A Volcanic ‘Grand Tour’ Part 3

Etna: a very special place

Prior to visiting Stromboli we had visited Etna, but I have left what the locals call Muncibeddu until last. It is obviously very well-known to anyone with even the tiniest passing interest in volcanoes, and many thousands of words have been written about its volcanology.

On a volcanic scale this is just a hemidemisemiquaver of a microfart, but to me
it is very special as it is the first real eruptive activity I have ever witnessed (I’ve seen fumarolic steaming before – Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala). Here Etna’s Bocca Nueva on the left pumps a bit of ash, while the New SE crater is steaming away nicely to the right. Two days after this the regular ash emissions from BN slowed down, while a couple of big explosions in the NSEC brought a chunk of the crater rim down.

Etna has joined a very select group of locations that I have been lucky enough to visit that at once became truly special to me, and I’m struggling somewhat to convey my feelings about the place. I can certainly understand why it has long drawn people from far away and who then find it hard to ever leave.
Perhaps it is the sheer scale of the mountain that is so wonderful. There can be few geographic features that dominate the surrounding land in the way that Etna towers over eastern Sicily. It is truly gigantic, and visible from many miles away in all directions. Even from the northern coast, where a line of impressive mountains fringe the sea, Etna can still occasionally be seen steaming in the distance, an order of magnitude bigger than anything else.

Etna looms large over the city of Catania, clouds adding to the fumarolic steam to enhance the volcano’s menace. Lava has reached the town on several occasions, notably in 1669 when the city’s walls deflected the flows into the sea. The reprieve was short-lived: a massive earthquake destroyed much of the city in 1693.

From a volcanic point of view it seems to have just about everything you could want – and mostly accessible, too. Craters and cones of varying ages are everywhere, each with its own story to tell of how it changed the landscape. Some of the younger craters still steam, and if you dig just a few centimetres into the ground then the residual heat is immediately obvious.

This is one of the two craters that opened up in 2002-03 just by the old Rifugio Torre del Filosofo. Steam still issues from the open mouth of one of them.

Etna’s upper slopes are covered in ash and lapilli from recent eruptions, creating a strangely rounded, smooth- edged, black world that is from another planet. Towering above are the central vents, always in action and always threatening.
Giant lava runs can be traced across the intermediate slopes, leaving islands of lush vegetation as they have twined around higher ground on their slow journey down the mountain.

Fact of life no. 127: you can’t keep a 14-year old out of a cave. Etna’s extensive lava fields feature numerous lava tubes, and this perfectly formed little beauty was just too tempting for the ‘Lill-Viggen’. The best his claustrophobic Dad could manage was to stick the camera in at arm’s length.

Etna’s lower slopes are home to beautiful forests and vineyards. Attractive villages – old-school Sicily mixed with modern Alpine influences – stand testament to man’s resilience to nature’s forces and the desire to milk the riches of fertile volcanic soils. I cannot quite put a finger on what it is about the place, but I want to live there!

“Honestly, all it needs is a tidy-up and a lick of paint…”
I admit to having fallen completely in love with Etna and the villages that surround it. However, my wife is yet to be convinced about this suggestion for a cheap holiday home for the Viggen clan. (House buried by lava flow on Etna’s southern flank).

I hope this hasn’t come across too much as a “look at me on my hols” post. If it has, then apologies. The humble aim of this effort was firstly to raise a smile or two, and to share a few first-hand thoughts and impressions about places that we talk about regularly as if we “know” them.
More importantly, I hope it might just influence someone out there to do something similar with other locations – or even these same ones – and jot down a few impressions for the rest of us. Science can be a beautiful thing, but nowhere near as beautiful as human experience!
True, we went to real ‘tourist volcanoes’, but they’re still volcanoes, and it’s not our fault that they just happen to be located in beautiful, hot, sunny, accessible places where the food is simply a joy! And thanks to spending a little bit of time on the net the trip was very cheap. Forget the volcanoes, the ice cream alone is worth it!
Anyhow, I really am the last person to tell anyone what to do or not to do, but if I may offer some observations and guidance based on my experiences:
1) I have driven many miles in many types of vehicle in many countries, but nothing can adequately prepare you for that initial few minutes on Italian roads. Even if you have done it before, it’s still much scarier than you ever remember. To drive successfully in Italy is an artform, a triumph of timing, reflexes and brinkmanship over common sense and caution. With the first few kilometres tentatively behind you it becomes a challenge to be increasingly relished, but for a short while I really, really wished I still smoked.

2) If you are going to arrive in Naples expecting to find your lodgings in some unlit backstreet of a Camorra gang stronghold halfway up Vesuvius, in a strange rental car and with the Naples-Salerno motorway shut without warning and with no diversion signposted (actually, nothing in Italy is signposted to any degree of reliability), then do NOT do it at night without a very good GPS.

3) To get good photos of Strombolian action at the top take a tripod and a decent telephoto lens. I had the latter, but not the former, which is why you will not see my efforts here!

4) DO eat ice cream. For breakfast, lunch, dinner and at all times in between. There are a tiny handful of places in the rest of the world – for instance, Bosse’s Glassbar (Linköping, Sweden) – where one can acquire a genuine 10 out of 10 ice cream, but the chances are you will never, ever be in a place that has better gelato than the sunny parts of Italy, so cram in as much as you possibly can. You can burn it all off when you shin up Stromboli.

5) As Spica will also testify, Arancini (see Name that Lava) are extremely yummy

6) When abroad always do your bit to support the local economy, and fight the global advances of multinational corporations! (for example, a healthy-sized jug of red wine costs less than a Coke in many Sicilian restaurants).

This sure beats climbing, but in my humble opinion the 25-Euro Etna cable car just doesn’t take you far enough up the mountain. You’re probably only there once, so pay the full 60 Euros (!) and take the Unimog bus that takes you all the way up to the now-spectacularly-buried-under-ash Rifugio Torre del Filosofo. If nothing is happening you will still have an amazing view of the top of Etna, as well as being able to walk around a lapilli-covered ‘other-world’ of still-steaming craters. If something does happen, you will have the best seat in the house (or maybe you will be running, in which case there’s no finer way to die for a volcanoholic!)

Photos mostly by author

187 thoughts on “A Volcanic ‘Grand Tour’ Part 3

  1. Good morning people. Here is the glorious part 3 of UKViggens Grand tour. Now i have only one more post in store. KarenZ Sakurajima part 2 which will most likely go in on Wednesday. ( If nothing dramatic happens volcano wise.
    Suzie sent a riddle for friday and Alan will most likely provide another brainkiller too. I will have to write the post.
    In case any of you wants to show his/her writing skills just like this brilliant piece by UKViggen… please send a mail to me.
    I still dont have a clue when our leader Carl will be back.

    • My problem is that the only Volcanoes I have personally seen were at several miles range or from a bar… drunk. (You tend to do that at 8000 km from home on Christmas)

      Everything else I have to say tends to gloss peoples eyes over… or scare the bejeevous out of them.

  2. :roflol: hemidemisemiquaver of a microfart

    absolute classic, we have a new VEI ratings system!

    Great series ukviggen. No problem at all with the tourist perspective. That is just as valid as any scientific treatise. Most of us haven’t been to these places and it’s great to get a “feel” of them that adds to the skant impression we have formed from the internet.

  3. UK Viggen ! Thank you for a series of posts that have honestly entertained me this weekend. Beautifully written.. from the heart.Forget the apologies , if you ever loose your present job just print out a few copies of these posts and send off to Travel firms or advertising agencies. I feel you are born to write copy! I must admit I do side with Mr Viggen on the holiday home tho!
    Ah! See Naples and Die. Well Dad nearly did back in 1960. We were driving to Pompei and got lost in the back streets of naples, that are obviously still there. Dad was nearly appopleptic as we narrowly missed assorted vehicles and he turned an odd shade of Puce as the Police pulled us over…… They gave us an escort out and onto the correct road! It’s worth going just to appreciate your home town’s potholed but reasonably well run roads!!!

      • Absolutely! I do have a 14-year old volunteer though. Trouble is, he is 1.87m tall, very wide and still growing. All muscle and bone (and a fair chunk of attitude!). Great for his favoured pastime of playing second row, but maybe not so good for squeezing into any tight places.

    • I want to add my thanks for a great series of articles. If I can ever afford to go on a proper holiday abroad again this is the area I’ll head for – with the added bonus that it abounds in a huge amount of archaeology. I’ll be in heaven. I’ve also added Sicily to my list since watching the Inspector Montalbano series on TV. He spends his time flitting from his house on the beach to romantically faded palaces via wonderful restaurants (with a bit of police work in between). Also my father was there with his mates in the 1940’s and moved from Sicily to Naples in time for the eruption of Vesuvius then on to Rome and Venice and ended up in Trieste for VE Day. I’m going to start saving today! Thanks again!

      • I love the understated way you describe your father’s journey – sounds like he was on holiday! I think he and his mates were rather busy with somewhat serious matters during that time! I can imagine that Trieste must have been a nice place to end a war – I was there last week and it was glorious.

      • I loved Sicily when I visited the place. It also has its ‘mythology’ as in The Godfather films, ‘The Leopard (Italian: Il Gattopardo) is a novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa that chronicles the changes in Sicilian life and society during the Risorgimento.’ (quote from wiki) but for a more atmospheric movie ‘Chaos’, or Kaos, by the Taviani brothers, is the one that really captures the weirdness. The landscape visuals, and sound-track, are amazing.

        Thanks UK Viggen for this road-trip to the past.

      • Sicily’s friendly people is what I remember best from my visit in 2004. The Melon Seller who (in Italian) explained two lost tourists how to find the way from a small village never heard of back to the main road. And who one and a half hours later, just as friendly and detailled as the first time, gave us the same explanation.
        Then there was the Police Officer who spotted us trying to park the big care in a very small, busy street. He looked angry and I was sure to get a bill for holding up the traffic. But no, he stopped the traffic in both directions and gave us instructions how to get into the small opening between the other cars in the row. Then he bowed and wished us a good day!

  4. Ukviggen:
    I have been more that ten times in Italy, but after your posts I’ll simply have to visit those places.!
    But reading them was enough to make me happy!
    Many thanks.

      • I think I read somewhere that it came back to life again recently – there’s always something going on.

        Incidentally, the “couple of big explosions in the NSEC brought a chunk of the crater rim down” event I referred to in the caption for the opening photo, which we missed by two days, was actually the birth of what has now been christened ‘Il Pittino’. It’s a crater pit on the side of the New Southeast Crater and which seems to be a new focus for activity.

        For clarification of the photo, the NSEC is the slightly dirtier steam on the far right where the contour slope up toward the edge of the photo. The cone to the left of it, with much whiter steam, is the Old SEC, which is very yellow with sulphur deposits.

        • I should add that when we were there a small guided tour was exploring the bottom of the rift between the OSEC and NSEC – exactly where the crater rim came down.

  5. Hi everyone

    On December 8 i’m off to Lanzarote (to escape the miserable winter), i’m trying to plan a trip to the cones and craters of the 18th and 19th century eruptions. Just a few questions, are you allowed free roam in the park or do I hav to take a bus tour?

    If anyones been any highlights of the park worth making a detour? One sight I want to see is volcan Tinguaton (the sight of the last eruption of Lanzarote), but I don’t know if I can park on the road outside the crater 😀

    • HI Lucas, you have to take a bus tour which leaves from the visitor centre every 1/2 hour or so, I guess it depends how busy they are. We were there in June and had to queue for over an hour just to get into the visitor centre car park. The centre is a fair bit from the main road and you have to pay at the entrance, so I dont think you can easily get to wander round unsupervised. Well worth the trip though, you will enjoy it I’m sure.

        • Yep. Bus only for the main area, but you’re not short of craters around to explore outside the park. There is also a guided walking tour in another bit of the park – I’ll let you know what it’s like next week, as the Viggen family is off on manoeuvres to Lanzy tomorrow!

    • Mornin Lucas,
      You are not allowed to roam around the National Park at all, the Volcano police will get you… The admission fee to the park includes a bus trip around the Ruta de los Volcanoes (designed by Cesar Manrique) and there are two free guided walks with park rangers. You have to book the walks via the Parques Nacionales website, book soon they fill up quick…
      There is a visitors centre, where the camels are parked (you can go for a short ride!) which I didn’t see but it’s probably worth a look…
      Worth looking out for is a short book called When The Volcanoes; it’s an eyewitness account by the priest of Yaiza from 1730-31, I got mine from the souvenir shop in the main car park (bus trip starts here too) next to the Cesar Manrique designed restaurant (you can have your lunch cooked by volcano) check out the grill even if the prices put you off…
      Don’t know about the other question for sure, but you can probably park by the road somewhere nearby. I don’t know about access to the volcano itself but according to my map it’s outside of the National Park…
      Fundacion Cesar Manrique is also worth seeing, you won’t be able to avoid his art, it’s all over Lanzarote. The Fundacion is his former home built into/ over a wonderful selection of lava tubes/ skylights.
      Do let us know how you get on; me and Lizzie are going for the second time in February, I wasn’t very volcanological last time, but I’d like to see Tinguaton.
      Do pick my brains if there’s anything else you want to know 🙂

  6. Yes, sorry I thought you were talking about the Timanfaya park…Not paying attention again! The Tinguaton volcano would be easy to get to I think. We didnt go up to the summit, but drove by it a couple of times and I guess it should be easy to take a hike up there.

  7. Being a Western USA denizen , you cannot avoid volcanoes of all types. I am familiar
    wit St.Helens (and thankful for a good, fast Aircraft, at the time of my being really really
    close to an April eruption of St. Helens..:I
    I’d live next to Etna any day than live close to one of those “loosely associated piles of ash, rock
    and Ice” of the Cascades…

  8. 😳
    Total brain meltdown yesterday evening!
    I read Diana’s 2220 comment about Ursula’s 2138 time as 2120……aaargh!
    Sorry folk!
    So corrected to
    1 point to Ursula
    1 to Sissel and
    1 to Kelda
    I think ( 🙂 )

    I think Ursula should pick this Friday’s category – and me no whisky for a week as punishment!!
    1 for mineral
    2 for ‘pot luck’

  9. Well it seems Numpties, idiots and stoopid people are an international problem… I am watching the New York harbor web cam and watching these morons walking and playing about on the water’s edge………. If they get swept away someone will expect somebody else to endanger their lives to try and rescue them!!! http://nyharborwebcam.com/

    • There are farm building (lights) on the far right and often I see vehicle lights running left > Right as there is a track in the middle distance. I have seen lights actually on the mountain but not recently

      • Yes saw two vehicles and the farm lights.

        The other was probably an effect of the clouds and / or night falling combined with the way the webcam works.

      • It’s also to be seen on Icelandic weather forecasts from IMO: http://en.vedur.is/ (till Friday), worst could be Thursday with in parts sustained winds up to 26 m/Sek. (93 km/h) for parts of southeast Iceland.

        Probably influence of Sandy.

        • I think it’s the storm that’s influencing Sandy. It’s the system that stopped Sandy from sweeping out into the Atlantic and causing it to swerve into the eastern US. Part of the ‘Perfect Storm’ system.

          • This wind in Iceland has nothing to do with Sandy.

            It’s just a strong invasion of polar air, coming directly from north (not related at all to Sandy). I could say that this unusual early polar cold can be probably linked to the extensive ice melting in the pole this summer, whereas Hurricane Sandy was just a consequence of hot tropical waters (coming from the tropics), but that became the “perfect storm” as it clashed with the unusual cold air coming from the pole, now invading both North America and Europe. These cold waves are normal during the winter but not this early. Likewise, a hurricane coming that far north is also not normal this far late in autumn.

    • It does make grim reading. Thankfully not many deaths as for the most part, people heeded the warnings. Being without power for possibly a week after 3 feet of snow lands on your house has to be horrendous – for me anyway (I hate the cold). I’m surprised the power was not turned off as soon as Sandy hit. In the Indian Ocean (Mauritius, Reunion etc) the power goes off as soon as they reach stage 3 of their Cyclone Preparedness system (basically this equates to 1: be aware there’s a Cyclone about; 2: Go home, get ready; 3: It’s here. Sit it out). This stops lots of fires – the old houses are mainly wood. There’s nothing worse than driving down a road with live downed electicity cables whipping about – I’ve tried it several times and it’s always nerve-racking!

      • Yes, I think not turning the power grids down was their largest mistake (of the authorities). Even if this was a huge and dramatic preparation decision.

        Next time they will probably do it.

        Everyone should know that electricity and water don’t mix well each other 🙂

        • And salt water is even worse than that…

          (Actually, pure water is pretty non-conductive. But as soon as some sort of salt (not just NaCl) or acid goes into solution, the conductivity goes up quite fast.)

    • Well, it was an expected scenario – albeit a rare one -, and thanfully the authorities took it serious and also the weather forecast people. This minimized the disaster. And they should be congratulated.

      We have the technology and the models to predict these disasters in advance, and the authorities were very good preparing in advance.

      But there is nothing we can’t do against the flooding or the explosions (except building higher dikes or moving houses away from the coast). The infrastructure is there and we know it is likely to be destroyed, and flooded. At least the population, if its not dumb, is evacuated and is spared of risks to their own lives.

      60 years ago we couldn’t evacuate the populations because we hadn’t satellites (only boats, airplanes and barometers), and many thousand people would probably be dead if this would have occurred. Imagine even how this would have been 100 years ago: even worse.

      For a disaster this was mostly a material one (not so many human lives lost), and that is certainly good news. 🙂

      • What is interesting now, is that according to most scientific predictions, the sea levels will rise considerably within the next decades and centuries. Storms will likely get stronger.

        So, these Sandy storms will occur more often and they will be worse, if the majority of our predictions are correct. The question is: since we already can predict this, well in advance, we can be smart and take the necessary adaptations and changes to minimize future destruction. The interesting question is whether human beings are open to plan for their future generations. Those adaptations would be money well spent.

        • I wouldnt be surprised if they develop water tight storm barriers / shutters for tunnels and subways to keep water out. The costs of damage and repair will far outweigh the costs of developing such defences, especially when wider economic costs are taken into account. It may take weeks for thier transport and power systems to get back on line, and the knock on effects on the US economy will be very significant.

          • It’s going to leave a huge mark on the US economy, but at the very minimum, NYC isn’t a huge manufacturing hub for the USA. I will say, the government response has been pretty strong so far. Perhaps people learned their lesson from Katrina, or perhaps it’s a result of the incoming election (or just not having Bush in office?)

          • Ya need to get a fact straight there.

            By law, Federal Disaster Aid can not be given until the Governor of the state requests it. Governor Blanco was contacted prior to landfall, and declined the offer. This is why during the day of the 28th, President Bush declared a state of emergency in Mississippi and ordered federal assistance. Mississippi’s Governor had opted to take the offer of assistance.

            In all likelihood, MS Governor Haley Barbour had remembered that in 1969, Hurricane Camille had laid waste that area of the state… and LA Governor Kathleen Blanco had forgotten what Hurricane Betsy had done in 1965, breach the levees and flood the city.

            Likewise, the actual location of Mayor Nagin during Katrina’s hit is up for speculation. Most of the evacuation capability (for the residents, so that they could get out), was left sitting in a parking lot.

            Much of what you hear about New Orleans and Katrina… is political rhetoric.

            The absolutely pathetic part about New Orleans… is that the Mayor that left his citizens stranded, was subsequently re-elected.

            He evidently followed the “Never let a crisis go to waste” mantra quite well.

          • It’s always interesting how blame usually gets taken to the federal level, even when it’s often a more local cause.

          • Well, I have my own issues with Bush, but this isn’t one of them.

            I do know that there were structural issues with some of the levees. A contractor had sued the corps of engineers for more money due to the increased cost of bringing a levee into contract specifications. It seems that the make-up of the foundation soil was not as indicated in the Corps of Engineer geological survey and it had to be strengthened. The Corps of Engineers Judge (yeah, they have their own group of judges) had ruled against them and the company had to eat the cost. I think they later went bankrupt because of it.

            I don’t know which section of levee it was. But it was an illuminating case that pointed out the cluster@#$@ bureaucracy that may have contributed to the event.

        • Looks like the preparation to save lives was good, and emergency planning has been pretty good too – with lessons learned from Katrina, so next is – what do people do for the time it takes to get the water back pumping up to their flats, and the power back on, or if they can’t get to work without transport, and how will they buy food when all the shops are empty?

          People are talking about the costs to insurance companies and the costs of rebuilding infrastructure as if that is just going to happen overnight.

          This is such a steep learning curve for everyone. I hope there are some good teams working on the next stage in the disaster management.

          • It’s only a learning curve if you have failed to learn.

            I have a friend that lives and works on Long Island. He has food, water, and lighting (propane), and went to work today. The restaurants are mostly closed, so he carried his food with him. His cats are fine and his house is un-damaged.

            Most of the issue is with downed trees and power lines… in other words, typical for this type of storm.

            It’s only a “disaster” if you let it become one.

          • A bit of philosophy… taught to me by a wise elderly woman (my mom)

            If you are walking across field and step in a pile of crap, don’t stand their wailing about it… keep walking

            And from a different philosopher:

            the one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again

            Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, (aka: George Santayana)

          • History may not repeat itself… but it is really good at rhyming.

            I reiterate Santayana: “the one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again”

            WEST TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie this evening issued an angry rebuke to Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford for allowing people to shelter at schools in that community rather than evacuate. Christie said one school is now flooded.

            The governor said he cannot quantify how many people decided to shelter at the schools within the city, but he said no rescues will occur from this evening until the morning. He said a 21-member strike team is in place with boats to assist come dawn.


            And… if history is any indicator… Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford, angry at being chastised by the Governor… will be re-elected.

  10. There is a severe stormy wind period for the next days in Iceland. And also very cold. The north winds here in south Iceland are topping now 70 km/h and temperature is around -4°C. Feels already so cold….

    Look out for you guys at the UK… this polar air is going your way…

  11. Hi

    Here is the result of plotting for October up to the 24th with Moho on the northern zone.

    Moho data courtesy fo Lurking and initially from
    Grad, M., Tiira, T., and ESC Working Group, 2009. The Moho depth map of the European Plate, Geophys. J. Int. (2009) 176, 279-292, doi:
    Surface terrain comes from NOAA
    Earthquake data from IMO

  12. Morning/afternoon from 40 N, 74W almost:
    Anyone see the maestro lately. Been interesting since the 25th. Model runs on the 25th were indicating significant build up of wind and waves if either the european or gfs verified. Caught a reference to possible dry air intrusion. Bingo. Dry air has clouded the ability of canes to develop to their full potential all summer. Slows down the storm, inhibits eye formation and has been underestimated by the models and guardians in predicting track, development and intensity. So too with Hurricane Sandy. Still a beast but not as bad as nightmare of the 18Z runs on Thurs. Fri. Watched the development and became convinced that estimates were still overdone. Sat. batten down the hatches. Lots of peanut butter and bread for the period without power. Irene was five days. Mon. our first aid squad rescue and began staffing round the clock in concert with an EOC., and FD. since ’90 have been in 2 N.Easters and 2 Hurricanes. Short evaluation. Boardwalk was lost in Irene. All of the 2 1/2 miles of the new work went offshore between 1630 and 1700 yesterday. South end lost levee and was flooded by the same rising tide. High tide was 4 hrs later. Town had evacuated low lying areas in advance of the storm but not everyone leaves. Emergency crews responded to more than 40 alarms for wires down, trees in buildings and one flaming tree. This was during the 4 hr period prior to and during landfall around 1600-1700. Winds during this period were 30-45 its., G60 out of the N. Two rescues in hip-chest deep water for residents trapped in homes made around 2000 to 2100. One was a bed ridden patient, wife and nurse. Furniture was floating and house was making noise like snap crackle, and pop. Gumby suits, stokes basket and two trips to extricate the couple and nurse walked out. Winds gusting to over 30 kts., with a tree ready to fall on power lines and our ladder truck. Patients treated for exposure, hypothermia and transported to hospital.

    Aftermath: power out for town, sewer line pump station off line, trees slowly being cleared of trees boardwalk parts and beach which migrated 400 to 800 ft west of dunes, new tidal outlet. Lots of homes flooded, wind damage and loss for commercial interests. LIke say this 4-5 time since 1990. Be a while for clean up and restoration. We are only a small 21/2 mile portion of a long coastal shore line. No major injuries yet but cleanup is most hazardous phase of the work for slips, trips, nails and contamination.

    • Thanks. Info digested. Intriguing. So nobody seem learn then (5th time hit since 1990 says all). Re-building in same danger(ed) areas and not blanking off by sea-tight walls/dams/levees, and/or pumps area dry – as it happens only every 4th of 5th year a “wide area” pumping (mostly on standby) cost not that much to run, but them could also hold out on excessive rain (likely this is not NYC problem then)…

  13. Hekla webcam: the “light” that many of you report over Hekla, is actually planet Jupiter, a bright “star” hanging low over the north, east and then south horizon, along the night.

    On a future eruption: when an eruption starts up, first thing it might happen are small earthquakes, generally below M2; second, a strain change at Burfell, and a sudden increase in harmonic tremor. At this point, if you live near Hekla, you might not even feel or see anything. Quickly, within mins, an eruption column will start appearing at the volcano (so, a small white puff that quickly becomes a dark tall ash cloud, within 10min, is probably the first thing we will see in the webcams).

    This is how a nearby farmer described the start of the 1947 eruption: everything in a cold and sunny February morning was calm; as he was about to leave home, he noticed first a white puff over Hekla, quickly this was followed by a rising dark ash cloud within a couple of mins; half an hour later, hot pumice was raining on his house. A similar scenario happened last year with me with Grimsvotn. I first noticed a dark rising ash cloud, quickly rising. Lightnings followed within an hour. A few hours later, ash was falling down on me as it became dark as night. And I was 200km straight line from Grimsvotn.

      • Full Moon tonight – it’s the harvest moon I think so it looks bigger (I don’t know why this should be – optical illusion?) 🙂

  14. Can anyone explain what is happening on the IGN graphs for La Palma today? Looks like a magmatic intrusion and other graphs are reflecting this? Same thing happened a few days ago.

    • Hi Steve, don´t know what is happening on the IGN graphs for La Palma today, but I do know that today there has been terrible weather there, and also on Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro. The news reported that the winds on La Palma earlier reached 220 km per hr -could this have an effect on the graphs? Canary Islands are on Orange alert – strong winds and loads of rain, for today and worse to come tomorrow.

        • Hi dfm – yes that is what they said on the TV, I had to listen again to double check I hadn´t got it wrong…but that is definitely what they said…backed up by a bit of film footage of 3 pedestrians taking shelter under a telefonica public phone booth when a tree behind them suddenly fell on top of them, luckily they were not injured….the winds in Tenerife today are said to be at 120-150 km p/hr ..again on the news saw a football stadium roof blow off onto the school playground next door…feel a bit sorry for the tourists today,,,definitely not beach weather..although it is not cold at all indeed, it has been very warm and humid today…

  15. There is an interesting article on LiveScience about Kilauea and Mauna loa.
    It says that they are connected 80km down. Because of this, when one is active (now Kilauea), stess is released from the other. Now there is a sitation developing so they can test their model.
    To quote the scientist:

    “If Kilauea continues to inflate like it is right now, and if our model holds water, we should also see another period of inflation at Mauna Loa in about half a year,” Gonnermann said.

  16. Good evening everyone. I am just catching up as today has been busy.
    @ Irpsit. You are right my friend. We will be getting your polar winds after you have done with them. No worrries as I have my thermals washed and ready. I also have made a bid on a lovely Iceland made Vintage jumper (When I should have been busy listing stuff to sell!)
    @ DFM Another lovely 3D plot. It’s interesting that the westerly swarm is quite widespread and the smaller swarm on the opposite more North Easterly side is compact and columner. Any reason for this? Are the two swarms related? I am thinking they are scarps/ sides of grabens, if that is the correct terminology. Or are they opposing sides of a rift or is that the same thing?
    @ Spica . What a lovely view of Hekla.

  17. As all Iceland is plain boring now, and went look at webcam in NYC areas
    I came across this (with text) … http://aws1.earthcam.com/?c=coneyisland
    “”Visit the newly renovated Coney Island amusement park in Brooklyn, NY. Check out all the excitement that the park has to offer, along with a spectacular ocean view!””
    considering the change visible on this pic, I suggest change text to something like this …
    “”Visit the newly Sandy renovated Coney Island amusement park in Brooklyn, NY. Check out all the Sandy excitement that the park has to offer, along with a spectacular Sandy ocean view!””

  18. OT:

    Idaho Falls Police crack down on Erratic Dancing.

    IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — A police officer was kicked in the chest Sunday when he attempted to detain a man who was dancing erratically.

    Idaho Falls police arrested Jonathan A. Lew, 24, for two counts of felony battery on a police officer and misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, according to a police news release.

    Lew, of Idaho Falls, was dancing obnoxiously and flailing his arms on the dance floor at the Shilo Inn Convention Center, IFPD spokeswoman Joelyn Hansen said. In the process, he reportedly hit several other customers attending the hotel’s Halloween party and was being a nuisance, Hansen said.


    • Shhhhhhhh! I am not a gossip but…….. Carl’s absence? Practicing for the Sheepy Dalek nekkid dancing competion on Burfell?????
      Remember the most important thing about the ritual Volcano dancing moves is to keep yourself as warm as possible.
      I am sure there is some physics law that will state the neccessary amount of energy in 1 movement to make 1 degree rise in body temperature . For instance does the flailing of arms produce more energy in the form of muscle heat than the shaking of your booty? 😀 😀

      • By all the sons of the interstellar powers united you Brits keep surprising me all the time. I’m now obsessed with imaginatig 1 movement that could leat to 1 degree of body temperature rise. Call me a perv, but I don’t achieve that by dancing… And if I switch to other movements where 1 could trigger 1 degree, I still stay baffled at what must go on in british bedrooms…
        Guys, keep your hands off britisch women – they are used to stuff we other average humans will have a hard time reproducing…

        • Yes! We British women may appear not as exotic as those from warmer cilmates but this is deceptive.. It’s all to do with evolution. Long, grey winters and incessant drinking of tannin ladened tea has led to a breed of females who can overcome the constant need to hibernate as well as surviving winter in the traditional British houses ( Under-insulated and inadequately heated…. Some even today have Outside toilets! ) British males on the other hand are not so well adapted and need the warmth and energy from Large, mainly male groups ( A bit like manic King penguins) This collective herding instict can be seen around football and Rugby pitches on a regular basis during the winter.

    • Erratic dancing in Britain is usually called Dad Dancing. This is from the habit of middle-aged men to leap on the dance floor at weddings and to try and recover their lost youth – much to the embarrassment of their children! 😀

  19. Hmm – isnt this covered under the US constitution that permits freedom of speech ….doesnt this extend to freedome of expression? Dancing is after all an art form..

  20. Hi People,
    Remember i said there would be an article about me in a local newspaper. It was published today. ( Finally). I am proud of it but still not totally sure what to think about it.

  21. HI

    Here is the first shoot for the earthquake animation for Iceland from 1st to 30th October 2012.
    In the second part, the age of the earthquake is shown by the colormap, red meaning youngest.
    The Moho is also shown.

    I’ll post a longer video later when the calcultation are done.

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