Alaid: Part 1 – the banished beauty

Atlasov

“I want to be alone!” – Alaid could be the ‘Garbo volcano’ (yes, I know she didn’t actually say that) as it stands aloof in the Sea of Okhotsk. Its near-symmetric beauty is apparent when approached from many directions (NOAA/Wikimedia Commons)

From the waters of the Sea of Okhotsk rises a vision of natural beauty. Located some 70 km west of the tip of the Kamchatka peninsula is a volcanic island of near-perfect symmetry, its treeless sides curving gracefully upwards to a flat-profiled crater top that is often crowned with snow. Its shape has been an instantly recognisable navigation aid to both local fishermen and sailors from distant lands for centuries, and its beauty has inspired art and legends.

According to one of those legends, the mountain had once stood among those on the mainland. Its neighbours, jealous of its great beauty, had banished the mountain from their midst, exiling it to the sea. A large lake filled the void where it had once stood, but although the beauty had been uprooted, it left its heart behind to mark the place.

That was one of many folk tales told by the local people to Stepan Krasheninnikov*, an 18th century Russian naturalist and geographer. (An alternative version of the tale is that the mountain – much taller than its neighbours and often blocking out their sun – became tired of bickering with them and left to find a quieter spot.)

  • Between 1731 and 1742 Stepan Petrovich Krasheninnikov studied Kamchatka as part of the Second Kamchatkan Expedition led by Vitus Bering. As well as providing a detailed account of the peninsula’s fauna and flora, he also studied and recorded the lives and languages of the indigenous peoples. It is my intention that we get to meet Krasheninnikov again at some point in the near future in another post!

The island volcano is Alaid, and the lake it ‘left behind’ in southern Kamchatka is the Kuril Lake, which was formed by a Tambora-sized VEI7 caldera event around 8,000 years ago. Rising from this lake is a small, steep-sided island that is known as Serdtse Alaida – the Heart of Alaid – which is a lava dome that extruded through the floor of the sunken caldera.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, after the island had officially become the northernmost outpost of the Japanese empire, Alaid became something of an icon in that nation’s art. With its similarities to the holy mountain of Mount Fuji the island was celebrated and romanticised in ukiyo-e woodblock prints and in haiku verse.

May 2012 ISS

An astronaut on the International Space Station recorded this overhead view of Atlasova island in May 2012. The top of the photo is orientated to the south-east. At the bottom of the island is the lava delta created in a 1972 eruption, while just to the left of the top of the island is the Taketomi island that rose from the sea in a flank eruption of 1933-34 (NASA)

What shall we call it?

An island of such beauty (and volcanic activity) does not go unnoticed, and from both indigenous peoples (Ainu to the south and Itelmen to the north) and imperial masters (Russia and Japan) it has gained a number of names. In Japanese the island is known as Oyakoba, with a Russian equivalent of Uyakhuzhach, or Araido (which corresponds to the Russian Alaid). The latter appears to be the most commonly used, and Krasheninnikov referred a number of times to the island of ‘Alaide’.

Russia later officially named the island as Ostrov (island) Atlasova, after the Cossack explorer Vladimir Atlasov, who had claimed Kamchatka for Imperial Russia in the 1690s through a mix of trade with welcoming natives and the massacre of those who were less receptive. Atlasov travelled far enough south in the peninsula to see the island that would later bear his name, but almost certainly did not sail there.

Just to clear up any confusion, here we are talking about Alaid volcano and Atlasov island, and not Atlasov volcano and Alaid island! There is a volcano called Atlasov (on the Kamchatkan peninsula, better known as Nylgimelkin) and an island called Alaid (in the Semichi islands, part of the Aleutian chain).

Kotenko 2

Visual observations of Alaid’s activity generally require visibility to be good enough for it to be seen from Paramushir island, a minimum of 20 km. Gentle steaming can be seen from the summit on a crystal-clear day in October 2012
(© L. Kotenko via KVERT)

Atlasov is the northernmost island of the Kuril chain, an arced string of islands that stretches for 1250 km from the tip of the Kamchatka peninsula in the north to the large Japanese island of Hokkaido in the south. They demarcate the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean. Like the Aleutian chain that reaches from further north in Kamchatka to Alaska, the Kurils are a perfect example of island arc volcanism, produced by subduction as the Pacific plate slams into the Okhotsk plate at the high rate of around 8 to 9 cm per year.*

All of the islands in the arc were created by subduction volcanism, and today 36 volcanoes are considered as active, with a further 32 dormant volcanic centres having been identified. To date 98 submarine volcanoes have also been discovered within the island chain. Records of volcanic activity prior to 1900 are sketchy at best, and are virtually non-existent from before the early 18th century.

For most of its history Atlasov island has been uninhabited, although Krasheninnikov reported that local people travelled there to hunt sea lions (presumably Steller’s sea lion, Eumetopias jubatus, which is the largest of the family). His notes reported that: ‘In [their] vessels they go to the desert island Alaide, which lies out at sea about thirty miles, and are sometimes carried four, five, and even eight days without seeing any land, exposed to the cold of these climates; and without any compass, they return to their habitations by observing the sun or moon.’ His account of the methods by which the animals were killed is not for the squeamish, although the process appeared to involve as much running away from the enraged beasts as it did stabbing, spearing and clubbing!

settlement

Remains of the fish cannery near to Taketomi
(© Yu.D. Lyannik via KVERT)

More recently people have lived on the island, but only for a brief period. A fish cannery was established at some point, and the derelict remains are still there. It is probable that it was abandoned due to volcanic activity.

Most of the Kuril volcanoes are today monitored by SVERT – the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team that is part of the FEB RAS’s Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics headquartered in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (http://www.imgg.ru). However, Alaid and the five active volcanoes of Paramushir Island (Ebeko, Chikurachki, Fuss Peak, and the Tatarinova and Karpinsky groups) are monitored by KVERT, based in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy (http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/index_eng.php). The Tokyo VAAC (volcanic ash advisory centre) is the organisation responsible for issuing ash notifications to the aviation community (http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).

UKViggen

Note: This first part of the article is intended only to set the scene – the second part is the ‘main course’, with details of Alaid volcano itself, its eruptive history and a nearby volcano that few have heard of and no-one has ever seen!

Thanks to KVERT for permission to use images from the agency’s website (http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/index_eng.php)

crater 2007

Alaid’s summit crater is seen from the air in 2007 (© Yu.D. Lyannik via KVERT)

Addendum: Who ‘owns’ the Kurils?

To this day the Kurils remain the subject of unresolved sovereignty issues. From the 17th century the islands were nominally part of Japan but, as the Russian presence strengthened in Kamchatka in the 18th century, so its settlements spread south along the island chain, as far as Iturup (Etorofu). In 1855 the Treaty of Shimoda established the border as lying between the islands of Etorofu (Japan) and Urup (Russia), but in 1875 the Treaty of Saint Petersburg handed all of the islands to Japan while Russia took control of all of Sakhalin (although later forced to cede the southern half after the Russo-Japanese war of 1905).

The Kurils, and Alaid, remained in Japanese hands until the end of World War II. It was in a bay off Iturup island that Admiral Yamamoto assembled – in the great secrecy afforded by the remote location ­– the strike force that sailed for Hawaii on 26th November 1941 to decimate the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Although the Soviet Union declared war on Japan on 8th August 1945, and swiftly reoccupied the southern half of Sakhalin island, it was not until after the war officially ended on 15th August that the Soviets moved against the Kurils. Between the 18th of the month and 2nd September the 87th Rifle Corps successively occupied all of the islands, and over the next two years expelled all remaining Japanese inhabitants and surrendered forces. During the Cold War the islands were increasingly militarised, including the establishment of a secret submarine base in the flooded caldera of Urataman volcano on Simushir island that could rival anything in a Bond movie.

Since 1945 the two main islands at the south of the chain (Kunashir and Iturup, plus Shikotan and the Habomai rocks) remain claimed by Japan as what it terms its ‘Northern Territories’. A joint declaration in 1956 appeared to have settled the dispute along the lines of the 1855 treaty, but Cold War politics intervened and the agreement was neither ratified nor acted upon.

Attempts to end the dispute have rumbled on for years, and in 2009 led to some minor visa and fishery concessions as a prelude to a hoped-for permanent solution, but the war of words has continued to this day. Japan recently reworded the official history taught in schools to reflect a more hardline approach to its claim on the islands, while Russia has embarked on the reinforcement of its forces deployed in what President Medvedev called in 2011 an “inseparable” part of Russia.  – UKV

Demis-kurils-russian_names

Kuril islands with current official ‘Russian’ names (Wikimedia Commons)

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443 thoughts on “Alaid: Part 1 – the banished beauty

    • There was a spike recorded at the smjörgil station.
      But the main part of this is weather related. Remember that the scale on that plot is not at a high setting.

      • I have been watching this for some time now and I have never seen this behavior before on the borholu thensla. And the weather has been good, bad and worse over that time and never has it shown up on the seismicity…. why would weather be affecting now when it hasn’t before? And the weather is quite pleasant at this time….

        • Actually, over the years I have seen it many times.
          One should remember that Haukadalur is a noisy station affected by many things.
          What throws people off is that the scale is rather small right now. So it shows small things. If the regular SILs had been showing (they are running, but the public server showing them is down) you would have seen that this is just minimal disturbance.
          There is actually more noise in the other direction with Smjörgil giving off a rather interesting spike. And that spike did not even show a blip on Mjoaskard that is in the right direction.
          In my opinion, when you see the tremor passing 0.6 and rising on a calm day it would be interesting.

          • Smjörgil is not measuring Hekla, but Eyjafjallajökull, Godabunga and Katla, even Tindfjallajökull – strangely there have been some quakes there -.

            • Yepp, Smjörgil is located WN of Eyja, and on a direct line you have Mjoaskerd and Hekla.
              The quakes are interesting since most of them seem to be in the area between Eyja and Tindfjallajökull.
              Nothing really out of the ordinary for an active volcano on Iceland, but nothing pointing towards an eruption.

            • The seismometer of Smjörgil is placed in a little gorge by the same name which actually is part of Eyjafjallajökull volcano / mountain (Thorsmörk, very near to Gígjökull, where Eyjafjallajökull lava came down). http://www.vedur.is/media/vedurstofan/utgafa/arsskyrslur/Arsskyrsla_Vedurstofunnar.pdf p.9

              Tindfjallajökull is also an active volcano with some high temperature areas at its feet, but it has been dormant now for some thousands of years – and will better remain so, had a rather nasty one around 55000 years ago.

    • There is though no coincidence about the VAAC doing trial runs. Yes, they removed the advisory, but since there still is signs of activity at Hekla they are doing them. Just doing their job really and following their protocol.

      • Not really, Hekla has meny times shown a pattern of just going up up up…
        It is the rapid changes that is a sign that something is happening.

        • Going up and down is also related to atmospheric pressure going up and down, and also the tides. Please disregard the Hekla strain going up for many days in a row, or down. Or if it goes to an usual scale, then that is a sign of a possible eruption.

          • That could be. But I have been looking at this bleeding strain for months now, and it seems to have been falling straight down, when its been rising sooo much for soooo long 🙂 I don’t know what it means though, but I guess it has got to do with the current activity we are seeing in Hekla. Because I never used to see it before a few months back!

            • One should though remember that the Burfell strainmeter is not operational. And that is the one most often showing the interesting strain falls.

            • As far as I remember Islander said once that the new Hekla strainmeter could well be able to replace Búrfell strainmeter.

            • Problem is that it will most likely be awesome for the first minute or so. But it is so close that it will most likely go south quickly. The same goes for a couple of the new SILs.
              Look at them as canon-fodder for research. Problem right now is that currently there are technical issues with some of the equipment, so it would not be a good time for an eruption for the researchers.
              And for us normal deadly people it is a bad time since the SIL-server is down.

  1. Unexpectedly found myself with a little free time this afternoon and used it to check on Etna – looks to be heating up on the thermal cam but the tremor doesn’t seem to be rising at all… really hope she waits a couple of hours until I’m free to sit at my craptop and watch the action.

    • Hi Christina, from memory it’s situated near (under?) a summer cottage so it could be the owners spring cleaning? I also noticed the localised quakes yesterday – we had about 2 of them. It could very well be something, especially as the weather is so calm, but It might be worth checking in on Jon’s website to see if he knows of any man made activity taking place nearby.

    • If one looks at both Helicorders one sees that it is actually not located towards Hekla. This activity is located somewhere close to Smjörgil SIL-station. It shows very clearly on it.
      At about 8.30 there was even a bit of harmonic tremor there. Remember that there has been small quakes lately around both Eyja and towards Tindfjallajökul.
      It is though still normal behaviour for the area and the involved volcanoes.

        • There are a couple of small episodes every year. Nothing spectacular though. And now and then we have a bit of Eyja events as it is cooling down. In the longer perspective it is not out of the ordinary, even though it is interesting when it happens.

  2. Hekla is looking serenely white on the web-cam, so off-topic, fireballs:

    ‘LYRID FIREBALLS: For the past few days, Earth has been passing through a stream of debris from ancient Comet Thatcher, source of the annual Lyrid meteor shower. According to international observers, the encounter produced as many as 25 meteors per hour. Some of these were fireballs. NASA’s All Sky Fireball Network detected more than 30 Lyrids as bright as Venus on the nights around the shower’s April 22nd peak.’

    http://spaceweather.com/

    And just as an example – I hope this link will show one:

    http://video.uk.msn.com/watch/video/suspected-meteor-lights-up-sky-above-argentine-city/2ifdim9v?from=gallery_en-gb&sf=Relevancy#7

    Just a lovely little ‘light show’!

  3. For those loving small earthquakes at Hekla. At 15.05 there was one located between FED and MJO. That of course places it in or around Hekla proper. Not a big one, but a small “look who’s here”.

    • Eh, no. Look. There were (two) at about 15.10 ~ 15:11 UTC, look the spike on MJO is double in shape, meaning they happened about a mnute apart.
      Also I was hoping the SAU SIL could provide the “third station” needed for triangulation and to see depth *I think am not “Befuddled”, handicapped due stomach upsetness, needing go to Toyl.-thing regularily. In other words obviously at home.*

      • Of course… that is the ten-minute marker… Sigh.
        But the double thing only shows on Mjo, I think that might be due to “Shivering in the belly” of Hekla. Sau and Smj picked it up, but very faintly. So IMO will most likely be able to handmap it in the end.
        May your stomach stop erupting soon so you are in shape of going if needs be!

        • *thanks, I think it will pass eventually. them “eruptions” have been sporatic and not made it into the headlines .. but in times of Hekla going , will simply be ignored … 😉 *

  4. Arternoon all,
    Just spent a pleasant arternoon watching Etna from Catania, first from a nice restaurant on VIa Etnea, then from a roof terrace bar.
    The view is like the Montagnola webcam but much more distant.
    What is not seen on the INGV webcams is that the exhalations are occuring every minute or so (I timed them.)
    I shall be back at the roof terrace like a shot if things start happening tonight (even with the beer costing 5€ a bottle.)
    I am kinda hoping it stays quiet tonight as we are taking the grand tour tomorrow 😉

    • Thanks for update. I have Montagnola camera open, Black Column is lots of fine ash, the more black, the more ash – but rather coarse – Light gray is finer ash – But then there should be a glow visible tonight via binoculars/zoom lens (10x) if it keeps up as this, but tremour is not high.

      • You are most welcome Islander,
        I will report more as and when I have anything to add.
        Catania is a lovely city and we have been made very welcome, highly recommended.

    • Hope you are having a great time! You’re not missing too much in Brighton – it was like being in a John Carpenter film all day yesterday and this morning with the sea fog. However, the sun is now shining but I have to wait for friends to finish work so they can take me to the nearest beer garden! Do make sure you both have some Cannoli if you haven’t already and I recommend the Greek theatre in Taormina – fabulous view of Etna!

      • Hi Inannamoon,
        Good to know about the weather in Brighton, there’s usually a heat wave / the whole english summer when we take our spring holiday!!! Did I mention that I’m highly susceptable to Sod’s Law? 😀
        Enjoy yr beer x

          • Thanks Ukviggen,
            “well jell” is your daughter’s saying isn’t it?
            Can’t wait to get up there, it’s sheer luck that we’re here now, we booked the trip months ago…
            No arancini yet, but they are on the list 🙂

            • Yes, it was her.
              ‘Rather envious’ would be a loose English translation if anyone is wondering.
              I suppose we all had our own sayings at that age, but it does make me smile when the local teenagers in this leafy corner of the Home Counties go around talking to each other like they are from South Central LA.

      • Hi Inannamoon. Didn’t realise you were in Brighton. Only 30 miles west of me. And we have had the sea fog ALL DAY here. It makes it feel so cold and gloomy. ;( Did you have it the last two days as well as we did here?.
        This place is supposed to be the sunniest in the UK. I think we will lose that record this year.

          • Erm? 30 miles west of me is Brighton (actually I have rather badly over-calculated, Brighton is only 22 miles from me). 😳 Bexhill is 58 miles from me. I had an aunt lived there for a good few years before she died. So actually if Brighton is west of me I am East of Brighton. It is a town that had the rather dubious privilege of playing host to a recuperating King and earned a Regis after it’s name, the King on his deathbed when it was suggested he return to the town to try to get well again uttered some rather rude and harsh, though probably well deserved words about the town. 😀

          • Ah! I think you mean that Brighton is east of you rather than west! Still, I know BR quite well too!
            It might be apocryphal, but the very first handshake between US astronaut and Russian cosmonaut during the Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975 took place right over BR!

            • OH!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😳 I do have this dreadful problem of messing up left and right and East and West. So sorry!
              Ah fame for BR at last. LOL 😀 Actually last words of King George V are probably also apocryphal. But oh so very apt. 🙂

            • I’m the same. Some clever person probably learned a lot about how the brain works by studying the consummate ease with which we handle up/down and north/south, yet flounder so badly with left/right and east/west.
              Always liked BR though – as a teenager we got the train there a couple of times for a day out at the holiday camp (Butlins?). You could get a combined train/camp entry ticket for about 90p! Also had a bit of a thing about Pagham harbour and its birdlife, and much later flew in a couple of times to the old air strip at the back of the town.

            • WOW UKViggen, I am impressed you flew into the old airstrip. Used to be owned by the owner of LEC. Now gone and so may jobs with it. 😦 Just recently the factory demolished and a new Sainsbury store built on the site. Husband and I often walk across the old airfield and often see owls there in the evening. Pagham Harbour now owned by RSPB and I haven’t been there for quite a few years now. I did catch my first BIG fish there though many years ago, a 6lb Sea Bass. Oh that tasted so good baked in foil with ginger and spring onions. Actually husband cast out, I just reeled it in while he was setting up the second fishing rod. Oh was he gutted when he saw the size. 😀

            • Nothing beats a bass fresh from the sea, that’s for sure.
              I don’t remember too much about the strip other than it was a bit damp, always a crosswind as the runway was roughly north-south (IIRC) and we took a touring party of French aircraft in there one day. This would have been mid-/late 1970s. Most of my flying at that time was from Shoreham, but we used a few strips around the region in the winter when Shoreham got waterlogged. Ford (now closed) was the main one, but also flew at BR occasionally and there was also a grass strip at Selsey too. ( I had better shut up now, this is getting way too nostalgic and off-topic!)

        • Yes, lived in Brighton the last 10 years. It was lovely most of the day but as I was on my way home the fog was rolling in again. I love Brighton, the energy of a big city but still has the relaxed nature of a smallish town. I’m sure your son will love it here too Diana and you’ll have some new adventures when you come to visit! Plenty to see and do!

          Must remember to take a picture tomorrow – we’ve just moved offices at work (those local may guess who I work for) and they’ve put up this art work slash wall paper in the lobby that looks just like a tremor graph! It’s like they knew!! 🙂

    • Yes, just saw that too. Wind at Heklubyggð has picked up a bit, (8m/s – high of 12.1, 10min avg. at 6.3) but not sure if this is the cause

      • It is only showing at HAU though. None of the other SILs closer to Hekla is picking anything up.

    • Since it only shows up on HAU I suspect that it is something localized like melt water or something like that.

  5. Also at Askja, there has been movements in her fissure swarm near Herdubreid again: http://www.vedur.is/skjalftar-og-eldgos/jardskjalftar/vatnajokull/#view=map

    And there were also again quakes near Langjökull at the same location as before, on the lava shield to the southeast of the glacier. http://www.vedur.is/skjalftar-og-eldgos/jardskjalftar/langjokull/ The location of the older one to the south of Langjökull is near a so-called “línuvegur”, a jeep track which was in the beginning installed for people working with electricity lines. I think it is not far from a “veiðihús”, a summer or hunting hut.

  6. Just read the entirety this post and all following comments, it was hard work! I believe i have counted my first 3 grey hairs because of it. Thank manky bananas we have volcanoes and sheep to bring us all together. Peace out, one love 😀

    • Me too – what a read indeed! Thanks ukviggen….great news too that Carl is back in the fold (or should I say flock 🙂

          • Oh dfm and BM, you two just gave me a great laugh! When I was just 30 I was lamenting my hair turning grey. A friend said he was more concerned about keeping his hair at all. My tactless husband said he had something to help him keep his hair and handed him a paper bag. Needless to say husband has a major mop of hair that only has a few grey ones in it. Disgusting I call it, especially when some people think he is my son! 😳
            He is after all only 6 years younger than me!

            • Yepp, bald as a bat… I have saved a fortune on barbers and schampoo through the years.
              I though meticulously schampoo my beard with the beard schampoo Grunge. It comes in the taste Rum-Raisin…

            • Didn’t know they did a beard shampoo! Or are you just kidding me? Hubby just uses shower gel on his beard when he showers. If I didn’t nag him he would use it in place of shampoo too!

            • I pulled your leg a bit…
              Shower gel all over for me.
              Nobody has ever been able to explain what the difference is between a shower gel and a schampoo… They for heavens sake contain the same crap in the same concentration…

            • Yepp, but I must admit that I would be a bottly of Grunge-schampoo in Rum-Raisin flavour if I found one.

  7. Only 4 weeks until my Santorini holiday, i’m going to take a swim in the hot springs, now THAT is gonna be awesome, i’ll deffo take some piccys for you all . I’ll try and find some nice samples of various lava’s etc

      • if I win the Lottery Newby. You and I will go somewhere warm and be pampered. How about swimming in the Blue lagoon in Iceland? I could do with a Girl’s weekend :). I’m feeling SAD…. That seasonal disorder. Lack of sunshine etc.

        • Yes SAD. A friend is badly afflicted with that, she only gets through the winter by going to Italy for a couple of weeks every February. I see you are a Blue Lagoon fan too! I often watch and envy the people soaking in that warm water. I once visited a pool of hot mineral water that welled up from natural hot springs in Spain, I was young and single then and didn’t appreciate it as I would do now. Too hot to properly swim in it and at the time we went in the early 1970’s it was a rather run-down place. Since then it has been greatly upgraded and is a popular tourist attraction.

  8. Well since neither Etna, nor Hekla seems to be making much of a fire tonight I will have to make one myself. Here is one for Lurking, the local petrol station is the goal for a short walk since it sells fire wood. Is that making me into an auto-luddite?

    • BM, (full name is way too long) I wish we had the facility to make a fire in our house. Built with no chimney though! 😦 Not that I need a fire tonight. Gas man came today to service the boiler. Around 18:50 I am wondering why I am feeling so hot and why the radiators are burning hot. Yes, stupid gas man had turned the thermostat up to 30C!!!!!!
      GRRRR with gas the price it is I will be bankrupt now.

      • Got rid of that one over a year ago. One should be a good driver for a car like that, and I am not. And, would never have been able to fit any wood in it anyhoos.

        • Was it not Königsegg ?
          Nice boat you have there BM, as avatar, I mean.
          Done any usage of that lately, Guess not 🙂

          • Yepp, rather moroonic choice of car…
            Nope, not been any weather for using it really… I guess I could build some sort of sled for it and sail on the ice 😉 But summer is soon here. I will definitely go during the summer.

            • one guy came here to Iceland last summer on his sailboat, and put 4 wheels on it, but was grounded by Police an not allowed “sail” the streets or ring road (*true

            • Nope, not him… And wrong nationality too.
              I am thinking about Tristan Jones when I see the guy. Tristan among other things was the first to sail alone around Iceland alone and circumnavigating the pole while being north of Iceland the entire way. After that he set the record for vertical sailing.
              Full blood nut and adventurer. He was also a pirate like his namesake. He actually stole the ship that he set the vertical sailing record in.

          • Just a small bit of runoff melt water on Búrfell mountain top.

            There is a stream down in the valley between Búrfell and Hekla, but you can’t see it, the camera sits to far back on the flat mountain top of Búrfell.

            • Thanks Inge – I’ve just been watching it for a while and decided it was definitely a stream. Obviously Spring is on the way – even on top of Hekla!

              Well spotted Pyter – I would have thought it was a shadow if I hadn’t watched it closely for a while! 🙂

            • The webcam does not sit on Hekla herself, there is a valley (with the invisible stream) in between Hekla volcano and the old extinct table volcano Búrfell (Ice Age volcano, started life under a glacier).

            • The stream in the valley is called Þjórsá, one of the longest of Iceland (230 km). There is a very big lava field named after her, the biggest known lava field in Iceland actually (950 km2, age 8.500 BP) which came from the Bárðarbunga system.

              The waters running between Búrfell and Hekla are just a part of the river runoff, because an important part is led against Búrfell through a tube system feeding the second biggest hyropower station of the country. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%BArfell_%28%C3%9Ej%C3%B3rs%C3%A1rdal%29

            • Thanks Inge – I’m slowly getting an idea of the geography – the view from the webcams can give a false idea, especially in the snow, and some of the valleys are difficult to make out. 🙂

          • Oh sorry Pyter, I thought you were referring to Hekla steaming, Note to self, never make inferences when you don’t have full and complete facts.. 🙂 Not that I can see any water but maybe the changed the picture again?

  9. Well, as Grimmster heads off to Santorini in 4 weeks, I will be heading off to Sorrento! Planning to take a trip up Vesuvius, Explore Pompeii and Hurculaneum(?), generally relax and, of course, sample the fine Italian cuisine. 😉

    • During the summer that strain meter did 20 days straight… Then they had to open the pressure valve.

        • HEK is probably to close, it was a good idea theoretically to drill one there. But in reallity the borehole is getting squished…

          • BM, is it hydraulic pressure that this strain sensor is working on? Pressure on a strain gauge?
            I guess this instrument is fitted to the bore-hole with concrete then…Just curious 🙂

            • There are basically 3 types. One using a metallic rod, ie a strain gage that reacts to the metall being pulled (there is laser sub type to this). Then you have the volumetric type that either is filled with air or oil, both of which are capped in various ways. Normally with a concrete slab with a metall tube sticking through.
              As far as I know it is a hydraulic one. It is definitely a volymetric one.

            • Thanks, quite interesting. Fascinating thing to measure this tension forces which direct acts to the bedrock. And also to sit in an armchair here in Norway with my laptop and have direct access to those sophisticated instruments. 🙂

            • Have many tourists here, think this is Norwegian tourists, but the one on left is Danish, coming (likely) from Greenland.

          • Yes, it is a shame the Burfel one is having problems. That AND the tremor charts being down means it is hard to get a good idea of what is really happening. It has to be close…. but then how close is close. How long is a piece of string?

            • Is it just me, or have we never had a Dane in here?
              We have Swedes, Finns and Norwegians. But I have never seen a Dane…
              (Ducking from being hit by Dannish wieners thrown by the Danish Lurker Squad).

            • I only once visited Norway. First we went to Sweden and as we were backpacking they wanted to see how much money we had before they let us in. We didn’t have much! We were staying with Finnish friends in Gothenberg for a few days though before we got the train up to Norway then a train from Oslo to Bergen. That was the most wonderful train journey I took in my life! The beauty of Norway in early June was breathtaking. THEN we had 3 days camping in Bergen in non-stop rain. LOL A beautiful place and the most friendly and helpful people I have ever met! Yes, wonderful memories of Norway.
              Mind you, getting chased by an Elk in a small forest on the outskirts of Gothenberg was also an experience I shall never forget. Glad I got married and had kids later in life, gave me plenty of time to travel.

            • I don’t think I have ever met a Dane! Do they not travel much? I have met many, Dutch, Swedish, Finns, Germans, French, Spanish. Latvian, Lithuanian, Czech, Poles, Slovaks, Italians, etc, but NEVER a Dane.

            • I had never met a real Dane outside Denmark until I was at the top of Vesuvius last year. A young couple asked me to take their picture in front of the crater – in perfect Scandinavian English (you know, the sort of English that is far better than any English person speaks). I then innocently asked what part of Sweden they were from! They didn’t look TOO upset when they said actually it was Esbjerg, in Denmark.

  10. WHOAH! I take 2 days off Vc since it’s quiet all around, also I had to work pretty much around the clock for a couple of days, (About 330Miles on the road, unit courtesy to GL ;D ) and what do i come back to— 2 missed posts, the Return of Le Strange(nice movie title btw) and a truckload of comments…. took me hours to catch up, with seweral rewinds, due to all the commotion, but thankfully it sems all is well again! Thanks for the marvelous posts, and welcome back Carl.

      • no sweat, welcome to de club
        Odd, another comment without a link from a very regular user that went into pending. Dragons please check the pending box frequently. Thank you. Sorry islander!
        rescued by Spica

        • Thanks Spica,
          likely Askismet (what a name) did not like the play, or the movie “Les Miserables”. I got see the play last year, it was very good, a little long, but very good.

          • My pleasure, but people! This has happened quite some times lately. It happened to KarenZ and some others. Please do not get upset if it should happen to you. We will try to free you a.s.a.p. and if anyone has an idea why this happens please let me know.

            • It happened to me when I used a different name: KarenZzzzz instead of KarenZ.

              Can Islander post without the “les Miserables” 😕

            • On the otherhand islander has posted successfully above with both islander and islander “les Miserables” – so forget that theory. 😉

            • No it cannot be that. Rememeber the bunch of people adding tubo their name.. and islander almost always has more than his name. ( which i find funny 😉 ) It is not the email adress for sure not the links cause there were none and the odd thing is also they go to pending not to spam. I honestly dont have the slightest idea. Maybe the spambot is on coffee break or it wants a raise or we feed it to little…

            • Well it soon will be islanderZzzzzzz…. and so far I have posted under 34 islander names” * and have personal drop down menu for all these … 🙂

              But this one got stuck and had to be released. Don’t know what that means. UKV

            • It means it traps all immigrants …
              *send it to Italy or lease it to EU, they need stoppers 🙂

    • I think Spica took it out this time, but most of the interface is work in progress at the moment 🙂 we’re looking into giving it a fresh-up regarding the Theme and Menu structure and Pages, so that will be ongoing the next couple of days. Please don’t be shocked if suddenly something has moved, looks a bit different or is re-organized. We try to keep it looking like VC did, but make it a bit fresher and more intuitive hopefully.

      A few things have been done already, so if this was the first thing to notice, that means it goes well so far! The ‘Welcome to VolcanoCafe’ page will be back off course, but maybe not today yet 🙂

      • Yes i did, but not for reasons you might think.

        The other dragons know it had been on the testblog (my private personal bombfield not open to the public) for weeks and was set up to be reformed there. After a year it seemed inappropriate and needed “fresh paint” And some rules needed a closer look.

        And I second Nathans announcement. We are working on things. Sorting out the menu, maybe making it easier, get rid of things that were never used.

        Eventually VC might even get a new header. But just wait and see. The menu was my duty. Suggestions are very welcome. But regarding the header image, if you have idea.. fine.. we love a beautiful volcano image as header, but nothing too colorful, copyrights cannot be harmed and the shape is a problem. Volcanoes are not so “flat” normally.

        • For the header, suggest you do a composite image of three volcano images, or find an image of a shield volcano / fissure eruption, which would be flatter. You could always do a post asking participants for images which could be used specifically for the header (all or part), e.g. holiday photos. You would have to attribute copyright as they wanted it attributed.

          A welcome / about page is useful for new readers. You might also want to consider pages which deal with privacy and legal matters to protect both the blog’s and users’ interests

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