Medicine Lake Volcano and Lava Beds National Monument

Fig.1 Photograph by Sonny Bleicher from Lava Beds National Monument and Medicine Lake California.

Fig.1 Photograph by Sonny Bleicher from Lava Beds National Monument and Medicine Lake California.

The more you read about volcanism in North America, the more confused you become by the immense complexity of eruptive phenomenae and sequences. As will be clear from my last article about Mount Tehama (Lassen), it is never the question about a single central volcano such as Vesuvius or Etna, but about a multitude of volcanic vents and events tied to an area.

Fig 1. Unlike stratovolcanoes, shield volcanoes never are visually impressive except for their sheer extent as shown in this photo of Medicine Lake Volcano (Julie Donnelly-Nolan)

Fig 2. Unlike stratovolcanoes, shield volcanoes never are visually impressive except for their sheer extent as shown in this photo of Medicine Lake Volcano (Julie Donnelly-Nolan)

Just 50 km (30 miles) northeast of Mount Shasta lies the largest volcano of the entire Cascadia arc, the half-a-million years old Medicine Lake Volcano and on its Northeast flank, the associated Lava Beds National Monument. The Medicine Lake Volcano and the Lava Beds National monument is a great example of how complex and varied volcanism in the Cascades Arc is. That the volcano itself, despite being the largest volume-wise in the USA, does not have a proper name but is named after the lake inside its summit caldera is another example of how shield volcanoes are often overlooked.

Medicine Lake Volcano is a shield volcano that in main has erupted dry HAOT (high-alumina olivine tholeiite) and hydrous calcalkaline basalts simultaneously, but also some andesitic magma. It rises about 1,200 m (3,900 ft) above the Modoc Plateau and under the centre of the volcano, the underlying rock has been pushed down by 0.5 km (0.3 miles). On average, the shield is only about 1 km (0.6 miles) thick, but as the extent of the shield is a massive 35 km (22 miles) east to west by 45 to 50 km (28 to 31 miles) north to south, it covers more than 2,000 km2 (770 square miles). The total volume is estimated to be in excess of 600 km3 (140 cu miles), which makes Medicine Lake Volcano almost twice the size of Mount Shasta.

Unlike most other South Cascade volcanoes where a shield has first been deposited before one or more stratovolcanic cones were built on top, there has been no such development at Medicine Lake Volcano. It is believed that the Medicine Lake Volcano is “unique”, having many small magma chambers rather than one large one. Regular readers of this blog will recognise this line of reasoning as many volcanoes are believed to have a magma reservoir consisting of a system of chambers, sills and dykes rather than a single, large magma chamber and that such a magma reservoir may develop from sills and dykes into one or more larger magma chambers.

Fig 3. Medicine Lake, the collapse caldera structure at the summit of Medicine Lake Volcano with Mount Shasta 50 km away in the background. (

Fig 3. Medicine Lake, the collapse caldera structure at the summit of Medicine Lake Volcano with Mount Shasta 50 km away in the background. (

On top of the volcano lies Medicine Lake, a 7 by 12 km (4.3 by 7.5 miles) caldera structure that is thought to be the result of collapse after a large volume of andesite erupted from vents along the caldera rim. Also, there is a system of ring fractures associated with these vents, it is thought that they were there prior to the caldera collapse. As the only eruption to have produced an ash flow tuff occurred in late Pleistocene time (~200 to ~180 ka), and this eruption was too small to account for formation of the caldera, it is thought that the caldera may have formed in a similar manner to that of Kilauea.

Eruptive activity during the Holocene has been episodic and includes numerous rhyolite and dacite lava flows from vents at high elevations inside and outside the caldera. Eruptions at vents on the flanks of the shield  have resulted in cinder cones and associated lava flows of basalt and basaltic andesite. Most vents are aligned along lines of crustal weakness that trend North East to North West. About 10,500 years ago, eight eruptions within a time interval of a few hundred years produced about 5.3 km3 (1.3 cu miles) of basaltic lava. After a period of dormancy of about 6,000 years, there was a small andesitic eruption about 4,300 years ago. The most recent eruptive episode lasted between 3000 and 900 years BP, when another eight eruptions produced approximately 2.5 km3 (0.6 cu miles) of lava ranging in composition from basalt to rhyolite. While the late Holocene lava compositions include basalt and andesite, silicic lavas ranging from dacite to rhyolite dominate.

MLV Glass Mountain

Fig 4. Glass Mountain, a rhyodacitic obsidian flow and most recent activity at Medicine Lake Volcano. (

The most recent eruptive episode at Medicine Lake Volcano occurred around 1,000 years ago when rhyolite and dacite magmas erupted at vents near the caldera’s eastern rim and led to the formation of Glass Mountain and ten smaller domes. Glass Mountain consists of a steep-sided rhyolite and dacite obsidian flow that erupted just outside the eastern caldera rim and flowed down the steep eastern flank of Medicine Lake Volcano. The tephra pumice deposits that preceded the flow have been dated to less than about 1050 years before present while radiocarbon dating of a cedar tree indicate an age of about 885+/-40 years BP.

Recent exploratory geothermal drilling has identified a surprisingly silicic core mantled by mafic lavas. This result is unexpected and very different from the long-held view derived from previous mapping of exposed geology that MLV is a dominantly basaltic shield volcano. It was found that while < 6% of the ~2000 km2 of the mapped Medicine Lake Volcano lavas are rhyolitic and dacitic, drill holes on the edifice penetrated more than 30% silicic lava. It seems as if the andesite – dacite lavas that built most of the nearby Cascade stratovolcanoes never did erupt to form the usual stratovolcanic edifice on top of a basaltic shield at Medicine Lake. Since Medicine Lake Volcano is still an active volcano, even if presently dormant or in-between eruptive episodes, future large silicic and probably effusive eruptions are likely.

MLV lava tube

Fig 5. Illuminated lava tube cave. (wikimedia commons)

The Lava Beds National Monument
covers some 190 km2 (74 sq miles) to the northeast of Medicine Lake Volcano. It has one of the World’s greatest collection of different volcanic features such as lava tubes, cinder cones, spatter cones, hornitos, pit craters, maars, fumaroles, lava flows and volcanic fields. Most of the lava tube caves were formed by basaltic lava flows dated to about 30,000-40,000 years ago. 90% of the lava flows are basaltic and of those the smooth, easy-flowing and ropy Pahoehoe are the most common. The remainder of the lava flows are andesitic in nature. The park is also home to numerous cinder and spatter cones ranging in age from 114,000 to 3,025 years. The lava fields range in age from the two million years of Gillem Bluff to just under 1,000 years of the flow that created Glass Mountain.

Fig 6. The petroglyphs, Native American rock carvings at Petroglyph point (

Fig 6. The petroglyphs, Native American rock carvings at Petroglyph point (

One of the most intriguing features of the Monument is Petroglyph Point which formed about 275,000 years ago when cinder erupted through the shallow water of Tule Lake and violent explosions of ash and steam formed layers upon layers of tuff. Petroglyph Point is named for the Native American rock carvings, one of the most extensive in North America. Another interesting feature of the park is Captain Jack’s Stronghold, a natural fortress of lava tubes named after Captain Jack, a Native American who led a group of 53 fighting men and their families of the Modoc tribe that held off US Army forces for five months in spite of being outnumbered ten to one in the Modoc War of 1872-3.




150 thoughts on “Medicine Lake Volcano and Lava Beds National Monument

  1. Graniya, there will be a mail incoming from Sissel, it seems that there might be a small coding problem on your volcanic camera site. She is attaching a screen shot.

  2. Medicine Lake Volcano erupts rhyolite and dacite. Is this the result of magma differentiation (Fractional crystallization) in the magma chambers, or by partial melting of the upper crust?

    Is it possible that Mauna Loa and Kilauea also will erupt rhyolite and dacite magmas due to magma differentiation in their magma chambers? If that’s true, some violent explosive V.E.I. 6 eruptions would be possible on Hawaii.

    • No, it would not be possible unless the magma would be left sitting for a long time. Remember that the basis for the magma is different between the subduction volcano of Medicine Lake and the Hotspot volcanism in Hawai’i.

      • But other oceanic hotspot volcanoes like the Canary Island did erupt highly evolved magmas like rhyolite and dacite. At I read the following:

        “Molten dacite magma at Kīlauea

        Dacite magma was encountered in a drillhole during geothermal exploration on Kīlauea in 2005. The magma was encountered at a depth of 2488 m and was repeatedly drilled as it surged up the drillhole and quenched over a range of 8 m. The dacite magma is a residual melt of the typical basalt magma of Kīlauea.” A more comprehensive study about this subject can be found at

        • It has also to do with the time it is sitting without erupting. Since the Hawai’ian volcanoes are constantly erupting there will be no fractioning. Ontop of that basalt is different at different spots. There are loads of factors.

        • Mast, I think your question can be answered “yes” to both. First, since MLV is located on a continental craton, it is not inconceivable that some melting of the underlying rock may have occurred but this is a very small part. Second, if you read the part about MLV being thought to have a very complex magmatic system of sills, dikes and chambers, it is quite probable – given the 600,000 years it has been active – that fractionation has been rather extensive. To my mind, the fact that drilling found more than 30% silicic magma (i.e. less than 70% basaltic to basaltic-andesitic magma against more than 30% andesitic-dacitic to rhyolitic magma) against the 6% silicic lavas on the surface, i.e. almost all silicic magmas have evolved by fractionation. It also answers your query about Kilauea. In all likelihood there are sills and dikes “outside” or to the side of the main conduits where fractionation can occur.

      • The Hawaiian volcanoes are known for erupting highly differentiated magmas during the latest stages of their activity – as they are carried away from the center of the hotspot, there will be less and less magma feeding them, but small batches do make it occasionally to the surface. One of the most famous differentiated eruption centers on Hawaii is Pu’u Wa’awa’a on the Big Island, which is of trachytic composition.

  3. Informative post. One of the things I noticed is that the petroglyph figures mostly have their hands up in the air. Were they trying to look fierce or were they surrendering to the volcanic activity of their time, I wonder.

    • Who knows what their makers intended? It could be a sort of story-book to help the person telling the almost certainly educational story. It could be a representation of a family group and their possessions. Each figure could be a sort of “hieroglyph” telling its own story. It could be religious, relating to their beliefs. It could be a warning about the nature of the land but where are the representations for that?

      Or it could be neither of the above, something completely different. 🙂

      • Sadly the images you linked to where so destroyed by modern vandals that it was impossible to see.
        But, here is a point most people miss. Petroglyphs have a tendency to look the same across the globe and across. time.
        For instance the hunter figures, figures with raised hands and the topmost animal (comb-like) has been found in northern Sweden, Lasceaux, mid sahara and in Australia (just to mention a few).
        I think we tend to over intepret rock carvings like this. I see tham as ancient taggings based on simplest possible form patterns, and as such they will be the same in many places.

        • Carl you have a point
          There is lot of universal
          forms in human communication
          You cam even see this on the side
          of boxcars today…

  4. Great post! I’ve really enjoyed this series. It’s definitely true that America has some of the more “strange” and complex volcanoes around the world, and medicine lake definitely fits that definition.

    I’m curious – I believe medicine lake is more of a back-arc type volcano (not sure about this however) as it sits further east than most of the typical cascade volcanoes. I’ve noticed that volcanoes of this variety usually erupt much more mafic magma than their standard arc-based stratovolcanoes. They also seem to have a higher frequency of bimodal volcanism, which seems somewhat apparent here given that there is a lot of mafic magma, but still a good amount of highly silicic magma.

    Why do volcanoes that sit further back from the primary volcanic front in an arc-based setting tend to erupt in a more dominantly mafic magma? Does back arc extension play a role here?

    • Maybe, in the cascades, it is the influence of the basin and range? The JDF doesn’t subduct at a fast rate, and that hinders back-arc extension. Another shield, Newberry, is on some sort of a hotspot if I am correct. So medicine lake is relatively unique. There was a big paper about the cascades, and there was some info on this.

  5. Good book, Henrik -I also recommend it. The story of Captain
    Jack and his Guerrilla action against the US Army is told here:
    One of his relatives I knew- he was a pioneer in the Airtanker industry. His grandson was an engineer on the Space Shuttle
    (who has some interesting opinions about that system..)
    the names of people and places there are like a composite of
    Oregon history. Albert Meacham made a heroic effort to stop
    the war. He was thwarted at every corner. The town of Meacham in NE Oregon is named after him.
    Like Cochise, of the Apache, there was indeed an axe to grind. but it didn’t end as well for Captain Jack…

      • I kind of love the way these youthful cones heal themselves from the scars of erosion. I imagine Klyuchevskoy has now pretty infilled the little gully running down to the NW and made it even more of a perfect cone.

          • Looks like it has two peaks now. But it might just be an illusion.
            Wonder if this was it, or if it is just a rest in the fire shop?

            • she’s beautiful now with the early sun on her. The steam seems to be rising from a point source right at the very top. To the right there appears to be some kind of notch, kind of like Etna’s New SE crater where lava was spilling out yesterday / last night.

            • Looks like she blew out a part of the top. The “notch” you are seeing Bruce used to go straight up to the top without “notching”. But it is hard to see with all this steam.

            • Yeah, but the peak on the left has more of a point to it. Now the slope of the edifice just goes straight up to the top without leveling off like it used to.

            • Another thing when looking at the morphology of Klyu is the almost perfect line of its slopes. If you look at other symmetrical cones they all taper up towards the top:




              Klyuchevskoy doesn’t. It just goes straight up there. is this because it is so young?

              Dragon comment: this was rescued from dungeon. Please everyone remember that more than three links will automatically feed you to those “down below”!

            • This is an overlay of October 11 and October 20. A new cone appears on the Western side of the summit.
              Image and video hosting by TinyPic

            • And sorry for posting it again, but it fits the discussion. This is an animated overlay from Sep 06 and Oct 06 which shows the growth of the Eastern new cone.
              Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  6. First of all, Thank you Henrik for another interesting article! So far I failed to look at volcanoes that “have been”, or at those that aren’t likely to erupt “SOON”; so there is lots to read up on and it’s getting more and more interesting!

  7. Secondly, I want to let you know that the old link to my webcam collection is now no longer working. From today on, only the new one,

    will take you there 🙂 That is the one I had posted here a week or two ago. Our dear dragons have put the new location in their hoard, could you please update the link to “Granyias webcam collection” also? Thank you!

  8. And last but not least… there has been a question of a possible safety risk when clicking on links on my Kamchatka webcams page. Short answer is NO, no risk involved.

    Long answer is, that I have placed a few links to a wonderful facility provided by the Alaska Volcano Observatory, Fairbanks. They have a page with webcams all over the world, and also providing a last-24-hour time-lapse video of each cam.
    I have had that problem several times before, i.e. always when the pages at
    where not available for some reason, a login form came up. Now it has been going on for three weeks or so. I thought I won’t remove the links just yet, what with the American Budget calamity, maybe they are having too much to do with keeping all the essential things updated. I guess international webcams and timelapses don’t belong in that “essential” category. 😦 I’ll wait another week or two and if the pages do not come back I will remove the links to all 24-hour thingies and the webcams link top right.

    So, if you have clicked the link you can just close the page again, nothing will happen. (Btw, filling something in does not do anything either, as we do not have the necessary passwords.) Shame, it was such a useful facility!

    At the moment they have a webcam page for Alascan volcanoes only, with a link to the last-12-hours video right on the respective webcam’s page:

    • Good time to say vielen vielen Dank to you Granyia! I have used your site a lot in the last few days.

    • Hello Granyia!

      We all appreciate the hard effort you have put in. We just saw something that made us scratch our heads, so we thought we should check with you. Reason we are easily spooked right now is that we had a link like it that was not a nice one earlier, so we are kind of extra carefull. In this case we had allready figured out what it was, but felt we should see if you where aware about it.

  9. Thanks Henrik for the nice read! With all these recently active volcanoes and the potential megathrust earthquakes around I wonder if it would not be better to go back live a nomadic life in tents again over there.

  10. And here is something new I have been working on for the last days. This is a user explorable 3D plot of earthquakes in Iceland from 14 Sep 2013 to 13 Oct 2013. You can walk around in it and rotate it as you like!

    The 3D model was made in Blender 2.65 and then exported to this wonderful website I stumbled upon a few days ago. Both programs are free of cost!
    The Iceland map is from USGS (GMTED2010) and the earthquake data from the listi ( Because of my inability to program Python scripts as a workaround I used a script meant for molecular modeling (Atomic blender) to import the eq lat-lon-depth coordinates into Blender. To represent earthquake sizes I made categories (less than 0, 0 to 0.999, 1 to 1.999 and so on) and asigned a certain atom model for each (with Van-der-Waals radius corresponding approximately to the eq size, but this is not perfect yet, have to work on it).

    So please enjoy!

  11. Wonderful information, Henrik, thanks so much!! So many people know next to nothing about the evolution of the lands in the western U.S. Of course, as is the case with so many sites, you have to fly over them to see and understand, or try to understand, nature’s formations or sites such as the Nazca Lines.
    Here is a link to an article that makes me want to choke these asinine idiots who destroyed part of the Great West legacy. They deserve to be dropped into a meeting of Vikings drunk on rotten fruit. (Imagine their anger!!)
    (Reuters) – An online video of two Boy Scouts of America leaders knocking over a 170-million-year-old rock formation in a Utah State Park has touched off worldwide outrage, state officials said on Friday, and the two men may face charges.

      • What were they thinking? That is irreplaceable. I have seen programs showing people touching petroglyphs. Even at the hajj they just point at the meteor!!!

      • Been there years ago. Idiots. BSA needs to can these
        two-prosecute, also.
        My Cowboy/Indian Pop would’ve kicked their arses around
        the park with his pointy toed Tony Lamas if he caught them. He gave me my respect for nature.

  12. Sakurajima, half hour ago – a single dense-looking column burst upwards the width of the ‘crater’. Ash now blown away.

  13. If … and it’s a very big if … Klyuchevskoy is going quiet, then it’s time for a massive vote of thanks to Yuri Demyanchuk at the Klyuchi observatory for providing the very best images. Here’s another stunner from him:

    • Yes, his photos really are fabulous! As for Klyuchevskoy returning to Klyuchevskaya (from volcano, masculine, to mountain, feminine), I’m not so sure. Certainly, the show could be over but it could also restart or even get worse if there are pockets of old magma reheating and remobilising below.

      • Hmm … I think it’s the application of the genitive case that makes it Klyuchevskaya.
        (e.g. Klyuchevskoy in the Klyuchevskaya group)

        • No, ukv, here you err. It is the feminine form that makes it -aya. Klyuchevskoy is an adjective (meaning by or of Klyuchi) and the endings of adjectives are determined by the gender of the following noun, even if it is omitted.

          So it is Klyuchevskaya sopka or ~ gruppa (sopka and gruppa being femin. nouns). The genitive case of the masculine form ~oy would be Klyuchevskovo. Not that I can remember much of my Russian school lessons but some things crop back up if needed 🙂

          • I can read Cyrillic but I don’t speak/write Russian so I won’t argue too much, except to say I think Klyuchevskoy is a masculine noun, and therefore (from, this applies:

            Forming the genitive case
            Masculine Nouns:
            1. If the noun ends in a consonant, add “а”.
            2. Replace “й”, with “я”.
            3. Replace “ь”, add “я”.

            (In this case no. 2 applies.)

            Maybe a Russian-speaker can help us out here!

          • Since I started it:

            “Klyuchevskoy Vulcan” – vulcan is maskuline, therefore it takes the masculine form/ending.

            “Klyucheskaya Sopka – “sopka” (mountain) is feminine, therefore it takes the feminine form/ending.

            At least that’s how it was explained to me.

  14. I am moving Cryphias wonderful overlay of two images down here so everyone can see it in a bigger format.
    We do have a new cone that has grown out.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  15. If you’re online right now – do yourself a favor and pull up SakuraJima’s webcam. It just had a pretty big rupture.

    Image link for those who perhaps may arrive too late, or can’t access the webcams.

  16. Thank you henrik. Another really interesting post. There is so much to read and learn here I almost can’t keep up. I keep missing Klyu and Sakurma, so thank you all those who have captured these activities.
    Feeling wet and cold here. It’s getting to feel like a typical British Autumn but really it’s still rather warm.
    Question of the day….I take dog out when the rain eases off and the sun is trying to come out…then as soon as I get furthest from the house over on the “wilderness” where Meg runs and chases rabbits….Him up there turns on the tap and I get soaked through even my rain gear. WHY?
    Is it the same reason that volcanoes do their thing as soon as I turn off my PC and go to bed?

  17. Popocatepetl has got a bit more active in the last day..relative to the rest of the month
    I just discovered this link today (already in the list of webcams in the hoard)

    It contains a feature to create you own video stream of the activity of the last few months (not sure how far back it goes..but i went back as far as july).

    Sorry if this has been posted before

  18. Hi

    in order to have a more general view of the El Hierro evolution I made a windowed animation of the quakes under El Hierro from March to October 19th 2013.
    I have kept a maximum of about 500 quakes visible at all times with a day to day animation (for the first views).
    First view is from the east, second view is from the south, Third view is from the south east.
    Then there is a view from the top and finally the totality of the earthquakes with a rotational view and views from the top and back.

    The color of the quakes shows the date (see on the left side of the colorbar).
    The magnitude of the quakes refer to the scale shows on one side.
    The terrain elevation refers to the right side of the colorbar.

    Date is shown on the title bar.

    The March swarm is quite large and set in time and can be seen moving from east to west in the first moments of the video
    Then there is a lull and the number of quakes gets higher in day to day frequency from the end of July. The dots color is then yellow-orange. Since July the activity is quite constant if lower.

    The quakes initially concentrate more below Sabinosa.
    For the last quakes (since mid september to the end) the activity is more prevalent under the Tanganasoga zone.

    Data is extracted from IGN database and terrain comes from NOAA, made on Gnu Octave

  19. To those with an interest in both biology and climate science: I was thinking today, in the geological past there were times as the Arctic was ice-free, even occasions when the Arctic had as subtropical climate and was ice-free the entire time.

    How would the vegetation respond to such changes? I mean, if the growing season would never stop, how would plants grow in the winter, due to the lack of sunshine? Its surely an interesting question and one that not many have asked or researched on it. Plants would probably adopt dormancy due to the little sunshine. Just like plants do when they have a draught or intense summer heat. Its also interesting to think how warm would the winter be. I guess with such a low radiation in the winter, CO2 levels must have been through the roof to deny cooling of the weather in the dark of the winter. Or Earth axis had less of a tilt.

    I can imagine being in the poles and experiencing 20ºC in winter and being dark for most of the day. It must have been a weird time. Probably with huge amounts of precipitation I guess.

    Apparently during the last interglacial, Iceland had warmer summers, and oaks and poplars were part of the forest here. While in this interglacial, only birch and willow form the native forest. I wonder if this is due to a more pronounced tilt now in the Holocene. But the climate is warming fast and it could allow for new species to grow here.

    Anyways, the long term trend of our planet seem to be for a cooling, at least in the last 1 M years. This is probably due to continental location. A almost enclosed polar ocean and a large continental mass in the other pole makes things perfect for large ice ages to develop.

    Next question: what happens when and if the Arctic becomes ice-free and oceanic currents from the Pacific connect to the Atlantic. What is the most likely new current that would form and how would that affect the climate here?

    Please feel free to develop on these offtopic thoughts 🙂

    • Actually I can answer that for you.
      Report from the Kitchen of Carl. In my kitchen window I grew spices and chillis. I pretty much never have any light on in there except when I am cooking, so it would be your subtropical climate analogue.
      They do no go dormant, they just grow slower during the winter.

      All currents are allready interconnected in a large circumnavigating conveyor belt of water, and there are current going between the atlantic and the pacific allready. Current move fine under the ice you know.

      • Oh Carl, I envy your kitchen. How far north are you? Here the chillies and even herbs like peppermint they die in the winter, due to lack of sunlight. But I live windows facing west, so it gets to a point that no sun hits my window between October and February. Outside of that timeframe, I can grow everything.

        Current-wise: new currents could form at the surface, in addition to the ones already under the ice. From what I read, the Gulf Stream sinks at the Arctic ocean and flows at depth back to the North Atlantic. Very little water goes in or out from the Pacific. But in the future, the Gulf Stream might just flow across the Arctic ocean and then join the northerly current at the West Alaska/Canada. while the deep currents from the Pacific and Atlantic connect at depth, through a opposite direction of flow.

        • I am at 64 degrees north. So, if it works for me to grow things in the kitchen window in the darkness of winter I think we can assume it would if it was warm outside too. But things grow slow when there is less than 3 hours of sunlight per day.

    • Pretty good one actually. Not very alarmist, more to the point and factual.
      I though noticed that they had missed out on a large amount of fissure eruptions that was plus 10 cubicers.

  20. Anyone familiar with the work of Stephan Sparks? He is on the Nautilus for this expedition of Monserrat and Dominica.

    • Most definitely. The sassiest name in all of volcanology. In fact the sort of name where you first think, he’s got to be joking. He’s (co-) authored a huge number of really good papers.

      Back to Klyu.. yeah, I know, I’m obsessed, but it’s amazing how soon a layer of snow can be laid on fresh tephra. I do realize it is verrrrrrrry cold way up there. but still.

        • It has to be. The only time you get white tephra is when a volcano erupts pumice, then we would all know about it! Mind you, the first time I saw Mt. Ventoux in France I thought, wow, it’s colder than I thought, look at all that snow up there. 😉 So, yeah, I could be wrong!

      • You must be very benebelt, because I see no new snow:

        Besy is grey, Kamen is greyer and Klyu is greyest… or am I the benebelte? There’s not even Nebel to speak of… wonder where you caught that from?

        • maybe it is only the northern side. But the top 300 – 400 meters is most definitely white

          It was much whiter this morning when this little cloud cap dissipated:

          How’s that for Nebel? nice, aye?

          • Hm, yes, I see… lots of innocent fresh white schnow… and very beautiful the second one, as if there never had been an eruption! Very nebulös! 🙂

    • Whenever I do the mass ejection rate calculation/estimate based on plume height, I use a formula from Mastin et al. The Mastin formula was based on work by Sparks.

  21. btw. it’s worth checking out Boris’s flickr site for some pretty awesome lava bombs from the SE crater.

    • What, another Montserrat in the Carribean? How many are there?

      Infested by Nebel again? Then you need these guys and not a Dragon.
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    • The volcano in question is Soufrière Hills on the Island of Montserrat
      and if I got it right they are looking for landslides and other structural changes on the sea ground almost 20 years after big PFs swept half of the capital Plymouth into the sea. The remainig ruins of the town are still there, and it is an absolutely eery sight if you zoom in on it on Google Earth! I’ll see if I can make a screenshot…

    • I know they are doing geological and biological research, but I would be afraid of just what one could encounter there on the sea ground… I mean that PF has taken a whole town along with it after all.

      • This landslide they were on is 11 km off shore and is an older one – at least 4,000 yrs. This block is the size of Wimbley Stadium. Now they are enroute to a smaller block before moving in closer to shore to examine the effects of the pyroclastic flows.

        GL Edit: Requested change made.


    Does anyone know what to make of this?. Report of a volcanic eruption in the Manipur region of India, near the border of Burma. The report describes a loud booming sound followed by the eruption of a ‘lava-like’ liquid that charred vegetation. Geologists visited to discover mud and water still issuing from the vent.

    I wold assign this to some sort of bio origin, release of underground gases?

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