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back to article Australian volcano starts to blow

One of Australia's two active volcanoes seems to be erupting. We say seems because the volcano in question, on Heard Island, is located in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, 2000km north of Antarctica and closer to Africa than to Australia. That's about as close to the middle of nowhere as it is possible to be. Heard …

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WTF?

why does this island have a web page

I mean if the last news item on said page is two decades old, does it really need one?

Although I do admit, I like .aq

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Re: why does this island have a web page

Would you prefer a Facebook page with bryophytes bragging about the success of their colony and insulting low income lichens?

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Re: why does this island have a web page

Time to grab f.aq while you can

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Anonymous Coward

Such a miserable place

That even visiting seals don't breed there.

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Re: why does this island have a web page

Rockall used to have a web page, and it used to be rather good. El Reg still own the domain, but they don't seem to be doing anything with it.

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Trollface

Re: why does this island have a web page

"Would you prefer a Facebook page with bryophytes bragging about the success of their colony and insulting low income lichens?"

More likely to be endless pictures of Cats & dinners...

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Trollface

Middle of nowhere?

Africa: MY volcano!

Australia: MY volcano!

Japan: Bitches, please...

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Joke

"Australian" volcano

Seemingly in the same was that Russell Crowe is "Australian"... I'm sure we would have been happy for Africa to have it right up until it started doing something interesting, then it's "Aussie".

Although the eruption seems somewhat less violent than one of Russell's.

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Re: "Australian" volcano

This Kiwi says Russell Crowe is DEFINITELY Aussie - along with Joh-Bjelke Petersen (showing my age there) and Derryn Hinch. John Clark on the other hand, is a true Trans-Tasman icon, happy to let you share him since your guy Dawe makes a good team with him. Also, if you want volcanoes (or mountains bigger than fleabites), come over this side of the ditch, we've got plenty.

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Alert

Don't tempt fate

Heard Island's remote location means any eruptions are unlikely to bother anyone

You hope (assuming that the island has not been the subject of the same sort of detailed study by vulcanologists that, say, mount Vesuvius has been)

Some volcanoes go with a very big bang. The fallout can have regional or even global consequences. Krakatoa. Katla. Tambora.

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Flame

Re: Don't tempt fate

Quite right, don't forget Taupo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatepe_eruption

One of the few events in New Zealand that anyone overseas actually noticed.

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Re: Don't tempt fate

Well, unless it does go with a very big bang, it's still Unheard Island.

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Re: Don't tempt fate

Don't need your coat for that one. ;) +1

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Anonymous Coward

Vulcanologists

"detailed study by vulcanologists"

Isn't a vulcanologist someone who studies Spock and his kind?

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Re: Don't tempt fate

Sorry to be the bringer of bad news - it's not going to go bang, it's the wrong sort of volcano.

You're looking for andesitic and rhyolitic volcanoes found in continental interiors and on island arcs. Basically you want lots of silica to make the magma sticky and lots of water and carbon dioxide to provide the 'umph!'

Unfortunately, Heard Island is fed by the Kerguelen hotspot which brings very low silica, volatile poor magma from deep inside the Mantle. The volcanoes in the hot spot are basaltic, producing lava flows, very little ash and even the occasional lava lake - something like Hawaii - but with penguins.

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Re: Don't tempt fate

I'd say given the fact that it is already believed to be erupting the statement is more true than your rebuttal. As I recall, none of the events associated with those volcanoes was associated with an active lava eruption. They were instances in which the relatively quieter lava eruptions weren't possible and the pressure simply continued to build until there was an Earth Shattering Kamboom.

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Re: Don't tempt fate

I believe that at Krakatoa, what happened wasn't much dependant on the lava type. The ocean got into a (half-?) empty magma reservoir, and the result was possibly the biggest steam explosion that humanity has ever seen. (Unless Santorini was bigger).

True, if it's the highly fluid lava they get on Hawaii, the chances of the ocean finding its way into a large empy magma chamber are lessened.

Katla also isn't particularly explosive. Just high enough in toxic fluorides to poison cattle in Ireland, and acid enough to cause severe respiratory distress in London. It also upsets the climate, though not as badly as Tambora did. EjaFyallawhatever was a small forewarning of what's long overdue from Katla.

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Mushroom

Re: Don't tempt fate

Why omit Toba, some 75,000 yrs ago, which reduced Homo Sapiens to a miserable few thousands and carpeted the Indian sub-continent with a few meters of ash?

Still , the blast did make a beautiful lake, where I swam naked in the moonlight back in my hippie days...

And the gourmet delights of Ati Anjing at the Pago-Pago cafe! Apologies to canine readers.

Ah, the good ol' days.

ref:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory

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Headmaster

Odd choice of domain name

Strange that they use .aq for that website, as the Heard and McDonald Islands have their very own TLD: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.hm

and there isn't much under it except for a few tumbleweeds.

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Re: Odd choice of domain name

You are right, that is odd.

.aq is the Antarctic TLD, so the Reg article got that bit wrong.

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Trivia

The highest point on Heard Island (Mawson Peak, the snow-covered volcanic cone clearly visible in the photograph) is the highest point in all Australia. On the mainland Mount Kosciuszko is 517m lower.

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A new vent?

Have a look at this map: it seems to me that the ash plume is originating in the sea near Elephant Spit, right where the blue words "Spit Bay" are on the map. This would mean a new vent. Am I looking at it wrong?

http://mappery.com/map-of/Heard-Island-and-McDonald-Islands-Map

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Re: A new vent?

Are you referring to the band stretching up the picture to the right of centre? That looks more like a cloud formation than an ash plume.

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Re: A new vent?

'This would mean a new vent. Am I looking at it wrong?'

I can't tell either. But it's not impossible - almost all volcanoes have parasitic cones and fissures low on their flanks - the pressure of pushing a column of magma into the vent is often greater than that required to open a vent on the side.

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Coat

If the volcano explodes and no one is there...

Will it be Heard?

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Re: If the volcano explodes and no one is there...

Might be Heard, not seen.

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Anonymous Coward

"One of Australia's two active volcanoes seems to be erupting."

The other erupted all over Tony Abbott very recently.

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Headmaster

Not closer to Africa

In contrast to what the article points out, the website mentions:

"Heard Island is about 4,100 kilometres south west of Perth in Western Australia. The McDonald Islands are about 43 km further west. That puts them in the middle of the vast Southern Ocean, about 1000 kilometres north of the Antarctic continent and still about 4,700 kilometres from South Africa to the north west."

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Joke

"Don't worry: only penguins are in danger as it's in the middle of nowhere"

MS win8 first assault on the pengin! Duck and cover!

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Linux

Won't somebody think of the penguins.

see icon.

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You're all wrong

Didn't you all know these islands are just Australia's nuclear test sites? One for nukes, the other for nuclear reactors. I guess if both are blowing smoke......

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Joke

> That's about as close to the middle of nowhere as it is possible to be.

But I bet you can still find someone who wants BT to provide fibre broadband there at £5 a month.

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Mushroom

Surely Osama Bin Laden would have something to say, were he alive today, about .aq being awarded to Antarctica by the infidels at ICANN.

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Joke

"...it's in the middle of nowhere"

You already said that when mentioning Australia.

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Mushroom

Re: "...it's in the middle of nowhere"

I thought that the official middle of nowhere was more or less the corresponding location in the South Pacific, marked by a lack of islands and any other reason to be there. It's also not even on the way to anywhere much.

Rumour has it that the middle of nowhere is the default target for the major nuclear powers' missiles, so that should one ever get armed and launched by mistake, as little harm as possible is done. (Unless you are a blue whale, of course. )

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It can't be McDonald island

..... there's totally no sign of a golden arch in the photo

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Big Brother

Sorry, this isn't an erupting volcano its my minions hollowing it out for my new secret base!!

Muahhahahahaha...

oh bugger its not so secret anymore...

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