Activity at El Hierro + Volcano of the Month

Valverde in El Hierro, close to the current activity. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Valverde in El Hierro, close to the current activity. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

As time goes by we understand more and more about the activity under El Hierro. The Canarian Hotspot has several plumeheads reaching up under the volcanically active islands in the Island chain. It seems that for unknown reasons the activity has changed at depth so that El Hierro has become far more active than previously.

The island has been active previously, last time in 1947 when a merchant ship captain reported activity beyond where the eruption outside of La Restinga took place a couple of years ago. This eruption is though uncertain; the same goes for the 1793 eruption at Lomo Negro to the Northwest.

Plot from IGN showing the location of the earthquakes during the 3 last days.

Plot from IGN showing the location of the earthquakes during the 3 last days. Image from IGN.

There are no sources pointing towards the island having suffered anything even remotely close to what we are seeing now during historical times. As the activity has continued a pattern has started to emerge were magma pulses travel up via the plumehead and causes intrusions at depth under the island. So far every intrusion has occurred in different places under the island. Why the intrusions favor different locations is anyone’s guess really, it might though have to do with layering at depth causing the intrusions to occur in more brittle layers and that when they have filled up with hot material they stop being brittle and new magma goes somewhere else.

The pattern seems to be that an intrusion happen roughly every 90 or 180 days apart. They contain anything from a couple of hundred earthquakes up to a couple of thousand. The earthquakes form around what are most likely sill and dyke emplacements.

Explanation of the plot above: 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). Plot and explanation by DFM

The latest intrusion is to the northeastern side of the island, an area previously believed to be volcanically dead, which was the reason it was selected as the evacuation zone on the island. It is unlikely that an eruption will occur in this area even after this intrusion, the area was last active roughly two million years ago.

As I am writing this there has been 276 earthquakes and uplift seems to be delayed by two days before becoming visible on the GPS. Todays uplift at the HI00 station was 40mm and we can probably expect to see uplift to continue for 2 to 5 days more if the intrusion finishes today, otherwise it will continue for a while longer.

Conclusion

Explanation for the plot above: El Hierro 3D plot with the Gorbatikov microseismic inversion model. 2011 to 15 March 2014. Plot by Cryphia.

I do not at this time expect any eruption to follow this intrusion; it seems to be fairly small compared to what has happened previously. And even if an eruption occurs it will not be in the same area, instead the most likely spot is somewhere along the line from the Tanganasoga volcano to the previously erupting vent out in the ocean from La Restinga. There is also a smaller chance that Tanganasoga or Lomo Negro will erupt.

I would be highly surprised if this was the last intrusion we will see at El Hierro. And as the intrusions continue they will sooner or later start to happen in the same place and a true magma reservoir will start to form under the island. There might be a few small scale eruptions during this stage, but nothing major. As time goes by we will get to see how large the chamber will be, and if the previous intrusions are indicative it could in the end become pretty big. Remember that the average uplift is 7.5cm per year for the island as a whole.

So, expect years to decades of continued activity if the pattern holds true. El Hierro seems to be walking down the path from a fairly insignificant fissure eruption to the rebirth of a major central volcano. But, volcanoes are unpredictably so everything might just calm down without anything happening.

Another small danger of the activity is that the recurring intrusions will create increased mountain tension on the island and that a part will slide down. So far this does not seem likely, but one should not discount the risk of it happening. Thankfully the IGN has monitored the island for this for a long time so they should be able to stay on top of it.

Volcano of the Month

It is time to vote for volcano of the month for February. This time there was two nominated volcanoes that was active during February and they are Kelud and Nishinoshima.

CARL (text), CRYPHIA & DFM (plotting)

248 thoughts on “Activity at El Hierro + Volcano of the Month

  1. It seems like we have popcorn at La Restinga. Interesting, could be that there is formation of a new conduit leading there, or the old conduit trying to reactivate. There also seems to be a small amount of harmonic tremor going so there might be degassing magma somewhere down there. It is not visible on the other stations.
    http://www.ign.es/ign/head/volcaSenalesAnterioresDia.do?nombreFichero=Crst_2014-03-16&ver=s&estacion=Crst&Anio=2014&Mes=03&Dia=16&tipo=1

  2. Hello everyone!!!
    Nice post about el Hierro, i am from the canary islands and i didn’t knew anything about this possible activity witnessed by the crew of a merchant ship in 1947, i would be very thankful if you could post a link with that information because tomorrow we are going to have a small discussion about el Hierro in my geology class in the university and it would be interesting if we could provide a link that might show possible precedents for historical submarine eruptions in el Hierro other than the suspected 1793 activity.
    PS: I do agree that an eruption now is unlikely, but the new swarm area is not volcanically dead in fact there are some holocene vents in the area of the new swarm among them the, until bobs birth, considered the last confirmed eruption of el Hierro in Montaña Chamuscada vent (2500 bc), so this area is not completely devoid of activity.
    Thank you very much for this interesting blog 🙂

    • Sorry, I do not have a link. I found it in a book on Lloyd’s reports from the region. There was also reports of local fisherman that seems to have seen a distrurbance in the water around the same spot. I would guess it would be easier for you to find the reports of the local fishermen.

      • ok thanks!! there are many other reports of strange activity in the water of el hierro specially from the 17 up to the end of the 18 century which could indicate that activity is far more common than thought or that the activity phases last longer, unfortunately one of the libraries containing said reports in el hierro along with many other documents from that time was destroyed by a fire, so many records of possible activity were destroyed.

        • I should have written down the source for the 1947 report. I found it at the University library one day when I down in the vault looking for something else.

  3. VERY nice plot from Chryphia. Kudos !

    On more time we have the chance to follow the evolution of the situation, live (or nearly so). If I may give my opinion, I do not think also that at the moment the situation could be a source of problems (eruption, landslide). However as Carl pointed out Volcanoes are unpredictable (remember the 5.1).
    What is interesting is that like for all the previous episodes the activity is in a new zone. The magma is trying to find a way out and we seem to “see” that it find some resistance at depth, with probably a sill forming episode.

    The deformation begins to show, I will make a plot on that soon.

    • Both me and DFM know this, but for the edification of others.
      A GPS-plot is often not good for saying where and when something is going to happen. Most often it shows where an intrusion has occured, but it will be at least a day or two after the event, and often you need to wait for days to get clear trendlines. So, in a way we learn what has happened by the GPS, not what is going to happen. Remember that next time you are looking at a GPS-plot trying to understand what is going to happen.

      • Plus the way I’m retrieving data is really prehistoric. I hereby make a solemn statement “if IGN would be so kind as to provide some link to the gps values….csv format is fine” – hum, maybe I’m on tender ground there 😀 .That’s why I made the averaged plot (this is a traditionnal smoothing method also, Involcan uses this to present it’s gas measurement data for instance).
        But no, the gps plot is really crude, datawise speaking it shows a vague trend at best.
        Anyway you have at least a 40 mm error range, meaning the values can move in -20 + 20 for a given day. As we say in French the results are to be taken “avec des pincettes” – with pincers

    • They have really upgraded the place since the beginning. I just wish that they had all of the station publicaly available and we would have a blast.

      • I don’t see that happening any time soon, however, I would not be surprised if Perfido calls for an island wide picnic in the center of the swarm area. Maybe have a performance art contest for the most innovative use of a picnic table…

        He’ll need to have paramedics standing by for splinter injuries though…

        The Guy from Ohio is probably the favored contestant.

        • For those wondering what on earth this was about.
          Alpidio Armas called for a dive photo contest in the waters outside of La Restinga as the original eruption occured. This led quite a few of us to question his “leadership”. Let us just say that the competition never happened, despite Alpidios urgings every possible contestant figured out on their own that it would be bad for their health.

        • Yeah, at the time, fish were dieing from extraordinarily low pH (getting close to battery acid) and large thermal excursions.

          Later when high H2S gases were detected, he called for an auto rally through the detection area.

          The picnic table commentary is in relation to an arrest made in Ohio of some guy having an inappropriate use for his picnic table. His neighbors were shocked at his actions, made a video of it, and called the cops.

          “Perfido” comes from an accidental mishmash of his name…. but seemed oddly appropriate given his public statements.

          • What I do not understand is why Alpidio refuses to use the volcano to increase tourism and instead invent these nutty ideas. Thankfully the auto race was also cancelled along with the bike race through landslide areas.
            I wonder if he is seriously believing that his ideas will ever come into fruition.

          • I understand it quite clearly. Don’t scare off the investors or do anything to make insurers get panicky. (They will jack your rates up at the drop of a hat)

            Sure, they used an old scoria cone for a peaking reservoir, and that would be really pretty when lofted into the sky should that vent reactivate… but scoria cones rarely reactivate… right?

            (It was likely an old Timor cone rather than an El Golfo/Tanganasoga one… but I’m not a geologist.)

            • And still the Icelandic ecoonomy is going far better than the Spanish, and they are using their volcanoes in every way in their marketing. Here we even got a dose of Icelandic Volcano Yoghurt a while ago… What Alpidio forgot is two things, 1) a volcano is very very hard to hide and 2) many people are genuinely interested in watching volcanoes and would happily travel to El Hierro to look at it.

            • But the idea is good. Especially as he got – or the project financers got – probably quite a sum from the european union because they are part of a what is called the “extraperipherical regions” (I assure you the name is true). Trying to be energy independant is really a Very good idea for El Hierro. Their next 40 years (wind turbine and equipement life duration) will become easier if they can manage it correctly.

            • Well, it’s about the only “green” energy project that Spain has that may turn out to be useful. Subsidizing people to shine floodlights on solar panels at night is not an efficient means of doing it.

              Probably a lot of stress to make this one at least work.

    • cool link !

      I noticed also the “sortie” of Mr Weapons. In a way it is funny, you can find press releases from IGN and Involcan, each praying for its parish – con gas or sin gas 😉 . Then Mr Weapons comes in and says – “nothing’s happening – nope – nada, circulez y’a rien à voir”.
      Frankly I do not understand. Tourism at the moment, albeit being one of the main staples of the island’s economy is really a drop of water in the ocean (10 k compared to 10 M for Tenerife). And from my point of vue it is fine, I dream of going there. But,…., by playing deftly with the volcanic situation I am reasonably sure they could double the rate in a few years (accomodation is missing). Heck it is not great deal : just tell what’s happening, it is not a problem of you don’t know all in sciences, just say so.

      For the present situation is not an issue here. The magmatic intrusion has just started and will maybe last for some weeks. Or not. If the intrusion goes on the quakes’s intensity may go up also, and then….who knows. Not me. But there seems not to be any safety issues for the population so for the moment, they’re lucky.
      The gps variation speed seems to be going at a similar rate than 3 months before, so the bets are open….

  4. OT, but I wonder if there are other volcanoes in the Cascades that could have a Mazama-style eruption.

    • Pick one. All any of them need is a decent sized infusion.

      Mt St Helens could have done it had the flank of the volcano not collapsed instead. Though the lake would have been about 2 x 2.3 km instead of Craterlake’s 6 x 5 km dimensions.

      • Caldera formation is a fairly normal process for volcanoes in their life-cycle provided that they have enough magmatic input. So I think the best answer to your question is that I would be very surprised if there weren’t more Mazama style eruptions in the future of the Cascade range.

        The best candidates for future caldera eruptions in the Cascades are probably Mt. Meager, Shasta, or Glacier Peak, although that’s just speculation. A large eruption at Shasta would be bad news.

  5. BTW, Carl, I went back and archived the thread that mentioned the dance and hat eating…

    Where would you like the pdf?

    • You really had to didn’t you?
      Sigh, now we have a legal document on me going to dance and eat my hat. 😦

    • Dunno… everybody has a price. 😀

      … besides, you’re gifted. All the two girls have to do is erupt in the opposite manner in order to nullify the dance requirements.

      • I recommend a 100% cotton fiber hat. At least that will act as ruffage with fewer adverse side effects.

        • Leafy green salad hat in the same manner that Gorillas use to deal with the rain?

          … or were you thinking more along the lines of Carmen Miranda?

          THAT… would be a hoot!

          I think you can leave the silver dress out, trousers should be good enough :D.

          ANd… I think we would all be perfectly happy with a TecnoViking dance rendition.

          But you have to have the right music.

  6. I am curious about one thing that I do not have an answer to and that is if anyone has ever before witnessed the growth of a new magma chamber? What we are likely seeing is that, and I wonder if anyone has a reference to something similar?

    • Something else that just struck me. Where are the evidence of recent intrusions? There should be anomalies above the curie-point down there, but I have seen no references to such, just magnetic anomalies that pertain to old sollidified intrusions.

      • Watch this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD8Gj6KPgn8
        Totally of topic of course, this is a curie engine. Normally the iron wire is attracted to the magnet. as soon as wire comes close to the magnet it gets heated up by the burner. When over 700C it looses it magnetic properties and drops out of the flame, cools down and becomes ferro magnetic again. I never thought you could make a pendulem with this effect. 🙂

        • I’ll see your Ylvis and raise you 4000 year old causacian mummies of Taklamakan. Xinjian region of China. Some blonde.

    • No, but I was thinking the same thing. Timor was a monster that grew faster than it’s slopes could support, so it collapsed. El Golfo came into being as a replacement edifice and did the same thing. This might be the beginnings of attempt #3.

      I’ve been puzzling out how to render the overall magma infusion in the heat modeler, but it should prove to be interesting once I figure it out.

      Opinion needed… what do you think the estimated percentage of melt vs previous material is? If I scale the simulated intrusion to match an estimated thermal distribution, it might let us know how aseismic the thing would be in the future…. which leads to another concideration. Once the old material is brought up to near the melt point, it’s going to be more quiet than it ordinarily would have been with fresh magma coming in… effectivly turning into a dead zone.

      At that point I think we can consider it to be a de facto magma chamber with some percentage of melt.

      • I think I read somewhere that the ratio of new magma and remelted material was 1 to 1 in the batch that Bob barfed up. But I am far from sure if that would be true for the entire pool of melt.
        I wonder if you are not onto something. The intrusions seem to be less noisy every time they occur. But judging from the GPSes they seem to be equal in size.

      • Too bad we don’t have a good continuous record of quake counts (by magnitude) along with reliable GPS data that can yield intrusion size (via the Mogi model)… all thanks to a certain fiefdom head that was more concerned about money than figuring out what the hell is going on.

        • I am pondering a way of doing a ruff estimate of the amount of magma that has intruded based on area of seismicity and the highest recorded uplift. I am still poking at it so I am not sure that I am correct yet.
          It though point to something like 1 to 2 cubic km of new material.

          • For a budding chamber that is not that bad in just two years time. 7,5cm average yearly uplift is damned impressive for a forming volcano, compare that to for instance the far more massive Grimsvötn with 2.5cm annual uplift and Uturuncu with 5cm.
            If El Hierro keep up the hard work a few hundred years more she will be something for the record books.

          • Come think about it I think I am on the low side in my model. It is based on a shallow chamber, and this is far deeper so the uplift to depth ratio is off. If this had been a shallow chamber the uplift would have been far greater.

  7. I just don’t get it with this island. Every time a wad of magma comes up, it finds a new path and cracks the surrounding rock with an earth quake swarm. But each time in a different area. You would expect the 90 days ago area to be still hot and liquid enough for the new wad to come in, but no, it finds a new area.
    It keeps doing it all the time.
    Are these wads of magma separated at depth, or are the former intrusions facing such high pressures that it’s easier to frack a new area?

    • Easier to Frack. The old stuff didn’t go anywhere, and are not going to be noisy. That space is occupied, so the new areas just happens to be the path of least resistance.

      • Thanks Geo. But then i would also expect some uplift in the older emplacements as well, not noisy but liquid slow inflation , the pressure should go up there as well. But that might a take few more days for it to show up at the gps, or i’m totally wrong anyway )
        Where is the connection between the intrusions…

        • I do not think that most intrusions are connected. I think they follow different paths from the bottom of the crust. Only intrusion 1 and 2 is likely to have been connected (the ones causing the eruption).

      • It could very well be there, though much much smaller. Back when I had usable data, I was seeing movement all over the place as the surface adjusted to the changing pressure field. You would probably need a daily update in order for it to show up in the visualizations that I had been doing before being shut down by them.

        There is a caveat though… my method was using an interpolated polysheet to fit the data points. This introduces some artifacts and false impressions. The proper way to do it is to Krig the data. At least then you can see where the ambiguity is as well as the interpolated data. That lets you look at the plot and confidently say “okay, that’s dubious data over there.” The only way to resolve that is to have more data points.

    • if you look at this from a fluid dynamics perespective, everything is based on convection and density gradient. The diffusion side can be ignored, and of course viscosity is real high. So the kinetics should be real slow. Some tendril went south east, another one goes east. I have not compared depths.

    • Thanks geo, dfm and carl, i’m gonna have to have a sleep about this one. It just doensn’t compute for me that so many intrusions have a such a different area and a limited connection.good night 🙂

      • All have the same origin. Think about it as blobs of magma pushing up from tremedous depth hitting the underside of the crust. It will take the easiest route and that will be the most brittle way. And as it has settled inside the conduit will be shut close by the pressure.

        • And by lifting up parts of the island causing low pressure zones for the next wad to go in ? I guess the whole thing is rather rigid..

          • Nah, the wads of magma comes from very deep and travel rather slowly. In a way I guess you could say that this started thousands of years ago, if not even more as due to an unknown principle the mantleplume started to feed more material upwards from depth.

  8. a 7.0 quake off Chile

    • A Double header.

        • Just to put it into context how staggeringly massive the Valdivia earthquake really was. It released almost 1 quarter of all seismic energy released during an entire century. It would take Iceland about 1 million years to release the same amount of seismic energy. Or about 10 000 to 50 000 years for all of California to get up to that figure.
          Perspective. Sometimes it is a good thing. Unless the perspective is happening under your feet.

    • It is easy to be fooled by the plots like this when they start prior to the event.
      For those who watch this, try to remember that any motion you are seeing before the final big uplift is within the noise range.
      One idea would be to wait 3 more days, take the base values from the last day before the GPS started to shift, then take the last datapoint and then do a running progression between those. Would be far less twitchy and probably show more accurately what is happening. At least it would be more easy to understand for newcomers. 🙂

      That said, awesome plotting as usual DFM! What I find interesting is how effect this one has in the direction of La Restinga even though the main intrusion is not even there. It goes hand in hand with the Seismometer readouts for CRST (La Restina) showing possible movement.

  9. Exactly the same data, same display, but with the moving average. Speaks for itself I think.

    So to explain. The data comes from the charts of IGN and are averaged on 96h (for the 16th we use values for 16th,15th,14th,13th sum them up and divide by 4)

  10. Thank you to Chryphia,Carl, Lurking and dfm for helping explain the past and surrent evnts under El hierro. It’s all absolutely fascinating and certainly is keeping us on our toes. I am thinking that the tunel del Golfo must be getting a hammering! Just to remind you here’s a clip taken in 2010. The entrances are lined for support but the major part is bare rock. It’s about 2 miles long.

    • That tunnel is very close to the current activity, so I would stay out for the time being. But, on the other hand it is pretty much the only way to and fro the area.

  11. Something to digest: Just found this new discussion paper by Becerril et al. (2014). They analyzed the past eruptive activity, the spatial probability and the temporal probability of an eruption on El Hierro and present this qualitative volcanic hazard map:
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Click to access nhessd-2-1799-2014.pdf

    • Oh my god…
      They are going to send people right to the most likely place for an eruption according to those maps. Instead of sending them Northwest to safety they will send them to sit ontop of Tanganasoga. Is this a joke or something?
      They have set the Volcano as the lowest risk spot, and the active fissure line as pretty much no risk at all.

      Do they not know that the bulk of the magma is below Tanganasoga which is the main volcano, and that the maximum inflation runs from there down the fissure line leading out to Bob?

      I think I will go and cry now, seriously…

      • It gets weirder, on page 1804 they state the the most significant eruption on the Island was at Tanganasoga, and still they clearly mark Tanganasoga as the safest place to be.
        Then they go on and state that the second most active zone is down the fissure line running from Tanganasoga to Bob. Still they mark the area as low risk.
        What strikes me is that they consider lava flows as the big risk, but in reality we know that lava flows rarely are killers.
        Now over to page 1833, there they correctly marks out Tanganasoga and the surrounding area for an explosive event. They also calculate the same for the northwestern area that is least likely to erupt on the island. Why is rather mind-bogglng.
        Now comes on the next page the pictures inserted by Cryphia above. This is the conclusion they come to.
        First of all they do not even look at physical evidence of where intrusions have occured, and where the center point for them are (all of them intersect with or go adjacent to Tanganasoga). They do not take into account the anomaly map of the island that also suport Tanganasoga as a central volcano of the island.
        Instead they only go by old historic records of eruptions.
        Yes, looking at old records is good, but when you rate historic records over contemporary data and omit historic record facts supporting the physical evidence then you are producing a mockery of science.

        This is shoddy and incompetent work that put peoples lives at stake just because you want to do statistical analysize of a volcano.
        If anyone takes offense with what I am writing, go and take a look at the data yourself and do not argue with me over it. It is not I saying they are wrong, it is reallity saying that they are wrong, I am just writing on behalf of reallity here.

        • And don’t forget my little quake hole that I found at the outset… that’s probably the bottom of the hardened magma for the old Tanganasoga vent. Many of the early quakes outlined it quite well.

          • I am not forgetting that, it fit to the bill exactly where there was a magnetic anomaly. Probably the hard plug you found was a remnant from El Golfo.

          • Well, if the magma loosened it a bit, it would make one massive spire… Have to change that Uptypingur thing to some sort of erection…

        • Well, the low, medium and higher hazard areas seem to be in the valleys coming down from potential vents on the ridges. That might be comparable to the channeling of pyroclastic and lava flows we see at Sinabung for example. Still, the summit at Sinabung is also high hazard zone and it is not clear to me why the ridges of El Hierro are not.

          Btw, the paper is under open review until April 21 and I am pretty sure the authors welcome factual criticism. So far there are no comments.

        • What is immediately misleading from the two graphs is that they only take two point sources as possible eruption sites in these charts. This has to be the wrong way to present probabilities as an eruption could happen anywhere on the island. Remember how Bob surprised us all popping up there when all other activity seemed to point to the center or NW of the island? And if they are relying on “recent” eruption sites how come these charts totally ignore all those recent cones on the SE ridge running down through Restinga?

          • Good point Bruce, and why on earth do they not factor in Tanganasoga after they themselves clearly state that it has suffered the largest recent eruption. It is actually mind-boggling.

    • what does ‘fallout’ on the top map represent ? is that tephra (rather than lava) ? if that is what it means then it’s not making tanganosa very safe – so perhaps just an odd colour choice ? – and perhaps the hazard map is a lava hazard – not an overall hazard map ?

      • To estimate “fallout” they assumed “…a violent Strombolian eruption, which would represent one of the most probable high intensity eruptions that could occur on the island.” and calculated diffusion and distribution by wind. They chose two source locations, the western one at the most probable location (based on past events), the other at the most vulnerable location in the East.
        Regarding the second figure they write: “We distinguish four levels of hazard depending on the number of individual hazards (Fig. 7a) that overlap on each point (pixel) of the map.”. I do not understand why the central red “mafic PDC” areas (El Golfo and Las Playas) do not affect the hazard level in the lower map. The pixels don´t add up somehow.

        • Also, at the map you put in the danger area is calculated by distance isopacks and those converge right ontop of Tanganasoga pretty much making the rift from Tanganasoga down to La Restinga the safest place…
          Do note that the map put in is the Conclusion map and that the others are supporting maps for the conclusion map.

  12. This tries to show the deformation variation using the GPS data available.

    Data comes from IGN site for the GPSes and NOAA for the map generation.

    To explain the plot generation :

    Deformation data is collected from the available charts.

    For each day and each station I smoothe the raw data by taking an averaged value on 96h (so I use data from day to day-4). This helps to dampen any very strong variation.

    Then I make an interpolation (linear) which is fitted on a surface. The variations are shown according to the colorbar on the right. The values are in millimeters.

    For this plot I have stopped to show and use HI01 as it has been down for a few days now.
    Apparently there seems to be a deformation on the north of the island, which corresponds somehow to the seismicity location.

  13. OT:
    Boris’ volcanoes. Part. 2. Thanks to Les Djiles we can now see the second part of Servus TV show on Sicilian volcanoes seen through Marc Szeglat’s camera and lead by Dr. Behnke’s expertise. This time we follow Boris and Marc climbing Stromboli’s “schiara del Fuoco” where Marc spends the night hearing “the breath of Earth”. Fantastic!

      • Hello, Chryphia! You guys are doing such a tremendously good job keeping us up to date with the events at El Hierro that all I can do is to try to give any small contribution that I can. Kudos to you and DFM for the plots and Carl, Lurking and everyone else for the brilliant analysis of the situation. My hint is that Hierro will keep us busy for yet a long time to come! Thanks to you all!

  14. I’d check out the CRST data from 3-10 and 3-11. It appears there were some short periods with similar “seismicity”, although not as amplified as today’s (3-17). I’d venture that what ever was happening then is still intermittently occurring?

    • What???
      It should not in any way say or show something like that. Let us see if we can bone it out for you.
      1. Are you logged in here or do you post as a non-member?
      2. What OS are you using?
      3. What Browser are you using?

      If you are not logged in then you can get small ads under the article (WP does that to pay their bills, they do not show when one is logged in). But there should absolutely not be anything like what you are describing.
      I suspect that you have something called a Spybot or a Referalbot on your computer. If you are on Windows I would download a program called Spybot Search & Destroy. It is a free program written by a couple of Swedish computer students. It kicks ass with those types of problems.

  15. Apparently there were some Icelandic news, in which they were saying how Hekla is very close to an eruption due to GPS movements. I can’t confirm this, as I have not seen those news anywhere but several of my friends were talking about it today. Maybe some of you have seen something.

    Anyways, news or not news, I have been talking about these GPS movements, whether they are instrumental noise or actual movements. Many GPS stations in Iceland seem to show some trend over the past few weeks. Of course its difficult to say that this is something

    However I am not convinced that this is Hekla. I am not even convinced that it is anything. I am just curious about them, because I am not satisfied with explaining them just as noise. Actually several stations near Hekla, mostly to its west, show a east movement, and deflation, which seems not the expected thing.

    Anyways Hekla’s tease.

      • Thank you. The pertinant information here is that they have been expecting an eruption since 2006…
        And, the measurments they are talking about are the classics A) miniature earthquake swarm about 1 hour before eruption and B) strain drop 15 to 30 minutes before Hekla goes Boom. IMO and Almannavarnir has issued no less than 3 eruption warnings so far for Hekla… It must be bugging IMO no end that she did not erupt.

        Personally my opinion is that no phone on earth will save you if you are ontop. First you would need to run like hell down (think olympian runner here), then you have to get at least 15km away from the volcano. All of that has to be done within 90 minutes.
        Let us say that I would not for my life go up Hekla right now and leave it at that…

        • I don’t think an Olympian runner could pull it off. Hell, a zip-line might get you out of the initial blast, but you will find yourself dangling over several hundred feel of hard ground on a slacking cable when the upper support goes bye-bye… possibly lofted into the sky with you trailing along on a tether…

          • I have done many stupid things, but going up Hekla to sit on the top while the Icelanders are sitting watching the volcano 30km away waiting for an eruption… Hm, not even I am that stooopid.

    • Try to find what source the news had for this.
      I just checked the GPSes at Hekla and could not see any really unusual movement. Most station had a bit of Up a week ago, but it has gone mostly down to normal levels now. I think there was something affecting the GPSes since I can see that also on referense stations.
      I should really write an article on how GPSes work, but it would be very technical in the end so I am afraid I might loose people. It is hard to explain some details in a simple way in how a GPS network functions.

      When I use the highly inexcakt word “noise” it is refering to anything that can affect a GPS station. There are numerous things hidden in that word. But seeing a small motion going on a GPS is normal. GPSes are wonderful to see long trends at, or very marked intrusions like at El Hierro. A real magmatic intrusion gives a jump up with several centimeters withing a day or two and then they stay up like at El Hierro where you have jumps up with 4 to 8 centimeters at every intrusion and after the up-movement the level stays at that high.
      Compare Hekla GPSes with the GPSes of El Hierro and I think you will start to see my point.

      Hekla in general has an even inflation that is also affected by seasonal variation. There has so far never been recorded a marked inflation pulse at Hekla prior to an eruption. I linked to at least two sources claiming that in my previous Hekla post.

      http://www.ign.es/ign/resources/volcanologia/html/HI_GEOD_deformacion.html
      http://strokkur.raunvis.hi.is/~sigrun/HEKLA.html

      • Speaking of “noise.” GPS is one seriously noisy system.

        I did an experiment several months ago by taking my consumer grade blue-tooth GPS device and tethered it to my main PC. I ran a collection of the raw output data from it and watched as this unit wandered all over the neighborhood, though I could see it still sitting quite content, on the bench in the backyard. The most radial movement happened when the various satellites went “new day” and the unit had to work out the new error signals. Scientific grade units have a much tighter resolution, but they still have to deal with those transients.


        Here is a sanitized plot of that data. (sanitized in that my actual home position has been removed from the data)

          • I haven’t found the original data yet. I would need that to work out the box size.

            That or redo the data grab.

          • No joy on the original data file, but I did find the original plot. At my latitude, it works out to about 5.5 meters vertical, 4.82 horizontal.

            Remember, the data does include the satellites going “new day.” Not all went at the same time.

            I also can’t emphasize enough that this is a consumer grade model. No differential signal, no bells and whistles. It uses the built in antenna. (about 2 x 3 inches) Technologically, it’s about 5 years old.

            Oh, and reportedly, there was a military anti GPS device in use in an oparea about 450 miles away.

  16. My 2 cents….

    Timor, roughly the region of the current activity, is the original central vent that made the island. Magnetic surveys have identified the old magma intrusion under it to the east to have been during the last chron before the current geomagnetic field alignment came into being. (Brunhes). That puts it somewhere before 780kya ago. A later intrusion, to the west of it, is in the current chron and was likely active when the first major collapse occurred. Later, El Golfo formed as the dominant volcano and it too suffered a major collapse. In my opinion, Tanganasoga is the current future volcano. What is disconcerting to me, is that the San Andreas area (North Eastern) is generally listed as a failed slide. This is roughly where the intrusion is at. (just west of it in actuality, on the other side of the ridge). The core of that part of the island is the ancient original Timor pipe. As such, it has held up under all the previous instabilities if the island, and will likely be just as resilient as it has been in the past.

    Many of us were quite perplexed at IGN’s apparent lack of data during the initial stages of the current “crisis.” But, as Carl has pointed out, they seem to be more concerned about detecting scarp forming events (landslides) and are well suited to pick up on any potential danger. The reason for this was in the way their equipment was distributed and what data they consistently collected. If there is any danger, I’m pretty sure they will be on top of it before any lives are at risk. After all, it’s what they seem to have been focused on since they went into operation.

    • I saw their risk maps on slide zones and such. It was equally sollid and good as the one on top was not, and that says a lot. I think they have not missed a single crack on the entire island on that hazzard map. And all of the equipment is placed eminently to pick up if a crack start to widen.
      I think that sooner or later they will become equally good at volcanoes, but they are not yet really there, even though in general they seem to have learned a lot rapidly. The new equipment is well placed and they seem to draw the correct conlusions from it (except in the paper above).

      But as Lurking says, if a anything starts to move they will be ontop of it.

  17. Slight heads up on Hekla.
    There seems like the Icelanders are going towards closing down access to Hekla. The Almannavarnir and IMO has once again issued a warning that Hekla is very close to an eruption. I think they have seen signals of changes in the magma stack indicating pressurisation of the system. There are also anomalous readings at the HEK strainmeter. There was also an earthquake at 19.58.49ish local time close at Hekla.

    • If anyone wonders how underwhelming Hekla being “excited” looks like, take a look at Fedgar SIL-station. Now, remember how noisy other volcanoes are when they are “excited” while you look at the miniature signal detected on FED.

  18. For the connoisseur minerals amateurs…..lo and behold .No! come to think of it, it’s for everyone.

    all pieces are really exceptionnal.

      • … not a bad idea Ranato.. not bad at all. 😀

        Here’s a link to the dominant Skrillex song so he can practice. Though I would be perfectly happy with a dance to the “Give me Chocolate” song my BabyMetal also…

        .. but enough of the cuteness factor… how about the Finnish Apocalyptica.

        In the Hall of The Mountain King, by Edvard Grieg, played by Apocalyptica.

        • OMG!!!!!! You are hopeless!!!!
          How can someone do that while eating his hat? 😀
          The dark side of Hekla going prior to Katla is that we will miss all the show! 😦

        • I am afraid that you all will be very sad if that ever happens. I think your expectations is far beyond what I could ever perform. And ontop of that it seems rather unlikely that Katla will erupt before Hekla.

          • Give me some beans and I might be able to imitate his third cousine Michael Flatulence… There are only two things that can make me dance. One is a lot of beer. The other would be that Diana would be there and danced with me 😉

          • Throw in a few bean burritos with habaneros and several pints of beer and tequilla… you’ll dance. …and probably be a little bit flammable, so beware of smokers. No blue blazers. (methane powered flame eruptions from the trousers) Some people have injured themselves with the Blue Blazer stunt. (With the cocktail and the ignited flatulence… though not both at the same time. Immolation is never a good thing.)

    • I’ll be… That is one long move…
      I guess it has been moved so there will be images of the plume as it unfolds.

      • I am not sure that is the same camera. I think they have shifted another camera and remaped it. I guess the old one will come online as Hekla 2 cam or something like that.
        I would write this up as more “Iceland getting ready”.

    • The automatic system has placed the bogus earthquakes at a spot that I noticed during the large Gjögurtá earthquake swarm to be an anomaly that seems to capture distant earthquakes from locations up north. I would not be surprised if there is a swarm around Jan Mayen or even further north.

  19. Good morning 🙂 I just popped in with Coffee #1 to say a mini swarm at Grenvik but not verified. Carl has beaten me to it to say nothing is showing on the tremor plots.
    Tuesday
    18.03.2014 02:29:21 65.935 -17.851 1.9 km 3.3 33.35 15.0 km E of Grenivík
    Tuesday
    18.03.2014 02:27:31 65.955 -17.853 5.1 km 3.4 32.65 14.9 km E of Grenivík

    Good morning Renato 🙂 . Let me just confirm that absolutely nothing would make me dance anywhere near Hekla at the moment, not because of any fear of eruption but simply because it’s far too cold :D. Here after a few days of Spring warmth the temperature is back to seasonal single figures and my thermal underwear is still at the ready 😀 The thought of dancing with Carl stirs my blood…… however the thought of Icelandic wind chill soon settles any stirrings. The first sign of ageing for me was when I started to consider thermal long Johns as daily essentials,even if I would have to expose them to the medical professionals should I get run over by a bus. Prior to that I was far too worried about how I looked to others. So much so, that comfort did not take priority. So there is a big plus side to ageing. Elastic waistbands , low heeled shoes and sensible warm clothing are acceptable, Nay!. expected on a Granny 🙂 ( Red high heeled, but not over 3 inches, wellington boots are of course acceptable for very special occasions such as Volcanic celebrations :D)
    I guess in somewhere warm like Rio or Florida this problem of changing to chunky seasonal clothing in the winter doesn’t exist.. I do remember yearning for winter coolness when suffering from summer humidity and heat in Jamaica and by the time I got acclimatised I felt very cold even at 13 or 14 C.
    Horribly OT and rambling here. Time for coffee #2

    • Diana, your beauty doesn’t come from the clothes you dress, believe me! 🙂
      And I still have to get some sleep before I go to bed.
      I thought we could have a surprise coming from Hekla…
      Well… BBGN!

      • Schleep well Renato 🙂
        This is a beautiful video to give you sweet dreams. I don’t think all caverns here are volcanic but the first certainly is. Some fascinating geological structures and normally I am not keen on musical background but I found this very moving.
        It’s a pity the places and volcano are not named. As the guy has a T shirt that says Belize beers I am thinking somewhere in s. America?
        Underground exploration of any small caverns near Hekla and friends not to be recommended at the moment 😀 over to the west near Snaefellsjokull would be cool and a possibility to nip down to the centre of the earth to see what is going on further east near Hekla 😀

    • “I guess in somewhere warm like Rio or Florida this problem of changing to chunky seasonal clothing in the winter doesn’t exist.”

      As a denizen of Florida, I can state that it doesn’t apply. It can get quite cold here (relatively speaking). My normal attire while wandering around the house/yard is barefoot and shorts. Tank top if I am in view of the neighbors. In winter I use a housecoat if it’s chilly, and actually put on clothes to go outside. My work attire is slacks with a short sleeve button shirt. In winter, it’s the same but with a leather jacket. My wife got it for me since I lost the one I had gotten in Turkey. Given her background, she didn’t realize that what she got was actually a riding jacket. The collar is cut so as not to interfere with a helmet. But it’s one seriously comfortable jacket and it goes with me everywhere out of the house if it’s chilly. I have my foul weather jacket that I had in the military. I kept mine since I actually had to pay money for the ship to acquire it. It’s quite warm, but a very uncomfortable critter. I do have one other jacket that I rarely need. It’s loose enough to fit over the other coats, and would only be useful if stranded out doors overnight in cold weather. The only problem is that it’s so warm that you might loose moisture to sweating. I last used that one in New Jersey to go out and play with the dog in the snow. Damn, I miss that dog. It was the only time in his life that he actually blended in with the terrain and he had a hoot playing in it.

      For now, my only real complaints are getting my ankles warm in the morning. I hate socks, and only put them on if I am putting on some sort of footwear.

      Currently, the grandkid is spending the night over at his “girlfriends” place. I let him move back in here since he had a difference of opinion with his room-mates. The stated reason is so that he can make it down to his drug screening for employment. I’m guessing that the underlying reason/supporting is that he is trying to make up for him heading down to Panama City for Spring Break. She had to work and couldn’t go. At the rate he’s going, if he ever gets a stable income, he’s as good as married but doesn’t realize it yet. He’s about the same age I was when I took the bait. I’m pretty sure that she is capable of setting the hook. 😀

      (setting the hook → fishing term. It’s that critical moment when the fish is taking interest in the bait. You set the hook so that you have the fish, then it’s just a matter of reeling it in… which it where the skill comes into play. A 40 lb fish can easily snap a 15 lb test line. I use a 6 foot steel leader since Mackerel can easily tail whack the line… snapping it.)

      • As a side note. She’s a cutie. He could to a lot worse and would be a friken fool for letting here get away from him.

        I’ve spoken with her before and find her personality to be quite congenial and intelligent. Hell, the dog likes her, she must be okay.

      • I remember giving a lesson to some High school pupils in Jamaica back in the ’60s. The temp was near 32 C in the rainy season and we were doing 10th grade Biology . I was trying to explain winter conditions in Europe. The blank faces told me I wasn’t getting through. The next lesson, I brought in my suede coat and jumper and fur hat that I had brought to wear on the first few days of the sea voyage from England. There was a lovely girl called Daffodil Spence. 🙂 (She was thrilled when I showed her what a daffodil flower was 😀 She didn’t know she was called after such a pretty flower 🙂 )
        Well I dressed her up in my clothes and the poor child was soon perspiring profusely. I explained we had to dress like that as it was like living in a refrigerator :D. They got the concept…ish then of a British winter 😀

        • I’ve never been in Britain. But I have been to Cobh Ireland, and it was not winter. On the voyage back we did some maneuvering to drop south of a tropical storm that was rocketing out across the Atlantic on a recurve. Damned thing went past and then turned south, then back to the west and was in a chase orientation. We went further south and met up with the outchopping battle group to offload their ammo and went home. Their ammo ship was slated to go for a yard availability and since our homeport was an ammo station, we didn’t have to do anything special to offload the gear. The trains could just pull up along side us and pick up the cargo. The Cobh stop was a reward to the crew for the non deployment tasking across the Atlantic to grab the ammo from the returning battle group.
          I got a really nice wool sweater for the wife there. 😀 I also got to poke around in the cemeteries and noted several markers that bore the old spelling of my mom’s family name. (Ó Súileabháin) That part of the Family had been in Mississippi since about 1790. I found this on a court document from Natchez MS in a ruling regarding “10 gallons of good whiskey” and 4 horses that were awarded to my ancestor on a debt.)

          Genetics being what it is, I’m probably indirectly related to half of the southern part of the state.

  20. It’s Hekla guessing time!
    Let’s vote our bets: who thinks Hekla will erupt this spring? Or later, a few months from now? And later this decade? Or later this century?

    My guess goes she will erupt this spring, and I say 1st April 2014.

    speaking about someone runnind down away from an Hekla eruption. It did happen, I know someone which has a friend which was caught in the eruption as it started, I think it was the 1991. That person manage to run away to his jeep and drive away safely. Icelanders which have seen all these eruptions keep saying me that Hekla starts as not that big (at least in the past 3 eruptions). Still I would want to be quite several kms when Hekla starts.

    There is a road that passes just a mere 8km from Hekla summit (in straight line). And a jeep road (only open for summer time), often done by tourists which goes even closer, just 6km at its closest point. From there a less travelled jeep track goes right at the start of Hekla steep slopes, just 2.5km away from its summit.

    I live 45km away from Hekla. There are small towns 25km and 30km away from Hekla (Árnes and Hella). And some farms and summer houses some 15-20km away.

    • Well, I would not be surpriseed if she goes this spring. But I have given up on guessing really.

      I meant that if you are on the top you are a gonner. At the bottom and in a car you would most likely make it. But I would not want to try it out.
      2000 the maximum peak of the eruption was during the first eruption (explosionswise), after that it dwindled somewhat untill the point it went effusive.

  21. And now I worry. I haven’t known dogs to cry in the middle of the night while sleeping. Pups, yeah, but not dogs. His closest buddy is the grandkid, so now I sit and wonder…

      • I had an ex who had two bearded collies. Mainly they were hairy and loafed about the place, or slept out on the balcony in a pile of snow (with all that fur they loved it). One night both of them walked over to the front door and sat there growling for half an hour. So I got out my M45 and stood there in my boxers looking out the spyhole. Nothing… Nothing for half an hour. After half an hour of growling both dogs just went back to bed and slept.

    • No Hekla eruption will happen with just a cloud. First, earthquakes will start (within 2 hours before the eruption) and strainmeters will show dramatic changes. Then, the eruption starts, first explosively for a couple of days (and there will be no doubt that an eruption is occuring if you watch it with the webcam), then the eruption goes efusive.

    • As Irpsit wrote, dark clouds will not be how Hekla erupts.
      Think like this in regards of what you will see.
      Without warning Hell will open up and hurl Brimstone and Ash 15 kilometers straight up, and Brimstone will rain over the nearest 30 kilometers.
      That is the first thing you will see. No gentle puffing, no visible signs, no nothing; and then all of a sudden everything as the Mightiest Show on Earth unleashes. Think Kelud, but without years of gentle dome growth, and without the days of warning on instruments.
      There is just nothing like Hekla on the Planet. From Zero to 100 in a second.

      • Dunno about that “nothing on the planet” thing, I know of a booster or two that can put the payload above Mach 3 or so in less than 10 seconds.

        Talk about G forces…

        • Well, Hekla would still outgun the payload. I calculated that the explosive energy put out by Grimsvötn equaled a hiroshima bomb every 4 seconds during the first 24 hours.
          I doubt that Hekla will be that powerful, but let us say a hiroshima per minute during the first 24 hours. That would equate to 14.4MT, more than in any current arsenal.

  22. Hekla strain looks peculiar. But since the strain drop is pretty much linear, could it be an instrumental effect?
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    • My guess is that it is a low pressure system moving in. They are expecting a storm over Hekla later.
      But, it is hard to know since they have just fiddled with Burfell and opened the valve. Normally both move the same way during an air pressure drop.

  23. I received a letter with ash from Kelud today and placed it under the scopes.
    Sneak Prieview.. I ll try to upload more images and give the address later today.

  24. Yeah the ash was beige with really tiny particles. Looks somewhat similar to Merapi ash, but Merapis ash was a tiny little bit more brownish. ( the wording may let you notice that i am a not an expert 😉 )
    Hardly any vesicles to be seen. But not much really spectacular things too. One of the best was this “hose / nail” . Anyway i ll be working on a gallery the next few hours.

    • I like that ash can be so different.
      I looked at that and really scratched my head. Not a clue what it might be though.
      You should prep a post with these images and post in a few days.

      • I will, i d like it if you or anyone who has more of a clue what we might be seeing could add some lines.
        Till friday afternoon i am busy though. ( Elections and other stuff)

        • We could do the images as they are and just whang in the riddles and we have a friday post to go.
          Hopefully we can lure in one of the geologists from our FB page to answer what we are seeing 🙂

  25. We often talk about technology scew affecting the amount of earthquakes spotted.
    I just read a campaign report made by the USGS in 1983 at Agua de Pau in the Azores. They used 8 digital units that was state of the art for the time together with two analogue drumploters. All of these where placen in or very near Agua de Pau caldera. With all of that 1983 state of the art equipment they could record events down to M0.6 locally and had problems locating larger regional earthquakes (above M2.5). The confidence box was 1.6km EW and NS and 1.8km UpDown for quakes larger than M1.5.
    With this network they could not locate earthquakes beyond 15 km outside the network.

    I reiterate, this was a massive state of the art network in 1983.
    Now compare this with the current Icelandic network. Yes, it differs in accuracy dependin on where in Iceland a quake happens. But the difference is still enormous.
    With a 5 seimsograph network like Hekla we can see earthquakes down to M0 located within a 0.5 kilometer confidence box. That is a large difference. That network can pick up M2 earthquakes anywhere in Iceland without relying on any other seismometers. Huuuuuuuge difference. Translated into number of earthquakes. A modern network is more than 100 times more sensitive. And that has been achieved in just 30 years.

    So… where am I go with this? Well, guess why we are seeing more than 1000 times as many earthquakes per year globally compared to in 1983.

    • By 2030, it will be rather incredible. They will pick with high quality all earthquakes down to -0.5, any M0.5 or above will be located in Iceland.

      Imagine all possible small microquakes at the dead zone, or Hekla or west Iceland in Snaefellsjokull. All of those will be detected.

      I think by mid century they will be able pretty much to predict a volcanic eruption in advance and understand much better the patterns that lead to eruptions.

      • Sounds quite plausible really. At Katla they can actually grab those M+0.5 allready.
        I agree, both science and equipment will make it possible the predict eruptions far better and understand the patterns. At least at volcanoes that has erupted previously.

      • I had doubts voting for kelud or nishinoshima, but i’m clad i voted for the last one.Those cones are really gaining height! And clearly still lava pouring in the sea and enlarging the island. Shame that there is so little footage. Thanks for this bit 🙂

        • I went with Kelud from the “SURPRISE!” aspect of it. Yeah, they saw it coming, but no one really expected the blast to be heard 200 km away and the formerly solid dome to come raining down as several dump truck loads of gravel so far away.

          Even the SEM images of the ash show that it was fractured at a very very low level. Literally pulverized.

          • Good points. just not enough eye candy 😛 The explosionous(new word ?) surprise of kelud was totally an eye opener for me. From dome to crater in minutes. A big blast but i like land forming eruptions.

    • Nishinoshima is probably it from the vent orientation, I pushed the brightness and contrast and was reminded of the area around Tolbachik though.

      • Jepp, it is the tasty Nishinoshima.
        Those cones are growing quickly now, also the island just keep on growing.

      • DING!
        Camera is attached to Bridge, James is fictional, the seals are missing but they can be regarded as tourists too. So correct. Only question of time until ticket booth set up 😉

          • No, not really, they are selling admission tickets to Geysir area now, and Kerið since last year or year before. I.e. other sightseeing landmarks, then why not this one too? (I am against such ticket sales) *Basically them in question are capitalizing on the tourist boom Iceland has, and it seems have something to to argue about in the news media – rather than allow (media) talk about what really matters: Making life easier for the common people, making it possible buy homes (without paying for each one three times more times than strictly needed, and abolish “verðtrygging” (thats additional to interests and costs on morgage loans!)”, care for the elderlies and health services for all, not only some..
            Here its basically so, it depends on what sickness you get, if you are unlucky, just screw you!
            (In man cases handicapped or retarded are better off than non-handicapped or non-retarded)

  26. Hi

    last deformation plot for today at El Hierro. The raw values do not change much, but with the averaging effect it seems to grow a little. That ‘s actually an artefact.

    • I think that the Party is over for this time at El Hierro.
      No more earthquakes, no residual harmonic tremor, no more uplift. So, another 3 or 6 months untill the next Party would be my guess.

      • I’m not so sure. There are no telltale signs as a rule. Maybe there were some intrusion and then some lift and the magma is making a “flat” silent sill. I think I’ll try to fft the quakes frequency or to do some finer histo data tweaking for the fun. I have a new (quick and dirty) plot type under my virtual elbow, will launch it soon. But your guess is a valid as mine.

        • Well… As it is written in the Plotifarian Creed: If it does not show up on a plot, it does not exist.

          • héhé, in a way it is a pity. Look at the extremities I need to go to get hold of some (basic) data, introducing some un-needed error in the scheme. Speak of a Streisand effect (or a Lurking(TM) effect, double pun I win the “Queue du Mickey” as in the “Ducasse”). All this to do small video….

  27. A small thing just struck my mind.
    It is known that Hvannadalshnukkur (Öraefajökull) is the highest mountain on Iceland. But it is quite possible that Bárdarbunga was that up untill the 1477 VEI-6 caldera forming eruption. After all the difference in height today is just 101 meters. And around 10 to 15 cubic kilometers disappeared during that eruption.
    Just a thought.

    • Huummmm, not so bad idea.
      Wonder why Hvannadalshnjúkur be the tallest?
      Likely because it has big eruptions that have grown it tall!
      *and we could be getting more lava in the neigoushood,
      according them recent quakes, indicating new buildup cycle.

      • More likely that it has not exploaded away entirely yet. I think that it will not take much more than 200 years for Bárdarbunga to outgrow Hvannadalshnjùkur (Öraefajökull).

  28. Ok i uploaded the Kelud images.
    You can view them at https://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/kelut/
    I will add more info on the ash and the images etc but not today, i am dead tired and need to get up early. (After coming home from work it took me some hours to edit the images and get them online on VC.
    They are also linked from the microscopic images page.
    The size will be bigger if you klick on them, if you check them all… you ll end with tons of open windows *snicker*

    • Merci Spica !

      Actually they seem not to be very much vesiculated. Does that say it’s origin comes from the old dome ?

  29. And now we come to the cost-benifit game in Pensacola. Blackswan related. At what point does the cost of an investment outweigh it’s usefulness?

    A look at the historical tsunami threat in Japan led the pre-mitigation efforts to fall short of what was needed to deal with the outlier 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. When it happened, they got a classic Blackswan. (can’t really argue with that, the facts be the facts)

    Now, Florida DOT is getting snowplow equipment for Pensacola. About $90,000 worth of gear. I’ve live in and around Pensacola since about 1981. In that period of time, I personally experienced two gnarly freeze/snow events and know of one that occurred here while I was occupied elsewhere. As a resident here, I am happy that they are gaining an ability to properly deal with such an event, but is the equipment cost justified? Since it’s a product of my taxes, I am more pleased at that than the raising of my gas taxes to pay for a full time/full size city bus service that has maybe two or three riders at a time. Nearby Okaloosa county also runs a full time bus service but they use a vehicle closer in capacity to the actual ridership.

    Within the last year or so, the bus maintenance division got in trouble because of unauthorized maintenance work on one of the employees boat trailers.

    Overall, I’m okay with the snowplow equipment, though unless they are foreseeing a drastic shift in winters here, it will be little used. But… when it comes to Black Swans, it’s always better to be over prepared than not sufficiently prepared. Wasting money is better than wasting lives.

    Now if they can just get through their head that more common calamity of storm surges. I guess the act of moving the sewage treatment plant further inland will keep them from dealing with raw sewage and fish smell after the next full inundation of the downtown area. (it will happen, just a matter of time)

    • I would actually go so far as saying that any need of snow equipment to save lives is more of a Black Swan in Pensacola than the Tohoku event.
      The Japanese full well knew a Tohoku was coming sooner or later somewhere in Japan. They knew it would cost a lot of lives. To be honest, they knew it would cost a shit load of lives. They also knew that it would be insanely expensive when it happened.
      Here is the deal. At the cost of one single Tohoku event they could have mitigated the crap out of their coastal areas. For that type of cash they would most likely have suffered economic loss at a factor 1 to 100 and the same on life loss.
      For around 1/10th of the cost of Tohoku they would have had a 1/10 death and economy loss. Since Tohoku was not the first Tohoku event one could think Japan could have done at least the 1/10 investment. Are they doing a 1/10 investment now? No… Will they be Tohokud again? Yes. Do people learn? No. Do I like busservices? Yes.

      • Well, buses are a unique sort of scam. They tie up traffic and make navigating streets an exercise in patience and hazard avoidance… this in turn drives up ridership as people resort to it in order to deal with the traffic congestion.

        May greatest issue with our buses is that they are far larger than needed for the ridership. For Pensacola, it’s a prestige thing. For Okaloosa county, it’s a rational filling of a transportation need. Pensacola put in an option tax (and there is no option to it, you have to pay) to pay for the operating cost of these critters. I, and many like me, simply stopped buying gas in this county. I’m usually on the road out of the area, so I wait and buy the needed fuel in the next county over where there is no “option” tax. I guess that’s my way of implementing the “option” moniker. ‘Jack up the tax on the gas? Fine, I’ll go somewhere else’

        As for safety… you can learn a lot about the intellect of someone while listening to them on the radio. I monitored their comms circuit for several weeks and duly unimpressed. The only saving grace is that they maintain a comms circuit with the main office. That way when a knifing occurs on the Bus, the Sheriff’s department can easily be summoned.


        Hey, you gave me an idea. I can point the soon to be ex-army grandkid at the bus company. His specialty is Diesel engines. That’s a potential employment path for him. He’s getting kicked out due to the US deciding to downsize it’s military (which is usually a good clue that there will be a heavy war soon. We seem to be stuck in that pattern of behavior)

        • Well, I like busses. It is far cheaper and simpler than hauling a car into town. Just an hour of city parking is about what the bus fare is. And then you do not have to pay for wear of the car or the petrol.
          Let us see here. Coast of bus back and fro is about 7 dollars (unless you buy a monthly card). Car would be 5$ an hour in parking. Then a cold start would take about 2 liters of petrol, so say let us say 3 liters at 7 dollars. Then wear and tear losses on even starting the car at another 7 dollars, now add car-tax and insurance. 7 dollars per item and day.
          So with a bus it is 7 dollars and with car 34 dollars to go to the city. I would not say that a bus is a scam, I’d call it a bargain. This is why I usually say you need to have your head checked if you have a car to just drive around in the city. What is really stupendous is that a whopping 95 percent of all traffic mileage is done within city limits.
          Cars are good if you are going somewhere and need to haul things. Otherwise they are over-rated in so many ways. For Lurking a car is perfect, most others should really move their asses in other ways more often. You would be amazed what you save by doing that.

        • From my point of view, it’s the illogic of dragging several tons around town (actually, the entire county) most of the day with very few people on it. Even with diesel, the BTU’s expended per pound of actual living person moved is horrendous.

          Pensacola has this personality defect. They want the status of major metropolitan area but are, at their core, just some two bit backwater town whose glory days are long past.

          I have, on occasion, done word for FHP at their local office. I had the occasion to chat with one of their senior officers. Per her, Pensacola has the brunt of all the traffic accidents of this FHP district… so, I guess in a way, Pensacola gets their “major” status.

          Everytime I see a major “thing” going on in Pensacola, it appears that Pensacola is too busy trying to be Destin Florida. They will invariably fail. Want to go to the pristine white sands on the beach? Walk out your hotel door in Destin, you’re there. In Pensacola? Drive over into the next county, deftly avoiding the speedtraps of Gulf Breeze, cross the Bob Sikes toll bridge and hope you can find a parking spot. Pensacola Beach is not accessible any other way. Unless you have a boat. Then it’s best just to turn to starboard up the inter coastal before you exit the channel and go to the even less occupied beaches on the tip of Perdido Key. Open/public moorings on the bay side of the island are hard to find. There has been talk of them setting up a ferry, but it usually dies a horrible death.

          Back when I thought “going to the beach” was a cool idea, I usually went to Johnson’s beach. Less tourists and you could get utterly shit faced if you wanted… just be able to handle yourself. There were no lifeguards there back then, and rip currents can kill you if you don’t know what you are doing.

          Note: Rip currents are the outwash from waves that are pushed ashore by an incoming wind. Usually they set up as a feature along the beach as the excess water from the waves gather together and flow back out to sea. Since they flow directly away from the beach, you can easily find yourself hundreds of yards further out that you were paddling around in previously. The only way to get out is to swim parallel to the beach until you are clear of the current…. provided you don’t give out first, or panic.

          As for Pensacola’s issues… hell, we are doing good when our county commissioners aren’t being hauled off to state prison or turning up dead from anti-freeze poisoning on their sentencing day after having turned State’s evidence.

          I imagine that if one dove into it, there would be a lot of shady land deals after they had remediated the property around the old waste treatment facility. They never would let the whole county vote on their little pet project and had to restructure the money flow when a State judge ruled that they could not mingle county funds in the project since we didn’t have a say in the matter.

          Every time a manufacturer has wanted ship via the port of Pensacola, they have done just about everything they can to stop it. Many years ago Pensacola had a thriving shipping trade, mainly due to us having the only natural deep water port along this stretch of coastline. It takes very little work to keep it from sedimenting in. Mobile has to bust their ass to keep their channels clear, but they actually invite and enjoy the shipping business.

          All the wannabe highclass Pensacola power players want is to try and build condos downtown. (which is what it is… a con for more dough → Condo {a Gallagherism} )

  30. Well, it could just be the Madives trying to scam more traffic to their islands again, but allegedly a witness stated that they saw a low flying jumbo aircraft near the islands the day of the disappearance. Based on my crude time-distance estimates, it’s not out of the question. The sighting would be about 7 hours and 53 minutes after the ATC lost contact with the aircraft in the South China Sea.

    http://www.haveeru.com.mv/news/54062

    With the reported transients in the estimated course, the 412 kph track speed could easily be accounted for. (actual travel greater than the straight line path)



    Maldives island residents report sighting of ‘low flying jet’
    Farah Ahmed and Ahmed Naif, Haveeru Online
    Mar 18, 2014 – 02:55 13 comments

    A map showing the route that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is believed to have travelled.

    A map showing the route that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is believed to have travelled.

    Residents of the remote Maldives island of Kuda Huvadhoo in Dhaal Atoll have reported seeing a “low flying jumbo jet” on the morning of the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

    Whilst the disappearance of the Boeing 777 jet, carrying 239 passengers has left the whole world in bewilderment, several residents of Kuda Huvadhoo told Haveeru on Tuesday that they saw a “low flying jumbo jet” at around 6:15am on March 8.

    They said that it was a white aircraft, with red stripes across it – which is what the Malaysia Airlines flights typically look like.

    Eyewitnesses from the Kuda Huvadhoo concurred that the aeroplane was travelling North to South-East, towards the Southern tip of the Maldives – Addu. They also noted the incredibly loud noise that the flight made when it flew over the island.

    “I’ve never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We’ve seen seaplanes, but I’m sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly,” said an eyewitness.


    Dunno if the track would put it in range of the ATC radar at Diego Garcia… based on the witness statement, it could have traveled outside/beneath their radar coverage.

    Now… if you want to get into the conspiracy aspect of it… The facility at Diego Garcia has a (Military) runway that could easily take and aircraft of that size. The siting location is to the west of Male, so the aircraft would have to have already been in their pattern, or headed somewhere else. Was he following the Maldives towards Diego Garcia to the south?

    • And the Maldives were recently rebuffed…


      Whilst the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has provided local conspiracy buffs with ample opportunity to exercise their own theories about Maldives being a possible destination for the missing flight, the Malaysian transport ministry has excluded Maldives from their rescue operation.


      http://www.haveeru.com.mv/news/54027

      “…Oh yeah? Well we’ve got a witness…” (not stated by anybody)

  31. Hello All! Hope you are all well. Just a brief visit before I go to bed. The lava on Mt Sinabung has progressed a lot since I last looked:

  32. Hello all! Still catching up on three or four posts and all the comments, thanks everybody!

    Could anybody tell me please what event caused the Tongariro and White Island frequency and amplitude charts go up like this on 15 March? It wasn’t an earthquake, it went on for over a day. Can bad weather do this?

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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