Birthday Post

Special Birthdaycard for Volcanocafe by chryphia

Is it already a year ago that this place opened. If you check the archives you will find that, indeed, time flies. On November 15 2011 Carl proudly presented this new place to the world and had 4500 Visitors on his first day, if i remember correctly.
Most people found their love for following volcanoes on the internet with the eruption of the now famous Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull. We had met on Erik Klemettis fantastic blog Eruptions. But due to a very user-unfriendly commenting system, many of us were and are no longer able to contribute on this blog and so we felt outcast and needed a new home.
Carl provided this place by starting VolcanoCafe with the great and highly appretiated help of Ursula.
He gathered some dragons around him to help him ward of spam and i joined the dragons crew in the end of march and since then i devote many hours a week into the support of this place. Now – one year later, we have 1236000 views and over 65000 comments. We saw our busiest day on June 8th when it looked like El Hierro might become active again with 12,441 visitors on one day only.
All who joined the bandwagon later, might wonder about our routines and the Sheepy Dalek Bar.
Well, many of us are webcam freaks and for quite some time we wondered what this odd looking thing in front of the RUV Heklacam was. 
This is a screenshot done by me on Nov. 14th also showing the very bad weather Iceland has at the moment.
Later we found that is was an old observatory and discovered that a wind mill in Santorini had a very similar shape and then the cherished webcam pointing at Bob. The inner wall of the harbour of La Restinga was decorated with many of those things. All looked somewhat like the Daleks of the movie Dr. Who. So we decided, obviously when volcanoes erupt they spread the Dalek seeds all over the world and so you can find Daleks everywhere!

Dr. Who Daleks
Many volcanophiles developed a special relationship to sheep. This is partly due to staring at webcams around Hekla for hour and hours. All that happened were some sheep moved from left to right, or even more spectacular…. from right to left. The slept in the grass, feed, played and jumped around. And some of us just watched and counted how many of them were black. When they suddenly disappeared, we really started missing them. So what lay closer as naming the Off- Topic Bar which is opened every friday night SHEEPY DALEK.

Sheep in front of Hekla. Webcamscreenshot May 2012.

So what this post still lack is a sum up of the happenings of the year.
It all started with Bob.
Or at that time BeldfjallþessierþekktursemBob = Volcano that is known as Bob.. thats another story. For the newcomers… Bob is our nick name for the submarine volcano which erupted in a short distance of La Restigna on El Hierro in October to December 2011.

The hassel this created was one of the reasons why this blog was born. Unfortunately Bob decided not to break the surface and we waited for some surteyan action unsuccessfully. The intensity of the tremor intensified again in June but died down again. Our beloved Restignacam is no longer available. This year was not all too rich with volcanic eruptions but sadly we had to report 2 large earthquakes in Italy. Etnas paroxysm, which seemd to have been scheduled as weekly episodes for quite some time, started to become less frequently and have died down completely now. We also saw an eruption of 2 volcanoes in New Zealand at the same time. One of Tongario and one of White Island. Kizimen and Klyuchevskoy burped a little bit occasionally but that never made the news. Same with ash emmsions by Cleveland. Some volcanoes of Middle Amerca did erupt this year, but either there were no webcams or the sites were unreachable and none of the active commenters on VC is from this region, so this was not discussed heavily. The only really reliable volcano this year was Sakurajima and KarenZ just recently infotained us with 3 posts on it. Now lets not forget, we always had a close eye on everything that was up in Iceland. No eruptions took place but we saw some earthquake swarms and we have several regulars living there, which could keep us on our toes. If something ever happens we will have eye reporters!
On the OT side, we had at least one riddle almost every friday and some regulars spent many hour traveling the world of the internet trying to solve them. We sure learned a whole lot about all kinds of things because the search often led to very odd places. Especially “evil” Alan tried to teach us geology. Lets not forget our very own team of skilled plotters GeoLurking, dfm, chyphria and KarenZ who supply us with insights on earthquakes in Iceland and the Canary Islands.

Not much is up volcanowise but that might change because volcanoes are unpredictable and then we hope to get a lot of visitors. And as you all know, the end is coming soon. 😉 To battle off the hoards of 2012ers, I felt the need to have an assistant. So here i present a new dragon to you. Her name is Kilgharrah. Please welcome our new dragon.

Klyuchevskoy webcam screenshot already used in another post before.

I asked for comments for this special occasion and besides the great birthday card by chyphria, here are 3 birthday mails by Talla, Schteve and UKViggen:

Happy Birthday to Volcanocafe. Is it only a year? I can’t remember life without it!

VC not only represents a great place to learn from knowledgable and enthusiastic people, but a source of genuine camaraderie. The fact that a highly active blog-cum-forum like this has lasted for a year with hardly a single drop of virtual blood being spilled is a great testament to all the lovely folks who frequent it. This café really is a place to relax, read, rant, learn, smile and generally feel ‘cosy and warm’. Thanks to everyone – from Carl and the dragons to newcomers eager to learn – for making it so enjoyable.

For me it has also been a great catalyst to grow my nascent interest and knowledge, and also, by default, that of my son who is also smitten with the lava bug. It’s early days, but maybe a volcanologist in the making – after his professional rugby career is over, of course!! 🙂

Many blogs are one person’s view of the world, but Carl has always encouraged input from many sources and on many levels, and that has made it a more entertaining, educational and welcoming place. I really hope it prospers, and with a growing roster of contributors I’m sure that it will.


Teide September 22. Image by Spica

Dear Bloggers, Dragons, Commentators, Lurkers and Carl…
Would just like to say how I admire, respect and embrace the philosophy of this great place.
When the volcanoes are quiet, which they have been lately, anything is up for discussion (as long as the conversation remains civil; if not adult!!!)
When something happens though; the focus is as sharp as in one of Spica’s rather wonderful SEM images. Plots, analysis, useful websites, scientific papers, eyewitness accounts gleaned from factbook, interesting questions and amateur speculations come thick and fast…
I like to think of this special group of people as a communal mind trying to get a handle on one of the great mysteries of Planet Earth.
Thanks to Carl for getting us started (hope to see you soon) and thanks to all for keeping us going.
Love Schteve x

“I’ve always had a general interest in volcanoes and used to check the Vesuvius site regularly but it wasn’t until “the Icelandic Volcano” closed Europe’s airports that I started to look for more information. I came across Jon’s blog and was a regular reader, but didn’t dare post on it. When Carl started Volcanocafe I plucked up courage and started to add my (usually OT) comments. Eventually I managed to write an article about an historic eruption in Saudi Arabia – history being my specialism. This is what I love about the blog: a group of very diverse people from all over the world with differing skills and interests come together to chat, discuss, argue and celebrate. The volcanoes are always there in the background, but while we wait for them to roar into life we discuss everything under the sun. It’s a wonderful virtual community and I’m glad to be a small part of it. Long life to Volcanocafe – Happy Birthday!”
A TOAST TO VOLCANOCAFE and the crowd here.
Thank you for being such devoted followers, may the blog live many years longer.
Thanks for this blog Carl and Ursula!


Happy Birthday VolcanoCafe!
To start off, I would like to relay something a really good friend told me. “Arf, arf, arf, grrrr… ARF!”

VolcanoCafe has allowed me to partake in a somewhat “odd” hobby… math, or more specifically, looking at physical phenomenalwith math. This all started with Analytic Geometry taught by Mr. Pendergast back in High School. Though I didn’t pick it up as a career, I did gain an appreciation for it.

One of the more productive areas is in the realm of plotting… mainly in order to try and come up with an understanding of what is going on. I had seen some rather nice quake plots. Since I knew where the data was at it only made sense to try and reproduce the effect. Other people have picked up on this idea and have done fantastic work. To me, this is quite acceptable. It allows me to look at other aspects of seismic activity.
The strength of VolcanoCafe? Each brings something from either their discipline or just the basic background knowledge. (also one reason that Eleotridae link was in the Sleeperfish article… we have a lurking bologist)

Most of the work to make this place interesting are the readers and their commentary, so congratulations to the readers!


219 thoughts on “Birthday Post

  1. OT and freaking weird.

    This is sort of aimed at the Biology oriented readers.

    In “The Thing from Another World” (creature played by James Arness of later Gun Smoke fame) and mainly from the later remake “The Thing” staring Kurt Russel ( Snake Plissken of Escape from New York, and Jack Burton “Big Trouble in Little China “)… the critter/creature “evolved” from what it killed, consuming and adopting their DNA.

    Yeah, pretty morbid. If this were real.. it would be unreal.

    The rotifers (Rotifera, commonly called wheel animals) make up a phylum of microscopic and near-microscopic pseudocoelomate animals. They were first described by Rev. John Harris in 1696, and other forms were described by Anton van Leeuwenhoek in 1703.

    Bdelloidea is a class of rotifers found in fresh water and moist soil. Bdelloids typically have a well-developed corona, divided into two parts, on a retractable head. They may move by swimming or crawling

    Alright… that’s the Wikipedia stuff on them.

    Bdelloids have also developed the fascinating ability to withstand almost complete desiccation when the freshwater pools they typically live in dry up. They can survive in the dry state for many years only to revive with no ill effect once water becomes available again.

    “We were thrilled when we discovered that nearly ten per cent of bdelloids’ active genes are foreign, adding to the weirdness of an already odd little creature,” said Professor Alan Tunnacliffe, lead author of the study from the University of Cambridge. “We don’t know how the gene transfer occurs, but it almost certainly involves ingesting DNA in organic debris, which their environments are full of. Bdelloids will eat anything smaller than their heads!”

    Strangely, however, these other organisms were often not animals, but simple microbes. This means that bdelloids have genes that are not present in other animals, but have been acquired from micro-organisms and adapted for use in the rotifer.

  2. I’m a little late, but it is still November 15 here in the U. S. Happy birthday VC. Gosh, there doesn’t seem to be anything for me to add to the birthday wishes that haven’t already been said. Except maybe that we almost seem to be a big “family”, not just a bunch of bloggers. We laugh with,cry with and hug each other across many miles of countries and continents. We compete with and tease each other. We share our corny jokes and wacky videos. We selflessly congratulate each other for winning those hard earned points. We raise out glasses in celebration and say thank you in appreciation.

    I sometimes get busy and get into lurking mode, but VC is a daily stop for me. Thank you Carl, Ursula, Spica and all the dragons for keeping the welcome mat out and the door open to a wonderful place.

  3. I think it is really neat how many personal views are coming out here today. It’s making me unusually sentimental..
    Given that the roots of this community go back to Eyjafjallajökull, here’s one of my favorite pictures from that period… (not my pic, just found on flickr). For me, this picture sums up the breathtaking juxtaposition of human frailty with the enormous natural forces of volcanoes. Many days I feel like I am in living in this house:
    Ash fallout

  4. Better late than not…. Happy Birthday all.
    Was “away” on other “things” and forgot popping
    in. yesterday of all days.. bah .. but there be reason..
    (even found “myself” positioned on card well within shaking error margins..)
    Boys and Gals.. promise be more in here (when) ever “it” happens next.
    cheers everybody 🙂

      • Not “been” anywhere else, you at VC (guys and gals) are my only “regular affair” – And, no, I do not have quit my job because all of you getting secret info from me …. 😉

  5. Just got word back from Brad Scott, the man himself at GNS, no less!! (GNS really impress me) about the signal at White Island. Here is his email:

    “The signal is volcanic tremor ….. the pulses are about 20 seconds long. Its not totally clear if this is gas pulsing out of the active vent within the new tuff cone or a slightly deeper process. We never get to see the tuff cone for more than about 1-2minutes before gas and fume obscures the view. It is a shallow process and is not uncommon at White Island. ”

    and here’s the associated seismic chart:

    I didn’t even know a new tuff cone was growing there at the moment. Must have started during that last episode.

  6. Hi everyone,
    another lurker here. Just wanted to say Happy Birthday and congratulations to everyone on making this such a wonderful blog. I try to pop in every day and absolutely love reading all your great contributions, whether on- or off-topic. I’ve always had a bit of a thing about volcanoes (not sure where this originally came from, but, incidentally, I’m another – female – Virgo), but the Internet with all the live webcams and discussions has made everything about it so much more fascinating (and addictive). Like many others, I used to read Eric’s blog, later moved on to Jon’s and have loved this one ever since Carl and Ursula set it up. And, yes, I’ve learned such a lot. Thank you to everyone for making this such a friendly and wonderful place!

        • I agree that custard fills the voids much better that the ice (at least as long as it didn’t melt). And with crumble you don’t have to deal with the very sensitive question of the “biscuit”, that can change everything about an apple pie.
          Too hard to have a clear position on that. I think I’ll go on trying new recipes and combinations until I die, falling for every new taste or sensation that will come out of that long journey…

        • Yeah and thanks a lot Lucas, now I’m so hungry that it hurts (the occidental way being hungry can hurt, not talking about what someone suffering famine has to endure – had to be said for respect-purposes and so…). So glad lunch time is not far away…

  7. Thank you, kind people, for the warm welcome! Oh yes, definitely hot from the oven and with yellow creamy custard! And with that sweet juiciness at the bottom of the pie… but I am getting carried away now. Anyway, a piece of Apfelstrudel would be quite nice right now too, which is more what the people munch around these parts where I live, in Austria.

    • Ihr seid die Gebäckkönige überhaupt! Österreichische Urgrossmutter, Pate aus Wien, immer wieder gern Ferien im Tirol. Ich bin schon lange für eine Vereinigung der Alpenländer… 🙂
      More pastry recipes to come I sense, like a little green dude known from the cinema might have said…

  8. I’ve tried Sticky Toffee Pudding (I have my roots originally in Lancashire, was born there ages ago), but it is a tad too sweet and, um, too sticky for my likes. I love those English food names though. Toad in a hole, spotted dick, jam roly poly… great names.Geoloco, bin unten im Süden, sehe aus meinem Fenster die Karawanken! Bei uns hier gibt’s auch viel Reindling, um beim Thema Gebäck zu bleiben. Where I live people like big round fluffy yeast cakes filled with sugar and raisins.

    • Ah another one from Austria, Herzlich Willkommen Landmann ( ich halte nix von dem blöden gendering das hier so fürchterlich um sich greift).
      @Geoloco, if you want recipies just ask, i used to do that as a professio for a while.

    • Ah, Germknoedel. 🙂 I remember having those when we were skiing in Bad Kleinkirchheim (preferably get one in the mountain huts on top of the ski pistes).

      Spica, do you know how to make proper Sachertorte?

        • 😛 Sachertorte & Wiener Melange 😛

          Actually, I can’t get the cake here (so a proper recipe from Spica would be welcome, I’ve tried a few, but never got really close to what it should be), but at least I can get an approximate coffee… 😀

          • I can give you a recipe which is rather good. But at home i seriously doubt you could ever get anywhere close to the real thing or even versions sold at a local “Konditorei”
            Many reasons for this. One is the chocolate on top. You have to use a special “Kuvertüre”. The sugar water has to be cooked (spun) to a very certain level. The chocolate has the be spread on a block of marble and worked on till the toping has a certain degree of smoothness. Then you have to use a special apricot jam and place it on the cake it when it is almost cooking. Not to forget professionals dont use a normal baking form but metal rings wrapped up in paper, and many of them are backed next to each other on one baking sheet.

      • Spica is sure to know. Mine sadly always look as if someone had sat on them, so I prefer to buy the frozen ones.
        Apart from yeast dumplings, Bad Kleinkirchheim has hot thermal springs. There’s a nice spa there!

        • @ Apple pie: hot thermal springs – yes, and nothing better to get off the pistes and into an outside hot thermal pool with half meter snow around the pool…

    • Hallo and welcome Apple Pie! I’m going to jump into the Apple Pie debate and put forward the case for cheese! A close friend was from Lancashire and he always insisted on a hunk of Cheddar with my mother’s excellent apple pie. I was very scathing about this until I tried it – yummmy, yummmy, yummy! 🙂

  9. Sorry, but, ehm, I think even a vegetarian nuclear-bike-rider could not say this isn’t fun to look at. So, heavily OT again, let’s say because it’s Friday…

    • Wow, I didn’t notice the misses that appears as first. Please, it’s the only image where you’ll see her. It’s completely clean and only has to do with big boys playing with their bikes.

  10. I am a little late to congratulate here (but on the other hand – it rhymes). 🙂

    BTW I think Diana’s comment, Nov. 14, 23:02 should be included in the above post, if that is still possible, because it is so funny and so typically Diana, and she undeniably is one of the main characters here! 🙂

  11. Arternoon All,
    What a great response to the birthday post, nice to hear from some new faces too. Lurkers; please do dislurkificate from time to time, it’s great to have you here, and greater still if you can chip in 🙂 The more of us that are “digging”, commentating and questioning, the better Volcanocafe will be. We are already Sweden’s biggest blog; Skandanavia’s biggest should be well within our reach, and from there, who knows… Would be nice to take down Factbook, but maybe that’s just my megalomania showing 😀

  12. And in Iceland, IMO mentioned in their monthly earthquake report (in Icelandic only), that there were over 900 quakes in and around Eyjafjördur trough: And it also says: “Óvissustigið sem sett var á endurspeglar þann möguleika að hrinur sem þessar geti hleypt af stað stórum skjálftum þar sem há spenna er á misgengi, eins og raunin er á Húsavíkur-Flateyjarmisgenginu.” (The Alert level 1 which has been activated, takes into account the possibility that a swarm like this one could initiate big earthquakes in places where there is a lot of strain on a fault, like it is the case with the Húsavík-Flatey-Fault.)

    At the moment, there is also Alert level 1 activated in the northern part of the West Fjords and on Skagi and Tröllaskagi peninsulae, because of the possibility of snow avalanches.

    Stay safe, Icelanders!

  13. And with all this talking about pie, cake, bisquits, Sachertorte…
    If we as Volcano Café can find a way to make a real volcano cake that ‘explodes’ with lava… well, that would be the Bombe Alaska par excellence. I was thinking of something similar as “elephant toothpaste”, but an edible & tasty variety…

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