Recent Volcano Eruptions

Image Source: -- Momotombo Volcano, Nicaragua

This week there have been 2 major volcanic eruptions! The first happened on December 1 near Leon, Nicaragua with the eruption of Mt. Momotombo. This is the first time Momotombo has erupted in over 110 years! According to volcanologist, Erik Klemetti from Denison University in Ohio, “Although volcanoes can experience periods of dormancy and activity, very little is known about why a volcano might stay quiet for 110 years and then rumble back to life.”

Image Source: Mt. Etna, Sicily Italy

The second volcano to erupt this week was Mt. Etna in Sicily. Mt. Etna gave Sicilians quite the spectacle on Thursday, December 3, 2015 as it erupted and created volcanic lightning over the city. This is the first time in 2 years since Mt. Etna has erupted. 

Volcanic lightning also known as a dirty thunderstorm is caused when electrical charges are generated when rock fragments, ash, and ice particles in a volcanic plume collide and produce static charges, just as ice particles collide in regular thunderstorms. Some of the most famous instances of volcanic lightning include occurred in Chile above the Chaiten Volcano, Alaska’s Mount Augustine volcano, Iceland’s  Eyjafjallajökull volcano,  and most recently Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy. 

Fun Fact: Why do volcanoes erupt? Volcanoes are just a natural way that the Earth and other planets have of cooling off and releasing internal heat and pressure!

Japanese Volcano Wakes Up After 52 Years


The Shinmoedake volcano is widely known to an international audience.  For James Bond fans, it’s known as the secret volcano base of Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.  However, for the Japanese, Shinmoedake is best known as the volcano that’s erupting right now.  Shinmoedake volcano, in the Kirishima mountain range on the southwestern island of Kyushu, is currently erupting in violent fashion after waking up last week.  Experts believe this may be the biggest eruption of Shinmoedake since 1716. After 300 years, the Shinmoedake volcano is waking up.

In a lot of ways, this has been a big year for volcanic activity, and this seems to be increasing.  Shinmoedake is causing a lot of problems for the Japanese.  There are Europe-style travel disruptions, Indonesia-style evacuations (1000 people & growing as the risk increases), and the very real fear of lava erupting from the long-quiet peak.  This is looking like the real deal, and something to be worried about if you’re planning on traveling to Japan (or live there).


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