Sakura-jima: Why is She Nearly Always Erupting?

Sakura-jima (31° 35’N, 130° 39’) is located in a tectonically lively part of the world. Her magma is generated from the movement of several tectonic plates in her vicinity:

Plate Sub / Micro-plate
Eurasian Plate: Amur Plate
Okinawa Plate
Yangste Plate
Pacific Plate: Philippine Sea Plate

From maps published under Wiki Commons from one by Professor Peter Bird, we can see that the junction of these plates is close to Sakura-jima; and, Sakura-jima is close to both a transform fault and a subduction zone:


It is of little surprise that, given all this tectonic activity, Sakura-jima is not the only volcano in the region. According to GVP, the island of Kyushu is also home to:

Volcano Last Eruption (GVP) Volcano Type (GVP)
Aso Historical 2011 Caldera
Fuku-jima Tephrachronology 400 BC Shield
Ibuski Volcanic Field Historical 885 AD Calderas
Kirishima Historical 2011 Shield
Kuju Historical 1996 Stratovolcano
Sumiyoshi-ike Radiocarbon 6200 BC Maar
Tsurumi Historical 867 AD Lava domes
Unzen Historical 1996 Complex

In addition to Sakura-jima, Unzen is a decade volcano. As most volcanophiliacs will know, the 1991 eruption of Unzen killed three volcanologists, including Maurice and Katya Krafft , when they where caught in a pyroclastic flow.

A quick plot of the earthquakes in the area, show the subduction of the Philippines Sea Plate:


But on a lighter note, Sakura-jima has another claim to fame. She is also home to the world’s largest radish: the Sakura-jima daikon (picture Wiki Commons).


KarenZ, 28/09/2012

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226 thoughts on “Sakura-jima: Why is She Nearly Always Erupting?

  1. Great post, KarenZ! But Dragons – there’s a bit (or bits) of text missing: “the 1991 eruption of Unzen killed three volcanologists, including Maurice and Katya Krafft , when they and Katya Krafft , when they stic flow.”

  2. Kyushu (southern japan) is perhaps the only area in the world that can match New Zealand for having a large volume of extremely explosive volcanoes within a relatively close-region.

    Within the greater Kyushu region, there are 4 volcanic calderas that are by all means “supervolcanoes” all of which have erupted mid to high VEI 7 events in the last million years.

    The caldera systems run north to south as follows:

    Aso
    Aira
    Ata
    Kikai

    Each of these caldera systems is around 10 x 20 km or larger, and Aira, Ata, and Kikai also have a large problem of being under water (which amplifies caldera-forming eruptions). Aso has had the largest eruption of all of these despite not being underwater, while Kikai, which sits south of the Japanese mainland is the source of the largest Holocene volcanic eruption around 5000 years back. While these caldera systems may not be as large as something like Yellowstone, a full caldera forming eruption from one of these calderas would be a catastrophe beyond measure, since there is a huge population volume, and no easy way to evacuate the entire southern portion of Japan. Luckily, the calderas in this area are quite calm right now, and the active calderas are good at letting out steam and pressure via their sommas. It would be extremely unlikely to see an eruption from any of these volcanoes in the next thousand years.

    As for Sakura-Jima, it’s actually a somma volcano that’s part of the Aira Caldera. The large oblong body of water that Sakura-Jima sits on is actually the caldera formed by the Aira Caldera erupting approximately 26,000 years ago. While Sakura-Jima gets it’s magma from the Aira Caldera’s larger magma pool, it has a smaller magma chamber that’s more centrally located beneath it. Some scientists speculate that a second magma source contributes to Sakura-Jima’s production from the south as well.

    Sakura-Jima like many somma volcanoes is highly active, and while it can produce frequent small eruptions, it also has the potential to produce larger more devastating eruptions as well. Sakura-Jima has produced eruptions as large as Mt. St. Helens in the past 10,000 years, and considering the vicinity of the population, that’s the main reason it’s a decade volcano and a cause for heavy monitoring. With everything said, when it erupts small intermittent eruptions, that’s good news since it’s letting off steam and pressure, which can help to prevent some of the build-up to a larger eruption.

    • Excellent write-up Karen and excellent follow-up cbus! Another parallel between the TVZ and Kyushu is the extensional regime coupled with a nearby subducting regime. The subduction provides all the volatiles and the extension allows the formation of large and shallow magma bodies.

      hmm.. off to research the ages of these four calderas and relate them to plate movements in that time…

    • Although, I wonder what the evidence is for the divergent boundary in Peter Bird’s map. It is kind of hard to see any surface expression in GE… not exactly the best way to do it, I know, but still.

  3. Thank you Karen for a very informative and precise Post. It’s a busy little corner of the world isn’t it? For Newbies or those who may have lost it (The link I mean!!) here is a link to one of the many Sakurajima web cams. I like this one as it is interactive.
    Also a reminder of course, to our younger members especially in Europe, that Japan may be in night time when you are in daytime. http://webcam-svo2.pr.kyoto-u.ac.jp/local/camera.html

  4. Now don’t you think that ladies who wear glasses always have an air of mystique and charm!!!
    Heeelllllooo Birgit 🙂
    Before you all ask – 64 1/4 !!! (me that is)

    @ Ursula – have you decided your riddle category yet please!!??

    • Oh, precision… I should have said 36 2/3… 😉
      Hope to intellectually evolve fast enough to be able to cope with your riddles in 20-30 years…

    • Hmmmm! I note that Diana hasn’t told us how old she is! My mother was resolutely 32 until someone (me!) pointed out that meant she had given birth at the age of 9. After that she refused point bank to give her age to anyone. 😀

      • Hey I thought all dragons had to be at least a 1000 years old! Me, I have only had 2 x 25th birthdays so far, which makes me a mere 50, or to be more precise, 50 & 5/12ths – but I still feel 21 inside…

        • Yeah! I know the feeling 😀 Age is a mere number. There are great advantages to age. I am beyond caring what people think. I revel in being eccentric and I get more attention from the handsome young men in the supermarkets when I can’t reach the items on the top shelf, than I did at 20 😀 😀 Trouble is sometimes my body and mind don’t quite go in sync. Now THAT can be undignified!!! 😀

          • 56 , and female. So we don’t all keep it secret. I’ve earned every wrinkle and bag under my eyes! Diana, I’d had you pegged for about late 50s 🙂

          • Hey Merlin! I really have a pet hate….. Seeing celebrities with plastic and botox…Face lifts they may have but their necks and hands don’t match the joker like smiles! There is something almost horror flim like about 70 year olds trying to look and dress like 30. Most unattractive.

          • Ditto, Diana—but at the big six zero. Not happy about it—the wrinkles remind me every morning too—where did they come from? I am ready to throw the makeup away—it does nothing, I detest the morning routine, and there is not a thing I wish to put myself through to get rid of them! As you say, pretty much beyond caring what people think!

  5. I was just about to go to bed, but since there was 2 dogs and 2 cats occupying my side of the bed, I’m stuck here for your annoyance for a while….

  6. I am

    😉 😀 😀 😆 🙂 😉 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 😀 🙂 🙂 🙂 😉 😀 😀 😆 🙂 😉 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 😀 🙂 🙂 🙂 😉 😀 😀 😆 🙂 😉 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 😀 🙂 🙂 🙂 😉 😀 🙂 🙂 😀 🙂 😀 🙂 😆 🙂 🙂 🙂 😉 👿 🙂 years old!

  7. On a more serious note those quakes i Tjörnes have bee going on a bit too long and too small area for my confort I’m no longer sure it’s purely tectonic(also by looking at the plots by Dfmorvan?) any oppinions?

      • Oh, I do think IMO know enough by now. Analysing “hints” in state media can be tricky, so will not speculate too much. Today was big (all round) meeting at Akureyri Town, co-ordinating all the civil protection (services) thrughout the North-Iceland area.
        They plan bring in re-enforcements from other areas, as not enough people or resources available locally. Thats so. And so far no biggie has happened.

        • … and tonight there comes more quakes !
          In the North of Iceland there is old fashion Blizzard / Snowstorm too, so few if anybody is travelling – but there started new swarm in new location about 03:00, near a small town called Kópasker, on the other side of the TFZ fault, other side than Húsavík. There be about 17 quakes in first full hours, many over 2 and up to 3,3 but poor quality. What this means, is still too early to tell. But there could come larger ones.
          http://www.vedur.is/skjalftar-og-eldgos/jardskjalftar/tjornesbrot_litid/

        • no prob, no way of knowing what next. Seems swarm may slow down (it seems slower now), but there is also heavy-on-going storm in all of Iceland, not just in the mountains, but all over towns and country, and quakes could well be more (smaller ones likely drowned in the storm-noise … sigh).

          • Good morning islander. Winter is almost with us too. For some reason this year I am dreading the next 4 months. February in particular. A grey, cold time when the world here seems exhausted.
            …… But I have planted my spring bulbs and already they are sprouting and strongly rooted. ( I know this as my tame blackbird with half his top beak missing has been digging them out in search of worms and grubs!) I am glad I can be a gardener. Nature always gives hope and a reason to look forward beyond the time of the winter demons.

          • @Diana: I feel the same about this winter. I think it’s because we had no summer to speak of, so I’ve got no near memories of hot summer days to remind me that “if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” I’m looking forward to learning how to garden when I can finally retire (about 2.5 – 3 years to go). 🙂

          • I love winter. Being a Scot, I ‘winter well’ but burn to a crisp if exposed to the sun for more than 5 minutes ! I look forward to getting out the duffle coat and the winter boots. This year I’ve forsaken the summer holiday to go to Iceland in December .:-)

          • @Merlin: I’m genetically Scottish and dream of retiring there – but I was brought up in the tropics – it’s mainly the driving to and from work in the dark that I hate. I like cold, crisp weather – as long as there’s a snug house at the end of my walk/journey. 🙂

      • @ Talla. This year I have forsaken the ‘driving to work’ bit as I retired in August. So it’s a win/ win for me . If its pouring outside I can just coory doon in front of the fire with a book or Volcanocafe . Bliss.

  8. TFZ still rumbling on with a verified 3.3 M . I think this swarm is being closely monitored. Even if it is just a stronger than normal activity of the rift, it must be providing lots of interesting data and it’s side effects (if any) will also be added to our understanding of how surounding geological systems interact (If at all ) http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/earthquakes/#view=table
    DFM has provided some superb 3D plots. I wouldn’t dismiss some magma activity here out of hand.
    Here is his latest Video link from the last post’s comments, it really worth watching. Thank you DFM (I think you are a he. I apologise if I am wrong!)

  9. To Ursula
    Ursula says:
    October 31, 2012 at 21:39
    @ Alan, no I haven’t yet – what choices do I have?

    Reply
    Hail Ursula!!
    two categories of riddle
    1) Minerals
    2) ‘Pot luck’ – anything else geological

    just select 1 or 2 and the ‘confuse-ometer’ will do the rest!!
    🙂 Alan

  10. Nice little summary Karenz and Cbus! To put it in words Carl might have used, Sakurajima is the open safety valve of the Aira Caldera. A couple of years ago, Dr Erik Klemetti said that all the eruptions at Sakurajima since 1953 wouldn’t qualify as a VEI 3 if put together (IIRC). Since the majority of these explosions rather than eruptions are more of instantaneous occurences, they get assigned a VEI of 0 (= anything below 100,000 cubic meters or 1/10,000th of a cubic kilometre). That they in spite of their humble rating are so visually and audibly spectacular indicates that they owe their energetic state to gases.

    For the sake of argument, let’s say that I remember Erik correctly and that for the last 60-ish years, the eruptions of Sakurajima equal one VEI 1 eruption every year or so. For a cumulative 1 cu km (VEI 5), it would take something on the order of 1000 years while we would have to wait 100,000 years for a VEI 7 – at the current rate of energy induction into the system.

    Now imagine that Sakurajima was plugged and that pressure was allowed to build up. Something tells me that it would erupt violently long before the times indicated because of the build-up of pressure rather than magma, thus – to use a metaphor – “Sakurajima is all gas”. She is the antithesis of Etna as Etna erupts magma in short bursts while Sakurajima erupts hot, vapour-saturated air.

    Could this be the reason Karen, Diana & others are so fascinated by it?

  11. @Spica

    Please help – the text is still skewiff! There must be chunks missing – there’s the weird grammar/word order and repetition of Katya Krafft’s name, and I know at least half the word ‘pyroclastic’ has disappeared into thin air, but don’t know what else!

    I have tried F5 just to check it’s not my computer, and I’m still getting the same text as yesterday:

    “In addition to Sakura-jima, Unzen is a decade volcano. As most volcanophiliacs will know, the 1991 eruption of Unzen killed three volcanologists, including Maurice and Katya Krafft , when they and Katya Krafft , when they stic flow.”

    • It’s in the article. I looked yesterday but did not see any coding errors. Since I don’t have the original text, I can’t fix it.

      I could fake it, but I would rather it represent the original.

    • Upps, i am sorry. Dont know why that happened. It was not there when i first edited it in some weeks ago. Yesterday i was in a hurry and only published it without grammar checking it again.
      No clue how that happened. I had just copy pasted it from KarenZs script. Hm odd. Fixed now.

    • How weird. The original stated “As most volcanophiliacs will know, the 1991 eruption of Unzen killed three volcanologists, including Maurice and Katya Krafft , when they were caught in a pyroclastic flow.”

      But no worries – I have mangled text using copy and paste (rarely use cut and paste, in case I lose the text altogether) when I have been interrupted and forgotten to delete suff or sometimes networks can do it for you. The latter seems to be caused by my keeping my computer clock 10 minutes fast.

  12. I turned 60 in September, another 1952 baby. Retired going on 4 years. Got burned out working with actuaries and investments. Don’t do riddles, puzzles or even make many guesses because I am wrong many more times than correct.

    • Oh I’m wrong most of the time too, but that doesn’t matter. The searching makes so much fun! You learn incredible things and develope envelopped thinking! 🙂

        • Yes Brenda. Sissel is a lovely lady 🙂 Now about having guesses at the riddles and ” What’s that lava”? stuff… The trick is……
          On a Friday Night get a cup or glass of whatever makes you feel happy. Then, have a guess. Go with your brain messages, hunches, or cast the Runes….. then type an answer. Most of what I guess is rubbish. But it’s fun chasing pictures and articles and wiki facts on Google. Then one day.. you get it or a bit of it…. or you have had the second cup of whatever makes you happy and you lose all your inhibitions and write a comment that you didn’t know you had in you 😀 😀 My school motto was Aude Sapere! ( dare to be wise.) Done that all my life , I’m not sure it did me much good but life’s always been interesting and I got into some scrapes because I am just plain Nosey :D:D

      • Oooohh.. meant convoluted thinking! This is a new word to me, which I learned from Diana during the riddle fun. But I confuse an envelope wth a “konvolutt”, which is Norwegian for envelope! 😉

  13. In the US, a round-a-bout is not a normal thing. (traffic circle) Sure, you get a few communities that try to emulate a this European traffic feature… but intersections with stop signs or traffic lights are the norm. Usually you only find these things in the US where the communities are quite stuck on themselves and the prices are high.

    So… an observation was made to me by a New York resident about the drive to work… it seems that some of the intersections have been converted into ad-hoc roundabouts with traffic cones and warning tape. For a normal 6 minute drive… it now takes 60 minutes. The word “cluster####” figured prominently in his relating of the story. On a more amusing front… Oblivions are out and about… as expected. (An “Oblivion” is a person so clueless that they are a danger to themselves and society in general… totally oblivious to what is going on around them)

    The one he mentioned walked up to one of these traffic snarl intersections with no working light… and pressed the pedestrian crossing button.

      • Swindon and its Seven Wonders! That place has been high on my “to visit” list ever since reading Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series… there are the The Hanging Baskets of Babbington, and St. Zvlxk, and, of course:.
        The Elgin Llamas:
        Currently the only examples of llama urbania living anywhere in the world, Swindon’s llamas are now the subject of a heated debate: The Peruvian government is mounting a fresh attempt to have the llamas returned on the grounds that they were stolen in the first place. Swindon City Council is maintaining that they bought the llamas in good faith and -slightly more controversially- suggest that they would have been extinct long ago had it not been for Lord Elgin’s noble zoological gesture.

    • I wonder if this is because people aren’t familiar with the arrangement. My sense is that mini-roundabouts, i.e. blobs of paint in the middle of a junction, have sped up traffic immensely, with people proficient at judging the size of the gap and jumping in to keep all routes flowing.

      It can be tough though when you are trying to enter a main road from a side road and traffic keeps coming from the side, and too few cars turn up your road to stop that flow…

      On the whole though I prefer them to traffic lights

    • Down in Destin Florida (one of the aforementioned communities) I enjoyed watching a tractor trailer rig try to navigate one of their new roundabouts… worked fine for the tractor unit, but the trailer carriage went right over the middle of their new sod and flower planting.

      I don’t think the design engineer took the size issue into account when he dreamed up this particular intersection.

  14. For all the time spent studying Iceland during the last couple of years I don’t think I really have a visual grasp of the underlying dynamics.

    I like the visual of the seismic hazard maps:
    Seismic Hazard Map

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/iceland/gshap.php

    and the historic large quakes
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/iceland/seismicity.php

    Just to put the current quakes in perspective:
    http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/englishweb/eqlist.html

    Date Time Lat. Lon. Depth Ml Quality Comments
    2012-11-01 16:48:45,3 66,324 -18,687 4,3 2,3 83,59 23,2 km NNE of Siglufjörður
    2012-11-01 16:31:01,6 66,292 -16,734 5,6 2,2 90,01 12,6 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 15:05:06,6 63,908 -20,890 16,1 0,4 32,81 6,5 km ESE of Selfoss
    2012-11-01 14:53:22,9 66,326 -18,803 14,8 1,6 36,29 21,2 km NNE of Siglufjörður
    2012-11-01 14:30:10,3 65,051 -16,555 2,5 2,5 77,66 2,7 km ENE of Dreki
    2012-11-01 14:30:09,4 64,969 -16,452 8,8 2,1 69,65 10,5 km SE of Dreki
    2012-11-01 13:54:04,4 65,046 -16,420 0,1 1,8 70,07 4,9 km SSW of Herðubreiðartögl
    2012-11-01 13:52:55,0 65,038 -16,550 2,4 2,1 90,01 2,6 km E of Dreki
    2012-11-01 13:13:14,4 66,286 -18,656 5,5 1,8 43,55 20,5 km NE of Siglufjörður
    2012-11-01 13:07:46,8 66,295 -18,797 1,1 1,2 62,66 18,1 km NNE of Siglufjörður
    2012-11-01 09:59:27,4 66,304 -16,728 13,0 1,6 44,76 12,3 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 08:37:12,2 66,265 -18,605 8,6 1,3 52,31 18,3 km NW of Gjögurtá
    2012-11-01 08:11:37,8 66,303 -18,606 4,7 2,1 87,89 21,0 km NW of Gjögurtá
    2012-11-01 07:37:59,5 66,268 -18,512 1,1 3,3 90,02 15,3 km NW of Gjögurtá
    2012-11-01 07:29:01,1 66,300 -16,730 10,8 2,0 88,26 12,4 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 07:26:10,2 66,299 -16,724 11,2 1,9 90,01 12,2 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 07:12:46,1 66,289 -18,776 5,4 1,7 45,59 17,9 km NNE of Siglufjörður
    2012-11-01 05:58:45,4 66,277 -18,528 5,4 1,4 38,01 16,5 km NW of Gjögurtá
    2012-11-01 05:58:01,9 66,274 -18,524 3,8 1,4 52,97 16,1 km NW of Gjögurtá
    2012-11-01 05:50:30,2 66,282 -16,650 2,4 1,8 48,28 9,1 km WSW of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 05:50:29,9 66,282 -16,642 0,4 2,1 34,58 8,8 km WSW of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 05:12:26,5 66,293 -16,723 5,6 1,4 37,29 12,1 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 05:02:59,2 66,307 -16,705 12,8 1,9 38,88 11,3 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 04:57:33,9 66,303 -16,751 7,1 2,6 90,02 13,4 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 04:06:42,2 66,301 -16,738 8,2 1,7 36,63 12,8 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 04:05:58,7 66,298 -16,734 8,5 1,7 71,88 12,6 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 04:03:42,3 66,301 -16,757 6,0 1,8 79,14 13,6 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:53:46,8 66,294 -16,740 5,9 1,9 60,25 12,9 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:48:00,8 66,308 -16,630 18,1 2,0 90,01 8,0 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:38:51,5 66,285 -16,723 4,9 1,9 89,16 12,3 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:38:18,8 66,301 -16,723 9,9 2,4 90,01 12,1 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:35:42,2 66,313 -16,715 15,1 1,7 54,26 11,8 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:34:51,7 66,294 -16,726 10,1 2,0 90,01 12,3 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:25:50,3 66,305 -16,752 9,7 1,7 89,12 13,4 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:25:49,9 66,290 -16,767 1,1 1,8 90,01 14,1 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:17:39,9 66,303 -16,718 13,3 2,0 90,01 11,9 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:16:36,1 66,291 -16,740 4,1 1,6 54,53 12,9 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:15:12,4 66,292 -16,740 3,7 1,8 90,01 12,9 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:05:41,8 66,300 -16,737 8,9 1,6 64,84 12,7 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:04:10,0 66,293 -16,717 7,9 1,9 90,01 11,9 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:03:30,1 66,290 -16,724 4,9 2,0 42,78 12,2 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:03:13,3 66,297 -16,730 6,0 1,9 81,43 12,4 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:02:38,8 66,301 -16,689 13,7 2,1 90,01 10,6 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:00:34,5 65,966 -16,815 3,4 2,2 73,27 12,0 km NNE of Þeistareykir
    2012-11-01 03:00:29,0 66,309 -16,803 5,0 3,0 90,02 15,7 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 03:00:20,3 66,579 -17,319 8,6 3,3 32,03 30,8 km E of Grímsey
    2012-11-01 02:54:10,4 66,285 -18,644 6,9 1,8 49,19 20,8 km NE of Siglufjörður
    2012-11-01 02:34:17,6 66,296 -16,738 9,3 2,0 88,07 12,8 km W of Kópasker
    2012-11-01 02:33:58,1 63,665 -19,150 0,9 1,3 37,88 5,7 km ENE of Goðabunga
    2012-11-01 02:29:39,8 64,865 -16,725 17,9 1,1 35,28 20,1 km SSW of Dreki

  15. Getting back to Sakura-jima, I still don’t get that extensional plate boundary heading off to the west on Peter Bird’s map. Here’s the USGS historic seismicity for the area:
    http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/bulletin/neic_b000dekw_h.html

    I suspect the extension is typical back-arc extension, which would also explain the NS trend between the calderas. Interestingly, the deep plate subduction terminates just north of Kyushu. This is similar to the Taupo Volcanic Zone which is also located close to the terminus of deep plate subduction. I once read a hypothesis that this geometry was conducive to a high volume of volatiles collecting in one place (effectively getting channelled upwards and sideways.)
    Maybe there is a slab tear involved here too, acting as a window for volatiles to rise under Kyushu.

    • Don’t forget that up around Tokyo, there is believed to be a crust fragment wedged under the other plates there. It would not be out of the question for some odd-ball geometry to be present in the Sakura-jima area as well.

      The Philippine Plate has been nudging round here for several million years along with the other shards and fragments and plates (Including the Pacific shoving at the other side.)

      • Down in the Alvord Desert of Oregon a smallish quake at about 4.5 occurred in the Steens range. there is a hot springs there that tired travelers, hikers, bikers, cowboys
        and Indians use.. That 4.5 occurred and the springs went dry. cold, first then dry.
        One of the Local ranchers was married to a Paiute woman who simply looked at
        the springs and said “i’ll take care of it.” She left. I was with a group of college
        students and professors on a small mammal study.(Miscus Minculatus is a deer mouse
        pound for pound a Bengal Tiger has nothing on them BTW.) We thought she was going to do some sort of ceremony, her Pop was a Chief. BOOM! up in the hills a blast rang out. She showed up a few mintues later and said: “It’s fixed- give it ’til tomorrow”
        “Let the silt settle.” She apparently knew more than a bit about the plumbing.
        She realigned plumbing somehow..Never did tell us how… it worked..

  16. Georgeous northern light here!

    Huge curtains of green directly overhead.

    But you will not see much in the webcams because the aurora is mostly directly overhead.

  17. What’s up with burfell strainmeter, it’s had that “valve open” very often lately, but without strain drop, something wrong with page data?

  18. OT……. Please Bear with me whilst I have a gripe!
    I have had a day of “failures”
    Went to the Docs…. he sent me straight to hospital and so I spent most of the morning waiting in the X-ray dept. All the jobs planned for today have been shelved.
    Then I tried an experiment with my new Slow cooker… Could I cook a caramel custard (it would use less fuel than in the oven) It did cook but it was “Holey”. Cooled it in the fridg. Just been down to turn it out onto a dish. My hands went into spasm ! You wouldn’t believe how far a caramel custard will spread over a work top (counter in USA) . It totally missed the awaiting serving dish!!
    My load of washing came to an abrupt end…..I had to drain the washer and clean out the filter. I am drying the offending £10.00 note. Yes! I can’t even launder money properly 😀 😀
    Time for a hot milky drink and then bed….Thank you for “listening”…even if everyone skims over this comment I feel better .
    Tomorrow is another day!!!!!!

    @Stoneyard. I was wondering about the frequent valve opening sessions lately too.

    • It’s not like you drove 215 km to see a locked door… even after you called ahead… and found out the number you were given was for an office 1450 km away and it turns out that it wasn’t supposed to be your job ticket in the first place.

      To err is human, to really mess it up you need a human with a computer… or a Bureaucrat/Politician.

      I will caveat this with adding that many of the “professional” medical fields also apply. I went to the emergency room last night to drop my wife off who was going to see someone. No parking available near the entrance, so I let her out and went in search of parking. Construction had the normal overflow lot blocked off, so around to the next available lot. Two were there, one labeled “Exit Only,” the other labeled “Valet Parking Only”… but it had entrance arrows. There were probably seven cars in the 80+ spaces. I backed in the “exit only” lot (hey, at least it was pointed the right way) and parked. I followed the “Main Entrance” sign into the building and saw only a nurses station.

      I stated, this doesn’t look like a main entrance. The two dimwits stated, “It’s not.” I then asked how to get to the entrance of the ER since there was no parking I had to use the lot in front of their part of the building.

      They responded, you are supposed to park by the ER, you can’t go through here, it’s after hours. I re-iterated that there were no spots available. At this point I was accused of having an attitude. I told her to “keep it” and left. Decorum dictated that I not use anything more harsh than that, the last thing I need is a friken moron calling the police on me because their signs are mis-leading and the late night staff can’t comprehend simple sentence structure.

      Walking back around to the ER, I told my wife to call me when she needs me, I wasn’t going to stick around those idiots.

      Nothing Against Sacred Heart Hospital, I’ve encountered similar idiocy at West Florida when I was in the VFD. It’s almost as if you have to have a lobotomy to work at a medical facility.

      • I hear exactly what you are saying Lurking. Our Local hospital is built on the top of the hill. The car parks (including the disabled bays) at the bottom. There are 3 pay and display ticket machines. Each time I go two are out of commision and you guessed it, the one that is working is the one furthest from the path leading up to the hospital buildings .Working on the premise that many people are visiting the hospital because they are not in full health , by the time they have walked, limped or crawled up the hill and scaled two flights of steps, there is a good chance those people will be feeling knackered, their circulatory and pulmonary systems challenged and blood pressure raised.
        I have a suspicion this is an ingenious plot to help Health cutbacks by, shortening the life expectancy of any but the most fit and intrepid!
        Today I too faced work in progress and diversions. The diversion sign to reception was just above the one that directed you also to The Mortuary!!
        I was still chuckling when I finally got to the X-ray dept. 😀 😀 I think I have a sick sense of humour at times 😳

  19. It is a horrible night in South Iceland. Winds up to 90km/h, but already up to 200km/h at the base of Vatnajokull! Look at this record from IMO:

    http://www.vegagerdin.is/umferd-og-faerd/faerd-og-astand/faerd-og-vedur/sudausturland/linurit/st083.html

    These are several wind gusts of 226km/h!

    And to make things really horrible, its a lot of Grimsvotn ash carried out by the wind. With a temperature here of -7ºC, a full hazy moon and aurora borealis, it feels a very strange and agressive night. Terrible feeling when you go outdoors for a night walk.

    My tongue, eyes and lungs are now full of ash. My hands and nose is frozen cold. And I am shaken by the harsh violent winds.

    You cannot really have much worst weather than this!

    • It has been confirmed in the news. more than 60m/s at the southeast of Vatnajokull. These are wind gusts up to 226km/h. Outside I can already see a dense haze of ash, and also the smell of volcanic ash on the air… Absolutely a “no outdoors” kind of weather.
      I have no idea how unpleasant the weather will be tomorrow

    • 😉

      I suppose a case could be made out for the erection of Science Fiction-style city-domes in order to keep out wind, volcanic ash and cold, but what would happen if there was an eruption inside?

      • Yes, a peculiar idea but interesting. Where I live its a volcanic area. But last eruption about 5000 years ago, about 8km away from my house. However we do like the feeling when the weather is calm and clear, with the pure air (when ash is not in).

        • Where’s a Hoover Vacuum Cleaner salesman when you need him –
          That’s pretty mpressive, I would have thought that with all the rain and snow Iceland gets, the ash would have coagulated into some kind of solid form or be part of the soil on which grass and moss grows, or that it simply woud have blown away into the sea by the gales and storms since it’s 5 millenia ago.

        • You have a house to protect yourself 🙂

          The house where I lived in a slope, oriented southwestwards, with a forest on its back , so it is sheltered by the fiercy storms from north or east. It also survived the earthquakes of 2000 and 2008 (the first with epicenter M6 just 5km away).

          So I am not really afraid of living here 🙂 As long as the geothermal hot water pump works, otherwise our heating goes off.

          PS: it came on the news, actually there is already reports of damage to houses in SE of Iceland. It is going to be a nasty night and next 2 days. Quite a violent storm. But this is Iceland, truly violent storms are the winter norm here.

          • Another think I really love about this blog.. the first-hand information. I don’t know of any other country where the weather includes sharp shards of unweathered volcanic ash sand-blasting you at 220 km/hr. Jeepers, that would shred the skin off an aardvark.

            I had a bad feeling when I saw those isobars on the forecast a couple of days ago. Look after yourself!

          • Problem with ash is that it stays for a long time available for being remobilized by winds. I’ve seen today over FB a satellite image of Katmai/Novarupta ashes being dispersed in such a manner that it could pose threat for aircraft! A hundred years later!

          • I second all Bruce says. Stay warm and safe Irpsit. Please do not send your storm Southwards to us. We have cold. heavy rain with snow/sleet on the hills here already. I know you like to share but….. 😀

    • My experience with ash was from Mt St.Helens. I dealt with that stuff everywhere.
      fortunately there are few remaining ash fields other than St. Helens itself. However
      how the excess ash was handled was amazing. Several cities notably the City of Yakima
      Wa. decided to put heaps and plies of it out at the Airport. Meaning if you had wind,
      and it is windy in Yakima you had ash- clouds of it . clogging aircleaner jet intakes and
      your lungs or high quality pulverized mountain. That went on for a while….

      • 🙂 That’s what democracy does for you, elects the incompetents because they have most in common with, are comprehendable by and can be identified with by the majority of the electorate. Why should they have a “right” to inflict the consequences of their stupidity on the rest of us with impunity and without accountability? To amuse us? If so, why not have specialists run things properly and as cost-efficiently as possible, while the “democratically elected” dress up in clown suits straight away…

  20. Here is my late night contribution for us volcanoholics. 🙂

    The movie shows the latest activity (19.10.12 to 1.11.12, black) in the TFZ compared to all earthquakes equal or larger 1.5 (not practicle to include smaller ones because the program tends to choke on the rotation) from 1995 to present (colored, thanks to Geolurking here again!)

    Only a couple of recent earthquakes go below half way down to the Moho.
    My peronal speculation (no professional): I would pay close attention to the few ones that break out of the fault zone southwards in a straight line. There has preiously not been much activity there and it would be the natural prolongation of the MAR.
    Enjoy!

  21. It’s Friday! Have a good weekend everyone. The sun is shining here if you feel a bit down, or stressed due to lack of volcanic activity, or too much work activity… this will make you feel good. Chill 😀

  22. Hi

    Here is the update on Iceland up to Nov 1st. Like I said before, next time i’ll do it on a shorter period as there are quite a few quakes.

  23. Its still really nasty here in Iceland.

    Blizzards cut every town and even the major cities are isolated in the north Iceland, like Akureyri.

    Winds gusts reach 250km/h!!!! Really crazy!!!

    This happens next to mountains, here in lowlands the gusts still go well above 100km/h.

    Sea waves are crushing in Reykjavik streets next to coastline. http://www.visir.is/otrulegt-myndband-af-ovedrinu-i-reykjavik/article/2012121109831

    Several cars and trucks flip out of the roads today. People are crazy to risk travelling with this storm. http://www.mbl.is/frettir/innlent/2012/11/02/russnesk_rulletta_ad_aka_um_kjalarnes/

    And a whole lot of ash, that scratches your lungs, makes your hands dusty and much haze on the sky. I hate this. So now you guys understand why we do NOT want Katla to erupt.

    • Irpsit, it’s looks dreadful. This is a side of Iceland that tourists usually do not see. I think it is summed up by the warning from the police to keep children safe as this wind can blow them off their feet. It’s as bad as a prolonged hurricane. I hope this weather subsides soon and do stay safe.

  24. I love Vocano cafe
    I learn all kinds of stuff.
    There’s physicists and rock hounds
    I just can’t get enough.
    But best of all, the plotters.
    They show earth’s guts below.
    Hats off to you. You’re awsome!
    I just want to let you know.
    I see faults and quakes and Moho.
    There are zones and layers and voids.
    But there’s something strangely missing.
    Where the hell are the graboides?

  25. Statement from the IMO this morning. As if Iceland doesn’t have enough to worry about this morning!
    Specialist remark
    The earthquake sequence offshore North Iceland is continuing. An earthquake of magnitude M2.9 was detected at 10:37 close to the region where the M5.6 occurred on 21. October.
    The area is monitored closely.
    Written by a specialist at 02 Nov 10:55 GMT

  26. Hi Spica, I guess you’re ok for tonight’s post, but there should be a little something in yr inbox for another time 😀

    • Just read it and love it, thank you. There are more people out there doing volcanic grand tours UKViggen style.
      Only thing i will most likely add is mentioning La Palma and the Canaries, because not everyone might know where Teneguia is. ( if thats OK)

      • Our pleasure,
        I originally had the title as Teneguia, La Palma, Islas Canarias, but shortened it to sound schnappier. A short introduction would do the trick I think.

        • Then we ll keep the schnappy version. ( It is already here, i just edited the draft, and am checking on the images now, but it wont go in before monday the earliest, Todays post is ready and scheduled, and on Sunday i will most likely write an answering post which might include the answers of all the riddles of the last 3 or 4 weekends.)

          • Cool,
            a translation of your newspaper article would make a great post by the way, my German does not go much beyond “War es der schtrassenbahnhallterschtelle?” and of course “Zwei Bier” 🙂

        • Clarification about the article. It turned out the editor of the online version of the Newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten is a schoolfriend of mine which i acidently met again at the dentist after not seeing him for 30 years. He thought it might be a nice story for the weekend edition and sent a reported to do an interview and photos in August. Since then i did not hear from them and was surprised on wednesday morning when another friend sent an SMS saying he is proud to know such a famous person and looking forward to the guided tour i had promised to him and the group who invited us to Venice 3 weeks ago. I did not know what would be written, i did not have any influence on the text besides providing the story and i did not preread it. So if you think this is a little too much praise… not my fault. I am proud but also a tiny little bit embarrased but as long as it is not every day you are in a newpaper there will be a sidenote in today post too.

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