Monday, October 15, 2012

Australia's Heard Island Awakens

According to reports by John Seach, Australia's Antarctic island, Heard, is showing signs of activity. John is quoted as saying "Activity continues at Heard Island volcano, Australian territory. Satellite images showed hotspots at the volcano on 10th October 2012. Renewed activity began at Heard Island in September 2012. Heard Island is Australia's only currently erupting volcano."

This is an extremely remote volcano, and does not pose a threat to any human populations. While hotspots were detected in late September, this volcano is so remote that typically it is not visually monitored. And eruption from Heard does not pose any threat to any human population. It is possible that ash could be erupted, but that would most likely be of little consequence to aviation.

The Smithsonian GVP characterizes Heard Volcano here:

"Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon volcano lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben volcano because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's 2745-m high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported in historical time at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred."

Heard Island Volcano last erupted in 2008.

While it is quite possible that the eruption could intensify, it is unlikely that anyone would be around to see it unless some well-funded volcanologists make it out there (wishful thinking on my part). If anything, as far as current imagery, comes to light, I will post it here!

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