Though born and raised in the craton of North America, my PhD field work looked at the interplay between volcanism, hydrology, and geomorphology in the Oregon Cascades. I’ll admit that I’ve become a bit of a volcano geek, and the last few weeks have provided some really spectacular eruptions to watch safely from my non-volcanically active perch in North Carolina.
First up, we had the undersea eruption and emergence of a new island near Tonga. Intrepid locals and airline passengers snapped some amazing pictures, best showcased on the Boston Globe’s Big Picture site. The eruption was a textbook example of a Surtseyan eruption, well, if Surtsey itself hadn’t already coined the phrase.
Just when we thought it would never happen, Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano decided to put on a good show for us. The eruption started on March 22nd, but the biggest eruption so far occurred this morning at 9:24 am Alaska time. The ash column reached 20 km into the atmosphere. Images of the volcano also show new lahar deposits going down the Drift River valley.
One of the cool features of these eruptions has been the ability of even armchair volcano enthusiasts to watch the events unfold in near real-time. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) has a webcam with a nice view of Redoubt’s summit (image below is from this evening), you can follow the course of the eruption on AVO’s twitter feed, and there are some excellent volcano-centric bloggers who are doing a commendable job of providing commentary on the eruptions. Of the volcano bloggers, I’d have to say my favorite is Erik Klemetti of Eruptions. Erik is an igneous petrologist, and a fellow OSU Geosciences alum.
View of Redoubt from AVO’s Hut webcam as of 26 March 2009, 17:50 Alaska Daylight Time.