Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Meanwhile, Halfway Around the World

While the American people, and certainly the American press, are engrossed in the world-shaking issue of whether a black man has a right to kneel down in public, here is a bit of news that is essentially absent here, concerning a place that virtually no Americans have ever heard of, Mount Agung, in Indonesia.

Mount Agung is a volcano, one of ninety or so active volcanoes in Indonesia.  It hasn't erupted since the sixties, when it killed about 1500 people.

Well, it looks like another major eruption there is imminent.  Here's a chart of seismic activity at Mount Agung over the last few weeks:

Not a comforting trend.

There were about 800 earthquakes yesterday, and so far today the rate is continuing, with the strongest one to date, at 4.2, occurring this morning.  What is equally worrying is that the quakes are coming at shallower and shallower depths.  These quakes are caused by magma moving up in the earth's crust, so it is pretty obvious what that means.  They are only a couple of miles deep at this point.

This morning, steam started erupting from the top of the volcano, something else that can hardly be taken to be a positive trend.

The Indonesian experts say that at this point a massive eruption is just about inevitable, and about 75,000 or so people have been evacuated.  While we have no ability to exactly predict a volcanic eruption, many scientists expect that it will likely be within hours, or a couple of days.  Stay tuned.

Update:  9-27...Mount Agung is now emitting what is described as steam or smoke.  Not really a move in the right direction, if not a full scale eruption.  Experts still predict an eruption is at least 90% likely, with a good chance of it happening today or tomorrow.

1 comment:

Magpie said...

It's pretty big news here, or at least it will be again once the country recovers from the post AFL grand final hangover.
There's also a volcano doing its thing in Vanuatu, giving rise to mandatory evacuation of the whole island of Ambae, about 10,000 people.