February 9, 2013 – Another Strong 6.5 Earthquake Struck the Solomon Islands: This makes 16 earthquakes, from 6.0 to 8.0 magnitude, in the Solomon/Santa Cruz Islands Region – over the first nine days of February. That’s enough to kick start Krakatoa – heaven forbid. Now we have activity with the Lombenben Volcano on Aoba Island near Vanuatu (see map) and with the Batu Tara Volcano (see below) in Indonesia. Update Feb-10-2013 – 6.3M struck the Santa Cruz Islands Feb-10-2013 – 6:39PM GMT – 10S and 165E.
The real fear, with all this earthquake activity in the South Seas, is that it portends a significant volcanic eruption. These can be watershed occasions, with catastrophic death tolls, serious climate change and sky rocketing property damage. Next, a report from Vanuatu’s Geohazards agency on the Lombenben volcano:
Vanuatu’s Geohazards agency indicated that minor phreatic activity has been occurring at Lombenben volcano on Aoba (Ambae) island. Scientists detected a patch of mud at the tuff cone built during the eruption of 2005. The entire surface of Lake Vui showed increased evaporation and inhabitants of a nearby village have noticed abnormal activity since December 2012. Satellite measurements showed increased SO2 emission rates between 18 and 25 January. Geohazard maintains the Volcanic Alert Level of Aoba at Level 1. The area of risk remains near the Manaro Voui crater. “This volcano activity may remain as it is and decrease but there is a low probability of neglecting the gradual increase of the alert in the coming months”, Geohazard writes.
Indonesia, Lesser Sunda Islands, Batu Tara Volcano: A relatively large explosion this morning has produced an ash plume detected at 12,000 ft. (3.7 km) altitude extending 40 nautical miles to the northwest.
The level of earthquake, tsunami and volcanic activity in the South Seas is worrisome. Two of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions over the last 200 years occurred there: 1) Tambora – April 18, 1815 – 100,000 dead, 2) Krakatoa – August 26, 1883 – 36,400 dead. One of the worst mega-quakes and tsunami’s struck Indonesia on December 4, 2004 – 278,000 dead. Where will the next deadly earthquake/tsunami/volcano strike?
The Master of Disaster