Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Volcano videos

I've illustrated this post with the ironic scene of fireworks being set off in the Philippines to celebrate the new year - with a backdrop of the Mayon volcano, which has been threatening to set off its own show. It seems that there was an extraordinary amount of volcanic activity in 2009, but vulcanologists tell us there are an average 50 eruptions each year. So let us say there were an extraordinary number of newsworthy volcanoes. Here are the highlights:

Mt. Redoubt, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S. (VIDEO AND ARTICLE)
The volcano erupted several times in March, cancelling flights and putting at risk tanks at its base containing 6 million gallons of crude oil.

Anak Krakatoa, Indonesia (VIDEO and ARTICLE)
This volcano, called "The Child of Krakatoa" because it has risen from the cone of Krakatoa - the most powerful eruption in 1883, which killed more than 36,000 people - at a rate of 5" per week since the 1950s. It erupted in April 2008 and began rumbling again last Spring, so vulcanologists raised its eruption alert status in May 2009.

Mayon Volcano, Philippines (VIDEO and ARTICLE)
This volcano was rumbling much of 2009 and erupted in mid-December, after which authorities lowered the threat level and allowed more than 50,000 evacuees who live within the 5-mile danger zone to return to their homes, including 500 families who live on the slopes of the volcano.

West Mata volcano, Pacific ocean floor (VIDEO and ARTICLE/VIDEO)
American scientists have captured video of the deepest (3km) undersea volcanic eruption.

Here are the stranger volcano stories of 2009:

A large volcanic cave, 50,000 years old, was discovered in Sweida, Syria. Scientists have analyzed a strange formation on Mars and have determined that it resulted from a volcanic explosion.* A daredevil in a winged suit dove 3300M from a helicopter above the Mutnovsky volcano on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, released his parachute to land on a sheet of icein the simmering crater, and was quickly pulled out before he could be overcome by the poisonous fumes and hot steam. A British expedition into the crater of a pristine giant extinct volcano located in the highlands of Papua New Guinea found some incredible animals: a camouflaged gecko, a fanged frog, a grunting fish, a tree-climbing kangaroo, and a giant rat.

And we're already off to an exciting start in 2010:

Nyamulagira volcano, Congo (VIDEO and ARTICLE)
This most active of Africa's volcanoes erupted over the weekend and was not endangering humans, but conservationists were worried about the chimpanzees and mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park.

Mt. Galeras, Colombia (VIDEO and ARTICLE)
Active since 1989, this volcano on the border with Ecuador erupted 10 times in 2009, and just erupted again on Saturday, forcing 800 people to evacuate initially, with a possible 8,000 to follow.

*Actually, this was reported in 2007.

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