The (ash) history of Iceland, in my backyard – Part II

In part I we found the main bands of a excavation here in SW Iceland:

– dark band of Veidivötn 1477
– double white layer band of Hekla from 1341 (or Öraefajökull 1362) and Hekla 1104
– dark band of Vatnaöldur 870 (called the “Settlement Ash”).
– thick white layer of Hekla 3 (around 1000 BC), one of largest eruptions in Iceland.

But there are many minor layers besides the obvious ones. We will get to them now.

FIGURE 1, Below the 870 settlement ash layer, there is one unknown grey and well visible band. There is also a possible eruption of Grimsvötn and Hekla, and then we find the major Hekla 3 band. Below that, we find a thick dark band, probably from Katla, around 2200 BC, and before that we probably have the ash from the Grimsnes eruptions (dating 3500 BC). Photograph by Irpsit, all rights belonging to him, used by permission.

An unknown metalic grey layer

Above the Hekla 3 layer, there is an unknown layer. It has a strange shiny metalic gray color. This is an unknown eruption estimated between 500 AC and 500 BC. Many eruptions happened at that time, not only from Hekla and Katla, but also an eruption at Torfajökull at 150 AC, Hengill at 80 BC (which is only 20km to the west), and also in Vatnafjöll. I don’t think this ash came from Katla or Hekla, unless they erupted a different ash. This type of shiny metalic ash color is notoriously different from every other ash I have seen in Iceland. But I have seen similar shiny lava rocks in Iceland, in a few places, but I can’t remember where. Until then I cannot make a guess about the identity of this layer.

There also seems to be a brown band between the Hekla 3 and the unknown grey layer. It is probably an undated eruption of Grimsvötn, which usually has this color of ash (around 100-500 BC). There is also a light colored band (just above Hekla 3), and that is probably an eruption of Hekla (around 500-1000 BC).

Below the Hekla 3 layer, there are several bands, shown in Fig.2. We first find a thin band of orange material (at 53cm), then a very large band of dark ash (starting at 56cm), and then another broad band of orange material at around 65cm. There is a thin white layer between both broad bands of dark and orange material (not visible in Fig.2).

FIGURE 2. Below Hekla 3, there is a lot of bands to be found, upon close look. But especially notorious is one dark band around 2000 BC (56 cm deep), possibly from Katla (its something really thick), and also a double band around 5000 BC (75cm deep). Photograph by Irpsit, all rights belonging to him, used by permission.

Around 1500-2000 BC: Torfajökull and Katla?

The first thin orange band is estimated at around 1500 BC. The most likely candidate is the eruption of Torfajökull around 1200 BC, because it tend to erupt such colorful rhyolite ash. The broad grey band is estimated around 2200 BC. Most likely it was one strong eruption from Katla (tephra N4 or N2). What is was, it was big, because this is a thick layer. However around this time, we also had records of an eruptions at Langjökull, dated as ~2050 BC, which was actually nearby, only 40km north (it’s closer than Hekla), in a small shield volcano named Lambahraun. If the eruption started explosively, then its ash might have reached here, but officially there is no known ash from the Langjökull volcanoes and I also don’t expect that even a nearby shield volcano would deposit such a major amount of ash. So we stay with Katla.

Hekla 4 and Grimsnes eruptions (2300 to 4200 BC)

The thin white band is probably the eruption of Hekla4, around 2300 BC, which was a very large eruption. The broad orange material is almost likely from nearby Grimsnes volcano, that erupted several times circa 3500 to 4200 BC. I am actually inside Grimsnes volcanic region; its monogenic cones are just 5-8 km away. During the Grimsnes eruptions, there was some local ash fall. The volcano is just composed of crater rows, with one major explosion crater and the other cones being a deep red. It’s no wonder that the layers from Grimsnes eruptions are of a similar color.

FIGURE 3. Grimsnes volcano, located only 5km away. Its the smallest active volcanic system in Iceland, producing crater rows every few thousand years. It produces plenty of iron-red rock material. In the picture, we see Seydisholar volcanic cone, with Búrfell pleistocene volcano in the background (this is another Búrfell; and behind it lies Hengill to one side and Langjökull to the other) Photograph by Irpsit, all rights belonging to him, used by permission.

Hekla 5 and Botnahraun/Laki, or Holmsá fires eruptions, or Thjorsáhhraun (5000-6000 BC)?

At around 75cm deep (estimated at 5000 BC) we find what looks like a double layer: white material above and a deep dark brown below. It is easy to assign this white material to Hekla5 (another large Hekla eruption at 5050 BC). The brown material underneath is unknown, but likely Grimsvötn. Possibly the Botnahraun/Laki eruption. Alternatively it might also correspond to another big eruption at this time: the Holmsá fires, another Eldgjá-like fissure that opened to the east of Katla. And still it might also be the Thjorsáhraun lava from Bardarbunga/Veidivötn, around 6600 BC. That lava actually travelled some 200km from Veidivötn towards the southwest, passing only cross 5km east from this location. That is the largest lava field on Earth since the ice age.

And now we get even older in time… Seydisholar 7000 BC

Below this point, it starts to get complicate to assign the identity of any layer because of a mud deposit underneath. There is some orange material just above it, which I assume it might have been the eruption of Seydisholar at 7000 BC, from the nearest Grimsnes crater row. That was the largest eruption of the Grimsnes system, with an estimated VEI4. And I am just a few kms from it.

Saksunarvatn ash 8000 BC?

At some points, there is a strange thick dark brown band around this depth, at around 70-80cm (see Fig. 4), which could have been the famous Saksunarvatn ash layer (Grimsvötn, 8000 BC): the largest eruption in Iceland in the Holocene. This ash is widespread recorded in northern Europe, and is used as an important marker dating the beginning of the Boreal period (end of the Young Dryas glaciation). Both the double layer (the 5000-6000 BC, referred before) and this deep dark brown layer, seem to ondulate, with one sometimes appearing over the other, and then exchanging positions. Their age is therefore highly uncertain.

Figure 4. Overall of our soil profile, with major bands identified. We cannot go before 8000 BC, as mud was deposited. Photograph by Irpsit, all rights belonging to him, used by permission.

The tale of a river bed, nearer sea levels, and also the ice age

Below 90cm we mostly find mud. This might have been a time when glaciers were over this region. At the glaciation peak, the ice sheet must have been at least 400m thick here, because of the nearby tuya Ingolfsfjall. However the peak glaciation must have been short, because we find much more shield volcanoes at this region than tuyas. About 5 km north, there is a large moraine, from where most of the time the large glacier terminated. For most of the ice age I was just at outside of the glacier.

The mud might been also caused by nearby Hvitá river (which drains the now distant Langjökull). The excavation is just next to a waterfall-like valley, thay I know it was the path of Hvitá river now 2km east.  Therefore it might been subject to much soil erosion and river deposits sometime before 8000 BC.

In early post-glacial time, the sea level was higher and the coast was actually nearby. There is actually evidende of a coast just 5km south (in the nearby shield volcano Hestfjall). The sea must have been pretty close and again this location was subject to much erosion. Because of all these reasons, we possibly do not have the record for the famous Vedde Ash (Katla 10.000 BC), which is one of the two largest eruptions in Iceland in recent millenia; the other was the Grimsvötn Saksunarvatn ash (both VEI6). In one spot, I did see some white material around 90cm deep, but I am unsure if this was it.

Ancient Lava (from Lyndhalsheidi)

Finally, on the bottom of the excavation, around 1.5m deep, there is a bedrock of lava rock (visible at some spots at lesser depths, such as in Fig.2). They are eroded and rounded (probably by the last glaciation). This is lava from the shield volcano Lyndhalsheidi that is just 8km northwest. Its lava actually flowed where I now stand, but that eruption was on the interglacial before the last glacial, so it was a long ago. However the glaciation continuously exposed and eroded that ancient bedrock.

Layers near the surface

There is no significant ash layer since the 1477 Veidivötn ash. However we can see sometimes faint layers from recent eruptions. One black layer around 5cm is probably the VEI5 Katla 1918. One faint white layer at 8cm is probably Hekla 1845 eruption. And a faint dark layer around 12cm is probably Laki 1783 (but it could have been the eruptions of Katla in 1755 or 1721; not visible in Fig.5).

FIGURE 5. Ash layers from recent eruptions in Iceland. There are not as continuous as the bigger ones, they only appear here and there. One can also see that the main white layer are actually two distinct white bands. The ash of 1477 is also double but because it started as a first eruption of rhyolite pink ash from Torfajökull, followed by basaltic brown ash of Veidivötn later. Photograph by Irpsit, all rights belonging to him, used by permission.


FIGURE 6. Again, an overview of the soil profile, but now using the initial picture form part I, and color enhanced. It’s exciting to contemplate the history of 10.000 years of eruptions in such a small soil wall. Photograph by Irpsit, all rights belonging to him, used by permission.

To finish today I read some papers that described which ash layers appeared in Greenland ice cores. We find there the 1362 Öraefajokull, 1104 Hekla, 870 Vatnaöldur ash, Hekla 3 and Hekla 4 eruptions, the very large ash layers of Saksunarvatn/ Grimsvötn (8000 BC) and Vedde / Katla (10000 BC), followed by many ash layers from Katla, Hekla or Grimsvötn, and finally other two very large ash layers: one from Tindfjallajökull Thorsmörk ignimbrite, 53.000 years ago (that was a VEI6+, and possibly even a VEI7). The volcano is still dormant now and right next to Katla and Eyjafjallajökull); the other big eruption was 300.000 years ago, and hypothesized to be from Krafla or Hofsjökull.

After this lenghty post, please feel free to call me a big ash hole.


Editors note: Do click on the images, then you will see all of the details since they are rather large.

Update by Spica:
Here is the link to part I of the story.

176 thoughts on “The (ash) history of Iceland, in my backyard – Part II

  1. Interesting article. Thank you.

    According to Wiki, Hengill erupted about 90AD +/- 100 years. A possible contender for the unknown ash layer? I am assuming that, as the layer seems to be fairly thick, the volcano responsible was nearby.

    • It certainly is! I wonder how long it is before a vulcanologist dares present a set of manuscripts before a publisher, presenting the science in more detail than Life Time etc. There is a market between “Volcanoes For Kiddies”, Volcanoes In Pretty Pictures (reading not required)” and “Computation of Magmatic Constraints Using the Nb/Xe Content of Petrothooleites From the 8313 +/-73 BP Eruption of Frrump Volcano”.

      • I’d recommend:
        – Ari Trausti Guðmundsson, Halldór Kjartansson: Living earth. Outline of the geology of Iceland. Reykjavík (Mál og Menning) 2007

  2. Brought forward from the last thread… since it really applies.

    For all… but mainly for Irpsit.

    “The tephrochronology of Iceland and the North Atlantic region during the Middle and Late Quaternary: a review” HAFLIDASON et al

    Click to access 10300452_Haflidason.pdf

    And a look at that shows fitted strain across the Hekla, Vatnafjöll, Vatnaöldur, Veiðivötn, Eldgjá are of about 0.24 ±0.05 mm/km.

    “Extension across a divergent plate boundary, the Eastern Volcanic Rift Zone, south Iceland, 1967-1994, observed with GPS and electronic distance measurements” Sigurjon Jonsson et al.

    Click to access Jonsson_EVRZ_JGR1997.pdf

    The bolded reference is really really handy for those of you playing the home game.

    • BTW… not all of those layers will be in Irpsit’s photos. How and where the ash was put down depends on prevailing weather and at what level the material was erupted to.

      The paper uses tephra deposits from a large number of sites.

      • Yes.

        Last weekend, I went to Eyrabakki, at the coast some 30km south from here, and saw a cutted soil profile (I am looking for these in Iceland) and I saw clearly and again the white tephra around 1100-1300 AC (probably from Hekla), the Settlement ash from 870, but not the Veidivotn 1477 ash (that makes sense because I am much near the volcano than Eyrabakki). But I saw there a much thicker black ash band for what I think is Katla 1918, just a few cms below the surface.

        It all depends in placement, and that depends in distance to volcano and wind.

  3. Raymond Matabosch has coomented on the Avcan Face book that the latest earthquake at 14km depth happened at the vertical of the cova Bucaron.

    Does anybody know the signifcance of this is anything?

    1159288 01/08/2012 10:48:30 27.6817 -18.0321 13.7km 1.3 mbLg SW EL PINAR.IHI


    • Other than being pretty much directly under the collapse scarp for the El Julan slide?

      Midway through the Bob festival, there was a clustering in this region that I thought was going to be a possible eruption site.

      It bears watching.

    • well I can probably find you 10 more in the same zone. Shall I try ?
      Lately he seems to be making gas concentrqtion measurements with a reflex camera and some color lenses….

      • Dunno. If that is his evidence it’s pretty shitty. To his credit… (maybe) he states this about the pics “in ignorance of the filters used by the operator, we will not allow ourselves to comment on -:” but that depends on whether or not Garble™ Translate didn’t reverse the meaning…. which it is prone to do.

        Also… I’m not sure if he is still tying to claim a higher magnitude based on the Phase listing and the locally detected (and automatically derived) amplitudes for the quakes. There is a colloquialism specific to the deep south… “That dog don’t hunt”

        The adjusted magnitude sets the scaling of the temporary seismos (such as CTAB) to match that of the more permanent and well understood gear. Failing to do that makes the entire set of quakes after their install worthless in doing detailed analysis.

        If I drop a 5 kilo rock on top of a sensor it’s gonna look quite a bit larger than the actual force of impact.

  4. So… is Santa Maria erupting? I couldn’t find anything in the news outside the earthquake report seismogram.

    • I collected samples of every ash, but I haven’t been to town (postal office) yet. But I am curious to send them out to Birgit/ to know what comes out of SEM.

      • My gut feeling tells me is either Hengill or Hekla. I have seen similar metalic looking lava rocks here in Iceland but I do not remember where I have seen them, I think it was nearby, even here in Grimsnes region. But I doubt Hengill could blast a rock in my direction. That would have left a ash that would be common knowledge today to geologists (unless they missed it).

        • OK, I just saw it. I actually have one of these metallic rocks in my house, of my weird lava rock collection. But as I am terribly untidy, I do not know where I brought it from. Fatal mistake.
          I have this rock, if my memory does not fail, since this winter, so there is not a lot of places from where I could have brought it. I have been mostly in southwest Iceland, where lava has flown from Grimsnes, Hekla, Thjorsáhrau, Katla, Thingvellir (Hengill and Langjokull area) and I have been also to Laki. If the metallic rock came from one of this volcanoes, then the mysterious ash cam from there as well.

          I promise you Carl, I will pay attention these next weeks, as I travel to these areas again to watch out for where I found this kinf of rocks. I will update a pic of this rock now…

          • Been to Krisuvik as well. I will browse my entire photo folders because I probably took a picture when I found these lava rocks.

          • The lava metalic luster was probably because of its content in either iron sulfides (like pyrite) or some other types of metalic sulfides (such as lead sulfite), these minerals often have these shiny appearances. Now, where could an eruption happen with such a high content of that mineral?

          • The Grímsnes volcanic systems is known to have a high iron content. I don’t know if this could be an explanation (no expert). 🙂

          • If you find another rock, grab hold of it for Alan 🙂
            It is a sweet ash, and if the stones are anything like it….
            Could you take a pic or two of the stone and send to me?

          • @Irpsit:
            Karens warning is apt, it could be a “fat” massive sulphide of some sort, or even worse, an arsenide. Neither of those are good for the health. When I handle arsenides I make damn sure to use rubber gloves and wash my hand. But, I know you have access to rubber gloves so…. 🙂
            My guess is going towards a nickel or tin arsenide.

      • Could you get an extra sample of that grey metallic ash?
        It would be fun to hear what Alan thinks about it, he after all have other possibilities of testing it.

      • Irpsit, I am not sure if i can place this ash in the SEM,.. metallic sounds magnetic, and this could pollute the SEM which would be very bad and i wont risk it.
        We will check with magnets and will do whatever is possible. Could you please try to get a reference ash? From those candidates you think could be the culprits. That would help.

  5. Thank you Irpsit. My reading pile is mounting. What a terrific exercise this is for us all to learn the timeline of Icelandic eruptions. Well Done irpsit and thank you again.

  6. I might be away for travelling tomorrow. The weather is so nice.
    Either I go to Hofsjokull region or Vatnafjoll region or hiking Hengil or Skjálbreidur. I am undecided.

  7. From Geolurking paper:

    “What can cause the temporal fluctuations observed in the deformation field? (referring to the EVZ dead zone rifting) One explanation would be a pressure drop in a magma reservoir near the line, but a Mogi point source model of the Hekla volcano gave insufficient movements along the distance profile. (…) The third explanation could be aseismic movements or pressure changes of large bodies below the crust, resulting in large-scale fluctuations. An upwelling mantle plume centered below Iceland and movements of its material along the spreading ridge, to
    the southwest and north, have been proposed [e.g., Vogt, 1974]”

    So, this means that the dead zone is actually spreading and rifting, because magma is upwelling below there and intruding, but it does NOT makes any earthquakes. But ocasionally, the tension accumulated is so large that it results in large rifting episodes, varying from 1m wide in 1861, to 5m wide with Laki, and 10m wide with Veidivotn (as stated in the paper)

    • What happens is that the researchers of this paper, discovered over the 1970s, that spreading was recorded in GPS in the dead zone, while this was not occuring prior to 1973. Something changed between 1973 and 1980, and they suggest a pulse of magma from the hotspot resulted in a series of events: 1974 earthquake in Bardarbunga, eruption in Krafla and rifting in 1975, Hekla erupts in 1980 and 1981 and several earthquakes occurred at Katla in 1976.

      It might be that we are just beginning to experience a series of these events again, as activity seems to be increasing towards SW and N Iceland.

    • One… ah, little detail they may have missed… is that this is the new boundary of the Eurasian and North American plates.

      There are several hundred million square kilometers on either side of that boundary that have a direct influence on what stresses it feels. Likewise, Africa poking at the underbelly doesn’t help, nor does that little collision going on over in the Himalayas.

      Mogi model doesn’t account for it? Why am I not surprised.

  8. Great stuff Irpsit. Really nice to peer over your shoulder while you are investigating this stuff. I remember standing at a road cutting with my cousin about 20 km from Okataina (the cutting was right near his house) and both of us looking at the size of past deposits (which ranged from about 4 cm to 4 meters) and both of us just looked at each other and my cousin said “guess I better keep a suitcase packed.”

  9. Curious – For a normal to fairly explosive stratovolcano, would it be a pretty safe to assume the below “steps” as a very very very rough “estimate” on some of these volcano’s life cycles?

    The light attention brought up about Santa Maria reminded me how similar it was to Krakatoa, St. Helens, and many other volcanoes that have had very large eruptions in the past, but now show vulcanian style eruptive processes.

    1. Explosive volcano in a subduction trench zone forms a plinian eruption (vei 5-6)

    2. Eruption ceases, potentially resulting in caldera formation.

    3. Post eruptive “settling down” as volcano finalizes eruptive process before transitioning into a more stable state.

    4. Vulcanian Eruptive processes begin, with frequent small scale activity for anywhere from 20-2000 (?) years. While this is happening, the magma chamber rebuilds, resulting in a gradual uplift and rebuilding of the overall volcano.

    5. Eventually, the resurgent dome / overall volcano grows large enough that the lava tubes olidify to a level where vulcanian style eruptions are no longer possible. I would guesstimate some of this would be a result of simply having more “stuff” to go through as a volcano grows larger from the magma chamber refilling, and most of it simply due to the magma in the sills, dikes, and main lava tube solidifying to a level where it completely blocks vulcanian activity.

    6. With the throat of the volcano blocked, pressure builds, which can last for quite a long time, depending on how quick the magma chamber refills, how high silica content in the magma is, heat input into the system, and how strong the “plug” is at holding down the pressure.

    7. Eventually pressure reaches a point where the plug can’t hold the load anymore, and you get a plinian eruption, and start the process all over again.

    • You have to look deeper down in the volcano. A sufficiently large eruption damages the volcanic system. If it goes caldera then the magma chamber is for all points and purposes gone, and will have to be rebuilt and that take ages. Even if it does not go caldera it will still have a damaged chamber with a fractured roof, so the roof cannot sustain high enough pressure for a large eruption.

  10. Hi, i would like to edit the post and add the link to part 1 so people find it more easily. Yes???
    And can someone please say something over at eruptions. ( I cannot post there as you know) this might be an interesting project for other layman too.

  11. OT but half arsed related.

    KarenZ asked about the mystical H2 Tephra and when it occurred. I still don’t have an answer for that.

    Referring to “The tephrochronology of Iceland and the North Atlantic region during the Middle and Late Quaternary: a review” (linked earlier) I noted that some of the data in that paper used “probably not adjusted” C14 dates. That would be specifically columns 2 and 3 in figure 6.

    C14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon.. which is normally C12. C14 decays at a rate of about 5,730 ± 40 years. That means that if you have one kilo of pure C14, in 5,730 years, only half of that would be left, the rest having decayed to C12. Bacteria, Trees, Humans and other critters don’t really care much about what sort of carbon it is when they take it up to use it in biological processes, so generally the amount of carbon 14 in the life form will match whatever the normal levels of carbon 14 are at the time.

    If the critter dies, they are no longer taking in carbon (they be dead) and whatever levels of C14 there are, will decay to C12 at the rate mentioned. (5,730 ± 40 years). If a scientist or researcher comes along and finds what is left, they can measure the C14 concentration and work out how old the remains are. Usually, it’s some sort of wood or charcoal deposit that they analyze. If you find a charred piece of wood embedded in a tephra layer, odds a pretty good that you can get a pretty good date for when that tephra layer was laid down. Charred wood is not known for burrowing around after the fact.

    Now… thats all fine and dandy. Is the C14 level constant? Well, no. It turns out it’s not. That gives us a problem since how much C14 is left depends on how much you started with. C14 is formed from cosmic radiation hitting the Earths atmosphere. Nitrogen (N14) is hit with a high energy neutron, one of the protons is blown out, and the resulting atom is C14.

    This means that as the background cosmic radiation fluctuates, the C14 production rate changes… and from that, the normal background level of C14 to C12 changes over time.

    Other things go into it such as the uptake of CO2 and subsequent release of it by the oceans. (it’s the largest source and sink despite what any one has to say) CO2 solubility in seawater is a direct function of the water temperature. Over the temperature range of the ocean surface, solubility levels vary by over a factor of two. (cold water holds more CO2 than warm water)

    Anyway… one seriously long drawn out explanation later. Here is what it’s about.

    You can calibrate those C14 dates pretty closely if you use the IntCal09 calibration curve data located here:

    The Hekla H4 tephra is listed with a C14 date of about 3850 BP (C14). That works out to 4245 BP in calendar years. (with an error of about 12 years).


    • There is one project that I have on back burner… that in all likelihood I won’t get to.

      I did a preliminary run and the correlation was HORKING BEAUTIFUL. It really deserves a more detailed look. I don’t have the plot handy, but here is what it was.

      I took the Atmospheric CO2 concentration as measured by satellite, averaged it up on a latitude basis. All 30°N measurements were averaged, all 32°N etc. This was done for the whole globe.

      I then took the “skin temperature” as measured by satellite and did the same.

      Plotted together, you could see where the CO2 concentration meshed with the surface skin temperature… absorption by the sea likely occurring in the northern latitudes and out gassing in the tropics.

      To really do this justice it needs to run for more than a single month. (I did November) That way you could watch the flow shifting throughout the year.

      It didn’t prove anything other than it is likely a good tack to take in investigating the issue.

      If anyone wishes to take up that as a project, the data is available via the Giovani website.

      It will be quite some time before I get around to having enough time to throw at it… if I ever remember to do it.

        • In a way, yes. But without any conclusive math stuff.

          There was a pervasive speaker who made a seriously good argument about it. (sorry can’t remember who) but it followed along the ideas raised in here.

          I’ve been ruminating on how to get some nugget of knowledge out of the concept, something I can beat someone about the head and shoulders with it. (I tend to do that occasionally)

          I have outlined the idea, but there are some areas where I am deficient, but that need to be addressed in order to do it properly.

          Diffusion rates. How fast does Sea Water take up CO2? Finding the solubility is peicemeal once you digitize a solubility curve and fit a formula to it. The rate is going to be dependent on partial vapor pressure. This is going to depend on the atmospheric concentration of CO2 and the prevailing atmospheric temperature. Then you are going to have to account for the surface area in order to find the rates of exchange.

          Personally, I think it will yield an interesting bit-o-data. Simplifying it by just looking at it by latitude keeps you from getting lost in the griding controversy. A lot of vagaries come up when different research groups start dicking around with the data by trying to grid for different cell resolutions. That’s a huge uncertainty where political ideologies creep into the data.

          As you can see, the whole idea grew in complexity… so for now it’s on the back burner. If a student out there needs a research project, this would be one pretty good one to fiddle with. They would probably do it more justice than I could.

          • You know, you might equally well prove yourself wrong, or more to the point, prove that what you hope is not right is right.
            I though think it is a really interesting way to go about it. If you ever get around to it I know a few people who would be interested in it.

          • Yeah, I know. I also point out to a guy in another forum who was yammering about alleged natural gas in the water that pulling the samples and taking it to the lab would settle the matter once and for all. Provided someone with expertise and quality control over the process were involved.

            Hard data tends to unscrew a lot of yammering ass hats and shut them up.

          • Regarding the Higgs, ( They did not say it was the Higgs just for sure a boson at around 25.3GeV +- 0;6)
            Yeah guess it will be the Higgs or a real surprise particle ( which i dont think) but there might be more Higgs, thats interesting . I think. And SUSY which. I heard they did not find a single SUSY particle, which does not mean they dont exist.

  12. There may have been something felt on near Frontera and the Los Llanillos areas late last night.

    ,,Buenas noches, alguien que viva en, Los Llanillos, alrededores… sabinosa…. ha escuchado hace unos minutos un ruido extraño que ha durado mas de 1 minuto? gracias.
    Do good night, someone living in Los Llanillos,… sabinosa surroundings…. heard a few minutes ago a strange noise that has lasted longer than 1 minute? Thank you. (Translated by Bing)
    8 hours ago · Like · 8.
    Ingrid Parparcen acaba de temblar en este momento sentido en frontera
    just tremble at this time sense in border ,,!/pages/Actualidad-Volc%C3%A1nica-de-Canarias-AVCAN/163883668446

  13. Irpsit, wonderful post, and your photography is excellent. Thanks!!
    (FYI – Up VERY early – again.)

  14. There’s a spike showing on all the Iceland charts – would this be either the 6.1. in Central Peru or 6.3 in PNG?

  15. For those trying to connect the quake in Peru to Iceland.
    I would drop that one, something started around around 9.50 in Katla. I am not sure if it is a quake, or some sort of intrusive harmonic event, or a hydrothermal event. Due to technical issues I can not say things with my usual clarity.

    • Thanks for the info. I mentioned Peru because I was trying to figure out what was happening. (I’ll stay quiet now!) 🙂

    • Tremor apparently from within the caldera, no eqs, nothing indicative on the water guaging stations. Were it hydrothermal, you’d expect very shallow quakes accompanied by raised water levels at one or more of the guaging stations some hour or hours later. Points to something at depth, i.e. magma-associated – but it’s best to point out that it’s just specualtion at this stage.

      • The rivers could be interesting re. Mýrdalsjökull:
        Water temperature in Hólmsá, Hrifunes heightened by 4 degrees yesterday (but that could be due to heightened air temperature), but also the water height went up from around 70 cm to respectable 120 cm.
        And conductivity (= leidni) in Múlakvísl (V89) went up from 100 to 190.
        And Múlakvísl at station Leireftshöfud seems to be without water since 21:00 yesterday.

          • No, not at the moment. This would like different. Perhaps heightened geothermal activity in the caldera.

            There also are not enough quakes nor tremor at the moment for something dangerous to happen.

            On the other hand, people living around Katla have a saying to watch out for a dry river bed in Múlakvísl. So, you never know …

            Perhaps Carl has some more information …

        • Steady on there! If you look at it again, you’ll see that the water level, leidni etc closely corresponds to the daily rhythm. With all the ash deposited over the past two years, I’m not surprised that the meltwater exhibits heightened conductivity. IMO, there’s nothing to indicate any activity at all – yet! 😉

          • Above the baseline just means that it is above what is normal over a long time. Above average.
            And since this is due to the ash from Grimsvötn last year it does not mean crap, but it is usual to get fooled by things like this.

            And why am I having a bunch of fighter jets over my head doing loopings?
            So many questions in life…

  16. There was a new expedition by Icelandic Marine Research Institute to explore the sea around Iceland and they saw a new mountain which ressembles Ingólfsfjall (tuya in the south of Iceland, not far from Irspit’s home), but is a mud volcano (they saw some others of this kind, too).. Up to now it is not yet clear, how old it is and if it is still active.
    In the interview with Icelandic National Radio, the geologist Guðrún Helgadóttir explains, that it is around 120 sm to the west of Snaefellsnes peninsula at a depth of around 1400 m. It has a height of up to 450 m measured from the sea bottom and measures 300 km2.

    In the RÚV interview is Guðrún Helgadóttir also talking about a very deep canyon leading south from Mýrdalsjökull.

  17. OT: Has anyone heard about Diana and her health? Does she still have an aversion against chocolate cake? 🙂

    • I and my girlfriend will have a one week vacation now in Tenerife near Adeje. I start my trip on Sunday. 😉
      Of course I will rent a car and visit Las Canadas…I’ve been there before, and will do it again!

    • Hi, I haven´t had a chance to get on line for a while…I do live in Tenerife-…is that just a general question, or is there something you need a Tenerife resident for specifically?

      • Changed my holiday destination, Looks like we are going to Teneriffe, i wanted to ask for tips…maybe, if this is OK. Where to go and good restaurants… I would really appreatiate, but i ll ask via email. So not to disturb the other blog people. May i send such an email?

        • Hi Spica, I´m probably not the best person to consult about where to go (don´t get out much myself!) but by all means feel free to email me with anything you think I might be able to help with.

  18. To Lurk and Carl about CO2 uptake

    As Lurking remarked, CO2 uptake will depend on gas concentration in atmosphere and Henry’s law (partial pressure). The more you CO2 parts you have in the atmosphere, the more you will get dissolved in water (all things being equal, blah, blah blah…).
    If you want ot calculate the rate you need to determine the transfert coeficient per area unit (kl a) and you have correlations for this (in chemical engineering at least). The lucky part is there is normally no “real” chemical reaction, meaning the correlation is pretty straight.

    A few year ago I just calculated the opposite, ie how to strip gas from water in a contactor.
    Once you have the kla, all you need is calculate area and then you will get a CO2 flux rate in kg/m2/h. The only other thing to take into account is probably a corrective coefficient due to sea water salinity. Of course gas solubility varies opposite to temperature, but the relatioship is well known….

    We could have a look if you like….

    A last point, because some people are talking about ocean acidification and the damages done to the coral and so on.
    Coral has been present on the planet since litterally ages (geologically speaking). If you look at the fossils (let’s say in the Devonian stratas, so about 380 M years ago) you’ll notice they just look like the present stuff (more or less). I would not worry too much over a life form that gone through at least 2 mass exctinctions already….

    • I’m not even sure what I am after.

      I pulled down Feb 2011 to Feb 2012 CO2 molar fraction of the troposphere and am fiddling around with getting a good render. Actually, right now I’m waiting for a program to error out so I can gracefully close it since it barfed on doing the surfaceplot, until it croaks I have to wait so that it will free Excel up so I can do a save.

      Anyway… in the one plot that didn’t shit itself, the concentration patterns still seem to be there. Since this is a molar fraction, I’m pretty sure that in order to get real data out of it, the molar fraction of water would have to be backed out as well.

      Dunno. Mentally I can see which way to go, but thats a freekin huge amount of data. I’m probably gonna toss it on the back burner again.

  19. I had a short but nice travel this afternoon. Again, to Langjokull system (I planned to explore Hengill and Hrómundartindur but it was foggy there, so I went towards the highlands).

    I now think there is a 3rd volcanic system in this area: I think that in addition to Prestahnukur and Hveravellir central volcanoes (which are POORLY understood), there is another volcanic area around Hlodufell and Högnhöfði (that is directly south of Langjokull). Several eruptions happened in this region since ice age, and all were big lava volumes.

    But it’s a mess in GVP. They assign these several eruptions in the area, some to Hengill, others to Prestahnukur and others to Hveravellir. But those central volcanoes are quite far away.

    The Hlodufell/Högnhöfði central volcano would be located between the eastern side of Thingvallavatn and the SE tip of Langjokull, where there is a well defined line of Pleistocene ridges, and it’s along this region, that those several eruptions happened.

    Anyways, defining a volcanic system in Iceland is a whole mess. But you can include this one in your collection of little known Icelandic volcanoes.

  20. And to finish the day I discovered another soil profile, near Laugarvatn, which is some 20km north here. Well, it was a ditch digged some 100 meters lenght, 2 meters deep, and very perfect.

    This is even better than the soil profile at my place. You will love the pics, because there are so many more ash layers than in my place soil profile. One is greenish color, and a lot of them are white colored and brown colored (obviously Vatnajokull and Hekla volcanoes). But also some white-yellowish tephra. Should I do a part III?

    And yesterday, I read the paper recommended by Geolurking. There they state there are several unknown large ash eruptions from Snaefellsnesjokull since the ice age. Enough to send ash across Iceland. That is one candidate for the mysterious grey ash.

    • Irpsit, I hope that you will do a Part III. I have found these posts and accompanying pictures absolutely fascinating. Thank you for your work and especially for sharing it with all of us!

    • Yes, please do a part III. Your “ash hole” is fascinating. Makes me want to go dig a hole in my yard, but no volcanoes here. I’m not even in the right part of town to find an abandoned coal mine. Alas, my yard is just boring. 🙂

    • Let me just add that I have become a total ash hole addict.
      There must be a word regarding ash holes that end with philia… Hm…
      “Hello, my name is Carl. I am a cinerecavophiliac!”

    • I join with the others and hope you do a part lll . I have really appreciated parts l & ll. Thank you.

  21. Carl, fellow dragons,
    Get emails but I’m not sure they’re sent.
    If anyone could confirm/infirm having got one as answer to the masters question this evening…
    Thanks in advance (lovely thing I at least see quite often in the administrative daily bizzz…).
    BBGN all.

      • Sh…
        Looked up and this time have a failure message from our Scott’s employer, but concerning all of you. I have no clue what might be wrong. Used that email to exchange with you in the past. Last time I wrote including all the dragons I’m not sure it went well.
        IT sucks. I mean except for Volcanocafe and “such things”… Pffff.
        I’ll try to solve that, but really not these days. I can read you and will answer through another address if it’s important. And end of August you can use my professional email. That’s very stable and reliable.
        Thanks for answering. Have a good time.

        • And the server refuses to send stuff to gmail.
          Aaah where are the good times with letters and postcards? Huh? 😉

          • Spica,
            could you please transfer it to the others?
            Suddenly seems gmail is a problem to my server. Other addresses “globally” seem to work. That’s the kind of things you can get me mad with…
            Just some days left with that modern life stuff and my trekking shoes will get dirty on Austrian alps soil. Almdudler until I throw up. Yeeeeah… 🙂

          • Thanks Spica.
            Well as we share the same time zone I must admit I’d prefer you hadn’t reacted so fast… Hugs. And let’s say it clearly so it’s once clarified: sleep is desperately overrated…

          • Storm howling outside, no rain no lightning just a storm. This makes me really nervous as long as some trees toppled over last week. I just cant lie in bed ignoring the forces of nature. I know it wont help my fruittrees when i watch them fall, still…
            One forwarded mail to a certain evil riddlemaster bounced back this time btw.

          • That’s one great emoticon.
            We had a nice front with thunderstorms on August 1st. Electric activity was “average”, but some pictures with the mix of firework (my country had its 721st anniversary) and lightnings in front of the dark clouds were pretty cool.

  22. Good evening and a very big special thanks you to Inge, Sissel, Liet Kynes and Judith. I am now much better. Sadly no chocolate cake or Chippendales are to hand even though I now feel I could enjoy both 😀
    However I dedicate this clip of crazy, randy, Volcanologists and climbers and of course the ultimate up close and personal experience, to all of the ladies here. I am sure this will excite you far more than the Chippendales……. 😀

    • No adjustments were made for water vapor or barometric pressure.

      That spike in the June 2011 time frame took me by surprise. Evidently that’s CO2 from Grímsvötn’s 21 May 2011 eruption. I remember that there was an SO2 plume about a week after it was finished… maybe there was a CO2 release as well.

      • There are no real CO2 spikes south of the Equator even though several eruptions happened in the southern hemisphere during that time including Cordón Caulle eruption also in June. Interesting!

    • And while we are at it. The temperature figures came today for the northern temperate zone, sub-arctic and arctic region (northern parts of the globe). Between 2000 and now the increase in temperature was 2 degrees.
      As noted before, the increase in the tropical belt was zero and will stay zero. These are the first data that is put together since the change study year was set to 2000 by the IPCC. Why 2000? First year with complete global data available, but it is of course trackable against other data from previous years. Interestingly enough it follows spot on the 2000 climate prediction.
      Will we die out of this? Nope, not a single person.
      I have a rather odd standpoint on the CO2, I do based on my knowledge believe the 2000 IPCC prediction to be mainly correct. Difference is just that we as the humanity has much more important environmental things to care about. Most important of those is the stampeding amount of toxic substances released into our water, air and soil. This is what can do us in, not that I soon will be able to make wine from grapes grown in my yard (something the Vikings could do).
      The entire debate about CO2 and polutants is mainly a war between the large chemical companies, and the oil/coal/power companies. To be honest, DOW and the rest caught BP/Shell/Therest with their pants down. Remember the seventies early eighties when everyone talked about dioxine, DDT, Freons and so on? That debate disapeared for a reason. DOW money.

  23. Hi

    This is a first try for september 2011.

    I will refine the views later.

    You will notice that the swarm is pretty compact at first and begins to scatter about the 22nd. It gets very clear on the 24th. Then in the end of the month you can see the earthquakes begin to move up. The interesting point is that you see the depth of the swarm begins by getting deeper and then goes up (sort of V shape)

    Edited by Spica

  24. I just prepared todays Sheepy Dalek Name that Lava.Diana…cook earlier…The rest…who likes riddles make sure to be around tonight.
    Out into the garden cutting down toppled trees. Expect me back at 4 pm blog time sharp!

  25. I am not sure if there is a small amount of harmonic tremor going on at Askja. I am still not good at recognising harmonic tremors on the IMO SIL graphs
    If you want to hear a proper loud harmonic tremor watch this clip. I do not condone the risks that these people took but the harmoniously vibrating building is terrifying!

    PS I feel so sorry for the dogs at the end. I hope someone rescued them. 😦

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