Mitigation + Name those Volcanoes Riddle

Photograph of the Volcan de Amatitlán with Pacaya in the background. Hidden in the mist is Lago de Amatitlán (Graben formation). The photograph by Dr Carmen Morataya is taken from the caldera wall. Pacaya is situated on the opposit side of the caldera.

Photograph of Volcan de Amatitlán with Pacaya in the background. Hidden in the mist is Lago de Amatitlán (Graben formation). The photograph by Dr Carmen Morataya is taken from the caldera wall. Pacaya is situated on the opposit side of the caldera.

Mitigation is one of those words that we who are volcano aficionados do not think about normally. It is though one of the words that is foremost in the head of the volcanologists that actively work with active volcanoes.

A couple of days ago I got hit by the importance of the word as I was talking to my dear friend who sent the picture above. “Thank you for the beautiful picture of the Amatitlán Caldera!”, “No, that is Lake Amatitlán”.

Here I was stuck with the conundrum, should I explain things or not. I chose to explain, I just can’t stop myself from teaching after all. So, after telling her that she lived on the edge of a huge volcano that has had at least 7 Ultra-plinian eruptions, ranging from Baekdu sized to the Campi Flegrei Yellow tuff range I got the distinct feeling that she did not really trust me on this one. But, a few days later she had read up on it and came back with a bunch of good questions about things happening down at the caldera floor.

This had me thinking, here we have a highly educated person living in the area, and not even she knew about the fact that the capital of Guatemala is partly within a huge volcanic structure capable of doing a lot of damage. It is an epic failure of volcanic mitigation and public hazard education.

What compounds things even worse is that she would (if she survived) be one of those who would have to treat those who had gotten injured in the eruption. When even those working in the hospital business does not know about it something is wrong.

In the end I think we do a bit of good work writing about volcanoes around the world, we give a fairly unbiased view on the volcanoes, and help to spread knowledge. And knowledge is always the first step towards surviving an eruption; Knowledge is the center point of mitigation.

WEEKEND NtV RIDDLE (1) 14th – 16th June 2013

From today we are starting a brand new NtV series!

We’ll run this latest competition till the end of the year, with an updated points table being published every week.

Whenever possible I will DING each correct answer as it appears but no hints or clues will now be given until Saturday morning at the earliest, this gives those who come to VC late on Friday evening a chance to get involved!

1 point for each volcano … except Nos 4* &  5* which are worth 3 points … enjoy!

No 1  – Only the pure of spirit are believed to be able to see the saint’s light source. SOLVED Mount Aragats

No 2  – Earthly subject of comparable study during NASA’s planetary (Martian volcano) research. SOLVED Emi Koussi

No 3  – Even so King George’s wife didn’t join the island’s knitting community. SOLVED Queen Mary’s Peak

No 4* – Festivals, Holidays and Trains … all linked by a major, UK based company. SOLVED Tres Virgenes

No 5* – A purrfect location for a spa day … so, think of a volcano named ‘cat’ in English with significant geothermal activity. SOLVED Paka

No 6  – The Russians could’ve taken any train in order to reach it first. SOLVED Yantarni

No 7  – Its big, its bad and the wild goats should be very afraid. SOLVED Mount Wolf

No 8 –  The hat wearing State Governor’s tea time treat. SOLVED Mount Lamington



254 thoughts on “Mitigation + Name those Volcanoes Riddle

  1. Good morning all …
    Great riddle solving last night but No 4 (a three pointer) is still open …
    Simply link Festivals, Holidays and Trains to a major UK company and work the riddle out from there … a little lateral thinking is required …

    • Good morning Newby … nope not Ascension … last night Virgin was correctly identified as the major Uk company that linked Holdiays, Festivals and Trains …

        • Some further help with No 4 …
          You have established that the clue represents three of Virgin’s companies …

          • I was going to suggest – Poike is the oldest of the three volcanoes that make up the island, situated on the North East corner. It is wide open land surrounded on three sides by breathtaking drops into the ocean. Home to the Virgin Cave, a large water catchment carving and some of the very oldest Moai on the island it is best explored with a guide. however that has not much connection with Virgin Holidays? Anyway, too nice a day to be sitting at my PC Off out to do something else instead.

  2. Good morning all you clever riddle-makers and solvers!

    Just noticed a 2+ earthquake at 4km depth under El Hierro – NW Frontera – is another Bob on its way?

    • Wouldn’t Kilauea be int he five most active volcanoes in the world as it’s been erupting for 20+ years almost nonstop?

    • Hi Michael … short of telling you all the answer there are no more hints/clues I can give … see above!

    • DING! Thanks so much Kelda … I never thought that one would cause such consternation … grinning … No 4 is Tres Virgenes! You get three points!

      • Ooops sorry put Talla not Kelda the first time …. I thought you were going out to enjoy the sun??!!

        • it is now cloudy as usual! Am now hoovering and cleaning bathrooms….so any excuse for a short break now and again:-) Eventually will have to do some weeding even if the sun doesnt shine again today 😦

  3. Saturday
    15.06.2013 09:51:24 63.963 -19.366 5.5 km 0.6 90.01 13.3 km NNW of Álftavatn
    15.06.2013 08:58:44 63.970 -19.349 3.0 km 0.7 61.44 13.6 km NNW of Álftavatn
    Unusual position and very small quakes……but interesting

  4. Just since we have flipped to a new comment side.
    DFM, you should really make a post out of that plot… It is to marvelous to be hiding on a friday evening comment field. 🙂

    • Tak Carl.

      I think I can still better it a little, with a moving size window. Also I’ve tried the density from another angle, but it’s not giving results yet. But I keep that in mind don’t worry.

  5. Carl … I know I have brought this up before but the irregularities continue … especially at JOK … what is your current take on these …

    … are you still thinking melt water from the glacier?
    That’s not a riddle question btw … grinning

    • For me it is the greatest riddle of all…
      Taking into account the earthquakes and available GPS data for Kistufell I would say we have another volcano getting ready. But, I am still scratching my head 🙂

      • Me say its fault in equipment (commenting on the “instant” verticas ups and down).
        Not typical Volcano “Getting Ready” readings in my view. Personally I am more towards Hekla or Vatnöldur area, rather than Kistufell 😉

  6. 6.2 earthquake south of Crete at 15.17 – likely to show up on graphs and so on so don’t get alarmed!

  7. Another large earthquake – this one off the coast of Nicaragua

    50km W of Masachapa, Nicaragua
    2013-06-15 17:34:29 UTC35.8 km

  8. On the topic of mitigation, a lot could be said about this. An educated population will do better in case of a disaster than an uninformed one. I can’t blame these people at all. Guatemala isn’t the best-developed country, and I am sure corruption is rife there, but I expect them to be doing more for the safety of their public. It is good that some people are willing to research hazards on their own, and thus raise awareness in themselves and possibly spread the word onto others, and those who were just informed spread the information to other people and so forth. I am rambling now, so in short awareness is a contagious disease, but the best disease you could get.

    On the topic of volcano riddles, I happen to be interested in the most obscure volcanoes on earth. To me it seems volcanoes in Iceland, Italy and the Canaries get all the news these days. Maybe it is because you have found something interesting about them that I have yet to see for myself. Maybe they are using mind control. Or maybe I am just going off topic again and I am ranting over a question with such a simple answer: You simply like to discuss, watch and monitor those volcanoes. Darn, I am going off quite a limb here.

    • Yepp, and spreading information is the name of our game. Mostly. And have fun while doing it.

      I share the interest for the remote and more unusual volcanoes, problem is just that they are not well monitored. So sometimes we get information about them having erupted up to a year after the fact and to be honest that is not so fun.
      My interest is mainly large fissure volcanoes producing flood basalts, and caldera events. Something that we have never seen in instrumented times. And as we know there are very few large calderas actively monitored. Something I find really outrageous from a mitigation standpoint. And to my knowledge it is only in Iceland where fissure volcanoes are monitored.
      So, what does a volcano need to be really interesting? Well, loads of equipment and webcams. It is as simple as that. And the Icelandic volcanoes ontop of that have the advantage of even though they are big, not being too dangerous since the areas surounding them are not heavily populated.
      Also, it helps that many have actually seen those volcanoes, or at least have been affected by them. And in a few Italian examples, it would in the case of a large eruption be a catasprophic event for Europe.
      That was my reasons, there are probably more reasons from others in here.

      We do try to cover other volcanoes, and you know… We are always open to posts on volcanoes that are unusual, so feel free to contribute 🙂

      • Awareness is born when a lone spark of information hits an interested clump of dry grass, and thus starts a fire of knowledge. That fire then grows into a wildfire of outreach.

        On the topic of volcanoes, the volcanoes I like are those large shields in west Antarctica, such as Siple, Berlin, Takahe, Hampton, Waesche and the like. And those in the WVB, Kuriles, and those under the ocean. I like the Cascades, especially their calderas or just calderas in general. I need to stop raving.

        But those large Calderas, they don’t seem to get any attention if they aren’t Yellerstone.
        They have complex eruptive histories, and some of them are occupied by young stratovolcanoes, Such as Maipo. Some volcanoes are more hyped than others, it seems.

        • Yepp, I have on many times said that some volcanoes need a better PR agency…
          Wanna take a shot about a post on one or more of your favourites?
          I like Amatitlán and Atitlán in Guatemala, both large calderas. Another of my favourites is the insanely large caldera next to Mount Cameroon. It is probably the worlds least talked about “supervolcano”.
          And after having sailed though a pumice raft a few years ago I am all in favour of underwater volcanoes.

          • I would rather comment. But I don’t think some volcanoes need PR as much as they need recognition. Yellowstone is seen as a supervolcano, and is treated as such. It is overhyped and fearmongered about. To me, the term “supervolcano” is nothing but a term that shows a volcano is subject to more hype than others. It is just a large caldera.

            • I could go on for a long time about this.I made a map outlining all the major known caldera systems that I could find in the GVP and through other sources around the world.

              Needless to say, there are a LOT of large caldera systems, and I’m sure there are quite a few on-land calderas we still are unaware off. This doesn’t even count the non-land calderas which I’m sure are quite numerous.

            • Those undersea large calderas…just think of the phreatomagmatic eruptions they can produce. There are a lot of large caldera systems, but how are those different from Yellowstone? They are large, produce big eruptions and are likely to be hydrothermally active.

            • It is actually quite possible that the eruption 1 year ago that produced the Belgium sized pumice raft was the biggest eruption in one hundred years. It came out of a very large caldera at large depth. So, the force of the eruption was probably quite something.

      • Hi mdatc
        I agree with Carl. I like watching the Icelandic Volcanoes simply because I can see them on webcams, I can follow their activity via IMO tremor graphs, GPS readings and Hekla’s strain metre. and so I feel I can interact with what I see. This way I have learned so much practically that I can apply my knowledge to the less online monitored Volcanoes.

        Another big plus in Iceland’s favour is , as Carl says, Iceland is less populated near to the Volcanoes so when they erupt the people have probably the world’s best Contingency plans and evacuation procedures . However even with that my heart would go out to those stoic farmers and anyone who has their life disrupted by ash and flood. I have found video clips taken by people in other countries very harrowing at times where eruptions and Lahars have caused death and total destruction. I love watching volcanoes but, as with the Japanese Tsunami, watching horrors such as those makes me feel totally helpless and very sad.
        I wouldn’t mind watching Beerenberg erupt , that would be most spectacular and “Safe”. Erebus is another one.
        We musn’t forget all those Volcanic islands along the MAR ,There are some really interesting ones that we tend to forget.
        Yup! I am volcanoholic!

    • Hi mdatc! Don’t ever worry about being off topic here! The riddles are just a bit of fun. If you stick around here for a while you will see we discuss lots of things and lots of volcanoes – the Kamchatka ones are regularly talked about, and the Japanese ones, not to mention a lot about New Zeland, South America – and the usual suspects you mention in Iceland and Italy. El Hierro gets mentioned more than most because ‘Bob’ started around the same time as this blog so it’s been followed from the start. Good to see you here! 🙂


    Translation is done, not bad. “The Grímsvötn eruption two years ago formed a large kettle which has expanded considerably since the last scientists were on the move for about a year. Water has accumulated there and there is a large reservoir which is one and a half mile long”

    That is surprising for myself to see. heat is still around to stop such a area from frezzing, Not to long before somthing happens in that area, I think.

    • lets assume you do have a heat proof, pressure proof, air sealed pod that has some means of movement, what would you see using your internal lights if you tried submerging at niragongo?

    • “Using patented carbon-carbon materials pioneered for deep space exploration…”

      Carbon only has a theoretical melt phase. The sublimation point, above which it turns to a gas is 3642 °C. It is truly a very resilient material. The problem with using it is that carbon fiber has to be laminated into a form or structure that you can use. Usually this involves some sort of bonding agent. An epoxy resin, much like is used with fiberglass is pretty common. The major temperature weakness will be in whatever this bonding agent is. Above it’s maximum temperature, it will delaminate.

      I do not know what is involved in the “carbon-carbon” process, but that may have some sort of characteristic that will allow the device to withstand the heat. Extremely high heat is withstood by ablative coatings on the deck under missile launchers, and the Apollo capsule used ablative coatings on it’s heat shield. The way ablative coatings work, is to carry the heat away as the surface is eroded.

      Assuming you can do that, then there is the issue of density. Whatever this device is, it will have to be able to achieve close to neutral buoyancy do do more than float around on the surface. In other words, close to 2700 kg/m³.

      The last time I looked… most magma was not transparent, or even translucent. How you would see through it is beyond me. Then you have the problem of trying to navigate from point a to point b… through a searing hot molten rock.

      I am going to have to agree with the 1 April characterization of this project… though I do like the idea of tossing self righteous Tom Hanks into an actual volcano.

      • Oh yeah… one more slight issue with this concept… provided everything else were possible.

        What do you do if your craft gets caught in a crystallizing section of the chamber and all that previously molten material solidifies and encases the craft in solid rock?

        That might pose a problem.

    • It is a prank. Site lauched on march 31rst. The main problem would be to maintain a “normal” temperature in the ship. Ahh, thermodynamics, makes you see the world as it is…..

    • Nice one Tyler 🙂 I remember learning about Dikes and Sills at school. It fascinated me. We have a brilliant and Huge Sill in Northern England. Called the Great Whin Sill.
      The Roman leader Hadrian took advantage of the steep cliff it formed to build his wall across England to keep out those pesky Scots. I mean come on! Who in their right mind would paint their face half blue, carry a sword as large as himself nearly and wear skirts into battle ?
      OK! OK! Hadrian dealt with Picts not Scots. Picts late iron age and early medieval and possibly looked like this….
      Scots actually did look a lot like this

      One thing is for sure the Picts and Scots hated anyone living beyond their southern boundaries (Which were very elastic for a long time as far south as I am now in Lancashire). I can’t blame them The Romans and later the English were pretty ruthless. Even today the Scots want their freedom from England. The Welsh likewise. We would not be the UK (United Kingdom) if that happened. practically I wonder if it would work. Maybe the English would then find their national Pride once more?
      That drifted off totally OT and it’s necessary to get Coffee #2 after that History lesson 😀

      • Modern tribal Scots…. It’s a sign of the times that although education for the masses
        should have improved communication and dialogue and encouraged individuality, here we see that it is now necessary for Scots in battle to have to wear exacting directions as to where they stand.
        What happened to the spirit of freedom?

        To any Scots reading this…. I seriously love you all to pieces. Your country is beautiful and your soldiers truly carry on the courageousness of The Scottish spirit to which those in England should be indebted. I expect a barrage of comments now about Sassenachs.(Derogatory name for English people

        • I agree about Scotland, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I lived there when a teenager and yes I got the Sassenach jibes when I was at school. I countered them with passive resistance, being able to read aloud Burns poetry in class with a better Scots accent than the Scots was one of them. 🙂 Made the teacher tear his hair out though. ;D

        • A Sassenach is a southerner; to us Highlanders (AKA ‘Teuchtars’, ‘sassenach’ includes lowlands Scots! 🙂

          As Runrig once sang… “The Lowland Scot with English habits…”

          If they were Highlanders they would be painted blue, and naked…

          • I love the letter from a roman soldier manning the Hadrian. He wrote a very eloquent letter home to his mother complaining about his posting. Apparantly now and then in the middle of the night blue painted naked men jumped up onto the wall and spent a while kicking them in the nuts before running away.
            Nope, not killing them. Just kicking them in the actual nuts. I guess it was young adolescents proving their manhood or something.

        • What happened to the spirit of freedom?

          I believe Plato’s Republic covers that quite well. (i.e. the question was answered in 380 BC, 2393 years before it was asked)

          • Nope, more like refering to Sokrates and his cup of hemlock actually whacking the spirit of freedom in the democratic city of Athens, something that made Plato move away from democracy.

          • Pure democracy is inherently unstable, Plato illustrated that. It can rapidly devolve into a tyranny.

            I equated your Hemlock reference to that of poison. Which is how democracies devolve as people vote more and more power to a formative tyrant based on the promises that the tyrant gives the public.

            Those promises, being the Hemlock.

            • But… he died in vain.

              Since Socrates has interpreted the Delphic Oracle as singling him out to spur his fellow Athenians to a greater awareness of moral goodness and truth, he will not stop questioning and arguing should the people forbid him to do so, even if they were to withdraw the charges. Nor will he stop questioning his fellow citizens. “Are you not ashamed that you give your attention to acquiring as much money as possible, and similarly with reputation and honor, and give no attention or thought to truth and understanding and the perfection of your soul?”

              Quite interesting in light of the ongoing debt crisis…

      • That film Braveheart has a lot to answer for: William Wallace was a lowlander so there’s no way he’d have worn a kilt. Historically it’s wrong on just about everything. Luckily it wasn’t made in Scotland or written by anyone from Scotland. Quite good at anti-English propaganda though – I think Mel was going through an anti-English phase at the time. (I’m half Scottish and Father was half lowlander brought up in the Highlands so I’m all over the shop!)

        • German, Scot, Irish by descent, with a slight fraction of Choctaw. Predominantly redneck by birth and upbringing. In other words, irritable but patient. I’ll bide my time until I get payback.

          In retrospect: this was not a pun on another one of Brooks’ movies.

  10. Good morning everyone.

    Yesterday I had an amazing day, I went with some friends to hike Skjaldbreidur, that massive shield volcano that erupted almost up to 20 km3 of lava. The whole area has a fantastic view of the rift valleys, fissures, and rigdes in the area! Also its great to see the crater on top of the shield volcano. Because its quite large, about 300 meters wide, and also quite deep. I did not expect to find that on top of such a shield. It has been a great time, having hiked in the last weeks also Oraefajokull and Snafellsjokull volcanoes. I need to sit down and write a post on these 3 volcanoes.

    On Kistufell: I also think it is a volcano that one time, quite soon geologically speaking, will have an eruption and possibly a large eruption. Just nearby you have the largest shield volcano of Iceland and also the largest lava field of Iceland (or second largest) coming from that same vent. I call attention that the area is being deglaciated and therefore as pressure relieves, that can help towards a large eruption (just like almost all largest lava eruptions in Iceland). Hamarinn is another volcano sitting at the edge of the glacier. However, the melting of these glaciated volcano can still take a few years or couple of decades. Any eruption will more likely start quite ashy and explosive but quickly turn into a massive release of lava.

    • And yes, the graphs around Bardarbunga seem to be getting more restless, with plenty of microquakes there. I don’t think it is melting of glacier, but rather increase volcanic activity. We just need to wait and see how the detected earthquakes come up. Only otger information we have is about the large inflation in the area. But any eruption would probably start with a large earthquake. Just like Laki.

      • I’m really looking forward to your posts – I’m so envious of your hiking ability! I’m very much a person who walks along valleys looking up at mountains but I do appreciate those who climb them and come back with information! 🙂

  11. Handy guide to changing your Gravatar image.

    1. Log in.
    2, Click on your name up in the righthand upper corner.
    3. Click on the Manage Public Profile.
    4. Click change Gravatar.
    5. Click upload picture.

    Have fun!

  12. Darn, RUV news just told of thiefes stealing batteries from two GPS or SIL stations, one near Kleifarvatn and other near Eyjafjallajökull.

    • I don’t like thieves.

      My favorite thief story is of a copper thief that they had around here. His little group had gotten so bold as to begin stealing copper from power substations. Each one has a fairly tall cyclone fence around them, so to get at the equipment took a firm and commited mindset to get past the fence. The entertaining part was when they got so greedy that they tried to get the copper from an operating transformer bank. They were unsuccessful. Police managed to get a good set of prints from the scortchmark in the shape of a hand that one of them left burned into the side of one of the housings. They got away.

      Mr. Scortchmark was later apprehended when he sought medical treatment at a hospital in a nearby town.

      The S.O.B. is lucky. My daughter used to date a guy whose brother worked as a lineman. He had tangled with 3600 VAC while in a bucket that had left an exit wound that left a disgustingly significant hole in his abdomen and part of his ribcage. He survived, but is permanently scared and disabled from the event.

      In Trieste, about a week before we put into port, a worker had been killed by an electrical service panel at a building in the cargo facility. As we walked through the area to go in liberty, you could still see the scortchmark on the ground in front of the service panel. It’s a grisly way to die.

      Sidenote… One of the effects of electrical shock is delayed death. What happens is that the electricity can literally cauterize a segment of the body down deep where the burn is not evident. Blood that is clotted there can later break loose and make it to the brain.

      • I dislike thieves too. A dangerous way to make a living, but those who steal deserve all they get. No one in UK or USA should be so destitute that they need to steal food. Stealing anything else is pure greed and selfishness.
        One of my year 10 students many years ago died whilst trying to steal copper from an electricity pylon. He wasn’t unintelligent… just arrogant and darn nuisance in class. What a waste of a young life!

  13. A video from the Tolbachik eruption, it shows very wel how much lava is involved:

    Is it me, or is the lava very fast flowing?

    • It seems to be a bit of old photage. There is no snow there now.
      Yes, it moves fast, so it is probably rather warm, but I think part of the photage was taken where there is a bit of a slope.

      • It’s uploaded a week ago (10 June). You’re sure the mountain is also without snow? I was hoping that now the area is accessible, more footages would show up, but that seems not happening.

        • It is snow free. I saw fresh photography from the area that was a couple of days old without snow. Summer has warmed up Tolbachik.
          Most of the photography in that clip was done by a female freelance photographer (whom I have forgotten the name of) that she took in february. But, the ones she took a few days ago was equally stunning.

  14. Yay… Last night the wife lit into my arse about mowing the lawn today. I havent really had time to address it, being caught up with completeing service calls and clearing my head from the thousand yard stare that you get from driving. I think it comes from intently focusing on the distance all the time, cuz there is definately no one shooting at me. (this isnt Chicago or Detroit). So, to my surprise, I’m awakened to the sound of a one sided conversation between my wife and the oldest Grandkid, who had called. Seems he wants to come by and mow my trees. (not a malaprop, the yard is getting ready to grow them)

    • … so, halfway through writing that, getting to the point where I was cussing the phone for sliding the bottom of the paragraph below the editable area… I was greeted with the sweet aroma of hickory smoked sausage. Seems my wife made Grits covered with eggs over easy.

      Might turn out to be a good day after all. 😀

        • Grits are dehulled corn kernels that are then dried and coarse ground. Hominy is dehulled corn kernels boiled whole.

          Boiled Hominy is quite delicious with butter, salt and pepper… but it looks like a bowl full of molars.

          Grits has the consistency of rice, but with smaller grains. Some people flavor their grits like those who eat creme of wheat. I prefer butter salt and pepper, and occasionally crumpled up crispy bacon. (or an over easy egg)

          Others like a dollop of brown sugar.

          Note: “Corn” in this respect means maize.

          • Like Newby I was never sure of Grits and Hominy. Neither sounded too nice, very alien, so I never really looked up what they were. It’s the status of Eggs in the USA that confuses me.. So Lurking what are eggs over easy? I really dislike runny yolks so how would I order a fried egg with a solid yolk?

    • It seems 80-100 km south of Popo if you look at google maps. But the whole area is volcanic active, a lot of lava fields etc

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