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Something is Happening in the Ring of Fire

— Filed under: Breaking News, Science & Technology
Krakatoa or Krakatau or Krakatao is a volcanic...

Image via Wikipedia

Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa) - Ready to blow?

It's been quite a week for the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Mount Merapi blew its top, taking the lives of dozens, including Mbah Maridjan, Merapi's sacred gatekeeper (or 'kuncen'), who "died instantly in a 1,000-degree Celsius pyroclastic flow, a fast-moving wall of superheated gas and ash." There have been several powerful eruptions since then, with the latest occurring today. Mount Merapi holds special significance for the Javanese, who view it as part of a spiritual axis of the world.

On the same day that Merapi started erupting, there was a magnitude 7.7 earthquake off Sumatra that sent a tsunami crashing into the Mentawai islands. The latest death toll stands at 449 and is certain to rise.

And now Krakatoa is rumbling to life (video here). Or more accurately, Anak Krakatau (meaning literally 'child of Krakatoa'), the volcano which arose from the ashes after the original volcano blew itself to smithereens in 1883 in the loudest explosion in modern history.

Pacific Ring of Fire

Image via Wikipedia

On top of all that, there are several more volcanoes in Indonesia (here and here) which are on heightened alert status or have shown increased activity in the last several weeks.

What can we expect next? Will Krakatau go super-volcano like it did in the past — or will a different mountain take that distinction? Are more earthquakes around the corner? Can all of this be explained as just normal plate tectonics? Or is it symptomatic of something larger at play? In the words of geologist Brent McInnes:

"We can say this is quite extraordinary ... if it's true that there are over 20 volcanos demonstrating increased levels of seismic activity, then that is something we should pay attention to ... maybe there is a major plate restructuring going on, and that would be significant."

What's your explanation for all the recent activity in the Ring of Fire? Any predictions? Post a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Nadia's picture

Just a thought

I'm not a geologist, not even close to having a mind like one. Therefore I'm posting this comment as a general audience who has happened to be quite observant towards what has been happening lately. No one actually knows how big Anak Krakatau and Merapi's eruption will be but everyone should know how catastrophic a volcanic eruption can be. Krakatau's eruption has proven its strength, as well as Tambora's that caused The Year Without Summer throughout 1816 and the death toll was at least 70,000 lives. What McInnes said should definitely be taken into account. Possibly not just the amount of volcanoes, but also the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). Will new islands be formed? Are changes slowly happening in this small part of earth? Whatever's going to happen, I think the world is getting cranky at how we're treating it. Cheers! :)

Kuncen's picture

Merapi gets more serious

“I've never seen it act like this,'' said Surono, a state expert on volcanos, who has observed Merapi for more than 15 years. ``We don't know what to expect.''

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/death-toll-from-merapi-climbs-to-79/...

Biggest explosion since 1872: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/sky-high-indonesias-merapi-eruption-...

Ash cloud could reach Jakarta: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/unpredictable-ash-could-reach-jakart...

Also, the Yogyakarta airport has been closed, although it's not clear for how long.

Kuncen

anonymous's picture

Perspective

How very hard it is to give meaning to the events of this world: political events, natural events, social movements.  Certainly these eruptions have paramount meaning for those who have lost life or property.  I appreciate this article even for the observing that something significant  is happening, even though the meaning cannot be measured.   

Tim J's picture

The ring of fire activity

The Great Tribulation begins with a great global earthquake followed by two astroid impacts; one hitting an ocean and the other hitting a continent.  Soon after volcanic eruptions all over the world occur.  Maybe we are getting close to the Great Tribulation beginning!

Tim

Seize the skull!
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