Earthquake swarm in northern Iceland on the 21st. of October

An Earthquake swarm started in northern Iceland during the night to the 21th.

Images taken from
islander says: October 21, 2012 at 01:44
Quite heavy earthquake swarm in North of Iceland, Siglufjörður region and tjörnes Rift Zone. Currently 31 quake larger than 3 Richter (them stars), several over 4. Some broken windows and Church bells ringing themselves have been reported. No serious damage yet, but this can go on all night long.
(Likely there are lots of Ghost quakes on map, but VC gang, this is such times we can swamp IMO servers if not careful, so use website sparingly, I only use one tab at a time watching, refreshing only now or then) And I felt a quake here, seems there has been some larger than that, perhaps close to five, according to strain meters at Hek and Bur …)
As reader Kobba pointed out this swarm is best seen on

At 3 am blog time the count ran over 50 quakes stronger than Magnitude 3. Those quakes seem to be tectonic quakes as long as there is no current volcanic activity known in the area. Many of the quakes might be ghosts which might get removed later. The largest quake was upgraded to a 5,7.
Some quakes also appeared on the list of the Potsdam Insitute of Geophysics
And here is the beachball of one of those quakes.
( Links provided by reader arjanemm )

Oliver St John-Mollusc says: October 21, 2012 at 08:58
Google translation of RUV (Iceland’s “BBC”) article:

Hundreds of earthquakes have been recorded yesterday, last night and this morning outside Siglufjörður. The largest was the second time in the night, 5.2 in size. Human habitations quaking in Akureyri, dogs rushed up óhljóðum and items moved from one place. People were troubled, according to reporters in the north.
No reports have been received of injuries, however, people or property. Several other earthquakes have been recorded over four dozens of tremors over three large. Bergthora Thorbjarnardottir, geophysicist at the Meteorological Institute, says a shaky offense that is not preceded volcanic activity. The epicenter is about twenty miles north of the town accounted for, at 6-9 kilometers.
Earthquake had begun the previous night 20 km north SIGLUFJORDUR. Activity has come in waves but calm was between 15 and 23 o’clock yesterday. Furthermore, the cycle may come back with great force. She says that the area has calmed down tonight but it is not possible to predict whether earthquakes recurrence. The last quake of three large measured shortly before seven in the morning. He was of size 3.5 according óyfirfarinni automatic measurement. You can monitor the earthquake on site certified.
Bergthora says shaking Tjörnes Seismic Zone could reach up to seven large. It can not be excluded a large tremor, but there is no evidence, however, especially for a large earthquake is coming.
Earthquakes were well over the north and west, to form a Blönduósi in Fnjóskadal, Sauðárkrókur in Staircase,-exhibition, in Isafjordur, in dollars, in Húnaþing and Reykjadalur.
Earthquakes are common in this area but has not previously been so dramatic cycles in this place.

Lets not get overexcited and leave the delicate links to the Icelanders so we dont bring them down by swarming them.
Please leave news as comments below. This post will most likely be updated a few times today.

Update1 : Oliver St John-Mollusc pointed out:
As it shows little or no heightening to speak of in especially the red (0.5 – 1 Hz), it indicates there is little to no magmatic component, thus it all appears to be tectonic in nature.

303 thoughts on “Earthquake swarm in northern Iceland on the 21st. of October

  1. Well – this really is a disgrace which the Italians will pay for dearly. Either no-one will be prepared to work in this area leaving the country badly prepared OR every small signal is going to cause a warning and evacuation as no-one working in this area will want to be seen to be failing to do their job, lest the same thing happens to them. I hope it is appealed.

    • I also read somewhere that there will for sure be appeal, so this story is not over yet. Hopefully higher courts will see some logic and overthrow this.

      • So Italy will have no seismological or volcanological monitoring!
        Perhaps the Daily Flail will issue an edict that Italy is not to be considered safe to visit!!!

        • A bit sad that the birth place of volcano study might also be the end of it, especially as it has more than its fair share of decade volcanoes.

  2. In Rio, not far from downtown, the guys who covered with asphalt an old landfill of garbage and then built a residential area on top of it have never been convicted after a landslide that killed more than 200 people!

  3. Would someone be willing to write a post about the happenings in Italy?
    This is a shame and should be covered. I dont have the time ( Came home from work at 8:40 pm) and have to work all day tomorrow.
    Anyone up for this challenge?

      • This mornings phone call

        “Hi, is this the [—-] office in [—–]?”

        “Yes it is.”

        “What are your hours today?”

        “9 to 5, Monday through Friday.”

        “Thank You.”

        135 miles later, I get a locked door.

        This afternoon’s phone call:

        “Hello, is this [—-]?”

        “Yes it is.”

        “I spoke with your this morning about your hours and all I see here is a locked door”

        “What is the address?”

        [I give the address]

        “Oh, no, this is [——] county, South of Orlando.”

        Now, I specifically asked about the identity of the city in this mornings phone call… and phonetically, the two cities don’t even come close to matching.

        Irritated? YBYSA I am.

        • I bet you are. I had the same problem for the commisionning of a water treatment plant a few years ago. I phone the guy (a mere 700 kms away) to be sure everything was ready and he gave me the go. So I took train (TGV, very fast train, 300 km/h), then rental car, book the hotel and so on. Of course when on site not even water was connected. So I got back home a trifle pissed (but I told him). That’s an utter lack of respect or the job and the person.

    • Evenin All,
      Absolutely horkin scandalous and hopefully (if there’s any kind of justice) will be thrown out on appeal…
      Geoloco would be the ideal candidate for the job of writing an outraged post…
      He works in risk management’ so would be able to give some good insight into the convicted’s job, perhaps if Diana were to ask nicely 😀

    • Great idea! that whole mess has to have justice done. This is not justice.
      Been involved a couple of lawsuits where people died because of incompetence,
      once as a expert witness the other was I was a member of the last crew to fly
      this plane to maintenance -we wrote up the problem. The Chief altered the log,
      put the plane back on line. The next day it killed 15 people.Runaway electric trim.
      That was malfeasance. The scientists could only guess what was going to happen.
      The art of earthquake prediction isn’t there yet. Italian justice? Ask Galileo…

  4. @ Sissel
    Total brain death here the other night….totally forgot Maastricht is the home of the Maastrichtian stage of the U Chalk – only envious ‘cos we don’t have much of the very upper Upper Chalk here!
    Find anything? 🙂

    • The guided tour was very different from what I expected! The closest I came to Carlo, the mosasaurus they found a month ago (his name is Carlo!) was already removed from his finding place. And they predict it will take three years to finish the reconstruction / preservation, whereafter he will be exposed in the nature-historical museum of Maastricht. The deep limestone quarry howewer was very impressive with its flint layers and the Roman corridors through the upper part. Rock for construction have been taken here since then. It is a beautiful, light yellow rock which turns greyish with age. It can be sawed easily. Under the layer suitable for building purposes the rock is looser and is now being used for cement production. And this is what the tour was mostly about! Saw all the production facilities!! I also had hoped to see or at least hear somethng about the cretaceous–paleogene boundary, which has to be visible there – and many other places in the vicinity. But no. – Another quarry here is easier to access and they also give you a little hammer at the entrance so you can search for yourself!
      I did take pictures so at least I can show you what I saw.

  5. My take on it is that Carl is a reincarnation of the Scarlet Pimpernel and he is as we speak talking to The Godfather conerning the Italian attitude towards risk assessments of geological events.
    My question is if a town can imprison and presumable sue scientists for not giving correct warnings, how much will the Naples authorities be sued when Vesuvius does her thing and there has been no warnings or no efficient evacuation progrmmes?

    What a dreadful state of affairs! My thoughts and sympathy are with the scientists and their families.

    • Guess it depends on whether the Naples authorities are still there after Vesuvius does her thing. Don’t forget Vesuvius’ relatives in Campania: The Phlegraean Fields and Ischia. Or given that Italy is in an active area – new relatives 😦

    • This is also what I have been wandering about. If the scientists really said there was no danger, they are to blame. We would have blamed Spanish authorities too if the El Hierro eruption had turned out to be a disaster. Luckily it did not.

      • Exactly, I was thinking that too about Hierro, officials have been lucky things doid not get out of hand. Yet there’s a big difference between warning that something may happen (‘though we cannot predict that with certainty’), and saying nothing to worry about which implies you already have the answer.
        I suspect a can of worms if you start to dig into it a bit. Officials telling scientists and other officials to calm people down, covering up other scandals, corruption, etc.

        In any case, this verdict is not good for science, and not for the credibility of the INGV. I hope this verdict will not play into the hands of the ruling class that wants to cut INGV’s budget and axe scientists’ jobs…

        Mind also that the Dutch and most of the English media say they are imprisoned for not being able to predict an earthquake. Italian and Spanish media in general speak of not warning people.

        • “Officials telling scientists and other officials to calm people down”

          And a very common theme in disaster movies.

          Where do ideas in art come from? Real Life.

          Good fiction, is plausible fiction. Something that rattles around in the back of your mind and that logically, makes sense and is believable.

          • Didn’t that also happen at Martinique 110 years ago with Mount Pelee? That one didn’t end well. Local government used force of law to keep people and ships from leaving toward the end. Cheers –

        • This is what I have read also. It is more the “There is nothing to worry about” Statement that was the crux of the prosecuction’s case. This statement was made as the 400 small quakes that were happening were thought to have been releasing energy and so the scientists thought the risk of a larger quake was lessened.
          I wonder if any officials wanted to play down the risks for whatever reason. Maybe they didn’t want mass panic. There is probably more to this case than was brought into that courtroom.
          Whatever the intricacies of the arguements, it leaves any scientist or anyone conducting risk assessments very vulnerable to prosecution. Their findings and advice will need to be examined in more than detail. They will have to be worded in such a way that will cover all eventualities and no verbal statements made.
          I cannot see any scientist now wanting to work in public office…..Just in case!

        • As reported in the Daily Mail:

          “Prosecutors focused on a memo issued after a March 31, 2009 meeting of the Great Risks commission which was called because of mounting concerns about the months of seismic activity in the region.

          According to the commission’s memo – issued one week before the big quake – the experts concluded that it was ‘improbable’ that there would be a major quake though it added that one couldn’t be excluded.”


          • I have told this story before on Erik K’s blog.
            My alter ego is a mild mannered Real Estate broker. I was on the Coos County
            Board of Realtors for 3 yrs. my last year,2005, I had been working with the Bay
            area Chamber of Commerce on an “Earthquake preparedness brochure.”
            Ok. i went to the various agencies, emergency services, etc. and got an
            underwhelming response. “Our turf!” did not matter .” We know what we are
            doing we don’t need no stinkin’ reatlor telling US what to do!” Then the media
            gets in the act. and tries to paint our efforts as “scare mongering” Now Coos Bay
            sits on the southern Oregon coast. nice climate,Farther south, Like Port Orford to
            Brookings, much like Cornwall.
            However, there is a Demon that lives in the cold belly of the Old Man North Pacific.
            That is the Juan De Fuca plate quite capable of raising Hades on the order
            of the 2011 Japanese quake. Last big one happened in 1700. Here is a Wiki on it:
   8.7 to 9 mag, Coos Bay sits about
            on the Juncture of the main Juan De Fuca and the Gorda Plate separated by the
            Blanco Ridge.. My study of the area and what is lacking there, scared the living daylights
            out of me. I left for my home-the High Lonesome of NE Oregon, I watch the quakes off the Oregon coast. and wonder. Thankful I’m not living under a coffer dam that was
            “reinforced to 6.0 mag standards” or looking at a “Tsunami escape route” that runs up
            a river or bay, and you have to cross a spindly bridge to get there…..

  6. Via Wikipedia:

    He who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation.

    — Niccolò Machiavelli, “Chapter 15”, The Prince,, retrieved 2011

    “… founder of modern political science, and more specifically political ethics.”

  7. From WUWT: Roger Pielke, Jr., former director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado;

    “The real tragedy of L’Aquila may not be that scientists led the public astray with their bumbled discussion of predictive science but, rather, that our broader obsession with predictions blinds us to the truths right before our eyes.

    It’s a really nice article about the L’Aquila event in comparison to the 1997 Grand Forks, North Dakota flood where warnings were… misread by the public.

    • Interesting post Geo – mine came just after yours and as the article suggests, the public may misinterpret information given.

      If EQ forecasting is to be as routine as weather forecasting, it could start a whole new line of products. I can imagine the forecaster – “take your EQ pack with you today ” or ” pack your hard-hat it’s going to rain earthquakes”. Maybe there’s a cunning plan somewhere…..

  8. Equally concerned about Carl – I was eagerly waiting for the big announcement. Maybe with the forthcoming trial and verdict in Italy, he was ‘knobbled’ by the legal eagles and told to buttoin it. I can’t really see Carl holding back on an issue though. Sometimes we all need to duck out of life’s trials and tribulations for a while.

    No doubt now there will be a few moves for ‘compo’ from anyone in the area of the earthquakes who suffered any damage, from demolished houses to cracks in their dignity. Interesting case though – on the one hand, people want a clear response from the scientific community and on the other, the politiicans have a need for a balanced reaction. If the scientific community now react to any small tremor, they have the means to create total chaos. Either that or there will be a limited response – providing data only and leaving the analysis to the general public. Can’t wait to see what mischief the coming weeks bring.

    • Any scientist or engineer in Italy – and beyond ( Grand Prix teams will tell you ) – will surely now be permanently ‘unavailable for comment’. The nation has just lost expert advice on any science/engineering topic and is in effect now flying blind.

  9. Someone noted that GeoLoco would be best suited to draft an article about this… and I tend to agree. Risk mitigation and analysis seem to be part of his specialty.

    But… there is also a possibility that he may not wish to make an official like statement… or one that could be considered an official position. This should be understood by all if he wished to not do the authoring.

    That being said, I can offer an observation, that if a fellow dragon wishes to collate into an article, does not endanger anyone’s actual job. I am an amateur, and have no reputation to defend. If I am wrong… big friken deal, live with it.

    Here goes.

    As noted from the Pielke, Jr article, the officials in Italy, both elected and employed, were dealing with the prognostications of Gioacchino Giuliani, a non seismologist/geologist, and actually no better qualified than me in the field… other than his math skills likely being much better than mine. He was technician at Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics. See the connection? I am also a technician, with over 30 years of experience in electronics.

    As a fellow tech, I can tell you one aspect that most techs that I have ever known have in common. We like to tinker with stuff. In my case, stats, quakes, astrophysics etc. That doesn’t make me an expert, just well read. I know one thing with more certainty than anything else I know… anything I come up with.. is just a hunch or a guess. I will not get up on a soapbox and try to gain fame or fortune from the stuff that I think may happen. I am not qualified to do so.

    We have all seen the doomsayers and doom prophets yammering at the different loon sites, we have all see the self professed experts vying for attention. Generally, what they say is a load of crap. Anyone trained in the field, even as sparely as I am, can see right through the flow of informational bullshit. The problem arises in how you deal with the unfounded claims with out getting yourself tangled up in the legal shit-storm that these scientists did. In my opinion, the asshat who made the doom claim is more guilty than anyone else. People of that type confuse the hell out of the public at large…. all because the person making the claim has “something” to do with a field that “sounds complicated.” Such as “National Institute of Nuclear Physics” or holds a degree as a “Theoretical Physicist” (Hello Michiu Kaku, you charlatan. “Supervolcanoes” are NOT your thing.)

    Who else is to blame? The Media… natch. They are the ones who search out these glory seekers and shove microphones up their ass to see what their opinion is on whatever subject is in the news.

    Do they go after the building code enforcement line of political hacks who allowed construction of substandard structures… in a seismically prone area? Why no, they scape goat the people who actually study the threat. All because they were tying to downplay the prognostications of some glory seeking hack that had no business making vociferous claims. (But in fairness, I don’t know that he did… the media may have done that for him.)

    How it will all turn out, we don’t know. But the only advice I can give… and not as a tech or a number slinger, is that if I lived in Italy, I would be very very afraid. Not from the quakes or the volcanoes… but from the inept ass covering political hacks that are out to destroy any measure of warning systems that are in place

    • Reminds me of the the great storm of 1987 in the UK when the weather forecaster got it spectacularly wrong at the BBC and there was great damage and several fatalities from a horrendous storm that lashed the country. Were there any criminal prosecutions ? No, because people accepted that it was a fairly inaccurate science at the time but weather forecasting continued and is now far better with the huge leap in available data and computational capability.

      Forecasting earthquakes is likely far more inaccurate than weather forecasting ever was and how prosections could be brought against scientists in this area in particular, beats me – political mouthpieces maybe, as they are generally the ones that try to mitigate the risks through smokescreens and general pfaffing about (is that in the dictionary?) to further their buffoon career. Well-said GeoLurking

          • Hmmm………recall reading that there was a forecast of a possible storm that could come this way from the Bay of Biscay initially from an amateur ( but confirmed); the BBC elected not to air it. And it was not Mr Fish who chose not to air the forecast.


          It is understandable that the scientists got it wrong, but not that they had a policy of offering reassurance. That false reassurance, as it turned out, would have been a less demanding approach but in contrast, Japan, which has earthquakes up to 6mag almost daily, has instructions and practice drills in every public building. For a foreigner it is very stressful reading what is expected, and the duty of each individual to follow clearly defined procedures.

          The rest of us are not prepared for such eventualities because the likelihood is small.

          Acknowledging that the likelihood was small before it happened would have been a fairer judgement. That it was worse than anticipated was a tragedy. I’m not sure anyone was to blame for that though, any more than the weather forecasters who failed to warn Britain of the big storm then.

          • In the year 2003 the NS, National Dutch Railway, suddenly derailed completely as an organisation because they couldn’t perform anymore due to ‘autumn leaves on the rails’. Trains would not run at all, or be delayed for several hours, suddenly everything went wrong and hundreds of thousands of people got stuck at stations at night. The problems lasted for weeks. These kind of seasonal circumstances had never been an obstacle before, trains would always run fine during those months of autum. That is, until 2003. Hence, either the NS screwed up on the organizational level or we never had an autumn in the Netherlands before 2003… (Diana, ‘Herfstbladeren’ are the Dutch version of ‘The Wrong Type of Snow”.)

      • Lughduniense Being one who comes from an very old railroading family though not
        one myself I find that incredible. Though I have seen things nearly as unbelievable
        back in my firefighting days. Had the pleasure of knowing a real “Flying Dutchman”
        in my youth. Learned to fly in the days of open cockpits flew Fokker Trimotors,
        for KLM emigrated to the US (escaped to actually) after Hitler’s invasion. Went to
        work after the war for Northwest Orient. Retired at 60 in 1975 as a Captain.
        Stories that were amazing-I could see old Hans just simply pushing on as he
        swept the leaves from his goggles “.Bureaucrats.!Pah!” he actually said that..

        • Oh yes! here in the UK we have “Leaves on the rails” as well as the wrong kind of snow. But to be fair I had a small rumination……..I cannot remember a leaf problem in the days of steam strains. I thought it odd that this problem seemed to arise in the 1970’s there must be a reason. Surely modern rail systems are better than old? Here’s the answer!
          Disc brakes

          Before about 1960, most railway vehicles had brake shoes that applied pressure to the wheel treads. Since then, disc brakes have increasingly been used instead. Brake shoes have some effect in cleaning (by abrasion) the compressed leaf material from the wheel tread. It is generally agreed[3] that the advent of disc brakes made the effects of leaf fall worse
          (Thanks to Wkiki for this extract)

          • @Diana: Also in the days of steam the land on either side of the tracks were kept free of trees and shrubs as they caught fire from the cinders. So there was less likelihood of leaves getting on the line. Now they are left to grow and have become unofficial nature reserves. (A couple of years ago a steam train came through my town in Wiltshire and started a couple of fires on its progress through the countryside!)

    • I think you have written well here Lurking. Thank you.
      I too feel it would probably be not in GeoLoco’s best interest to write what could be construed as an “Official” stance on the situation in his neighbouring country.

    • Hm. I would probably be, indeed. I’m part of working groups concerning alert stuff, and am specialized in hazard and risk analysis and mitigation. On national and cantonal scale. Every day I actually practice prevention by analyzing building permits and emitting conditions or restrictions if necessary (that makes me have a lot of friends…). In emergency situations I have pushed the political decision makers once to close a road and twice to evacuate houses. Several times came to the conclusion that the risk should be bearable (the questions for example where whether a tunnel should be closed or not). Nothing to compare with L’Aquila, let that clearly be said. I’m in such al multi-tasker position that they would come to me if there was a seismic warning to issue (I’m in a scientific councillor group for the emergency-case task-force). And that’s exactly why I better hold back on being to loud about my interpretation (both, pro and heart/guts) on that case (GeoLurking is right).
      But I’ll just allow myself to say that: it’s much too easy to bash on the scientists. No matter if we talk about warning or predicting. You can’t imagine what goes on when you come with such an announcement. They put a very lot of weight on your shoulders and push you into narrowest corners before they follow you, and you clearly each time risk your job. Better be solid and clear in your head. And in general I think that when whatever “shit” happens, a big part of what is to come depends on what has been done to prepare the bad case and prevent dammage. And in my opinion that’s the big part of the problem in L’Aquila. Everyone there, not only scientists, knows about the seismic hazard. So why did they give a sh… on building / adapting their houses according to this geological context? Yeah, we all know, money… But as said, then it’s just too easy to blame the resulting catastrophe on how when what warning or prediction was issued.
      I stop here, because saying more would mean going technical / lawyer style and starting to use arguments and stuff as I do it in my job. And I’m not in volcanocafé for that, or put another way it wouldn’t be a professional attitude to mix job and fun. Yeah and anyway it’s my coffee break and my work-computer in front of which I’m sitting, so I already are a pretty bad boy and some tax payers might be pretty pissed to see me write that instead of doing what I’m payed for…
      Just for comparison, I read that an uncle that had sex with his niece between when she was 7 and 9 got 18 months. They issued he didn’t rape her even if it was sex with a kid, and that it took the girl a strangely long time to proceed against her uncle. Yeah, the 7 year old kid “wanted” it and we should expect her to be mature and strong enough to go to the police and do what was necessary. Oh, and he did the same thing to her older sister, who was ashamed and didn’t want to appeat in court. I’m out of myself when I read such stuff. It’s a strange world we’re living in /on. Well then, back to work – trying do avoid finding myself in jail if some rock slams a car into pizza-shape or something…

      • Good Morning GeooLoco. A very understandable response. Here we have a saying, “The Law is ann Ass”. Having had to fight for the prosecution of the step father of my Husband’s 3 children for exactly the same crimes, I too know of the ridiculous yet absolutely legal excuses and reasons used in the theatre of the court room. I was not popular as most of the family wanted the whole thing hushed up for many reasons.The Crown prosecution initially said ” It was not in the public interest” for the man to be prosecuted. We fought on for 2 years until he eventually got 18 months in prison. During that time I fought with others to change how these cases were handled. Now it is much better for the children. At least I know I did what I and my husband thought was right and that the police and public are aware to the dangers of this man now and hopefully some other children are more safe.
        You are so right. Where the law and public safety is concerned there are strange anomalies and the people in power sometimes use Law wrongly to their advantage

  10. And to lift everyones spirit….

    ilel100 made a post October 22, 2012 at 13:22 and linked to a rather awesome EU Moho page. I had seen this page previously, but at the time the MOHO depths were not available as raw points.

    Now they are. (Woot!)

    Here is a quick-n-dirty plot of all quakes in the Tjörnes fracture zone from 2010 to 2012… with the Moho. The view is from about 40 km depth looking up at the Zone to the North West.

    • The Moho looks like a beautiful giant manta. 🙂
      There are a couple of deep earthquakes, can they happen in the asthenosphere or does the crust have deep roots locally?

      • @ chryphia
        Don’t forget the deep subduction zones go very deep – have a look at the USGS earthquake listings and you will see 600km+ events are not uncommon in the Tonga W Pacific areas

        • Yes, as far as I understand they happen because the subducted crust finally crumbles somewhere deep. So could these deep quakes be caused by some kind of local subsidence? Another wild idea: do kind of giant stalagtites grow under Iceland? The resolution of this Moho map is probably the limiting factor.

          • You have to remember that although the rocks at depth are hot, they are only in the state of low enough viscosity to be considered liquid at relatively shallow depths – pressure at depth changes the physical characteristics so rock behaves as a solid. Think of a block of bitumen – leave alone on a hot day and it flows, but hit it with a hammer on the same day and it shatters!
            re stalactites – no – at depths over a few hundred metres (in general!) natural open cavities don’t exist, in brief, overburden pressure closes cavities (here think of coal mine collapses – ok metaliferous mines are much deeper but the rock is more competent; howvere overgeological timescales these will close too!)

  11. Ok boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen. It is time to open our eyes to the world as it is, not as we are told, taught or want to believe. I fear this will seem conspirationalist to some, but from bitter personal experience, I know it to be true:

    The true crime of the l’Aquila group of scientists is that they tried to tell people about the real reason for the deaths at l’Aquila, namely the failure of buildings to meet even moderate demands on safffety.

    Now, the construction of buildings that comply with rigorous building standards is expensive. Much better from the customers’ and builders’ point of view if built to less rigorous codes and the profit spread between themselves. Do this on a grand scale, and you become wealthy, wealthy enough to “influence” judges, inspectors and other nasties that might interfere with your gravy train. The best way to ensure this is to own the guy who makes the legislation and appoints judges, building inspectors etc. as well.

    From the collapse of even large and modern buildings including factories around Parma last year due to no more than medium large quakes, we know for a fact that this is a problem on a national scale and herein lies the problem. Should the real reason be exposed, public outcry would remove plenty of snouts from well-functioning throughs regarded as a right. Rebuilding to meet even moderate standards of safety on such an enormous scale would utterly ruin everyone who currently has grown fat.

    Much better to have the scientists who point this out publicly executed in this fashion. “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest!”

      • Thank you. Alas there is little hope as this phenomenon is rife in all democracies. The EU will not intervene as none of the practicioners have an interest in their particular version of the scam being exposed. The l’Aquila group of scientists have been martyred and it is no coincidence that at about the same time, dramatic cuts in the INGV – which bit the hand that fed it – are announced. The message from those in power is clear and it bodes ill for those within who are incorruptible.

        • There’s one thing that has always been and will never change: the confrontation of darkness and light (good and bad, but that sounds so simple 🙂 ). It’s not because we see that darkness is consistent that we should stop doing all we can to generate light. The world, mankind, will never be only good. It’s all about doing what we can to keep some kind of balance. I just saw a very nice publicity/advertising, don’t remember what for, that said “love” was googled more than “hate”. Now isn’t that nice? (Iiiiih, that comment is very slimy. I feel a bit dirty. But I’ll live with it…)
          And we should all try to concentrate on our little world. That’s where we can have most effect. I’m just coming from a colleague’s office. She looks strange since some days. The fact alone to sit next to her and ask “hey, sorry, but I clearly see something’s wrong, is there anything one could do to help?” pushed big larms out of her eyes. We talked a bit and she knows where to find support when tough discussions have to be prepared. But is it normal that people are permanently pushed beyond their limits in today’s working world? I don’t know. When I see all those people running around checking their professional emails on their smartphone during the weekend, I’m really wondering if we’re heading in a direction that makes sense. Just glad I have my kids. Kissing them goodnight every day at least is one thing I’m sure is right to do. Hooray to the simplest things in life. Celebrate biting into a warm croissant and smelling a fresh coffee, pushing down the accelerator of your car and every smile you get. And from now an call me GeoCheesey.

          • You do cheesy so very warmly and well Geo. The world is not a nice place sometimes…. yet I wish to stay here longer to keep experiencing all those lovely, simple things and as I am a nosey person to me it’s like watching the drama of a huge soap Opera….I want to see what happens next!

          • Let’s just be dreamers. It’s not naive if we do it knowing we’re not completely realistic. I want to decide what my reality is. Somehow a lot is up to us. When we do something good, something good has been done. That can not be changed. No matter how much bad happens around or next to it. Stretching your hand out to a sad friend won’t fight famine in the sahel zone, nor reduce corruption, but it’s better than staying apathic because you think you can’t do anything about everything that goes wrong on the planet.
            Well now I really go pathetic. My “unlust” to work has terrifying effects… Let’s blame it on those who sentences the italian seismologist, and the moon. The moon always deserves to be blamed for something – at least as much as sheep.

          • I may not have the precise wording correct, but my favourite quote (in meaning at least) is from Margaret Mead – which says something close to ‘never doubt the capacity of the individual to change the world, because its all that ever has’. I.e if every individual does what they can to make their world a better place, where they can, in whatever way they can, they they can make a difference.

    • I agree. The major problem here in Britain will probably be with floods. All major building developments these days seem to be on flood plains or water catchment areas. When (not if) these areas flood it will be the flood management people at the local councils who will be blamed for not dealing with the problem. These same people always lobby against these developments but their opinions are pushed aside in favour of the developers.

      • Talla, real estate developers are the same the world over. Everyone involved is grubbing about for a quick buck. In Jamaica, I saw the start of the massive push to drain and build on mangrove swamps and now, just at the top of our lane, they have built 200 houses on top of some very early coal mines and want to culvert the stream that runs through the center of this area that has been used also as a “Land fill”…… At the meeting arranged to view our opinions…I tried to explain that culverting a small stream could have dire consequences in periods of heavy rainfall…… I was proved right this summer! I tried to explain the coal mines were not well documented. Nobody really knows where they run……..The new houses are likely to subside.
        We all knew at that meeting it was all a waste of time. Deals had been made and sand was already being excavated in preparation for the new Build…Yes they are building on an infilled area of glacial sand deposits!
        I feel a song coming on……..

        • ..And this scientific knowledge was accepted well over 2,000 years ago……We may have space age all singing, all dancing, mobile phones…but have we progressed in the common sense area???

        • Hmm! Yes – “build not your houses on sand” seems to be pretty good sense! So far our water meadows are safe but the town council is under heavy pressure from the country council to build more and there’s very little space left in the town limits. It’s gone on for years of course – my grandparents’ house in Bristol had a wonky floor because of subsidence due to the coal mines underneath. Most people have forgotten that Bristol once produced coal!

  12. To get back to Volcanoes….
    It’s interesting ,now that the swarm in TFZ is subsiding a little that some SILs are still showing great unrest in the higher frequencies around Vatnajokull.
    In particular
    Tuesday 23.10.2012 07:03:32 64.678 -16.792 1.1 km 1.3 50.63 9.4 km WNW of Kverkfjöll
    Tuesday 23.10.2012 03:37:03 64.639 -16.790 10.8 km 1.6 90.01 8.1 km W of Kverkfjöll
    Tuesday 23.10.2012 03:32:12 64.649 -16.773 3.8 km 1.8 90.02 7.4 km W of Kverkfjöll and very restless here

  13. …… Wondering about our revered leader…..Do you think Carl has managed to sort out the beaurocrats and has finally got married? ( I said I was nosey and I do like a good love story !!!)

    • No idea how things are for him. But sometimes, real life catches us so hard that it’s just difficult to “be” in a virtual environment.
      He’ll be back when he’ll be back. And whether good or sad, his story for sure will be great in many ways. But I’m completely with you on the expectation of a next chapter in a good love story!

  14. oh boy, I better go out and walk bare feet in a birch forest for a while. went off on a bit of a rant at Erik’s. Just this decision riles me so much. Sure I know there is a whole convoluted web of local politics involved (as there always is in Italy) and things are not as simple as they seem, but manslaughter? That is just wrong. I do imagine these local civil defence guys were at best misguided and possibly culpable of poor communication but hell, we are talking about the region with the most seismic hazard in Europe. And this tragic “media event” would not have happened had Giampaolo Giuliani not got on his hobby horse.

    • Don’t go over FB. You’ll be out of your mind when you read some comments from people in Italy. Unbelievable that public opinion (or at least, part of it) could buy this!

        • Ursula, it matters little whom you vote for. They are all equally corrupt and it’s a sad truth that Social, Liberal, Communist and Conservative politicians have far more in common with each other than they do have with with the grassroot members of their own party. The last few years, it’s become popular to rate how corrupt countries around the world are and beat your own drum. I never laughed so hard as when Swedish politicians lauded the fact that Sweden was the least corrupt nation. Since it only measures corruption in its crude forms (bribes, nepotism etc), the organised and legalised corruption by politicians for politicians doesn’t even register. Paradoxically, Sweden is probably more corrupt than Italy. At least someone like Berlusconi can be prosecuted, something that is not an option in Sweden…

          • Thanks Oliver – I share your opinion. Living in a country where corruption is widespread, common and accepted (!) I do not think my country has the right to judge Italy in any way.

          • On Sunday night the BBC broadcast a documentary about Donald Trump’s golfcourse in Scotland. He tried to stop them showing it of course and the film wasn’t shown at the Edinburgh Festival earlier this year although it has won awards around the world. Basically the Scottish Government ‘called in’ the planning on the golfcourse (it had been thrown out originally) and gave him the go ahead. I was horrified at the way Trump treats people and the way his organisation tramples over everyone. Anyway – the damage is done – he’s ruined an SSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). No one seems to be capable of stopping him but he comes over as a complete @+*”hole.

      • Moin Inge, Renato mentioned that a few days ago. Frightening. Indirectly a bizarre result of the European austerity plans.

        • Or more like that some politicians and other corrupt individuals use the austerity plans (a.o.) to get rid of uncompliant scientists.

  15. You can’t imagine how much I enjoy the crowd in here going philosophic/ranting/critisizing society. So cool combination of observation and facts with sarcasm / irony and an analysis that is not triggered by todays mad conviction that everything has to bow to the power of money. Although no one is naive enough to think it doesn’t play a role.
    Greatest entertainment. And giving this feeling of “you are not alooooone…” (not that I would really like the song, but…).

  16. Kverkfjoll is certainly acting up today. At one point there was a 3+ quake which has been downgraded to 2.6. I do think there is a suspicion of a small harmonic tremor here.
    However I am still not good at spotting these on the IMO SIL graphs so forgive me if I am wrong.
    This volcano, along with Bardarbunga was showing signs of increased unrest before the swarm in the North.

    • Hello !
      I do not see anything special at Kreppuhraun, the northern swarm dominates this SIL as well as most northern SIL stations. Any 3+ Richter will show on all stations across Iceland (they are VERY sensetive). Sorry for capitalizing .. not shuting. The only station standing out seems Askja, having high “vibration-response” (adding to swarm effect) in last days. That perhaps is not strange, as I see Askja as “southern tip” (node?) of the Krafla spread zone, that directy is influenced by swarm in TFZ.
      There is no indication of any drama “in the cards”… but one large swarm can have effects in changing (stable) ground-stresses elsewhere.
      The only drama I saw in news today, one “news” of Páll Einarsson (about danger assesment in Iceland) about lava flows. He said only towns in danger (if) were Vestmann Islands (proven 1973) and Grindavík. Then he forgets Hveragerði, Hafnafjörður (three areas!), some of Garðabær and Álftanes, parts of Reykjavík, not to forget Þorlákshöfn and Selfoss Towns, that are ALL BUILT ON POST-GLACIAL ERA LAVA FLOWS (saying, once happening it can as well happen again someday). Hows that for “downplaying (possible) risks”. *not expert*

      • Thanks Icelander. I didn’t realise how sensitive these Stations are. When there is a huge swarm like this it is very confusing! Pall Einarssen is very brave to make such a sweeping statement today of all days after the fiasco in Italy.

        • Yes, having such large swarm is confusing, because the tremour (órói) plots are designed in detecting micro-seisms (well under normal Richter values.)
          – Re PE (Earth PhD) this might be case of faulty reporting, but also bears some likelyness to his Katla/Eyjo “plumbing connection” and likely no thinking “out of the Box” on his part (or that he never admits beeing …. wrong!) *my ranting*
          – He does agree on the “Italian Job” (at at least today)
          Giving “Italian Job” an entierly new meaning, of Mafia sorts of jobs, in my view …

  17. I’m in Italy today and tomorrow – I shall certainly be interested to here what my local hosts have to say on the matter over dinner tonight.
    In the meantime, here’s quite a lot of lava coming down Fuego (courtesy Insivumeh)

  18. Well, news are here there is enought “tension” (stress) according recent years GPS mesurement for up to an 6,8 Ricter quake in TFZ (as I understand it, but there is not much cause for immidate alarm, but RUV is interviewing sicientists on this in next 60 min). That could indeed be dramatic, but in my view, not very possibly as one single quake. More likeliy-ness be swarm of large quakes as has been ongoing, but we can of course have an 6+ quake there … *not expert*

  19. For a positive note, a rare exception what can achieved when government, scientist and local orgaisations work together.
    Trough Leuven streams the Dijle, a river with an history of giving troubles since middle ages. In 1891 1/3 of the city center flooded. Already back then, people started to discuss flood measurements to keep the city safe. Of course this being Belgium (equally corrupt as other countries) nothing came from as there was a) no money, b) no time or c) no interest. The two world wars weren’t helpful either. Meanwhile the Dijle flooded regularly with (severe) troubles once or twice per decade. After a century of talking and doing nothing the local government decided it was time to act and asked to study which was the best solution. Building contractors came with the most fancy and expensive ideas. This to the horror of the local nature organisation, because their plans would destroy important nature in the flood plains of the Dijle river. So they went to the university and asked for help to prove that the best solution was to reconnect the Dijle with the flood plains upstream of the city and leave the Dijle meandering without interceptions. The university, happy to have an excuse to use their newest computer models (mid nineties) and because their science campus is situated where the river together with her floodplains enters the city, was glad to help. Together they demonstrated that for only 2-2.5 million euro the city would have for a 1 in 100 year event flood protection if they give the valley back to the river. This being the most effective and cheapest solution the local government decided in favor for it although they had to demolish a couple of (illegal) weekend houses in the area.
    In November 2010 we had severe rainfall in Belgium and the streams and rivers east , west, south and north of Leuven flooding (parts of) villages. But in Leuven we stayed dry! Actually we had no flooding ever since and since 2002-2003 beavers are doing the water management in situ.

  20. As a counterpoint to the fiasco in Italy,
    Over at Jon’s blog, he mentions a “State of Uncertainty” has just been declared for the TFZ in northern Iceland due to the recent quake activity. It appears the Icelandic authorities have a different view of how to keep their public informed of heightened risks of a large earthquake.

  21. Pingback: Tough Reality News 10-29-2012 - Tough Reality | Tough Reality

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