Sometimes it seems like volcanoes are a thing of the past. Sure, we’ve all read about Mount St. Helens erupting in 1980, or way farther back, Mount Vesuvius in ancient Pompeii, but our current world in 2014 seems removed from these natural explosions.
But they can definitely still happen. In fact, just yesterday not one but two volcanoes began erupting! The first is Mount Tavurvur, which is located just north of Australia on the island of Papau New Guinea near a city called Rabaul, and the other is Bardarbunga in Iceland.
Mount Tavurvur began to erupt on Friday morning (August 29) and ABC News reports that a bulletin from the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory pinpointed the beginning of activity around 3:30 and 4:00 a.m..
This volcano has erupted many times before, but a previous eruption in 1994 wiped out Rabaul. The 1994 eruption occurred simultaneously with that of another nearby volcano Mount Vulcan, and together the two eruptions destroyed the city that was the provincial capital. Since then, the capital was moved from Rabaul to the city of Kokopo.
Mount Tavurvur last erupted in 2013 and other eruptions have been in noted in 2011, 2010, 2006, 2005 and 2002, aside from the major 1994 one. In comparison to the eruption twenty years ago, this event is fairly small.
So far, an evacuation notice has not been issued to Rabaul, although residents in communities closer to the volcanic activity have been evacuated. Rabaul residents are advised to stay in doors and schools and some shops are closed. Flights have been diverted around the eruption.
Photo of yesterday morning's Tavurvur eruption in Rabaul PNG (thanks to Gideon Kakabin) pic.twitter.com/ejdAF6U57e
— David Bridie (@dbridie) August 29, 2014
The Rabaul Volcanological Observatory reported that the eruption was stromblian, which means that short bursts of lava were ejected with great force from the volcano.
The second volcano, Bardarbunga, is located in the Holuhraun lava field, which Iceland’s Meteorological Office said is north of Dyngjujoekull glacier. Since the eruption wasn’t explosive, it won’t create the fine ash that disrupts air traffic, and it’s relatively safe to approach so it may even become a tourist attraction. The area is very remote, so this eruption is not as pressing, and while the volcanic activity has stopped, it left an almost 2,000-foot-long fissure and seismic activity continues in the area.
The volcanoes are on opposite sides of the globe and the explosions aren’t related. But the odds of two volcanic eruptions in one day are still slim!