Geologic Hazards

Chaiten Volcano, Chile

Since Friday May 2, the Chaiten Volcano in Chile has been erupting steam and ash in a most spectacular fashion for the first time since 7400 BC. The column of ash and steam rose over 17 km high and drifted over the Andes Mountains into Argentina and over the Atlantic. The terrestrial and aerial/satelite imagery of this event is amazing and frightening. Geology.com has an excellent page covering the latest info on the Chaiten  eruption.

There is concern now that the energy of the volcano has leveled off and a collapse of the ash column could happen at any time creating a pyroclastic flow of super-heated ash and vapors much like the one that buried Pompei. The photo at the left is of a lightning storm interacting with the dust and steam from the erruption, it looks like armageddon! (Photo by Carlos Gutierrez / UPV / Landov)

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Available Resources

Geologic Hazard Photos

The National Geodetic Data Center (NGDC) of NOAA has an online collection of photos of various geologic hazards. Many of the photos are from older sets of 35mm slides that have been digitized. They are free to use provided you credit the photographer and the NGDC as the source. The would be really useful for educators and for powerpoint presentations. The only drawback is that they are in TIF format and some of them could use some retouching. (Photo by University of Colorado, made available by NOAA/NGDC)

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Geologic Hazards

Kilauea Volcano: Examining Hazards from Latest Redirected Flow Event

In July of 2007, The Big Island’s Kilauea began eruting approximately 500,000 cubic meters of lava a day in a direction that has not previously seen lava flows. Most importantly, the northeasterly direction of flow takes it towards Pahoa Village, 11 miles from the erupting fissure but still possibly at risk. Read on for more. (USGS Photo)

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Project Related

Indonesia to Build Monumental Suspension Bridge in Ring of Fire

Indonesia is planning to build what will be the World’s longest suspension bridge to link up its two main islands of Java and Sumatra. The total length will over 30-km with a (max?) height of 70-m so ships can pass underneath. The catch is that the bridge will be located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the boundary between the Asian and Australian tectonic plates and one of the most seismically and volcanically active areas in the world. There have been several recent earthquakes greater than magnitude 7, not to mention the earthquake that caused the 2004 tsunami. The bridge will be built to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake. Oh, and in case the seismic concerns weren’t great enough, the bridge will pass within 50-km of the volcano Krakatoa. The estimated cost of the bridge is $12 billion ($AU?). Credit to Geology.com for the story.

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