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27 April 2011

Soufriere Hills Volcano: Recent deposits in 2010 and 2011

Last year I wrote about the February 2010 dome collapse deposits of the Soufriere Hills lava dome, and this year at the SHV: 15 Years On Conference I had the chance to revisit some of the very same spots. These deposits are mainly pyroclastic material (ash, dome rock and pumice), left behind after pyroclastic flows, surges, and a 50,000 ft (~15 km) high ash plume were created during a major collapse of the lava dome. These deposits extended the eastern coastline of Montserrat almost a km in the area of the old Bramble Airport, and surges were even observed flowing out over the ocean on the eastern side of the island. Here are a few before-and-after shots of the deposits:


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12 April 2011

Soufriere Hills Volcano: 15 Years On Conference

If you’re wondering where I’ve been for the past week or so, the answer is attending the recent Soufriere Hills Volcano: 15 Years On conference, held from April 4-8 on the Island of Montserrat. (I gave a talk, which hopefully goes a little way toward justifying a trip to a Caribbean island in the last weeks of the semester!) The conference was fantastic, and I learned so much about lava dome eruptions (in addition to my own research) that I’ll probably be slotting whole chunks of new material into my dissertation.


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8 September 2010

February 2010 dome collapse deposits at Soufriere Hills

If you ever want to visit a post-apocalyptic wasteland, someplace that’s been run over by pyroclastic flows would be a great choice. On February 11 of this year, a partial dome collapse on the northeastern flank of the Soufriere Hills lava dome produced spectacular pyroclastic flows, surges, and a 50,000 ft (~15 km) high ash plume. The pyroclastic flows extended the eastern coastline significantly in the area of the old …


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15 March 2010

Looking backward: Past eruptions at Volcán Santa Maria

On our way to visit the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory, Gustavo Chigna of INSIVUMEH (the Guatemalan equivalent of the USGS) was kind enough to take an afternoon off and show us some of the older deposits near Santiaguito. Our first stops were at an exposure of the air-fall deposit from the October 24, 1902 eruption of Volcán Santa Maria. This eruption was a devastating one, stripping the land for more than …


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5 March 2010

Watch your step: Field work on lava domes

I suppose I’ve left you all hanging long enough, so now it’s time to show off the first batch of photos from Guatemala. The trip started out in Guatemala City, where we loaded up our rental car and drove to Quetzaltenango (known as Xela or Xelaju to most people). From Xela we drove to a finca, or farm/plantation, and then spent three hours hiking through jungle, over landslide scars and …


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1 March 2010

Back in los Estados Unidos

Just a quick note to let you all know that I’m finally back from Guatemala with samples in hand and only a bit of surface damage. (Much better than last time.) It was a really successful trip, minus the bits where we had to deal with driving around Guatemala, and I’m really happy that the field work went as well as it did.I’m still in the process of unpacking and making …


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16 February 2010

Dome collapses

In light of the recent dome collapse at Soufriere Hills, I thought I’d expound a little on the subject, which is a major part of my research. Lava domes, if they last long enough, tend to go through cycles of growth and collapse. These can be relatively short, like the domes at Soufriere Hills or Mt. St. Helens (remember, a few years is short even on a volcanic timescale), or long, …


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