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Wednesday Whatzits: Mixing it up at Hood, alert lowered at Taal and plumes over Vanuatu

Magma mixing triggers eruptions at Mt. Hood, lava flows slowing at Kalapana, Taal alert lowered and the plumes of Vanuatu.

Mt. Hood in Oregon, taken August 2008. Image by Erik Klemetti. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Quick news!

  • I’m not going to go into too much depth right now about the recent study published in Nature Geoscience on Mt. Hood in Oregon – I plan to talk about it more in a few weeks. Why is that? Well, the lead investigator on the study, Dr. Adam Kent of Oregon State University, is a friend of mine (and occasional Eruptions commenter) so I plan to get the details from him before posting. I was also peripherally associated with some of this work – mostly in the field acting as a pack mule and offering my witty observations. Nevertheless, the long-and-short is that magma mixing seems to be a strong control on eruptions at Mt. Hood, where mixing of two different magmas (one felsic, one mafic) can trigger an eruption. This mixing could be only weeks before the eruption, suggesting short time intervals between the trigger of an eruption and the eruption itself. Interestingly, Mt. Hood seems to play by its own rules in this respect relative to what we know about how other Cascade volcanoes behave.
  • Lava continues to flow from Kilauea into the area around Kalapana, although it has slowed. Only two breakouts were noted near Kalapana on August 1, suggesting that less lava is flowing. However, lava continues to reach the ocean to the southwest of Kalapana.
  • PHIVOLCS lowered the alert status at Taal to level one after signs of eruption waned, with only 5 earthquakes over the last 3 weeks. However, the restrictions for tourists remain in place for the time being as new measures are created, especially when it comes to approached the main crater. At the crater, steam explosions can still happen unexpectedly and the concentrations of volcanic gases can be dangerous.
  • The NASA Earth Observatory posted an image of the plumes from Ambrym and Gaua in Vanuatu. You can see the thin, wispy plumes of mostly steam and volcanic gases (which possibly some very minor ash) drifting to the northwest.

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