Surtsey – The Birth of the Modern World

Rare image from the 1963 eruption of Surtsey.

Rare image from the 1963 eruption of Surtsey.

Tomorrow, the fourteenth of November, will be the official birthday of Surtsey. In a way it was a triple birth. First of all it was the birth of the Island of Surtsey, it was also the birth of the term surtseyan eruption, but foremost it was in a way the birth of the modern world and the age of television.

Never before had the world’s population been able to watch proof that the world was a changing place born in fire and baptized in ice cold waters in a remote part of the world while staying at home, in one go it made a huge amount of people aware of plate tectonics, and the budding science of volcanology.

It was an archetypical moment for the television medium, one could say that the birth of television started with Surtsey and ended 6 years later with the moon landing. Both are epic moments from a time when we dared dream on a scale we will not see again as we move further into a Digital Dark Age of Introversy* and cat-images on Facebook.

At the same time Surtsey heralded the birth of modern volcanology and that is why Surtsey gave its name to underwater eruptions that form islands. It was far from the first island forming eruption, but it was at the same time THE island formation, not only for the general population, it was also the defining moment for volcanology, which at the time was forming as an independent science. Remember that Surtsey happened a year before Ian Carmichaels ground breaking petrological work on the Icelandic volcano of Thingmuli.

At the same time surprisingly little is known about the eruption. Yes, there are television clips and news photographs, and endless reporting on the event. But, from a modern scientific view there is almost nothing. One should though remember that there was almost no seismographic data available since the Icelandic network was in its infancy. On top of that the scientists back then hardly even knew what to look for, there was not even a clear cut protocol for what to look for. To set it into proportion, the Hekla network yields more data per minute than was recorded during the entire eruption of Surtsey, but we should also remember that without Surtsey we would most likely not have the luxury of today’s public network that the Icelandic Met Office let us partake from on a daily basis. In the end, that is the legacy of Surtsey; that we can sit in our living rooms and ponder and debate volcanoes around the globe, most likely driving scores of professional volcanologist insane while doing it…

Geological background

Map showing the Eastern Volcanic Zone as it goes out into the water. To the left is the MAR and Reykjanes Ridge. Where EVZ ends is where you will find Surtsey.

Map showing the Eastern Volcanic Zone as it goes out into the water. To the left is the MAR and Reykjanes Ridge. Where EVZ ends is where you will find Surtsey.

Surtsey belongs to the Vestmannaeyjar volcanic field, and is the current southern tip of the Eastern Volcanic Zone. The EVZ is a powerful rifting faultline that is a part of the Mid Atlantic Rift.

Up until roughly 12 000 years ago the EVZ stopped at a location close to Eyjafjallajökull. At that time the rift started to spread southwards and the Vestmannaeyjar islands was born. In time this opening faultline will take over the position entirely as the center for MAR-spread from the Reykjavik Ridge, but right now it is still in its formative stages.

All eruptions along this part of the EVZ are rifting eruptions, and no central volcanoes have yet formed, even though some argue that the Eldfell eruption on Heimaey heralded the formation of a proto central volcano, there is though no substantial evidence for that theory.

So far no volcano on the Vestmannaeyar Fissure Swarm has had a second eruption, a base requirement for a central volcano.

The Surtsey Eruption

View from the distance of the ash column. Something like this was observed from the trawler by the cook.

View from the distance of the ash column. Something like this was observed from the trawler by the cook.

On the sixth of November the villagers of Kirkjubæjarklaustur noticed the onset of a weak earthquake swarm and the local seismograph registered the direction and the rough distance. Later analysis has determined the origin to be roughly within the area of the Surtsey eruption. The earthquake swarm ended or became too weak to register on the eighth of November.

On the twelfth of November a seismograph in Reykjavik recorded a ten hour long period of what later has been interpreted as harmonic tremor. At the same time a hydrological research ship had measured water temperatures in the area above the established baseline. In the town of Vík, 80 kilometers away the locals noticed the rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), something that they knew indicated volcanic activity somewhere.

From all of this we know that sometime between the 6th up to the 12th the Surtsey eruption started. Closer than that we will never come due to the lack of hard data.

What we do know is that at 07.15 in the morning on the 14th of November 1963 the cook on the trawler Ísleifur II noticed a column of black smoke. The captain decided to go closer to investigate if it was a burning ship or if it was a volcanic eruption. As they got closer they saw that it was a for all Icelanders familiar column of ash, giving it away as an eruption.

The eruption started at a depth of 130 meters, so we know that the eruption would initially not have been visible. During the first few days there were 3 distinct different eruptions along the NNE/SSW trending fissure line of the EVZ, but later in the day they formed into one single 10 kilometer high ash and steam column.

Over the next few days an island formed that was 500 meters long and 45 meters high. It was built by alternating layers of scoriae and ash and as such started to erode immediately. In the beginning of 1964 the island had grown into such a size that the lava did not any longer interact with the water and the eruption therefore changed in nature. Now it was instead basaltic lava that was ejected in fire fountains and lava flows. This quickly covered the lose debris with a hardened shell, thusly saving the budding island from the waves. This effusive phase of the eruption continued from the Surtsey vent up until May 1965.

Legal issues

Island formation with the tell tale black and white column.

Island formation with the tell tale black and white column.

During the first eruption of Surtsey 3 French journalists landed on the island for fifteen minutes before being driven away by the volcano. As a joke they claimed the island for France. According to international law that would have made the island French since the eruption happened outside of the Icelandic 3 mile maritime zone. Iceland quickly moved to assert its rights to the island, and France never acknowledged its legal right to the island making Surtsey de facto Icelandic. The claim is though disputable since there is no legal limit to the time for claiming new land.

This might sound like legal nitpickery, but let us say that a couple of enterprising Somali pirates claimed one of the two newly born islands in the Jebel al-Zubair group, that would give Somalia legal claim to all navigable water in the world’s most heavily trafficked waters. The Devil quite literally lives in the details and there have been small scale wars fought over ephemeral islands in the Mediterranean.

Surtla, Syrtlingur and Jólnir

Classic aeiral image of the birth of Surtsey.

Classic aeiral image of the birth of Surtsey.

On the 28th of December of 1963 a second fissure eruption started 2.5 kilometers to the north east of Surtsey creating a 100 meter high seamount, it never reached the surface, but the eruption was still named Surtla since it was expected to break the surface.

At the same time as the first eruption on Surtsey dwindled down into an intermission a new fissure opened up 0.6 kilometers southwest of Surtsey. This eruption formed the island of Syrtlingur on the 28th of May 1965, the island quickly eroded and disappeared under the surface, and it then reappeared again on the 14th of June. In the beginning of October the same year this eruption ended and on the 24th of October the island was washed away by the waves to never appear again.

In December 1965 yet another eruption started 0.9 kilometers southwest of Surtsey. This weak eruption fought for 8 months to stay above the ocean surface until the eruption ended on the 8th of August 1966 and in October the waves had eroded away the 70 meter high island of Jólnir.

Second Surtsey eruption

Iconic aerial image of Surtsey.

Iconic aerial image of Surtsey.

On the 19th of August 1966 lava started flowing at Surtsey again, this second layer of lava further solidified the island and helped greatly with prolonging the life expectancy of Surtsey. This second eruption continued up until the 5th of June 1967. After that date there has been no eruption in or around Surtsey and it is fairly unlikely that a new eruption will happen from the same vents.

The future of Surtsey

Current aerial view of Surtsey.

Current aerial view of Surtsey.

The island of Surtsey is doomed. The only question is how long the island will remain. Surtsey was once 2.5 square kilometers, but is now 1.4 square kilometers. The initial high erosion rate was mainly from loose material being washed away, and now that there is only harder material remaining the rate of erosion has diminished. Calculating the life expectancy has yielded different results, but it is clear that somewhere between 100 to 1 000 years from now the island will disappear under the surface. Most likely the island will fairly rapidly diminish until only a hardened stack of solidified basalt remains above the surface, and ultimately that will crumble and fall down into the ocean. Before that happens new islands will most likely have happened, most probably to the southwest of Surtsey as the EVZ spreads down in southwesterly direction where it will at some time merge directly with the Mid Atlantic Rift.

Biological and human impact on Surtsey

Beautiful image that is fairly rare. Sadly it does not exist in a larger format.

Beautiful image that is fairly rare. Sadly it does not exist in a larger format.

The island was quickly declared a living laboratory for biological settlement on newly formed land. Surtsey was therefore declared a natural reserve in 1965 and it was declared that only a select group of scientists would be able to land on the island. In 2008 Surtsey was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, further increasing its protection.

In 2008 69 separate species of plant life had found its way to the island and there is also birds nesting on the island and the seals have inevitably found the northern gravel spit and annexed it as their breading ground and that in turn attracted a flock of Orcas feeding on the seals. In 2009 the island had 15 species of nesting birds on the island when a Golden Plover nested there.

Humans could as usual not stay away from the island. During a raid on the island performed by a bunch of boys potatoes where planted. They were quickly dug up before they could cause any damage. In 2009 a scientist suffered a bout of bowel movement and defecated in a non-approved manner resulting in a tomato plant that later was destroyed. There is also a hut on the island housing the scientists during their visits to the island.

There is no permanent monitoring equipment on the island. The nearest equipment is a combined SIL/GPS-station on Heimaey. Even though the situation is better now than during the Surtsey eruption the area is generally under-monitored by Icelandic standards and could well do with a commemorative upgrade since there will be further eruptions in the Vestmannaeyar Volcanic Zone.

CARL

*The art of finding controversy whilst looking deep into ones navel, refusing to see any big picture, also including lack of imagination and being devoid of curiosity beyond the personal navel sphere.

UPDATE:

Some people thought I was joking with the bowel moving tomato incident. I was not, problem was just that due to lack of time I could not find any original sources or images. Dagur Bragason have rectified this with an Icelandic article on the subject stating the facts, and a photograph of the happy tomato plant. This happened back in 1969, making tomatoes one of the first species living on Surtsey.

http://ahb.is/tomatplanta-ox-i-surtsey-1969/?fb_action_ids=555482434529071&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%22555482434529071%22%3A10151075518578421%7D&action_type_map=%7B%22555482434529071%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

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202 thoughts on “Surtsey – The Birth of the Modern World

  1. Thanks Carl. I remember the excitement of see Sertsey on TV. It added to my interest in volcanoes at an early age. It’s hard to explain now how incredibly wonderful it was to see film of this eruption almost as it was happening…well within a week or so! how different today….

    Sinabung erupting half a world away from me and the video clips here within hours AND in colour!
    Not only that but a range of scientific data can be found and digested. If it’s in another language? No Problemo! The magic of the internet will translate it….well sort of!
    I give thanks that I can appreciate the huge strides made in science in my lifetime.

    DragonEdit: Removed the erroneous link.

    • Thanks Carl,
      Nice digest of the known information; this one was before my time and I didn’t know a lot about it.
      Are there any good books on the subject?

    • The process is slow. For 5000 years there was nothing happening in the westman islands until Sursey and then Eldfell 10 years later.

      I think we might one day see a new Surtsey eruption either at Tjornes or Reykjanes. But it could be decades until then.

    • Actually the activity at The Vestmannaeyjar Volcanic Zone seems to be cyclical, and the 5000 year hiatus is highly dubious. Allready Sigurdar Thorarinson noted that there seemed to be historical evidence in his ground breaking book Surtsey.
      Most likely there have been several islands popping up and dissappearing. One of the latest was probably Geirfugl that remain as a remnant basaltic stack. It probably erupted just before colonization. And there have been at least two reports from sea captains of possible eruption after colonisation.
      But it is unlikely that it will happen again during this cycle, whatever now the length might be of the cycle.

      • In Reykjanes eruptions forming islands are much more common than most think. I reckon they happen nearly every century, once or twice. Every few centuries, those eruptions might be large enough to be ashy.

        In the Westman islands, I think Eldfell erupted less than 5000 years ago. It seems quite recent especially for such island exposed to constant erosion.

        • About one Island formation every 100 years for Reykjanes Ridge, and probably 3 to 5 eruptions that does not make it to the surface. The last part is a bit of guess work on my side, but it is in part corroborated by findings on the ocean floor.

          • And there was this unknown eruption sometime in March/April 1941. At sea south of Reykjanes, possibly east of Grindavik, but west of Westmann islands (somewhere on fishing banks there). One day, after week of storms, the fishing boats (trawlers) went to sea but almost had to return. Lots of floating pumice were on the sea and clogged the cooling on the motors. This info is in a book by a Sailor, I heard piece of it read on Radio just before Christmas, some yeears back.
            It was in middle of the war and no one investigated. Few seismos also then for pinpointing. No exact location is known. Might be anywhere off Reykjanes peninsula, to the south or south-west. but writer thught this could have originated somewere west of Surtsey.

            • I would say it was either on the VVZ or RR, you kind of need a volcanic fissure to get an eruption. But, the currents could have carried that pumice towards where the boats left port.

  2. “In 2009 a scientist suffered a bout of bowel movement and defecated in a non-approved manner resulting in a tomato plant that later was destroyed.”

    Ha, what a claim to fame.

      • So, other than crapping in an unauthorized area, what was “non-approved manner” about it? Did he soil his pants? Are we talking about a phreatic eruption? That would have been messy… but when nature calls… well, you know.

        I can just picture the hapless geologist madly hopping around, lapilli flying all over the place, and he can’t hold it.

        Could you imagine a later geologist peering intently at the really odd looking lava bomb? “Hmm… still gooey…”

        • I must admit that thoughts like that went through my mind…
          I guess that the approved manner involves bag and tag.

        • Yeah, but think of the later opportunities for carbon dating! He was doing future generations a service. Really.

  3. Happy birthday Surtsey. Whopper Post, Carl, The party started last night.
    Hekla shook its hand .. err … shoulder… Look. Quake dead center …. Yesterday! Nah. Where was I ??? (nope, it was not on the map yeserday, some ust have found it)

    • That quake slipped by me… I was to occupied with speed reading about Surtsey.

      Apparantly there was a guy who had gotten his hands of Shahen of Irans old private twin engine plane and used it to land tourists on the island during the eruption. Of course it was an Icelandic pilot that did it. Amazing…

      • Same here, almost.

        Yepp, One did. Barn doors can fly, Scottish Aviation Pioneers too, and this was a “Twin-Pin”. They could land on a dime. So could I have on that sandy beach. Waint, I have landed on sandy beach(es), but that Island is off limits now. Needs a Helo.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Aviation_Twin_Pioneer

        TF-LOA

        But landing there on a Beech Twin-Bonanza was stubit. It needed a special lightned condition, a daring pilot and yet the props were bent hitting waves on a realy hairy takeoff. I have the story and it was put away untill new props could be found. But as usual the taxpayer paid. Please do not tell !

        • Ah,twin pioneer! Fan of those,and the Alvis Leonidas radials. US forest service looked at one
          For smokejumper duty. Parts and service was an issue. Well liked though. I can’t imagine a T-Bone
          Beech doing what they did…

  4. Hi Carl,

    Nice article.

    I especially like the 2009 story of the scientist having a bowel movement and doing its improper thing resulting in a tomato plant! Surely that’s amazing.

    I strongly value the experiment however, as it is unique in the world.

    I can add this topic of interest regarding the main island of the Westman Islands. Besides Helgafell and Eldfell, the two clear Holocene eruptions in the island, there are a lot of what seems to be Pleistocene mountains around the island, which could indicate that the island is older than 12000 years old. Also, in the south part of the island, almost in straight fissural alignment with both Helgafell and Eldfell, there are the remains of what seems to be a old small caldera, about 1 to 2km (not really a caldera perhaps). Very similar to Camp Flegrei in which is half of it in land, half eroded by and under the sea.

    Around the main island, there are a lot of small islands, which are of course independent old eruptions, but probably linked to the main island.

    And it seems so interesting seeing that trend towards the SW towards the formation of new islands.

    • It brings back memories of a baking hot day in the Westmann Islands in 1979 (literally “baking” as Eldfell was still smouldering). The grading of the pebbles on the “new” beach was stunning. Time moves fast in Iceland! The weather was perfect for island-spotting, including Surtsey. Fantastic!

  5. “There is no permanent monitoring equipment on the island. The nearest equipment is a combined SIL/GPS-station on Heimaey. Even though the situation is better now than during the Surtsey eruption the area is generally under-monitored by Icelandic standards and could well do with a commemorative upgrade since there will be further eruptions in the Vestmannaeyar Volcanic Zone.”

    A few important areas under-monitored in Iceland, most notoriously Snaefellsnes and the Westman Islands

  6. @#$$@#$…. it’s 6° C and my coffee hasn’t kicked in. Back hurts and I have to jump through hoops today. (still servers to be seen).

    On a plus side, the temperature should keep the tourists at bay, or away from the beach roads. Though in all likelihood, those randy primates will be wandering around the various malls looking to score.

    • Ahem… I bet that once upon a time there was a certain randy primate Lurking about ;)

      Here it is a balmy -3C today with the prospect of snow later on… So the randy primates here do their thing over hot beverages.

      • Here is around 0ºC. It has been very changeable weather this last week in Iceland.

        First a big storm 2 days ago. Then, got down to -10ºC yesterday night, this morning it snowed quite deep, then in rain heavily, but not enough to melt everything. Now a new gale storm is approaching. It was snowing a while ago. Tomorrow there will be a large gale storm, heavy rain and considerable temperature rising, up to +8ºC, then it goes freezing again. And so winter is here.

        • Yepp, We have truly invented the “interchangeable” weather.
          We can go thrugh most, if not all, seasons in a day or so. :-) Now this strong urge go sleep comes over me.
          That is sure sign for some quakes.
          I wonder if I am part of the earth?

    • Yep, there was. But I avoided the beach. 3 a.m. and I’m nursing a bottle of Bacardi at a nearby bottle club. Lady comes over and asks for some of my rum, I tell her “Sure, but you buy the set-up.”

      Now she is sleeping in the other room and I’m trying to get up the motivation to get on the road and go do some work. Yesterday, on the phone I mentioned to her about my craving for butter beans and she made butter beans and cornbread (with jalapenos).

      I’m content. She is a nice lady, and has been for 30 years.

      • My wind of the day disappeared somewhere around writing about the ill-begotten bowel movement…

        Butter beans… oh I love them. You are a lucky man.

        • I think they should have given that particular plant it’s own species name… something coupled with the foundation of the line.

          Solanaceae Solanum Lycopersicum Spurtsian.

          • I hate melons with a vengeance, I still by them for exactly the same reason… :)
            I go with the japalepenos instead. I love things with a lot of taste in them, and melons are the anti-thesis of a lot of taste.

            • Maybe you’ve never had ripe from the field Muskmelons. They are so sweet and delicious. Great article about Surtsey. It’s good to reflect back and realize how far we’ve come in the last 50 years. And also how far we haven’t come – Nov. 22 is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

            • There is always someone who has to try to convince me… Trust me, everyone has had me try every sort… They are disgusting and taste like swamp water to me. I am just that guy.

              We develop in many areas, but in some we have lost it all. What really scares me is that we no longer have big dreams. We have people doing old dreams, and we have people who do not even have any old dreams. We have become a species fastly walking towards oblivion inside of our own self imposed borders. In a way we have constantly been diminishing our frontier since the moon landing. Always shrinking back into our cities, and into an unreal life on internet. It is now 45 years since anyone dared to be a Columbus…

            • Kennedy was a visionary. The only one I can think of now is Richard Branson. Some might think he is a nut case, but at least he is trying to put his visions into reality. Big accomplishments don’t come without big dreams.

            • I would be through the airlock in a second if I could. I even applied for the Mars thingamabit… I would happily go on a one way trip.

            • I join you in the hate of melon – not nce have I had flavour from melon, sweet and waterey is the closest I’ve seen melon to pleasant. I have wondered whether adding curry powder or something similar might make melon nice, but I’ve not wasted much thought on the insipid fruit :)

            • 1) Pick one ripe watermelon.
              2) Cut a triangular plug on one end, remove plug.
              3) Up End one bottle of your favorite vodka into the hole.
              4) Brace watermelon so that it stands upright on one end, and keeps the upended bottle in place. Let sit until the bottle has drained into the watermelon.
              5) Remove bottle and replace triangular plug.
              6) Chill and eat as normal
              7) Hope you do not wake up in the wrong bed.

            • I have a version with an ananas…
              Cut off top, use blender staff and mush up the inside. Pour in rum untill full, insert straw… Wake up in a nice bed :)

  7. Magnitude 3.3
    Region CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN REGION
    Date time 2013-11-13 13:46:01.3 UTC
    Location 27.72 N ; 18.02 W
    Depth 11 km

    Right under El Hierro.

  8. Good post!

    I gotta say, 2013 has been one of the most boring years for volcanoes in recent memory. 2012 wasn’t much better, but at least there was some excitement about El Hierro, and the start of Tolbalchik and company.

    • Sheveluch? And then Kverkfjöll, and all the deep earthquakes? Lot of things scientifically interesting, but not a huge defining eruption.
      If we had view of the island formation in Jebel al-Zubair we would have had one though. Irritating with volcanoes you can’t view… :)

      • I’m learning more by the day. The History of Surtsey, I didn’t know that there had been more than more eruptions there. To bad about disintegration going on there.

        Does anyone know of that column know about

        I hope something happens in Iceland next year if next month. Under the Vatnajokull Glacier Hamarinn seemed to have the most earthquakes? I don’t expect any eruptions to come from that spot based on an article that Carl wrote quite a ways back. There was an unusual Earthquake Swarm under Torfajokull that I found Intriguing. Tjornes Fracture zone and Southwest Iceland seem liked earthquake hot spots.

        • Hamarinn is actually not one of the top candidates.
          Right now I would say in no particular order that the top five eruption candidates are:
          Hekla, Grimsvötn, Askja, Svartsengi and Reykjanes. Those are the normal alternatives.
          I would though not count out Kverkfjöll, Kistufell and Skjaldbreidur area.
          One the more unusual scale we are still seeing unusual activity around the dead zone area.

  9. So you have tomatoes in Iceland. Best joke ever.

    Brilliant post ! a pleasure to read.

    It is also fitting being so close to an anniversary, in that it shows the tremendous technical evolution in mere decades.

        • Thanks, Carl. It’s not that I don’t know anything, but as I’m an impatient character I’ve found out that geology in general is too slow for me to dig deeperinto it as a hobby, lol (millions and billions of years, geeeeze). Actually outbreaking vulcanoes is another thing though, that’s why I love them. Nevertheless I like to visit and hike volconanoes even when they are estinguished. Recently I was hiking the outer western slopes of Vogelsberg in the mid of Germany. Here is one of the pics I took at Büdingen showing an old basalt funnel to the left (got more close ups of this rocks), or it may even have been a lava lake as local information panels would have suggest:

          I hope to be able to hike further up into Vogelsberg next year. Moreover I recently took some photos of the maars in the western region of the Eifel in Germany. So if someone is in need of photos of these regions for a future post, just let me know. Greetings to all! Barb

            • You may be right, Carl, just my thoughts when I’ve visited those rocks. But, on the other side, those rocks have been used as a quarry for a long time, and moreover were blown up some decades ago, as far a I remember the information panel. So it’s hard to tell what they used to look like – let’s say – 2000 years ago. But this is exactly why I’m no expert. I should dig very deep into history and scientific research to tell something reliable about those specific rocks in this specific spot.

    • Tomatoes in Iceland? Not a joke.

      This summer (one of the coldest in 100 years in Iceland) I was able to grow *outside* tomatoes, that produce, well, ripen tomatoes. And the summer had occasional frost and was always chilly. However the tomatoes were of the siberian type, which means they are very hardy, unlike normal tomato plants. And they were sheltered by nearby trees or walls, otherwise they do not grow in an exposed windy place.

      Other than this, Iceland grows quite a lot of tomatoes in their greenhouses. But that’s easy of course.

      I reckon a tomato seed could sprout in some sheltered spot in Surtsey (which is probably the mildest spot in Iceland, frost-wise). And when you go do your thing, you usually choose a sheltered spot. So your “thing” tends to be favorable for the creation of new life, LOL

      • Hi Irpsit. I was just teasing of course. Your siberian variety seems promising. I’m sure you will get Sissel’s attention at the least.. Any picture ?

      • Siberian tomatoes… first time I hear of that, and I live in Canada. Worth investigating…

      • Nowadays “wild” tomato plants are growing along Dutch and Belgium rivers, carrying lots of tasty fruits. The seeds resist temperatures far below zero. So why not in Iceland?!

  10. @ Carl
    Just got home from work and checked in on Nautilus. Then I saw where you had already read the article about the sailing vessel. I agree with you that he certainly wasn’t prepared for those situations that can be life or death. I can only imagine how big his story will get when he finds out that Bob Ballard came to his rescue! Now back to the top of the page to read about Surtsey.

    • They soon have to tilt that camera back. Since I first saw the cam the mountain has grown quite a bit.

    • I was supposed to be at work overnight tonight. Due to unfortunate incident involving a lack of care on my part and a low doorway I’m not…
      The minute I get in from Accident and Emergency, Etna unexpectedly kicks off :( :)
      Evidence for every cloud having a silver/ fiery orange lining?

      • Ah, the self knockout… Been there, done that.

        My best one though involved a bus… A big long bus…
        I was in a rush to get out so I left at too great speed so my head did not clear the door-command panel above the door since there where two steps to climb down. At the speed I was going my trajectory made my head go pretty much straight forward instead of the intended down.
        Short version, my head hit the command board so hard that I crushed it. Leaving me standing groggy outside of the bus, and the bus with a door closing and opening constantly. I could walk from it, the bus could not move… I head a headache for a week, but by darn I had head-butted a bus unconcious. :mrgreen:

        • :lol: my goodness, the poor bus. My favorite knock-out story was told to me by a guy in California. He was out on his boat at night, motoring at close to top speed on one of those beautifully still moonlit nights on his way back to the harbour. He doesn’t remember what happened next but when he woke up his boat was zooming around in circles and a flying fish was lying next to him on the floor of the cockpit.

          • friend of mine did the same (headlong into the top of a door frame going down steps) with 2 pints on his hands, landed flat on his back did not spill any beer.
            I’ve done it twice, once landed in a tube train flat on my back but was fine if rather embarrassed that the (last) train had raced for then proceeded to wait for 3 minutes. the other time I passed out about 1 minutes after my initial head smash, and fell forward into a (fortunately closed) freezer.

            • :lol: ouch. I did something similarly brain-dead when I was a kid. I got given one of those hard plastic planes that you launch with a rubber band, like a slingshot. After a while I was bit bored with the performance of this so I told my best mate to hold the plane and I would stand a couple of meters away with the other end of the band. Yeah, I know, you know what’s coming. Let go! I yelled, which he did, whereupon the plane, instead of rising up to untold heights like I was hoping came zooming in straight at my forehead where it bore a sizeable hole more or less dead center just above my eyebrows. I thought I was going to die so I rushed to the bathroom to look in the mirror. Unfortunately my sister was in the middle of one of those long showers adolescent girls seem to take and she wasn’t very pleased with a couple of boys bursting in covered in blood and my Mum just laughed at me.

  11. Good post Carl :)

    Here are some links related to Surtsey:
    Web Cam: http://www.vedur.is/vedur/athuganir/vefmyndavelar/surtsey/
    Whether station: http://andvari.vedur.is/athuganir/sjalfvirkar/surte/
    Picture of the station: http://www.ni.is/media/surtsey/surtsey_annad/bm_vedurstod_mai2009.jpg
    And about trips to Surtsey: http://www.ni.is/frettir/nr/940
    Surtseyarfélagið, Surtsey Research Society: http://www.surtsey.is/
    Good picture of the lava lake on local museum: http://safnahus.vestmannaeyjar.is/sidur/eldgosid-i-surtsey

    Dagur working in Heymaey Vestmannaeyjum at the moment

    • Seriously jelous now… Please wave to Eldfell from me. I have never been there, and always wished to go.

      • It is not good day for volcano walk to day: [Sorry, link had to be removed. Chryphia]
        But it is often nice here in summer time, but winter is very often windy and travel can be difficult.
        I will sail to Þorlákshöfn in the morning, because the airport and Landeyjar Harbor are closed
        I will wave for you when I sail past the new lava field :)

        • “winter is very often windy and travel can be difficult.” understatement of the decade. ;-)

          • About like it is here… Let us go for a pizza… Next pizza place? 100km away. We measure distance in hours of driving around here. “1 meter of snow, shouldn’t this road be closed?” Answer to that is a question: “What is a closed road?” So I understand the sentimentality.
            Here going on a short trip can on occation take you days due to the weather. And people wonder why we always talk about the weather…

  12. ……. and whilst we watch Etna and discuss the finer points of seed dispersal via animal digestive systems, Hekla quietly stirs her witches cauldron…….

    I am sure Islander and Irpsit would back me up when I wax lyrical about the many Icelandic Sagas and Folk stories that beg to be made into films that would out-shine the modern fantasy andventures.

    http://www.ljosband.is/in-development/hekla

    Back to reality and science. Despite the on-going stormy weather that affects the seismic monitoring apparatus I believe Hekla is having a little episode.

    • Reality would make the fantasies look like fairy tales. I am totally into actual happenings.
      No “stubit cross cuts” like is one recent Icelandic volcano documentary, where one knows the landscape by back of one hand, and clips are inserted in wrong order. Kind of funny seeing “person featured” travel in a car about 90 km away from Reykjavík, suddenly passing landmarks that are mere 23 km away from Reykjavík, and in next shot be more than 100 km away.
      That is plain falsifying, of locations, in my view.

  13. Apparently the Torre del Filosofo station has been damaged by the last paroxysm, and since bad wether is not helping much, it may turn out to be more difficult to predict when the next paroxysm is going to take place. According to Boris’ words over FB:
    “Die Station Torre del Filosofo scheint unter Lava begraben zu sein, andere Stationen funktionieren nicht wegen des sehr schlechten Wetters. Inzwischen wissen wir aber, dass es wieder kleine strombolianische Explosionen am NSEC” gibt: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/

    • My loose translation (sorry, not the best German on the planet).
      The Torre del Filosofo station has been covered by lava, and other stations do not function due to the crappy weather.

      This is more interesting than one could think, Torre del Filosofo over-run by lava… That would ruin the day for INGV. If I am correct they have more equipment there than that, so it was probably one of the more expensive days ever for them.

    • Thanks Renato. The IEO is doing some oceanographic research at the moment and they installed a buoy on the location of the volcano which should give us some insights on some of the parameters (pH, temperature anomaly)….
      There was a 3.3 yesterday pointed out by Alyson I think.
      The situation is calm for the moment, but there is a “baseline” seismic activity going on.

      Here is the latest bathymetry realeased in October by the IEO.

      El Hierro latest bathymetry

    • I could not find one new thing in Bernards article.
      I concurr with DFM instead and add on a note that it is interesting that there is still a baseline tremor ongoing after this time, and that the earthquake activity seems to be to pronounced to be caused by chamber shrinkage alone.
      I am still calling El Hierro an active volcanic system, although I would currently colour code the volcano GREEN.

        • I think there is still magma infusion that starts out in Atlantico and takes weeks to rise after going deeper first under the saucer on which El Hierro sits. If this 3.3 is at 11km depth then that is quite close to the quiet zone, and so it may be worth watching more closely in another week or so in case there is more activity around Bob or elsewhere. I guess there would be a bit more rocking and rolling too before anything erupts anywhere.

          • you’re right as a 3.3 goes back to march. But I would really like a presentation on how the magnitude and such are extracted from the Fases data.

  14. Surtsey emerged from the sea at 14th of November 1963. But when did the rifting and the eruption actually start at the sea bottom? I think that it should have taken some time to build the volcanic edifice on the sea bottom before the island emerged.

    • You have the most likely answer up in the article.
      Thing is that nobody knows for sure, and nobody will ever do that. It probably had not been going on for that long before the island broke through, this was a massive fast 1 cubic kilometer event, and about half of that erupted within the first month (as is usual with the Icelandic rifting eruptions). So, no need for a long time event.
      You are probably comparing Surtsey to Bob in El Hierro. But, we should remember that Surtsey was a completely different kind of beast that was one order of magnitude smaller than Surtsey.

  15. Thoughts on On going Storms in Iceland.
    Very cold here in NW England and a Northerly wind. Interesting our word for winter sounds very like the Icelandic word for wind. Most of Europe do not pronounce “W” as English do they sound it more like English “V”. Pronounce winter as Vinter and you almost have the Icelandic word Vindur = wind. “D” in Icelandic sounds a little hard like “T”.
    I think this is another word we have soaked up from the many Norse or European immigrants who settled here. probably wrong but I just love the English language and it’s roots in so many cultures.
    Just found this interesting article . Is the word Vindur the cold, bitter wind we in England associate with North winds and snow that happens in deepest winter?

    http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_life/Counting_Icelandic_Words_for_Wind_(J%C3%B3B)_0_392986.news.aspx

    remind me not to bother taking my umbrella if ever I go to Iceland :D :D

    • Hi Diana
      I am removing the comments which went to the wrong post. But you could be in trouble in case you get dungeonized. I hope someone will be around to set you free.

    • Warning! Tongue in cheek version of historic events that is basically correct, but might make people without humour quite irrate.

      Winter = Vinter in Swedish, it is the same word in the scandinavian language group. So it is quite likely that we exported it to you either when Swedish Vikings went to Scotland, Danes did their Dane Geld thing against the Saxons, or when the Norwegians (Normands) got tired of the local english tourism council and did their thing in 1066 putting an end to the Tourism Industry that started early in the morning on the 15th of June 793 with the famous party at Lyndisfarne.

      By the way… If the Scot referendum goes through the Hebrides will be Norwegian again… Did you guys factor that in? Not to talk about we wanting our Scot capital back in the form of Upsala.

      • ROLf! Love it! if the Scots get their independence then the great Volcanic Whin Sill which forms the base of Hadrian’s wall will be re-commissioned. it would solve all our unemployment problems or our minor offenders could be put to work up there on THE WALL! I read somewhere that the Romans were not too keen on Guard duty up there.
        Here are the many images…. Notice that Sheep already are prepared. Another interesting fact I have found is that neither National Geographic or Discovery Channel have yet done programmes purely about Hadrian’s Wall, nor are there any associations made with Aliens, Sasquatch or other doomsday type monsters.

      • The Icelandic (in fact still the Old Norse) language is very similar to the Old English language spoken by the Anglo Saxons before the year 1100 AD. When the Vikings came to England, they could speak with the Anglo Saxons and many Old Norse words came into English. Icelandic share the same properties inherited from proto-Germanic with Old English, Old Saxon, Old Dutch, Gothic and Old High German which underwent the High German consonant shift. Properties like inflectional endings of nouns and adjectives, inflection of verbs, etc. These things are inherited from the proto-IndoEuropean language from which the Germanic languages, Latin, Greece and the Slavonic languages descended.

        Let’s take a look at the meaning of the name Surtsey. Surtur is a zero-grade ablaut form of common-Germanic swart (Dutch zwart), the s between Surt and ey is a genitive marker and ey comes from proto-Germanic Aujo which means island. Surtsey literally means the Island of Surt.

    • Tomatoes, well the plants, react negatively to rough handling. Tomatoes are more productive if left quietly to do their own thing.
      Our neighbour, being eco-friendly, used dried and cleaned compost from our friendly water treatment plant. The result was an awesome array of various varieties of tomato plants springing up in his flower beds. Shows how good nature is at protecting and dispersing plant seeds :D (I never actually fancied his tomato and cheese sandwiches…I knew where the tomatoes had been on the long journey from pollination to landing between two slices of bread.)

      I had to add to the stats :D :D

      • You might be right about leving them to do there own thing..i never got around to staking my tomotoe plants this year…and they strayed all along the ground in a tangled mess…many of they had stayed green until recently when i had left them neglected (ie never bothered to water them (they are in a green house) and then i noticed yesterday thay many of them have gone red. The weather has turned cold and cloudy most of the time so i’m sure the greenhouse did not add much heat.

        • Agree there, my tomatoes are ripening despite the cold…. Usually I have vast numbers of green tomatoes in the kitchen ripening.. this year I just left them and they are still going strong!

  16. Hello all!
    A big thank you to Carl for revisiting Surtsey for us, and to all for the many interesting facts about tomato seeds :D

    I have just been pondering some particularly dark cloud among the rain clouds over Nevado del Ruiz and looked up the seismograms. Could somebody interpret those events for me, please?

    Mind the scale, one line is just 5 minutes.

    The very dark cloud has now mingled with the rain clouds, at least it is not rising over them, so I don’t think it was an eruption.

    • 07.01 – 07.05 LP event.
      07.56.25 – 07.59 Volcanotectonic event with magmatic eartquake pulse 40 seconds in.
      08.12.45 – 08.16 Possible phreatomagmatic detonation, or short strombolian eruptive blast. Or, unusually powerfull magmatectonic event.

      Anyhow, irritated volcano at hand. :)

      • Thank you Carl for your reply! At the time of writing my above comment I had of course checked UGS and EMSC for earthquakes that could have caused those waves, and found none. I have now delved somewhat deeper in the Ingeominas website finding earthquakes that correspond exactly to the times of the events on the helicorders. They were M 3.4 to 3.8 some 300 to 400 km away from NdRuiz. Nonetheless, the seismograms of this volcano do look somewhat disturbed, I’ll keep an eye on them.

  17. OT, but until we get something more exciting on the ground to watch, Comet ISON has suddenly brightened over 2x over the last 24hrs or so, according to mulptiple sources and reported by the CIOC and on Bruce Gary’s onging blog. Gary is also suggsting ISON may have just become naked-eye visble to observers under ideal sky conditions. (Vmag ~ +5.1). There is only a few days left before ISON gets too close to the sun to observe before perhelion on Thanksgiving. Also, Comet Lovejoy is putting on a great show as it makes it’s closest approach to earth on it’s way back out into deep space. Comets LINEAR (disintegating) and ENKE are also easy targets using just binoculars. Don’t know when the last time 4 comets were this easily visible at the same time, but well worth checking out IMHO.

    http://www.brucegary.net/ISON/

    http://www.isoncampaign.org/

    http://www.spaceweather.com/

    Craig H.

      • Gimme a city and I’ll do a skymap.

        Bah.. it shouldn’t be too different from this.

        Theoretically, the view of the western sky just after sunset… from Rio de Janeiro.

        • @Renato, the best ISON viewing is favored in the northern hemisphere, however southern hemisphere folks should get a glimpse as well. http://isonatlas.wordpress.com/
          Also, there is a great app called “Sky Safari” that will help you locate the sky location for ISON.
          Assuming it survives perihelion, it will be naked-eye visible mostly in the early morning before sunrise (as it is now), then visible both in the evening and dawn later in December.
          As of now, ISON is intact, although the possibility exists that it is starting to disintegrate as did C/1999 S4 LINEAR in 2000 and C/2010 X1 Elenin in 2011 being two recent examples. If so, then this would expain the recent sudden increase in brightness and complex structure in the tail(s). Hopefully, the outburst is due to the comet finally (turning ON) and not due to an imminent demise. If ISON is indeed disintegrating, then now is the time to try to view it, as the chances for remnant fragments to survive perhelion is very low.

          Craig H.

        • Perihelion is gonna be a tough ride for Ison. The radiant energy flux from the sun is going to be on the order of 25,000 watts per square meter.

          Ablation will carry some of that heat away, but it should make for a very fluffy critter.

          Extending the surface temp curve for Mars and Mercury to Ison’s perihelion distance points to about 606°C surface temp. If it makes it around intact, I will be surprised.

  18. Braking news:
    The Tomato Plant in Surtsey was not accidentally planted but planted by lower end of Finnish, Swedish speaking student or doctorate in Surtsey in spring 1969, the name is still hidden, but it will be uncovered soon

    • You’re joking? A Swede or a Finn was the pooper?
      The story just grows on us! :lol:

      Now all we need is that it was Sturkell, but he is too young. :mrgreen:

  19. Great post! Particularly the tomato related information! The decision to not allow any human-imported plant or animal life on the island is interesting, given that humans have colonised every area of the planet (including Antartica now) and so in the normal run of life the island would have had human-imported plants and animals as soon as it was possible. In effect, the scientists are treating Surtsey as an experiment in “what would have happened to this island if it had appeared before Iceland was discovered by humans”. The experiment will only have value if the next island the pops up is allowed to be overrun with tourists, fishermen, settlers, etc. and their plants and animals. Then we will be able to evaluate what is better – I think Surtsey might last a little bit longer if the tomatoes and potatoes had been allowed to flourish. A bit of topsoil can help stop erosion. :-)

    I was also amazed that it has been 50 years since Surtsey appeared – I remember it so clearly and was fascinated by it. I also remember to the minute where I was on 22nd November 1963 when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot. And Britain is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first episode of the children’s TV programme Doctor Who which was broadcast on 23rd November. What has got me thinking is that these three things are very clear in my memory but they are quite distinct from one-another. I’d completely forgotton that they all happened in the same month. Memory is a very funny thing!

    • Yepp, it was the month prime time TV was truly born. Volcanoes, Dead Presidents and Birth of Sci Fi.

      You made a hell of an argument really. The Surtsey experiment is actually useless without humans for exactly the reasons you state. Thanks, that was one tomato-juicy eye-opener.

  20. And I spent the ENTIRE day in an old bank vault staring at this…

    … oh what fun…

    At least I didn’t have to ring out any signals in that mess of cables. It’s local IT’s ball of wax. It’s his mess anyway. In his defense, his other site is quite pretty, all the cables are tucked away in a Panduit™ cable management system. The mess may be due to this being the main office, with the hierarchy of his organization in the same building. The means that when the boss wants something changed, you take care of it as quickly as possible. You can pretty it up later when or if you have time. As long as it’s functional the heat gets lifted.

    This is also a prime example of why you turn off the unused ports on your network switches. Anyone who gets access to the room can secret a laptop with packet sniffing software into the system and plug right into an unused port. There is plenty of clutter to let it go un-noticed while it snags traffic. It’s also a reason I had to have a background check to hold this job. Integrity is a valuable commodity.

    The phone? VoiP (by Cisco), the server on the floor underneath it? Toast. I had to return to the site to re-image it. It still has issue with Windows Update. I finally talked the operations center to turn me loose so I could go take care of another call. Theoretically, I’m still on call and available to head back down there when they figure out what they want me to do. Getting past security and into the building might be an issue after hours… but I have phone numbers.

    I’m not holding my breath. When Windows Update takes a crap, your done. Their tech guru is gonna have to talk to the MS tech gurus to figure this one out. At worst case, I’ll have to go back down there and re-image it again. Then sit there for another wad of time while they poke at it remotely.

    Oh well.. it beats yesterdays fun fun. I found myself laying on a restroom floor trying to plug an Ultra 320 cable back into a drive in the server room. They had cut their server room in half and turned part of it into a restroom. I actually saw that one coming a couple of months ago when I saw what they were doing. Sure enough, there was not enough room to flip the server on it’s side, or to snuggle in next to it in order to work.

    • During the weekend I am going to get the opportunity to play at being Lurking. I have to somehow figure out why my crappy fileserver is not mounting the drives. A file server that can’t find the hard-drives must be the most useless thing in existance. Well, with the exception of Ugg boots.

      I have promised myself a six pack and BBQing some meat in the fireplace if I solve it without reverting to buying a new fileserver and mount the drives in that. If I can’t solve it I will comfort myself with the six-pack and meat over the fireplace…

      Hell, I might even make a chainmail merkin…

      • If it’s a Linux box, it should be pretty straight forward. I recommend an applet called Webmin. Fantastic gizmo for server management off your network. I use it on my file server / TeamSpeak server.

        It saves having to remember the nuances of many of the important functions… such as mount and fstab.

        Heh.. at one time, I had the drives on my Windows work station network mounted on a Linux server. The Linux server had an FTP daemon running and I could push files to the workstation from the house by dropping them into the appropriate mount on the Linux server.

        • I have a Win server. When I query for the drives they do not show, but the Raid card shows. The drives spin up, but they do not mount. I refuse that all 4 drives would have gone to poop at the same time. I bet it is the raid-card that is wonked even though it happily tells the world that it is fully functional. That, or the cable is broken how that would have happened.
          I will yank the raid card out of my stationary and try that to beginn with since I know that one is sound.

          The entire problem originates out of my stationary in a way. I have only 4 SSDs in a raid-configuration (optimized for speed) so I needed somewhere to stash the files. So, I got a file server to take care of that. The entire machine was custom built to be the fastest stationary computer possible to build at the time. Even the windows is non standard. The guy who built it warned me that it would burn up within a year, it is now slightly more than two years and working fantastic. But, every single piece of equipment connected to it has gone to pieces instead. Go figure…

          If anyone wonders, I am a Physicist, so I have only mathematica amd TurboCAD installed on it. Nothing else. And sometimes late at night I like to noodle around with esoteric math, and that take a lot of computational speed. So the comp has about as much in common with your average comp as your car has with a Formula 1 car. Both are cars, but that is about it. Now most people will be thinking… How odd could it be? Well, for starters the cooling tower is the size of a barrel and has a compressor feed to avoid that the processors start a fire in the computer. It is though not as whacked out as what some gamers build before they compete at DreamHack.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DreamHack

          • Side note for them that give a shit but don’t know…

            By fiddling with the clock multiplier and voltages, Some system boards can be used to push the clock speed of the CPU far beyond what they were designed for. Typically, these tweaks increase the heat flow of the CPU core and can cause it to literally fry… much like a fuse. Enhanced cooling is used to remove the excess heat and keep the CPU withing heat tolerance. I have even heard of rigs that not only use liquid cooling systems, but actually circulate a cryogenic fluid.

            In all electronic systems, heat is usually your enemy. On the last major system that I operated in the USN, the main power relay bank switched on incrementally in order to keep from burning out the Motor Generator sets as the system came on. Surge current in a vacuum tube that is starting up can be brutal. At max draw, the system pulled up to about 150 amps at 440 VAC on the mains. Not a small amount of power. That’s about 66,000 VAC.

            Our Electricians Mates wanted to run all of Combat Systems off of one MG set since we only drew a small amount of current between us and the Radar. Having such a small load was “wearing out the brushes” I warned them not to do it since at full on, I could expend quite a bit… and together, My gear and the Radar could not be serviced by one MG set. They didn’t listen to my warning and put us on one MG set.

            Sure enough, we were in an exercise and I had to go to full on…. totally destroyed that single MG set.

            Served them right.

            On a previous electrical transient, their system had deviated and their Chief came up and bragged about keeping the load up. (the electrical service) and that he had only had a 540 volt transient from the normal 440.

            I wanted to punch him. That little “we held the load” bravado blew three of my spike arresters apart (literally). I had the Department Head and the CO breathing down my neck until I got the system back up. And I am not particularly fond of working inside of a dual supplied power panel. (one side was 110 V, the other was 440 V. I’ve seen this shit burn 1/2 diameter holes in bus bars and I don’t like fiddling around with it. The best way to avoid being killed by electricity is to keep yer mitts away from it or where it plays.

            Had he just let the load fall, I would have had no damage what so ever. Power drops I can deal with. Voltages wildly swinging up and down… nope. The same applies for phases.

            After I got out, one evening I noticed that the lights were dimming and brightening. I did voltage checks on one of my outlets and saw the swing. Since the device I was using could also tell me the frequency, I looked. It was dropping to 40 hz and back up to 65 or 70 hz. I called the power company and expressed my concern. They blew me off as some random stupid customer. Sure as shit, a transformer up the road said “Fk-it” and exploded. Ya see, transformers are designed for a specific frequency range. Stray too far from that and they produce higher or lower voltage depending on how the frequency shifts.

            Now, how they managed to get bizarre frequency shift… beats me. I’m just a stupid customer. My guess is that they brought a generator on line without getting it synced up first.

            • We did a number on one of the first P-60s with a peltier/cryo combo and turned it into a P-600 back in the days. Modern processors are not as good to over-clock as back in the days. A modern one will typically only be clock able with x1.2 or x1.4 otherwise you get electron tunneling. Electron tunneling is when the electrons start to wildly jump from on part of copper to another and then you get errors in your computations or a blue screen.
              The reason for cooling the crap out of processor in a high speed computation rig is that processor manufacturers actually gamble that you will not run it on full speed for a prolonged time. Especially they gamble that you will not use it to both run floating operations and standard operations on all four or six kernels at the same time. There is only one group of people doing that, and that is mathematicians and physicists. So, enter liquid cooling systems, mine uses ammonium chilled to 2C that is pumped at high speed through a chill block. If you then have 4 processors with 4 kernels each over-clocked at x1.4 and an equally overclocked dual processor graphics accelerator you have loads of heat created in very small spaces. Think of it is a 2 kilowatt heater and you have it. You also need to cool down the memory sticks and an assortment of other components. With dual 1500 watt power aggregates I have set each of them on different fuses otherwise I would blow a fuse. Add blue diodes into the cooling lines and you will achieve nerdvana just by turning it on. With all that heat being generated you need a tank that is quite literally the size of an oil barrel or you will be in trouble quickly.
              If anyone is curious, I am currently toying with the concept of Simulated Quantum Annealing. It is basically the same thing as ordinary Simulated Annealing, but instead of being a simulation of normal space this is within quantum space. Now most people will have stopped reading, but for those with idle time on their hands… Think of it as being able to do deterministic calculations of particle movement under the Planck-length. Ie, solving if the cat is dead or not. Nifty isn’t it? Hm… okay, only me who find this absurdity nifty most likely… If I solve it Heisenberg is out the window and I get a Nobel, not likely… at all. But I have fun.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulated_annealing

              Now I am counting down untill one of my erstwhile collegues tell me that it is impossible to do away with the uncertainty principle… One, two, three…

            • Whenever I get that I start looking at the elevator… they often have badly synced engines. If I do not have an elevator I go in search for a ham-radio guy. If you have any weird sort of problem with anything electric, radio, or tv it will most likely be caused by your friendly ham-radio neighbour. How do you find him or her? Look for the lard-ass antenna poking up towards the sky.

              Ham radio people are the original chatters. They have a few tons of gizmos in their garage and then they hook it up drawing all the electricity in the neighbourhood. And since they are amateurs they often connect something wrong and your tv reception is down the drain. Why do they do this? Well, to chat with each other, and it is not juicy chatting… “This is Bravo Delta Lima Argus Four Niner calling for Gardemoen Richard David Four, come in”… The end result is getting a connection receipt in the form of a postcard. Then they are in pig heaven and have a new friend. Sometimes they go to remote islands without population to do it. If they do that they become superstars in their community, but only if they are the first there. Among the first on Surtsey to land was a Radio-nut from Norway, he is a demi-god among the radio-nutters being the only person who have sent a DX calling card from Surtsey. In a way I am impressed that they go to such infernal lengths to do something so boring. Hm, I guess they achieve nerdvana more often then anyone else. :)

              Here is a very exhilerating report from a DX expedition to the easter island…

              http://xr0yg.com/

            • Never got my ticket, though my mother’s uncle tried to prod me into that direction. I wound up working in Electronic Warfare instead. I have a lot of respect for Hams, especially from what I know about the technology. With the proper motivation and parts, they could put together do a lot of intentional chaos. (click jammer anyone???)

              On a more serious note… my stepson does a lot of hunting. He and the group he hunts with use their CBs quite a bit. One thing that I did, using a bit of knowledge from my mom’s uncles books, was to fabricate a small DF loop. It was handy for localizing where in the county my stepson was at.

            • I started out with radio reconneisance, so I had extensive ham training. Never got to use it that much though. Radio recon are the dudes smuggling radio sets behind enemy lines to various nefarious people who are basically spies. Think asocial Rangers and you have the picture. If you like skulking about alone for weeks in the woods it is fantastic, the biggest drawback is that we got steel pink barrets… Yuck…
              Later I traded it in for the sand coloured barret instead and never looked back. And admitedly it is niftier with the sword and parachute.

            • All we ever got was an insignia.

              And never got to prance around in the woods…. :P

              Though in all honesty, an EW would be lost in the woods. Unless you have a Keg secreted away out there…

              … and Babes. Ya got to have Babes.

            • Oh myyy, it must hurt to accidentaly sit on that insignia. :)

              Women, kegs and the forrest..
              In the army out in the bush in the middle of the winter you get fairly used to sleeping in a pile of men. Either you hug men or you freeze to death in your sleep. In my platoon we had a really good looking redhead ensign. One morning we awoke finding that we where quite buzy kissing each other, both of us went “eouw” and separated quickly. It took untill after morning coffee that it finally dawned on us that we had not had a particularly gay moment out in the forrest.
              I hope that will be the only time it feels wrong kissing a very beautiful woman in the forrest. It is just that she was not a she to me or anyone else in the platoon, she was just yet another stinking dude in green. This was before female officers had their own quarters and showers and stuff, so not even in the shower we thought of her as something else than a stinking green dude in the shower.
              She later went MIA, bless her soul.

              No, kegs and persons of the female persuasion in the forrest should be done as a civilian. Much better.

            • Well, it can get problematic. I had a room mate in “A” school that managed to break his arm when he fell out of a tree. He and his date were up in a tree near the secure compound making out. He wound up in holding status for that until they cleared him to re-enter training.

              Roughly Here: 30.403568° N – 87.295585°W

              The building directly north of there had not been built yet. The school house was the 180 meter one next to it. The one to the SW was not there either, that’s the new VA facility. They used to let you fly RC aircraft on that old runway.

        • You may have lost the raid configuration on the controller. That was what started my little ongoing fight with this server. (pictured above).

          I managed to re-construct the configuration, but the data on the drives went bye bye since the controller remarked the drives. I wound up with a brand spanking new empty raid set. The initial fix was for me to drive 86 miles and pick up another controller and pre-loaded loaded drive set and replace them all as one group. Worked just fine until they ran Windows Update, then some part of that got corrupted and they called for a re-imaging. Originally, I thought the ODBC driver got horked since the initial errors were related to vagaries that one of the databases exhibited.

  21. Great, 2 years has flown by. Can’t be here for the celebrations as I am out at that time, but I’ll check to see what I have missed.

  22. Happy Birthday. Volcanocafe!

    Enjoy the Sheep Dip (Welsh whiskey) in the Sheepy Dalek Bar tonight. Snow is forecast for the north of the UK this weekend, so an Icelandic feel is in the air. Time for the Snug Bar and an open fireplace to keep us all warm, while we watch the fires of Etna, Sinabung and remembering Surtsey, President Kennedy, and Dr Who…..

    Best wishes all :D

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