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Another Volcano Erupts In Iceland—Facts About Volcanoes And Volcanic Ash

Once again a volcano has erupted in Iceland.

From The Herald in Scotland

Airlines have been warned ash from a new volcano erupting in Iceland could cause disruption… This time it’s not the Eyjafjallajokull volcano – which caused massive disruption to flights for a week last April and left 10 million passengers stranded – but another called the Grimsvotn volcano. Ash could reach northern parts of the country by Tuesday and parts of the rest of Britain, France and Spain by Thursday or Friday if the eruption continues at the same intensity. Iceland closed its main international airport and cancelled domestic flights on Sunday as the powerful Grimsvotn sent a plume of ash, smoke and steam 12 miles into the air.

(Above– The  Grimsvoten volcano as seen from space in a 2004 eruption. Here are facts about the Grimsvoten volcano.)  

This post has some basic information on volcanoes. Often we here about things in the news many times over the years without giving closer thought to what is really taking place.

Often it is the most basic facts that are lost.

For example—What exactly is a volcano?

Here is an explanation of volcanoes from an interview with a scientist conducted by the children’s book publisher Scholastic—

“Volcanoes are really mountains that build taller and taller, with time, as they erupt. That means that molten rock, magma, comes from within the earth and erupts onto the surface. The volcano might be explosive and produce ashes or be effusive and produce lava. The explosions are usually first because there are lots of gases inside the magma. When you have a bottle of soda pop, you do not see any bubbles of gas, but when you open it, bubbles form almost instantly. Once the gas bubbles have all escaped, the soda is flat. Once the magma is flat, a lava flow comes out. Most of the volcanoes from around the Pacific Ocean are composite, which means that there are layers of ashes and lava. Most volcanoes are 10,000 to 100,000 years old — it takes time for them to grow big.”

Here are 11 more facts about volcanoes.

Some volcanoes are underwater. Here is a post I wrote that has many facts about undersea volcanoes.

The Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington reports the following about the origin of the word volcano–

“The word “volcano” comes from the little island of Vulcano in the Mediterranean Sea off Sicily. Centuries ago, the people living in this area believed that Vulcano was the chimney of the forge of Vulcan — the blacksmith of the Roman gods. They thought that the hot lava fragments and clouds of dust erupting form Vulcano came from Vulcan’s forge as he beat out thunderbolts for Jupiter, king of the gods, and weapons for Mars, the god of war. In Polynesia the people attributed eruptive activity to the beautiful but wrathful Pele, Goddess of Volcanoes, whenever she was angry or spiteful. Today we know that volcanic eruptions are not super-natural but can be studied and interpreted by scientists.”

(Below—A picture of the Vulcano island.)

Here are facts about volcanic ash from the United States Geological Survey. This link gives you all the facts you need about volcanic ash.

From these facts—

“Small jagged pieces of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass the size of sand and silt (less than 2 millimeters (1/12 inch) in diameter) erupted by a volcano are called volcanic ash. Very small ash particles can be less than 0.001 millimeters (1/25,000th of an inch) across. Volcanic ash is not the product of combustion, like the soft fluffy material created by burning wood, leaves, or paper. Volcanic ash is hard, does not dissolve in water, is extremely abrasive and mildly corrosive, and conducts electricity when wet.”

However, if you need even more facts on ash, the BBC has a Q & A.

Iceland is a place with many volcanoes.

The Earth is a complex place with an interesting geology that merits study even when no big disaster is taking place.

Here is a link to Geology. com. There is a great deal of information at this site about the Earth.

A very useful book to learn about these topics is called Earth–The Definitive Visual Guide. I have this book at home and look at it often. It has great pictures and helpful text to help folks understand the world.

There is a lot more to our existence than just freak-show ash clouds that make people study things they might not otherwise consider. Please be someone who is informed and who is curious about as many things as possible. We all the ability to know many things. The information we need to learn these things is all around us if we just make some effort.

(Below—The Cleveland Volcano in Alaska as photographed from space in 2006.)

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Icelandic Volcano Eruption—Facts About Volcanoes & Volcanic Ash

An ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland is disrupting air travel in Europe.

(Above–The offending volcano. It is called Eyjafjallajoekull. This name is combination of the worlds “islands”, “mountain” and “glacier”. The picture was taken by a photographer giving his or herself  the name “boaworm” )

(Update–5/21/11–The volcano erupting in Iceland at the moment is a different volcano. However, much of the information in this post is about volcanoes in general, and would be useful to read to learn more overall about the subject. Thank you for reading Texas Liberal.) 

Here is a story from the BBC detailing the eruption.

(Update4/19/10—There is a new ash cloud.)

(Update—4/20/10—Half of EU flights may be in the air by the end of Tuesday.)

(Update–4/21/10—More flights up and running.)

(Update–4/22/10—There are now disputes in Europe about the need for such an extensive flight ban in the aftermath of the eruption.)

(Update–4/25/10–Europe is looking for new ways to deal with a future eruption.)

(Update–4/28/10—A geology professor from the Univ. of Houston offers views on what may have caused the eruption.)

( Update–5/4/10—Another ash threat from the same volcano. Though this one is more limited.)

(Update–5/4/10–Europe is looking at  plans on how to deal with eruptions  in the future.)

(Update–5/5/10–Airports are closed in Ireland and Scotland.)

(Update–5/8/10—Yet more ash in the sky.)

(Update 5/16/10—It goes on and on.)

There are many accounts of what is taking place that you can find on the web or in your local newspaper. (This blog is a big believer in supporting your local newspaper and taking the time to read the news and reflect upon the news with a cup of coffee or in some other civilized way.)

In this post, I’ll address some more basic issues of what is taking place that are not always discussed in news reports.

First of all—What exactly is a volcano?

Here is an explanation of volcanoes from an interview with a scientist conducted by the children’s book publisher Scholastic—

“Volcanoes are really mountains that build taller and taller, with time, as they erupt. That means that molten rock, magma, comes from within the earth and erupts onto the surface. The volcano might be explosive and produce ashes or be effusive and produce lava. The explosions are usually first because there are lots of gases inside the magma. When you have a bottle of soda pop, you do not see any bubbles of gas, but when you open it, bubbles form almost instantly. Once the gas bubbles have all escaped, the soda is flat. Once the magma is flat, a lava flow comes out. Most of the volcanoes from around the Pacific Ocean are composite, which means that there are layers of ashes and lava. Most volcanoes are 10,000 to 100,000 years old — it takes time for them to grow big.”

Here are 11 more facts about volcanoes.

Some volcanoes are underwater. Here is a post I recently wrote that has many facts about undersea volcanoes.

The Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington reports the following about the origin of the word volcano–

“The word “volcano” comes from the little island of Vulcano in the Mediterranean Sea off Sicily. Centuries ago, the people living in this area believed that Vulcano was the chimney of the forge of Vulcan — the blacksmith of the Roman gods. They thought that the hot lava fragments and clouds of dust erupting form Vulcano came from Vulcan’s forge as he beat out thunderbolts for Jupiter, king of the gods, and weapons for Mars, the god of war. In Polynesia the people attributed eruptive activity to the beautiful but wrathful Pele, Goddess of Volcanoes, whenever she was angry or spiteful. Today we know that volcanic eruptions are not super-natural but can be studied and interpreted by scientists.”

(Below—A picture of the Vulcano island.)

The issue from the Icelandic volcano that is causing all the trouble is volcanic ash. Here are facts about volcanic ash from the United States Geological Survey. This link gives you all the facts you need about volcanic ash.

From these facts—

“Small jagged pieces of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass the size of sand and silt (less than 2 millimeters (1/12 inch) in diameter) erupted by a volcano are called volcanic ash. Very small ash particles can be less than 0.001 millimeters (1/25,000th of an inch) across. Volcanic ash is not the product of combustion, like the soft fluffy material created by burning wood, leaves, or paper. Volcanic ash is hard, does not dissolve in water, is extremely abrasive and mildly corrosive, and conducts electricity when wet.”

However, if you need even more facts on ash, the BBC has a Q & A.

You can see why you would not want something like that clogging up your jet engine.

There are health concerns in Iceland about the effects of this ash.

Iceland is a place with many volcanoes.

The Earth is a complex place with an interesting geology that merits study even when no big disaster is taking place.

Here is a link to Geology. com. There is a great deal of information at this site about the Earth.

A very useful book to learn about these topics is called Earth–The Definitive Visual Guide. I have this book at home and look at it often. It has great pictures and helpful text to help folks understand the world.

There is a lot more to our existence than just freak-show ash clouds that make people study things they might not otherwise consider. Please be someone who is informed and who is curious about as many things as possible. We all the ability to know many things. The information we need to learn these things is all around us if we just make some effort.

(Below—The Cleveland Volcano in Alaska as photographed from space in 2006.)

April 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Undersea Volcano Threat For Italy/Undersea Volcanoes Of Asphalt In Gulf Of Mexico

An undersea volcano near Italy could erupt at any moment and launch a terrible tsunami that would have the potential to kill many people.

From the French Press Agency

“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 Monday. The Marsili volcano, which is bursting with magma, has “fragile walls” that could collapse, Enzo Boschi told the leading daily Corriere della Sera. “It could even happen tomorrow,” said Boschi, president of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV). “Our latest research shows that the volcano is not structurally solid, its walls are fragile, the magma chamber is of sizeable dimensions,” he said. “All that tells us that the volcano is active and could begin erupting at any time.” The event would result in “a strong tsunami that could strike the coasts of Campania, Calabria and Sicily,” Boschi said. The undersea Marsili, 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) tall and located some 150 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of Naples, has not erupted since the start of recorded history.”

The United States Geological Survey has more information on these submarine volcanos.

Here is a picture of an undersea volcano erupting

I guess you are just sailing along and there it goes.

There is also something called an undersea mud volcano. They have these even in the nearby Gulf of Mexico.

These types of volcanoes seem dirty. They cover the sea floor with mud and goo.

Even more surprising then undersea mud volcanoes (At least I had never heard of them before I wrote this post) , the Gulf of Mexico may be the only place in the world where there are undersea asphalt volcanoes.

Here is how this works—

“When special microorganisms deep below the seafloor degrade petroleum, asphalt remains as a waste product. It is not unusual to find small amounts of this, but in some places in the Gulf of Mexico the asphalt covers more than a square kilometer of sea bottom. The researchers christened one of the mounds “Chapopote”, after the Aztec word for asphalt.”

These facts about asphalt volcanoes come from the Center for Marine Environmental Studies at the University of Breman. This is a university in Germany.

There is an underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean where many eels live and where there is an odd film of yellow microbe life.

Below is a picture of that undersea volcano.

Here is a You Tube video of an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific Ocean nation of Tonga.

The Tonga eruption took place last year. There was concern that this eruption would lead to a tsunami. Fortunately , it did not.

Here are some facts about Tonga.

It has been undersea earthquakes that have caused recent tsunamis. However, tsunamis can also be caused by undersea volcanoes.  This is just the concern about the undersea volcano near Italy.

Here is information from the United States Embassy in Japan

“Less commonly, volcanic eruptions can initiate a tsunami – this happens in several ways: if an underwater volcano erupts, the hot lava may heat the surrounding seawater quickly and explosively; massive flows of volcanic debris such as ash can travel down the side of a land volcano and into the ocean, pushing water outwards as it does so; the top of an underwater volcano may collapse downwards, so that the overlying water also drops when compared to water that is further away”

Our Ambassador to Japan is one John V. Roos.

Here is the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center of the National Weather Service.

Here are basic facts about volcanoes from National Geographic.

I hope that things turn out okay in Italy.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment