32 comments on “Recent Eruption at Ambrym Winding Down + Dr. Sparks received the 2015 Vetlesen Prize

  1. Hi agimarc, thank you for this overview of Anbrym’s activity, what an interesting corner of the world! Unfortunately, all the online webcams, seismograms and the alert level map have stopped updating since that last cyclone disaster ten days ago, hopefully the equipment has not been destroyed.


  2. Ambrym is a fascinating island, here are a couple of my photo’s from last July

    Marum crater (there is also a small side crater that has a small lava lake making 3 in total)

    Benbow crater

    Both craters glowing from their lava lakes


    • Thank you Doug, that are great photos! It is hard to imagine what it is like when a volcano is “always on”. Did you have a guide there, or did you get a chance to talk to the people fron the observatory?


  3. It is sure an interesting article on a remote volcano. I hope that the population there did not suffer overmuch of the cyclone.
    thanks 67Doug for the additionnal pictures.

    The slopes of the craters seem well weathered.


    • They are because they are soft. Much pyroclastic output and some lava as compared with Hawaii’s much lava and little pyroclastic output. Soft stuff weathers quickly. Kind of makes me wonder why there are islands out there. Cheers –


  4. From geonet’s (New Zealand) latest Volcanic Alert Bulletin NGA-2015/01 – Ngauruhoe Volcano
    Seismic activity around Ngauruhoe has increased above the typical background level, indicating minor volcanic unrest. Consequently GNS Science has raised the Volcanic Alert Level to level 1 (minor volcanic unrest) from 0 (no volcanic unrest). During the last two to three weeks there has been an increase in the number and magnitude of earthquakes being recorded by the GeoNet seismographs around Mount Ngauruhoe. Initial analysis indicates these earthquakes are shallow, occurring at depths of less than about 5 km. The last significant eruption at Ngauruhoe was in 1975.

    Can someone describe how to pronounce Ngauruhoe?


          • Annunciation exercise, How Now Brown Cow, supposed to correct people dropping consonants from words in dialect, the way to pronounce Now roo hoy just reminded me of it.

            On topic, Iceland is going to tear itself apart at a possible time in the future and some volcanoes will explode a bit, or even more than a bit, probably quite a lot in point of fact and it is interesting to see the continued jiggling about going on along the whole MAR under Iceland. Just me or was it a lot quieter elsewhere when Bardy was pushing it’s stuff out?


            • My take on Iceland is a bit different than that of most other people here arounds. I don’t know about the experts, but I am not one anyways, so I can just have an opinion… Iceland is not tearing apart but is growing very quietly from within, and has been doing so from its very beginnings. Naturally, with the magma welling up, eruptions occur every now and then. Depending on the conditions, whether or not there is a lot of water involved from the surface, and the amount of magma playing a role, they can be more or less energetic, but never as big as some of the volcanoes in the subduction zones are capable of.
              There is a lot going on tectonically in Iceland but the volcanic activity is far less than in other regions of the world, and that makes it sort of boring – to me – to look at Iceland for a longer time. It moves, it heaves, it bulges, it cracks, it coughs – and nothing comes of it… at least very rarely compared with other places. That doesn’t mean I did not appreciate the Nornahraun eruption, it was great as long as it lasted! 🙂


  5. Info from the last 6 hours in various Chilean newspapers:
    During the afternoon of Tuesday, a flyover on Villarrica volcano by SERNAGEOMIN confirmed that lava into the massif is close to the crater surface again. Although in the last two days emissions of ash and gases had decreased, at nights a bright glow was observed in the crater area. Accompanied by a continuous seismic tremor of moderate energy which has remained constant values for most of the day with a slight upward trend.
    Currently, restriction zone on the volcano is fixed at five kilometer radius around the crater but could be increased to 10 km if necessary, also OVDAS included Challupén river estuary into the danger zone.
    The alert level is still at orange. A probable scenario would be similar to what happened last March 3 at the first eruption this year.

    Images courtesy of SEBASTIAN ESCOBAR/AFP/Getty Images (1st) and SERNAGEOMIN (2nd), showing the glow of crater area at night, and a thermal camera image, suggesting a magmatic body close to the surface.


  6. Do we have someone ornithologically inclined here? I just captured these birds on the three Shiveluch webcams, it would be interesting to know what they are. Perhaps one can tell from their appearance of flight? Click on the image for large view.


      • That would be my best guess too, although harder to tell because of the lighting not showing colour and no clear silhouette of the head. The wingtips and general body shape and tail look about right though.


      • Wow, they are among the biggest birds of prey in the world! Although, they do have a lot of white in their plumage. I would think that would be visible in the images, even against the sky… well, not sure. Thanks a lot for your replies!


  7. Now that the initial phase of the Bárðarbunga/Holuhraun episode is over, we can look back and say, how would it have been had it been subglacial? 1.4 km3! How much of the Vatnajökull would have survived an eruption of that size? Would the phreatics and *tremendous* jokullhauping have destabilized sections of the glacier beyond the near vicinity? If the lava had erupted where the dyke doglegs left (which is not a farfetched idea), how would things look now? We got lucky…


  8. Heads-up for Sakurajima everyone.

    Average 450 eruptions a year. So far in 2015, over 300 eruptions.

    31 eruptions on March 27th alone. I’ve been watching the webcam:


    Deformation/swelling/inflation has been reported.

    This is potentially shaping up to be something biggish. Raw data (in Japanese) from JMA: http://www.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vois/data/tokyo/STOCK/volinfo/gensho.html

    (This report from my own observations and from a contact in Japan)


    • The inflation that was occurring a few years ago was centered on Wakamiku crater, in the northeast of the Aira caldera, not under Sakurajima. While Sakurajima may be the outlet for now, I suspect that eventually we will end up seeing the formation of a new somma volcano next to Kirishima. Those could be some interesting times.


  9. New post “Activity increases at Semisopochnoi” is up. Things are percolating nicely out there. Might be a reprise of last year’s earthquake swarm. Might be something larger. Webicorders are cranking up nicely. Cheers –


  10. Pingback: Volcanoes of Samoa – Part 1 of 2 |

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