I’m Hearing the Words “Underwater Volcano” Relative to the Gulf Oil Leak

So I’m finally hearing the words “underwater volcano” regarding the gulf oil leak. The comment was heard on CNN on the heels of news that methane gas is being detected near the newly capped well. I’ve been wondering about something as big as that for a while stating that it’s one heck of a lot of psi to spew that much oil from a 29″ pipe, partially bent over so that 30% was obstructed, and doing so into what amounts to a cement wall of pressure at that depth. What is it, an undersea volcano?

I blogged back in April about giant asphalt domes newly discovered off the coast of California. The domes were the result of a giant underwater volcanic eruption some 35,000 years ago. So why couldn’t it happen in the gulf? It’s not like there aren’t huge reservoirs of oil and gas there naturally. We have 4,000 plus active wells, and 27,000 that are inactive. Suppose the BP pipe was the last straw for real? Just how many holes have we poked in the Gulf of Mexico over time? The earth’s crust is a series of tectonic MOVING plates. Maybe we finally Swiss cheezed the area to the point the ocean floor in certain areas is no longer stable and literally cracking. So if there are any underwater volcanoes nearby…well, we may have disturbed something too big to contain.

About the asphalt domes:


About the CNN statement:



Current Volcanic Eruptions Worldwide

I wrote about Guatemala’s recent volcanic eruption yesterday and wondered just how many volcanoes are currently erupting worldwide? Volcanoes are relative to earthquake activity and that seems to be increasing. According to a website about volcanoes worldwide a collaborative effort between the Smithsonian Institute’s Global Volcanism Program and the USGS’s Volcano Hazard’s Program there are quite a few active volcanoes. I was surprised to find that Guatemala now has 3 active volcanoes and Russia also 3. I also found on seed.slb.com website that SI’s Global Volcanism Program estimates:

– There are about 20 volcanoes erupting today
– Between 50 and 70 volcanoes erupt every year
– 280 volcanoes have erupted since 1964
– Historical records exist for 560 volcanoes

New Activity/Unrest:

Arenal, Costa Rica
Cleveland, Chuginadak Island
Eyjafjallajökull, Southern Iceland
Pagan, Mariana Islands (Central Pacific)
Rinjani, Lombok Island (Indonesia)

Ongoing Activity:

Bagana, Bougainville
Batu Tara, Komba Island (Indonesia)
Fuego, Guatemala
Gaua, Banks Islands (SW Pacific)
Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
Kilauea, Hawaii (USA)
Kliuchevskoi, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
Pacaya, Guatemala
Sakura-jima, Kyushu
Santa María, Guatemala
Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
Ulawun, New Britain

It’s a really good website with maps of the volcanoes and information about each like what type of activity and when. If you’re interested in volcanoes this website’s RSS and CAP feeds are a must. The photoglossary of terms associated with volcanoes is great. It’s just a great learning tool.


The USGS has the latest info:


The Smithsonian Institute’s Global Volcanism website:





Guatemala Tragedy; A Volcano Then Mudslides and a Huge Sinkhole

The biggest volcanic eruption in Guatemala in 12 years happened Thursday. According to the website Xinhuegent.com, “The eruption affected an area of more than 62 miles destroying more than 100 buildings, forcing some 1,600 residents to evacuate, and shutting down the international airport at the capital,” President Alvaro Colom said. One person died from the eruption, 59 were injured, and 3 people missing.


Then on Sunday, Tropical Storm Agatha rolled in, the first of the season. The wind wasn’t the big issue but torrential rains that caused huge mudslides leaving at least 150 dead, over 50 missing, and 110,000 homeless as of today with more rain expected. And according to ABC News, the giant sinkhole in Guatemala City that swallowed a house and 3 story building was a surprise to many:

Scientists say sinkholes are common in certain parts of the world, some said that this one took even them by surprise. ‘A lot of us who study sinkholes look at this and go, “‘wow,'” it does seem a little bit bizarre,’ said Randall C. Orndorff, a program coordinator with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Orndorff said that sinkholes are common in places with rocks, such as limestone and gypsum, that can be naturally dissolved by water.

In those so-called ‘karst’ areas, caves and voids form underground as the rocks dissolve, he said. After heavy rains or extreme drought, sinkholes can suddenly form naturally as the underground spaces open up and can no longer support the land at the surface. Human activity, such as construction, can also lead to the same consequence.

Watch the videos:


Oil Keeps Coming

When I blogged about the listing oil rig off of Louisiana, I stated that according to ABC News the rig had not hit oil yet. But as the area continued to leak some 42,000 gallons a day everyone wondered. It’s still leaking and robots are trying to cap it. The news also reported from the start that the explosion was from undue pressure. I thought, well there it is. If the solid area between the drill and the underlying pocket became so thin that pressure blew out causing the massive and quick explosion then it stands to reason that the ensuing oil leak would happen whether the rig made it all the way or not. It’s not much different than a volcano spewing pressurized air with the lava flowing out afterward. Well I found an interesting article on a very current discovery that undersea volcanoes spewed petro thousands of years ago and it solidified into massive domes of asphalt on the ocean floor! Scientists recently found some of the biggest to date off the coast of California.

The article on Science Daily’s website stated: “About 35,000 years ago, a series of apparent undersea volcanoes deposited massive flows of petroleum 10 miles offshore. The deposits hardened into domes that were discovered recently by scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). Some 700 feet deep in the waters off California’s jewel of a coastal resort, Santa Barbara, sits a group of football-field-sized asphalt domes unlike any other underwater features known to exist. []The largest [dome] is about the size of two football fields, side by side and as tall as a six-story building.”

A deep, submersible vehicle named “Alvin” with robotic arms was able to snap off a piece of the largest dome, put it in a basket and deliver it to a marine geochemist, Chris Reddy, who studies oil spills. He quickly ascertained that the chemical composition of the dome was “very unusual asphalt material. He said. “There aren’t that many opportunities to study oil that’s been sitting around on the bottom of the ocean for 35,000 years.” The domes didn’t bother the marine life. From what the scientists observed they were like an underwater oasis.

Reddy further reported:

The asphalt looked incredibly weathered, and that nature had taken away a lot of the compounds. [] To see nature doing this on its own was an unbelievable finding. A few asphalt-like undersea structures have been reported but not anything exactly like these…no large structures like we see here. He estimates that the dome structures contain about 100,000 tons of residual asphalt and compare them to an underwater version of the La Brea Tar Pits in L.A., complete with the fossils of ancient animals.

The researchers are not sure exactly why sea life has taken up residence around the asphalt domes, but one possibility is that because the oil has become benign over the years that some creatures are able to actually feed off it and get energy from it. They may also be ‘thriving’ on tiny holes in the dome areas that release minute amounts of methane gas.

So an underwater explosion, like a volcano, allowed oil not lava to naturally seep out onto the ocean floor in the past. But I have to think that this rig sported sophisticated equipment that senses when the drill enters that delicate area before pressure actually blows. If not, than like I said in the first place, we really don’t know what we’re drilling into down there.

Currently, officials state the oil spill is “48 miles long and 80 miles wide, … 100000 barrels of oil, or 4.2 million gallons, could spill into the Gulf…” Even if the robots cap it, couldn’t it start oozing up somewhere else if the pressure and ensuing explosion caused fissures all around? After all, it’s all happened before. We’ve got the domes to prove it.
Read the whole article:




Mother Nature Shuts Down Air Travel

The southern Icelandic volcano continues to spew ash in a plume that is now 900 miles long showing little sign of slowing up. In 1891, the same volcano kept erupting for over a year. The plume of ash is so large and covers such a vast area it can be seen from satellite. Right now, eleven European countries are shut down for travel, disrupting a heck of a lot of people’s lives. If it continues air travel there could halt indefinitely. People are calling it an act of God. Are we equating Mother Nature with God finally, because we haven’t been to kind to Mother Nature at all? A lot of us are quick to say we don’t cause global warming, but we do cause massive amounts of pollution and that pollution poses a problem for Mother Nature in our world. Now, she poses a problem for us. Seems fair and equitable to me. It’s not like we aren’t being warned every single day of her, ur um, God’s might.

ABC news said that it’s amazing that one volcano can disrupt so much of the world. I surmise that there may be more volcanic eruptions in the future because larger earthquakes are becoming more prevalent too. There was a 4.9 earthquake in Utah last night, the largest in 20 years. Earthquakes and volcanoes are related. Tectonic plate movement affects both. According to Pacific Disaster Center, “In slightly more complicated ways, magma is generated at most plate boundaries, and this magma rises to the surface to create volcanoes. [And] the movement of magma within a volcano causes earthquakes, usually small ones. Earthquakes are also caused by adjustment to the flanks of volcanoes and the plates under volcanoes.” Iceland is presently experiencing small earthquakes. Uh, oh.

It’s been shown that glaciers weighing thousands of tons compress the earth beneath them and as they melt and become lighter are causing that same earth beneath them to spring up. Since tectonic plates overlap and cover the surface of the earth, movement of plates in one area will most assuredly cause movement in other areas. If the movement causes plates to collide, an earthquake happens. Rest assured, the tectonic plates beneath massive glaciers that are continually “losing weight” due to melt will move and so there will be more earthquakes and volcanoes. Not a rosy picture.




Seismic Activity; Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Glaciers, and Drilling

Found some interesting articles about interrelationships regarding geological phenomena after the latest 8.8 earthquake in Chile. I’m posting the links that should present a logical pattern in order to incite some thought. Like I said after reading them, “Hmmmm?”

Did you know that earthquakes are related to volcanoes and caused by pressure, stress, and load build-up? Read:



Upheavals of land result from earthquakes and form mountain ranges or as stated in the previous link, volcanic mountain ranges tend to appear along faults.


Tectonic plates all relate to one another like a giant jigsaw puzzle comprising the earth’s crust. So pressure or a relatively quick release of pressure in one fault affects tectonic plates elsewhere. Huge glaciers that weigh billion of tons are rapidly melting and also affecting pressure on tectonic plates. Alaska’s coastlines are rising as a result of glaciers melting.


The last article stated some of Alaska’s wetlands are drying up because of the rise, think recent Alaskan wildfires.

Whenever tectonic plates move quickly they cause seismic waves that cause smaller tremors. Likewise glacier walls or peninsulas weighing billions that fall off into the sea produce seismic waves.




Seismic waves from melting glaciers may cause increased earthquakes in Alaska and we know there are volcanoes up there too. Notice this article is from 2004.


Small earthquakes caused from seismic waves from melting glaciers in Greenland.


Gathering any insight into tectonic plates worldwide and what affects them? We should consider the plates are a little more active due to accelerated glacier melt in both poles and some pretty big chunks crumbling into the sea. The latest jar in Antarctica came from an iceberg breaking off the size of Luxembourg the day before the big earthquake in Chile. And that was after another mammoth glacier hit the latest to break off earlier in the month. Hmmmm? Did that affect the earthquakes in Haiti or Chile.


So weight on the earth’s lithosphere affects tectonic plates, as well as pressure below. Atmospheric pressure also plays a role in what are called “slow” earthquakes. For instance, typhoons (hurricanes) cause slow earthquakes.


Atmospheric pressure has never been thought to be great enough to affect tectonic plates but now there is evidence that it spurs “slow” earthquakes. Atmospheric pressure may more easily influence seismic activity due to weakened fault lines from massive earthquakes like Indonesia 2004.


If atmospheric pressure can affect tectonic plates when it was long held that it could not, then oil or natural gas drilling may also affect tectonic plates by drilling into continental crust and oceanic crust. Seismic activity for oil drilling is low, but there are 3,000 oilrigs worldwide.





We’ve caused tremors from natural gas drilling already.

Drilling causes quake in U.S.


And geophysical hazards research scientist, Christian Klose, from Columbia University in New York, has done many peer reviewed publications about human activity inducing earthquakes.


http://news.softpedia.com/news/Human-Activities-That-Trigger-Earthquakes-43723.shtml I shouldn’t be using this website as it is an online encyclopedia but there is a lot of information in the article about earthquakes from coal mining, water extraction, and gas exploration.

In this light, shouldn’t there be more investigation about mining and drilling? We’re ramping up natural gas exploration everywhere that pumps chemicals/water 1000’s of feet into the ground under great pressure. Remember what causes earthquakes—pressure and stress? Ditto for pumping CO2 into the ground.

Congress might learn more about humans affecting seismic activity as they investigate natural gas drilling for other reasons.



What’s With All the Threatening Volcanoes Lately?



What’s with all the threatening volcanoes lately? Over the weekend news about Mt. Redoubt in Alaska that threatened the most populated area around Anchorage, was followed by England’s unusually cold winter with the most snow in 18 years. While, this morning 3 different volcanoes in Japan are spewing, as well as a Mt. Karymsky in Russia!


So far, so good. No one is hurt. Ash spitting volcanoes can swamp a city to its rooftops. It’s like an impure avalanche that just blankets people, houses, and streets, and adds to earth’s dilemma. Volcanic activity adds to the ozone effect, the greenhouse effect, and haze effect where particulates partially block the sun causing an overall cooling. In other words, while they may be a good belch for the earth, they are not good for the environment or us.


Researchers also recently found that volcano activity tends to cool the tropics for years afterward. The 20th century didn’t have too much volcanic activity, and global warming may have stopped that cooling as well as squelch some volcanoes from belching.


I think that it’s only logic that as scientists work together worldwide and compile their findings about climate change relative to gulf streams, water surface temps, ice melt, drought, rainfall, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc., we will find that the impact on each other is greater than we once thought, and that the whole thing can indeed be thrown off kilter by excess or lack of component parts of the whole, like gases. 







About Mt. Redoubt: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hcWJaxwgurm_TV9AVcObQBWbS25QD96355IO0


About Britain’s Freeze: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/weather/article5642066.ece







National Geographic’s Planet Earth

If you ever had any questions about a anything relating to earth and its functions, how it all happened, how our climate is changing and why, how we know this stuff, and many other things, watch National Geographic’s presentation “Planet Earth.” This is family stuff, enlightening, interesting, and a little bit scary.

Some of the presentations areexplosive. It’s a little mind boggling how they are able to present prehistoric earth with video footage of events and places from the present. I watched the one about ice mass, and last night was about earthquakes, ending with volcanic eruptions. There is as much action as the latest Rambo movie. My husband was perturbed we changed channels from the movie “Mash,” but said it was really a great presentation and he wants to see more of it now. You’ll find yourself saying “Wow” and “I didn’t know that!” more than once.

I know some people don’t get the National Geographic Channel, but the DVD set of “Planet Earth” is available. It’s better than any encyclopedia books I was brought up with. Maybe if they had this type of learning tool back then more of us would have went into science.

“Planet Earth” is on every night this week, beginning at 9:00 pm on the National Geographic Channel. Tune in.


CO2 Gas Build Up Causes Lake to Explode

Did you know that a lake could blow up from CO2 gases settled on the bottom? Until 1986 scientists didn’t think so either. I was watching the History Channel. A Professor Riskin hypothesized about methane gas sea explosions causing prehistoric earth to scorch. The scientific community was not convinced about gas exploding out of the ocean until in 1986 Lake Nios in Cameroon, Africa exploded from 1.6 million tons of CO2 gas being released that had settled on the bottom. Over 1700 people were asphyxiated up to 16 miles away along with all their livestock, some 3000 head of cattle.

Scientists argued for a while that it was a volcanic eruption and a mix of sulfur that caused the explosion, but sulfur substances weren’t found. The survivors of the explosion claimed they smelled sulfur but there is evidently something called olfactory hallucinations associated with CO2 asphyxiation and one of them is the smell of sulfur.

According to an article on Bnet, it was believed carbon dioxide gas build-up had a volcanic origin and built up slowly in the lake over a long period of time. U.S. researchers didn’t know exactly what triggered the explosion, but it was never believed a volcano or earthquake was responsible. French researchers disagreed. They believed the exploding cloud that dispersed throughout the area traveling at 40 mph was a mix “of steam, carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds that had been building up in a layer of groundwater heated by volcanic rocks far below the lake. These compounds reportedly were injected into the lake when the pressure of the steam eventually cracked the rock that had been holding it down.”

The problem is “U.S.scientists said lake temperatures were not elevated, its bottom did not appear to have been disturbed, there were no volcanic sulfides in the lake and no suspended sediments that might have resulted had steam rushed through bottom sediments.”

Either way we look at it, whether the CO2 was just laying there and blew or was caused by too much pressure from too much CO2 being injected into the rock fissures, it does not bode well for a future with too much CO2 around. So much for the gasification process relative to “clean coal.”

Coal burns filthy. The reason why it’s recently being touted as “clean” is because of a gasification process where the CO2 pollution is trapped, and liquified. The pollution never gets into the air but the liquified CO2 needs some place to go. Just like the spent fuel of a nuke, the best place for the leftover liquid CO2 is to put it in the ground by injection. But do we know how much CO2 is safe to inject? Will we have to worry about CO2 geisers in the future? If so the future is looking pretty prehistoric. Told ya we’re dinosaurs.

Read more about the Lake Nios’ explosion:


The Weather Channel Has Some Great Environmental Programs

I happened to turn on The Weather Channel the other night to check on upcoming weather and I stayed on that station awhile. I ended up watching about an hours worth of fascinating travel, weather, climate, and interesting information about the big island of Hawaii. Did you know that the Big Island sports 10 of the world’s 13 climates?

There was beautiful video coverage of the island, all types of info about the wind currents, the climates, and the terrain. It showed the 13 observatories on top of Moana Kea, the highest place to look at the stars. It is the tallest mountain on earth if you consider the part of it under the ocean. And up there it is a sub arctic climate on this tropical island.

The program showed the Parker Ranch of about 150,000 acres with 50,000 head of cattle and how they’ve managed to be ecological about furnishing water to their cattle. They have diverted fresh mountain water through 75 miles of pipeline to 650 troughs located around the ranch.

Since then I’ve been trying to catch all that The Weather Channel has to offer. There is a program called “Forecast Earth,” “Weather Ventures” like the one about the Big Island, and “It Could Happen Tomorrow” about disasters waiting to happen that are as good as many presented on the Discovery Channel.

I’m telling you about The Weather Channel because many people no longer have premium channels. I know I’ve had people ask me where I saw many of the latest green business innovations on Eco Tech and when I reported it was on The Science Channel, they simply did not have access to it.

Unfortunately people with growing families are watching their expenses and have cut back to basic subscription channels. They don’t get to see all the latest environmental programs out there on premium channels. This is where The Weather Channel is invaluable. It’s a great place for the whole family to view places all around the country and world with all types of info about the climate, wind, animals, plants, and not to mention great cinematography. When I was done watching about the Big Island I wanted to visit there. We’ve been to many of the islands but not the Big Island and that program was my incentive. It was an informational, environmental, travelogue.

To catch the times and days to view some of the programs I’ve mentioned goto:


You won’t be disappointed. I just watched part of the feature tonight about the Grand Canyon. Happy viewing.