Answers to the friday riddles and volcanoes in Austria

  • DFMorvan solved the first part of the Name that Lava in a very short period of time. So i guess it was not very hard. I prepared the post in a hurry to provide some weekend entertainment and did not have much time to search around. Sissel and Chyphria got the other two points.

Here is the original image which Sissel detected correctly.

And a closeup shot nearby and from the same link showing the rocks in more detail.

Volcanic activity in Styria, Austria

Two Geological maps of Styria. The right one by Iris also showing recent earthquakes The other one comes from the best paper on the topic pointed out by chyphria and Kelda .
Some month ago, the question came up if there are any volcanoes to be found within the Alps. The hilly countryside in the southeastern part of Styria is not exactly “the Alps” but it lies very close and it is of the same origin as the Alps. The northafrican plate pushes against the europen plate and this caused the alps to be raised as well as some volcanic activity in Styria. Styrias volcanoes are part of the Transdanubian Volcano region ( Wikipedialink in German) This region stretches from Slowenia over Karintia and Styria to Burgenland and then well into Hungary.

Here is an image of the map found on the german site VulkanLand 
The original map is interactive:

There seem to have been 2 phases of volcanism. One way back in the Miocene dating back around 17 million years and a later phase in the Gelasium in Pliocene ended around “only” 2 million years ago. The first phase was an acid volcanisim and produced mostly shield volcanoes like the ones in Gleichenberg. Many of those ancient volcanoes were only discovered when drilling operations took place, in the attempt to search for oil. The later phase produced mostly basic Vulkanites and you find old remanants in the countryside mostly in the form of tuff cones. The rest has been eroded over the milenia.

The european plate subsided under the african plate, the rocks melted and emerged through cracks. So what happened then, was subduction volcanism, which can now be seen in many volcanoes of the famous pacific “Ring of Fire”. ( Renatos “favorite!”) One example of the older eruptions is the “Gleichenberger Kogel”. An eruption over a period of 5 million years. Only the peaks of the ancient volcanoes are still standing out in the landscape, the rest was covered up with deposits. If you consider how much of those deposits are needed to fill up whole valleys in between the volcanic cones and this was done in a few million years, it shows how distinctively a landscape changes in just a few million years, especially if you keep in mind, our earth is 4,52 billion years old. So there was, most likely never a dinosaur standing in the exact spot were you now hold your BBQ in your backyard.

Around 40 volcanoes once dominated the southeastern parts of Styria.

The quarry in the “Schaufelberger Graben” needs an extra mentioning because one can find Quartztracyte there, a rarer version of the common trachite.

The rock of Riegersburg is a diatrem an old volcanic vent filled up with Basalt. The outer layers erroded away and only the hardest pieces were left standing.
This Image is originally found in the german paper: Geomagnetische Untersuchungen ...


Now there is the castle on top in all its glory.

A short hirstory of the “Riegersburg” the castle also called the last bastion of christianity because it never fell to the invading turks: The first castle being built on the volcanic rocks was called „Ruotkerspurch“ named after its building father Rüdiger von Hohenburg in 1138. Later it was extended in Renaisance style. The one woman who had most influence to the apperance of the castle was Baroness Katherina von Galler who made the greatest styrian fortress of the 17th century. Nowerdays the castle is one of the mayor tourist attractions of Styria. People can visit the fortress and some original rooms and get informed about the witch-hunt. The rocks can be climbed with several fixed rope routes.

Schilcher is a rosé wine speciality of souther Styria produced  from the grape variety “Blauer Wildbacher”. It may ony carry the name if it was produced in this region, which is the smallest wine producing region in Europe. Many austrian wines are more acidic than mediteranian wines and so Pope Pius said: “They served a rosé vinegar which they called Schilcher.” Many of those wines may have been rather of little quality in oldern days but the quality improved lots and when i studied in Graz and made excursion to the southern styria wine country, we had some delicious samples of Schilcher. It is very typical for people living in Styria to head out into the countryside in autumn and drink the new wine or the not- quite – ready wine called SchilcherSturm with roasted chestnut. Be warned. Sturm tastes more like a grape juice, is really good but gets to your head easily and does wonders to your digestion.

Papers for further inquiry:


341 thoughts on “Answers to the friday riddles and volcanoes in Austria

  1. @Spica, I always knew you where spechial
    EVENING LIGHTS: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. The crescent Moon, Mars, Saturn, and first-magnitude star Spica have converged there in a loose but beautiful
    grouping of bright evening lights. It’s a nice way to end the day.

    • According to today there was a rare very fast and forceful CME detected yesterday. This wasn’t heading for Earth, but…
      I’m wondering about; is the Earth’s magnetic field in any case strong enough to deflect all the protons emerging from the Sun, regardless of any force? So we don’t need to take shelter if such a ultra strong CME is heading to Earth?

      • It would peel the atmosphere off like if it was an orange’s skin…
        No, I’ll let the pysicians who have already several times very well answered questions about that do it this time again.
        But like most of us, you will probably die of cancer, vascular problems (including heart attack) or a car accident rather than of the consequences of an ultra fat CME.

      • Mizar says:
        July 24, 2012 at 11:32

        So we don’t need to take shelter if such a ultra strong CME is heading to Earth?

        Mankind has been puttering around in our current form for a few hundred thousand years. Anatomically, we haver been in our current form for about 200,000 years, give or take a Cro Magnon / Neanderthal here or there. Behaviorally, about 50,000 years.

        For the sake of argument, lets make that 50,000 just to keep the numbers sane. That’s 18,262,500 days. Thats a lot of days.

        Using a short one month report of all CME activity observed on the sun, specifically November of 2001 (that’s all I could find that had enough info for this post), there were 96 CME events. That’s 3.31 per day.

        Over a period of 18,262,500 days, that’s about 60,448,875 CME events. It’s going to be off since the activity rises and falls with the Sunspot cycle. Nov of 2001 was about a year and change after the peal in 2000 and had a monthly smoothed value of about 65 to 70.

        Looking at that report, you find that 69.5% of the CMEs were launched within 45° of the Solar equator, 34.2% within 30°. Thats important because the Earth has an inclination of 7.155° with respect to the Solar equator.

        Since CMEs are pretty diffuse and occupy a large volume of space… about 20,673,515 will have been launched in a fashion that could affect the earth… and if you want to narrow it down further than that, 16.67% would have been along the 60° orbital arc that could affect us.

        That’s down to 3,445,585 CMEs that have probably hit us during that brief 50,000 year time span.

        Personally… I’m not too concerned.

        • In 300 million years, I never saw an extinction that was due to directly either 1) radiation from the Sun, or 2) radiation from the galaxy. Almost all came from meteor impacts (at least all mass extinctions), and some from large volcanism (Toba) or sudden climate change (early Holocene), but these last were always minor.

          Yes, perhaps in only the minor percentage of extinctions caused by climate change, some might have been caused by a sudden change in the output from the Sun. But by itself, there are many other reasons to explain sudden climate change.

          If an extinction happens because of the sun, at most they are small. The big ones are all caused by meteor strikes.

      • A CME probably larger than the one that happened yesterday, occur several times a century and cause auroras visible towards the equator. Yes, spectacular but several have already occurred in modern age (last century), with auroras seen even in India or Mexico. Yes, most of you have only heard of 1859 event, but they were several more similar events that had no physical impacts, and several of them in 20th century.

        Only one event, the 1859, was strong enough to set telegraphs on fire. Those kind of happen about every 500 years, per estimates.

        This kind of event would of course set fires around the world due to induced circuits in electrical grids. That is in fact a BIG worldwide disaster which actually worries me a bit. But at least, we can now predict a few hours in advance if this happens, and we can take measures to avoid induced circuits in electrical grids, avoiding those fires. Still, disruptions would happen worldwide, mostly to air traffic, GPS systems and mobile phones communications (with a minor change of internet communications suffering too).

        What worries me most is that we seem to have little plan to deal with it. Even if this is a relatively rare event.

        • However, these kind of strong solar flares do NOT have any impact in biological life. The radiation that you receive on surface is little. You can only receive risky radiation if you travel by airplane near polar latitudes during such an event. But even that amount of radiation is similar to a CT x-ray scan. The trouble is actually the risk of short circuit in ground (metalic) pipes and electrical wires. The electrical ground currents will wave and induce a current. Just by caution I wouldn’ t touch a ground pipe here in Iceland if we receive a massive flare. Even though I read that the voltage diference would only be significant over distances like 100 meters.

          • I now calculated that the speed of yesterday’s event was actually faster than the Carrington event (in 1859). The 1859 CME took 17 hours to reach Earth. Yesterday’s event had a 3400 km/s speed, which means it reaches Earth in a bit less than 13 hours. But I think there was an event last century that reach Earth in also around 12 hours, but only resulted in equator auroras (no other disruptions). Apparently the impact depends in many factors:
            – speed of CME
            – the need from a previous large CME before the main CME
            – the density of protons
            – the angle towards Earth

            Only the 1859 reached the top to these 4 categories. All other events might have been stronger for one of these factors, but smaller for the remaining factors.

            Also the 1859 event was the only white-light flare (very rare), when the flre is actually visible naked eye to an observer. That might explain something to helps us understand to know which events do pose a big threat to our grids.

            i read this in a paper a few months ago…

          • The danger to the grid is not the CME… it is the reconnection events that it triggers in our magnetic sheath. The CME stretches the sheath as it blow past, and when the lines of force re-connect and rebound, it’s like a rubberband snapping a magnetic pulse back towards the surface. In effect, an sheath generated EMP.

        • Still, disruptions would happen worldwide, mostly to air traffic, GPS systems and mobile phones communications

          Well, In-Q-Tel has invested in research into technology that maintains a GPS positional lock off of terrestrial radio in the event that the GPS satellite signal is lost…. so rest assured that the CIA is not very worried, they will still be able to track people with clandestine tracking units attached to them or their vehicles.

      • Thanks for this informative information guys, setting things in perspective and as you say GeoLoco, if the Sun was too dangerous for us, we wouldn’t be here. So the biggest challenge for us now is our brittle newly build infrastructure our civilization dependent on which is too sensitive for EMP’s generated by CMEs.

        • THAT is the question.

          Pre-alerting to one coming in is important. Placing systems in standby, both satellite and ground systems… designing substations to be able to handle the ground currents, that’s what is important.

          An old story is the $300 hammer, and a lot of ridicule is placed on NASA for it. But when you start placing tight specifications on what materials you shoot into space.. you get that sort of fluctuation.

          Here is one you don’t hear about very much. It’s a bit dated, but illustrates the point.

          TTL devices… “transistor – transistor logic” devices, are a family of integrated circuits that perform rudimentary such as inverters, AND gates, OR gates, counters etc. When ever you look one up they are in the family of “7400” series TTL. What a lot of you don’t know, is that there was another family of nearly identical “5400” series TTL. What was the difference? MILspec. The 5400 family could handle a wider temperature range. the RSN prefixed ones by Texas Instruments were radiation-hardened versions. These were the sort of chips used in equipment of that era.

          So, yeah, a CME can whack a satellite, but it’s not like the designers don’t allow for transients in the equipments operational environment.

          • He he I remember the “wire wrap” method to connect TTL’s instead of PCB. And when it comes to Operational amplifiers, it was always the μa741, used everywhere. Oh those days…

        • Hint 2, we are not that sensitive for EMPs.
          Sofar the sun has caused one known EMP that caused a problem, and that knocked out a decrepit electric grid in the US.
          CMEs at worst causes slight disturbancies. Nothing more.

          Seriously, CMEs is the largest non-problem hoaxed up by over excited media ever.

      • Ooooh…. COOL!!!

        Found a more comprehensive CME list.

        Here is the same as before, but based on several years worth of data instead of one month.

        In that period, there were 451 Halo events, CMEs that seem to balloon off and are directed right at us. That doesn’t mean they hit us, just that they were pointed directly at us when they occurred. The distribution plot does not take them into account, but the CME rate does. The distribution is based off of the other 17860 CMEs from 1996 to 2012.


      • It is strong enough. End of that discussion.
        Earth have been hit by solar storms millions of times harder than anything we have seen during our existance, and it did do jack shit with the atmosphere.

  2. Any ideas about the when and where of the next interesting volcanic eruption? Even if there have been a few since Merapi, they hardly merit the epitaph do they?

    • Most likely to happen would be Hekla and Grimsvötn in Iceland. But those are the ones most likely, offset that against all the volcanoes on the planet and it is pretty clear that it will be another that actually dues something interesting first.
      Predicting volcanoes is fun, but most often a moot thing to do. We can fairly well tell when one of the known volcanoes will erupt AFTER it has started it’s run up. But before that it is impossible and speculative statistical guesswork. Fun though, but has very little to do with reality.

  3. Video of Sakura-Jima yesterday. Maybe someone else can comment on whether this was from the normal crater or not.

    • Good evening. The Mila cam works for me on Hekla, Katla, Jokulsarlon and the Blue Lagoon; it does not work for Eyjafjallajokul, Gullfloss or Geysir (haven’t tried the rest).

    • Hi Dean! It’s working now. I had trouble with it earlier in the evening – but I thought it was my computer playing up! Good evening to you as well! 🙂

    • Oh I remember that one from a few months ago! There is a full 3 minute version around that draws away to a satellite above the clouds. I believe it was part of a Disney or National Geographic programme or something similar. Fantastic video and wonderful music! Thanks for putting it in…just…need…to go somewhere…. (green face) 🙂

    • I was on a 26 foot fishing boat off the coast of North Carolina going through 12 footers coming back from the Gulf Stream. I rather thought it was a lot of fun, but this would have scared the crap out of me.

      • I chartered a fishing boat on Lake Michigan. OOPS. Storm ran up on us, My hair was standing up from my head like a light bulb. There is a lot to say about that, but people who spend a lot of time on the water know how the details go. My stomach hurts just remembering the straight up and down off the back of the boat. Caught 3 delicious big fish. Very big.

    • Admiral William Halsey, Jr. is one of the most recognized Admirals in US Naval history.

      Following the Battle of Leyte Gulf, he decided to keep his task force on station rather than move away after refueling operations were disrupted by bad weather. Typhoon Cobra

      “TF 38 consisted of seven fleet carriers, six light carriers, eight battleships, 15 cruisers, and about 50 destroyers” Three of the destroyers were riding light due to being low on fuel and the ballasting that it provided. Some of those survived, but USS Hull, USS Monaghan, USS Spence capsized and sank. Many of the ships experienced 70° rolls… I’ve been in 40+° rolls and you get this nagging feeling “will it come back?” every time it happens. “Shitless” doesn’t even describe the fear.

      One thing that many historians tend to miss, is that Halsey had a second run-in with a typhoon. Having survived the board of inquiry, Halsey knew better than try and ride out the weather when a second storm threatened and moved his fleet. The storm turned and his ships found themselves in another typhoon. This one did much less damage.

      That’s the fun part about trying to dodge storms. The replenishment ship I was on had vectored south to avoid a hurricane coming off the US East coast so that it would pass safely to the north of us. No one even thought that the storm would then drop south behind us and start trekking west again. It never caught us, but it did teach me that you have to keep a close watch on them.

      • When I had by heavy seas experience, the Frigate that I was on went through Hurricane Iwa, a pissant Cat 1 in 1982. I distinctly remember worrying that the plexiglass on the front of the ships store might break. Why? Because I was standing on it… the ship had rolled that far.

        • yeah! It’s really wierd trying to walk down the corridor and finding yourself walking up walls!

    • After crossing the Atlantic sailing for 12 days down to the Caribbean in a Fyffe’s banana boat with no stabilizers I can categorically announce that I have no desire ,ever, to go on a world cruise if I win the lottery!!
      It wasn’t as bad as this but it felt like it. I quietly muttered over and over,”Stop the boat I want to get off!” I admit to some feelings of queasiness but was never actually seasick. I was just too darn scared to feel anything else!
      Another great mystery in life is why they put the dining room up front in the bows .:mrgreen:

  4. Good evening everyone.
    I have never seen Iceland so devoid of spots! It’s really .really quiet there,Unlike Sakurajima. . I often watch this Volcano to remind myself what an eruption looks like 😀 Rather smoky and ashy but it does have a good belch now and again!
    I read that Icland has experienced the lowest Low pressure in July for some time. Unusually very Low pressure. Maybe it has been this that upset the Hekla’s strain reading. Please, anyone ,can this be so?

    • Evening Diana! I think you might be right – the ‘fuzziness’ is tapering off now that the weather is calming. On the other hand the strain meters did this a couple of months ago and we weren’t sure what happened then – although I think the weather was also discussed as a factor. I guess we’ll just have to keep on watching! 🙂

      • yes Talla . Now it’s happened a couple of times I will check on the weather next time we get this.

  5. Talking of things Nautical, the EV Nautilus is on it’s way to the ANAXIMANDER SEAMOUNTS. This is the location of an old subduction zone so the geology could be quite interesting. I have included an abstract that gives more detail aboutt their structure.. If you have any questions you can ask ask the crew of the nautilus by clicking on the participate button when you open this link.
    There is a little maths equation that you must solve before your question is sent off… The maths is something like 6+4 so even I can do it!!! 😀
    They have all kinds of scientists on board so you get some excellent replies. If they don’t know they say so!! The best time to ask questions is when you see and hear the crew at work. They are in transit at the moment so wait until they get to their destination.

    Click to access Abstract_Isparta.pdf

    Here is a summary of the Nautilus crew exploration work until the end of August. A unique experience that I find absolutely fascinating.
    July 26-August 9: Anaximander Seamount, Turkey
    This project is a continuation of work from 2010 in the Anaximander region off the coast of Turkey that has proven to be rich in methane fluid emissions and associated seep fauna. Objectives of this mission include returning to the area where acoustic and video imaging surveys were conducted in 2010 to collect biological and geological samples with the Institute for Exploration’s ROVs Hercules and Argus to help characterize the seamounts.

    August 13-27: Eratosthenes Seamount, Cyprus
    The current tectonic setting of the Eratosthenes Seamount is unusual in that it represents a continental fragment undergoing active subduction as the African plate descends beneath the Eurasian plate at the Cyprus trench, speculated to be causing both uplifting of the Eratosthenes Seamount and faulting at the trench. The objectives of this project are to return to several regions explored in 2010 and also to expand investigations to new locations. The Institute for Exploration’s ROVs Hercules and Argus will be employed to conduct visual surveys. Side‐scan sonar may be used to map specific regions.

    • I’ve always been a fan of Steinmetz and Tesla.

      An interesting bit of “Connections” for you.

      Thomas Edison’s method of moving electricity was to use DC or direct current. Tesla’s method was to use AC or alternating current. There was a lot of competition over it, with the typical smear campaigns.

      Around this time-frame, William T. Love came up with the idea of connecting the Niagara River to Lake Ontario and to generate Hydropower for the industries of the area as they put electric motors in. A big downside was that DC did not travel very well at those voltages and would suffer a large power loss. Tesla’s AC technology made the transmission much more viable from longer distances, and eliminated the need for the canal that Love was having built. Westinghouse became the winner in that realm and put to use a lot of Steinmetz’s work in hysteresis, the behavior of magnetic cores in induction motors and generators. (the characteristic that makes transformers work as well as they do)

      You know that canal? The one that William T. Love was building? It eventually became a toxic waste dump and is the very same canal that shows up later in history with the Love Canal incident.

      • My fascination of Tesla made me build this little device. Not for the wireles energy bollocks but for the shear fun of it.

        It’s a 5 meter high teslacoil producing close to 1MV (It’s hard to measure it in such a harsh environment).
        Upto 600 times per second it throws out sparks reaching 10 meters.
        The picture had 2 seconds of exposure time so you should be able to find about a thousand of em 🙂

        • arjanemm ! You built that? Its awesome! What Inspired and truly clever people we have here. I like to think that it is because of all the knowledge and ideas that ebb and flow on this blog that at least one future scientist steps onto the road leading to great discoveries.

        • Thanks Diana. I like you’re contributions, you must have a beautifull garden 🙂
          It all started with a tiny little machine i built, puffing out 20 cm sparks.
          When my friend saw that thingy we joined up and made several coils of different sizes.
          Whit this one we lost control of our senses i think 🙂 Took us two year to design, collect bits and pieces and build the thing.
          The down side that we never get to play with it much and it’s sits idly in a rented garage.
          Finding a suiteble place to run it is a pain in the ***.
          First you need a wall socket of 3x125A Or a 2000 kilo generator. A truc with a crain to transport it all and build it up. Not to mention the permits when you want to show it in a public place. It’s not what you call a save electrical apliance 🙂
          So if you want it Carl, contact me, the Netherlands is only around the corner 😛

        • That is truly awesome—what a beautiful setting—like fire and ice! I would love to see that in person! Bet the sound is intriguing, what does it sound like?

        • Nice setting indeed. It’s on top of the nemo science museum in Amsterdam. In the back the mast of a replica VOC ship and ofcourse the skyline of the city.

          It makes a loud, rather monotonous rattle with a pitch depending of the speed of the sparkgap. If the sparks hit something the noise it a lot louder and the sparks brighter.

          The frame rate is not really high enough and the sound not quite in sync but it gives a nice idee what’s going on. During the video we slowly turn up the speed and thus the power.

  6. Good morning All.
    I would like to ask your help. Sissel liked the idea at a riddle gets answered. And as long as not too much is up with volcanoes atm, ( Yeah a 6.4 and Sakurajima is not nothing!) Anyway, i am preparing a page where i try to put in information about the volcanoes which were the answer to the Name that Lava riddles. But as long as i am no expert i need your help. Could we collect as much information as possible. Together … a team effort? With time, we might get a very cool archive on volcanoes this way.

  7. Manfred Betzwieser is reporting a greenish stain he saw yesterday at 2 pm on his blog
    The stain is approximately 100 m in diameter close to the north coast in direct line to the 2 km shallow earthquake from the 24th.

  8. OT, I’m sure that a few posts back Carl mentioned some soccer player and said that she was the female version of Pele, I was trying to find that so I could add a comment in the relevant spot.

    I sometimes wonder whether a kindly Dragon could create a search function so that we can search all the, post’s and comment’s texts ?? It took me a fair while to find a post on beachballs from Lurking even though I knew it was there somewhere, I dunno ??

    Anyway back to the original OT if Carl is indeed a fan of the womens soccer (as I seem to recall) then I thought I might mention that it starts tonight. And Brazil are playing in Cardiff, and I gather the tickets for the early rounds of the soccer have not yet sold out, so if he wanted to pop over for a visit I might be persuaded to buy him a pint for having set up the VolcanoCafe.

    At least Mount Pele is a volcano so it’s all still on topic somehow, though I don’t know if the footballer was named after the volcano ?

    • Hello Edward!
      The woman in question was Martha Vieira da Silva, or just short Martha. She is the currently best football player in the world. She used to live in the next building over from me. She used to come for BBQs I had.
      The best female football player before that was Hanna Ljungberg, she normally sits a few chairs over from me at the beach…

      My hometown was for quite some time the best team on the planet. But, now that money has entered full swing they have lost that place to larger cities with bigger wallets. But for a brief time I had the enjoyment of knowing the best of them personally.

      Regarding mens and female football. I quite simply prefer to watch beautifull women getting swetty by running after balls. I can be a swetty man myself, so why in heavens name would I care about mens football? Or male sport in general for that matter. :mrgreen:

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