Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Volcano’ Category

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

FEMA Sit Rep; 6-11-18 re Kilauea

Eruptions continue from the lower East Rift Zone fissure system.

Minor flows overtopping the channel levees have been observed. The ocean entry area continues to produce laze.

Volcanic gas emissions remain high.

Impacts (FEMA-4366-DR-HI COP, 11:00 p.m. EDT June 7)

Injuries / Fatalities: 4 injuries / 0 fatalities

• Evacuations: Mandatory for 2,800 residents; an additional 150 residents under voluntary evacuation in Papaya Farms Road and Waa Waa

• 475 structures isolated but potentially not impacted, due to roads being cut off

• Shelters: 3 shelters open with 131 occupants (ARC Midnight Shelter Count, June 11)

• Damage: 320 structures destroyed (130 homes)

• Power: 856 customers without power; Puna Geothermal Venture plant not accessible except by off-road vehicles and air transport; substation destroyed

• Transportation: FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions extended through August 31 State / Local Response

• HI EOC at Partial Activation; Governor declared a State of Emergency

FEMA Response

• Interim Operating Facility (IOF) established with N-IMAT East 1, a portion of N-IMAT East 2, and Bothell MERS supporting

USGS summary on Kilauea


Kīlauea is the youngest and southeastern most volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i. Topographically Kīlauea appears as only a bulge on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa, and so for many years Kīlauea was thought to be a mere satellite of its giant neighbor, not a separate volcano. However, research over the past few decades shows clearly that Kīlauea has its own magma-plumbing system, extending to the surface from more than 60 km deep in the earth.

In fact, the summit of Kīlauea lies on a curving line of volcanoes that includes Mauna Kea and Kohala and excludes Mauna Loa. In other words, Kīlauea is to Mauna Kea as Lō‘ihi is to Mauna Loa. Hawaiians used the word Kīlauea only for the summit caldera, but earth scientists and, over time, popular usage have extended the name to include the entire volcano.

Kīlauea is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. Hawaiian chants and oral traditions tell in veiled form of many eruptions fomented by an angry Pele before the first European, the missionary Rev. William Ellis, saw the summit in 1823. The caldera was the site of nearly continuous activity during the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. Since 1952 there have been 34 eruptions, and since January 1983 eruptive activity has been continuous along the East Rift Zone. In March 2008, a vent also opened in Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the volcano’s summit. The summit crater hosts an active lava pond and a vigorous gas plume. Kīlauea ranks among the world’s most active volcanoes and may even top the list.

ocation: Island of Hawai‘i
Latitude: 19.421° N
Longitude: 155.287° W
Elevation: 1,222 (m) 4,009 (f)
Volcano type: Shield
Composition: Basalt
Most recent eruption: Current
Nearby towns: Volcano, Pāhoa, Kalapana, Mountain View
Threat Potential: Very High *


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