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10/16/2007

Possibility of volcanic activty near Quesnel excites scientists

Canada, B.C.
Possibility of volcanic activty near Quesnel excites scientists - Scientists are headed to an area 75 kilometres west of Quesnel to install seismological equipment aimed at determining whether a "swarm" of small earthquakes are evidence of a forthcoming burst of molten lava - potentially the first volcanic activity in the province of British Columbia in two centuries. "The earthquakes are continuing, even today. We should have some answers soon." Last Wednesday existing seismological equipment located at Thunder Mountain began recording earthquake activity. Since then, there have been more than 100 small earthquakes - most of them magnitude 1.0 or less on the Richter scale, but as big as 3.1 - including an average of one per hour over the past 24 hours. The activity is located 20 kilometers west of Nazko Cone, which last erupted 7,200 years ago and is currently being mined for scoria, used for light-weight aggregate, landscaping and ground cover, and in agricultural and horticultural applications as a soil additive. Upward movement could be evidence the lava is working its way to the surface, causing small earthquakes as it muscles its way through the earth's rocks. "We don't know if it's caused by magma at depth or if it's tectonic - just an earthquake in an UNUSUAL area, because we haven't seen earthquakes here before. It may turn out to be a little swarm of earthquakes in an unusual spot, but it may turn out to the be reawakening of a volcano, which is really exciting." Even if lava is on its way, it could take weeks or months to reach the surface. It took Mount St. Helens in Washington about two months to finally blow its top in 1980.

Volcanoes
RUSSIA - Shiveluch Volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula may be about to stage a large eruption. The Shiveluch volcano located in the north of the peninsula has intensified its activity and threatens with a new heavy eruption. Lately the volcano activity has increased and a heavy eruption is supposed to occur; it is supposed to be as heavy as the eruption in 2005, when the burning hot lava stream, about a kilometer wide and 25 kilometers long, erupted from Shiveluch and rushed down its slopes burning everything on its way. The seismic stations have already registered more than 400 local earthquakes near the volcano. The scientists suppose that some seismic events were accompanied with emissions of gas and ash about four kilometers high. The eruption of the volcano began in December 2006. The massive gas and ash columns rise above its crater from time to time. The volcano is not dangerous for the nearby settlements of the peninsula; however the emissions of ash threaten aircraft and the melting snow sometimes causes avalanching onto the Kamchatka Territory roads.
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