Riddle answers


Piip is a submarine volcano close to the eastern coast of Kamchatka Russia. (Latitude: 55.4200, Longitude: 167.3300) It rises from around 2500 m dept to around 300 meters below sea level.
The last eruption is guessed to have happened around 5000 BC but there are areas with lots of gas emmision and Black Smokers.

Note that this is just an image of a Black Smoker. I could not find any specifically of Piip.



The prime minister and the volcanologist were having a heated debate about health and safety issues.

”You are grossly over estimating the danger” shouted AP in frustration.
”Yes its active but it has not erupted for a few thousand years, and the local fishing community, who admittedly get a bit confused about their birthdays, stay safe by holding hands!”

”Ahhhh but you are forgetting something important” retorted BP immediately ”smoking kills!”

Quote Suzie:
Ants Piip an Estonian Prime Minister and Boris Piip a Russian volcanologist are both accredited by Wiki as possibly having this marine volcano named after them. It is c60 kms from Bering Island, Kamchatka.. The Islands only claim to fame is its large and thriving colony of sea otters – who form rafts at sea at night by holding hands in order to protect themselves from predators! It has not erupted for at least 7,000 years but is classified as active due to its large number of black smokers!

So the answer was: Piip
Winners: Spica

A piece of Andesit from Piip

A rock sampling took place several times and mostly Dactite, Andesite and Pumice were recovered. http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/aro/russian-american/Rock-sediment-Piip-submarine-volcano.htm
Here is short version of a  paper on the geology:
Magnesian Andesites and the Subduction Component in a Strongly Calc-Alkaline Series at Piip Volcano, Far Western Aleutians.  The complete paper is behind a paywall.

Gas venting of Piip

Notes on Vent Field Description: depth: 382 m (North Peak), 450-500 m (South Peak); hydrothermally active seamount; two shallow summit craters; several active vents and silica, anhydrite, calcite, barite mounds and chimneys with minor pyrite; black smokers at northern cone (www.volcano.si.edu #1000-271); tectonic setting alternatively listed as seamount adjacent to back-arc spreading center or fore-arc volcano
from http://www.interridge.org/irvents/node/5724

Topography of Piip

See also: Slab melting in the Aleutians: implications of an ion probe study of clinopyroxene in primitive adakite and basalt

Sea otters hold hand while they sleep on their back in the open sea so not to drift apart. Image Wikipedia. This image was also found and linked by IngeB

Alan´s Evil Riddle!
Here is what Alan sent to me:

Years ago Friday, Her Serene Highness may have worn this green coat under the stars!

1) What am I?
2) My composition and uses?
3) Which constellation could be related to a cousin?

1) The mineral Fernandinite
2) http://www.mindat.org/min-1483.html
3) Corvus the Crow from a similar mineral Corvusite

Here comes the part which is already also displayed in our menu feature Alan´C Evil riddles and the answers #21 to …

The Evil Riddle #24 came in as an update to GeoLurkings post Sleeper Fish… A look at the Taal and Laguna de Bay setting. on November 9th
Friday less the ‘y’ = Frida = Anni-frid Lyngstad (of my No 1 group ABBA!) now married to an aristocrat and titled Her Serene Highness
ABBA had a song FERNANDO in which a lyric refers to a ‘Starry Night’ featuring Frida
“Can you hear the drums Fernando?
I remember long ago another starry night like this”

Winners: Geolurking, ( for correctly stumbling over “Her serene highness” Frida Lyngstad) and Talla for naming Fernandinite and Corvusite.

Merriam Webster Quote: a mineral consisting of a massive dull green hydrous calcium vanadyl vanadate.
Links: http://www.mindat.org/min-1483.html

Corvusite: http://www.mindat.org/min-1138.html

Both images from Mindat.org


Corvus, the raven, constellation.

Image Wikipedia

Corvus is a small constellation sitting on top of Hydra next to Crater. There are several myths explaining how it ended up as a heavenly body, the most common is. A raven was supposed to get water for the greek god Apollo but got distracted eating figs. He later claimed having been unable to reach the well because of a snake which it held in it´s talons as a proof. Apollo immediately saw the lie and flung the raven, the snake and the cup into heaven, where they formed constellation. As punishment for the raven the cup is without it´s reach so it has to stay forever thirsty.

I had to add this part, because Corvus contains an asterism called Spica´s Spanker or Spica´s Sail.
Current ranking: ( last updated 11.11.12)

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



63 thoughts on “Riddle answers

  1. Hi

    Interesting post, still have to ponder it. I must admit I find the otters really cute.

    Meanwhile here is the first part for Askja 2011-2012, but I will redo the plot with Moho.

    Don’t ask me how I got the “Rocking chair” effect !

      • I like this one, thank you. I think it interesting in this perspective, because it is very well to be seen how the quakes concentrate not so much at Askja caldera itself, but to the north of it (Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl) as well as to the east of it (Upptyppingar). 🙂

    • Well, you may not know how you got it, bit it is quite effective and adds a lot to it.

      When doing moving point of views in a plot, the greatest hazard is confusing the viewer as to what they are looking at. The inherent knowledge of the viewer goes a long way in keeping track of what they are seeing, but there is alway a chance that spatial comprehension can be lost.

      The key is to bring out that info (spatial relationship) and to not loose the viewer.

      Your rocking chair point of view is fantastic.. it gives spatial data and doesn’t distract form the plot.

      I think a full 360° around the plot, keeping the rocking chair, would be great.

      As for Moho.. and since you are using Octave, is to figure out how to use the OctGPR function calls.

      Though it uses only one function “form” to interpolation… it is in fact, Kriging. Using the EU Moho data, you can tighten up your Moho dataset and not rely on a somewhat arbitrary curve that only approximates a Moho. This way it won’t look abnormally artificial. Failing that, using the actual data points would be better than the curve, even if the points are sparse. That curve is as reliable as a fitted poly curve to some batch of points. It has poor predictive capability outside of the area is was fitted to. (even the poly sheets I use in DPlot do this)

      OctGPR actually has training functions/modes so that you can tweak the results to be the best logical fit.

      OctGPR is part of the package set that you can add to Octave. I’m in the process of slowly learning it since in “braindead” mode, you can actually load and run Mathcad files. I’ve see an implementation of Kriging done in Mathcad, so it would probably be the better route to go rather than learning “R”.. which also has a kriging implementation.

      For all… kriging allows you to take sparse geopatial data and predict the lay of the rest of the points. It’s handy for filling in the holes of a data set, whether in terrain estimating, mineral concentration estimation etc…

      • It’s… not really something that everyone would be into.

        A pet peeve of mine is the lack of data on terrain. That data goes a long way in making the quake plots actually have some visual meaning to the casual viewer by establishing location and the scale of what they are looking at. The problem is, this data is not readily available unless you know where to go look, and it is only occasionally in a form that is usable. This can be anything from SRTM topology, which doesn’t cover Iceland on the CGIAR site, to Bathemetry data off of other sites. High resolution stuff is almost impossible to find, unless you are willing to offer up a DNA sample and a contract of indentured servitude for your offspring.

        I have encountered this “Mine! Mine! Mine!” aspect of data before when I was generating radar propagation envelopes for different areas of operation. In that endeavor, I wound up hitting a classification wall, depending on what resolution I was trying to acquire. In this respect, I can understand the reason for classification. TERCOM is a technology that deals with “Terrain Contour and Mapping” and if your reference data is good enough, a missile can autonomously find it’s way to the target without GPS or external guidance systems… just by looking at the internal digital map and what it can see on the radar. (and of course, a good inertial reference).

        So… with the “Mine! Mine! Mine!” and classification factors, we the general public, are stuck muddling along with what we can find.


        This is where Kriging comes in.

        Kriging was developed mainly for mineral exploration. If you have sample data of a mineral concentration at sporadic locations… how do you find the main location of the mineral you are after? If you can accurately answer that question and dig in that spot, you could make billions. That’s a pretty strong driving force to answer that question.

        Kriging is a step beyond finding a polysheet (essentially a polycurve in 3D) to match the data.

        Here is an example of the problem with polys.

        A parabola follows a polynomial form : y=ax²+bx+c.

        No matter how you dice it… the ends of that curve are going to be headed off to infinity the further away from the inflection point you get. (where the slope = 0)

        Higher order polynomials also share this feature. Once you get through the constraining part of the curve, it heads off for parts unknown. This gives it little predictive power and what little prediction that you can make with it, only falls within the range that it was constructed for.

        Real world data does not act like that.

        A Kriging routine expands on that basic idea, but allows you to put constraints on how well the function does it’s fitting. This usually comes across as a “variogram” that tells you where the fit is best, and what the measure of that fit is. It lets you control the uncertainty.

        There are several methods of doing the fit… OctGPR adopts a Gaussian method.

        From the author answering a question:

        (Part of Question)
        According to the terminology I used to work with – I need to create a variogram for a data set before I can create a krigging prediction. I figured out that creating the variogram is done by the function gpr_train, and the actually predicted surface is done by gpr_predict.

        (The Answer)
        Not quite. gpr_train won’t help you to create an empirical variogram, nor will it attempt to construct one (and fit a model to it).

        Rather, OctGPR fits the parameters of a variogram model by directly maximizing the marginal likelihood of the observation data. A more or less fixed variogram model is used in the form gamma(h) = var * f(norm(theta.*h)) + nu * all(h == 0) where f is one of the decay functions described in gpr_train’s docstring (default is gaussian). In other words, the random spatial process is considered stationary but *not* isotropic, with noise (nugget effect) allowed but decaying to zero (sill = 0). This spatial process is assumed to be superimposed onto a constant or linear trend surface.

        So as you can see, quite a bit goes into it. My knowledge on the subject is limited since I’m learning as I’m poking along.

        If your eyes are glazed over right now… don’t worry, that’s normal.

        • My eyes are generally glazed over when trying to grasp code and formulas. Just the necessary evil to get the artwork done ;-).

          What drives me mad are the gazillions of formats GIS (Geographic information system) files http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIS_file_formats data comes in. Every agency uses a different one (customized to their needs) and there is never just simple click “import”. What looks plain simple to your eyes (an “image”) has to be tediously explained to the computer. Which usually means I can´t, because I don´t have the import filter or it tells me “sure you chose the right file?” You can raster me vector, GIS!

          So finally I somehow got the xyz or array stuffed into a table. And before I have a mathematical meltdown, I wonder if you could tell me what the advantage of Kriging is over the Voronoi filter Igor uses by default. That method is also used for prospecting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voronoi).

    • I too liked this plot. Thank you. Although not so much a rocking chair more like an easterly swell off the South Devon Coast!!(Where I used to have a boat and spent many hours fishing when I was a teenager)

  2. Happy to see that the “Rocking chair effect” pleases. To be fully honest it’s plain serendipity (as always) and came just like this. I tried to use the raw data first, so I go a lot of data (thanks to Lurking) and I reduced the “cranking” on the plot’s rotation so as not rotating too fast. And here comes the RCE ! As Octave produces a plot at a time it is not easy to see what it will be like in motion. To give you an idea of the ‘puter time involved let’s say that I get a new plot every 25 seconds right now, an it will get slower as the number of dots grows….so you’ll get the video tomorrow. And it will include full 360 of course !

    Well here is the latest image with the new settings

    As for the Krigging. I’ve used a routine a while back, but did not delve into it a lot. A this moment I’m using the meshgrid function, in linear mode do to the interpolation of Elevation and Moho.

    To explain a bit how this works for the non plotters, the meshgrid function (krigging too) takes an irregular scatter of points and fits them to a regular grid. It is faster to use than plotting all the existing points and also covers some gaps in data.

    • Meshgrid is essentially a variation on the polysheet.

      In Dplot’s polysheet, I can tweek down the fit so that it at least looks sort of sane, but it is still prone to adding twists and turns that are not real.

      Be careful adding too many triangles in the linear function or else you can get similar artifacts.

      • well I’ll look in to the krigging method to see if the results show something. Meshgrid seems to give some results with the standard configuration and linear method.

  3. Has anyone commented on the odd lines of quakes in Iceland? North in a line N>S and inMyrdalsjokull NW> Southish!
    I know it’s probably nothing but it looks interesting.

  4. Just found this. We were speaking a little while back about the Normans and the invasion of Britain. Here’s the making off. I saw, quite a few years ago the real thing in Caen and it’s impressive. Just to know that it’s nearly a thousand years old….
    Just to say that the Normans (hence Normandie) are related to the great great grandfathers of Carl.

  5. And, after Diana’s comment, I had been mulling what looks like some harmonics in the area, especially Krokottuvotn. But being a slow-wit I may be wrong. (Sorry, have not been on this board a while – hope you are all well!)

  6. A quake just at the bottom of Hekla too.. about 2 hours ago.
    But these are generally low quality.

    Increasing strain around Hekla since yesterday but so far nothing unusual.

  7. Icelandic humor. IMO comment on another bad weather front which is approaching Iceland: Things that have been flying from north to south over / around the house, may now fly in opposite direction.
    (by Inge)

    I couldn’t stop laughting at this!

    Brilliant Inge! Now I can recover back my wife. She just flew south a week ago. Ahh life is friendly!

  8. OT. The new Puppy Meg is still taking up our time so my comments are a bit vague at the moment. Poor thing has been very porly. We think it was the scraps of questionable food that it managed to scavenge. Tonight far more sttled . Eating and drinking and sleeping. She will soon settle into our routines as she realises this is a forever home. …… and here she is. http://s186.beta.photobucket.com/user/wildjinny/library/#/user/wildjinny/library/Meg?&_suid=13526656811380020248873659758082

  9. OT: Ursula mentioned there will be heavy rain in Slovenia and the south of Austria. Obviously in norther Italy too. Just read that there have been 367 mm since midnight in Chievolis (Friaul)
    says meteo.fvg.it

  10. Congratulations to the riddle winners. The riddles were again the highest grade of evilty. A pity I could not stay to fight with you about the points. But, I was in the casino and won something else which was also very nice! 🙂

    • 1.11 meters max theoretical displacement at the point of origin (0.60 meters average) with little chance of it being manifest at the surface as a semi-permanent feature.

      I’ve been tweaking on my spreadsheet and managed to get an algorithm that equates chord length on an ellipse (the hard way) based on how far from the semi-major axis you look.

      Correlation coefficient of 0.9993 and an r² greater than 0.999

      Only works for horizontal ellipses.

    • Personally, I think it would go a long way in getting a successful review for 2012 done if you explored the activity of 2012…

      ( I had to do it… can’t let something like that go by without poking at it :D)

      Actually, I think 2011 would be a nice rounding of the effort. In the end it depends on if you feel that the effort is worth the trouble.

  11. While we are waiting for something to happen or erupt… I’m going to wander off into rumination land.

    As some of you have seen, I’ve talked about Taleb’s “Black Swan.” Those little statistical annoyances that creep up and bite you in the arse, turning out to be much more catastrophic and regular that one would expect. Black Swans, by definition (Taleb’s) are explained away after the fact as “if we had only known about (whatever).”

    Fair Warning.. this skirts “loon theory,” but is hopefully pragmatic enough to keep from being labeled as such.

    In earthquakes, one of the commonly observed phenomena is soil liquefaction. This most vividly shows up in sand-blows where the mobilized grains of sand effectively go into suspension in the water present and operate en-mass as a fluid. Normally the water just exists between the sand grains… once the massive vibration occurs the grains start moving and become suspended until the vibrations stops and the grains can settle back into a congealed mass. How long this takes depends on the saturation, the shape of the grains, etc. The only reason I mention this, is to illustrate the phenomena. You can observe the phenomena first hand on most beaches by going down to the water’s edge and start stomping around on the ground. Eventually, you get your feet wet even though you didn’t actually step past the waters edge.

    Sheet piling (and normal) piling is driven into the ground by slamming a weight into the top of the piling and driving it into the ground. More modern methods involve an oscillating weight attached to the top of the piling. Slowly, the material is driven into the ground. Once it is in place, and the ground/earth/sand settles out, the structure becomes a really solid feature that can withstand massive loads.. within it’s design specs.

    In UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, Civil action NO. 05-4182, one government entity sued another government entity. Essentially, it was a blame game with each pointing fingers at the other, trying to affix the blame for the New Orleans levee breaches. The “New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board” and the “Orleans Levee District” were not seeing eye to eye and this case was a consolidated case about the levee failure(s).

    Referenced in the “Order and Reasons” is a case that ended in 1998… Pittman Construction Company, Inc vs US Army Corps of Engineers over Contract No. DACW29-93-C-0081.

    Contract No. DACW29-93-C-0081 was “Lake Ponchatrain LA. & Vicinity, Hurricane Protection Project, High Level Plan, 17th St. Outfall Canal, Flood Protection Improvement Project, Capping of Floodwalls, East Side Improvements, Orleans Parish, LA.”

    The major point of contention by Pittman, was that adequate soil samples for the site were not provided by the Corps of Engineers and that the difficulty in building the levee wall within specification, was that the soil was shifting when the concrete was poured. The Corps of Engineers cited the work as out of specs and would not allow Pittman to remedy it.

    “As stated by Mr. A.E. Pittman, company president, this contract was regarded as requiring Pittman to perform construction, not provide design services.” (finding of fact per the Judge)

    Essentially, that means that Pittman inc was to construct the levee as per the design provided by the Corps of Engineers.


    According to Appellant’s Position Paper, Pittman repeatedly requested the Government to provide all soils investigation report and other essential information, by means of written correspondence, in meetings, and during jobsite discussions during the seven-month period from December 1, 1993 through 4 August 30, 1994, Pittman stated that the Government was not forthcoming with the information requested and that it ultimately resorted to a formal request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain the necessary information. (Appellant’s Position Paper, ¶ 12). In response, the Government asserted that it provided all information requested on a timely basis. It is the Government’s position that Pittman did not request information other than soil borings until it made its FOIA request, at which time the material promptly was furnished.

    During the dealings with the The Corps of Engineers representative, eventually Pittman obtained the requested information and contacted the services of Roussel Engineering, Inc.. Their report contained extensive calculations and came to the conclusion “[T]his soil is so weak and may have been further weakened by the additional driving of the sheet pile that increasing the penetration can not get the deflection within tolerance, After some period of time the soil may regain strength that was lost from driving” and that “that there had not been sufficient time for the soil to recover strength before concrete was placed” In addition to Dr. Roussel, Pitman also consulted with expert engineer George Stoll.

    {Paraphrased from the Findings Document}

    And something to remember… the contractor was operating under the time constraints placed by the Corps of Engineers. On September 6,1994, The Corps of Engineers notified Pittman that it was behind in its work progress and that 10% of the amount of future progress payments wouId be withheld until satisfactory progress was achieved.

    So think about it… the ground becomes weak due to the driving of the piles, doesn’t return to rigidity as quickly as needed to be usable, and the The Corps of Engineers is too busy dicking with the contractor because they can’t build the levee within specs due to that problem.

    By the way… Administrative Judge Reba Page denied the motion for appeal. She’s a sitting member of the Corps of Engineers Board of Contract Appeals.

    As I have mentioned, I am not a Geologist. I’m also not a Paralegal, nor do I have any Legal training.

    In my opinion, the Katrina Flooding is a combination of a bloated bureaucracy, a REGULARLY occurring natural event (Betsy did it in 1965, Katrina came along and did basically the same thing 40 years later.), and a collection of idiots who have no desire to hold their local government accountable for their inaction. (they re-elected Mayor Nagin through he left the populace stranded… with buses sitting flooded in the parking lot).

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