UNUSUAL VOLCANIC ACTIVITY IS
BECOMING UBIQUITOUS IN TODAY'S WORLD

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VOLCANIC ACTIVITY HAS
INCREASED BY 500% SINCE 1975

The Russian National Academy of Sciences reports that overall volcanic activity has increased 500 percent since 1975. For the most part, these facts are going unreported in the United States - except at the University of Buffalo (UB) where a group of scientists working under Dr. Ellen Goldbaum, Dr. Michael Mandeville and John Donarummo, Jr., a UB doctoral candidate in the UB Department of Geology, have been developing a body of research with conclusions similar to those reached by scientists at the Russian National Academy of Sciences.

This increase in volcanic activity parallels a similar and very ominous increase in natural disasters of all types - hurricanes, typhoons, tidal waves, etc. - since 1973 (an increase of 410 %).

Both the scientists in Russia and those at the University of Buffalo link these increases to increasingly strong solar activity in recent years. The research, published in a paper in the May 15 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, provides striking evidence that sunspots - blemishes on the sun's surface indicating strong solar activity - are the culprits.  It is the first time that sunspots have been identified with the baffling increase in volcanic activity on the earth.

We are reminded of the Lord's warning concerning the events of the "End of Days:"

"And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." (Luke 21:11)

What follows is a partial list of recent (within the last week or so), very spectacular volcanic activity that has been occurring.


Hunga Ha'apai, Tonga
March 21, 2009


The first volcanic event on our list was reported by observers flying near the area of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai (about 62 km NNW of Nuku'alofa, the capital of Tonga) on 16 or 17. Photos showed an eruption plume with a wide base that rose from the sea surface and mixed with meteorological clouds. Based on information from the Tonga airport and analysis of satellite imagery, the Wellington VAAC reported that on 18 March, a plume rose to altitudes of 4.6-7.6 km (15,000-25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE.

Radio journalist George Lavaka visited the island Thursday and said the explosions were accompanied by a deep rumbling. "The island itself is totally destroyed," Lavaka said, "there is no living thing left there, it's all covered in black ash. "There are only black stumps where the coconut trees were," he added. "We saw dead birds and fish in the water."

Tonga's chief geologist Kelepi Mafi, who inspected the area Thursday, said the volcano has two vents, one on Hunga Ha'apai and another around 100 metres offshore. The volume of the rock and ash coming from the vents has completely filled the gap between the offshore vent and Hunga Ha'apai, increasing the island's land mass by hundreds of square metres.

Last night the island was rocked by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, causing the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre to issue a warning for neighboring islands: "This tsunami may have been destructive along coastlines of the region near the earthquake epicenter. Authorities in the region should take appropriate action in response to this possibility."  Over 5,000 people have been evacuated from the area.


Semeru, Eastern Java, Indonesia
March 21, 2009

The second volcanic event on our list is based on information from CVGHM.  The Darwin VAAC reported that on 12 March an eruption from Semeru produced a plume to an altitude of 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l.

Semeru lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises abruptly to 3676 m above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano. More than 500 people have been killed by Semeru's volcanic activity.


Redoubt, Alaska, USA
March 21, 2009

AVO reported that during 11-15 March seismic activity at Redoubt was remained above normal levels. On 12, 14, and 15 March clear web camera views showed steam plumes that rose just above the summit. At about 1305 on 15 March, seismic activity increased and about four hours of volcanic tremor ensued. AVO scientists aboard an overflight saw a steam-and-ash plume rise to an altitude of 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and produce ashfall on the summit crater floor and down the S flank. The emissions originated from a new vent, located just S of the 1990 lava dome and W of the prominent ice collapse feature near the N edge of the summit crater. About twenty minutes later, a sediment-laden flow occurred from a small area in the ice on the upper part of Drift glacier. Steam plumes were later noted. AVO raised the Aviation Color Code to Orange and the Alert Level to Watch.


Koryaksky, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
March 21, 2009

KVERT reported that seismic activity at Koryaksky was elevated on 6 and 8 March. Observers reported that gas plumes rose to an altitude of 4 km (13,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. The plumes were also seen on satellite imagery. Ash deposits were seen near the volcano. The Level of Concern Color Code remained Orange.


Galeras, Colombia
March 21, 2009

INGEOMINAS reported an explosive eruption from Galeras that began at 1555 on 13 March; the Alert Level was raised from II (Orange; "probable eruption in term of days or weeks") to I (Red; "imminent eruption or in progress"), on a scale of 4-1. Inclement weather prevented direct observations of the volcano. The Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) indicated that a plume rose to an altitude of 12.3 km (40,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW. The eruption produced sounds heard in areas 10 km E and W. Ashfall was reported in multiple areas E and NW; a sulfur odor was also reported in some areas. On 14 March, gas plumes rose to an altitude of 6.3 km (20,700 ft) a.s.l.

According to news articles, authorities ordered the evacuation of about 8,000 people living in high-risk areas, but few went to evacuation shelters.


Ebeko, Kuril Islands, Russia
March 21, 2009

This simple geologic map shows the tectonics of the Kurile region. The Eurasian plate is moving to the southeast. The Pacific plate is moving to the northwest. The teeth are a symbol geologist use on maps to indicate a plate (or block of rock) that is pushed over/on top of an adjacent plate. In this case, the lighter Eurasian plate, made of lighter continental crust and underlying mantle, rides over the denser Pacific plate. The Pacific plate is denser because it is made mostly of basalt.

The volcanoes are the result of subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the Eurasian plate. Fluids that leave the subducted plate help to melt the asthenospheric mantle (the mantle beneath the plate). The melting produces magma that rises through the Eurasian plate to feed the volcanoes of the Kurile Islands.


Ashfall from Shiveluch Volcano, Kamchatka
March 13, 2009

Ashfall From Shiveluch

The Shiveluch (sometimes spelled Sheveluch) Volcano is the most active of the arc of volcanoes that dot northeast Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. In the first week of March several large eruptions occurred at Shiveluch. Between March 8 and March 10, ash eruptions reached altitudes of 6.1-6.4 kilometers (20,000-21,000 feet) above sea level, and the clouds of ash drifted southeast. When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image on March 11, the ash trail was still visible on the snowy landscape.


Sakura-Jima, Japan
March 12, 2009

During 7-10 March, JMA reported that 12 Vulcanian explosions occurred from Showa Crater, on the E flank of Sakura-jima. Observers reported that ejected bombs landed as far away as 800 m from the crater and plumes rose to an altitude of 2.9 km (9,500 ft) a.s.l. Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that an eruption on 7 March, and explosions during 8-10 March, produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.7 km (6,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. Plumes drifted N and S during 8-10 March. [Correction: Ejected bombs landed as far away as 1,800 m from the crater.]


PUERTO MONTT
Chile, May 9 (Reuters)

The above photo is of a volcano in Chile which erupted this week after being dormant for 9,000 years. Pictured is an exceedingly rare 'dirty thunderstorm.' Scientists are not entirely certain what causes these dirty thunderstorms, but regardless of what causes them, they are terrifying.

One is reminded of Exodus 19:16, 18:

"On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled...Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly."

Ash drifted as far as Buenos Aires and towns in Argentine Patagonia were badly affected. "We keep cleaning, but still everything gets dirty at the same time. The dust and ash gets everywhere," said a hotel employee named Alejandra.


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