Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

There hasn't been any major developments at Mount St Helens over the last week. The levels of seismicity have remained constant and the Volcanocam is still suffering a communications glitch that stops the images being sent to the public server.

The USGS/CVO is reporting that the eruption continues by the slow extrusion of dacite lava within the crater of Mount St. Helens. Repetitive small earthquakes occur every 2-3 minutes in the shallow part of the vent. The seismicity remains the best instrumental indication that the eruption is ongoing, because robust winter storms have kept us from visual observations of the volcano since December 18. Two tiltmeters within 500 m of the vent show small ground deformation characteristic of the extrusive process.

Dr Tony Phillips at has launched a new web gallery of all of the aurora images that he has posted on the site from around the world over the last five years - it's well worth checking out for some stunning images. Such as the image below from Mark Urwiller taken 5 miles northwest of Kearney Nebraska on May. 15 2005.

Image credit: Mark Urwiller
5 miles northwest of Kearney Nebraska on May. 15

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Details of the glow on Mount St Helens

Now that the focus of the Volcanocam is fixed, we can see a lot more detail in the nighttime images. Including the incandescent glow being emitted by the individual hotspots in the crater - which appear as flickering lights in the animations from the night. Shown below is a composite of images from the night of 09/10 December. Clearly visible are a number of discrete hotspots from different areas of the growing lavadome. Also visible are the two defective, or "hot" pixels in the camera.

The following image consists of the hotspots from the above composite, superimposed onto a n averaged daytime image from the 10th December.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Volcanocam lives!

It hasn't been a particularly good few weeks for the Volcanocam. On the 6th November there was a power failure which caused the communications link to the server to drop out. All we saw was a blue screen of doom. On the 9th November a maintenance crew fixed the power problem and restored the link, but in the process the focus of the camera was slightly thrown out of whack. Then the focus seemed to degrade as the weather worsened. Which also precluded anyone from the US Forest Service from getting to the Johnson Ridge Observatory (JRO) to fix the problem.

Because of the way the focus was out, the night time images of the incandescent glow from the growing lavadome became large circular blobs of light, instead of reasonably well focused views of the night time behaviour of the mountain. Much like this example from 30 November:

But this afternoon, the Volcanocam team were able to get to the JRO site and readjust the focus and clean the lens of the Volcanocam camera. So we have gone from the above defocused blob, to a level of detail that enables a true appreciation for what is happening on the mountain at night...

The current Volcanocam update says: Camera Update @ 4:30 pm PST - We were successful in cleaning the camera and readjusting the focus. The day was clear, no wind and warm, about 45*F at Johnston Ridge. Elk, coyotes and a porcupine assisted in our efforts with the camera today.

A big, big, BIG thank you to Dennis Lapcewich and the Volcanocam team at the US Forest Service, and the elk, coyote and porcupine for their very kind assistance...

Stay tuned for new, sharper, animations of the nightly show of Mount St Helens on my website.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A spectacular meteor lights up the night sky

A specatular meteor lit up the night sky in Perth, Western Australia on Saturday night. An ameteur videographer at a party captured the bright fireball's passage across the sky. The video is available on the ABC news website here: RealVideo Broadband, RealVideo Dialup, Windows Media Player Broadband, Windows Media Player Dialup

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