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South America Current Events

Volcano Report for Peru and Chile
April 6, 2014 | Eruptions Blog

Erik Klemetti posts an update on recent activity at Ubinas Volcano in Peru. In addition, some people have expressed concern about the recent magnitude 8.2 earthquake triggering an eruption at one of several nearby volcanos, Erik comments on these concerns plus, in another post, on the recent earthquake at Yellowstone.

USGS photo from the 2006 eruption.
Activity at Tungurahua
April 6, 2014 | Sidney Mornig Herald

Tungurahua Volcano in Ecuador has been active since February, producing explosions and columns of ash.

In 2006 six people were killed and a village was destroyed by the volcano.

Building Codes Saved Lives in Chile
April 6, 2014 | CNN

An article on the CNN website explains how building codes saved lives in the recent magnitude 8.2 earthquake in Chile.

M7.8 Onshore in Chile With Shake Map of IX
April 3, 2014 | USGS

USGS reports that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake has occurred onshore in Chile with a depth of only about 12 miles and about 14 miles from the population center of Iquique.

M8.2 Earthquake Off the Coast of Chile
April 1, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck off the Pacific coast of Chile at about 6:46 PM local time. An early report in the Los Angeles Times indicates building and highway damage. A tsunami warning was issued but waves observed were small. View USGS Data.

Land Below Sea Level
March 16, 2014 |

Did you know that there are seven distinct depressions on Earth that are over 100 meters below sea level, and twenty-three that are over 10 meters below sea level and ten more that are at least two meters below sea level? We have a google map that points to ten of these depressions and a list of the remaining locations.

Climate Change Hitting Penguins in Argentina
February 9, 2014 | Plosone

Researchers monitored over thousands of penguins over nearly three decades to determine their mortality factors. One conclusion is that climate change is causing more frequent and more intense storms that kill many penguins.

2012 Crude Trade Within the Americas
February 9, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration recently published their annual Liquid Fuels and Natural Gas in the Americas report. It includes the map below showing the flow of crude oil within the Americas during 2012.

Frog-Hunting Bats?
January 28, 2014 | National Geographic

A species of bat that lives in parts of Central and South America has an echolocation sense that gives it the ability to detect water ripples from a croaking frog and swoop in for a kill.

Heat Waves in the Southern Hemisphere
January 9, 2014 | NASA

NASA’s Earth Observatory has published maps showing how Australia and Argentina/Chile have suffered from heat waves during 2013.

Ash Plume at San Miguel
January 1, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

Sunday’s explosive eruption at San Miguel Volcano in El Salvador produced a plume of ash captured by NASA in this satellite image.

The Demand for Emeralds is Rising
December 3, 2013 | CNN

“The price for high-quality emeralds has increased by a factor of 10 since 2009, and the price of Colombian emeralds is set to increase by at least 25% this year alone.” Quoted from the CNN article.

Most Popular Items for November
December 2, 2013 |

The World’s Largest Emerald Mine

What is Iris Agate?

New Volcanic Island Southeast of Japan

The Enormous Volcanic Eruption that Historians Never Recorded

A Super River from the Southwestern United States to the Labrador Sea?

Typhoon Haiyan Images

Comet Ison is Visible to the Naked Eye

New Super Predator Dinosaur

What is Iris Agate?
November 27, 2013 |

““Iris Agate” is a name used for a finely-banded agate that produces a spectacular display of color when it is cut properly and illuminated from a direction that sends light through its very thin bands.”

Image by edurivero ©
Cave of the Hands
November 26, 2013 |

Cueva de las Manos (Spanish for “Cave of the Hands”) is a cave in Argentina that is famous for a wall covered with hand silhouettes produced by ancient people between 13,000 and 9,000 years ago.

Understanding Galapagos Volcanoes
November 25, 2013 | USGS

“The chance transit of a satellite over the April 2009 eruption of Fernandina volcano — the most active in South America’s famed Galápagos archipelago — has revealed for the first time the mechanism behind the characteristic pattern of eruptive fissures on the island chain’s volcanoes.” Quoted from the USGS Newsroom.

Natural Gas Flaring from Space
October 30, 2013 |

We have posted views of Earth from NASA’s Suomi satellite that show night illumination and natural gas flaring for oil industry sites in the Bakken Formation, Eagle Ford Shale, Alaska North Slope, United States Gulf, Mexican Gulf, Venezuela Orinoco Field, Brazil offshore basins, North Sea, North Africa onshore, west Africa offshore, and Persian Gulf.

Earth’s Largest Volcano
October 21, 2013 |

Tamu Massif is Earth’s “largest volcano” but Mauna Kea and Ojos del Salado exceed Tamu in height and altitude.

October 13, 2013 |

Ametrine, a combination of amethyst and citrine is a bicolor quartz and a gemstone of growing popularity.

It is produced commercially from just one mine in the world, located in eastern Bolivia.

Brazil Oil and Gas Report
October 1, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“Brazil is the 8th largest total energy consumer and 10th largest producer in the world. [...] Discoveries of large offshore, pre-salt oil deposits could transform Brazil into one of the largest oil producers in the world.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration country report.

Peruvian Cloud Forests in Jeopardy
September 24, 2013 | Wake Forest University

“Peru’s cloud forests are some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Researchers have new evidence that shows rapid 21st century warming may spell doom for tree species in Peruvian cloud forests, with species losing 53 to 96 percent of their populations.” Quoted from the Wake Forest University press release.

Wildfires and Dust Storm in Argentina
September 18, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA Earth Observatory has satellite images of forest fire smoke and dust from a dry saline lake bed being carried by the wind.

Genetic Basis for Living at High Altitude
September 15, 2013 | UC San Diego

“More than 140 million people have permanently settled on high-altitude regions, on continents ranging from African and Asia to South America. The low-oxygen conditions at such high altitudes present a challenge for survival, and these geographically distinct populations have adapted to cope with hypoxia, or low levels of oxygen in the blood.” Quoted from the UC San Diego press release.

World’s Most Dangerous Roads
August 25, 2013 | History Channel

The History Channel has a video about the extremely dangerous roads in the Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia. This is as much a story about landslides and rock falls as it is about roads.

Prospecting for Graves with Geophysical Tools
August 22, 2013 | EarthMagazine

An article on the website reports on the use of geophysical tools (ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity, bulk ground conductivity, gradient magnetometry) for finding graves in Colombia.

One to Five Snakes Per Square Meter?
July 18, 2013 |

An island off the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil is said to have at least one venomous snake per square meter. The Brazilian Navy forbids visitors to the uninhabited (by humans) island.

Eruptions at Tungurahua
July 16, 2013 | CBS News

Tungurahua volcano continued its activity on Sunday by producing a plume of gas and ash that rose to an altitude of over 45,000 feet.

Shale Oil and Shale Gas in 41 Countries
June 12, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration has published: “Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States“.

Understory Fires in the Amazon
June 9, 2013 | NASA

“Using an innovative satellite technique, NASA scientists have determined that a previously unmapped type of wildfire in the Amazon rainforest is responsible for destroying several times more forest than has been lost through deforestation in recent years.”

Evacuations Near Copahue Volcano
May 28, 2013 | BBC

Thousands of small earthquakes have caused the governments of Chile and Argentina to order the evacuation of about 3000 people who live near Copahue Volcano on the southern border of those countries.

Ablation in Argentina
May 14, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has a satellite image showing how strong winds in Argentina are removing dust from inland lake beds and streaming it out over the Atlantic.

Archived in Ice
April 10, 2013 | American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History has an interesting video about the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes, where researchers are collecting cores to document past climate change recorded in the ice.

Spectacular Eruption Photos
March 20, 2013 |

A collection of some of the most interesting photos of volcanic eruptions that we have seen from USGS, NASA and NOAA.

Lost Tribes of the Amazon
February 22, 2013 | has an interesting article titled: “The Lost Tribes of the Amazon”. It describes some recent encounters with indigenous people in the Colombian headwaters of the Amazon.

Political Risks of Venezuelan Crude?
January 29, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“Uncertainty about the health of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s president, has raised interest in understanding Venezuela’s contribution to U.S. oil supply. Venezuela, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, ranks among the 15 largest global oil producers and is the United States’s fourth-largest source of imported oil.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration article.

Eruption at Copahue
January 8, 2013 | BBC

Copahue, a volcano on the border between Chile and Argentina began erupting Saturday. An eruption at this time last year cancelled hundreds of flights at the peak of the area’s tourist season.

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