Friday post

Iceland is experiencing another strong gale with gusts up to 250km/h in the north. It remobilized ash wich caused stinging lungs for our Icelandic friends and covered the Mila Jökulsárlón cam with ash. ( ) It also hides many small quakes with the still ongoing swarm in Tjörnes fracture zone.

The Smithsonian  Weekly Volcanic Activity Report was published on Wednesday and pointed to New Activity/Unrest:Heard,and Poás
Ongoing Activity: Galeras,Iliamna, Karymsky, Kilauea, Popocatépetl, Sakura-jima, Santa María and Shiveluch.

VC is lucky to have many talented plotters. Here is one published today by DFMorvan.

And Chryphria eductaed us with her plot version too:

Quote: “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!

Here is another plot by dfm wich he provided shortly before this post was scheduled to go in. This time on his favorite subject, El Hierro.

Suzie and Alan, our evil riddlemaster team provided 2 new brain killers for your weekend entertainment.

Name that volcano! by Suzie!
This the forth edition of this popular riddle.

I am the largest of the group of 3 –
I am the legendary 1 of 3 –
I am closely associated with an ancient 3 –
I am the sacred ritual source of 3.

The score on Suzies Name that Volcano so far is:
Kelda 3 points, Chryphia and Grimmster got 1 point.

Alan´s evil riddle.

If I am πrl then my cousins are +/- me!
What am I?
What do we look like?
What is our origin?

Current ranking: ( last updated 2.11.12)

11 Sissel
9 KarenZ
8 Talla
8 Kelda
4 Ursula
3 Henri le Revenant
3 Chyphria
2 Diana
1 lughduniese
1 Sa´ke
1 purohueso745
1 UKViggen
1 IngeB
1 Carl
1 Spica

The answers will be provided, as always, as soon as the 2 riddlemasters did their Dinging on

Diana is not only our local biologist but our very own poet as well.
Diana Barnes says: November 2, 2012 at 12:15

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?

And there was an article about me in a local newpaper on Wednesday.
You could read it here,998583
Stay safe and have a nice weekend.


388 thoughts on “Friday post

  1. Ahem again, No Olympus Mons cannot be viewed with the naked eye. it is a mountain the highest mountain of the solar system, in fact, a shield volcano 26 km high and it got that high because Mars does not have plate tectonics and so a volcano on a hotspot stayed on this very hotspot for a very long time.

  2. It says on that site that Mars used to be a lot closer to earth. It must have been very much closer for the ancients to have picked out all the details that led to the various myths?

      • @ Suzie
        That was a good ‘un!
        Please don’t be too offended by our post-riddle comments – it’s what keeps ths place lively (especially on a wet, dreary Sunday evening!!) 🙂

        • I am not offended at all – just concerned that I seem to have opened a can of worms! I am enjoying my current quest to get a definitive answer to the question as to whether it is possible (or was possible) to see enough detail with the naked eye to identify a ‘face’ and see a huge volcano erupt!

          My latest find states that twice every 32 years Mars is at its closest to earth and that it has been moving away from us throughout history!

          I will continue to dig!

          • No sorry, but Olympus mons last erupted MILLIONS of years ago, so no human could ever have seen it erupt. And whoever claims to have seen it, lies.

          • I saw a television show re. Mars lately. And the scientists interviewed said, they calculate the age of impact craters and from that the age of mountains, lava flows and so on. Perhaps someone else here knows more details about that.

      • Suzie, it was very good! You made me read a lot and I learned very interesting things which I otherwise never ever would have learned. Which is the best a riddle can do.
        Just one small example: The similarity between the Christian “Amen” and the Hindu “OM”. The first word I never use, the second one I chant three times every morning as a part of Yoga breathing excercises.

        And never mind if it can be proven whether eruptions om Mars can be seen with the naked eye. Maybe it was something different, not only eruptions emit light.

    • Don’t forget that if Olympus Mons was erupting at the time. it would be a lot easier to see. No idea what with – some sort of magnifying glass?

      On the other hand, if it wasn’t Olympus Mons that the Vedi saw, it opens up the question of what did they see?

      • An unusually to very large impact is the obvious answer. Another of these conundrums is how the West African Dogon tribe could have known about the existance of Sirius B. With an apparent magnitude of +8m6, ten magnitudes fainter or 1/10,000th the brightness of Sirius – separated by between 3″ and 11″ (seconds of arc or 1/1200th to 1/350th degree of arc), at present just under 10″, it’s invisible to the naked eye, binoculars and most amateur telescopes – although I bet Alan could resolve it with his Meade!

        • Did tg tell us the Commanches had the same story in their mythology?

          Native American ‘sky walkers’ may have been there…

  3. I can find no concrete evidence that Olympic Mons is or ever has been visible to the naked eye -but two facts are remain – the story of the Martian image of Shivas’ face is told in the Mahabharata (aka the Hindu Bible) and detailed images of that face, made up of a group of several volcanoes, can clearly be seen with a telescope.

    • That was a good riddle Suzie. I love the idea that somehow the Hindu religious images were introduced by space travellers….but then I’m just a Star Wars and Trekkie fan 🙂

      • They got so many ‘details’ right – the juxtaposition of the various volcanoes, the prominent features on the face – that my gut feel is that by whatever means they did see it! But hey I guess we will never know!

        Having said that when one looks at the Old Testament – the stories were all parables – or Moses toes were well burnt!

        • Now the odd thing is – it looks an invert of Orion’s belt (Mintaka, Alnilam and Alnitak) with the Great Nebula but above!
          The relative positions of the Belt are just about reflected by the relative positions of the Great Pyramids in Egypt……….
          Time for a Dram….!!

          • Don’t start on that – I have an Egyptologist friend who goes apoplectic when anyone mentions this. He says it’s not true – and adds lots of other things about people who say it is. 🙂

            By the way the only version of the Mahabharata I can find says Shiva’s third eye appeared when his wife covered his two eyes and the light of the world went out. The third vertical eye then appeared. But I expect there are more versions as it runs to over 10 volumes.

          • Do you know why Fred? 5,000 years ago the rising of Sirius presaged the annual, life-giving floodin of the Nile and as the Belt stars point the way…

          • Umm.. about the only thing I have to say about that is that of the 22 pyramids I’ve looked at the numbers on… the average angle is between 49.46° and 52.07° at the 95% confidence level.

        • The Chinese were making maps of the heavens well before the birth of Christ so suspect there were means of looking at stars and planets that are not visible with the naked eye.

          • Don’t forget that visually, they had a much better chance at picking out fine details than we have.

            Light pollution.

            I’ve had the opportunity to be in totally dark, cloudless skies… it is phenomenal what you can see.

            (open ocean)

    • Thank you Suzie! I found this really really interesting riddle. Mars (Mangala in Sanskrit) is, in Hindu mythology, an avatar of the god Shiva. Currently on Mars a system channels is named Mangala Valles.

  4. It is very difficult for a human brain to accept something which it does not understand or which is not “proven”. We know so little about ancient cultures and their knowledge. We look upon ourselfes as the worlds smartest creatures but we know almost nothing!

  5. Btw, did anyone watch the recent BBC documentary on The Core (from the Horizon series)? I watched it online earlier today and while it was interesting, I have to say I wasn’t impressed. Most of it was high school geology and physics, e.g. what are the layers of the Earth, how the seismic waves pass through the Earth and that they have different velocities in different layers, the magnetic anomaly over South America that makes spacecraft malfunction, records of switching of the magnetic field in the cores, etc. The only new thing to me was the Japanese scientist’s experiments that show that the inner core is solid and potentially formed from huge crystals aligned in N-S direction.

    • I watched it last night and that got me thinking too. High school geology stuff was fine for me though – putting it all into a dynamic whole. I just found it a bit slow in places.

      One of my more off-beam thinking things is to wonder about the growth of crystals in the earth and expanding earth theory…

      The way that the crystals ‘blow’ to and fro, in the electro-magnetic dynamic of the north-south polarity, was intriguing.

  6. sigh!… No luck with the riddle! No luck with my new slow cooker! (I should have put it on “High”! )
    No luck with doggies. We visited two dogs homes. Mostly Staffordshire bull terriers and I really don’t want one. If you don’t know parentage and what they have experienced they can be too risky, especially if you have small children visiting! There were some lovely animals, but not one really looked at me “that” way. Much as I would want to give every poor dog a home I have to be realistic. One did say “Take me outta here” but it was an Alaskan ethat was used to running 8 miles a day with his previous owner who had died of a heart attack. I couldn’t have given him the exercise he needed.

  7. … sigh.

    If the optics of the eye were otherwise perfect, theoretically, acuity would be limited by pupil diffraction, which would be a diffraction-limited acuity of 0.4 minutes of arc (minarc) or 20/8 acuity. The smallest cone cells in the fovea have sizes corresponding to 0.4 minarc of the visual field, which also places a lower limit on acuity. The optimal acuity of 0.4 minarc or 20/8 can be demonstrated using a laser interferometer that bypasses any defects in the eye’s optics and projects a pattern of dark and light bands directly on the retina. Laser interferometers are now used routinely in patients with optical problems, such as cataracts, to assess the health of the retina before subjecting them to surgery.


    0.4 minarc x 60 = 24 arc-seconds.

    In the travels of Earth and Mars about their respective orbits, at the closest, they get to about 0.37 AU, or 55,917,844 kilometers. Max distance is 2.68 AU, or about 400,256,033 km.

    At minimum Earth-Mars range, the crater on Olympus Mons is about 0.30 arc-seconds across for the long axis, 0.23 arc-seconds for the short axis.

    At minimum Earth-Mars range, the Tharsis mountains are about 5.7 arc-seconds long, and the entire edifice of Olympus Mons is 2.02 arc-seconds, cliff face to cliff face.

    At minimum Earth-Mars range, something on the surface would have to extend for 6506 kilometers in order to achieve 24 arc-seconds of angular separation from one end to the other, to be discernible with the perfect.. un-aided eye.

        • Lol! I see 5 Blurry moons superimposed on each other without my specs or contact lenses. 😀 Due to measles as a small child. I hope all who read this will not hesitate to get their children vaccinated. It’s a potentially fatal disease. I was evidently VERY ill.

    • On January 7, 1610, Galileo wrote a letter containing the first mention of Jupiter’s moons. At the time, he saw only three of them, and he believed them to be fixed stars near Jupiter. He continued to observe these celestial orbs from January 8 to March 2, 1610. In these observations, he discovered a fourth body, and also observed that the four were not fixed stars, but rather were orbiting Jupiter.

      Now, I don’t know what his ability to discern objects was… but I can hazard a guess.

      Of the Galilean moons, Io has the tightest orbit. The maximum distance that Io has above the surface of Jupiter is 423,400 km (Apoapsis), and at the timeframe that he was looking, Jupiter was 5.13 AU away on average… or about 767,253,566 km from Earth.

      This yields a maximum separation of 1′ 53.8″. (one arcminute, and fiftythree point eight arcseconds) (0.03161801 degrees)

      Or, within the range of normal (but perfect) un-aided vision… yet he had to have a telescope of about 20x power to make the discovery.

      In all likelihood, the relatively massive glare of Jupiter prevented anyone from previously noting those four dancing points of light around it.

      • Since the equatorial radius of Mars is 3,396.2 ± 0.1 km it follows that in order to be at the theoretical limit of naked eyeball detection, any surface feature on Mars would have to be as wide and high the planet itself.

        • The Vedas are “svatah pramana”, which as a concept perhaps comes closest to Aristoteles’ ‘epistēmonikos’. As such this is self-evident, irrefutable, immediate knowledge and the laws of non-contradiction are of no use here; somethings that is, falls beyond the “true or untrue”. (Does the love one feels for a person, child or pet need (scientific) proof?)
          Also, the proto-indo-european root ‘vid’ (from which ‘veda” is derived) means both “to see” and “to know”. But not all seeing and knowing is of this world and can be explained in terms of ‘time’ and ‘space’… Metaphysics is simple.

  8. On Earth, some people (including me) defend the possibility that large impacts might result in volcanism in the impact site and the exact opposite site, thereby creating opposite hotspots that slowly diverge according to plate tectonics. Some studies have shown this hypothesis to be highly significant.

    However Mars might just be the perfect case to test this hypothesis. We know its geography very well and any large impact resulting in opposite volcanoes would be clearly visible by now. I doubt that volcanoes in Mars would have been created by plate tectonics. Apparently there is no plate tectonics at the moment, but it might have been on the past. However, if Olympus Mons was very old, it would have been eroded. But nevertheless we havent seen any new lavas in there as well. The Mars volcanoes might be yet another of the many Mars mysteries.

    Anyone knows what lies exactly opposite of the Mars volcanoes?

      • For those not in the know – Glasgow is famous for the fried Mars Bar (in Sweden “Japp”) and, possibly because of it, is the “cardiac arrest” capital of the world.

        • A bit petty I know, but the Fried Mars Bar is not from Glasgow. It is said to have been invented in 1995 in the Haven Chip Bar (now the Carron) in Stonehaven, near Aberdeen on Scotland’s northeast coast. The first recorded mention of the food was in the Aberdeen Evening Express, following a tip off phone call to their journalist Alastair Dalton that a chip shop in Stonehaven had been deep frying Mars Bars for local kids.
          It’s actually quite tasty although I only ever tried it once for a laugh. 🙂

    • OK, I checked opposite of Alba Mons (the largest volcano in Mars) lies the deepest and largest depression on Mars! The Hellas planitia. It seems that the opposite hotspot theory might also hold true in Mars, it deserves further study.

      • Maybe we should let Lurking loose on it as in the end the statistical correlation is what is relevant. I take it you are referring to Hagstrum’s paper?

        Click to access Antip_hot.pdf

        I remember it getting discussed a couple of years ago over at Eruptions. Erik was not very impressed and I think recent papers on slab subduction and upwelling of new material from the mantle core boundary sound pretty exciting, because ultimately, these also explain the petrological signatures of hot-spots. It is hard to see how an impact based theory can do this.

        • Yeah, put the monkey to work… I have nowhere near the skills needed to do the sort of analysis that Hagstrum did.

          However.. I do have an eyeball.

          The 451 km diameter Huygens crater is within 571 km of dead center alignment with the Olympus Mons antipode. (the crater rim is within 314 km) and it is 915 km from the centerline for the antipodes for the Tharsis mountains… on the opposite direction.

          But, I have no idea for how old the Huygens crater is.

          Given the number of smaller and later impacts that cover it’s ejecta field… it’s has to be pretty old.

    • 40 years on now and Mark’s been dead almost that long, his death an illustration of why the English use(-d) to say “Women drivers…”

    • Might as well do the Syncronicity thing…

      Marc Bolan – 16 September 1977
      Tommy Bolin – 4 December 1976

      Where I grew up, the local radio station (WZZQ 102.9) would play Post Toastie every weekend by popular request. From what I understand, most of the DJs hated it. The thing is 9+ minutes long. Sure, there were longer songs, but Post Toastie was short enough to be doable, and popular enough to screw with whatever schedule they had in mind since it was always requested.

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