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Monday Musings: More Australian volcanoes, new seismometers for Mt. Baker and tephra is bad for your teeth

Volcanoes a’poppin’ in Australia (in theory), the biggest eruption in Germany in the last 20,000 years was hard on the teeth and new monitoring equipment for Mt. Baker.

A bit of news for your last Monday in September:

Pumice deposits from the ~13,000 year old Laacher See eruption. Image by Erik Klemetti, taken in August 2007.

  • More press for Dr. Joyce and his campaign to make the people of Australia terrified that volcanoes will destroy them. He warns of “new volcanoes” springing up in the Ballarat region to the northwest of Melbourne (which, incidentally, is where I pointed out might be the most likely place for future volcanism). Yes, sure, we should expect that a new, unknown scoria cone may form in the Newer Volcanic Province – I mean, that is what happens in these fields, you get volcanoes like Paricutin that start erupting where there was no volcano. However, trying to mitigate against such a thing, well, it might be like trying to build defense against an asteroid by randomly placing it on the surface of the planet somewhere. OK, maybe the odds aren’t that astronomical, but as the earthquakes in Saudi Arabia earlier this year show, trying to determine when/where a new scoria cone might spring is really, really tough.
  • Speaking of tough, there is a little piece about how all the ash and tephra from the Laacher See volcanic eruption in Germany ~13,000 years ago did a number on the teeth of humans and animals in Europe. For those of you unaware of this volcano, the Laacher See is a caldera smack-dab in the middle of the western Germany and it produced a significant eruption that not only covered the region in ash and pumice (see the deposits in the picture above), but spread ash up into Scandinavia. And who says that Europe lacks (potentially) devastating volcanoes (well, other than Italy and Greece)?
  • Mt. Baker in Washington (state) has gotten some new monitoring equipment installed on its slopes. A new broadband seismometer was installed near the highest ski patrol lodge and it is one of the new seismic stations located on the main edifice of a Cascade volcano (surprising, eh?)

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