Happy New Volcanic Year!

Stunning photograph of this years Volcano of the Year Award winner, Etna. The beautiful photograph was taken by Turi Caggegi. Could there be more beautful fireworks than Etnas Grand Show number 21?

Stunning photograph of this years Volcano of the Year Award winner, Etna. The beautiful photograph was taken by Turi Caggegi. Could there be more beautful fireworks than Etnas Grand Show number 21?

2013 will most likely go down to history as the year with the least amount of interesting volcanic eruptions. And with that I mean volcanic eruptions that have good instrumentation and webcam, because we need both to be really interested in them.

Otherwise it has been a rather regular volcanic year. The two stars have undoubtedly been Etna and Sakurajima for these exact reasons. Sakurajima has given us daily, if not hourly eruptions to gawk at like teenagers on their first dance. Etna on the other hand have given us no less than 21 spectacular paroxysms to be enthused by, most of them expertly commented on by Dr Boris Behncke from INGV. We are truly blessed by being able to tap in on his enormous knowledge on one of our favorite volcanoes. If only more professionals where like him.

Even though the year has been short on the type of eruptions we prefer, it has been really interesting from a scientific point. We got no less than two new islands, one in the Jebel al-Zubair group that is un-named to this day, and the second is Nishinoshima. Also Kamchatka really dished out candy for us.

The year ended with a bang, El Hierro got a bit of a stomach ache, Chapparastique erupted unexpectedly, the long heralded eruption of Sinabung started in a truly ominious fashion as it started to extrude a large volcanic dome, and Etna put in an appearance. Following all of that while juggling Christmas was hard work, but we did it anyhow.

Awards for 2013

So, without further a due, The Volcanocafé Award of outstanding dissemination of volcanic knowledge goes to Boris!

The Volcano of the Year Award goes to Etna, there really was no contest in this.

The Award for most written comments during 2013 goes to Islander.

Here I had planned to also write who had wone the Riddle award, but due to the weekend of Double-E (Etna and El Hierro) the crowd got distracted, so I have appended the Riddles once again to this post and we will be giving out the award next time.

Now, time to put on the tinfoil-hat and prognosticate the next year…

The Volcanic Year of 2014

During 2014 the Tinfoilers will go all the way with the lunatic and scientifically impossible idea of Verneshots. Out of the dessert a new Messiah will come upon them and he will declare that the Yellowstone Hotspot will jump to a new location under the adjacent craton. Once it is there it will burst a bubble of gas under the craton and the entire craton will be blasted out into space and the US will be doomed as lava pours out and covers the entire continent, except for some reason, the town of Texarcana. The date the Messiah of Tinfoilers predict this to happen will be the mystical date prognosticated in Linear-A by the early Minoans, known in our timeframe as the 22nd of November. And since nobody has cracked Linear-A he will be given the outmost credibility among his Tinfoiling followers. I also Nostradamise that the Messiah of Tinfoilers will be utterly gone with the money on the 23rd of November, never to be seen again.

In the world of reality we will have a few VEI-3 eruptions, and if we are lucky one of them will be in an uninhabited spot with good instrument coverage and be close to webcams. A likely spot for that to happen would be at Iceland, but we might be surprised on this one.

I also prognosticate that Boris will be having a bit of work explaining Etna in 2014 due to more paroxysms. I say this even though Boris says that the magma that arrived during the summer might be finished. There is after all always room for a bit more magma to arrive there.

Sakurajima is always a safe bet. But, as I put on my own hidden green hat of Nostradamus I prognosticate a volcano that will really take us by surprise. So far this prognostication has never failed. After all, volcanoes are a rather surprising bunch of entities.



Last week Sissel managed to pull away slightly from Evan Chugg and at the same time KarenZ started to eat up the gap to the second spot. We are looking forward to a hard fight for the top 3 positions in todays riddle duell. May the best person win this seasons last riddle-bout!

Image for the riddle.

Image for the riddle.

  1. Stone castle calling the rod of + Image – Phanom Rung (Matt, 2pt). Home of the Phanom Rung Stone Castle (definitly a stone being dropped there), rung = called, also the site of Buddhist temple, rung = rod.
  2. Frozen squirt at NCIS (clue, think character in the TV series NCIS, “frozen squirt” is a naughty word pun based on synonyms of the volcano and the mountain range it belongs to) – Glacier Peak (Swinemoor, 1pt) Frozen = Glacier, Squirt = Cascade (Range) and Gibbs was told by the natives about the volcano which relates to the basement boat-building character of the TV-series NCIS named Jethro Gibbs.
  3. Bert and the pastoralists have a volcano? – Kutum Volcanic Fields or Berti Hills (Arjanemm, 2pt)
  4. Angelic woman bathing in the sulphur springs – Qualibou, Santa Lucia Island, home of the Sulphur Springs (Sissel, 2 pt. Bonus point to Christian Thordin for Santa Lucia)
  5. Edible spanish ghosts at Christmas (clue, think of a something that you eat, the ghosts are of the movie type, churching of new mothers) – Candlemas Island (Evan Chugg, 1pt) A movie with spanish pirate ghost was made there, candlemas is 40 days after christmas, and the edible part is from the South Sandwich Islands.
Score board
19 Sissel
15 Evan Chugg
12 KarenZ
8 Alison
8 Diana Barnes
8 Harrie
7 Shérine France
6 Henrik
5 Graniya
5 Talla
4 Arjanemm
4 Cryphia
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

Happy New Year from Volcanocafé!

294 thoughts on “Happy New Volcanic Year!

    • The funny thing is that Cobb seamount is where I first learned about the subduction process. It was in an encyclopedia that had transparent overlays that showed graphically, the feed system to the cascade volcanoes. Specifically, Mt Ranier.

      In retrospect, it wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was simple and to the point.

  1. A new clue per riddle is appended.
    So, two clues per riddle… Should make it simpler to solve them. So go at them!

  2. Several spikes indicating earthquakes larger then previously today.
    And the CTAB is slowly increasin in tremor.

      • Not a volcano… a hole. Literally. It’s one of the seismos around the Bayou Corne sinkhole. The tremor likely indicates a calving event for the rim.

        Probably similar to this event from back in August.

        • At least it looks like Texas Brine is trying for all their worth to do what is right by paying out for what they have caused.
          On the wiki I found a link to The Dead Fall…

          Not only is it a whopping huge man made environmental disaster, in it is also a cool pic.
          The Dead Fall was created as ice age sediments filled up the old pre-ice age river bed, but also the rock at the Dead Fall part of Lake Ragunda cracked due to the isostatic rebound. As such it is probably the largest evidenced earthquake on the planet at larger than M10. In the process it created the 18km long lake and the gully the fall travels in on the image.

          It is also probably the only instant where a gigantic environmental disaster has given rise to a statue of the guy causing it.

  3. Just driven back from meeting some volcano folk in Auckland (details classified for now), via an earth-shattering day at the Taupo drag racing (they brought two top fuel funny cars over from Australia; standing between two of those things as they leave the start line is one of the more epic but survivable experiences a human can have… anyway I digress.

    Listening to Newstalk ZB radio on the drive back down, a Quack called in to the show, spouting drivel about ‘a volcano in the Canaries’, an unreported M5.8 quake there yesterday, a media conspiracy to keep an imminent eruption quiet, and a 1km high tsunami that it was going to cause; he freely confessed he picked this up from some ‘religion- themed’ website.

    Fortunately yours truly managed to be the next caller put on the air; I gave them a wee geology lesson, which was very well-recieved 🙂

    • Great stuff Mike. I am sometimes appalled at how little Kiwis know about the physical geography they are actually sitting on. Seems to me like the school system has slipped up somewhere. How’s the NZ sojourn going otherwise?

  4. Sinabung continuous eruptions and pyrocalstic flows. A new vent has opened halfway down the volcano. Pyroclstic clouds flowing further than 3 kilometers. – Very Ominous

    • Great footage, showing all the various phases of an eruption cloud. Almost begs the question of when is heavy ash fall a pyroclastic flow and vice versa. I always wonder what goes through the mind of the people who are lucky enough to shoot this kind of thing:
      “Oh look the summit of Pacaya is steaming!”
      “That’s interesting, I’ll get my camera out”
      “I think it’s going to erupt!”
      “It’s probably just a bit of steam or something.”
      “Holy ***”
      The thing is, when something like that just keeps on getting bigger, you never know when it’s going to stop.

      • I am reminded of the video of when Grimsvötn 2011 started. That guy was far away, and still the cloud mushroomed so much that I think he was pondering about running like hell.
        On the other hand, Grimsvötn 2011 was the eruption of the century… It had style. It just started and quickly shouted “Looksee, already bigger then what Eyjafjallajökull did in 3 months!” and then just continued with the mother of all barfs.

  5. And at the same time… +5C and a fairly warm rain pouring down. I saw a small flower as I went outside. It should really be -25C and a meter of snow. One thing is clear, the arctic pine will not bread this year since it needs 150 consecutive days below 0C to put on flowers the next year.

  6. Here (Mid Belgium) we’re sitting between British isles and South Germany in, so we get bit of both: depressions and after that warm air from southern Europe. Today it is 10°C and gray.
    Our inland trees can handle this type of weather and are still in ‘winter-mode’, but the trees imported from Eastern Europe are thinking it is spring. We already had the first pollen warning of the year.

    We’ve a sea-climate, so the inland trees are acclimatised to short periods of warmer weather in winter. And it also can be warmer, a few years ago it was 15°C at New year’s Eve with the hottest time of the day at midnight thanks to southern winds. We were watching fireworks in T-shirts while BBQing.

    • I like the http://earth.nullschool.net link…cant quite figure out the colour coding though…seems to be related to atmospheric pressure, but the red spots dont center on the vortex. For example if i change the pressure to 1000hpa in the lnk the red spot is just below the low pressure system moving in on Ireland…maybe its to indicate relative windspeed?

      • Actually the site shows the wind field (white lines) and the wind speed (color). Atmospheric pressure is not showed directly but the windfield is caused by the differences between low and high pressure. Wind is air moving from a high pressure to a low pressure.

        The highest windfield (red (+10 bft I think)/purple) is where their is the biggest change from high pressure to low pressure, where the isobars are most close to eachother.

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