Monday 14 October 2013

Submarine eruption to the northwest of Jebel Zubair.

The Zubair Archipelago are a group of volcanic islands off the southwest coast of Yemen; they are essentially a shield volcano on the Red Sea Rift with a number of vents. The had been quiet from about 1848 until December 2011, when a series of eruptions from a vent to the northeast of Jebel Zubair island (the largest island of the group) began, persisting through January 2012. A new eruption began on 28 September 2013 a new series of eruptions began, this time to the northwest of Jebel Zubair and the southeast of the 2011/12 eruptions. This eruption has the form of a steam plume and increase in atmospheric sulphur dioxide (SO₂), detected by NASA's Terra Satellite, and further observed over the following days. To date no ash or pumice produced by this eruption has been detected, suggesting that it is not (yet) a major event.

The approximate location of the Jebel Zubair eruption. Google Maps.

The Red Sea Rift is a spreading boundary between two tectonic plates, the African Plate and the Arabian, where new oceanic crust is being formed. Arabia was formerly part of the African Plate, but split away about 30 million years ago. The Great Rift Valley of Africa is a continuation of this rift, that is slowly splitting Africa in two from the north to the south.

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