Thursday, January 5, 2012

Yemeni Volcano Jebel Zubair Erupts (VIDEO)




"Yemeni volcano Jebel Zubair has entered an eruptive phase (below)
Zubair Islands, Yemen
15.05 N, 42.18 E
summit elevation 191 m
Shield volcano
Jebel Zubair Volcano is located in the Red Sea, Yemen. Eruptions have formed the islands of Zubair, Centre Peak, Saba, and Haycock. 
Eruptions occurred at Saddle Island in the 19th century. Thee islands form the summit of a submarine rise. The volcanic cone is barren and rises 191 m above sea level.

2011 Eruption
A possible eruption occurred at Zubair volcano on 19th December 2011. Fishermen from Salif port city in the west of Yemen reported seeing an eruption with red lava rising to a height of 30 m. This was the first eruption the fisherman can recall from the area. Satellite images showed raised sulphur dioxide emissions close to the volcano on the following day"

From the Smithsonian GVP:

"The 5-km-long Jebel Zubair Island is the largest of a group of 10 small islands and submerged shoals that rise from a shallow platform in the Red Sea rift. The platform and eruptive vents forming the islands and shoals are oriented NNW-SSE, parallel to the rift. An early explosive phase was followed by a brief period of marine erosion, and then by renewed explosive activity accompanied by the extrusion of basaltic pahoehoe lava flows. This latest phase of activity occurred on the morphologically youngest islands of Zubair, Centre Peak, Saba, and Haycock. Historical explosive activity was reported from Saddle Island in the 19th century. Spatter cones and pyroclastic cones were erupted along fissures that form the low spine of Zubair Island."

(Now from me)

About two years ago now, another volcano on the same tectonic spread erupted, named Jebel al-Tair. That eruption was witnessed by a Coast Guard ship on patrol at the area. The island held a small Yemeni military contingent which was evacuated. At least two seven people died either swimming into the water in a panic to escape the lava, or from toxic gas. The new eruption is the island directly south of this volcano.

This could end up being a crustal trend in the area, although this is speculative. There are two other holocene volcanic islands to the SSE of Jebel al-Tair, and Jebel Zubair, which are morphologically fresh, although neither have a record of historical eruptions. The area is quite remote however, so it would not surprise me in the least if these islands had erupted behind our backs once or twice. Below is a screenshot from Google Earth of the Jebel Zubair volcanic island chain.
 

****UPDATE****

There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not this is Jebel Zubair, or Jebel al-Tair volcano. You can read about the confusion at Wired.com for yourself. Apparently, local reports place the eruption at Zubair, but satellite images are confusing. There does appear to be a steam/gas plume over Zubair, but satellite images show SO2 emissions over Al-Tair. It could even be that BOTH volcanoes may be showing signs of activity, which would not be entirely surprising. However, I have not known John Seach to post anything about an eruption unless he has confirmation somehow, so I honestly don't know who to believe at this point... interesting, nonetheless. 

Information from this part of Yemen and the Arabian rift is hard to come by. The area is not very populated, and the military outpost on Jebel al-Tair was destroyed in the last eruption, which was really one of the only "populated" (in quotes because 15 people does not a population make) island in the area. Reports will likely be few and far between, as far as Western Media.

*****UPDATE 1/5/12*****

Video footage via helicopter has been released!

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