Equatorial Volcano shows signs of imminent eruption

Colombia volcano rumbles back to life. The volcano is about 1.2 degrees north of the Equator.

From AFP

Galeras Volcano in 2005

BOGOTA, Colombia — Officials in southern Colombia have issued a code orange alert for the newly-active Galeras volcano which they said could erupt in a matter of days or weeks, according to the state-run Geological and Mining Institute.

Authorities said they are continuing to monitor the nearby Huila volcano, also on orange alert, where sizeable volcanic activity also has been detected in recent weeks.

The Galeras volcano situated near the southern border with Ecuador is Colombia’s most active volcano, with five eruptions over the past two years. It began rumbling back to life on October 27, officials said.

Some 7,000 people live in the vicinity of the volcano, which rises in the Andes mountain chain to an altitude of 4,270 meters (14,029 feet).

A 1993 eruption of Galeras killed nine people, including six scientists who had descended its crater to take gas samples.

Huila, at some 5,363 meters (17,595 feet), last erupted in November 2008, killing 10 people.

26 thoughts on “Equatorial Volcano shows signs of imminent eruption

  1. Funny thing about volcanic activity: It can, and does, occur quite randomly compared to the solar cycles.
    A close examination does reveal a marked tendency for ‘extra’ activity to cluster around solar minimums. And the volanic eruptions around solar minimum also have a level of power a notch above those preceeding and following minimums. As far back as the Dalton and the Damon minimums, one finds a greater overall footprint and power level.
    What is puzzling is the why this happens.
    How terribly ironic, isn’t it? All that panic button pressing and MSM puffage of an Antropogenic C02 problem, and along comes a big solar minimum to belch it out faster than you can say Climate Change. And let’s not forget the S02 and fine particles cloaking sunlight out. Forget about TSI, this solar minimum-volcanic outburst relationship coupled with GCR is a one-two punch in the kisser.

  2. http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/SSNvsVOL.JPG
    Is a rough graph I did some time back. 1st symbol is a small black dot, a 4 on the http://volcano.si.edu/world/largeeruptions.cfm scale used.
    Multiple volcanic eruptions use other symbols in addition to the black dot, and the higher the dot on a 4 -8 – 12 rung, the bigger the eruption.
    The can occur and cluster anytime, but show tendency to prefer the minimums of solar cycles.
    What other circumstances encourage more volcanic activity escapes me.
    Maybe someone has a more in-depth analysis.

  3. Squidly (22:11:56) :
    Ron de Haan (19:50:32) :
    These are busy day’s for Volcano Observers:
    http://volcanism.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/siusgs-weekly-volcanic-activity-report-21-27-october-2009/
    I have a couple of questions:
    1) Is this activity anyway out of the ordinary? (ie: getting more active)
    2) Any idea how much these events could contribute to global CO2?
    Squidly,
    1. We normally have about 50 up to 60 volcanic eruptions per year.
    Some volcano’s erupt continuously, think Hawai, Chaitén in Chilli, Stromboli, Italy.
    We know that during the Maunder and Dalton Minumum on average 5 VEI7 eruptions took place (against 2 during the past century until now) which is an indication for cyclic activity. However, I really can’t say if we currently see a general increase in activity, although the latest weekly reports show pretty much new activity. We have three volcano’s active in Kamchatka, two big volcano’s in Colombia, both Orange Status and Sakuru Jima at Japan, see http://volcanism.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/a-plume-from-sakura-jima/.
    The last three volcano’s mentioned however are active very frequently and have big populations living in the direct vicinity.
    I am listing the current activity to see if there is a rising trend.
    2. Depending on the source, estimates for CO2 contribution from volcanic activity range from 0.3 up to 0.5 GT per year.
    In case of an individual eruption, it depends on the magnitude of the event and the composition of the magma, but in the case of big eruptions the amount of CO2 and more important SO2 can be substantial.
    I just read that Nevado del Huilia in Colombia is pumping out 750 tons of SO2 per day but no information about CO2.
    Volcanic gases undergo a tremendous increase in volume when magma rises to the Earth’s surface and erupts. For example, consider what happens if one cubic meter of 900°C rhyolite magma containing five percent by weight of dissolved water were suddenly brought from depth to the surface. The one cubic meter of magma now would occupy a volume of 670 m3 as a mixture of water vapor and magma at atmospheric pressure (Sparks et. al., 1997)!
    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/index.php
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano

  4. There must be data on seismic activity over time. If that can be correlated with solar cycles, that would be interesting. More info needed.

  5. Volcanic eruptions like earthquakes are episodic events resulting from long term geological processes.
    So while they appear random over shorter timescales they are not over longer timescales.
    In general terms, the longer a volcano doesn’t erupt the more likely it will erupt soon. The same probably applies to the size of eruptions.
    The 20th century had just one very large (VI6+) eruption compared to at least three in the 19th century and and similar numbers in what we know of previous centuries. Which means a very large eruption will come sooner rather than later (in terms of long term averages).
    It has also been nearly 2 decades since a large eruption (Pinatubo size) occured, which is also an unusual long time.
    So we due for both more large and very large eruptions. Lets hope we don’t get multiple eruptions at the same time.

  6. Then, if the climate continues to cool, it will be blamed on the eruption rather than natural cycles.

  7. I bet Al Gore could do the Colombians a great deal on carbon offsets to neutralise Galeras’ emissions….

  8. So with PDO/AMO negative, solar minimum and volcanic activity peaking, we can expect a cold and snowy winter here in the NorthEast US I bet. One that rivals those of my youth in the 60’s and 70’s ??

  9. rbateman (22:53:13) :
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/SSNvsVOL.JPG
    Is a rough graph I did some time back. 1st symbol is a small black dot, a 4 on the http://volcano.si.edu/world/largeeruptions.cfm scale used.
    Multiple volcanic eruptions use other symbols in addition to the black dot, and the higher the dot on a 4 -8 – 12 rung, the bigger the eruption.
    The can occur and cluster anytime, but show tendency to prefer the minimums of solar cycles.
    What other circumstances encourage more volcanic activity escapes me.
    Maybe someone has a more in-depth analysis”.
    Thanks for the graph.
    I have collected some other publications on the subject but I have to retrieve them from another computer.
    If interesting I will post them.

  10. RBateman @ 22:53:13
    Yes, I find your graph very interesting. Eyeballing is persuasive; I wonder about a more rigourous analysis. I also wonder if their is any relationship to other solar cycles.
    Of course, there is no mechanism even well speculated let alone shown, even if the correlation is there. Could these be tidal forces from the planets equivalent to those miniscule ones found in the sun? I can’t wait for the heat of Leif’s knowledge to hit that vaporous thought.
    ==================================
    I

  11. “What is puzzling is the why this happens.” rbateman
    Well, obviously the increased cosmic ray flux is triggering the volcanoes.
    I do admit I prayed for cold weather but only the minimum amount, mind you. However, with the current level of insanity and corruption, the reset required may be rather hard. May only the ninnies suffer.

  12. Richard111 (23:00:22) :
    Need statistics! Any correllation between extended solar minimums and volcanic activity?
    I’ve looked for this at length before. The best I could find was the following. I think I got it at NASA. Sorry, I didn’t save the link just a picture of the data, so you need to google:
    Jaroslav Strestik: Geophysica Institute AS CR Czech Republic
    jstr@ig.cas.cz
    Possible correlation between solar and volcanic activity in a long term scale.
    Proc. ISCS 2003 Symposia 23-28 June 2003: Tatranska Lomnica, Slovakia
    Solar variability as an input to the Earths environment.
    He claims a 21 year running average correlates to the sun cycle with increases at extended minimums.

  13. “We know that during the Maunder and Dalton Minumum on average 5 VEI7 eruptions took place”
    Laki(VEI6), in Iceland kicked off the Dalton with Sourfriere & Mayon coming around 1812 before Tambora(VEI7), but note also at Volcansim Blog down a few posts more evidence for unrecorded eruptions, e.g., 1809.
    We are due a couple VEI6 erruptions per century, a couple VEI7 per millenium. It seems, looking at the USGS survey, that many volcanos await awakening. Perhaps, for the solar ramp? And what about the recent Santa Cruz Is. earthquake swarm?

  14. Back2Bat (12:01:56) :
    If the GCR’s trigger the release, then there is a lag time to be worked out because of the early 1980’s and 1990’s clusters occuring during solar maximum (or GCR minimum).
    One might try that the lack of Solar Activity causes them not to be released on a regular basis, until the pressures become too much and they pop ever more violently.
    It’s food for thought as this point.

  15. As I understand it, the reputed link between solar minima events and increased volcanic activity is that the Length of Day shifts a bit due to ‘spin orbit coupling’ and as things change their relative orbits, some of the orbit change ends up as spin change. This flexes the crust, ergo a bit more chance of a crack, break, leakage. There is some evidence for a LOD / PDO coupling (in a paper from Ian Wilson who’s link I’ve put here before) and a correlation of that LOD with orbital changes.
    Any accuracy to it? I donno… Never was all that great at angular momentum problems and it doesn’t get any easier when it is a 10 body problem with 10000 perturbations from smaller bodies, oh, and bit of relativity seasoning just for good measure. A real planetary mechanics physicist would need to address it, IMHO. The correlation is there, the causality is not demonstrated. YMMV. Read All Directions before attempting assembly. May cause drowsiness. Do not operate heavy equipment while using product … 😎
    Link to discussion of topic and containing link to Ian Wilson paper here:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/are-we-quaking/
    Has a live map of recent quakes on it. Maybe I’ll a volcano’s link too…

  16. There does seem to be some sort of link between extended solar minima and increases in earthquakes and volcanism.
    I wonder if it is something to do with changes to the Earth’s magnetic field causing the magma pressure to increase at known crustal ‘weak’ spots? Apparently the north magnetic pole is wandering off towards Siberia, while the southern one is hardly moving. Perhaps it is a combination of this and small changes to the sun’s magnetic field which creates more of these events.
    Anyone heard how Yellowstone is doing?

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