Supersleep Sweet Little Yellowstone!

Sleep well beautifull caldera, may there be people around to see you the next time you do your thing.

Sleep well beautifull caldera, may there be people around to see you the next time you do your thing.

During the last couple of years I have argued that Yellowstone most likely is at the end of its life-cycle. There are many good reasons for me to believe that, let me first go through those before we move on to this week’s big news in Volcanology.

Continental drift

Note that Yellowstone is currently in the intermediate zone adjacent to the American Craton, the crustal thickness is 160 - 180 kilometers at the spot where the caldera resides. That is allready to thick for a punch through of the plume, instead the caldera sits ontop of a natural faultline weakening the structure enough for the plume to be able to go through.

Note that Yellowstone is currently in the intermediate zone adjacent to the American Craton, the crustal thickness is 160 – 180 kilometers at the spot where the caldera resides. That is allready to thick for a punch through of the plume, instead the caldera sits ontop of a natural faultline weakening the structure enough for the plume to be able to go through.

Yellowstone is currently moving into a Craton, a very old piece of crust that was among the first patches of solidified ground produced as earth cooled down. It is a very hard piece of rock to crack. The current position of Yellowstone is within an ancient crack on the rim to the Craton. The Yellowstone is cause by a hotspot/mantleplume injecting magma up that crack, this particular hotspot is not powerful enough to blast a hole through that craton. Very few mantleplumes have the capacity to blast holes through cratons.

As the North American Continent moves over the hotspot a conveyor belt of calderas have formed. From this we know that a certain caldera system is active for a period of time, normally between 2 and 3 million years, after that the spot has moved to far from the hotspot, and the hotspot comes up through another weak spot in the crust.

Previously this conveyor belt has moved through younger and weaker crust that is pretty much containing “young” thin oceanic crust that has been pressed together up against the craton. This oceanic crust made it easy for the hotspot to find weaknesses to take advantage of, now that it is moving into a craton finding new weaknesses will get progressively harder.

We also know that the hotspot punctured a hole in that faultline more than 2 million years ago, and we know that during that time the caldera has moved roughly 70 kilometers or more. This puts the current location outside of the faultline.

Lack of normal eruptions

Image by Andreas / AFP – Getty Images. Soputan, a flank strato volcano of Tondano erupting in 2012. This is how a truly active supervolcano behaves.

Image by Andreas / AFP – Getty Images. Soputan, a flank strato volcano of Tondano erupting in 2012. This is how a truly active supervolcano behaves.

Yellowstone is the least active of the supervolcanoes considered to be active on the planet. The last phreatic explosion occurred 13 000 years ago, and the last magmatic small scale eruption occurred 70 000 years ago.

Let us now compare this to another equally old volcano, the Tondano. Yes, it is a subduction supervolcano, not a hotspot driven one like Yellowstone. Size, age, volume… Well, they are matching up in most ways.

Tondano is erupting now, it is one of the most active volcanic centers of the planet. And it did its VEI-8 2.5 million years ago. About 1.2 million years ago it did a fairly impressive VEI-7 and it has suffered dozens of large VEI-6 caldera formations. It is a complex caldera that is a Somma formation, and to just give a bit of scale. It contains a side Somma formation the size of Vesuvius just as a side attraction. Tondano has had between 25 000 to 250 000 eruptions since its VEI-8. Currently two different volcanoes are erupting on its flanks. In comparison Yellowstone is comatose. But, this is probably how you would have found Yellowstone back in its heyday.

The 1959 Earthquake

Aftermath of the 1959 Hebgen Lake M7.4 Earthquake. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Aftermath of the 1959 Hebgen Lake M7.4 Earthquake. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

In 1959 an Earthquake ranging between M7.3 and M7.5 occurred at Hebgen Lake adjacent to the magmatic reservoir of Yellowstone. The earthquake caused a massive landslide that killed 24 people and created the aptly named Quake Lake.

Not even this massive earthquake could cause a reaction from the shallow magmatic system of Yellowstone. This pretty much tells us that the magma down there is depleted of gasses and lack the capacity for gas nucleation to happen. To put it in an analogue. It was like if you had been shaking a bottle of champagne that have been left open for a week. It just does not have the gas to gush out any “fizz”.

Wrong type of Earthquake Swarms

One of the spots ontop of where hydrothermal earthquakes often occur. Image by Wikimedia Commons.

One of the spots ontop of where hydrothermal earthquakes often occur. Image by Wikimedia Commons.

During the last few years there have been earthquake swarms in the system, and this has been wildly interpreted as “Oh my GOD!!! She is gonna BLOW!!!” by the world press and those who’s imagination is running rampant on over-time.

Only problem that none of the swarms have been of a type associated with fresh magma. Some swarms have been of a type associated with magma cooling (shrinkage), another bunch have been hydrothermal, and then there have been tectonic swarms.

The hydrothermal ones have been grouped together with inflation of the caldera floor, ie, magma is moving, but it is regurgitated gas-deprived old magma. It is just the constant sloshing of magma in any large scale system.

Miniscule uplift

The amazingly beautiful Grand Teton reflecting in a lake that is close to where there has been small scale uplift.

The amazingly beautiful Grand Teton reflecting in a lake that is close to where there has been small scale uplift.

As in any large old Caldera the magma moves from one spot to another as it shrinks, or heats up when new hot magma arrives. The first type causes small scale uplift, the other one large scale uplift. The “Oh my GODers” interpret the 2 – 5 cm per year uplift that occurred at Yellowstone as that “End of Civilization is near”. In reality this is very very small scale uplift for a volcanic caldera of this size.

Let us look at real magmatic uplift. The Campi Flegrei uplifted more than 2 meters in just a few years. This was most likely just regular magma motion. Before the last eruption Campi Flegrei outside of Naples in Italy did 7 meters in 48 hours. That is large scale magmatic intrusion. That is what would be seen at Yellowstone before an eruption, possibly even more uplift since it is a larger caldera system. Now put 5 cm annually into perspective…

Now you are saying that this has been going on and off for years. Well, it has done that. And there has been an equal amount of deflation in other areas, and the particular spot that uplifted recently has risen and fallen several times. Not that spectacular really.

Let us instead compare to the constant inflating resurgent dome of Iwo-Jima. It has an average of 12cm continuous uplift, and it never deflates. That is how a large slow eruption is built up, and it will still most likely do a sprint before erupting showing meters of rapid uplift before blowing.

Depleted Magma (The News)

This week’s big news was a research report from Ilya N. Bindeman at University of Oregon who has done work on the two last calderas that was active, the Heise and Picabo. In the geochemical work (mainly isotope) it was discovered that there is cyclicity of how the magma changed from new hot juvenile magma arrival when the calderas could supererupt, and a later stage when the magma reservoir was filled with depleted magma that basically consist of remelted crustal matter. The regurgitated crustal melt is not able to erupt, and will over time cool down.

This cycle time of possible activity is roughly two million years long, and then there is a lapse of about one million years before the Mantleplume has found virgin crust.

The mantleplume is producing hot basalt that normally would erupt in large lava floods, but as it moves up it melts the crust producing more explosive mixtures giving the Yellowstone hotspot it’s uniquely explosive eruptions. As the crust is depleted it loses its explosive capacity. And if the cycle time holds true it would now be in the end stage.

I recommend reading the links appended below, or going straight to the mentioned research papers.


Old Faithfull and Yellowstone Caldera gently sleeping under the stars. Image by Wally Pacholka.

Old Faithfull and Yellowstone Caldera gently sleeping under the stars. Image by Wally Pacholka.

If we take all of the above into account, we get a picture far from the sensationalist media. We see that Yellowstone is a geological wonder and a place of immense beauty. A phenomenon that is a living breathing large caldera slowly winding down, a sign of what is to come as we move along into the Deep Future.

Sleep well Sweet and Beautiful Yellowstone.


420 thoughts on “Supersleep Sweet Little Yellowstone!

      • Oh far out… I’m up against the world’s elite in baaaaaaad..

        I can’t win… maybe a pyrrhic victory ? hmmm..

        • Either Carl watched this to the end, in which case I win.
          Or he didn’t watch it to the end, in which case I win.

          Note to self : NEVER visit the Ukraine.

          • Actually Ukraine is nice to visit. Yes you will get mugged by the police, but there are many nice things to see and do there. And the chocolate is so kick-ass that Putin have had it banned in Russia.
            I am definitely going to go back soon.

    • And now for some real action… The neutron bomb of bad music. Zlad… As you listen, concentrate on the lyrics. Your life will never be the same.

  1. No 4: the water home of Bogart and Hepburn was the African Queen which sailed on the Victoria Nile and Lake Albert. The latter is part of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift.

    • No, I was not serious. The truth is far far worse… Putin loves when Putin sings…
      For being a former KGB superspy and Chef de la Chef of said organisation he really sucks at English.

      • ever had that feeling that this is the pinnacle of your life and you are about to die because it just can’t get any better?

        • Well in the case of singing Putin it just can’t get any weirder…
          (But I was serious about a visit to Ukraine being a good idea. Loads of things to see and the church choires are total kick-ass.)

          • seriously, if you were Snowden and had to choose between listening to Putin doing ‘”I found my ththrilll” and prosecution by the US government for crimes of treason.. whew… I really don’t know what I would choose. (and on that note Gerard Depardieu must REALLY hate the French tax regime)… that is him isn’t it? Or just an Obelix look-a-like?

    • Not many candidates this year.
      I would guess one of these; Etna for the large paroxysms; Tolbachik for the lava pool, Sakurajima for the blasts, Klyuchevskoi for the lavafountaining.
      Of those I would nominate Tolbachik, it is the only real contender. After all, it was by far the largest eruption of the year.

      With the exception of Tolbachik this is going to go down as the least interesting volcanic Year in history, it has been the anti-thesis of 1783. (And now something will blow bigtime)
      Why do I say this? Well, heck I have written 3 times about a blorping miniscule mudcano in a roundabout outside of Rome that is farting dead romans. I guess you smell where I am going…

        • My view:

          Tobalchik: When it comes to effusive eruptions, Tobalchik gave out the real deal. A 20 km lava flow is no joke, not to mention the gargantuan lava field it built. Add the lava lake, and you have a real contender. It was a very significant eruption compared to all others in this year.

          So 9.5/10.

          Etna: In retrospect, Etna looks like a worse candidate every day. Klyuchevskoy has somewhat passed it.
          Etna was more powerful, though.
          But Etna sort of left us. After May 1, Etna fell silent after a few explosions. Then, in September, it came back. It was on and off for a few days, but it intensified in both frequency and power. But Etna played her tricks. She made us get into all of this intellectual debate. I will deduct.


          Klyuchevskoy: Klyuchevskoy erupted this year without dormancy. It produced the same lava fountaining as Etna in a slightly more photogenic package. We hit a goldmine of screenshots with this one.


          Sakurajima: It produced pure explosive volcanism this year. It was well worth mentioning.


          Pavlof: Broke the eruptive reign of cleveland. After 2009, Cleveland reigned free for 4 years. For that alone. Veniaminof deserves mention too, as it has gone on for longer compared to Pavlof.

          7/10 for Pavlof and 6.5 for Veniaminof.

          • As things stand, I’m certain Klyuchevskoy will win this year in spite of the scale of the Tolbachik eruption. Klyuchevskoy has comfortably out-Etna-ed Etna and put on a spectacular show for months with no sign of slowing down yet. Another volcano that deserves a mention is Shiveluch with it’s sequence of dome-building and explosive eruptions and I’m certain Fuego too will be mentioned.

            • Yes, Fuego will be mentioned. But the eruption has really been to small.
              On the other hand, I am fairly certain that the VEI-5 to VEI-6 that produced the largest ever recorded pumice raft will not be mentioned either… Hm, that was last year.
              Also, Last years Pliny went to Tolbachik so it will not be that one again.
              That pretty much leaves Klyuchevskoi.

              I would hereby like to award 2013 as the least volcanically interesting year in Human history for a Pliny Award (I can now hear Boris draw his breath all the way from Catania “Eeeeetnnaaaa!”)

          • Klyuchevskoy would be my Pliny candidate for this year (at least for now, unless some much more significant eruption occurs somewhere) – and this in spite of the fact that Etna is my fave volcano (in case no one noted before) and the paroxysms earlier this year were definitely some of the most spectacular and violent activity at this volcano for a long time. They brought us here very close to a really, really critical situation, and probably the impact on a nearby society was the most severe during any of this year’s eruptions worldwide. But in terms of beauty, Klyuchevskoy is something else, this powerful activity at the top of its virtually perfect cone … so yes, this is currently my Pliny fave for this year 😀

      • “And now something will blow bigtime” – 😉 Invoking the law of irony I bet it will be Yellowstone.

  2. And, as a bonus, some real Deep Purple. One of my favorite tracks. (Gee, I wonder why…)

    Trivia note. According to Wickipedia, the chord progressions are based on Bach. That would not be that surprising. The underlying structure used by several classic composers has made its way into a lot of modern music. Rush even did a full on implementation of a variation of the 1812 Overture in their song… “Overture.”

    • DING!

      But of course it is this “Youngling”. It is after all one of the worlds younger volcanoes. And it is born out in the fields as the Cocos plate is being subducted.

  3. So good to be back into Routine after a hectic weekend and week.
    OMG Carl! Where will the Tabloid press look next for their Doomsday prophecies? All those Preppers with nothing to Prep for? Now since we are not ALL GOING TO DIE what do we do about the growing human population? Biologically there must be a population crash……. I always thought it would be good to go out with a Volcanic Boom at least we could spend our final days in the VC bar discussing the geological future of the world after we had gone 🙂

    I guess the Answer to #4 Wouldn’t so easy as the Sabrina Island in the Azores? It appeared in 1811 , emerging out of the Atlantic and rapidly disappeared again causing the end of a diplomatic argument over the ownership of the new volcanic land. Bogart starred with both Audrey & Katharine Hepburn but since The AFRICAN QUEEN is showed so often (every Christmas pretty well in the UK) people forget about the other Hepburn 😀 😀

    Ohhhh! I am so pleased the wedding and associated chaos is over and I can settle to a quiet and relaxed weekend 🙂 It was a good day. No Disasters apart from the usual family strife , partners falling out and after wedding criticisms of dress and behaviours 😀 😀 Just a normal family celebration 😀
    <<<<<<<< Picks up her book of the week " How to be the Mother in law from Hell"

  4. Shiveluch had 26 (!) explosions yesterday, the biggest of which sent a cloud to an estimated 10800 m (hence the short-lived red alert). The cone is still very much there!

    Klyuchevskoy effusion rate increased – tremor reached 312 μm/s yesterday

      • Morning oh mighty master of appallingly bad taste music videos… I think ukviggen was referring to a comment by Henrik yesterday because the cloud from Sheveluch was so big it looked like the dome had fallen apart. I thought the same.

        • Ah, I thought he was commenting on the comments where Boris was in and discused Klyuchevskoys new record after the eruption.

            • Hi spica, the credit should go to Gina, I just happened to look in when she drew it to our attention. I got it just as a big explosion occurred.

            • Bruce is right! Henrik suggested yesterday that the lava dome at Shiveluch had gone, and I didn’t think it had, but as the mountain has been mostly covered with cloud it was impossible to say for sure.

              The blasts and ash plumes are very impressive, but (from my amateur observations and in my very amateur opinion) appear to be relatively normal occurrences for Shiveluch during periods of heightened activity – big explosion, lots of ash, some local collapse and avalanche, maybe even pyroclastic flow, but all over very quickly. From what I understand the volcano has been behaving this way – on and off – since 1999. It has been calculated that Shiveluch has a higher rate of magma supply than other volcanoes in the region, Klyuchevskoy included. The current frequency of the explosions (26 yesterday) is on the high side, though, and there is some effusing lava, so it is possible that something more significant is occurring.

              There was a small break in the clouds first thing yesterday morning to let us see that the dome was still there and growing. I would imagine that if there was a significant collapse then the plume would be on a scale of a considerably greater magnitude than what we have been seeing the last few weeks, and would cause a more prolonged eruption as it would open up the vents. That oft-made comment about Hekla springs to mind: “Believe me, you’ll know when it is erupting!”

              A musing: I don’t have the link to hand right now, but a couple of weeks ago I was checking back through the quake plots for the Northern group and in July there appeared to be two separate and marked emplacements leading from the 20/25 km depth to a few km below both Klyuchevskoy and Shiveluch. There has been little in the way of any quake trend since, so I wondered if that could have been a precursory warning to the current raised activity levels. Certainly the plots would make you think “Hmm … something is going to happen soon.”

            • UK has a very good point here.
              We tend to underestimate the time it takes from an emplacement untill eruption.

              Let’s take Eyjafjallajökull as an example. It had a large emplacement in 1999, and then nothing happened for more than 10 years. Another large emplacement comes along, and that emplacement chuggs for 3 months before anything happens.
              Same thing with Bob. Two large emplacements over 4 months of time before Bob opened up. Same thing with Grimsvötn, activity for half a year, then a couple of months without much happening, then boom.
              This is also why Hekla is so damned different.
              But still we go all jumpy as soon as we see an emplacement happening like the last two in Iceland at Gjögurtá and Reykjanestá. Both of those might erupt one day, but when is a really good question, months, years, even decades might pass by.

            • No UKviggen, I did not suggest that the dome HAD gone. 🙂 I suggested it would be at least partially destroyed by the current cycle if it continued. As I explained in a subsequent post, these explosions signal the arrival of more gas-rich (hence explosive) magma and if that is the case, there’s a decent chance of several dome-shattering eruptions in which case the prospects for the dome’s survival would be bleak. The eruption Bruce captured was too small to do any significant damage. For that to happen, you’d have to have the kind of explosive eruptions of St Helens – each of her dome-destroying eruptions were accompanied by a plinian eruption column ~20 km high.

            • Okay, then I know I was discussing a completely different volcano than you guys where.,,
              I was talking about Henriks ash cone ontop of Klyuichevskoy. I am sticking to it being doomed soon. The entire top part of Klyuchevskoy is just to thin and frail.
              Back to the discussion your guys had. Dome will go to poot, it is just a question of time. It is what Sheveluch does best. Blow tha gasket.

            • Sorry Henrik if I misinterpreted your comment.
              Rebuilding though is what Shiveluch does. It grows a big dome, which then collapses almost totally. It has done that seven times since the really huge (i.e. half a mountain) collapse 10,000 years ago. Along the way there are lots of quite violent events – partial collapses, eruptions etc – but total dome collapses (while somewhat inevitable) have only come along every few hundred years and have involved much larger dome edifices than the current one. There is a suggestion that the interval is shortening though, and who’s to say that overall volcanic behaviour isn’t changing … 🙂

            • Certainly x 2 UKV! (a – I expressed myself badly, b – Shiveluch is in a dome-building episode right now). Do take a look at the area visible in the webcam and you see the evidence (craters) of several very large explosive eruptions! And if you consider the time elapsed since Old Shiveluch (Старый Шивелуч) destroyed itself, there seems to have been far more destruction than building going on (at least 60 large eruptions during the Holocene).

              Wow by the way – the volume of Shiveluch is given as 1300 cu km, roughly four time the size of the largest American stratovolcanoes!

  5. The column looks wider and fatter (once again). I wish we had one of those little helicopter webcam drones to fly up there.

  6. Tobalchik has a bit of a glow going this fine morning is a bit odd as it is not where it was this is on the left side rather low but the weather could be distorting my view

  7. I am wondering if the Pliny winner isn’t going to be Sheveluch.
    Thanks all for the posts this Am. As the day goes on we’ll see what
    that bad boy is up to…

  8. Good evening all!
    Carl (October 19, 2013 at 07:47) said “Yes, Fuego will be mentioned. But the eruption has really been to[o] small.”
    Even the one per day provided webcam pics show, that Fuego has had lava/PFs erupting once or twice per week. Same goes for Santiaguito. As there is very little information coming forward, I don’t know how big, how dangerous or spectacular those eruptions were. Anyways, I think these two should at least get merits for persistancy.

    Aaand for other possible Pliny canditates… don’t forget Pulaweh volcano (Mt. Rokatenda), its eruption in August had been quite a substantial one.

    • Fuego has not had any significant eruptions, but it has been quietly doing pretty much the same firefountaining that Klyuchevskoy has.
      Here is a picture Dr Morataya posted over at the FB site earlier today.

      Image and video hosting by TinyPic
      Fuego doing what it does best and what gave it it’s name.

  9. Small swarm on El Hierro:

    1241860 19/10/2013 12:03:29 27.7189 -18.0253 12 1.8 mbLg W EL PINAR.IHI
    1241841 19/10/2013 11:29:12 27.7238 -18.0116 9 2.2 mbLg NW EL PINAR.IHI
    1241844 19/10/2013 11:14:47 27.7138 -18.0291 11 2.1 mbLg W EL PINAR.IHI
    1241840 19/10/2013 10:52:51 27.7192 -18.0277 12 1.6 mbLg W EL PINAR.IHI
    1241825 19/10/2013 01:10:40 27.7327 -18.0214 11 1.8 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI

  10. Just watched a good program about Gamla Uppsala, Sweden.
    I think we could take a lead again from those Vikings. To prove manhood and ability to be a useful member of society , young men went off in their ships to seek adventure and fortune. The presenter stated those with intelligence and other good characteristics usually returned. Those who were non- thinkers and lacking the ability to organise and think ahead never returned ,thus their genes were not passed on in their home country. There again maybe those who were intelligent stayed in the warmer southern lands that lacked the dismal winter weather. 😀
    Another interesting piece of info. One King, Domalde , suffered the wrath of the Gods and they gave his land a bad harvest. The disgruntled locals and the king, sacrificed oxen. The following year another bad harvest. This time some poor local men were sacrificed ( They should not have returned after proving their manhood). This didn’t work either. So the locals then of course sacrificed their King, Things got better after that. Maybe we could try the same with some of our politicians! I would love to know what years these famines occurred and did it coincide Volcanic activity in Iceland or was this story just a folk tale? There is usually some thread of truth in most ancient stories..
    Any of our Scandinavian friends shed light on this?

    • Hello!
      First of all, we still do the same pretty much. Make the buck up her in the cold north, go for vacations down south, then as we retire we go and occupy some village in southern Spain. 😉

      That is just a tale, there has most certainly never been a King with that name. Ancient Swedish history is filled with bogus Kings. Back then our Kings did not inherit the crown, they elected the King out of being the smartest dude around. And, if they didn’t like him, or he didn’t do a good job they just elected a new King, and if the old King had an opinion about it they lovingly smacked him in the head with an axe untill he understood the finer points.

      Yes, we are one of the oldest unbroken Kingdoms on the planet, but we are so ancient (and could not really write) that most of our ancient history is just so much mush. It is not untill the days of the Vikings we have any record of anything. And even that is sparse. Remember that most of the written sources about the Vikings are from the people who got lovingly smacked with axes in the head by them.
      And quite understandably they where a bit shocked and awed when writing… St. Medard wrote an antiphony (prayer) that went like this.
      Summa pia gratia nostra conservando corpora et cutodita, de gente fera Normannica nos libera, quae nostra vastat, Deus, regna. (Our supreme and holy Grace, protecting us and ours, deliver us, God, from the savage race of Northmen which lays waste our realms).
      Then of course we have the account of the raid on Lindisfarne in 793:
      “And they came to the church of Lindisfarne, laid everything waste with grievous plundering, trampled the holy places with polluted feet, dug up the altars and seized all the treasures of the holy church. They killed some of the brothers; some they took away with them in fetters; many they drove out, naked and loaded with insults; and some they drowned in the sea” (A popular belief in Sweden is that the monks had sold bad ale to the Vikings thus incurring the wrath of them.)
      And onwards Alcuin wrote:
      “It is some 350 years that we and our forefathers have inhabited this lovely land, and never before in Britain has such a terror appeared as this we have now suffered at the hands of the heathen. Nor was it thought possible that such an inroad from the sea could be made”

      We stil hear the same when we go on vacation. We do not understand it. What is wrong with some loving smacking in the head with an axe after all? What is wrong with you people? We just love to come and visit! 🙂

      • One of my favourite (very evil) ancient Swedish “kings” is Ingjald Illråde (approximately Ingjald Evilcouncil). He invited all other chieftains to a great banquet and when they were well in their cups, he left the hall surreptitiously, barred the doors and burnt every potential competitor and that is the story of how he became king.

      • Can’t say I have much of a taste for Northumbrian mead myself, either, (it is made from honey) but the Vikings’ reaction to it might suggest they tried a lot of it first before deciding they didn’t like it much………

        And of course the highly disciplined Normans, who brought in feudalism, and the forebears of our current English aristocracy, were also Norsemen who had previously settled in Normandy…………..

        Did pretty well for themselves one way or another any how!

      • My Mother’s side of the family is Scot (Scot on both sides) -Clan
        Anderson from Sutherland. the Viking Riviera for a while. One of my
        favorite books is the “Shetland Bus” a WW2 story by David Howarth.
        Great tale of the Norwegian resistance in WW2-and the connections
        to the Scots and Vikings-great sea story,too.

        • I don’t know anything about the kings, even though I am married to a real Cumbrian Viking, but I do know from experience that the public outdoor swimming pool not far from Gamla Uppsala is plagued with dead baby frogs at the end of the summer. They all crawl out of the river and hop into the nice warm pool, only to be killed by the chlorine. My then-young children thought it was hilarious. I guess the French would call it the start of a good soup …

            • On the other hand, I met an Aborigin from Australia in Texas who claimed to be a Viking too. I guess I am a Hawaiian 🙂

              Not to be testy or anything, but to be a Viking you need to come from either Sweden, Norway, Färö Islands or Iceland. But that is not enough, you also need to have stormed an Island or a coastal village and done unspeakable things there… Otherwise you are not a Viking, just a Nordic person. I guess that would put the modern day Vikingdom down into about 1000 people. So you both have to be born, and have done the Raiding, to be one.

            • Ah OK. I get your point now! 🙂

              Joking aside, you may be surprised to know that there are a handful of areas in the British isles – Cumbria among them – where the Norse gene is very prevalent. Especially so in older men from the farming community whose families have lived in the locality for centuries, and did not move during the social upheavals of the Industrial revolution etc. Most of the old farming families in the harsher bits of Cumbria are the descendants of Viking settlers from the 11th century (and that includes the good lady!), and most of the placenames (and therefore family names) are Norse-derived (dale, fell, force, garth, thwaite etc).

          • Oh, just seen your reply. 🙂
            I guess the raiding bit rules out just about everyone apart from a few Norwegian football fans.
            Do Danes count?

            • Danes are actually not Vikings, they are Danes. Therefore you separate the Dane-geld when the Danes came and robbed you blind from when the Norwegians came around and stole your land a few weeks later in 1066 😉

              I know there are quite a few descendents in the UK, there is even an Upsala somewhere around there. So, I guess there must have been a round of Swedes knocking on your door too. Which is odd really, most Swedes went eastwards instead and kicked teeth there when they founded Russia and continued through down into the caliphate. I have oft wondered how bloody that part must have gotten when they discovered that the Caliphate did not have booze. Well, I guess the Upsala in your parts of the world was founded by Swedish Vikings who got tired of the no booze policy of the Caliphate and made an about turn.

              Vikinganism was most likely born out of the little known fact that the nordic women are fairly strong and owned pretty much everything. The only thing a man was allowed to own was his weapons and his ship. So after getting lovingly hit in the head with his axe by his own wife for a few months they probably got fed up and decided that someone else was going to take the blaim for life being a misery… 😉

              Jokes aside, it is strange. Only time I feel really at peace and free is when I hold a tiller on a sailing boat far out at sea. And I must admit that after a few weeks of sailing I tend to have fervent dreams of raiding an unsuspecting village in the wee early hours. Which probably explains what happened one early morning to Vila Franca di Campo on Sao Miguel… If any Azorian is reading this, I am terribly sorry for what happened.

  11. 17 and 18 October 2013: Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume from Barren Island (India) in the Andaman Sea, west of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. No further advisories after 18/10.

    VOLCANO: Barren Island 0600-01=
    PSN: N1217 E09352
    AREA: Andaman Is-Indian O
    ADVISORY NR: 2013/1
    TO NW AT 17/0932

    This seems to be a quite active volcano, erupting every few years.

    Question: What does “ext. 15NM” mean?

  12. John Vidale at the Pacific Nortwest Seismic Group put up something very interesting.
    Apparantly there have been slides around Mount St Helens today. They show as 60 second bursts.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    • Some of them are similar to the rockfalls on El Hierro. Cool to see this from another location, especally as famous as Mount St Helens

      • Thanks Spica! I think I have to add that 3rd Klyu cam to the page 🙂
        The following pics of pebbles look like raw diamonds… the aren’t, or are they?
        The pictures after them look like the bag full of pebbles a lady brought back from the US and wanted me to polish them. Mostly quartz in all varieties, between 3 and 10 mm. Oh they looked so precious after polishing! 🙂

    • to my amateur eye it looks like eruption from a lower vent merged with the eruption from the summit – but what do I know. 🙂

        • Nice pics! My layman’s take on it is lava interacting with snow – the wind is blowing the steam back up the slope. Looks too clean and white to my eyes to be pyroclastic, and now that the steamm has cleared a bit you can see that the origin of it is along the edge of the lava flow.

        • Totally missed it even though I have had the webcam open on my secondary monitor all day as I work. For some strange reason, it had stopped updating! But judging by the picture I would imagine a portion of the new scoria cone collapsed and cascaded downhill, leading to that large plume which is pretty white and therefore very likely largely steam (from hot ash/scoria hitting snow).
          Just my 2c. Could also have been a large lava flow hitting a thick bed of snow. The sort of thing Boris and his colleagues discuss in the paper he posted yesterday.

            • Well I didn’t think of a piece of cone, and that makes a lot of sense too
              It’s probably just as well I live 12 hours time difference from Kamchatka – I’d never get any work done with daylight Klyu/Shiv webcams available!

  13. Although the first pics looked exciting, the cloud wasn’t hugging the ground the way I would expect from a pyroclastic flow. Just my amateur opinion.

    • You are correct, that was not a pyroclastic flow, just ash being pushed down by the cold air in the area. Same principle that can make the smoke coming out of your smokestack in the cabin go straight down and crawl over the ground instead of going up into the air.

      Think of it as two incompatible forces battling it out.

  14. It seems there has been a large earthquake off the coast of Mexico
    Urgent: 6.8-magnitude quake hits Etchoropo, Mexico — USGS
    Updated: 2013-10-20 02:23:00

    An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale jolted southwest of Etchoropo, Mexico on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

  15. Anyway – back to Antarctica – just curious:

    ‘Around 100 million years ago, remains of the former supercontinent Gondwana were located in the area of present Antarctica. A mantle plume melted through this continental plate and cracked it open. Two new continents were born: the Antarctic and “Zealandia”, with the islands of New Zealand still in evidence today. When the young continents drifted in different directions away from the mantle plume, large quantities of hot plume material were attached to their undersides. These formed reservoirs for future volcanic eruptions on the two continents. “This process explains why we find signatures of plume material at volcanoes that are not on top of plumes,” says Dr. Hauff.

    But that still does not explain the Marie Byrd Seamounts because they are not located on the Antarctic continent, but on the adjacent oceanic crust instead. “Continental tectonic plates are thicker than the oceanic ones. This ensures, among other things, differences in temperature in the underground,” says volcanologist Dr. Werner. And just as air masses of different temperatures create winds, the temperature differences under the earth’s crust generate flows and movements as well. Thus the plume material, that once lay beneath the continent, was able to shift under the oceanic plate. With disruptions due to other tectonic processes, there were cracks and crevices which allowed the hot material to rise, turn into magma and then- about 60 million years ago – allowed the Marie Byrd Seamounts to grow. “This created islands are comparable to the Canary Islands today,” explains Andrea Kipf. “Some day the volcanoes became extinct again, wind and weather eroded the cone down to sea level, and other geological processes further eroded the seamounts. Finally, the summit plateaus arrived at the level that we know today,” the PhD student describes the last step of the development.’

    Read more at:

  16. EV Nautilus is planning it’s first exploration of volcanic activity around Montserrat on Monday afternoon. No definite time has been announced yet, but local time there is UTC minus 4 hours. The 1997 eruption of Soufrere Hills volcano, swept 2 villages into the sea – houses, contents, vehicles, etc. Could be an interesting week.

  17. when i saw it there was a point source now it is a huge cloud that could be assumed to be a pyro flow if one did not catch the initial venting

  18. if this beasty has a flank failure it will be spectacular not to say i am predicting it but there are several plumes in addition to the venting i noted

    • Possibly.

      PSN: N5603E16038
      SUMMIT ELEV: 4835M
      ADVISORY NR: 2013/44
      OBS VA DTG: 19/2315Z
      OBS VA CLD: SFC/FL320 N5605 E16040 - N5625 E16055 - N5535 E16330 - N5
      320 E16615 - N5255 E16550 - N5505 E16240 - N5600 E16040 MOV E 30KT

      • What makes it look much bigger is that the wind direction all of a sudden switched, so the cloud is not moving towards the cam, not away. And that shifts the perspective. I do not think it is higher.

  19. Yesterdays archive for those who did not look at the webcam continously:

    [video src="" /]

    Most interesting pictures at 20.00.35, 20.02.43 and 20.04.42

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s