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US Volcano Update: Kilauea, Cleveland and the Axial Seamount

Well, this week at the SERC Teaching Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry Workshop has been busier than I thought (and yes, there was a Red Sox game mixed in), so not a lot of time to blog, but a few brief updates to share:

Hawai`i: Lots going on with the ongoing activity at Kilauea that is appearing to slow down – and a lot of USGS timelapse videos as well to check out. I glanced at the HVO Kilauea status and it seems that the activity at Pu`u O`o has prompted the draining of the lava lake at the summit crater, so we might be seeing some significant reorganization of the magmatic system at the volcano.

Alaska: We also got our first decent glimpse of the new dome on Cleveland volcano in the Aleutians. AVO doesn’t seem to think that this activity is likely to lead to a big explosive event at Cleveland, but for aviation safety, a close eye will be kept on the volcano if the dome ends up plugging the conduit.

Off the coast of Oregon: I’ll likely have more to say on this subject, but there has been a flurry of news about the eruption at Axial Seamount off the coast of Oregon. The eruption isn’t going on right now, but rather it appears to have occurred in April, but only know did undersea research crews find the evidence (lava flows and new hydrothermal vents). I am a little disconcerted by all the media attention to the idea that the eruption was “predicted” – the study in question merely said that it would likely erupt “before 2014” … so, you can drive a truck through that prediction. However, the discovery of the eruption is cool nevertheless.

Top left: Some of the new lava flows on Kilauea, August 2011. Image courtesy of USGS/HVO.


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