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11/14/2007

Perched lava channel elevates the flows

Hawaii, USA
Kilauea volcano - the ongoing eruption from the east rift zone is a remarkable and fascinating sight. It is startling to see a river of lava coursing between broad levee walls that tower above the surrounding land surface. What the casual observer may not know, however, is that THIS IS A ONE-OF-A-KIND PHENOMENON. A perched lava channel has never been seen before. This makes it particularly difficult to forecast what might happen next. When the channel fills up, lava spills over the sides. These overflows are thin and, as such, cool very quickly. They typically travel no more than a few hundred feet beyond the channel. Thus, each overflow serves to build the channel levee up a little higher. If this happens enough times, the lava channel becomes elevated above the adjacent land surface. Since the lava channel began overflowing two-and-a-half months ago, it has developed into a mile-long channel perched some 37 m (120) feet above the pre-existing surface. Occasionally, the channel wall is not strong enough to hold back the huge weight of the lava flowing through the channel. The result is the failure of the channel wall, usually near the end of the lava channel. We have seen several of these breaches since August, each resulting in a significant drop in the level of lava in the channel as lava drains out.

Volcanoes
RUSSIA -
Bezymyanniy Volcano - "The analysis of information, received during research of Bezymyanniy held recently showed that the latest eruption of the volcano on November 5 was caused not by movement of scorching magma masses in the entrails of the volcano, but collapse of the slope." The south-eastern slope of its dome was demolished. A significant sector of the volcano dome with the total volume of almost 200,000 cubic meters was demolished. Simultaneously, a fragment avalanche almost three kilometers long fell down from the slope of the volcano. In the last years Bezymyanniy was one of the most predictable of 28 active volcanoes of Kamchatka. Eruptions happened with a permanent interval of 5-6 months and were predicted with high accuracy of probability - up to 100%. And now almost a month passed between eruptions registered on October 14 and November 5. Activation of the volcano came as a complete surprise for the scientists. "It is possible to establish change of dynamics of eruptions of the volcano Bezymyanniy and necessity of more careful study of its activity." Bezymyanniy is not dangerous for the settlements of the at Kamchatka peninsula. At the same time ash loops, saturated with small parts of magma material with the diameter of up to two millimeters, can threaten aviation. The volcanic ashes can cause poisoning of people and animals.
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