Thursday, May 3, 2012

Eruption Spotted at Mt. Curry in the South Sandwich Islands‎

This is pretty interesting news – the NASA Aqua satellite spotted an eruption going on at Mt. Curry* in the South Sandwich Islands.

The South Sandwich Islands are located to the southeast of South America in an odd subduction zone where South America is subducting under the Sandwich microplate.

Not much is known about Mt. Curry on Zavodovski Island – it is a basaltic stratovolcano (typical in island arcs) and it is thought to have last erupted in 1819, although the Global Volcanism Program lists a number of unconfirmed small eruptions as recently as 1930.

These images of Curry from 2000 show that the volcano does produce minor plumes, so this could be more of a strong steam-and-ash plume than a new eruption. However, confirmation will be difficult as few people live in the South Sandwich Islands and Zavodovski Island is uninhabited, so we’ll likely be relying on remote sensing to track this eruption. This eruption has some shades of Nabro – remote, not well known and spotted by satellite first.

*A lot of news sources are referring to the volcano as Mt. Asphyxia, which is a cool name, but according to the GVP, the volcano is called Mt. Curry. Looks like Wikipedia refers to the volcano as Mt. Asphyxia, but I’m not sure I buy that name. Source