What’s going on at Katla?

Part 1, public awareness background

Fig. 1. Katla from the south, webcam capture.

The current hysteria over Katla started at the same time as the ash from the Eyjafjallajökull played havoc with European air travel. Some journalist noted that Iceland’s, at least publicly, most respected volcanologist Professor Páll Einarsson, the man who nailed down the February 2000 Hekla eruption to within 30 minutes, had made claims that Eyjafjallajökull and Katla were linked and that an eruption of the former would lead to the eruption of the latter within a few months. And Katla was a huge volcano whose unavoidably upcoming eruption would be tens of times greater… …at least in the minds of journalists trying to further their professional standing.

The basis for the supposed linkage is that the last two eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull, 1612 and 1821 to early 1823 were in both cases followed by eruptions of Katla a few months later, in October 1612 and June 1823. The previous eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 920 AD, just after Iceland was settled, was not followed by an eruption near Katla until 934 AD even if Katla had erupted ahead of Eyjafjallajökull in 920. Also, while there have been only four eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull over the past 1000+ years, Katla has erupted at least 27 times during the same period.

It cannot be claimed that the hypothesis that an eruption of Eyjafjallajökull is always followed within months by an eruption of Katla is particularly strong or convincing. The historical evidence tells us that in at least 25 of 27 instances, Katla has erupted irrespective of what Eyjafjallajökull has done. Denison Professor Erik Klemetti succinctly says that “correlation does not equal causation” and Dr Boris Behncke of INGV Catania gave us an example of a volcano that simultaneously erupted magma of two distinctly different chemical compositions as an example of how difficult it is to correctly identify what goes on at depth below a volcano.

Fig. 2. Katla erupting in 1918. Origin of picture unknown.

Let us return to Professor Páll Einarsson. If he had been quoted out of context, as so often happens when journalists interview scientists, especially since the former have no concept of the differences between human and geologic time scales, Professor Einarsson has had plenty of opportunities to correct such misrepresentation. He has not done so. Instead he has repeated his assertion in front of other volcanologists at a conference in the United States. Early last autumn he reiterated his belief that Katla would erupt within 18 months of the end of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, and this in spite of the minor subglacial eruption assumed last summer after a small jökulhlaup, which implies that he did not think this episode substantial enough to merit to be credited as the predicted eruption.

To me, this looks like a clear-cut case of a scientist, confident in his own ability after previous successes, going out on a limb and then not have the courage of his convictions to stand up and admit that his pet theory has been proven wrong. As long as he refuses to do so, the 2012, Grub Street or otherwise inspired Katla-mongering has an extremely reputable figurehead and spokesperson, albeit an unwitting one.

The most prolific source for information about Katla is the “Iceland volcano and earthquake blog” hosted by Jón Frímann Jónsson. If you google Katla, alone or accompanied by key words or phrases, you will find that his blog comes up frequently. As an example, I googled “Katla tremor” and the top three results refer you to entries in his blog. He is even credited on the Wikipedia entry for Katla as the source for volcanic unrest in 2010 and the minor eruption of 2011 that led to a minor jökulhlaup in 2011.

Now Jón to his very great credit has made no secret of the fact that he tries to make money from his blog, primarily to support the purchase of more instruments for his hobby but also himself. One of the forms this takes is renumeration for advertisments carried based on the number of visits to his site. As he is a clever young man, he cashes in on the current interest in Katla – he would be a fool not to – and posts topics about her on an almost weekly basis. It is in his interest not to antagonise his visitors with either claims that every minor twitch was a sure sign of impending doom or that nothing was going on. Thus he couches his statements in ambiguous terms such as “time will tell” and it comes as no surprise that he is sometimes quoted as the source for the latest “unrest” at Katla by less reputable sites.

Fig. 3. Katla-mongering “at its finest”.

When it comes to the question of reliability, Jón is not a professionally trained volcanologist. He is self-taught. He always supports his topics by screen captures of IMO maps and charts or with print-outs from his own set of seismometers, or “geophones” as he calls them. However, he does make claims that there have been harmonic tremor pulses in named volcanoes or that a certain pattern of earthquakes portents something volcanic, without any professional corroboration of his interpretations whatsoever. Much as I respect Jón, I am not always satisfied with the scientific accuracy of his interpretations. This situation is unfortunate as Jón reaches a very wide audience, one that in many cases is not as critical as it should be, one that accepts as fact what it chooses to believe Jón’s latest word to be.

Unfortunately, there is one aspect of the human psyche that professional volcanologists sometimes seem to blissfully oblivious to. If we are interested in something and feel a need to understand what is going on but cannot obtain reliable facts, we look to the opinions of others whom we often absurdly assume must be better informed than ourselves. If not even that is available or if there are still gaps left, we fill those in with our own, invented, “facts” and/or interpretations. Unfortunately, scientific institutions tend to care more about what other scientific institutions think of their work than about supplying accurate and up-to-date information to, and education of, the general public.

If we apply this to Katla, it is easy to see why so many people are convinced that Katla not only will, but “must” erupt within the very near future: We have Iceland’s most respected volcanologist repeatedly saying that Katla will, is bound to, erupt very soon and really should have done so by now. We have little, verging on none, official information about her true state. We have Jón Frímann Jónsson almost continuously feeding us updates of dubious scientific accuracy with the intent of guaranteeing a steady traffic to his blog, updates couched in suitably ambiguous language that can be interpreted as support for Professor Einarsson’s hypothesis as well as Doomsday prophecies. And Mila have just repaired their Katla webcam at the same time that a very minor flow from the glacier has been reported, an occurrence gratefully seized upon by Jón Fríman Jónsson to proclaim “Katla volcano warming up for an eruption. Small glacier flood continues”

Fig 4. “Katlatubo” (montage), the Katla-mongerers’ favourite scenario…

But as I have pointed out, we have had no official statement, which in itself ought to be a good indication that nothing alarming is going on. Or are there really people out there, intelligent people at that, who believe that Allmannavarnír with their excellent track record would say nothing or even cover up such vital information if available?


Editors comment:

Páll Einarsson have been notified via email that he was mentioned in here and also been informed that he is more than welcome to comment the issue in here. Jón Frimann has also been notified.


161 thoughts on “What’s going on at Katla?

  1. I would just like to mention that this is part one of a 3-part special about Katla from Henrik.

  2. Great, great post. I couldn’t have said this better. I think ‘argumentum ad verecundiam’ is one of the two major threats to modern day science, the other is commercial interests. Both threats can be recognized in Jón’s blog more than frequently.

    • Those are ice-quakes, one must always look at the depth, and those are clear quakes caused by ice-cracking and isostatic rebound.

    • 1.1 km is the default depth assigned when the automated system cannot compute a solution for depth within the predesignated margin of error. Furthermore, four of those quakes are in a very interesting area, just south of where the 1755 eruption took place. As always with preliminary data, let’s wait until it has been revised by a seismologist before we call it a swarm and devote too much importance to it!

      • We should also remember that this also could be artifacts from the Gódabunga system.
        Anyhow, for being Katla this is a very minor quakeswarm.
        (Normal Caveat, I know that you know…)

        • Also, notice that most of the quakes are at 0.1km after checking, so it is definitly an ice-quake swarm we are dealing with.

          • As it turned out after checking, the automated solutions were wrong and it was, as Carl pointed out, nothing more than a series of glacial quakes. As they were extremely close and in a region where glacial pits have been registered, I might bet that it’s either an old one collapsing or a new one forming.

      • Thanks Henrik – that’s a very ‘grown-up’ take on the situation and one I applaud. It’s all too easy to take a look at the latest IMO Myrdalsjökull quake ‘pizza’ pic and assume the worst is going to happen – tomorrow, maybe even today!! Run away, NOW!!!!

        Clearly there is activity down there, but having watched IMO for over a year now (what a newbie I am), there have rarely been any meaningful spikes in that time to suggest any impending major event. According to one of the local farmers I stayed with there was a brief period of unusual behaviour among the livestock last summer, which possibly coincided with the hlaup that took out the bridge, but other than that there don’t appear to have been any major causes for concern … yet 🙂

        But then again, that could be the jinx put on Lady K – only time will tell (now, where have I heard that before!)

    • If you took all the quakes shown in Iceland and put them at one volcano, than you would have a swarm. If you recall the map prior to Lady E erupting, the area between Lady E and Lady K was almost solid color with quakes.

  3. As a reader of both this blog and Jon’s blog, I find it disgusting that someone takes the time to lump Jon in with the doomsayers and fear mongers.

    Jon writes a blog about Iceland volcanoes and gives his opinions and rightfully always adds a disclaimer, what do you expect him to say?? If you don’t like it don’t read it, I have personally found him a great source for info and a neat, trustworthy and consise place to go for a quick wrap up of Icelands going on’s.

    If he was so interested in how many page views he gets, why did he chase off this group of people who talk like 6 year olds with “sheepy daleks” and such other nonsense.

    Cheap, lowdown and dirty….with a dash of jealousy and envy is what makes up this blog soup.

    Carl the pretentious snot is about as a scientific assessment as the article above.

    • You are of course entitled to your opinion even if it reveals far more about you than it does about the people here.

      • Anyone who goes out of their way to attack someone with a disabilty, who is just trying to make the best of the world he is living in, is not the type of person I want to be.

        • Hi Ian, I personally don’t think there is anything that comes across as unduly nasty – perhaps you should challenge the serious issues raised if you feel strongly about it. Play the ball, not the player.

          Sure the people here are a bunch of 6-year olds, but in between the banter and the pleasantries that bunch has taught me a lot of stuff about a lot of things, and not just volcanoes. I enjoy it and contribute what little I can. I would suggest that a lot of others enjoy it, too, based on the number of comments that each post generates.

          I read Jon’s blog, too, and as you say it is a good place to go for a round-up of Iceland news. However, since the 6-year olds were ‘driven away’ it has become very much one person’s view (albeit a well-informed amateur), and so has to be regarded with that caveat.

          • “Now Jón to his very great credit has made no secret of the fact that he tries to make money from his blog, primarily to support the purchase of more instruments for his hobby but also himself. One of the forms this takes is renumeration for advertisments carried based on the number of visits to his site. As he is a clever young man, he cashes in on the current interest in Katla – he would be a fool not to – and posts topics about her on an almost weekly basis.”

            The writer simply accuses Jon of posting about Katla to raise money, and as a regular follower we know he has made many attempts at other ways to bring in followers to his blog.

            Do not blame searches engines protocols and other stealing quotes from his blog on him directly, it is not fair

          • Ian, you are missing the point entirely.
            Jón is very open with him wanting to make money on his blog. I am quite fine with that, we all need to make a buck.

          • I have to agree with Ukviggen, I check Jon’s blog from time to time as he does keep a very good eye open for any volcanic activity in his home country of Iceland. However it is very true that ‘the six year olds’ (of which I am one in terms of volcanic knowledge), were made to feel unwelcome on Jon’s blog. As far as I could see this was not issuing from Jon himself but for whatever reason (and it could relate to Jon having Aspergers) Jon did not realise how people felt about the abuse being heaped on them by Trolls who later never bothered to support Jon’s blog themselves and he allowed long-standing followers of his to be alienated and to form a separate and distinct Volcano Cafe where they could indulge in occasional off topic discussions without being harassed. For that.I offer my strongest thanks for carl, how else would I have learned that it is impossible to kill rhubarb in Sweden and learned the best way to grow it in the UK. many thanks to Diana. So Ian, that horse you are riding is a little high (google ‘high horse’ if you don’t understand the English idiom) and I for one will continue to follow both Carl’s and Jon’s blogs but see no deliberate offence given by either person..

        • Ian, first of all, we did not attack him. Period. What was written is actually that Jón writing as he does makes him into a prime subject for the doomsday mongerers. And I personaly would feel ashamed of myself if I gave any account into any disabillity, Jón has never ever been impaired in his writing due to his disorder. Jón is a quite able writer, that was never an issue.
          The issue here is the fearmongering, not a person.

          • Herðubreið – Renewed activity at Askja Posted on May 15, 2012by volcanocafe
            So, back to Herðubreið. What is Herðubreið? In my eyes Herðubreið is starting to look like a volcano on it’s own. One of the reasons is that it started to inflate just to the east before Askja started to inflate. It in fact started inflating and having earthquake swarms to the east before Askja stoped deflating. So, I am actually contemplating that Herðubreið and Askja had a common origin and has been rifted apart by the EISZ part of the MAR over the course of millenia. What I am trying to say is that they might actually share a deep root found in the current EISZ. We could think of them as two non-twins sharing the same womb and umbilical cord.
            Untill we have new data from the area this is a bit speculative, but I do not think it is that much way off.

            Hekla – Changes in rapid strain Posted on April 18, 2012 by volcanocafe
            This increase in rapid strain movements might be interpreted as increased unrest in the volcanic plumbing of Hekla. But we still lack the tell-tale earthquakes at Hekla proper that normally start 30 to 60 minutes before onset of eruption. The earthquake will be in Hekla proper, or within a couple of kilometers.

            Askja – A brief update Posted on April 5, 2012by volcanocafe
            Anybody hoping for an Easter-eruption to cure their boredom should go and start painting eggs instead. We will know when and if a final run-up phase starts, and then it is most likely weeks before the actual eruption starts. So, do not expect Askja to blow anytime soon. Otherwise all we can do is waiting, for Askja in general, and for the IMO report after their Tuesday visit.

            Here are just 3 examples from this blog in the last few weeks that under the writers interperation would be defined as fear mongering.

            This blog since the beginning has been a very enjoyable and informative read, there are some very good writers here, but this article does not belong here. It is nothing more than a completely unwarranted personal attack

          • Ian, you are not getting it at all, we never said that Jón fearmongers, what the post said is that what he writes is used by others to fearmonger.

          • The 3 examples given are anything but fearmongering. If you’d ever read what is said here you’d understand Iceland often has weekend burps as the volcanoes party. That they have activity is quite normal, half the fun is spotting when the activity portends something else, however as we are talking on geological timescales we can be talking months, years or decades – not mention activity subsides as often as it starts and the volcanoes drift off again. We are quite aware this my not even be in our lifetimes but is the start of a cycle, especially when rifting is involved.

            I note particularly this “So, do not expect Askja to blow anytime soon.” – that must be bonafide fearmongering. Askja is going to blow any moment and take the entire solar system with it! Hekla is know to go off at very short notice – hence why it’s not advisable to hike there – presumably now I’ve mentioned that I am fear mongering?

            Would add to other comments also how much I’ve learnt from lurking here (not to be confused with GeoLurking who I have learnt much from also) and over at Jon’s blog when everyone gathered there. As for the money making you’ll find most here have helped Jon by using the various links or donating, that would have not happened if we disapproved. As it is I like the lack of adverts here and the breadth of discussion even if much of it still goes over my head. I may not agree with everything said here but I appreciate the openness and the distinct 6 year old humour which shows how alike we all are despite the tremendous diversity of the contributors and commenter’s.

    • First of all, one should know who has written what in life.
      All things written in the post are facts, all parts involved have been informed and have had the opportunity to answer in person. And that ends that part of the discussion.

      Regarding chasing off, we left, not the other way around. Incidentally we have 3 times the amount of readers that Jón have, and nothing pointing towards that changing.

      Ian, one should know what one writes about before getting riled up. This is and was not an attack on Jón per see, it was just a statement of the fact that many people use what he writes as an excuse for doomsday mongering.

      • You are making my point for me.

        Jon did not chase you off but made it clear that his blog was not for socializing. Rightfully so, you chose to move to another place.

        I am sure he struggled with saying anything due to the chance he would lose traffic but still did so in spite of the loss.

        • Yeah and because of 2 people who said they could not read the blog on their mobile phone, who were no regular commenters before. Either you want traffic because it adds to your income or not, then it wont, as it does for Jon now.

          AND this here is a team effort, Carl encourages people to write posts, as Henrik just did (thanks very good post). Jon did not even allow his english to be corrected when people offered to do so.

    • Yep. I agree on the subject, but you can do that without dropping names. Look up Asperger’s syndrome, will you guys?

      • Question:
        Who mentioned Asperger anywhere?
        I did not, neither did Henrik. I even fail to see what a disability has to do with anything.
        I guess that has to do with me having one. Yes, mine I was not born with, I got mine being shot during a firefight in Bosnia. It took me 10 years to be able to even walk properly.
        I never mention this for good reasons, but this time it is warranted. I positively hate it when people make an issue out of disabilities.
        The main reason for me never mentioning it is that people start to treat you differently because of it. In this case, neither you, nor Ian sees Jón as a person, instead you see him as a disabillity and not as a writer and blogger.
        I would say that it is you who do not see Jón in any other way than as a disabled person, not I. I judge Jón for his writing, nothing else, and seriously, so should you too.

        And FYI, if anybody ever tries to comiserate or treat me as you are treating Jón, prepare to be punched on the nose. Jón can amply take care of himself.

        • Right, sorry, Carl. I mentioned it because people were making a point out of how he didn’t want to be corrected. You see, the syndrome has effect on people’s behaviour, empathy, interests and so on. I hope your leg doesn’t make your head act differently. I was out of my league defending a person by mentioning his own condition, though, sorry about that one, Jon. As you know he won’t be defending himself, as he wrote in his own blog post. If he want to he is free to punch my nose, of course. Even twice, since he recommended others to stay away from this post too. Another mistake of mine. I would have wanted somebody to stand up for me though, but that’s just me.

          As Ian said – with the right perspective your just as bad as you claim Jon is. So leave names out of it, it doesn’t do anyone any good. Except Pàll, I guess he’s in a position where he should expect criticism. If not – devote more space in tearing a professor’s arguments from a scientific paper apart instead of pulling down a guy that’s just writing about his favorite hobby.

          • I really don’t think anyone is pulling anyone down here. They are merely stating the way they see things, I have no issue with that, if I agree, great! If I don’t agree, then I accept that everyone has their own opinions. I will add that I am a pensioner with a VERY small UK state pension to live on and although I appreciate that Jon also has a small income I did eventually begin to feel guilty that I was not able to help his blog financially. I DON’T like feeling guilty so now just check in occasionally.. Here I feel very comfortable and very accepted for what I am, a poor person, with little education but a BIG interest in all things volcanic. Thank you again Carl.

  4. Latest swarm at Katla:
    All of the earthquakes that have been revised by IMO has had their depth changed to 0.1 kilometre.
    What does this tell us? Well, it tells us that all of the quakes are at the boundare between the ice and the bedrock.
    Ice fractures as the base temperature and overlaying load changes causing movement as if it heat up it contracts, and if it cools down it expands. Ice do not behave as other materials in this case, normally materials expands as they warm up, but ice is different. If you do not believe me feel free to Wiki.

    And all of this leads us to be able to debunk Katlas latest swarm as being volcanic, it is just normal ice-quakes. And the miniscule size tells us that these are to small also to be caused by volcanic activity. Ontop of that ice-quakes caused by hydrothermal activity causes rapid increase in harmonic tremor and have quakes deeper than the ice-quake boundary.
    The small changes in tremor is caused by the quakes, not the other way around.

  5. Since there has been a direct challenge to “give one example fo Jon’s fearmongering” I will reply.

    While I at no point did nor do accuse Jón of fearmongering – my claim is that what he write lends iself to and is used by others for purposes of fearmongering – I shall give one concrete example: On May 11th this year, the headline on Jón’s blog read

    “Katla volcano warming up for an eruption. Small glacier flood continues.”

    This is unequivocal, Jón does claim that Katla volcano is warming up for an eruption. There is no ambiguity here. Furthermore, the wording implies that such an eruption is near and the the process irrevocably leading up to an eruption has begun.

    Jón does not present any proof for this claim except what Jón claims is “harmonic tremor” at Lagu Hvolar SIL-station located 9 kilometers to the SE of the SE edge of the Katla caldera on the Mulakvísl river. The timing of these events is such that the onset is between 08 and 10 am and it dies down in the late evenings and during the night. This is NOT harmonic tremor, it is the result of increased water flow due to daily melting natural at this time of the year!

    Furthermore, this individual, “Ian”, accuses me of attacking Jón because of his handicap. Nothing could be further from the truth and in fact I take very great exception to such an evil and completely unfounded accusation from a person who displays little or no reading comprehension and is only out to cause problems.

    Now, can we stop feeding the troll, because this “Ian” is nothing but an Internet troll.

    Thank you.

  6. I am very happy to leave on my own.

    It’s my choice and my opinion just like all of the opinions here

  7. I love this place and read it everyday. Every theory or prediction made here are based on a few assumptions because not all the data is available. Same goes for jon. He always ends his posts with saying nothing is sure, or it might take a couple of years, might never happen and so on. He’s everything except a fearmongerer and i think it’s totally uncalled for to devote half a blog post about Jon being a source of it..

    Sorry Henri, first post that i donn’t like on volcano cafe, The subject has been discussed over and over. Erik had a blogpost about it at 12 of april this year. The only thing that stands out is some unneccessary Jon bashing.

    Just my 2 cents

    • Can’t agree more. A very unnecessary blogpost. Just because Jon is referenced by some fear mongers does not mean he is a fear monger himself or responsible for what other people writes on the internet. He is just responsible for publishing a lot of info about Katla on the internet, and quite good info that is. Notifying by email after the post has been published does not make this look less like a badly hidden personal attack.

  8. I would just like to quote this from the post.

    “Editors comment:
    Páll Einarsson have been notified via email that he was mentioned in here and also been informed that he is more than welcome to comment the issue in here. Jón Frimann has also been notified.”

    So, believe me, we have gone out of our way to give the possibility to rebutt for the persons involved.

  9. Thank you for your post Henri. Very typical of unpredictable volcanoes that Katla decides to make a comment also!
    Thank you Carl for the explanation that these are Icequakes due to shallow depth.

    I like this Volcanocafe I can enjoy my second childhood to the full… learning and laughing without embarrassment or the need to prove my intellectual capacity or lack of!!! 😀
    As Spica so aptly said… “AND this here is a team effort”. Anyone can join in, So here I am:D

  10. I have a confession to make: I heard about the ‘Katla predicition’ sometime last year and became intrigued about whether it was really true. So I started to read Jon’s blog to learn about the Icelandic volcanos but never felt confident, or welcome, enough to post. Then I didn’t like the way that a very few lurkers started to hound out the people who made the blog the entertaining place it was. So when they set up here I moved with them. I like it here. I still read Jon’s blog and quite a lot of other blogs that are nothing to do with geology, I even post on some of them. But this is the best, most welcoming, of them all. Sometimes people make imprudent or intemperate remarks but they are dealt with courteously. I have learned a huge amount, not just about geology, and made some online friends. Oh, and along the way I realised that ‘volcano’ and ‘prediction’ are two words that don’t go well together.
    @Henri: Thanks for the article. I look forward to the next two. 🙂

  11. @arjanemm:
    I like the way you put in words – most of which I wouldn’t (or dare not) have better said.
    After more than two years reading these three blogs (EB, JF, VC) in an almost daily basis, even knowing that this is the so called “virtual world”, one starts to develop connections with people, learning how to understand and respect them for what they show, and perhaps, even, for what they are, as I think is my case.
    Yes, I daresay that a peculiar sort of “friendship” arises from this constant virtual contact, and I feel bad when the healthy debate (which is the noblest purpose of these forums that I have chosen to be part of my everyday reading) goes beyond the strictly technical to become what , in my poor judgement, I consider “too” personal,
    I’m not a blogger, and don’t even know for sure what an ethical attitude should be that of a blogger. But I can quote many instances in which my own comments could be regarded as “fear mongering” and I try to learn to avoid them, for the sake of good science.
    I’m sorry Carl, and Henri, and Spica, but I’m afraid I do not agree with you guys in this very instance. And I do not think that, as in Jón’s case, giving him the chance of replying, makes me feel any better.
    When Volcanocafe was created, I hesitated to join, and I fell bad too, because I enjoyed Jón’s place and, especially, the fine team.
    Here I am, trying to put my ideas together and thinking if it would have been some kind of cowardice to remain silent.
    I hope this will be the last time I will talk about the matter, and I can never thank enough for the nice time spent with you people whom, I repeat, I highly admire.
    Renato Rio

    • Hello Renato!

      In a way you put the finger on what is most important, our right to chose what to like or not. Sometimes you like things, some times not.

    • Then I respectfully submit that you re-read what is written, Renato. It is not I, Carl or anyone of the regulars here that accuse Jón of being a fearmongerer. It is not I, Carl or anyone of the regulars here that bring up the matter of Jóns disability. On the contrary, we do him the courtesy of treating him as if his handicap does not matter. It is people like Ian, Fredrik and arjanemm whose reading and/or debating skills aren’t up to standard who make these wild accusations.

      The subject matter is that in the absence of reliable, official information, Jón’s blog is the singly most important source for information about Katla on the Internet. Unfortunately, the information given by Jón is not always as accurate as he makes it out to be. The manner in which he presents it is also unfortunate and sometimes directly misleading as with the example of “Katla volcano warming up for an eruption”.

      No matter who you are or what your circumstances are, once you are in the position where a lot of people read what you write, form their opinion based on it and quite possibly make life-affecting decisions based upon it you have a responsibility to insure that the information you purvey is factually correct and that the way you choose to present it is not misleading.

      This is where Jón fails. To defend it by claiming that one must make allowances because of a handicap or that he’s only someone who writes about something he loves is downright stupid and dishonest.

      • Seriously

        In the grand scheme of things, what Jon writes has about as much affect in this world as the energy in a hamburger. It does not warrant being singled out in an article. No disrespect intended to bloggers here, but please keep some perspective on your writings.

        The post from earlier where you claim he did not back up his statements with any information and I posted a link to where he did post the IMO information and an newspaper article, why have you not replied to that??

        • Article: He always supports his topics by screen captures of IMO maps and charts or with print-outs from his own set of seismometers, or “geophones” as he calls them.

          Ian: you claim he did not back up his statements with any information

          You sir, are a f*cking LIAR!

          • You wrote in your “proof” that he is a fearmonger post

            “This is unequivocal, Jón does claim that Katla volcano is warming up for an eruption. There is no ambiguity here. Furthermore, the wording implies that such an eruption is near and the the process irrevocably leading up to an eruption has begun.

            Jón does not present any proof for this claim except what Jón claims is “harmonic tremor” at Lagu Hvolar SIL-station located 9 kilometers to the SE of the SE edge of the Katla caldera on the Mulakvísl river. The timing of these events is such that the onset is between 08 and 10 am and it dies down in the late evenings and during the night. This is NOT harmonic tremor, it is the result of increased water flow due to daily melting natural at this time of the year!”

            He did post proof in the link, including a graph showing the increased tremor and conductivity posted in a graph by the IMO as well as a newspaper article

            Link here again – http://www.jonfr.com/volcano/?p=2528

            So how is this “does not present any proof” as you stated

          • Again this is the kind of stuff you don’t want to have in a blog. Insults, personal attacks. This is sad.

      • @ All

        Is it me, or are many here as good at “erupting” as the volcanoes they watch?!!

        Sorry guys but you are all misunderstanding each other to a certain degree.

        Tomorrow is another day.


    • I have to agree with you there Renato Rio, and with @arjanemm. I read both blogs, but mainly this one. I think what Henri is saying has a ring of validity to it, but I find the terminology very pejorative. It does come across as Jon bashing a bit. The language could perhaps have been better chosen. The substance is there either to agree or disagree with – and no need to brand Ian a troll for disagreeing. I read and respect your comments usually Henri. This maybe just a bridge too far. I look forward to your next 2 Katla posts.

  12. I am not a regular commenter, but I do read here and there.

    Also I have been annoyed by some of the claims he made, in particular regarding El Hierro back in the days. I guess we are still waiting for the new vent to crack open the earth in the north part of the island, which had to happen at some point according to Jon.

    I’m not going to call it fearmongering, but it is definitely unscientific wild speculation. For the people living on the north side of the island this shared view from this expert on rifting eruptions it might have felt a bit different though.

    • Greetings,

      I am not answering anything about the blog post here above. This is strictly an comment about El Hierro volcano and the activity in it last Autumn and winter (September 2011 to January 2012 when it did stop erupting, from what I can remember).

      The activity to the north part of El Hierro volcano was mostly in the form earthquakes. So it was clear that magma was breaking its way up. But for some unknown reason it seems that magma did never reach the surface. Not that it would have mattered, as the depth in the north part of El Hierro volcano is around 800 to 1200 meters, where the main activity was taking place. So not even bubbles would have shown up on the surface in any great amount. Strong smell of sulfur was also reported on the north side of the Island of El Hierro volcano from what I remember. But the chance that an eruption vent would open up in that area was always an possibility due to magma movements. I do not believe that earthquakes in this area where due to strain changes because of the eruption to south of El Hierro volcano. The most specificity this blog post here. http://www.jonfr.com/volcano/?p=1716

      The eruption in El Hierro volcano as an fissure eruption. It opened to several vents at depth (around 900 meters from what I can tell). Most of the vents did close soon after, except the one that kept erupting until the end.

      It is also worth pointing out that when new eruption starts there is always certain level of confusion taking place. Mostly where eruption has started and how big it is. I am not exempt from that type of confusion.

      You can check my coverage of El Hierro volcano eruption here.


      • Hi Jon

        Good to see you here! Your knowledgeable and reasoned posts have always been helpful and informative. I feel more comfortable posting here because I am an amateur, and sometimes I misread or misunderstand the knowledge provided in links, and limits of such knowledge, and I jump to the wrong conclusions. Then I say stupid things but I don’t feel embarassed here the way I do when I speak out of turn on Jon’s or Erik’s blogs.

        I agree with Ian that it is unhelpful to criticise based on the nonsense ignorant people sometimes post. There is room for error here, and I appreciate the openness and inclusiveness here.

        Carl, you are a mega-brain, and Lurking is a genius. Diana keeps the coffee on, and Karen is a wizard. Everyone brings something to add to the mix, and I have learned so much among the lovely bunch of contributors here.

        Just my two-penn’orth.
        Jon didn’t want that off-topic chat on his thread, and so it went quiet over there. I still check in there from time to time though, even if I have nothing to add.

        Henri – speak as you find – your point is that in a public forum what we say is read by others who have even less knowledge or different backgrounds, and sometimes we don’t get it right. Point taken.

        I appreciated Jon’s accurate build-up to the eruption of Eyaf and he led us then in growing our knowledge and understanding. Perhaps, though, like 6 year-olds we have continued to grow and learn from different sources. It’s fun here.

        Thank you all 🙂

      • “The activity to the north part of El Hierro volcano was mostly in the form earthquakes. So it was clear that magma was breaking its way up.”

        It’s this kind of assumptions that make your posts unreliable in my eyes. ‘It was clear’ is not so clear to me, you have no scientific fundaments to draw such conclusions and what did it result in? People thinking another eruption was inevitable and was going to occure in the more populated northern part of El Hierro, ergo, fearmongering. I know you did not write about an eruption on land here, but as has been said before: the unscientific, unfundamented conclusions give people with a lack of knowledge on geology the chance to interpret it as upcoming havoc. It’s not the first/only time you did this. I’ve mentioned it before and there is nothing wrong with speculating, brainstorming and puzzling about the course of an eruption, but when you are in a prominent position where people consider you as an expert it is extremely irresponsible.

        • Greetings Pieter,

          Magma can be tracked by earthquakes (depth of the earthquakes get less as the magma moves upwards in the crust) and GPS data (inflation being detected). I have limited GPS data to work with on El Hierro volcano. But that GPS data is clear on this fact at that time (since then, it seems to have leveled out). This was the same thing that did happen in Upptyppingar in Iceland (it remains inflated last I knew). But that has so far not yet resulted in an eruption (might might do so at some time in the future if more magma is injected into Upptyppingar). But the magma is still down there (unless it starts to flow out again, that also happens sometimes), cooling at the moment. Until new magma is injected into the magma that is already there.

          This is also the same way I did track the magma before Eyjafjallajökull volcano started to erupt in the year 2009 and 2010.

          You have no idea what data I am looking at. Unless I tell you so what data I am looking at. Lucky for you. That is what I do in most cases. Since I can find the data that I need in most cases. When it comes to Iceland. I always find the data that I need to figure out, best to my knowledge what is going on.

          You should know that magma is unpredictable by its nature. So even the experts gets it wrong most of the time. So it is no surprise that I sometimes get things wrong at times.

          My assumption are based on best available data at the time. I do not just guess things in the air. I always check the data and what it is telling me. The chance that the nature is going to do something unexpected is always high. So getting things wrong is not as uncommon as you would think. For that reason there is monitoring hardware in order to figure out what is going on and what might happen next. But that is sometimes just not enough to get things right.

          Data suggests that eruption started in north El Hierro around 12 December 2011. But I do not know when it stopped. With the depth of 1000 meters (1km). Nothing did show up on the surface, that was no surprise at all. I wrote about it here, http://www.jonfr.com/volcano/?p=1915

          My claims are neither unscientific, irresponsible or fear-mongering. I am not responsible for the idiots to choose to interpretative or twist what I write about volcanoes, earthquakes or magma. That is there own responsibly and you should not blamed on me. As you are doing here (so is the blog post in fact also doing, but I am answering you Pieter. Not the blog post above). I also do not claim and I have never claimed to be an expert in geology.

          What you accuse me with here is just ludicrous and has no base in fact. As I have now shown.

          I am not going to comment on this any more, or on this blog. Regardless on what topic it might be or what crazy accusation is being blamed on me here. I have better things to do with my time then to answer this type of nonsense.


          • -Magma can be tracked sure sometimes. In the case of El Hierro we saw close to none earthquakes shallower than 6km, just several at the surface near the vent. So there was no possible way to track magma coming close to the surface in north El Hierro.

            -GPS data did show that there was a pocket of magma present beneath El Hierro, but nothing indicated it was getting closer to the surface.

            -Yeah, magma is unpredictable. That is why you never ever can predict magma movements. You did (as I quote: “it was clear that magma was breaking its way up”), and you do that often. Geology is not a science of prediction, so don’t. When there is a lack of data, knowledge or equipment ergo you do not have sufficient resources, do not draw half conclusions.

            -Sure you give a shot at substantiating your conclusions, but let’s be honest: “The activity to the north part of El Hierro volcano was mostly in the form earthquakes. So it was clear that magma was breaking its way up” is not what I’d call a good reasoning.

            You whole posts just states what I’ve been stating: You have a lack of knowledge (I don’t blame you, I’m not a geologist either) and a lack of data (neither your fault, internet is limited in it’s supply). Yet you don’t hesitate to draw conclusions, and that is where you go wrong.

            I know I’m being very harsh on you, and I’m sure you’ve got the best intentions, but I strongly advise you to do what you are best at: Use your knowledge of Iceland by making blog posts on things we can’t find on the IMO or GVP site, that’s information anyone can gather. What I enjoyed most in your blog were the blog posts about old and forgotten volcanoes, in-depth articles on several magmatic systems. People read your blog to learn new things, rather than to read a summation of data found on websites we all visit daily.

            I hope I haven’t offended you too bad. Don’t get me wrong, even though I sounded harsh and offensive I wish you the best and I hope your blog will prosper like before. I fully understand if you don’t feel like commenting on this post, but I hope this at least helps you figuring out how to get the best out of your writing and your blog. Good luck. 🙂

  13. I use both sites, infact i remember when Carl left Jons site to set this up, and with him a number of followers.
    I find both sites have had information that intriqued, educated and informed me. Both have pluses and minus that will favour some for one and some for other.
    I do find Jon’s way of asking for money sometimes a little like street begging, and maybe thats due to English not being his first lanquage, i can not speak a second lanquage fluently so not any critisism. I notice on Jon’s site there is a reference to this site and in a negative way.
    This disappoints me as two respectable bloggers now are being drawn into a slagging match.
    I really hope a line is now drawn and that both can move on before anything unfair is said. I find that some users of both sites do have some interesting thoughts and ideas and are happy to share knowledge. As in any scientific area there is a difference of opinion and that can lead to healthy debate. Please i hope both Carl and Jon can call a truce, i feel it the users defending them both will get drawn in and spoil both blogs. I would actually like to see both use each others blogs with respectful debate of each others thoughts. That way knowledge improves further.
    Carl and Jon, you both have made an interest in Volcanos happen for me, and i expect for many others, thats something to be proud of. maybe a young person reading these blogs will grow an early interest and go on in life to become a world leading volcanologist. Thats how much influence you both have. Good luck to you both

    • Well said Floodwarn! Let us have an end to this. I do not think there was any malicious intent here.

    • The point was not Jón, the point was that those who do the fearmongering often use Jóns texts regarding Katla.
      And to my own shock I have more then once been used the same way.
      So, the point that Henrik is doing is actually pointed to many of us who blog, that we should be carefull with how we phrase ourselves. And oh yes, Henrik has told me when I have used phrases that are a bit to good for the fearmongerers.

      • If the blog topic had been written like this.

        “Often the less legitimate press will use informative sites such as Jon’s blog to write inflaming fear mongering articles”

        However we get this

        “We have Jón Frímann Jónsson almost continuously feeding us updates of dubious scientific accuracy with the intent of guaranteeing a steady traffic to his blog, updates couched in suitably ambiguous language that can be interpreted as support for Professor Einarsson’s hypothesis as well as Doomsday prophecies.”

        If I did not know how it really was, when I read that sentence it appears that Jon’s intentions are suspect at least and maybe even malicious or exploitive in nature.

        I do not see anyone here challenging his statements or information directly on his blog, just indirectly in this semi-sneak attack

        I will then refer back to my earlier post which has no been replied to.How can you back up that you are not calling someone a fearmonger with evidence that they are fearmongering?

  14. Renato

    You said it much better than I did!

    I read this post this morning and I was angry…very angry. I apologize for some…and I mean the personal attacks…of what I said but not for the intent. I too have been a long time lurker here and for me to post it took something to really crawl under my skin.

    I have read all three blogs almost daily since April 2010 and second what Renato just said.


    • Well, now you know how it feels like being a troll… Carl and Henri, as Swedes, know about these critters better than me, but you don’t sound that ugly! 🙂
      @Carl, I’m still waiting for the big moment when you’ll have to accomplish your promise (eating your hat; not necessarily naked, in front of the Dalek).
      @Henri, soyez toujours le bienvenue, le revenant, l’amusant, le plus intelligent!
      @Spica, rise from the dungeons! You don’t belong there!!!!!
      Love you guys! I mean it!
      🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Renato Shame on you to dissuade a man from keeping his word..But then, his words were made before the prospective Mrs Carl was on the scene and I would not like to start a marital dispute before the marriage begins.:D
        Renato.Maybe you could do a celebratory dance in his place to demonstrate that South American passion that you keep hidden. 😀

    • Doesn’t the colour look amazing! Hekla and Katla aslo look wonderful tonight. To take Emily Bronte completely out of context and apply her words to these volcanoes: “I lingered round them, under the benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”

  15. Oh lookie, a shitstorm.

    Since I use “Lurk” in my handle, I want it to be known that I am not the one who made any verbal (well, textual) harrassment of the other posters. I am one who feels that if a topics drifts to whatever… that’s peoples perogative. If the purists dont like it, F’ em.

    • Hi Hattie! Yes, also a small fall on the Hekla strain. Maybe Hekla is reminding us to keep our hair on! Hope your trip goes well. 🙂

      • Hi guys, thanks for the good wishes. I hope she behaves as I have a 6 hour bus ride tomorrow and will be AFK.

  16. Cooh!
    The one day when I have a few moments to catch up on ‘things’!
    Here we have an example of mis-interpretation of persons comments who does not have English as their first language and anothes not realising this fact!
    I think if Jon has been wronged by anyone, Ian above couldn’t have done a better job, thanks to his attitude by mentioning Jon’s minor lack of English grammar – apart from being exceedingly ill-mannered, perhaps you, Ian, could do better in Jon’s native Danish! Also thanks Ian for revealing Jon may have a ‘disability’ – thanks to your mouthiness the world knows! – I never even suspected Jon had/has a problem. You are obviously not of a scientific background otherwise you’d realise such ‘scraps’ are part-and-parcel of scientific debate!
    I congratulate Jon/Henrik/Carl for not rising to your bait.
    I have more pressing problems to deal with.

    I’ll be back later in the week, Gang-of-the-Sheepy-Dalek!!

    • Jon has openly said he has Asperger’s Syndrome on his own blog, so it is no secret. Long time readers of his blog will most likelybe aware if that fact. Also, I may be wrong but isn’t Jons native language Icelandic?

      • My favorite is Pecan, but Pecan prices keep going up. Seems that some people have sold pecans for as much as a nickel apiece.

        Fortunately, they are native around here.

        Back in ’95 time frame, a tornado took out the 150 year old pecan tree next to my granddads house. That tree was huge.

        The difficult thing about a pecan pie, is getting just the right mix of egg so that the filling is not runny. They are real easy to burn when you cook them.

        • I was introduced to Pecan Pie on a visit to Fordyce, Arkansas. My OH is from USA so we were visiting his Aunt. She made the finest Pecan pie I ever tasted, part of my intro to rural america. That was a bit of a culture shock for me having only been to New York, Oakland and Orlando before. .Fordyce is famous for being the place that the Rolling Stones first got busted for drugs in the States. I was amazed when I read that, as its a tiny town in the middle of nowhere!! I also got asked by someone if Scotland was beside Korea, and what was my native language…guess the scots accent threw them off a bit……fond memories of the place. Wish i had some Pecan pie now.

        • I have some pecans here, left over from Christmas.Maybe I could sell them on the black Market 😀

          • Yeah…..Ronnie Woods will come rolling up to your door in his Jag just to take care of business personally. Can you imagine the gossip 🙂 (dont know how to do a smiley)

        • The last I had heard, China was buying up Pecans like it was going out of style.

          Dunno if that is still going on.

        • and I thought Pecan nuts where native to Australia ?, usually pig out when they come fresh from the trees when they are in season

  17. Hello All,
    While I broadly agree with Henri’s arguments (in the sense in which they were intended) this is a thorny subject, I feel I should comment because Asperger’s Syndrome is “within my remit.”
    I work in social care and I am key-worker for a gentleman who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s. The syndrome is closely related to Autism; a spectrum “disorder” characterised by a triad of “impairments”.
    Asperger’s differs from “classic” autism in that people function quite highly in the social and emotional part of the triad, but not very highly…
    The gent that I look after has travelled the world, if you ask him about it , he’ll give a list of the places he’s been to, but won’t tell you anything in particular about any of them… He “works” much better with written information (ideally with the date at the top and at least an 18 point font) than verbal. Why?
    Because written (or better still, wordprocessed) information can be referred back to and the info will be the same and in the same “format” every time. Why?
    Because a major feature of Autistic Spectrum “disorders” is a dificulty with “generalising” for example when people are very impaired they may be more than capable of climbing the steps to thier appartment but unable to climb a flight of stairs in someone else’s house.
    Another feature of (ASDs) is an inability to “filter” sensory stimuli, in a conversational situation he will tend to dominate because it’s far easier to talk than to listen.
    Again why? It’s that lack of “filtering” (listen to the hum of your computer, I bet you’d not noticed it for hours!!!) When someone with ASD is listening to you talk (unless one is very clear and direct (blunt even)); what they are “recieving” is a whole load of metaphors, idioms, turns of phrase and generally confusing language that they can’t truly decipher. Add to this the constant hum of the fridge/computer/ the dripping of the tap and next doors TV and you may begin to get the idea…
    So what’s the problem with comments on a blog; it’s written after all? Well one would think there’d be no problem, but when the Scheepy Dalek, BoB from Schlackbladder and Barbecueing Hats in the Altogether on Burfell comes into it…
    I fell into this whole volcano thing because my holiday destination of choice for the last few years has been the Canary Islands. I returned from a trip to Tenerife/ La Gomera in Sept. 2011 and started researching my next. I Googled El Hierro and before I could say Jack Robinson (see what I mean?) I was at
    I never did comment there, Jon made it very clear that his Blog was mainly for reading not commenting… (talking not listening)
    I rarely even read the Blog now, because (not that I begrudge Jon the income) the adverts take far too long to load on my (rescued from a skip) clunkputer.
    “What’s the point of all this?” I hear you cry…
    Well, when Volcanocafe first started up I made my first ever comment, something about how my love of the Canaries had led me here; Carl responded with some thing about an multidisciplinary, broad- schpectrum, outside o’ the box,/pushing the envelope, blue sky, team based, communal, hive- concious, schcientific thinkin’, light hearted effort etc etc…
    Quite the opposite of Jonfr’s Blog…

    Peace, Love and Respect.

  18. Henry, even though I often enjoy your volcano comments and theories, this is a negative post, and one that is unnecessary. Why wasting time trying to kill of two volcano researchers in one post and not post anything about the true state of Katla? No GPS data here, no Tremor data, no events data, nothing. Just a dozen of lines trying to kill someone’s blog and assumption. Yes, Pall was wrong, but who cares? Is this worth of a post? No, and I am saddened by this post. It seems this blog lately has assumed a militant posture havign fun is criticing doomsayers and others. For me, this is BORING and a WASTE of time. It has nothing to do with scientific interest. I don’t even spend a second of my time trying to prove or disprove doomsayers, why this blog spends so much time with it? And going on, and basing other scientists, even if they were wrong. Very unprofessional. Sad, very sad.

    Finally, this is not a attack on you personally, but just on this kind of attitude.

    • This is a fair comment; you disagree, say so, and explain your reasons in a polite manner. I accept that, even if your interpretation of the post is not what I intended and being surprised that it could be interpreted that way. However, there are two more installments which I’m convinced will be more to your liking. Once you have read those, I hope you will see what I was trying to say and why I felt it neccessary by painting a picture of what I cose to call the “public awareness background”.

      • Yes Henry, that is good. But I think it is good to to focus on the volcanoes/earthquakes and not in other people. For conflicts is the world full of them. I look forward for part II.

        • Look Irpsit. Say someone suddenly discovered an interest in volcanoes a few months ago. They hear about Icelandic volcanoes and Katla and want to know more. Somehow I doubt that the first thing a person without a university background does is to read scientific papers or academic dissertations.Instead, they search the Internet to find more easily-digested information. They find the Wikipedia and GVP entries, read those and want to learn more. Where does that lead them? Go and do a few searches and you’ll find that most of what they will get is either Jón’s blog or a 2012-inspired site.

          But hey! All agree! Katla is about to erupt! So say the premier scientist, the premier blogger and the 2012-ers, so it must be true! A huge eruption, at least ten times as bad as the Eyjafjallajökull chaos, is just round the corner. Wouldn’t you agree that this is not a desirable situation?

          Pardon my strong language, but this has f*ck-all (= nothing) to do with Jón Friman as a person but everything to do with the impression people in general get when they try and find relevant and easily accessible information about Katla!

  19. I think its time to start a new blog, how about as iceland warms up and glaziers retreat what is most likely volcano to erupt if any and have peoples constructive arguments about that. Lets let the Jon / Carl thing rest now as people are dragging things on. Its not what we use these two sites for so lets go back to what we do.
    Said in peace, im a firefighter and not looking for arguements with anyone.

  20. Quoting Carl:

    “The point was not Jón, the point was that those who do the fearmongering often use Jóns texts regarding Katla. And to my own shock I have more then once been used the same way. So, the point that Henrik is doing is actually pointed to many of us who blog, that we should be carefull with how we phrase ourselves. And oh yes, Henrik has told me when I have used phrases that are a bit to good for the fearmongerers.”

    Carl, your right, It’s not only jon’s blog/words that is used to spread fearmongering, posts from this blog including your own are also being used on GLP (a lot) by someone who does post on this site. I won’t name drop but I’m sure you will find out. The person has a number of threads on GLP and constantly copies comments made on this site by you & others and he makes them out to be bad news most of the time making people panic on there…

    I agree with other posters, names should of been left out of the article, If the comments of other bloggers makes you think they could be contributing to fearmongering, message them privately instead of naming them on a open blog article, the whole article did seemed to be pointed at Jon. Ok, it didn’t seem like a personal attack, but having over half the article constantly mentioning Jon’s name, it’s obvious that a few people will take this the wrong way.

    Quoting Carl Above:

    “So, the point that Henrik is doing is actually pointed to many of us who blog, that we should be carefull with *how* we phrase ourselves”

    ‘How we phrase ourselves’, no, the article was basically saying on how Jon should be careful, I didn’t see any other names mentioned on that article, why don’t you edit & reword the article and add your name, oh and about another 6 bloggers names on there too, because the way I see it, nearly everyone contributes to fearmongering in one way or another, intentionally or not. Henrik just mentioning Jon’s name is wrong, he should of clearly stated in the article that EVERYONE has the potential to be fearmongering with what they say, also leaving names out of it.

    You got to remember, people come here and to other sites without any knowledge of the subject whatsoever, the slightest mention of ‘Earthquake Swarm’ and people panic, especially when comments from here get posted all over a site like GLP and linked back here. Everything potentially posted and said can be classed as fearmongering, it’s just how a unknowledgable person takes it, and in this world today everyone always thinks the worst,…..

    • I see what you mean about copying remarks from here … we’ve had this before and it’s hard to know what to do. Best to leave it to Carl and the Dragons.

      • TBH, i don’t think much can be done. This blog is open to all and other sites will always be there to post the comments on. My point in this though, the article written seems to be putting a lot of blame on Jon when in fact, no names should of been mentioned especially when VC also can be blamed (Intentionally or not) for also possible fearmongering posts.

        The thing about those conspiracy sites is, there are always wars between them. This also happens on blogs as well. From reading a lot of comments above, obviously there is a reason why Carl and others decided to set up here away from Jon’s site. I have also noticed that Carl doesn’t post on Jon’s site and vice versa. To me, this looks like a bit of bad blood in the air.

        Also, on the editors notes, it states that the Páll Einarsson have been notified via email and Jon was also informed. On checking Jon’s site, Carl had posted (not emailed) a reply in today’s blog written by Jon for him to have a look. Why not e-mail?? Why post where everyone can see?? Is Carl trying to turn people away from Jon’s site and to come to this blog more, because, that’s what it looks like. Funny enough, Jon today decided to do a new thread on Katla, low and behold, one pops up on VC with Carl posting the link to the above article as a reply on there.

        Obviously, the articles posted on here are written and awaiting posting in future, but, it just so happens that no sooner has Jon done an article on Katla, that an article gets posted on VC about Katla, looking like it’s having a slight jib at Jon. To me, it looks like you were waiting to post this article until he posted one, which he did today….Weird..

        It’s rather sad really, Jon posts a thread on Katla, You post a thread on Katla (Which wasn’t really informative), you sort of have a dig a Jon’s work and then Carl posts (Not Emails) on Jon’s blog about Katla , asking him to come look at the article over here which is sort of having a go at him. This looks like silly games to me and it’s wrong, everyone should be working together……….

        • It looks that way to you, does it? For it to look that way you must a) have a nastily suspicious mind, and b) really assume a lot, and I do mean a lot.

          First of all, all three installments were finished more than a week ago but as it happens, Carl has had a lot to do both professionally and privately. He has a life you know. He was going to post this installment last week, but there was just too much for him to do at work. Then he hoped he’d be able to post it on Saturday but private matters intervened. I do have the emails to prove it, so your quip that Carl waited until Jón posted something falls flat on its face.

          Second, if you’re honest you’ll admit that Jón posts something about Katla almost every week which means that whenever VC posts something on Katla, it can be interpreted as a jibe against Jón by conspirationalists like yourself.

          Third, you assume that there is bad blood between Carl and Jón to the point where I was commissioned to write an article the sole purpose of which was to savage Jón. For you to be correct, parts 2 & 3 too must be all about Jón, something I, as their author, know for a fact that they are not. Again, your conspirationalist assumption falls flat.

          Fourth, have you seen both Carl’s and Jón’s email accounts so you can guarantee that no email was ever sent and that the post by Carl is the only communication between them? I doubt that very much. Again, it’s your own conspirationalist imagination.

          Your whole claim is just plain ridiculous and the only one playing a “silly game” is you, “Unhappy Lurker”.

          • Unless I am mistaken (quite likely to be honest), Henri’s blog was posted here quite some time before Jón’s latest Katlagram. Some people might think that proves a point …

          • I am not playing any games….Henrik, you have rattled a few people on here with your article including Renato, so it seems like it is you who is in the spot light here, so please, defend all you want. You and Carl have basically been saying that whatever Jon writes is used by people to fearmonger, true or now, you singled him out as he was a problem. But, it is also the same for this site, people & the Msm read here and publish articles based on what people write, hence why Carl puts comments at the end of his posts to the Daily Fail. please, if I wrong, deny it. But you can’t, can you. If I recall a few articles back, you were the one also who said that there is a 99% chance of Katla erupting in the next 5 years without really providing anything to back up your claim, (I can link or quote in full if need be)…….. Anyone looking at what you put could write an article saying ” Katla To Erupt In 5 Years” due to what you wrote, this, although unintentionally could be classed as fearmongering, it’s all how people read things.

            You singling Jon out on that article was wrong and unjustified. Even Carl above has admitted to having the same problem with fearmongering from this site. It happens everywhere, no one can really escape it. His name shouldn’t of been mentioned or you could of mentioned Jon’s name along with posters of this site too.

            If you have any intelligence Henrik, before you wrote what you wrote, you would of known that fearmongering happens on a lot on sites, INCLUDING this one. This should of been reflected in your article along with Jon, Carl, Yourself and every other Tom, Dick and Harry names out there in blog world, everyone has the potential to fearmonger by what they say, singling out Jon was wrong.

            With regards to the emails, if some emails have been thrown between Carl & Jon, that’s where it should of stayed, Private. Carl really shouldn’t of posted on his blog in plain site for all to see. If Carl or You have any issues with Jon’s blogging and think he is causing people to fearmonger from his posts, email him directly and tell him so, don’t post on his site inviting him here to see him being bashed as such.

            This is what Jon has said on his blog:

            Jón Frímann says:
            May 28, 2012 at 22:40
            “I am not sure negative publishing is any good. But I can’t do anything about it. So I won’t waste my time on fighting it. I got other and better things to do.”

            ^^^^^^ This Henrik, goes to show, that what you have said affected him in some way & he is unwilling to rise up to what you wrote, he is right, why should he or us for that matter rise up angrily to your article, I mean, People have their own minds and can make there own decisions, judging by previous comments, if really hasn’t gone your way.

            Also, What he has said in that short 2 lined post is fantastic & beats your article, hands down…Ermmmm, how long did it take you to write?? It just seems to me you have wasted your time in what you wrote sir, I mean, it would of been more interesting to direct the post at everyone instead of just solely naming Jon, because, as I have said, this site ALSO contributes to the fearmongering stories out there and Carl has admitted this……….

        • Hello!

          The answer to why, first of all the mail bounced.
          Second of all, I did not mind if people saw it. I never ever hide.

          Regarding bad blood?
          I do not have especially bad blood against Jón. I got pissed when he started to mistreat his readers, something I think in retrospect he regreats due to having lost most of his readers (his own published viewer stats on his blog that I do read).
          The second part that annoys me sometimes is his incessant attacks on me.
          To date I have not attacked Jón at all. Why? Because I understand the psychology behind his actions. And the psychology is simple, by starting this blog I hurt his wallet. Hard.
          By comparing the published stats the average hit rate here is about 4 times higher. I would have been hopping mad at me if I was Jón, difference is that I would have accepted my own mistake.

          • Carl,

            This is my last post here, it is a waste of my energy to continue.

            I am a Special Education teacher and believe that every person on this planet has challenges to face in one form or another. I deal with this every day so please do not lecture me on how these challenges should be dealt with.

            The class I teach is intergrated within a public school and I have observed interaction in the schoolyard for many years now.

            I will use this example

            One day I noticed a group of older boys poking a younger and smaller child with a stick and then running away. The child could not chase after the bullies, he had a birth defect which inhibited his ability to run after them.

            What I noticed, there were several groups of children around the scene

            Some went on as if nothing out of the ordinary was going on, completely out of touch

            Some were egging on the bullies, just as guilty as those taking part in the bullying

            Some turned and moved away from the area so they did not have to see what was taking place, in denial

            Some tried to grab the bullies as they came in for an attack but as with most gangs the few that tried to stop this were outnumbered and soon gave up

            It took an adult to come in and stop the bullying.

            The kid with the birth defect never stood a chance

          • Ian, you should change your line of work.
            You sir are belittling people. Jón is well and truly able to defend himself, something that he has proven several times all on his own. What you fail to grasp is that I and everyone in here respect him and his abilities as a blogger. We just do not like everything that he writes.
            You are constantly confusing topic with person. Henrik had an issue with how Jón writes and wanted to make a rather long series of articles setting some things straight once and for all regarding the VOLCANO named Katla. And here is the rub, also setting straight some of the hyperboly written about Katla by Jón. I am and was totally fine with this.

            In comes you writing about bullying, dragging up peoples disabilities and generally acting as a Guardian Knight. Problem is that Jón did a far better job at it in his answer above.

    • Heh… I used to frequent and post at GLP and Above Top Secret. But they seem to have a penchant for labeling naysayers as “shills” even when you clock them up aside the head with raw data.

      “…What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it… well, he gets it…”

      Captain, Road Prison 36, played by Strother Martin. “Cool Hand Luke.”

    • Oh, if you want to have fun, post something containing a link to the other site, the operators go nuts at that. It’s funny. Territorial Loons.

  21. The MAR, like all spreading centers, typically has “Normal Faulting.” This happens as the two sides move apart. Using formulas from “New Empirical Relationships among Magnitude, Rupture Length, Rupture Width, Rupture Area, and Surface Displacement” by Donald L. Wells and Kevin J. Coppersmith (Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 84, No. 4, pp. 974-1002, August 1994)

    We can run a quick estimate of what sort of physical manifestations quakes of this style would have.

    An important thing to remember, is that an earthquake is not a point source event. It has a size and shape as a segment or region of a fault system fails. If it is close enough to the surface, a surface rupture or displacement will show up.

    Either way, some section, having a length and depth will have failed and contributed to the over all energy release. This failed region, with length and width, will have a surface area (under the ground where the quake is at) This would be the “face” of the failed area.

    I specifically calculated a Normal Fault, since that is what you would have going on as the two sides opened up and magma made it’s way in, or if magma pushed them apart.


    • Now lets take a look at that Magnitude 6.2 – NORWEGIAN SEA on 2012 May 24.

      The depth is listed at 8.8 km. Refering to the chart for a 6.2, we see that the Downdip rupture width (km) is 10.7 km.

      One half of that is 5.35 km. 8.8 km – 5.35 km is 3.45 km. It is not out of the question that magma, through a channel about a half a meter wide, to within 3.45 km of the surface from just this one quake. The bottom of that fracture could be as deep as 14.15 km down, well within the region where there is likely melt.

      Coupled with the other quakes, calling this a potential eruption is not much of a reach. Physically, that is entirely possible.

      • Could it cause landslides like the Storegga slides that happened about 8000 years ago and devasted a lot of the east coast Uk? i have limited understanding of these things so am probably way off, but no harm in asking.

        • That was what crossed my mind when it occurred… it had that “NORWEGIAN” word tacked onto it.

          The Storegga area is about 1000 km from this quake. (I looked). It’s also in 2300 meter deep water.

          • Should i buy a house further up the hill then? I wonder what effect something like that would have on the many oil installations in the North Sea…..the HSE will be be delighted at having more risks to assess!! Oh well, if it happens in my lifetime I will laugh at the Trump golfcourse being swept away…local topic only, but Le Trump thinks he owns Scotland nowadays.

          • Err… the danger of a slide from this quake is minimal.

            Any place along a coast always has a danger of some sort due to water… be it a storm or a segment of shelf sliding off (Storegga) Even Newfoundland has had tsunami events. It’s part of living on the coast. I have a recurring Hurricane threat here, and live 147 ft above sea level. In 2004 Ivan put downtown under about 8 feet of water. In fact, when Tristan de Luna first landed here, his entire flotilla was taken out by a Hurricane.

            It’s just part of the territory and nothing to loose sleep over.

            My interest in the Norwegian quake, was that Carl offered the possibility that it was an eruption… just so far down and away from anything that no one would know until some research vessel puts an ROV down there and looks.

            According to my juggling of numbers, physically it could have been en eruption. But that’s not un-common for the MAR. It’s alway got some sort of Eruption going on, we just never notice.

  22. Sorry – i should have made it clear that my comment was made purely “tongue in cheek” the chances of a Tsunami big enough to wreck the East Coast is likely to be very remote….better chance of winning the lottery! As far as hurricanes go, I was in Florida one year when a hurricane came. we all got evacuated from the inter-coastal area. It came ashore at Vero Beach just down the road from our place, i wanted to stay and experience it but was not allowed, Kids wih me so safety first, fair enough. Luckily it turned out to be a baby storm of category 1. Pretty much like the weather in the highlands of Iceland most of the time i imagine.

    • I have been through a few. My first was Camille in 69… 240 km from the coast. I actually saw the eye on the new fangled weather radar that WLBT had.

      Rode one out of Hawaii, hit as we were leaving port. An awesome 2 days of being thrown around like a cork. Green water over the forward gun mount and all. Rode Erin at home, Opal was nothing… it went to the other end of Santa Rosa Island and clipped us. Ran from a few cuz the wife did not want to experience the three hours of 115 mph winds like we did in Ivan.

      Yeah, they can be exciting, but they can kill you.

      • My introduction to the West indies in 1968 was the experience of riding through the edge of a hurricane. The Boat was a banana boat so no stabilisers. Hence my lack of desire to ever go on a world cruise!! To my amazement I was not seasick once throughout the 14 day voyage from Southampton UK to Kingston Jamaica. Mind you the bowl of Puffa Puffa rice cereal was left untouched the first morning as we hit the Atlantic. Putting a restaurant in the bows of a ship is not conducive to happy eating!!

        • I went through a Force 10 in the Bay of Biscay in a banana boat! I was quite young and didn’t appreciate that we were in any danger – and of course we weren’t. I vividly remember the green water over the bows though! I learned to walk on a banana boat and so tell myself that I’m never seasick. It works – mind over matter!

  23. Regarding fearmongering: I think we should all ignore it. Everyone seems to be doing it nowadays. Just look at the TV. Why bother? It would be a big battle.

    It’s a widespread western phenomena. Probably with a remote origin in religion, which passes onto the western culture and is now manifesting widely. The disaster-seeking mood is probably related to a lack of personal excitement which seeks fantasy over disaster happening.

    For centuries, this has happened. Nowadays, just to give you one example look at the financial situation: every week someone high-profile gives away a comment about the “collapsing” economy. They should know, that economy-wise, destroying confidence with such comments equals further trouble. Nothing is solved, the problem remains.

    Looking at other fields, look at TV shows (so much negativity in there), news reports (any good news?), global warming theory (even inspires Hollywood), etc. Yes, just look at Hollywood.

    Or look at the Pandemic flu or the Eyjafjallajokull, how authorities managed these situations with so much panic and excess.

    Look at the airports after 911.

    The world around you seems to be collapsing (economy, ecology, socially, etc) and problems are widespread, and it seems in this environment doomsaying reaches new highs. No focus in finding new values to inspire ourselves in. No focus in positiveness and in what makes us human.

    But I don’t make of this a personal attack or a depressive analysis. Because fearmongering is so widespread, I don’t think it is worth to focus of a post or to go down that road. I think it reduces the quality of the blog.

    On Katla: Katla will erupt and it does not matter what humans think. It might be this year, it might be in decades, but most likely within the next few years and not in the next months. Until then, it is difficult to predict when, and how large it might be. It already shown accumulative inflation for many years, it already had years of deep and earthquake swarms. And still nothing has happened. I guess the “chamber” is filled, but lacks the trigger pressure to erupt. That will probably come when a push of deep magma occurs (with lots of deep quakes associated).

    But rest assured, the main hassle is going to be for Icelanders. Here there is no fearmongering. Because many people have Katla right in front of them every day, so worry? There is always a solution. But like most Icelanders, I don’t wish to volcanoes like these to erupt, because they are a big hassle. Not fun. (or fun only in the first day, then reality!)

    • Nicely said. For whatever reason, many seem to want and/or need “drama” in their lives. Can so many be suffering from boredom when there is so much to learn and share? Or is it simply the need for attention and feeling important? So sad.

  24. A quick and dirty.. but more detailed look at the onset of Laki and the likely size of the quakes that preceded it.

    • Alright… back. Now I can explain what the @#$#@ that plot is.

      Based on statements contained in IAVCEI Field Excursions Guide that relate observations about the onset of Laki,

      “they were strong enough to be felt across the region from Mýrdalur and Öræfi”

      From what I can find, Mýrdalur is the furthest point from the Laki fissures. So, on 1 June quake intensity was up into the Mag 5.0 tp 5.5 range. On 8 June all hell broke loose. GVP places the erpution starting in late May, likely based on the early seismic activity.

      The MMI to Magnitude translation is based off of the MMI profile for a Mag 5.6 California quake at 28.7 km depth, and an Mag 6.9 India-Nepal quake at 19.7 km depth.

      A fitted curve for those two yields a formula with a correlation coefficient of about 0.998 that used Depth Distance and Magnitude as the variables to find MMI. It’s a kludge, but for this purpose, probably about as accurate as we need.

      Mag 5.0 to 5.5 in a Normal fault system have on average about 3 to 9 cm of displacement per quake. The Max in that range is 4 to 10 cm per quake.

      Sure it was a long time ago, but if anyone has a better recorded history about when and where quakes were felt in the week or so before Laki, it would be nice to have info. In my opinion, the liklihood of having that sort of record is slim… most people were more preoccupied with other things.

      • OOOCH! This sort of confirms that when “Something” is about to happen in Iceland then there will be no doubts. No maybe’s. No little white puffy clouds of “Steam”.

        • “We could be only a few weeks away from the onset of a repeat of the Europa-wide famine that led to the French revolution, 150 years of world wars and the European Union. This is dire!”

          Jokes aside, I think one can trust the old records and if they say the Skaftár Fires eruption (Laki) began on June 8th, it probably did so. Just look at Pliny! For the best part of two thousand years, his description of the 79 AD eruption was dismissed as fanciful twaddle. It turned out that was a very accurate record.

      • Sweet 🙂
        Old priests where good at keeping all sorts of records.
        I especially agree with Dianas statement, something of this magnitude does not sneak up on you with a feather, it whacks you in the back of the head with a building.

  25. OT but what the hell. Thanks KarenZ for sharing the video (in Sheepy Dalek) of Loreen singing “Euphoria”. She won the Eurovision competition and I LOVE her!!!!

  26. I like it here, I can ask questions etc. and there is always someone there to enlighten me, have a bit of fun as well, learn heaps….. along the way, so chill out, get a life, take a pill of whatever and let the volcanoes do the eruptions, more interesting

    • Exactly Ursh, We are all here due to volcanos and the eruptions, even us lurkers. I personally don’t want to see fearmongering posts & articles, or posts & articles naming other people as feeding the fearmongering crowd. I personally feel that apologies are needed to let all this go. We are not here to bash people or to imply their posts cause fearmongering.

      If there is a point that people think others are fearmongering, maybe a subtle reply, email or private message to the person would be better instead of writing an essay telling them so…..;)

  27. My two cents on the “controversy” du jour: To put everything in context, I would suggest that those who find this blog article objectionable should first consider the subtitle of the article: “Part 1, public awareness background”. This will be a 3-part article on Katla, a volcano that for some idiosyncratic reason has captured the world’s attention to an unprecedented degree, and Henrik has chosen to introduce the subject by explaining how Katla has permeated our consciousness. It is virtually impossible to discuss public awareness regarding Katla without mentioning the Jón Frímann blog. As Henrik said, just Google Katla and see what sites come up. And, more to the point of this article, Google the phrase “Katla volcano warming up for an eruption” to see the influence Jón’s site has on the blogosphere. That sentence is quoted by numerous 2012/doomer sites that present the information to their readers as substantiation that the fearsome Katla is on the verge of eruption. I do not believe in any way that Jón is intentionally fear-mongering, but unfortunately the frequency and wording of his Katla posts has nevertheless become fodder for the alarmists. I interpreted Henrik’s reference to Jón’s blog not as personal criticism, but rather as an insightful observation of the blog’s influence on the Internet, as well as a statement about the public’s pervasive obsession with Katla. I am looking forward to Henrik’s follow-up posts to put some perspective on this obsession.

    Like most readers here, I also visit Erik’s Eruptions blog and Jón Frímann’s blog, and enjoy them for different reasons. However, this is the only site where I feel comfortable posting. Ian compared the bloggers here to “people who talk like 6 year olds”. To me, the folks posting here are notable for their intelligence, creativity, thinking outside the box, and their wit. The sense of playfulness may evoke childhood, but I think it is that combination of fun plus information that makes Volcanocafé the very special place it has become. And to my way of thinking, losing that sense of playfulness, or to use a popular catch phrase, one’s “inner child”, would be a rather sad and boring way to live one’s life.

  28. My thoughts are with the people of Italy,

    5.8 – Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 07:00:03 UTC
    Location 44.814°N, 11.079°E
    Depth 9.6 km (6.0 miles)
    40 km (25 miles) NNW (330°) from Bologna, Italy
    60 km (37 miles) E (88°) from Parma, Italy
    71 km (44 miles) S (175°) from Verona, Italy
    Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 12 km (7.5 miles); depth +/- 4.1 km (2.5 miles)
    Parameters NST=400, Nph=401, Dmin=210.4 km, Rmss=1.32 sec, Gp= 25°,
    M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A
    Source Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D), Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Event ID usb000a1mn

  29. there have been heaps of EQ in the 2-3 range since last week, something is afoot here, being on the subduction fault line, could there be volcano eruptions down the track, there are a few (dormant ) one in the vicinity

  30. there have been 3 — 4.7 aftershocks plus smaller ones, also Bulgaria and Greece are on the move again

    • The surprising thing is not that some old-to-ancient brick buildings have come down but that most still stand when quite a few modern steel-and-concrete buildings have pancaked to what as earthquake go is not a particularly strong one. Thanks for the link!

    • @ Mike

      Thanks for posting that, Mike. Sad to see so much destruction but I was glad to hear on BBC Radio 4 this morning that there has been no further loss of life.

        • @ Talla

          Early reports are always subject to amendment and usually something bad turns out to be quite a lot worse as reporting is gathered in.

          I hope that the worst is now over and people will be able to return to their homes soon.

          So sad for the people of Italy.

  31. Am no vulcanologist – merely an ageing management consultant, who used to advise governments on their economic strategies. The economic impact of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption began my interest in learning about volcanic activity.

    The almost complete lack of scientific ability to forecast future eruptions is a focus of my learning.

    In reading this blog, I appreciate that there are many apparently more knowledgeable subscribers commenting here – but it is clear that “backbiting” amongst yourselves is a more popular sport than attempting to use the scientific tools at our disposal so as to crack the forecasting issue.

    Given that certain volcanoes have the potential to significantly disrupt regional and global economies, it would behove us to become more co-ordinated in approaches to enhance forecasting accuracy.

    Seismic analysis is possibly one of several tools that may yield some answers – specifically if such analysis has been well documented prior to any eruption – and subsequently analysed in detail following an eruption.

    In connection with the above, and specifically for Katla:-

    1. What volume / frequency of tremors constitutes a “swarm”

    2. At what depth is a tremor likely to be associated with Magma activity rather than Hydrothermal stresses with the Glacier sitting on top of Katla

    3. What magnitude of Tremor is likely to be associated with Magma activity rather than Hyrdrothermal stresses.

    The Iceland Met. Office website yields comprehensive snapshot data – but does not appear to maintain a public archive database.

    For you knowledgeble experts, who are commenting that much of the recent (since end of May) seismic activity is related Glacier stress – it would make sense if one of you could comment on the data provided on this link – http://energyinvest.ro/katla/katla_monitor_8_Jun_12.pdf

  32. I do wish the doom mongers would lay off. Mother Nature rarely sticks to a date and 2012 is really just a date, just like 2000 and 1000. I’ll take it back and apologise if I’m proved wrong, but then again if the doom mongers are correct we won’t be here.
    I really appreciate Jon’s blog, he gives info about what’s happening in Iceland that you can find nowhere else. Katla will erupt when she feels like it.

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