VC update: 1.5 million views and other things

VolcanoCafe has recently reached 1.5 million views, and because that is a very special occasion, I thought it would be a nice idea to share some VolcanoCafe related things with all VolcanoCafe readers that they would not normally come across.

1.5 million-and-a-bit-more views

First of all; the 1.5 million views since VolcanoCafe was brought online, after the announcement by Carl le Strange on the 15th of November 2011. A little less than 1.5 years ago now. This in itself has been a number that would have seemed huge to me for a blog about volcanism, but the math proves it is true; this blog receives a little over 1 million views each year on average. In total, VolcanoCafe received more views than for example Iceland or Malta receives tourist visits in a full year.

Visitors mainly come from the western countries, the UK being the main contributor. Looking through all the visitor statistics though, visitors from pretty much any country in the world have been seen once or twice. Below is a chart which shows the location of the visitors over the last 30 days:

VolcanoCafe visits

VolcanoCafe visits world map

Most visits are around evening time GMT to after midnight GMT, where visitor counts are typically three times as high as during the quiet hours, between late night and late morning GMT. It is needless to say that visitor counts are higher during times of unrest in Iceland and the Canary islands, but this is not the only time people drop by here. Typically 3-4 times as many visitors are seen during the restless times, which means that the base of people that keep track of VolcanoCafe on a more-or-less daily basis is still large!

One thing that keeps me entertained at times is the search engine terms that are used in the search engines to arrive here at VolcanoCafe. Some things give some insight in what visitors find important here and what topics here on VolcanoCafe have high rankings in the search engines, other things just show that sometimes some really strange people end up here for some odd reason…. Below is a short list of a selection of important searches and weird searches and their search count during the last 30 days:

VolcanoCafe searches

One other thing, besides volcanoes and earthquakes, that has kept people busy since last October is the big question: Where is Carl?

I think it would be best if we (Dragons) share some of the things we do know, even though I should start off by saying we don’t know much! Carl named himself ‘le Strange’, but in hindsight maybe Carl le Mystery would have been a better name.

We know this: Carl started this blog November 2011. He was very active for about 10 months, and then disappeared without us ever hearing from him again. During the summer of 2012, he has been asking for more articles by commenters and wanted to expand the base of active Dragons. Several people have tried to contact him since his disappearance, but his mailbox turned out to be an email graveyard. Some activity has been seen on the email account up to January, but since then the last indications that Carl was still around somewhere have vanished. People have tried to contact him in person, but it is unclear to me whether this was actually successful, but for sure it has not made him come back yet.

To me, based on some further research by Dragons, the most likely reason for Carl’s absence is problems related to his personal life and business, possibly having very profound implications on all aspects of his life. He might have foreseen this for a while before his disappearance, but we can’t be sure. It might mean he will never be back (we have reasons to suspect that), or he might be back after a while (we also have reasons to suspect that, but will it be months? years?) when he manages to recover from whatever is keeping him from here. I think everyone here, including me, wishes the best for him in any case, so let’s hope it’s option 2.

Whatever the reasons, we would all very much like to see him come back as Dragon and commenter, no doubt about that; but for now VolcanoCafe will have to be continued based on the fact that he hasn’t. The backbone of commenters and viewers is large and the topics we write about and others comment on are worth all our attention; in my opinion. So they certainly deserve the continued input of Spica, GeoLurking, Kilgharrah, chryphia, schteve, dfm, myself, other dragons that act more in the background and commenters that have shared their expertise by submitting posts.

El Nathan

428 thoughts on “VC update: 1.5 million views and other things

  1. Nice sunny morning here and I am stuck at home because of son is having severe chocolaterrhea.

    The Tjörnes fracture zone is really busy again! This is how it looks in respect to all earthquakes from 2011:

    The red dots represent (from North to South) Kolbeinsey Ridge, TFZ and Theistareykjarbunga. The current swarm is nicely blending in previous swarms from the past years. They are all very much contorted, I may upload a video later this day :-).

    And El Hierro made it into the final! The poll of Tournament Earth (NASA) is now open:

  2. Spica, perhaps consider my comment as part of the next post.

    How rifting occurs in Iceland:

    Iceland sits in both in the rifting area between two tectonic plates.

    The North American and European drift apart in opposite directions. One towards east-southeast, the other towards west-northwest.

    However the rifting is not homogeneous. It occurs differently in different sections of the rift area.

    Please have a look at the following picture:

    Over the area between Hekla, Katla and Vatnajokull, the rifting occurs almost perfectly at angle perpendicular to the direction of the plate movement. The rifting opens aligning volcanic fissures from the NE to SW, while plates drift towards the NW and SE respectively. This means the earth rips easily open in those regions and this allows for large volumes of magma to erupt. Of course, earthquakes do happen in these regions, and they happen constantly (nearly every day – more than in any other region of Iceland) and therefore they are mostly small sized earthquakes. These are the daily earthquakes at Katla, Vatnajokull and Askja.

    However in two sections of Iceland, the southwest seismic zones, and in the north, in Tjornes seismic zone, the plates move apart each other in a almost sideway motion. This creates notorious strain in the rocks, and creates much larger earthquakes. These are called transform seismic zones; regions where motion is sideways.

    Daily, they are only very tiny earthquakes, but occasionally, every few decades, strain accumulates and then these areas experience large 6.5 earthquakes. Once they come, they occur in clusters, with every few years a larger earthquake (just like the south Iceland earthquakes of 2000 and 2008), and then reverting to calm decades again.

    Moreover, these two regions, experience mostly their plate movement through large earthquakes and do not allow much for volcanic eruptions. Yes, they do occur, but more rarely and smaller. Volcanic eruptions have known to occur in Tjornes and SISZ, but last one in the SISZ was 3000 years ago, in the Grimsnes volcanic system, and it was very small.

    It has been confirmed that every major tectonic episode is joined by magmatic intrusions at deep, but rarely they come near the surface. To understand why, just imagine the two plates drifting side by side; this does not create much fracture space in the rocks to allow magma to move upwards, magma would move easily laterally than upwards. However, in the rifting regions near Vatnajokull, like the dead zone, rifting is perfect, and when the crust rips open, large volumes can move upwards!

    In other regions of Iceland, rifting occurs at different angles, like Reykjanes, where plates create a rift area about 45º angle from the plate movement. Like results it seems in a “middle ground way” between the two former situations. Eruptions are mostly medium size and occasionally large but rather rare, and strain does accumulate and is released in larger earthquakes, but not as large as the two transform zones of Iceland (mostly up to 5.5).

    Furthermore, it seems that rifting activity in the north has been occurring in recent decades. In 1975 Krafla began several episodes of fissure rifting eruptions. This lasted until 1984. Also further north, in Tjornes, there was a large and damaging earthquake (almost up to M7) in 1976. Probably this was a consequence of the rifting process extending further north. So, now it is mostly natural that we are experience another series of major rifting episodes, mostly tectonic, even further north.

    Recently, also another volcano has shown signs of uplift and more earthquakes, the Theistareykjarbunga volcano. While still unlikely to erupt, this shows how activity in the rifting regions seems to propagate further north or south over the decades, as strain is released and triggers other nearby regions.

    I could almost say that the whole of this could have started back in 1874, when there was a very large rifting episode in Askja, which extended further northwards, and culminated in an eruption very large in 1875.

    In Tjornes, there is still the potential for a large earthquake, up to 6.8.

    Likewise, we have been experiencing what seems in recent decades an increase of rifting activity in south Iceland. Hekla has been erupting regularly, the Westman islands erupted in recent decades, and Eyjafjallajokull also, as well as two large earthquakes in the south seismic zone. It is natural to expect further movements in neighboring seismic fractures and volcanoes in south Iceland.

    • Great comment Irpsit! Turn it into a fully fledged post! It would be a great resource to come back to.

    • Thank you irpsit. You have made what is happening very clear. There is of course the theory that there is a small remnant of an ancient plate which causes the twisting of the MAR. This may be why there are transform seismic Zones. This is what makes Iceland so interesting and the seismic and volcanic activity so unique. Iceland has everything, A plume.Strike slip and divergent boundaries. Your comment should be kept for reference especially for newbies to Iceland geology. My guess is this is why we are a popular Blog because it suits all levels of interest and knowledge.

  3. This 3D video shows the recent swarm in the Tjörnes Fracture zone, but only 99% earthquakes until 7:07 this morning. In the close-up view you can see how twisted (the angle Irpsit was talking about?) the fault zone is and that commonly the swarms happen along a narrow streak.

    • Thanks for pointer. Not shure this is Hekla – rather different transmittance / reception of the ongoing unrest – HAU has different “geological reception capabilities” than MJO – and some areas of the highlands are more sensitive to the unest etc.
      I expect Hekla act more decively. It may also be unrest coming down from Hamarinn / Bárðarbunga / Grimsvötn area and even Godabunga has had quakes recently.

      • Here is Hekla Volcano midday yesterday, April 1st – 2013, seen from west-south-west, near from certain commenter lives (near Ingólfsfjall), but I think I have longer lens than him!? Copyright of the photographer.
        The colours are typical late winter, little or no snow in the lo-lands, some mist in the air and sunny spots light up parts of the pic, some rain coming and a few dops fell.

        • Oh Wow! What a fantastic picture. So Big and so beautiful. It is breathtaking. This is a completely new view for me. Those buildings ? Are they farms? I didn’t realise people lived so close to the mountain. I now really worry about them . It must be a bit daunting living at Hekla’s feet.

        • Thanks guys (and not full zoom). Taken with remote cord and mounted on tripod to reduce shaking and improve quality. 🙂

        • Thanks. No Diana, those particular farms are about 50+ km away from Hekla, and are safe where they sit on the old Bárðarbunga / Þjórsárhraun (very old lava plains), its the zoom that condenses the scenery – there are more farms much closer! But its right to worry, they (not visible in photo) can come into ash and pumiche rain at start of eruption, ef vind is from east or north-east, they are behind them small mountains visible in middle and far distances.

    • Next to 500 quakes now in the swarm.

      What I find really interesting is the different depths: They reach from no less than 28 km up to the surface!

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