Urban volcanism!

The ironically named Mount Eden, near downtown Auckland.

Most people in the world agree on one thing: it is safer to live far from a volcano then it is living right on top of it. Living next too, or on top of a volcano is like sleeping in a cave with a friendly bear. Sure, it has it’s advantages, you stay nice and warm, you don’t have to worry about other predators, a good part of the year it is nice and quiet, but still….. you know that some day he will grab you and eat you. The inhabitants (some more permanent than others) of Herculanum, Pompeï, Heimaey and the Hawaiian Royal Gardens have found out the hard way.

New Zealand is, apart from being stunningly beautiful, one of the least populated countries in the World. When Western settlers arrived they could have chosen any location to go and build large cities. For some reason however, the inhabitants found it neccesary to build their largest city directly on top of a volcanic field with about 50 scoria cones, maars and tuff rings dotting the landscape. I suppose the knowledge of volcanism was not as developed back then as it is today, but nevertheless it is quite unfortunate.

Photograph by Mollivan Jon. Mount Taranaki.

New Zealand is dominated by subduction volcanism, with famous Mount Taranaki (or Egmont) as one of the most visually stunning stratovolcanoes in the world from both the ground and above, and with the infamous Taupo Volcanic Zone, best known for being one of the worlds “super” volcanoes. At 250 km from Auckland this is already quite a hazard on itself.

The Auckland Volcanic Field is a monogenetic volcanic field, meaning that an eruptive episode only happens once through a vent. Each eruptive episode generates a new vent somewhere within the volcanic field as opposed to “normal” volcanism where a volcanic vent has succesive eruptive episodes causing a volcano to build up and blow up occasionaly. The Auckland Volcanic Field produces basaltic scoria cones, maars and tuff rings (with the exception of the island of Rangitoto which erupted several times). All three are caused by the same type of magma, basaltic magma in this case, but the location the surface penetration, the eruptive flowrate and the total volume of the basalt determine the type of surface expression. The volcanic field has been active for about 150.000 (0.15M) years now. Older volcanic fields are found towards the south; South Auckland (1.5-0.5M), Ngatutura (1.8-1.5M) and Okete (1.8-2.7M).

The source of the basalt is not quite clear however. Basalt is normally not associated with subduction volcanism. Petrology and earthquake data have practically ruled out the possibility of the lava having an origin in melt generated by the subducting Pacific Plate. The Auckland volcanic field also sits some 200 km behind the active volcanic front of the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the subducted Pacific plate reaches all the way to the Auckland volcanic Field.

Basalt is usually associated with mid-oceanic ridges/spreading centers or hotspot volcanism. Again, petrology has not been able to find much evidence for hotspot volcanism either. Additionaly, the propagation of the volcanic fields is directy opposite to the relative motion of the plate; the oldest volcanic field should have been in the north and the youngest in the south if a hotspot or mantle plume was involved. It is possible that the complex geology with major plates subducting, twisting and turning in the area is causing localised decompressional melting , leading to magma migration upwards right below the city of Auckland. There is some extention ongoing in the area, so this seems like a plausible explanation.

The Pacific plate and the Australian plate in a complicated geological setup

This image shows the subdution margin, the strike-slip faults to the southwest and extention(volcanic back-arc) to the northwest of the subduction margin.

Monogenetic volcanic fields are very interesting and highly unpredictable. The eruptions are not very large or extremely violent, but they can occur pretty much anywhere within the field at any time. With a large city with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants spanning the field, this is exactly what you don’t want. Paricutin in Mexico is the most famous example of this type of volcanism. One day you are happily working your crops, the next day you have to flee from your land because a volcano decided to take over your land. Bad luck, deal with it. Any new eruption within the Auckland Volcanic field will have as much compassion with buildings, streets, highways, parks and emergency shelters as Paricutin had with the crops that were growing there. This is what makes Auckland a relatively dangerous place to live in because it is not clear how much warning time there will be and how accurately the location of an eruption can be predicted with modern equipment.

The reason why new volcanoes pop up at random has to do with the generation of the magma. It is important that the generation occurs very slow. Slow enough to be unable to build a plumbing system that would efficiently conduct the magma to surface. Every new, hot, fresh slug of magma finds it’s own path to the surface, erupts and that’s it. The conduit cools and is no longer usable for the next slug of magma that arrives several decades or hundreds of years later below a slightly different part of the volcanic field. There is not enough magma flowing into one area to create a magma chamber in which the magma can evolve and produce more silicic types of magma.

Ridiculous in Los Angeles, not so ridiculous in Auckland. Bring out Tommy Lee Jones!

We have all seen the Hollywood movie “Volcano” and no doubt that many Los Angeles citizens have had a very good laugh at it (the La Brea tar pits are the surface expression of a leaking oilfield through a fault, it has nothing to do with volcanism whatsoever), but for the citizens of Auckland, those images are not even very far from the truth. The past gives an excellent example of what can happen. The next eruption in the field will most likely follow this scenario:

1 – Magma is forced upward through weak points in the crust.

2 – Either the magma contacts ground-water, or reduced pressure near the surface causes gases to bubble out of solution. The result is a phraetic or steam-blast eruption. The heaviest material is thrown out horizontally to form a tuff ring. Lighter material is blasted vertically to form an eruptive column. After a few days, weeks or months, the volcano falls quiet. Several of Auckland’s volcanos became extinct at this point.

3 – Additional magma may rise in the conduit. If enough magma is supplied, fire fountaining starts through one or more vents. Small lava flows may be produced, which do not escape the tuff ring. Sometimes the eruptions build scoria cones.

4- If fire fountaining continues beyond this point, the scoria cones can coalesce to rise and bury the tuff ring. Lava flows can also fill the surrounding valleys.

5 – Sometimes the outflow of lava is so great that it undermines the cone, which collapses into the flow and is carried away, leaving a horseshoe-shaped breached crater. If lava flows for long enough, nearby valleys are totally filled in and the lava floods the entire area with a large sheet.

Isn’t that just wonderful right in your own neighbourhood?

Map showing the city of Auckland and the eruptive centers.Pick your favourite spot to build your house.

The big question that remains is then: When is the next eruption going to be? Well, you will have to chop off one of the arms of a geologist to get a clear answer on that, but there are usually several hundred to several thousand years between eruptions in this field. The last one was about 600 years ago, so it might be a while before it is “overdue”, but it might be soon as well.

El Nathan

725 thoughts on “Urban volcanism!

  1. Judith their is also on you tube the complete film about it search under mega tsunami you see then the complete one in one you tube film and you need not 5 parts of it under : Mega-tsunami: Wave of Destruction friendly greetz Deanne

      • One thing to remember, the page load time. It takes longer to load a page with many videos in it… So, either find them complete, or just post part 1 and people can search themselves for the other parts.

      • yes it is interesting but it fills me not with joy! And i think that it is a little dramatied /tice what the word is in english???? greetz Deanne

        • It is very overly dramatized. It is a typical docufiction for americans who enjoys to get scared.

        • That the pressure is going up as usual (Hekla borehole is a bit odd), and that there was a sudden small drop in pressure.
          Nothing unusual there.

          • I was refering in general and not in this specific case… i’m not understanding much what this “pressure” signify…

          • Ah, that is the strain, or roughly the internal motion in the rock. They drill a hole deep into the ground, then they seal it and fill it with a fluid, normally oil. As the drilled hole is bent or otherwise flexes the pressure will increase and decrease and they can then measure it with a digital preasure gage.
            Normally you get a motion like at Búrfell that gently goes up and down with the earthtide. But Hekla crashed during the winter, unknown how. And when they fixed it, it came back online a bit on the odd side.
            Since they turned it on the pressure has just kept on rising, untill a valve auto releases, and the few times it goes down it looks rather dramatic. In reallity it is just settling back, and will with time start to look like Búrfell.

            Hope that this helped, otherwise keep on asking!

  2. With the talk of tsunamis… I wold like to point out something that these shows tend to leave out… either by intention, or by just plain “missing it.”

    I don’t know if any real research has been done in the area, but a tsunami is an influx or release of power into a system. Generally, it happens in one spot… such as Lituya Bay. According to Wikipedia, Lituya Bay has had four pretty significant tsunami events; 1854 (395 feet high), 1899 (200 feet), 1936 (490 feet), and 1958 (1740 feet). These were caused by rockfall/landslides impacting the water at a high rate of speed, and in some cases excavating an air pocket behind the rock mass as it entered the water, effectively displacing a larger volume than that of the falling mass.

    In all instances, it is a point source disturbance to a system. When a point source disturbance occurs, the energy radiates outward and the energy density declines along the wave front until the wave transitions into a planar wave. The wave generated has a spherical wave front, meaning that the available energy is distributed along an ever expanding region as the wave moves away from the source.

    How far out this transition from a spherical to a planar wave occurs is where my knowledge falls short.

    With electomagnetic wave fronts, this is typically somewhere between six to ten wavelengths. Once you pass into that realm, far field propagation occurs. Anything closer is near field. In the near field, phase interference from spurious reflections can dynamically change what the signal strength is at any particular point, and the whole system gets quite complicated to figure out. (that’s why they make engineers).

    My contention is that attempting to link/correlate the effects of a point source even like Lituya Bay, which occurred in what is effectively, a bathtub, to a large scale Tohoku or Sunda Trench generated tsunami is ludicrous. The Tohoku an Sunda events both occurred along a length measured in hundreds of kilometers. When they happened, the wave generated was already a planar wave.

    The largest difference is that planar waves loose very little energy as they propagate.

    If you want to get into the nuts and bolts of it, Using “Pappus’s centroid theorem” you can calculate the volume of a wave and then expand that radius and see how the energy density precipitously falls as the wave front grows larger and larger. Again, at what point it becomes planar I’m not sure of.

    For anyone close to the source, surfs up. But far away, there has to be a lot more energy in it to make a noticeable effect.

    • A wave in a medium is always a wave, so it will be governed by the same laws as any other wave. Lurkings electromagnetic wave is a wave that characterizes that it is fairly not affected by a light medium like the atmosphere compaired to a media less state, this due to it travelling along a highly dense quantum-substrate.
      And a wave is wave, so it will also go about ten wavelengths before going from near field wave statics into far field statics via the dynamic threshold. Only difference being that the transition is more gradual in a fluid medium than in the quantum state due to the quantum state being dual-state only (think digital here with ones and zeros). One could say that a tsunami wave is analogue…
      The transitional dynamic field threshold is where I start to play banjo on lips and go into splits of joy, so I will not go there 😉

    • Thanks Carl. That validates my gut feel about it. (I’m a tech, not an engineer)

      Along the lines of tsunami genisis, there is a leading portion (positive volume segment) and a trailing portion (negative volume segment). Which you get first really depends on how the wave was generated. For sake of simplicity, I’m assuming a positive volume leading segment.

      For the sake of argument.

      Assume that a point source event generates a wave height of 100 meters and a wavelength of 4 km (real world ranges start at about from 9 km in length).

      The leading portion will have a volume of 3,599,976 cubic kilometers. At 10 kilometers, that 100 foot wave would have a volume of 35,999,761 if the height remained constant… which it doesn’t. That 3.6 million kilometers of water will only occupy 1/10 of the volume, so the wave height will have dropped to about 10 meters.

      There is room for error here, but it’s in the ballpark and illustrates the point.

      Take this out to 100 kilometers and the original volume of water can only occupy 1/100th the volume… wave height around 1 meter.

      Here is how it plots out.

      There errors are going to be in calculating the actual volume, the fact that the negative phase will always have a greater vertical displacement until the peak reaches the distance of the leading phase, etc.

      • I really hate how the natural disaster media always portrays a tsunami as a “wall of water” when they do graphic / simulated interpretations of tsunamis. Did they not see the footage of Japan / Sumatra? Tsunamis have wayyyy too gradual of a crest to look like that, and if they were a thin, yet ridiculously tall wave, they wouldn’t have the power to carry nearly as far inland as the longer-longitude waves are capable of.

        • They look a bit too much to the water as it came into Kao Lak (or how it is pronounced). As the boxing day tsunami came to land there it rose up into a proper wall.

          • R.I.P. Conrad from Thailand. Survived the tsunami and having his entire computer shop wiped out only to die on motorcycle a couple of year later.

          • There is something with motorcycles and the survivors of that tsunami. A friend of mine lost his wife and kid there. A year later he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident.

  3. I am so glad you pointed out the bathtub comment. That water had no where to go but up. I had seen this documentary some time back and thought the same thing at the time. That sure was some boat ride for those guys, though.

  4. I had put in a riddle of mineralogic nature on the previous page.
    For some reason nobody tried to answer it normally… So I will give it the rock-hard answer here…

    “Beware a woman scorned, as loud as can be. Not on the pudgy side, no, rather on the bright side”

    Clues in the riddler:
    Not pudgy = Light
    Bright = white
    Loud woman who is scorned = howling

    Answer = Howlite

    Gall stones and TNT… People have explosive galls in here 😉

  5. Is it okay that I hope for an eruption to take my mind off Hailey being away?
    Feel a bit amoral for wishing it, but still… Would give me something to think about.
    I just want an eruption that will not hurt or kill anyone… Hekla, please?

    • Seconded. But I suspect that once one happens, it will ignore our pious wishes and we’ll feel bad for having wished for one. With 7,000+ million humans and volcanic soils being so rich agriculturally, it’s inevitable that eruptions that didn’t harm anyone in the past will be major disasters today. Take Rabaul as an example – superb natural harbour because it’s a caldera, inside of which there is the 100,000+ city rubbing shoulders with no less than four more or less active stratovolcanoes.

    • nope, still there with one of her usual Hattie.. was thinking of photoshopping an Eyjo plume onto still from Katla webcam.. but that whould cause a “Daily Fail” effect (and crash IMO servers) so brushed that idea aside …

      • You could nick my Katlatubo montage (“What’s Going On at Katla, part 1”). Save you a bit of fiddling.

    • disregard, no news really, only small swarm *like boiling the Kettle for tea, that is not news*

  6. Let’s have another warm-up ahead of tomorrow, in fact two minerals, one easy one hard:

    Ridiculous man I am, different yet alike to my better-known twin

  7. Henry on the Avcan FB page seems to have worked out a pattern for the new swarms.

    ,,Since then the graph of evolution of earthquakes by deep marks a curious pattern of activity with regard to the two intrusions that we have had, which have given rise to four swarms… .. Let’s see:13 days between the first and third swarm15 days between the second and the fourth swarmtaking such data, gives us an average of 14 days… (maybe the moon walk through it is the same period that the lunar cycle).Considering all this, and assuming that the system follow this pattern, the next swarm, the fifth, would be at a depth of 25 – 20 km, to the 28th with an error of one day, or between 27 and 29 of this month if they do not fail me the calculations in the same area of the Gulf .seguido between 2 and 4 days later by a sixth swarm more shallow at 18 – 15 km… almost nothing…We will see that it passes, the hypothesis of work is on the table…(Henry),,


  8. Carl,
    iPhone bugging. Can’t answer email.
    Completely feel with you. Administration sucks. I should know as I work for one… 🙂
    And thanks. Have to learn to live with that…

    • Ah, the iPhones have a tendency to be a bit on the buggy side. I do my best to stay away from all iThings.
      We will talk more when your recalcitrant phone is de-bugged.

      • Or best once I sit in front of my own and proper personal computer…
        Yeah, bloody iThings. But you so quickly get used and addicted to them…

  9. Geo, juat wanna say that its not friday yet either..:) and to the rest of u, I read every answer I get, its just really much job answering f

    • Why does everyone try to surf on a phone???
      It is the least practical way of doing it on. I could understand a surfpad, but a phone…
      I have even a problem finding my phone… And even worse seeing what it shows on the piddly small screen…

      • And because I have a problem finding my phone I am known for calling from my computer… I have been told many a times how stupid it looks when I walk around talking into a 17 inch laptop…

      • You nearly need a phone nowadays. So if you want to surf while lying and find it silly to have a regular computer, a nearly computer phone, and one more hybridy shit in form of a pad, you end up on your phone.

          • Lying in front of my tv with the 27″ iMac would not be very comfortable… And after a day like that I don’t want to stay on a chair… 🙂

          • That is why I have a laptop… 🙂
            Big enough for me to see things on, and small enough to be comfy in the sofa…

  10. Bed time…….Shleep well all and play nicely whilst I am away 😀

    Time for volcanoes to play too whilst my PC is switched off off.

  11. Crap dude.

    A normal ocean wave moving at about 9 meters per second, with a wavelength of 50 meters, has about MJ of kinetic energy for each meter of wave face when measured from trough to trough.

    • “2” MJ.

      Dunno where that went to. That’s a cheeseburger! About Mag 1.0.

      No wonder beaches have sand. All that energy grinding away at rock over several thousand years…

  12. 2 brothers I have, 2 sides too; one harder and one smoother. Even am I called 2 names. From my family I’m the one that makes you think of the sky and wide waters.
    I’m a mineral, and we met last night…
    Well guys, you’ll sure get that one quickly…
    And good morning!

    • Jim Beam White lable and Jim Beam Black lable. The black lable is far smoother and has greater aging. Like wise, Its neighbor, Jack Daniels, also comes in a longer aged variety.

      I prefer Jim Beam since that was my drink of choice on deploymet… the “wide wataers” Drink too much and you will be laying on the minerals looking up at the sky.

      Two names? “whiskey” and “bourbon”

      • BTW, I don’ drink a lot, but it does help you forget about not being home during the holidays…. which is one of the reasons I went ahead and retired. Whiskey is a handy tool if used properly.

      • Nearly. If it was one on which we give points, I’d give you them even if it’s not the expected answer.
        Aaah, the breath of life. Pure, with water, improving sweets… I put whiskey in that category of things like wine, coffee, chocolate, where a whole live seems not to be enough to explore all it’s variations and potentials…
        As you drive a lot it’s good to hear you don’t drink a lot… 🙂

        • Yeah, I’m rabid about that. If there is even a chance that I may be required to drive, for whatever conceivable reason, I don’t drink.

          Spend two and a half years as a firefighter peeling people off of light poles and you get some clarity.

          • Holy sh. You have been one of them. Respect. Images that will never leave you. All road users can only thank those ready to bear that burden.
            And as we often see comparisons in matters of energy. For those afraid of some quakes here or there, imagine the 1M cheeseburger and start some calculations of the energies in play when a 1-2 ton heavy car is on it’s way with >100km/h… Several burgers I’d say… We tend to forget as we feel comfortable and safe in today’s cars, but why do they make crash-test only up to a certain speed? At high-speed all cars are structurally disintegrated…
            No reason not to like speed although, if the conditions are adequate it’s a fantastic drug…

    • Bah, not sure I’ll find time to be around later, so here’s the answer.

      Disthene. Another name for Kyanite (Cyanite). One name refers to this minerals blueish tones (cyan…), the other one to its unequal hardness in two different directions due to it’s structure (di – double; sthene – hardness; linguists will close all eyes on this vulgarization…).

      It’s an often forgotten fact that I just meant to share as I find it quite interesting. Hardness is a very useful indicator to determine minerals. As Henri came up with that mineral, I thought I might add that sample of our “randies-pleasures”…

  13. I know it is a bit early for the bar to open, but I need something to keep me warm, the wind is oh so cold…..takes your breath away, my fingers are frozen just feeding the animals, do it early so they can drink before it freezes over, found something for you to think about and enjoy in the northern summer, our lives are around male/female, this is a new take on it:

    Male or Female? You might not have known this, but a lot of non-living objects are actually either male or female. Here are some examples:
    FREEZER BAGS: They are male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.
    PHOTOCOPIERS: These are female, because once turned off; it takes a while to warm them up again. They are an effective reproductive device if the right buttons are pushed, but can also wreak havoc if you push the wrong Buttons.
    TIRES: Tires are male, because they go bald easily and are often over inflated
    HOT AIR BALLOONS: Also a male object, because to get them to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under their butt.
    SPONGES: These are female, because they are soft, squeezable and retain water.
    Female, because they’re constantly being looked at and frequently getting hit on.
    TRAINS: Definitely male, because they always use the same old lines for picking up people.
    EGG TIMERS: Egg timers are female because, over time, all the weight shifts to the bottom.
    HAMMERS: Male, because in the last 5000 years, they’ve hardly changed at all, and are occasionally handy to have around.
    THE REMOTE CONTROL: Female. Ha! You probably thought it would be male, but consider this: It easily gives a man pleasure, he’d be lost without it, and while he doesn’t always know which buttons to push, he just keeps trying

    • LOL! Good one! It’s Friday….. Some good answers to why Volcanoes are female please?
      I think they are like My husband…… Good to have about to keep warm, They look impressive but inside are soft and mushy, There may be snow on the top there is fire down below!

  14. Spica

    This was posted on the 20th June regarding the Cleveland Volcano the Spanish link wording was the same they just used an old photo :

    ..Long-grumbling Alaska volcano has explosive ash burst


    June 19, 2012|Yereth Rosen | Reuters

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – A remote Aleutian volcano that has been restless for the past year rumbled to life on Tuesday, shooting a thin cloud of ash several miles into the sky, which could pose a slight hazard to aircraft, Alaska scientists said.

    Cleveland Volcano, a 5,676-foot (1,730 meter) peak on an uninhabited island 940 miles southwest of Anchorage, had an explosive eruption at about 2:05 p.m. local time, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported…


    • Part of the report from Alaska Volcano Observatory.

      ..CLEVELAND VOLCANO (CAVW #1101-24-)
      52°49’20” N 169°56’42” W, Summit Elevation 5676 ft (1730 m)
      Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
      Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

      No further explosive activity has been detected at Cleveland Volcano following the event at 22:05 UTC (14:05 AKDT) on Tuesday. A small steam and gas plume has been visible in web camera images, and satellite data have detected thermal anomalies during the past 24 hours. Due to the increased likelihood of explosive activity at Cleveland, the Aviation Color Code/Volcano Alert Level remains at ORANGE/WATCH..

      The full report can be seen on http://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/avoreport.php

  15. On the Avcan FB Page JR has made a comment that Tenerife yesterday had a small EQ swarm.

    ,,Unfortunately, these days we can not access seismic signals provided by IGN, we will try to present something that eludes us. In this case, we offer them all day yesterday, MACI, (Tenerife), station that from 6 in the afternoon, a small typical seismic swarm of volcanoes occurs in active with very low magnitude events but that may see and listen, preferably with headphones or helmets.

        • I couldn’t live with even a cent of my hard earned money going in sustaining something like royals (probably I’d have been amongst them tearing the nobles to the guillotines in 18th century France…), but as I don’t have a King / Queen, it’s funny watching those who have. And Elisabeth II, Charles and his boys finally have one point that speaks for them – at first glance they don’t seem as much afraid of work than many other nobles seem to be…
          Respect for Lizzy two. I have a lot of male mates that would not know how to change a wheel on their car.
          England, Scotland, Ireland. Sure you all deserve to be seen as the individual entities you are, but you share a sweet touch of friendly madness that someone unites you in our view from more south. Sure I’ll come showing my kids your beautiful land and people more than one time! Then Iceland, the scandinavians, USA, New Zealand, Australia and and and… Life seem to be very short. And might tons of money rain down on us… Geez I need to push me to be maximum efficient with the shitty stuff work requires me to do… Back to that…
          Thanks for the pictures.

          • As if an elected president, representing 50.1% of the population on election day with usually much less popular support a year or so into the term is any better – they certainly cost a fuckin’ lot more and represent a much greater waste of public resources. Get your facts straight, perfidious colonial!

            😛 :mrgreen: 😛

          • Ooooook Henri,
            I give you that point. 🙂
            But I will never think anything else than noblesse is what you are and do, and not a title you get from previous generations…
            So whatever, long life to the kings and queens of that world. Just don’t come around my place or I’ll stuff your highnesses with swiss cheese until you explode and kick your royal asses straight back from where they come…
            Never mess up and angry chocolate-eating milk-drinker!

          • The Royal Family actually don’t cost us much at all – the revenues from the Duchy of Lancaster (the Queen is Duke of Lancaster) are far greater than the Civil List (which is what the Government gives them to live on). The money from the Duchy of Lancaster goes straight to the government. They bring in a vast amount of money from tourists and are probably a lot cheaper than having a load of ex-Presidents. They are above politics and so enable us Brits to have a Head of State who is nothing to do with our personal politics. Also means we don’t have to look up to our flag, national anthem, Prime Minister or anything else, because we have The Queen. I’m a royalist: having lived 30 years under a dictatorship I have seen the worst excesses of the presidential system. 😀

          • Good points Talla, agree, but each to their own. Some 300 years ago, a chap called Montesquieu laid down the principles for a working society where the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches were independent of each other. Amongst other things, this served as the inspiration for the since then long-defunct and perverted Constitution of the USA. Unfortunately, this division of power to protect the ruled from the excesses of the rulers ties in very badly with the wishes of people who see themselves as masters, be they born nobility or “elected by popular vote”, and ill tolerate any interference with their “right” to exploit society for their own good.

            Until we can come up with a system where the work-shy, underendowed and greedy with the gift of gob are executed as soon as identified and government entrusted only to those who think of themselves as servants of the common good as opposed to grab as much for themselves as they can using the common good as their pretext, democracy – or any other system of governance for that matter – will never work.

          • Don’t leave Wales out, we’ve got a fair share of the madness too, and extinct eroded volcanoes.

          • Talla has said much that I agree with. The revenue and business brought in by our Monarchy both directly via tourism and indirectly by all kinds of odd enterprises and services is greater than the tax payer pays out to sustain the System.
            I would be very sad to see the quirkyness of our social and governmental system disappear. We still have wonderful ancient laws that actually are useful. The Royal Forests such as the New Forest belongs to the Queen.Therefore it cannot be ruined by building plans, roadworks etc. The wildlife there being Royal property is protected too. You could still theoretically be executed for Shooting a deer there!
            Our ancient laws that are still in force today are superb
            It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing
            It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
            It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour

            Whether captured dead or alive, technically, any sturgeon, porpoise, whale and dolphin found within three miles of the UK shores can be claimed on behalf of the Crown and the Queen still owns them. They are recognized as ‘Fishes Royal’. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the king, the queen retain the tail. The purpose of this law was to ensure the queen had enough bones for her corsets and dates back to a statute from 1324 during King Edward II’s reign, and is still valid today.
            …….and finally for our Dear Cousins across the Atlantic ….Have I got news for you…….:D

            Several Assemblies of the United States of America retain ceremonial maces granted by British Sovereigns. These ceremonial maces represent royal power. Thus, US Assemblies are symbolically recognizing the power of the British monarch

            This is our heritage and culture. It is what makes me feel British.
            I also respect and admire other Countries who’s systems work for the common good,have just and compassionate Laws and Stand for honesty,equality and peace towards others.

          • Next time I feel alone in the cafe I will know what to do: Royal bashing. A reliable way to immediately get reactions from the British empire sensu lato… 🙂

      • Good morning /evening renato. I wish I was with you in the sunshine and warmth. here it is cold with torrential rain for the last 24 hours. No sign it will ever stop! I also wish I could send our excess water to Mali where there is is a major catastrophic drought.

        • Good morning, Diana.
          Same here: torrential rains, but fortunately not cold (well, for European standards).
          Streets are flooding, but I think rain is welcome during the Rio + 20 conference, so they might be convinced of the weather changes (June is usually a dry month!)

        • We had severe thunderstorms last night, but the day after is just magic. The air seem so clear and fresh, the plants look so intense and strong. Our roses lost some petals, but their deep red is saturated as if nature had played with photoshop… I just love my home office day (and I think my bitch just likes the additional attention too – I got an email from a prick, and her brown eyes telling “who cares, I don’t, let’s go out running around in the fields and chasing cats” helped me to answer like a true gentleman”).

          • ………. GeoLoco You and all the regular male contributers here are all true gentlemen…( the occasional cuss word and risque comments are easily overlooked because of your gallant behaviour.)

            OH grief! Did I really write that? My Feminist ideals must being slowly eroded away by age and tolerence. 😀

          • No, you’re not loosing the strength of your ideals. It’s the societal change that happens, too slowly, but it does. Soon we’ll have the right to be typical male / female again, without being judged or given a value because of it. I have a mother, a spouse and a doughter. So I’m among the most interested in completely equal rights. The fact that I like to lift weights, have a weakness for strong cars and love fat tool and strong language doesn’t justify to state I’m different from any girl, and doesn’t change anything on my belief that we need true equality.
            And I recognize that there was a lot to do and still is much work ahead until we can celebrate our differences and in the same time be treated completely equally.

          • @Diana:
            Since when did feminist stop loving men 😉
            I am a raving feminist in most ways. I am a firm believer in equal opportunity and equal salary, and I am damned convinced that I can do the dishes (but I hate ’em).
            And I have noticed that the ladies here are pretty good at raunchy comment 🙂

          • And now I show you my female side. I can’t stand watching football (soccer) or hockey matches… As friend families joined sometimes to watch that kind of stuff, I couldn’t stay in front of the telley sharing the passion with the “males”. They were not beer drinkers, but if you imagine the cliché – I don’t like beer neither… So I spent most of that time sitting at the table with the ladies. Well that was one interesting thing. They can be pretty rough an harsh, and seem to have ever stronger and weirder needs for a ind of competitions / setting a hierarchic structure that the average man (who finally just want to be the longest, biggest, strongest etc…). Dudettes are a bit more “complex” I’d say from my humble experience. But the topics that were discussed were much more down to earth. Price evolution at the supermarket. Family evolution in the social net. Tips and tricks to manage real everyday problems. Good stuff I never forgot and that helps me a lot when I cook or loose myself in bakery orgies… And a terrific humor. Looking at it with some distance and life experience, you are all perverted nasty bitches, but in a most subtile way (please, really take it as the very big compliment it is intended to be). I love it. So good that there are this different tendencies in our genders. That makes us better as humans that we could possibly be “alone”. “Equal” doesn’t request “similar”. And on the other hand we should look at each other and try to see what individual is in front of us, and not if its a man/woman, black/white, old/young… And as a true born hetero (and that’s so nothing against any gay or whatever), I just melt in front of how wonderfully nature shaped you girls and would give you all the rights in the world and be whatever you want from “da maaaan” to your sheep if we can just all be happy together.
            If reality was as simple as wishful-thinking…

          • Ha, I once knew a family of three sisters, all married and who all bought shares in a four storey house and renovated it to give them each a large one floor apartment. Kind of a neat set-up as they all got along really well. I’ll never forget one image though. There was a Formula 1 race on the telly and all the sisters were sitting in front of the telly drinking beer and smoking avidly watching the race and the guys were in the kitchen drinking wine and talking about recipes. The more things change, the more they…

          • It is an important step that the girls prove that they actually are absolutely as stupid as we are… 🙂

          • Hey Bruce,
            You both just look so good.
            And the picture is great. You guy for sure know how to use a camera. What cam do you have? The exposure is nice (especially for such mediocre light conditions), detail is superb.

          • I thought of a tripod. You’re not going to tell me you have a wife that does more than “point&shoot”? Then I’ll really start believing that things change on this world…
            (Please, ladies, this is a joke. A very bad one, I know, but I just had to let it out. Just hope my wife doesn’t read this today. This could easily end in 6-8 additional month without physical proof for all our emotions and feelings… :-))

          • When talking it’s like with emotions – they are best when you can’t explain them… 🙂
            Drink one for me too…

    • that is beautiful, a sign of things to come, nature has a way of telling us, mankind is just to wrapped up in day to day things to take notice

  16. Off topic but it’s chucking it down here in lancashire and there is a general flood alert in my area… but not a specific one for my small part of it.

    Was just wondering – how are the rest of you UK residents doing?

        • It’s high tide right now, pretty much, and I could see from the upstairs windows that the river isn’t even up to the bottom of the flood wall – in other words, it’s high, but entirely within the banks. So it’s fine.

          To be honest flooding is only a risk here if there’s a lot of rain coming down the river at the same time as a high wind backed tide or storm surge is coming up it – and there are no coastal alerts here, so apart from some backed up drains, we are probably ok.

  17. Happy Midsummer Everybody!
    I am going to be off for some BBQing and beers.
    The post should pop in at 16.00 Blog time, if not I hope one of the Dragons can release it.

    And if anyone wonder what the hork Midsummers Eve is, there will be an instructional video on how to celebrate it!

    Have a good evening!

  18. Good evening everyone. Since I got my new computer, I cannot see any of the video clips posted here – all I get is a great big fat black box. Is there anyone “computer smart” out there that can tell my why that would be and how to fix it? If not will just have to wait for my computer minded daughter to come round at the weekend. Is this all part of getting old…you have to wait for your kids to show you how to do things, when you have spent your entire life showing them??

    • If it has anything to do with computer, video, camera or phone technology, just grab any 8 year old kid. When I was 8, we were playing with dolls or cowboys and Indians with stick guns and arrows. My first data processing job involved 5 large machines to do the job that can now be done on a small laptop and laser printer. Isn’t high tech grand? 🙂

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