Central Kamchatka Depression

Photograph of Tolbachik taken by Roman Melnyk.

Photograph of Tolbachik taken by Roman Melnyk.

The Central Kamchatka Depression is a roughly 100km wide valley between two volcanic belts, the Sredinny Ridge and the Eastern Kamchatka Ridge in the middle of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The Central Kamchatka Depression (CKD) is known as the most active arc volcano system in the world (*1). CKD’s volcanic activity is mostly clustered in the Klyuchevskoy Group, named after its youngest, highest and most active volcano, the Klyuchevskoy Volcano. This volcano has a mean eruption rate of 1 m³/s the last 10 kyr (*1). This made it possible to build a 4800m high mountain within 7000 years. It may come as no surprise that Klyuchevskoy earned the title of most active island-arc volcano in the world (*2).  Of course the magma needed for such amount of activity in the CKD have to come from somewhere.  Let us take a look what happens underneath CKD.

The Kamchatka Peninsula

Kamchatka map

The Kamchatka Peninsula is situated at the triple junction of the Okhotsk Plate, the Pacific Plate and the Komandorsky Plate. There are three main volcanic belts, The Sredinny Ridge (SR), the Eastern Kamchatka Ridge (EK) and the Southern Kamchatka Ridge (SK). These are caused by subduction of the Pacific Plate underneath the Okhotsk Plate. As noted above CKD lies between EK and SR. The specific tectonic settings are the most important factor behind the huge amount of magma in the CKD. First of all, CKD and the Klyuchevskoy volcanic group lie at the exact place where the Emperor seamounts subduct.

Also the boundary between oceanic crust and continental comes into play. As you can see on fig 1(*3)

the SK and SR lies on continental crust, while both CKD and EK lies on oceanic crust. This has several important consequences. The first, (the least important for our story), is the differences of the type of lava emitted. EK and SK form one volcanic zone (the Eastern Volcanic Front) but have different types of lava. In fact the lava’s from SK and SR are more similar than the lava’s of SK and EK. Also the lava’s of CKD and EK are similar in style. The second consequence is its influence on the subduction angle of the pacific plate. In the South the pacific plate has to dive immediately under thick continental crust. In the North the Pacific Plate comes first across thin oceanic crust and has only after 300km to dive under continental crust. This shows in the subduction angle, which is 50° in the south and gradually decrease to 35° in the North. The third and most important consequence is the creation of a mantle wedge under CKD.  Because the pacific plate has to dive under the very thick continental crust of SK and SR, its mean average depth under the CKD is 170km. The oceanic crust at the CKD is only 30-40km deep, leaving a gap of 120 km between the two crusts. This void, the mantle wedge, is filled with magma.

Schematic figure of the mantle wedge:

Kamchatka slab

From: http://www.mantleplumes.org/Kamchatka.html

So what happens with the magma?           

As already noted, the CKD lies above the subduction of the part of the Pacific Plate with the Emperor Seamounts. The emperor seamounts and Pacific plate create high gas-rich (mostly H2O) freshly molten magma as it is pulled down. All this magma fills the mantle wedge. Of course the mantle wedge can only have a limit amount of new magma. At one moment the mantle wedge becomes ‘full’. The magma being a fluid seeks the path out of the least resistance out of the wedge. So which options does it have?

It comes from the East, thus it will likely not going back in that direction. To the West and the South thick Continental crust blocks the path. The magma inside the mantle wedge is above the zone of subduction which weakens the crust through friction. It can’t go down because of the Pacific Plate laying below it. So this leaves only two options: To the North and Up. Now is the Pacific Plate tilted through the difference of subduction angle?

This means that the Pacific plate becomes shallower the more you go to the north. Magma migrating north is more and more squeezed between the Okhotsk plate and the Pacific plate. At one point it gets squeezed too much and it takes the only way left: up. The way up (with or without going North) seems to be the easiest option, the magma has only find a way through thin oceanic crust.  Hence, this is the option that most magma takes. The very active Klyuchevskoy Group (from Tolbachik in the South-West to Shiveluch in the North- East) is the result.

Other complications

There is evidence that within this mantle wedge there’s a lot of melting and mixing of magma’s. As example, the Klyuchevskoy Volcano produced both high-MgO basalts and high-Al2O3 basaltic andesites, even at the same moment. There is also a gradual change from South to North of the type of basalt emitted. Tolbachik, the southernmost volcano, erupt mostly basalts from peridotite melts. While Shiveluch in the North erupts basalt from pyroxenite melts.

It is not clear what drives this melting and mixing processes. Temperature anomalies, flux created by the melt/subduction of the emperor seamount and even a trapped part of oceanic crust within the mantle wedge are proposed. However studies have showed that there is an important anomaly at 100 km depth within the mantle wedge. This anomaly seems to be an important factor in the peridotite/pyroxenite melts:

Picture showing this anomaly:Kamchatka wedge

Schematic version of how the mantle wedge is built up with kuma the anomaly:

Kamchatka Kuma

What we see at the surface of the earth

Of course we see a very active volcanic region. The 4 active volcanoes of the Klyuchevskoy group (Tolbachik, Bezymianny, Klyuchevskoy and Shiveluch) are together good for 22 VEI 1, 83 VEI 2, 39 VEI 3, 5 VEI 4 and 1 VEI 5 eruptions since 1900. GVP list also 4 eruptions smaller than VEI 1. Tolbachik at the southern end, has moderate fractionated basal-andesite lava. It erupts mostly effusive and because of this it is the only shield volcano of the Klyuchevskoy group. The other volcanoes of the group are stratovolcanoes.  Shiveluch at the other end receive silicate-rich ‘primitive’ basalt from depth. Hence he will erupt more explosively. Klyuchevskoy in the middle has the most mixed magmas but is constantly smoking/puffing/erupting with a mean eruption rate of 1m³/s.



*1 http://giseis.alaska.edu/input/west/papers/2012_epsl_nikulin_kamchatka_mantle.pdf#f0015

*2 https://www.llnl.gov/str/Kersting.html

*3 http://www.mantleplumes.org/Kamchatka.html

*4 http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/36/7/519.abstract



134 thoughts on “Central Kamchatka Depression

  1. Sa’ke – thanks for a really fascinating post.

    As you know I have quite an interest in this region, and I wrestled over the Nikulin papers a couple of months ago, but my understanding of the subject just isn’t good enough to fully comprehend it. I take my hat off to you for making sense of it!

    Hope you don’t mind, but I have a couple of points to raise: firstly, I guess it should be noted that a number of different models have been proposed for the explanation of the KUMA, some of which are complementary and some of which are conflicting. The latest Nikulin paper only suggests a possible theoretical model, albeit a good one, and does not entirely rule out other possibilities (despite casting some doubt on them).

    Also, I’m a bit confused when you use the term ‘basalts’ when describing the erupted lavas? Shiveluch, or at least the ‘Young’ Shiveluch, has only twice in its history produced anything near a basalt (basaltic andesite). Everything else has been high-silica andesite.

    • Also, to give another idea of the scene, here’s today’s updated EQ map from EMSD. Kliuchevskoy and Shiveluch showing heavily in terms of recent activity. I know one shouldn’t look too hard for patterns, but there’s a very nice linear feature going on at Shiveluch (at the top)

      Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    • I’think its a part due to my having troubles with formulation/ finding out if it is about magma-lava. That wasn’t always clear.
      From: http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/36/7/519.abstract.
      Here we summarize published data on CKD rocks and demonstrate a systematic south-to-north change of their compositions from moderately fractionated basalt-andesite tholeiitic series to highly fractionated basalt-rhyolite calc-alkaline .

      • Ah, then I understand.
        Because you get tholeiitic basalts to basaltic andesites when the tholeitic olivines percolate. Which ends up at Tolbachik. And the more evolved members in the rhyolitic group in the other. Of course, baring that I got my bearings straight…

  2. Thank you Sa’ke for an interesting post.

    Kuma is intriguing. If it is old plate, it could be oceanic plate (paleo slab or from the Pacific plate) or it could be continental plate from the Okhostk plate.

    • There is also the possibility that it could be a shard from the old Kula plate. Seeing as it was not buoyant enough to become a terrane (oceanic crust) it probably got snapped off and stuck in an eddy behind the now subducting pacific plate.

      It caused a bit of havoc in the Columbia Embayment when it went under.

      From ref #1 above:

      If we assume that low velocities in the upper mantle seismic anomaly and the signature of pyroxenite melting arise from the same source, two geodynamic scenarios appear plausible. The sharp boundaries and planar geometry of the seismic anomaly are consistent with it representing the crustal portion of a detached fragment of oceanic lithosphere, while pyroxenite signature will arise when eclogitized part of the crustal material will melt. As discussed above, such a fragment is unlikely to remain suspended in the asthenosphere, and acceptance of this scenario implies that we are observing a highly transient set of conditions. Support for the transient nature of the KG volcanism may be found in its relative youth, and remarkable vigor.

  3. I do not know why, but about an hour ago half of the Icelandic network went offline. If I am correct it is all the equipment transmitting via satelite.

  4. y s, y o a e r g t
    *yes you are right if anyone did not get that every other leter in the words is missing
    (microwave & VHF links I think, sattelite way too expensive)
    I think a relay must have broken down in the storm now passing SW Iceland
    *4O m.sek
    sorry, I lost half my letters from keyboard

  5. The aluetian trench is a bit of a mistery to me. It’s a proper subduction zone in alaska but in Kamchatka it’s more a strike slip fault that apears to be subducting under kamchatka although it still looks like a trench. To bent an already bentdown piece of ocean floor seems rather difficult to me. More of a problem as the emperor seamounts.
    Slide a peace of paper to the edge of a table it will bent down and if yo push it out more then half it will fall down. Push it to the corner of the table and it will fall down when 3/4 of the weight is over the corner.
    Things don’t like to bent in two 90 degree directions.
    The slap goes down on a much slallower degree north as in the south as seen in the first picture of the post.
    Also if you wanna bent down a already bent peace of slab you end up with excess material in the corner. Could that be the kuma anomely?

    • As I understand it, the Pacific Plate is subducting with westward movement under the Okhotsk Plate at the triple junction; it is sliding past the Kormandsky Plate in a westerly direction.

      North of the junction is relatively quiet in terms of EQs. The papers I looked at mentioned an extinct subduction zone and a short lived spreading ridge. Could be interesting. 😕

      • Thanks, yeah that’s how i see it. The pacific plate is not subducting under the kormandsky plate near kamchatka but it still looks like a trench. very interesting 🙂

        • The subduction zone for the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate starts more towards the east. Somewhere in one the papers I read, it was suggested that the Pacific Plate might be tearing to accommodate this.

          • If you look in google earth there seems to be a speading zone just north of the emperor chain. might be it.

  6. Sake! Thank you for a really interesting Post. This is so complicated though. It needs more than a once over read! I thought Iceland was confusing. It seems where there are volcanoes there are more questions than answers. The more I learn the less I seem to know.
    @irpsit. I am happy you have arrived home safely and I am looking forward to seeing some photos. It sounded like a really adventurous Hike.
    BTW Has anyone heard from Newby recently? I hope she is OK, and also Ursh.

  7. 5.39106(32) × 10^−44 s

    The Planck time comes from a field of mathematical physics known as dimensional analysis, which studies units of measurement and physical constants. The Planck time is the unique combination of the gravitational constant G, the relativity constant c, and the quantum constant h, to produce a constant with units of time. For processes that occur in a time t less than one Planck time.

    • and is only valid in a space smaller then the Planck length to be nittpickitty 😉

      Planck time is a pesky little thing partly responsible for something that is called quantum foaming. It is formed as the spacetime literally gets unstable at distances shorter than the Planck length. Quantum foam is though quite useful. You can make processors utilizing it, and you can bend space time with it making pseudorelativistic travell possible with it through quantum foam fielding.
      The last one is a very exact theory in which you can on a theoretical stage build a ship that can go to the next star in 2 weeks using about 1.8 tons of materia converted to energy. Warp travel have thanks to Planck time now become an engineering problem. For some reason humanity having found out how to go at Warp speed was not a big news item.

    • Teacher: John, why are you doing math multiplications on the floor?
      John: You told me to do it without using tables!

  8. Sometimes Mondays start off on an amusing note.

    Radio News this morning.

    Police in Tallahassee Florida were unsuccessful in apprehending a llama that leapt over a four foot fence and scampered away.

    Perhaps they should request assistance from Lacoochie Florida that managed to capture a Kangaroo after only10 hours of persuit. (Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

  9. I don’t use Apple products. Overly hyped and manufacturer centered. Parts support is abysmal, as is technical documentation.

    In my line of work, any manufacture who locks you into using their proprietary system, even going as far as requiring you to send a unit back to them to have a battery changed.

    But… That’s just my opinion. However, from a security aspect, be warned:

    Forget obscure apps, unexpected emails and suspicious links. A group of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology claim to have developed a new smartphone charger that can install malware on almost any Apple device running the latest version of iOS.

    Billy Lau, Yeongjin Jang and Chengyu Song are expected to debut the charger at Black Hat, a long-running security conference to be held in Las Vegas this July and August. A summary of their presentation states that they will be able to demonstrate how an iOS device can be compromised less than a minute after plugging in a malicious charger.


    In other words, be wary of convenient chargers. Treat it as you would an egg salad sandwich you found laying on the counter. You don’t know what is in it…

      • Very true. Anything that uses a data port for charging is vulnerable.

        The big shocker is that someone actually implemented it AND announced that they succeeded.

        The old adage that some O/Ss are invulnerable is bogus. All it takes is someone motivated, with enough time and knowledge to figure it out.

        • It is reputation building, they will quite literaly get whatever they demand from their future employer…

  10. Jökulhlaups. Not a good thing, can easily dump water rivaling that of the Mississippi.

    Right now the Mississippi is doing it’s own thing. A Levee was topped at West Alton, Missouri.

    “Major” Flood stage is 29 feet. The river is projected to crest up around 30 to 31 feet. Most of the area near the river is protected by levees. Despite the grim impression that the graphic on this site shows, not all of that area will be flooded. But anywhere near the river that has had a breech could be.


    This is my projection of the potentially affected area around West Alton. The blue is a plane representing roughly a 30 foot river level. I emphasize.. ROUGHLY. (Due to the possibility of Google’s altitude of the river not being a valid reference level or correlating to a particular river stage stage.)

    Not only can this image be off, IT MOST LIKELY IS. Also note the rendering artifact over at Pelican Island.

    What is going to be interesting is that last year, they blew part of the levee to lessen pressure further down the river. I think that they rebuilt that part, but the extra mass did cause a few small quakes along the New Madrid Seismic Zone, but nothing to really write home about. NMSZ is much further south than this flooding event. I also think that the low lying land has transverse levees in case part of the main system fails. That would localize the event to that region of the river.

  11. OT………Ahhhhh! Lurking! Time! It’s my daughter’s wedding day on Saturday. She’s 41 with two children and her soon to be husband has been with her for nearly 18 years. Well better late than never! The celebrations will be probably somewhat alternative and at the least interesting. I have my “Bride’s Mother” outfit. (The shoes have small heels and Boy! Do they pinch my poor feet) A Classic 3 piece silky number and ..a fascinator. This, for those who are not into fashion is a concoction of feathers and twirly bits worn at a jaunty angle on the head. Guests and family have been asked to put in requests for music for the play list. (Sign of the times now. Not present List, hymn or Guest list… no music for the party is most important)
    Time was when people got married, then had the children (Do I throw confetti at the happy pair as a wish for fertility?)
    Time was when brides collected their “Bottom drawer” Items for the new home together. (What present do you buy for those with everything already?)
    I am often accused (along with many of us of certain age) of harking back to the past.
    My request for the play list ……

    • I Like! 😀

      I’ve always had a thing for Magenta. Columbia was a twit. Riff Raff was a hoot.

      Best wishes for the happy couple!

      As for modernity… well, one of my daughters finally married the father of one of the grandsons. Get this… she wore White.

      As a nod to the grandfather (me), Karma has blessed her and her husband with a new daughter. After having to deal with having a daughter and all the worry that goes with it… I can’t think of a better fulfillment of karma for the new dad. In 15 years or so, I’m gonna be laughing my ass off. 😀

      Back to Rocky Horror. In one of the numerous “Fail” videos out there… there is a segment from a news broadcast that was highlighting the features coming up. One of them was an upcoming interview with Meatloaf. The graphic popped out a picture of a meatloaf to highlight the event.

      • We have a saying here “What goes round comes round”
        My step son who saw me as wicked stepmother par excellence. Who frequently yelled at me “You are not my mother. You can’t tell me what to do”; He gave us real grief, dishonesty, thieving and friends in the local drugs mafia who had to be removed from our front door by the police once or twice….you get the picture. Now has a “love child” to a young lady who expects him to do all the house work and child care. She also has a son by another man. Kyle now come to me for advice on how to handle his step son. and the “brother- in – law” who steals his stuff. We are now best buddies and he is doing his best to be a good father. Karma is wonderful, although I do feel sorry for him as I know the worst is yet to come….the children are only very young and their teenage years are ahead of him 😀

        • After having been seriously depresed about not having any kids (my own or anyone elses) for about a year, I think you two cured me in one go… 🙂

          • Hi 100Initiative 🙂 Volcanoes and Kids have several things in common…….They make a mess. At times they smell awful . They vomit and cause havoc and are totally unpredictable. 😀

            • Hello Diana!
              Sorry about the name change… Let us just saying that it is prophetic in the extreme (hehe).

              I actually like kids so much that I actually enjoy even getting barfed on when I am babysitting. If I had been a woman I would have gone for invitro fertilization and sperm donation a long time ago…

              But hey, instead I get sitting in the coolest office on the planet in the middle of the night bopping Suburbia by Pet Shop Boys at ridiculous volume in the middle of the night writing cool things about the Laki eruption.

              If I had any brains at all I should have published this as 3 separate scientific articles, or as a second ph.d. and become a proper volcanologist. But that won’t happen, instead I will give those who think I am a raving egomaniac an ocean on their water wheels.

  12. Here’s to “The Great International Math on Keys”, a book that accompanied some early Texas Instrument Calculators. It had practical examples of the use of math in day to day life.

    Cool little book.

    • Oh! I remember those early calculators. That one like a little owl……:D it was about my level of maths 🙂

      • why does the USA say math and in England its plural…maths? Do we have more calculations or numbers?

        • In the USA it is an entity, a body of knowledge, in England it is something that you do. You do maths, but American study Math.
          (Patting my own back for actually being able to tell something about the English language)

            • Yepp, implying studying the use of mathematics. Americans study the mathematic discpline.
              There is probably something in here that could create work for dozens of linguistical neuropsychologists.

          • Teacher: Glenn how do you spell “crocodile?’
            Glenn : K-r-o-k-o-d=a=i=l
            Teacher : no that is wrong
            Glenn : Maybe it’s wrong, but you asked me how I spell it !

    • Hekla strain is dropping – BUR holding steady. I’m not sure of the scale at present – it may only be a small drop.

        • Yupp. HEK stopped its drop, and that was before I regained world awareness. Late finish. Rest of keybord returned safely. On “islanders scale of drops” be this 2000 strain units: piddly, but I have seen 200! Then 20.000 is just small drop, 200.000 units is intresting drop, expect anything can be or about happen. Then 300.000 to 500.000 strain units is what we have been speculating about has or is possibly about to happen. Estimated 30 min before Hekla “Zero-Hour” on the D-Day (BTW, not taking about June 6, 1944), rather an world media invasion. I do fully expect they will come en masse, only not be able say that name properly, if outside Hekla. *non-expert, treat rant with respect*

          • Jepp, only a small drop, but there have been many the last week.
            I think they will manage pronouncing Hekla slightly better then Eyjafjallajökull.
            But you are right, it will Descension Day of world media when she goes.

            • 🙂 My “ísl-enska” sometime need checking in dictionary.
              BTW its still storm, with strong gusts. Large “skriður” (mudflows from hills and mountains) in North-East of Iceland. Deep snow is melting (it shure does if temp goes up to 20s Centigrade) and all that water making mud. And the tourists still are getting into troble. Iceland is dangerous, stop coming! 😉 This year expect 20+% increase in tourists, over them 40% increase in last years… no room for the icelanders … 🙂 http://www.mbl.is/frettir/

            • I have been to Iceland… You can hide quite a few tourists around there. Literaly hide them.
              Just make sure that they leave their cash on the way and you will learn to love them. 😉

              Here the temperature have dropped to more normal 18 degrees. I had a strange feeling the last night, I woke up freezing. It is amazing how fast the body adapts to it being unusually hot.

            • Ah, I suspected it be question of cash 😉 , not ash. Take 100% care in colder climate.

            • The only thing missing is more bars around your awesome tourist attractions and you could make the tourists part with their cash even faster.
              Your basic tourist want to in no particular order; See something (you have a lot of that), get drunk, be in warm water (more Bláa Lonids). After that they want a nightclub and end up in the bed with the wrong person. Just cater to that and you will make billions.

  13. This was a great post, Sake!

    Now I know a little bit of that subduction taking place at Kamchatka! Great writting!

    @Diana: thanks, I am very happy too that everything went fine 😉 I could see Kverfjoll, Snaefell and Esjufjoll from over there, some fog was over Grimsvotn and Bardarbunga but I think I saw a bit of it. At least I could see the entire area of Vatnajokull, which was my dream and now been fullfilled.

    @Carl and Geolurking: on Tolbachik, if your calculations are correct, and if this is efusive fissure is the gasiest thing since Novarupta, then we should be able to see some volcanic winter in 2014 or 2015.

    I mean everything is there for it: lowest solar activity in a century, changes in Pacific oscillation and North Atlantic currents, already a load of past (quite large) eruptions in Chile, Iceland, Africa… and now this gas-rich eruption. I think 2014 will be probably the coldest at least since the sixties, if not since a longer time.

    @Sake and Rick: I was interested in your discussion regarding climate change, volcanic activity and the siberian high. We have since 2009 seen a trend towards NAO negative and a powerful siberian high warming northeast Europe and having the cold over western Europe. But the only thing I can think of is the record solar minimum around 2007-2009. Not much volcanic activity by then, but now we have it. What do you think it could change?

    • No, we will most likely not see a volcanic winter in 2014 or 2015. The answer to that comes in my Lakí series of posts. You will be surprised. I was.

      Actually, there is not El Nino condition affecting us. I posted the latest El Nino figures a couple of days ago.

      • My El Nino comment was on 2010 and the Laki year, not for this or the next years. About the Siberian high, and extreme negative or positive NAO, I’ve heard several explanations. One is climate change. Some blame the melting ice of the North-pole and maybe volcanoes have influence too. I Think that if volcanoes have influence, they only exaggerate existing weather patterns. As example, they make the Siberian high strong enough to block the jet stream for long time. The Siberian High is actually quite common in the winter, but normally get blowed away in Spring. This year the jet stream is too weak to compete with the blockades of highs.
        But in 1816 the European summer was colder and a lot wetter than normal. Normally this is due to a strong positive NAO in summertime.

        • Actually the recorded weather pattern for 1783 does not really point toward a El Nino. What happened was actually something totally different then previously believed. It will all become clear in part 4 of the Laki series.

          • we have to wait until part 4 – that means there are already 3 parts written …. drums fingers…drums fingers some more… wonders when they are getting posted… drums fingers… 🙂

            • Part 1 tomorrow… There are 6 parts. I just felt that a 30 page post would be a bit much.
              The Prequel was actually released last week…

            • 6 weeks of laKi torture 😉
              *building bar, sauna, drilling for new lagoon, training local beuties, sneaking eruption mittel into Hekla … *

            • You do not need to train the local beauties.
              The average tourist comes in fairly even groups of men and women. So, they will inevitably end up in bed with the wrong person, like their mother in law.
              You don’t need to make Hekla detonate. All you have to do is make them drunk and point to Geysir and say “There goes Hekla again”.

              If anybody think I am joking they should go to a tourist resort…
              If there is also wanton destruction, mayhem and unpolite occupation of bars going on you have become infested with Swedes. If so, go somewhere else, fast.
              If someone enters the bar and quietly says the word “Perkele!” and then become ominously quiet, then you have become infested by a Finn. Be somewhere else, very fast.
              If a bunch of people wearing very small swimming trunks come into the bar you have become infested by Germans. They will annect your bar for hours.
              If a bunch of people enters and you cant understand them for your life, then you have an English problem. No, I mean that drunk Britts are ununderstandable since whatever they are saying is impossible to understand.
              If people looking way to happy and sounding way to happy enters the bar, and look happily stunned when ordering over how cheap it is, then you have struck gold. These are Norwegians. Since they normally pay 15€ for a beer they will buy beers for everyone since it is so cheap. They are also the only ones who can stop the Swedes and the Finn from destroying the place since they buy beer to them. Only problem is that when the beer is finnished all 2 groups and the Finn will go about occupying half of the country.
              Outside sits two groups. One have wonked out smiles and handmade “cigarrettes”. Those are the very happy dutch. Next to them you have the French drinking wine calmly stating “There go the Norrmands again!” as the Finn throws assorted people from all over the world out the window in the belief they are Russians.
              The Russians will send in one guy while the rest take cover, normally the youngest most stupid drunk Russian in the gang. He will very quietly ask the the barman: “Is there a Finn here?” If the answer is yes the Russian guy will turn into Usain Bolt.

              Please feel free to fill up the list… and please note that I am not at all proud of being a Swede when I see Swedes abroad. Unless of course there are Norwegians and a Finn around 😉

            • Thanks, that was good lesson. I know what happens to them Italian, Japanese or from Brazil. They get lost and do not enter. 😉 *Statement: Have nothing against touristis since they support lots of low wage jobs*

          • This week in England is the first week of “settled” (nice) weather in exactly a year. Last summer was the wettest on record. We’ve just had our coldest winter and spring since 1963 – no more please! 😉

            • Adding to tourist list: If people enter a bar with a guide book and ask if this is the place on the tourist route then say ‘yes’ as these are Americans and they will happily stay all day in the bar as long as they think it is the place the guide book tells them is the best bar in town.

            • As an American, I take issue with that.

              First, you are assuming that we can read a map. Typically we have trouble figuring out the landmarks that are listed, and stop to sit and figure it out. Tired of trudging around, we figure “this will do” and continue to drink.

              It is the behavior that we have exhibited through out our history during the expansion to the west. Each sector of our country is occupied by people who figured “Okay, far enough. this will do” and then settled down and formed a community. Once we reached California, rather than “This will do” they said “Aw crap, no more land.” To this day Californians have that nagging idea in the back of their head. Perpetually pissed, and highly arrogant. “Hey, we made it to the ocean, we’re special.”

              For Hawaii? “Crap, here comes another tourist. Quick, get their money!”

              For Alaska, “Well, it could be colder, this will do.”

            • I think this proofs why Americans do not get lost in Iceland. Fear of go off the Map (?) or that Iceland (compared to USA) be so small its very hard get lost!

            • I’ve done the Dallas Ft Worth Loop…. and navigated through Atlanta. Once you find a good reference, you stick to it. Changing just gets you lost… or sitting under an overpass at 3 am trying to figure out what damn exit you are at at and hoping that guy by the bushes stays over there.

    • then we should be able to see some volcanic winter in 2014 or 2015

      Eh… maybe. SO2 is pretty short lived in the troposphere. Once it becomes sulfate it starts to sediment out or is scrubbed out in precipitation. Only that portion that makes it up to the tropopause and can then diffuse up to the stratosphere can become part of the stratospheric aerosol layer.

      That’s why I keep harping on the molecule Carbonyl Sulfide (OCS). It is very non-reactive (compared to SO2) in the troposphere (somewhere around 9 years stay time) and has time to waft around the general circulation patterns of the major cells.

      The big nuggets are what percentage of the sulfur comes out as OCS, and what the reaction rates are for it. As compared to the dissociation rate when exposed to hard UV light.

      Stratospheric sulfate peaks about 4 to 6 months after a large SO2 injection direct to the statosphere. How much lag that the temperature has to the sulfate spike is another variable… which may be that 2 to 3 years that you mention. (also, it could be different).

      My reason for looking at OCS was to puzzle out a mechanism that would allow a flood basalt could have an effect.

      What the reality is, we don’t know.

      • I know that I am highly annoying now…

        Yes we soon know… In part 4 there will be alotta nuggets in the air… 🙂

    • I love pick and mix sweets. I get to choose what I like and do not like, I pick some I do not like and then give them away to the wife and I collect a kiss, win win.

      My own limited knowledge point of view is; A mix of weather states compounded a typical one in 30 year event into a one in 100 year event. Not in any order, apart from my head.

      1. Solar heat low.
      2. Greenland high stronger than avg.
      3. Greenland coastal sea temperature was hotter than normal.
      4. lower than avg sea ice
      5. A strong Arctic late storm season.
      6. Rapid record snow cover around the northern hemisphere.
      7. Strong Russian high, early winter.
      8 Strong hot winds from middle east into Serbia, later winter.
      9. Temperature abnormally off the coast of Norway, early winter.
      10. Jet stream was meandering more south and north.
      11. Below avg hurricane season.
      12. Greenland ice sheet has more melt water on top of the ice sheets.
      13 -NAO for most of the winter
      14 -AO for most of the winter
      15. Sudden stratospheric warming
      16. Canadian, Sudden stratospheric warming.

      Nothing in that for me to say that a trend is developing ,one or all of the above happens in Some way and to some degree in every winter.

      Uncertainty is increasing, due to a number of contradictorily signals that the computer models are out putting.
      The spread is getting higher the last few years, could be that the DC’S need a upgrade or
      that the algorithm’s are been updated need and need time to adjust.

      One point to make, I would not like to add more uncertainty or possibilities by having Iceland blow smoke for 50 years with a VEI 3-4 every 3 or 4 years.

      So in short, I do not know, but tomorrow I will attempt to learn a little more.

      Great post SAKE, I am lost on this one, A few more times of reading and need to read allot of
      Background on it, It was great to read with my breakfast today. Thanks again.

      • Our local weather loons keep trying to tie Oklahoma tornadoes in with the Globular Shit-storm Schtick. One thing they keep glossing over, is that we are still at a dearth of tornadoes, and that last year it was pretty barren. Why so many now? Well, warm moist air doesn’t get along so well with cold dry air. Last year we didn’t have those polar screamers dropping down into the warm moist flow off of the Gulf…. at least nothing like this year. Toss a jet stream on top of it to act as a venturi… “Katey bar the door.”

        Here’s the kicker. All that water? → Mississippi Watershed, or tributarys of it. What’s going in in Missouri? Topped Levees. Levees built to the standards of the same group who stalled and cajoled the contractor who did some work on the New Orleans levees. Operating off the geology specs provided by this group, they couldn’t make the levee walls stay straight. They sued for reimbursement because of the faulty soil data and the extra cost of fixing the problem. The judge… also part of the group, ruled against the company. Later, in 2005, Katrina and the Waves topped the levee.

        Note… the group “Katrina and the Waves” had nothing to do with the storm other than the unfortunate name. Odds are they will never do a concert in New Orleans.

        (Katrina and the Waves broke up in 1999)

        • Teacher: what is the chemical formula for water?
          Donald : H I J K L M N O!!
          Teacher What are you talking about?
          Donald : Yesterday you said it’s H to O

  14. Hi

    Top post Sa’ke !

    I’m plotting a summary of the activity in the Shiveluch-Tolbachik zone since 2011/11.
    I’ll be introducing a windowing system.
    See you this evening.

    just a teaser

  15. OK, I’m back

    Just to say that has taken some time because I had to retrieve the data and rewrite a bit of code.

    I’ve made actually 2 videos with the same data, the only thing different being the animation speed.
    The video are available in HD of course.

    One of the big differences from my previous works is the “windowing effect”.

    As there is really a lot of events on the time interval (more than 11 000) it is not practical to display all the events, first because the plot becomes quickly illegible and secondly because doing the scatter plot will take litterally several days in computing time (this is one of the drawbacks of working with Octave or Matlab).

    So I found a way around it by displaying the last X events, in this case 500, but I’m working on 1500 right now.

    Of course the color of the events always refer to the date which is visible on the left of the colorbar.

    So here is the Earthquake animation for the Tolbachik Area in Kamtchatka

    Data begins at 1/11/2011 and finishes on 03/06/2013.

    Each earthquake is plotted with size depending on event magnitude.

    This is a day by day timelapse.

    The Title shows the following information from left to right :

    – Event number versus total number of events
    – Total time span (1/1/2011-3/6/2013)
    – Date of present events (big red circles)
    – Size of window (meaning how many events are shown in all)

    Color of the event is time related – see dates on the left of the colorbar

    Terrain elevation is color coded also – see elevation values on the right of the colorbar

    Terrain data from NOAA, Earthquake data from emsd.ru, made on Gnu Octave using Avconv for making the video.

    The first comment I can make is that on can well see a central magma reservoir. Look well over time and you’ll see it change shape. You can also look and see the upper quakes quite well (that’s why I made a slow and a fast version).

    Fast version

    Slow version

    • Amazing…
      It was like seeing an entire volcanic system like a huge breathing beast with that deep source acting like a beating heart.
      I get the feeling (totally unsubstantiated obviously) that the feature is ancient and that it has been driving the eruption for thousands of years in those volcanoes. It is also very interesting to see how differently the volcanoes behave on the same basic magma source. I guess the difference being that the older volcanoes have their own separate magma chamber where further crystallization goes on compared to a hypothetically “straght-feeding” Tolbachik.

      Very useful plot!
      Thank you!

        • Very nice work indeed. As well as the more active areas under Tolbachik and Kliucheveskoy you can see that line of quakes leading up to Shiveluch that shows on the map I posted at the top.

          • Hi

            Yup it is the alignment of quakes, which is well recognizable. Note how fast it came. Very much like in Iceland, but with a very different context. And it seems to be originating from the”lung”. The angle is weird too compared to the ones for the other volcanoes.

            • Actually it does not follow the pattern for an icelandic flood basalt event. But that is not so strange really since the driving mechanisms are quite different. It more looks like what happened at Eyja and before Grimsvötn 2011.

            • Agreed. I was a bit surprised on the simple map plot as I would expect the quakes to tend towards either the big ‘blob’ under Kliuchevskoy, or from nearer the slab edge rather than further away from it.

            • Could be two events. Klyuchevskaya erupted during the period too (strombolian activity).

    • Well I’m pretty happy to have found this trick, thank you all for the feedback.

      Yes, it looks like some beast breathing with the lung being the cluster between 35 and 30 km deep. What amazes me is that there seem to be one central pocket for all the volcanoes up there.
      One more mystery to solve as to the differenciation of the lavas for these different volcanoes.

      As for Tolbachik there seems to be 3 levels of magma accumulation, one around 8 kms, the other one being around 5 and the last very shallow. Also of you look around 1’20 on the slow video, you can see the earthquakes cluster moving, probably along the fissure.

      Around 1’36 there is a recharge of the deep reservoir (date around gbeginning of April), after an upper swarm near Kluychevskaya.

      If you have ideas for zooms or other orientation, do say so.

      I plan to do the same for my little favorite Bob soon. Maybe it’ll show something.

      • I think your new trick up the sleave would be a great boon for Bob since the abundance of quakes always seemed to hide what was really going on.
        Looking forward to a Bob plot a lot.

          • Thanks dfm. I really need to get my head round this one though. I need to read sake’s post again as well.
            As to the weather not conforming to computer models…..
            The agricultural and biological archaeology of our area shows that these massive and rapid swings have happened before. Notably it got colder and very much wetter sometime between 2.500 -800 BC . Prior to this Britain had an almost Mediterranean climate. What caused these changes? Nobody really knows but it surely wasn’t industrial fuel consumption. I really don’t think some computer models are very accurate as there are so many unknowns that need to be discovered and factored in before we can accurately predict climate trends.

            • Deforestation can have played a role. At least in Belgium an important deforestation happened between the end of the stone age (2500BC) and the Gallo-Roman period. I think this happened in most parts of West-Europe at that time.

            • Cause and effect got into reverse there I am afraid Sa’ke.
              The deforestation was caused by the weather changing.
              What actually happened was that during the deglaciation all that pesky crap that had frozen over got thawed, and as shit do when it it thaws it rotted and we got a massive methane spike. Over time the methane was broken down into base components and the temperature dropped back down.
              Also there was a lot of trapped CO2 that took a long time time to filter out since arborealisation took a while after the deglaciation. All of this is in the northern deep lake stratigraphical record from Lake Långträsk and Lake Järvträsk (Hello Manofthemoors).
              How on earth did I know this out of the top of my hat? Well, the world is a small place. It is all in my uncles dissertation where he developed the paleoecological stratigraphical lake sediment testing for climate change.
              He even found grape seeds in one of the lakes here arounds (northern sweden).

            • Yes there are theories about deforestation causing the climate change. The early farmers clearing land and all that. However I go with Carl’s Uncle. On our moorland birch trees have been preserved in the peat layers formed at this time. It’s amazing seeing this perfectly preserved ancient wood. This suggests the trees died from another cause rather than be felled by man as they would have carted a felled tree away and used it as fuel if nothing else. To cause such a rapid and complete climate change there should have been felling on the scale that is happening on the present equatorial rainforests. With stone or bronze axe heads this would have been impossible as well as the fact that the woodland was probably more open and copse like rather than dense afforestation ( This from the numerous analysis and dating of pollen within and just below the peat layer.)
              Another thing to think about….In North America where settlers cleared land in a similar way, vast tracts of forest land has been cleared. Nobody to my knowledge has suggested that this clearance has caused climate change in the 19th & 20th centuries.
              If I have time I will run through Volcanic activity during this time and see what was happening and if there is any possibility this could have given periods of cold wet weather.I doubt if I can do this this week due to wedding and other pressing activities.

  16. Imagine yourself out fishing on a boat with a few friends, cold beer in your hand.
    You have just bagged the first fish of the day, life is good.
    Then a cow falling out of the thin blue air crashes through the boat and you are clinging on to some wreckage. When you finallly get rescued you and your friends get arrested by the police since you are obviously a bunch of lunatics after telling them about the cow.

    Best part, the cow actually fell…


    • ROFLOL!

      Not related, but pretty odd.

      Out on deployment, it gets boring. The collective COs came up with an idea of how to liven up the mundane drilling of holes in the water. (going in approximate circles and not anywhere specific)

      After refueling operations were complete, ship to ship water balloon fights before the breakway. How to get the balloon to the other ship? Two sections of surgical tubing and a cloth pocket to hold the balloon. Quite a hoot. The different departments kept working on the nuances of how they would rig their water balloon launcher. Whoever scored the most hits won. Dunno who kept count.

    • LOL. The scene has been depicted in an excellent motion picture made in Argentina (“Chinese wedding”, I guess) – I thought it was purely fiction, but as it turns out, it wasn’t. The funny part is that the cow falls in the very moment when this poor Chinese guy is proposing to his girlfriend, who gets killed by the “accident” – and this is when the film starts, so, it ain’t no spoiler…

  17. Meanwhile 40 km under the Lohi Seamount…

    M5.3 – SE of Pahala, Hawaii
    2013-06-04 14:12:39 UTC-10:00 at epicenter
    18.918°N 155.063°W depth=40.6km (25.2mi)

    FYI – The Lohi Seamount is generally attributed as preventing the full on mass wasting of the section that has separated from Hilina Pali. The last “big assed quake” in that area caused the land to drop a few meters.

    Another potential scarp is The Great Crack, which makes the crack on La Palma look like a skin condition. Right now it ties into the main fissure for Kilauea.


    The absolute worst case scenario would be a Tuscaloosa Seamount size calving of the island (which is how the Tuscaloosa Seamount got to be the Tuscaloosa Seamount when it fell off of Oahu in the Nuuanu Slide and wound up 90 km out to sea. That probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

    This quake has a strong strike-slip component… which is odd in a different way. (doesn’t seem to be indicative of stuff moving apart)

    • It’s the valley (CKD) between the older volcanic arc (Sredinny range, left) and the currently active region.

  18. Small Hekla EQ. 0.8. This could of happen because of that small dip we saw yesterday. Nothing looks like its moving however. Unsure if this is within the Hekla area. Morning all. Lovely weather in Ireland at the moment 5 days now of sun.

    • It’s marked as 7.6kms to the south-west of Hekla on the map but is shown as a Hekla quake on the strain data. So IMO are regarding it as a Hekla quake. We in southern England are also having lovely weather this week – it’s wonderful after such a long winter (feels like a year!) :-).

      • Cloudy start here but the sun is battling through.
        Askja is being a bit fretful this morning.

    • Hello! Its REAL Hekla quake, upped to 1,1 just now. And interesting are small quakes in the Vestmann Islandes, yesterday, I thought these were “noise” and caused by the Storm but IMO calulates them as real ones. It is possible there could be something there but speculating at present has no bearing. I am more into Hekla showing her real face anytime soon.

      • Yes, another tiny, tiny, drop at HEK just now. I feel uneasy when the ordinary rise and fall of the strain meters at BUR and HEK are out of sync. As they are now. It might be nothing – but it’s worth watching. 🙂

        • Yes they appear out of sync, but it does not matter all that much, I think. We can not actually see if real tension or strain is below or abowe on each meter (the scaling is such). But I think it is worth watching closely next days, Hekla “eruption window” likely is still open. There has been rather quiet weeks in Iceland EQ wise, but that can change fairly quickly. I am waching anyways with interest, but can offer no more clues at present 🙂

      • Yes, it is perfectly in line with the Hekla fissure.
        Hekla has been shaky for more then a week now with rapid movement changes. Definitly sleeping badly right now.

        The Vestmannaquakes are interesting. As far as I know the current concensus from the Icelandic volcanologists is that it has gone back to a longer period of dormancy, but who really knows.

        We have lately forgotten Askja, she is still showing regular earthquakes, I am very much looking forward to the GPS coming back online.

    • Either the equipment have gone bonkers or there is something related to the glacier.
      First I thought it could be a jökulhlaup, but there is nothing pointing to it in the rivers. My wild guess right now is that the SIL-station is picking up a nearby glacial surge. A glacial surge is when a part of the glacier for some unknown reason starts to move at a much increased rate, often up to a few meters per hour. That would be noisy and persistant enough to explain it.

        • It was though just a guess. But I think it is probably, one thing it though is not is an eruption… *sniffle*

  19. Pingback: Tectonics of the Kamchatka Peninsula | Volcano Hotspot

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