Ruminarian VI – Launching Hobbits

A typical phase diagram. The solid green line applies to most substances; the dotted green line gives the anomalous behavior of water. The green lines mark the freezing point and the blue line the boiling point, showing how they vary with pressure (Wikimedia Commons).

A typical phase diagram. The solid green line applies to most substances; the dotted green line gives the anomalous behavior of water. The green lines mark the freezing point and the blue line the boiling point, showing how they vary with pressure (Wikimedia Commons).

21 November 2012, Mount Tongariro lofted a 6.5 km column of material from the Te Māri Craters. Analysis turned up that it was a phreatic event, meaning that groundwater had flashed to steam and pulverized some rock, and launched that along with re mobilized ash skyward.

Recently, Kverkfjöll had a similar episode. Both events were driven by a steam explosion.

Time to put on yer thinkin’ caps.

PV=nRT or, V=(nRT)/P

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 atmosphere, 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)



In the regards of the miniscule Kverkfjöll event there is also the possibility that the magma actually moved upwards after the phreatic detonation. This was such a small event that the magma would then have been quenched by the caldera lake and almost instantly sollidified into a plug capping the vent. This is though just to be seen as more of a theoretical nitpicking. /Carl


227 thoughts on “Ruminarian VI – Launching Hobbits

  1. For those who like to ponder GPSes. I would like to point a cautionary finger towards over-interpreting them right now.
    During the last week earth have been hit by a host of various radiation fronts from a nova. This has affected the satelites, so there are some “oddities” in the GPSes.

    If you want to check for youself for the results, take a look at the jumps that happened at the Hekla GPSes.

    • I think he was suggesting that CO2; when used to make replacement body parts is “non-reactive” and doesn’t provoke an immune system response. Also if the “implant” does degrade the body can deal with it easily…
      CO2 as a gas in high enough concentrations is indeed rapidly fatal, known to the miners as chokedamp…

      • Reason enough for me to be critical in matters of CO2 sequestration. Imagine you thought an ancient gas reservoir was sealed, but then you have an earthquake creating fissures because the structure has evolved due to exploitation and somewhere at the surface big amounts of that stuff come out concentrated. Then you have a cloud of that shit filling an urbanized valley and some thousands die suffocating like laboratory rats.
        Well that might be a dramatization of an event with an extremely rare probability to occur, but in a world of black swans and stuff, huh, who can tell???

        • And as we’re talking of gas. I come back with my question of “until when is it a fart”? A colleague once suggested until 30 grams. Well that means that if you fart 5 times 29 grams, you have shitted without having to waste any time on a toilet. Let’s say that an average worker shits once a day, an that it takes 10 good minutes, we come to something like an hour per week, that’s 45 hours per year, or one week, that we could ask as holidays if we regularly hat a wet fart instead of sitting down to do big business.
          But then, knowing that the average fart is 7-11km/h fast, that means a hell of something going on down in our pants. 29 grams that come flying at 11km/h. Boah. Terrific thoughts. My homage to Krakatau’s Bangday.

      • CO2 has wonderful uses: carbonizing drinks, rock pops, killing pests at high concentrations. It´s inert at normal pressure. You can even make glass out of it called carbonia if you happen to have 400,000 atmospheres at hand 🙂

  2. CO2 is as “toxic” as pure water. It won’t kill you if you are exposed to it, but will not survive trying to breath it.

    It displaces oxygen. That is the danger of it.

    Carbon monoxide is toxic. It chemically bonds with the hemoglobin and your body has a hard time getting rid of it.

    • Lurking is absolutely correct. CO2 is non-toxic, but you will suffocate if it is in high enough concentrations. An analogy too water is not that far off.

      Regarding CO it is not really toxic in and of itself to. There the CO attaches itself to the red blood cell and get stuck far more efficiently than the O2 molecule would. So, CO makes your blood loose the abillity to carry oxygen. Not a true poison really, but you still die.

      Edit: Fixed the most horrible spelling mistakes.

  3. The video was very interesting, the rest is too complicated for my brain. However, being from the South (Tennessee), I believe a fart is a fart when you hear it or smell it.
    I meant to comment on the previous post, however, since it took me 2 days to read it, here we are. I took so many side trips on links and looking words up that it took a while to get through it. And so here is where I say: Great informative post Steve, I learned a LOT.

    • Hi Brenda Fay B,
      Have you heard from Carlos?
      I’m glad you liked the summary…
      It shows what expertise we have here…

      • I only wish Carlos B would show up. I miss him. Schteve (spelled it right this time) you are a hoot, fun to read, as most here are. Brilliant blog. I have a notebook with my favorite remarks, most from Carl, then GeoLurking.

    • Oh! Brenda! You have put into words my thoughts right now as I catch up on Shteve’s Post and Now Lurking, s.
      Not having a good time at the moment. All outta routine and kilter.
      So Shteve.. Many thanks for your post which is a good summary and also to Lurking. I must confess my brain stalled at the first diagram, but I am tired and will try again in the morning.
      My heart did a little flutter as I saw Geoloco is back . The excitement didn’t last too long as the combination of bodily gasses, waste excretion and physics was too much for me and I am now off for some coffee and an attempt to steady my trembles with some crochet therapy……. Crochet as in wool and hooked needle not the Icelandic version which of course is hekla 😀

      • Diana, I am still giggling over your fading excitement. Best of luck with all your goings on and remember, you are only one person. I have also learned a lot from you. I am bloating with admiration for all the regulars I have been reading since Day 1. Well, maybe Day 10 or so as it took me a while to find Carl again.

        • Good question really…
          Carlos whereabouts that is 🙂

          If you could find a comment of his I could try to track him down.

        • Carl is often difficult to find. The best way to get him back is to find a picture of a good Volcanic eruption and add the following words to the comment ” Doomsday Volcano threatens all European Cities. Headlines Daily Fail” He will soon pop his head over the parapet shouting ” Nonsense”…..
          Also Brenda my husband , family and probably the world in general are happy there is only one of me . I am not sure they could cope with two or more 😀 😀 😀

          • ROFL!!!

            And, if I may so… I am convinced the world would be both be a better place, and definitely a more interesting place with a small army of Dianas running around.

            • Aw, such a lovely thing to say Carl. I also tend to agree with you. Diana, when you read Carl’s comment copy and save it and refer to it often. Your words above ” I am not sure they could cope with two or more 😀 😀 😀 ) show a little more self-esteem wouldn’t go amiss. 😉

  4. The entire video Lurking posted is rampacked with wonderful and hilarious quotes.
    One of my new favourite nutty professors. “Don’t mind the glue”…

  5. I haven’t commented here for a while – been ill.

    But as I recover I’m getting more interested again.

    This post reminds me of an on line discussion I had some years ago, though I forget what led up to it – I was arguing that if there was a nuclear explosion very deep under the sea then it wouldn’t translate to a big explosion on the surface, as I figured that the pressure might well be too high for flashing into steam. I suppose it was watching film of the formation of pillow lavas deep down, and black smokers.

    I’m still not sure if I was right or not, but this post seems to say that I was if the explosion was deep enough.

    Or does it?

    I suppose it is a bit of a side track from volcanoes, but can anyone think through what would happen in a very deep sea nucllear blast?


    • Yes and no at the same time!

      A nuclear explosion would create a void in the water, true vacum. It would though almost instantenously implode.

      The result would be a pressure wave travelling in the shape of a half orb, so the power would be diminished as a half orb, ie. the power would not go straight up. So the explosion would not be similar to a surface explosion for that reason.

    • I’ve seen this on video. You get a large spherical shape that then collapses on it self. Then at a shallower depth the process repeats, another orb forms, then collapses, continuing this until it broaches the surface.

      Not the vid, but along the same lines.

      And something that sends chills up my spine. I’ve worked aloft, but this is freekin insane… literally.

      • Heh.

        My dad was a linesman. He taught me there are two heights; those high enough to kill you, and those that probably won’t.

        It doesn’t matter if you’re at fifty feet or fifteen hundred feet, the sudden stop is equally fatal.

        It’s all in the mind. Psychology. What climbers call ‘exposure’.

      • How do they know those bolted hand grabs aren’t rusted to when they climb freestyle/untethered one won’t come off in their hand-and off you go. . .they are putting A LOT OF FAITH in each grasp!
        How much you think that climb paid him?
        Def made my head swim!!!!

      • sheesh! I have frozen on a rock 3ft high if I have suddenly stopped and thought I might fall! What happens if the guy has a call of nature up there ?
        I really couldn’t do that. Caving was no problem to me, even climbing up or down chimneys( shafts) but high structures and cliff faces make me feel very dizzy.
        I am so glad this is not my place of work. I think you would need to be a very special person to do this….or very, very high pay to entice you to the top.

  6. Hi all – belated thanks to Schteve for his excellent round-up, and also to Lurking for another meal-sized slug of ‘food for thought’.

    Today I shot a cow with an anti-tank missile, mowed down terrorists with a Kalashnikov on full auto and made a submersible ROV jump out of the water like Shamu at SeaWorld.
    A crazy day under a cloudless, deep blue sky – it’s so good to be back in Sweden!

    (any shooting was done only with a laser simulator, I must add)

  7. Verry Interesting…. (ot: we have the same hair stylist) and very informative on how these gas explosions can really pack a wallop. Good Job, Lurk! Nice to read You again. Best!motsfo

  8. does this have anything to do with my cooking?? i’ve noticed that stirring a pot of almost boiling something when i reduce the heat i see steam come off when there was no steam before i reduced the heat. ?? if this isn’t related what is causing this? Just weird cooking?

  9. Just so people understand just how brutally efficient supercritical water is in Lurkings exampel. In his example supercritical water expands into supercritical steam at around 5000 times the volume of the water.
    To compare C4 expands around 2000 times. This gives that the shockwave of the supercritical steam will be travelling faster than the shockwave from a C4 blast.
    In other words, pound for pound the water is a more powerful explosive than most manmade standard explosives. Only Astrolite would have the same expansion figures, and that is about as nasty as supercritical water to be around.
    To top it off, supercritical steam has more brisance than ANFO.

    • “Brisance” That’s a term I haven’t seen since I studied TATP. (had to do it in order to be able to explain it in breifings.)

      For those that don’t know, ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil) is one of the preferred explosive mixes used in mining operations. It can be mixed in the field, and the firing charge acts as a booster to get the reaction really going.

      Brisance is the ability of the shock from from the detonation to shatter rock, or what ever it encounters. Since ANFO is used in a lot of “cast shots” where entire cliff faces are fractured and tossed te one side, you can see where high brisance is very important.

      Since a steam explosion/detonation has a higher brisance, I can see how some of these volcanic phreatic detonations can be so energetic, and leave an excavated crater where they occurred at.

      Side note. Years upon years ago, a car was stopped at the border in Washington State. The security officer’s attention was drawn to bags of white granulated powder not unlike sugar. That was most likely TATP. At the time, one of the beauties of it was that normal trace chemical detection methods wouldn’t detect it since it had a non-ordinary explosive chemical make up. (TriAcetone TriPeroxide). I’m not entirely sure, but If I remember correctly, it becomes more unstable the drier it is. This was one of the reasons that many terrorists were blowing their arms off. Premature detonation. That and incompetence.

      Anyone who does that for a living isn’t all there anyway. From a Jeff Dunham comedy skit with his “Dead Terrorist” prop… “Who says the 72 virgins have to be female?”

      • The main reason for it being used in mining though is that it is so inexpensive. Basically we are talking about your garden variety of chemical fertilizer and diesel. If you have a plant producing fertilizer around your neck of the woods there is a good chance you have a mine somewhere in the vicinity. Mines tend to use a lot of it.
        Your fertilizer will most likely be gunked up a bit, but it will still work.
        What is really scary though with ANFO is that it is literaly untraceable.

        ANFO is a nice explosive, easy to make, fairly stable, and you can get the parts for it anywhere. Problem is just to get it going, and I won’t tell you how.

        Edit: When I say that a mine will use a lot I mean, A lot. A mining blast can range into the thousand ton range. Below you can see how 1000+ tons look like, the result was a 4.2M equivalent. It is the largest mining blast to date. To put this further into perspective, this blast was about as large as the phreatic detonation at Kverkfjöll. So, we can therefore surmice that the amount of water that flashed into supercritical steam was the size of a cube ten by ten by ten meters. Or 1000 cubic meters of water or less. That is not a lot of water if you think about it. Now compare this to a lake or an entire cave filled with water going off.

      • Again, for the curious. Note the cascade of the explosives going off. That serves two purposes, one is to launch the debris to one side, for easy retrieval, the other is to keep it from appearing to be a nuclear blast with a single impulse on a seismo.

        • I had never heard the nuclear part, and knowing the mining blast enginers they would not give a crap about it anyhoos. They tend to do as they see fit, often with a finger raised in the particular direction of anybody who has an opinion. 🙂

          There are two reasons for it being serial, one is that they use primacord in a serial configuration and not a parallell configuration, the parallell option would use a lot of more primacord. The second reason is that a series of small blasts create more destruction than a single large one using the same amount of explosive.

          If one look closely you see that there is first a line of smaller explosiones tighter together that separate the rock from the wall. These are thin holes put closely together. After that comes large holes meant to pulverize the rock that has been separated, these holes in turn are in a pattern intended to prevent the rock to be blasted to far away. This is though heavilly simplified. Sometimes you want to move the rock to the side, then you change the blast pattern and it will jump to the side as Lurking wrote above.

          Primacord: Either you buy the stuff in the form of a tube filled with a specialized explosive that runs very quickly. Or you just take a pump and fill a garden hoze with ANFO. And no, I will not tell anyone how to set off a garden hoze filled with ANFO either…

          • Don’t even want to know, though I am pretty sure what it involves. With silver fulminate all you really have to do is look at it wrong and it goes off.

            I do know that our wundertwit wants to ban AN nationwide. What numb-nuts doesn’t realize, is that will drastically cut US crop yields… or he does know that and it is the intention…

            • What would he go with then? Ammonium Phosphate?
              That would not be good really. Ammonium Phosphate alters the PH of water, and if you breath it in it will turn your nervous system into jello. It is not a good solution to do that change even though Ammonium Phosphate work as fertilizer too.
              Would he be banning baking soda and sugar next? Just to move on to zinc powder, sulphur and alcohol then.

              Or why not do a Mythbuster and bung up a water heater and turn it on so it explodes? Will he also ban water heaters?

              Hah! There are thousands of ways to get things that go bang, and all of the recipees are readilly availiable online or in a decent library.

              Just to prove how silly this would be. Go and grab some iodine chrystals, disolve them in actetone. Handle the liquid carefully. Pour it carefully ontop of a door mat outside. Wait untill it has dried (around 30 minutes). Throw a rock on the mat. It will go boom. What you have created is a contact-mine that will explode if anyone steps on it. Warning! This is a particularly stupid explosive when it has dried, it explodes at any contact. A leaf might set it off. Do not do this in reallity. Remember that this one makes mercury-fulminate seem safe and stable.

          • … and the heavier the explosion(s), the more you alter the structure of the rock. And as you want it to have best possible quality in terms of caracteristics like compressibility, hardness (overall hardness of the rock, not only the mineral), reaction to freezing…

    • This story made me think to exploding trees due to lightning strikes.

      I’ve heard several stories about that. For some reason, it seems always to go over middle-sized oaks in early spring (before the leafs are big). They explode because the lightning heats up the juice inside the tree, turning it into steam. Oaks are particularly prone to it because can’t ‘ground’ the lightning as well as other trees (at seems to be struck more than any other tree).
      In one case a 80 cm thick oak exploded (due to the lightning) in the middle of a neighbourhood in Belgium, throwing branches up to 80m away. A few cars that were parked to close became torpedoed by 15 cm thick branches and all windows of the neighbourhood were shattered.

      Here is a video of such oak blown to pieces by lightning in the Netherlands. You can see that even a part of the roots is blown out of the ground:

      • As the German saying goes: “Eichen sollst Du weichen, Buchen sollst Du suchen” (“Avoid oks, seek beech”).
        Perhaps the reason is that oaks have comparably deep roots as an adaptation to arid climate, so they are more likely to be in contact with ground water. Beech have shallow roots.

      • The Oak is the sacred tree of the God of Thubder throughout all of Indo-European lore. Zeus, Thor, Jupiter , Cernunnos, Taranis.
        «The Norse God Thor and all thunder Gods are connected to the Oak, which is often struck by lightning. The force of the blast bursts the trunk apart, often leaving a hollow bole and gnarled and withered trunks. Here lies a warning about stubborn rigid strength which resists and breaks in the storm. Flexibility can be a strength in itself, which can balance the forcefullness of rigid thinking and actions. During the 7th lunar month the Druids carved a circle, divided into 4 equal parts, on the Oak for protection against lightning. This paractice is said to be found even today amongst some old foresters in Britain, who continue to carve this symbol onto the Oak to avert disaster for the tree. Similarly acorns were carved on bannisters and blind-pull bobbins to ward off lightning striking the house.»
        From: here.

    • If you are using a phone or a pad as your choice of surfing mode than it is normal. On a computer it should not be below.

      • I’m using a laptop without mouse, it’s strange because first it was at the right side, then I posted and suddely it’s below. I will look my zoom/browse settings.

  10. I hate the smell of pig shit.

    Today, after having a fight with an APC2200, I managed to get the batteries out and was able to rivet the lower frame back together. Throughly disgusted with having to literally disassemble the lower half of the chassis, and then getting gooey and flaky battery acid on my hands, I headed home. Since I had a long drive back, and did not with to continue with the acid eating into my skin, I went to a convenience store for a bottle of water and some baking soda. They didn’t have any baking soda, so I grabbed a bar of soap. The alkali that is used to make the soap would easily neutralize the acid. While rinsing off my hands, I noted the pervasive smell of pig shit. The truck next to mine had a full on veneer of mud that reeked with the smell of pig shit. Yay. So I quickly finished up and got out of there. On the way back to the main road, I snapped a picture of one of Florida’s fine establishments.

    Notice the water. This area is prone to flooding and is probably one reason why they closed this road camp. Flooding such as this tends to push the wild critters to higher land… and the last thing you want to do is to run across a water moccasin. At least the fence will keep the gators out, but snakes… well, they don’t care too much about fences.

    Oddly enough, Florida has a pending lawsuit against the US Army Corps of Engineers. They have been diverting too much water to the Metro areas of Georgia and have been damaging the oyster population in FL coastal waters. A few years ago, Georgia tried to seize land in Tennessee so that they could lay claim to part of a river up there. If you are into oysters and notice that the price is going up… thank Georgia.

    • Hi

      splendid article with a very good thermodynamics explanation.

      As for oysters, we also have one big problem this side of the pond. As you may know, oyster in France are widely consumed (all year long with a big peak forthe christmas and new year period). Lately there was a virus epidemic which killed about one third of the juveniles. This year there was also some additionnal mortality, this time on the adult population. As a result, oyster prices have been rocketing up.
      Would that be there is a global Oyster conspiration ? Damn….

      • I prefer my oysters roasted on hickory fire. Roasted oysters are a fantastic dish.

        Raw oysters? Good for you if your ultimate goal is to one day get stupendously sick. The oyster is in effect a cloak animal. So, when it pees it pees a mixture of pee and stol products. The oyster happily conducts his or her business inside the shell. So, however fresh an oyster is it still contains e-koli bacteria. Remember this, when you shlurp an oyster it is in the best of worlds a bacteria riddled soup of pee and poo. In the worst of worlds you will soon be plain dead. You have better odds eating raw chicken in hotsauce.

        Edit: To the best of my knowledge the Grand Central Oyster Bar is the only place where you get your oysters roasted (or otherwise cooked). That place is actually worth getting on a plane to New York. I know, there are other things to do there. But… Damn!

        • And if you rinse the oyster thoroughly before eating? Oysters have been a staple diet for thousands of generations of humans and perversely enough, they seem to have thrived on that diet. 😉

          • And those thousands of generations roasted their oysters. If you take a look at an oyster shell in Kökkenmödding you will see that it has been in fire. Ontop of that, people have died from it quite often since around 1850 when it became popular to eat them raw as a proof of balls. I have large hairy bronzed balls without the need of being particularly stupid. 🙂

            If you wish to rinse it, do so in 96 percent ethyl alcohol. But then it would be a pickled oyster.

            A kökkenmödding is a trash heap, filled with among other things an abundance of seashells. The name originates from a Village in Denmark. The English found the word to hard to pronounce, so they extended the meaning of Midden.


            • Wanna bet against a great proportion of them were eaten before they were roasted? Knowing people, it’s inconceivable that every single one of them were first collected and then roasted before they were consumed by hungry paleolithic hominids. Loads would definitely have been eaten on the spot.

            • I am not so sure about that Henrik. Remember that most of those Kökkenmöddingar have been meticulously excavated. And as far as I remember the shells was predominantly cooked in some sort. Exploding diaorrhea kind of drive home the point of cooking.

            • Erm…

              I’m talking about those eaten on the spot, before being taken to the communal divvying out cooking pit. As a hunter and fisherman, I’m sure you too have cooked food on the trail instead of waiting until you got home – and we have spirit stoves, matches and easy transportation which they did not.

        • Actually, most people in France eat them raw. With a dash of lemon or vinegar with small pieces of shallots. There are also many recipes with cooked oysters. I have tried both the cooked (champagne and cream – cider and cream !) and the raw version. The raw version keeps my preference because the taste is really nice. Most oysters are either coming directly from the sea (so if they pee in the water you’ll not notice it) or are kept for a few days in seawater basins (called the claires – for the water is clear) where they acquite some green color due to a special algae.
          Normallly there is no risk associated with eating them raw but it is better to chew them to detect a strange taste. The only risk is that the oyster can be (like mussels) contaminated with some toxin producing bacterias (cyanobacterias I think).

          I have lived for a time near Bordeaux so not far from the bassin d’Arcachon which is one of the Mecca for oysters. Every sunday you can find people selling oysters on small stalls on the side of the road, for the apéritif. You eat them with a piece of barbecued sausage (yes I know it is strange, but it is the tradition in the Médoc peninsula) and of course a glass of white dry Médoc wine.

    • Good old Army Corpse of Engineers. They could screw up a kid’s earthen dam in a backyard pond. Some things they have done good but they can really mess things up.
      Port Orford, Oregon had a deepwater port until the Corps put in a breakwater that caused the
      port to slit in not allowing Ships of more than 6′ draft to dock there…
      “We know what we are doing-we’re Engineers.”

  11. Brilliant Lurking!

    This is the point I tried to make a week ago: As soon as you deal with grey instead of red eruptions, water is the only volcanic gas that matters because of its unique properties. SO2, CO2 etc can only cause lava to splutter from Hawaiian up to a Strombolian maximum (and even there, I suspect H20 to be an important component when it comes to “how high”). To get to Peléean and the Plinian events, you do need a substantial amount of H2O. Without a sufficient amount of water, andesitic, dacitic and rhyolitic magmas can only extrude into a dome or lava flow.

    Water drives the big eruptions, not SO2, CO2 or other volcanic gasses.

    Thank you!

    • With a few exceptions I totally agree with you. There have been a few rather explosive eruptions with little water present. Hekla is one of those. But then the Icelandic lavas are insanely gaseous compared to the rest.
      Water is a pest, now we have proven yet another way of dying from it.

      • I had the devil’s own time trying to convince the “battleship buffs” that most of the so-called “magazine explosions” that destroyed battleships (HMS Barham 1941) and battle cruisers (Indefatigable, Queen Mary, Invincible, Defence 1916) were in fact the result of the boilers exploding due to a direct hit. They utterly refuse to believe that boilers can be dangerous and that it MUST be the magazines going up because steam doesn’t, cannot, explode. In at least two cases (USS Arizona 1941, RM Roma 1943) there is photographic evidence that a magazine explosion occurred and in neither case was the ship instantaneously destroyed but lingered for a while. Take a look at this video of HMS Barham!

        • You are right about that. The first explosion occurs as water pours down the funnel. Then comes a secondary explosion. There is a large difference, in the first larger one there is no flame, but in the second there is. And in a magazine explosion you get a fireball. (technically it is not really an explosion, it is a conflagration of cordite that burns at prodigious rate).

          But you are the expert on large guns, not me.

            • Hey Geo! In your professional capacity, how would you assess English battleships and battlecruisers knowing that so many of them have blown up? Good thing the UK no longer build them, eh!

            • Here is a Train Orders thread about Boiler Explosions. The UP 9018 explosion was witnessed
              (at considerable distance) by a relative of my mother. The never found the remains of the
              crew.-Most of these were due to human error (You pay attention to low water warnings.)
              Once the water gets below the crown sheet in the boiler things start to get problematical,

            • Sweet TG, thanks! 1,000,000 horsepower or 2.68452e+9 kJ released when a large boiler gives way and a BC such as HMS Queen Mary had no less than 42 such boilers. Ouch!

            • HMS Queen Mary was not a BC, it was a support cruiser, or commerce raider if one wants to be nittpicketty 😉

            • Carl! :fingerwagnono:

              HMS Queen Mary was ordered as part of the 1910-11 Naval Programme. She was designed, built and completed as a battle cruiser. She died as one at 4.26 pm on May 31st 1916, taking 1,266 officers and men with her.

              If you want the definition of what a battle cruiser is/was, it is a warship of the largest class, armed as battleship but where armour has been sacrificed in order to give her a much greater speed. As a definition, this was accurate only up to the 1922 Washington Agreement. After this, technological advances in propulsion allowed battleships such speeds while retaining both armour and armament as to render the battle-cruiser concept utterly obsolete. The only true battle cruisers designed and completed after 1922 were the two (of six begun) units of the US “Alaska” class. (They were crap. Armed with 9 x 30.5 cm guns, armoured no better than heavy cruisers, their speed only matched the Iowa class battleships but, surprisingly, they were less maneuverable)

              There were several inconsistencies with the battle-cruiser/battleship classification even from the very beginning. Main amonst these was that even the oldest German BC, SMS von der Tann, was far better armoured than half the fleet of British battleships up to and including HMS Neptune. German BCs were designed to be part of the battle line, British were not even if that was how they were used. While German BCs were very study ships indeed, able to give a good account of themselves even against the heaviest battleships of the day, the British 15-inch gunned “Queen Elizabeths”, British BCs were flimsy indeed. Not even the most modern one present at Jutland, HMS Tiger, had armour that could withstand German 28 cm and 30.5 shells at the ranges the battle was fought (up to 170 hm). Fast, beautiful, “splendid cats” they may have been thought of, but they were death traps to their crews, disasters waiting to happen.

  12. The ideal gas law PV = nRT isn’t the correct formula to use here, as we are looking at the behavior of a decidedly non-ideal gas.  Water molecules are highly attracted to each other, producing substantial deviations from the ideal gas law.  In order to determine the volumetric change when liquid water at 222 bar goes to gas at 220 bar at 1200C (making the simplification that the temperature remains constant, when it would actually drop due to phase change and any expansion), you’d need to do the following:
    1. Determine the volume of liquid water at 220 bar and 1200C
    2. Determine the weight of water (gives the number of moles)
    3. Apply the Van der Waals equation ((P + a(n/v)^2)((V/n) – b) = RT
    For water, a = .547 Pa/m^3, b = 3.052 *10^-5 m^3/mol
    I’d plug and chug and give an answer, but I’m having trouble tracking down a formula to determine the volume of water at a specific pressure and temperature.

    • Hi lifeblack

      from engineering toolbox (tks Lurks)

      Example – Density of Water at 100 bar and 20oC
      density of water 0oC: 999.8 (kg/m3)
      expansion coefficent of water at 10oC: 0.000088 (m3/m3oC) (average value between 0 and 20oC)
      bulk modulus of water: 2.15 109 (N/m2)
      Density of water can be calculated with (3):

      ρ1 = 999.8 (kg/m3) / (1 + 0.000088 (m3/m3oC) (20 (oC) – 0 (oC))) / (1 – (100 105 (Pa) – 1 105 (Pa)) / 2.15 109 (N/m2))

      = 998.0 / 0.995

      = 1002.7 (kg/m3)

      (don’t know if is valid for the temp range though)

  13. 1 J/kg = 4.299×10-4 Btu/lbm = 2.388×10-4 kcal/kg

    – t – Absolute pressure
    – p – Dynamic viscosity
    – μ – Kinematic
    – ν – Expansion
    coefficient Specific enthalpy Prandtl’s no.
    (oC) (kN/m2) (Centipoise) 10-6 (m2/s) 10-3 (1/K) (kJ/kg)

    0.01 0.6 1.78 1.792 -0.07 0 13.67
    5 0.9 1.52 0.160 21.0
    10 1.2 1.31 1.304 0.088 41.9 9.47
    15 1.7 1.14 0.151 62.9
    20 2.3 1.00 1.004 0.207 83.8 7.01
    25 3.2 0.890 0.257 104.8
    30 4.3 0.798 0.801 0.303 125.7 5.43
    35 5.6 0.719 0.345 146.7
    40 7.7 0.653 0.658 0.385 167.6 4.34
    45 9.6 0.596 0.420 188.6
    50 12.5 0.547 0.553 0.457 209.6 3.56
    55 15.7 0.504 0.486 230.5
    60 20.0 0.467 0.474 0.523 251.5 2.99
    65 25.0 0.434 0.544 272.4
    70 31.3 0.404 0.413 0.585 293.4 2.56
    75 38.6 0.378 0.596 314.3
    80 47.5 0.355 0.365 0.643 335.3 2.23
    85 57.8 0.334 0.644 356.2
    90 70.0 0.314 0.326 0.665 377.2 1.96
    95 84.5 0.297 0.687 398.1
    100 101.33 0.281 0.295 0.752 419.1 1.75
    105 121 0.267 440.2
    110 143 0.253 461.3
    115 169 0.241 482.5
    120 199 0.230 0.249 0.860 503.7 1.45
    125 228 0.221 524.3
    130 270 0.212 546.3
    135 313 0.204 567.7
    140 361 0.196 0.215 0.975 588.7 1.25
    145 416 0.190 610.0
    150 477 0.185 631.8
    155 543 0.180 653.8
    160 618 0.174 0.189 1.098 674.5 1.09
    165 701 0.169 697.3
    170 792 0.163 718.1
    175 890 0.158 739.8
    180 1000 0.153 0.170 1.233 763.1 0.98
    185 1120 0.149 785.3
    190 1260 0.145 807.5
    195 1400 0.141 829.9
    200 1550 0.138 0.158 1.392 851.7 0.92
    220 0.149 1.597 0.88
    225 2550 0.121 966.8
    240 0.142 1.862 0.87
    250 3990 0.110 1087
    260 0.137 2.21 0.87
    275 5950 0.0972 1211
    300 8600 0.0897 1345
    325 12130 0.0790 1494
    350 16540 0.0648 1672
    360 18680 0.0582 1764

        • I’ve been poking around some more on the topic, and I’ve discovered that if you Google ‘saturated steam table’ you get gobs of information. However, the tables more or less end at the triple point temp/pressures. Nb – density at the triple point is listed at close to 500 kg/m^3 in one table I found, but I thought it was somewhat lighter than that…

          In any case, I think the correction factors in the Van der Waals formula above are temperature dependent as well, because i’ve learned that the geometry of the water molecule is affected by high temperatures and pressures. This is a very interesting read:

          • In the posted video he sais that the density of the supercritical fluid lies between the liquid and the gas so 500 kg/m3 probably lies in the right ballpark.

    • Don’t know what it is, and that pisses me off. Stuck on the road, returning from a 124 mile service call that was canceled. (read from the phone) No one bothered to tell me about it. Cant read around or fiddle with it, but it damn sure looks interesting.

      I’m open to a re-work of the calculations. Put the output data in a table and I’ll even make up the plot for it and add it.

    • Hi Karenz,
      She’s greeting the dawn… 🙂
      I’ve discovered that for all it’s faults the kindle fuego makes an excellent second screen so I can have a webcam going while I do other things, it will happily run several tabs for several webcams, and handles the live feeds way better than t’ clunkputer…

          • Many known historical eruptions. The last one lasted from 1949 to 1996 and the eruption of 1813-1814 ended with a mount Saint Helens type of eruption with a horseshoe shaped caldera as a result. Definitly not a volcano that is a trifle.

            GVP has turned into crap nowadays…

            • Just rechecked the link to make sure I’m not going madder 😉
              The main screen says last eruption 2011,
              When you click the Eruption History tab it tells you no known eruptions…

            • When I looked at GVP (I went by another source) you have a tab named background. Both of these eruptions I named are actually there. GVP has turned into pulp after their remake. It has made it harder to find data on volcanoes. Personally I do not trust GVP any longer at all.

            • “Change is good” or so some Pollyannas tend to say. Change for the sake of change is crap.

              GVP has turned into pulp after their remake.

              True… to a point. But from my point of view, there are some added benefits. The ability to export data is one. I don’t personally think that you should have to resort to exporting the eruptive history just to get access to the Tephra and Magma volumes for eruptions, but I can easily swim through spreadsheets. Most people aren’t like that.

            • I don’t understand why they deleted the eruptions section. There are none listed. All we got was a few photos. But it is still convenient. No site has as much data on volcanoes in one place.

            • One thing they also added was a map for every region and volcano. It was a nice addition. But I hope that the lack of eruptive data is an error and is corrected.

            • ROFL!!!

              One of the most famous volcanoes on the planet has never erupted. Hilarious, and not so little bit sad.

            • From the GVP:

              “We are still converting some content from the old site, and there will likely be bugs that turn up which we will work to fix as quickly as possible.”

              This shows that they are working on it. I would cut them some slack. They will most likely add lots more photos and some more eruptive data(Maybe). I know that they will fix this issue quickly. Besides, their new site is 3 months old.

              I just also found out that if you use the eruption search feature, it lists the eruptions, the VEI, the volcano name, if there was fatalities, if it is confirmed or not, its region and its start date. It is all in one list. The search function is much better.

            • The new site is designed to be “user friendly”, an euphemism for dumbing it down. It’s supposed to look good, not provide information because the clientele aimed at has neither brains nor erudition.

              Welcome to our Brave New World where everything is designed to titilate the “dumber than the average bear”.

            • For goodness sakes Lurking…. Don’t let Jamie 24hr Hekla watch see that picture and lack of eruption text or he may loose the will to live 😀

  14. Maybe its me, but I would think that crownplate failure would be mechanically more related to tank failures associated with BLEVE than anything else. (metal fatigue from over-heating the dry plate)

    released from the dungeon by dfm

    Thank You! This was done via my phone, which seems intent on using an incorrect email addy. I fixed the addy and now the correct avatar shows up.

    • From my investigations for my MA thesis, I came across a compilation of railway disasters. It would appear that the most common cause for boiler failure was age or use – the copper of the firebox had worn thin and was not replaced in time to avoid an unusual demand placed on the engine. As the author said, these explosions were usually not devastating, sometimes the engineers even survived.

      The more horrific boiler explosions came when either the seams or the crown plate failed, snapping off hundreds of the one-inch bolts that secured it. In these explosions, only fragments of the engineers were ever recovered and the engine itself utterly destroyed.

  15. I had a mishap this evening and thought of all you physicists and this post on superheated H2O.
    I dropped a little cold water into a frying pan in which I was heating up some oil. Totally stupid thing to do, my mind on something else.
    Result an amazing explosion and many small red marks on my hands and face.
    My guess is that water was superheated . It felt like it!!!!

      • Wednesday…. yay…

        Still decompressing from yesterdays drive. Awoke with a song (well, the lyrics for a song) rattling around in my head. Turns out it fits the nature of the actress playing your lizard lady.

        I know a thing or two about her
        I know she’ll only make you cry
        She’ll let you walk the street beside her
        But when she wants, she’ll pass you by

        Everybody says she’s lookin’ good
        And the lady knows it’s understood

  16. Way OT but I found this on youtube recently. Back in 94 I was in high school and in our “shop class” which was called engeneering we built a 1:40 scale model of the space shuttle and its pad. The shuttle was launched in front of Central Florida news crews and CNN. The rocket would launch, get to an altitude of about 100 feet, separate and glide down via remote control. My job during the launch was the rocket motors and shuttle recovery. After it landed I had to get it and bring it back to teh crowd waiting. Yes thats 17 year old me with the pony tail and shaved head holding the orbiter at the end.

    • Love the sound!

      The larger rockets have that distinct “reach down into your gut” rumble when the mains get to full thrust.

      Happens at about 2:40 in this vid. Multi platform engagement of an inbound target.

      During the Apollo days, one thing that was sort of discovered was that the subsonic rumble from the Saturn V’s engines could cause loss of bowel control in observation facilities.

      In the vid, those are VLS SM-2s, I never was stationed on any of those platforms, we had twin armed rail launchers. One of the more impressive things I have ever seen is when the missle house doors open and the bird slides out the the launcher. The speed and precision of that is spooky.

      Sea Story: We were transiting a body of water and detected a low-slow flyer inbound to our location. Warnings were given but the aircraft continued its track. The ship went to General Quarters (GQ) and targeting solutions were locked in and prepped. During GQ, damage control fittings have to be set and various teams move about to set those fittings and hatches as appropriate. On group was supposed to come up from the forward space near the bow and move aft, securing the forecastle. They popped out and were headed aft when the launcher training alarm went off. (warns people that it is going to move), the missile house doors opened up and two white birds gracefully slide out onto the launcher and it then pivots towards the threat axis. The DC team doing the forecastle, knowing that the white birds are the real deal and are not the inert training rounds (blue) scramble over themselves and dive back down into the hatch they had just come out of. I can’t says I blame them. Booster exhaust is very effective at stripping topside fittings to bare metal. In fact, the pad directly under the launcher has an ablative coating, much like the Apollo re-entry capsules had. This was to keep from burning a hole in the deck with the missile exhaust.

      The aircraft? He finally responded to the warnings and veered to a new track. No shot taken. (it wouldn’t have been pretty, that particular missile uses one of two methods of kill, either frag HE or expanding rod. Expanding rod is essentially a supersonic fly swatter.) We stayed at GQ long enough to determine there was no additional threat and then stood down. What a great way to start a Sunday eh?

  17. Hello everyone!

    I have had a bit of familly emergency today, so I have not been able to write and edit in todays post. Rest assured that it will be posted as soon as it is possible, either tonight or early tomorrow.

    • It is fairly funny in a way that everyone all of a sudden suffers from the belief that I know everything about any kind of ailment they suffer from. Earlier today a relative had to do a bit of rather uncomplicated surgery (reason for no post). And when I went there everyone started to ask me questions… I take it as learning experience to quickly read up on things.

      I do not have the abillity to digest bean protein without eating meat with it. Something that I share with about 10 percent of humanity. Meat contains help proteins that aid in processing other proteins, so with meat I am okay. 1 percent can’t digest bean protein at all. Suck on that vegans.
      At lunch I came late and all that was leaft was bean stew. I know… I shouldn’t have eaten it, but I was ravenous by then.

      Well, as I was sitting there trying to explain what they where doing in the operating theatre I started to get these stabbing pains in my abdomen. And cold sweat. I went to the toilett and noticed that I had red eyes.
      So… I went out and started to mentally go through the limited list of deceases I knew about with those symptoms, up to and including Ebola. About five minutes into my ruminations on what horrible decease was going to do me in, the solution to my ailment came in a fashion so prodigious that GeoLoco would have been proud.
      To save the assorted relatives I got up and took a walk down in the sub-basement walkways. While walking down there I came to the conclusion that everyone who has a rather high opinion about doctors should examine their heads. We mainly look into corpses whiile being vomited on, stick fingers up the butt of people, and sometimes we pass prodigious amounts of gas in our scrubs if we can’t digest beans.

      I also discovered that I am turning into a raving hypocondriac. I do not get pimples any longer, I suffer from smallpox.
      I am going to add beef jerky to the lemon in my survival kit.

      • A word of advice – try and get hold of Richard Fuchs books about the medical profession, especially “Visst är Ni sjuk”. Might give you some hints on how to handle unsolicited consultations:

        Make a habit of thinking out loud – when you’re at a dinner and someone “consults” you about their varicose legs, demand they take off their pants (if applicable) and stockings. As the examination begins, put on a face full of concern which gets more grave as you proceed, then mumble audibly “Oh well, modern prosthetics are a far cry from the peglegs of yesteryear”

        Another option is to listen to the unsolicited patient with a growing sense of alarm, then declare quite firmly “This is VERY serious. I shall have to make an immediate examination in order to determine if we have to call an ambulance. Please undress and lie on the table. Nonono, I’m the doctor, I insist.”

        • Visst är Ni sjuk is hysterical 🙂
          I have to reread it. I think I will take the clue from you and rename myself into Brunsten 😉

          Actually, I do not mind (at least yet) since it give me quite a bit of opportunity to read up on things. But, I guess sooner or later I will get tired of it. Some sort of tactics to get people quiet will most assuredly come to mind soon.

            • Oh heavens no… I would be out of breath before I had rambled to the end of that one. I will go as I have always gone, with plain old Carl. Not even in the military anyone called me anything else. Even Åke Sagrén once went “Captain, captain, major, Carl, Colonel”…

            • No, not really. Carl has two possible meanings, one is from Charlemain (obviously), but the forn-nordic version is much simpler. Carl is alternatingly spelled Karl and that equates to “Man” in translation. So, my firstname just means Man. Just to piss people off my father had a bit of humour and actually combined words like that. So with a bit of bandying my 3 given names turn into a small story.
              “The Helmeted Peacefull Ruling Man”. My father was slightly grandios…

      • PS. My father who is a doctor (ret) always used to dismiss our 41 degree fevers (106F) as mere colds whereas a mild chill had him convinced he suffered from a rare, incurable and 100% fatal disease no one had ever heard of. You had me chuckling!

        • Well Henrik and DFM, I was never a hypocondriac before, but I am quickly turning into one. I hope further studies will give me enough information to be able to discard having Ebola and Smallpox.

          When I one day found a parcel containing an ebola relative called marburg in the form of infected blood in our freezer I read up on it and had nightmares for a week… My ex had been gathering it for her research and just shoved it into the freezer as she got back home late in the night. She also thought it was a good idea to reconstruct the H1N1 inlfuenza. Last I heard from her she was thinking out nifty ways of combining them. Yes, she gets paid to walk the dark path.

          • And THAT is the sort of thing that make me not worry too much about Nuke Weaps. Yeah, they can be some bad critters, but you can get irradiated just from some idiot tripping over a cord or the occasional Black Swan. The know how may be dangerous, but getting the requisite material is a bit problematic.

            Bio stuff… different critter altogether. A simple lab and the requisite knowledge of bioengineering and your off and running. Some of the nastier critters are laying around in the woods and forests. It just takes a trained eye and a petri dish to find them. Then there is that plasmid phenomena where “beneficial” traits of one micro-organism can be adopted by another one.

            Chem weaps? One thing that I learned as a fire fighter, be careful around air conditioners. Freon can turn into a relative of some of the nasty WWII era chem gases when heated above a few hundred degrees.

            Of the three categories… Bio is the spooky stuff.

            One oddity in my work, is that I abhor greasy French fries. Since I keep 91% conc alcohol with me for cleaning stuff on circuit boards, I occasionally wipe down my hands to get the grease off my fingers. I think this tends to cut down on how often I pick up a bug from the people at the different sites or their keyboards. Conglomerations of people is one of the prime ways that infectious disease spreads.

            Which, if you ruminate upon it… gives you an interesting observation. One of the central icons in the EBM and Electo-Goth/industrial genre is the Biohazard symbol.

            Yet when all these people gather together to dance, they are milling about swapping air and jostling into each other. If the fear of a biohazard is such a big deal, offering much dread, then why increase the chances of it by doing so? {Parents see this effect all the time when their kids get sick due to contact with the kids at school.}

            Damn primates… always tripping over their own feet or loosing grip on the limb.

            And now for something… farking weird (aimed at Carl)

            • You know why you should not hire a goth?
              -They will just mope the floor and depress the buttons.

              The dude sang well.

              Regarding the bio weapons. Yes, a microbiology major can do a surprising amount of damage with an ordinary lab. But that does not scare me that much, it would still just be at worst a fairly normal pandemic of a gruesome decease.

              What scares me is the amount of highly industrialized countries that work with weaponized germfare. I am fairly certain that there is nobody in here who does not live in a country working on this, regardless of what your government is saying.

              The only bio terrorist attack to date was performed by a disgruntled CDC employee who used the weaponized anthrax he himself had developed for the US. He thankfully chose to use a particularly bad bio agent, probably because he did not want to kill a lot of people. He could have used far worse things that was readilly available to him.

              An Australian group of researchers produced monkeypox that blasts through human immunodefence systems faster and more deadly than ever smallpox did. They did it to prove a technique that they later published in a journal.

              My ex worked on combining the H1N1 and Marburg to get a flu that is hemorrhagic, her excuse was to research for vaccines against a hypothetical future hemorrhagic influenza. Before that she had developed a strain of E-coli that spread very easily and gave people kidney stones in record time. If you have ever passed a stone or seen anyone who is passing a stone, imagine an entire country passing stones…It is a perfect non-lethal decapacitating bio-weapon since nobody with a kidney stone moving about will think about anything except gnawing off their own arm from the pain.

              I am not an angel, but this is the dark side.

            • I thought they cleared that guy.

              As for the stones… In a macabre sort of way, that is outright funny.

              Dunno if it’s just a human trait, but I have always prided myself for living on the Gulf Coast. The air here passes over hundreds of miles of open water, where it is less likely to build a bioweapons facility.

              Then BP started spraying the hell of it with Corexit.

            • Nope, they just let that particular south african walk. It was not faux pas to charge him with usage of a weapon that the US is not supposed to even be having according to treaties that the US has signed…
              If he had been brought on trial he would have started to talk, and that is not a dude anyone wants talking. He will though most likely have an Iron-Felix type of stroke one of these days.

            • I must have the wrong incident in mind.

              A major focus in the early years of the investigation was a bio-weapons expert named Steven Hatfill, who was eventually exonerated.

              However, a 2nd suspect, Bruce Edwards Ivins, died from an overdose of acetaminophen (Tylenol).

              …On August 6, 2008, despite having no direct evidence of his involvement, federal prosecutors declared Ivins to be the sole culprit of the crime.

              So, that fits the “Dead men tale no tells” aspect of it. Even if he didn’t do it, they have a scape-goat and can get on with their business.

              I tried like hell to not have to get the Anthrax vaccination that we were required to get. Some people had expressed concerns over it. In retrospect, when that event occurred, I was less concerned than I would have been otherwise. At around 19 years, I had gotten quite tired of the medical department wanting to periodically stick a needle in me. I must say though, one vaccine they gave via a sugar cube was quite fun. I had the shits for a week.

            • Let us just say that it was not Ivins that did it. But due to the litigatious nature of the moroon who faked his Ph.D. from an extremely rural university I am not going to give out his name.

    • I hate this station… It is noisy, it sometimes have malfunctions, it is very hard to read.
      If this pattern had emerged on any other station on Iceland I would say something was erupting, or phreating, or that there was a jökulhlaup. But on this station? Bah! Who knows.
      And to really compound the problem there is a big honking empty space around it so something could jolly well have a small erupton close to it and not show up on any other station.

  18. With the advent of different work-out rages, a recent one is the use of “stripper poles.” As such, YouTube has an ample collection of “FAIL” videos where someone’s pole had detached from the ceiling while being used, or the person using it has slipped and crashed into some object in the room… or a pet.

    So… I’m pretty sure the last thing one would want during any of these exercises, it to have a Katana strapped to their back…. let alone wielding the thing.

    … I wonder how long until it becomes an Olympic event? It might increase the viewership ya know. There is a certain amount of grace, motory control and strength involved… tossing in the Katana sort of makes it paramilitary… and that was the origin of the skills in most of the events in the Olympics.

    Great name… “Pole Fencing…”

    • By the holy invisible pink flying unicorn, all its consorts and all their offspring, on interplanetary and interstellar scale. Maybe even intergalactic. If I was that Katana I would puke and not know how to slice an enemy anymore…

    • Now this I really appreciate. I admire the gymnastic use of the pole and the moves so similar to Tai Chi but faster. As you say graceful yet feminine. It would beat the viewing stats of the Beach Volley ball in the Olympics. 😀

  19. on a routine flight to Beaufort, North Carolina


    The Beaufort scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. Its full name is the Beaufort wind force scale, although it is a measure of wind speed and not of “force” in the scientific sense of the word.

    More disjointed silliness… On the other end of Pamlico Sound is Cape Hatteras. Historically, it is one of those places that ships don’t really like to be, especially if they are sailing vessels. This is roughly the location that the Gulf Stream makes a decided turn towards open ocean and away from the coast. (as is the general nature of it). About the only worse Cape that you can be near, is the Cape of Good Hope. Competing currents, seaward making fronts and many other factors make this area prone to nasty weather. It’s also one of the more tropical storm hit locations since it juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. When the warm moist air coming off of the Gulf Stream ties in with approaching weather fronts, it essentially dumps copious amounts of energy into the system and ramps up the intensity of thunderstorms.

    It’s not always nasty in North Carolina, but when it feels like it, hang on.

    And now, more FYI stuff. The last ship I was stationed on, was a replenishment vessel. During underway replenishment (UNREP), the two ships pull up alongside each other and travel down the agreed replenishment course at about 15 knots. They have to take a lot of care in keeping the vessels at a set distance from each other, this is measured with a “T&D” (telephone and distance) line. It’s a special line that has distance markings on it, and has a communications wire that allows each bridge to talk to each other. One of the forces that makes this difficult, is the Bernoulli effect. The water passing between the two ships is compressed by their hulls and accelerates between them fast enough to where they could be pulled together if they didn’t counter the effect with precise rudder control.

    This is where it gets dicey. The Gulf Stream is very warm water meandering northward through quite cold North Atlantic water. The temperature difference is great enough to where the Bernoulli forces can drastically change on the two ships if you cross into it. They best way to deal with that is to make sure you don’t cross into the Gulf Stream when you plan and set up the replenishment.

    And now a stupid event. (I was on a different ship) It was probably nobodies fault. During an UNREP with an oiler from a NATO country that I can’t remember the identity of (actually, I can, but civility says you don’t slime another country for no good reason), we were alongside and taking on fuel, merrily steaming along the UNREP course. The providing ship went “cold and dark” while we were receiving. This was… un-nerving. Ships don’t stop on a dime. As they started loosing speed, the line went abnormally taunt and the fittings were starting to quickly strain. The rig crew quickly hit the release mechanisms and the cables and hoses dropped into the water. Shortly after that the providing ship raised the “vessel not under command” day shape (two black balls). After a few minutes, they got their plant back on line and recovered their gear, reset and we finished the UNREP.

    Note: “Not Under Command” means that they can’t steer or evade other ships. Like I said, they had gone cold and dark.

    I must say, that was quite frantic on the part of our rig crew as they dealt with that. Standard policy is that each “breakaway” is treated as an “emergency breakaway” just to stay in practice… the practice paid off.

    And… to prove that sometimes shit just happens (no matter what country it is), we were riding a pretty heavy storm in the North Atlantic when one of the belly bands on an aft station broke loose. The belly bands hold the mid-section of the replenishment hoses secure. When not in use, they hang from the rigging and the bottoms dangle free, though there is a line around them that holds them secure also. When the belly band let go, the bottom portion of the hoses broke loose and started beating the crap out of the after super structure… specifically the side of the helo hangar. My berthing area was back there and it was one hell of a racket as the probe end kept smashing the bulkheads and railings. Remarkably, it did little damage. Either way, we weren’t going to send anybody out there to correct it in the middle of the night in a North Atlantic storm. The hose wasn’t going anywhere, it was held secure by the saddles that attach to the cables on the M-Frames.

    In this picture, it would be the station closest to the funnel (stack).

    In case the picture doesn’t load.

    BTW, this class of AOE is the result of the canceling of the USS Iowa class the keel of which had already been laid down. They later completed them as AOEs. The idea being that they could keep up with Carrier Task Groups even though each one got about half of a Battleship’s power plant. (They didn’t have to lug around all that armor) We handled food ammo and fuel. (and water, mainly for steam ships that were having problems making their own) The USS Supply class replaced this class. Mainly from the more modern equipment and lower manning requirement. Sacramento Class – Boilers, Supply Class – Gas Turbine (aka “whistling shit cans”)

    How do you recognize an AOE? If it looks like an upside down dead cockroach… it’s probably an AOE.

    Radar Cross section is the equivalent size of a vessel or aircraft as seen on a radar. Some aircraft have apparent sizes in the scale of birds. Ours was closer to that of a medium sized mountain.

    I destroyed a perfectly good Palm III on this ship when I tripped over a cable while crossing the winch deck. That pissed me off for three reasons. 1) It hurt. (non-skid always does) 2) It killed my Palm III, and 3) The grease from the cable never washed out of my pants. Next to each one of those uprights is a hydraulic ram tensioner. It’ compensates for the ship’s roll and holds the line at a steady tension. Remarkable idea in my opinion.

    Everybody has a favorite ship… this one is mine. Loved that tour.

    • One of my ancestors was killed in a Shipwreck off of Hatteras. He was the Captain, Left a wife and six kids…This was about 1822…
      Knew Hatteras was a wild place…

  20. A quick comment on El Hierro. Did something trip over the seismometers at Chie in the early hours? A goat? a drunken tourist? Probably not the goat as it may well have attempted to eat what it stumbled over if Canarian Goats are anything like Jamaican Goats. There again maybe a weird earth movement?
    Certainly there is activity continuing directly beneath the Island. Very small quakes and all at between 12-10 km depth. To those who are not familiar with the geological structure of the Island there is some sort of stress barrier at this depth . This causes magma to “Pool” beneath it and flow laterally until a weakness allows magma to ascend towards the surface.

  21. Reference the “big gun” topic that sprang up earlier. Neither of my last two ships had a gun for surface engagements. The tactic for this eventuality was to fly a supersonic missile into it.

    This was what was being practiced when one of our carriers inadvertantly shot a Turkish Destroyer several years ago. (yes, we replaced it, and I think we also made reparations.)

    All the more reason why Junior Officers should be neutered.


    • “Luckily” they were Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles being used (against standard doctrine) in the anti-surface role. Small warhead and nowhere near as much damage or as many casualties as would have happened with an anti-ship weapon.

  22. Missiles.

    Many years ago, a certain scrapyard somewhere in England got a bunch of Matra Martel anti-ship missiles in.

    Apparently this was an Error. With a capital ‘E’ as you can see.

    Unfortunately by the time the Error was realised and they tried to get them back, it was too late, most of them had been sold. And being a scrapyard, it was all cash, so mostly untraceable. I think some people who were locals or regulars and known to the scrappy got visits…

    Guess who bought one? 🙂

    And nope, no visit 🙂

    • Until now! That black Vauxhall Omega is drawing up outside …. !!
      That must make an interesting garden ornament 🙂

      Many years ago I was at a range facility and came away with a little gift in the form of an expended practice bomb. It’s about 50 cm long, weighs quite a few kilos and was intended to mimic the ballistics of a full-size weapon when dropped from an aircraft. It may be small, but it certainly looks like a bomb and, as it could incorporate a small smoke charge for visual observation, it is liberally stencilled with ‘Danger’ and other scary warnings.

      You can now guess which one of the many thousands of car journeys I have made was the one where I was arbitrarily stopped by Plod for a random drink-driving check! Thankfully they never noticed the lump under my jacket on the back seat, or that could have been a long and interesting evening.

      • Fun.

        In another scrapyard foray, this time to one next to a testing range in the Outer Hebrides, I came away with a few small jet engines (cruise missile size); somewhat banged and battered but… interesting. 🙂

        In another scrapyard in Essex I found a complete drone missile with one of the same engines. A fast deal was done…

        I’ve had a few interesting lumps over the years. The most interesting are NOT on this or any other web pages 😉

          • Very nice Engine Pron there Michael..
            Had this maniac Instrument student of mine who built a BD-5 wanted to convert it to a BD-5J.
            rounded up a Jet APU from a military source (Think Kid in USAF, quartermaster, Radar O’Reilly sending Jeep home “one peice at a time”) Never did get it flying, I think it ended up as
            Yard art in Kennewick Washington…What is a BD-5?

    • I went to a couple of DRMO auctions a few years ago. (Defense Reutilization Management Office), They had all sort of interesting stuff of questionable usage. I’ve seen drop tanks, old tail-hooks, card punch and paper tape equipment in there. (paper tape used to be be the method of sending “teletype” messages into the transmitting gear) I have even seen an entire pallet of assorted NiCads auctioned off. Even if they were all bad, the metal content was probably worth the auction price.

    • The “unheaviest” of them weights something like 98kg (someone said during yesterday’s coffee break). There will be 300’000 spectators. Me not amongst the crowd. As usually, hat kind of event and the trouble that goes with it is of very poor interest to me.

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