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Guest Thinkers

Friday Flotsam

The volcano news you might have missed this week including new monitoring equipment on Mt. Saint Helens, vog from space and the cost of the Redoubt eruption starts to be felt.

Pohutu Geyser in Rotorua, New Zealand. Image taken by Erik Klemetti in January 2009.

It has been busy busy week for me, capped off today with a talk about my field work in New Zealand (see above), so I don’t have much to say. Not much new news today about the Saudi Arabian earthquake swarms, but again, I’ll keep my eyes pealed (incidentally, I still haven’t been able to figure out why no western news sources have even mentioned the swarm).

Anyway, here’s are some volcanic tidbits to enjoy over the long weekend:

  • Vog, as seen from space. Volcanic fog, fashionably shortened to “vog” is a real hazard in Hawai’i, damaging crops and lungs. The current shuttle mission (to repair Hubble), landing tomorrow, took some great images of Hawai’i, showing not only the vog on the island, but also the ocean entry of lavas from Kilauea.
  • In the bevy of Mt. Saint Helens anniversary articles this week, there were a couple that mentioned the new monitoring equipment being installed on the volcano. They are relatively inexpensive GPS units called “spiders”. They do have a bit of Skynet in them as the spiders will have “computer-programmed “brains” can decide what some data means and which information is most important“. However, they do seem to be about as state-of-the-art of any volcano monitoring I’ve ever seen. {Hat tip to Eruptions reader Richard Gardner for this news.}
  • The economic impact of the current activity at Redoubt is beginning to be felt in Alaska. The state figures it might be losing $1.5 million per month for the shutdown of Cook Inlet production due to the threat to the Drift River Oil Terminal. Meanwhile, AVO continues to wait for the big dome collapse that is likely to occur at the Alaskan volcano.

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