Heimaey, Volcano of the Month & Riddles

25th January 1973.

25th January 1973.

Sometimes images tell a story far better than words can. Today we have a special treat, never before published images from the eruption at Heimaey. For those who are not familiar with this eruption it was a story of great courage as the islands population was rapidly evacuated on pretty much anything that could float on Iceland, and it is also a brave story of how they struggled to save their town and their harbor.

The eruption started around 1 o’clock at night on 23rd of January 1973 after almost no warning.

The images are from the private album of Bragi Björnsson. The images was scanned by his son Dagur Bragason and we are publishing them with Dagurs permission. The epic photograph above was taken by Guðmundur Sigfússon and clearly shows how close to the town the eruption happened.

January 1973.

January 1973.

January 1973.

January 1973.

January 1973.

January 1973.

February 1973.

February 1973.

March 1973.

March 1973.

March 1973.

March 1973.

March 24 1973, June 1973, July 24 1974.

March 24 1973, June 1973, July 24 1974.

April 1973.

April 1973.

March 1973, August 1973.

March 1973, August 1973.

Volcano of the Month

It is once again time for the volcano of the month competition. This time changes have been made so that you should not be able to vote more than once.

Today and tomorrow you can nominate your candidates, and on Sundays post you can start the voting.


As usual there are 3 volcanoes, 1 volcanologist and 1 volcanic term hiding in the Riddly Brainwrecks.Riddle3

  1. Stinky resort of – Methana Volcano, Greece (Dinojura44, 2pt). Strabo wrote about Methana and also visited. Many went there to breath the Mofettes (stinky exhalations of methane).
  2. Mastering the squirt in empty asteroid crater – Jeff Wynn (Kelda, 2pt). Head of the Cascades Volcano Observatory, he studied the Wabar asteroid crater in Rub al-Khali (Empty Quarter) in Saudi Arabia.
  3. Peralkine grand green mountain – Pantelleria (Sissel, 2pt). Montagna Grande and the Peralkine Pantellerite together with Green Tuff.
  4. The fourth fish of shoulder, at sea you can mate with me – Axial Seamount (Kelda, 1pt). First explored by the Pisces IV, the shoulder is axialy mounted on the body.
  5. Fashion item for some cloak & dagger – Mantle (Kelda, 2pt)
Score board
18 Sissel
10 Cryphia
10 Evan Chugg
10 Kelda
8 Dinojura44
7 Dorkviking
4 Edward
4 Matt
4 Pyter
3 GeoLurking
3 Spica
2 Alison
2 Inannamoon
2 Lughduniense
2 UKViggen
1 Bobbi
1 KarenZ
1 Sa’Ke

CARL (Evil Riddler)

230 thoughts on “Heimaey, Volcano of the Month & Riddles

  1. 1 Monti Sabatini / Sabatini complex which delivered material for ancient Roman masonry like the Cloaca Maxima, the sewage system under Rome.

  2. Offtopic. http://www.bbc.co.uk
    News about airplane, now it is known that airplane was criminally deviated from its route 7 hours westwards.
    Obviously this was no mechanical fault, no natural causa, but human criminal action.

    Question is: who would risk world attention to do this? And why?
    We are left with possibly a government that did this, some secret services, or a terror group.

    This also explains all the conflicting reports between Vietman, China and Malasya. I knew they were behaving in a way that pointed to hidding or misleading about the real happening. I was weird all those suggestions by China of “debris” and “seismic events” which accounted to nothing, and all those communication contradictions between the 3 countries about the plane flying westwards that were being denied later on.

    The fact that India, China, US step very quickly with their naval forces, is also another indication they know or suspect of something that we have no idea about. This is probably something big, or someone wants to make this big.

    As usually with manmade incidents, its not the simplest explanation that often is the real one, but a rather weird and more complex one.

  3. El Hierro!

    While we are waiting for the next masterpiece from DFM I thought I would write something about the intrusion before tomorrows planed El Hierro post.
    Yesterday 90 earthquakes took place and so far today there has been 98. The location is in virgin territory under a part of the island that was previously believed to be safe from eruptions. All plans for evacuation has this area marked as a first point for evacuation were people should go.
    It is though likely that there will not be an eruption here, it is far more likely that an eruption would happen either at Tanganasoga, or somewere on a line from Tanganasoga to the waters outside La Restinga, or in the western part of the island. But, the eastern part is now slightly less safe.
    The intrusion does not yet show up on the GPSes, but that is expected.
    I would also like to point out that this intrusion is so far the smallest one, and it is behaving a bit differently, the others started strong and tapered out, this one seems to be growing in intensity as it goes. No signs of magma moving upwards anywhere as of now.

    The pattern at El Hierro seems to be that roughly every 90 days a pulse of magma comes up and starts intruding. And the rate has so far been pretty prodigious with an accumulated rate of inlfation of more than 15 cm in 2 years.
    My take is that we are seeing a new magma reservoir in the making and that this could continue for years. Probably due to some unknown mechanism having shifted the activity of the magmaplume to pour more magma to the El Hierro area. For the next decade or decades we will see pulses of magma arriving and perhaps a few small eruptions as the volcano evolves.
    I do not expect a large eruption at this stage, there is just not enough magma down there. So far around 1 cubic kilometer of magma has arrived into the system. And if we compare that to one of the Icelandic volcanoes they require tens to hundreds of cubic kilometers of magma to produce larger eruptions. But, on a small island even a small eruption is dangerous.

    Over to DFM now 🙂

    • This is the ultimate EVIL riddle this week…
      I will most likely get a mountain of rotten veggies thrown at me when you get it 🙂
      I am going to post a clue in about 1 hour…

  4. Mostly for Lurking…
    There is a short documentary on Swedish TV about the man who loved his picknick table 🙂

    • Oh my… Seeing a dude in a goatee looking like a school-master saying “She felt so good” is priceless. I wish I could put up a link… “We had true feelings”

  5. 4. Mount Hood? At least the riddle is keeping me occupied as I slowly recover from Flu. # feeling sorry for myself…..sniff 😦

  6. It is Saturday…
    Few know that Sweden is actually tri-lingual. Most speak Swedish, but you also have Sámi and a version of Finnish as official languages. So… here is yet another Finnish moment!

    • For those who would be interested in the Sámi culture and their music I recommend the composer Nils-Aslak Valkeapää.

      • Not trying to be coarse or derisive…. but to me, this sounds like someone bored shitless. (also the reason for many sea shanties) The tonal variations and cadence are similar to my humming which my wife berates me about when I’m sitting here pouring over dry text, trying to find some meaning in it. It seems that it drives her batshit while she is on her computer. I find it relaxing. Given that the Sami home territory is rather desolate, I can see where someone would come up with something like this just to keep the brain occupied… which is what humming really is.

        On a lighter note… lapin eukon lemmenjuoma takes quite a bit of husbanding. I still can’t quite get the taste tolerable. But after a year of aging (following fermentation and racking) it’s actually pretty palatable. I made up a batch about a year ago. Initially, mine had a turpentine aftertaste which gave me a bit of fright. I have considered running it through an activated charcoal filter or setting up the reflux still and extracting the alcohol, though for now it just sits and mellows. For them that don’t know, lemmenjuoma ferments from the natual yeast that appears on the blueberries rather than brewers yeast. This yeast is only active in direct sunlight. Modern recipes call for topping off the bottle stuffed with blueberries with sugar and water, (chaptalization) but I think the original may have used honey and water instead.

        Side note: The idea was to try and get to a version that was as original as possible. There is a blueberry “pick your own” farm nearby and I may repeat the attempt using honey at some time in the future. I have a supplier up the road that sells local honey.

        I did the same thing with beer a couple of years ago and made an Oat augmented beer. Tasted horrendous. I can see why it was only popular along the waterfront dives. You’ll get the effects of the alcohol, but you won’t be happy doing it.

        Thanks for the song Carl! It’s haunting.

      • Thanks for this introduction to the Sami culture. My curiosity was piqued by my holiday in Tenerife where the northern tribes, as discovered in16th century by the Spanish, were fine-boned, tall and attractive blond people, who made excellent slaves for the invading Spanish conquerors… It turns out that dna shows they were a mix of the Atlas Mountain Amazhie people and the Sami. Their language and written alphabet, as per stone carvings, is similar to that of the mountain people of Morocco, as was noted by early anthropologists and linguists. Migrations 6-3,000 years ago were extensive and the Vikings controlled the trade by sea as far as the Black Sea.

  7. Mount Batur – the villagers fish in dugout canoes and grow crops on the steep shoulders of the caldera

    credit National Geographic

  8. I suggest more meandering to the Den by the Dragons… (just the usual discussion on world domination and the price on beer)

    • I wish you better luck than the South by Southwest thing they had in Texas.

      Some drunk asshole decided that driving into the crowd was a good way to avoid a DUI.


      I hope they deem it as intentional…. manslaughter penalties in Texas can be quite harsh.

      Per a Texas comedian, they are so serious with their death penalty that they are considering put in an express lane.

      • Being charged with 2 counts of capitol murder, which in Texas carries either the death penalty or life without parole. Was driving a stolen car and he has a long rap sheet. Looks like he won’t be out on the streets ever again.

    • Axial Seamount because – it was explored by Pisces iv, (the fourth fish) and Axial can mean a rotator thingy, and shoulder joint does allow the arm to rotate. Would have updated my reason last night but got kicked off the internet because daughter and boyfriend were streaming a movie…I hope that this is the correct answer, i dont think I could come up with any more solutions. After spending hours convincing myself that fourth and shoulder pointed towards the stripes denoting Military or Naval rank, somehow i arrived at Axial, which has nothing to do with the Navy at all. It’s amazing how much time you can waste barking up the wrong tree 🙂 and this may still be wrong knowing Carl!

  9. I’m back and started a plot. An hour or so and it will be OK.
    There were 216 quakes between yesterday and today (in the database). As for the GPSes, they could be beginning to show something (HI00 for sure but there are some signs on the others too. Considering the number of quakes it will show eventually, but the average variation is around 20-40mm.

  10. 4. The volcanic vent affectionately known as Bob? The Canarians named it after a local fish, didn’t they?

    • Pancho or something like that. “Bob” seems to have better traction as a name.

      Many places have a legendary fish that outwits any who try to catch it. At the spillway for the Ross Barnett Reservoir, the catfish are reportedly large enough to consume a person, though none of them have a specific name. The divers who claim to have seen it probably were thinking more along the lines of “Holy @#$@#$ Shit!” instead of naming what they saw. Despite the presence of the alleged monster, they were still able to recover the body out of the wrecked car.

      • I am more inclined to believe that rescue divers have seen a monster fish than a fisherman… Rescue divers tend to be rather cool headed.

        Hm, up untill the moment they start talking about hidden treasures. That is the moment you should put on your bullshit filter because not a single word will be true. Remember, divers and treasure are as bad as fisherman and fish. 🙂

        • Oh so true 🙂 My OH works in Diving, mostly oilfield but they sometimes pick up random jobs to look for treasure. One job they did a few years back was looking for gold in a passenger liner that was torpedoed during WW1. I don’t think they found any gold, but picked up a huge amount of other items that were remarkably preserved. there were some lovely ornate photo frames, kind of spooky really as some of the actual photos in the frames were easily visible, a bit like looking at a ghost. I’m glad the photos got a chance to be seen again before they faded away. Even the smallest thing can be treasure to a Diver.

      • But maybe it is just the fact that a shoal needs to contain of a mimimum number of fish to officially be called a shoal. Three fish is too little, and four is just enough! – This was my Eureka moment of this morning.

  11. Spaceweather has been a little bit unusual:

    ‘AURORA STORM: On March 12th, an unexpected geomagnetic storm erupted around the Arctic Circle. The G1-class event was mostly minor, but a few longitudes experienced something more. Over the Finnish Lapland, geomagnetic activity and the auroras it sparked were locally intense.
    The unexpected storm was caused by a fluctuation in the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). As March 12th turned to 13th, the IMF tilted south, opening a crack in Earth’s magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in and fueled the display.’

    And New Scientist has detailed a recent discovery:
    ‘SPACESHIP Earth can bring up a plasma shield to protect itself from solar storms. For the first time, satellites and ground-based detectors have watched as a tendril of plasma unfurls from a reservoir around the planet and creates a protective buffer. The discovery confirms a long-standing theory about Earth’s defences and offers us a way to keep track of the phenomenon…. Earth’s magnetic field also traps gas escaping from the upper atmosphere after it gets ionised by ultraviolet light from the sun. The resulting plasma forms a doughnut-shaped ring around the planet, called the plasmasphere ‘

  12. Groaner time…. watching this. Trust me, it reeks.

    However…. they did use a DOT 1267 placard on a pipe… so that half arse fits the story line… if you can square why a DOT placard is being used on an interior pipe. As for volcanology… not a chance.

    And hour into it, you get what appears to be an attempt at showing airfall tephra,though it looks a lot more like fire ash and embers drifting down, and the camera pans to show magma flowing out of a church bell tower…

    CGI Magma attacks an SUV

    The underlying plot is that an oil company was conducting an illegal drilling operation under downtown miami and caused the supervolcano that formed the Gulf of Mexico to have a path erupt. No shit, that’s one of the underlying pieces of fictional “geology” that they based the story off of.

    Never mind that the protagonist lost a student to parboiling on a field trip to a nearby bayou and never caught on to the fact that he was missing.

    From the Movie, “We can use the harmonic tremor to see what the speed is of the magma moving through the conduits, It will be our clock!

    Ohh lookie, the sister of the protagonist just whacked an operative of the bad guy up the side of the head with a half inch pipe and he’s still after her. She had good form, in baseball that would have been a line drive. And yet he is still walking… In normal human physiology he would likely have had a cracked skull and definitely a broken cheekbone and ocular socket.

    Well…. that’s an hour and a half of my life I will never get back. She never realized that she lost a student on that trip… so I guess his death goes unanswered. I guess he should have let the hot chick be his partner on the field trip. Any self respecting geek would have, which is how they portrayed him.

  13. The new set of GPS data on el hierro for today is already in. Seems someone else is eager to know what’s going on 🙂 The stations in the east all show uplift quite clearly. FRON, H00 and H08, around 40mm for the last two. Nothing in the south H09 H10 while they showed allot of uplift last time, which makes sense considering the location of the swarm.

  14. #4 … the last riddle. Shiprock in San Juan County, New Mexico, USA. … the formation is prominent in Navajo Indian mythology as a giant bird that carried the Navajo from the cold northlands to the Four Corners region and is also known as the rock with wings. I’m probably on a complete wrong path (it doesn’t even seem to be a volcano!!)

  15. This is a view of the very recent quake swarm which began on March 14th. Update up to 16/03 7h14 AM

    I have kept only the quakes of the present swarm and have supressed all the quakes prior to the 14th.

    For the first 2 views, the title bar shows count, datespan, date and hour of the events as well as magnitude.

    The color bar shows as usual, date on the left and terrain elevation on the right.

    The first view is a fixed view from the south, the second view is a fixed view from the east , both with an event by event animation.
    On each view there is a forward tilt of 10°.

    The following views are rotations with all events since the beginning of march, and views from the top and back.

    Data from IGN and NOAA, made on Gnu Octave 3.2.4 (Linux)

    I’ll do an update this evening.

  16. Earthquake swarms in locations near and to the northwest of Oraefajokull continue, some quakes are very deep.
    This is only the tallest volcano of Iceland, with the biggest eruption in historical times (in 1362, some 10 cubic km3 tephra)

  17. 4: Admiral John Markham
    Fish stands for pisces, the last constellation of the zodiac (which the sun is in at the moment). Four stars is the rank of general or admiral, and is worn on the shoulder. The clue shows it is an admiral. John Markham was a UK admiral who served on two different ships named ‘Volcano’

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