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Earth Happenings Archive
December 1, 1996 to December 31, 1996
December 29, 1996
The strongest eruption of the current eruptive phase of Pavlof Volcano (Alaska) occurred on December 27th (AVO Report). Volcanic activity has since returned to normal levels.
December 24, 1996
Monsoon rains caused a landslide in Papua New Guinea that buried the village of Waiunda (near Menyamya) and killed 38 people (Nando Times 12/24/96). "Landslides are common in the mountains around the small township of Menyamya which are so steep and fragmented that Australian explorers in the 1930s called the area broken bottle country."
December 22, 1996
A mag 6.0 quake occurred in the eastern Sea of Japan at 14:53 GMT.
December 21, 1996
A mag 5.6 quake occurred 60 miles north of Tokyo at 1:28 GMT.
MVO dropped the alert level at Montserrat back to Code Orange stating that the "phase of activity which prompted the move to Red Alert during the evening of 19 December now appears to be finished".
December 20, 1996
A series of pyroclastic flows on Montserrat, resulting from the collapse of the eastern side of th new lava dome, prompted MVO to raise the level of alert to Code Red late last night.
December 18, 1996
A mag 5.8 quake occurred off the coast of Chile at 10:12 GMT. No Tsunami were reported.
Torrential rains have caused flooding in Portugal and southwestern Spain, "swamping homes and roads, forcing evacuations and threatening olive and strawberry crops" (MSNBC 12/18/96).
Dome growth continues in the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat (MVO Daily Report).
December 14, 1996
New dome growth has occurred in Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat, over the past two or three days. The new lava dome, with an estimated volume of 500,000 cubic meters, was accompanied by a drastic reduction in seismic activity. MVO reports that this change, and new cracks forming on the eastern flank of the volcano, "provide further evidence that Galway's Wall is coming closer to failure".
December 12, 1996
Strong, continuous tremors from Pavlof Volcano, in the Aleutian Islands, prompted the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) to raise the level of alert to Code Red on Tuesday (USA Today Report). Although Strombolian eruptions continue at Pavlof, tremors have decreased since Wednesday, and the warning code has been reduced to Code Orange.
Meanwhile, further out in the Aleutian Islands, ten earthquakes with magnitudes between 4.3 and 5.4 have shaken Andreanof Island in the last 48 hours.
December 10, 1996
Montserrat volcano "remains very dangerous", according to the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) daily report. MVO reported 210 shallow earthquakes and 8 landslides in the past 24 hours.
December 9, 1996
Two inches of rain in 24 hours fell in SW Oregon causing floods and mudslides (Oregon News-Review 12/9/96 and CNN 12/9/96). For up to the minute information see Oregon River Hydrographs.
A series of three quakes, magnitude 4.8, 5.0, and 6.2 occurred along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between 10:36 and 11:28 AM GMT.
December 8, 1996
Floodwaters continue to rise in SW Oregon for the second time in a month. The Oregon News-Review has a good summary of the late-November floods.
December 6, 1996
Rain and melting snow cause a mudslide in Japan that carried trucks, vans, and car-sized boulders over a dam construction site and killed at least 14 people (Nando Times 12/6/96).
Although seismic activity has decreased slightly in the past 24 hours on Montserrat, the possibility of an eruption is still high.
December 4, 1996
A volcano on Manam Island, Papua New Guinea erupted yesterday destroying the village of Buduwa and causing the evacuation of 1,500 of the island's 7,000 residents (CNN Report and Quicktime movie of the eruption).
Seismic activity continues to intensify on Montserrat Volcano (MVO Daily Report.)
December 2, 1996
Japanese island of Kyushu was struck by a mag 6.3 quake (Nando Times Report (12/2/96)).
Volcanic activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat has intesified (CNN Report 12/2/96). According to the daily report from MVO, catastrophic failure of the flank of the volcano "may be imminent". MVO states that, "A major collapse of the wall could expose hot, gas-rich magma from the lower sections of the dome, and trigger a lateral blast."
Heavy rains this weekend caused over 125 landslides in the Philippines. (MSNBC 12/1/96)
December 1, 1996
Nyamulagira erupted in Virunga National Park, Zaire sending a stream of lava 10 km through the rain forest and covering an abandoned refugee camp (Nando Times report). The last time Nyamulagira erupted was in 1994.
A swarm of over 150 volcano-tectonic earthquakes occurred on Montserrat Volcano bewteen 6:45 AM Saturday and 7 AM Sunday. MVO reported the situation as "extremely serious" and residents are being warned to evacuate (CNN 12/1/96).


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