Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pacific Volcano Rumbling To Life Again

April 20, 2004
U.S. Geological Survey
A swarm of seismic activity heralding renewed eruptive activity at Anatahan Volcano in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

A swarm of seismic activity heralding renewed eruptive activity at Anatahan Volcano in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), which began early on March 31st, has prompted the U.S. Geological Survey to notify the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center of volcanic activity that could be hazardous to aircraft.

The swarm of very small earthquakes was the third and largest such episode of activity since the eruption in May-August, 2003. The current round of seismic intensity peaked on April 6th with approximately one small earthquake each minute and was similar in nature to that observed at other volcanoes before they erupted. On Sunday, new lava was spotted forming a short flow or dome inside Anatahan?s crater. Although the rate of seismicity has declined since the April 6th peak, earthquakes are still occurring frequently, and steam and ash emissions and small explosions are likely to occur. Anatahan is continuously monitored by the CNMI Emergency Management Office on Saipan and by USGS volcanologists in Hawaii, Washington, and California, using Internet and wireless technology to continuously track the situation as it develops.

Within the CNMI, nine active volcanoes pose a significant hazard to air traffic and to planned settlement and economic development of many of the islands. The CNMI Emergency Management Office (EMO) and the USGS have developed a plan to evaluate and assess volcanic hazards, and to install, maintain, and operate a volcano-monitoring network across the nine active volcanoes to provide early warning of hazardous volcanic activity to commercial and military aviation interests, the inhabitants of the islands, the government of CNMI, and the public. Continued monitoring is needed so that potential hazards to air traffic, existing communities, and future island settlements from future eruptive activity can be quickly and correctly assessed.

Volcanic eruptions pose a serious threat to aviation, but one that can be mitigated through the combined efforts of scientific specialists, the aviation industry, and air-traffic control centers. Eruptions threaten aviation safety when finely pulverized volcanic material (?ash?) erupts in large airborne clouds which cover long distances at airliner cruising altitudes. When an aircraft flies into an ash cloud results can include degraded engine performance (including loss of thrust power), loss of visibility, and failure of critical navigational and operational instruments. The best safety strategy is for aviators to know the locations of ash clouds and avoid them. Because ash clouds drift with prevailing winds for many days and thousands of miles, they potentially threaten air corridors that are far removed from the erupting volcano. For example, each year approximately 25,000 large commercial passenger jets fly through a small area of airspace immediately surrounding the Mariana Islands, and more than 1 million planes fly from Asia to Australia and New Zealand. On May 23, 2003, Anatahan produced an ash cloud that disrupted regional and international air traffic on at least two days.

The volcanic-ash hazard to aviation is the subject of the upcoming 2nd International Conference on Volcanic Ash and Aviation Safety in June in Alexandria, VA. Information about the conference is available online at http://www.ofcm.gov/homepage/text/spc_proj/volcanic_ash/about.html

A website with photos of Anatahan as well as frequently updated situation reports is available at: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/cnmi/index.html.

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to: describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by U.S. Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

U.S. Geological Survey. "Pacific Volcano Rumbling To Life Again." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040420013301.htm>.
U.S. Geological Survey. (2004, April 20). Pacific Volcano Rumbling To Life Again. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040420013301.htm
U.S. Geological Survey. "Pacific Volcano Rumbling To Life Again." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040420013301.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This

More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) A study of almost 20 years' worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins