Light volcanic eruptions in ‘Jabal Al-Zubair’
DHAMAR — The Monitoring Center for the Study of Earthquakes and Volcanoes has reported the presence of light volcanic activity on one of the unpopulated islands of ‘Jabal Al-Zubair’ archipelago, 120 km northwest of Hodeida Governorate.
Jamal Sha’alan, the manager of the center said that initial indications are that the volcanic eruption was light and will not pose a threat to marine navigation.
Saleh Al-Maflahi, the assistant manager of the center, also confirmed that initial indications of the volcanic eruption are reassuring, saying that the centre has commissioned technical experts to travel to the site of the volcano to conduct studies.
The team has installed a seismic monitoring station there to alert them to seismic activity that may be the precursor to volcanic activity, according to Al-Maflahi.
“The volcanic activity and rising smoke was witnessed by some visitors,” he said, adding that a good deal of seismic activity had recently taken place.
He said that the results of a survey of the area’s volcanic history showed that Jabal Al-Zubair is an active volcanic site, and that it witnessed volcanic activity 187 years ago.
In September 2007, a volcano on Jabal Al-Tair Island - 20 km southwest of Al-Zubair and 140 kilometers off Yemen’s western coastline - caused the death of eight Yemeni soldiers in addition to injuring others stationed at a military base.
If this recent volcanic activity developed further, it could potentially cut off one of the world’s main oil and trade transit routes, the Red Sea’s Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb, where over three million barrels of oil pass through per day.
However, according to Sha’alan, at present, “the light volcano doesn’t pose any threat to maritime shipping.
“Large amounts of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide came out from the mountain on the first and second days but then decreased; the situation is being monitored,” said Sha’alan.
Al-Maflahi said that the centre is preparing to install a monitoring station in south of the Red Sea to study volcanic activity.
The centre is also gearing up to install stations in vulnerable areas such as Al-Lasi Mountain in Dhamar, Hamdan in Sana’a, Marib, Sayhoot in Al-Mahra, Hadramout, and Abyan.
According to Al-Maflahi, there are very few specialized companies that install such stations and the team need to be trained to operate such stations, which are controlled and monitored via satellite.
“The centre has no specialized station to deal solely with volcanoes. Our experts depend on seismic monitoring stations and some special equipment,” said Al-Maflahi, indicating that current volcanic data is not accurate.
However, Al-Maflahi indicated that 2011 has seen less seismic activity in 2011 than in 2010, when more than 6500 instances of seismic activity were recorded.