Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Volcano’ Category

Volcanologists report that Campi Flegrei , in and around which 1.5 million inhabitants live, is at the start of an eruption cycle


Campi Flegrei, Italy



The Campi Flegrei caldera cluster is the largest volcanic feature along the Bay of Naples, which is also home to the more famous Vesuvius. The Campi Flegrei, or “Fiery Fields,” is built from a series of overlapping volcanic features—calderas, domes, and cinder cones—that are historically active.

The Campi Flegrei calderas have produced two of the largest eruptions Europe has seen in the past 40,000 years. The Neopolitan Yellow Tuff (rock composed of fragments of material embedded within volcanic ash) was erupted roughly 12,800 years ago, with a total volume of at least 40 cubic kilometers (10 cubic miles). The Campanian Ignimbrite (rock made from the fused remnants of a pyroclastic flow) is about 32,800 years old and has a volume of at least 100 cubic kilometers (20 cubic miles).

Since the Neopolitan Yellow Tuff was formed, numerous small eruptions have occurred in the caldera complex, mostly less than half a cubic kilometer (0.1 cubic miles) in size. The most recent eruption occurred in 1538 at Monte Nuovo, a small cinder cone; that strombolian activity killed at least 32 people.

The most obvious manifestation of the magma under the surface at the Campi Flegrei is the La Solfatara, a region of intense hydrothermal activity. There has also been repeated cycles of uplift and subsidence near the city of Pozzouli, sometimes on the order of meters per decade, along with degassing within the Gulf of Pozzouli.

This natural-color image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on July 9, 2012.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team. Caption by Erik Klemetti, Eruptions Blog/Denison University.

11/14/1985: 25,000 lives were lost after the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia


“…..The worst scene of destruction was the city of Armero. The wave of mud, rock and ice was nearly 100 feet high as it barreled down on the city……”


Vesuvius: The rapid vaporization of body fluids and soft tissues of the 79 AD Herculaneum victims at death by exposure to extreme heat;

Petrone P, Pucci P, Vergara A, Amoresano A, Birolo L, Pane F, et al. (2018) A hypothesis of sudden body fluid vaporization in the 79 AD victims of Vesuvius. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0203210.


“……The extraordinarily rare preservation of significant putative evidence of hemoprotein thermal degradation from the eruption victims strongly suggests the rapid vaporization of body fluids and soft tissues of people at death due to exposure to extreme heat...…”



Mount Soputan on Sulawesi island erupts: More woes to the people who survived the earthquake

USA Today


The Ring of Fire

8/27/1883: Krakatoa: The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history



A basketball-sized lava bomb slammed through the roof of a tour boat near an active fissure of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano early Monday morning, showering the vessel with debris and injuring 23.



Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala: “The volcano would grumble and make noise. We never thought it would take our things and leave us with nothing.”

NY Times

Kilauea: Current Situation (USGS HVO Status Report, June 18)

Current Situation (USGS HVO Status Report, June 18)

Lower East Rift Zone: Lava from Fissure 8 is flowing to the ocean, but could break out of channels and threaten the community of Nanawale (675 homes, pop. 1,384).

Ocean entry remained fairly broad with laze blown onshore. Lightweight volcanic glass continues to fall downwind; high winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Summit: Seismicity continues to increase, with a series of M5+ earthquakes likely caused by explosive volcanic activity over the last 48 hours.  Sulfur dioxide emissions are lower than they have been, but remain at dangerous levels.

Impacts (DR-4366-HI SITREP, June 16)

• Injuries / Fatalities: 4 injuries / 0 fatalities (NC since May 22)

• Evacuations (Residents): 2,800 (mandatory), 150 (voluntary) (NC since June 3) • Shelters: 3 open / 114 (-6) occupants (ARC Midnight Shelter Count, June 18)

• Damage: 455 (+135) structures destroyed (192 homes)

• Power: 935 (-79) customers without power

• Transportation: 474 (-1) structures isolated by lava flows

Kīlauea Eruption – Hawai’i County, HI
Alert Level: WARNING Color Code: RED

State / Local Response

• HI EOC at Partial Activation

FEMA Response

• IA approved on June 14; DRC opened on June 15

• Region IX RWC at Steady State

NASA: Volcán de Fuego

A Deadly Eruption Rocks Guatemala

A Deadly Eruption Rocks Guatemala

Fuego in Guatemala is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes. For years, the towering Volcán de Fuego has puffed continuously, punctuated by occasional episodes of explosive activity, big ash plumes, lava flows, and avalanche-like debris slides known as pyroclastic flows.

Just before noon on June 3, 2018, the volcano produced an explosive eruption that sent ash billowing thousands of meters into the air. A deadly mixture of ash, rock fragments, and hot gases rushed down ravines and stream channels on the sides of the volcano. Since these pyroclastic flows often move at speeds of greater than 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour, they easily topple trees, homes, or anything else in their path. According to news reports, more than two dozen people were killed. As a precautionary measure, thousands of other people have been evacuated.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi NPP acquired this image of the ash plume at 1 p.m. local time (19:00 Universal Time) on June 3, 2018, after the ash (brown) had punched through a deck of clouds. A report from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center estimated the plume’s maximum height at 15 kilometers (9 miles). Imagery from a geostationary satellite showed winds blowing the plume to the east. The eruption deposited ash on several communities surrounding the volcano, including Guatemala City, which is 70 kilometers (40 miles) to the east.

In addition to ash, the plume contains gaseous components invisible to the human eye, including sulfur dioxide (SO2). The gas can affect human health—irritating the nose and throat when breathed in—and reacts with water vapor to produce acid rain. Sulfur dioxide also can react in the atmosphere to form aerosol particles, which can contribute to outbreaks of haze and sometimes cool the climate.

Satellite sensors such as the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on the Aqua satellite and the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite (OMPS) on Suomi NPP make frequent observations of sulfur dioxide. The map above shows concentrations of sulfur dioxide in the middle troposphere at an altitude of 8 kilometers (5 miles) as detected by OMPS on June 3.

Upon seeing data collected by AIRS several hours after the eruption that showed high levels of sulfur dioxide in the upper troposphere, Michigan Tech volcanologist Simon Carn tweeted that this appeared to be the “highest sulfur dioxide loading measured in a Fuego eruption in the satellite era.”

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership and OMPS data from the Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC). Story by Adam Voiland.

Suomi NPP – OMPS


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