Scientists spy on Mount Etna with fiber-optic cables

Buried fiber-optic cables at Etna's summit pick up subtle volcanic activity, potentially improving early warning systems.

Enlarge / Buried fiber-optic cables at Etna’s summit pick up subtle volcanic activity, potentially improving early warning systems. (credit: M.A. Gutscher)

Towering 11,000 feet above a million humans, Mount Etna is one of the most thoroughly monitored volcanoes on Earth. Hundreds of sensors dot its flanks, and for good reason: it’s Europe’s most active volcano, periodically spewing lava and huge plumes of debris that ground planes and generally make life miserable for those living in its shadow.

But now scientists have been spying on Etna with an unlikely new surveillance device: fiber-optic cables, like the ones that bring you the Internet. Writing last week in the journal Nature Communications, researchers described how they used a technique known as distributed acoustic sensing, or DAS, to pick up seismic signals that conventional sensors missed. This could help improve the early warning system that people in the surrounding parts of Italy rely on. Millions more around the world are also at the mercy of active volcanoes, which create chaos whether they are large or small.

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#fiber-optic-cable, #fiber-optics, #science, #volcanoes

Ice Volcanoes Reshape Pluto and Hint at a Hidden Ocean

Signs of cryovolcanic activity on the dwarf planet in the recent geological past must be driven by an underground body of water, a study suggests.

#ice, #nature-communications-journal, #pluto-dwarf-planet, #research, #space-and-astronomy, #volcanoes

A new picture of the hot water beneath Yellowstone’s geysers

Image of a hot spring with intense colors in the water and surrounding soil.

Enlarge / Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, (credit: Ignacio Palacios / Getty Images)

The vast volcanic caldera at Yellowstone National Park is just the latest in a long string of volcanic sites, all of which seem to be linked to a hot blob of material that may go all the way down to the Earth’s mantle. There’s been a lot of effort put into tracing that hot material, given that some of the earlier eruptions from it have been utterly enormous.

But there’s also a connection between that hot material and the features like geysers and hot springs that make Yellowstone a major tourist destination. And those connections are very difficult to trace. But a new study has proposed a map that shows how the hot water of Yellowstone flows under beneath the feet of visitors and why it reaches the surface at specific sites.

Mapping the plumbing

We tend to talk about water under our feet as traveling through underground rivers, but that creates a misleading image. In reality, water creeps along as a broad flow through permeable materials, its path shifted by things like faults and hard, impermeable rock like granite. Tracking it isn’t the simplest thing.

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#geology, #geysers, #science, #volcanoes, #yellowstone

This Galápagos Volcano Produced a ‘Mesmerizing’ River of Fire

When Wolf Volcano erupted last month in a remote corner of Ecuador, its lava trail extended for miles in an orange line so bright that it was visible from space.

#darwin-charles-robert, #ecuador, #galapagos-conservancy, #galapagos-islands, #volcanoes

Dissolving in Toxic Oceans: How an Ancient Extinction Happened

Scientists say rocks on the English coast contain clues of the processes that drove the end-Triassic event that killed as much as a quarter of all life on Earth.

#carbon-dioxide, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #fossils, #geology, #geology-journal, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #oceans-and-seas, #paleontology, #volcanoes, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Tonga Goes Into Lockdown Over Covid Cases

Among the infected are two workers who were helping to distribute aid shipments at the Tongan wharf after a volcanic eruption and tsunami tested positive.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #fiber-optics, #foreign-aid, #tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #tonga, #volcanoes

Tonga’s Diaspora Confronts Daunting Challenge of Disaster Response

Tens of thousands of overseas Tongans, intimately tied to their homeland, are contending with the pandemic, snarled supply chains and limited communications.

#australia, #new-zealand, #remittances, #supply-chain, #tonga, #volcanoes

Coronavirus Outbreak Is Reported on Aid Ship Bound for Tonga

Twenty-three people aboard the Australian ship have tested positive for the virus, prompting concerns that it could spread to Tonga. The volcano-stricken island has reported only one case during the pandemic.

#australia, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dutton-peter-c, #ships-and-shipping, #tonga, #volcanoes

Tonga Tsunami Brought Catastrophe to 3 Tiny Islands

The sparsely populated islets of Nomuka, Mango and Fonoifua were hit by waves almost 50 feet high, a Red Cross official said.

#tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #tonga, #volcanoes

Tongan Man Swept Away by Tsunami Survived After 26 Hours Afloat

Lisala Folau, a retired carpenter, spent a night and day at sea after an undersea volcanic eruption sent waves crashing through his home on the island of Atata.

#new-zealand, #rescues, #tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #tonga, #volcanoes

How a Volcano Severed Tonga From the World

The disaster caused by the largest eruption in decades has been defined so far by the nation’s near-complete disconnection in an ever-connected age.

#disasters-and-emergencies, #tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #tonga, #volcanoes

Researchers date the oldest known human skull at 233,000 years

Researchers date the oldest known human skull at 233,000 years

Enlarge (credit: Vidal et al 2022)

The oldest known Homo sapiens fossil is about 36,000 years older than previously thought, according to a recent study. Volcanologists matched a layer of ash above the fossil skull to an eruption of southern Ethiopia’s Shala volcano 233,000 years ago. Their findings seem to line up well with other recent research about when our species’ branch of the family tree split from that of our nearest hominin relatives, the ancestors of the now-extinct Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Geochemical fingerprints on a Pleistocene crime scene

Finding the oldest member of our species hasn’t been easy for paleoanthropologists. There’s only a handful of sites in Africa where early Homo sapiens fossils—anything older than about 100,000 years—have turned up, and some of the samples have been nearly impossible to pin a precise date on. At other sites, the fossils don’t quite have all the features that distinguish our skulls from those of our now-extinct hominin cousins: things like a high, round cranium (the round part of your skull that holds your brain) and a chin.

One fossil, a skull found near the Omo River in southern Ethiopia, does have all the hallmarks of anatomically modern humans; among other traits, Omo I has a chin and a tall cranium. The skull was buried (probably not on purpose) in a layer of sediment that was later covered by ash from at least one volcanic eruption. In theory, that ash should make it easy to measure the fossil’s minimum age.

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#archaeology, #argon-isotope-dating, #hominins, #human-evolution, #paleoanthropology, #radiometric-dating, #science, #volcanoes

Ash From Tonga Volcanic Eruption Still Poses a Threat

Ash from a volcanic eruption in the South Pacific nation presents risks to drinking water and air quality, experts say. Quantifying them in real time is a challenge.

#air-pollution, #humanitarian-aid, #new-zealand, #tonga, #volcanoes, #water-pollution

After Volcanic Eruption, Tonga Faces Weeks Without Internet

After a huge volcanic eruption severed the island country’s lone connection to the global internet, a difficult repair job, delving deep into the ocean, lies ahead.

#computers-and-the-internet, #oceans-and-seas, #subcom-llc, #tonga, #volcanoes, #wire-and-cable

Tonga, Covered in Ash and Worried About Covid

As it struggles to clean up and reconnect with the world, Tonga confronts the risk that international aid workers could bring in a virus it has so far kept out.

#australia, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #new-zealand, #tonga, #volcanoes

After Volcano, Tongans Abroad Wait for News From Home

Overseas Tongans were desperately seeking word from their loved ones after a huge undersea eruption severed communications lines two days ago.

#tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #tonga, #volcanoes

Tonga Shrouded by Ash and Mystery After Powerful Volcano Erupts

So far, the only deaths reported occurred 6,000 miles away, in Peru. But outside emergency workers have yet to make their way to the Pacific island nation.

#ardern-jacinda, #deaths-fatalities, #new-zealand, #tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #tonga, #volcanoes

A Tsunami Hits Tonga’s Capital After an Underwater Volcano Eruption

The waters prompted warnings and advisories on nearby islands and in parts of New Zealand and the United States.

#fiji, #new-zealand, #tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #tonga, #volcanoes

Into the Belly of the Whale With Sjón

The Icelandic novelist, poet and Björk collaborator is a surrealist for our time.

#bjork, #books-and-literature, #content-type-personal-profile, #iceland, #sjon-1962, #volcanoes, #whales-and-whaling, #writing-and-writers

Cultivating Olives on the Slopes of Mount Etna

For millenniums, farmers and vintners in northeastern Sicily have benefited from the area’s mineral-rich soil, a result of volcanic eruptions.

#agriculture-and-farming, #mount-etna-italy, #olive-oil, #olives, #photography, #sicily-italy, #travel-and-vacations, #volcanoes

Photos From Indonesia Volcano: Death Toll Rises

About 17 people were still missing as rescuers searched for survivors buried under volcanic ash.

#deaths-fatalities, #indonesia, #java-indonesia, #volcanoes

At Least One Dead as Indonesia’s Mount Semeru Erupts

Dozens more suffered burns as lava flowed from the eruption of Mount Semeru, on the island of Java.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #evacuations-and-evacuees, #indonesia, #java-indonesia, #volcanoes

At Least One Dead as Volcano Erupts in Indonesia, Spewing Ash Cloud

Dozens more suffered burns as lava flowed from the eruption of Mount Semeru, on the island of Java.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #evacuations-and-evacuees, #indonesia, #java-indonesia, #volcanoes

Honeybees Survived for Weeks Under Volcano Ash After Canary Islands Eruption

For roughly 50 days, thousands of honeybees sealed themselves in their hives, away from deadly gas, and feasted on honey. “It is a very empowering story,” one entomologist said.

#animal-behavior, #bee-informed-partnership, #bees, #canary-islands, #honey, #spain, #volcanoes

How Do You See Inside a Volcano? Try a Storm of Cosmic Particles.

Muography, a technique used to peer inside nuclear reactors and Egyptian pyramids, could help map the innards of the world’s most hazardous volcanoes.

#muons, #physics, #proceedings-of-the-royal-society-a-journal, #research, #sensors, #volcanoes, #your-feed-science

When Kilauea Erupted, a New Volcanic Playbook Was Written

Scientists learned lessons from the 2018 outburst on the island of Hawaii that are changing how responders prepare for eruptions in other places.

#disasters-and-emergencies, #drones-pilotless-planes, #geology, #hawaii, #kilauea-volcano-hawaii, #mount-baker-wash, #mount-hood-ore, #mount-rainier-wash, #mount-shasta-volcano-calif, #mount-st-helens-wash, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #social-media, #united-states, #united-states-geological-survey, #volcanoes, #western-states-us, #your-feed-science

Inside a Volcanic Ritual on the Indonesian Island of Java

During the Hindu ceremony of Yadnya Kasada, the Tenggerese people toss offerings — food, money, flowers, livestock — into the hazy crater of Mount Bromo.

#hinduism, #java-indonesia, #travel-and-vacations, #volcanoes

A Dispatch From an Endangered Bird’s ‘Garden of Eden’

Immerse yourself in the visual splendor of a tiny volcanic island in the northern Andaman Sea, the only home of the little-known Narcondam hornbill.

#andaman-islands, #biology-and-biochemistry, #birds, #india, #indian-ocean, #islands, #photography, #travel-and-vacations, #volcanoes

La Palma Volcano Lava Hits Ocean, Creating a Pyramid and Toxic Gas Risks

The authorities told residents of the Spanish island to keep their windows shut, warning of powerful chemical reactions as molten rock meets seawater.

#canary-islands, #oceans-and-seas, #spain, #volcanoes

Volcanic Eruptions Helped Dinosaurs Dominate Planet Earth

Massive eruptions transformed the climate in the Triassic era, creating the conditions in which dinosaurs diversified into many more species.

#dinosaurs, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #research, #volcanoes, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Photos of an Eruption: Canary Island Volcano Sends Thousands Fleeing

This is what it looks in La Palma, where the most powerful volcanic eruption in half a century has upended life for islanders.

#canary-islands, #volcanoes

Thousands Evacuated as Canary Island Volcano Erupts

A volcano on the island of La Palma spewed lava and smoke, prompting an evacuation of thousands and forcing the Spanish prime minister to delay a trip to New York.

#canary-islands, #sanchez-perez-castejon-pedro-1972, #volcanoes

Venus Will Have a Fleet of Spacecraft as Europe Adds Orbiter Mission

The EnVision spacecraft will complement two NASA missions announced last week, ending the relative loneliness of a planet sometimes thought of as Earth’s twin.

#european-space-agency, #geology, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #space-and-astronomy, #venus-planet, #volcanoes, #water

After Eruption, Residents in Congo Struggle to Find Food and Shelter

Mount Nyiragongo exploded on May 22, leaving hundreds of thousands of displaced people amid threats of new disasters.

#congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #evacuations-and-evacuees, #united-nations, #volcanoes

Goma, Congo, Is Partly Evacuated Due to Volcano Eruption Fears [Video]

Days after a deadly eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in Democratic Republic of Congo, the threat of another eruption forced the evacuation of much of the city of Goma.

#africa, #congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #earthquakes, #goma-congo-democratic-republic-of, #lake-kivu, #mount-nyiragongo-congo-democratic-republic-of, #united-nations, #volcanoes

Lava From Erupting Volcano Halts Outside City in Congo

After a night of panic and chaos that caused tens of thousands to flee their homes, officials in Goma cautiously declared the emergency over.

#congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #evacuations-and-evacuees, #goma-congo-democratic-republic-of, #nyiragongo, #politics-and-government, #volcanoes

Volcanic Eruption in Congo Causes Panic in City of 2 Million

There was no immediate word on any casualties, but witnesses said that lava from Mount Nyiragongo already had engulfed one highway that connects Goma with a nearby city.

#congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #volcanoes

Life and Death on Stromboli Volcano, Lighthouse of the Mediterranean

Stromboli’s volcano is always active, always at the brink of devastating paroxysms. For those who visit the island as tourists or scientists, it is a spectacle like no other.

#italy, #mediterranean-sea, #nature-communications-journal, #research, #science-and-technology, #stromboli, #travel-and-vacations, #volcanoes, #your-feed-photojournalism, #your-feed-science

Volcano Erupts in Southern Caribbean

La Soufrière, on the main island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, last erupted in 1979, but recent activity had alarmed disaster management officials, who urged residents to evacuate.

#caribbean-area, #st-vincent-and-the-grenadines, #volcanoes

Iceland Volcano Erupts After Weeks of Earthquakes

No injuries were reported after the rare eruption near Reykjavik — only joy, on the part of the singer and other Icelanders.

#bjork, #iceland, #volcanoes

In Iceland, 18,000 Earthquakes Over Days Signal Possible Eruption on the Horizon

The earthquake swarm is the culmination of more than a year of intense seismic activity. It could also herald decades of intermittent volcanic eruptions.

#earthquakes, #iceland, #reykjavik-iceland, #volcanoes

The Mouse That Survived a Volcanic Apocalypse

Much as small mammals outlived the dinosaur extinction, this rodent beat the odds when Pinatubo blew its top in the Philippines in 1991.

#conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #luzon-philippines, #mice, #philippines, #research, #rodents, #volcanoes, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

The Cold Case of What’s Heating Up Yellowstone’s Steamboat Geyser

Scientists ruled out earthquakes and excessive snowfall as culprits in the series of outbursts from the world’s tallest active geyser.

#earthquakes, #geology, #geysers, #proceedings-of-the-national-academy-of-sciences, #rain, #research, #volcanoes, #water, #yellowstone-national-park, #your-feed-science

Kilauea Volcano Erupts in Hawaii, Prompting Warning About Ash

The civil defense authorities warned people to stay indoors to avoid the fallout of ash carried by the winds.

#earthquakes, #hawaii, #kilauea-volcano-hawaii, #united-states-geological-survey, #volcanoes

Deadly White Island Volcano Eruption Leads to Charges

Government agencies and individuals were among those charged over the roles in the 2019 disaster, which killed 22 people.

#accidents-and-safety, #deaths-fatalities, #new-zealand, #politics-and-government, #volcanoes, #white-island-new-zealand

How to Pretend You’re in Hawaii Tonight

With a few easy-to-find items, you can discover the archipelago’s breathtaking biodiversity, savor its flavors and music, even delight in an island-inspired Thanksgiving.

#art, #beaches, #books-and-literature, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #hawaii, #islands, #movies, #museums, #music, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #surfing, #thanksgiving-day, #travel-and-vacations, #volcanoes

Signs of Recent Volcanic Eruption on Mars Hint at Habitats for Life

Not thought to be volcanically active, Mars may have experienced an eruption just 53,000 years ago.

#icarus-journal, #mars-planet, #research, #space-and-astronomy, #volcanoes

Burning Fossil Fuels Helped Drive Earth’s Most Massive Extinction

Massive volcanic eruptions ignited oil and coal deposits in Siberia in the events that led to the Permian-Triassic “Great Dying” event.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fossils, #geology, #geology-journal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #nature-geoscience-journal, #oceans-and-seas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #research, #volcanoes, #your-feed-science

Could Listening to the Deep Sea Help Save It?

In the abyss, everyone can hear you scream.

#acoustics, #animal-behavior, #biodiversity, #chen-chong, #dolphins-and-porpoises, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #japan, #noise, #oceans-and-seas, #recording-equipment, #ships-and-shipping, #volcanoes, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

New data on a volcanic eruption that scattered ash across Mayan lands

New data on a volcanic eruption that scattered ash across Mayan lands

(credit: Gerardo Aguirre-Díaz)

Maya civilization was blossoming into its golden age when a volcano erupted at the southern edge of the Maya region, in what is now El Salvador. Tens of meters of ash and debris buried the densely populated, fertile farming valleys around the Ilopango caldera. Aerosols blasted into the stratosphere by the eruption settled as far away as Greenland and Antarctica. While the wider Maya civilization was mostly unaffected, it took a century and a half for life to resume in the shadow of Ilopango.

In a recent study, Oxford University archaeologist Victoria Smith and her colleagues used tree rings from a stump caught in a pyroclastic flow, along with data from polar ice cores obtained more than 7,000km (4,300 miles) away. These dated the eruption to 431 CE, the early part of the Maya Classic Period. The date may help future archaeologists and climate researchers better understand the impacts of the eruption on Central America and the rest of the world.

Buried by Tierra Blanca Joven

Volcanoes make dangerous neighbors, but they have ways of drawing people close despite the risks. Fertile volcanic soils in the valleys of El Salvador supported dense populations in Maya villages and urban centers like Chalchuapa. By the beginning of the Maya Classic Period, around 250 BCE, the rulers at Chalchuapa had built temples and a ball court at the site. Artifacts found among the ruins reveal trade connections as far away as central Mexico.

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#ancient-central-america, #ancient-disasters, #archaeology, #maya, #pre-columbian-civilizations, #science, #volcanic-eruptions, #volcanoes