El Hierro – The Volcano that could

Beautifull island of El Hierro. I know, nothing is exploding on the picture, but there is a considerable lack of those now.

Thanks to today’s bathymetry we now know that pretty much all we thought we knew about the volcano known as Bob south of La Restinga is wrong. To be quite honest it is not odd that so many professionals wanted to say that the eruption was over, and where wrong every single time, the reason for this being that all signs point to an end of activity. Question is more why Bob does not stop when she should?

Bob is not a volcano

It is rather obvious, but we tend to treat the volcanic vent of Bob as a volcano. But it is not. It all has to do with what we perceive as a volcano. And normally we perceive the cone and the vent opening as the volcano. But from a volcanological standpoint it is the innards that are important. And if we follow the feeder tube back from Bob we end up under Tanganasoga and its magma chamber(s).

Results of the new Bathymetry

Bob itself has only grown with about ten meters since the last bathymetry. The depth from the surface to the top of Bob is 120 meters; it now has a base (foundation) of 350 meters.  The reason for the limited growth is of course that Bob has grown a 75 meter high parasitic cone.

The effect of this is that Bob has by now clogged up and will most likely not be active any longer. Instead the parasitic side cone has taken over as the main vent, and will given enough time devour the old Bob.

During the last bathymetry the total ejected volume was 0.14 cubic kilometer. Today it is around 2 cubic kilometer of lava that has been ejected. That is an impressive number for such an unassuming little volcano. If it continues at the same pace for another couple of weeks it will surpass the total ejected volume of Eyjafjallajökull (2010) and Grimsvötn (2011), and those two are volcanic brutes compared to El Hierro.


Data from GPS:s are hard to get, and even harder to interpret since IGN for reasons unknown only give out summed up displacement figures, and that is not the up or down values that makes a volcanologist happy.

Regardless of IGNs oddities we know that the GPS values have been steady during the entire eruption. And that means that the amount ejected is the same as magma arriving into the system.

The other data, from the University of Nagoya, has been forbidden to be used by INVOLCANs so called director, aptly named Nemesio. But I do not really care about him, those GPSs also show stable values.

Picture from La Vanguardia showing Nemesio playing hide and seek with a GPS.

Gas meters

Gas values have been rather constant; yes they have gone up and down, but not in any spectacular fashion really. There is though one measurement value that would be very good to have, and I hope they are taking, and that is gas values inside the cave systems on the island. I will get back to this.


Earthquakes are now far in between, very low in amplitude (strength), and actually point to an equilibrium state in the internal pressure. So, as long as Bob putters on, not much will happen regarding the earthquakes.  One should also note that the earthquake are fairly stable in depth, and stay well within the boundary of the original earthquake wad.

Image by IGN. Showing all quakes from onset of activities. Todays quakes are well withing the boundary of this earthquake wad.

I would here like to seriously warn against falling into the almost hysteria that has been the last few days regarding the earthquakes. I can understand that the Hierreños got scared and felt betrayed when they saw equipment and aid personnel leave the island, and that is making them more afraid of the normal earthquakes. But it does not help if we give fuel to their fears. The earthquakes are of no importance at the current state.

Before worrying look at the earthquake wad above, and also at the scale-plot down below. Remember that the volcano could take heavy 4M earthquakes without breaking apart. Look very closely at the lack of motion on the plot below that shows that the energy levels have been minute for a long time.

Image by IGN. Look at how little energy has been released since 2012-11-21 compared to before.


What we are seeing in the tremor is rather impossible really and makes Bob a rather intriguing event. We should have seen high tremoring as we did before. Why? Well, Bob is still ejecting as much as before and thusly we should see no shift in tremor. Instead we now have ultra low values of tremor.

What I think has happened with the tremor is due to several factors. First of all I think that the new vent of Bob is wider, I also think that the eruption has smoothened out the walls of the conduit giving a clear and nice ride for the magma to the surface. I also think that the composition of the magma has changed, more about that below.

Regardless, I was fooled by the drop in tremor, and so was almost everyone else. I at least admit to having been fooled by it.

What one should look at is the 0.59Hz tremor given by EOSO and EGOM stations. That is probably the tremor from the deep feeding tube. It might even be from the mantle plume.


In the beginning we saw pretty much reactivated old evolved magmas and semi solid rocks being erupted, after that followed a long phase of what probably was reactivated rhyolitic mush. That would explain all the ash in the water (suspended tephra) that we saw back then. Now all of that is probably cleared away and we have an unevolved stream of basalts comparatively low on gasses being ejected. This basalt is of deep origin as evidenced by the UrTh (Uranium/Thorium) content in the samples that has been collected from the surface.

The future of Bob

Time for me to look deep into the magic chrystal eight ball.

Given what we now know there is no reason for Bob to shut down for at least the next couple of weeks. As long as tremor levels are low, there is no rapid increase in earthquake rate and amplitude, and the 0.59Hz is going, then it should just be ticking away. I would not even rule out that Bob pops up from the surface in about a year.

What could happen in a couple of weeks is that Bobs new vent clogs up. And it is then it could get interesting. Most likely a new vent would open up close to Bob again, but that is not sure. If a new vent does not open up the Volcano no longer has an open pressure relief valve. And then systemic pressure will start to rise. In that case we will see earthquake rate and amplitude start to rise. And sooner or later the magma would go somewhere. The most likely thing is still not an eruption of Tanganasoga central volcano.

The most likely thing to happen is that a vent opens up somewhere upstream of Bob’s feeder tube from the magma chamber(s). The other likely thing is that the magma will find a new easy route out and that would be one of the old lava tubes that already exist all over the island, namely the cave systems. And that is why they should really have gas measurements taken inside of the caves.

Right now there is no apparent danger of the eruption changing into something more dangerous. As long as Bob is puttering away, there is just not enough pressure for anything else happening.


232 thoughts on “El Hierro – The Volcano that could

  1. I don’t think an ad hominem would be appropriate… but gawd that photo is sooo inviting.

    On a stupid note. A while back I deviated and talked about the first ever sunspot Cycle 25 prediction… which was rather long and pretty low in peak value. It was based off of the Livingston-Penn research about the declining intensity of the magnetic flus in the interior of the sunspots… and for whatever reason, continues to decline.

    Well, on a whim, I took the length of all full cycles that we have on record… 1 through 23 (we are still in 24) and fitted a curve to the points. I then turned Formulize loose on it to see what it would spit out. According to what it coffed up.. cycle 24 is gonna be looooong.

    And the un-nerving part, is that some researchers have coupled the length of a sunspot cycle to the overall trend in temperatures. Longer generally means lower. It’s not gonna be an Ice-age. Even the Central England Temperature (longest continuous temp record) show nice balmy summers during the Dalton Minimum… but the winters, well, they can get nasty.

    BTW, before anyone jumps on the AGW bandwagon, make sure you can square the downward trend of the official Hadcrut temp series over the last ten years, and the increasing Antarctic ice extent.

    Oh, and another trend that should be looked at… Greenland. According the trend, by about 2025 to 2030, Greenland will have 100% snow cover all year long. Read that as little (if any) summer melt.

    • And still the world temp recorded is well above average.
      Yes, I do believe that sunspot cycles affect temperature, but my opinion is that it will either stabilise increase, or most just give us a couple of years of temperatures at pre 85 values.
      And regarding Antarctic ice extent, to be exact one quadrant is extending, one is stable, and two diminish.

      Well, for once this is a prediction we will live to see what happens.

      Happily sitting writing this in a massive snowstorm.

      What people tend to forget is that even though we have injected a horkload of gases into the atmosphere that is known to increase the temperature, it does not stop normal cyclic weather behaviour. And also, the projected curve of plus two to five degrees is not the end of the world. And, the release of human CO2 will for very natural reasons diminish soon, or is allready decreasing due to oil-output decreases.

      • Funny that. The actual bona-fide theory of the ‘greenhouse’ effect… the nuts-and-bolts physical theory, states that CO2 in the middle atmosphere will absorb and re-radiate heat back to the surface, increasing the temperature. In order for this mechanism to be evident, this region would accumulate energy and the mechanism could be observed and quantified.

        As yet, no one has detected it. Never mind that the concept sort of violates the second law of thermodynamics. A cooler body can not heat a warmer body. This was explored by Claes Johnson in his rather opinionated discussion of Blackbody cutoff frequencies. In his paper, he goes though the numerical mechanics of trying to get the wave theory of light to mesh with the quantum theory of light. Einstein and Planck both had issues with how the photoelectric effect could be dealt with. Johnson seems to come pretty close to dealing with the ‘ultraviolet catastrophe’ of the wave model in the Rayleigh-Jeans Radiation Law (yields infinite total radiated energy as the wavelength gets shorter).


        I don’t have the skill to grind through the equations, but the discussion seems sound and I have yet to see anyone poke a hole in it.

        Oh… and that sea level rise thing? The University of Colorado’s TOPEX satellite data 60 day smoothed trend is still stalled and shows no rise over what was seen since the peak in mid 2010,

        Even as recent as November, NCDC data shows that the contiguous US temperature trend has been either flat or declining… most notable to me is that that is just the US. So fare we have had a mild winter, but there are people in Europe who haven’t been. This gets almost no coverage in the US. I haven’t verified it, but I have heard that parts of the Danube have frozen over, though I don’t know how unusual that is.

        Willis Eschenbach is more nuts than I am. I’ll mine data for the sake of mining data, but this guy went out and downloaded every data record for the Argo floats (each float had it’s own file) and meshed them into one contiguous file. Argo Floats drift around the worlds oceans, dive down a few hundred meters, and drift back to the surface, taking temperature readings. Once they are on the surface, they radio in what they found (via satellite) then repeat the process. They have been running since about 2001/2002. In that data, a very interesting thing showed up. It seems that there is a semi-hard limit to the temperature of the worlds oceans at about 30°C. Only one percent of the data samples is above that, and only one tenth of one percent is above 31°C. Almost as if some mechanism kicks in and cools the surface off when it gets to that temp.

        Here is Willis Eschenbach’s discussion about that.


        We all love to watch the Volcanoes in Iceland. Every year it gets cold there, the snow falls, and the people freeze their asses off. Did you know that it has been getting colder in Reykjavik? Yep… the 1940 temperature is still falling.


        The odd part about all these fluctuations in temperature… is that CO2 keeps doing it’s thing. If you run a correlation analysis, they don’t match… that is if you use real data and not a model.

        Models are not reality..they are an interpretation of reality. Models will always be biased by what the person who built the model expects. Even my models of how the MOHO sits under the Canary Islands is just an estimate since I don’t have the hard data. They are a “best guess.”

        Sorry for being long winded. If anyone wants to argue the climate, I recommend Watts Up With That. I’ve been poking around there for several years, and gained much of my more recent stats knowledge from watching people like Eschenbach grind through massive amounts of data to see through the bullshit. The biggest thing I can tell you about WUWT, is that they allow pretty much any viewpoint, as long as you can back your claim with hard data.

        • I think people are looking at climate in the wrong way (and the worlds financial system for that matter). It is a control system, and therefore control theory should be used to model it. I do not see this being done. To be fair it is very difficult to do, but should at least be attempted.

        • You missed my point really. My point was that although the trend (and do not use blackbodies as example in this case since it is not a blackbody problem, there is no blackbody, ontop of that, blackbody problems have their problems) is upwards for the Planet. Never look at local data.
          My point was that the cyclic data will give colder winters now and then, and flatlinings of things. The normal natural cycles are still stronger than greenhouse gas effects.
          And yes it is proven to be a greenhouse gas, CO2 is a very weak one at that. If we had no greenhouse gases we would have had an iceball, not a liveable planet.

          Well, still two points then. Never look at the local weather, two; cycles are fun 🙂

          • Yep, Milankovich and stuff is stronger than CO2. And water vapor is a stronger geenhouse “gas” too, as methane andandand… 🙂

          • Blackbody

            Yeah. they do have their own problems. But Blackbodies give a good reference into the underlying issues. The radiative spectra from the Sun follows the shape of that from a black body radiator with absorption and emission spectra where appropriate. So, it is the perfect item to use in order to begin trying and understand the mechanics at play.

            It gets you into the ball field where the math is playing.

            At this point, things go bizarre, but thats okay. We haven’t bankrupted any countries.

            Working through what happens with a Blackbody, then moving to a Gray body, then throwing an atmosphere on it and dealing with how a column of still air behaves, adiabatic effects etc can get some heated arguments, feet in mouths, and pissed off theorists. (See the crapfest behind the Nikolov and Zelle paper: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/23/the-mystery-of-equation-8/ )

            But that is where we should be at. Not squandering away the hard work that our unborn are going to have to do in order to pay for this policy crap from our politicians.

            There is a such thing as cause and effect. Only in the spooky quantum realm do effects (the results) occasionally show up before the cause. In the real world, cause precedes effect.

          • Well, I would still from a physicists standpoint still be afraid of using blackbodys as an example for earth, in almost any way. To system is just to complex for that.
            And that complexity is what is creating all the uncertainty.
            I do actually as you know believe in the rather modest UN council report. It is well made, I can actually understand it, and it is rather free of the more dubious things that are out there. My only comment is, what is the big deal? It is not the end of the world. Okay, some senior citizens in Florida will have 100 years to walk 1 meter upwards from today ocean level. Same goes for Bangladesh. The reconstructions and daming will actually be beneficial for the economy. Yes, dessertification will be expanding, but at the same time new land will be arrable at a factor of two.
            And as I’ve said time and again. The problem of CO2 is self correcting since the amount of oil that is possible to produce is going down since 2007. Same goes for coal.

            Here is my 3 personal bigger worries.
            1. Natural resources. Oil and copper is in higher demand then possible to produce, same goes for redistributable food. This causes a barrier for the world economy, and is partly the cause for the current crisis. Neither of these things will increase in production.
            2. Combinatory effects of polutants.
            3. Idiocy of humans.

      • Maybe El Hierro is a typical case of a shield volcano?

        There are some similar ? shield monsters in Iceland, namely around Langjokull and Theistareykjarbunga in the north. So long since there isn’t a shield eruption in Iceland. Iceland seems to prefer rift volcanoes and crater rows

        • Theistareykjarbunga is a rift volcano, but an odd one. It produced the shieldcone in one go, but it has had other eruptions that where lava-floods only. What is really weird is the size of the magmachamber.
          I would go for a really weird fissure volcano for El Hierro, that has built up a complex shield volcano over time. And we should also remember that we are talking about 3 different volcanoes too.

  2. This is some of the latest from earthquake-rapport.com

    Update 14/02 – 16:45 UTC
    – There has been an official communication [In Spanish] from the Government of Canary Islands that clarifies previous reports including an image from the bathymetry.
    – “Eruption is still active, with a process of magmatic reactivation, constant vigilance will remain.
    Scientists responsible of IOE, from Ramón Margalef, have confirmed to PEVOLCA that the depth of the main cone is 120 meters.
    Also, from the bathymetry works done last week, scientists have recorded the emergence of a secondary cone attached to the side of the maincone having a height of 75 meters and whose summit is 200 meters from the surface.”

    • You know, there is a post above covering it. With the data, interpretations, put into context, and with an indepth analysize.
      Did you miss 1500 words? 😉

      • I still have my problem with making a new comment on one of my computers. So I answer here.
        That was a great résumé of the situation. T h a n k y o u.
        I’m a happy Randy. As we discussed 2-3 times since the start of the activity, Bob is Bob and we like him/her/it/whatever for that, but the volcano is Tanganasoga. This volcano is reactivating, and Bob just is a valve that slowed down the process or might replace a major eruption. But the process is still going on and deserves watching. Randies like to look at the general geological context, and in this case this means looking at the whole thing, from the plume, the feeder tube deeeeep down and everything up to Tanganasoga.
        Next steps I’m wondering about: evolution of Bobette. Will she go surtseyan or get stuck before? And then, is there enough potential left to get the whole stuff up the big hill?
        It’s no “prediction” or something, it’s just the potentials that interest me. Don’t dare calling me a scaremonger or I come through the f.cking cable and jump out of your screen to kick your a… And concerning the security of the locals – Godabunga, watch and react in adequate ways, there’s nothing else to do.
        I always called Bob a fart in the Atlantic. Well, it still is, but sure it’s getting more “consistent”. I’d call it a “wet fart”. Let’s see if it becomes a “big shit” with time. Anyways worth following.
        Sorry, not all swiss citizens are grose as I am. Blame it on me as a person. 🙂

        • Speaking of “Randy.” You need to view the T.M.I. episode of South Park. Dunno if you can get to it in your local from the website, but if it airs, I recommend it. I nearly destroyed a keyboard with my coffee I laughed so hard.

          • Waitwaitwaitwaitwait. Which one is that?
            I can stream it on the official website (at home).
            I can’t put T.M.I. in an episode I could remember. Now I will not be able to think until this is done… 🙂

          • Season 15, 4th show. “Cartman is furious when the school posts the kid’s penis sizes.” Anger Management Class is the result… and how Randy got into it, and deals with it is the hoot.

          • Thanks.
            I love them.
            Only thinking of “it” and how it’s driven. And Randy discovers that two of the pieces so important to Garrison are not absolutely necessary.
            Or as the greenhouse effect “attacks”, and you see the one guy falling on the road as he’s not fast enough to escape.
            Endless. I stop.

        • Well, Bob is a mother of all wet farts really, 0,2 cubic kilometre of “wetness” and a cubic kilometer or more of stinky gas… 🙂

    • This quake was on the Blanco Fracture Zone between the Juan de Fuca and the Gorda microplates. It’s a transform fault system where the two sides slide past each other.

      Usually, you see sparse quakes further to the west (≈ Mag 4 or so). Mag 6.0 is a bit large for the area. Usually, most of the quakes in this area are on the south end of the Gorda microplate, increasing in frequency towards the Mendocino Triple Junction. Mid plate quakes (on the Gorda) can be large, not common, but not rare.

      This is a bit… ‘interesting’ given the Mag 5.6 that happened towards foot end of the Gorda Plate in the area where it dives under the North American plate. I don’t know if that one, at 28.2 km (17.5 miles) was in the North American Plate or in the subducted part of the Gorda.

      Are the both the product of increased movement of the Gorda? Where the Gorda subducts is the south part of the Cascadia. That’s a megathrust structure that is capable of doing the nasty.

      With the foreshocks that accompanied Japanese quake, this could bear watching. But the foreshocks in Japan were on the subduction structure, not an adjacent transform fault.

      Yeah.. definitely worth watching.

      • The 5.6 was at the very edge of North America, top of California, much nearer to the subduction zone than the 6 on the Gorda fault. between those 2 and the 4.2 off the BC coast have got me watching very closely.

      • A agree with the spatial orientation. My point was that they are on opposite sides of the same slab of rock. If that slab is doing something odd… this is about what you would see.

  3. 1126591 15/02/2012 01:50:54 27.6892 18.0726 7 1.4 4 W EL PINAR.IHI

    1126593 15/02/2012 02:26:24 27.6451 -18.0904 11 1.4 4 SW EL PINAR.IHI

    1126605 15/02/2012 04:05:33 27.6548 18.0571 2.0 4 SW EL PINAR.IHI

    1126607 15/02/2012 04:15:10 27.6921 -18.0833 10 1.3 4 W EL PINAR.IHI

    1126637 15/02/2012 05:02:09 27.6835 -18.0851 12 1.3 4 W EL PINAR.IH I

    1126639 15/02/2012 05:21:51 26.7122 -18.0573 10 2.3 4 SW FRONTERA.IHI

    1126641 15/02/2012 05:45:47 27.6708 -18.1191 11 1.5 4 W EL PINAR.IHI

      • 1126651 15/02/2012 06:28:28 27.7081 -18.0531 12 0.8 4 W EL PINAR.IHI

        1126653 15/02/2012 06:30:49 27.6994 -18.0814 10 0.9 4 W EL PINAR.IHI

        • Judith, remember the thing with 1,5M that I have stated a couple of times. Only those above that value has even a chance of being felt. And only those could do anything to the volcanic system. Just a reminder.

  4. Avcan FB Comment By Avcan.

    Note 450 AVCAN – earthquake activity – VOLCANIC – island of HIERRO – 15 February 2012-8: 00 pm peninsula – earthquake and volcanic activity continues today moderate, with activity mar de las Calmas, coast of the Julan and in the area of summits, like yesterday with one more in the area of border and summits. Also looks pretty microsismicidad detected but not located in the spectrogram. Continues the signal of volcanic tremor in the eruptive area… of la Restinga, yesterday again down in the afternoon in intensity, to climb during the night and morning of yesterday and since then it is declining, more and although it seems that they want to pick up something the last few hours. New 10 earthquakes. Magnitude between 2.3 and 1.2. Depths between 8.8 and 11.9 km (two to 6.2 and 7.1km). 10 The day before yesterday. Yesterday 10. Today go 6. In total van 12226 earthquakes located in El Hierro by IGN from 9: 00 a.m. of the day 19 July 2011 (Henry).

  5. Map Of The Earthquakes .

    Comment from Avcan .

    In the map of seismicity of the last 5 days, today are in the calm sea, three along the coast of the Julan and two more to the South. Highlight one of 2.3 in the area of summits. Yesterday the seismicity was in the same area, including some more toward the summits and border area. Like the earthquakes today and aye, Antesdeayer afternoon activity are concentrating in the calm sea and the Julan mainly, but in the morning there was one by the Gulf area. The 12 day highlight a deep earthquake in the area of punta Arenas Blancas in Sabinosa to 23.2km and that the seismicity was located by the morning and tomorrow in the Gulf and in the afternoon in the mar de las Calmas. The activity of the Gulf are mainly ranked in n-S direction. (Henry).

  6. Good morning my friends.
    Carl! Thank you for a rational summary of the events of El Hierro.
    Lurking! Ah! Computer models. Accuracy of statistics is paramount. For those readers of this blog who are not comfortable or are scared of numbers and formulae (And for all who love number crunching and analysis ) I advise watching this short demonstration of dealing with data and effective use of the results. It may explain the variety of results depending on who has collected and interpreted the data. So all of you please take five, with some French Coffee and watch this.

  7. In some ways reminiscent of the Fimvörduhalsi & Eyjafjallajökull sequence back in 2010, albeit not identical.

    • More like it would have gotten stuck in Fimmvörduhals and all of the erupted mass would have come out there instead from the main volcano.

      • Like you say in the article, we’re looking at a bigger eruption here and this far we’ve only reached the second fissure stage. It is interesting to note that you, consciously or subconsciously, have modelled the prognosis for this eruption on the F-E sequence of events, verification of old Piagét again! Not that I disagree, but I would be rather surprised if this script would be followed so closely we’d get to see Bob’s Uncle.

        • Piagét? Well, it was very subconscious I guess. I had done my best to forget that blast from the past. I have not read him since the mandatory courses in pedagogics for students.
          By the way, may I be correct in that you where calling yourself Henrik before?

      • Hello Renato and thanks! I missed the boat and wasn’t sent a ticket so it took me long time to find where you all had gone.

        Err, Carl… Alas no, but I’m glad you caught the Piagét hint. 😉

        • Well, had to ask, seems like swedish volcanoholics have gotten the marriage bug lately… 😉

          To Piagét, or not to Piagét
          that is the question.
          To draw an inch of Piagét,
          against a sea of Pavlov,
          that my friend,
          is the rub!

          • Carl,
            Leaving aside your propensity for attracting women… 🙂 and getting ‘marriage bugs’…. you also seem to have done rather a good job of re-forming an old group.
            Welcome, Henrik – hope all is well.

          • Well, I am happy I attracted Thee woman 😉
            And I am happy that all is here, at least almost all are here now.

  8. Yes this part is the most onteresting and they say also that the plume from the emission are less intense than during the last survey. However if I remember well the activity was low that day…

  9. Carl, thanks for your summary of the current situation. However, I don’t recognise the ‘hysteria’ over the earthquakes. My own postings were observations on the apparent trend of these to shallower depths. As you said in a previous post they are avergaing at 10km – this is still at the top of the ‘wad’. Indeed there was one 2.2 at 6km yesterday

    On the whole – we are mostly observers after all.

    • Avcan FB Comment from
      There is an information that I think is important in the IEO report.
      They have put a graph where the crecimiendo is marked from the bathymetry of the previous month.
      As you can see, all the growth is around the cone and not towards the lower slope. Or, it is assumed that almost 100% of the lava coming out now stays in the cone.
      If it keeps coming lava, does not grow at a higher pace than so far?.
      In data from the last month dijero than of the 145 million m3 of lava that had expelled the volcano, 88 were the cone and 57 had gone to the bottom.

      See Translation

  10. Avcan FB Comment by Ocean SOS translated.

    Good afternoon, we want to send you the following information: vessel “Atlantic Explorer” of the “QSTAR” company which is collaborating with the NGO “SOS oceans”, held for the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria various campaigns in the area of volcanic eruption on the island of El Hierro in the coming days. This ship is equipped with an ROV (remote underwater vehicle with cameras recording).Best regards
    2 minutes ago · Like · 1

    • Well, of course it is a sign of a big tectonic event. We are after all talking about Africa crashing into Europe and sliding in under. But… It has been going on for millions of years now. So no news there.
      And no, not a big chance for a large quake right now, this is the large event, it does not get any more exciting than this.

      • If you think so, ok… but i tend to disagree. I read that Greece and Turkey are expecting big events from some time now…

        • Turkey will always get big (6 and 7Ms), but that will not be caused by the current active fault line. And greece will also have larger quakes, but those will neither be caused by the activity we are seeing now. This is a steady fault that is nicely sliding.

        • Northern Turkey will have a M 8/9 from now to in 50 years. But you can’t link it to that.
          SF will have a 8/9 in the next decades / centuries.
          Yes. So what. It’s clear as Icelandic water. All know. Living there includes that risk. Don’t accept that risk? Get away. Decide to stay? Life with it. Nobody, no government or whatever, can do anything about it. It’s the forces that have built earth as we know it. No surprise. No sensation.
          Two important things about natural hazards in my eyes. People have a right to know what they are exposed to. If anything preventive for damages can be done, do it; else, get away or accept the “god given” (am not a believer…) context.
          Let’s work on what we can influence. Information of people unaware of situations, and solutions where our powers grant the possibility to realize something. The rest? Watch the amazing powers of nature and the struggle of those who didn’t want to consider the facts seriously.
          Ah yes, and prepare army or such stuff for he worst case management.
          Anyone better and constructive ideas? Just stating I’m an ass (admit that a realistic one) wouldn’t add much to the problem. So something with more fantasy?

          • I have so far not found you to be a donkey 🙂
            (Ass = donkey)

            You are absolutly correct. And the amount a government can do is actualy ruled by the economic base of the country.

            Just a question here… SF? I did not know that Finland had the potential for an 8/9 within the next hundred or so years. I guess you meant somewhere else?

            And for those who wish to do a donkey-discussion on the subject with GeoLoco should be ware that he is a pro in the field of hazzard. Yepp, a bonafidé Duke of Hazzard! 😉

          • Ah… how prosaic…
            I thought it was Suomi-Finland… the country code is SF.
            I thought Tampere might move 15 meters towards sweden or something 🙂

          • Ha, Finland climbing on Sweden. I new you guys were hot up there…
            San Framcisco. Meant to be cool. Sorry…
            Yeah guys, come and mess me up. Let me show the real prick behind el Loco. Let me start to brag and show off with pro terminology, concepts and formulas to nail you onto the next wall as I blow up my f.cking ego and damned intelligence that makes me think so much I feel sad most of the time…
            Nah. Thanks for the flowers Carl. But it takes a son of a bitch of a fat 2012er to show you friendly guys the dark side of me…

  11. Comment I meant to make earlier on the original post concerning the ‘tremor’, I look at that graph in the context of ‘resistance’. tremor goes up when magma is having a harder time reaching the surface (or sudden pressure releases), and quiets down when there are fewer obstacles or less pressure.

        • add 3 more
          15/02/2012 16:05:34 27.7288 -18.0295 10 1.5 4 SW FRONTERA.IHI

          15/02/2012 16:11:54 27.7461 -18.0346 10 0.7 4 SW FRONTERA.IHI

          15/02/2012 16:12:39 27.6934 -18.0970 15 1.0 4 W EL PINAR.IHI

          • And another three.
            126844 15/02/2012 17:23:08 27.6906 -18.0383 11 1.1 4 SW EL PINAR.IHI

            1126848 15/02/2012 17:34:26 27.7132 -18.0328 11 1.4 4 W EL PINAR.IHI

            1126849 15/02/2012 17:56:56 27.7396 -18.0791 11 1.0 4 W FRONTERA.IHI





            Consulta el estado actual del campo magnético terrestre


            Becas IGN: Resolución de adjudicación


            Nuevos datos geográficos en la sección del Atlas

    • Thats not a bad way of looking at it.

      The “temor” that we see from wind instruments (organs, trumpets, trombones) originates as the fluid flows past a restriction… then the shape of the cavity/tube/pipe that follows determines the actual note.

      That’s one ‘model’ of tremor source.

      Another ‘model’ are gases coming out of solution. Whether or not that will generate resonances is up for debate, but it is also a likely source.

      My feel is that is is a combination of both.

      • Which actually is the reason for trumpet, trombones, and saxophones being emptied of spittle now and then. You get a fairly odd gurgly tremor if you do not remove it on a regular basis… Trumpets and trombones even have special ejection systems for it.
        Musics more yucky side…

  12. Criseh, lovely Lady of the Bathymetry…

    My chip burns when I see titles of songs and more than 2 bathymetry in the looping…
    Might it be a loop with only the 2 last bathymetry, please?
    Thank you.

  13. For all the Katla Lovers:
    15.02.2012 16:22:57 63.630 -19.200 1.1 km 2.6 90.06 2.7 km ESE of Goðabunga

    It is alive, it is alive! Muahahaha!
    Wait a minute… isn’t that Godabunga… dang… 🙂

  14. Since we’re all learning to read/interpret tremor graphs, here is an informative note from the PNSN (Pacific Northwest Seismic Network) regarding far-off explosions and how they were apparently detected by tremor graphs all through the Cascadia volcanic zone, which in turn caused some concern amongst seismologists/volcanologists as to what could have caused such a widely detected signal. The author, Ms. Holtvac, acknowledges that her interpretation of the data is still somewhat unconfirmed, as there is still some underlying question that some type of real tremor may have actually occurred (but unlikely). Also, as I look at the data, I see artifacts that resemble “drumbeats” in addition to the other prominent surges in “tremor”. I wonder if these “drumbeats” could be “echoes” of the priimary explosions?

    • A hint of you want to learn more.
      Check if Uppsala has data available on the Aitik mining blasts, they show up on pretty much all SILs in northern parts of Sweden, Norway & Finland. And as you know northern sweden is fairly low on real quakes and harmonic tremoring.

  15. Flying visit!
    A most handsome post, young Carl!
    A question however… admittedly I’ve never been to Hierro, but,,I always thought lava tubes were gravity drainage of flows away from the actual vent occurring near the surface and where the cooled surface insulated the ‘liquid’ magma of the flow; do the lava tubes exist at considerable depth to act as re-usable conduits for fresh influxes? I would have thought earlier lavas would have sealed them if they were deep within the structure.
    Whats the relationship between Godabunga and Haabunga? Poor Haabunga seems never to get a mention! 🙂

    • There are examples of lava tubes (but in this case I should have written feeder tube).
      And to be even more exact, in Bobs case it is probably a deep dyke that has been reshaped as a magmatube over time. And since it is probably leading down to the bottom of the chamber it probably clogs up at the top, and the magma drains back. There is a stunning example of that happening on a volcano in Iceland.
      Due to some weird rock fractionalising that I do not have a clue how they have calculated they found that through a narrov part of the tube the drain speed was supersonic. Weirdness if it is true.
      Be as it may, as long as the chamber is lower, and the preasure disapears fast, it would draine, fluid dynamics and gravity would make that into a must.

      Godabunga is a cryptodome, an unfinnished volcano, or a large infiltration of magma that evolves into a pluton, or erupts in the future. Hábunga is just normal spot of Iceland. So the reason being that Godabunga is proto-volcano that might, or might not be a part of Katla, and Hábunga is not volcanic.

    • Tried F5?
      Close and open browser?
      Blow up a poultry farm?
      Two of these should perhaps work, the third would just make all the Poultilicious Damsels angry. Choose wisely. 🙂

  16. I’m gonna go now….. Something really terrible and unbelievable happened to one of my internet friends and I’m utterly blind with rage about it.

        • Sorry to hear that Tyler.
          My thoughts go out to her or him.
          Victims of rape need affirmation from friends that they where not in any way to blame for being the victims, not outrage. Just be a support, and make sure that the blame goes to the attacker. Because self blame will only deepen the wounds. And also her or him will need professional counseling. Poor friend, it will be long journey to recover, if ever.

          On a personal note, this is one of the crimes I really hate. And also the only one where life imprisonment is the only viable solution since the offenders never stop. Being a rapist is an incurable decease, only viable treatment is removal from society.

          • Tyler, you’re doing the right thing. Just be there for her, ten minutes now are better than ten days a month down the line, and be prepared that she’ll need your support for a very long time.

            Carl, there is one non-violent, non-terminal and CHEAP solution of how to deal with sex offenders be they child molesters or rapists that’s not been tried – permanent catheterization…

          • …or let them alone with the father for 10 minutes.

            Ridiculous statement. I know. Venting. I’m a daddy. What society forgets is that the response after years of intellectual struggling to deal with the emotional overload will not be “lighter” than the instant reaction. But whatever. There’s always more comprehension for the bad guys that for the good that got harmed. Just never forget that we all have the potential for whatever mankind is able to do.

            Know I’m thinking of one of my favorite movies, Falling down. Kick as moment of cinema.

        • Share your anger with us. But try not to let her feel it. She was confronted with enough negative emotions. Try to offer warmth, light, love. And as Carl says, it’s the attacker’s fault. She shall know that.

          • Tyler so sorry to hear about what happened, but please take heed of what Carl says, he´s right .and please also don´t beat yourself up …..there was nothing you could have done to prevent it..just be a supportive friend – no one can change what has happened in the past …but everyone has the possibility to move forward and make the future better(even if it takes a lot of time to do so)..friendship, kindness and support are the most important things your friend will need at the moment xx

        • Tyler, this is all good advice from your friends here. Just be a really good friend, listen to her, let her talk on and on, always respond. She will be so hurt and angry and ashamed. Support her as much as you possibly can, it will be a long, long road to recovery. Years down the line she may suddenly get angry, or childish, or anguished – if you were here for her now she will remember and feel better for it. Hugs from me – supporters need their supporters too!

        • Sorry to hear that. Hope she wasn’t too badly injured and that she can get decent help to recover both physically and mentally. Neither you nor she should blame yourselves; it is not your fault that there are some very nasty people out there and neither of you are responsible for their actions. Good luck.

          • Tyler, I am not sure what to say. I am so very sorry for your friend and all the people that this will effect. This was not her fault or yours. Please listen to all the good advise above, and know we all care.

        • Tyler, there isn’t much I can add to all that has already been said. Just know that we all consider ourselves friends to each other and I wish you and your friend love and comfort.

        • Tyler,She will pull through although it will take time.. Try not to beat yourself up about this. Above all let her do the talking. She will need a listener as she goes over and over it. Make sympathetic comments. She will not listen to advice, or comments. She wants to just talk it out until she has come to some sort of understanding and made some headway to coming to terms with the emotional trauma. It may take several months . There is little you can do except Listen, She needs that now.
          I seriously would advise her to go to a rape Councellor ASAP.. It really helps.

  17. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=77171

    Four months after it began, the underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro Island persists. This natural-color satellite image, collected on February 10, 2012, shows the site of the eruption, near the fishing village of La Restinga. Bright aquamarine water indicates high concentrations of volcanic material. Immediately above the vent is a patch of brown water that can resemble a turbulent hot tub when the eruption is strongest. Video of the eruption shows the activity in more detail.

    This image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The eruption is just off the southern coast of El Hierro, the youngest of the Canary Islands. El Hierro is about 460 kilometers (290 miles) west of the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.

    According to El Hierro Digital measurements of the sea floor by the Instituto Oceanográfico Español showed that the volcano’s summit is now only 120 meters (390 feet) beneath the ocean surface—10 meters (30 feet) higher than it was in mid January. The height of the erupting cone is about 210 meters (690 feet) from the former ocean bottom, with a total volume over 145 million cubic meters (512 million cubic feet) of new material.


    El Hierro Digital. (2012, February 14). El IEO ha establecido la profundidad de la cima del cono principal de la erupción submarina en 120 metros Accessed February 14, 2012.
    Instituto Oceanográfico Español. (2012, January 20). El cono volcánico de El Hierro se encuentra a unos 130 metros de profundidad. Accessed February 14, 2012.

    Related Reading

    Instituto Volcanológico de Canarias

    NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data. Caption by Robert Simmon

  18. Good evening all. Thank you for a great post Carl.

    Anyone know what the weather conditions are in La Restinga at the moment?

        • After 2 weeks of a good cold. between -10 and –
          30 we just got quite a bit of snow today. Now in the near 0 negatives snowfall slows down. And wind, even if not storm…
          But we have heated buildings, like our Swedish friends… 🙂
          Do you have some herbs against cold weather?

          • Brrrrrrr sounds bad enough!
            I only know herbs that make the winter easier to get through.. not to let spring come earlier, unfortunately.
            But if you make a pot of tea now from dried leaves of Lippia citriodora (Echtes Verbenenkraut, in France known as “Verveine”) and a little Mentha piperita (Echte Pfefferminze, Menthe poivrée) and drink it with a good friend, summer will come right into your minds!

          • So wise. We need to have the sun in our hearts.

            And what a service. All in 3 languages. Impressive. Your shop will become some kind of “good/healthy” version of the McDonald’s spreading across the world… 😉

        • And I notice I often make promotion for my little country, but please all don’t think I’m some kind of nationalist or WTF of that kind. I hate administrative limits and stereotypes. People are individuals before anything else. And if future demands it, I’d be ready to wherever I can be useful and find a job to feed my family.
          Our home is the earth. Well, until we have eaten it up. Then we’ll have to find the next suitable planet. That’s the way we parasites work, isn’t it… 😉

      • Regarding weather in the Canaries, I am not in El Hierro, but in Tenerife, I live at quite a high altitude and the tmperature outside now is 10 C (so on the coast that will probably be 5 C higher), we don´t have a lot of wind at the moment, but it feels really chilly to us that are used to having much warmer weather..

  19. Hi Carl and everyone..what a great post today. .. am I right in thinking that now there is hardly any jacuzzi action, this is becuase the parasite bobette is now the main exit point for explused material, and as it is at a much lower depth than Bob´s 130 metres or maybe just wider, we don´t see as much action as before on the sea surface. Also I see that the number of earthuakes is starting to increase again (although not too strong or shallow) and harmonic tremour is minimal, does this mean that pressure could be building up again becuase the amount of magma entering is getting greater than the amount that is being explused..and as you said, bob was never the volcano, just the safety valve – if bobette is not up to the safety valve job… we may get to meet her Grandad sometime in the future.

    • What exactly happens right now is so hard to say. Anyone could only speculate.
      Your questions about the future evolution sure are the interesting ones. But right now there are few arguments to find for a long term tendency. I’ll read anyone with ideas and appreciate the thinking around it, but I’ll believe what I see or speculate when there are clearer signs.

      • I agree with you, that is why I tried to be very very clear on the point that my “prediction”, is not worth more than a magic eightball. At best I am guesstimating, at worst dead wrong.

        I just hope that all understood that it was plain divinating speculation, and rumination from a fevered mind.
        But, I think I will not be enormously far off. But then I covered all bets possible 🙂

        • You were just perfectly clear.
          If anyone sees it another way I do the run through the cable thing and kick “donkey” (… :-))!

  20. earthquake-report.

    At least some assurance that CAP will be on higher alert now.

    Update 15/02 – 19:11 UTC
    – 3 more earthquakes : we will from now on only change the number in the title.
    Nobody knows what will happen next but CAP science center in La Restinga and IGN Madrid, who is following up the instruments via data link, will certainly be on a higher alert than normal.

    Update 15/02 – 17:52 UTC
    – 4 more earthquakes ! , which brings the total of listed earthquakes to 20 today, the most since many months !
    – we have still a minimum HT signal which means that the eruption is still hoing
    – NO jacuzzi or even stirring area anymore.

    • hi Judith, is Feurte as chilly as Tererife tonight…. I have kept a note of Carls last comment about the earthquakes, the strength and depth, averaging them out etc..am keeping a close eye on them, but I think based on his advice, nothing seems too worriesome at the moment, I hope!!

      • Mmmmh. Debbie on the way to become an icecool sharp sensed and cautious observer that will react right to the point when things get tricky or interesting or hot. Niiiiice.
        If you stay on that path we’ll have to talk the day they give money for an assistant… 🙂

          • Nothing’s decided before it’s decided.
            You show passion and compassion. Great qualities. The club here will ad a slight bit of “ratio” and you’ll be a hell of a catch, no doubt.

      • Hi Debbie

        I have not got warm yet I am in bedwatching NCIS with two blankets on me we have no heating at all in the house. Although the wind has dropped its still bitterly cold.
        I have never known it like this at all.
        Glad you are also keeping an eye on the quakes a lot of unease on El Hierro at the moment my heart goes out to them I am 250 miles away but like a cat on a hot tin roof .

        • Hi Judith, I agree with you, no-one I know has ever know it to be this cold for so long in Tenerife, even the locals….and as you say, we like probably 99.9% of TFE residents have got central heating.. I have got two little heaters and one radiator going tonight and have managed to get the house temperature up to 18 C – but still my feet are freezing with socks on and fluffy slippers..never known it to be this cold since I got here in 1989! Regarding all that is going on in El Hierro, let´s just be glad that we have this place to come to to get serious input and advice as to what is going on in our beloved canary islands…I am so glad I found this place…what did I do with my time before El Hierro started all this fuss………………..

    • Let me here say that Armand and ER is just speculating.
      There is nothing happening that merits an increase in observation. And really, Earthquake Report should know far better than going bananas on mini-quakes. There has sofar been 5 earthquakes above 1,5M. And I agree with IGNs decission to not list the smaller ones.

      If people want to go around and list 1Big Mac in energy and be happy about it, please do so. I should explain this. 1M is the same energy output as 1 Big Mac. 3M is 1024 Big Macs in energy.

  21. Thanks for all the posts. Right now I am just making a pit stop as have to do running around, catch you all later. Have a great day/evening.

          • LOL! It stands for Ta Ta For Now! Ta Ta is yet another English expression for Goodbye. Originally dated to the Second World War and a radio programme called ITMA (It’s that man again). Not that I am that old – my parents told me about it.

          • Thanks Talla.
            Heaven why didn’t they teach us that instead of “Rrrooooooar when shall we three meet again…”…

  22. GeoLoco, did you say you were from Switzerland, on the french side, I just remembered something that happend to me years ago, my company sent me to Switzerland to do some work in their Basel office, when I arrived at Basel airport, I was totally confused as to which exit I should take, never realised that the airport was on the border.with France ..I saw a guy with a British passort going to the exit and just followed him (being a British citizen myself), luckily he was going to the Swiss (german speaking) exit, which is where I needed to be. I was only a young 20 year old at the time…..but never stopped wondering what I would have done had I taken the wrong exit (here´s a song for Carlos…. “I was lost in France”….

      • I absolutely loved the 3 months I spent in Switzerland working (well I spent Monday to Friday in Basel) then flew back to UK for the weekends. I found Swiss people extremely nice and polite and very friendly, the food and wine were fabulous..not just Swiss food, but all sorts, greek, chinese, etc (luckily I had expense account so the extortionate cost didn´t bother me too much).. and the tram service was second to none….made me realise what a crap public transport system the UK has! I don´t think I ever met anyone in Switzerland quite like you! I will always remember the beautiful places, scenery in your country, although I have to say, one had to travel away from Basel itself to appreciate it………..most of all I loved the 3 language country that functioned as a finely tuned family….

        • Whaaaat? Am I not polite or neutral enough? 😉
          It’s like anywhere. I flee out of urban zones as soon as I can… Here you have to go out and visit our nature, or what’s left of it. That’s a hell of a fun park between the Jura, Prealps, Alps, Lakes, Forests, Rivers…
          But we are small. I’m glad our neighbors let us peer in from time to time. Also good for the genetics and stuff… 😉

          • No absolutely you have taken this the wrong way…I loved this Swiss that I met, but I love more your quirky individuality and outspokeness…it makes you very special in a very normaly boring world…it´s just that you said in earlier post that not all swiss people were as gross are you were, and I was laughing with you, not at you !! hope you understand me – I am a fan..not a critic xx

          • I was kidding right now. Sure I understood.
            Thanks. But even if it had been a critical remark – fine too. One can’t please all tastes.
            Nibiruists, hear that? Hear that? Wanna talk about it? Come with some pole shifters. The more we are the more fun we’ll have…

  23. @Lurking:
    Could you do a plot on Heklas GPS…
    I think we will see something very peculiar if you use the data from Sigrún Hreinsdottir.

  24. I will certainly be watching for a couple of hours Diana, who cares how tired I am tomorrow if something kicks off tonight. Hope pooper is still doing well.

    • Hi Newby 🙂
      I have only just managed to get in here and have a quiet time and what do I find? bed time put off for a while. Just in case…..
      Pooper has fluttered up to a perch on the back of the chair by the window and then did a fairly controlled glide down. His wing must still hurt but it’s getting stronger 🙂 Maybe release next week if the weather is kind…. depends on how the wound is. It’s still very exposed.

      • Hello Diana and Debbie. I was also just going to go to bed when I checked the IMO quake charts and saw the small quake that looks to be slap bang atop Hekla. I will give it another half hour and then call it a night unless anything else happens. I still can’t afford to get too tired. Glad to hear Pooper is improving with his flying, wont he get cold and wet on the area of exposed skin though if he is released soon? Today was so warm here I had to change a jumper for a warm T-shirt. 12C, unusual for February.

    • Hi Newby, hope all is OK with you, glad you will be looking out while the rest go to sleep, I have to go to bed now, early start again tomorrow morning…Look forward to catching up with everything tomorrow….

    • Michi Hekla is the exception to the rule. last eruption there were only two small quakes and 45 mins later…. BOOOM!
      Hekla is known not to give much warning. This is why the IMO and emergency services have warned people not to walk on the mountain for the last 6 months.

        • The first warning was given in 2007 when the magma content surpased the level of 2000 eruption. Then they issued the next warning two years ago, and then the highest warning to this date was given on 7 July 2011.
          Just to be picky here… 😉

    • Hekla, my friend, is an exception.
      I just stood up again because of her.
      And who would dare callings crazy? Huh??? 🙂

    • To me the “Bulls-Eye” location is supicious. Its shallow but likely on to- of shallowest “chamber” (Carl La Strange says). There have been several small quakes in Hekla in recent times, I remember one last August, then others around it, even recently. This one is under it (very near top crater, thats rather in West end). Itheresting, I do not say its gonna go now. But anything can happen.

      • I hate you!!!
        Sure you have an Arctic Truck in the garage… (?)
        B.tch! 😉

        Seriously: You just said it. So right.

        PS: And when shall we sleep???

        • No. No snow here in lowlands. You know “Snow in Iceland, warm in Europe”. “Cold in Europe, warm in Iceland” (and always under Hekla). I have Toyota at ready. No need for 4×4 tonight. Visibility is problem. Nothing to see cause of weather, I guess, even if some happens, I am not saying it will. No training for that. Now rain on my window.

          PS: When its over.

  25. Firstly great post Carl. Let’s hope ‘parasitic’ Bob keeps on being El Hierro’s valve.

    Second Lurking/Carl/anyone. Saw this on http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/15/do-underwater-volcanoes-have-an-effect-on-enso/ The article postulates underwater volcanoes driving ENSO, but I was drawn to a particular response in the comments:

    “I repeat, at the position of hot region that seems to originate from below the surface, off the coast of Costa Rica, there is no volcanic activity because of the subduction boundary. whether there is any at triple junctions is not known but even off the coast of Peru there is no obvious volcanic activity at the junction probably because of the subduction”

    Is the correct – both in terms of what is actually known and what is possible (i.e. just because we haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it does not exist)? Thanks

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