Kamchatka, Canaries, and Seismo-Art

For the most part the volcanoes of the world are not really ringing my bell lately. Tambora, my favorite, has not done anything interesting at all beyond it’s rumblings throughout August, or at least we have not heard anything if it has. Popo continues to puff, with a  plume of steam and gas lazily rising out of it’s crater this morning on the PopoCam, and the Colombian volcanoes of the Ruiz-Tolima massif seem relatively quiet after much disconcerting noise and seismicity earlier in the month.

Kizimen with ash plume

About the only volcanoes doing anything would seem to be those on the Kamchatka peninsula. Kizimen was showing high levels of  activity on the 23rd according to KVERT, with 1400 to 1600 volcanic quakes per day, and ash plumes up to 32,000 feet were expected any time. A “thermal anomaly” (hot lava) was observed on the flanks of the volcano all week.

Sheveluch has been erupting both explosively and extrusively of late, although it’s seismic activity has been more moderate than that of Kizimen. Moderate gas fumaroles have been observed, as well as the aforementioned “thermal anomaly.” I’m not sure how hot lava on the flanks of an active volcano is considered to be an anomaly.

Karymsky volcano, Kamchatka

Karymsky was producing explosions at last report, and registering moderate seismic activity. Karymsky, an un-vegetated stratovolcano which looks a bit like something drawn by Dr. Suess here to the left, is the most active volcano on the eastern Kamchatka peninsula and has frequently put on some spectacular shows of eruptive episodes.

Mt. Cleveland continues to ooze, and may have actually erupted, but we don’t know because of heavy cloud cover. There are no instruments at Cleveland, so we are left with aerial and satellite observations.

Meanwhile, back in the Canary Islands concern continues to mount over the elevated seismicity there and frequency of small quakes, the largest so far having been a magnitude 3.4, and the volcanic risk alert there has been raised to yellow amid swirling rumors that an eruption of El Hierro volcano would lead to a giant tsunami.

This sort of speculation is a leftover from the panic deliberately engineered years back about the possibility of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma sliding into the ocean and generating a mega-tsunami that would wipe out the east coast of the U.S. That turned out  to be no more possible than the current wild speculation.

Lava field at El Hierro

El Hierro is a shield volcano, a type that generally produces effusive eruptions of slowly spreading lava flows as seen here, together with occasional lava fountains, and not likely to produce anything like a plinian eruption. The small quakes now registering are becoming progressively deeper, and were an eruption coming up one would expect them to be progressively shallower.

Moving right along:

Until I started this blog I had no idea how many people monitor seismographs around the world. I hadn’t thought it to be anything like the number that has become apparent since then. I have to wonder how many of them have been able to get accurate and valid information about what they are seeing on those seismographs, as some very odd things show up on them at times. I’d certainly appreciate input on some of those things.

This morning while looking at Cerro Machin in Columbia I see something that could almost be a kind of digital post-modern art piece, and might even make a neat wallpaper strip around the top of the walls.

This gives me an idea for a new product to market. I’m sure it would sell better than crop-circle carpeting that changes patterns overnight. I’m not at all sure what generated this on the seismograph there, but the previous readings seemed to be showing some kind of dysfunction with the instrument. Such malfunctions are not uncommon with seismographs which have to be set up in quite demanding places, and use radio links to transmit their data amid radio noisy environments.

The Aleutians seem to be a particularly troublesome environment for online seismographs, where they have to be set up at great expense on remote uninhabited islands with severe weather and high winds and serviced by crews who can only get to them by boat in sometimes dangerous seas. These stations are most often powered by solar panels which can ice over, reducing their power considerably, and generating rather odd readings as a result, and there are other power issues which might produce this result.

This might well be one of them:

Actually I like this one better for the wall-top border strip.


About Martina Vaslovik

Volcano nerd and seismogeek
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