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Monday Eruption Update: Calm at Etna and Katla, evacuations at Lokon-Empung

Things are going to be getting a little hectic for me for the next few days as I get ready for my field/lab season in California (which starts Wednesday). I have just enough time to catch up on a few things that are happening/happened over the last few days.

Italy: Over the weekend, we saw a brief eruptive episode at Etna – you can check out some of the details on the Osservatio Etneo website (thanks to Dr. Boris Behncke). This new eruptive activity sent ash around parts of Sicily after intense fountaining (see top left) in the southeast crater. Be sure to check out some of the great video (with a strange article), from various sources along with some excellent images and a report from Etna via Volcano Discovery.

Iceland: We also saw a small jokulhlaup from Katla over the weekend that got a lot of people very worked up for sure. The unrest at the Icelandic volcano seems to have ended for the time being, but a close watch will be kept on Katla. The Icelandic Met Office has posted a brief summary of the flood that swept away a bridge at Múlakvísl and the Ring Road will likely be disrupted for months. However, the question of whether the flood was related to a very small eruption is still being explored (Icelandic). Be sure to check out the cool video of the flight over Katla after the jokulhlaup that shows the early stages of some of the 50-meter deep collapse structures (see below) that have appeared on the Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

50-meter deep collapse features seen on the ice cap on Katla after the July 9, 2011 jokulhlaup.

Indonesia: This is not a good week to be in a country that starts with “I” if you don’t like volcanoes (look out Iran). Last week we saw a small eruption at Soputan in Indonesia and today Indonesian officials placed Lokon (a twin volcano along with Empung) on highest alert for an impending eruption. A 3.5-km evacuation zone has been set up around the volcano to keep tourists and locals out of harm’s way – but a stunning 28,000 people live within that exclusion zone. Lokon-Empung is only 20 km from the capitol of North Sulawesi, Manando. The volcano produced ~0.5 km / ~1600 foot ash plumes over the weekend and the volcano has been producing small plumes throughout most of 2011 so far in what were thought to be phreatic explosions. The last eruption at Lokon-Empung was in 2003 and the volcano has had several VEI 2-3 eruptions over the last 25 years.

Top left: A thermal image of the eruption at Etna on July 9, 2011.

{Special thanks to all the Eruptions readers who provided links and images in this post.}


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