New Eruption at Alaska’s Veniaminof and Evacuations at Guatemala’s Fuego

By Erik Klemetti | November 21, 2018 2:15 pm
Image from the Perryville (Alaska) FAA webcam showing the plume from Veniaminof (dark cloud behind the antenna). FAA.

Image from the Perryville (Alaska) FAA webcam showing the plume from Veniaminof
(dark cloud behind the antenna). FAA.

Overnight, Alaska’s Veniaminof had its first eruption in a little over a year. An eruption plume reached 4.5 kilometers (15,000 feet) up and the plume was tracked spreading southeast for over 150 kilometers (90 miles). Visibility is low in the area of the Alaska Peninsula where Veniaminof is located, but the Perryville FAA webcam caught a glimpse of the dark grey ash plume (see above) this morning (Alaska time). The Alaska Volcano Observatory raised the alert status to Red after this new eruption started.

The 2018 eruption of Veniaminof was relatively minor, but the activity in 2013 produced some spectacular lava fountains and flows from the volcano (see below). The current active vent is located within an 8 by 11 kilometer caldera. Eruptions in 1984 saw lava flows coat the main vent and make their way onto the caldera floor.

Lava bombs and ash from the 2013 eruption of Veniaminof. AVO/USGS.

Lava bombs and ash from the 2013 eruption of Veniaminof. AVO/USGS.

Meanwhile, continued explosive eruptions (see below) at Guatemala’s Fuego has prompted more evacuations from the area around the restless volcano. Video shows lava fountains and a long lava flow cascading down the sides of the volcano. Remember, in June over 100 people died during an eruption that sent pyroclastic flows down the sides of the volcano. At this point, over 4,000 people have had to leave the homes during the new eruptions, many of which don’t want to return after the repeated eruptions and volcanic mudflows generated from all the debris from these blasts.

The brown ash from Fuego in Guatemala, seen on November 20, 2018 by Terra. NASA.

The brown ash from Fuego in Guatemala, seen on November 20, 2018 by Terra. NASA.

 

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  • OWilson

    It is time that humans started to pay attention to their tenuous existence beside volcanoes, on earthquake faults, Tornado Alleys, hurricane zones, beaches, barrier islands and sand pits, eroding cliffs, low lying coastal flood lands.

    Now there’s a real “awareness” program that makes common sense for the doomsday usual suspects.

    We could save lives, and $trillions, by making some of these too frequent, and costly, “evacuations” a little more permanent?

    • whheydt

      You missed blizzards. Sinkholes might be good to add, as well. Not to mention the propensity to build in flood plains along rivers.

      • Mike Richardson

        He lives in a hurricane prone area, so it’s rather hypocritical of him talking about those who live in, and rebuild in, areas subject to natural disasters. However, you’d be hard pressed to find any part of the globe that doesn’t face some type of hazard from natural disasters and extreme weather. Rule all of those out, and where would anyone rebuild?

        • whheydt

          That was the thought behind my additions. That said, it’s not just *where* you build, but *how* you build. Well built wood frame is remarkably resilient in an earthquake. Ferrocement domes have been shown to be good at withstanding both hurricanes and tornadoes.

          • OWilson

            In the last 10 years, I’ve been through most of the major hurricanes in my area. And a couple of earthquakes.

            The simple code of cement or concrete, even for the one room shacks is sufficient to keep the death toll in my DR down to a minor fraction of motoconcho and pedestrian misshaps! :)

            Contrast that way of life with our poor neighbor Haiti, that we share this island with, still living in tent cities, cardboard boxes and whatever they find to cover their heads.

            Like North and South Korea, East and West Germany, the only difference is their politics!

            Here, we do not build on beaches or cliffs, or floodlands and don’t seek government help every time there is a bit of normal, inclement weather!

            Common sense still thrives in at least part of this world!

            Peace!

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Rocky Planet

Rocky Planet covers all the geologic events that made and will continue to shape our planet. From volcanoes to earthquakes to gold to oceans to other solar systems, I discuss what is intriguing and illuminating about the rocks beneath our feet and above our heads. Ever wonder what volcanoes are erupting? How tsunamis form and where? What rocks can tell us about ancient environments? How the Earth might change in the future? You'll find these answers and more on Rocky Planet.
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