Volcanoes in Central Europe – a prelude

Image Wikimedia Commons. A Lavabomb which is now on display in the garden of the museum of Mödling.

Image Wikimedia Commons. A Lavabomb which is now on display in the garden of the museum of Mödling.

Due to the talk I recently listened to, where it was stated that there are no active volcanoes in Central Europe or in Europe at all besides Etna and the volcanoes of Iceland, I started digging around. Yes, of course most volcanoes of Central Europe are believed to be extinct but, for example, for the Eifel volcanoes this claim certainly cannot be made. El Nathan and Chryphia wrote 2 nice posts on this volcanic field just recently:

Eifel Volcanic Field I, Author Nathan, February 15th. 2013
Eifel Volcanic Field II, Author Chryphia, February 17th. 2013

Santorini lies in Southern Europe but is an active volcano too, even though it did not erupt for centuries. At least not above the waterline, maybe some volcanic action in that wider area took place below sea level which went unnoticed, just like below sea level eruptions in the the Strait of Sicily did.

Anyway, I have written a short summary on volcanoes in Austria or to be more precise volcanoes in Styria, back in times when Carl was still around and I saw this only as some contribution to VC´s weekend entertainment:

Answers to the friday riddles and volcanoes in Austria: Author Spica July 22nd. 2012.

But Austria obviously had an intense volcanic past and so there are ignneous rocks to be found even on its highest peak, the Großglockner. This fact is unknown to most fellow inhabitants of my homecountry. I plan to try to dig out as much information on this as i can possibly find and start a series.

Ever heard of Austrias youngest (extinct) volcano called Pauliberg in the Burgenland?
113px-Austria_Burgenland_relief_location_map http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauliberg Located : 47° 35′ 5″ N, 16° 20′ 21″ O

It started its action 20 million years ago and spew lava till 2 million years ago in the area called Pliocene. It is the only firemountain that lies directly on top of older alpine gneiss material. So it is unique in eastern alpine geology.

Geologie Pauliberg
This geological map of the area around Pauliberg originates from the PDF linked below and dates back to 1935! so i hope there are no Copyright issues harmed.

(Articles are available only in German.)

PaulibergThe basalt found on Pauliberg is among the hardest found worlwide so it seems only natural that a quarry is situated on the northeastern top of the volcano and “harvests” this valuable material. The mountain is only 761 m high and not only natural erosion but also the mining activity has nagged at it largely.

Maybe some other authors would like to join and write something on extinct or active volcanoes in their homecountry?
Chain de puys comes to mind. Bernard Duyck has some information on them in his latest blog entry on “earth on fire”. Or i heard a rumor that there even is a volcano in northern Denmark?Anyone up for this task?

Meanwhile Etna has shown its 7th. paroxysm in 2013 so far, but it was hidden by clouds on the cams and many did not get alarm seeing the tremor rising because the online tremorgraphs stopped working some days ago. Etnaboris took an amazing image which was presented to us by Renato Rio. Another image can be found on facebook.
Iceland is tormented by a violent storm just like the Canary Islands were. This wind action shows on the tremor graphs on both locations.



42 thoughts on “Volcanoes in Central Europe – a prelude

  1. “San Torini”
    All one word : Santorini. The wife and I were on holiday there a couple of years ago, and the fumaroles were fuming and the hot springs springing. Looked very “not extinct” to me.

    There were reports from the local divers – not confirmed – that to the NE of the island (off the Koloumpos headland) there is a substantial area of new hot springs at a depth of 30-odd metres. That attracted me – potential “black smokers” within the reach of amateur SCUBA diving.
    “eruptions in the the street of Sicily did.”
    Do you mean the Strait of Messina? Or between the main island of Sicily and the volcanic archipelago to the north?

  2. Hello all, perhaps O.T., but would be of some general interest knowing something more about OLOT VOLCANIC DISTRICT, located in south-east of Spain. I was there some years ago, nice volcanic features in a relatively small and easy accessible area (cones, steps of columnar basalt, and most of all a spectacular view of a volcanic cone “cutted” by past mining activity).
    If there is anyone out there able to write a post on it……………….by now look at:

    • Not sure… but there are about three “large caldera” style volcanoes in South East Spain. I have to rummage around to find it, but one paper I read was discussing the mineralization of one caldera, yet the others were not. Without the natural concentrating of minerals, the non-mineralized ones are useless for mining.

    • 780,000 years ago the Brunhes–Matuyama reversal was the last large shift of the magnetic orientation of the Earth. (the Sun does the same thing about every 11 years or so) But since then, there have been more localized Geomagnetic excursions, the most famous being the Laschamp event of about 41,000 years ago.

      This is about the time that volcanic activity was quite festive in Italy.

      Today is a road day, so I can’t really dig around on the subject… but it is possible that there is more than a trivial connection in the timing. If someone wants to dig for more info on it, that might be a pretty entertaining post.

  3. Interesting, Spica.
    I have also heard there is some kind of volcanism in the Czscheck Republic (or is it Eslovaquia?).
    And we can’t forget the other Holocene volcanoes in Italy, such as Colli Albani, Ischia, Bolzena and some others in The Toscana region. Also Lurking has written something about past volcanism in the Alps. I am not sure, but worth checking.
    I’ll try to bring some nice images of yesterday’s Etna paroxysm. It seems Voragine also had a Strombolian activity. Ill’ check that.

    • If you go down to the Carboniferous/Permian, you will find abundant volcanism there, intrusive and extrusive rocks are found throughout southern Scandinavia, northern Germany and the North Sea, but I wouldn’t call it recent 😉

      The article is very interesting. Do you happen to have a link to the scientific article (if there is any which is not paywalled) this is based on, since it would be one of the larger eruptions the world has seen.

      Danish is not too problematic btw, if you are fluent in Dutch, Frisian or German, you can see it as the drunken sailor version of 1 of them 🙂

        • Yes, that is why I found it interesting, because the last thing I read over the years was that the layer of tuffite around 55 million years old was caused by something near the Skaggerak/Kattegat, but that might now actually be not true. In fact, we drilled through the layer again today coincidentally in northern Holland, which suddenly made it more interesting to look at the stuff coming out of the well 🙂

      • Yep we have had volcanic activity in DK if Permian counts “gg” (not too familiar with Smileys). Cannot find any serious articles by Lotte M. Larsen (She’s the one everything is circling around) concerning the subject at this side af the Paywall; so to say. I’ll try to get a hold at someone at GEUS to get some more info. Until then try this: http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=3128604&fileOId=3131521 If it is too massive for google translate then good luck to the drunken sailor 🙂

      • Having trouble with teh Giggle Translate and locating the site. Gurgle yields this (in part)


        Iceland is growing in the middle along the line the entire Atlantic Ocean grows about. Island lies just above sea level, while the rest of the line is as a back beneath the surface. But while the island grows in half, sinking its easternmost and westernmost continuous at sea. Why are the oldest parts of the island now under water and is called therefore the early edition of the island Protoisland. Protoislands formation started about. 55 million years ago, and the oldest parts of the Island, which today lies over the sea, is “only” about. 15 million years old.

        So…. is the source the Iceland “Protoisland” or some site that I can’t get a proper translation for?

  4. So a few posts back (debunking caldera myths https://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/debunking-caldera-myths/ ) I mentioned that I had used the GVP google earth overlay, and added known caldera outlines to the overlay.

    I was able to upload the file to Google earth’s communities, so it should be downloadable and usable by all. This is by no means comprehensive, but it’s quite interesting, and I found quite a few caldera systems that weren’t listed in the GVP databhase.

  5. OT Well I just talked to my old airtanker outfit and it looks good for this season ! very likely,
    will be going back to “Dropping slimy red mud on burning trees from Antique Aeroplanes.”
    I want to put my Columbia River Basalt post together before then..
    Here is what I will be doing :

      • I won’t. I will another couple of months yet. flight training starts in April. Looks to be
        Redmond Or. will be the base and Tanker 66 or Medford, or, and Tanker 62 don’t know yet.

  6. I follow earthquake report’s daily volcano report typically. To me, it’s the best daily source for happenings regarding volcanoes (although sometimes others come first).

    Illiamna Volcano in Alaska has been experiencing heightened activity and seismicity in the last year or so, and Earthquake report pointed out a pattern in the quakes.

    See that image… looks like a ring fracture to me. Or in other words, a caldera or collapse structure. Not saying that it is, this isn’t any definitive proof of anything, but it’s still interesting to take note of.

    • Maybe… maybe not. There is an apparent ring structure to some quakes in Kansas that gave me the same impression. I have yet to find anything to support there being one there.

      Also… In Tenessee there is a clearly defined ring fault system that is even shown on USGS fault maps. But it’s an impact structure.

    • Must have been a short sunny spell, because it’s many shades of gray again now. I do like the tilted camera effect, gives you the impression that something shocking might have happened recently.

  7. A couple of elderly tourists were wiped out in Cabo San Lucas by a wave. One dead.

    Some of the ‘easily excitable’ have pointed at a Mag 4.5 off of the coast as the cause of the wave.

    IMO, not very likely. Using the Wells-Coppersmith formulas, The M 4.5 had a maximum displacement of around 0.29 meters. With a focal depth of 9 km and a down-dip rupture width of 1.72 km, it may not have had a surface expression at all.

    It doesn’t rule it out completely, but it is highly unlikely. A large dome of mud suddenly lifting up a fraction of a meter can push water just as easily as anything else, but the area is known for having erratic waves anyway, it’s not the first time people have be caught unaware by sudden waves in this area.

    • Hmm, in some directions there are thousands of miles of opportunity for a freak wave to develop. Being the tip of a large obstruction (e.g., the Baja), one might expect some additional weird forces to create strange waves.

      Looking at the rest of the region though, I would suspect that Puerto Vallarta is a hotspot for tsunami’s generated by earthquakes almost anywhere in the Pacific.

  8. Popocatapetl is having a significantly larger eruption than normal. It was mentioned yesterday that dome building was going on with extrusions. Likely this is a repeat of what was going on last year when it was seeing slightly larger eruptions between the daily puffs it was producing.

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