TFZ – Tjörnes Fracture Zone and Etna is erupting right now!

Post by Inge B.

Tjörnes Fracture Zone is the northern one of the two big fracture zones in Iceland. They connect the northern resp. the southern parts of the rift and there is also a theory about microplates underlying these zones (s. Foulger, etal.).

Bouguer anomaly map showing gravity anomalies of Iceland and its surroundings showing very clearly how it is “embedded” in the MAR, region we are talking about is in the north of the country at the connection of the Arctic part of the MAR; image from Commons Wikimedia

The main geological features in the north of Iceland are this TFZ and the Northern Volcanic Zone which is connected by the TFZ to the Kolbeinsey Ridge, the part of the MAR north of Iceland out in the Arctic Ocean. The Northern Volcanic Zone comprises 5 volcanic systems (from S to N): Kverkfjöll, Askja, Fremrinámur, Krafla and Þeistareykir.

Two, probably even three constituent parts make out this zone from N to S: The Grímsey Oblique Rift (GOR), sometimes also called Grímsey lineament, the Húsavík-Flatey-Fault (HFF) and sometimes there is named a third fault reaching from south of Húsavík over to the Eyjafjarðar Trough, where the last earthquake swarm event took place during the winter. (for a map, see Metzger, p. 422) )

The now ongoing quake swarm didn’t come as a surprise to the scientists involved, because there has been continuously ongoing research on the region and the newest GPS measurements indicated very strongly a locking at rather shallow depth. This means that plate movements are arrested in a way, and therefore stress builds up – explaining the non-continous rifting events as described eg. by Irpsit. Plates seemingly often move in jumps and bolts and seldom smoothly (silent slip as an exception from the rule).

The locking was found out by analysing eg. seismology, also seismologic history of the region, which has often had heavy quakes in the past (2 magn. 6,5 in 1872), but also last not least GPS. And this is where the newest research comes in. The scientists discovered strong uplift in parts of the TFZ, i.e. in the southeast esp. And that even, after they had taken out by calculation the 2007-8 uplift at the volcanic system of Þeistareykir . While at the same time there was some subsidence in the west, which describes a plate movement to the southeast, meeting some hindrance around the valley of Jökulsá á Fjöllum, the biggest river valley in the region. Such blocking normally is released in considerable quake activity. And that is what is going on at the moment.

Copyright: Icelandic Meteorologic Institute, via RÚV, 03. April 2013

Up to now, there have been 4 big earthquakes and over 700 earthquakes within 3 days at a whole, the map showing the location of the hypocenters of the big ones and the rupture direction. Interesting that three of them have the same rupture direction and that the development is such that there is another center of activity now to the southwest of the first action.

Copyright: IMO by Inge B. (disclaimer: I am just an interested layman, no geologist). Literature:

  • Th. Thordarson, A. Hoskuldsson: Iceland. Classic Geology in Europe 3. Harpenden 2002, esp. pp.136 …
  • S. Metzger, et all.: Present Kinematics of the Tjörnes Fracture Zone, North Iceland, from compaign and continues GPS measurements. (2012)

Images by IngeB and me. Please also check Irpsits comment from yesterday explaining how rifting works in Iceland. And keep in mind, we are all no volcanologists or geologists, just layman.

Inge B.


Etna’s southeast crater is erupting right now:

schiena000M-15 etna2-2 schiena000M-18 The action is taking place at the new southeast crater again. Best cams are and this one Etna And White Island showed some incandescence last night:

White Island Crater Floor

White Island Crater Floor

Check El Hierro experienced some earthquakes again. For info on this check and


395 thoughts on “TFZ – Tjörnes Fracture Zone and Etna is erupting right now!

    • Thanks for that Islander. Hekla may have gone to sleep again but I guess the predicted quake swarm may tickle Theistareykabunga ( Trying to spell without checking here! I nearly got it right! left out the J and R) and friends. I wonder what time scale the scientists are looking at. Months like since the last swarm?

      • No, think Hekla be awake and fit, but waiting for the right moment to send the “Higher UK Government” a dose of ash (remember “No cash, only ash” phrase.) *Nothing personal*
        Only good oppritunity to relay to the UK – (I belive we have broad UK audiance here on this blog) – that I am not at all happy with how the bank crises was handled by the UK and the threat of “Icesave” payments used as “weapon” on us the common people up here, but the Politicians over at your place are probably no better than ours? Crap.
        But no more politics, sorry for this OT answer.
        Re- Swarm, I think just some hours maybe days. You get 9,5 for spelling – “A” I think but it likely does not disturb the “´bunga”! 🙂

    • Holà Conejorojo !
      Muchas gracias.

      That’s a good vulgarisation link – good explanations. Zircon dating articles I came across and I think Klemetti has something on it. Bright idea as Zircon is just under diamond (10-9) on the mineral hardness scale.

    • The research maybe ok, d not know much about these Basalt flows (triggered by Comets hitting earth?) but speculating in last sentances on CO2 (as part of “Global Warming” hipe) should have been left out. I have before said, I do not belive in this “manmade” happening, rather this be natural curve, soon to change in other direction and be totally unrelevant to mans CO2 release – that also had had indications of beeing beneficial in stabilizing earths climate (f.e. commercial jets emitting particle soot dust shield that helps from sun-rays heating the surface).

      • And why do climate changes and temperature heightening then happen so fast since around 1 hundred years?

        • F.e. temperature rise, when the thermometers were mostly located at large airports in USA, and these are where large areas of Asphalt and Concrete Runways are in place, these heat air abowe them really fast. Mesure temps mostly there, because the readings are used in aerodrome meteoroligcal forecasts (and on nationwide scale), that skewed the picture by +1,5 C (I think GL brought this topic up some time ago).

      • I agree with you on the GW hype, but the article is interesting and explains well the process for treating Zircon (first time I see it). As for CO2 levels, ask the Crinoïds, they’ve been around before Trias, so they did cope with it.

      • With all due respect, but that is a bit like saying that you don’t believe that this plate tectonics thing has anything to do with volcanism. Volcanoes happen naturally all across the planet and this little bit of water released by subducting plates is totally irrelevant when we are talking about volcanism.

        Reading all through the latest IPCC Assessment Report and catching up on the actual scientific facts and publications regarding climate change at (and this one) is actually really refreshing. Some of the youtube video’s of our British friend, Potholer54, can be very helpful as well. Scientific research should trump, and eventually always does trump belief.

        edit: link to a nice Potholer54 youtube video regarding ClimateGate

        • Yea, GW be “hype” is my private opinon, and perhaps be wrong in parts, anyways not a particularly big problem but for them not able water their lands.
          But as we are in shadow of Korean Nuclear Winter it might not really matter.
          Wait a minute, that be fallout from US weapons too.

        • Ahh… the not so skeptical “skeptical science” site. Run by a cartoonist. (There is nothing wrong with that, as long as he remembers where his principle skill set lies)

          I’m not viewing the video, I wouldn’t want to lend a web hit (click) to someone bandying about slanted views. From the still frame, Trenberth is quoted. That very same person made this statement in the allegedly hacked E-mails.

          “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

          One suggestion was that the “hidden heat” had been taken up by and was hiding in the Oceans…. something that the ARGO buoys do not agree with.

          • Whatever anyone’s opinion of the site and how it’s set up, the papers that are being linked to is where the discussion belongs really. Obviously, the availability of the research data has not prevented loads of misinformation being spread over the the internet in the last decade, so why not try something like this? Somehow it always strikes me that, for example, Lord Monckton spends all his time getting PowerPoints read and his readings visited instead of supplying a peer-reviewed paper. And regarding the video, Trenberth is off course quoted in it for a reason.

      • Well don’t tell my husband that GW is a myth.. He is currently in Diana’s neck of the woods (London) while I am here is sunny Southern California. Every call I get from him he is complaining how bitterly cold it is in the UK (he has be here in CA for 30 years and his blood has thinned) and that it is still snowing in London in April!!! His mother lives there and she comes here for the winter each year and they always go back around the first of March and the weather is usually o.k.but not this year!! He can’t wait to come back home next week and defrost!

        • The cold weather is something we got un-used to in western Europe. However, looking at the statistics, I must conclude that this is nothing that hasn’t happened (many times) before. Some records were broken, but many many more records were not broken by a long shot. When people complain about cold spring weather in my country (.nl) I name the days in mid April 1966 where temperatures barely got above zero celcius, and the snowdump of May 14-15 in 1935. Snow in April in London may be unusual, but it is far from extreme 🙂

          • I think that winter 2012 / 13 was a few months late, after an extended autumn. But not abnormal, even if even I would like to see some sun!

          • Agree weather has it’s “cycles” and I am just thankful that I only have to deal with this one from “afar”.

          • conejored

            just thankful that I only have to deal with this one from “afar”

            Why the quotes? Are you making an off hand reference to the Afar region? If so, that is knee slapping funny. Afar is a prodigious source of basalts flowing out across the land… mostly due to it being a rifting basin.

            I am not a scientist, I just have an interest in volcanoes. It’s interesting that the CAGW meme popped up. I have been ruminating on one gas in particular. Carbonyl Sulfide (COS) Unlike the more well known SO2, which is said to be able to cause cooling after large volcanic eruptions, COS has an immense stay time in the atmosphere. SO2 is quite reactive, and will bond with water vapor and form H2SO4. (Sulfate). This sulfate will precipitate out (sediment) over a period of several months.

            The screening effect that it participates in, occurs in the lower stratosphere, are area known as the Junge layer.

            In order for SO2 to get to that altitude, it has to be forcibly injected there by quite large volcanic eruptions. They are the only real mechanism that can loft it above the tropopause.

            I don’t have any real data on it, but SO2 in the troposphere doesn’t last long. The water vapor likely acts with it and rapidly removes it. I don’t have a link but there was a paper done a few years ago that examined how tropical eruptions had greater SO2 scavenging than high latitude ones. In other words, less SO2 was available in the column to get into the stratosphere. The paper is out there somewhere, I just can’t find it.

            Now… about OCS. OCS is much much more stable than SO2. It doesn’t react well at all in the troposphere. But hit it with 200 nm to 270 nm ultraviolet light (UV-C), and it dissociates. At that point it easily becomes sulphate. Where do you find UV-C? The stratosphere.

            I think that this is the mechanism that allows flood basalt events to have a direct impact on stratospheric aerosols. Though OCS is for the most part, a trace gas from eruptions, it’s ultra long residence time in the atmosphere allows it to follow the normal global circulation (Hadley cells etc) and reach the stratosphere, where the UV-C can act on it and then result in sulfate formation.

            Caveat: I am not a scientist, nor am I a cartoonist. I drive for a living, and deal with traffic… such as this:

            What you have here, is a blocked road. I usually don’t go this route since FHP likes to set up registration/insurance check points just around that corner near the top of the image. (It’s a massive time sink, they usually find someone who doesn’t have their papers in order)

            This was what greeted me as I made my way to pick up parts today. According to a lady who saw it, the gray car was running from the sheriff’s department. My guess is that the officer took the opportunity to force an end to the chase. Sure, the patrol vehicle damage will cost some money, but just around that corner is a residential area and generally has a lot of pedestrian traffic (kids, dealers, hookers, people wandering aorund on bicycles etc.) Also, the road gets quite tight with a lot of hair-pin turns. Had the gray car not run into a house, he could have out maneuvered the SDs SUV. There is really only one other exit once you go around that corner, that puts you into heavy four lane traffic and the Interstate. FHP has a station about 3 miles south of the exit area, but it would have required them to blast through heavy 4 lane traffic to get in position to set up a road block. Not really a safe thing to do. I think the Deputy did the correct thing in how he ended the chase.

          • Afar region… only wish I could have been so clever! No just trying to highlight that I don’t have to deal with the bone chilling cold myself! But glad it gave you a chuckle and actually fits (somewhat) with the original article that mentions basalt (even if inadvertantly).

          • The Met Office here in the UK has just announced that March was the second coldest since records began.

    • Hi Conejored. Not OT at all. Interesting theories here. I have just been reading Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions Blog in which he puts into perspective these huge basalt flow events. He emphasises it wasn’t a single large volcanic event but very many over a huge period of time. It’s well worth a read.
      … and welcome to VC your comments are appreciated. 🙂 Hope to see you in the Sheepy dalek Bar tomorrow night 🙂

      • Just out of interest does anyone else have problems reading comments to Eriks posts in Eruptions? I cannot read the comments let alone make any. I have tweeted erk about this problem. It’s such a shame.

          • I love the way one comment makes you think of other links – and the TV program I watched on earthquakes the other night left me wondering how the chinese earthquake of 1556 could have been so large:

            ‘A scholar in China named Qin Keda (who was probably the Pliny the Elder of his time and location) wrote a lot of details about the quake and explained the stunning way how rivers literally changed direction, areas of land opened up and formed new bodies of water, new hills were formed that didn’t exist before and basically re-arranged the land as a piece of putty – the Shaanxi quake was felt over a vast area as you might expect. Historical records that still exist say that it was felt over a 520-mile radius and almost ¾ of the population within the encircled area where the epicenter was were wiped out. Using the European earthquake intensity scale called the Mercalli Scale, it was said to be about an XI–which would be probably over an 8 on the Richter scale. ‘


            So, looking at the links, above, to volcanoes and impacts I went back to the scary tsunami of the 15th century, south of New Zealand – ‘The Fires of Tamaatea legend may well have a cosmogenic origin. More importantly, the timing of the fires is also coherent with the dating of mega-tsunami deposits along the Giant flutes cut into granite on the southern headland of Mason Bay, Stewart Island, New Zealand. The flutes point back to the Mahuika Comet Impact site. The flutes are over 40 m high and were cut by vortices in flow as the tsunami went over the headland from left to right (AUSTRALIAN COMETS, TSUNAMI AND LEGENDS 209) adjacent coastline of Australia and New Zealand. These four lines of evidence all indicate that a regional mega-tsunami event that was probably due to a comet impact in the fifteenth century.’


            And yes – one does wonder how India travelled so far on a different trajectory to the surrounding continents…..

          • That was interesting comment, and new info
            Have seen couple of Comets, but did not know Earth was hit by one,
            and in 1500 Century and not mentioned before anywhere ??? Wow

          • I think these old reports are to be taken with a grain of salt, they are partially legends.

            The western parts of China though have always been prone to big earthquakes, the Indian continent moving and subducting under Eurasia. And lately I read somewhere – perhaps I find still the link – that there has been found a big upwelling of the mantle under bigger part of China. Would also explain some.

            As to the tsunami in New Zealand, it is part of the Ring of Fire subduction zone, see Japan 2011, or Sumatra in 2008.

          • Reverse faulting Mag 8.0 has a maximum displacement of 3.02 meters. ≈18 feet. (using the Wells-Coppersmith paper)

            So, there’s your “new hills” idea.

            Atkinson-Wald with a non California model, shows MMI-IX out to about 62 km from the epicenter of a Mag 8.0(Mw) (96.6 %g acceleration, in other words, almost as much force pushing you to one side as you feel standing on the ground) Peak ground velocity 80.3 cm/s

          • I totally belive in old ancient folklore about a Comet, and 500 year old shipwrecks, junks and all. Totally reliable scenario, Its exactly that, meteor or Comet, question of chemistry.

    • I think it is mostly tectonic (see Metzger etal.), but there could of course also be a submarine eruption involved (part of Theistareykir system).

  1. Hi dear Volcanophils, I’ve got a little problem and hope that some of you could give me some Real-Life advice 🙂

    I’m in a little bit of a dilemma and would love some advice.

    A short time ago i was fired from my old job and therefore I began to search for a new one, but I also started to look at the option of studying for the Cambridge Proficiency Diploma in Vancouver Canada. Now the real dilemma beginns, today I was invited to a little talk at the advertising agency where I’ve applied for a job (DREAMJOB!!!). It went really well to say it mildly and basically i could start working tommorow (now the situation is that I start working there on Monday). But the problem is, i practically already booked the three months of studying in Vancouver, the only thing left to do is sending a Pre-Arrival test to the school and paying the bill. The problem is, if I decide to cancel the booking now, I’ll be sitting on a bill (approximately CAD 8000.-) which I’ll have to pay anyway because it’s already to late to cancel the booking….

    What would YOU do in that situation???

    Thanks for any help or advise 😉

    • Tell the school what your problem is. If you don’t you won’t recover the money and you won’t get tuition. You may be able to negotiate a solution, depending on how flexible the school is – e.g. some home study for the classes you can’t attend while in employment.

      But a dream job is a dream job so that is what your priority should be, especially if it strengthens your CV.

    • Hi Stefan, firstly, congrats on your new job!!
      Rather than cancelling the course, perhaps see if they will be running another one at a later time and if they can transfer you to that one? This will keep your options open and maybe you can cancel it later without having to pay. It’s always worth just explaining the situation and hope that u speak to someone with a sympathetic ear. Good luck!! 🙂

    • Always the way Stefan! One minute nothing, the next multiple opportunities and a fork in the road of your life. Firstly what DEFINITE benefits will you get if you gain the Diploma? Will you definitely gain more money with the Diploma?
      Secondly you say this new Job is your dream. Will the pay soon cover the cost of the lost CAD 8000?
      How secure is the new job? Is it a permanent job or 6 months Contract?
      I have in the past paid money for more qualifications and to be honest I did enjoy the study but as my life road twisted and turned, financially they were useless.
      In your situation I think the proverb of “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” springs to mind.
      If you feel in your heart you will be happy in this job and it is secure, then cut your losses and go for the promise of a steady pay check in these difficult times. Have you contacted the College and explained the situation? Maybe there would be some way to recoup some of the money. How much more money will you spend during the time you are studying. Would there be travel costs to add to the expenditure?
      Maybe you could study for a similar qualification part time or studying from home whilst you work at a later date.
      Good luck Stefan whichever path you take.

    • What I would do:
      Take the dreamjob, definitely, without a doubt.

      Then think about:
      Postponing the course, not cancelling it.
      Doing the course part time. ( eg ask your new employers to give you ‘day-release’, if the course will improve your value to them).
      What is that ‘pre-arrival test’ ? – can you fail it deliberately?
      Don’t pay the bill. Ask a lawyer to look over the contract.
      Delay – the new job might turn out to be cr*p

      Hope it works out for you, and anyway Cambridge Univ UK is as rich as Croesus….

      • I’d go or the job. I have this dilemma – I’m about to go back to my old aviation job.
        Flying Airtankers (Co-Pilot DC-7) Bit apprehensive, yet hopeful. That was my
        dream job. (plus I felt and still feel much more useful to society than my current job.)
        I would look into options for Cambridge…

        • Out of curiosity… how well do those “antique” airframes hold up? I imagine running in tight like that would be somewhat taxing to the structural components.

          I know it’s not a truck, but keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down.

    • Compared to the others… my answer is trite. My apologizes for that.

      “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”

      If you conciser it a dream job, then by all means take it. (get it while you can) And as KarenZ points out, talk to the school and see if they can be flexible. Personally, I don’t have time to go back to school. But I really like what I do and I get to see all sorts of really weird people. (hopefully before I get near their car).

      • Hi GeoLurking, tgmccoy, Peter, KarenZ, Diane and inannamoon667

        Thanks for all your Advice, I think that you really helped me to clear my mind. I think that I’ll try the following approach. If the employer is ok with me going to the course I’ll take it. If they need me right now and can’t let me go to the course, I’ll cut my losses and take the job immediately. So basically i think now that I won’t go to Vancouver and I’ll try to get “over” it. 🙂

  2. Little finding while crawling through the internet:
    NASA Studies South America’s Volcanoes, Glaciers And Deserts With Microwave Energy
    April 4, 2013:
    Quote from this article “Images taken by UAVSAR will help volcano scientists make comparisons with new imagery slated for collection in 2014. By comparing the two sets of imagery, scientists will be able to measure very subtle changes in the surface associated with the movement of magma at depth beneath active volcanoes.
    Results of these studies are expected to improve models used to understand and mitigate volcanic hazards. The UAVSAR program is observing volcanoes in several South American countries.”
    Whatever El Hierro or Iceland my have in store for us (or not), have a nice evening, everybody!

    • @ Thanks Barbara – something else to help the geoscientists to predict eruptions can only be a good thing. Amazing how much better tools/technology they have in the last decade or so.

  3. OT – Volcano boarding

    I just read an article in French about volcano boarding in Cerro Negro in Nicaragua. What an odd activity to do. Dangerous on many counts : apparently, a “full double filtered NIOSH N 95 respirator is the way to go” to keep the volcano dust out of your lungs.
    Here is a link for an article in English : . Would any of you do such a thing ?

  4. On the nuclear war topic:

    I was just checking what could be the consequences of a nuclear war, now that we have a considerate risk of a nuclear exchange. This looks as serious as the Missile Crises of 62, and while the number of nuclear missiles pointed towards each other between NK and US is currently be far lower, the trouble is that NK looks much more “crazy” than the Soviets were.

    A global nuclear war (exchange between two major superpowers, around 2600 nukes) would be the end of our civilization if not our species, and most species on Earth. The temperature would drop 20 to 40ºC for several months, and up to several degrees afterwards. A near total famine would follow, with food almost impossible to be grown and UV rays killing most remaining survivors, animals and humans. Well, let us not go further.

    But even a limited nuclear war, which is more likely in the Koreas, would be devastating. Just about 100 nukes fired in such a war, if all would hit cities, they would cause probably a year colder than the 1816 year without a summer. And for at least a decade the temperature would be almost colder than any other year of the last 1000 years: indeed quite a disaster of a famine would follow. But the even worst stuff is that even such a limited nuclear war would bring a reduction in the ozone layer of 25 to 45% in mid latitudes, where most of us lives. Far north, as here in Iceland would be up to 70%, that is a total disaster. Such a reduction can easily cause progressive blindness in humans and animals. While not the end of our species, it would mean a return to middle ages large famines and deaths couple with widespread cancer and blindness of the masses.

    And yes, these military guys in both Koreas and US are still playing with their war games and threads. It is such a shame that one miscalculation by this dangerous game can result in the destruction of our civilization as we know it.

    • I don’t want to piss in anyones Wheaties. So I refrain from comment.

      With the exception of this. An unexpected massively large volcanic eruption can cause the same effects. With less radiation.

      @#$@#$ it. I wasn’t going to say anything and here I am, yammering on. In a prior career, I was in the US Navy. So I do know what I am talking about here. From a military perspective, it is going to boil down to how well written, and clear, the ROE is. If there is too much micromanagement, look for delays in decisions, or improper decisions made by someone lacking a clear view of the operational scenario to be the area where this thing could go sour… fast.

      • North Koreans don’t travel much.

        I wonder how big they think the world really is…..
        Their army is huge, and it is all, every man and woman in it, within the country’s own boundaries.

        It would be nice to see a few kind words break the tension. No need for anyone to come to grief then.

        • So we let a six foot seven inch cross-dressing entity who is desperately clinging to celebrity act as our emissary?

          That is a difficult personal affront to overcome. We may have offended them too severely.

    • I was around the Nuclear Industry some in the 70’s and 80’s as a DOD -and others- as a Contractor/Pilot. Saw and heard enough that I could sleep at night… Agreed- the Russians are sane. I do not think they would’ve pushed the button-the closest we came was ’62. and Khrushchev wasn’t nuts and neither was Kennedy- But Un Kim…..
      One thing I fear is co-operation between Iran and the NorK prince…
      However I do not think that there is not more than 3,maybe four,bombs between them.
      The issue is delivery systems. NK has some middling fair short range and medium
      range Ballistic missiles. I fear a disguised freighter, or a submarine delivery, with a bomb placed on the bottom of say, Tokyo bay, or San Francisco Bay. then the timer is set.
      But this is pondering, and speculation.

      • Every street has them. The asshat who gets his jollies by putting the other kids up to doing nefarious things without actually participating themselves. I think that is the role that Iran plays in this.

        As for delivery. Many doom preachers yammer on about mid continent high altitude EMP detonation. Most tactician poo poo the idea. But every few hours, that NK satellite “thing” goes tracking by… at about 570 km altitude.

        I don’t know enough about the physics of it, but Starfish Prime, the high altitude detonation that clued us into this thing called “EMP,” happened at 400 km altitude. At 1.44 Mt, it took out systems 1,445 km away in Hawaii.

        • That be nuke in space? No, no, its scrap Toyota engine, complete with gearbox and rusty driveshafts. 🙂 I told you so before. Anyways, what the harm for single EMP if you have nothing important to throw after it?

      • Here is a wiki on “Starfish”: It was a 1.4 megaton Bomb. so far the
        Norks have only managed about oh to be optimistic, 20 or so Kt. and miniaturization
        of such is as much art as science.
        Iran’s got some pretty good nuke people though they have a lifespan that seems to rival Keyboardist for the old Greatful Dead…

      • I tend to look at things from the perspective of how much more advancement is needed to achieve a given threat level.

        True, that “thing” whizzing around could very well be a rusty Toyota engine. If it were something quite dangerous, I’m pretty sure that someone would have knocked it down by now. That’s why I’m pretty certain that the real danger from it could be a blown head gasket or a leaky oil pump. Radioactive material has one unique characteristic that makes it stand out from the crowd. Radiation. It’s like a beacon that says “Here I am!”

        But… from a stand point of physics, they got a mass into orbit. As for miniaturization and yield size, we sort of stumbled on how to enhance the yield of fission devices when we nearly cooked the range personnel in the Castle Bravo test. (2.5 times larger than the best guess yield and twice as large as what was considered even possible for that style of reaction. (In actuality, it was the door leading from nuclear to thermonuclear).

        Still, something that size is a pretty hefty package. Given NK’s level of technology, it would require what would be to them, “heavy lift” capability. Castle Bravo weighed in at about 23.500 lbs… or about the size of a delivery truck. Right now, I don’t think they can loft something that large. Where to keep an eye out, is on what technology or vehicles have they acquired from the “black market?”

        Hopefully, the intel watchers have been doing just that… watching.

        Some of you may not remember it… but back in the height of the cold war, with treaties and vociferous rants going on, the US inadvertently let the cat out of the bag with regards to our satellite sensor resolution.

        The best way to think about this, is to consider the capabilities of the Hubble space telescope… but pointed at the ground.

        By my reckoning, the technology is easily there to see what moves into North Korea via illicit channels. The question is has anyone been keeping track of it?

        If they have purchased a few “heavy lift” {by their standards} vehicles… it could prove to be dicey. It will also be a chance for MIRCL to prove its worth. I would rather for that to NOT have to happen…. but thank you Ronald Reagan! MIRCL is a grandchild of SDI. It’s a type of laser. It can actually burn a hole in the side of an ICBM. With any laser, the problem is getting enough energy into the lasing cavity for it to produce a usable beam. MIRCL does this by exciting a chemical in the aircrafts engines and then passing it into the cavity. The problem is the damn thing is big. So big that the only mobile version of it that I know of, is carried on a Boeing 747-700F. And… wouldn’t ya know it… despite being effective and proven to work (It could destroy missiles that were still in boost phase), it was also canceled in December 2011. Well, crap.

    • Not true.

      For my money, the only way NK could *possibly* deliver a nuke anywhere is truck, train, ship, or cargo aircraft.

      If I was US CinC, I would ban any direct or indirect shipments of any sort originating in NK from getting within 100 miles of US territory. Those nutters are capable of anything.

      • Just a rumination from me: the latest cold snap has killed at least 20,000 domestic animals in UK – sheep, cattle and horses (mainly new lambs). The North Korean threat is probably over-hyped – unless they are backed into a corner and feel they have to do something in order to save face. The worst calamities tend to come out of the blue and the thing that worries me most at the moment is the outbreak of bird flu in China.

      • I hope she goes.. and goes big. Nice, fat highly energetic plume that lofts above the local weather systems and forces the wanna be war fighters to deal with the issue rather than waving their private parts at each other to see which is bigger.

        • nah, that only grounds air-tankers, most F15s, F22s and JSF35s (if they have arrived), but not the choppers, they have filters, probably leaves NK with a free jail card, using its Army on the ground against SK. UN probably asks willing nations step in then. Everybody gets nevous and oil prices rise. Its all about oil prices, right? *no-Pro on these things, but knows some fast flying things from another*

      • Thanks all 🙂 How well I am depends on how quickly I can get rid of the cold I have, and what happens in a certain football match tomorrow (Kilgharrah will understand!)

        I glad I didn’t miss the Etna excitement – what a show! To think my son and I were looking up at that last summer from a location that got seriously ‘bombed’ during a couple of the recent paroxysms – quite sobering. I seem to remember something in my Etna post about it being a place for a volcanophile to die happy – that was far from exaggeration!

  5. OT with a Geological twist.

    Nice trace eh?

    That’s about the timeframe that Plant Bowen in Bartow County GA had it’s incident. this is Station Goga about 160 km away.

    • yes, its seems “stress-relief” *not expert* might trigger more even further away, was expecting more in the North, but that can come later

  6. OT – Directed at TGMccoy.

    Back before I got out, I had heard about some of the developments in the evolved sea-sparrow missile. While putzing around, I ran across one of the design features built into the thing. Seing as you are up on aerodynamics, I figured that you may find this interesting. → “Skid to Turn” It’s a missile specific design (as far as I know). I’m pretty sure that the g forces would be prohibitive for any biological entity.

    • Skidding to turn-is used in aerial combat-has been from the days of von Richthofen
      and Rickenbacker. The idea is to move quickly to alter course. The B-17 was a
      good example of that – that big rudder used for course corrections without making
      major turns. ..

  7. I have mentioned before, how the human mind will try to find patterns in something, no matter what. Its part of being human. One side effect is that you can reconstruct sentances even if you dont clearly hear all the words, you mind will fill the gaps with what “sounds” right. (even if it’s not)

    While walking through the living room where my wife is watching a cooking show, I “hear” – ‘now put the velociraptor in the batter’

    I really hope I misheard that. I sure don’t want to have to subdue, clean and dress something that would concider me a tastey treat.

  8. About those microplates. One that usually gets overlooked, is the Jan Mayen microcontinent. It lies between iceland and Jan Mayen island.

  9. Good morning all. Oh dear! My morning ruminations are not organised . They flit from a vision of Lurking in the Kitchen stalking a hapless velociraptor which is hiding, quivering with fear, behind the deep fat fryer, to the strain at Hekla, then on to a feeling I haven’t had since I was sweet 16. That feeling of helpless fear. Fear of Nuclear war. Back in 1962 I remember so well the worry and feeling of helplessness. My first love ( he was 10 years older than me) had just gained his wings in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy and I knew he was somewhere and danger threatening.
    The relief when the sabre rattling subsided was also a feeling I remember well. The awful reality of Nuclear war has thankfully not been an issue to my children & Grandchildren. My generation grew up with it and protested loudly.
    Worryingly, I always remember one of my father’s favourite comments whenever the UK was faced with a recession or major financial problems….. ” A good war will get the economy going again!”
    I am deeply troubled with the North Korean posturing. The leader is young. Is he a puppet , or is he an untrained Puppy? Either, with his responsibilities and power makes for possibilities I do not wish to contemplate. I realise that the Uk , Europe and USA will have intelligence and of course some plans . I understand that technology is superior to that in the 1960s. However, Just one Nuclear weapon used, is one too many for this fragile world.
    I watch and wait . Hekla, El Hierro, Vesuvius and now NK. None can be trusted or predicted. I do hope my father’s words are this time empty.!
    I certainly need Coffee # 2…………I will Appreciate it more knowing in wartime even such normal things as two cups of coffee become rare and rationed. After Nuclear war most people will have survival and uncontaminated water as luxuries!
    Next rumination! I wonder what all those doomsday Preppers in the USA will do. They hadn’t bargained for radiation contaminating their bulk stocks of tinned peaches and Meatballs… but that is for another day………….

          • Hi Inge B

            According to the research, ‘chugging’ usually signifies a blocked vent so she needs to clear her throat. That can often result in a more explosive eruption.

            Have linked to some papers on it in the last couple of days for those who have not heard of this phenomenon before so won’t repost lest I get put in the spam box!

            If you check my links you will see various tables showing what chugging looks like on a seismograph (like a string of pearls) and to me it is pretty clear that that is indicated/happening here.

          • @ Inge B

            I suspect that she may well have had an underwater eruption – yes, and is now choked/blocked!

            Vents choked on land is also a very real possibility.

            Magma intrusion is under the island so as usual it is a case of wait and see. She is chugging (or choked) but exactly where. KarenZ/dfm/GeoLourking may be more able to pin down.

          • Your guess is as good as mine. All I have to go on are some thermal anomalies that I can’t quite nail down a georeference for. They were very temporary and disapeared as fast as they showed up. MRK is the one that spotted them, but the only imagery that I have access too is too pixelated to be of much use.

            Better satellite imagery would only be available to the intel weenies… and watching for volcanoes is not really in their stomping orders. (tasking)

    • Shouldn’t over-worry. This is a puppy who knows that too much tugging on a tail is going to get a reaction that he can’t handle – he has too much to lose. It’ll blow over. Have another coffee !

    • Yeah, I remember the paranoia of the missile crisis. Nearly everyone had some sort of shelter in their backyard. At one birthday party I went to, the girls dad was adamant that no one went near the shelter. 40 years later, I know it was not due to concern of people messing with the supplies there, but for the seclusion that it potentially offered a bunch of randy teenagers.

      As for modern times… as long as Mexico and the oil platforms don’t get hit, I should be okay from the immediate fallout point of view. Most of my weather is dominated by onshore flow off of the Gulf of Mexico. Thats also why everything is green. Even the dead grass. (clover trying to peek out from underneath)

  10. Whilst the world watches the political unrest associated with North Korea, Changbaishan Volcano quietly sits doing the thing volcanoes tend to do……..Fill up magma chambers and prepare for eruption.
    This relatively overlooked volcano could throw a spanner in the sabre rattling antics of the politians.
    It last erupted in 1903 with pretty devastating results. More here with thanks to Volcano Discovery for more detailed information.—North-Korea-signs-of-unrest.html

    Guatemala also has an alert in place for Tacana Volcano

  11. Whilst we are on the subject of extreme Volcanic sports…..Here’s another one! I think I prefer my coffee and PC screen but then I guess I don’t have that Xtreme Gene as I have managed to survive for 60+ years 😀

  12. Did anyone read this:

    Scientist put an piece of stone in a geyser in Iceland and found an early form of ATP. An easy experiment to find out what the combination of volcanos + meteorites can gie as result.

    Quote from the article:
    “Phosphorus is the key element in ATP, and other fundamental building blocks of life like DNA, but the form it commonly takes on Earth, phosphorus (V), is largely insoluble in water and has a low chemical reactivity. The early Earth, however, was regularly bombarded by meteorites and interstellar dust rich in exotic minerals, including the far more reactive form of phosphorus, the iron-nickel-phosphorus mineral schreibersite.

    The scientists simulated the impact of such a meteorite with the hot, volcanically-active, early Earth by placing samples of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite, an iron meteorite which fell in Siberia in 1947, in acid taken from the Hveradalur geothermal area in Iceland. The rock was left to react with the acidic fluid in test tubes incubated by the surrounding hot spring for four days, followed by a further 30 days at room temperature.

    In their analysis of the resulting solution the scientists found the compound pyrophosphite, a molecular ‘cousin’ of pyrophosphate – the part of ATP responsible for energy transfer. The scientists believe this compound could have acted as an earlier form of ATP in what they have dubbed ‘chemical life’. “

    • There are no geysers in Iceland, except in Haukadalur in the south. There are just hot springs in the other high temperature areas. Some of them bubbling and producing small jets of water, others not.

      There is lots of Hveradalur and Hveradalir in Iceland, because it means “the valley of hot springs” (-dalur) and -dalir is the plural (=”valleys”).

      There is eg. Hveradalir near Hveragerði in the Hengill area and another area by this name in the middle of Kerlingarfjöll and so Hveradalur in the Kverkfjöll area and another one in Krýsuvík area. And these are only some of them. Where was it?

      Very improbable that it was in Hveradalur in Kverkfjöll area, because this is a more than 10 hours drive over rough terrain and 2,5 hrs. walk up the mountain from the next real houses. Only some mountain huts in the vicinity.

      • I found the press-release via an online paper article (dutch). In that article they speak of geysers but that is probably wrong translated. (actually geyser-area whatever that means). I posted the source article because it is English and more detailed. So everything that I know is in the link that is posted above.

        • Here is the paper which they mentioned in the article (behind paywall, figures are visible).

          This are the only place-references I could find, but it seems indeed Hveradalur in Kverkfjöll area.
          Fig. 14. (a) Kverfjöll volcanic region at the northern tip of the Vatnajoküll glacier, SE Iceland. (b) Gengissig lake, Hveradalur geothermal area (64° 40.173′ N; 16° 41.100′ W), Iceland. The geothermal site used for hydrothermal treatment of Sikhote-Alin is shown as a steaming, ice-exposed region to the north of the lake.

  13. Russian Market‏@russian_market2 min

  14. Latest quake under El Hierro NNW of La Restinga right on the coastline. Lat 27.7051 Long -18.0665. I entered these coordinates into Google earth. Not a big quake but I am hoping it’s just a one off!

  15. @ All

    I didn’t give you a proper Easter present so here is something which is late but may still be a bit of a treat:

    Once in, and after reading the summary, just click on: ‘ Find similar articles’ (in blue to the right) and a Pandora’s box of gems arrives.

    Not to be “eaten” all at once!

      • @ Lurk

        I stayed up all night to fully appreciate the flavour! (Greedy girl that I am!)

        @ Jim

        Good luck with your op. Hope it won’t be too painful for you.

        My Easter present, above, can also pass as your convalescence pressie. It will keep you occupied and safe from boredom for a while, at least, I hope.

  16. Hi GeoLurking, tgmccoy, Peter, KarenZ, Diane and inannamoon667

    Thanks for all your Advice, I think that you really helped me to clear my mind. I was able to get in touch with the agency which was helping me with the booking of the Cambridge Course in Vancouver. First of all, the option of part time studying wouldn’t have worked, because I’m from Switzerland. Now I’ve had three days to think about your recommendations and the advice from my friends and family. I really would have loved to study english in Vancouver, but the Job is simply to good. Tommorrow I’ll tell my new employer that I’ll cancel the booking for the english course because I would love to work with and for them. It really is a dreamjob in a great local advertising agency with great clients and an awesome team. There is a lot i can learn from all of them and in the end, I can allways study english later or go to an evening course in a local language center. So in a few hours, a new phase in my life beginns and with some time passed, I think I’ll not regret that decission.

    So again, thank you all for your help in those difficult few hours in my life.

    Best whishes from Switzerland

    • and just for info, I’ll only have to pay some administrative fees (~200-400 Dollars ) and not the whole costs of the course.

      • Hi Stefan,
        That’s a result, and all the very best with the new job 🙂
        You may want to repost the above on the current thread (Sunday Dalek) or it may not be seen by the intended recipients…

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