Monthly Archives: March 2009

How do volcanoes help scientists learn about the Earth’s interior?

The deepest samples of the Earth’s interior brought up from drill holes come from a depth of 12 km . . . . volcanoes provide direct samples of the Earth’s interior from much greater depths . . at least 100 … Continue reading

Posted in FAQ

How do Volcanologists predict volcanic eruptions?

The prediction of volcanic eruptions is difficult because, to be of practical use, they must be made before eruptions! Its a lot easier to see patterns in monitoring data after an eruption has occurred. But great progress has been made … Continue reading

Posted in FAQ

What tools do Volcanologists use to study volcanoes?

Volcanologists use many different kinds of tools including instruments that detect and record earthquakes (seismometers and seimographs), instruments that measure ground deformation (EDM, Leveling, GPS, tilt), instruments that detect and measure volcanic gases (COSPEC), instruments that determine how much lava … Continue reading

Posted in FAQ

How does magma form and what makes it erupt?

Magma forms from the partial melting of mantle rocks.  These little blobs of melt migrate upward and coalesce into larger volumes that continue to move upward. As they rise, gas molecules in the magma come out of solution and form … Continue reading

Posted in FAQ

Why is lava so hot?

Lava is hot for two reasons: It’s hot deep in the Earth (about 100 km down) where rocks melt to make magma. The rock around the magma is a good insulator, so the magma doesn’t lose much heat on the … Continue reading

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Why is lava different colors?

The color of lava depends on its temperature. It starts out bright orange (1000-1150 C). As it cools the color changes to bright red (800-1000 C), then do dark red (650-800 C), and to brownish red (500-650 C). Solid lava … Continue reading

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Tungurahua, Ecuador

The IG reported that, although cloud cover occasionally prevented visual observation during 24 February-3 March, ash plumes from Tungurahua were seen and rose to altitudes of 5.5-10 km (18,000-32,800 ft) a.s.l. The plumes drifted in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported … Continue reading

Posted in Volcano Activity Reports | Tagged

Suwanose-Jima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan

Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported multiple explosions from Suwanose-jima during 26 February-1 March. On 1 March, resultant plumes rose to altitudes of 1.2-1.5 km (4,000-5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. On 2 March, an eruption produced … Continue reading

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Soufriére Hills, Montserrat, West Indies

MVO reported that during 20-27 February activity from the Soufrière Hills lava dome was at a low level. On 24 February, a pyroclastic flow traveled E as far as the previous Tar River Valley coastline. The next day, a pyroclastic … Continue reading

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Shiveluch, Russia

KVERT reported that seismic activity at Shiveluch was at background levels during 21-28 February. Based on interpretations of seismic data, ash plumes likely rose to an altitude of 5.5 km (18,000 ft) a.s.l. Lava flows continued to be active on … Continue reading

Posted in Volcano Activity Reports | Tagged