Hotspot or hot spot & Christmas Riddles

Ice bridge next to Kverkfjöll.

Ice bridge next to Kverkfjöll.

During the last few weeks I have been rather confused by how people use the word Hotspot. During the weekend a lot of people posted that a Hotspot had been found at Chaíten. This surprising news had me spending an entire day looking for a scientific paper supporting the find of a Hotspot/Mantleplume under this subduction volcano. In the end I could not find one, instead I found that on a satellite image there had been seen a thermal anomaly, or in normal language, a hot spot on top of the volcano. How wrong things can become now and then in the language of Volcaneese.

In Iceland there has been more of the activity in and around Vatnajökull, but it is still unclear exactly what is going on. The 3.1M under Kverkfjöll was tectonic, but a large tectonic earthquake in a fissure swarm almost always leads to magma moving into the opened fault. Time will tell what is going on, and what the effects will ultimately be.

Nut Conglomerate
A recipe by my grandmother called Nußzwieback. And as long as my granny was so well loved, it must not be missing among our X-mas cookies.

3 full egs
200g sugar
250g flour
200g raisins
500g walnuts
rum, salt, vanille sugar, lemon zest.

Put the eggs the flour and the sugar into a bowl and stir with a spoon.
Add the nuts and raisins and stir again.
Heat the oven at 180C. Form long heaps on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake till the dough is dry and slightly golden.
Let it cool and cut into thin slices. Serve.

You can vary this recipe according to your taste. You could add a little cacao, or exchange the nuts with almonds or hazelnut ( at least partly) You can use dried plums or any other dried fruit like apricots. The recipe is very very easy and done in 3 minutes.
It is not necessarily a Christmas recipe. It tastes good with wine and can be done in a short time if unexpected guests arrive.


Last week I had the joy of being able to participate in the Riddling and through dogged work and luck I got my first two points. Thank you to Spica and Cryphia for doing last weeks Riddles. Now I fully understand the joy of hunting obscure clues.

As usual two points will be awarded before I append clues, after that 1 point will be awarded. In the lead there is a fierce competition between Sissel and Evan Chugg, and with this being the second last Riddle-session it seems to come down to goal-cam to decide who will grab the win.

Fellation Necesse Est

  1. Foggy life-partner of + Image – Medvedev is of course the foggy life-partner of Putin and that leads to the volcano of Místi also known as Wawa Putina (Sissel, 2pt)
  2. Severely domed hardworking hill – Cerro Machín (Granyia, 1pt for Machín & KarenZ, 1pt for Cerro)
  3. Highest tiger of Indrapura – Kerinci (KarenZ, 2pt)
  4. High flying garden state. Oranges and doves? – Taveuni (Sissel, 1pt) Taveuni in Fiji is known as the Garden Island, and it is also a state. It is also the home of the Orange Dove, and renowned for its 1.8km high lava fountains.
  5. Volcanic wetlands and a dolly on a guano refugee camp – Christmas Island is a refugee camp, a guano mine and the wetland is filled with Basalt extrusions, and the Dolly is an old volcano. (Alison, 2pt)
Score board
16 Sissel
15 Evan Chugg
9 KarenZ
8 Diana Barnes
8 Harrie
7 Shérine France
6 Alison
6 Henrik
5 Talla
4 Arjanemm
4 Cryphia
4 Graniya
4 Kelda
4 Matt
4 Stephanie Alice Halford
3 GeoLurking
3 Michael Ross
3 Sa’Ke
2 Carl
2 Dorkviking
2 Lughduniense
2 Maggiemom
2 Spica´s mate, St. Ananas
1 Bobbi
1 Bruce Stout
1 Edward
1 Irpsit

CARL (The Grinchy Christmas Riddler) & SPICA (Christmaster Baker)


247 thoughts on “Hotspot or hot spot & Christmas Riddles

    Elf advocates in Iceland have joined forces with environmentalists to urge authorities to abandon a highway project that they claim will disturb elf habitat, including an elf church.

    The project has been halted until the supreme court of Iceland rules on a case brought by a group known as Friends of Lava, who cite both the environmental impact and the detrimental effect on elf culture of the road project..

    • Being of Scots/Irish/Native American background (with a bit of Swiss) I wouldn’t mess with the little People.-Unless they are more like Tolkien’s
      This project has the smell of pork about it….

    • Oh my…
      Like there is a lack of Lava in Iceland… Save the endangered Icelandic Lava :mrgreen:

      Now over to Islander for some local insight…

    • Quite a shake.. the gamble seems on again how long this time the unrest continue’s 🙂
      Magnitude 3.2 earthquake, CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN REGION;
      UTC Date / Time Dec 22 12:16 PM; Depth 16 km
      GEO: Longitude -17.980
      GEO: Latitude 27.710

  2. And in Big Bertha Butt news..

    “If the object can’t be broken up below ground, there would need to be excavation down from the street. In any event, Mr. Dixon and other state managers said, the machine’s forward progress could be halted for weeks — though they stressed that work is continuing on the ends of the tunnel, and that it is too early to talk about cost overruns or delays. The tunnel is scheduled to be open to traffic by late 2015. ”

    I have a better solution. Since the top of the TBM is about 45 feet down, they can easily get to it. Get some of the Swedish mining engineers and a truckload of anfo in there. That should eliminate the problem quickly.

    • Isn’t the 70 fot clamosaurus an endangered species? Swedes mining engineers know better than to blow up those things :mrgreen:

      Joking aside. It would be easys to drill a set of holes that deep, insert some ANFO, back the machine up a bit, and blast. Run it forward to remove loose material, rinse/repeat untill “The Object” is gone.

  3. Here is a view from the east.

    GL Edit: Fixed link

    The black dots are the quakes since 31/05

    thanks GL

    In red the quakes from today. The depth and intensity are very different from the previous sequence, so I think it is indeed a new intrusion. How the situation will evolve, only Bob knows….

    and a view from the south with only the quakes of December

  4. Geolurking/Carl reply “The lover image explains why you would not get an uplift before a fissure eruption if one assume that the bottom is open towards the mantle. Same goes to explain Heklas lack of uplift before an eruption.”

    And could also explain Katla, if she would have another lower deeper chamber.

    As the upper chamber fills, we wouldn’t expect a sudden inflation. Just as pressure rises slighty, some magma might erupt in minor eruption (like possibly 2000 and 2011 and possibly many jokulhlaups), but if a new large influx of magma arises then it would result in a large eruption (like 1918)

    It looked like it always took 50 years to fill the upper chamber (at least a shallow large chamber we know it exists). Since eruptions since settlement were like a clock every approx 50 years.

    Question is: why is the pattern now different. Is the channel leading to the upper chamber somehow disrupted?
    Looks like Katla magma plumbing changed and so th seemingly regular 50 years leading to a full chamber.that couldn’t hold it anymore.

    Something similar seems to have happened with Hekla, but in a different way. Hekla also had a somewhat regular 50 year pattern (but much more irregular than Katla), however much more openess in conducts seems to have been created after 1947 big one, with magma filling one of its chamber every 10-20 years and then boom, a medium size eruption. I reckon this is something that occurs deeply. We don’t see it earthquake-wise.
    Hekla erupted seldomand big way some thousand years ago, then twice a century, now every 15 years average. Pumbling at a deeper level is letting more and more magma at a more frequently pace (more intrusions possibly, more ductility, more open conduits).I think one day everything will collapse and Hekla will have its caldera forming eruption, as it happens with many Icelandic volcanoes.

    Katla also changes pumbling. Something seems to have changed circa settlement time: Katla had big fissure eruptions, and then entered its twice a century highly regular eruption pattern until 1918, when something changed. Other Icelandic volcanoes show similar changes too. Bardarbunga was probably a highly active erupting volcano until a point when eruptions ceases within the central caldera. Then, magma solidified and now we can see earthquakes at many degrees of depth. But no confirmed significant eruption in the caldera for ages. Even it could be that all hotspot magma in that region just finds its way to the surface thorugh Grimsvotn. Speaking of changing eruption patterns, I can let you the final larger picture question: why do all Reykjanes-Krisuvik-Blafjoll group of volcanoes seem to erupt in cycles of around 800 years, and when one does it, the others start to erupt within decades of each other too. Is there any thing changing in the very deep plumbling from where the hotspot spreads towards the southwest to feed all those volcanoes. I mean that’s at a quite deep level under the surface, below the 10km thick crust. I thinkmost changes of these erupting patterns happen at those deep levels, in the lower crust/ uppermantle.

    Perhaps this is a nice part for the next post at VC!

    • I am always suspicious about the “something changed around settlement time” comments. I think the reason is quite much simpler, it is much better with written records (which are mostly excellent in Iceland) in getting all eruptions compared to any other method. I bet Katla erupted about the same before.
      Also, I bet that Éldgja followed the same principles as Lakí, ie that the magma did not originate from a central volcano and instead came from the bottom as the fissure opened up. And we know that Lakí hardly affected Grimsvötn at all.

      Hekla has a different type of plumbing all together, I will get back to that when I have all the required data.
      Remember that Lurking aptly said that Hekla was not a volcano, Hekla is a Pidgeon. My Hekla is a pidgeon post will be around, but… Data trawling going on in a field I am not familiar with.

      Edit: I have my own theory about what is going on in Katla, but I will leave that one be for a while. 😉

  5. A stormy Christmas ahead in western Europe:

    quite a tough storm ahead for all western Europeans. A very deep low, down to 920mb, will pass along north Ireland, Scotland, Faroe Islands and then moving to Norway, but bringing gale winds all between Iceland (strong north gale), until Portugal (west gale). The British Isles will be strongly affected and snow might come in the days after the storm passes, as a strong north wind and polar air invades western Europe. Quite a stormy Christmas for Europe.

    • We get this. It’s the feeder side of the system rolling across the US.

      We have this giant cook pot called the Gulf of Mexico. It holds heat from the Caribbean (which feeds up past the Yucatan) and that accumulated over the summer. This warm moist air drives north and meets the dropping cold fronts and makes large amounts of rain, and occasionally, tornadoes. When a Nor’easter forms along the Atlantic seaboard, odd are that gulf moisture played a role in getting it started.

      “and when one does it, the others start to erupt within decades of each other too.”

      My take on this is not that there is some plumbing change, but they all share a common feature. Namely, the MAR. All of them are affected by stress changes along the boundary of two enormous plates. Toss in a bit of uncertainty with how the two micro-plates that are stuffed in between them respond, and you get Iceland. It’s like trying to piece together broken pottery. Not all edges match up at the same time. Some areas have gaps, others grind against each other. But with Iceland, the over-all tendency is to pull them apart.

      As for the non-double couple topic… that was a study in a strange earthquake at Bardabunga. I don’t know how well that applies to Katla, Hekla and the others. The biggest problem that we have, is that focal solutions are rarely done for the smaller quakes. It could be that they have a similar mechanism, but are just smaller overall motions, or it could be totally wrong. My interpretation of the Bardabunga event is that the whole system moved all along the ring fault structure and generated a net “no displacement” signature. Whether there is a mapped ring fault there or not was not indicated in what I have read. Likewise, the presence of a ring fault structure in the other systems is just as ephemeral.

        • Here is a model run for how that (or a closely related) system will progress. This looks at the structure of the system(s). In this case, the disparity in airmass characteristics… which in turn, drive the system. For extra-tropical cyclones, just how different the air-masses are determines the amount of energy at play. For tropical systems, how well organized they are mostly determines the power. When you see a system move into the “warm core low” area, that is a more tropical sort of system, like a tropical storm.

          I particularly like this site since it does world wide coverage of forming cyclones. Both existing and projected.

          And yes, I see that it is trying to move towards being a tropical sort of structure. That’s odd. Usually a system will venture in that area and move towards extra-tropical. If you had a pot of hot water there like we do, I’d say hold on to your arse. Either way, ‘yall look to have a pretty interesting storm brewing up.

          • Interesting. In the Azores, I can accept that the system could develop some warm core characteristics, but as it approaches the UK, that is quite much improbable, as sea temperatures there are way lower. In the Azores or slightly to the south, there has been formation of a few rare hurricanes (minor), in 2005 at least one, with ocean temperatures lower than the theoretical threshold of 26ºC (back then, they were about 23-24ºC) but now are 18-19ºC. Between the coast of Portugal and the UK, sea temperatures are now from 16ºC to 14ºC. As nearing Iceland, 8ºC. Overall, these temps are a bit higher than usual.

            • Symmetric warm core storms aren’t always hurricanes. Noreasters often develop a warm core (which under certain circumstances can become a hurricane). Generally, any storm that derives more energy from the ocean than from clashing airmasses will be warm core.
              You should also note that the chart does not indicate an intense warm core system.

            • I do not think this is a hurricane, we can sometimes see a high ordering of fronts like this one without getting a true hurricane. But… An northern extra-cyclone can be very powerfull if the differential is large enough, way beyond any hurricane. But the size is also far larger so the average wind speed is lower, but lasts for a far longer time.
              Remember that you can have moist air at ten degrees meeting cold dry air 30 to 50 degrees colder. That is a honking large energy differential. One of those equates to a churning front the size of Scandinavia that can last up to 3 days in length depending on speed of movement.

            • And along the Faroe Islands and south Iceland, these storms can sometimes get sustained winds of a category 1 hurricane. Often they can reach tropical storm like winds. I have never seen these storms develop anything more than category 1 sustained winds.

              Looks like that this one, would reach only tropical storm strenght, and perhaps barely reach hurricanelike sustained winds. It happens a few times during every European winter, but most only affect Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

      • LP tends to signify moving magma, or at least a high probability of it.

        Previously, many of the quakes had spectra peaks down into the 1/2 hz range. I’m no expert and can’t state whether these were Long Period events or not.

        • The most recent ones seem to peak between 2-5hz, if I have read the spectrograms right. If there is degassing rather than magma itself, how would this impact the frequency? Also as the more remote stations, eg EOSO and EGOM are picking up [background?] low frequency, is it possible that the settings on the local spectrograms have been set to cut out / reduce the low frequencies?

        • That’s always possible, but generally the idea is to get as much info as possible. Filtering is usually done via software in the analysis phase unless there is a specific purpose. Usually the sensor type and orientation determines what the raw spectra will look like.

          From what I have read, harmonic tremor moves towards higher frequencies as an eruption nears the start phase.

          In this case, I think your assumption of degassing is more to the point. The frequency of moving fluid should be heavily influenced by the viscosity. (an assumption, I’m not a fluid dynamics expert either)

          • Karen has a good point. The very low frequency noticed during Bob was from below the crust and entailed a 250 to 500 meter wide conduit. Probably within the mantleplume itself. Magma moving within a conduit would have a higher frequency since the lower frequencies would be filtered out.
            The principle is exactly the same as a big organ pipe is lower in frequency than a thin narrow one. I wrote about the principles at work in a comment during Bob. I perhaps should have done a post of it instead.
            If this is indeed a pulse we would see low frequency later as decompression melt sets in.

            Here is a timelist of what we should see if it is magma moving into the system.
            1. Earthquakes that are deep (like now)
            2. A few days later we would start to have an upwards trend on a GPS station or several if it is large
            3. Onset of low frequency tremor
            This would be congruent with what we saw before.

  6. The Future. Ya know it’s out there, eventually it shows up and messes with you. Occasionally disrupting the status quo. Some entities take this disruption quite seriously, and cope with it in different ways. Time will tell how this turns out.

    As some of you know, there is an ongoing Flail-Ex over Syria. One thing that the “news” tends to ignore, is that the government of Syria declined to approve a pipeline through their country from the Saudi Arabian and Quatar fields. The reason was that it could adversely affect one of their business partners… Gazprom, buy allowing competition from other companies. Could that be part of the logic behind the position that several of the countries in the area have taken? Makes ya wonder.

    So… now Norway my invite the ire of some countries if they see them as detrimental to their monopoly.

    Statoil is facing a decision on whether or not to ditch a proposed project in Canada’s oil sands in favour of developing major new oil finds off the country’s Newfoundland coast, according to a report.

    The Norwegian state-owned giant is due to make a decision by next March on whether to move forward with the multi-billion dollar development of the Corner scheme, which would help to more than quadruple its output from the oil sands region in Alberta, Canadian publication Globe & Mail reported.

    If it goes ahead, Corner would be the second major oil sands scheme to be developed by Statoil following its producing Leismer Demonstration Project, where it plans to double output to 40,000 barrels per day.

    “It could be kind of a re-prioritisation in the worldwide portfolio. When that will hit us some place in Canada, I’m not sure yet. I’m still fighting for doing both, so that’s my … position. But there is the bigger picture. There has to be some changes,” he added.

    Note: The BTE pipeline is not shown in this graphic.

    • On top of that Norway is contemplating running a natural gas pipeline through Sweden (cheaper to build it here due to lack of pesky fjords and mountains) downwards into Europe via Denmark and Germany.
      A few years ago it was a large hubbub about a russian pipeline in the Baltic Sea.
      Statoil and Norway is doing its best to piss of Russia, and still it is we who get the ire of Pootin.
      Well, at least now we are getting the Super-Gripen fighter jets instead of our older Gripen planes. And the rumour runs that we will get a lot of them… Advantage with a good economy is that you can get a lot of nasty hardware fast if you really need it. At the same time there is a rumour of an order of up towards one thousand SAAB built Neurons (Not Dassault due to their problems with actually finnishing the project). And that would give pause to even the most determined Pootin.

      Say hello Pootin… You do not have something like this do you?
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic

      • Ya know, the funny thing about an unmanned vehicle it that you loose a lot of G-force limits that would black out a human pilot. Then your only limitation is what the equipment can handle. With the right tele-presensc, a small nimble vehicle could be an opposing pilot’s worst nightmare. Couple that with an adept ex-gamer who has grown up operating flight simulators and dog-fighting other in game pilots all of his life, becoming fully ingrained at projecting his mental point of view into the simulated aircraft…. and is then trained in how it’s actually done by the military, well, it could get ugly very fast.

  7. OT: Recently, in the dungeon, the subject of of machine interpretation of language came up. This is sort of a follow-on to that. An example of machine language recognition failure.

  8. Hello. We have just had a 3.0 earthquake about 9km west and 5km deep.
    Near the villages of Perry and Hilgard. No active faults, all in The Grande
    Ronde River canyon near the confluence of Five Points creek. PNWSN
    what is odd that they show the epicenter to be undetr Hamiton ridge a steep
    narrow “hogback” that trails off into the Grande Ronde river canyon-
    – the epicenter is on top of that ridge which is entirely of basalt rimrock.
    easily all the way down to the 5km line. This is a strange one. We occasionally get M 2-4 quakes on the valley rim at fault lines but nothing major.
    This is a strange one. Just over the rdge about 2-3km is a cindercone
    about 5-8000 yrs old.Again sitting on far older basalt and gigatons of it..

      • Well,no,I haven’t a clue. Like I said it I’d in a very odd spot.
        I thought of the OWL too. It’s on the southern edge. Gibbon canyon which is a local manifestation of the
        Linament, is only about 8km north. Union Pacific mainline follows it too.

      • Another OWL oddity. As you know, the Yellowstone hotspot is responsible for the Snake River plain. I just noticed this evening, that the curve in the plain lines up with the OWL on the western end. How weird is that?

        • I would bet that it is not odd at all.
          Yellowstone is an opportunistic little bugger that only peeks up where it can find an old weak spot. Yellowstone will have a problem now that it enters the craton.

  9. In case no one has noticed… I’m a dog person. Dogs have been our companions since around the time we were socializing with our cousins, the Neanderthal. Personally, I don’t have much use for cats, but they are great rodent eliminators, so I can see where they fit in to the sociological and functional needs of humans. But, by choice, I’ll take a good dog any day of the week.

  10. Morning all!

    I thought I would share a review on Amazon on the highly respected book ‘Volcanoes 2nd edition’ by the Late Peter Francis and Clive Oppenheimer. Looks like this guy kinda missed the point of the book:

    2 stars

    “I bought this text for a sedimentology and volcanology class i was taking.

    I’m sure its good if you were trying to learn everything you needed to know about volcanoes but i dont feel it really got across the main sedimentary deposits and processes accociated with volcanics.

    Would probably recommend Sedimentary environments by Harold.G Reading. I bought both books at the same time and found that the information in the latter was more than sufficient and well presented rendering ‘volcanoes’ as a waste of time and money for me.

    Not gonna say it was a crap book but from a students point of view it wasnt right for me “

    • ROFL!!!
      Sounds like I will stay with the Mark 1 of the Volcanoes. It was also a walruss to read, but there was a lot of hidden nuggets within it. More of a collection of great papers on volcanology than a true book, and it did not really follow any logical order. Kind of like buying a car dealership instead of getting a car…

      • I actually just finished reading GA Macdonald’s ‘Volcanoes’ (£5 quid, bargain). It was a good read, although, as it is an older book, you have to be careful not to believe everything what you read (i.e. that the Valle del Bove is a caldera).

        • “that they Valle del Bove is a caldera”

          Well, it is sort of related to one. The underlying supporting material let go. Sort of like standing on the edge of a beutiful ocean view and having the tip that you are standing on collapse out from under you and then plunging into the water. You didn’t actually “dive” but the end results are the same, you got wet.

  11. Wildly OT…

    I am a fairly agnostic chap. Mainly due to the Hate against Humanity portrayed by various churches and religions. Down through the ages they have hated people due to social standing, sexual orientation, scientific beliefs, origin, economic statues and so on and so forth.
    And on the Day before Christmas Eve I find this on the third Vatican Council, Pope Francis going at all of the above with a Sledgehammer of Truly Divine Size.
    In one go he declares that:
    1. Homosexuality is fine.
    2. That he wishes for female Popes (and thereby female catholic priests)
    3. That all religions are true.
    4. That the Bible is not a book written by God, but that it contains a godly message of Love.
    5. That there is no Hell.
    6. That it is against God to send back immigrants.
    7. That racism is against God.
    8. That abortion will not stop God from loving the person who comits the abortion, and by that sanctioning abortion.
    And more…

    To put it in a modern language of the Teens. “Pope Francis Rulz”. Perhaps there might be a bit of hope for humanity after all. At the same time a lot of old farts are getting cardiac arrests. But in the words of Pope Francis, even they are loved by God.

    • Well, I guess I am just plain odd then. I hate people too. But I have a reason. People have a tendency to want to take stuff from other people and interfere with their lives. Our press is all a flutter because he (the pope) reportedly came out against capitalism. Thing is, without an excess of money, people tend to be reticent about charitable contributions. Sure, some hoard it, but many don’t.

      Some may think that helping the poor and indigent is a good and holy thing. I think that they may find that in the grand scheme of things, it only matters if it is done willingly by the donor, indicating care for their fellow man, and not by forcible confiscation by a tyrannical government who will then
      “manage” the money, sending it where they deem it is needed (and scraping off a bit for this and that and a few well placed bureaucrats in order to buy more votes)

      Meanwhile: Putin has released “Pussy Riot,” probably in a PR move leading into the Olympics.

      Note: I am not really that fond of most “punk” music. I also don’t really care for mosh pits.

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