Tag Archives: pictures

Amazing View of the Erebus Lava Lake

Erebus lava lake, 2011-2012 field season

This most recent image of the Erebus lava lake was taken just days ago from the crater rim, some 340 meters line-of-sight to the lake. The lake has been shrinking in size, and at this point is about 30 meters across. Photo: Clive Oppenheimer

Preparing for 16 – 18 days of solitary field work on Volcán de Colima, México

My preparations for a second round of fieldwork are finally finished.  I’m being optimistic this period will be more successful than the last. 

View of Colima from my camp

Geologically: volcanic activity is currently considerably reduced; Technically: complex and fancy new equipment difficult to master; Metrologically: a hurricane and unusually cloudy ‘dry’ season plus a family emergency have all conspired against me.  Their combined efforts have reduced my in-field season from eight weeks to four and a half. One mustn’t be discouraged and forge onwards into the darkness.  My weather karma needs to brew up an exceptional period of clear skies for the next 16-18 days.

My base camp is perched on a narrow ridge that constitutes the only ‘flat’ piece of real-estate in the surrounding several kilometers. Be careful leaving the tent at night – it’s a long drop!

Welcome to my office where shade is scarce and the dust prolific.

Wisdom acquired during previous field experience means I’m bringing better supplies to isolate myself from the high altitude sunshine – base camp is at 2554 m (8379 ft).  Simple things like extra tarps, an umbrella and bandannas are all essential.  My main concern is stocking up on enough food.  I refuse to again allow myself the miserable experience of eating tuna and tortillas for lunch and beans or pasta for dinner, every day. For 16 days.. If you’ve never done it, it gets old. Trust me.  The plan now includes eggs, bacon, steaks, something sweet, fruit and of course ample Geologist ‘brain juice’.

A onetime treat of polish sausage and onions. This was by far the best meal of my last stay.

Maybe I should explain the purpose of this self-imposed isolation.  I’m measuring the cycles of sulfur dioxide (SO2) degassing from the summit lava dome and fumarole fields of Volcán de Colima, México (3850m asl) aka Volcán Fuego.  Specifically, I’m deploying two EnviCAM 1 UV cameras and a FLYSPEC UV spectrometer.  The data being collected is a part of my wider project examining the use of multiparameter monitoring on active volcanoes.

Stay tuned for my next update after returning mid-December from field work!

The sunset after learning of the passing of my Grandfather.