Ruminarian II – Tolbachik

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been doing a large number of plots. In part, this is because digging into a large set of data takes a bit of motivation and patience… and a bit-o-time. KarenZ, dfm, and chryphia have picked up the mantle on animated plots, and have each brought their skills using their programs of choice and produced some truly outstanding animated graphics. This has allowed me to focus on learning and reading… sometimes getting it wrong, sometimes getting it right… or at least pretty close to right.

So… let’s ruminate.

Tolbachik is a fissure vent eruption. It wasn’t until this evening that I realized that my initial ideas about what happened were somewhat wrong. Rather than a sill forming (horizontal magma emplacement) which then fed to an upper sill via a dike (vertical magma emplacement), what happened appears to have been the pressure in already emplaced magma fracturing the rock and continuing along the path that it had been working on for several years.

Back in 1975, this system erupted in “The Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption,” and according to the Smithsonian’s GVP site, placed 1.2 km³ of magma on the surface. For reference, that’s about 8% of what Lakagigar (Laki) did in 1783-85… and at about 11% of the rate. 2.26 x 10^06 m³/day verses Laki’s 2.02x 10^7 m³/day. Either way, it is still phenomenal. Mt St Helen’s did about 1 km³ in it’s flank collapse and lateral blast, but that was a different sort of critter. Tolbachik (and Laki) both do “Flood Basalts” though Tolbachik is a bit anemic in that regard.

However, it is cool to look at and ponder. Here is a combination EO-1 ALI image overlaid in Google Earth, with features aligned so that everything is in proper context draped over the surface.

“Dmitry Melnikov” over at Dr Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions forum spotted the EOS image.

As noted earlier, I had the sequence a bit off in how I was looking at it. (I’m not an expert so I’m allowed to mess up, right?) Poking around at the various links that show up in the threads, one gave us a bit of fine grained data… well, a lot more than we had. Doing a bit of data juggling, I located the data for the plot used in “Northern group of Volcanoes” It plots out like this;

Here you can clearly see the upper and lower sill/chamber and what probably is the connecting dike. It wasn’t until dfm did a close in animated plot that I noticed that the upper region seemed to initiate the events, and then the upper and lower regions pretty much quaked in unison.

Another thing that got my attention as I was poking around at it… was that the brunt of the quakes were no where near where the eruption was at. Maybe a few connectors from the main quake region, but that was about it. This probably is a manifestation of the feed system. (remember, “Bob” didn’t really have a lot of activity from the believed “chamber” to the Jacuzzi… which seemed to be seismically quiet until after the fact)

Juggling programs… (Excel to DivaGis to Google Earth) gives us this:

Notice anything interesting? Yup. Those two pancakes are directly under the main volcanoes. Roughly a line from Gora Bolshaya Udina to Mount Ostry Tolbachik. Had the dynamics been different, this could have been a main edifice eruption of Tolbachik. Even the seeming “connector dike” is directly under the SouthEastern summit. That pretty much means its actually connected with the vent. The magma just found an easier way out. (again, a lot like “Bob” where the main swarm of activity was pretty much under Tanganasoga but the eruption was over next to La Restinga)

Poking around the net… you find that Pay to Play paper sites can really piss you off. One of the most notorious is Springer… but Springer does have something quite neat. A few “freebie” papers that you and I (un-funded armatures) can get our hands on. One of them is: “Determining magma flow in sills, dykes and laccoliths and their implications for sill emplacement mechanisms” Thomson (2006). Here is the search link for it since direct links don’t work with that site:

In this paper, the author notes that sills tend to be concave upwards. That means that the propagating ends tend to point more and more towards the surface. A combination of forces can drive this, Forced Deformation, or Faulting. Page 197 of the parent publication (or just go to page 15 of the PDF) and you get a really nice visual example of what he is getting at. It’s entirely possible that something like this is what drove that finger of magma moving southward to turn up and broach the surface. (the tendency of this area to rift probably had a lot to do with it also)

Another thing to consider (speaking of tendencies) is that this entire region is made up of teranes that have been slammed into the Okhotsk plate (sort of a subsidiary of the North American Plate in some renderings) You all remember terranes right? Assemblages of crust material that have a common geologic origin and tend to move as a group. In this case, slivers of island chains squashed into the plate, slivers of oceanic spreading center remnants (the central valley region), an ancient volcanic arc (western side of Kamchatka), and … get this, parts of the Hawaiian hotspot’s activity. (up around Shiveluch where the Emperor Seamounts are periodically gobbled up by the current subduction zone)

Yeah… a lot of stuff going on in Kamchatka.

Here is an animated GIF I did the other night…. it was noted that this sped up sequence looked a bit like a frying pan fire. Appropriate.

Here is a re-tasked webcam where you can grab a peek at the activity from time to time.



RIDDLE  – Name those Volcanoes

The sovereignty of first was briefly the subject of a ‘blague Francaise’
The second used to have vents (now pits) that share their name with a footballing legend – the name of this volcano means ‘long’ in the local language
The third is the only volcano within the arc of the SS islands chain to have erupted rhyolite pumice – Solved Protector Shoal
The fourth is located approx. 3 kms due west of a small group of  ‘sibling’ rocks – Solved Kick ’em Jenny 
The fifth shares its name with a species of lacertid – this giant wall lizard can only be found on the Island that bears the same name as the volcano

The link is that they are all submarine volcanoes!

One point for each volcano and one point for spotting the link!

169 thoughts on “Ruminarian II – Tolbachik

  1. “Poking around at the various links that show up in the threads, one gave us a bit of fine grained data… well, a lot more than we had”

    That one took me about three days to find!

    • Thanks Renato, i have NO idea has been doing this for a few days and i always feel when i see it, just like my mate whenever he gets up in the morning looks out of the window and shouts a heartfelt BLEH:
      Btw.. any news about the xmasplans?

      • the snow is a wordpress ‘feature’ that showed up last december and started again this december – I think they forget that globally there is probably not much snow in december but they are trying to be festive at .
        the snow graphics start at the top of the page and can take a long time to reach the base of the comments section.

    • Geonet has it @ 5.8…. deep, 175km – on the subducting slab.

      Well-felt here in Wellington ~400km south, 8 seconds or so of vibration, shaking windows etc, then a 20 second gap, S waves showed up with about the same intensity… I was *cough* in bed with lady… earth really did move! 😀

      • I was going for Mount Pelée too for Number 2
        3,000 years ago, following a large pumice eruption, the Étang Sec (French for Dry Pond) caldera was then formed. The 1902 eruption took place within the Étang Sec crater. This eruption formed many pyroclastic flows and produced a dome which filled the caldera.

        The following eruption in 1929 formed a second dome in the Étang Sec caldera, and produced pyroclastic flows emptying into the Blanche River valley. This last eruption is mainly responsible for the current state of Mount Pelée.

  2. For sibling rocks we have:

    Three Sisters near Katoomba, Australia but no volcano within 3km. But there are two volcanoes not too far away: Mt Canobolas: & Cargelligo Volcano.

    Three Brothers in Yosemite, USA. No volcanoes within 3km in any direction but a few to the East e.g Mammoth, Long Valley, etc. & the Devil’s Dance Floor which is a granite outcrop to the west of Three Brothers.

  3. I’m curious to hear Bruce’s take on the NZ 6.3 quake.

    I did a quick overlay of the current quake with Bruce’s older image of the 10 year history of TVZ quakes (I believe it was only shallow quakes however). The location of the new quake is annotated by a large orange dot.

    See image below (perhaps lurking could make it viewable to all).

    I’m not one to make sense of this or try to interpret it. I could add some very light and non-scientific speculation if there were data on deep quakes, but I’m not sure how to get that information on the NZ Geonet.

    • And Another image using the same overlay with denotated areas from where Caldera forming eruptions took place. As is relatively obvious, the lighter circles annotate the rough areas in which calderas forming eruptions formed.

      Image added by Spica

        • I think “I Hope” would be more appropriate.

          Currently, tied down out in the field. (not literally, but it feels like it) It seems that after fighting with the University IT dept they saw the beauty of buzzing out their cable plant rather than me stringing 500 feet of fresh cable to meet the clients need. That little delay was somewhat benificial to me, though a pain in the arse… while I waited, I was still ‘on the clock’, munching coffee beans and drinking water.

  4. As for the Riddle – I took 2 volcanoes from the Antilles that all seem to apply to said riddles.

    **The second used to have vents (now pits) that share their name with a footballing legend: Mt Pelee

    **The third is the only volcano within the arc of the SS islands chain to have erupted rhyolite pumice: The Quill

  5. While Googling around to find the SS Islands archipelago, I found this about Kamchatkca:


    Three volcanic belts, corresponding to the the Southern and Eastern Kamchatka ridges and the Sredinny Ridge, lie within the Kamchatka peninsula island-arc system. The central Kamchatka depression is located between the Eastern Kamchatka Ridge and the Sredinny Ridge volcanic belts. This depression is characterized by localization of its volcanic activity at the southern and northern ends. The Sredinny Ridge volcanic belt is atypical because of the spatial association of Ta-Nb-depleted island-arc-type- and alkaline volcanic rocks with geochemical features similar to intraplate basalts.”

  6. Good evening all and welcome sagebrusher!
    And to save Geolurking a little more time to write another one of his excellent posts 😉 , here is a quick plot of the NZ 5.8 earthquake in relation to events from 2004 to 2012:

    It is located in a huge buld of earthquakes within the subducting plate.

  7. A wild guess on volcano four: Davidson Seamount (off the coast of California) and the nine sisters.
    “The nine sisters are extinct volcano peaks which run in an approximately straight line for twelve miles, stretching from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo. These peaks seperate the Los Osos and Chorro Valleys. The peaks are approximately 21 million years old. Davidson Seamount, disregarded as part of the chain, is submerged about 2 1/2 miles offshore of Morro Rock.”

    • Sort of a side note… I cheat on the quakes in Google Earth. When I have a set of quakes to plot.. ones that do not come with ready made KML/KMZ files, I save them as csv or Excel 97-2003 files. I then import them to DivaGis, and then take the set and export them at KML/KMZ.

      There are other ways to do it, but this method is pretty quick.

  8. Well, I just went through 327 Lizard Species, Genus, Families, Subspecies…

    None of them look similar to the ten South Sandwich Islands. So.. I’m going to go make a sandwich.

    However, I did find it amusing that Podarcis wagleriana (and others specific to their local) are known as “Sicilian Wall Lizards.”

    Don’t laugh, Europe in general, has their own. Podarcis muralis. “European wall lizard”

  9. Good morning everyone – I am going to ding any correct answers now – HINT – finding the link is key to solving the remaining clues!

    • Thank you Kilgharrah. El Hierro is known to host giant lizards. For the “blague Française” I’m confused I thought Julia Island. For the second it may be Lōʻihi seamount volcano one of these craters is called the pit of Pele.

  10. Hm a really impressive lacertid would be the Komodo dragon and as far as i know Komodo is of volcanic origin.
    But somehow i think it cold be that all 5 volcanoes we are looking for have something to do with football. ( soccer) which would somehow fit with Kick ém and maybe with Protector. But i could be, as we say it in german… komplett am Holzweg.

  11. No 1 The first was briefly the subject of a ‘blague Francaise’
    Ferdinand Griffon was the main character played by Jean-Paul Belmondo in the movie Pierrot le fou. Ferdinandea (Sicilian: Ìsula Firdinandèa) is a submerged volcanic island which forms part of the underwater volcano Empedocles, 30 km (19 mi) south of Sicily, and which is one of a number of submarine volcanoes known as the Campi Flegrei del Mar di Sicilia.
    That would be another seamount as a common theme of the riddles?

  12. Beautiful article Geolurking, the overlays look fantastic, nice ruminations too…
    Plosky Tolbachik seems to have the “legs” for a lengthy eruption;Summaried from various reports:
    Lava emissions have localised along the original fissure and are building cinder cones.
    The plume is not getting very high yet, 4km ish; but we may see that increase if the magma supply keeps up and continues to erupt via the smaller vents.
    Tremor is on the up due to magma now travelling through smaller conduits, which suggests that the supply is keeping up…
    The lava type has been reported as basaltic andesite.
    The pictures we are seeing are spectacular too 🙂

    • Hi Spica – thought of you yesterday when I flew right over Linz! Hope you are feeling better.

      Seems Tolbachik has become a bit of a tourist destination. Some nice pics of the lava front at
      The accompanying text reports that the lava has stopped advancing in any meaningful way, but is building in height. It is also very gassy and hot.
      And, yes, those crazy Russians are walking all over it!

  13. Ok, to Renatos and Edwards mentioning of the snowfall.
    There seems to be a plug in called let it snow. But you can normally not aboutload free plug ins to wordpressblogs because they are not supported. Edward mentioned the blog had the snow last year too????? I do not remember.
    It does get on my nerves and i would rather get rid of it if i knew how. ( the plug in i found, also has ballons or leaves and i REALLY dont want to see that here. lavabombs yeah ok but a clear NO to the rest.)
    Maybe soe dragon has it in his/her profile????
    Any help on this would be appretiated.

  14. I’ve been looking at the giant lizards of the Canaries trying to find one with the name of a submarine volcano and have failed. After all, if it’s submarine, it won’t have lizards on it 😀
    However I’ll have a stab at either Malpais de La Corona or Roques de Anaga unless of course somebody has a pet El Hierro giant lizard called Bob.

  15. Name that Volcano Riddle
    No 1 Surtsey
    No 2 Lo’ihi Seamount
    No 3 Protector Shoal
    No 4 Kick ’em Jenny
    No 5 El Hierro

    The link was submarine volcanoes

    Well done and points to –
    KarenZ 1 point
    Sherine France 3 points!!
    Chryphia 1 point
    Alison 1 points

  16. In answer to KarenZ’ comment re the ‘official’ name for Bob – I searched all the usual volcano sites for it! Everyone of them refers to the recent eruption as El Hierro Volcano – so in the absence of any alternative I used it too!

      • Yeah but the name Pancho also got mentioned. I personally liked Bob or the hardly remember-able icelandic version of the volcano-formerly-named-Bob.
        I miss Bob

    • Hi Kilgharrah, I really didn´t intend any criticism to you by my comment, I was just thinking that the “evil riddlemaster” was being even sneakier than usual 🙂 🙂

    • Think you mean DebbieZ 😉

      I haven’t commented recently on the official name for Bob. There was one but I can’t recall what it was. AVCAN would have it somewhere. 🙂

      • Regarding Volcano names on El Hierro, the only volcano name I could find on Google was El Lomo Negro, but I remember ages ago one of Carl´s posts mentioning “Tanganasoga”, so I googled that and found this:

        “Perhaps as a mark of the island’s relative isolation, only one eruption has ever been recorded on the island, from the Volcan de Lomo Negro vent of Tanganasoga in 1793. The eruption lasted a month.

        It is considered that the 2011-2012 El Hierro eruption at La Restinga in the southernmost part of the island is a vent of Tanganasoga. Swift deformation of Tanganasoga was recorded during the October 2011-March 2012 eruptive phase of this volcanic activity, and in June 2102 a new phase was heralded by earthquakes and rapid deformation upwards and outwards of Tanganasoga, indicating the deep-seated movement of magma below”
        I feel a bit confused…is El Lomo Negro the only volcano on El Hierro or not? Is Tanganasoga just a vent from El Lomo Negro, or is it a Volcano in its own right?

        • I am sure that pretty much everyone here will remember those webcams on El Hierro, where we all sat transfixed day and night,,,, week after week,,,,watching the sea patiently and then getting our reward,,,, seeing those steaming lava bombs etc….I was just remebering that the catch phrase of Movistar..the webcam provider…..”El Hierro, the island of a thousand volcanos” Huh ! …what are the names of these cvolcanos? google is not helping me here! 🙂

          • I think there is also often esp. in the press a confusion about the meaning of “volcano” and “vent”. The definition of “volcano” is not very clear, sometimes it is used to indicate a whole volcanic system or field, sometimes for a big edifice and sometimes for vents. And it is lots of different vents on rifts systems which are to be found on El Hierro and in advertising called “volcanoes”.

        • El Hierro’s volcanoes are Tinor and El Golfo. But Tanganasoga is an eruptive vent / large spatter cone of the rift series according to Carracedo (Carracedo & Day: “Canary Islands”).

        • The volcano is El Golfo.

          Tinor was the volcano of the island until it suffered a catastrophic collapse. The focus of the eruptive activity then moved to El Golfo, which built an edifice… and later collapsed. (El Golfo slide and El Julan slide)

          El Lomo Negro was a side vent… if anything, much like “Bob.” If any of the non El Golfo main vent systems/vents be called the “new” volcano, it would be Tanganasoga. It is the dominant vent, it is located not that far from where El Golfo’s destroyed central vent is at. (Just off shore from Frontera).

          Tanganasoga is the largest vent structure, it has a deep circular structure that was manifest as a void in the early quake patterns, and it is directly over top of the brunt of the main quake swarms. Eventually, Tanganasoga will likely become the volcano.

          • There is some dispute about whether or not Lomo Negro erupted in 1793. There was a lot of seismic activity which may have led to the temporary evacuation of the island but no eruption was witnessed.

          • Agreed. No one has actually located a fresh field and dated it to specifically that event. Out to the west of the island is relatively fresh material that is still pretty dark (sp. negro = black) that is occasionally equated with it, but I have yet to see any studies that date it.

    • Woahhh.. GeoL thanks for your comments, just goes to show that Google is not the “be all and end all” of knowledge….the human passer on of information is eminently better….mind you, your video of the volcano girls is a bit OTT for me,,I´m tired have spent the whole day christmas shopping with daughter..she is a definite shoppaholic – it´s getting late so I wll say BBGN xx 🙂 Thanks to everyone here for all their input and for making this place someonewhere where we all want to be..P.S. just want to say I love the snowflakes,,,, please don´t take them away,

      • Actually… the group is named Varuca Salt. They had two pretty good hits, “Seether,” and “Volcano Girls.” At the time of the two songs, Nina Gordon did the vocals. “Seether” seemed to be a bit about anger issues, many listeners tried to figure out who the actual person was that the song was about. It was revealed in “Volcano Girls” that “the Seether’s Louise,” meaning that the lead guitarist and additional vocals (now lead vocals) was Louise Post. (who, in the video throws up her hands in a “yeah, me” sort of fashion.)

        Interestingly, another unrelated group (as far as I know), named itself “Seether.” About the only relationship that I know of, is that they fall into the “alternative rock” genre. One of their better songs (actually, several are pretty good) is “Fake It.” I particularly like the music video which is an illustrative jab at the special effects and packaging that go into video production. The video starts in a Lear Jet with the band members and several contorting dancers and as the song progresses, the camera pulls back to reveal that it’s a strudio set and nothing presented is actually real. Later, the shot is of a cold and chilly barren and snow covered landscape… until the scantily clad dancers wander out through the band and the camera again pulls back to show the same studio. Last but not least, a couple of the models are instructed about dance moves to make and you then later see them composted into a blue screen set-up behind the band…. appearing to be a pretty sizable crowd dancing on a three level viewing gallery. Somewhere along the video, you see some of the airbrush and morphing effects that many magazines use to highlight their models in order to sell the product… narrowing some parts of the face, widening others.

        All in all I think it’s one of the better videos… and fits the song quite well.

        Who’s to know if your soul will fade at all
        The one you sold to fool the world
        You lost your self-esteem along the way

        Good god you’re coming up with reasons
        Good god you’re dragging it out
        Good god it’s the changing of the seasons
        I feel so raped
        So follow me down
        And just fake it if you’re out of direction
        Fake it if you don’t belong here
        Fake it if you feel like affection
        Woah you’re such a #@%#@ hypocrite

        All in all, the song feeds into my new found cynicism of the press,the media, politicians and … others.

        Of course.. it doesn’t say much for front man Shaun Morgan who comes off as a rendering of Beetlejuice in some of the group’s videos.

    • AGU comment “This is the very cost of the failure of effective disaster risk reduction, and the continuing unwillingness to address climate change.”

      Oddly enough, these guys are allegedly scientists. Too bad that they have become the minions of the political class and slavishly do anything they can to please their masters… even at the detriment of science.

      Here… let a non-scientist ask a couple of questions.

      Why is it that the rocks along the side of this channel… where the material is not flowing, have such a jumbled appearance? Why is it that they seem to be rocks of different origins, all jumbled together into a mess?

      I’ll give you a hint. Many of them are from different origins. They came to be here, in this fashion, because the area is prone to this sort of event. They are material left behind from past debris flows.

      Global warming hasn’t got shit to do with it. A real scientist would address the physics and mechanics of it rather than using it to push an agenda that has been demonstrated to either be seriously flawed.. or just out-right wrong. Even using their own data set, and their own criteria for questioning the projections.

  17. Off to Iceland this morning. WooHoo ! The weather forecast looks a bit miserable , but I have a good waterproof. 🙂

        • Coveralls keeping you warm are rather cheep to have in different big stores specialised on construction material (in Icelandic such a coverall is called “kuldagalli”). Very recommandable to have always one with you when travelling in Iceland in the wintertime esp. in yr. own car (take fourweel drive! – there is often ice / snow on the roads this time of year). See vegagerdin webcams:
          Weather in Iceland also can change very fast. There can be sunshine one hour, and the next one snow storm that makes you like blind and the road covered in snow. If you are on a high rise / heiði and this happens, and you are fixed in snow somewhere, call the emergency (112),they come in big trucks to take people down to the valley. And very important: don’t leave the car to wander on yr. own in wheather where you can’t see 2 m before you.

          – If you like skiing, there is a nice area in Bláfjöll next to Reykjavík. There are great cross country slopes where you are in the middle of a lot of small craters / volcanoes (see above 😉 ) and can see the sea at the same time, really something special. But there are also lifts and pistes for downhill skiing:

          Depending on where you intend to stay in the country, there are other skiing areas eg. next to Akureyri in the north (a bit more dark there though, but they have flood lights) or next to Neskaupstaður in the east.

          Have a nice trip. 🙂
          Rescued by Spica

        • I did once about those in Styria
          It is really hard to find information on most and pictures are not avaiable at all.
          Just stored your 2 papers in the dragons hoard btw. Thank you.

        • And i just found one of your comments in the Pending box, huh why pending? Did any other dragon place it there from the spam box and i just dropped in and took over the work. Hm if so i appologize.

            • Yeah but normally it lands in the spam box. Just for the non-dragons. The Procedure for rescueing a comment is mark it as NotSpam then it goes to the Pending Box. and from there you need to edit it, add your Name – Approve it and update the comment. I am also saying that to tell the other dragons to keep a closer eye on the Pending box also.

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