Volcano – a mountain that spits fire? Volcano basics.

What is a volcano? If you ask kids all over the world to do a drawing, you will get quite similar results. A steep mountain with “fire” erupting from the top and sometimes lava streams running down it´s flanks.

Kids drawing found on the net

Kids drawing found on the net

Let us deal with the very basics about volcanoes. I know it is much more complicated but everyone needs to start with basics first in order to start to understand. This is part of a talk I held at the Ars Electronca Center on April 3rd to explain the origin of volcanism, how volcanoes work and why each of them is different. ( http://www.aec.at/center/2014/03/20/dsl-vulkane-2014/ )

Image Wikimedia Commons

Image Wikimedia Commons

By definition a volcano is a geologic structure formed by magma welling to the surface. The molten rock are called magma as long as it is still below the ground. As soon as the material reached the surface, it is called lava.
The name volcano originates from the Italian Island Vulcano on which the ancient Romans thought their God of Fire Vulcanus would have his smithy.

Volcanism is not unique to earth. Scientists were surprised when the Voyager probe sent back images from Jupiters moon Io and they noticed they saw an erupting volcano in the image. We now know the Mares on the moon are formed by ancient lava. Just a few weeks ago new facts about very recently erupting volcanoes on Venus and why the volcanoes there are so different, made the news. The highest mountain of the Solar Syste, Olympus Mons on Mars is a volcano. Cryovolcanism was detected on several moons like Saturn`s Titan and Enceladus or Neptun`s Triton.

Jupiter´s moon Io

Jupiter´s moon Io

Many scientists think nowadays, that life might have come into existence close to submarine hydrothermal vents. So volcanism might be the culprit for causing life. As long as volcanism seems to exist on so many bodies in the solar system it might very well exist on countless exoplanets and their moons. In case the assumption that life first started on Earth, close to hydrothermal vents, is correct, this heightens the chance to, some day, find life elsewhere in the Universe.

Each volcano is different, The type of lava it produces is different. The shape and height and of course the location is different. In order to start understanding lets take a closer look at our home planet itself.

Below the hard surface of the earth there is the mantle made of liquid material. Please note that the proportion of the surface compared to the rest is not like an oranges skin to the orange but much more like an apples skin compared to the rest of the fruit. So we are effectively walking on rather thin ground.
The layer forming the surface is thicker below continents and much less thick below the oceans. The very first pieces of earth which hardened billions of years ago are called cratons and those are naturally the parts were the crust is thickest.

Lets start why volcanoes exist on Earth. There are basically 2 types of volcanoes. Volcanoes caused by subduction of tectonic plates and volcanoes caused by hotspots. (Other categorizations will follow later.)

We already took a look at the mantle. Scientists found that there are plumes rising upward inside this mantle.

Image from http://faculty.weber.edu/bdattilo/shknbk/notes/htsptplm.htm where you can also find a short discussion of hotspots and mantle plumes.

Image from http://faculty.weber.edu/bdattilo/shknbk/notes/htsptplm.htm where you can also find a short discussion of hotspots and mantle plumes.

Above such a plume you may find volcanoes. Hotspot volcanoes are typically shield volcanoes. Flat mountains with a broad base, not like the steep cones kids like to draw.
As long as the crust moves above the hotspot, island chains are being formed, like the Hawaiian Islands and the Midway Island for example.
The Canary Islands might be due to hotspot volcanism too, but some scientists I talked to when I was there last year, claimed it is probably more complicated.

Nasa. Image of the day

Nasa. Photo of the year 2014.

Some examples for shield volcanoes:
Fernandina Island Galapagos Island

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Mauna Kea, Hawaai USA

Olympus Mons, Mars

Image Nasa

Image Nasa

Note that Mars has no subduction volcanism as long as it has no moving tectonic plates. )

Subduction zone volcanoes
The concept of tectonic plates and continental drif is fairly new in science. Abraham Ortelius speculated why Afrika´s western coast fits so well to South Amerika´s eastern coast in 1596.

Image Wikimedia Commons

Antonio Snider-Pellegrini’s Illustration of the closed and opened Atlantic Ocean (1858). Image Wikimedia Commons

In 1912 German Scientist Alfred Wegener came up with the idea of continental drift. During his lifetime he was a well known meteorologist but his new idea was debated. In the 1950ies scientist started seeing Alfred Wegeners point and only in the 1970ies the fact of continental drift and tectonic plates became generally accepted and commonly known. Chryphia found a neat movie on this subject.
Paleo Geographic from http://sos.noaa.gov/What_is_SOS/index.html
The illustration shows the plates and where the subduction zones are situated. Subduction happens around the famous Pacific rings of fire. But not only there. Italys active volcanoes are caused because the African plate dips below the Eurasian plate and starts melting. Along the main subduction zones of North and South America you will find chains of volcanoes around 100km inland. The volcanoes there “reuse” material which had been forming a crust millions of years ago. Water is been pulled down along with the sediments. A mixture of water and rock always makes a volcano rather explosive. Subduction volcanoes are typically stratovolcanoes with the well known shape we all associate with the term volcano.


Illustration of a volcano.

Illustration of a volcano.

Examples for strato volcanoes:
Colima, Mexico (Photo by Christian Villicaña, Flickr)

Hassan Dagi, Turkey

Karymsky, Kamtchaka, Russia

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Parinacota Volcano, Chile

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

ps: There will be more parts of volcano basics which are written to  help newbies understand the very basics of volcanism and why we are so fascinated by the topic.

246 thoughts on “Volcano – a mountain that spits fire? Volcano basics.

  1. As a newbie myself, I salute posts like this, and those who take their time to write them. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Offtopic: How can earthquakes have negative magnitude? For example, like the recent quakes around Katla. Are they like micro quakes or something? 🙂

    • The scale is logarithmic based and denotes an even smaller release of energy.

      Mag -0.1 is about 44668 Joules.
      Mag 0.0 is about 63095 Joules.
      Mag 0.1 is about 89125 Joules.

      When you get into the negative magnitude range, you are in the region of energy released from stuff falling over.

      Using an accelerometer, I was able to record the amount of shaking from a mass falling onto the ground from a height of one meter at a range of 9 meters. This “quake” showed a negative magnitude when converted to a magnitude scale. I knew the energy by working through the Kinetic energy equation.

      The reason was to determine the suitability of accelerometers for detecting seismic events in support of a project Carl has been kicking around.

      • Really amazing stuff. 🙂 I always thought that the 0.0 is like the ultimate zero nothingness of earthquakes (as any normal person (newbie) would assume 😀 ). So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the negative magnitudes on the already corrected quakes. 🙂
        Is there any special relation between negative mag. quakes and volcanoes? Or are they even less important than normal positive mag. quakes, which would make sense. 🙂

        • Pretty much any earthquake that occurs as a single and is below 1 is insignificant for a volcano. M1 = 1 Big Mac recounted into energy (KCal).
          The only spot you can see a negative quake is where there is a very good coverage with seismometes of very high quality that are fairly new. Katla is one of those places. The high grade of coverage is not really to be able to detect those miniatures, the coverage is to get maximum signal quality when something significant is getting close. And also for pure scientific reasons of course.

            • Thank you both! I have learned a great deal from the comments alone, in the past weeks since I found out about this site. Your replies are really cool and fast. 🙂 I also have loads of different questions to come, but I will wait with most of them for now, because if there will be more “newbie friendly” posts like this one, I will eventually get my answers through those. 🙂
              Btw, does the wind noise affect the detection of these “micro quakes”? Because they only seem to appear now when there is little to none wind noise on the Katla SILs.

            • We try to explain as much as we can.
              Yes, you are absolutely correct. The noise from wind can easily hind signals from small earthquakes, and during the large autumn storms in Iceland everything below 1.5 or even M2 disappears.

            • During Eyjafjallajökull there was a storm nicknamed “The night of the flying sheep” when in a 260 kilometer an hour windgust the sheep actually flew, that storm totally whiped out the signals from a VEI-4 eruption with hundreds of earthquakes per hour… Wind, not so insignificant.
              Seeing a flying sheep on a webcam is a sight to behold.

      • Carl is desperately hoping to get a few moments over to kick at that project again.
        Sometimes there is just no time to be had for fun projects like that, but rest assured, I have not forgotten 🙂

        • Not “smart” just easily distracted to the point of taking the trouble to delve into it.

          It come with the “having no life” aspect of it. I know that applies to me since enough people told me that in school. The “geekness” trait has stuck with me ever since. I even amazed my first division officer when he caught me off watch still up in combat, learning how to do orbital calculations. It was either do that, or head down to the messdecks and play cards. Lets just say that I was bored shitless and wanted to get a better understanding of it all.

  3. Thank you for the article, Spica. It must have been a good talk.

    Interesting picture of Karymsky. She seems to have grown in a slight depression – an old caldera or has the ground just sunk under her weight?

  4. Thank you Spica!
    We have always missed doing the beginners guide to volcanoes, and in my view helping beginners is the most important thing we can do. And you did it in a splendid way!

    • Thank you. I would like to continue.. digging deeper into the subduction phenomena…. explain why shield or strato volcanoes are formed, why some are so explosive and some aren´t. Explain sills and dykes.. the MAR, why silica matters, and so on. I hope that is OK. I am planning a series. ( this post is about 15 mins of a talk that lasted an hour.)

    • I currently believe that it is a malfunction or a pressure reset.
      I see no other signs such as tremor or earthquakes, and the Búrfell strainmeter is operating within normal parameters.

          • Since nothing is happening on FED that is closer to the volcano, nor at HAU that is at the southern end of the fissure I would go for the more prosaic explanation of it being a combine harvester of the brand CLAAS… I saw one ambling about a while ago on the Mila cam.
            But, just to make sure I am keeping an eye on Hekla in case it is something changing somewhere.

            • We all go through that phase with Hekla, the “She is gonna blow phase!”.
              At least you skipped the “I see a puff of smoke, is she gonna blow?” question, I have had that question about 20 times 🙂

              The damned thing with Hekla is that even if you study it for years she will still throw some unexpected sign that make you stand up infront of the computer and go… “Is she gonna blow?”… I for sure do that now and then.

            • I hear ya loud and clear. 😀 The very thing that fascinates me most about Hekla (besides her rich history), is the fact how big of a “lottery” this volcano (or a fissure volcano) actually is. Normal volcanoes (normal relative to the crazy Hekla) usually give some signs, but Hekla just seems to override the system and fire up at will. Like now I sleep and in an hour all hell breaks loose 😀 It is definitely my favourite volcano to monitor.

            • Oh, you have got the bug bad 🙂
              Welcome to the gang!

              If you wish to have fun you can follow my meandering about as I learned more and more about Hekla in my old posts. It is actually a good read to understand how and why she behaves as she does. I suggest reading oldest first and then go forward, that way you will se how wrong I was in the beginning, and you will find my “Carl was wrong” post when I thought she would erupt.
              The “I was wrong” post is fun in it’s own way, it is the only time I have been dead wrong about an impending eruption, and that was on the volcano I have studied the most. 🙂
              To my defense I can just say that with what I now know I would not have said she was about to erupt. One learns, and I like giggling at my mistakes 🙂

            • Oh I am definitely going to go over older posts (will defiantly start at Hekla and Katla posts 😀 ), because I feel like I have missed a huge deal by not finding this site earlier. I was always stuck on Google and Wikipedia (and the doom and gloom fearmongering people on youtube) as far as volcanology goes, but this site is a real breeze of fresh unbiased wind. Exactly what a volcano enthusiast like me needs. I graduated from agriculture, so my “expertise” is far from geology and volcanoes, but I love to learn new stuff, especially stuff that fascinates me.

              Thanks again for all your work. 🙂

            • It is the Danish dung-spreader named Bögballe, which in turn in Swedish roughly translates a s “Gay man’s equipment”…

  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27204647
    “”This work is the first to show a link between the nature of the melts produced in Earth’s mantle, and variations in surface eruption styles. It has important implications for volcano monitoring and hazard assessment. The data suggest that the changes in eruption reflect subtle local variations in the chemistry of Earth’s mantle occurring over decades to centuries.””

    Original paper is firewalled unfortunately.

  6. Good post – surprised nothing of this sort had ever been done before on here.

    To me, the interesting thing about volcanoes is that the above “simplified” guide is just that. An incredible simplification of very complex processes that doesn’t really touch on the outliers, complexities, or other mysteries that abound. There are so many oddball facets and mysteries of volcanism, and given the propensity for volcanoes to potentially affect our planet, it’s easy to explain why I find them so interesting.

    Here is an example from the above post of how something simple is actually way different and more complex than can be explained in a simplistic overview. The volcano Hasan Dagi (featured in a beautiful picture above) is a Turkish stratovolcano. It sits adjacent to a convergent margin, where Africa and Arabia are colliding with Eurasia. This is the same collision that drives volcanism in Italy and the Greek Islands, yet there are some dramatic differences here.

    1. Turkish Volcanoes are not driven by subduction.
    2. Turkish Volcanoes are not driven by a hotspot or mantle plume.
    3. Turkish Volcanoes are not driven by tectonic extension as seen at a mid ocean ridge or continental rift.

    So how does a volcano like Hasan Dagi form? Why is central Anatolia (central turkey) covered in extremely thick ignimbrite deposits?

    Similar to the Himilayas, Anatolia is a collision zone, and some day may start to resemble the Himilayas in size and magnitude. The Himalayas generally do not have volcanic activity (at least on a large scale), but there was a ton in Anatolia. According to this paper written by the Istanbul University, Faculty of Engineering, Dept. of Geological Engineering (http://www.mantleplumes.org/WebpagePDFs/Anatolia.pdf), volcanism in central turkey is a result of the crust bending upward to form a dome as a result of compression due to collision. This process creates a large area of low pressure (decompression) which starts the process of magma generation in the mantle.

    • And thus is how you arrive at stratovolcanoes and volcanism in an area without subduction, without extension, and without a known mantle plume.

    • One thing though to remember Cbus is that one needs to learn the standard models before one learns the outliers. There will always be oddballs, and beyond the oddballs you find Hekla 😉

        • And would like to add your comment above to the next chapter if thats OK. Had not know what drove the turkish volcanoes, thanks for explaining. I am a layman not an expert just fascinated like the rest of us here.

          • I guess it’s mostly just the eastern Turkey volcanoes. Either way, I hadn’t known this either and had assumed they were formed from subduction until I realized this was a collision zone, not a subduction zone. But it’s rather fascinating either way!

    • As always I lift a very sceptical eyebrow when I see something from Mantleplumes.org.
      In this case they are wrong. Dead wrong. Testing of the ore dug out of the lavatubes at Norilsk conclusively proves that the Siberian traps was caused by a shortlived mantleplume from extreme depth that started bottom up. It is the only explanation for the ultra rich deposits of Nickel on the edges of the lavatubes that they mine.

      I would use extreme caution before believing what is written or stated at that page. This is the second time in 4 days I had to debunk something out of that page.
      Last I debunked the idea of a plume under the Scandian mountain and at Spitsbergen. And now this utter nonsense.

      • I should explain this.
        For some people Plumes have turned into a religion, they do pretty much anything and will split any hair to prove that all is about Plumes. I call them the Beliebers.
        Then you have an equally religious group on the other side who will do anything to prove that they do not exist. I call them the Tectonic-Directioners.
        I am fearing that they sooner or later will take up guns and go on a plume-related Jihad against each other. Do not trust either group, they have left real science far behind.

        • Both groups are guilty of falsifying data, willfully misconstruing evidence, or using pseudo-logics to prove their Faith. They are an abomination in science.
          I know, I am not mincing words here, it is a sign of my disgust over what they are doing.

          • What exactly are they trying to achieve? I mean like, what will they achieve by trying to prove or disprove one another? It doesn’t make any sense, because in the end, if their work doesn’t get peer-reviewed and accepted it doesn’t really matter what they believe, because it will always remain a “fairytale”, so to speak. I thought that science was about trying to discover new things and to explain the non-explained, and getting your work acknowledged by the community and to contribute to the “collective intelligence”. But as far as this goes, I find it kinda disturbing to constantly prove something that has no real chance of ever getting accepted and making it into textbooks down the line.

            • Oh, they do get published from time to time, these are actual scientists that have gone “religious”.
              In science, and especially in sciences where things are hard to conclusively prove, scientists sometimes goes “off the bend” and try to at all cost prove their pet-theory. In this case it has turned into a mass halucination on both sides. I should though point out that the groups are small.
              99 percent of geologist have a fairly centered view on things and recognize that there are multiple processes driving volcanism and they know (because they are smart and level-headed) that 1 single theory can’t explain every single volcano on the planet. As usual, a pluralistic world view helps.

      • Now why is nickel important? And why do I from time to time blather about Iron ore? Or why ores at all?
        Well, some mines are quite simply situated in areas affected by volcanism, ie a volcano has deposited lava or cooled magma that is further refined by hydrothermal wells into veins of ore.

        In rare occations though the volcano deposits almost pure iron or nickel. The mantle is actually not that rich in either of those two, nor is any regurgitated crustal matter. As the planet formed the molecules clumped together and stratified according to weight, and in the end a ball of Iron and Nickel (together with even heavier materials) formed at the center of the planet, also known as the core. The inner core is a sollid due to the pressure, but the outer core is a molten ball with a temperature in the range of 5200 to 6000 degrees, and at a few times this molten ball has for various reasons ejected a blob of magma that has risen and cut through continental crust.
        In the Baltic Shield it deposited the Malmfälten Iron ore body, and in the Siberian traps it deposited the Norilsk Nickel deposit.
        In the case of the Malmfälten deposit we have magmatic iron that ranges between 52 percent Fe and 71 percent Fe by weight. The lower figure is at the top where it has been contaminated as it intruded as an ultramassive dykesystem. But as the depth increases the iron is getting purer and purer. The only place on the planet that ultra pure iron ore could have come from is from the core. Same goes for the Norilsk Nickel deposit, there is just no other source on or in the planet.

        Now, to get a top-down plume to suck something up from the core would take a tremendous amount of energy, an amount that no activity on the surface can produce, not even if an entire continent is ripped apart. The math just is not there. But, the energy needed to go from bottom up is much lower due to the heat energy boyancy factor. All it would take is a rather small push and the blob goes upwards on its own.
        Imagine that you have tied a large lead weight to a football and dropped it into a pool, now try to suck the football and the lead weight upwards. Compare that with diving down and just untying the football from the weight. The function is about the same as the difference between sucking up a blob of core magma and gently pushing it upwards.

        Now for the death plunge with the knife of reason into the idea of Siberian top-down plumeing. (and for the Malmfälten ore)
        There is no evidence at all of rifting there, and rifting is believed by them to be the cause for the formation of such plumes. Good night… 🙂

        • Yeah, seems logical, and I agree that their search to find an answer may be far-fetched. I hadn’t realized there was such a polarizing debate about plumes – definitely seems silly. As with everything that’s polarizing, the answer is almost always in the murky gray matter between the black and white. Some people just aren’t good at seeing reality in anything but black or white, this goes for many hot or polarizing topics.

          I hadn’t realized mantle-plumes was that sketchy. i know some of the stuff there is crackpot theories, but I always thought the stuff that was represented as actual studies was pretty much accepted as truth.

          The main reason I mentioned this article is the reference for a lack of upwelling or doming. I’m not an expert on this, but shouldn’t we see doming in Africa or other hotspots if there were a superplume there? I’m guessing their calculations and modeling of doming as a result of plumes is a very over-simplified model that they take to accurately represent reality in it’s entirety, so that’s probably where they’re wrong here.

          • “the answer is almost always in the murky gray matter between the black and white”
            It is in the murky grey we have most fun 🙂

            Some of the plume theory is sollid and rather well proven by now, the problem is that some seems to wish to stretch it beyond breaking point. I am going to write at least one article on mantle plumes very soon.

            Iceland is an example of uplifted land due to a mantle plume. Problem with Africa is that it is hard to see where the contined is upliften and not due to the shear size of it, and also the partially very tick crust.

            I think I can pretty accurately write abot what is a plume or not, and how the various types of plumes function. And I will do my damnedest to write where it is speculative theories or theories based on evidence.
            Get me right on this, I do firmly believe in plumes, the mass of evidence is just to large for them not to exist. Heck, I have even touched the remnants of at least 3 of them, and those would be two of the most Powerfull of them.

            • I don’t doubt even in the slightest about whether plumes exist. Even if there wasn’t such an insane amount of evidence for them, you would almost have to assume they exist due to how standard convection works on almost all scales.

              With that said, not every volcano that isn’t on a rift zone or a subduction zone is a related to a mantle plume, which I feel like some want to believe.

        • The other thing to always bear in mind is how often our striving to understand complex issues necessarily means we simplify things and end up with nice shiny graphics that we internalize and then (the BIG mistake) start shoehorning what we see to fit the nice tidy graphic we have in our mind. Take the chart of the structure of the Earth. I think all of us have something similar buried deep in our understanding of the planet. Well, it’s wrong. For instance, the mantle is not fluid but plastic. Second there is a lot of mess down there. You have subducting slabs which are cold, buckling and bending up as they hit the really dense stuff. These drag and push stuff around and are thought to be the genesis of plumes as they shunt the nicely heated material (that has been down there a while) into a pile of hot plastic stuff that rises, probably due to a combination of: 1. convective forces, 2. being shunted from behind, and 3. lower pressure above as near-suface material moves away as part of a convective cell. This is how I imagine you can get plumes of Ni and Fe as the mantle/core collision will be a bit messy and could entrain a bit of the outer core (which is hot and fluid but dense as hell so I don’t quite know how this could happen, but hell, the stuff must have come from somewhere!) and drag it up to the surface. Now we have another nice tidy graphic in our minds which is also a massive over-simplification and almost certainly wrong. 😉 And the way I see it, the crust is just the detritus floating on the flood. I doubt it has any effect whatsoever on all the traffic going on in the mantle.

          Actually there’s another question right there. Is the outer core liquid all the way up to the core mantle boundary? Wouldn’t it start to freeze a bit at the boundary? This could also explain how Ni and Fe gets entrained in a plume.

        • A very high iron content does not proof an origin in the core. The mantle and crust have more than enough iron: it is just a matter of concentrating it, for instance by slow cooling. You can get higher iron enrichment if the magma has low oxygen (or water) content.

          • Hello Albert!
            Yes and no, it can concentrate it if it finds enough banded iron ore in the crust, but it will be chemcally different from magmatic origin. In this case it is without a shadow of a doubt of deep origin.

            • A magmatic origin from the mid or even lower mantle is not disputed, But the core is further down, is well separated from the mantle and the liquid iron does not penetrate the solid silicate of the mantle well. There is already enough iron in the mantle for anyone. There are some elements near the Earth’s surface which should have sunk into the core and not be here, but these are attributed to debris from space, not dredge up from the core. So I would remain to be convinced!

            • I will do my best to do that.
              But, it will be coming in a later series of articles on the subject of mantleplumes and their less frequent estranged cousin, the coreplume.

            • A short reply though.
              Iron exists in several forms, but let me break them down into the most common occurances as ore, and as the normal eruptive non-ore form.
              1. Banded iron-ore, this is from the period when oxygen started to exists in the oceans due to single-cell organisms breaking down carbon-dioxid into oxygen and carbon. This caused massive oxidisation of the free iron in the oceans, the oxide then clumped together into rust and fell to the bottom. Australias iron-mines are mining banded iron-ore. Non-volcanic ore that is typically at around 25 to 35 percent iron per weight unit.
              2. Olivine in it’s Ferrous end version (Fayalite) is what is extruded mainly as product of mantle material containing iron. It weathers due to oxygen and water interaction, this then releases the iron and it congeals into ore bodies in hydrothermal wells. These orebodies are very specific in form and shape, they are also high in other hydrothermally induced minerals. Note, there are of course other minerals than Fayalite that this process works on. Never ever will a mineral like this transcend an ore grade by weight beyond 55 percent because of the impurities impinged on the ore body as the hydrothermal process occurs. Remember that Fayalite and other iron minderals from the mantle rarely has more then 24 percent iron per weight unit. Why now do we not see high grade iron minerals from the mantle? Well, the mantle is really poor in iron, the crust is actually having a higher iron content than the average mantle material. So, here you have two stages of mantle iron deposits, the Fayalite (par example) with up to 24 percent (below ore grade) that can be purified into a medium grade iron ore). To my knowledge very few ore bodies of this type is mined commercially today since they rarely is of sufficient size. One should also remember that these ore-bodies are Kimberlitic, ie funnelshaped so they dive down into depth to quickly to be really viable for longevity mining.
              3, The Malmfälten type orebodies. Massive dyke intrusions that at depth are free from mantle xenolites. At the top they have crustal xenolites. Crustal xenolites are also present at the boundary of the dyke. As depth increases of the dyke intrusion the non boundary ore is extremely pure and lack all impurities associated with purified mantle minerals, basically the ore here is pure iron-mineral, normally pure magnetite with ore grades surpassing 70 percent iron by weight. Also, note the lack of silicates. No mantle derived magmatic ore lacks silicates. Why now? Well, as the earth stratigraphied and the iron fell down to the core the lighter silicats stayed in the mantle, so the lack of silicates is proof in and of itself.

              So, in the end the only place where uncontaminated iron-ores like in the Malmfälten can come from is from below the core boundary.

              Note that I have not gone into the not so small fact that a mantle plume is not hot enough to blast through a craton.
              But, as noted above, I will get back to this subject at a later date when I start the mantleplume series of articles.
              I should also say that the coreplume idea is fairly new, but the evidence of at least one having happened is starting to be rather staggering. So much so that I am sticking my neck out to state that today it is up to people to disprove it by showing a single process that could have achieved the lack of silicate concetration in the orebody in the Kirunawaara mine and at the same time achieve lack of other hydrothermal minerals and still produce 70+ percent iron weight. Do that and I will shut up. 🙂

        • Hi Carl,
          I never read, or knew of this before. Thank you. I know you will write about this in more detail in the future, just wondered if it is biased by global location? In otherwords, can it occur more easily on the equator than, say, the North Pole?
          Just trying to grasp “up”. ie; “the blob goes upwards on its own.” And gravity.
          I know you are busy, so a reply is not important.

          • Hello Shane!
            This is actually Alberts expertise more than mine, but I will happily give it a try and if I get it wrong I am sure that Albert will help out.
            When I write “up” and “down” I mean that as referenced to the gravity well that is earth. So, down is towards the center of the planet, and up is towards the top of the crust. So, there is one spot all down is aimed at, but multiple spots upwards (infinite really). Up and down does not in any way imply North or South.
            Mantleplumes seems to bee fairly well spread around the globe with one suspected under Antarctica (at least one) and then there are at least two far up to the north. One is the young shallow plume at Iceland, and then you have the next even further north under Beerenberg at Jan Mayen, that one could actually be the Alpha Ridge hotspot/mantleplume, if so it is an ancient Mantleplume indeed. Between these there are a number of plumes.
            The only coreplume that I feel comfortable with stating is one was deposited 1.8 to 2.1 billion years ago, so where exactly the Baltic Shield was at that time is beyond my knowledge. There are also two suspected ones I know of, one is at Drakensberg and the other caused the Siberian Traps, where the first was I do not know, and the other was to the south of todays Siberia.
            Why am I not being more assertive about the Norilsk Nickel deposit (Siberian Traps)? Well, tried as I have I can’t get any evidence out of there since Norilsk is a closed city in Russia where no scientist or geologist may go.

            So, I can really only argue about the Malmfälten ore body in the Baltic Shield.

            Now, back to your question, in theory the centrifugal force would have a slightly easier time to overcome the centripetal force in the direction of the planets spin, but in reallity it would not make a big difference, the more important part is what part of the mantle (mantleplume), coreboundary (superplume) or outer core (coreplume) is hot enough to start a Rayleigh-Taylor instability that would move upwards from the point of origin in a straight line (well, fairly straight).
            Another proposed function starting plumes would be that the coreboundary plumes and the coreplumes are created antipodaly from where a large meteor has impacted.
            The latter theory does not sound to improbable to me, but this is more Alberts line of physics than mine.
            A third proposed instigator for normal plumes would be crustal rifting, ie top-down creation of plumes.
            Then we also have a myriad of other theories such as mantle convection caused by tectonic plates working as giant paddles in the mantle. But, for the coreboundary or coreplumes the only functioning theories so far would be (in my opinion) a spot of increased heat at either the boundary or the outer core creating the birthplace for a plume, or the kinetic antipodal. I do not say which, or even if one of them is correct, there might be other forces at play that we do not understand today.

            One day I will arrange a trip into the center of the earth quite literaly, ie that anyone interested can follow me down into the Kirunawaara mines deepest level (-1365m) and look at the evidence themselves. It is after all quite awesome to stand in the midle of a massive dyke like that.

          • Hm… this is a bit halfjoking, but it might have merrit. Still, do not shoot me if I am to wrong.
            Most formes of plumes seems to be happily switching on and off, with periods of low eruptive activity interspersed by hightened activity. Some like Iceland goes on a 130ish years swing, and some seems to have drops of magma coming at fairly frequent pulses. El Hierro is one of those. First nothing for a long time then remarkably steady blobs of magma arriving for a while.

            Now ponder if a plume is not a plume at all? Let us scratch the Raylegh-Taylor instability for a Plateau-Rayleigh instabillity. It would actually better explain the droplike quality of many plumes.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plateau%E2%80%93Rayleigh_instability (see the parts about water drops from faucets and male urination)

        • Carl,
          Why have you deleted our previous conversation? It is not a problem, and be assured you will never hear from me again. Just find blanking without reason outside of my comprehension.
          Why have you done this?

  7. I ventured forth on my calls today. The wife was pissed off that I was driving out into what had been a rip snorter of a storm just a few hours earlier, but the brunt of it had blown through and I had pretty decent weather. Later in the day, the humid air of the Gulf took issue with the dry intrusion of somewhat cooler air and made a sting of it, pushing back north and kicking up several storms. I ran into one of these in Crestveiw and was angrily concentrating by way with the traffic. Passed a smaller car that had done the pinball thing along a guard rail that FHP was husbanding while the rotation wrecker was picking it up. Traffic natually freaked at the blue and red strobes and propperly adopted the lane furtherst from the scene and emergency vehicles. The torrent of rail let up some and the speed picked up to about normal. A white van camped the fast lane and after waiting a bit, I dropped to the outside and passed it. A few vehicles later, my rear veiw is filled with the blue and red strobes of some sort of law enforcement. Those of us in the fast lane dropped to the outside to let him by, but he never came. He had riveted himself to the White van’s bumper and pulled him over for some reason. Dunno why.

  8. Yay… farking storm formed up over pcola. I had a river in the backyard. I convinced the grandkid to go out and make sure the cuts in my monkey grass were open so that I don’t get more than three inches of water at the front door. Only cost me a pack of cigarettes. I have to defer payment until I am sober enough to drive. The stress of dragging my arse through this storm made me request a shot of whiskey and a beer chaser to be on hand when I got home. They were waiting for me on the counter. I think I am in love.

    A Doppler detected tornado formed up over the hookers of Caervantes St and took off parallel to the interstate out over the bay and into Eglin AFB. I mention that because of a really funny bust that I heard on the radio that went on there. County vice and Pensacola vice were trying to arrest each other several years ago.

    Its a border area and both agencies have jurisdiction.

  9. I really need to go to bed now. These storms will put me out like a satiated baby.

    … and yes, the ETOH will help also. I’m currently not fit to drive, though I feel unimpaired. (which is bullshit, I know better)

    I tend to sleep well after road days anyway. On the plus side, all of my distant calls are covered until I receive parts. One of them embarassed me though. I had sent the unit in for depot level repair. The shop called back and asked me what had happened to it. At first I figured that somethign had happened in shipment and It was my arse for improper packing. Turned out that half the chips on the main board had their cores exploded off of the substrate. I never noticed it. My guess is that it took a lightning strike.

    • Dunno… I’m on the crest of a hill. Hwy 29 is about a mile away. Anecdotally, I’ve hear of two drownings on 29 just up the road… their car left the roadway and wound up in a ditch.

    • Looks like it’s pretty wet down there.

      • Okay, it seems like the rain down there knows how to rain. A lot. Home all of the Lurking-clan are safe and dry.

        • Speaking of clan. Who was the first Grand Dragon of the KKK?

          Answer: Nathan Bedford Forrest. Ex: lieutenant general → CSA, later a delegate representing Tennessee to the DNC convention of 1868.

          He attributed his success in warfare: “I got there first with the most men.”

          I bring this up due to the frothing at the mouth of many news idiots regarding the perceived reprehensible statement of the owner of a California basketball team. Yeah, his comments were reprehensible, but they were made in private, and recorded by a person of questionable motives and legality. People knew of his attitude for several decades, and now it is being used to smear him and drive down the asking price of the team… which would not be as attractive a buy as they are if it were not for his actions over the years as the owner. I think, when it all washes out, you’ll find that it all turned out to be a marketing ploy to make it into a buyers market. How best to get a lower starting price in a negotiation than to put the seller into a must sell position?

          Like Hekla… nothing is ever as it first seems.

  10. Talking about how beautiful simplifying complexity can be:
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    From: Phil Stoffer at GeologyCafe,

    • Agreed beautiful. Back when I was in 4th grade, I got in big trouble for suggesting
      that South America and Africa were at one time together, The Teacher Ms. Soprano, (kidding) said (Again) “YOU HAVE TOO MUCH IMAGINATION!!”
      Got sent to the counselor.Who evaluated me and couple of my other cohorts who
      were troublemakers.(Ritalin wasn’t around then or I would’ve been drooling in my oatmeal.) They gave me an aptitude test which I excelled at, and an IQ test as Soprano wanted me in Special Ed.I had an IQ of 138. Oh and the other two did the same. with similar results, We all still said South America and Africa were at one time together…
      Commercial Pilot(Moi) ,Corporate CEO(and attorney) (Cohort#1) Bird Colonel US Army-Ranger,BTW (Cohort#2)
      We all still have that “Imagination…”

    • dolostone, travertine and ecologite are all new to me 🙂 oh and I can’t guess what trophic respiration is about.

  11. Oooh, I think I have a new favourite volcano: Hassan Dagi in Turkey. I’ve never heard of it before. What a fantastic photo. And it looks extra steep/high, somehow, not the usual angle for a stratovolcano?

    • Too bad Alan isn’t around anymore, he knows an awful lot about Turkish volcanoes, he even wrote about it. Dig into the archives for that!

  12. Soooooo cool, Spica et al! How come the “basics” lead to such illuminating thoughts and comments!
    (I’ll need more time to digest the whole thing!)

  13. Do not get overly excited by this, the quality is low.
    30.04.2014 14:35:46 63.998 -18.418 4.8 km 1.3 45.02 12.0 km SW of Laki

    • Maybe I should start packing my stuff to get out of Iceland, lol 🙂
      The quake is poorly located, but it’s interesting. Still, we need M4 quakes to worry before a Laki repeat. This is just minor strain released.

      • Yes, if it was even located correctly. And, even though we usually call it the Dead Zone it from time to time has an earthquake. I would worry if we start to see one a day in roughly the same area. That would be the likely sign that the strain is building up towards dangerous levels. After that we would not be that far away from the storm of M4s and M5s.

  14. By the way, I did an amazing hike last Saturday. To Eyjafjallajokull.
    10 hours of pure joy, since the weather was clear and temperature rather mild.

    Hike was not difficult, but it tired my knees like hell. I saw the crater (actually it’s two, one large, one small one, side by side), it measures around 1km across, maybe a bit more, and definitively around 3km the whole sunked part of the glacier around the crater, which was still steaming, but much much less than in 2011 or 2012. Lava is already rather cool there.The ash deposits all nearly hidden from view now burried under new ice/snow.

    View from top was absolutely astonishing. Sadly I have no digital camera, so I have no photos (except from colleagues). We could see a large part of Iceland from there, from Hengill to Oraefajokull-Vatnajokull, from Hekla to Hofsjokull and the entire Myrdalsjokull (Katla – now a much less cracked ice cap than it was in 2011). Also Hekla was brilliantly snow covered, not like a few years ago, when Hekla’s top was still warm and snowless. Not anymore. Snow is accumulating in Hekla top and will probably reform its old glacier there, if no eruption comes in soon.

    By the way, the shape of Eyjafjallajokull is not that different form Hekla. Seriously. When you hike, both are rather elongated, soft slopes from the end sides of the “fissure”, the other slopes are steep (also the ridges E-W along Eyjafjallajokull show its past as a fissure row just like Hekla). Obviously Eyjafjallajokull is much much older. So a old stratovolcano, while Hekla is a baby stratovolcano being formed.

    • One should remember that it is still early in the season, I am pretty convinced that Hekla will be snow free again later this summer.
      My jelousy knows no ends, I wish I had been there too…

  15. Yay… water.

    Made it through relatively unscathed. Internet just came back on. It had been running until the wee hours until it bit the dust.

    Grandkid was having a nicotine fit so I took him to the store for a pack of smokes. I owed him that since he slogged out and cut a couple of drainage slots in the monkey grass that borders my driveway. It was acting as a levee and holding water in a large pool at my front door. Much more and I would have had soggy carpet when it entered the house. Keep in mind that he did this while standing in four inches of water and blinding lightning. I’ve done it in the past during hurricanes.

    This is a nearby “road.”

    The land here is about 140 feet above sea level, and water doesn’t run off as quickly as one would think. It collects in local depressions in the terrain.

    Reportedly, the Jail got flooded again. I guess they will use this as a new opportunity to release convicts. The last time was because it got flooded and the food service area lost a bit of food from the flooding. They claim that they only released the non-violent types and had fitted them with tracking ankle bracelets… effectively putting them under control of probation.

    The Gubernator has the county in the group of “disaster” declared counties, which gives us access to a few National Guard dudes and their vehicles.

    BTW, this is not fully abnormal for the area. It’s just that usually you have to have a stalled land-falling hurricane to get this much water.

    • Good to hear that you and the Lurking-clan came through all right. And standing in blinding lightning moving grass… well, he deserved his pack 🙂

    • Yeah, he kept going back out to check on whether it had blocked up, But it got to the point where I wouldn’t let him go back out. I figured that if it was intense enough to make me apprehensive at doing it, then he didn’t need to be in it.

    • Getting a bit tired of hearing the news turds use the word “historic.”

      At least some of them qualified it by quoting residents who have lived there for quite a while who stated that they had never seen it that high.

      Significant? Yeah, I’ll grant you that. Historic? That only means that no one wrote it down if you want to get technical. This problem of labling comes from the tendency of people to think of the distant past as something that occurred before their oldest memory.

      When you get into the idea of stuff that happened a long time ago (geologically speaking) their eyes tend to glaze over.

      All people have this problem… after all, time is relative.

      • That problem is greatest amongst historians. They draw the line between history and archaeological times as the line where there is a written record or not. So in Italy and Greece it is a few hundred years before BC, here it is around 1050AD and in the US it is somewhere between 1500AD and 1850 that is historical times.
        This is of course the scientific delineation of historical times, not the Generation iPhone-thumbs definition, that is anything more then 10 years ago. 😉

    • BOSEG!!!
      Loved that…
      I knew a Lufthansa Captain who was quite an old Airliner fan he’d sometimes show up in the most out of the way places to take videos and pictures of Airtanker action.
      His name I recall,was Wolfgang Schiller.He flew 747’s. At Medford Or. there was a
      retired Pan Am Captain who ran a single pilot Air Taxi out of there he did a lot of USFS work.. Had the pleasure of listening to Wolf and Pat tell hangar tales of 747
      flying….Including the fact the at Pan Am’s 747SP’s would eat a 747-400’s lunch in a
      race from Johannesburg to Heathrow… 🙂

      • At 591 knots vs 533 knots… I can see that. 😀

        (Wiki data and prone to being flat out incorrect, but I don’t have access to any other performance stats)

        • According to what I heard from those two- pretty close. Also the SP would get up
          and roll at FL 450 with no step climbs..
          Boeing tried to get the USAF interested in a 747SP replacement for the KC135..

      • You mentioned London-Johannesburg:
        South African Airways bought the SP because they weren’t allowed to overfly most countries in Africa in the time of apartheid, so needed the extra range of the SP to fly over the sea round the whole damn continent to get to London. The British Airways 747-200 would have beaten the South African SPs every time on that route!

        It was also calculated that a 747SP would beat Concorde on the London-Australia route. Hare and tortoise effect – the SP could do it in two hops whereas Concorde needed four (and had to fly subsonic over Europe).

        Nice aircraft – never got to fly in one but Iranair still has them, so if I ever have to get from Tehran to Beijing ….

    • And a hint of Carl’s idea on their demise. Teenage Girls seeking hunks. That’s right, the Neanderthal was likely done in by the teeny boppers.

      “When it comes to what caused the demise of Neanderthals, researchers say that there is no evidence that Neanderthal extinction was due to behavioral or technological inferiority. Current genetic studies suggest that the Neanderthal demise was a complex process including many factors, such as interbreeding, possible male hybrid sterility, and assimilation by the increasing numbers of modern immigrants”

      • so they were carried through the female line due to Cro -Magdon guy liking
        a girl that could hunt the Mastodon, kill it , skin it, pack it home and cook it…;-)
        Have some in my own family like that (One is a redhead btw.)

  16. Oh lookie… more rain.

    Evidently the front has stalled out parallel to the coast and as the air masses jockey for supremacy, we get the rain. The individual cells have been towering upwards of 52,000 to 56.000 feet. In other words, they are so hight that they are bumping into the tropopause as a limit to their height.

    I think the vorticity has dropped, which means less of a probability for tornadoes…. and that’s always good. But, our ground is already fully saturated.

    • The cells were just trying to reach the equilibrium level (as they do always), which is often above the tropopause in such unstable conditions. 🙂

      • Understood and agreed. But the large nasty storms around here tend to peak at 40 to 45K feet. You don’t usually see anything above 50K unless a tropical storm is rolling in.

        (Eyewalls can be problematic)

    • Considering its near constant activity, is there anything left for Etna to surprise us with?

      • Oh, Etna has entire series of different things she can throw at us if and when she feels like it. During the last decade she has just prefered to do the Paroxysm dance. For instance, she could do a flank eruption, or pop a new crater, or pretty much anything.
        But, in this case I think that Dr Boris Behncke (of INGV) has seen signs of an upcoming paroxysm. I am waiting for the INGV update (most likely written by Boris). Or, a new comment from Boris.
        Boris has promised us an article on Etna in the near future (when he has the time) and since he is the Yoda of Etna we will have to wait for that. I also bet that he will pop in soon and explain Etnas latest antics. We are all fortunate that Boris helps us out with understanding Etna.

        • Thanks to Boris always wanted to see Etna ( I;d rather have Momma in my back 40
          than one of the Cascades like say , Rainier.)

    • I’m not convinced that Storegga had the lasting effect that is claimed for its tsunami. That there was a tsunami that drowned large areas at this time, is beyond dispute, but this is also the era of the drowning of the Black Sea, the biblical Flood, and possibly also the loss of the legendary Atlantis, wherever it might have been. Flooding started slow, as the effect of global warming, at a time when an inland sea covered Canada and much of Central North America. Tony Robinson who does history programmes on the BBC, showed how the ice walls lifted, as water seeped out underneath, off the coast of Nova Scotia, leaving deep channels in the Atlantic as evidence, with the water releasing slowly for a long time, but draining suddenly and rapidly, when the breach was total. Sea levels rose, and the main bulk of this water was said to have arrived in a mass flood. It may even have caused Storegga to collapse, but the flood was bigger and had a more lasting effect on coastlines all round the Atlantic.
      There is also the drying out of America and Mexico that followed, supporting this theory of a joined up series of events at the end of the Ice Age.
      Global warming was pretty devastating then.

      • Psst… it’s still going on. Technically, we are still in an ice age because ice still exists at the poles. This is just an interstadial so far.

        Generally, interstadials endure for less than ten thousand years and interglacials for more than ten thousand. The Eemian Stage, which lasted from about 130,000 to 114,000 years ago, was the last interglacial prior to the present Holocene epoch.


        • Dunno… at one time, Rome though that the grape vineyards of central England were quite profitable.

          Only recently has it been possible to grow grapes there. They are not so fond of cold weather.

          Recently, archaeologists have dug down through the permafrost to find artifacts in the ruins of Viking settlements. The climate there used to be good enough to provide grass and forage for enough cattle and sheep that the residents were able to provided several head of cattle and a farmstead for the priest that they requested the Church to send to them. (can’t remember if it’s 50 or 500 head).


          That means that the pastureland was ample enough to support the residents provided enough spare that they could contribute to this endeavor.

          Imagine the large amount of farmland that would open up should the tundra convert to a warmer environment.

          A 1408 wedding at the site’s church is the last documented event to occur during the Norse settlement of Greenland. Two years later the Icelandic newlyweds, ship’s captain Þorsteinn Ólafsson and Sigríður Björnsdóttir, returned to Norway, before sailing to Iceland and settling on the bride’s family farm at Akrar, north Iceland, in 1413. The details were recorded in letters between papal dignitaries in Iceland and the Vatican.


          And, a more modern look at Greenlands Snowcover…

          And an alternate plot.

          I encourage plotters to go to the data source and do a fresh version if they wish. These were done about a year or so ago.

      • she’s always good for a few surprises, BTW. some are saying this is similar to 1980.
        “Volcano weather.” Never forgot that- this was from an old Alaska bush pilot I was acquainted with…
        We were on the Ferry from Ketchican airport to the city..
        Not a fun ride in bad weather..

        • Mount St Helens is still far from a large eruption, and probably not that likely to have a small eruption either. This is just the normal refilling of a spent magma reservoir and could go on for decades or even centuries.

          • I agree but 2004 was a nice surprise event. Remember watching it from an Oregon State Heath Science University sky bridge whist my late mother in law was there…

  17. Evidently, our jail blew up.

    Reporting states that it was a gas explosion in the laundry.


    CONTRARY to what MSNBC is reporting, it is NOT a prison. (though it serves the same purpose) It’s the County Jail. As far as I know, the closest prison facility near here is over in Santa Rosa County on the other side of Escambia Bay. Century CI is about 45 miles away to the north. (Along with it’s work camp)

    The Jail serves Escambia County and The City of Pensacola. Dunno what they are going to do with the prisoners. The last time we had heavy flooding they released the “non-violent” and kept the assholes. I imagine they are in negotiation with Santa Rosa County Jail and the State DOC for berthing spaces.

    PURE SUPPOSITION on my part. Someone probably went in to re-light the pilot lights and didn’t make sure it was well ventilated first. Or, they tried to use the driers and didn’t notice that there were no pilot lights on.

    • Are they sure that the guards had not watched to many episodes of Breaking Bad and started to cook in the laundry room?

      • The deputies are usually pretty reputable, the management staff and the officials… well, that’s anybodies guess.

        Per my grandson, WEAR reports the body count is now up to 24 and that it occurred on the 4th floor. That makes the flooding excuse a bit more difficult to accept. Yeah, we got a lot of water, but we didn’t get THAT much water.

        • The fatality list is back down to two. (per Vodka Bob). They were just now removing them since the Forensic guys were able to get in and look things over first.

      • Now I’m getting conflicting data. The way the news guy was talking, the only prisoners there were the less than violent and the prone to violent were down at the main facility. That would mean that it wasnt’ the main jail and was an outlying facility… which is problematic since nothing else around has that many floors.

        Also, the grandkid indicates that video taken outside the facility showed several more than three occupied body bags being hauled out of the building. So far the last report I have heard is two fatalities.

        FBI and St Fire Marshall are on the scene. Dunno about the FBI, but the FireMarsall guys are top notch. I’ve worked with and around them before. I’m hoping FDLE is involved… in my opinion they are much more reputable than the FBI, though they serve the same purpose. (FDLE is under State control, FBI is under federal control and can rarely be trusted)

        • You guys have the most confusing array of competing law enforcement agencies in the known world, that being said…
          If the FBI are there either a federal jurisdiction crime has been performed, or local PD has asked for their assistance. If the first is the case it would point towards it being suspected terrorism otherwise it would have been the federal US Marshall Service (who oversee prisons and jails). If it is local PD that has asked for a consultancy it would be the FBI bombtech squad (that are pretty good).

        • “FBI is under federal control and can rarely be trusted”
          It depends on what one trusts them to do, they can be trusted to create false terrorism events deal drugs hide murderers…
          on the opposet side they can’t be trusted to be honest or to find the truth in any investigation involving gov malfeasance

        • Well… malfeasance may be the key item here. According to “Vodka” Bob, BATFE is looking into possible “Criminal Negligence.”

          Recently, some of the fixtures (dryers etc) had been replaced with new equipment to the tune of a few million dollars. Clammering relatives have made statements of hearing of heavy gas smells from their incarcerated family members. Reportedly investigators are in possession of an official E-mail discussing the gas issue. And, in an uncharacteristic stroke of actual investigative reporting , Vodka Bob related that a back door had been opened and a box fan put in place to air out a room from the high levels of gas. (not really an intelligent thing to do, box fans have long been known as potential ignition sources unless they were designed to operate in an explosive environment.)

          Anecdotally, my grandson had an acquaintance who was incarcerated there who is now at the hospital facing a potential amputation. (per his mother).

          His acquaintance at the jail is fine, his friend from up the street lost the leg in a seperate incident.

          And… the two or three inmates that were reportedly missing have been located over in Santa Rosa county at the hospital there. (probably due to the mass casualty nature of the event).

          Note: “Vodka” Bob is how I refer to one of our local reporters. He had been caught pushing cars around a local parking lot blitzed out of his gourd. Vodka was his drink of choice. The TV station didn’t fire him, but they keep putting his “holier than thou” ass out on field assignments. (that was his general attitude during his news bits… it’s also proof that karma is real.)

          • In no way a defense of “Vodka Bob”, but I have done far weirder things being blitzed while I was at the University, both as student, ph.d. student, and not least as a faculty member. I also did fairly blitzed oddities in the army. Come think about it, pushing cars in a parking lot being blitzed would not be out of sorts.
            Driving blitzed would never be done by me, that would just be criminal and stupid.
            No, my blitzed oddities are legal even though they are odd…

            • Ole Bob was using his car to do the pushing. Initially, I though it was just shopping carts he was pushing around, later I heard that it was actual cars.


              See the Dungeon for details

  18. Hmmmm.

    01.05.2014 16:35:05 63.445 -20.371 11.6 km 0.7 78.94 5.5 km W of Heimaklettur

    • Even though they are a bit rare there are a few earthquakes out at the Vestmannaeyar every year.

  19. Good evening all! Just a short visit and some info from Indonesia, I didn’t see it mentioned before: Merapi status has been raised from Normal (Lvl. 1) to Waspada (alert, lvl. 2) on 30 April:

    Also, Soputan (North Sulawesi) has been raised from Waspada to Siaga (Lvl. 3) on 1 May: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/
    “The growth of the lava dome began in 1991, the overflow out of the lip of the crater caused frequent lava [PF], with a sliding distance of approximately 2 to 6.5 km from the summit to the west, while the nearest population is 8 km from the summit. […] The biggest threat is to the camp (camping ground) on the northeastern slope about 3 to 4 km from the summit G. Soputan.” (Transl. Google)

    Happy Birthday to Tyler, I hope it is not too late and you are still celebrating!

    • Soputan is always either erupting or doing something to get closer to erupting. It has erupted almost once every year since time imemorial. The reason for this almost insane pace is that it is functioning as one of 3 safety valve volcanoes for my all time favourite supervolcano, The Tondano.
      For those who have forgotten it, Tondano is one of the really few active VEI-8 supervolcanoes on the planet besides Toba. It is also probably the oldest active supervolcano, and this one is not comatose like Yellowstone.
      Here is a bit more to read about her.

        • It is a Somma-volcano and those are always iffy to figure out the shape of if they have gotten a bit of time to rebuild. But, it has had at least one VEI-7 eruption and about 100 VEI-6s after the big blast. It is believed that the volcano has suffered from more than 100 000 eruptions after the VEI-8, I guess that would muddy the waters a bit, but such a frequent erupter I would not call a “sleeper” 🙂

        • Hit by the colloquialism monkey again… my bad.

          “Sleeper” in this instance comes from street racing. It is a rusted out piece of shit that in no way looks like it can beat the tricked out monster that it is up against. Think of a built up 327 in a Pinto or Monza. That sort of car typically beats you in the hole shot and all you see are tail lights from then on out.

      • Scientists are really missing out on a fascinating volcano system. So is it 4 volcanoes that have grown on top of a giant beast from below?

        • More, but there are 4 active right now ranging from active once every 1000 years to active almost always (Lokon-Empung and Soputan). There are also older volcanoes that have gone extinct, resurging dome volcanism, Maar-volcanism, the works.
          What is so interesting is that Tondano has been at a state of equilibrium for so extremely long time (2.5 million years).

      • I remember when I was perusing google earth trying to find every known caldera structure on earth. Coming across a legitimate VEI-8 caldera that nobody has ever mentioned or heard about was pretty awesome.

        To be honest, considering how long ago the actual caldera forming eruption was at Tondano, I think it’s pretty incredible you can still see parts of the rim & ring fault visible on a map. Most calderas of this age are impossible to discern due to tectonic uplift, infill, erosion, or other effects. There was a very large VEI-7 eruption in central Japan (larger than any Aso or Aira eruption for scale) that was younger than the Tondano caldera eruption. They still haven’t found the actual caldera itself, they can only locate the approximate location via ash fall estimates.

        When you mentioned one of the only particularly active supervolcanoes on the planet, I initially wanted to say that wasn’t the case, but if we’re limiting it to VEI-8, then that’s absolutely true. I think the Taupo Volcanic Zone (running from taupo to okataina) is the most prolific on the planet, so if you count the Tarawera eruption as part of a supervolcano, that would have to be the only other slightly active true supervolcano around.

        • Most VEI-8 calderas are not likely to stir from their repose. Meanwhile, there are VEI-7 calderas we know nothing about.

        • In a way Yellowstone is still active, but it will not erupt at the same spot. Toba and Taupo is active, and so is Lake Atitlan. But after that you are probably not going to find any more unless you count Uturuncu.
          This is why I think worrying about them is silly, the chance of you winning on lottery is about the same… and we all know that is not going to happen.

  20. And in a different part of the world…
    The conflict in Ukraine has sadly taken a huge step towards a full blown war. Fighting has broken out between Russian and Ukrainian troops.

    • There is a considerable amount of US History and culture that is needed to fully appreciate this song, but it fits, considering that they are instating a draft there. The events behind the song are real and the song is just a retelling of those events with a bit of artistic embellishment.

  21. Well that is one of the least things we need to know about. To bad I can’t underline or bold it.

  22. OT.

    I also got a Google Doc phishing e-mail. I studied that at the moment.

    In 2013, I received a phishing e-mail on LinkedIn. Link actually directed the Black Hole Exploit Kit, which distributors a variety of unpleasant side program, for example, using the Java vulnerability.

    This should be an interesting case.

  23. Hello Everyone!
    There will be riddles in the not so distant future (within the hour).
    There will though not be a new post today. That will come tomorrow. I am suffer from a rather silly workload today (yearly tax for the company and a few other thingamabits) so there is just no way in hell I can do it today.
    But tomorrow I promise a post. Normally I would though have chugged in a post from the pipeline, but lately we have gone through them all so the pipeline is dry.
    So, in a way, this is a call to all our lovely writers to subject articles, and also to everyone else who wishes to make a try at it 🙂

  24. First try on nr. 1: Volcano Kick-’em-Jenny or Mt. Kick-‘Em-Jenny. Savate is a boxing sport including kicking, and Sigrid Undset (image) wrote the novel Jenny (1911).

  25. 2 New Madrid Seismic Zone (Missouri, USA), also called the New Madrid Fault Line which produced many “sand volcanoes” or “sand blows” during the 1811-1812 series of earthquakes.

    • One would think so… But that would have been to obvious, you have allready done the easy one 😉
      This is slightly more evil.
      To you and the rest… Sissel has given a clue here. Just so everyone does not run away on a tangent.

    • or 5 might even possibly be a manly Brushy Butte ?
      or boastful with ‘long island’ or more modestly ‘goodenough’ or even less with ‘meager’ ?

      • Oh for a good old Long Island Iced Tea – maybe if I’m lucky some Manly Hunk will brush his tidy butt against me on the way to the bar….I’m getting a bit past it now, so maybe not good enough for the tidy butts…but any meagre pickings might do…LOL. I’m not really a Friday Night Tart – Honest! But I do try 🙂

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