Monday, April 13, 2015

Alor Island and the edge of the volcanic gap

Our travel to Alor Island - the northeastern edge of our Indonesia array - brought us to visit stations on the extreme ends of the land mass.  This island is particularly interesting for our research because while the composition is clearly that of relatively young volcanic activity, there are no active volcanoes present.  This sudden (spatial) paucity in volcanism is attributed to the collision of Australia's northern margin with the young volcanic islands of Banda between Alor (west limit) and Damar Islands (east limit).  As we flew back from Alor on the way back to Kupang, a good overhead view of the easternmost active volcano was available, Gunung Sirung on Adonara Island:

View looking SW over Sirung - the edge of the volcanic gap!
Travel across Alor was remarkable.  The landscape is much more lush than during the dry season, including grasses on the rocky areas and floodplains, and dense vegetation in the high, wetter portions.  During the installation last year, we viewed sections of eucalyptus trees that were barren of leaves, displayed beautiful white trunks, and were underlain by black, rocky soil (see archive of posts for photo).  During this season, it looks much more inviting:

We were fortunate to drive to both ends of the island, find both stations to be performing in good health, and do it all in one day!  So, now we have serviced 14 stations with 8 remaining.  I am off today to go meet my lovely wife Maggie in Denpassar, and then back to the field tomorrow to cover four stations in west Flores Island.  It looks like we have a good plan to finish off the field work while also taking in a few tourist excursions.  Look for updates on these adventures in future posts...

In west Alor, a view over a well-known snorkeling spot was appealing.

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