Reykjanes Volcanic Field + Riddles

This wonderful image of a thermal field in Reykjanes was honestly stolen from Snorri Gunnarssons page www.iceland-phototours.com

This wonderful image of a thermal field in Reykjanes was honestly stolen from Snorri Gunnarssons page http://www.iceland-phototours.com

In my expose over the top five most likely volcanoes to erupt in Iceland I have now come to number three. This time around I am not going to write about a single volcano, instead I am going to write about one of the most interesting corners of Iceland, namely the volcanism on Reykjanes Peninsula and Reykjanes Ridge.

Here at Volcanocafé we regularly write about two types of volcanism, subduction driven volcanism or hotspot driven mantleplume volcanism. Rarely do we write about the third type of volcanism, namely plate-tectonic rift volcanism. In a way we should write more about it since it stands for more than half of all volcanism on the planet, but then on the other side, it rarely is noticed since 99.9 percent of it takes place under the ocean at such depths that you need a hydrophone to even notice it. Only places where you can find it above the surface is at the topmost part of the Great Rift volcanism, or in Iceland.

Reykjanes Peninsula

As we leave the triple-junction volcano of Hengill behind us we venture beyond the volcanism that is driven by the Icelandic hotspot. Instead the volcanoes from here on is driven by the spreading of the Mid Atlantic Rift (MAR) only. As the American and Eurasian continents are drawn apart the pressure is lowered at the top of the mantle and mobile magma is released due to decompression melt. That magma in turn moves into the thinning crust, often at the latter end of an earthquake swarm.

Normally we spend a lot of time trying to understand if an earthquake swarm is tectonic or magmatic, but here the swarms often go rather seamlessly from a tectonic entry-stage to a magmatic end stage. Often these types of swarms are called magma-tectonic just to lessen the confusion. Most of these swarms never amount to anything, but on rare occasions swarms happen at the same place and magma start to build up in the thin layer of crust and at even rarer occasions you get an eruption. But one thing is certain; sooner or later you will have an eruption at pretty much every point along the rift zone.

In no place in Iceland is the question about what is a central volcano as infected as here, and to be honest, volcanoes worthy of the name central volcano is far in between, but they do exist if you look for permanent magma reservoirs. Problem is just to know if one exists or not. I will try my utmost to be clear when we know or not.

The rest of the volcanism is from rift swarms, these are permanent weaknesses that lack a permanent known magma reservoir, but they have suffered from repeated eruptions. Now we can start our tour.

Brennisteinsfjöll

The Brimstone that gave Brennisteinsfjöll its name. Image from www.extremeiceland.is

The Brimstone that gave Brennisteinsfjöll its name. Image from http://www.extremeiceland.is

Between 875AD and 1371AD Brennisteinsfjöll suffered from 6 eruptions, or on average 1 every 78 years. Before that the volcano had mainly been inactive for a period of 2 000 years. The eruptions from Brennisteinsfjöll are mainly effusive lava floods with a small explosive component caused by access to water.

The magma from Brennisteinsfjöll is high in sulphuric content giving the mountain its name, in translation to English it would be Mount Brimstone. So expect any eruption from here to be slightly on the stinky side. During the 1 000AD eruption the stench was so bad that it disrupted the parliament that was held outdoors in Thingvellir.

Currently the seismic activity is low at Brennisteinsfjöll, but the area is by no means quiet, it just lacks massive earthquake swarms indicating magma-tectonic filling of the volcano. Brennisteinsfjöll is believed to hold an independent magma reservoir.

Krísúvik

The central volcano of Krísúvik is heavily tectonically active, and has also suffered from a recent long term magmatic intrusion at depth. The volcano has a large field filled with solfataras, fumaroles, boiling mud pots and hot springs. There are also large sulphur deposits that previously was mined.

Due to the volcano running in under Kleifarvatn Lake the area is prone to suffer from explosive Maar-formations and the area is also very hydrothermally active.

After the 2 000 earthquake cracks opened up at the bottom of the lake and the water level dropped so much that more than 20 percent of the surface area disappeared, in 2008 the water level had returned to its previous level.

The water level though dropped again when an inflation period started in May 2010 that lasted all the way to April 2012. During this time new hot springs came to the surface as the water level dropped and scientists recorded a lot of other signals associated with a volcano nearing an eruption.

This photograph by Skarphéðinn Þráinsson shows the Seltún hydrothermal field at Krýsúvik volcano.

This photograph by Skarphéðinn Þráinsson shows the Seltún hydrothermal field at Krýsúvik volcano.

But in May 2012 everything calmed down and the volcano started to slowly deflate and the risk for an eruption diminished. One should though recognize the very tangible risk for a new intrusion happening, which might set off the volcano in a fairly limited amount of time.

Krísúvik might be seen as a bimodal volcano, in and of itself it is not explosive at all. But if you factor in the ready access to water and previous history of Maar-forming detonations, well then you have a high risk for explosive bursts during an otherwise mild effusive eruption, so it might be wise to keep a good distance from the volcano when she erupts. The volcano is last believed to have erupted in the year 1340.

Fissure swarms

To the west of Krísúvik you have at least 3 rows of rift swarms running at an angle to the MAR, they are all oriented in a NE direction to the EW direction of the MAR. These volcanic rifts are ill researched, but at least one of them is believed to have erupted during the last 1 000 years, probably around the year 1200. There is nothing pointing towards these rifts having an independent permanent magma reservoir, so as such they are not volcanoes in their own right even though they have erupted more than once.

Svartsengi

Normaly a power-plant is not the sexiest thing on the planet, but the Icelanders have succeeded with making Svartsengi pretty photogenic, at least seen from the Bláa Lonid (Blue Lagoon).

Normaly a power-plant is not the sexiest thing on the planet, but the Icelanders have succeeded with making Svartsengi pretty photogenic, at least seen from the Bláa Lonid (Blue Lagoon).

Up until recently it was hotly debated if the heat drawn by the Svartsengi Hydrothermal Power Plant came from an independent magma reservoir, or if it was fueled by residual heat from the 1226 Illahraun eruption from Svartsengi. Nature though tore that dispute rather decisively in early October of 2013 when a rather dramatic intrusion occurred in the volcano.

The swarm started as a regular tectonic swarm but rapidly became magma-tectonic as new magma rushed in to fill the newly created empty spaces. In effect, the initial earthquakes transformed Svartsengi into a vacuum syringe pulling in the magma as it opened bottom up.

Svartsengi is often in the literature mixed up with the Reykjanes volcano, but it does not in any way share the same magmatic reservoir and is as such different volcanoes. An eruption from Svartsengi would mainly be effusive in character.

Reykjanes Volcano

The tip of Reykjanes with Reykjanes Volcano.

The tip of Reykjanes with Reykjanes Volcano.

The real Reykjanes Volcano might be the smallest volcanic feature of them all, it last erupted in 1 211AD in an eruption that transected both land and water, and as such it was the largest explosive eruption in both the Reykjanes Peninsula and Reykjanes Ridge areas. Called the R-7 Tephra it ranked in at a respectable VEI-4.

There is no sign of an independent stable magma reservoir under the volcano and it is doubtful that it is a central volcano, but an eruption here would be a danger to anyone living close by due to the explosive nature caused by the readily available water.

Eldey and Eldeyarbodi

It is not known if this is one volcano, or if these are two different adjacent volcanoes. I am here going to avoid that discussion and leave that for others to decide. Eldey had its last eruption in the beginning of June 1926, it was a small eruption not assigned any VEI-number.

The Gannet riddled island of Eldey.

The Gannet riddled island of Eldey.

The last eruption at Eldeyarbodi was in March 1830 and ranks in at a respectable VEI-3. This eruption caused the start of the end of the Great Auk as the entire Eldey and Eldeyarbodi colony moved to Geirfugl where they dwindled rapidly until the last couple was strangled and the eggs stomped asunder.

The area is highly tectonically active with frequent recurring earthquake swarms. The area is believed to house a permanent stable pocket of magma, and from time to time ephemeral islands have sprouted forth. There is also a trace of young magma that has been sampled from the ocean floor pointing to volcanic activity as late as in the 1980s.

In May 1783 an island was born near Eldey, it was christened into Nyey (new island), but it had a short lifespan and rapidly sank due to the harsh wave conditions in the area.

Geirfuglasker and Geirfugladrangur

All that is visible of the Geirgugladrangur volcano.

All that is visible of the Geirgugladrangur volcano.

The remote rock of Geirfuglasker has come and gone during the centuries and eruptions have taken place here at numerous events. The same goes for this area as for Eldey, we do not know if this is a larger volcano with 2 individual peaks, or if it is 2 separate small volcanoes.

The last eruption at Geirfugladrangur took place in May 1879 and the last at Geirfuglasker in 1422. But there is good reason to believe that those eruptions are just a tip of the iceberg and that several small eruptions have taken place later on.

The area is today wrought with intense earthquake swarms and it is not hard to believe that sooner or later a new eruption will take place here. It is quite likely that there is a permanent magma reservoir here, but there is no conclusive evidence for that.

There are more volcanic features out in the waters of Reykjanesskaggi, but these are most likely ordinary volcanic rift zone and not individual volcanoes. At least 5 other volcanic features are known to lurk in the waters, but until more research is done we can leave that be.

Conclusion

For the Reykjanes Peninsula we can see that the volcanism tends to be happening in groupings where the region is active for about 500 years and then goes silent for about 1 000 years. This is most likely due the tension buildup being prolonged here and that it takes time for the tension to become strong enough to thin out the crust sufficiently for a rifting episode to start.

There is currently nothing pointing towards such a rifting period being close, but then on the other hand we have seen intrusions happening at two well known volcanoes. Only problem is that we do not know the complete track-record for the area, these intrusions might after all happen every 50 or so years without any eruption happening.

When an eruption happens in the area it will be effusive unless it happens at Krýsúvik or Reykjanes Volcano, there the ready access to water could lead to a severe explosive event. In the end though even an effusive eruption would cut the power from Svartsengi Power Plant and cut the main road to the Keflavik Airport, but Iceland has abundant electricity and even emergency airports that could take over the slack.

In the end the place to expect an eruption is out in the water, and in all likelihood we will see one sooner rather than later. And, in the end isn’t the idea of a brand new Island shooting out of the water outside of Iceland what all of us dream of?

Riddles

As usual there are 3 volcanoes, 1 Fault line and 1 volcanologist hidden among the riddles. 2 points will be awarded up until I append clues, after that 1 point is to be had per riddle.

  1. London be filled by thee on crustulorum (Clue: think food, think Londons famous spicy food) – Mt Asphyxia, South Sandwich Islands (Evan Chugg, 1pt. Bonuspoint to KarenZ for Mt Curry). Mt Asphyxia, also known as Mount Curry. Crustulorum = small bread, perfect for sandwiches.
  2. Filibustering cedro in the caldera – La Yeguada, Panama (Alison, 2pt). The volcano caldera is often visited by filibusterers, and in  it grows mainly cedro trees.
  3. Indian God of Clarke with bowel movement (Clue: think Arthur) – Ramapo Fault (Evan Chugg, 1pt). Rama is an Indian God and a famous series of books by Arthur C. Clarke.
  4. Statuesque laconical pottery among ancient mines – Milos, Greece (Dinojura44, 2pt). Milos is statuesque due to Venus from Milo, it has some of the oldest known mines on the planet, and there is pottery from the Laconian period.
  5. Regimental Tuya of the south (Clue: Think political version of Regimental. Easter, Wester, Norther…) – Volcanologist Jack Souther (Sissel, 1pt). He suggested that Hoodoo Mountain was a Tuya and he wrote the Volcanic Regimes.
Score board
6 Sissel
5 Kelda
4 KarenZ 4 Shérine France

CARL

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237 thoughts on “Reykjanes Volcanic Field + Riddles

    • Ding!
      It is indeed Mt Asphyxia, also known as Mount Curry and it is on the rather crustaceous Islands of the South Sandwich Island Group.

      • Mount Asphyxia

        “The name refers to the suffocating fumes experienced on the island; volcanic fumes spew from the mountain and to this is added the stench of penguin guano, and the fumes can indeed suffocate a visitor to the island. The same qualities given names to a number of Zavodovski Island’s other features.”

  1. After having it pointed out to me by Sissel, KarenZ did actually name Mount Curry.
    But she did not say either Mt Asphyxia, not the South Sandwich Islands. But, it in no small means is a part of the solution.
    So, bonuspoint to KarenZ 🙂

    • I should perhaps explain this little ruling…
      I want the solution, not just the answer before I award the points, half answers can only merrit partial points or bonuspoints.
      Evan did put forth the entire logical chain behind his answer.

    • Wikipedia: “Souther proposed Hoodoo Mountain formed as a tuya because of its overall flat-topped topography. However, more recent studies have shown that Hoodoo Mountain is a stratovolcano, even though its structure likely results from frequent relationships between volcanism and adjacent ice sheets during the last glacial period.”

      • Oh … so easy when you have the answers and Carl’s explanations 😉 😉 Have a good week everyone, I’m looking forward to the next interesting article and hope my brain is ready for next Friday’s riddles.

    • Actually Down Under is correct, the public representation server is frozen. The SILs are though working fine and the earthquakes are automatically updating as they should.

    • Problem is that they are basing things on Laki, and during Laki the bulk of people who died worked in the fields with heavy labour. Today few people do that, on top of that we also know about the dangers today and can take precaution.
      Just breathing through a damp cloth makes marvels of difference, and then we have not even started talking about a proper gas mask.

      A while ago I invested in a particle filter / gas mask / rebreather unit. The reason for me getting one is of course not something such as silly as being afraid of Laki gasses here in Sweden. A damp cloth would be enough. No, I got it because when Hekla, Grimsvötn, Laki or whatever decides to go off I plan to be as close to it as humanly possible, and then I need something like that. And yes, I am on the prowl for a shiny Boris-suit too…

      People worry to much. My personal biggest fear with volcanoes in Iceland? Here is my list:
      1. Even though I am on permanent standby to hurtle to Iceland with the bags packed there is a huge risk the airplane will be diverted from Icelandic airspace before I get there.
      2. That the security people will go bonkers over my protective gear and arrest me.
      3. That the volcano will stop erupting before I get there… Would be typical for my luck.
      On the whole, that is my biggest worries in regards of Icelandic volcanoes. And trust me, if it is humanly possible I will be as close to a large Icelandic fissure eruption as can be accomplished. And that from a guy who knows more about Laki than almost anyone on the planet (baring perhaps 5 icelandic volcanologists).

        • Yes, but nowadays we actually import most of our food from other parts of the world that would be less affected. Prices would go up, and we would not get fresh fruit and veggies. But, as long as the respective governments are at least aware of what to do all should be fine but bothersome.
          Most people will not even notice it unless their iPhone-apps stop working 😉

        • Thanks for the tip, I could be in Bergen in about 6 hours.
          Thankfully I can’t become seasick, so that would not be a problem for me.

        • At least it looks like a Boris-suit 🙂
          Another alternative might be to call the smelter plant in the city where I used to live and ask from where they are getting their suits.
          These suits were never designed for geologists, they were designed to product workers at smelting plants when they deslag the conduit from the blasting furnace.
          The clothes are made by Jutec Gmbh, here is a video from materials testing.

    • Supervolcanoes in Iceland (Yellowstone mentioned in the same breath of course…), 17 mile fissure in Grimsvotn, Katla is similar to Grimsvotn regarding the 17 mile fissure,,….

      I mean, seriously, who comes up with this sh*t? (Or is it all true and my life was a big lie all this time)

      • Trust me, it is true.
        I have worked extensively with the Laki fissure and I have walked the entire distance on foot.
        But one thing they are not, and that is Supervolcanoes. A supervolcanic eruption is a once in a 100 000+ years event. So, it is not a big risk at all. But an Icelandic large scale fissure eruption with the capacity to alter the climate for a year, and producing enough gas to hamper things and that will increase the mortality rate? You better believe it.
        The Icelandic large scale fissure operate on roughly a 270 year cycle (sometimes it skips an eruption) and we are increasingly getting closer to the risk peak for one. During the last 1000 years 4 of them have occured, 3 large and 1 small that happened in between. 1783 Laki went off, 1477 Veidivötn went off together with Bárdarbunga having a VEI-6 caldera event (explosive), then there is one missing and in 934 Eldgja erupted. And the list just continues down the line.
        Now, was Laki really that big for being in Iceland? No. It was actually about 1/3 of the largest known ones like Thjorsahraun (Veidivötn), Odhadhahraun and Theistareykjarbunga (among others).

        So, from a “what shit is likely” standpoint Iceland is far more dangerous than any supervolcano shit. Remember that one third of all erupted lava on earth is coming from Iceland. Now, ponder that about 100 eruptions occur around the planet for every Icelandic eruption and you can start to get the scale of exactly how large an icelandic eruption can be. We are after all talking about a Trap-formation event that is happening during our lifetime.

        Now, to be exact. I am not afraid of an eruption like that, and I am positive that we can handle something on that scale with just common sense and knowledge about gas preventive methods. But it will be a massive nuisance.
        Onwards, even though I am pretty convinced (for good scientific reasons) that I will live to see an eruption like that I do not loose even a second of sleep over it. As I wrote above, my greatest worry is not being there as it happens.

        • Thanks for another clarification. 🙂 Trust me, I do not doubt the potential of Iceland volcanology at all. I live in central Europe, and I am at least partially aware what can/will happen, or what could happen. So this is not the sh*t that bothers me. 🙂
          Its the 17mile Grimsvotn fissure that bothers me the most. 😀 A.k.a. media reporting confusing details. 😀

          • Actualy the combined fissure swarm of Grimsvötn is 130 kilometers… It more or less goes from top to bottom of Iceland 😉
            Laki fissure was just the part that erupted the last time. Gjálp was something on the order of 6.5km for instance.

          • About that gas. SO2 that gets lofted to the stratosphere only has a stay time of about 50 months after it gets converted to sulfate. That conversion takes about 2 months to complete.

            • Yeah, and the half life makes the fall off rate pretty steep too, so the gas will not affect more than a year. After that year there will still be sulfates around, but at to low concentrations to cause any harm.

            • I never did find out what the background level of the Junge layer is… but it should be pretty simple to determine… at a later time. I have to drive to forever tomorrow.

              At least it ain’t Texas. An IT freind there has 600 mile round trip tickets he has to do.

            • It’s a pity they used the emotive term “supervolcano” and did not focus on a hazard map.

  2. The bane of having an evil grandfather….

    I just stuck a logging accelerometer in my grandkid’s car. It’s sitting there merrily flashing it’s little data collection light.

    … on a plus side, I do know that our ambulances are equipped with similar devices… and the drivers are hit with a demerit for each excursion outside of accepted bounds.

    And, from what I understand, a warning light or notice goes off in the cab when that happens. Nice way to add to the stress on a driver that is already driving under urgent conditions. That had to be the idea of a bureaucrat.

    • He offered to max it out when he pulled out, I told him, no, I just want to see what is normal. Besides, you aren’t gonna get 16 g’s unless you hit something, no matter how hard you try.

      What is going to surprise him is when I take his curb weight and calculate what sort of power he is effectively getting out of his car. I have a feeling he is going to be somewhat disappointed.

  3. Apparently, Arkansas got nailed pretty hard. According to a man in the street interview, some people are having trouble getting to the hospital due to buildings being on top of their cars.

    Some of the homes are now stripped slabs of concrete. That points to a pretty high wind speed.

    http://www.arkansasmatters.com/story/d/story/watch-live-now-ar-storm-team-coverage/41398/-r3POA-r2UawMmWsNRdQFg

    Back when I was growing up in my hometown, we had one of these tornado fronts blow through and lift an entire roadway slab of concrete from a bridge over a local creek. They never located the slab. Odds are that it was slammed into a swamp somewhere down range, never to be found.

    My real concern is that I have a friend that lives in Russelville, which is not far from where this is happening at.

    Late night tornadoes are farking lethal.

    • At one time, I had toyed around with getting out of the service and doing work as a bench tech where he worked. I tried it out for a couple of week while on leave there and found the terrain quite beutiful and quite hilly. The news feed has stated that they now have a mudslide across one of the roadways there. Not a good night to be out at all.

      Colage of Dupage NEXRAD radar out of Little Rock.

      http://weather.cod.edu/satrad/nexrad/index.php?type=LZK-N0Q-0-6

      • Yeah, so do I. The problem is we have “disconnected” over the years and I don’t have any way to contact him. The last time I tracked him down he was out on the road and holed up with his new girlfriend at some hotel. Oddly enough, this was his same behavior as when I knew him so many years ago. He was always one to chase after women. I had figured that he had settled down from when I had last seen him in Arkansas. His wife at the time was quite a jaw dropper.

  4. Todays morning musing…
    90 percent of all European Iron Ore is dug out of Northern Sweden. Only problem is that the mines have grown so large that we need to move two entire cities, Kiruna and Malmberget.So, how do you move an entire city?
    Well, here is something to watch with the morning coffee. Now, what does this have to do with volcanoes? Simple, the ore mined here comes from the deepest depths of our planet, around 2.2 billion years ago a part of the molten outer core started to move upwards in the form of a core plume, in the end the material from the core was deposited in the Baltic Shield. Today the magmatic intrusion of core materia forms the purest iron ore body on the planet. That is volcanism on the grandest of scales.
    Now, let’s move house!

    • Now, how big is big?
      I have found that people really have a problem understanding the size of a normal eruption… How on earth would you then understanding a dyke intrusion from a core plume? It is basically impossible to grasp. I could burp figures all day long like that just a single dyke is covered in 400 kilometers of paved road going to 1365 meters depth, and that the intrusion continues more than 150 kilometers down, that just to get around you have a bus-line and that you could fit a significant portion of the worlds population down there. Still the brain can’t comprehend things.
      But, watching a movie about driving around in the Kirunawaara mine might help. Jump to about 4.45 into this video. If you are up to erratic music, live it on, otherwise turn the sound off. In the latter portion is bunches of nice photos from the gargantuan 1365 meter deep mine factory.

      The cost of constructing the 1365 level is equal to the combined economy of the 30 poorest countries on the planet for 10 years. That it still is profitable to make that kind of investment is also a way of explaining the proportion of things. Iron ore purity at 1365 is at a whopping 71 percent Fe.

        • Nope, the smelters are on either side of the Ironore-Railroad that leads to two different set of smelters, or to two large ports shipping it to smelters in Germany, Finland and England.
          Having the smelters down at that level would create way to much CO2 to be aired out.
          And to keep with the “biggest” meme. The Iron ore is charted out to the smelters and ports on the largest and heaviest trains on the planet towed by the most powerful electric trains on the planet.

      • Personally, I think the music track was appropriate for the setting.

        It says quite a lot that it is more economical to move the processing facility down to where the ore is at. Despite what a lot of yammering shit-heads have to say, for the most part, corporations a highly efficient entities gaining the greatest return for their investment. If the cheapest way to do it is to move the factory down there, it has to be able to provide a serious return or else they wouldn’t do it.

        As for the idea of a smelter, I’m thinking no. That takes a lot of ventilation. It’s probably a pelletization facility. A lot of ore is sold and shipped in that form. We dropped anchor in Bahrain just down wind from one of their pellet plants where they receive material. The rusty dust was horrendous for those of us who wore contacts.

        Not a fun deck watch.

        The humorus part of that stop was that after a few hours, we had to pull anchor and get underway to move forward enough to get our fantail out of the shipping channel. Seems that our swing circle put our ass out in the channel when the tides shift.

          • Yepp, just a fair bit longer. One should notice that the thing driving down is an 18-wheeler.

            Another tidbit, the dyke is 6km long and between 80 and 200 meters wide. Compare that to the standard dyke of 500 meters long and 1,5 meters wide. There is actually a sub-mine down there that is called “The Lake-ore”, it was opened in 2003 and are processed at 500 meters depth now. The sub-mine would if it was a separate mine be the worlds third largest sub-terranean mine, but compared to the big mine it is still a pebble. LKAB runs all of the 3 largest subterranean mines. Lake-ore, Kirunawaara and the Malmberget mines.

        • It is the crusher plant that is down there together with machine shops and diverse sub processing plants. The Skips (lifts) then haul the ore powder straight up where it is further refined and pelletized. The production plant on top produces half of the worlds iron-ore pellets. The plant is though far cleaner than the one Lurking saw in Bahrain. After all the rust-dust is iron and as such worth money.
          And yes, corporations are efficiency monsters. The name of the game is to be more efficient than your competitor to gain advantages. And LKAB makes the highest return of them all even though they run expensive underground mines and pay the highest wages to their workers on the planet.
          Paying premium is pretty much the only way to get skilled labor to move up there. LKAB is also the greatest example that state owned companies can be hellishly efficient compared to private companies, their track record speaks for itself. The efficiency drive is the same, but the ownership strategy is on a very longterm timescale so the company has amased resources for decades to achieve the goal of the government, to produce all the Iron ore needed in Europe. Lately that goal has further been expanded to also cover the US.

            • Actually, the laws here are pretty good for how a company should be run, and who has what to say about it.
              Basically the ownership is not government direct, it is owned by a sub department specialized in ownership, and they tend to employ sharp ones. These ones write the ownership directives, and these are by law just loose directives like “expand”, “make money”… and so on.
              They also appoint the board of directors who translate the directives into concrete plans and the board is made out of professional “boarders”, these in turn employ the CEO who puts the plans into action. What is fun is that the powers of the diverse groups is set in stone. No minister can call up the CEO an order him to do anything. He would just (and have done so) tell the minister to Fudge off.
              So, basically it just works as any private company, but with very long term goals. And the government is very pleased with getting the profit streight into its coffers. All of the state owned companies are actually above private owned company par on the profit side of things.
              The high yield from the companies have during the last decade financed rather voluminous tax cuts, so a politician even suggesting privatisation of the companies would be elected out of office quickly.

              Personaly I think it is a good idea for key asset companies to be state owned, after all they are the backbone of the country. These include electricity production, railroads and mining operations. Not all of these are state owned here though, it is a mix of things. Problem is that many governments have failed in legalizing themselves out of controlling the companies directly.

    • Ahh… the reason for the “we don’t have a volcano waking up” attitude of some of the political types makes it to the press.

      Refreshing… sort of.

      • The reservoirs for the water turbines are on the side of Tinor (you can see them on Google satellite). The upper one seems to be in an old crater.

        • It is. At one time it was a sheep lot. Nothing like building a critical component inside of a scoria cone of an awakening volcano eh?

          Peaking reservoirs can and do work… until the retaining system fails or you have magma injected into the bottom of it.

        • I am pretty certain that it will work out fine in the end for them, the risk of lava popping out at that exact spot is miniscule, and being energy independent is not such a bad idea, even if the return of investment is far away. Thing with electricity is that you can have long ROIs, but in the end it always pays off to invest in it.
          For the island it was a pretty good system, but it would be ludicrous in other parts of the world.

            • Many of the ideas have some merrit, at least for some places.
              I think that the only really stupid idea is to think that there is only one solution to the energy problem.
              As long as you use what is logical localy you will get something pretty decent.
              Right now there is a trend in Sweden to hook up solar panels on houses. This might be the most stupid idea of all times. We need the maximum energy in the winter when there is no sun, and in the summer when the panels work we do not need the energy at all, instead it is a nuisance for the electric system.

              Best working solution here are windmill parks that run in tandem with hydroelectric dams. When the wind blows the hydroelectric dams can shut down and save on water, and vice versa. Windmills need something to balance the load, we have that, but in many parts of the world oil or coal is the only loadbalancer.

              Also, from my experience small scale is just nuts. It gives very little electricity compared to the raw materials used, and it is inefficient and it also wreaks havoc with the national grids due to uneven loading. Instead there are a number of good ways to for instance heat your house based on local production as long as you stay away from electricity.

          • It will be interesting to follow that project as it deploys. I’m curious to see the maintenance side and the effective loads of the windmills. It is technically speaking a sound project.

            • Windmills today are easy to calcuate the efficiency of, it is a very rapidly maturing side of electricity production. And since they have a method (albeit expensive) of load balancing they should be rather fine.
              And one should remember that the ROI should be offset against radically lowered electricity prices on the island compared to when it was all oil based.

            • In this case it is factored in, that is why they get a 26 year ROI. But, the lowered prices strengthens the local economy, so the ROI should really be offset.
              By the way, 26 years is quite a normal ROI time for large scale electricity infrastructure projects. 25 years is the norm for a hydropower plant, but then, after that you just make money like if you had a money printing machine.

            • Hm…
              Should perhaps be clearer here.
              The ROI is 26 years in todays currency worth, so after one year the amount should be 80-(1/26)=76,923 but in reallity the amount will be 74,615 due to the inflation. In reallity the net return year 1 is 0, year two it will be 3 percent and so on and so forth. So, the ROI will effectively be met within 10 years and after that the money press will be happily chomping out cash.

            • Hydro and wind farms work quite well in Wales, since we have a lot of weather to suit both options. The wind powers the electric and pumps water up into the reservoir, when the wind is blowing, and then when the wind drops, the water is released to keep a steady power supply as required. It works well. Energy companies have a hold over us all though, and prices are higher in the UK than in other parts of Europe.

  5. Interesting ongoing research from the “Reykjanes Ridge 2013” project:
    “We will conduct a month-long marine geophysical expedition to collect the multibeam, magnetics and gravity data that would provide a definitive test between the fundamentally different thermal and tectonic hypotheses for exactly how the Iceland plume (or whatever form of mantle convection or heterogeneity creates Iceland) caused the reorganization of the MAR south of Iceland”
    http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/North_Atlantic_Reorganization/science.html

      • Basically. Small flies, yes, about size of Mosquitos or larger, called “Mý” and mostly harmless (a nuisance we readily admit) but that spices (Mosquitos) is not present in this country.

        One fact many do not know. Living conditions for these are not “good enough”, the winters are too warm and lakes are too few and we have very little permafrost (possibly up in mountains in the north?)

  6. Another bad day in the Southeast US. A particularly dangerous situation has been issued for large parts of Mississippi and Alabama.

    • Thats about par for the course in Mississippi. Grew up in that stuff.

      This is the link for the live feed from WLBT out of Jackson MS. This is the station that I first saw the eyewall of a hurricane (Camille) as it passed by on radar. Very cool.

      http://www.msnewsnow.com/category/260221/live-video-watch-wlbt-news

      Many years ago, my dad was doing AC duct work at the station and heard an announcer rehearsing a commercial spot for the Pontiac Grand Prix automobile. The part that was causing the announcer the greated trouble was the phrase “You’ve never ridden, until you ridden in a Grande Prix”

      His pronunciation of “Prix” rhymed with “stick.”

      A Classic “Hook” echo. Reports are that a large tornado is on the ground 6 miles north near Tinsley MS. (In this area, if a sighting is north or east of you, you are pretty safe from it. The usual trend is eastward or northward movement.) The news head states that it is headed for Yazoo MS.

    • It looks like Yazoo lucked out. The storm to the south, near Canton, blocked part of the inflow and lessened it’s strength and the brunt of it passed just south of the city. Of course that doesn’t bode well for people downrange of the storm near Canton.

      And, this image triggers a memory of the area down near Pelahatchie. Not sure of the town (possibly White Oak) but there is a cemetery down there along side of Highway 18. From what I understand, a man going hunting was crossing a fence and had propped his shotgun on the fence. He bumped it and it fell and discharged, killing him. The way the story runs is that they buried him where he fell. Over time, other people were interred there and it became a de-facto cemetery. Later, a church was built on the property next to it. This “White Oak” is not the same small town in northern Mississippi. You drive through it as you head down through Puckett.

      It appears that Kosciusko is the next large population center under threat.

        • Run Elvis! Run!.

          That’s what took half the roof off of my Granddad’s house several years ago while I was inside of it. My Mom and my wife were shocked when I started barking orders at them setting up and taking cover. I had heard the report of a sighting 9 mile south and 9 miles west of our location and went out to watch the sky. The lightning was so persistent that you could read a newspaper. There was a large dark non-lightning area directly south west that to me, indicated that I was in the direct path. I had scrambled back inside and tossed the couch up against the wall and ordered them behind it with blankets and pillows, then killed the electrical breakers to the house and dove in on top of them. The only thing that had crossed my mind was the possibility of knob and tube wiring that might still be hot up in the attic of the old house. My dad had rewired it to modern standards but I didn’t know if he had done the whole house. I didn’t worry about the house hold propane tank because if it got snatched up, it was likely going to go somewhere else.

          A nearby stand of pine that had been planted in one of the old pastures were clipped clean at about 20 feet up like a lawn mower had gone across it.

          One of the things that you did afterwards was to walk around trying to match trees to whatever hole they had come out of. We came up with an extra tree. Several miles away at the church, they had an extra hole with no tree to go with it. My guess is that it was their tree.

      • BTW, I went out of my way to make sure that I included some of the more attractive place names so that Carl could explore pronunciation possibilities in the spirit of Eyjafjallajökull.

        A reporter for WLBT reports that they have some storm chasers from other parts of the country in the area. That could be quite interesting if they try to navigate with just whatever is on the maps… some of those back roads are nothing but red clay and are just as treacherous as ice when they are wet.. and are prone to washout.

        • I kind of got stuck on Bentonia, not for the pronounciation (even though some of the ex-native american derived names is a mouthfull), no for the bentonite resemblence in the name. Is there bentonite clay there?

          • No that I know of, though there are rumors of other ancient volcanoes other than Jackson. Note that this is up in the “Mississippi Delta” region. (that’s what it’s called, very rich soil and quite sedimentary)

            The entire state is peppered with natural gas fields, and Benoite is a key ingredient of many drilling muds.


            “It is named for the Christian name of an early resident, Mrs. Hal Green.”

          • From within one of the touchdown areas. Notice that one of the trees has been splintered and sheared off.

            blue dots are lightning strikes.


            And the windfield (in the circle) for that system. News heads describe it as large. (this is rural area… mostly)

            The reported rotation height is about 5 miles… I would normally have a bit of an issue with that, but the storm cloud tops are showing to be about 54000 to 58000 feet, so it is within reason, though for a tornado, that is pretty freaking large.

  7. Hmm… Now Jackson MS is boresighted by the storm systems now. Time to see if all their bad karma catches up with them.

    They do have a warning system in place there, when the air raid sirens go off, it sends a chill up your spine.

    Per the news, the sirens in Madison (just north of Jackson) have been activated.

  8. OT. I’ve been watching those EQs near the Philippines sea. This one looks like normal faulting, from the beachball. Another back arc quake?
    M5.6 – 147km NNW of Burgos, Philippines
    2014-04-28 00:43:51 UTC (USGS)

  9. Went in to the living room to watch some of the coverage of the storms with the wife on the Weather (excitable) Channel. Dozed off a bit. Awoke to hear them hooting and hollering about a new tornado indication just south of Jackson approaching Richland MS. I looked at the radar plot they had up and had to lauch. The “debris ball” they were yammering about was right over the area of the Hind’s County municipal garbage dump.

    That’s got to stink. That dump doesn’t quite have the aroma of a pig farm, but it’s close.

    Meanwhile, WLBT’s live stream went offline. It could be a precautionary measure, their studio is downtown, just up from the fairgrounds (which is about where the central vent for the extinct Jackson Volcano was at)

      • This system will be rolling through here probably tomorrow. My wife is deathly afraid of storms. (in part, my fault for gruffly ordering her and my mom around when we got nailed by that tornado several years ago)

        One thing that she doesn’t consider is that usually these things have little power by the time they get here, and living so close to the Gulf of Mexico, the turbulence from the air flowing over ground hasn’t had time to build up into the large scale eddy currents that become supercells. Plus, Pensacola has some sort of weird thing that happens, most storms go around us… well, the nasty parts do. Pensacola is too small for it to be an urban heat island effect, so it’s just something weird for now that I can’t put my finger on. I guess it’s some sort of cosmic payback from getting hit by hurricanes every 35 years or so.

        Yeah, we catch our share of storms and tornadoes, but generally they are a bit frail when they roll through. That is, frail by comparison to what they could be.

        What is going to drive her bat-shit is that I will be on the road tomorrow as it comes in.

    • They have had at least two fatalities. I grew up in that area so it is of interest to me. I used to sit and listen to the warning go out over the NOAA warning radio when the heavy storms blow through. Many of the areas that they show on the TV are places I’ve been at, or been drunk at, or chased after girls at.

      Some parts of that state fully deserve to be leveled, but the other parts are some of the most beautiful country side you have ever seen, populated by good people.

      … and, it’s not uncommon for Mississippi. It got to the point where it drove my dad bonkers. (sort of). When he redid the back deck of the house, he used I-beams and 8 inch concrete walls with a deck that was 4″ thick bridge grade concrete. You could literally have parked a truck on it and it would have held up. Though it was not made as a bunker, it was a close approximation. Our standard practice for incoming tornadic weater was to take shelter at teh bottom of the steps to the basement. Even if it took the house, that part of the structure was mostly underground and anchored by the footing system that extended four feet under the driveway in order to stabilize the wall.

      Jackson is riddled with Yazoo Clay and he designed it to withstand the creep that the clay is notorious for. If the house were going to move, it was going to do so as a single unit. That’s what he designed it for.

      • Evidently Jackson made it through relatively unscathed.

        And the system isn’t spinning up as much stuff as it was.

        Evidently Brandon MS took a pretty hard hit. The TV guy is phone interviewing a car dealership owner. The only reason I know this is that I had bought a truck from his dealership at one time and recognize the name. It was a decent truck, I had it for 14 years until Hurricane Ivan got it.

      • And, since volcanology is our main topic, a cross section of Jackson Volcano.

        When they first discovered the Jackson Dome, they figured that they had found an ideal natural gas field. The last thing they expected was a volcano.

        The Jackson Volcano is a source of industrial CO2 which is piped to other oil fields for enhanced recovery.

  10. Ice Ice Baby…

    Alaskan Polar Bears Threatened…By Too Much Spring Ice


    CNSNews.com) – Five meters of ice– about 16 feet thick – is threatening the survival of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea region along Alaska’s Arctic coast, according to Dr. Susan J. Crockford, an evolutionary biologist in British Columbia who has studied polar bears for most of her 35-year career.

    That’s because the thick ice ridges could prevent ringed seals, the bears’ major prey, from creating breathing holes they need to survive in the frigid waters, Crockford told CNSNews.com.


    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/alaskan-polar-bears-threatened-too-much-spring-ice-0

    Note: The bears typically snatch the seals out of their holes and eat them.

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