlements, topography, climate and

The trees of Calbuco

-Alison Most of my research can be described as looking at rocks to figure out what happened in the past.  There are many deposits from volcanic eruptions that don't just contain rocks. As volcanic soils are very fertile, many volcanoes are forested which means that falling ash or debris flows interact with trees and other plants. The way trees are damaged by the eruption can tell us a lot about what happened. The trees in the blast zone of Mount St. Helens are a dramatic example. Trees blown down by the 1980 later blast at Mt St Helens (image from 2015). I was recently lucky enough to visit Calbuco Volcano in the lake region of Chile. You may remember the impressive pictures of Calbuco erupting at sunset on April 22, 2015.  This heavily forested stratovolcano produced a large plume (which dropped tephra, coarse scoria on the slopes of the volcano and ash all over eastern Chile and Argentina), pyroclastic flows, and lahars (debris flows) from melting glaciers and later

Rocks can be movie stars too

- Dr. Alison Graettinger I still remember my first geology class as a freshman in college. I was so certain geology was for me that I was ready to declare my major before I even got to campus (very few geology majors start this way). It didn’t matter that I’d never had an Earth Science class or knew the first thing about rocks, but I knew geology was the gateway to movie-worthy jobs like Paleontology and Volcanology. The first time I was given a tray of rocks and they asked me to figure out how they were different. I didn’t have a clue beyond ‘sparkly vs. not sparkly.’  But telling rocks apart isn’t some innate skill, it is the result of observation. Anyone can do it, if you take the time to look at a rock for its parts, not just the whole. With the right push from my lab instructor it didn’t take long to start seeing all the differences that I now take for granted when looking at rocks. The size and shape of crystals, the weight, the way they break etc. I then learned how to look a

In memory of Om Leo (@LeopoldAdam)

- Janine and Jeannie Curtis Tree planting Gunung (Mount) Merapi's west flank Many of us online know of and had interacted with Leopold Kennedy Adam - @LeopoldAdam on twitter, and the administrator of volcano communication websites such as Gunung Slamet . We know him through his excellent communication of the activity and hazards of Indonesian volcanoes, in particular, Sinabung. This ongoing disaster has been largely forgotten by international media and it is through efforts of those in Indonesia, like Leo, that have helped keep the world aware of the volcanic and human impact of these events. In August of 2010 Sinabung volcano (Gunung (Mount) Sinabun(g)) entered a phase of unrest. Since then the volcanology community has been watching. Many of us have been watching from a distance like myself, through social media, videos of incredible and dangerous pyroclastic flows, and using Google Translate to read official and media reports of the sometimes deadly eruptions. It is

A whirlwind sampling of Morocco (emphasis on wind)

- Dr. Alison Graettinger Thanks to an invitation to talk about rocks, something I am sure you can tell I enjoy, I got the opportunity to travel to Marrakech, Morocco in June. Talking about my research is an important and enjoyable part of my job. It is a means of sharing the latest results, reaching out to groups who study different but related fields, letting the public know what geologists like myself do, and to teach classes to the next generation of geologists. Mosaics in Marrakech, Morocco. This trip to Marrakech was for a conference of sedimentologists, where this year’s theme was to bring terrestrial and planetary scientists together to talk shop. Sedimentology is the study of rocks and the sediments that are made up of parts of other rocks, chemically precipitated rocks, and rocks that involve the help of animals to form at the Earth’s surface. Sedimentology is also the study of the processes that form, transport, and deposit the particles and chemicals that become par