National Geographic News
Photo of Mount Tavurvur erupting in eastern Papua New Guinea.

Mount Tavurvur erupts in eastern Papua New Guinea on Friday.

Photograph by Oliver Bluett, AFP/Getty

Jane J. Lee

National Geographic News

Published August 29, 2014

The Mount Tavurvur volcano in eastern Papua New Guinea jolted awake early Friday morning, belching rocks, ash, and steam (see above) nearly 60,000 feet (18,288 meters) into the air.

Local residents evacuated their homes on Friday, and Qantas Airways modified flight paths for planes heading to Tokyo and Shanghai from Sydney, Australia, according to news reports. (Watch video: "Volcano 101.")

The last time Mount Tavurvur erupted, in 1994—at the same time as nearby Mount Vulcan—both volcanoes destroyed the town of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.

Fire and Ice

Photo of steam and smoke rising over a lava field north of the Vatnajokull glacier, which covers part of Bardarbunga volcano system in Iceland.
Photograph by Marco Nescher, Reuters

The Bárđarbunga volcano in Iceland gave officials a scare late last week when it started rumbling to life, as seen on August 29.

The volcano lies under Europe's largest ice cap, Vatnajökull, and government officials worried that an eruption would cause havoc on the ground and in the air. (See "Icelandic Volcano Eruption Leads to Air Travel Warning.")

Those fears didn't materialize, and Iceland officials downgraded air travel warnings on Sunday.

Bárđarbunga may have settled, but don't count it out. Steam and smoke still leak through fissures in a lava field just north of the Vatnajökull glacier, as seen above. (See "Q&A: Why Iceland's Volcanoes Have Vexed Humans for Centuries.")

Rock and Roll

Photo of  Ecuadorian volcano Tungurahua spewing a column of smog and ashes as it is seen from the village of Pingue, Ecuador.
Photograph by Jose Jacome, EPA

The Tungurahua volcano in central Ecuador (pictured on August 28) has been rocking the nearby town of Baños (map) since August 21 with tremors, explosions, and earthquakes.

The explosions can sound like cannon blasts, roars, and gunfire, according to the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program.

Night Light

Photo of Mount Slamet erupting in Central Java, Indonesia.
Photograph by Himawan Listya N, Xinhua/ZUMA Wire

Mount Slamet in central Java, Indonesia, puts on a show August 23 as it sends streamers of lava into the night sky.

Volcanic activity on the mountain increased in the beginning of August, prompting government officials to ban climbing activities on the mountain.

35 comments
ZANELE SHEZI
ZANELE SHEZI

volcanoes means our lithosphere is not at peace, is grinding, moving, boiling, DON'T WE HAVE ANY EFFECT TO THAT? 

Chantelle Lenaghan
Chantelle Lenaghan

Volcanoes are such exciting things, its amazing how pretty they can look yet at the same time the great level of destruction they can cause!

Diane McPhail
Diane McPhail

I was in Iceland until just before Bardarbunga decided what it was going to do.  Very exciting.

Kim T.
Kim T.

I would like to see this as a regular weekly article on NG. It's easy to forget how restless earth is without these types of reminders. 

I do wish, however, that someone from NG would screen these posts and eliminate posts that have no relevance to the subject matter.

Susan B.
Susan B.

In awe of the beauty and power.

D. Ramos
D. Ramos

There are also some smoke and seismic activities around Mayon Volcano in the southern tip of the northern island of Luzon in the Philippines during the week.  This volcano has one of the most perfect cones in the world. NatGeo didn't hear about this one.

Myla T.
Myla T.

Both fascinated and scared by these photos!

R. Rahman
R. Rahman

 incredible photos.....I find these volcano's fascinating

Justin Smith
Justin Smith

Guess who is going to have to pay the Carbon Tax for volcano's now.  YOU! Get your wallets out and pay up!


I say that with sarcasm but I am sure someone out there is already dreaming up that Law at this very moment. 

Sally Lockwood
Sally Lockwood

what did one volcano say to the other volcano?.......................................................................

I lava you lol


Aaron Heller
Aaron Heller

These events will contribute to global cooling add to dust in atmosphere that will land and improve plant growth that will reduce co2 levels.

Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

@Justin Smith  What a great idea for raising revenue. Maybe we can come up with a fart tax for the methane released, a breathing tax for the CO2 and a sarcasm tax for which you would be in the top bracket.

ZANELE SHEZI
ZANELE SHEZI

@Carter Fox Jr.

THAT IS GOOD TO HAVE  TIME TO READ THE BIBLE,  BECAUSE IS THE MOST CRUCIAL BOOK I HAVE EVER READ,JESUS IS COMING VERY SOON, THAT IS WHY WE SEE SO MUCH OF THE CHANGES IN OUR EARTH!!!!

THOUGH IT IS BEAUTIFUL WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT( VOLCANO)

Bob H.
Bob H.

@Brent Garber They have been saying that for over 2000 years now...still waiting aren't we?

Andrew Booth
Andrew Booth

@Cheryl Gentry Maxwell Hegland Not really Cheryl - she's just letting off a bit of steam. If there was a blast like Krakatoa or Santorini - or the Yellowstone super-volcano erupting - THAT might be Nature blowing her top.  

Paul Cutlip
Paul Cutlip

@Aaron Heller Volcanic ash in the air blocks the sun causing plants to die. And volcanoes themselves release CO2 into the air (although not nearly as much as we do) So yeah . . . no.  There is nothing about volcanic ash that improves plant growth in any way. In fact if anything it kills plants. 

Ruth Orovich
Ruth Orovich

@Aaron Heller It will decrease the temperature only if there is enough ash ejected from the volcano to blanket some of the earth. It blocks rays from the sun from penetrating through to the surface and send it back in space.

If the volcanoes emit a great deal of co2, it could have the opposite effect, adding to global warming.

Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

@Andrew Booth @Cheryl Gentry Maxwell Hegland  Super Volcanoes, now that is a scary subject. I think there are 7 known around the world, I may be wrong on that. Also, it is a subject that allot of people are not familiar with. My understanding is, if one goes off, talk about an immediate global catastrophe. We won't have to worry 'bout global warming for a while.

Be Well

Phil Blank
Phil Blank

The last time the Iceland volcano blew, it did have an effect on the climate.

Or so they say.

Shane Shumaker
Shane Shumaker

@Phil Blank it's effect was limited to the area around it, thanks to the jet stream it really didn't have an affect on the US. there hasn't been a volcano big enough to plunge us into "Volcanic winter" since Toba 70,000 years ago, but if you have enough volcanoes erupting simultaneously all over the globe, that can have a cooling affect on the earth, and now what scientist think contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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