Volcanoes In the News ...

Yellowstone spawned twin super-eruptions that altered global climate   PhysOrg - October 26, 2017
A new geological record of the Yellowstone supervolcano's last catastrophic eruption is rewriting the story of what happened 630,000 years ago and how it affected Earth's climate. This eruption formed the vast Yellowstone caldera observed today, the second largest on Earth. Two layers of volcanic ash bearing the unique chemical fingerprint of Yellowstone's most recent super-eruption have been found in seafloor sediments in the Santa Barbara Basin, off the coast of Southern California. These layers of ash, or tephra, are sandwiched among sediments that contain a remarkably detailed record of ocean and climate change. Together, both the ash and sediments reveal that the last eruption was not a single event, but two closely spaced eruptions that tapped the brakes on a natural global-warming trend that eventually led the planet out of a major ice age.

Ice sheets may melt rapidly in response to distant volcanoes   PhysOrg - October 24, 2017
Volcanic eruptions have been known to cool the global climate, but they can also exacerbate the melting of ice sheets. Researchers who analyzed ice cores and meltwater deposits found that ancient eruptions caused immediate and significant melting of the ice sheet that covered much of northern Europe at the end of the last ice age, some 12,000 to 13,000 years ago. "Over a time span of 1,000 years, we found that volcanic eruptions generally correspond with enhanced ice sheet melting within a year or so.

New magma pathways after giant lateral volcano collapses   PhysOrg - October 24, 2017
Giant lateral collapses are huge landslides occurring at the flanks of a volcano. Giant lateral collapses are rather common events during the evolution of a large volcanic edifice, often with dramatic consequences such as tsunami and volcano explosions. These catastrophic events interact with the magmatic activity of the volcano, as a new research in Nature Communications suggests.

The Popocatepetl volcano outside Mexico City has spewed glowing rock and dumped ash over nearby towns   ABC - October 6, 2017
The Popocatepetl volcano outside Mexico City has spewed glowing rock and dumped ash over nearby towns. Mexico's national disaster-prevention agency says the volcano also known to locals as "Don Goyo" erupted for several hours Wednesday morning. Its monitoring cameras detected incandescent rocks landing more than a half-mile (1,000 meters) down the slope. The agency also reported ash fall in towns west of the peak. It said the eruption was not related to the last week's earthquake that killed 337 people. Some 25 million people live within about 60 miles (100 kilometers) of the crater of the 17,797-foot (5,426-meter) stratovolcano. Popocatepetl has been erupting periodically since 1994.

Volcanic Eruptions Gave the Ancient Moon a Temporary Atmosphere   Space.com - October 6, 2017
Earth's moon doesn't have much of an atmosphere today. However, it may have had a more prominent atmosphere 3 billion to 4 billion years ago, when volcanic eruptions spewed giant clouds of gas above the lunar surface, a new study has found. Today's moon is covered in dead volcanoes and dark maria, or plains that consist of hardened lava. The lunar atmosphere is so thin it's not even technically an atmosphere — instead, it's considered an "exosphere," with molecules that are gravitationally bound to the moon but are too sparse to behave like a gas.

Yellowstone has now been hit by a record breaking 'megaswarm' of 1,200 earthquakes in just a month   Daily Mail - July 21, 2017
In the most recent update on the ongoing earthquake storm, which scientists have been monitoring since June 12, the researchers say there have been 1,284 events so far, with the largest being a magnitude 4.4. While the activity has spurred fears that the supervolcano could be gearing up to an eruption, the experts say the risk of such an event is low, and the alert level remains at ‘normal.’

Mars volcano, Earth's dinosaurs went extinct about the same time   PhysOrg - March 20, 2017
Around the same time that the dinosaurs became extinct on Earth, a volcano on Mars went dormant, NASA researchers have learned. Arsia Mons is the southernmost volcano in a group of three massive Martian volcanoes known collectively as Tharsis Montes. Until now, the volcano's history has remained a mystery. But thanks to a new computer model, scientists were finally able to figure out when Arsia Mons stopped spewing out lava. According to the model, volcanic activity at Arsia Mons came to a halt about 50 million years ago. Around that same time, Earth experienced the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, which wiped out three-quarters of its animal and plant species, including the dinosaurs.

  Etna escape: 'Pelted with the deadly, hot debris'   BBC - March 17, 2017
When we arrived in Sicily, we discovered that we were in luck: Mount Etna had just started to erupt again. I was part of a BBC team who had come to film a report on volcano monitoring. Getting to witness an awakened Etna was about as exciting as it gets for a science correspondent. I just didn’t intend to have quite such a close encounter. The conditions were perfect - blue skies and barely any wind. And as we travelled towards the snow-covered summit, the thunderous booms as Etna spewed magma from its south-east crater reverberated all around.

Fossilized tree and ice cores help date huge volcanic eruption 1,000 years ago to within three months   PhysOrg - January 24, 2017

An international team of researchers has managed to pinpoint, to within three months, a medieval volcanic eruption in east Asia the precise date of which has puzzled historians for decades. They have also shown that the so-called "Millennium eruption" of Changbaishan volcano, one of the largest in history, cannot have brought about the downfall of an important 10th century kingdom, as was previously thought. Analysis of the partly fossilized remains of a tree killed by the eruption, and ice cores drilled in Greenland, lead them to conclude the eruption occurred in the final months of 946 AD.

Massive 'lake' discovered under volcano could unlock why and how volcanoes erupt   Science Daily - November 8, 2016

A huge magmatic lake has been discovered, 15 kilometers below a dormant volcano in Bolivia, South America. The body of water, which is dissolved into partially molten rock at a temperature of almost 1,000 degrees Celsius, is the equivalent to what is found in some of the world's giant freshwater lakes, such as Lake Superior. The find has now led scientists to consider if similar bodies of water may be 'hiding' under other volcanoes and could help explain why and how volcanoes erupt.

Researchers find evidence for a cold, serpentinized mantle wedge beneath Mt. St. Helens   PhysOrg - November 2, 2016

It's been more than 35 years since the last major eruption of Mount St. Helens. Since that blast, much research has been conducted with scientists learning a great deal about one of the most active volcanoes within the Cascade arc, a North-South chain of volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest that formed above the subducting Juan de Fuca plate.

  Treasure Trove of Ancient Human Footprints Found Near Volcano   National Geographic - October 10, 2016

Nine miles from the volcano the Maasai call the 'Mountain of God,' researchers have cataloged a spectacularly rare find: an enormous set of well-preserved human footprints left in the mud between 5,000 and 19,000 years ago. The more than 400 footprints cover an area slightly larger than a tennis court, crisscrossing the dark gray mudflat of Engare Sero, on the southern shore of Tanzania's Lake Natron. No other site in Africa has as many ancient Homo sapiens footprints making it a treasure trove for scientists trying to tell the story of humankind’s earliest days.

  Volcano insight: Fifty years of eruptions revealed   BBC - October 6, 2016

Half a century of the planet's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have been visualized in an animated app. It is part of a project to create a record of every volcanic eruption on Earth for the last 10,000 years. As well as monitoring active volcanoes, a global collaboration of researchers is gathering evidence of ancient eruptions in the geological record.

3 Volcano Spotted Erupting over a remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean   Live Science - October 5, 2016

Three active volcanoes simultaneously erupting and unleashing giant plumes of smoke were spotted by a NASA satellite as it passed over a remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. The three stratovolcanoes - a type of composite volcano built of layers of lava, ash and stone - are located on the South Sandwich Islands, which are about 1,700 miles (2,800 kilometers) southeast of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Volcanoes in the region are some of the least studied in the world, because of the remote location and inhospitable environment of the islands. On Sept. 29, NASA's Aqua satellite captured the plumes from these volcano triplets in a false-color image. Clouds and ice in the region make it difficult for satellites to see volcanic activity in natural-color imagery, NASA said. False-color images use portions of the electromagnetic spectrum typically invisible to humans such as infrared to distinguish ice from ash and clouds.

Volcanic eruptions that changed human history   Science Daily - July 8, 2015

It is well known that large volcanic eruptions contribute to climate variability. A new study uses new evidence found in both ice cores and corresponding tree rings to show the timing and associated radiative forcing of nearly 300 individual volcanic eruptions extending as far back as the early Roman period.

  Chile's Calbuco volcano erupts for third time   BBC - April 30, 2015

Chile's Calbuco volcano has erupted for the third time in eight days, leading the government to order the evacuation of 2,500 people. Some of those residents had only just returned to their homes after last week's eruptions. The latest eruption was less powerful, but sent a large plume of dark grey smoke and ash rising from the crater. Calbuco surprised residents of the Los Lagos region last week by bursting into life after 54 years of inactivity.

Lava Lake Threatens Overflow in Hawaii   Live Science - April 28, 2015

The roiling lava lake atop Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano is threatening to overflow for the first time since the molten pool appeared in February 2010. The lava lake usually hides out of tourists' sight by hovering about 100 feet (30 meters) below the rim of Overlook crater, which lies inside of the bigger Halemau'mau' crater at Kilauea's summit. The 720-foot wide (220 m) Overlook crater emerged with a stupendous blast on March 19, 2008. But last week, on April 22, lava started rising steadily and is now hovering within 10 feet (3 m) of the crater's edge. Lava briefly touched the crater rim this morning (April 28), according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Titanic Blob of Magma Found Beneath Yellowstone Supervolcano   Live Science - April 23, 2015
A giant blob-shaped reservoir of searing-hot rock has been discovered far below the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone National Park - one that could fill the Grand Canyon more than 11 times over, researchers say. The discovery doesn't raise the risk of future eruptions at Yellowstone, the study authors said. However, a better understanding of the Yellowstone supervolcano's plumbing could shed light on any hazards it might pose, scientists added. The newfound blob-shaped magma reservoir lies in the lower crust. The molten rock extends from about 12 to 28 miles (19 to 45 kilometers) deep, and measures about 30 miles (48 km) long northwest to southeast and 44 miles (70 km) long southwest to northeast. This magma reservoir is about 11,200 cubic miles (46,700 cubic km) in size.

An Antarctic volcano that just doesn't make any sense   PhysOrg - April 7, 2015

Only two volcanoes in Antarctica are active. There is Mount Erebus, which is roughly due south of New Zealand, and Deception Island, which lies about 850km south east of Cape Horn. Mt Erebus has been erupting continuously over the last few decades. Yet the rather smaller Deception Island, in the South Shetland archipelago, is responsible for the largest known eruption in the Antarctic area. This horseshoe-shaped cauldron-like structure, or caldera, was produced more than 10,000 years ago by an explosive eruption that scattered more than 30km3 of molten rock. The result is an enclosed welcoming bay called Port Foster. The big blunder ...

What is a Dirty Thunderstorm?   BBC - March 26, 2015

A series of astounding images of a 'dirty thunderstorm', captured by volcano film-maker Marc Szeglat earlier this month, show the earth’s power at its most terrifying and breath-taking. Dirty thunderstorms are a rare phenomenon, associated with large volcanic eruptions. But unusually and perhaps uniquely, they occur regularly at Sakurajima volcano in Japan, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

A Visit to the Forgotten Volcano That Once Turned Europe Dark   Wired - January 22, 2015

One of the craters of Iceland’s Laki volcano, which had a huge eruption in 1783 that darkened Europe and had global consequences.
Laki   Wikipedia

Volcanic Eruptions - August 24-26, 2014

August 26, 2014

Iceland volcano: Bardarbunga hit by 5.7 earthquake   BBC - August 26, 2014

Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano was hit by a magnitude 5.7 earthquake on Tuesday morning, the largest since tremors began in the area last week. The country's Met Office said despite the shock - the fourth magnitude five quake in 48 hours - there is still no sign of a volcanic eruption. On Sunday, Iceland lowered the aviation risk to its second highest level. Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010, producing ash that disrupted air travel across Europe. Bardarbunga is in a different range to Eyjafjallajokull, but the intense seismic activity has raised fears that an eruption could cause similar travel chaos.

August 26, 1883

Krakatau Erupts

Krakatoa is a volcanic island situated in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. The name is also used for the surrounding island group comprising the remnants of a much larger island of three volcanic peaks which was obliterated in a cataclysmic 1883 eruption, unleashing huge tsunamis (killing more than 36,000 people) and destroying over two-thirds of the island. The explosion is considered to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history, with reports of it being heard up to 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from its point of origin. The shock waves from the explosion were recorded on barographs around the globe. In 1927 a new island, Anak Krakatau, or "Child of Krakatoa", emerged from the caldera formed in 1883 and is the current location of eruptive activity.

August 24, 79

Mount Vesuvius erupts. The cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae are buried in volcanic ash. Very fine ash particles remain high in the atmosphere for years, spreading around the world by high-altitude winds. This suspended material contributes to often spectacular sunsets, as well as an optical phenomenon known as Bishop's Ring.

Shattering past of the 'island of glass': Pantelleria, a little-known island near Sicily, was once covered in a searing-hot layer of green glass   Science Daily - May 21, 2014

A tiny Mediterranean island visited by the likes of Madonna, Sting, Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone is now the focus of a ground-breaking study by geologists. Pantelleria, a little-known island between Sicily and Tunisia, is a volcano with a remarkable past: 45 thousand years ago, the entire island was covered in a searing-hot layer of green glass.

Found! New Underwater Volcano Discovered in Hawaii   Live Science - May 17, 2014
The sprawling chain of Hawaiian volcanoes just added another underwater branch. The discovery means Oahu once towered above the ocean with three volcanic peaks, the researchers said. Until now, scientists thought Oahu was built by two volcanoes - Wai'anae on the west and Ko'olau on the east. "I think we may very well have had three active volcanoes in the Oahu region," said lead study author John Sinton, a geologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Rare Earthquake Warning Issued for Oklahoma   Live Science - May 5, 2014
Mile for mile, there are almost as many earthquakes rattling Oklahoma as California this year. This major increase in seismic shaking led to a rare earthquake warning today (May 5) from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey. In a joint statement, the agencies said the risk of a damaging earthquake - one larger than magnitude 5.0 - has significantly increased in central Oklahoma. Geologists don't know when or where the state's next big earthquake will strike, nor will they put a number on the increased risk. "We haven't seen this before in Oklahoma, so we had some concerns about putting a specific number on the chances of it," Robert Williams, a research geophysicist with the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Golden, Colorado, told Live Science. "But we know from other cases around the world that if you have an increasing number of small earthquakes, the chances of a larger one will go up."

Volcanic islands merge in Pacific Ocean   BBC - April 8, 2014

A volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean has merged with its neighbor to form one landmass, the US space agency says. The merged island lies some 1,000km (621mi) south of Tokyo, the result of eruptions on the seafloor that have spewed enough material to rise above the water line. In November 2013, a new island sprouted near to Nishino-shima, another volcanic landmass that last expanded in the 70s. Four months later, the new and old islands are one island. The newer portion of the island - which was referred to as Niijima - is now larger than the original Nishino-shima landmass.

  Strangest Magma on Earth: Carbonatites of Ol Doinyo Lengai   Wired - March 11, 2014
If you had to pick the most unique volcano on Earth, you’d be hard pressed to find a better candidate than Tanzania’s Ol Doinyo Lengai. Not only does it look like a volcano designed by HR Giger (below), but it is the only place on the planet that is currently erupting carbonatite lava, some of the strangest stuff you will ever see. These lavas are like no other lava, chock full of calcium, sodium and carbon dioxide, leading to some of the odd properties of these eruptions. However, the ultimate source of these carbonatite lavas is still hotly debated - and to make it more complicated, Ol Doinyo Lengai doesn’t even erupt the usual carbonatite (if you can call any carbonatite usual) lava. Not only that, but carbonatites might be a good source for mining rare earth elements, so understanding how they form is going to become increasingly important.

Ancient Helium Escaping from Yellowstone   Live Science - February 19, 2014

The giant magma blob beneath Yellowstone National Park unleashed tons of ancient helium gas when it torched North America, according to a new study. "The amount of crustal helium coming out is way more than anyone would have expected," said Jacob Lowenstern, lead study author and scientist-in-charge at the U.S. Geological Survey's Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. The findings appear in today's (Feb. 19) issue of the journal Nature. Yellowstone National Park's famous geysers burble within the remains of a supervolcano that first exploded 2.1 million years ago. Both the volcano and the geysers owe their existence to a hotspot, a massive plume of molten rock rising from within Earth's mantle toward the surface.

Stunning Electric-Blue Flames Erupt From Kawah Ijen Volcano   National Geographic - January 30, 2014

For several years Paris-based photographer Olivier Grunewald has been documenting the Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia, where dazzling, electric-blue fire can often be seen streaming down the mountain at night. The blue glow isn't lava - it is actually the light from the combustion of sulfuric gases. Forest fires in Yellowstone National Park have caused similar "rivers," as heat from the blazes melted the sulfur around hydrothermal vents.

Supervolcano eruption mystery solved   BBC - January 6, 2014
Supervolcanoes like Yellowstone can explode without an earthquake or other external trigger, experts have found. The sheer volume of liquid magma is enough to cause a catastrophic super-eruption.

Scientists show how deadly volcanic phenomenon moves   PhysOrg - December 30, 2013
For the first time scientists have tracked how one of the deadliest volcanic hazards moves over time. Scientists from the University of Leicester have developed a novel way of reconstructing how one of these currents flowed. Their technique showed for the first time that instead of flowing radially out from the volcano and covering everything in their path, these currents move initially in one direction, but that this direction then changes.

Utah supervolcanoes discovered   PhysOrg - December 10, 2013
Brigham Young University geologists found evidence of some of the largest volcanic eruptions in earth's history right in their own backyard. These supervolcanoes aren't active today, but 30 million years ago more than 5,500 cubic kilometers of magma erupted during a one-week period near a place called Wah Wah Springs. By comparison, this eruption was about 5,000 times larger than the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. In southern Utah, deposits from this single eruption are 13,000 feet thick. Imagine the devastation – it would have been catastrophic to anything living within hundreds of miles. Dinosaurs were already extinct during this time period, but what many people don't know is that 25-30 million years ago, North America was home to rhinos, camels, tortoises and even palm trees. Evidence of the ancient flora and fauna was preserved by volcanic deposits.

Japan's Newest Island Triples in Size   National Geographic - December 27, 2013
Japan's newest island now has a name, Niijima, and it continues to grow. The small volcanic island sits about 600 miles (970 kilometers) south of Tokyo, offshore of a small, uninhabited island called Nishino Shima. Located in Japanese waters, the newborn island is now one of about 30 known as the Bonin Islands, or the Ogasawara chain.

  Volcanic eruption raises new island in Pacific's 'Ring of Fire'   NBC - November 21, 2013
A volcanic eruption has raised a new island, according to earthquake experts and the Japanese coast guard. Advisories from the coast guard and the Japan Meteorological Agency said the islet is about 660 feet in diameter. It is just off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small, uninhabited island in the Ogasawara chain, which is also known as the Bonin Islands.

Stunning Pictures: Japan's New Volcanic Island   Live Science - November 21, 2013

A new island appeared in the Pacific Oceans about 620 miles (1,000 km) south of Tokyo on Nov. 20. The spectacular volcanic eruption boiled the sea and shot lava fragments into the air. The Japanese Coast Guard captured pictures of the island's birth from the air.

'World's largest volcano discovered beneath Pacific   BBC - September 8, 2013
Scientists say that they have discovered the single largest volcano in the world, a dead colossus deep beneath the Pacific waves. A team writing in the journal Nature Geoscience says the 310,000 sq km (119,000 sq mi) Tamu Massif is comparable in size to Mars' vast Olympus Mons volcano - the largest in the Solar System. The structure topples the previous largest on Earth, Mauna Loa in Hawaii. The massif lies some 2km below the sea.

Monster Earth Volcano One of Solar System's Biggest   Discovery - September 6, 2013

The largest volcano on Earth is not in Hawaii, but hidden beneath the western Pacific Ocean and covers an area the size of New Mexico. The vast lump of lava is called the Tamu Massif and lies about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) east of Japan and is comparable, though somewhat less voluminous, than the enormous volcano Olympus Mons on Mars.

Largest volcano on Earth found, scientists say   CNN - September 6, 2013
An underwater volcano dubbed Tamu Massif was found some 1,000 miles east of Japan, says William Sager, a professor at the University of Houston, who led a team of scientists in the discovery. The volcano is about the size of the state of New Mexico and is among the largest in the solar system, Sager says. Tamu Massif covers an area of about 120,000 square miles. In comparison, the largest active volcano on Earth, Hawaii's Mauna Loa, is about 2,000 square miles, Sager says. "It's shape is different from any other sub-marine volcano found on Earth, and it's very possible it can give us some clues about how massive volcanoes can form," Sager says. Tamu Massif is believed to be about 145 million years old, and became inactive within a few million years after it was formed.

List of Volcanoes in Japan   Wikipedia

Volcanic 'scream' precedes explosive eruptions   BBC - July 15, 2013

A change in the frequency of earthquakes may foretell explosive volcanic eruptions, according to a new study. The seismic activity changes from steady drum beats to increasingly rapid successions of tremors. These blend into continuous noise which silences just before explosion.

The seriously hot sport of volcano boarding   FOX - June 27, 2013

There's nothing like careening down an active volcano in Western Nicaragua. Especially while your feet are strapped to a retrofitted snowboard, ash is flying to and fro and the hot wind is tousling your hair. For adventure-seekers, like Joshua Berman, co-author of the Moon Nicaragua travel guide, it sounds quite thrilling. In fact, he was one of the first to try the unusual sport of volcano boarding in 2004 when it was just getting started.

Ancient Irish texts show volcanic link to cold weather   BBC - June 6, 2013

Researchers have been able to trace the impact of volcanic eruptions on the climate over a 1200 year period by assessing ancient Irish texts. The international team compared entries in these medieval annals with ice core data indicating volcanic eruptions. Of 38 volcanic events, 37 were associated with directly observed cold weather extremes recorded in the chronicles. In the dim light of the Dark Ages, the Irish literary tradition stands out like a beacon. At monastic centres across the island, scribes recorded significant events such as feast days, obituaries and descriptions of extreme cold and heat.

A Blast of a Find: 12 New Alaskan Volcanoes   Live Science - May 31, 2013
In Alaska, scores of volcanoes and strange lava flows have escaped scrutiny for decades, shrouded by lush forests and hidden under bobbing coastlines. In the past three years, 12 new volcanoes have been discovered in Southeast Alaska, and 25 known volcanic vents and lava flows re-evaluated, thanks to dogged work by geologists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Forest Service. Sprinkled across hundreds of islands and fjords, most of the volcanic piles are tiny cones compared to the super-duper stratovolcanoes that parade off to the west, in the Aleutian Range. But the Southeast's volcanoes are in a class by themselves, the researchers found. A chemical signature in the lava flows links them to a massive volcanic field in Canada. Unusual patterns in the lava also point to eruptions under, over and alongside glaciers, which could help scientists pinpoint the size of Alaska's mountain glaciers during past climate swings.

Second Source of Potentially Disruptive Icelandic Volcanoes Found   Science Daily - April 2, 2013
New research by The Open University and Lancaster University discovered another type of Icelandic volcanic eruption that could cause disruption. Published in Geology (February 2013), the team found magma that is twice as 'fizzy' as previously believed, which increases the likelihood of disruptive ash clouds from future eruptions. Many of the largest explosive eruptions in Iceland involve a viscous, high-silica magma called rhyolite, and are driven by volcanic gases (mostly water and carbon dioxide). It is these gases that give a volcanic eruption its fizz. At depth these gases are dissolved within the magma, but as the magma rises towards the surface during an eruption, the gases expand dramatically, causing the magma to froth and accelerate upwards as a foam. The viscous rhyolite foam breaks down into tiny ash fragments which form the ash clouds.

Unmanned Planes Fly Through Poisonous Volcanic Fumes   Live Science - April 2, 2013
Planes designed for urban warfare are helping scientists track poisonous volcanic gas. The Dragon Eye remote-controlled plane weighs in at just under 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms), with a 3.75-foot (1.14 meters) wingspan and two electric motors. Designed for the U.S. Marine Corps, the plane is light enough to carry and launch for reconnaissance. NASA recently acquired three retired Dragon Eye planes and sent them to Costa Rica to monitor Turrialba Volcano. Ongoing sulfur dioxide gas emissions from the volcano create vog, or sulfur dioxide smog, which wreaks havoc on crops and harms people who are sensitive to atmospheric pollutants.

The Deadliest Volcano Ever   Discovery - April 2, 2013

The damning evidence keeps rolling in with regards to volcanoes and mass extinctions. The latest is in the journal Geology regarding the mother of all extinction events - the end-Permian event 252 million years ago. The new evidence is from the Salt Range in Pakistan, where fossil plants reveal a huge input of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that yanked the global climate into a new regime.

It's Been a Blast! Alaska Volcano Observatory Marks 25th   Live Science - April 2, 2013

America's busiest cargoairport is in Anchorage, Alaska, where international flights heading to and from the Far East make frequent stops. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, monitors volcanic eruptions that can wreak havoc on the busy air traffic. For Alaska, a state that depends on air travel for moving people and goods to its far-flung and remote towns and villages, it's critical to know when and where to expect a volcanic plume.

Sakurajima Volcano with Lightning   NASA - March 11, 2013

Why does a volcanic eruption sometimes create lightning? Pictured above, the Sakurajima volcano in southern Japan was caught erupting in early January. Magma bubbles so hot they glow shoot away as liquid rock bursts through the Earth's surface from below. The above image is particularly notable, however, for the lightning bolts caught near the volcano's summit. Why lightning occurs even in common thunderstorms remains a topic of research, and the cause of volcanic lightning is even less clear. Surely, lightning bolts help quench areas of opposite but separated electric charges. One hypothesis holds that catapulting magma bubbles or volcanic ash are themselves electrically charged, and by their motion create these separated areas. Other volcanic lightning episodes may be facilitated by charge-inducing collisions in volcanic dust. Lightning is usually occurring somewhere on Earth, typically over 40 times each second.

Research team discovers third type of volcanic eruption   PhysOrg - January 21, 2013

On land, when a volcano erupts, it does so in either a violent fiery explosion, or as a seeping flow of hot magma. Until now, scientists have believed the same was true for eruptions that occur under the oceans. In this new effort, the researchers have found evidence that some underwater volcanoes erupt in a way that is neither - instead they erupt in a way that is in-between. The new discovery came about as the team was studying pumice from a volcanic eruption that occurred in the Macauley volcano - far beneath the waves in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

They noted that the samples they had sported evenly spread bubble cavities on the inside, and not so even bubbles near their surface - a pattern not generally found with rock spewed from explosive volcanoes. Bubbles form in pumice as gases inside try to escape - it generally happens when volcanic rock is blasted from its source. After more analysis and some out-of-the-box thinking, the team deduced that their pumice sample came to its unique characteristics due to something that happens under the sea. They suggest that had the volcano erupted on land, it would have blown its top, but because of the incredible pressure exerted by the weight of the ocean above it, it wasn't able to do so. Instead, it grew slowly into a mushy mousse-like mound that rose and grew slowly from the volcano, then broke apart, creating small balloons of material they team calls "blebs."

Weird Underwater Volcano Discovered Near Baja   Live Science - December 14, 2012

Scientists have discovered one of the world's weirdest volcanoes on the seafloor near the tip of Baja, Mexico. The petite dome - about 165 feet tall (50 meters) and 4,000 feet long by 1,640 feet wide (1,200 m by 500 m) - lies along the Alarcon Rise, a submarine depression located on the seabed at the southern end of the Gulf of California. Tectonic forces are tearing the Earth's crust apart at the spreading center, creating a long rift where magma oozes toward the surface, cools and forms new ocean crust. Circling the planet like baseball seams, seafloor-spreading centers (also called midocean ridges) produce copious amounts of basalt, a low-silica content lava rock that makes up the ocean crust. (Silica, or silicon dioxide, is the main component of quartz, one of the most common minerals on Earth.)

Giant 'balloon of magma' inflates under Santorini   PhysOrg - September 9, 2012

A new survey suggests that the chamber of molten rock beneath Santorini's volcano expanded 10-20 million cubic metres - up to 15 times the size of London's Olympic Stadium - between January 2011 and April 2012. The findings are helping scientists to understand more about the inner workings of the volcano which had its last major explosive eruption 3,600 years ago, burying the islands of Santorini under metres of pumice. However, it still does not provide an answer to the biggest question of all: 'when will the volcano next erupt?'

'Maars' Volcanoes: Research Seeks to Understand Strange Eruptions   Live Science - August 21, 2012
Maars are not your typical volcanoes. These explosive geological oddities don't form neat, cone-shaped mountains. Rather, they can crop up just about anywhere within certain volcanically active areas. Maars are created when a rising plume of magma interacts with underground water, creating a mixture that bursts out of the ground without much warning.

Earthquakes Reveal Magma Plumbing Beneath Volcanoes   Live Science - July 20, 2012
A helicopter battled near-hurricane-force winds as a team of seismologists fought its way through a treacherous mountain pass to reach the Alaska Peninsula's Katmai area. Their goal: to install a network of seismometers around the Katmai Volcanoes, the source of the largest volcanic eruption since Indonesia's Mount Tambora in 1815. Four years and mounds of data later, the team is beginning to understand the plumbing system beneath that group of volcanoes, including the magma source for the 1912 Novarupta eruption, which spewed 3 cubic miles (12 cubic kilometers) of magma and dwarfed the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption 30 times over.

Earliest Baby Animals Preserved in Ancient Volcanic Ash   Live Science - June 30, 2012
The ash from a Pompeii-style volcanic eruption more than a half-billion years ago smothered a nursery of what may be some of the earliest known animals, researchers say. These well-preserved findings shed light on the evolution of early life on Earth, and reinforce evidence suggesting that life became more complex earlier than often suspected, investigators added. Scientists hunted for evidence of life from the mysterious Ediacaran period, when the first complex multicellular organisms appeared about 540 million to 635 million years ago. The life-forms from the Ediacaran are typically bizarre, and very difficult to link with any modern animal groups. In fact, just this week researchers announced they'd discovered tiny tracks from the earliest complex life, bilaterally symmetrical animals that looked like slugs

Seismic Hazard: Faults Discovered Near Lake Tahoe Could Generate Earthquakes Ranging from 6.3 to 6.9   Science Daily - May 24, 2012
Results of a new U.S. Geological Survey study conclude that faults west of Lake Tahoe, Calif., referred to as the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone, pose a substantial increase in the seismic hazard assessment for the Lake Tahoe region of California and Nevada, and could potentially generate earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 6.3 to 6.9. A close association of landslide deposits and active faults also suggests that there is an earthquake-induced landslide hazard along the steep fault-formed range front west of Lake Tahoe.

Smokin' hot island rises up from depths of the Red Sea   NBC - December 28, 2011

The Red Sea has a new inhabitant: a smoking island. The island was created by a wild eruption that occurred in the Red Sea earlier this month. It is made of loose volcanic debris from the eruption, so it may not stick around long.

As seen from space: Volcanic eruption creates new island in the red sea   PhysOrg - December 28, 2011

Looking for some new lake-front property? Here's the newest available on the planet. Volcanic activity in the Red Sea that started in mid-December has created what looks like a new island. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured a high-resolution, natural-color image on December 23, 2011 showing an apparent island where previously there was none. Here, a thick plume of volcanic ash still rises from the new island.

Volcanic eruption could give rise to new island in the Canaries   Telegraph.co.uk - December 5, 2011

For more than a month, burning lava and gases have been spewing up through the sea bed three miles south of El Hierro, the smallest of the seven Canary Islands. The eruption is part of the long-term volcanic evolution of the Canary Islands, which could either result in an entirely new island, or add additional territory to the southern coast of El Hierro.

Earth's First Life Rode Rafts Across Sea, Study Suggests   Live Science - September 13, 2011
Floating rafts of volcanic rock could have been cradles of life in the early days of Earth, some scientists suggest.The circumstances under which life emerged sometime before 3.5 billion years ago remain largely mysterious. Commonly believed settings for the origin of life include deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Now scientists in England and Australia suggest that rafts of pumice, which is essentially solidified lava froth, were instrumental as vessels for first life. This pale volcanic rock, which is rich in gas bubbles, is the only known rock type that naturally floats on the surface of the sea.

Source of Earth's biggest eruptions discovered   MSNBC - July 27, 2011
Gigantic deluges of lava, or 'flood basalts,' tied to history's mass extinctions. A half dozen of the most titanic volcanic eruptions in Earth's history - including one potentially linked with the extinction of the dinosaurs - might all stem from the same ancient reservoir of super-hot rock near the Earth's core, scientists have found. Gigantic deluges of lava known as flood basalts have been linked with mass extinctions throughout history. For instance, a series of colossal volcanic eruptions near the end of the Age of Dinosaurs between 67 million to 63 million years ago created the mammoth Deccan Traps lava beds in India, which originally may have covered as much as 580,000 square miles, more than twice the area of Texas.

Satellite gallery shows Chilean volcano plume moving around the world   Science Daily - June 16, 2011

Three different satellite image flyovers were combined from NASA's Aqua satellite to show the journey of the volcanic ash from Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano as it traveled across the southern Pacific Ocean, past New Zealand

  Chile: Puyehue volcano chain erupts, forcing evacuation   BBC - June 5, 2011

Puyehue volcanic eruptions in Chile   Wikipedia

The eruptions sent ash across many parts of South America to the Atlantic, as well as Australia and New Zealand, affecting the lives, health, travel plans, and businesses of millions of people. The eruptions sent ash across many parts of South America to the Atlantic affecting the lives, health, travel plans, and businesses of millions of people. Authorities in Chile went house to house, trying to persuade stragglers near the volcano to leave because of an increasing danger of toxic gas and flash floods.

  Volcano blasts tower of ash near Mexico City   MSNBC - June 3, 2011

The Popocatepetl volcano that towers over Mexico City began rumbling again Friday, shooting a blast of ash about 2 miles above its crater at dawn. The ash cloud drifted first to the west and then turned back east toward the city of Puebla, Mexico's national disaster prevention agency said.

Bleach in the Icelandic Volcanic Cloud   Science Daily - May 27, 2011
One year after the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland brought European air traffic to a standstill its ash plume revealed a surprising scientific finding: Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz found that the ash plume contained not only the common volcanic gas sulfur dioxide, but also free chlorine radicals. Chlorine radicals are extremely reactive and even small amounts can have a profound impact on local atmospheric chemistry.

New explanation for Hawaiian hot spot   PhysOrg - May 27, 2011
Scientists in the US have suggested that volcanic activity in Hawaii could be fed by a giant hot rock pool 1,000 kilometers west of the islands and in the Earth's mantle, rather than being fed by a hot plume of magma as previously thought.

800-Mile-Wide Hot Anomaly Found Under Seafloor off Hawaii   National Geographic - May 27, 2011

Hawaii's long-accepted birth story - that the volcanic islands were, and are, fueled by a hot-rock plume running directly to Earth's scorching core - could be toast, a new study hints. Scientists say they've finally found solid evidence of a giant mass of hot rock under the seafloor in the region. But it's not a plume running straight from the core to the surface - and it's hundreds of miles west of the nearest Hawaiian island. Until now, the researchers say, good seismic data on the region has been scarce, so there was no real reason to question the most obvious explanation: that a stream of hot rock directly from around Earth's core formed the 3,100-mile-long (5,000-kilometer-long) chain of islands and undersea mountains in the Pacific Ocean.

Grimsvotn Volcano Erupts - May 21, 2011

Largest Fossil Spider Found in Volcanic Ash   Live Science - April 20, 2011
The largest fossil spider uncovered to date once ensnared prey back in the age of dinosaurs, scientists find. The spider, named Nephila jurassica, was discovered buried in ancient volcanic ash in Inner Mongolia, China. Tufts of hairlike fibers seen on its legs showed this 165-million-year-old arachnid to be the oldest known species of the largest web-weaving spiders alive today - the golden orb-weavers, or Nephila, which are big enough to catch birds and bats, and use silk that shines like gold in the sunlight.

Deadly Mud Volcano to Erupt for 26 More Years   National Geographic - March 5, 2011
Mud from Indonesia's Lusi volcano engulfs the village of Sidoarjo, East Java. The world's biggest and fastest growing mud volcano, Lusi sprang to life in May 2006, and it and may continue to spew hot mud for another 26 years, according to a new study. Lusi could expel the equivalent of 56,000 Olympic-size swimming pools of mud before it finally simmers down, say scientists from the U.K.'s Durham University.

Huge volcano under Yellowstone Park rising   MSNBC - February 9, 2011
The huge volcano under Yellowstone National Park has been rising at an unprecedented rate during the past several years, according to a new study. In the ancient past, the Yellowstone volcano produced some of the biggest-known continental eruptions, but the recent rising doesn't mean another doomsday eruption is looming, scientists say.

Volcano Lightning Electrifies Japan Eruption   National Geographic - January 28, 2011
Lightning crackles over Japan on Friday as ash and lava erupt from Shinmoedake peak, one of the calderas of the Kirishima volcano complex. Shinmoedake began erupting Wednesday, coating nearby villages and farms with ash and prompting authorities to ask for voluntary evacuations within a 1.2-mile (2-kilometer) radius. Volcanic lightning is still a mystery, though it may be that electrically charged silica - part of magma - interacts with the atmosphere when it flies out of a volcano, Steve McNutt of the Alaska Volcano Observatory told National Geographic News in February 2010.

Geologist's discoveries resolve debate about oxygen in Earth's mantle   PhysOrg - December 15, 2010
Analysis of erupted rock from Agrigan volcano in the western Pacific near Guam found it to be highly oxidized as a result of its exposure to oxygen when it formed in the Earth's mantle. When, over millions of years, seafloor rocks are transported back into the Earth's mantle at subduction zones - sites on the seafloor where tectonic plates have collided, forcing one plate beneath the other - they deliver more oxygen into the mantle.

Villagers evacuated as Ecuador volcano erupts - News, Video   Crystalinks Report - December 5, 2010
The Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador is billowing ash into the sky and sending super-hot pyroclastic flows surging down its slopes, causing authorities to evacuate nearby villages.

Volcanoes Have Shifted Asian Rainfall   Science Daily - November 6, 2010
Scientists have long known that large volcanic explosions can affect the weather by spewing particles that block solar energy and cool the air. Some suspect that extended "volcanic winters" from gigantic blowups helped kill off dinosaurs and Neanderthals. In the summer following Indonesia's 1815 Tambora eruption, frost wrecked crops as far off as New England, and the 1991 blowout of the Philippines' Mount Pinatubo lowered average global temperatures by 0.7 degrees F -- enough to mask the effects of manmade greenhouse gases for a year or so.

Pompeiians Flash-Heated to Death - "No Time to Suffocate"   National Geographic - November 4, 2010
Until now it's been widely assumed that most of the victims were asphyxiated by volcanic ash and gas. But a recent study says most died instantly of extreme heat, with many casualties shocked into a sort of instant rigor mortis.

Indonesia Earthquake, Tsunami, Mt. Merapi Erupts

October 2010 Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami   Wikipedia

The country's most volatile volcano, Mount Merapi,
800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to the east, erupted.

Both events fell along Indonesia's portion of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a
series of fault lines that are prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity
stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

Photos: Merapi Volcano Ash Smothers Indonesian Villages
National Geographic - October 29, 2010

Indonesia's Explosive Geology Explained   Live Science - October 26, 2010
Indonesia is a dangerous country to call home. Precariously located above the grinding and mashing of several tectonic plates, and ringed by a chain of fire-breathing volcanoes, the country's islands are located in one of the most volatile regions in the world. The eruption of a volcano and the shaking of a tsunami-generating earthquake this week is just one reminder of Indonesia's fiery foundation.

Iceland's volcanic eruption yields ash clues   BBC - September 28, 2010
Samples collected using double-sided sticky tape could give fresh insight into the Eyjafjallajoekull eruption. The samples could reveal how fine ash thrown up into the atmosphere by the Icelandic eruption fell to ground as clumps or "aggregates" of ash. The eruption of the volcano in March this year caused chaos, shutting down huge swathes of European air space.

Volcano quiet for 400 years erupts in Indonesia   PhysOrg - August 29, 2010
Mount Sinabung spews volcanic smoke as it erupts in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010. The volcano spewed hot lava and sand high into the sky early Sunday in its first eruption in 400 years causing thousands of people living around its slope to evacuate their homes.

New insights into volcanic activity on the ocean floor   PhysOrg - June 16, 2010
New research reveals that when two parts of the Earth's crust break apart, this does not always cause massive volcanic eruptions. The study, published today in the journal Nature, explains why some parts of the world saw massive volcanic eruptions millions of years ago and others did not. The Earth's crust is broken into plates that are in constant motion over timescales of millions of years. Plates occasionally collide and fuse, or they can break apart to form new ones. When the latter plates break apart, a plume of hot rock can rise from deep within the Earth's interior, which can cause massive volcanic activity on the surface. When the present-day continent of North America broke apart from what is now Europe, 54 million years ago, this caused massive volcanic activity along the rift between the two. Prior to today's study, scientists had thought that such activity always occurred along the rifts that form when continents break apart.

  Clouds and Stars over Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador   NASA - May 26, 2010

What's happening above the Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador? Quite a bit, from the looks of the above one-night, time-lapse movie, taken earlier this month. The majestic volcano is first seen through breaks in fast moving clouds as the movie begins. Soon the clouds have dissipated and a sky filled with stars seems to rotate about the snow-peaked volcano's peak. The band of our Milky Way Galaxy, the dark Coal Sack nebula, and the Southern Cross can all be seen overhead. Satellites streak by from several directions. Soon thin clouds roll by and seem to make the brightest stars sparkle. On the volcano (starting at about 1:13 of the movie), the lights of climbers flash. Near the end of the movie, a bright airplane passes over the peak with a residual trail seen drifting away.

  Thousands flee volcanos in Ecuador and Guatemala   BBC - May 29, 2010
Ecuador's Tungurahua Volcano - Throat of Fire   Wikipedia
Guatemala's Pacaya Volcano   Wikipedia

UAF scientists collaborate to study Eyjafjallajokull lightning   PhysOrg - May 25, 2010
To study Eyjafjallajokull, researchers from New Mexico Tech have set up six instruments near the volcano as part of a lightning-mapping array. The sensor stations consist of an omnidirectional antenna hooked up to an electronics package, a data recorder, a GPS clock and other components.

Photos: America's Ten Most Dangerous Volcanoes   National Geographic - May 18, 2010

10. Crater Lake Volcano, Oregon

Mount St. Helens: A 30-year mystery   NBC - May 18, 2010

The catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, transformed modern understanding of volcanoes. But scientists today still struggle to successfully tap the deepest secrets of the mountain's foulest moods. The 1980 outburst, a colossal event by modern volcano standards, killed 57 people as rocky debris, scalding hot steam and gas swept down the volcano's slope at more than 683 miles per hour (1,100 kilometers per hour) and reached temperatures of 572 degrees Fahrenheit. The tempestuous volcano also hurled about 540 million tons of ash into the air, and has since earned celebrity status as perhaps the most studied volcano today. Better instruments and scientific tools now give an unparalleled view of volcanic life cycles. And yet scientists know that the gaps in their knowledge still leave them one step behind in forecasting the probability of the next big eruption. The defining moment of the Mount St. Helens eruption came in the form of a mammoth landslide from the volcano's north flank - the largest landslide in recorded history. That set off the huge lateral blast and ash cloud.

Mount St. Helens Still Recovering 30 Years Later   Live Science - May 18, 2010

The cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens 30 years ago today devastated the surrounding landscape, with the hot gas and debris killing countless animals and damaging or destroying large swaths of forest. But life did not entirely end then and there. Among the reasons the ecology rebounded are some surprising factors, including the early morning timing of the eruption, the fact that spring had been late to arrive that year, and the amazing ability of insects to parachute in once a recovery was underway. Some species managed to survive amid the the volcano's eruption on May 18, 1980. Others scraped by at the edges of the devastation and literally crawled back. Together they sowed the seeds of a comeback that progressed in fits and starts and continues today. Ecologists have been watching the process from the very beginning, noting what species were wiped out from the area and which still had a few representatives; which returned to the area and when; and what parts of the damaged landscape were the first to see regrowth.

Mount St. Helens Then and Now   Wired - May 18, 2009

Mount St. Helens today is synonymous with huge explosive eruption, death and destruction. But it wasn't always that way. The mountain was once the center of a thriving recreational paradise and prosperous timber industry. Take a look at what the mountain looked like in the old days, during the 1980 eruption, and after … right up to the present.

Ash fears close Spanish and Moroccan airports   BBC - May 11, 2010

A cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland has forced airports in North Africa to shut for the first time, as well as hitting air travel in southern Spain. Morocco halted flights from Rabat, Casablanca and at least three other airports while, at one point, seven airports in Spain were closed.

Huge Asphalt Volcanoes Discovered Off California   National Geographic - April 27, 2010
Strange undersea domes spotted off the California coast are extinct "asphalt volcanoes" made from a mixture of hardened crude oil and marine fossils, according to a new study. First discovered in 2007, the seven mounds sit about 700 feet (213 meters) beneath the ocean, roughly 10 miles (16 kilometers) offshore from Santa Barbara. Recent explorations using a submarine robot named Alvin have revealed that the largest dome is about as wide as two football fields laid side by side and is as tall as a six-story building. The domes are made mostly of petroleum, or crude oil - essentially the same stuff used to pave highways and parking lots and the raw material for gasoline.

Massive Asphalt Volcanoes Discovered on Seafloor   Live Science - April 26, 2010
Hidden in the murky depths of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, a series of asphalt volcanoes rise from the seafloor. The underwater domes are like giant parking lots, teeming with life and belching methane. The asphalt was spewed into the sea 40,000 years ago and hardened, scientists explained today. The domes are located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) off the Santa Barbara coastline of California, at the bottom of the Santa Barbara Channel. The largest of the domes lies at a depth of 700 feet (220 meters), too deep for scuba diving, which is why they hadn't been seen until now.

Scientists Study 'Glaciovolcanoes,' Mountains of Fire and Ice, in Iceland, British Columbia, U.S.   PhysOrg - April 23, 2010

  Volcano Shockwaves Shred Atmosphere   Discovery - April 23, 2010

2010 Eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull Wikipedia

Mysterious Volcano Lightning Creates Pretty Pictures   Live Science - April 20, 2010
t may look like the special effects from a disaster movie, but the bolts of lightning photographed in the plume of the ash-spewing Icelandic volcano are real. Thing is, the process that creates volcano lightning remains a bit of a mystery. Several photographers have taken pictures of the stunning light show shooting from the angry mouth of Eyjafjallajokull, which has been pumping a cloud of ash into the atmosphere for several days. In addition to the spectacular electric storm in its plume, the volcano has created colorful sunsets around the world with its ash, which has also hampered air travel over Europe. Scientists have long known the plumes that shoot from the mouths of erupting volcanoes can produce sheaths of lightning. While lightning is typically associated with thunderstorms, hurricanes and other severe weather, the roiling debris clouds of volcanoes can also produce them.

Ash and Lightning Above an Icelandic Volcano NASA- April 19, 2010

Why did the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland create so much ash? Although the large ash plume was not unparalleled in its abundance, its location was particularly noticeable because it drifted across such well populated areas. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland began erupting on March 20, with a second eruption starting under the center of a small glacier on April 14. Neither eruption was unusually powerful. The second eruption, however, melted a large amount of glacial ice which then cooled and fragmented lava into gritty glass particles that were carried up with the rising volcanic plume. Pictured above two days ago, lightning bolts illuminate ash pouring out of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

Deepest Volcanic Sea Vents Found; "Like Another World"   National Geographic - April 12, 2010

  Caribbean: What are believed to be the world's deepest undersea volcanic vents have been discovered in the Caribbean   BBC - April 12, 2010

Scientists Explore Origins of 'Supervolcanoes' on the Sea Floor   PhysOrg - April 10, 2010
"Supervolcanoes" have been blamed for multiple mass extinctions in Earth's history, but the cause of their massive eruptions is unknown.

Ancient Supervolcano Created Giant Underwater Mountain Chain   Live Science - April 10, 2010
Roughly a dozen supervolcanoes currently exist. Some are on land, while others lie at the bottom of the ocean. Each has produced several million cubic miles of lava - about three hundred times the volume of all the Great Lakes combined - dwarfing the amount of lava produced by the Hawaiian volcanoes or the Icelandic volcano that erupted recently.

Undersea volcano threatens southern Italy with tsunami   PhysOrg - March 29, 2010

Marsili, Europe's largest undersea volcano could disintegrate and unleash a tsunami that would engulf southern Italy "at any time", a prominent vulcanologist warned in an interview published today.

Dinosaurs' dominance 'helped by mass volcanism'   BBC - March 23, 2010

Volcanic eruption opened the door for dino rule   MSNBC - March 22, 2010

  Iceland volcano could have world consequences   MSNBC - March 22, 2010

Volcanism of Iceland   Wikipedia

Monster Rises From Japanese Seas May Create Island   National Geographic - February 11, 2010

Erupting from an undersea volcano some 745 miles south of Tokyo, smoke and ash rise roughly 30 stories into the air.

Link Between Exploration Well and Lusi Mud Volcano, Strongest Evidence to Date Shows   Science Daily - February 11, 2010
New data provides the strongest evidence to date that the world's biggest mud volcano, which killed 13 people in 2006 and displaced thirty thousand people in East Java, Indonesia, was not caused by an earthquake, according to an international scientific team that includes researchers from Durham University and the University of California, Berkeley.

A New Kind Of Lightning Discovered   PhysOrg - January 28, 2010
When volcano seismologist Stephen McNutt at the University of Alaska Fairbanks's Geophysical Institute saw strange spikes in the seismic data from the Mount Spurr eruption in 1992, he had no idea that his research was about to take an electrifying turn. The seismometers were actually picking up lightning strikes.

Under Yellowstone, Magma Pocket 20% Larger Than Thought   National Geographic - December 16, 2009
The huge column of molten rock that feeds Yellowstone's "supervolcano" dives deeper and fills a magma chamber 20 percent bigger than previous estimates, scientists say. The finding, based on the most detailed model yet of the region's geologic plumbing, suggests that Yellowstone's magma chamber contains even more fuel for a future "supereruption" than anyone had suspected. The model shows that a 45-mile-wide (72-kilometer-wide) plume of hot, molten rock rises to feed the supervolcano from at least 410 miles (660 kilometers) beneath Earth's surface. The deepest part of the plume actually sits beneath the town of Wisdom, Montana, about 150 miles (241 kilometers) from Yellowstone National Park. But the steady flow of hot rock in Earth's upper mantle causes the plume to drift to the southeast, where it fills a magma chamber that sits just 3.7 to 10 miles (5.9 to 16 kilometers) beneath Yellowstone. Other new data show that Yellowstone's magma chamber extends 13 miles (21 kilometers) farther to the northeast than previously thought.

Mystery Volcano Eruption Solves Global Cooling Puzzle   National Geographic - December 10, 2009
A newly detected 19th-century volcanic eruption may solve the mystery of a strangely cool decade in the early 1800s, researchers say-but the location of the volcano itself remains a puzzle. Scientists have long blamed the 1815 eruption of an Indonesian volcano, Tambora, for a worldwide cold snap the following year-the so-called year without a summer.

Ancient Volcano's Devastating Effects Confirmed   Live Science - December 4, 2009
A massive volcanic eruption that occurred in the distant past killed off much of central India's forests and may have pushed humans to the brink of extinction, according to a new study that adds evidence to a controversial topic. The Toba eruption, which took place on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia about 73,000 years ago, released an estimated 800 cubic kilometers of ash into the atmosphere that blanketed the skies and blocked out sunlight for six years. In the aftermath, global temperatures dropped by as much as 16 degrees centigrade (28 degrees Fahrenheit) and life on Earth plunged deeper into an ice age that lasted around 1,800 years.

14 Photos: From Close Up or Far Away, Amazing Volcano   Smithsonian - December 2, 2009
In his new book, Earth on Fire, photographer and geologist Bernhard Edmaier wanted to show more than just the traditional pyrotechnics of volcano eruptions. The crater fields surrounding the Marsabit Volcano show how dramatically volcanoes can shape the landscape. More than 200 craters appeared 500,000 years ago when the volcano became active after a long dormant period. They are all part of Marsabit, a shallow-sloped volcano classified as a shield volcano, which rises 3,000 feet above the Chalbi Desert.

Supervolcano eruption in Sumatra deforested India 73,000 years ago   Science Daily - November 24, 2009
The volcano ejected an estimated 800 cubic kilometers of ash into the atmosphere, leaving a crater (now the world's largest volcanic lake) that is 100 kilometers long and 35 kilometers wide. Ash from the event has been found in India, the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea. The bright ash reflected sunlight off the landscape, and volcanic sulfur aerosols impeded solar radiation for six years, initiating an "Instant Ice Age" that -- according to evidence in ice cores taken in Greenland -- lasted about 1,800 years.

Previously Unknown Volcanic Eruption Helped Trigger Cold Decade   PhysOrg - October 30, 2009
A team of chemists from the U.S. and France has found compelling evidence of a previously undocumented large volcanic eruption that occurred exactly 200 years ago, in 1809.

Volcanoes Played Pivotal Role In Ancient Ice Age, Mass Extinction   Science Daily - October 27, 2009
Researchers here have discovered the pivotal role that volcanoes played in a deadly ice age 450 million years ago. Perhaps ironically, these volcanoes first caused global warming -- by releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When they stopped erupting, Earth's climate was thrown off balance, and the ice age began. The discovery underscores the importance of carbon in Earth's climate today, said Matthew Saltzman, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University.

Worst Volcanoes Even More Dangerous Than Feared   National Geographic - October 7, 2009
Some of the world's most dangerous volcanoes can erupt much more quickly than scientists had suspected, according to a new study of the massive 2008 eruption of Chile's Chaiten volcano.

Siberian volcano 'wiped out world's forests' 250m years ago   Telegraph.co.uk - October 2, 2009
A huge Siberian volcano destroyed the world's forests 250 million years ago in what scientists say was the worst extinction event the planet has ever witnessed, new research has disclosed.

"Supervolcano" With Twisted Innards Found in Italy   National Geographic - October 1, 2009
Long before Vesuvius blew its top and smothered Pompeii, Italy was rocked by a "supervolcano" eruption so powerful it possibly blocked out the sun and triggered prolonged global cooling, scientists say. The now fossilized supervolcano last erupted about 280 million years ago, leaving behind an 8-mile-wide (13-kilometer-wide) caldera, which was recently discovered in the Italian Alps' Sesia Valley.

When Yellowstone Explodes   National Geographic - October 1, 2009

Go below Yellowstone and see the "Sleeping Giant".

Plumbing of a Supervolcano Revealed   Live Science - September 24, 2009
The fossilized remains of a supervolcano that erupted some 280 million years ago in the Italian Alps are giving geologists a first-time glimpse at the deep "plumbing system" that brings molten rock from far underground to the Earth's surface. The researchers estimate the ancient eruption sent about 500 cubic kilometers of volcanic ash into the atmosphere. For comparison, the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park, which erupted 630,000 years ago, produced about 1,000 cubic kilometers.

Photos: Top 10 Supereruptions   Discovery - September 21, 2009
Whether they take the form of suspiciously round lakes, a lazy ring of verdant hills, or actively smoking craters, calderas litter our restless planet. If you're lucky enough to wander through Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania, you might wonder how violence gave rise to such a lush Eden of life. Yellowstone's geysers and smoldering mud pots begin to transport you, but the reality of the eruptions that forged these iconic places strains the imagination. Caldera-forming eruptions are kings of the volcanic world. They are so big that the cubic kilometer - a measure of volume that would fill 400,000 Olympic swimming pools and about describes the size of the 1980 Mt. St Helens eruption - is routinely invoked in the hundred

Lost World Found in Papua New Guinea Volcano   PhysOrg - September 8, 2009
A BBC expedition exploring inside the crater of an extinct volcano in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has discovered a lost world of dozens of weird new species and rare animals, including new frogs, a giant rat, many new insects and spiders, giant caterpillars, and a new bat species.

  Giant rat found in 'lost volcano'   BBC - September 6, 2009
A new species of giant rat has been discovered deep in the jungle of Papua New Guinea. The rat, which has no fear of humans, measures 82cm long, placing it among the largest species of rat known anywhere in the world. The creature, which has not yet been formally described, was discovered by an expedition team filming the BBC programme Lost Land of the Volcano. It is one of a number of exotic animals found by the expedition team.

  NASA Drops "Spiders" Into Mount St. Helen Volcano   National Geographic - August 14, 2009

Scientists' Drill Hits Magma: Only Third Time on Record   PhysOrg - June 29, 2009
Scientists drilling a borehole deep into Iceland's rocky crust to explore new methods of using geothermal energy hit a major roadblock on Thursday: Their drill ran into molten rock at a depth of 6,900 feet.

Volcano's Eruption Creates Colorful U.S. Sunsets   Live Science - July 1, 2009

Many people in the United States and Europe are seeing gorgeous lavender sunsets lately thanks to the eruption more than two weeks ago of Russia's Sarychev Peak volcano. The volcano blew its top June 12, generating a remarkable shock wave in the atmosphere seen in a photo taken by astronauts. It also hurled massive plumes of sulfur dioxide into the air, and that material has been circling the globe. Deep purple hues and ripples of white characterize the spectacular views the past few evenings. The phenomenon occurs when the ash and fine particles sprayed high into the atmosphere by the volcano scatter light. The sulfur dioxide ejected by Sarychev Peak interacts with the atmosphere to form tiny particles called sulfate aerosols.

Sarychev Peak Volcano in Stereo   NASA - June 25, 2009

Amazing Volcano Photo Reveals Shock Wave   Live Science - June 22, 2009

Origins of sulfur in rocks tells early oxygen story   PhysOrg - April 16, 2009
Sedimentary rocks created more than 2.4 billion years ago sometimes have an unusual sulfur isotope composition thought to be caused by the action of ultra violet light on volcanically produced sulfur dioxide in an oxygen poor atmosphere. Now a team of geochemists can show an alternative origin for this isotopic composition that may point to an early, oxygen-rich atmosphere.

Strange 1761 Atmospheric Phenomenon Explained   Live Science - April 15, 2009
Unusual atmospheric phenomena were recorded worldwide in 1761, unexplained at the time. Now independent astronomer Kevin D. Pang of La Canada Flintridge, California, says he's figured out the cause - and he credits Benjamin Franklin with a conceptual assist. While serving as American ambassador in Paris, Franklin first made the connection between a "dry fog" that had obscured the Sun for months in 1784, the extremely cold weather in Europe and North America that same year, and the 1783 eruption of Iceland's Laki volcano. The fog was, we now know, droplets of sulfuric acid, called vog (volcanic fog). Pang learned that on May 18, 1761, astronomers could not see the fully eclipsed Moon, which usually glows faintly with refracted Earthlight.

Alaska's Redoubt Goes Electric   National Geographic - April 14, 2009

Dramatic Image Shows Volcano's Lightning   Live Science - April 9, 2009
Mount Redoubt Wikipedia

Earth's Highest Known Microbial Systems Fueled By Volcanic Gases   Science Daily - March 4, 2009
Gases rising from deep within the Earth are fueling the world's highest-known microbial ecosystems, which have been detected near the rim of the 19,850-foot-high Socompa volcano in the Andes by a University of Colorado at Boulder research team.

Hawaii: Drillers break into magma chamber    BBC - December 17, 2008

Drillers looking for geothermal energy in Hawaii have inadvertently put a well right into a magma chamber. Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth

Hawaii: Magma Discovered in Situ for First Time    PhysOrg - December 16, 2008
A crew drilling on the Big Island of Hawaii has discovered magma, the molten rock material - never before found in its natural habitat underground - that is the central ingredient in the evolution of planets and the lifeblood of all volcanoes.

Ancient Magma 'Superpiles' May Have Shaped The Continents    PhysOrg - December 16, 2008
Researchers have linked two giant plumes of hot rock deep within the earth to the plate motions that shape the continents. This new drawing of Earth's interior is based on one originally developed by study co-author Louise C. Kellogg of the University of California, Davis and her colleagues in 1999. A giant plume of hot rock called a "superpile" (orange) sits atop Earth's core (red), while the remnants of two subducted continental plates (blue) sink down on either side of it. A magma plume (orange with red outline) can be seen rising from the superpile to the surface as a hotspot that creates island chains such as Hawaii. Image by the Cooperative Institute for Deep Earth Research (CIDER) collaboration, courtesy of Ohio State University.

"Medusa" Worms Found in Mud Volcano    National Geographic - December 10, 2008
These new, undersea worms don't have eyes to turn you into stone. But their resemblance to snake-haired Medusa (above) wasn't lost on discoverer Ana Hilario, who plans to name at least one after the mythological Greek monster. Hilario, of Portugal's University of Aveiro, and colleagues recently found 20 species of the tiny worms, called frenulates, in mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Spain. Mud volcanoes are places where methane-filled fluids seep from the seafloor, providing energy for "exceptionally rich ecosystems.

Earthquakes can 'spark eruptions'    BBC - December 9, 2008
Very large earthquakes can trigger an increase in activity at nearby volcanoes according to a new study. The controversial findings come from an analysis of records in southern Chile. It showed that up to four times as many volcanic eruptions occurred during the year following very large earthquakes than did so in other years.

Mud eruption 'caused by drilling' BBC - November 1, 2008
The eruption of the Lusi mud volcano in Indonesia was caused by drilling for oil and gas, a meeting of 74 leading geologists has concluded. Lusi erupted in May 2006 and continues to spew out boiling mud, displacing around 30,000 people in East Java. Drilling firm Lapindo Brantas denies a nearby well was the trigger, blaming an earthquake 280km (174 miles) away. Around 10,000 families who have lost their homes are awaiting compensation, which could run as high as $70m.

Volcanoes May Be Original Womb of Life Live Science - October 20, 2008

Fifty years ago, a chemist named Stanley Miller conducted a famous experiment to investigate how life could have started on Earth. Recently, scientists re-analyzed his results using modern technology and found a new implication: The original sparks for life on our planet could have come from volcanic eruptions. The 1950s experiment was designed to test how the ingredients necessary for life could arise.

Lava flows reveal clues to magnetic field reversals PhysOrg - September 25, 2008
Ancient lava flows are guiding a better understanding of what generates and controls the Earth's magnetic field - and what may drive it to occasionally reverse direction. The main magnetic field, generated by turbulent currents within the deep mass of molten iron of the Earth's outer core, periodically flips its direction, such that a compass needle would point south rather than north. Such polarity reversals have occurred hundreds of times at irregular intervals throughout the planet's history - most recently about 780,000 years ago - but scientists are still trying to understand how and why.

Volcano's Eruption Colors World's Sunsets National Geographic - September 3, 2008

Reports of unusually fiery orange sunsets on Earth and ruby red rings around the planet Venus have popped up on the Internet in the last week. Some skywatchers suspect that these views are being colored by the dust and gases injected into the atmosphere by the Aug. 7 eruption of Alaska's Kasatochi volcano. The skywatchers are probably right. Kasatochi, part of the Aleutian Island chain, sent an ash plume more than 35,000 feet (10,600 meters) into the atmosphere when it erupted last month.

Active Submarine Volcanoes Found Near Fiji Science Daily - June 21, 2008

Several huge active submarine volcanoes, spreading ridges and rift zones have been discovered northeast of Fiji by a team of Australian and American scientists aboard the Marine National Facility Research Vessel, Southern Surveyor. On the hunt for subsea volcanic and hot-spring activity, the team of geologists located the volcanoes while mapping previously uncharted areas. Using high-tech multi-beam sonar mapping equipment, digital images of the seafloor revealed the formerly unknown features. The summits of two of the volcanoes, named Dugong, and Lobster, are dominated by large calderas at depths of 1100 and 1500 metres.

Lavas from Hawaiian volcano contain fingerprint of planetary formation PhysOrg - June 19, 2008
Hikers visiting the Kilauea Iki crater in Hawaii today walk along a mostly flat surface of sparsely vegetated basalt. It looks like parking lot asphalt, but in November and December 1959, it emitted the orange glow of newly erupted lava.

Livestock, Pets Left Behind As Chile Volcano Fears Loom National Geographic - May 10, 2008

Chile Volcano Hurts Animals, Farms National Geographic - May 8, 2008

Images: Chile Volcano Erupts With Ash, Lava, Lightning National Geographic - May 7, 2008

Vog - Wikipedia
Vog - Volcanic Smog - kills plants, casts a haze over Hawaii AP - May 5, 2008

For eight years, Tony and Sam Bayaoa have grown thousands of bright red, yellow and pink protea flowers on their farm. Then in March, Kilauea volcano opened a new vent and began spewing double the usual amount of toxic gas. Now about 70 percent of their crop is dried, brown and brittle. "The first reaction was - did someone poison the plants?" said Tony Bayaoa, whose two-acre farm is 35 miles from the volcano. "I've lost my livelihood."

Big Island crops are shriveling as sulfur dioxide from Kilauea wafts over them and envelops them in "vog," or volcanic smog. People are wheezing, and schoolchildren are being kept indoors during recess. High gas levels led Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to close several days last month, forcing the evacuation of thousands of visitors. Residents of this volcanic island are used to toxic gas. But this haze is so bad that farmers are thinking about growing different crops, and many people are worrying about their health.

Kirk Brewer, 33, an electrician who moved to the Big Island in 2006 from Southern California, blames his headaches and wife Tracy's itchy skin, sore throat and runny nose on the vog. "It's a bummer when you go to the other islands and see how clear and blue it is, but we'll just deal with it," Brewer said. When educator Ann Peterson of Kona went the bank last week, she and the teller were making the same noises in their throats. They looked at each other and said in unison, "Vog!"

Kilauea on the Big Island has been erupting continuously since 1983. But in mid-March, a new vent formed at the summit, giving Kilauea two large sulfur dioxide outlets instead of one. Sulfur dioxide, a pollutant that is also generated by burning coal and oil, can lead to asthma and other respiratory illnesses and aggravate lung and heart disease. When combined with dust and sunlight, it makes vog. Mixed with atmospheric moisture, it produces acid rain.

Exceptionally thick gray-white vog has hovered over parts of the Big Island for weeks, particularly those areas downwind of the crater. The wind has blown vog to Oahu, some 200 miles to the north, bathing Honolulu in a light haze. (The vog is no threat to the U.S. mainland, some 2,500 miles away.) Some crops are doing fine. Coffee and macadamia nuts, two of the Big Island's mainstays, appear unaffected. Koa and ohia trees are healthy, but eucalyptus leaves are turning brown, as are Asiatic lilies. Protea may be the hardest hit, though experts don't know why. The hand-size blossoms are used in tropical floral arrangements and are a $1.8 million-a-year business in the islands. Kelvin Sewake of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture said he is not sure if it is the gas or acid rain that is killing the plants. He said Big Island protea growers have always suffered sulfur dioxide "burns," but he has never seen it this bad. Dan Wegner, the biggest protea farmer in Ocean View, with about 15 acres, said he usually records $70,000 in annual sales. This year, he is not sure if he will reap half that. "This is taking my viable business right now and putting it right in the dumper. I don't know what I'm going to do," Wegner said. "It's frightening."

One reason the vog is worse is that the new vent is farther inland than the older Puu Oo vent on the mountain's seaside slope. While gas from the Puu Oo vent often blows out to sea, the new plume is more likely to hit farms and communities in concentrated form. The county has issued only two temporary, voluntary evacuation advisories for Ocean View and Pahala, which have a combined population of just over 4,000. The vog that has settled over the Big Island has little or no odor. The emergency room at Ka'u Hospital in Pahala is seeing an average of three people a day - up from two - with symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Dr. Cliff Field, ER director, said he is more concerned about the potential long-term harm. Large amounts of vog may cause emphysema and chronic lung disease over time. Still, he questioned whether living next to Kilauea is any worse than living in a city like Los Angeles. Sally Ancheta of the American Lung Association of Hawaii said people should stay inside when the vog is bad. But she added: "I would not recommend anybody leaving. It's too good of a place to live."

Volcano in 1600 Caused Global Disruption, Study Suggests Live Science - May 5, 2008
The effects of a massive volcanic eruption in Peru more than 400 years ago might have significantly impacted societies and agriculture world-wide, according to a new study of historic records. Huaynaputina erupted in southern Peru on Feb. 19, 1600, driving volcanic mudflows that destroyed villages for many miles around and spewing a huge column of smoke and ash into the atmosphere.

Giant Undersea Volcano Found Off Iceland National Geographic - April 22, 2008
A giant and unusual underwater volcano lies just offshore of Iceland on the Reykjanes Ridge, volcanologists have announced. The Reykjanes formation is a section of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which bisects the Atlantic Ocean where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart.

Ancient Global Dimming Linked to Volcanic Eruption National Geographic - March 19, 2008

A "dry fog" that muted the sun's rays in A.D. 536 and plunged half the world into a famine-inducing chill was triggered by the eruption of a supervolcano, a new study says.

Yellowstone Is Rising on Swollen "Supervolcano" National Geographic - November 9, 2007
Yellowstone National Park is rising. Its central region, called the Yellowstone caldera, has been moving upward since mid-2004 at a rate of up to three inches (seven centimeters) a year - more than three times faster than has ever been measured. The surface is inflating like a bellows due to an infusion of magma about 6 miles (10 kilometers) underground, according to a new study published in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science. Yellowstone is situated on a giant, geologically active feature known as a supervolcano. Much of the park sits in a caldera, or crater, some 40 miles (70 kilometers) across, which formed when the cone of the massive volcano collapsed in a titanic eruption 640,000 years ago. The supervolcano has produced three similarly large blasts in the past two million years, with 30 smaller eruptions since the caldera formed. The volcano's most recent flare-up was 70,000 years ago, and volcanic heat continues to fuel the park's famous geysers and hot springs

Yellowstone Volcano Rises at Unprecedented Rate Live Science - November 9, 2007

Yellowstone's ancient volcanic floor has been rising since mid-2004 because a blob of molten rock the size of Los Angeles infiltrated the system 6 miles beneath the surface, scientists say, but there is no risk of an eruption. Yellowstone National Park is the site of North America's largest volcanic field, which is produced by a hotspot, or gigantic plume of hot, molten rock, that begins at least 400 miles (643 kilometers) beneath Earth's surface and rises to 30 miles (48 kilometers) underground, where it widens to about 300 miles across. Occasionally, blobs of magma break away from the top of this plume and rise up to resupply the magma chamber beneath the park's "caldera," a 40-mile by 25-mile bowl-like depression and volcanic leftover whose walls you can see in the northwest part of the park.

Anak Krakatau erupts National Geographic - November 10, 2007

Lava streams and sparks fly from Anak Krakatau, a volcanic cone that stands where the massive volcano Krakatau, or Krakatoa, once shook the world. Anak Krakatau, whose name means Child of Krakatau, was formed by the large volcano's cataclysmic explosion in 1883, which triggered tsunamis, killed thousands of people, and even altered weather patterns with its gargantuan clouds of ash and smoke. This week's far calmer eruption seemed tame - even sublime - by comparison, according to local reports.

Mt. Etna Erupts National Geographic - September 8, 2007

Sparks light up the night as Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, spews lava on the island of Sicily. (See a map of Italy). The eruption sent molten rock nearly 1,000 feet (300 meters) into the air, but the flow did not endanger the villages on the slopes of the mountain. But volcanic ash did rain down onto several villages, and the airport of Catania was closed for the night as a precaution.

Shifting Volcanoes Made Early Complex Life Possible National Geographic - August 29, 2007
Shifting volcanoes may have allowed Earth's atmosphere to fill with oxygen, spurring the development of complex life, a new study suggests. A mysterious increase in oxygen levels occurred around 2.5 billion years ago. The new research says that a massive tectonic upheaval pushed submerged volcanoes above ground, where they stopped spewing oxygen-destroying chemicals.

Thick Layer of Magma Found Under American Southwest Live Science - June 23, 2007
Scientists have spotted a thick layer of melted rock beneath the Earth's crust that could be part of a fluid band of hot magma circling the globe. The magma ring has until now remained a theory. The molten-rock layer is 10 miles thick and can't be seen, felt or smelt from the surface. Researchers Daniel Toffelmier and James Tyburczy of Arizona State University found the layer using a relatively new technique that measures changes in weak electrical currents flowing through the Earth's mantle rock. The current is created when the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged atomic particles emitted by the sun, interact with Earth's magnetic field, called the magnetosphere.

The power of the huge volcanic hotspot beneath Yellowstone National Park is much greater than previously thought EurekAlert - March 1, 2007 A 17-year University of Utah study of ground movements shows that the power of the huge volcanic hotspot beneath Yellowstone National Park is much greater than previously thought during times when the giant volcano is slumbering. The $2.3 million study, which used Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to measure horizontal and vertical motions of Earth's crust from 1987 to 2004, found that the gigantic underground plume of molten rock known as the Yellowstone hotspot exerts itself forcefully even when it isn't triggering eruptions and earthquakes:

As it bulges upward, the hotspot expends 10 times more energy by gradually deforming Earth's crust at Yellowstone than by producing earthquakes. The subterranean volcanic plume, 300 miles wide at its top end, may explain why ground along the Teton fault moves in directions just the opposite of those expected, a perplexing discovery that complicates efforts to predict when the fault might generate disastrous 7.5 earthquakes near the ski resorts of Jackson Hole. Molten rock and hot water generated by the hotspot continue to make the 45-by-30-mile Yellowstone caldera - a giant crater - huff upward and puff downward without producing eruptions. Measurements since the newly published study ended in 2004 show the caldera rising upward at a faster rate than ever observed before.

Pacific Ocean gives birth to new volcanic island: eyewitnesses -- AFP - November 9, 2006

The Pacific Ocean has given birth to a new volcanic island near Tonga, according to ocean-going eyewitnesses. Crew on board a yacht called the "Maiken" believed they were the first to see a volcanic island forming a day out from Neiafu, Tonga, while sailing towards Fiji in August, the Matangi Tonga news website reported. It's one mile in diameter and with four peaks and a central crater smoking with steam and once in a while an outburst high in the sky with lava and ashes. The crew had earlier encountered huge streaks of pumice after passing Tonga's Late island, according to their web log. "You might have heard about the sailor's superstition that you should never leave on a Friday. Well, we did and the sea turned to stone, it is hard to get a stronger sign than that," skipper Frederik Fransson said.

Volcanic eruptions score melodies BBC - August 10, 2006

The low-frequency, seismic rumblings of volcanoes are being transformed into delicate musical scores in an effort to predict when they will erupt. Researchers in Italy have already created a concerto from the underground movements of Mount Etna on Sicily. They are now creating melodies from Ecuador's recently erupted Tungurahua. By correlating the music with precise stages of volcanic activity on both volcanoes the team hope to learn the signature tune of an imminent eruption.

Sicily - Volcano larger than Washington, D.C., discovered -- CNN - June 23, 2006
The volcanic structure, which incorporates peaks previously thought to be separate volcanoes, was named Empedocles after the Greek philosopher who named the four classic elements of earth, air, fire and water. Legend has it that the philosopher died by throwing himself into Mount Etna, the nearby Sicilian volcano. Legend has it that the philosopher died by throwing himself into Mount Etna, the nearby Sicilian volcano. Giovanni Lanzafame, who works at the institute and led the research, said Empedocles was at least 400 meters (1,300 feet) high -- taller than the Eiffel Tower. The base of the structure was 30 km (18.6 miles) long and 25 km wide, spanning an area larger than the U.S. capital and making it Italy's largest underwater volcano.

But Lanzafame said Sicilians did not need to worry about the sleeping Empedocles. "At this point, there's no imminent danger of an eruption," he told Reuters. Lanzafame and another official said the volcano had numerous fumaroles, openings in the Earth's crust that emit steam and gases, like the ones at Yellowstone National Park in the United States. But they described it as largely inactive.The identification of Empedocles came during research into the submerged volcanic island of Ferdinandea just off Sicily's southern coast. Often held to be the tip of a small volcano, Lanzafame said it was just a part of Empedocles. Volcanic activity has raised the island out of the sea several times in recorded history, with underwater eruptions first described during the first Punic War of 264-241 B.C. Its emergence in 1831 caused months of international wrangling, with several nations making territorial claims before it submerged again. It is now about 7 meters below the surface of the water.

Volcano's lake turns bright red NBC - May 29, 2006
A lake atop a rumbling volcano on the South Pacific island of Ambae has changed color from blue to bright red, puzzling scientists. Mount Manaro, one of four active volcanos on the island nation of Vanuatu, has been showing signs of erupting for only the second time in 122 years. Two scientists on Ambae Island were monitoring Lake Vui as well as seismic activity on the 5,000-foot Mount Manaro.

Fossil "Pompeii" of Prehistoric Animals Named U.S. Landmark National Geographic - May 12, 2006
The U.S. Department of Interior has designated Nebraska's Ashfall Fossil Beds as a national natural landmark, the first such landmark to be designated in almost two decades. The site, near the town of Neligh (see Nebraska map), is home to hundreds of skeletons of extinct rhinos, camels, three-toed horses, and other vertebrates that were killed and buried by ash from a huge volcanic eruption some 12 million years ago.

Giant Deep-Sea Volcano With "Moat of Death" Found National Geographic - April 15, 2006

Beneath the waves of the South Pacific lies a volcanic realm nearly as strange as that featured in TV's hit drama Lost. But instead of a mysterious island, scientists have found a bubbling submarine volcano whose weird features include a swirling vortex, a host of strange animals, and a fearsome zone of toxic waters dubbed the Moat of Death. Beneath the waves of the South Pacific lies a volcanic realm nearly as strange as that featured in TV's hit drama Lost. But instead of a mysterious island, scientists have found a bubbling submarine volcano whose weird features include a swirling vortex, a host of strange animals, and a fearsome zone of toxic waters dubbed the Moat of Death.

Indonesia: 'Pompeii of the East' discovered - Lost Kingdom of Tambora BBC - February 28, 2006

An expedition to the site of the largest volcanic eruption in modern times has uncovered a lost kingdom. Wiped out in 1815 by the largest volcanic eruption in human history, the tiny kingdom is known only from a few reports from the Dutch and British colonial governments that ruled the East Indies in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Lost civilization unearthed in Indonesia MSNBC - March 1, 2006

Scientists have found what they believe are traces of the lost Indonesian civilization of Tambora, which was wiped out in 1815 by the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded history. Mount Tambora's cataclysmic eruption on April 10, 1815, buried the inhabitants of Sumbawa Island under searing ash, gas and rock and is blamed for an estimated 88,000 deaths. The eruption was at least four times more powerful than Mount Krakatoa's in 1883. Guided by ground-penetrating radar, U.S. and Indonesian researchers recently dug in a gully where locals had found ceramics and bones. They unearthed the remains of a thatch house, pottery, bronze and the carbonized bones of two people, all in a layer of sediment dating to the

Volcanic Signatures Persist In Oceans Science Daily - February 10, 2006
Ocean temperatures might have risen even higher during the last century if it weren't for volcanoes that spewed ashes and aerosols into the upper atmosphere, researchers have found. The eruptions also offset a large percentage of sea level rise caused by human activity. Using 12 new state-of-the-art climate models, the researchers found that ocean warming and sea level rise in the 20th century were substantially reduced by the 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia. Volcanic aerosols blocked sunlight and caused the ocean surface to cool.

Researchers Discover Active Underwater Volcano near Samoan Island Chain Science Daily - May 26, 2005

A team of scientists, led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has discovered an active underwater volcano near the Samoan Island chain. During a research cruise to study the Samoan hot spot, scientists uncovered a submarine volcano growing in the summit crater of another larger underwater volcano, Vailulu'u. Researchers explored the unique biological community surrounding the eruption site, and were amazed to find an "Eel City," a community of hundreds of slithering eels.

Volcanic Soils Yield New Clues About The Emergence Of Powerful Chiefdoms In Hawaii Science Daily - June 2004
When the first Europeans arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, they found a thriving, complex society organized into chiefdoms whose economies were based primarily on farming. On the islands of Kauai, O'ahu and Molokai, the principal crop was taro - a starchy plant grown in irrigated wetlands where the supply of water was usually abundant. But on Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii, the main staple was the sweet potato - a more labor-intensive crop planted in relatively dry fields where success depended on adequate seasonal rainfall. Some anthropologists say that, by the late 1700s, sweet potato production had reached its maximum capacity. As a result, the chiefdoms on Maui and Hawaii began aggressively coveting the taro ponds that flourished on other islands. Pressure to find new sources of food may be one reason why Kamehameha, chief of the island of Hawaii, launched an invasion in 1795 that culminated in his eventual conquest of the entire island chain.

Active Volcano in Antarctic Sound Discovered -- AP - May 10, 2004
A previously unknown underwater volcano has been discovered off the coast of Antarctica, the National Science Foundation said Thursday. The finding helps explain mariners' historical reports of discolored water in the area, the agency said. Material from underwater volcanoes is known to cause discoloration in water over them. The presence of a volcano was first suggested in sonar studies during a research cruise in January, but scientists were unable to return to the stormy waters of the region until April. The foundation said the research vessel Lawrence M. Gould was returning from a study of a collapsed ice self when it passed over the volcano. The research team led by Eugene Domack of Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., used a bottom-scanning video recorder, rock dredges and temperature probes to survey the sides and crest of the submarine peak. While large areas were colonized by submarine life, none was found on dark rock around the volcano itself, indicating that lava had flowed fairly recently.

In addition, dredges recovered abundant fresh basalt, a volcanic rock. It normally would be rapidly acted upon and transformed by seawater. Highly sensitive temperature probes moving continuously across the bottom of the volcano showed signs of geothermal heating of seawater, according to the agency. The volcano stands 2,300 feet above the seafloor and extends to within roughly 900 feet of the ocean surface. It is in an area known as Antarctic Sound, at the northernmost tip of Antarctica. There is no previous scientific record of active volcanoes in the region where the new peak was discovered. The volcano is located on the continental shelf, in the vicinity of a deep trough carved out by glaciers passing across the seafloor.

Early life thrived in lava flows BBC - April 22, 2004

Geologists have discovered microscopic burrows where some of Earth's earliest lifeforms bored their way into volcanic glass 3.5 billion years ago. The tubes, from rocks in South Africa's Barberton Greenstone Belt, retain traces of organic carbon left behind by the microorganisms, the authors say. The microbes etched their way into rocks that formed as lava oozed out across a sea floor in Archaean times.

Volcanic Mysteries Unraveled Underwater November 10, 2003 - Science Daily
Almost all of the active volcanoes on Earth lie beneath miles of seawater at mid-ocean ridges, creating the long chain of volcanic mountains that encircles the Earth like the seam of a baseball. Scientists have long been puzzled by the observation that flows, erupted as white-hot lava at mid-ocean ridges, can be traced for several miles from their vents despite the fact that they erupt into seawater close to its freezing point. Now a group of scientists from academia and government believe they have the answer from lava samples collected using the deep-sea submersible ALVIN.

Listening to 'singing volcanoes' BBC - February 14, 2003

Infrasound - low-frequency sound beyond the scope of the human ear - is providing scientists with a new way of detecting tornadoes, incoming asteroids and erupting volcanoes. The researchers working in the field reviewed their progress at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Denver. But atom bombs are not the only things the soon-to-be-completed 60 monitoring stations of the network will listen in on. There are important spin-offs for scientists who want to use the technology to devise new ways of detecting potentially hazardous, large-scale natural events. Infrasound consists of sound waves in frequencies below about 20 Hertz - out of the range of what humans can pick up. The waves have enormously long wavelengths, measured in kilometres, and are poorly absorbed. Infrasound waves triggered by a large asteroid impact high in the atmosphere, for example, can be detected traveling as many as five or six times around the globe before dissipating.

Four 'Dormant' volcanoes found to be active BBC - February 2003
Scientists say they have been shocked to discover that four dormant volcanoes in South America are in fact active. Researchers used satellite imaging techniques to look at movements in the ground, and they say their results have implications for volcanic areas around the world. Nine hundred volcanoes in the Andes mountains in Chile were scrutinized. Satellites took pictures of the same landscape at different intervals and researchers compared them. Any geological changes between the pictures were shown as what is called a radar interference fringe. This looks rather like the patterns made by a drop of oil in a puddle, and tells scientists that the ground is moving.

Etna Volcano Becoming Dangerous, Experts Warn February 2003 - National Geographic
The current eruption of Sicily's Mount Etna, which began on October 27 of last year, has officially ended, according to volcanologists at the Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia. The bad news is that the eruptions that took place in 2001 and 2002-2003 were two of the most explosive of the last several centuries, and that pattern is likely to continue, said a team of four volcanologists with Italy's volcano research agency.

Hawaii's Kilauea Lava Flow: 20 Years and Counting National Geographic - January 2003
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted 20 years ago today - and hasn't stopped issuing lava since. For much of that time, volcanologists Steve and Donna O'Meara have lived and worked on the mountain's flanks, witnessing the ongoing spectacle of the Kilauea eruption.

World's 'oldest' volcanic rocks December 2002 - BBC

The rocks date back almost four billion years were discovered in northern Quebec.

Early warning system for Stromboli BBC - January 2003

A volcanic island submerged off the coast of Sicily for the last 170 years could reappear in the coming weeks if furious seismic rumblings continue

Scientists witness birth of new island   BBC - May 24, 2000

The dramatic birth of a new volcanic island in the Pacific has been witnessed by an international team of scientists. The rare event was captured on film by researchers during an expedition to the Solomon Islands. The Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization's (Csiro) Research Vessel Franklin, based in Australia, found the Kavachi seamount had entered a new phase of eruptive activity after nine years of apparent dormancy. Molten ash shot 500 metres (1,600 ft) into the air every five minutes of the team's 20-hour visit.

The peak of the volcano was forming a sandy, ashen beach two metres below sea level, with its regular, violent, bomb-like eruptions. Kavachi is 35 km (21 miles) from the closest island, in the western Solomons, and was first surveyed in the 1950s. Dr McInnes said, "It was magma being ejected from the top of a magma chamber, which is below sea level. This magma has a lot of gas in it so it's a very explosive mixture whenever it comes close to the surface. We were able to approach to within 750 m (2,500 ft) of the erupting centre. We found that the volcano had grown dramatically since it was last surveyed in 1984. Using Franklin to systematically sample freshly formed volcanic rocks from the flanks of an erupting submarine volcano is an unprecedented opportunity in the field of geology. We detected numerous chemical and particle plumes in the water that extend at least 5 km (16 miles) from the centre of the volcano. This has been a great opportunity for us to obtain fundamental data on dynamic volcanic inputs to the ocean environment."