A Hitherto Unknown Supervolcano About to Erupt?

The eruption cloud of yesterday's phreatic explosion, a precursor of a super-eruption scientists at Uppsala University fear may be imminent.

The eruption cloud of yesterday’s phreatic explosion, a precursor of a super-eruption scientists at Uppsala University fear may be imminent.

During the late night, there was a large phreatic explosion near the northern shore of Lake Dellen in Sweden, long thought to be the result of an ancient meteor strike. Fortunately it was in an unpopulated area and no casualties have been reported. The eruption cloud rose to more than 12 km in height and it has forced a major rethink about the origin and immediate future of the Lake Dellen formation, says Professor Einar Pall Sigurdurson and Professor Bödvar Reynirson of the Institution of Geosciences at Uppsala University.

Because lamellar quartz similar to shocked quartz has been found in the area, it was assumed a meteorite strike was responsible for the formation of the 12 by 17 km structure. This ignored the substantial amounts of obsidian found on and near the resurgent dome dividing Lake Dellen into North and South Dellen.

Gravity field measurements indicate a large body of magma (blue) approximately 12 by 12 km at a possible depth of 9 km below the Dellen Lakes.

Gravity field measurements indicate a large body of magma (blue) approximately 12 by 12 km at a possible depth of 9 km below the Dellen Lakes.

Further indications that the structure is volcanic come from geothermal and gravity field surveys. It was found that the area had a very high temperature potential for geothermal exploitation. According to Professor Sigurdurson, the gravity data, which was originally thought to be proof of an impact structure, is really the signature of a very large body of magma. Unfortunately, there is no monitoring of the area and the quakes reported by locals since last autumn were too small to register at the Uppsala Institution. It would seem we have had a significant magmatic intrusion going on right under our nose, Professor Sigurdurson continues.

Yesterday’s phreatic explosion proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the feature is volcanic and Professor Sigurdurson says it is most likely a caldera system, a supervolcano, that may be in the last stages before an eruption. The size of the body of magma is many times larger than that which caused the original caldera. The reason we have not known about it, Professor Sigurdurson continues, is that the many periods of glaciation and deglaciations over the past half a million years have effectively removed all the usual telltales of volcanic activity and basically left only granitic structures and even those heavily distorted by glacial erosion. Also, we had thought volcanism extinct (in Scandinavia) for at least 90 million years. But there are many factors that now make sense such as that the point of highest land rise known, 800 metres since deglaciation and currently 8 cm per year lies on the coast, not far from Lake Dellen according to Professor Sigurdurson.

In a press release, Professor Bödvar Reynirson, head of the Institution of Geosciences, says they will begin to monitor the area starting tomorrow. We will of course bring you any further news as soon as we can.


Source: Sture Erkell et al. “Lake Dellen, meteoritic origin in doubt.”, 2013 in Baltic Journal of Geology

143 thoughts on “A Hitherto Unknown Supervolcano About to Erupt?

  1. Well I’ll be damned.

    And to think I have been troubleshooting my network connection for the last three hours. (stepping through the simple to no avail)

    Any idea if the magma is from decompression melting over the last 10kyr or so or is there another mechanism at suspect?

    • If I remember correctly, there is a whole church made out of it down in Germany. That was from a documentary about Shoemaker’s work. His widow mentioned that she was afraid that he was going to chip off a peice of it for analysis.

  2. I suggest that people, especially those living in Northern Europe start preparing for a Volcanic winter. Plant easily stored root vegetables such as Swedes to ease the possibility of famine.
    Hopefully the jet stream will carry the fallout eastwards but should the El Nino effect change and the winds start blowing westwards then the whole of North America will be affected.

  3. There is a local rock, Dellenite: “a rock intermediate in composition between Rhyolite and Dacite, which has become the provincial rock. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dellen

    Dellenite is: plauenite, quartz monzonite, quartz porphyrite and trachyte-andesite.
    Source: Le Maître, R.W. (2002). Igneous rocks: a classification and glossary of terms : recommendations of the International Union of Geological Sciences, Subcommission on the Systematics of Igneous Rocks (2 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-521-66215-4.

      • Could be. But I think that a volcanic eruption is more likely near the active faultlines in the south-eastern parts of The Netherlands. They are a part of the Lower-Rhine Graben. But I think that thick layers of wet sediment which covers these faultlines prevent magma from rising to the surface. Magma would stall between the hard base rock and the thick layers of sediment above.

    • Will the Laacher See volcano erupt with a VEI-6 force? That means disaster for Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands!

  4. Humm.. As I was saying to sombody and sombody to me, last night, nobody would belive us, if we reported Hekla erupted last night. So we will delay this news untill tomorrow. Whatever happens today it will not be reported untill somthing happens.
    Ok, I now go get a few cases of this new “Thorri” beer, given out free from my local brewery, because its producer says it must not be sold after given day, that was some time ago week.

  5. Oh, dear! I bought the whole story!
    I was ready to point out to Carl that he had said, a couple of days ago, that Sweden lies over one of the most stable cratons on the planet! – you guys spoiled the whole thing!
    Gimme Yellowstone, I give you Dellen!
    Delenda Carl and Henrik!!! 😡

  6. Volcanocafé is really a wonderful place to come to, it’s got just everything, it’s instructive, friendly, surprising, etc….. but today I think it smells decidedly fishy 😉

    • As in poissons d’Avril? Or lutefisk? In any event, I found the statement that “…we had thought volcanism extinct (in Scandinavia) for at least 90 million years.” a bit overblown, given the Surtsey development, as well as Katla and all the other Icelandic hotspots–or is Iceland no longer part of Scandinavia? The Icelanders might be rather surprised to find that out…

    • Hmm, I´d say that is either a hissing boiler or splashing ducks. 😉
      13:00 to 16:00 UTC of LKWY (BHZ) in 27 seconds:

  7. Lol – this post was picked up by some doomer websites. Goes to show you how gullible they are 😀

  8. Nice photo. You guys been having a pretty warm winter this year? Ice on the lake appears to be pretty thin which should have made ice fishing sporty this last winter. Cheers –

  9. Is this an April fool’s joke? You don’t say if it is. By the way Aprils Fools is over at noon so can come clean if it is.

  10. I am sensing sulphur smell again on the air, where I live in south Iceland, 45km east from Hekla. This is real, I am not joking.

    • How can you smell a sulphur smell from Sweden when you are in Iceland and I thought you said the article was an April fool’s joke?

      • Probably because Irpsit is surrounded by some of the stinkiest volcanoes on the planet. One of them is aptly named Brennisteinsfjöll (Burning Stone Mountain, or Brimstone Mountain). Iceland can at times smell rather dodgy…

    • In Reykjavik this smell comes out of the shower. Quite normal. Smell of sulphur in Iceland? don´t tell enybody !!

  11. As predicted the crowd in here is not easily fooled.
    But, we made a big splash in the doomsayer communities who mostly bought the story ad verbatim.
    I must admit that me and Henrik had a blast coming up with this story. 🙂

    I am happy that everyone enjoyed the story!

    • Well, it didn’t take you long to realise it was not the real deal, well done! However, the Nibiruists were their usual gullible selves and bought the story as true, hiarr!!!

      For a long time it was thought that the Dellen lake area was volcanic in origin. It had the resurgent dome feature plus the mineralogy (dellenite + obsidian) to indicate it was volcanic. However, when shocked, lamellar quartz was discovered, it was seen as pretty conclusive proof that it was an astrobleme.

      What were the signs that this was a spoof? Well, the first picture was taken during summer. Right now, the lake and shores are covered by ice and snow respectively. Second, the names used while sounding plausible are perversions of Reynir Bödvarson actually does work for Uppsala University as the head of the Institution of Geosciences. No doubt you all recognised Pall Einarsson and Erik Sturkell as the inspirations for the other namedrops.

      • Reynir Bödvarson is also the man that goes and sit in the TV News to explain what is happening if there is an earthquake in Sweden, or when something of Icelandic origin does something that closes the airwaves. As the name suggests he is of Icelandic origin himself. Very nice chap really. I hope he will not beat me the next time I run into him, after todays little prank 🙂

  12. I’ve enjoyed all the jokes on here this morning! Very entertaining. I love that the Nibiruists were taken in. 😀

    • If they did not hate us before… 😉
      I think there is not a single nibiruist-site that has not reported on the upcoming doom of Scandinavia by now. I fully expected to get a radio-interview out of it.

      • You can deny it till you’re blue in the face now and they won’t believe you. Once it’s on the web it becomes a FACT and part of all the mad conspiracy theories. 🙂

        • Now you are giving me ideas… Baaaad ideas 🙂

          I noticed that a long time ago that you can fool conspiration theorists into believing anything. I actually by accident created one of the silliest nibiruist-memes out there when I wrote an article in an american tabloid many years ago about airplanes releasing toxic substances that made people infertile. I fervently wish I had not written it now, but back then it gave me a considerable amount of beer money, and as a poor student I really wanted beer. That story took off with a vengeance and is today more than 20 years later one of the largest conspiracy theories ever. For those who are not conspiration theorists, go and google “Chem-trails” and be amazed…
          I am also to blame for making a lot of people believe in killer sheep.

          • You are evil! 🙂 An otherwise sensible friend of mine believes in chem-trails! Even if you say you wrote these stories you will not be believed – the conspiracy theorists will say that you are lying or that you have been bribed by ‘them’ to say you made it up. The people round here who make the lovely crop-circles in the summer are regarded as liars by UFO believers. Even if they provide proof that they made the circles they are told that they did so ‘under the guidance of UFO’s’. People seem to have a great capacity for self-delusion. 🙂

            • Yeah, I have met a person who said that I had an implant that forced me to write “the truth”. The person in question is spending his life on writing a Unified Theory of Truth wherein he is combining every conspiracy theory into one huge one.
              It is beyond belief how gullible people really are.

          • Chem-trails to be truly scared of … just Google Operation Ranch Hand !!! (another dubious British invention)

            For my A-level chemistry project a group of us tried to make the infamous Agent Orange. I don’t think we ever came close to succeeding, but we killed a lot of grass on the girl’s hockey pitch 🙂

            • Co-incidentally, I blew a smallish crater in the school hockey pitch with an A-level physics project. Two scorched hockey pitches resulting from A-level projects…… The minds of British science students were clearly under the control of aliens 🙂

          • As one who made the cover of “Weekly World News” (I was co-pilot of a “ghost airliner from the 50’s”) there was a problem with the picture-they didn’t bother to airbrush out the tank or the big “62” on the Tail 😉 I can appiciate the “Chem-trail” thing got into a long heated internet fight
            with a Troll on an aviation site…
            BTW I bit on the eruption bait until i go from my 4g to my computer and clearly saw the cloud
            was a nice Cumulonimbus not an eruptive column :-)..

            • Now I am happy, if we can fool an old hand as you for a few seconds our mission is done 🙂
              We knew it would not stand up for many minutes of scrutiny of the crowd in here. But a little bit of “What the…” was what we aimed at 🙂
              And we had fuuuuuun writing it 🙂 Henrik was the main culprit though, all hail to him for writing the piece down.

          • This was a poor choice for a prank.You do realize that some could mistake the next real one for a prank.At least put that it was a prank in the end.In some places you could go to jail for this very kind of thing.Grow up.

            • HI and welcome to the Volcanocafe Northerntomcat,
              I can see your point, but do you really think that VC would have the first report of something real/serious of this magnitude? Had Lake Dellen really gone boom/doom it would be all over the interwebnet and Schwedish news channels etc

      • The general read is that it’s “OMG!” and then a few comments later “Hey, that was an April fools thingie.” After they read the comments.

        As you can see above, I initially only really questioned the source of the magma. Mainly because I didn’t know of any source that could be in play. The incredulous part for me was that decompression melt would wait 10kyrs before doing anything.

  13. Stunning news from Wired: La Pequeñita, the world’s smallest volcano, was recently discovered in Colombia!

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Erik Klemetti: “A group of scientists from the Universidad de Bolivar in Pasto were studying the habits of some of the ubiquitous leaf cutter ants when they stumbled across a tiny volcano in the middle of their field area. The lead scientists, Dr. Fernando Valenzuela was stunned by the tiny volcano: “it couldn’t have been more than 3 cm tall, but it even had its own little plume!” The scientists have dubbed the volcano La Pequeñita and local Colombian authorities have set up a 10 cm exclusion zone around the volcano.”
    Read the full story: http://www.wired.com/2014/04/worlds-smallest-volcano-discovered-in-colombia/

    • Rofl! The frightening thing is these days I am not sure what is April fool or actually, stupidly real!

    • More from Twitter
      – Robert Williams, USGS: Chile earthquake is much smaller than ’04 Indian Ocean quake. Tsunami won’t be too large but still potentially deadly
      – Chilean government says there is no serious damage to infrastructure or reports of victims following quake
      – And a different tsunami propagation map:

      A 1.9 and a 6.9 ft. waves have hit northern Chile coast so far. It seems that the brunt of the tsunami goes more to the southwest, hitting NZ eventually. There have been seven aftershocks from 4.5 to 6.2 M.

    • Remember that this is just a small earthquake on the Chilean way of counting things. Anything below 7.5 is a small quake. Between 7.5 and 9 it is a medium quake… Imagine a country where it needs to go to a 9 to be counted as large.

  14. i was checking Hekla before I was about to go to bed, and thought, oohh that’s weird, Hekla is shaking quite a lot. But then I found no earthquake, it must have been a big one somewhere in the planet, in the last couple of hours. Yes, its this one in Chile. So far there are no more news about the tsunami…

    • I remember about 2 weeks ago, we had a few M6 earthquakes there, in quick succession, and they had increasingly larger magnitudes. It was a clear sign they were aftershocks. It seems the entire Chilean coast is still suffering from readjustments after the 2010 quake. Activity seems to be moving further north. Anyways this is where some of strongest quakes on Earth have occurred.

  15. I hate Mondays… especially on Tuesday. Spent the afternoon hunched over a laptop, then got to come home to repair my computer. Then, I received word of an upcomming inventory.


  16. If you click on this link you can listen to the seismic signal converted to sound of the Chile Tarapaca 8.2 earthquake 2 Apr 2014 from the GO01 seismogram (BHZ, latitude -19.67, longitude -69.19), 2014-04-01 23:00 to 2014-04-02 07:20 UTC. Data provided by IRIS.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    • As the Nibiruists still think it’s fair dinkum and the bees knees while the regulars saw through it immediately, why? 😀

      • Nibiruists went full blow against Boris and Erik over EB. Unbelievable!
        The attacks against VC, albeit there were a few, were a bit milder.
        Scary thing. Sounds like they need a tragedy – in the US, not Chile or Indonesia – to make their point, which ranges from Mayan predictions to Apocalypse!

        • Well, if they get a shelf collapse off the coast of Maryland that drops a tsunami in that festering swamp that we call Washington DC, I’m all for it.

          The trouble is, that the mentality of this group is the same collection of assholes that will be rifling through your stuff once you have been evacuated to a safer area. At their core they want disaster so that they can pilfer goods and be wasteland badasses.

        • Just went through and read the comments for Erik’s Yellowstone post. Was definitely worth the read for entertainment value.

          As for arguing with people online, I’ve always found Mark Twain’s quote the most applicable. “Don’t argue with idiots. They’ll drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.”

          Besides, you’re not going to change their opinion, and even if you can, what’s the point?

          • It’s like playing chess with a pigeon. They knock over all the pieces and shit all over the board, then strut around like they have accomplished something.

          • If you could change their opinion, they were not what they are. Sensible people are open to sensible argument, nibiruists are not. Would be a good achievement though, if you could convert a nibiruist or two to rationalism 🙂

          • I don’t arbitrarily dismiss the wild arsed theories. I look at them for whether they are plausible, and if so, how probable are they? This is done with a high degree of suspicion of the claimant and what motivations that they may have in making such a claim.

            According to the new DSM, that makes me mentally insane.

            It also makes Robert Spitzer, the head of the DSM-III task force insane because he dared question authority.

            “…has publicly criticized the APA for mandating that DSM-5 task force members sign a nondisclosure agreement, effectively conducting the whole process in secret: “When I first heard about this agreement, I just went bonkers. Transparency is necessary if the document is to have credibility, and, in time, you’re going to have people complaining all over the place that they didn’t have the opportunity to challenge anything.”

            And anyone who is insane, is not allowed to posses firearms. So, despite the fact that I had to attend and pass countless “deadly force” training events, and was fully qualified for every weapon ever issued to me, (and quite proficient in a few of them), I am considered a danger to my neighborhood because I wouldn’t think twice about dropping an intruder into my house at 3 am who was threatening my family with bodily injury. (Hint, I’m only a danger if you are a criminal trying to hurt me or my family… even if I have to bludgeon you into submission. If I have to bash you with a coffee table, I’ll do it.)

      • I dunno, I was still sort of vaguely hooked until the word ‘obsidian’ by which point my brain had put 2 and 2 together and said ‘hold on a sec that doesn’t add up to the answer you’re suggesting’ but if I’d been lacking coffee I might have gone looking for webcams or something. So I was just trying to save the mirror image me in the alternate universe that had not yet read the article and was lacking coffee. If I hadn’t read it on the day (and some societies don’t have the april 1st tradition) I’d have probably still been wondering until I got into these comments 🙂

  17. Disturbing. I am now a great grandfather. Whee…. I don’t feel “greatness” though. Maybe it’s a corruption of “grate” because I can get on people’s nerves.

    I guess that makes me a GrateGrandfather. 😀 (the one that pisses you off)

  18. Hi all,
    Late reply, but I must admit you had me going until I clocked the date yesterday…
    @Henrik, have you ever stayed at La Carabela hotel in Puerto de la Cruz? I ask because I followed yr link to GLP to see what the tinfoilhatters were saying and found that this IP address was banned too…
    @Volcanocafers, in case my invitation was missed tother day, I will be in Puerto until 8th April; so if anyone is nearby and would like to meet up, leave me a reply and I will get back to you 🙂

  19. News of a newly discovered super volcano in Sweden got major play on the top-rated late-night radio program, Coast to Coast AM, thanks to a guest who apparently did not take this as an April Fool’s joke. What a great way to gain attention for a blog! When I could find absolutely no other source for this story, I became suspicious and the comments here confirmed my feeling that the story is bogus. This may be an April Fool’s joke but I’ll tell you one thing: This is the first and last time I will visit this blog. Too bad. It might have had some merit, if it weren’t for the fact that one can read the entire post and it doesn’t state “April Fool’s” even at the close of the “report”. The old rule-of-thumb with April Fool’s jokes is that you follow the trickery with the phrase “April Fool’s!”. This blog post breaks the rule and discredits the authors.

    • I am going to write an official editorial. But let me say that it will perhaps not be to your likeing.
      Carl, Owner of Volcanocafé

    • Well, if anyone talks on TV about anything that he has found on someones’ blog or somewhere else on the internet he would do very well indeed to use his brain, check the probability first and then the sources for confirmation of facts! 😀

      • I agree Granyia, I never believe a story unless I’ve heard it from at least two news sources, or read several articles on the web, or a peer-reviewed article in a Journal etc. etc. etc. I can’t believe anyone would fall for this funny joke – if true it would be all over the major news sites like the (very real) Chile quake has been. 🙂

    • Perhaps you shouldn’t take things too seriously then?

      The point of an April Fool’s joke is to fool people. It’s kind of bogus if you write “april fools” at the end of the article. Besides, as was already mentioned, if you would have just read the comments, things would have become readily apparent.

    • Not sure that April Fool’s day has “Rules”. As long as the practical Joke is harmless and hurts nobody except perhaps their pride for being “taken in” by the joke then really anything goes. I think this account of one of the most famous media April 1st jokes way back in 1957 proves that society really hasn’t changed much, despite the huge technological advances.
      At the bottom of the post the very first tag says April 1st. That was enough to make me suspicious and the very first comment by CJWINWIN certainly made reference to the celebration of All fool’s Day. Then other comments came thick and fast mostly enjoying and joining in with the prank. The two writers admitted that it was a joke by the afternoon of April1st.
      For those young Un’s out there who will probably not have seen this prank here is an account of the BBC’s and possibly the world’s First ever April First media joke…..

      • I agree Diana, no rules apply except that it must be ‘played’ before noon. If it carries on after that time, it’s fine but if someone says “Is this an April Fool joke?” then you have to confess. Our local news programme one year (back in the 1970’s) ran six “obviously untrue” news stories – I thought it was all a bit obvious but at the end of the programme they revealed the real joke – all the stories were true! The Times (before it was ruined) ran a whole supplement on a fake country that fooled quite a lot of people. It was so successful that a few years later they ran a follow-up, which fooled even more people. Some people just don’t have a sense of humour! 😀

      • Oh and So I had better admit that my comment on the previous post page
        Diana Barnes April 1, 2014 at 07:55 was also an April Fool’s Joke……… 😀

        • I once sent my Boss a fake report on the budget (he was in UK at the time and I was in Malawi). I wrote the date out in full (which I never did normally) but he fell for it and told lots of the company directors that the Corporate Tax had been increased to 90%! Eventually he saw the funny side of it! (And so did they). 😀

      • I remember this well 🙂 My parents, as many others in the UK viewed Spaghetti as an exotic and very foreign food. We only ate pasta n the form of a baked , sweet, ,milky macaroni pudding.
        How our British tastes have changed in the last 50 years.
        I also now grow Spaghetti 😀 in the form of a squash. It’s one way of getting the Grand children to eat vegetables :D.

        • My Grandma believed it, though my mother thought there was something a bit funny about it, but as it was on Panorama it must be true!

    • These quakes likely won’t do a thing. It’s not as if Uturuncu just appeared yesterday, and there have been multiple quakes off the Chile coast that have been way more powerful than this one just in the last 100 years that have done very little to affect the volcanoes. If those quakes didn’t cause any change to the Chilean / Bolivian volcanic systems on a grand scale, it’s unlikely that this quake will.

      Also, Uturuncu is pretty far away from the region of the quake sitting back behind the primary volcanic arc.

    • According to the USGS shake map, if I visually extrapolate the shake intensity to Uturuncu´s approximate location, it might have experienced weak to light shaking.
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic

      • Uturuncu would have experienced MMI 6.37 to 6.85 shaking from the Mag 8.2 quake. That’s using the calculated Atkinson-Wald formulas from USGS.

        MMI 6.3 is 14.9% g and 14.9 cm/s acceleration.

  20. Pingback: Editorial on our April fool’s Joke | VolcanoCafé

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