Askja – Getting warmer?

As most of you know I started to say that Askja is heading towards an eruption a couple of years ago. The reason back then was the persistant seismic activity in the Dreki area and the Herdubreid area. Later Hazel Rhymer published a paper with information about an inflation taking place within the caldera, and towards the Herdubreid volcano.

After that we have seen continuation of seismic activity and continued uplift together with harmonic tremor episodes.

Now it seems like the Öskjuvatn Caldera Lake is ice free, something that last happened before the 1961 eruption. During a fly-over with thermal imaging cameras no heat spots where found on the surface which indicates a possible deeper source. There is a slight possibility this might have been due to warm south-easterly winds, but we are talking about a lake that normally is iced over into late May, and that has residual ice in July.

Photograph by Hreinn Skagfjörð Pálsson. Öskjuvatn on the 27th of March. The lake is here totally ice free.

It is not a far stretch of the mind to imagine that this is due to a hydrothermal upwelling from the newly emplaced magma under the center of the caldera. The energy needed to warm the lake, if that is what is happening, would be rather large since this lake is more than 200 meters deep.

According to Björn Oddson at the Icelandic Volcanological Institute there is no evidence of an imminent eruption going to take place. He also states that to be sure if it is the southern warm winds or a geothermal event, measurements taken directly in the lake is needed. If it is a geothermal event the chemistry of the lake would have been altered.

http://mbl.is/frettir/innlent/2012/04/02/oskjuvatn_islaust_med_ollu/

http://www.vatnajokulsthjodgardur.is/starfsemi/a-dofinni/nr/604

Update

We can scrap the idea of warm southerly winds as the cause for the melted ice. Why? Well, all other lakes of the highland/inland are still covered in ice. Even those that are considerable lower and closer to the sea. I never really believed that the warm wind would be the reason, but it is always good to have another explanation at hand.

I would also like to point out that Öskjuvatn is not a layered lake. There are two versions of layered lakes, one is of the Lake Nyos type where gas at depth works as a layering agent, Öskjuvatn is not deep enough for that to happen. The other version are thermoclinate layered lakes. This cannot happen at Öskjuvatn since heat is induced from below, and the heat rises uniformly through the body. Thermally layered lakes operate the other way around with a colder bottom than the top, which creates a sharp thermoclinate boundary. At Öskjuvatn the temperature drops uniformly as it closes the cold surface water. Just an heads up to avoid theories that are running oposite to the laws of thermodynamics.

Okay, there is third version of layered water bodies, but Öskjuvatn is not a salty lake… So there are no thermohalines.

Update 2

http://vefmyndir.lv.is/halslon_inntak.jpg

This webcam shows the relatively nearby Halslon lake.

Update 3

According to IMO the lake was yesterday completely ice free and there was no ice floating in it. All 3 geothermal fields in the area was highly active. No point source heat was detected in the caldera.

IMO have decided to raise the level of monitoring to be able to closely follow the situation.

http://www.vedur.is/um-vi/frettir/nr/2463

Update 4

Image by IMO. Loud tremor event in Askja. Probably onset of the warming of the lake.

As many of you know a hydrothermal event is rather noisy. At around the strike of twelve o’clock at night between the 21st and 22nd of December 2011 a large tremor surge started at Askja, an event that lasted for many days. On this image it is running well into the 29th of December. This is the likely start of the event that has warmed the lake.

Thanks to Inge B who had archived the event and sent me the image.

Update 5

Our reader Wagabond has confirmed that the Askja SIL at the time it was showing the activity above had fallen down to the ground in hard wind. There went that nice theory about when the heating of the lake started. It is good to be wrong, best way to learn new things.

Update 6

In the never ending list of Updates to this post we have now come to number 6.

The Icelandic Police have closed down all roads leading towards the Askja area due to fear of poisonous gases being released by the volcano. Also they fear that other run-up features might potentially be harmfull. On Tuesday after the Eastern the IMO will go to the area for a check up.

http://www.mbl.is/frettir/innlent/2012/04/04/folk_fari_ekki_ad_oskju/

CARL

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408 thoughts on “Askja – Getting warmer?

      • We have a few active rift zones. One of them is starting where I live and run towards the north. 2 years ago we had a 4.2, not a nice experience when the entire city is built on mud.
        We get about a quake a day, but most are to small to be felt. The large ones are rare.

        Ontop of that we have an isostatic rebound of about 1cm per year. That also causes quakes. And then we have the ultra-sized mines that causes hundreds of quakes per year ranging from 1M to 4.5M.

        This earthquake was a mining quake, it is due to the rebound as terraatons of ore has been taken out of the Aitik Mine. Aitik is the largest and hardest run copper-mine on the planet. They use blasts so large that they cause 4+ quake equivalents. Welcome to Mordor, open for tourist-groups Monday to Friday.

  1. Public Warning against road travel to Askja area, dangers of gases and such (issued by Police) and in effect warn of possible (unknown) pre-erution events or runup towards an event. In any even the highland roads are officially closed. Article needs online translator. This confirmes reported suspicion from last few days, but IMO will go and check on the area after Easter Season http://www.mbl.is/frettir/innlent/2012/04/04/folk_fari_ekki_ad_oskju/

    • Thank you.

      The online translator did not work for me on this article but there is a tab that says “News in English” – which works.

    • A good measure.
      For those who have not seen the Icelanders doing the “volcano-thing”, this is how it should be done. Not the spanish way.
      Good sensible measures, then you wait for the scientists saying their thing, and then we know.
      So, on tuesday we will get the IMO “Stone-tablet” on what is happening, unless something happens before that.

        • IMO normally publishes a stone tablet the same day. It does not take long to write short.

          Perhaps we should have competition of what oneliner it will be. Of course still covering it all in one sentence.
          My favourite is always the ever popular. “Eldgós will start in XX hours and YY minutes, we will do a flyover at 18.00 today to take measurments of the eruption.” Same thing would require 14 days, 7 organisations, and 12 pages if it had been in Spain.

      • Possibly. They give warning cause poisunous gases are suspect, they are not shure if it has happened, and have yet to check it out. And more monitoring likely has been planned. I am surprsed an helicopter was not sent there to check for such, but it takes some days to organize more equipment an plan a trip. But a web camera maybe hard to put up, due remoteness (?)

      • Carbon Dioxide is not poisonous. No more so than Nitrogen or Helium.

        Those three gases are dangerous if the concentration is too great for you to get oxygen… or is too dense to allow you to exhale Carbon Dioxide…. which you produce as a byproduct of metabolism.

        Carbon Monoxide is poisonous. It binds more tightly to the hemoglobin in your blood than Oxygen does, and can accumulate to levels in your blood where the cells in your body begin to die off from the lack of Oxygen. Your body has a hard time ridding itself of Carbon Monoxide, which is why exposure over time can accumulate to lethal levels.

        Now the other gases… SO2, H2S, NO, CN and HF are all poisonous.

  2. Regarding the question of what is a caldera and a crater.
    Since we did not get any wiser I decided that we should become really confused on the subject. And whenever in doubt I ask somebody who knows. So I emailed Erik Sturkell and asked. Hopefully we get an answer so we can go back to be otherwise confused.

      • I have oft found that Sturkell can confuse me enough to see the light.
        Stubborn men and their shiny Calderas, part 23, soon in a theater Near Your Convenience :green:

        • If there’s egg on my face I will wear it proudly as I’d rather be proven wrong and learn something in the process than meekly accept whatever tomfoolery someone with a string of letters after their name longer than mine spouts as gospel.

          • Interesting, I would be happy to get a good definition of it. But I would hardly feel that free to go up against people who have studied a subject their entire life. Yes I have done so a couple of times, but only when I had really good reason too, and I felt that my line of expertise was close enough to give me momentum in the question at hand.
            Problem is that easilly saying that one has the “right of being right” against someone who has studied a field their entire life puts on into a great risk of becoming a conspiration theorist.
            I have and had enough of those in my own field, so I do not feel the need to be one in anothers field. Bildstormning for the sake of bildstormning is not always that usefull really.

            *Bildstormning = Think Don Quixote here and you are close… Attacking of any authority in any field. Always saying that everyone is wrong.

          • Carl, are you accusing me of that? It is at least implied in your comment or can be inferred from it. If so, I will immediately leave this place and not trouble you again.

          • as a neutral observer I don’t think Carl’s post had that implication if that’s any help 🙂

          • Incidentally – my definition of caldera has always been collapse due to gravity after emptying the magma from below (scale not relevent)

            I think I’d have had crater as the edge of any circular vent (as opposed to a fissure) that was not caldera.

            But what do I know – not much 😉

          • But I can see how you interpreted it that way Henrik. Blä, it sounds horrible if you read it like that.
            As I said, not what I intended. Sorry.

          • As I feel responsible for the overly-discussed definition, perhaps I may be permitted to add my (personal here) definition/s
            A volcano is the overall structure.
            Volcanoes all have a vent of some kind as the surface expression of the fluid conduit perforating older strata a a ‘simple’ pipe/fissure and is usually in the form of a crater (I say usually as high viscosity lavas produce domes and a crater can be difficult to recognise or as in tuya’s), the crater being the conic depression in the structure for a central c/f fissure volcano.
            By this definition a caldera is also a crater but on a different scale
            The difference is that a caldera is the subsurface expression of the structure where the magma chamber has been evacuated by eruption by direct, hydromagmatic or other mechanisms, magma regression down the feeder to other sites by lateral/vertical drainage leaving a void unable to support its sides/roof.
            Explosive mechanisms = explosive calderas from cataclysmic events
            Subsudence calderas from gradual release of magma resulting in gradual progressive chamber collapse with associaed ring-faulting/ring dyke emplacement and stepped multiple calderas
            Thus and by MY definition a volcano has a crater, and a caldera (also a volcano!) also has a crater the difference being the comparative subsurface structures.

  3. I’ve just spent 3 hours catching up on the blog. All the information and comments about Askja have left my brain feeling a little like mush. Must go now and do something mindless – like push the buttons on the washing machine. 🙂

    @Judith – hoping all goes well with your husband.

    • Yupp, full time work watching and following up on this blog! Often takes me hours to grip all (which often, of course do not), but fun all the same.

    • I prefer to ask:
      Have humans already caused an eruption?

      The correct answer is no, but, when Krafla power station was starting, they drilled a hole which caused some magma to erupt, but a very tiny amount of it. So, technically, yes, icelanders have already created the first and only artificial mini eruption.

      Also interesting is to point out as Krafla power station was being built, and drillholes made, the volcano just started erupting (not in same place but nearby), just a few months later. While it can be a terrible time and site coincidence, I like to speculate that the power station building helped triggering an already nearing eruption. However, this coincidence only happened once in Iceland (and I think in the whole world).

      But earthquake-swarmed induced by geothermal power stations is much more common.

      I think blowing a nuke into an active volcano would probably result in some sort of eruption, if the nuke is of considerable size.

      • I think the bigger nuclear bombs could be similar to M6.0 earthquakes. I think those would probably be the minimum you would like to trigger a volcano, in most cases. But hey, maybe we should not be talking of these things, who knows if someone has one of these such ideas, lol!

        But I doubt sincerely that some common explosive or bombs could trigger any volcano, it is just a too small energy.

        • Pre-existing pressurized formation.

          Much like the seven asphalt volcanoes off the coast of Los Angeles in the Santa Barbara channel. All it needed was a path.

          • shouldn’t they have known about a pre-existing formation before they started to drill, is there any way to help the population on that one?

          • Formation pressure is generally known or tested for during the drilling operation. Each meter of depth increases the lithospheric load by about 2700 kg/m².

            (2700 x 9.80665 = 26.478 kPa)

            Then you throw in the hydrostatic pressure and you get something called pore pressure. There is an entire field that studies the effects of a locked (sealed) zone that has been uplifted or subsided to the point where the pore pressure doesn’t match the pressure that it should be at.

            Then if you have the problem of the strata that you drill through not having the integrity to deal with being punctured…

            Well people constantly monitor wells to see if they are loosing drilling fluid to the formation and look to see what comes up in the drill trailings. If fluid is being lost, they have to grout the formation to try and maintain the seal. (probably not the actual term, but that’s what it is)

            By guess is that the quake affected the integrity of the rock strata and the region had a bit higher pressure than they expected.

      • A (nuclear) bomb would not “blow up” a volcano. What’s so attractive about the idea of a nuclear primer is the amount of energy released as heat. Even a lowly device such as the first bombs raised the temperature to several thousand degrees centigrade near ground zero, enough to instantly vaporise human beings. The “Tzar Bomba”, even though the 8-km diameter fireball never touched the ground, yielded enough heat to turn the topsoil into glass over an area miles in diameter.

        If you could find a delivery system that could enter a magma chamber without leaving a pressure-relief valve in the form of the entry channel, one that could survive entry and magmatic submersion long enough to get to the center of a magmatic body, the resultant shock wave would do wonders to the gas suspended in the magma and the heat induced act as an instant magmatic intrusion. With an equivalent yield of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake most volcanic systems would find it hard to assimilate this instant infusion of energy without erupting.

        However, it is completely impractical as we do not have the technology for the delivery vehicle.

        • It would also instantenously increase the temperature of the stew. And temperature in this case is heat, and heat is energy, and infusing energy into a closed system will increase the atomic motion, and that in turn would increase pressure massively. So, if the volcano was close to erupting, then it would most probably go Boom.

          My problem with it is that I think it would also take out the bottom of the magma reservoir, this relieving the pressure in the “wrong way”. Might be the most expensive fizzle in history really.

          • Explosions follow the path of least resistance. In this case downwards = infinite resistance. What happens depends on whether or not the sum Ne + Ve is greater than eR.
            (Ne = Nuclear energy, Ve = Volcanic energy; eR = energy Required to breach the lid)

          • One though has to take into account that the crust under a chamber often can be rather more fragile than the top. I reallity it is in many cases only held up by upward pressure. A sudden increase could very well blow it out.
            Downwards is far from infinite resistance.

          • I just had to get back to this one…
            It is a normal misconcept of a layman dealing with physics that it even exists something like “infinite resistance”. To have that you would need a Universal Constant. To set it into perspective, not even the combined gravitonic field of the universe summed up into a single point would constitute something that is even close to being able to yield infinite resistance. It would give silly amounts of resistance, but the only thing that would be infinite would be how far away it was from actually being infinite.

            In reallity the difference between the upward resistance and the downward resistance are subject to quite a lot of factors. For instance if the bottom is resting on molten material (from an upwell of magma) and the bottom is thin, and you have a thick rockslab ontop, the downward resistance would often be lower than the upward resistance. This process would then give you a non-eruptive cryptodome, and a wad of magma that goes somewhere else.

          • Nitpicking again Carl? 😉 For your idea that the ground below would be more brittle and offer less resistance to work, you’d have to assume vast voids that somehow have avoided being filled over aeons or that pressure decreases with falling depth. It’s a bit like saying that pressure at the bottom of the ocean is less than at the surface… 😉

          • No, I am not nitpicking.
            Far from it.
            When a chamber fills in a rifting area the bottom of the chamber sags uniformly with the lift (link to the paper in the Santorini posts of me and Erik). Why does it do that?
            Because under is a blob of magma, and that is rather fluid you know.
            This crustal sinking is found in almost all volcanoes (I have not heard of one lacking it). So there is absolutly no nitpicking going on.
            Take Bob for instance. Tanganasoga has a deep magmatic reservoir, if it had not been for the allready existing weakness leading to Bob there would most likely never have been an eruption since the bottom would have been to week of the reservoir. So, the chamber would have been filled, and slowly cooled off.
            One forgets that this is the normal process of volcanic events. That they do not erupt. Instead you get magmatic injections at depth, that never do anything more than increasing the amount of crust.
            The dead zone for instance is about 90 percent filled up with non erupted cooled magma and that is among the weakest spots of onland crust on the planet.

    • The mechanics of a man made eruption … if possible, would not be the causing of the eruption, but more along the lines of helping one along.

      1st, the magma would have to already be near the surface, and have the requisite pressure to erupt. All that mankind could do would be to remove enough material from over top of the “chamber” to allow the pressure to be released.

      And as Irpsit notes… you would probable need a nuke to get that much earth moved out of the way. But if the pressure isn’t there, the magma is just gonna sit there and look at you.

      It would be in essence, a melt pool, much like what happens after a honkin huge meteor impact.

      • to get back to the mud volcano in Indonesia, I’ve done some more reading on it, different opinions on it etc. one says it could subside….and have more vents then. I saw a pic of the village with a volcano in the background, I am not sure which one, could it effect that volcano being in close proximity ?

      • Except for one thing – remove the pressure and the gas in solution will be instantly liberated. At the basaltic end, you’d get the granddaddy of all fire fountains, towards the rhyolitic end and instant shattering of what amounts to a lava dome into microscopic shards, i.e. a guaranteed instant eruption.

  4. Is it too late to make an offering on the “Crater vs Caldera” debate?

    Caldera: a large crater in a volcano, caused by a major eruption followed by the collapse of the volcanic pipe walls that form the volcano’s cone. It may later contain a lake.

    Crater relates to the site of a surface impact/explosion on the surface as well as a Volcano. It also means hollow, dip, basin, hole, cavity, indentation….

  5. Updt 5 “…had fallen down to the ground…”

    ¿They put the seismo above ground?

    I though best practices were to put the seismo below ground or in a cairn of some type to minimize the wind signal. This also gives you better coupling to the Earth.

    GPS is above ground due to the signal and the antenna requirement.

    Most puzzling.

    • I happen to know IMO seismo sensors are buried in a barrel (dug into the ground) and bolted to rock (or hard soil) for best seismo pickup. What happened at “ask” (as I understand the comment) is that the sender antenna mast, with GPS antenna (GPS time is used as precise clock for the SIL) and its windmill had blown to the ground, and must have been blowing about wildly, causing (both) garbled signal sending, loss of power (eventually) but some windmill prop-blades may have broken, but still turning, perhaps making vibrations, as out of balance, and these vibrations again picked up by seismo laser-sensor. Anyways it also ran out of power eventually when (“power stabilizing / storage”) batteries ran out.

        • Likely very, very high, don´t know exactly. Neither do I know what type of windmill there was, nor its design criteria. Likely a very small one, often seen by summerhouses.
          But snowstorms of near Hurrciane force were frequent here in Iceland (in the lowlands) in December and January this winter, and these were (always are) worse in the high-mountain areas (in the interior). And in such conditions Ice formes on any surface sticking out, including propeller blades (windmill), only that can make any windmill go out of balance, and even bring it to the gound.
          Not related but one larger windmill was indeed wrecked this winter at Belgsholt, near Akranes (only enduring about 6-7 months) from July 2011. http://cnctrainingbooks.com/video/index.php?video=v_aSkH_GEuE&feature=youtube_gdata_player
          There supposable a video of the crash but could not find it.

  6. Hi

    http://satepsanone.nesdis.noaa.gov/pub/OMI/OMISO2/blowup_drag_ME.html

    This is an interesting conundrum – nicked from Erik’s thread, thanks Carl. The quake described below appears to have released a massive amount of sulphur dioxide, (as advised by crossover, re the link above, to scroll to the right as far as possible)

    and then on esmc:

    Magnitude mb 4.1
    Region SOUTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA
    Date time 2012-04-04 14:21:38.0 UTC
    Location 41.78 N ; 79.72 E
    Depth 10 km
    Distances 286 km SE Almaty (pop 1,204,762 ; local time 20:21:38.8 2012-04-04)
    83 km NW Aksu (pop 340,020 ; local time 22:21:38.8 2012-04-04)
    136 km SE Karakol (pop 70,171 ; local time 20:21:38.8 2012-04-04)

    Source parameters provided by another agency

    More information at:

    Kazakhstan National Data Center, Institute of Geophysical Research Almaty, Kazakhstan
    USGS/NEIC Denver, USA
    Geophysical Survey. Russian Academy of Sciences Obninsk, Russia

      • it is in an area where the whole thing started last year, I saw a drawing of parallel fault lines with ‘eruption’ circles in the early reporting of it, from memory the dept would be the same

    • I though wish that ER got the terminology correct, Bob was never ever a rift eruption. It was a fissure eruptions. And there was only one eruption at a time, the other activity was solfataric activity/fumarolic activity/hydrothermal activity.

  7. Another mbl.is news item about Askja (Icelandic text only – not same as on Englishweb). This one is more detailed than one earlier today, and explains that Askja Lake water temperature is to be checked and GPS points read. Usually this reading is done in August yearly, but due uncertainty now, to be done right after Easter. (News item still has same date error on lead photo 18 March, not 27th). http://www.mbl.is/frettir/innlent/2012/04/04/ovissuastand_vid_oskjuvatn/
    *If I were IMO / HÍ team, I go tomorrow by helicopter and read/check, In a “few days/week” an eruption might have wrecked all gear, and 7 months of data lost*

  8. It’s no chance in hell that the grimsvotn and the tiny tiny katla eruptions, is a warning of a bigger eruption in laki? Since there are still a lot of activity in the area.

    • uuuu… Christina, do not think they are related or connected in that sense. Larger eruptions happen from time to time, Laki area included. Statisticly speaking, we are nearer next eruption in dead-zone, if it will be big-big, medium-big or just small-big, we do not know. It will be heck of a problem, but only when it happens we will know how big a problem, hope only small-big problem. BBGN

    • It is a sign that we are in an eruptive peak period. Those happens in Iceland now and then.
      Regarding a rifting fissure eruption. About 80 percent of those are from Bardarbunga. If it will be one this time to is another thing completely to say.
      About 3 out of 4 rifting cycles have a large rifting fissure eruption in the dead zone. Last 1000 years have seen 4 out of 4 cycles rift. Eldgja (Katla), Veidivötn (Bárdarbunga), Laki (Grimsvötn) and Bardarbunga (small one at the beginning of Veidivötn).
      Currently all 3 of the volcanoes are activated.
      If it happens, it will happen.

    • Yes and no.

      The “Dead Zone” as I know it, is the old fissure region between Katla/Torfajokull and Bardabunga/Grimsvotn.

      In this region is Vatnaoldur, Vedivotn, Eldga, Lakagígar, Trollagigar and acquaintances.

      In other words, the big fissures.

      If the Microplate theory of Hreppar and Tröllaskagi is correct, the quake you noted would be on the northern transform fault segment between the Hreppar and Tröllaskagi microplate/block(s) where it joins as a de-facto triple junction near Bardabunga.

      Of the big fissures, Trollagigar would be the closest and stretching off to the southwest from a point south of there that runs up to Bardabunga. (Trollagigar is a crater row of Bardabunga and ends down near Veidivotn.

      • Thanks lurking, I am trying to get my bearings on where things are, but at times I have a hard time visualizing things on the maps.

          • Ka-Tcning!
            How exact would that representation of Hreppar be?
            Because if it is even close the Hreppar must be pushed down but the spreading crust from the dead zone. And also, it seems on the map to have the southern end exactly under Hekla…

          • Its not exact. The Foulger paper had pretty thick lines. The periphery is just the extent of where the boundaries are approximately at.

            I have seen GPS studies showing the Hreppar in the SISZ moving pretty much as a nice solid block.

            If you note the different MAR divides that different maps show, some tracing the west and north extent, others tracing the southern and eastern extent… thats the rough definition of the Hreppar.

      • Carl, I haven’t read back but was reading this morning about the correlation of extensional tectonics and rhyolitic volcanism in the Taupo Volcanic Zone and wondering if this isn’t also a factor in Iceland. Totally different crustal regimes I know, as NZ is old continental crust, but basically, the greater the dextral shear in a rifting setting the less chance you have for caldera forming eruptions (talking ignimbrite forming biggies here). Which makes sense. As soon as you get too much dextral shear in the associated faults it tends to constrain the formation of large enough magma bodies. Both Taupo and Okataina are located at places in the rift with very low levels of dextral shear. Maybe this has some implications for southern Iceland where the crust is thick enough for long magma residence times and associated fractionation to lead to silicic volcanism. I am not savvy enough with the tectonc setting in Iceland to tell if this is relevant but I know you are!

  9. We could have a little poll, perhaps?

    Q. Which Icelandic Volcano do you think will erupt next?

    My Guess: Either Hekla, or at the moment, Askja. 😉

    • Well, they are the most likely suspects right now.
      Otherwise I would add 4 more to the list and we probably would have all that we would see in our lifetime. Those would be Krysuvik, Katla, Grimsvötn and Bardarbunga. The rest currently seem to be a bit too far off really.

      • And, to top it off, there are most likely only 3 volcanoes in Europe (disregarding Canaries and Azores) able to erupt in our lifetime, those would of course be Santorini, Campi Flegrei and Vesuvius.

        • I’m sure a lot of people are going to see Hekla and Grimsvötn erupt many times over…

          Although, of course, they are volcanoes so now that I’ve said that they could both go back to sleep for another 100 years! 😉

  10. April 4, 2012 – COLOMBIA – Nevado del Ruiz seems to be getting closer to a new eruption. INGEOMINAS reports that during the last week, there has been a significant increase in the activity of the volcano, which can be summarized as follows: From March 27, there have been phases of volcanic tremor pulses related probably to deep magma movements. Since the last week, there were seismic signals interpreted with rock fracturing, i.e. dike intrusions, located west of the active crater. Similar seismic activity was observed prior to the eruptions in November 1985 and September 1989, although this time it is less energetic. On March 29 at 10:54 local time, for a period of 25 minutes, there were over 135 earthquakes located south of Arenas crater at a depth of about 4 km. From 04:00 am local time on 31 March, there has been a significant increase in seismicity of events associated with fluid movements and fracturing of rock located in the active crater. SO2 emissions continue at high levels. According to the diagnosis made so far, INGEOMINAS expects an eruption in the coming weeks, but smaller in size than those in November 1985 and September 1989. –Volcano Discovery

    • A good write up by our friends at Volcano Discovery of the ever hard-working INGEOMINAS.
      For those that do not know about INGEOMINAS, they are really professional even though they have limited resources…

      Time to start stacking up on links to equipment and if there are any webcams around showing the volcano. Ruiz is a very interesting volcano, and if INGEOMINAS says it is going to erupt, I would be surprised if it did not go off within the expected time frame.

    • That was a really fast thing. And I can not find anything corresponding with it on any chart.
      Nice to see that no snow was ever going away in the rest of the caldera. And as stated before, snow melts before ice…

      • I have attempted to find out what the temperature is that is required at the bottom of the lake with this volume of water and square kilometer, however I am missing how large the area is which is doing the heat. We do now have the time scale for this as well. Does anyone else know?

        If a fissure eruption happens around this area, would this take the heat off any Laki like fissures happening more south or quicken it? I think it would take the heat off.

        Carl, can you check into the meaning of Life for me and maybe henrilerevenant can help, too. I was looking at the MAD clock to see if its a minute closer to 12. 🙂 Love the blog, great wit and fun alround. I hope we do not get the answer just yet.

        • The area giving off the heat? Well, currently that would take a chrystal ball to see since nobody has done an ROV dive into the lake lately. But the lake is 12km2 in surface area.
          We do roughly know when the lake started to melt, but that is not the same time as it started to warm up. We just simply know to little.

          Reagrding the Laki question. Actually the Tröllagigar fissure eruption (next to Veidivötn) of Bardarbunga happened 1862, and Askjas large one in 1875, so there does not seem to be any large hinderance in a geological timeframe.

          The answer to the MAD clock is soon coming in a new post.

      • Thank you for pointing that out Jack.

        In the future Luisport, try to link to the source.
        In this case it was Gummih who had placed it at Youtube. And since it is on Youtube it is public for all to view and repost. But given due credit is always very good and in the few rules of this blog.

  11. April 5, 2012 – ALASKA – The Alaska Volcano Observatory says a small explosion at Cleveland Volcano in the Aleutian Islands may have sent up a small ash cloud. Clouds prevented satellite observation of an ash cloud. The observatory says the explosion at 1:12 p.m. Wednesday was of short duration and similar to small events in December. Those explosions created ash clouds that dissipated quickly and did not affect air traffic. Cleveland Volcano is a 5,675-foot peak on an uninhabited island 940 miles southwest of Anchorage. Scientists detected the explosion on distant infrasound seismic networks. Infrasound refers to frequencies below what can be heard by the human ear. Scientists say that if a larger explosion occurs that sends ash more than 20,000 feet high, the eruption should be detected by seismic, infrasound or lightning networks. –News Tribune http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/04/04/2095661/small-short-explosion-rocks-cleveland.html

    • A bit rapid, but nothing untoward.
      If it had been Búrfell going the other way from the rest at that speed, well then I would have been nervous. When an eruption occurs there is opposite movement.

    • It burned inside one of the two reactor buildings, the fire is now put out.
      According to the fire department there was no one injured, or anything released.

      And yes, Nuclear power is sooooo safe. Where the hell was the mandatory fire extinguishing system? The fire department had to put it out, which it should not have had to do…
      Cheezes…
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penly_Nuclear_Power_Plant

      • Dunno if having the fire department put it out is an issue.

        I spent 5 hours on site putting out a fire at a local chemical factory. The site has it’s own paid fire brigade and equipment but they couldn’t handle it. By the time it was over we had gone to “master stream” operation and were keeping the base of a tower cooled down with monitors so it wouldn’t fatigue and collapse. I wound up waist deep in water run off as we made our way under the main building to gain access to the seat of the fire.

        In the aftermath and after the DECON, they sent an MSDS sheet to the station detailing what it was we were exposed to… but they wouldn’t specifically identify the chemical. It just said “similar to Naptha.” And I had been literally wading around in it.

        • Nuclear reactors are mandatoried to have a wast fire extinguishing system in the reactor hall. Basically they are supposed to be able to fill it with Halon completely within seconds.

          • For many years, Halon 1301 was the holy grail of fire suppressants for high-value assets that would be damaged by traditional sprinkler systems. But, in 1989, when the Montreal Protocol determined that halon depleted the ozone layer, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency subsequently banned its manufacture in 1994, the search was on for halon replacement options.

            It’s true that properly maintained systems could be grandfathered and remain in use. Some are still in use today, but, like any mechanical system that is 15 years old, current halon systems are getting a bit long in the tooth. Parts are harder to come by, and there are fewer people capable of servicing the older units.

            Halon 1301 succeeded so well because it could be used in data centers, IT rooms, museums, libraries, surgical suites, and other locations where use of water-based suppressants could irreparably damage electronics or vital archival collections.

            http://www.facilitiesnet.com/firesafety/article/Why-Halon-Fire-Suppression-Systems-Were-Banned–10300

          • Still the French would be OK. prevailing wind would blow any problem toward other countries. Except today the wind would blow it straight back their way. OOPS

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