Plotting for Beginners Part One, aaaaand Another Look at Malcolm.

(Enmedio WMV preview)

It’s good to share the work, so here’s some tips on making your own plots with the tools that came packaged with your Windows PC.
For me, “getting into the data” has really helped to refine my understanding and “mental model” of the subject.

There are deliberately no pictures, because the idea is that you follow the links and have a go yourself… If not, I think the examples are worth a look anyway x

We’ll use the Canary Islands to illustrate because I know my way around the dataset…As well as some of the awesome hiking routes. See the picture at the top of:

Thankfully you can get a beer at the end, which; if you walk that route, you will have earned. (Even though in the Topoguidebook it looks “mostly” downhill, and actually is…)

Internet Explorer (or another browser) and “screenprints” are the most useful tools a budding plotter has:

Have the Paint program open, but minimised or “behind” the screen you want to print, align (you get a “print” of exactly what is on your screen,) press the Print Screen key (you may need to use Ctrl or Fn as well, depending on your keyboard), bring up Paint, then press Ctrl +V to drop it in, Save As a PNG or JPEG file. (I’m still not sure which is best…)

Most of you will be familiar with the IGN Hierro page; so try this, go to:

Select Forma de Onda, Espectrogram and which Estacion (for example, EOSO: Gran Canaria), move this new window to one side of your screen.

On the original page, once again select Forma de Onda, Espectrogram, then select; another Estacion, remembering that they’re calibrated differently, or Anterior, for the previous day.
“Manually” align your two windows, take a screenshot aaaaand Voila!!!!
You have an (almost) instant plot, something like this:

This is a primitive/ limited method, but it does give us an idea of what seismologists do. This example shows the same event; automatic solution: (20/6/12, 15:00, 28.276, -15.457, no depth, 1.5) on the CCAN (Left; Tenerife) and the EOSO (Right; Gran Canaria) Espectrograms. Professional seismologists don’t tend to use the schpectrogram so much; it’s actually just the seismogram signal with a Fourier transformation applied…but it will do for us amateur beginners!

n.b. This event has been reviewed and removed from the catalogue since I wrote this…Annnd that’s kinda the point x

For slightly less instant graphification go to:

Choose Crear Mapa; ask yourself, “What do I want to know?” Then enter yr parameters, it’s a wee bit fiddly, but I’m not gonna hold yr hand, you might as well get used to faffing about…x

Talking of faffing; there are various interfaces on the Avcan site, my tips work for the specified link, (bear in mind that I’m running a clunkputer.) AVCANmapas is GoogleEarth based and IMHO not as useful, Animacion crashes the clunkputer every time…These may well be worth a try if you’re using a more up to date system.

So, given half an hour/minute or two, you may well have come up with something like this:

Avcan are really very helpful; they save yr maps in their server, so you can repeat the process and overlay on yr previous maps…

Go to the Crear Mapa page, choose Tus Mapas, select a map, then enter a new set of parameters… Repeat; “layer it up”:

This shows earthquakes of all magnitudes: 1970 to the end of the “Enmedio quake swarm” of 1989, 1990 to the end of the “Teide seismic crisis” of 2004, and 2005 to the present day(ish.) At the bottom of the page is a legend, thanks Avcan x.

Disclaimer: please remember the “technical skew”; seismic networks and instruments are improving all the time, just because there have been more recorded quakes in recent years doesn’t mean that there’s any particular cause for concern, many of them will have been “tiddlers”; previously undetectable.

Unfortunately, the overlays hide the detail of your base map… One simple way around this is to use Windows Movie Maker to fade your layers in/out.

More about that next time…

Schteve x

Wiv big fanx to Lizzie (my beautiful sweet love) for test-driving and all round editorialness x

P.S. If you come up with something you are happy to share; save it somewhere convenient; like yr desktop, go to:

and follow the instructions, copy the “direct link for layouts” and paste into a comment on Volcanocafe.

Please provide an explication in your comment; random plots are even more annoying than random links.

Update: Schteve wanted a youtube link which i missed out on.


173 thoughts on “Plotting for Beginners Part One, aaaaand Another Look at Malcolm.

    • Hi Spica,
      When you have time could you update the post again 🙂
      The event in the spectrogram plot is at 0945 not at 1500, the machines are ofline between 1500-1600…
      I only proof read 50 times, and Lizzie more than a few times!!! X
      Thanks friendly dragon.

  1. Windows 7 has a nice screen cap program built in, called the snipping tool. For those of you who have it, it is much better then using CTRL+PrintScrn.

  2. Thank you Schteve for chosing a starting point where everyone can start to follow. All but to simple to start at a higher level and half of the readers are lost. Good pedagogy.

    • I’m working to the Medical teaching principle: “See one, do one, teach one…”
      Them doctor’s don’t mess around!!!
      Me? Failed student nurse x (but I seen what goes on)
      I’ve got maybe 2 more episodes of Plottin in the thinktank, but Karenz, Cryphia, DFmorvan or schomeone will have to take over at some point x

    • This is a very good example of why this site is the best. It’s neither big news nor great science but basics that if mastered will manifold the pleaasure derived from our little hope. Best of all, it is written in a sympathetic manner and that’s the hardest of all to do. Well done Mr S!

      /Hoppe? VC
      Hobby! VC2

  3. Hi all and @ Spica,
    I think I included an youtube link to go at the top o’ the page… that should show the Malcolm Schtuff…

    This is it x

  4. Thank you Schteve; I did not know that you could do so much with Avcan’s maps. The animacion was very illuminating when looking at the run up to Bob

  5. Thank you Schteve for this appetizer. Feed me more!
    Looking at the spectrograms I wonder how to extract the frequency data, put them into a wav and play tremor and earthquakes in stereo. Heard some eerie example somewhere recently.

    • You need the actual raw data file to do that.
      But, you can do my volcano chair version if you have a fairly good image analyzis program, then you take the peak and low on every up and down, and the you run it at a speed of your like.
      Personally I had attached a servo to the chair so I went for very low frequency 2 to 30 hz. Eyjafjallajökull gave a pretty good back massage.

    • That swarm to the west of Teide looks like a reprise of Hierro’s swarms – linear pattern,
      orientation roughly N-S, and just west of centre of island. However much less intense eq frequency, but its a bigger island so I’d expect that..

      • That’s an interesting observation,
        Also like El Hierro, the swarm is “cutting” across one arm of Tenerife’s triple “mercedes” rift… It was reported recently that that particular swarm; the 2004 Teide seismic crisis, was associated with a magma intrusion…

        • Did they have evidence other than the eqs for ‘magma intrusion’? – it seems to be the default catch-all mechanism.
          I have an alternative hypothesis for these swarms – and the mercedes star shape you mention – sitting in Carl’s inbox. I’d be happy for him to email it to you.

          • I’m guessing they had other evidence, it took nearly 8 years conclude that it was an intrusion… The report I saw was in a newpaper not a scientifc paper.
            I’d be interested to read your hypothesis, cheers.

    • That’s absolutely fine (i was angling for a mention there, 😀 ) hopefully it’s a post people will refer back to.
      For the record; anything I post here may be used by volcano cafe as you think best.
      If anyone wants to refer to this elsewhere on the web, please give a short summary/ extract and a link to the original page.
      Thanks for the nice comments, I guess I should make a schtart on part 2 🙂

      • I am creating many of those pages so people can look things up in old posts. Because normally no one reads old posts and i d like to change that.
        Thanks Schteve and please yeah.. people want a part II

  6. Generally I do not do mornings. Mornings hate me.
    But, sometimes you have too do things in the morning, most often they are less nice.
    Today my morning consisted of something that will be nice. I got up and took the morning bus north (promptly fell asleep on it), and woke up in the rainy city of Skellefteå for Volcano Café get together in miniature.
    How miniature, well, it is me and Manofthemoors and a cup of coffee inolved.
    So, soon there will be a live witness beside my wife that can confirm that I am utterly bonkers in reallity too.
    May it not rain to much ontop of you wherever you are.

  7. Good pedagogic post.

    Here are the latest density plots – we see that the action is still under El Golfo.

    And some 4D video for the earthquakes location

    on this last video we see the end of the “deep” swarm (around 20 km or so), then after the 8-9th the swarm is located under El Golfo and at depth between 15 and 10 km (the Z scale is in hectometers to avoid crushing the plot). At the end of the video (around 2’10”) we may see that the swarm seems to follow roughly a plane (is that the famous 39° angle ?)

  8. @Schteve: Thank you so very much for the sismos plotting instructions. I tried it at once and to my big surprise it worked. Had totally no idea that Avcan has this feature, and that it is so easy to use!! A great tool.

  9. My computer is in it’s death throes.
    I think I will have to get a new one so I may not be on for a day or so.
    Just typing this before it crashes again.
    All the best to you all and see you ASAP when I am all sorted out again.
    Oh dear! So much to try and save before it stops for good!
    Take care all of you…..

  10. I don’t know if someone has mentioned this yet, but Volcano Live on the BBC are doing a special on Iceland next week.

  11. I must say that it is interesting to actually meet people from in here.
    I had a splendid time boring the socks out of poor Manofthemoors.
    It was actually humbling to meet one of my readers in person. And, let me say it, such a nice person (with nice wife and son).

        • It was great to meet you today Carl. I was anything but bored….I could scarcely believe that we yacked for 2 hours. I can confirm to fellow patrons of this fine cafeteria that Carl does exist, he is real and not made of chocolate (though, I hasten to add, I did not feel the need to bite him as though he were an Olympic gold medal).

          • Are you sure Carl didn’t offer any drinks ‘before’ you could draw a clear profile out of him? 😉
            No kidding: I must say that, somehow, you learn to know people even in this virtual world.
            I hope he won’t forget his oath if Katla erupts before any other Icelandic volcano… (we won’t!). Maybe then we will see the true Carl! 🙂

          • That was Dianas fervent wish…
            I just promised to BBQ my hat.
            If Diana and the other ladies wish to see me starkers while BBQing they would A) have to pour a lot of alcohol into me, and B) negotiate it with my wife. 🙂

    • Oh my God, we’re doomed…. our virtual lounge is slowly, but unavoidably starting to crumble to reality 😀

        • Ha, there you are!
          I must say that the virtual world also prevents us from being physically attacked by ‘some’ of our hot blooded human peers, in case the debate warms up… 😉
          Salut, Geo!

  12. Earlier today there has been an EQ only 1km deep El Hierro.

    1162269 23/08/2012 14:06:50 27.7552 -18.0744 1 1.3 4 W FRONTERA.IHI

  13. Does anyone know about any EQ’S on La Palma today these are under discussion on the Avcan FB page at the moment?


    Sotara continues to see increasing activity (seems like a trend in Columbia as it also has in New Zealand right now). Sotara recorded 151 earthquakes during the last week, with 15 being of significant value. Continued inflation in an area northeast of the summit continues. Since June 24, 2012, 6891 earthquakes have registered near Sotara, with just over 1700 of them being of “significant” energy level.

    This is an interesting case, since nobody really knows the history of Sotara, since it’s had no historical eruptions. It does sit within 3 nested calderas, with the largest being approximately 5km across, so it shows potential for large eruptions, but it also could just belch out some minor phreatic eruptions / dome building as well.

    It would be interesting to be able to see just how much inflation is occurring north of the summit.

      • Well, I’ve been to Columbia and know for a fact that they don’t have a volcano there. They do have some soybean fields… and kudzu. Lots of kudzu. (Columbia MS)

    • 3 Nested Calderas with the largest being 5 km across.
      This little tidbit tells us something interesting. Most volcanoes have the largest eruption the first time around they go caldera. And 5 km across would put it into a large VEI-6 or small VEI-7 category.
      Then we can deduct 0,5VEIs per Caldera. So, the last should have been a small VEI-6.

      So, we are not talking about one of the more immense Andean volcanoes here. Most likely it would erupt something like a VEI-2 up to a Max of VEI-5.
      I just hope we can find the normal battery of cameras and gps:s and stuff.

      Also, Ingeominas is normally fairly good at publishing reports and stuff. This could be entertaining for a while.

      • Sotara is definitely a Giant, but if you do some research on the volcanoes of Columbia / Ecuador, they’re almost all Giants, we just haven’t seen any large eruptions from that region in historical time. Nevado Del Ruiz & Galeras get the most attention because they’re frequently active & the Nevado tragedy in 1985, but this is definitely a situation of the volcanoes that you hear from less often may be the ones you have to worry about the most (although Nevado & Galeras are dangerous for obvious reasons other than explosivity).

  15. Hi all,
    Back from an absence, I was welcome by quite some demands and nice heaps of paper loaded on my desk at work. Life should be about something else than work, like meeting people from volcanocafe. It’s really great that Manofthemoors and Carl met in real life.
    Volcanowise 2012 seems quite far away from the end of the world, doesn’t it?
    I go on earning my shelter and food, but consider to be back again and hope not to miss the next opportunity to fool around with you guys. And who knows, maybe we’ll finally be offered some “good” volcanic action until the end of this epic year…
    Have a nice friday.

      • I see you and your lady sitting around my table on the terrace with my family (once you travel central europe or something). Juicy meat from the grill and ruby red wine (or a fresh local beer if you prefer) in front of us, looking straight into “my” prealps. Suddenly a mind-shakin tremor, a hugest bang and one of the mountains in front of us just looses it’s cap. Generations of geologist had it all wrong. La Berra (one of the first “summits” all here have made as kids…) is a volcano. Good reason to open the next bottle of wine… 🙂

          • We don’t drink so much, don’t worry. And I’ll find some glass of water for all of us…

            But, ehm, do you say that because she doesn’t “like” or want to drink, or because you guys already have been so busy that she can’t / shouldn’t drink?

          • Does she know Passito della Pantelleria, Montbazillac or such stuff? 🙂

            No, I respect “not drinking”. Started drinking very late. And always consider it being interesting by what processing alcoholic drinks adds to the taste. Never got drunk in my life. Really not. Ok, a bit dizzy, but never drunk…

        • And while discussing odd wishes. Is it just me who think it would be cool with a lava-fall from the shear-wall at Matterhorn?

          Tip of the day… Never ever start your climbing career with Matterhorn. Your pants will become brown, and you will never ever climb again. The horror…

          If I though would get the chance to repell down the mountain on a long ass rope I would so do it! :mrgreen:

          • The Matterhorn is often underestimated by tourists, but is not so much of a difficult climb. As far as I understand, never did it by myself…
            That video shows something a bit more challenging. Climbing “swiss style”…

          • I was dragged up by two very experienced climbers. Never loose a bet around climbers. You will find yourself hanging on a wall with brown pants.
            If you all watch Geos movie you will understand why the pants become brown.

            After I had been taken up the same way as you can see in the video, I got to know that there is a much simpler way that you can pretty much walk up. No, instead I was dragged up the shear-wall alpine style with ropes, flimsy aluminium things bunged into the mountain taking my weight as I hanged…

          • The vid is about the Eiger, not the Matterhorn. But Matterhorn indeed has 2 ways with very different difficulty grades…
            What the hell have you done to them to find yourself in such a situation… Tsssss… 🙂

          • I lost a bet about what grapes the wine contained…
            Who on earth knew that there is a small obscure wineyard in New Zealand that has a highly mutated version of Zinfandel grapes that tastes exactly like a french Merlot.

          • And I’d like to be precise about the guy. Ueli Steck is one of the world’s top alpinists / climbers. Nearly not human anymore. See him run up that thing in less than 3 jours where other not beginners spend 2-3 days and many have died. Without a rope, alone. That guy is amazing.

          • Where the alpinists from Valais? They are all wine nutties. I’d never, NEVER, bet about wine things with someone from there…
            And hell they can drink… 🙂

          • One of them biked from Sweden to run up Mt Everest without oxygen, and then skiid down, before biking back home.
            He later died doing Air Guitar in vantage USA.

          • I like their skins. Over 40 their face starts looking like an old baseball glove… 🙂
            I also believe that they come to understand the language of the marmots.

      • Thanks Spica. Your austrian fellows where incredible hosts. We had a greatest time. I ate like a true dungeon dragon. My 1/8th of Austrian blood and childhood experiences with family from Vienna make me very receptive to the charms of Knödel…
        Wow, if ladies start asking for me even before they really met me, what could the future possibly bring? I’m nearly starting to be afraid… 😉 Especially when one knows what Almdudler can make out of the simplest man…
        And simple I must be. I go to Austria and manage to be in the “Engadiner Fenster”, with full of “Bündner Schiefer” under my feet. So geologically I could somehow say I was back in Switzerland as soon as I came out of my car… From the mountains to the mountains, still in the Alps, always on swiss formations… Pity. But how great was it to make my kids discover the pleasures of that fantastic peace of nature, end the afternoon in the pool and water-slide (as an adult you achieve quite some result when you enter the “reception-pool”) and fill our bellies with finest stuff every day…

        • Hi Bruce! A real pleasure to be back indeed.
          We once with 2 other daddies did the 3 slides at once. Son of an interstellar power I now know how a tsunami looks and feels… We emptied that pool. I think that quite impressed our ladies… Or not. But whatever, we had a good laugh… 😉

  16. Hello all, Im out of hospital at last,its nice to be at home again after the disaster i had back in December. Its been a long road back to health, and im not fully back on my feet, im still pretty weak, but getting better every day. The messages you sent me have lifted my heart and given me strength. Im still hoping to visit the Island when i am better, and i am sorry for letting you all down , but nature has its way of slowing you down sometimes, but at least im still alive and will be, hopefully, back to good health soon.Thanks again for all your messages of support and i am looking forward to being an avid poster and commenter again now im back home.

    • Hello Grimmster! It’s so good to hear from you and to learn you are so much better. El Hierro is still there waiting for you so no need to rush. 😀

    • Hello Grimmster!
      Congratulations with your recovery! Great to hear you are home. So glad to see you again here, always appreciated your presence very much. You never let us down!!
      What a fantastic idea to visit the island we know so well from far.
      Take very good care of yourself!

      • Did anyone change my comment. I was sure to have written Ireland and don’t think the damn autocorrect would go as far as that?
        Or am I really getting loco? Does anyone know a good doctor please…

    • Good to see you back out and about. (net wise)

      I’ve had two offspring go through the catastrophic event thing. (separate events by several years). One of them, to this day, still occasionally pulls pieces of fiberglass from his skin. And it’s been 20 years.

    • Welcome back Grimmster! I was very sorry to hear of your misfortune and I am really glad to hear that you are doing so well. 🙂

    • Grimmster, welcome back!! It’s been a long time, and it is so good to know that you are recovering and will once again be part of the VC gang.

  17. Wow, Renato, you new Gravatar looks like some interstellar hyper futuristic bra. Trying to get people’s interest for 2016 games with most primitive stereotypes about brazilian women, huh? I don’t believe that anymore. Everything is about s.x today. And you participate playing that game? You??? Really??????

      • After several consecutive days in July of 103-107 degrees F. (39.4-41.67 C) that lake might have been VERY tempting!

      • Again “not available in Germany because GEMA has not granted the respective music publishing rights”. I wish Youtube could at least broadcast it without sound.

  18. I heard there is no post planned for tonight, but i got an evil riddle sent.
    SO question to you ALL… shall i assemble a new Sheepy Dalek post ?????????
    And i would like to get answered please!

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