Saturday, February 15, 2014

Kelud Wakes up

We have gone a long time since we have had a really major eruption.  This one appears big enough and it is still early days.  Thus it could build into something really large vas we have experienced.

I suspect that we are seriously overdue for a big messy eruption somewhere.  Really messy is something that cuts the global temperature by a degree.  Howeve4r we have had only a couple of such during modern times and knocking us back a degree in a world that is most of a degree at present above average is easily handled.

It is when we are most of a degree below average that it hurts which describes the little ice age.

Significant Eruption Started at Indonesia’s Kelut
12:58 PM


The eruption at Kelud in Indonesia on February 14, 2014, with volcanic lightning being generated in the ash plume.Image: @hilmi_dzi / Twitter, used by permission.

I don’t have many details, but news out of Indonesia appears to be that a significant eruption (see above) has started at Kelut (Kelud). News (mainly in Indonesia) suggests ash falling upwards of 15-40 km from the volcano, some of it gravel-sized. The latest monitoring data (see translation below) noted an eruption at 23:29 (local time) and that the volcanologist have left their posts due to the eruption (also note the comment on the far right bottom of the table). The BNPB has recommended that all people living within 10 km of the volcano be evacuated. The Indonesian government has set up 78 evacuation shelters around Kelud and only a few hours ago, the alert status had been raised to its highest level.


The growing plume from the February 14, 2014 eruption of Kelut in Indonesia. Image: JMA, edited by E. Klemetti.

UPDATE 3:00 PM EST: I’ve added a composite image of JMA weather satellite images (see above) that show how the plume grew between 1700 and 1900 UTC (2 hours). Seems like the eruption is on a similar scale to the 1990 explosive event (hat tip to Alain Bernard for pointing me to this data). The current advisory from the Darwin VAAC has ash to FL450 (13 km / 45,000 feet).


The eruption at Kelud, seen just before 11 pm (local time) on February 14, 2014. Image: @hilmi_dzi / Twitter, used by permission.

UPDATE 2:30 PM EST: The Jakarta Post is reporting an ash plume from the eruption of ~10 km / 32,000 feet with ash falling upwards of 50 km from the volcano. Thousands of people are fleeing the area to evacuation centers, but over 200,000 people live within the 10 km evacuation zone. I was also tweeted an image of what is supposedly volcanic tephra from the eruption, supposedly 70 km from the volcano, but hard to confirm I’ve confirmed its from 15-20 km out, not 70 km. I’ve also added another image of what might be the opening moments of one of the eruptions today, also taken by @hilmi_dzi (see above).


Data from the seismic station monitoring Kelud in Indonesia. Image: Kediri Regency
I’ll try to update with more information as it arrives.

Erik Klemetti is an assistant professor of Geosciences at Denison University. His passion in geology is volcanoes, and he has studied them all over the world. You can follow Erik on Twitter, where you'll get volcano news and the occasional baseball comment.

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