The risk of Melbourne-based melancholy

So, next week is the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) General Assembly.  Held once every 4 years, it’s one of the biggest volcanology and geophysics conferences in the world.  I’m due to be presenting two papers; one to do with sorting and redeposition of ignimbrites, the other to do with the potential for mixing to occur at the base of debris flows.

I’m due to fly out on monday, spend a couple of days with my good friend Lindsey and her fiance in Tasmania, then back to Melbourne for a week of conference. This would all be well and good were it not for a number of things conspiring against my attendance:

1. My otherwise perfect girlfriend has managed to go to Glastonbury with my passport in her bag.

2. Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in Chile is still spurting its ashy load into the atmosphere.

The development of these two issues over the next few days is likely to be a recurring theme here, so I’ll outline the problems in a little more detail.

1. Operation ‘Female Mail Fail’

It has been agreed that the best way for my passport to be returned to me is the following:  At approximately 19.30 hours this evening, girlfriend will be handing off the passport on the festival site over to her mother, who lives 3 miles from the site.  Mother will then take passport to Post Office tomorrow.  Passport will be signed for, sealed, and eventually delivered by Royal Mail Special Delivery.  In order to guarantee collection, I will be working from home on Friday.  Should the passport not turn up then I am what might properly be descrived as ‘In The Shitter’, as I will no longer have time to go to London to arrange a new one.

2. Puyehue’s Puffing Plume Possibilities

Puyehue-Cordon Caulle is a complex of volcanoes in Chile, thought to have erupted over 11 times in the last 500 years.  It also has a tendancy to erupt for periods of up to about 2 months at a time.  The current eruption kicked off on the 3rd June and has caused widespread disruption to air travel in the southern hemisphere.  Some quite nice compiled footage and images in the video below.

The real nailbiter on this one is that – as weather systems tend to – there is some

Click to open animation of ash dispersal from Puyehue eruption in a new window.

oscillation.  The ash cloud, as it circulates around the earth, is intermittently flicking over parts of Australia.  This animation linked to from the the image on the right shows the kind of thing we’re dealing with.  Click to go through to the source site and see it.

The point is that there is some uncertainty as to whether or how badly the ash might get in the way.  Even if the eruption were to stop now, the ash takes about 10 days to travel around to Australia. Should be an exciting couple of weeks.  I’ll keep you updated.  No doubt if Royal Mail screw up in the next 48 hours there’ll be letter of complaint which will make the infamous Shitty Link Debacle of 2005 a mere love letter in comparison.

Ash circulation timescales

About Pete Rowley

Earth Scientist with a background in volcanology and sedimentology. Enjoys a good rant, beer, and games. Dislikes reality TV, crowds, and unreasonable people.
This entry was posted in General, Travel, Volcanism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The risk of Melbourne-based melancholy

  1. Pingback: Weathering it out « geologygeek

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