Eruption at Kverkfjöll + Kick’Em Gumbo + NtV Riddle (9)

Newly released picture from todays over-fliight of the Kverkfjöll volcano showing the result of the phreatic detonation. Picture from Almannavarnir.

Newly released picture from todays over-fliight of the Kverkfjöll volcano showing the result of the phreatic detonation. Picture from Almannavarnir.

Yesterday or the day before Kverkfjöll suffered a phreatic detonation, or a phreatomagmatic event. As you all know there have been an increase in deep earthquakes in the area, a sign of increased magmatic activity at depth. There is currently no harmonic tremor present at Kverkfjöll, but as a result a minor Jökulhlaup has started from the volcano, probably due to increased hydrothermal activity caused by influx of new magma.

It remains yet to be seen if this will lead to a full eruption in the hours or days to come. It is quite possible that the stress release caused by the Jökulhlaup might increase the likelihood of a real eruption.

If an eruption happens it will most likely be a smaller one. Probably not a higher VEI than a maximum of VEI-3 from this 1784 meters high mountain, but a smaller eruption is more likely. Historically Kverkfjöll have suffered at least two caldera forming events. The last confirmed eruption at Kverkfjöll happened on the 23rd of May 1968, and one of the caldera formation might have taken place 7000 to 9000 years ago when Kverkfjöll suffered the two latest large eruptions. The total area of the two calderas cover a 8 by 5 kilometer elipsoid.

The Jökulhlaup has caused an unusual increase in the water at the Volgá river running from Kverkfjöll and the caldera cauldron containing hydrothermically warmed water is draining. Volgá empties into Jökulsá á Fjöllum river. A further increase in water level is expected. Almannavarnir continous to monitor the situation and will post new bulletins as needed.

Image of the unfolding Jökulhlaup from Kverkfjöll. Picture from Almannavarnir.

Image of the unfolding Jökulhlaup from Kverkfjöll. Picture from Almannavarnir.

Thanks to Islander who brought this to my attention, and who helped with gathering of additional information and who translated Icelandic sources. More information will follow as soon as it is published.

The usual stone tablet can be found at

Friday cooking competition

Kick'Em Jenny in all her gassy glory.

Kick’Em Jenny in all her gassy glory.

Since we have had both lava cakes (Spica) and Flaming Volcano drinks on our Friday posts commenter Lughduniense suggested that we should have a competition of sorts where we posted recipes in the comment field during the Friday posts. Next week we publish the winning recipe and at the end of the year we have a lot of nice dishes for a Volcanic New Years Eve Supper. Of course all of it should be themed by our favorite volcanoes.

To kick things off here is my suggested dish based on the rather Caribbean flavored sub-marine volcano of Kick’Em Jenny.

Kick’Em Gumbo (serves at least 4)

0.5 kg of pork fillet
0.3 kg of really spicy sausages (high on meat content)
0.3 kg of peeled shrimp
4 tomatoes
1-2 Habañero peppers
1-2 handfulls of peanuts (depending on size of hands)
1-5 pieces of garlic (use according to taste, more is better)
1-2 stalks of celery
1 bell pepper
1 onion
1 item of beef broth or bouillon, cube variety works fine
Dill, either frozen or fresh
Olive oil or rapeseed oil and a tad of butter
White wine, red wine or beer, only use one of the options

Serves with rice, beans or potato

How too

First you need to know what you are going to serve to drink to the Gumbo. It goes equally well with either white or red wine, as well as beer. You should dilute the soup base with the same thing that you end up drinking with the meal, this way the food and the drinks will match perfectly. This works with other dishes too of course.

Start by grinding the peanuts into flour; use a coffee grinder or a blender. In the end you should have 1 to 2 deciliters of peanut flour. If you can’t get really fresh peanuts you should use dry roasted peanuts. The stuff you buy from the Health Food shelf will most likely be mildewed and might cause kidney or liver failure, never eat those. Grind until it is as fine as baking flour. Put in a bowl on the side.

Blend tomatoes, bell pepper, Habañeros, celery and the garlic. Regulate how strong it is by using one or two peppers, if you want it even weaker remove the seeds (I use two with seeds, but it is you who are going to eat) Start with giving the garlic a couple of turns in the blender. When it is creamy and there are no chunks it is done. Pour this into a big enough soup kettle then add the beef broth or bouillon and a dollop of butter and a small amount of olive oil. Heat slowly until it cooks.

Chop up the pork into inch sized cubes. Fry this together with the onion in oil, start by frying the onion for a couple of minutes before adding the pork. Do not fry the pork until it is fried through, then it will get rather stringy.

As the soup base is near cooking it is time to put in the peanut flour. Do not worry about using to little or too much, this will even out when we pour in the wine or beer into the kettle later. As you stir out the peanut butter you will get a lovely roux out of it automatically, and the flavor is much better than if you do it the regular way with wheat flour and butter. Stir it slowly; it should dissolve easily into the soup base. As you start to reach the boiling point the soup will start to thicken, now is the time to add the fried pork and onion.

Wait until the Gumbo start to boil. Now it is time to pour in either wine or beer, do not put in too much, it is better to add as you go. Remember, a Gumbo should be rather on the thick side. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the chopped sausages and let simmer for half an hour. Taste the Gumbo and add finely cut dill, salt and regular black pepper to taste. Drop down the shrimps and stir, wait 5 more minutes and serve.

If you have any, serve it with garlic bread.



3 points for each volcano … happy Friday!

No 1 – It would be apt if the 2010 debris flow had been started by a goat … but I doubt it! SOLVED Capricorn Volcano

No 2 – The ‘paranormal power’ of this sub glacial mound is alleged to focus the mind. SOLVED Pyramid Mountain

No 3 – It is located within a dramatic leaden landscape. HINT: Anagram letters are in bold! SOLVED Maipo sited in the ancient Diamante Caldera

No 4 – According to Ms. Heyer, he was William’s number one best friend. SOLVED Raoul Island

No 5 – First or second … either way you could win the bet! HINT: It is the name of a popular bet on the horses. SOLVED Forecast Seamount

No 6 – Appalling tragedy struck when Reds opposed Reds. SOLVED Hillsborough Volcano

No 7 – Scene of a hilarious attempted short cut, subsequently publicised in over 150 countries. SOLVED Guallatiri

No 8 –153 398 47 … only teasing! HINT: As usual put letters to the numbers (three separate words) and solve the riddle!  SOLVED White Horse Bluff

Current Points Table:

67 – Alison

16 – Renato Rio, Frances

15 – Kelda

14 – Pyter

13 – KarenZ

11 – Random Joe

10 – Diana Barnes

 8 – Stephanie Alice Halford, Granyia

 7 – Edward

 6 – Talla

 5 – chryphia, sa’ke

 4 – UKViggen

 3 – inannamoon667, Bobbi

 2 – dfm, grimmster, sa’ke

 1 – mdatc, HolgerS


367 thoughts on “Eruption at Kverkfjöll + Kick’Em Gumbo + NtV Riddle (9)

  1. Evening all. Just returned from an ‘interesting’ trip to Brazil where, among other things, my laptop was stolen. I cannot blame the locals too much, after all the GBP1000 MacBook Pro costs a staggering GBP4000 to buy locally, so I can understand the temptation. I am less than forgiving of my knucklehead colleague, however: quite at what point he thought it was OK to go out and get a snack when when we had all agreed that “one of us should always be in the office to guard the valuable computers/camera gear etc” is not clear. As the only freelancer in the ensemble they obviously took my computer, as opposed to the half-dozen company-owned laptops lying around. And Brazilian police just laugh at you when you try and report a crime.
    Did I lose anything important? Probably not – but ALL my cool volcano links were bookmarked in that computer. Bastards!!!

    • Heard a story the other day about a lady who had her laptop purloined. She had a subscription continuous backup service that allowed her to retrieve her laptops “state” when she got her new one. What she found odd, was that she was getting photos and documents that she had not taken or written. Turned out the were from whoever had acquired her laptop. She turned the info over to the police who then recovered the thief.

      Right now, I absolutely hate laptops. I have one filleted on the kitchen table right now. It’s that ruggidized bastard that I was fighting last week. If I were not liable for the damned thing, I’d take the 12 gage to it.

      I have been searching for my hot-glue gun and friction tape with no success. The video connector has to pass through this pretty small hole before removing the screen, and very small lines that make up the video cable are exposed and I don’t want to sheer/snap any of them. I need to re-do the covering for them before trying to disconnect the lcd panel.

      To the designer: “May you misplace your scrotum.”

      Addendum: I’m trying to do this while my wife is yelling at me.

      She’s not mad at me, she is ticked off at my stepson’s dog who keeps getting underfoot. I’m not particularly fond of being yelled at, but I understand that I am just a venting object right now. Even with the high tension level, she still managed to make me laugh. She is watching some international little league playoff right now, and quipped that Canada’s Team (little league) is better than Pensacola’s “Blue Wahoos.”(Professional? Minor League) I chucked and said “Yep, your right.”

    • I feared the cold wave, traffic jams, but could never expect such a shameful event to happen to such a illustrious guest to my homeland. Bastards!
      I’ll give you all my volcano links to make up for the bad time you had in my country, Ukviggen. Promise!
      Dam it, I am so sorry.

      • Aww … no worries. It happens everywhere. I am most cross at my colleague for leaving the room to be honest.

        It was very cold last week though!!

    • Shame.
      Anyway, i guess many here have most of your cool volcano links. Just holler, we ll be more than willing to help you find all those links again.

  2. This is mainly for GeoLurking who I know is interested in ancient history, climate change and statistics.

    Basically it’s an article on the Bronze Age Collapse which has exercised the minds of many archaeologists. I’ve not read the main article yet but a 300 year drought in that area, if it were to happen now, would be very bad news indeed.

        • Hi Granyia
          Nope not Platanar … the Lone Ranger connection that Alison established is correct … ask yourself what exactly was Silver?

          • Taking this literally … Aren’t white horses called grey? It wouldn’t happen to be Whitehorse Bluff in Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field?

            • On a personal not – yay! I had soooo much work to this weekend and I’ve done none of it spending most of my time trying to solve the riddle … and drinking many a cocktail. However, when I arrive at work tomorrow to the many deadlines I may not meet, I know it will all be worth it! My brain hurts … a lot 😉 Thanks for the riddles

              Believe it or not I really enjoy setting them … aided and abetted by the odd Mohito or four!

            • Phew. Back home and at last it’s solved. That’s a relief, I can now think about other things. 😀

              Have a great week and see you on Friday!

            • Can’t go wrong with a good mojito or four! 😉 Most the time I don’t get the answer but in trying to solve them I usually end up on a trip around the world, learning the oddest facts about people, places as well as volcanic features.

              And that same fascinating journey applies to me as I sit at the computer planning for Friday.

  3. Deep quake near Hamarinn
    18.08.2013 15:03:45 64.503 -17.649 11.2 km 2.1 99.0 7.9 km ENE of Hamarinn

  4. Who is hoping that Kverkfjöll has an eruption? I have been noticing that whenever earthquakes hit the mountain that they were of a good size. That was a few months ago though.

  5. @#%@#$#@$ dream states.

    Monster (well, only moderately so) storm rolled through in the middle of the night. The sort of storm that makes you sleep ultra soundly. Dunno what it was about, but I had a dream that a Nordic King named Hrothgar had written a detailed account about Egypt of his time frame.

    I woke up, reach down for my shoes, and then realized that I had a dog’s head in my hand. I looked down since my shoes are not furry, or round, and there is the dog, looking back up at me with a “WTF are you doing” expression. Evidently the dog had sought solace there since storms mean lightning, and that dog definitely does not like thunder.

    So far, I have found nothing of Hrothgar ever going to Egypt. During Hrothgar’s time… Egypt would be just a few decades from the expansion of Islam. Probably still under heavy Byzantine influence.

    • Nothing to say that a contemporary of Hrothgar (if he existed) didn’t get to Egypt. The Rus were settled and trading with Byzantium by the mid 8th century and the Varangarians were living there by the 9th. As the Nordic people usually spent at least 100 years trading (and looting) with places before they settled they may well have been in that area by the 7th century. A quick boat journey to Egypt would have been a doddle for them! 🙂

  6. Good Lord how I detest Monday-eve.

    Mainly because that is when I am supposed to “bill out” my job tickets… in other words, make up the invoices for Monday mailing. Not that I don’t like getting paid, it’s just that I have to enter the stuff into the computer. That requires manual entry of the data into my accounting program… and a good deal of squinting and remembering the sequence of events. I use a head mounted light in order to be able to read the tickets, and generally have a hard time at not becoming exasperated.

    • My distractor for the evening were those steam explosions. I was too busy to do up the plots, but in a nutshell, water to steam involves and expansion of about 1700 in volume, but when you start looking at magmatic temps, that expansion can get up into the 5000 to 6000 range.

      Something to ponder when you look at phreatic events…

      • Be afraid – VERY afraid – of steam.

        This ain’t a glorified kettle.

        We have a former navy man here I think? Submariner? Perhaps he will tell us how the USN go about finding a high-pressure steam leak on their nuke subs.

        (free clue, it involves a broom handle…)

        ‘Steam’ is a Bad Word. Say ‘H2O rocket exhaust’ and you’ll get a better idea.

        • I’m sure there is one lurking about. Personally, I did several years. Steam ships all the way.

          As for the broom handle, it’s used to find main steam leaks if you have one. It’s a safety precaution that you wave around in front of you as you seek the leak. Superheated steam is invisible, when the broom handle gets sliced in two, you have found it.

          Superheated steam can not be seen. That whispy cloudiness that most people associate with steam is from it condensing… much like when clouds form from water vapor. You don’t see the vapor until it condenses into tiny droplets.

          BTW, in my book “Steam” is not a bad word. It beats the hell out of those “whistling shit cans”… They have to have a specific grade of fuel. With a steam plant, if it will burn, it can be used. (yeah, gas turbines have their benefit, I agree… but I’m old school)

          First ship → 600 pound (P-Fired Boilers). 2nd and 3rd → 1200 pound plants (Forced Draft). 4th → 600 pound re-engineered plant intended for a battleship.

  7. As many of you know, I subscribe to Explorator by David Meadows. It’s a list server subscription that covers Arts and Humanities.

    I find it interesting when trying to puzzle out ancient events and how they may couple to volcanic activity or large scale geologic events.

    So, this is OT.

    Çatalhöyük is a very large neolithic/chaleolithic. settlement in what is now modern Turkey. A lot of “new agers” hop up and down emphasizing that the culture was matrilineal or that women dominated it in importance.

    First, let me say that there isn’t a damned thing wrong with that. I live in the “modern” age, and place the well being of my wife above everything else. Why should they be any different?

    But, as per the article located via Explorator,

    Boncuklu Höyük is located in Hayıroğlu in the district of Karatay and was home to the ancestors of people who lived in the 9,000-year-old settlement of Çatalhöyük.

    “In our excavations we discovered ornaments alongside female skeletons, while we usually found arrow heads and hunting materials around male skeletons,” he said. “As a result of these findings we can conclude that 10,500 years ago women paid attention to how they look in order to impress men.”

    Additionally, the walls of the houses had trophy heads of animals… so there evidently isn’t really anything new about that practice.

    If the humanities interests you, I highly reccomend his mailing list.

    EXPLORATOR is a free weekly newsletter bringing you the latest news of archaeological finds, historical research and the like. Various on-line news and magazine sources are scoured for news of the ‘ancient world’ (broadly construed: practically anything relating to archaeology or history up to World War II or so is fair game) and every Sunday they are delivered to your mailbox free of charge!

    To subscribe to Explorator, send a blank email message to:

    To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:

    Unrelated, except in my somewhat quirky mind…

    Now think about this… the Grim Reaper is a pretty old meme. What is reaping? The collecting of grasses. The Grim Reaper collects souls. Separating the wheat from the chaff (winnowing) is the follow on activity, and equates to separating the good from the bad. My guess is that this concept has been around since we settled down and began agricultural activity to sustain our cultures.

    • Actually the collection of grasses (by reaping or not) is much older than the cultivation of those grasses. It’s the gathering bit in ‘hunting and gathering’ and is what we’ve done since we took up being hominids.

    • Another interesting piece from that collection indicates that we may have have learned several of our tools from Neanderthal.

      And one of our original beans, the Lentil, has been consumed since this time frame…

    • Now I could go into a whole long comment about those Women wanting to impress men with their ornaments. if it was a Matrilineal society my observation would ne that those ladies were buried with tokens of wealth that would impress other women and their society in general rather than just the men. Let’s face it we haven’t changed that much. After the initial courtship and chase the man impresses the woman more by giving gifts and acquiring “Stuff” for her. Your status in society is often judged by your clothes, jewellery and dwelling.

      • A profound view, and possibly one that has merit.

        The whole time that I read that article I kept thinking. “Who says it was the men that they wanted to impress?” That seemed a bit “temporal-centric” ← (fabricated psuedo-word)

        • Yes, always be aware that you have a 21st century mindset. Never attempt to plant this into people who lived 100 years ago, let alone 10,000 years ago. People tend to concentrate on the wrong part of the word ‘matrilineal’ – it’s the linial bit that is important in the matrilineal tribes I am familiar with. The men still run the tribe but the next leader is chosen from the nephews of the present leader – his sister’s children. His children don’t mind because they will be of high enough rank to be in with a chance of being chosen by their mother’s brother to inherit. Most tribes are extremely hierarchical – none of the New Age “everyone has a say” idea of prehistoric life.

          As for women wearing ornaments and jewels? Who buys the oranaments? I’m afraid it is true and greatly offends my 21st century brain, but women themselves were possessions and the more ornate they were the more they showed the power of their owner: husband/father/brother. In their own right these women could be powerful, they could often be a ‘power behind the throne’ but ultimately their fortune depended on their men. The women probably wouldn’t have thought of themselves as a trophy, unless they actually had been handed over as a gift, but that’s what they were.

          Incidentally we have not changed much: just look at the number of rich/powerful old men who persuade themselves that a pretty 20-something loves them for themselves, not their money. And the number of pretty 20-somethings who do not mind being dressed up as a dolly and paraded about on the arm of said rich old man. 🙂

  8. hey folks,

    This is exciting to read. just came back from camping (still in Europe, nice weather for beach, sea, swimming, those nice things of summer that I cannot have in Iceland!), and saw the news of Kverfjoll! so, I learnt this: Kverfjoll now has a phreatic explosion, small flood and no tremor, therefore it is likely that in 2011 when Katla and Hamarinn has their “events”, they were most likely mre than just phreatic explosions; those events lasted longer, had signatificant tremor and much more quake activity, and much larger jokulhlaups.
    I am now more convinced than those events in 2011 were small eruptions at katla and Hamarinn.

    This is just heat in Kverfjoll but it surely points to magma near the surface. These events can sometimes occur as a sign before an eruption. If it occurs, I also hope for clear skies in Iceland, because Kverfjoll is really remote, even to watch it from distance, and please only in September because I am out of Iceland until then 😉

    • I am trying to figure out Boris recipe for starting volcanoes. I have gotten to the point of the smurfs. The trick is apparantly in how you dry them.

      Hope that you have a nice vacation.

      • For Iceland, a recipe: I reckon you must pull apart the plates, in a sufficiently large way to let magma fill the gap and also rise to the surface at one spot that already has a large enough pool of magma beneath there (i.e. a magma chamber), and also a sort of fresh conduit in between surface, chamber and mantle. Could this be a good recipe?

        Also try to replace “pull apart the plates” by “have a pulse of the hotspot plume”

        moreover, the plates must have moved a bit these last days (or the plume pulsated a bit in recent days), because we have seen several interesting deep quakes in these last days, just after a recent quiet period in Iceland.

        Those quakes were at several volcanoes (Hamarinn, Kverkfjoll, Askja, Katla), as if they seem to be the weak points. (and likely candidates for a future eruption)

        • Those quakes have me a bit worried actually. During the last 8 weeks they have come all over the place, they have grown in size, and they are getting deeper.
          Also, and this is harder to see, but the duration of them is getting longer and longer.

          In my little mind it feels a bit like a hotspot pulse. We may sooner or later live in interesting times.

          • I expect an eruption likely within years in either Askja, Kverkfjoll, Kistufell, Hamarinn, Katla, or a few of these. They have been “gathering” magma underneath them, for years already. Just like Eyjafjallajokull did, before 2010.

            Elsewhere in Iceland, this is observed mostly at Reykjanes (off the coast), Krisuvik, sometimes at the southern region of Hengill, and sometimes at the southern tip of Langjokull.

    • I think the worry you would have with SakuraJima is if it ever becomes blocked up for a significant portion of time, then you start to worry about a legitimate pressure buildup in that system.

      Apparently the center of the Aira Caldera system has been seeing inflation since roughly 2011, so that could possibly explain the reasoning behind the increased activity.

      The question is how much the vulcanian activity has contributed towards depressurizing the overall system. From what I’ve heard, the cumulative VEI release of the SakuraJima eruptions over the years is actually incredibly small, although that doesn’t really show how much pressure has been relieved by the activity. I would believe that SakuraJima has actually benefited from what seems to be a constant flow of magma, since it’s kept the piping hot and moving, instead of allowing the conduits time to cool, hencefort preventing depressurization (although this is just conjecture).

      With that said, I personally believe that most of the larger eruptions will simply occur when a big wad of magma ascends from Aira’s primary magma chamber regardless of how open the system is or isn’t. The VEI-4 1914 eruption had a lot of precursor earthquakes, and similar to St. Helens, the volcano started to bulge on it’s flank and inflate incredibly rapidly in the days prior to the eruption.

      Finally, there seems to be some evidence to believe that the volcanoes in the Kagoshima Graben are still in the process of becoming more active, as the delamination process below the Kagoshima Graben continues. I can’t find the source, but supposedly the sinking rate of the graben has actually increased over the course of the last 10,000 years.

      • “Considering the estimated volume increase at the inflation sources, it is indicated that the total of about 1.2 x 10^8 m^3 magma is inferred to have additionally stored beneath Aira caldera during the period from 1991 to 2012. The ground uplift around the northern part of Sakurajima at the time of December 2012 caused by the progressing magma storage recovers and further exceeds the height level in around 1973, when the intense summit eruptions during the 1970s and the 1980s started. These results suggest the immanent potential of the next intensive eruptive activity of this volcano.”

        Courtesy of

        //fixed number 🙂 chryphia

        • That copied weird – Should me 1.2 x 10^8 m3 of magma that has accumulated beneath Aira from 1991 to 2012.

  9. If anyone wonders where todays post is…

    I got up at around sixish to have my morning coffee while reading about some dim-wit who had mislaid his handgrenade downtown. Why the person had thought that saturday night is a good time to walk roaringly drunk to town with a live handgrenade is beyond me. That he also managed to forget where he lost it just makes it better. Come sunday morning the bomb-squad decided to blow it up. Sand everywhere as a result.

    After coffee and Bombnews I headed out to sign in at school. Found that everyone I am going to spend the next years together with is so young that they should probably not be let outside without parental supervision. Bar one, he just came back from his third tour in Afghanistan. We will most likely get on famously whenever he stops diving for cover at the smallest bang or whenever the ambulance helicopter is landing ontop of our heads. He served in the same outfit as I did, but later. Took me 2 years to stop diving.

    After 8 hours of listening to lectures my brain was fairly fritzed. I still tried to spread my wisdom to the youngsters. Namely that it is always good to bring a lemon whenever you are going to be around corpses.

    I then went home and read up for tomorrow, the youngsters went to get as drunk as only newly baked med students can become when their parents are not around.
    Tomorrow I face the joy of 48 seriously hungover people trying to look at corpses and sure as hell no one of them will have brought a lemon of their own. The only joy is that the thud of them fainting will get my new buddy to jump for cover under a corpse.

    As I wrote earlier, I will post on wednesdays.

    • [still laughing] Oh Carl, I am sure that, under your tutelage, your fellow freshmen will get all the necessary survival tricks that they ever will need in life, and beside that a good few lessons in geo/volcano/seismo/gumbology! 😀 Oh, and medicine… what are you going to specialize in? Good luck with all you do!

      • I have a few years to decide upon that one… But I am rather a fan of infectious deceases since I found some Marburg virus in the freezer.

    • True story about my late father-in-law. He was a Tank Driver in Pattons 3rd in WW2.
      He and I were working in his vegetable garden when all of a sudden the scream of a
      Prop-driven fighter blasted overhead and Carl yelled “HIT THE DIRT!” I looked up instead,
      and saw a Yellow nosed P-47 blast overhead and go into a tight bank. for another pass
      at treetop level. Then it was gone. I said “It’s ok it was one of ours!” Carl wasn’t amused
      until a couple of shots of Jack Daniels later…
      He was 76 when that happened…
      Miss him..

      • “wasn’t amused”

        I can imagine. I never was under fire, but there are some sounds (and scents) that you never ever forget. For me, it’s the distinctive smell of a house fire. And the smell of some chemical called “therminol” that Monsanto never would tell us what exactly it was. The closest they gave us was an MSDS for Naptha. Either way, it was freeking cold arsed shower at the decon station. We had spent several hours wading around in FF water runoff and that chemical… whatever it was. Looking it up on Wikipedia yeilds some PCB containing chemical called Polychlorinated biphenyl”

        … oh friken yay. Too bad there is no finger emoticon.

        Okay… I’m sort of creaped out now. My exposure was about 18 to 22 years ago. Think I’m in the clear? A Senior Chief I used to know got soaked with hydraulic fluid for a few hours while working on an antenna actuator ram. He developed cancer within a year.

        • I’m genetically predisposed for hair loss. (you get it from your mothers side of the family). All of my cousins have a “monk like” pattern of hair loss. Mine is more of a failed widow’s peak thinning.

          That plant no longer belongs to Monsanto, Solutia bought it.

          The only Fire Fighter that was there that day that I know to have had some sort of cancerous event, died from a brain tumor. The rest seem to have had no ill effects. That could also be karma, he was the one that had pulled a knife on me when he was 15 or so. I damned near got arrested that night, I was this close →← to pounding the shit out of him for whipping out that knife. Luckily when the bystanders said “Don’t hit him, he’s a minor” my brain registered it. When he got back up and into the station and he grabbed a fire ax, I told them all to go fk themselves, he’s your problem now.

          So.. here I sit, years later. The station chief suspended him for quite some time and talked me into coming back. I know that hurt that kid quite badly, fire fighting was what he lived for. I transfered on to other duty stations, and upon retiring, came back to Pensacola. I never could bring myself into going back in, that kid had squared himself away, and had matured, and become the station Chief. After he passed away, they had an estate sale. I bought the wooden desk that either he or a close relative of his had refinished. I’m sitting at it now. My wife has a near identical desk.. but it’s the one that I cut the legs off of it with a chainsaw up in Jersey when the movers couldn’t get it through the door. (They nearly shat themselves when I did that, but I didn’t want to spend any more time in that state… waiting on base housing to come remove a door. I replaced the legs when I moved in here).

          • Mine just dropped down when I turned twenty… I have on the other hand a fairly prodigious facial growth. When in the army there was a Golden rule, no facial hair unless it was 5mm or longer. I grew a regulatory beard from clean shaven on friday to bearded on monday.

            • Mine was gone at 23-Just like my St.Clair Ancestors -have a family reunion picture of all
              my mom’s family-except me every male that was decended from Jimmie St.Clair’s daughters
              and grandaughters-myself too, were bald as a billard ball…

          • Though that kid was a bit of a trouble maker, he was one of the most motivated firefighteres I had seen. Not a lot rattled his cage. Without foresight, that can be a lethal combination, but he survived long enough to make something of himself… and he enjoyed the pinnacle of what he would consider success. So, I guess he at least had that. I still remember dragging him up the attic ladder going after a fire…. and that one time on the interstate when it was me, him, and the pump operator going after a VW microbus that had it’s engine on fire. That one shocked me…. cold water on a burning magnesium block makes for a most spectacular display. It took both of us leaned over and literally laying on the hose to keep it on target. The pump operator had the line at a pretty high pressure because of the intensity of the blaze.

            R.I.P. Lewis.

            • Don’t get me started on Monsanto . Nearly cane to blows with a Monsanto filed rep over some
              crappy Retardant they came up with back in the ’90’s
              “You aren’t dropping low enough!”-Monsanto Drone
              “If we go any lower we’ll crash!”-Me
              “You guys aren’t using the right coverage level up the level”Monsanto Drone
              “If we use any higher level we’ll have to do a whole load salvo!”-Me
              “Who is your captain!”-Monsanto Drone
              I point to the Captain-who was/is well known in the industry. He is of German/Prussian
              extraction and looked like had just crawled out of a Fokker Triplane and had just missed
              an easy shot at a two-seater-due to a gun jam. He wanted to kill something…
              “Oh HIM.”-the Monsanto guy went to the standby shack.

    • Interesting picture, one can see where the hydrothermal wells are on the color of the ice.
      There seems to have been an ash-blast up in the middle of the picture, just above the blue water.

      • No don’t have that fantasy :), this ash is all over the place. It is the ash from Grimsvotn 2011, that fell over a wide area of the glacier, it was covered by new snow in 2012 and 2013, and is sometimes exposed by melting and blown away by the wind. This occurs everywhere across Vatnajokull, in the surroundings of Grimsvotn.

        furthermore, if something would manage to push through the cauldron and all the water beneath it, it would cause immense tremor, quakes and a huge blast of ash upwards. It is about of 300 meters thick water or ice beneath the cauldron surface.

  10. Just to show how silly the earthquakes have gotten…

    Gódabunga getting som refreshment:
    19.08.2013 07:16:26 63.687 -19.311 22.4 km 0.9 49.91 6.0 km NNW of Goðabunga
    19.08.2013 07:15:08 63.652 -19.383 18.9 km 0.5 31.1 5.6 km ESE of Básar

    Several at Askja and Herdubreid.

    And Hamarinn dancing lambada the forbidden dance:
    19.08.2013 00:20:09 64.524 -17.677 24.4 km 2.3 99.0 7.6 km ENE of Hamarinn

  11. Time to put on yer thinkin’ caps.

    The critical pressure of water/steam is 221.2 bar. Above this pressure, it doesn’t matter how hot you make it, you can not distinguish between the liquid or gaseous phase of water/steam. You could heat it to 1200°C and it would not flash to steam.

    However… if you decrease the pressure it to below 221.2 bar, and it is still at that 1200°C temp…. it’s going to instantly turn into it’s gas phase. With that sort of temperature, gas law says that it will expand to about 5000 times it’s volume. (give or take). Now, bear with me. That is going to send a pressure pulse through the surrounding rock.. both upwards and downwards… as well as horizontally. In a shockwave, after the pressure pulse passes, the material will relax … possibly overshooting the rest pressure that it was naturally at. If the negative side of the pressure wave, the low pressure relaxation component, drops other fluid below the 221.2 bar critical point, that high temperature fluid will also have the opportunity to turn to gas and join in on the expanding vapor fun. In my opinion, this is how phreatic detonations can be so powerful. In Tongariro’s case, tossing Hobbits as high as 6.5 km.

    “Hydrostatic” pressure is the pressure at depth that a column of water open to the surface is at. For a crack filled with water extending deep into the crust, you cross the 221.2 bar pressure level at about 2260 m depth. A bit deeper if the crack has ice as part of it’s makeup. Water constrained by solid rock will feel the pressure of the overburden is. At 2700 kg/m³, the 221.2 bar pressure is achieved at 834 to 840 m depth.

    Now… suppose that somewhere between 2260 meters and 840 meters, a pocket of water became exposed to high temperature magma and became superheated. Since the confining pressure was above the supercritical point, nothing happened. The fluid just sat that there, fat dumb and happy, and hotter that all get out. Now supposed that a small tectonic quake opened up a crack to this superheated water pocket, and exposed it to the surface. The fluid instantaneously drops below the supercritical point, and since it was at such a high temperature, expands to about 5000 times it’s initial volume.


    Note: an alternate scenario could have the superheated fluid (water) migrate above the supercritical pressure and then go off, but I would think that it would be a bit nosier than a single blast/detonation. More like a slightly constipated geyser.

    If I am correct, then we have magma somewhere above 2260 m depth, but not of a make-up to where gases entrained in it will froth and cause an eruption…. if that were the case, we wouldn’t be sitting here ruminating on it, we would be watching cameras.

    Alternate scenario #2: The country rock, heated from below, transfered the heat to a pocket of water… then the first scenario idea takes back over. Tectonic quake opens up the pocket to the atmospehre, water flashes to steam… bang. Does not require magma above 2260 meters, though the event would be less energetic than I postulated. (somewhere between 1700 x and 5000 x expansion rate.) But, you still have magma closer to the surface than normal. (not gonna heat that much water with a Bic™ Lighter)

    Not a Geologist, Your mileage may vary, Do not pass “GO,” Do not collect $200, Offer void where prohibited by law.

    • Side note: The edifice height is about 1764 meters. This equates to about 10 to 20 meters or so depth change in where the supercritical point is crossed for hydrostatic pressure.

  12. Howdy friends:
    Michael Ross – I loved the water bomb. I just wish people would at least read an article about framing, holding steady and showing the after-effects, if there are any.
    T. G. McCoy – I have a friend who was a POW in Viet Nam THREE times. When his son and my daughter were practicing skating their routine one day, thunder sounded. It is quite an experience to have thunder burst over your head in a skating rink. KA-BOOM – ECHO…So, David (the POW) leapt off his seat into the air, screaming, “INCOMING” and crawled under a table. He got all 6′ 4″ under that little table.
    Also, TGM, I think about you whenever I see or read about the aircraft fighting fires out west. (I’m in Detroit.) Be safe and prayers for you.

  13. Ahh baseball. Sometimes a real yawner of a sport. In order to drum up interest in the game, The “IronPigs” of Pennsylvania (minor league) had an essay contest. The prize? A free Funeral.

    Reportedly, the free funeral is good for life. (go figure)

    Good Lord. I just went and watched a bit of cricket. (India vs Sri Lanka). I think I have found the UK’s version of a most boring game. I have always held that Baseball would be much more interesting if the batter, after making his hit, got to keep the bat as he made the bases. It would make the baseman’s job quite a bit more interesting… maybe as much fun to watch as Full Contact Golf.

    This video compares the difficulty in hitting Baseballs or Cricketballs. It is decidedly canted in baseball’s favor. One thing the narrator states that should be taken into account though… in cricket, aiming at the batter/batsman is fair play. In Baseball, that’s a no-no and will give them a base if you hit them. (provided they get back up)

    Did you know that you can get a birdie in Baseball? here’s how.

    • The whole point of cricket is that a proper match lasts up to 5 days. These one day matches, or the 20-20 thing, is not the real thing. I like to listen to it on the radio – the announcers on the BBC are very entertaining – but I’m not that into it to watch a whole match though I have friends who do. Having said that, I’d rather watch cricket than football which I find mind-numbingly dull. Give me a good Rugby Union match any day!

      • 😆 cricket is the only game on the planet that I can actually work at full speed to, not be distracted, get my work shifted and simultaneously still be absolutely riveted by the game. In fact, I don’t even need to see it. A ticker is almost as good as video coverage. There is something exquisitely slow in the dramaturgical development of a great cricket match that makes all other sports pale in comparison.

    • Sounds like Dr Morataya who sends us images of the Guatemalan volcanoes will need to start showelling ash from her roof again.

        • Nah, you do not need one 🙂
          You are a big strong guy, she is half a hand high. It will take her months to shovell it away

        • Oh, plead guilty to beeing big & strong, but was thinking if I have time pre-ordering a Light Tank to travel in, diesel-fuel-tank trailer, couple of thermal suits, gas-masks, dirt-filter masks, Lightning strike protector, showel(s) and such, including maps & batteries. Of course My Bunker is filled to the brim with tinned food, water, also soap and other essential stuff. *grinning*

  14. Early in the morning I stood rubbing a gauze-mask with my trusted lemon. Just to make doubly shure that I would not smell anything I stuck Vick Vaporub in my nostrils.
    Ready to join me in the morgue was 33 assorted male, female and generally some sort of gender of med students. The 34th was a pink japanese rabbit. I have not really figured out what the pink rabbit is about. Anyhow, everyone except me in the group was deadly hungover.
    Nobody had brought a lemon.

    The human brain is either a very astounding and complex thing, or a rather malformed grey piece of lard. Take your pick.
    Todays ruminations was upon the brain and the cerebral cortex. Since I had brought my lemon I could stand close to the proceedings and thusly got awarded by holding a freshly stemed brain.

    I got thinking about Lurking so I struck my best Shakespearian pose and recited the immortal words of the poet to the brain:
    “Brain, must eat brain”

    3 people giggled hysterically, most of the rest turned into Victorian age virgins in whale-bone corsettes and swooned to the floor with resounding thumps. The rabbit lost her breakfast inside the suit.

    The Rabbit got my spare lemon to clean out her suit…

    • Being a Biology major myself I appreciate this. Developed an allergy to formaldehyde.
      Not bad, but I broke out in itchy hives anywhere near the stuff. Still do. Friend of mine had this
      Filipino beer that used it as a preservative. Broke out in hives in the middle of rather good party…Raised on a ranch so I was used to blood and guts, but the allergy ended my Biology
      career. “brain-must-eat-brain” hehehe…

    • San Miguel?

      About the rabbit. Some cultures would dress up in outfits resembling animals with the idea that that gave them some characteristic of the animal. Today, in the “modern age” we don’t do that.

      So she dressed up as an animal that is known for prolific breeding. Interesting. Maybe it’s not just for the “cute little bunny” aspect of it, Maybe it was not even a conscious decision, but some underlying cultural meme at play.

      Humans are weird.

      • Perhaps she did not have time change from Partying to Student 😉
        Thats what I can proper use of spare time!

        • Might be, but she was allready a bunny yesterday.
          Anyhow, I find it interesting. Refreshing somehow. But it was not that practical to clean out…

        • To be honest, the nasty stuff is the major reason that I stopped doing fire service. Some stuff is difficult to put out of your head. Limbs that don’t look right, things out of place, etc. I dare say that I would probably loose it also. I actually got queasy making sausage out of a deer quarter. Something about the texture and sheathing of the musculature just got to me. If ya don’t think about it, it’s no big deal. It’s when your mind starts putting two and two together that gets me.

          • About the only thing that makes me quezy is people hurling around me or on me.
            I got a fair bit of training to stomach that today. Not feeling the smell of it helped a great deal.
            But the first couple of times I saw dismembered people it got to me. If it does not get to you something is very very wrong with you.

          • What I think is funny, is the sympathy hurl. It’s a direct artifact of our ancient feeding behavior. If one of the group got sick while browsing the berries, there was a good chance that someone else ate the bad berries (or whatever) also. So, everybody hurls as a precaution to keep the group as a whole from being poisoned.

            And we carry that with us to this day. Now it serves a similar purpose, though unintended. If one person has drank too much, odds are, everybody has. Seeing that technically, alcohol is a poison, it plays the part of the bad food.

            (Note, I do not consider alcohol a poison, but metabolically, that’s what it is)

            • I always wondered how casava; a staple food for many Amazonian tribes made it into their diet, it is poisonous (though I think not totally deadly) unless a multi stage process is used before it’s eaten…
              My guess? i think they saw the monkeys eating it raw, and experimented on the young men of the tribe (or another tribe) until they didn’t get bellyache anymore…

              …Improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and may even cause ataxia or partial paralysis.

            • Just imagine the trouble it took to figure out mushrooms…
              so you got yr highlights back
              and about the cassava, yeah that’s the level of toxicity I was meaning… 🙂

            • Looked up Cosplay-learned more than I wanted. Went back to Fire and Aviation.
              Weird species indeed…

            • Some of them can be quite funny. Especially when they can’t quite pull off the effect.

              (like the “He Man” that looked more like a sort of bulked up transvestite)

        • San Miguel I was always warned about by the old salts. (more salty than I).

          Due to poor quality control, some of them were like drinking flavored water, others would kick your arse due to the alcohol content. You could be sitting on the beach knockin’ em back, then when you get ready to leave, you find yourself crawling along the beach.

          I was also told to be very wary of Singha. The source water was not always potable.

          Though in fairness, it may have been due to the other things that the person had consumed that evening, you can wind up eating some strange stuff when you are tanked…. such as Balut. (But I had consumed quite a bit of beer and whiskey before that happened, and it was way early in the morning. If you are drunk enough, it tastes just like crab-boil)

          I never could figure out why the disdain for Lion Lager. Probably the lower alcohol content.

          Barbican, yeah, I can understand that. No alcohol.

  15. One legged naked man dies….

    A naked, disabled Perdido Key man died Monday after trying to break into several houses by throwing bricks and other objects at windows before collapsing, authorities said.

    A deputy arrived to find Chabannes in the yard, delirious and covered in blood and sweat. As the deputy attempted to reason with Chabannes, he collapsed, the Sheriff’s Office said.

  16. If anybody is wondering… there is a post coming.
    Just took me four hours to get to my computer after a power failure knocked out the key card access… So, in a couple of hours I will have something written.

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