|Map of the Nornahraun lava field as of 24 Dec 2014 (Univ. Iceland)|
December 27, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.
Bardarbunga (Central Iceland): The eruption continues, but seems to be becoming slowly weaker. The latest measurement shows the Nornahraun lava field measures now more than 81 square km.
Seismic activity under the caldera has been slowly decreasing overall as well.
|Subsidence and earthquakes at Bardarbunga caldera (IMO)|
However, the decreasing trend is very weak and the eruption could still continue for many months, or take a new, unexpected evolution at any time. The future, or probably 2015 will tell!
Fogo (Cape Verde): According to local press, volcanologist João Fonseca, responsible for volcanic monitoring and equipment maintenance at Fogo volcano, mentioned that volcanic activity shows signs of decreasing and that the eruption could be approaching its end.
Still, the northern lobe of the recently active lava flow to the west remained active during the past days and smaller lobes advanced through more farm land in the Cova Tina area.
The eruption, worse than the 1995 one, has already had a severe short- and medium- to long-term impact on the island's economy and counts as one of the worst volcanic disasters in recent decades. On the positive side, at least, there were no fatalities.
|The eruption of Fogo volcano and the 3 lava flows (North, South and
West), and the location of the destroyed settlements. |
(Images: Theo Montrond via Involcan / editing and annotations: Culture Volcan)
- The short-term consequences are obvious: destruction of homes, infrastructure supporting tourism, agriculture (wine production, storage and processing facilities destroyed).
- The medium- and long-term consequences are diverse. The loss of fertile land decreases the ability of the caldera area to produce cultivated plants, such as beans, squash, grapes etc. Less surface is available as for livestock to feed on. This decreases drastically the number of people the land now can support in the long term - it will take many decades if not centuries for the lava flow to become fertile land again.
Tourism in turn could however profit from the changes the eruption has brought as a geological attraction.
Whether an acceptable economic balance can return to the inhabitants of the caldera will depend on a number of factors, such as:
- How investment, partly funded by donations collected during the crisis, will be used and how it will be prioritized based on a volcanic hazard model.
- The willingness of residents to return and rebuild.
If the villages of Portela and Bangaeira are reconstructed on the lava flow, there is a good chance that the next lava flow - which inevitably will occur in some time in the future, as Fogo continues to be a very active volcano - will choose a different path and spare them.
Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Explosive eruptions, by explosions and or partial collapse events of the active lava dome continue to occur regularly. On 26 Dec at 04:37 UTC, an eruption was reported to produce an ash plume that rose to 26,000 ft (8 km) altitude and drifted west. (Tokyo VAAC)
Aso (Kyushu): The eruption from the volcano's Nakadake crater continues with relatively intense and near continuous strombolian activity. Incandescent material is frequently ejected several tens of meters above the crater rim.
|Strombolian explosion at Aso volcano this morning|
An ash plume rises a few hundred meters above the crater to up to 1-2 km altitude. A second vent inside the crater produces a dense steam plume and likely has some milder explosive activity as well.
Santiaguito (Guatemala): Explosive activity at the Caliente dome has picked up. Explosions with ash plumes rising several hundred meters have become more frequent. The lava flow on the eastern side remains active, according the the observatory's latest report.
Pacaya (Guatemala): INSIVUMEH reported a week ago that activity decreased and that there are currently no signs of explosive activity from the Mackenney crater. Only a steam and gas plume is being emitted.
Fuego (Guatemala): Mild to moderate strombolian explosions continue, the volcano being at average levels of activity over the past weeks.
Popocatepetl (Mexico): An explosion at Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano sent a mix of steam, gas and ash 3.5 kilometres into the sky, according to local authorities.
Turrialba (Costa Rica): Costa Rica has issued an emergency alert after the eruption of Turrialba volcano in the centre of the country.
Ash from the eruption has gone as far as the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.
The volcano has not spewed lava since the 1800s but there are concerns that this eruption could be a precursor to larger eruptions.
- Volcano Discovery.