Global Volcanic Eruptions Ring In The New Year

Nature’s pyrotechnics are ensuring that 2013 is going out with a bang, as volcanic eruptions occur around the globe at the end of the calendar year.

The recent volcanic eruptions started harmlessly enough. Heck, they got downright cute when it comes to Niijima, the island created by volcanic eruptions in the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire, an island that bears more than a little resemblance to Snoopy, beloved beagle of Charlie Brown from the Peanuts comic strip. Niijima was formed by volcanic eruptions beginning in November and was first spotted by the Japanese Coast Guard, according to reports from the Guardian. Recent aerial photographs show the landmass to be shaped like the MetLife spokesdog, created by Charles Schulz.

Some volcanic eruptions aren’t quite as endearing, such as those forcing thousands from their homes in eastern El Salvador Sunday when the Chaparrastique volcano spewed ashes for hours. No victims were reported in the wake of the volcanic eruptions, as 2,000 people evacuated and dozens of flights in the Central American nation were suspended due to smoke and ash pluming up to 3.5 miles in the air.

El Salvador may count itself lucky compared to the volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, as fire and ash is spewed by Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra. More than 19,000 people were displaced in the ensuing evacuations, with nine successive eruptions rocketing lava and gas clouds to heights of 4.3 miles.

“Mount Sinabung remains on the highest alert level and we have warned there should be no human activity within a five-kilometre radius of the crater,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman, via the BBC.

Mount Sinabung has been active since September after lying dormant for the past three years; its volcanic eruptions have caused crop damage that could reach tens of thousands of acres and amount to billions of rupiyah in losses, according to the Jakarta Globe. No fatalities have been reported as a result of this volcanic activity.

In addition, Mt. Etna, in Italy, has had an active month of eruptions and produced volcanic activity on December 30.

What do you think of all these various volcanic eruptions so close to the end of the year?