The Ruminarian, again.

Photograph by Tom Murphy, Yellowstone in Winter.

Photograph by Tom Murphy, Yellowstone in Winter.

Curmudgeon “an ill-tempered person full of stubborn ideas or opinions”

Well, if the shoe fits, I guess I’ll wear it. But… I don’t come about it lightly. To me, stuff has to make sense. One thing I abhor is mindless ranting that is specifically intended to scare people. What is even worse is when sound science and research is twisted to fit this purpose. Usually you see this as “Argumentum ab auctoritate.” One of the more popular tactics is to roll out someone carrying credentials and point at them as justification for the fear mongering because something they have said supports your alarmist claim… even if it doesn’t. Recently commenter Robin Hull Pointed out a fresh new article by Independent.co.uk titled “Risk of supervolcano eruption big enough to ‘affect the world’ far greater than thought, say scientists.” Yeah, like we haven’t heard that before. (yawn). Before I continue, many thanks to Robin for bringing it up. At the time I was freaking out by the actions of my dogs and needed the distraction so that I could get my mind off of what it was they were alerting on. (I had already checked the yard). Reading the article, this is what I found. “The eruption of a “supervolcano” hundreds of times more powerful than conventional volcanoes” Really? Okay, lets go with that.

First of all, the term “supervolcano” is a media construct. Before they started flailing about, wildly chanting the term, it didn’t exist. It’s purpose, like all alarmism, was to get attention. Since the article is about the old standard “spook everyone” subject of Yellowstone, that means that it is a product of the Yellowstone hotspot… because that is what feeds the system. Just in case you are new to this, the entirety of the Snake River Plain was formed by periodic Large Caldera Events and Volcanic Fields that leveled any mountains that were in the way, leaving a relatively flat plain in it’s path. Since the heavy work was done, the Snake River had a pretty easy path to form in as a drainage path for the surrounding watershed. Now, referring back to the independent article. “…they have been responsible in the past for mass extinctions, long-term changes to the climate and shorter-term “volcanic winters” caused by volcanic ash cutting out the sunlight.” Um… the jury is still out on that. The BBC, who ran their own version of the supervolcano article, had this linked as a related article: “Toba super-volcano catastrophe idea ‘dismissed”. In that article, they look at research centered around Toba, a system that has at times been claimed to have nearly wiped out mankind about 75,000 years ago. From the BBC version, which is a bit less alarmist: “”We think Yellowstone currently has 10-30% partial melt, and for the overpressure to be high enough to erupt would take about 50%.” Now lets take a look at those numbers and see how they square with the Independants statement of “it would take at least a decade or so for the magma pressure within a caldera to build up to a point where an eruption is likely.”

The last eruption was 600,000 years ago. In that time, Yellowstone has accumulated “10 to 30% partial melt.” (ignoring the numerous caldera filling resurgent activity eruptions, so that adds a quite bit of uncertainty). 30% in 600kyr yields about 1% additional melt for every 20,000 years. In order to get to the 50% melt accumulation where the authors believe that the pressures would be high enough to be in danger of erupting, we need another 20%. At the 20kyr per 1% rate, that’s an additional 400,000 years. If you assume that the 10% current melt is correct, you get 60,000 years for a 1% increase. To get to 50%, you need another 2,400,000 years.

Hmm…. One of the more common statements is that Yellowstone is “overdue” since the spacing on the last three or so eruptions is about 600,000 years. One thing I have found is that volcanoes don’t play the stats game very well at all. If your prognostication uses only 3 events, your stats are worth crap. Taking the eruption dates from a larger history of the hotspot reveals that the average interval is actually about 500,000 years. Worse eh? Not so. That list includes many caldera filling eruptions. The only criteria is that it made a tuff deposit somewhere. Since it is composed of 31 data points it is a bit more robust. The one sigma (standard deviation) is 648,588 years. The 95% confidence interval is 271,684 to 728,316 years. If you want to be more realistic, and only use honkingly huge events, the average gets closer to 5.4 million years or so, but that is from looking at it a few months ago and is from memory.

Caveat: I am not a geologist, nor am I a statistician. My stats experience is from failure analysis and process control of electronic equipment. If you think you can do a better job, by all means, please do. Even if your numbers are different than mine, at least you are using your own mind and looking at the data for yourself. Fair warning, not only do volcanoes not care about the Gaussian distribution, they don’t care much for Poisson distributions either. Hekla and Katla showed me that.

In keeping with the apparent tradition of articles about the Yellowstone Supervolcano… the obligatory picture of Grand Prismatic Spring.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Pretty isn’t it? I think that’s the reason most of them use it. This is not the yellowstone caldera. This pool is about 26 meters by 96 meters. The actual Caldera of Yellowstone is several orders of magnitude larger. In my opinion, this spring/pool formed from a maar like explosion. It’s also what I expect to occur again at Yellowstone should activity actually begin creeping upwards. About 160,000 years ago, a maar like detonation formed West Thumb. Yet one more event in the many that filled in the ancient collapse caldera. Magma + Water below the supercritical pressure = boom.

GEOLURKING

The track of the Yellowstone hot spot: Volcanism, faulting, and uplift
Pierce and Morgan (1992) Geological Society of America
Memoir 179

Supervolcano eruption mystery solved James Morgan BBC News.

Risk of supervolcano eruption big enough to ‘affect the world’ far greater than thought, say scientists Steve Connor The Independent.

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209 thoughts on “The Ruminarian, again.

  1. I just don’t understand why these people feel they can place constraints on how a huge system like this will perform in the future. Why should it take more than 10 years to get to the point of a new eruption? Why should it happen on any repeatable timescale? With the information we have to hand Yellowstone could decide to erupt every 10 years for the next 100 or wait 5 million years before doing it again. All I ask is that it gives us enough warning that I can stop raising new chicks. I don’t want any of my hens to have to go through a volcanic winter!

    • Thats the point eh? No one has ever been around to see one. All we have are hypothesis and conjecture. According to Dr Oppenheimer in an article over on the Eruptions Blog, a “supervolcano” requires a large heat influx in order to get to the super stage. The only place on earth where that amount of heat is known to be moving into a system is Uturunku. The spooky part about that is the it is surrounded by older “supervolcanoes,” so that means that it is in a geological setting that it prone to that sort of eruption. Either way, it is still conjecture.

    • With the very small amount of eruptible magma, and the fact that it is depleted of volatiles I would say that the five million span is closer to the truth than most other things. But, it could of course form a small eruption somewhere, or a maar.

  2. It’s good to have some figures in the play ! Very informative and necessary. Cheers !
    Should I visit the states probably where I would go first.

  3. Mantle plumes causes tectonic uplift. For example the Renish Shield (Rheinisches Schiefergebirge) with the volcanism of the Eifel and Westerwald. If the mantleplume under the Eifel was big enough, a supervolcano would have developed there in stead of a monogenetic volcanic field.

    But http://www.livescience.com/26923-appalachian-mountains-uplift.html I read the following:

    ” Peeling off, bobbing up

    Geophysical images of the mantle and lower part of the crust show some interesting anomalies below the Appalachians, Gallen said. One way to explain those features is that the dense “root” of the mountain range delaminated, or peeled off, from the rest of the crust around 8 million years ago. [Infographic: Tallest Mountain to Deepest Ocean Trench]

    “Sometimes the mountain root becomes more dense than the mantle below, and it’s not gravitationally stable,” Gallen said. “It will basically drip off the base of the crust, and the remaining crust, which is lighter, will bob up on top of the mantle.”

    Hot, less dense material from the mantle would have then rushed up to fill the void, uplifting the region and giving the terrain a more youthful appearance. Uplift is probably no longer happening in the southern Appalachians, he explained, but the landscape still bears the effects — for now anyway.

    “What we’re seeing today is just the landscape catching up with the crust,” Gallen said.”

    Will this also lead to new volcanism in the Appalachian Range?

    • It was supposed to start this night…
      Problem is that the models used by the weatheragencies are sprouting the wrong result all the time since they are based on a standard model of weather motion. And when that goes in to reverse they just sprout nonsense.
      The thing to look for is where the Siberian High is, and that went wandering down to Egypt and disappeared without reforming where it should have. That left a void that started sucking warm air out of Sahara into Europe and that dislodged the Arctic high so that it hauled ass into the US. This sucked more warm air northwards over Europe… and that keeps the cold Siberian air on a continous suck southwards towards Cheopsjökull and Sphinxabunga in Egypt…
      I think this will continue for a while. What is so interesting is that the ginormous masses of air and weathersystems started to move into all the wrong places without a seeming trigger mechanism. No El Nino, no volcanic eruption, no nothing. Only thing to ponder really is what the next whacked out weather thing to happen will be.

      • “Only thing to ponder really is what the next whacked out weather thing to happen will be.” Put up link for some waiting exercises (see below) 😉

      • Apart from the height of the waves weather is as normal here – the Boxing Day gales were just a few days late, and it always rains in Wales – a visit to England often sees rain again as one returns across the Severn Bridge…. The new moon and the gales are okay and the damage is being repaired.

        The looping warm and cold areas are not okay though. The jet stream is changing weather patterns around the world and increasing the extremes everywhere. The extreme cold in the US and Egypt could make the tropics more temperate, while Argentina currently has a heatwave that is killing people like the one in Australia did last year, even though Antarctica has increased its ice cover. The sun has just switched its polarity and magnetic north on earth is now somewhere over Canada.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25564633

        I don’t hold with anthropogenic warming being the cause, as history shows CO2 levels higher and warming greater in the past, so it is likely to be part of a cycle even if it is not one we are familiar with.

        Any theories anyone?

        • Oh, it is antropogenic CO2 that caused the increase in global CO2 levels. That is without discussion. And yes, it coincides perfectly with a minor global warming.
          Is that causing what we are seeing right now? Probably not, it has happened before.
          It is though correct that CO2 levels have been higher before, and that temperature has been higher before. I would though like to point out that it was caused by widespread volcanic activity on a scale we are not seeing now.

            • I have followed that little thing for a while (since back when you made me aware of it).
              And I have a very rational explanation for it… A normal human mistake, someone felt a bit ashamed of it and changed it back without telling anyone, and thats it. People are people and prone to mistakes that they are ashamed of. People rarely are nefarious, but do weird stuff to cover up mistakes.
              So, does this mistake have anything with anything to do really? Nope. It is one station out of thousands, and the data for other stations have not been changed in either direction.

              But, if one have people spending billions to find mistakes you find mistakes. What irks me is that the money is not spent on bettering the knowledge or science. It is spent to miscredit an entire science for political reasons. For those who do not know what I am talking about, take a read on the Kochs.

            • http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/1/FOIA/mail/1254108338.txt

              ““It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip”. This relates to the rapid warming before 1940 followed by cooling after 1940, which the ‘scientists’ would like to remove because it does not fit with their theory.”

              http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/1/FOIA/mail/1225026120.txt

              “I’ll maybe cut the last few points off the filtered curve before I give the talk again as that’s trending down”

              More examples of fudging the data and trying to stymie anyone trying to verify / replicate the results.

            • Let us see here, you have a billion spent on finding mistakes, massive searches on bad scientists and so forth. I would say that the Koch brothers got a hell of a little to actually show for their money. They got 1 scientist fubbing data to get grants, a few honest mistakes, a couple of corny comments.
              Hell, I could do a better job in a week of discrediting geology. Seriously.

              In the end we have a lot of pretty good science that have been done by the other 1000 scientists who did a good job. I would say that in the balance of it all it is by now one of the best researched fields outside of physics, math and pure logic.
              Question that should have been asked is not the ones that have been asked. The real question is; Are we threatened by an increase in temperature of 1 to 2 degrees during a timespan of 150 years, and are we threatened by a 1 meter rise in global sea levels? Vey little money have been spent on either side to answer this question. Why now? Because we are not at all threatened by it.
              What is threatening us is that we are inventing 10 000 new toxic substances every year. On pure statistics one of them is sooner or later bound to do irreparable damage to our environment. So far we have gotten around to banning only 2 substances across the globe. 2 (TWO). Both of them where banned by Margaret Thatcher by the way. Odd that a grade A asshole like that is the greatest environmental heros of our time.

              Anyhows I am going with the IPCC. They are correct after all. And I have actually read their reports and I find them pretty well formulated and reliable. And even though I have every reason to believe the report to be correct I do not loose sleep over it.
              People in here should guess why… It would take 5 degrees just to remove us out of the glacial cycle and right now we are not even into the peak temperature of this inter-glacial. 2 degrees are peanuts. And to just drive home the point, the oil and coal is running out. So in 25 years the global CO2 levels will start to drop since emissions are down enough due to lack of things burning to emit the CO2 to begin with.

      • Tonight, the weather spazoid claimed the polar vortex was outbound. From the model animation it appeared to be headed towards southern Greenland.

        Now… something creepy to ponder. During the LIA, Europe was noted as being quite damp. We have a dearth of solar activity, quite similar to the entrance to the Maunder Minimum. Related? Dunno. All I know is that I was creeped out at the sheriffs deputy who kept eyeballing me as I went in for a Soda at a convenience store this afternoon. It seems that Pennsylvania has a wandering road rage shooter that drives a vehicle of the same make make an model that I drive. How he could have gotten down here to the coast in 24 hours in order to make me worth looking at is beyond me. I don’t even think Burt Reynolds in a 6.6 liter Firebird could pull that off. The farking idiot news dumbass never noted the color, only that it has a damage pattern that I don’t have.

        • I would say that the solution is quite simple and that it started earlier during the summer. My guess is that we are seeing heat redistribution and that the regular weather patterns couldn’t cope with it.

          • Now it is 48 degrees in Eastern Australia and 100,000 bats have dropped out of the trees. Kangaroos and parrots are dying too. There are greater extremes currently all across the world, and the oceans are part of this loop affecting climate change. If sea ice melts across the Arctic I imagine that would change currents and wind direction in the northern hemisphere with a bit of help from a few Icelandic volcanoes to heat the troposphere…

        • Unsettling isn’t it. When I went to the local clinic today a passing woman stared at me as though I had just landed from Mars. I was so unhinged I had to ask a couple of District nurses I know if I looked particularly strange today. They were kind enough to say no. Hoping for a good aurora tomorrow if it’s clear.

          • Very. The cool thing is that he was busy rummaging around a parked car, filling out paperwork. That particular store allows people to park next to is as an ad-hock park and ride to work set-up. I think his car had gotten broken into and the deputy was filling out the reports.

            Considering the amount of traffic that store sees, the thief had to be pretty ballsy. (but remember my previous observations about the mental capacity of our local thieves. They typically fail to stay un-captured.)

      • the Earth changed its angle to the sun, it started a few years ago and people thought I was…hence all the systems are all over the place

    • Snow showeling is a typical task which is often done by benefit-claimants. Work for the dole, in which benefit-claimants do useful tasks for the society as a service in return for their unemployment benefits they get from the society, solidarity is reciprocal. In The Netherlands people who claim the Bijstand-benefit must do a service in return for their dole. In Dutch: Maatschappelijk nuttige Tegenprestatie voor de Bijstandsuitkering.

      • Interesting, that would make every swede into someone who is on benefits… Ie, every sod here is showeling snow as winter comes, otherwise you would not get out of the house.
        The rest is done by professional contractors using heavy equipment.

        • I should probably expound on the problem for those who have limited amount of snow every winter, or have no snow at all.
          We often get a lot of snow, there is not enough unimployed in Europe to hand-shovell the crap away. A normal snow-plow will blast away 37,5 cubic meters of snow per second at maximum capacity, an average person will need 8 hours to shovell that away. Now think about this, we still need to use tens of thousands of high capacity snow-plows to keep our roads open, on top of that thousands of large excavators to remove snow plugging things up and so on and soforth. And the snow removal needs to be done in hours otherwise our society grinds to a halt. We do not close down due to snow, however bad it becomes. So, as such snow-removal is big business and there are no amateurs doing it.

    • No snow… but a large part of Mobile bay was iced over. And today, Pensacola “International” airport found out that they had a water fountain inside the building when one of the sprinkler lines burst.

    • Putting on my “Hat of nefarious foresight” and with it I predict that I will see fog, rain and general greyness tomorrow…

        • Slight chance of clearing here between systems expecting a “Pineapple clipper”-shot of warmish air for a few days. Keep telling my wife about aurora and we have good seeing here due to the
          rural nature of NE Oregon. She grew up near to Detroit Mich. which is about the same latitude but sky wasn’t as good. We are 45Deg. 20min. north here…Supposed to get really windy. that will
          cut the snow we have. then nice 5-8C for a few days-not really unusual…

          • OT – I thought you might like this letter from an Australian Cattle Station Pilot, hmmmm
            I am writing to you because I need your help to get me bloody pilot’s
            licence back. You keep telling me you got all the right contacts.
            Well now’s your chance to make something happen for me because, mate, I’m
            bloody desperate. But first, I’d better tell you what happened during my
            last flight review with the CAA Examiner.
            On the phone, Ron (that’s the CAA d*#”head), seemed a reasonable sort of a
            bloke. He politely reminded me of the need to do a flight review every two
            years. He even offered to drive out, have a look over my property and let me
            operate from my own strip. Naturally I agreed to that.
            Anyway, Ron turned up last Wednesday. First up, he said he was a bit
            surprised to see the plane on a small strip outside my homestead, because
            the “ALA” (Authorized Landing Area) is about a mile away. I explained that
            because this strip was so close to the homestead, it was more convenient
            than the “ALA,” and despite the power lines crossing about midway down the
            strip, it’s really not a problem to land and take-off, because at the
            halfway point down the strip you’re usually still on the ground.
            For some reason Ron seemed nervous. So, although I had done the pre-flight
            inspection only four days earlier, I decided to do it all over again.
            Because the prick was watching me carefully, I walked around the plane three
            times instead of my usual two.
            My effort was rewarded because the colour finally returned to Ron’s cheeks.
            In fact, they went a bright red. In view of Ron’s obviously better mood, I
            told him I was going to combine the test flight with some farm work, as I
            had to deliver three poddy calves from the home paddock to the main herd.
            After a bit of a chase I finally caught the calves and threw them into the
            back of the ol’ Cessna 172. We climbed aboard but Ron started getting onto
            me about weight and balance calculations and all that crap. Of course I
            knew that sort of thing was a waste of time because calves like to move
            around a bit, particularly when they see themselves 500-feet off the ground!
            So, it’s bloody pointless trying to secure them, as you know. However, I did
            tell Ron that he shouldn’t worry as I always keep the trim wheel set on
            neutral to ensure we remain pretty stable at all stages throughout the
            flight.
            Anyway, I started the engine and cleverly minimized the warm-up time by
            tramping hard on the brakes and gunning her to 2,500 RPM. I then discovered
            that Ron has very acute hearing, even though he was wearing a bloody
            headset. Through all that noise he detected a metallic rattle and demanded
            I account for it. Actually it began about a month ago and was caused by a
            screwdriver that fell down a hole in the floor and lodged in the fuel
            selector mechanism. The selector can’t be moved now, but it doesn’t matter
            because it’s jammed on “All tanks,” so I suppose that’s okay.
            However, as Ron was obviously a nit-picker, I blamed the noise on vibration
            from a stainless steel thermos flask which I keep in a beaut little possie
            between the windshield and the magnetic compass. My explanation seemed to
            relax Ron, because he slumped back in the seat and kept looking up at the
            cockpit roof. I released the brakes to taxi out, but unfortunately the
            plane gave a leap and spun to the right. “Hell” I thought,” not the
            starboard wheel chock again.”
            The bump jolted Ron back to full alertness. He looked around just in time to
            see a rock thrown by the prop-wash disappear completely through the
            windscreen of his brand new Commodore. “Now I’m really in trouble,” I
            thought..
            While Ron was busy ranting about his car, I ignored his requirement that we
            taxi to the “ALA,” and instead took off under the power lines.
            Ron didn’t say a word, at least not until the engine started coughing right
            at the lift off point, and then he bloody screamed his head off. “Oh God!
            Oh God! Oh God!”
            “Now take it easy Ron,” I told him firmly. “That often happens on take-off
            and there is a good reason for it.” I explained patiently that I usually run
            the plane on standard MOGAS, but one day I accidentally put in a gallon or
            two of kerosene. To compensate for the low octane of the kerosene, I
            siphoned in a few gallons of super MOGAS and shook the wings up and down a
            few times to mix it up. Since then, the engine has been coughing a bit but
            in general it works just fine, if you know how to coax it properly.
            Anyway, at this stage Ron seemed to lose all interest in my test flight. He
            pulled out some rosary beads, closed his eyes and became lost in prayer. (I
            didn’t think anyone was a Catholic these days) I selected some nice music
            on the HF radio to help him relax. Meanwhile, I climbed to my normal
            cruising altitude of 10,500 feet. I don’t normally put in a flight plan or
            get the weather because, as you know getting FAX access out here is a
            friggin’ joke and the weather is always “8/8 blue” anyway. But since I had
            that near miss with a Saab 340, I might have to change me thinking on that.
            Anyhow, on levelling out, I noticed some wild camels heading into my
            improved pasture. I hate bloody camels, and always carry a loaded .303,
            clipped inside the door of the Cessna, just in case I see any of the
            bastards.
            We were too high to hit them, but as a matter of principle, I decided to
            have a go through the open window. Mate, when I pulled the bloody rifle
            out, the effect on Ron was friggin’ electric. As I fired the first shot, his
            neck lengthened by about six inches and his eyes bulged like a rabbit with
            myxo. He really looked like he’d been jabbed with an electric cattle
            prod on full power. In fact, Ron’s reaction was so distracting that I lost
            concentration for a second and the next shot went straight through the port
            tyre. Ron was a bit upset about the shooting (probably one of those pinko
            animal lovers I guess) so I decided not to tell him about our little problem
            with the tyre.
            Shortly afterwards I located the main herd and decided to do my fighter
            pilot trick. Ron had gone back to praying when, in one smooth sequence, I
            pulled on full flaps, cut the power and started a sideslip from 10,500 feet
            down to 500 feet at 130 knots indicated (the last time I looked anyway) and
            the little needle rushed up to the red area on me ASI. What a buzz, mate!
            About half way through the descent I looked back in the cabin to see the
            calves gracefully suspended in mid air and mooing like crazy. I was going to
            comment to Ron on this unusual sight, but he looked a bit green and had
            rolled himself into the foetal position and was screaming his freakin’ head
            off. Mate, talk about being in a bloody zoo. You should’ve been there, it
            was so bloody funny!
            At about 500 feet I levelled out, but for some reason we kept sinking.
            When we reached 50 feet, I applied full power but nothing happened. No noise,
            no nothin’. Then, luckily, I heard me instructor’s voice in me head saying
            “carb heat, carb heat.” So I pulled carb heat on and that helped quite a
            lot, with the engine finally regaining full power.
            Phew, that was really close, let me tell you!
            Then mate, you’ll never guess what happened next! As luck would have it, at
            that height we flew into a massive dust cloud caused by the cattle and
            suddenly went I.F. bloody R, mate. You would have been really proud of me as
            I didn’t panic once, not once, but I did make a mental note to consider an
            instrument rating as soon as me gyro is repaired (something I’ve been
            meaning to do for a while now).
            Suddenly Ron’s elongated neck and bulging eyes reappeared. His mouth opened
            very wide, but no sound emerged. “Take it easy,” I told him, “we’ll be out
            of this in a minute.” Sure enough, about a minute later we emerged, still
            straight and level and still at 50 feet.
            Admittedly I was surprised to notice that we were upside down, and I kept
            thinking to myself, “I hope Ron didn’t notice that I had forgotten to set
            the QNH when we were taxiing.” This minor tribulation forced me to fly to a
            nearby valley in which I had to do a half roll to get upright again.
            By now the main herd had divided into two groups leaving a narrow strip
            between them. “Ah!” I thought, “there’s an omen. We’ll land right there.”
            Knowing that the tyre problem demanded a slow approach, I flew a couple of
            steep turns with full flap. Soon the stall warning horn was blaring so loud
            in me ear that I cut its circuit breaker to shut it up, but by then I knew
            we were slow enough anyway. I turned steeply onto a 75-foot final and put
            her down with a real thud.
            Strangely enough, I had always thought you could only ground loop in a tail
            dragger but, as usual, I was proved wrong again!
            Halfway through our third loop, Ron at last recovered his sense of humour.
            Talk about laugh. I’ve never seen the likes of it. He couldn’t stop. We
            finally rolled to a halt and I released the calves, who bolted out of the
            aircraft like there was no tomorrow.
            I then began picking clumps of dry grass. Between gut wrenching fits of
            laughter, Ron asked what I was doing. I explained that we had to stuff the
            port tyre with grass so we could fly back to the homestead.
            It was then that Ron really lost the plot and started running away from the
            aircraft. Can you believe it? I saw him running off into the distance, arms
            flailing in the air and still shrieking with laughter.
            I later heard that he had been confined to a psychiatric institution – poor
            bugger!
            Anyhow mate, that’s enough about Ron. The problem is I got this letter from
            CASA withdrawing, as they put it, my privileges to fly; until I have
            undergone a complete pilot training course again and undertaken another
            flight proficiency test.
            Now I admit that I made a mistake in taxiing over the wheel chock and not
            setting the QNH using strip elevation, but I can’t see what else I did that
            was a so bloody bad that they have to withdraw me flamin’ licence. Can you?

            Ralph H.Bell
            Mud Creek Station

  4. I know that I’m changing the subject but,How loud is Mt. Sinabung? I mean you can watch the movies online of all the different volcanoes from around the world but it doesn’t sound like there is much rumble there or anywhere.
    I hope that I’m not confusing anybody.

    • Hello!
      You know that is a question I have asked myself time and time again. I have some partial answers, but not the entirety of it.
      1. The moviemakers are far away so the sound is not travelling to them.
      2. The sound is directed in a different direction.
      3. The microphones are not able to pick up that low a frequency.
      4. The moviemakers are idiots out for only video.
      5. They forgot to hook up or turn on the microphone.
      6. They hate us on a personal level and edit away the noise just to annoy us. (my favourite)

      Trust me, a volcano is loud. Very loud, but for the reasons above and a few others we rarely get to hear them well. And also… Does you stereo recreate sounds below 20Hz? I doubt it. I had to build a special chair using actuators to get a sense of the noise.

    • re the noise of Singabung. I guess we need someone with first-hand knowledge of this but I remember a French volcanologist reporting in the NZ Herald how “silent” a pryroclastic flow is. (I guess the other end of the scale is Krakatoa that was heard 8000 km away). I imagine that PFs just smother all sound like the mother of all snowstorms.

    • Since the eruption of Sinabung is so far not very explosive (most of those impressive ash plumes you see on the photos and webcam images are the so-called “co-ignimbrite”, or “phoenix” clouds generated by the pyroclastic flows, not explosions), you would probably not hear that much sound, apart from some roaring gas emission at the dome. Pyroclastic flows themselves make surprisingly little sound – in the case of pyroclastic flows formed by dome collapse, the tumbling of lava blocks, but not much else. Only if there are Vulcanian explosions, there will be some impressive sound.

    • I spent the night of the first eruption of the sinabung in 2010 in a city 10 km away and I can tell you it was extremely loud, even though it was just steam coming out of the volcano. There was a constant tremble in the ground and a noise in the air which was so deep that it seemed to travel through your body, really strange! Especially because we didn’t have a clue about what was going on…

      • I can imagine it would be rather disturbing. On top of that the infrasound can have physical effects on the human body.

  5. I am glad that we have someone like Geoff Mackley who posted many videos of volcanoes as he visited them.

    Then there are the tourist who go to places like a Mt. Stromboli, Etna, etc. Even fimmvörðuháls Eyah was recorded by so many during the March-April period at both locations. So we know what she sounds like .

  6. For the sake of fairness I think it is worth pointing out that the BBC version of the story that you mention primarily covers the scientific research, as also reported and commented on by Erik K:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25598050

    Seems a relatively reasonable report to me, unlike that rather strange article from the Independent. That’s unusual, to be fair. The ‘Indy’ is renowned as one of the better sources of news here in the UK. Ultimately editors can’t be experts in everything, and have to rely to a certain degree on what their journalists, and their contacts, tell them.

    I guess everyone has their off-days – let’s face it, there have been more than enough best-forgotten embarrassing predictions and howlers spouted here on VC, despite everyone’s best intentions to avoid them.

    • Well, I did note that their article was the more sane of the ones that were out there. You noted that their article “primarily covers the scientific research” which is likely why they didn’t need to try and dress it up as much.

      I don’t expect editors to be experts in any particular field, but leaning toward an alarmist bent is full on B/S. The independent article was intended to scare people. The general idea (there and in many news outlets) is to keep people scared or paranoid so that they come back for more. Then you can charge more for the advertising space.

      “Sex sells” but fear sells better. (you hit a bigger audience, where sex may only hit half of the audience)

    • I can remind myself of one.
      I predicted Hekla to erupt. Hekla decided that it was not a good day to erupt even though she had erupted 5 times previously showing exactly the same signs. I am not ashamed at all at that. I just put it down to Sod’s Law. I have probably made another erroneous prediction at some time, I am not ashamed of that eithe whatever now that was.
      It is on the day I start to worry about making an ass of myself that I will have trancended from being an ass to becoming a fool.

      Instead I spent my energy on blaming the model I had of how Hekla functioned. Kind of back to the drawing board. If nature proves you to be wrong, then you are just wrong, and you go back and try to see what you missed (and most likely everyone else in the field) when you made the model (based on every scrap ever written) on Hekla. Science is like that.

      • Too bad many that feed into the IPCC system don’t have as great of an integrity trait to do the same.

        “If the model does not fit the empirical data, its wrong” comes to mind. (Nasa GISS apparently decided that changing the historical data was the way to make the model work)

        • I know a few of the IPCC guys. They are very consciencious guys. All data from the “Hockeyschticker”-dude is gone a long time ago. And he was squashed not by the guys hired by the Kochs are someone writing on the internet. He was squashed by the other researchers in the field.
          Thing with science is that if someone is fibbing data one the peers will undoubtedly find out and bloody murder ensues. I am reminded of the Cold Fusion scam in my old field… Carnage.

          I still firmly believe that the NASA GISS issue was a mistake that someone made. I have a hard time believing in anything nefarious. And, it was originaly pointed out by a meterologist and the data was changed back. One could just have wished that someone said “Sorry, made a crapotkin here”, but that rarely happens in massive governmental organisations like NASA.

          • Sorry, got to do it…

            The Title for the video comes from this e-mail about using “Mikes nature trick.

            The featured mug is mr stick guy. I think he filed a lawsuit against M4GW for using his mug. I also know that he sued Mark Stein for implying that he was not a Nobel prize winner. The Nobel organization doesn’t show him as one either. What he had was a photocopy of the award presented to an organization that he was part of and was never an actual recipient. Event the criteria indicated that none of the members could claim to be actual recipient of the award. From that, I think his lawsuit is dubious at best.

            From an IPCC statement about the matter:

            The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner.

      • Well I wasn’t being personal 🙂 There’s a whole lot more by a bunch of folks, including me!

        ‘Best intentions’ are exactly that – what appears to be logical one day may on occasion be shown to be wrong the next – the great human failing – but if we stopped shaping our future based on our current best endeavours then nothing would ever improve.

        I find these scientific findings interesting – whether they are applicable in the real world or not is another matter, but I have no expertise to analyse them. If Erik is interested in them then I will also give them some credence.

        How the media report them is another matter. Perhaps we should acknowledge that some organisations actually have reported them – ‘alarmist’ or not – or else they might not have become available to us amateurs. I can’t imagine they troubled the editor of USA Today, or The Sun.

        • A bit of explaining on my part. My issue is not with the researchers… it’s with the media. They have one goal, that is to get people to come back and look at what they have to say next. Increased hit counts mean that they can charge more money for their advertising space. If they have to spew alarmist garbage to do it, they do it with glee.

          “… She can tell you about the plane crash,
          with a gleam in her eye…”

    • Could have been any time. Any of those quake swarms could have been related to that…. though some of them fit the “edge of a graben decending” scenario. The last swarm that I actively tracked that was likely magma on the move, originated under what appears to be a mound under the western part of lake Yellowstone. The swarm migrated north by north east to under the north shore of the lake. Then sort of fizzled out. At the time, I had actually expected some sort of phreatic event to be the end result. (maar) This was about two or three years ago. BTW, some researchers have noted pillow lava at that underwater mound, likely several thousand years old.

  7. William “Willie” Sutton prolific American bank robber. When asked why he robbed banks allegedly stated “because that’s where the money is.”

    LA Times: Cheating students more likely to want government jobs, study finds.

    “Students who apparently cheated were 6.3% more likely to say they wanted to work in government…”

    Sutton’s alleged statement is the basis of Sutton’s Law. “Look for the obvious” It’s related to Occam’s razor

  8. Seems to be quite a lot of new material deposited in that Pyroclastic Flow-chute on Sinabung. It is much wider and looks quite a bit thicker. And the PFs are still going at it. Starting to look like a skislope now.

  9. And on a completely different tac… I collect guns, of sorts.
    For quite some time I have been on the prowl for a very illusive gun called the Pancor Jackhammer. It was made in a very limited number of prototypes, but due to American Laws it was not possible to sell to the general audience, nor did any armed force pick it up. So, the company went belly up. 3 known prototypes are known, two of them are owned by movie companies, and the third is owned by a company that produces movie props. The last one was bought from the company that owned the patent. No drawings is known to exist except for the patent drawings.
    Suffice it to say that I never thought I would even see one in reallity.
    During the years I have been offered to buy two of the mock-ups of the gun, both times purported to be the genuine article. The company produced a number of those for gun-shows. And then we have all of those that was produced as movie-props.
    Earlier today I was offered to buy one. Well knowing there should not be one I was curious about how I was about to be scammed since it was none of the known owners that offered me to buy the gun. So, I asked for proof, got images (that tells me nothing really, they could come from any source) and a scanned manual and blueprints for the gun. Manufacturing and maintenance blueprints.
    After sitting reading the manual and the blueprints I am of the notion that they are legit. Problem is… It is not from a prototype, it is from a production gun. Then I went back to the images and noticed that it had a serial number. None of the prototypes have one.

    So… a conundrum of large proportions.

    • Interesting. I’d be surprised if this was a production gun. It never made production. Maybe someone, somewhere made knockoffs. i have seen that thing in movies. I think the problem was it was only 10 shot and reload. not good if in combat. But i wouldn’t want to be in front of one…

      • Actually there was an order made for them from a certain European country that wanted them for their special forces, but I never thought any were built. It was a brilliant weapon capable of hurling more lead forward than any other before Metal Storm was built.
        I doubt it is a knock-off. Either it is a genuine mock-up altered with a serial number, or it is a genuine one. What I find most intriguing is the manual. It comes with details that seem to confirm the sellers legend.

        I though have another conundrum. I though think I will skip the buy due to that.

      • If online gaming counts… I can attest to the quick dispersal of ammo and the “okay, now what do I do” aspect of it. If it’s tight and you need to get clear, it will make short work of those threatening you if they are exposed. Once you get to “click” phase, the “oh #$@!” part comes into play.

        If you catch them all advancing down a hallway, it will definitely clear it.

          • I am sorry, I only know how to show tinypic images.
            Anyhow, I am more of a traditionalist when using shotguns. Here is an image of the same venerable Husqvarna sidebyside 16 gauge that I use. Works beautifully when fowling.

            If I want to stop something else I prefer my old trench-gun, the Carl-Gustaf M45/9mm (known stateside as the Swedish-K or K-bar), arguably the best sub ever manufactured. Here is my modified version. This has the auto-selector that the police-issue had, the military suppresor and an improved aim-point making it fairly accurate up to 300m. If you combine accuracy with extreme durability it is the best ever sub. I have never seen anything like it. Wikipedia erroneously has this as a teargas-canister gun… Sigh.

  10. With Yellowstone any activity will be related to the “BIG ONE” regardless if it were merely a phacreatic phart. watch…
    Now Glacier peak is one to keep an eye on. My understanding is they are doing a better job of monitoring…

    • Well, one tiny earthquake, the first for three years. I’d start to look at this thing once we see a few earthquakes per day … and even then, it’s not necessarily certain that it would erupt. Mount Baker, 1975, anyone remember? Dramatically increased gas output, small phreatic explosions, increased seismic activity. Then, no eruption, but a lot of public criticism toward the scientists who had warned that those signs might herald a potentially devastating eruption. One year later, the Soufrière on Guadeloupe island in the Caribbean made phreatic explosions and dramatically increased seismic activity, 73,000 evacuated. Some scientists warned of a devastating eruption, which did not happen. This is why a few people were not all that convinced that Mount St Helens would erupt, when it started doing rather similar things in late-March 1980 … and this is why volcanologists now speak of “failed” eruptions and consider them one of the main challenges in modern volcanology.

      • If it is one thing that Iceland has been teaching us it is the brutal number of “failed eruptions” that are lurking out there. In the last 3 years I think we have seen around 25 failed eruptions for two “non-fails”.
        So, I guess that in the end it would show that there are really around 10 intrusions for every eruption… Or something like that.

        Heck, when even a loose cannon like Hekla can fake an eruption… 🙂

        As I have said, I do not know if I really would like to have your job when the shit hits the fan. Just know that we will be keeping our fingers crossed for you when it does.

      • No Kidding Boris, that bit about Mt.Baker had a whole sub group of people worried. I was working at the time for this little Commuter Airline based in the Tri Cites of Washington. I was a ground-pounder then working in scheduling, but the News media got wind of a charter we did and made
        a huge deal of:”Scientists fly around Mt. Baker in chartered aircraft!! film at 11:00!!” the phreatic
        activity meant that an eruption was imminent for sure..
        St. Helens had that big movement of the Goat Rocks jut before they were spread out all over Eastern Washington. A local band had song about “St.Helens we want Lava!” or some such.
        I think they were playing in Yakima when it got hit with the ash cloud….

    • I really don’t honestly think any volcanoes in the Cascades are at any particularly high risk right now of creating a devastating eruption aside from Rainier + Lahars (although it would only need a small eruption for large lahars to form).

      As a whole, the cascade range is just so much more benign than other major arc-based subduction systems around the world, most likely a result of the very slow rate of subduction. Personally, I would say that the three volcanoes you would worry about erupting in the cascades would be Rainier for obvious reasons, then Glacier Peak & Shasta, since they have a higher potential to do something big than most of the other volcanoes in the arc.

      • That is quite true, I only worried about Glacier due to the lack of monitoring-which seems to be changing. Also it’s remoteness is not as big of problem as say Rainer for reasons you state.

      • Glacier peak is probably the only volcano in the cascades which has solely eruptive hazards. Helens is in no way capable of pulling a 1980 on us. Ranier is not known for explosive eruptions.

        However, many of those cascade volcanoes are weak inside due to hydrothermal alteration.

        • Shasta can create (and already has created) pretty large eruptions. I believe mount Baker also has some potential for fairly large eruptions.

          I honestly think given proper circumstances, any of these volcanoes *could* form a very large eruption, but they don’t seem to be getting enough magmatic input / heat to reach that point.

    • Yeah, I read that. Can be handy…. if Fido lines up with due north, calm magnetic field. If not disturbed magnetic field.

      Yesterday, mine lined up along about 350°. I’m thinking of attaching a Magnetron magnet to his collar just to see what he does. I have a set for a 5 Ghz Magnetron, but they are a bit large for the dog. I might use one from an old Furuno radar. (roughly 9Ghz)

      Note: The Magnets were for an abandoned seismometer project I never got around to building.

      For the transients. Magnetrons are crossed field devices. A strong H field at 90° to a strong E field along with a resonant cavity cause the electrons to spiral around the cavity at the resonant frequency of the cavity when it is fired. The RF is tapped off and fed to the waveguide and out to the antenna.

  11. Seems like the Trölladyngja intrusion is continuing at depth.
    As such it is the deepest in 3 years in Iceland so if anything ever happens there it should be years in the making. 28km in a volcano that has not erupted for hundreds, if not thousands of years will take a while to move on up. If it even succeeds.

    So, could one of the plotters plot something for Trölladyngja?
    It should be a pretty tight plot so we avoid Askja and Kistufell earthquakes. And if it could be for a long time I would not cry… Like Svenni-listi time…
    If I am right I think we will see something pretty astounding happening there. If I am wrong we will see a few boring deep quakes pop up at the end of the run of the plot.

      • I think we would need one that is showing just the area around Trölladyngja and Kistufel and from as far back as is possible. The other volcanoes is just putting out to much noise.
        And the pattern I hope to see would take years or decades to form if I am right.

        Hint… this is the home of the mantleplume head… 😉

  12. Climate change – evidence of the longer cycles in history including 600 years of melting in Antarctica etc

    http://scholar.google.co.jp/citations?user=VOQZ3ugAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

    http://myweb.wwu.edu/dbunny/pdfs/CO2_past-climate-chg-lessons.pdf

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/22/us-climate-antarctica-idUSBRE87L0R820120822

    I see pollution of the environment as our greatest crime against other living beings – and the need for polluters to pay for cleaning up their mess ought to be costed in the valuation of their resources. Green energy and organic farming need not be in opposition to big pharma, oil-based economy and nuclear energy, but they do need protecting (against the monopolies which contrive to keep them uneconomical) in an ethical world.

    Just my 2-penn’orth…

    • I agree with you.

      One of my biggest pet peeves currently is this.
      If you are growing organic food you need to fill out forms, take tests, and do loads of bureaucratic crap. But if you grow “unorganic” food you need to fill out squat… I think it should be reversed, that those who grow unecologically should be the ones who need to declare exactly what they do, why they do it, and what the heck they use. That would level the playfield a lot.

      • As with all things these days, everything is dictated by money. Whenever going green means higher profits, it will become the new big thing. The problem is getting that point of efficiency, which science is still working towards.

        • Yes science is moving that way, but we also need to level the bureaucratic play-field so that the system is not working against sustainable production.

          For instance, I worked with a company that wanted to develop a green mining concept for a mine. Just to use biodiesel in the trucks came with a mandatory 5 monthly reports. Using better treatment plants for the wastewater increased the number of monthly reports tenfold, and so on and soforth. In the end the management costs for a green mine would have been 4 times higher than compared with a regular mine. When taking this into account with putting back the waste tailings and sludge in concrete in the mine the cost was just to high. The concreteing was cheaper compared to the management cost increase.

    • Why do you put nuclear energy on the side of the polluting un-green resources? It is the cleanest energy in the world, if plants are not built squat on subduction ridges and security is maintained by highest building technologies. There is no such thing as alternative green energies as long as the input of energy to build the devices is higher then the output.

      • From the standpoint of someone who has actually managed nuclear power plants…
        Nope, they are not safe at any place. All reactors that have failed with the exception of one failed without any help of an earthquake.
        Nuclear powerplants are inherently unsafe since the systems are to complicated, and you can never achieve security for them. But a massive failure like Fukushima still is just the third biggest problem.
        Second biggest problem is getting rid of the waste. And that is a big problem that is not easily solved. In the business there has been quite a lot of research done on how to do it safely, so far without any solution.
        But the number one problem is the mining of uranium ores. Mining the ores has so far released 10 times more nucleogenic material into nature than all accidents combined with all of the hot nucler waste from the piles.

        Stating that nuclear energy is clean is just grossly negligent. Sorry for telling you, but it is true.

        • I still beg to differ. If mankind didn’t kill themselves in, say, 200-300 years, the world will live on green, clean, safe nuclear energy. But I am not a specialist and will not go further into this. It is just my deep conviction.

          • It is sadly a deep conviction that you share with many, and is rapidly poisoning our world with a polutant that takes millions of years to get rid of. If we continue with the garbage we will not be around in 200 to 300 years.
            Statstics is brutal. We have lost one reactor every five years of nuclear energy usage, and the number has not decreased, instead it has incresed and will continue to increase over time.

            Another thing that people have gotten ass backwards is that they believe that it is unsafe reactors and plants that go off. It is not. Three Mile Island was state of the art when it went poop, same goes for Tjernobyl (easy to pick on the Russians, but they knew what they where doing), and Fukushima was the safest plant on the planet when it had its accident. All 3 accidents happened due to management errors and human factor, not due to anything else. Same will be the case for the next reactor that goes off. And the one after that, and so forth… While all this is happening we are poisoning our children, grand-children, and so on and so forth for the next 100 000 generations.

            • Give me coal plants any day… really.
              CO2 washes out of the atmosphere within a decade, the aerial toxins within a year, and the soot within a month.
              Uranium? Well half of it will be gone in roughly 100 million years. Yes, half of it. Not all, not at all.

            • The good point for coal is that it gives me the possiblity to train climbing fake volcanic cones 50 km from home.

              resp 182 and 186 m high. The 2 highest in Europe.

              Otherwise I do not agree at all with your conclusions on nuclear energy, but it is not the place.

            • They switched the local power plant over to NG. Now, instead of several barges being brought in by tow boat, they bring in the gargantuan barge with two tanks on it. Looks like some sort of big arsed Bic lighter. If they ever have a fire on that barge and it Bleves, it’s gonna be spectacular. The tanks are a few rail cars long, and I’ve seen what those do on video.

            • I agree – we could be developing cleaner coal-fired plants with all the coal just lying about in Wales but instead we are going to have Chinese building our replacement nuclear power plant instead. What does this say about who controls the heating of our homes? Global economics are more complex than I can get my head round. Thinking small could solve things on a local scale but governments can over-rule where the markets are looking for advantage.

        • Nuclear power has been far too conservative in my view. With the exception of the UK, the west settled early on for the Rickover PWR as the civilian reactor of choice.

          Not a bad option in the submarines it was designed for, but as you correctly say, over-complex and inherently unsafe in civilian use.

          Much better options now – thorium cycle, which was abandoned far too soon, and various other Gen4 reactor designs (pebble beds etc) which offer much more inherent safety, and in some of them the ability to burn waste as fuel.

          All hopefully moot, if the Skunk Works fusion project stays on schedule. Google it.

          • When I can get home I will find my link to a very good article on thorium. Done by a retried Westinghouse-Hanford engineer.
            Back in the 70s and early 80s I was a contract
            Pilot for them and Several other entities.
            Saw and heard several very interesting
            ideas..will look up the “Skunkworks” tip.

  13. Boris on the recent “ashing” from the northeast crater. I am very much looking forward to seeing where this leads to…

    Developing new habits

  14. CTAN and CTAB is showing some very weird measuremnts. If it had been on only one I would have been sure it was human or something else. But when it is on two stations I start to scratch my head.
    It does though not look like anything I have ever seen previously on a SIL. I do not think it is due to the current volcanism.

    Spectral views on them:
    http://www.ign.es/ign/head/volcaSenalesAnterioresDia.do?nombreFichero=Ctab_2014-01-09&ver=s&estacion=Ctab&Anio=2014&Mes=01&Dia=09&tipo=2#
    http://www.ign.es/ign/head/volcaSenalesAnterioresDia.do?nombreFichero=Ctan_2014-01-09&ver=s&estacion=Ctan&Anio=2014&Mes=01&Dia=09&tipo=2#

    Regular:
    http://www.ign.es/ign/head/volcaSenalesAnterioresDia.do?nombreFichero=Ctab_2014-01-09&ver=s&estacion=Ctab&Anio=2014&Mes=01&Dia=09&tipo=1
    http://www.ign.es/ign/head/volcaSenalesAnterioresDia.do?nombreFichero=Ctab_2014-01-09&ver=s&estacion=Ctab&Anio=2014&Mes=01&Dia=09&tipo=1

    The regular view on CTAB is looking a tinsywinsy bit like a ginourmous teleseism, but I can’t find any M8 or larger that could have caused it. So, probably something made them malfunction at the same time. Or there is a honking large weird machine close by. Or a magnetic wave-front, electric charge or a Whatever ranging all the way up to a Solar-flare, Nova-explosion or a gravitational wave-front.
    So, up to the hive mind to see what is happening.

    • Yes I looked at that view and wondered what sort of malfunction could cause such a strange signal. So I came on here hoping for some enlightenment but you seem as confused as me. Not often I don’t get an explanation on here. So thanks for all the many past enlightenments I have received from you all. A few years ago I would have seen it and thought a massive quake in El Hierro, now you have all taught me better than that so thanks to all my ‘teachers’.

      • Lacking any in depth correlation with particle flux or cosmic background radiation, I’m going to lean towards an astronomical source event. Particle showers can affect just a few stations at once without hitting all of them. Its a cascade effect as a high energy particle impacts the upper atmosphere and impact products shower down as a cone to the ground. (with subimpacts as well)

        • I think you are right, or that some other function is mimicking that. Whatever it is has to account for only a few local stations being affected.
          Could be some event where either particles from a comment fragmented above the stations, or some sort of exotic matter. It would though have had to go down in a fairly straight line directly pointed towards earth.

          Just reminding everyone that is a transient through here that this is not unusual really, nor any sign of anything dangerous. Just us speculating a bit on an unusual reading on a couple of SIL-stations.

          Edit: For the real tinfoilers and nibiruists… This is of course proof that DAARPA is about to blow up the island of El Hierro with their Earthquake-machine… :mrgreen:

  15. Would it be possible to have volcano of the month rather than of the year. I think this is something that needs to be addressed because more volcanoes would be in contention that way. Kill me if you like, I just think it would for a more fair playing ground.

    • *kill*
      Nah, seriously it is not a bad idea. It would highlight more volcanoes for sure. And at the end of the year it would give 12 contenders for the year award… Only “problem” that I see is that we might get the same volcano popping back up several times over a year. But, that would on the other hand perhaps not be such a bad thing.
      I think we will have a quick discussion in the Den about how it would work and get back on it in a few days or so.

      • I guess if a volcano got the “volcano of the month” award several or even many times in a year, that would reflect its frequent, and important, activity. But when it comes to name the “volcano of the year”, it should not depend on how many times a volcano has featured as “volcano of the month” – go figure, if this had been for 1991, we’d have had Unzen nearly every month from May on except maybe for June when Pinatubo went BIG KABOOM, but the eruption of the year would still have been Pinatubo. Or the year 2000, when Etna’s Southeast Crater made sixty-six paroxysms and would have gathered a couple of “volcano of the month”s, but the eruption of the year of 2000 would probably have been another (possibly Hekla, or Mayon, or Pacaya, or Miyakejima … there were quite a few contenders back then).

        Overall, though, the idea of a “volcano of the month” is not a bad idea at all. And Etna would have many chances of getting that award, even if it doesn’t suffice for a “volcano of the year” 😉

        • I forgot what a hectic year 2000 really was. I am of course partial to Hekla… but Mayon is also a good one.

          You have really good points, and I think that would be how it would work from a practical standpoint. I guess we will have to try our way forward as we go. 2013 would mainly though have been Volcanic Islands 101 🙂

  16. A Philippines volcano curiosity I found in a norwegian website today:
    The worlds largest island in a lake on a island in a sea in an island.

    That’s what the island “Vulcan Point” in the Phillipines is.
    Vulcan Point is in Crater Lake on the island Taal, in the Taal sea, in the island Luzon.And that special island isone of several cone volcano to the activ volcano Taal.

    • Not sure what they’re referring to as a “taal sea”. Taal at best is a decent sized lake, but if it’s a sea, then Lake Erie might as well be an ocean. But yeah, Taal is a nasty bugger. Definitely high up on the list of volcanoes you really don’t want to see erupt in any significant fashion in your lifetime. It has historically killed a lot of people with even minor eruptions, although it has the potential to realize very large eruptions (although those are few and far between). The biggest issue is the close proximity of highly populated areas.

      On another note, the nearby Laguna Caldera system which is nearby Taal would potentially represent the most disastrous volcano to wake up if it ever were to do so. Reasoning? It has 7 million people living within 30 kilometers of it, and many more within 50 kilometers. This would be like the equivalent of putting a larger Campi Flegrei next to downtown Manhattan. For reference, the Laguna caldera is a stone’s throw away from Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

      Thankfully, the Laguna Caldera seems to be mostly dead as the subducting slab has steepened it’s slope, which explains the preference for recent eruptions at Taal.

      • One un nerving issue with Taal is the occasional Tilapia die offs. The fish is farm raised in pens there and when a lot of them kick the bucket, you have to wonder why. Fortunately, they have been associated with rain run-off and other (non volcanic gas) chemical changes in the water, shocking the fish.

        One day it’s gonna be volcanic gas induced changes. Then it’s time to worry.

        • Shock a tilapia untill they die???
          We are tallking about a pretty much immortal fish here that in various forms exist around the planet in all sorts of climates and environments. Not even Lake Turkana can whack those fishes. I doubt anyone saying shock and Tilapia in the same sentence.

        • I don’t doubt that they are hardy. But fish biosystems don’t usually like radical changes too fast. (They aren’t Finnish).

          Say, are the Finns the people who came up with the idea of hopping out of a sauna and into the snow?

          • Well, I flew with a few in a plastic bag all the way from africa to sweden and dumped them in a not well prepaired aquarium… Fish are hardier than people think.

            Nope, Sauna into Snow is the watered down Swedish way. The Finns cut a hole in the ice of a lake, then they jump from the sauna into the ice-water and take a swim for a few minutes. Snow is for small children in Finland. Okay, we are not much brighter than Finns perhaps :mrgreen:

      • The “sea / lake” thing is probably due to giggle translation. In Norwegian as well as in German we use the same same word for both. In German the only difference being the gender: der See (m) = lake and die See (f) = sea. In this article a “sjø” is used twice, obviously meaning lake.

    • That’s a nice bit of revision for those of us who feel a bit overwhelmed by the Icelandic scene…
      I found myself predicting the next fact and being justifiably sceptical at times…
      Overall a good overview given a bit of justifiable scepticism…

    • That is a good one. I have seen a couple of other though a 1-hour Vatnajokull show describing exactly how much activity is going on in the Glacier and then National Geographic did a good one “Into Iceland’s Volcano”

  17. Hi again! Here’s something that may be the oldest depiction of a volcano ever:

    http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/01/2014/catalhoyuk-mural-may-depict-ancient-volcanic-eruption

    Catalhoyuk is an amazing site dating to the Neolithic. The painting discussed dates to 6600 BCE. Personally I think it’s more than likely that people would want to leave a record of something like an eruption – they were as enthralled/terrified/amazed by it as we are. What does everyone else think?

    Nice to see some old chums back like EyeofSkye and Ursh! I hope to be back on here (even if only reading) more often now. 🙂

      • Yes! I popped in just after Christmas but I’ve been busy at work and not had time to be here. I hope everyone is well and having a good New Year – I’m driving through a few small floods to work – I’ve been driving along the same roads to various work places for 15 years now and I’ve never seen the rivers so high. Very pretty, as long as the houses stay dry.

        • Hi Talla, Nice to ‘see’ you again. The road near here, the A29 has been flooded and impassable for a week which is a bit of a pig as it means a long detour.
          Anyway today the rains stopped and it was passable with care as the ditches finally were draining so the pumps could clear the floods. What happens then? Haha, the hose splits and as fast as they were pumping the water it was cascading back along the road! DOH!! 😀

    • Nice to see you Talla,
      I’ve compared the pictures; looks like a primitive depiction of the formative eruption of the modern picture to me… 😀

  18. Hey all, just to let everyone know that I am travelling and all is fine 🙂 I will be back to the blog by end of January, or if something volcanic happens in Iceland., which I hope not, since I am traveling in Europe.

    • Iceland seems to be doing slow and steady on the way towards the next eruption (where now that may be).

      • Carl, Hekla really will be “the gateway to hell” given the fissure there goes through the middle of the mountain. No wonder there was such unusual behavior there when it went on alert for the short period last spring. That does worry me to a point.

        It would be neat if someone could interview one at the IMO.

        • They are a bit shy… I do not know why really.
          I have also tried to get Sturkell to write about Hekla, but he is not always the fastest to answer mails.

          But worry not, I am getting back to Hekla as soon as I can get a grip on depth of gas dissolution and fractionation times vs heat.

    • As far as I can tell it has been keeping up the same behaviour for a while – minor explosions with lava dome crumbling (but the dome still growing overall). Some of the rockfalls produce pyroclastic flows, like those at Sinabung, and there may have been a long-ish PF recently judging by fresh deposits on the snow that can be seen on a couple of webcam frames. Trouble with Shiveluch is that weather has been poor for a while, and the mountain is only rarely seen on the webcams. It was visible for a while yesterday, when there was a quite a long ash/steam plume formed (as reported by Tokyo VAAC – there was also another on the 7th):

    • Two days ago was really something, then I saw 3 explosive events and lost count at 27 PFs, and when it was at its worst we had one every 3.5 minutes.

      • There is also quite a lot of forrest burning on the mountain. I think that makes it look a bit bigger than it really is.

  19. I have been watching this wall of steam/ash for about 20 min. It has either been flowing constantly or it is a flow of hot lava steaming.

  20. Just passing by to wave hello to everyone!
    Thanks for the nice post, Lurking! I am glad I didn’t have to go to Ann Arbor this winter, or else I would be frozen by now.
    I am on my way to Vienna from Salzburg instead, where I had 10 pleasant days of sunshine since Christmas and 5 beautiful days in Rome afterwords, when I almost fell to the temptation to proceed further to Borisland.
    I am afraid I’ll be suffocated when I get back to Rio where I heard it has been hitting record highs!
    I am really concerned for all those poor people in Indonesia living away from their homes because of wicked Sinabung!
    Best, Rio!

    • Hi Rio – Are you referring to Ann Arbor in Michigan? I live near there. Your trip sounds so pleasant as I sit here with over 12 inches of snow and negative 6 degrees F. Wind chill very chilly.
      It was good to see such a nice post about Yellowstone. When people go there, it’s most likely that they are going to see all the gorgeous and unique natural features – they are probably not thinking, “Wow, taking my young family to instantly perish at a Super volcano for vacation!!!”. It is a fascinating topic and so dangerously beautiful.

  21. Oh yeah, when I saw the word ruminarian, I thought oh good, an article from Diane (Diana?)…sorry. Anyway, just miss seeing her.

  22. Rumination:

    I have lately been teased quite a lot for using a dumb-phone after I lost my Nokia smart-phone. After loosing the smart-phone I have felt liberated with my 8 year old dumb-phone. With the dumb-phone I can send text messages and call people, and I do not need to charge it more then once every other week (on the old original battery).
    None I know cared about my dumb-phone being better as an actual phone, they just teased me anyhow, relentlesly. I think the reason is that I have always been the first to use technology, and I have always been using the latest gadgets, kind of the King of Nifty Tech. So me going backwards made them feel awkward of sorts.
    So, today a friend of mine bequethed me with a brand new iPhone5 so that everyone else should be able to feel fine with their iPhones…
    With it I tried to post a message in here. It came out like this:
    “Larding, do you thunk you could do a pelt on Seskatchewan and Kiruna so we can sea earth jars”. After that the iPhone died out of exhaustion and demanded a re-charge of the battery.

    The iPhone is no longer with me, it went into the pot of the Salvation Army.

    • Now I do not feel alone anymore. I can do several things with my smartphone, but making a call is not one of them. Being called neither. The sound is so weak (even at the highest level) that I need a headphone. The tiny headphone has a long, thin, curling cable. It takes minutes to disentangle it and nobody wants to wait for an answer for that long. And now it has disappeared. – But the smartphone works fine with wordfeud and what’s up.

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