Another Volcano? We’re On It!

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ImpactWeather is rich with experience and expertise, and not just what you’d expect. Of course, we issue the forecasts you’re familiar with and some of our meteorologists have even taken that skill to television meteorology; more than a few have come to ImpactWeather from the world of television meteorology. But did you know one of our forecasters in a previous life was a ship captain? Another was a Navy helicopter pilot. One of our forecasters was assigned to Camp David and provided weather briefings to the President and Marine One. We have several current and former military forecasters who have served in this country and on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan; one was an Air Force Typhoon Chaser in the North Pacific. We have forecasters who have served on rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Argentina. We have forecasters presently on remote assignment in Alaska providing specialized forecasts for the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Our forecasters have even taught weather classes in Alaska so that shipboard MMOs (marine mammal observers) could enhance their marine wildlife data reports with detailed weather and seas observations. Taking this a step further, 20% of the ImpactWeather staff hold masters degrees while more than 90% hold a bachelors degree; many of our staff hold multiple degrees.

With this in mind, Your Weather Department can reach deep into many areas of science and provide insight and expertise into more than “just” your weather forecast. One of these additional areas of expertise is geology. ImpactWeather’s Fred Schmude, before getting his meteorology degree, obtained his geology degree from the University of Texas. Fred was instrumental in creating specialized graphics for our aviation clients when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted earlier this year and crippled air traffic across the North Atlantic. Fred was the only one in the industry creating volcanic ash plume graphics beyond 72 hours; his 96- and 120-hour graphics were not only highly unique but also highly sought.

And now there’s another volcano with an imminent eruption: Galeras in Colombia, South America. Mr. Schmude reports:

Meteorologist, Geologist Fred Schmude (L) with the author. The two have worked together for more than 20 years. Photo: ImpactWeather.

“Galeras is what volcanologists call a  compound strato-volcano (multiple vents, steep sided and explosive) with a summit altitude of 14,029 feet located in extreme northwest Colombia. The volcano has a history of frequent explosive activity mainly of the Strombolian (<10km) and Vulcanian (<20km) type ash plumes, with pyroclastic flows (ash, gas, fragments of incandescent lava)  and lava flows.  Because the volcano explodes on frequent occasions, Sub-Plinian or Plinian ash plumes would be unlikely, meaning any ash cloud should remain below 50,000 feet.  Also, Galeras has a history of pyroclastic flows and anyone within 20 miles of the crater is being evacuated.  Apparently this volcano gives very little warning before it explodes…several scientists have lost their lives due to Galeras’ unpredictable eruptive history. ”

Galeras Volcano as seen from the city of Pastos. Photo: Wikipedia

Galeras erupted on January 3 of this year and then again yesterday. Yesterday’s eruption was classified as non-explosive and an ash plume remains visible. Authorities are maintaining a high alert. Galeras is one of 15 Holocene volcanoes in Colombia and Colombia is well within the Pacific Ring of Fire.

You can read some of our previous volcano posts here, here, and here.

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