Update on recent volcanic activity In Kamtchatka and Indonesia

The eruption of a volcano named Tolbachi which is part of the Kliuchevskaya complex caused some stirring in the volcano community. Some discussion took place on VC. So i tried to do some summing up too.

Bruce Stout found an image from the 1975 eruption when lava fountains shot up to 2,5 km height. http://www.geographic.org/photos/volcanoes/tolbachik_2_volcano_russia_photo_yuri_doubik_1975_iovp.jpg

Quote from: Plosky Tolbachik volcano and Tolbachik lava field

“Tolbachik volcano and a lava field of the same name occupy the southwestern sector of the Kliuchevskoi volcanic group. Tolbachik volcano is built by two coalesced cones: Ostry (“Sharp”) Tolbachik and Plosky (“Flat”) Tolbachik . Both cones were built in the main by the end of the late Pleistocene and are composed of medium-K basaltic andesite”

One should not confuse Ostry Tobalchik, the highest peak of Plosky Tolbachik, with Ostry which is a different volcano also situated on the Kamtchatka peninsula.

Geographical Location

Correction by Volcanic: the red circle is in fact the Ostry Tolbachik, the Plosky Tolbachik is a bit more more on the east (you see the caldera there).

To quote Wikipedia: ” Its eruptive history stretches back thousands of years, but the most notable eruption occurred in 1975, commonly known as “The Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption”. It was preceded by an earthquake swarm, which led to a successful prediction of the eruption by scientists from the Russian Institute of Volcanology. The eruption created several new cindercones, and in terms of volume of lava emitted was Kamchatka’s largest basaltic eruption in historic times.”

Some here are more experienced with volcanoes than i am, so it is only fair to safe their comments in this post.

ukviggen says: November 27, 2012 at 22:37
Plosky Tolbachik now up to orange:

© KVERT: “According to the data by observers from Kozyrevsk and Lazo Villadges, a periodical incandescence of the volcano summit was noted by night. Probably a lava intrusions towards the summit caldera of Plosky Tolbachik volcano and Strombolian volcanic eruption occurs.”

Our very own GeoLurking on Tobalchik:
GeoLurking says: November 28, 2012 at 05:39
Summit – 3,682 m (3.68 km)

ERUPTION AT 20121127/0515Z FL200 REPORTED – > 2.41 km above summit – Rate 2.2 m³/s DRE

ERUPTION FL330 EXTD N-NW REPORTED AT 20121127/1045Z – > 6.38 km above summit – Rate 122.9 m³/s DRE

So.. its a first guess, assuming that the rate smoothly went from the 0515Z height to the 1045Z height. (not likely, but all I have are VAAC reports and a formula)

Rate was fitted to a straight linear interpolation at one second intervals, then integrated to find volume to that point in time.

It’s a guess. Possibly to VEI-3 already.
(end of comment)
Correction by Volcanic : Ostry Tolbachik (3682 m) and Plosky Tolbachik (3085 m)

Geolurking addendum: There have been no subsequent VAAC reports. This indicates that there is no current plume of note. My estimate of potentially VEI-3 should be taken with caution, the formula has an accuracy range of a factor of four… high or low. This range is according to the paper’s authors (Mastin et al).

Other sources reporting on the most recent eruption of Tobalchik:

First, as always, Erik Klemettis splendid blog Eruptions with the headline Russia’s Tolbachik Erupts for First Time in 36 Years
Kamchatka and the Northern Kuriles volcanoes: Erupting or Restless
Tolbachik Volcano – John Seach
Novinite.com Sofia: Tolbachik Volcano, Kamchatka, Erupts for 1st Time in 36 Years
GVP on Tobalchik
Here are all the recent ash advisories by Tokyo VAAC :
Most are on Sakurajima but there have been 2 on Tobalchik since yesterday. The latest can be found with this link : Volcanic Ash Advisory Text

A lot of close up images from a volcano treking tour 2010 can be found here.

Gunung Lokon

Image Wikipedia

Mt. Lokon strikes again as Renato Rio reported: Indonesia’s volcano erupts, warning issued

Mount Lokon, Lokon or in Indonesian Gunung Lokon is a twin volcano together with Mount ( Gunung) Empung, erupted once in 2011 after some years of inactivity. Ash and lava were spit up to a height of 1.5 km. 28000 people in a radius of 3.5 km around the volcano had to be evacuated. In 2012 Lokon grew restless and erupted in February, May, September and October.
Since 2011 Lokon is not erupting from it´s summit but from the mountain saddle which connects it to it´s twin mount Empung. Since 26.of November is seems to be erupting again from the very same place as the month before, but the only video i could find is in a 90 degree angle. From a giggle translation of a local newspaper i found that the latest eruption has destroyed the earthquake sensor equipment. So while people knew this time that something would be up again soon because of a higher earthquake activity, this warning may not be available for some time in the future.

I wont forget about the splendid comments and sources on mudvolcanoes and maybe work them into a post some fine day.

Lets not forget that IngeB reported that the glacier flood in Iceland is slowly subsiding.

Thank you ALL for the comments!!!!!


Update: had to make some corrections pointed out by our faitfull readers.
This is definitely not my day today.

georgiade found a cam for Lokon!!! http://www.qicknews.de/index.php/lokon-indonesien

Update 2: Renato found a webcam for Tolbachik! KVERT moved the Bezymianni cam! http://www.emsd.ru/video/Bezymianny/img_1.jpg

Mindat org has a page on the minerals spewn out in the last eruption.
http://www.mindat.org/loc-5602.html Microcollector pointed that one out. Please read the comments below. You will find interesting details about the chemical composition.


152 thoughts on “Update on recent volcanic activity In Kamtchatka and Indonesia

  1. It seems that there is a mismatch for the summit elevation of the Ostry Tolbachik (3682 m) and Plosky Tolbachik (3085 m) in the info from Geolurking and also that the red circle is in fact the Ostry Tolbachik, the Plosky Tolbachik is a bit more more on the east (you see the caldera there).

    • Always doubt my altitude in these estimates… I get it from where I get it, and Wikipedia is prone to being wrong. If you find an authoritative source, go with that.

      All I was trying to do was get the eruptive rate into the ballpark… 600 meters doesn’t have that much of an impact on an equation that has an error factor of four.

    • Diana had her bday? Congratulations. i did not know. No Karen i am not feeling better but thanks for caring and whatever… work needs to get done no matter what.
      Post us updated with the corrections btw.
      And i go off to a hot tub and then to the lands of slumber. 12 hours of work waiting tomorrow. BBGN

      • <<<<<< Makes some hot mulled and spicy Birthday wine for Spica, Plumps up her pillows and tucks Spica into bed. Feel better soon Spica.

  2. Excellent stuff Spica. One small correction – in the first sentence that should be the Kliuchevskaya group. My old mate Shiveluch stands all on his naughty own away to the north.

    • Tolbachik is a really interesting and complex place. As well as the raft of new minerals you have three types of volcano in proximity. Ostry is the old stratovolcano, Plosky is the newer shield, and then there is the fissure now sometimes known as Novy Tolbachik. Different lava types too.

      Had this one pencilled in for my next Kamchatkan project! Anyway, here’s a cool geological map for you, courtesy of http://maurice.strahlen.org, which I have had squirrelled away in the ‘to do one day’ folder!

      • Sorry – I should point out that the 1st to 4th cones are where the 1975-76 eruption mostly happened. ‘Gora 1004’ is a cone from a much older fissure eruption.

    • Wow.. .this thing was spewing copper compounds. (*not that there is anything specifically odd about that, it’s just something I didn’t know)

      Chloromenite is 43.18% copper.

      Coparsite ranges from 55.19% to 58.22% copper.

  3. Short rant.. if I step on some toes, I don’t care.

    In the US, we have “Freedom of Religion” (actually, it says the government can’t tell you what to believe) But there is an ongoing attack on all religion by asshats that want freedom from religion. Christmas season always brings these little legal fights to the forefront of the news.

    Here is my thought…. why should someone, or a group, who decide that a cross in their city logo, or a school selling Christmas trees for a charity, or whatever reason, or military members recognized by a solitary cross in the middle of the desert… be forced to abandon their belief system just so the preachers of Agnosticism can have their symbols… (actually, the lack of symbols) publicly displayed?

    I have few expletives for them., but they are not appropriate here. (they mostly center around physical acts that are… sort of impossible.)

    Me? I’m a creationist. God created the Universe. About 13.7 Billion years ago.

    • Yup, when being unreligious becomes a religion…
      We also have freedom of religion, and separation of state and religion. And I think that’s a very fine thing. Freedom, especially. I struggle believing in transcendental, inter- or superstellar powers, but despite kidding with the idea, I would never want someone to abandon his beliefs – at least as long as they don’t interfere with my freedom… 🙂
      Extremists are the problem. Whether they have a religion or are so hardly convinces they don’t need one. Fuck them.

      Me? Just decided to accept that I don’t know about gods and consorts. But I’m sure that good leads to good, that thinking is not bad, freedom (includes a sort of basic respect, but respect can disappear if someone proves to be a b.tthead) and health are of highest value, and nothing makes “sense” without love and passion.

      Oh, and I clearly share a common ancestor with other monkeys. But I have no clue who created the lizards behind the moon, or when, or why…

      Officially not a fan of creationists, I relativize my position: creationists like Lurking are pretty cool and there should be more of them. Those thinking the world is about 12’000 years old and that dinosaurs are the failed creational attempts of the devil – you fall in my category of extremists. Cheers.

    • Yeah.. most don’t hold my view… I don’t have the hubris to try and put God in a box. (constrain the almighty to the scribblings of a man)

      {… and if someone thinks the Koran is perfect, guess again, it’s just as much a melange of man’s scribblings as anything else.}

      Homo Sapiens… the scribbling man.

      • Homo who dares double sapiens himself… That probably makes it (him an her) sooo “clever” that he can “write” that kind of books…

        Yeah, imagine that. Putting a god in a box. Ehm, taking his freedom somehow. Wow. Heavy stuff. If you’re a god and your creation does that to you, you might want to “educate” them and induce a bit of climate change or something… From that point of view, maybe we should blame religious extremists for global warming… Please, just kidding…

        Religion, religion, religion. I feel so much more “in phase with myself and the universe” since I left the catholic church. But you know what’s really cool about them – they have let me go. They have respected my freedom and free will. The society that the christians have formed, and that evolved in the christian beliefs since middle-age (wow, middle age, that was intellectual darkness dude…), has grown tolerant enough to accept living with people of other beliefs, and even unleash their own sheep. Thanks for that. Quite mature. Got my respect in these matters.

        • just for the record.. the video I linked to has nothing at all to with God or religion.

          But since we are talking about scribbling and (devine) design, I think you could say we are on the same page. The only thing I am dogmatic about is dogma. I hate it. And I have seen a lot of dogma on both sides of the fence. Keeping an open mind and a healthy appreciation of just how small we are in the scheme of things works for me. Long live Tolbachik!! (where’s the vodka?)

          • Ahh… Divinity. I miss that. My mom used to make it every Christmas.

            I tried to perfect her recipe under her tutelage before she passed away… but the closest I came had the consistency of caulking compound.

            (It’s a man thing. We have a natural tendency to make material useful for sealing up the drafts in a house.)

        • “…healthy appreciation of just how small we are in the scheme of things…”

          And for this, we look to volcanoes. That’s one reason that my “Dead Zone” post hit home as hard as it did. That final pic, the one with the relative sizes… blew me away when I made it.

          • I was just trying to explain to my son how high a 1 km column of lava is… he didn’t get it.. Neither did I really. Simply awesome.

          • If you want some entertainment… keep an eye on China. Reportedly, a company there plans on surpassing that middle building’s height in a 90 day construction phase.. that should be about five stories per day.

            That ought to be a hoot. Not sure I’d want to be one of the 30+ thousand that are gonna live in it. China has some pretty significant quakes from time to time.

  4. First pic of Tolbachik eruption, from KVERT:

    And a bit more information from them:
    “Moderate seismicity of the volcano was registered. According to seismic data, About 267 shallow EQs in the edifice of the volcano. 05:15-08:00 – series of shallow events, indicating possible ash-gas explosions up to 10000 m ASL. 08:00 – 24:00 continuous spasmodic volcanic tremor up to 8.65*10-6mps indicating possible lava flow.”
    That lava flow is apparently coming from roughly the same area as the ‘northern breakthrough’ marked on the map.

    • OK – hope I’m not boring you yet!
      Some anecdotal stuff from the Klyuchi volcano observatory about the Tolbachik event. Excuse MY interpretation of Google translation.
      – seismic events showing up as far away as Shiveluch (100 km).
      – at Kozyrevsk glow could be seen through clouds at night
      – explosions clearly heard
      – tremor in Kozyrevsk rattling windows and making telegraph wires ‘buzz’. One local says not as powerful as 1975
      – ash fallen at least 60 km from eruption
      – ash fallen in two distinct layers, separated by a layer of snow
      – smell of ‘gas’ in air (cannot tell if that means sulphur, smoke or whatever)

    • Not bored… just fascinated by how fast this thing went…

      Puyehe Cordon Calle – “Surprise!”

      Tongario – “Surprise!”

      Tolbachik – “Surprise!”

      None of these gave much warning at all. From the time anyone took notice they were “on” within a few weeks… if that.

      • Not surprisingly, Tolbachik is now RED.

        Latest KVERT report: “According to the data by volcanologists, two fissures were detected at Tolbachinsky Dol: ~ 4-5 km first and ~ 6-7 km second southern Plosky Tolbachik volcano. Strombolian activity at the 4-5 vents at first fissure and 2-3 vents at second fissure were observed. Ash plumes raise up to 3 km a.s.l. Ash fall was noted at Maiskoe Village by night on November 28. Strong boom hears from the volcano at Maiskoe, Kozyrevsk, Klyuchi. Vibrations of window-pane, water in Rivers, live wire were noted.”

        NB The reference to water in the rivers comes from ice fishermen, who noticed that water was spurting up through their ice-holes!

        This could be fun – the last eruption lasted for 18 months!

        Regarding the rapidity of it, there was some increased seismicity earlier in the month, and there was a lot of activity the day before to give a fair bit of warning. Thankfully there are very few people living there.

        Incidentally, I have eventually tracked down (I don’t know Russian but can read Cyrillic quite easily) scans of the seismogram drum traces from the area. Trouble is, the most recent is November 6. Does anyone know if there is a source for very recent/live traces?

        • …. ooookay….


          According to the same VAAC message “SUMMIT ELEV: 3682M”

          That works out to a 0.28 km plume… at 0.00029 m³ DRE/s.


          • One thing to bear in mind is that the eruption is apparently happening in the ‘Novy Tolbachik’ northern breakthrough fissure zone (see map I posted earlier). This is at a much lower elevation than the central volcano summit.

            There is now a second photo on KVERT that shows that the ash plume is not particularly strong. Latest reports say 3 km AMSL.

          • You have an elevation for the actual site? That would help refine the estimate.

            I’m also going to try and find a sigma for the equation… that way we can get a feel for just what the real range might be.

          • Hi Lurking, I just did this roughly in GE. Assuming the vent is in the same location as the 1975 eruption, it’s about 1200 m.

          • On a 60-km radius. So that’s almost exactly 2 people per km^2.
            Difficult to find anywhere in the world outside Antarctica with a population density that low

          • I was in Esso, Kozyrevsk and Kluychi hitchhiking in August 2012 – few months ago. I dont have exact number, but I have no idea where the 22 000 people live over there 🙂 The only “larger” city – close to 8000 people is Milkovo at least 100km far away…..the other villages have few hundred/max 2 000 people…..

        • Brilliant Renato!! Great find. She sure looks beautiful standing all alone there at the edge of night, slowly puffing away.

          • ok, here’s a screen grab.
            Google earth puts the height of the 1975 vents at 1200m. Considering that the peak is about 3000m I’d say these fountains are about 700m high.

          • This is interesting. I just tried to tally up the view in GE with the web cam view and it seems the webcam is located to the NE of Tolbachik which means either the vent is more to the west than the 1975 eruption or those fountains are higher than I thought to peak over the shoulder of the mountain.

            There’s a town near the river. I’m guessing the webcam is placed near there. Kosyrewsk.
            56°03’N 159°52’E

          • Maybe this will help… using the angle where the features line up, then measuring a couple of reference points.

            The base appears to be behind the foot in a cone field.

            The base elevation used is for the mid-point of the field.

          • More precisely I think the webcam is somewhere near 56° N 160° E

            If someone has some time they could correlate it with old photos of Bezymianny and by simple triangulation of the views we should be able to get a relatively good fix.

          • Nice work Lurking, I really must learn how to annotate pics like that one day.
            So, that makes it roughly 1 km high. Not bad!

          • I use Paint Shop Pro v 8.0. After that Corel bought the company and it turned into a piece of shit. (Paint Shop Pro v 9.0 and higher)

            I really think Corel specializes in turning good programs into worthless piles of dung.

  5. Gee thanks Renato. I’ve got to do a ton of work today and you go and find a bloody Tolbachik webcam! 🙂
    (great find – at least it’s dark in Kamchatka when I’m supposed to be working)

  6. Great stuff people, this is really exciting! Just a little note by me below:


    The start of this year was good, El Hierro was continuing to puff, the new island in the Red Sea, all great. We had come from 2011 with high hopes and 2012?… well it looked dissapointing.

    Then in August we got a surprise, a little known volcano calles Havre decided to break the ice and decided it was going to have a massive underwater eruption.

    With just a few weeks left in 2012, we all thought that Havre was going to snatch Eriks Pliny award out of his hands. But then, a remote part of Kamchatka a volcano called Tolbachik thought that it should show Havre what a REAL spectical is, we shall wait and see how this pans out. Tolbachik you have 4 weeks to show us what you are made of.

    Havre Seamount or Tolbachik: who is going to be Pliny of the year: 2012?

    Post for today about Tolbachik: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/view_news/23303/Tolbachik-Update-First-photos-of-the-eruption.html 🙂

  7. Hi

    Spica asked that I repost a small video I made yesterday of the Öxarfjördur area quakes for 2012.

    It’s only to show that, with the same data , you can get pretty different looking results.

    in that case I made the density map with 3 different resolutions (and changed the colorbar size from 100 in the first part to 50 in the 2 following images).

    So the real difference comes from the size of the steps of the grid (not sure I’m top clear, if you need more explanation do tell me).

    As explained before I took the list of quakes for this area (thanks to IMO and master GeoLurking) with lat and longitude. For each square of the grid, being in the middle you look left and right to see if there are any earthquake and if so you increment a counter for the said square.
    Then I use a contouring function, and I think that what’s make the big difference in the result.

    However, this tool can be interesting I think in indentifying active regions (when you have quite a few earthquakes of course) for a time frame…

    If you want more info on how it is made, or want to have another region mapped, please tell, I’ll see what I can do….

  8. Now hear this:

    * Religion is a social contract that binds the inhabitants to a common set of ethics, morals and consequences if that contract is broken.

    * If there is more than one social contract, the systems of ethics, morals and consequences have to be compatible.

    * Without a social contract, society cannot function. It breaks down.

    What atheists want is a social contract without obligations and responsibilities – for themselves. Others must be made to respect their “rights”. This is where certain political inclinations go wrong. They preach the rights to inalienable freedoms eagerly bought by a majority of the electorate as it frees them from responsibilities and obligations. The consequence of this is that the fabric of society breaks down as you cannot have individuals defining aggressively defending their personal, self-defined “rights” without a mortal clash of interest with others equally hell-bent on their “rights”.

    A great US President once said “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”. It’s very sad that his own party, while continually lionising him, does the exact opposite.

    • Agree with the first part of your arguement there Oliver, but disagree with the second . I lost my belief in a God many years ago, but still have obligations and responsibilities to a ‘social contract’. I fully accept that my values are based on a Christian upbringing, and my ideas of ‘good’ and ‘not good’ are developed from the forgiving God of the New Testament ( not the judgemental one of the Old). I respect people’s right to worship their God as long as they respect my right to be an atheist.

      • I should have said that from the point of the contract, it matters not if you believe in the Bible/Quoran/Veda verbatim, pay lip service to the credos or choose to believe that the Almighty, as presented by scriptures, cannot be – as long as you accept and embrace the social contract. What I mean by an atheist is someone who preaches the religion of Atheism in the public arena as opposed to what it should be, a question of inner belief.

        Because that’s all it is, a matter of personal belief, never fact. As Steven Hawking has said, while science can take us to within a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, what went before is a matter of belief. Using Science, you cannot prove the existence of a god nor can you prove “his” non-existence. 🙂

        • The difficulty there is , as you say, with the word ‘atheist’. I interperet it as a matter of personal belief ( or lack of). I have as big a problem with intolerent atheists as I do with intolerant people of religion.

        • Agnostics believe there is not enough evidence to say one way or the other.

          Atheists believe there is no God whatsoever. Therefore, the symbols of their religion, are the absence of any recognition of God.

          When a Government starts pushing that on people… I have issue with that. That action is mandating the recognition of a specific religion…. that of there being no God… which is Atheism.

        • Taking this a bit further… Each persons personal belief is their own business, and no governmental mandate or pressure from social groups can change that core decision.

          But generally, you will find that changes in a personal belief come about when the expected events or outcomes do not match what actually happens. Like it or not… this is subjecting God to the box. Placing God into the realm of expectations or ideas, effectively scribbled down by man. (even if it’s just a mental note).

          There is stuff… a lot of stuff… that absolutely will not work if a value of some constant is off by an excruciatingly small amount. What sort of stuff? How about life, period.

    • Henrik, your first sentence resembles the principles of the Social Contract
       of Rousseau, although I prefer the principles of Montesquieu with “l’Esprit des Lois”. For the remainder when a dogma whatever it is becomes intolerant it endangers the whole society.

      • Rats. Why is it that whenever you come up with something original, there’s always some guy who’s been dead for centuries who thought of it first? 😉

        You’re quite correct about tolerance (a.k.a. respect)! This is where the Bible-belters go wrong, in fact it’s where most of stumble.

    • Isn’t Santiaguito where those crazy Dutch guys filmed that eruption starting from the edge of the crater.. amazing close-up footage of a volcano starting to erupt… let’s see if I can find it:

      here we go:

        • I’ve put myself in my firefighting days in situations-on purpose-part of the job, they are very very, lucky (divine providence?) but the Darwin award could been won with that one.. :-O

        • Volcanism is very much about the forces that build our environment. Who’s interested in this automatically has thoughts about all creational stuff. Or at least it’s no surprise if these interests somehow meet… Thus a bit of philosophying about religion and creation could nearly be considered on topic… 🙂
          And anyway it’s so good to do some dogmatism and extremism bashing…

  9. @KarenZ, sorry did not see your question regarding weather situation in Canaries yesterday,so just a quick note for you or for anyone looking at IGN graphs, El Hierro is currently on yellow alert for gusts of wind reaching up to 70 km/h – the alert will remain in place until at least 9pms tomorrow – however weather in Tenerife at least in the South, has been very fine today.


  10. Now I am not one for discussion of religion. Each to their own. As my Grandma taught me “An it hurt no thing, do what thou wilt.” Think on this and you can see how I was taught to think about the consequences of my actions. To make life even more difficult I , brought up in a staunch protestant family, was sent at the age of four years to the local Roman Catholic convent school…….. My views on religion were confused for many years. “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. ( Matthew 18:3 ) Thinking of this I remember thinking “I don’t want to go to heaven because Mother St. Brendon will be there ‘cos all Nuns go to heaven” This particular Nun terrified the bejeebies out of me!!!!
    That is all I wish to say on the subject and I will leave you with this summing up by the late Dave Allen. I do not wish to offend anyone here, I just love the simplicity of children and this clip reminds me so much of my first days at school.

    • Oh Diana, that made me smile, and it takes me back a few years, my mother was a huge fan of Dave Allen..(when did he die?).I was always brought up going to Church and going Sunday School, one of the Sunday School “teachers” scared the living daylights out of me with her fire and brimstone lectures, I haven´t been to church for many years, except for weddings, funerals and baptisms, but I think the comment from the “Right Honourable” Mr Oliver St John-Mollusc best describes how I feel about religion and I totally agree that some form of a “social contract”, is essential for the well being of us all

      • Thank you Diana. One of my all-time favourites. (Long story, but long ago I ended up in a hospital bed next to the Anglican vicar whose church Dave Allen used for many of his sketches).

        Religion is a subject that is bound to upset someone sooner or later, so I’ll just stick to Father Jack’s great get-out answer to any question: “That would be an ecumenical matter”

  11. @GeoLurking,
    Humans have been fighting, killing, parting because of symbols, for the symbols, by the symbols -and by doing so, they have gone against the basic conceivable moral and ethical principles present in whatever cultures you may choose.
    Wouldn’t it be about time that we should just leave the symbols aside for the real values that our own innate moral drive has thought us to embrace?
    Of course, freedom being the first on the list (which includes freedom of belief)?

    • 100% with you on this short but all embracing comment. 10 commandments, social contract, call it what you will it, it is essential for any animal that lives in social groups.

    • Thats the problem with these folks… the lack of a symbol is the symbol in the way they are pushing it.

      That makes it a religious belief unto itself.

      … and when people grow tired of being messed with, and society itself breaks down, people will resort to other symbols for solace.

      Once that happens, the grand questions about what is… will be answered for some. But the survivors will still have to ponder the question.

      Religion may be “the opiate of the masses,” but it is the driving force for many… I think we have seen clear evidence of that. Screwing with a person’s religion can spark responses more unstable than phosphine gas. (see last thread)

      • I wonder if people will be free before the massive attack of labels of all kinds, adds, everything that might lead them to be consumers, no longer humans – religion included (which has also turned into a consume good).
        I’m also a creationist in that matter: man created morals, gods and religion. It’s about time homo sapiens may freely choose which one has made the species happier ever since.

      • Regardless of how far-out or looney some people’s beliefs are, I’ve always held the opinion that they should be allowed to believe whatever they would want. That being said, regardless of whether your a Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, or believer in other non-religious ideals, I think the problems start when people feel the need to push their beliefs onto others.

        I’m not against spreading the ideas of your religion to other people who are interested, or sharing your beliefs, but when you start holding bias or more forcefully try to make other people follow your beliefs is when things get messy.

        I’m largely an agnostic christian. Most “churches” in my opinion only serve to politicize and re-interpret religion for their own good, and even those that don’t have inherent flaws in their internal doctrines (I was born and raised catholic, I’m amazed there are still this many catholics these days).

        To me, outside religious wars (or “jihads”), one of the most offensive things are the missionaries that you see around the world. Going to poor countries and giving people food and shelter in exchange for them “joining” your church is pretty unnerving to me. If you want to be a “good” person, can’t you just go to a third world country and help the people in need without doing it under the condition that they conform to your religious beliefs?

  12. ahh a relgious theme tonight. I had written a great spiel about religion and have just deleted it all – recounting my days with a rigid Roman Catholic upbringing, which suggested I actually have an opinion on it when really I just prefer to let people get on with their thing. If that means doing the hokey cokey in a freezing warehouse every Sunday (or Saturday or whatever day it may be) – fine ! Just leave me to get on with the joy of living. Some may describe me as an atheist – because they must put me in a box of some sort. I’m me – clubless and what a relief it is. Well maybe a small volcanocafeist…..

    • If you aren’t out calling for the banishment of all religious symbols, then you can’t be a true Athiest… you must be backsliding or outright heretical and weak in your faith…

      Time for stoning.


  13. Religious people feel a need to proselytise and that can be a pain, however where it is a matter for personal conscience then all well and good. Just keep the laws of the country free from taint of religious fervour, and freedoms hard won are safe.

    It is all a bit odd in the UK where kids can’t wear crosses to state schools yet faith schools can teach hard-line religious fervour….

    Anyway – a good website for brief summaries of what’s happening where, volcano-wise, and how many people are affected, is HEWS


    • I’ve covered this before… but to give you an idea, of relativity. (in my own distorted view, but echoing Issac Asimov, where I read it first.)

      From Wikipedia: “Cancer pathogenesis is traceable back to DNA mutations that impact cell growth and metastasis. Substances that cause DNA mutations are known as mutagens, and mutagens that cause cancers are known as carcinogens.”

      Got that? DNA mutations. DNA controls the activity of the cell, and dictates how it operates. Haphazardly changing the sequencing of the DNA, and you could get anything from a beneficial modification of the cell’s activity… to runaway cell growth (Cancer). (mRNA does the power generation, making the fuel, but the mutation idea applies here also)

      A lot of work, money, research, activists, you name it… go into finding, declaring and stamping out carcinogens.

      Okay. Fine, whatever trips you trigger.

      What about the material that you have no control over? Yes… it’s there, and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.

      DNA is made up of Thymine, Adenine, Guanine, and Cytosine. These are what make up the base pairs and are the actual signals that the DNA uses to do it’s work… these base-pairs are strung along in a lattice by a Phosphate-Deoxyribose chain on each end of the pair, forming the well known Double Helix.

      According to a few sources, higher order critters, like ourselves, tend to have 43% of our DNA made up of the G-C base pair (Guanine – Cytosine) with the other 57% being the Thymine – Adenine set. for each basepair, you get a Phosphate-Deoxyribose structure on each end to link it to the next set. For ever one hundred sets, you get 1957 atoms of Carbon in the mix.

      Working that out for the Human Genome, that’s about 125,248,000,000 carbon atoms per cell (only counting the DNA). Factor in the approx 50,000,000,000,000 cells and you get about 6.26 x 10^24 atoms of carbon… in the DNA, of a human being.

      C-14 has a decay rate of 5720 years (half life) and an occurrence in the biosphere from 1.2 to 1.55 parts per trillion carbon atoms.

      Based on the amount of C-14 in our DNA… and looking at the Decay rate, you get anywhere from 2,490,577 to 3,216,995 C-14 atoms decaying in one… single… day.

      By definition, a mutation is a change to the DNA structure of a cell. When C-14 decays, it does so by “beta decay,” meaning it releases an electron at an energy level of about 156,500 eV, and blasts the now Nitrogen atom (that was C-14) back with that amount of force… dislodging it from the molecule that it was part of.


      Has a pretty good synopsis of all the byproducts of that sort of event.

      And what was that at the beginning?

      From Wikipedia: “Cancer pathogenesis is traceable back to DNA mutations that impact cell growth and metastasis.”

      So… no matter how hard you try, how clean you live, how far you run… you are not going to escape the 2.4 million to 3,2 million, individual mutations that occur in your body…

      Every Single Day.

      {as I remembered Asimov’s original calculations, he estimated 10,000 per day, but this was 30+ years ago that I read that. Looking at the numbers myself I was a bit shocked}

      • Oh, by the way… usually what happens when a cell goes awry and no longer functions the way it is supposed to… it gets processed out of your body by the immune system… then replaced by another viable cell.

        But… sometimes that doesn’t work… in which case you get either a beneficial mutation, or occasionally, cancer.

      • Lurk, another factor is the percentage of active DNA. IIRC, some 99,99% or so of our DNA seemingly just sits there, doing nothing. Even if the genes didn’t possess a self-repair mechanism, the chances that a harmful mutation occurs in a strand of active and critical part of the DNA is small, so small in fact that in spite of the gobsmacking number of C14 decays per day it amounts to no more than ~1/3 over a lifetime, i.e. some 30,000 days.

    • Alyson, my ex used to be a Crisis Manager for one of the big breweries in England. As such, she was sent out to turn around pubs run at a loss. On St George’s Day, she decorated the pub with St George’s Flag, the flag of her country, and was promptly fined £1500 for the public display of a racist symbol by the Local Council.

      People that intolerant should be sent back to wherever they came from as they are unfit to live in a free country.

    • Actually, that puff link is really good… you can input pretty much any volcano and model the ash cloud using a variety of weather models from one of the side links.

      I’m pretty sure it got bound up in the inputs, but I was modeling an El Hierro theoretical eruption to see what it would be like… ash wise.

  14. How can one assume the existence of a omnipotent and benevolent creator in the presence of unimaginable evil (Holocaust, Gulags, Pol Pot, zombies, you name it)? How can a omnipotent and benevolent superior being create humans to negate its existence (by free will?) and in the same breath punish them with eternal condemnation in hell? That leads me to conclude that such a creator is either not omnipotent or not benevolent.
    A description of the attempt to resolve the evidential problem of evil (Theodicy): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodicy

    • Who said he was “benevolent?”

      Assigning “benevolence,” a label, is placing constraints on what manifests God. (using terms such as “he” or “she” does the same thing)

      I would like to believe that God is benevolent, but that’s just me… a small primate, being wishful.

      In a few billion years, the Andromeda Galaxy is going to tear through the Milky Way with a violence that is un-imaginable… even to those of us who are fascinated by the sheer power of Volcanoes and Tectonic forces.

      It happens all the time.

      The Large Magellanic Cloud is a smaller galaxy that has become trapped by the larger Milky Way… and is now torn to shreds and orbiting our galaxy.

      That’s benevolence?

      • The dilemma is we cannot communicate without using words as labels of our thoughts or anchors of the mental representation of the world (at least not in a blog). I think every single word is a poor simplification for whatever it stands for, exponentially insufficient with rising complexity of the matter. God is also such a label, often used as if self-evident and common sense. My mental representation of what you seem to label god is something like “the indefinable whatever before the Big Bang”.

        The beauty of math is, it is unambiguous. But I don´t speak math so well.

        Who sais benevolent? From my experience every protestant and catholic Christian, at least that´s how “the bearded old man” from the New Testament is commonly perceived here in Germany. In the rest of the world there seems to be much more diversity on that matter.

        The unavoidable Andromeda Galaxy – Milkyway crash for me is a good reminder to appreciate our astronomically peaceful times.

      • I have a mangled paraphrase of an English philosopher that I read about thirty years ago. Memory being what it is, I can’t remember his name nor the exact phrase so what follows is itself a kind of mutation, but it works for me:

        Consciousness is but detritus on the flood of being.

    • The only faults with your reasoning is that you assume that a) you make the assumption that you know WHY the Almighty created the universe and what “its” purpose with the ephemeral beings created is, and b) that the Almighty operates on an individual basis with rewards/punishments for “good” and “bad” behaviour on a human timescale.

      Instead, why not try and find a scientific explanation for “life” and “self-awareness”, one that allows you to replicate sentient human beings using gallon cans of amino acids from the local store? Why are you “you” and not me?

      I’m not trying to convert you to any faith as I’m convinced faith – be it in a god, agnosticism or rank atheism – cannot be other than arising from personal conviction. I’m just trying to help you ask more appropriate and relevant questions.

      • I feel extraterrestrial when it comes to religiosity. On the contrary to a) I am trying to understand why religious people think that the universe has a purpose given by a creator. I understand that praying to a “loving father” gives comfort and gratification. But for me it is inconceivable how one can worship an almighty being that chooses not to protect millions and millions of innocents from brutal torture and slaughter.

        In other words, if one assumes that a creator does not care about individual suffering, why should humans care about this creator?

        I am trying to understand life and I love it´s beauty, that´s the reason I went into the life sciences.

  15. Today is Friday. Riddles, Bar open, Oh and I must remember to buy a lottery ticket. ( My one real indulgence.) I don’t hold with heavy gambling, or drinking …things that can affect a family and relationships seriously. I don’t have lucky numbers. I get a “Lucky Dip” I leave it to Luck, Fate, or Divine whim. Me a scientist! Even my poor capability in Maths tells me what a waste of money it it. What phenominal odds are against me. Sometimes it is good to dream about all those things we are taught are not essential to happiness…………….As long as we accept it probably won’t happen and are content to make the most of what we HAVE got. here endeth the morning rumination…..( Now If I had the ability, like Lurking et Al, I would make a lovely 3d plot of the odds of me winning the euro millions . However I prefer to illustrate my philosophy with a song)……..

      • Congratulations, but how much did you invest before you won? I guessed Diana meant a figure with a few more zeroes at the end.

        • Oh lots! I know I’m not likely to win but figure that buying a ticket a week kerbs any idea I might get about gambling on anything else, and there’s always the hope that I may win “the big one”.
          On the subject of religion: I guess I’m a pagan as I’ll cheerfully pray to any diety that’s prepared to do me a favour – I figure that some big over-god is unlikely to be interested in me so I stick with the genius locii of wherever I happen to be. I can’t be doing with monotheism – so boring – but I’ll include their gods in my pantheon if it suits me at the time!

  16. Sorry to butt in with some volcano news 😉
    Tolbachik back down to Orange but still effusing. Two IVS ground stations (Vodopadny and Leningradskaya) covered by lava yesterday and a a park visitor centre. KVERT reporting new ashfall which MAY be connected with another fissure opening, but may not.

  17. It being friday and not having heard anything from Carl fo r ages on here I thought I’d say the magic words ‘ Helka is not as likely to erupt as Upptypingar’ (or however you spell it) and see if that gets a comment from fro the sheepy dalek barkeeps.

  18. Another subject that has been discussed many times here has been fracking. Here is an article based on a peer-reviewed report released earlier this year:
    I never knew how much water and chemicals are involved. Mankind is nuts. I feel like fracking will eventually open up huge cracks in the crust and lava will ooze up to everyone’s front steps!! But probably not before the solstice. OK, I’m kidding around about the solstice, but not the rest.

    • NBC?

      Heh, yeah, no agenda there….

      (49% ownership by General Electric. – maker of Wind Turbines… among other things. They are making a killing off of new “Green Energy” crap, including having the regulations tightened up so that newer “more efficient” gizmos have to be bought to be compliant)

      Short Factoid. The US CO2 production trend is down. Know why? A recession and hydrofracking. No one expected that there would be a natural gas boon due to this technology, and many power producers have switched over to it from Coal. Natural Gas power plants tend fo have a lower CO2 output on a per kilowatt basis.

      Why did they switch? Cheaper.

      Not that I’m “for” the power plants. Here in the US, some states allow them to bill us for the construction of Nuclear Power stations… before they are actually built, or ground have even been broken for them. Why? To defray the prohibitive cost. (government regulations mostly)

      The fun part? Many of them will never make it into the construction phase due to activists and the morass of bureaucratic bullshit.

      Yet we still get to pay for them.

      Isn’t that neat?

  19. Tolbachik volcano and lava field became famous in 1975-76, when Kamchatka largest historical basaltic eruption occurred here. The eruption vents were located along a ~28-km-long fissure and produced both medium-K high-Mg and high-K high-Al basalts.
    This comment seems ok but the email address is somewhat funky, and thats why it landed in the spam box. Spica

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