It’s been a busy week or so in the world of volcanoes. Japan’s Mount Aso had its largest eruption in recent memory. Canada’s Mount Meager might be rumbling to life. And the USGS and Global Volcanism Program released a great animation of 50 years of earthquakes and eruptions.

Japan

Mount Aso in Japan had a large explosive eruption last week (10/8), sending ash over 11 kilometers (36,000 feet) upwards. Although eruptions aren’t rare at Aso, the scale of this one was larger than usual. Makoto Saito, director of the Volcanology Division of the Japan Meteorological Agency, speculates that pressure from an accumulation of volcanic gases lead to this blast, as most eruptions from Aso do not produce plumes taller than 10 kilometers. Blocks of volcano junk as large as trucks were spotted near the crater. However, the evidence suggests that this eruption was phreatic–that is, driven by gas and steam, not new magma. Impressive.

Mount Aso’s ash spread widely over the area around the volcano, creating power outages and train stoppages. Luckily, no one was reported injured or killed by the eruption, but the JMA has Aso on alert level 3 (of 5) and warned people to stay away from the volcano.

Last fall another eruption of Aso generated some impressive pyroclastic flows. These eruptions from Aso also have a strong impact on the local economy that has already seen consequences of recent earthquakes as well as tourists stay away and crops are damaged. False rumors about the activity at Aso have not helped that situation.

Canada

Rarely do we discuss Canada here on Eruptions, but the country does have many potentially active volcanoes. One of these is Mount Meager in British Columbia, one of the northern vanguard of the Cascade Range. The last known eruption of Meager was a VEI 5 (about the same size at Mount St. Helens in 1980) eruption that happened around 2,400 years ago. Recently, scientists noticed new fumaroles (gas vents) on the volcano’s summit. Measurements of volcanic gases showed elevated carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, but not much sulfur dioxide.

Combine that with a lack of earthquakes at the volcano and volcanologists think that Meager is not headed towards an eruption anytime soon. So why did it look like the it was heating up? Ice on the summit has been thinning, making it seem like more activity. Instead, it’s probably the same level of activity, we can just see more.

However, Meager is the home of Canada’s largest known explosive eruption (that previously-mentioned VEI 5). So volcanologists will be watching Meager closely. Meager has also had several large landslides over the past few decades, so that would complicate the situation if earthquakes and eruptions were to increase.

Hawaii

On the big island of Hawaii, the lava lake in the Halema’uma’u Caldera on Kilauea is coming close to reaching the rim of its crater. This could mean that lava might spill out soon to make a new lava flow field, like what happened in 2015. The surface of the lava lake is ~16 meters (54 feet) from the rim and the surface can be easily seen in the webcams pointed at the lava. Check out the USGS video of spattering at the summit lava lake to see just how vigorous some of the activity is right now.

If you really want to feel like you’re there, watch the 4K video that shows a flyover of the lava lake and some up-close views of the spattering and simmering in the lava lake. In that video, you really can see the platy nature of the surface of the lake, where the 1200?C lava quickly cools to form a black skin that bends and contorts due to the convection of the lava beneath it.

16 Comments

  1. Gerald Belisle

    no worries buddy
    and wait until next summer to see the columns, the forestry service road that follows the cut where that formation is located can get pretty muddy and snowy right now πŸ™‚

  2. Gerald Belisle

    no worries shane
    living in Penticton mellows people πŸ™‚

  3. shane_johnston

    And i have been here asking Questions for years.

  4. shane_johnston

    I have No! Idea Of how these comments came here, I dont comment like this here,

    Really

  5. shane_johnston

    Ok Something funny is going on here,

    Because i have not been on wired for 2 weeks,

    and i know i voted your comment up about the Ok,
    Gerald Belisle

    shane_john
    Mt Boucherie is hardly unique. the area that became the Okanagan was
    located at the western edge of the continent million of years ago
    (spoiler alert so the valley is lined up with other impressive remnants
    of its volcanic past. Giant’s Head & Giant’s Head North, both within
    the city limits of Summerland. BC and Mt N’kwala towering at the
    entrance of Penticton are good examples and there are a few more if you
    can see the clues hidden by successive glaciations.
    If you happen to
    be near Big White mountain, the Kettle Valley basalt columns, located on
    the #201 forestry road near the Hwy 33 Big White turn off, are there to
    remind us the whole area was repeatedly covered with fire and ice πŸ™‚

    As for all the bad mouth comments i have no IDEA,
    REALLY

  6. Gerald Belisle

    typical kelowna red neck i guess

  7. shane_johnston

    dip shit

  8. Gerald Belisle

    a vote down is going to change the reality of the geology of the valley?

  9. shane_johnston

    because you’re an ass
    thats why the vote down

  10. Gerald Belisle

    Mt Boucherie is hardly unique. the area that became the Okanagan was located at the western edge of the continent million of years ago (spoiler alert so the valley is lined up with other impressive remnants of its volcanic past. Giant’s Head & Giant’s Head North, both within the city limits of Summerland. BC and Mt N’kwala towering at the entrance of Penticton are good examples and there are a few more if you can see the clues hidden by successive glaciations.
    If you happen to be near Big White mountain, the Kettle Valley basalt columns, located on the #201 forestry road near the Hwy 33 Big White turn off, are there to remind us the whole area was repeatedly covered with fire and ice πŸ™‚

  11. shane_johnston

    Mount Boucherie

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

    This is the Oldest one that is just across the bridge from me,

    And it looks like it had a big Eruption.

    “Though it now only rises 417 metres above the nearby lake level, it is
    estimated to once have had an elevation of 2,000 m (6,562 ft) or more.[3]”

  12. shane_johnston

    I think they are a little afraid of going up there because it is Dangerous, but they do any ways. Not because of an Eruption but because of gasses,

  13. shane_johnston

    Yea! i have been keeping up on this.
    Thank you for bringing it to every ones Attention,

    Canada
    Rarely do we discuss Canada here on Eruptions, but the country does have many potentially active volcanoes. One of these is Mount Meager in British Columbia,

    This could be a cool thing Just like the
    (BLUE JAYS) Winning the World Series for the 3RD time.

    I’m in Kelowna BC

    Thanks

  14. Gunner McStabby

    Didn’t read the article. I normally would but mainly came here to complain about the title. Stop it. Erik!

  15. Don’t forget the Volcan de Fuego in Colima, Mexico!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?…

  16. Gerald Belisle

    thank you Erik πŸ™‚

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