The Volcanoes of Oahu, Hawaii

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

When anyone mentions the volcanoes of Hawaii, most of us immediately think Kilauea and/or Mauna Loa, both located on the big island of Hawaii.  Kilauea is the youngest and best known, because it has been in constant eruption since 1983.  Mauna Loa is earth’s largest volcano and last erupted in 1984.  It is more than 4 km above sea level and takes up more than half of the island. The 1984 eruption was short, compared to Kilauea, lasting from March 25 – April 15.

But, during a recent search of Friday riddles, I found myself on the island of Oahu.  It is known as the “gathering place” and tourists gather at the rate of 4.5 million a year.  Most notably, they come to Honolulu to see the sites, surf, golf, experience a luau and hula dancing and swim and sun bathe at Waikiki Beach with its 5-star hotels and views of Diamond Head.  Diamond Head?  Ever wonder how this dormant volcano got its name and how it got to be there?  Let us go back to the beginning.

Wai’anae Range

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

Approximately 3.9 million years ago, the currently named Wai’anae Range created the island of Oʻahu. It is the eroded remains of an ancient shield volcano that comprises the western half of the island.  The original caldera, 3 miles (5 km) wide and 5 miles (8 km) long, was at the head of Lualualei Valley but was buried through submergence and erosion.   The Waianae Volcanic Series is divided into lower, middle, and upper members. The lower member is made up of the lava flows and pyroclastics that built the main mass of the Wai’anae shield.  The middle member is mainly rocks that accumulated in the caldera, gradually filling it.  The upper member is a thin cap that has covered much of the shield late in its history. The volcano is now extensively eroded, bearing large amphitheater valleys on its western slopes. These valleys are some of the largest in Hawaii, and they are believed to represent the sources for large landslides now seen on the sea floor to the west of the island.  Lavas of Wai’anae volcano span compositions ranging from tholeiitic and alkalic basalt through to evolved compositions such as icelandite, rhyodacite, hawaiite, and mugearite.  Its crest is the highest peak on Oʻahu at 4,025 feet 1,227 m). The volcano is thought to have last erupted about 2.5 million years ago, about the time Ko’olau volcano started its eruptive activity, and is now considered extinct.

Koʻolau Range

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

Koʻolau Volcano is thought to have first erupted on the ocean floor more than 2.5 million years ago. It eventually reached sea level and continued to grow in elevation (perhaps 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) until about 1.7 million years ago, when the volcano became dormant.  The volcano stayed dormant for hundreds of thousands of years in which time erosion caused the entire mass to subside considerably.  At some point, however, Ko’olau began to erupt again.  Some 30 eruptions over the past 500,000 years (the Honolulu Volcanic  Series) created such landmarks as Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Koko Head, Punchbowl Crater, Mount Tantalus and Aliapa’aki Crater.  Geologists do not always agree on the dates of these more recent eruptions, some dating them to around 32,000 years ago, others to as recently as 10,000 years ago. Geologists believe that there is at least a remote possibility that Koʻolau volcano will erupt again.  What remains of Koʻolau is the western half of the original volcano that was destroyed in prehistoric times when the entire eastern half—including much of the summit caldera—slid cataclysmically into the Pacific Ocean. Whether this giant landslide had any bearing on its rejuvenation, is open to debate.  Remains of this ancient volcano lie as massive fragments strewn nearly 100 miles (160 km) over the ocean floor to the northeast of Oʻahu. What remains is known as the Ko’olau Range with the tallest peak at only 945 meters (3,100 feet).  Several phreatomagmatic craters are clearly visible from the air.  Unlike other Hawaiian volcanoes, no evidence has been found that Ko’olau ever went through a post-shield alkalic stage.  There is some speculation, however, that this missing stage went into the ocean at the time of the giant landslide scarp.

Map from

The map below clearly shows the prominent line of vents built up after erosion had carved deep valleys into this southeastern end of the Ko’olau volcano. The dashed pink lines mark the rims of phreatomagmatic craters, and the two pink dots mark non-phreatomagmatic “dry” vents. The green line is the crest of the Ko’olau mountains, which in this part of the volcano, roughly marks the top of the giant landslide scarp. Hanauma Bay is obvious with its white sand beach, Koko Crater is the tallest cone, and Manana Island marks the northeast end of the rift.


I was going to do a single post with the beginning of Oahu and then a brief summary of the famous volcanic landmarks.  However, the history of Diamond Head is quite extensive and interesting so it warrants a post of its own.  So, at least one more follow-up post on Oahu.

For some in-depth reading, you might like “Southeast Oahu Geology Field Trip Guide”




OMG – throw out most of this post with the bath water!  Murphy’s Law at its best when you have already logged in hours researching, reviewing, editing, reviewing again!  Just proves that what we think we know about volcanoes, we don’t.

 The following is a condensed version of a press release from the University of Hawaii, dated May 15, 2014:

From KHON2 news, May 18, 2014

The University of Hawaii has reported that researchers recently discovered that Oahu actually consists of three major Hawaiian shield volcanoes, not two, as previously thought.

This from the combined efforts of scientists from the Manoa campus, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de L’Environment in France and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.

It’s been commonly thought that the island of Oahu is made up of the remnants of two volcanoes, Wai’anae and Ko’olau. But extending almost 62 miles WNW from Ka’ena Point is a large region called the submarine Ka’ena Ridge.

It is that region that has now been recognized to represent a precursor volcano to the island of Oahu, and on whose flanks the Wai’anae and Ko’olau Volcanoes later formed.

Prior to the recognition of the Ka’ena volcano, the Wai’anae volcano was assumed to have been exceptionally large and to have formed an unusually large distance from its next oldest neighbor, Kauai. “Both of these assumptions can now be revised: Wai’anae is not as large as previously thought and Ka’ena Volcano formed in the region between Kauai and Wai’anae,” said John Sinton, lead author of the study and Emeritus Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

“What is particularly interesting is that Ka’ena appears to have had an unusually prolonged history as a submarine volcano, only breaching the ocean surface very late in its history,” Sinton said.

Much of our knowledge of Hawaiian volcanoes is based on those that rise high above sea level, and almost all of those formed on the flanks of earlier ones. Ka’ena represents a chance to study a Hawaiian volcano that formed in isolation on the deep ocean floor.

(Photo : J. Sinton, et al., UH SOEST)

Photo : J. Sinton, et al., UH SOEST

Complete news release here:

Pillow lava on Ka’ena volcano

Credit:  University of Hawaii at Manoa/via Live Science

Credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa/via Live Science

Hyaloclastites laminated on Ka’ena

Credit:  University of Hawaii at Manoa/via Live Science

Credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa/via Live Science

Other References:





92 thoughts on “The Volcanoes of Oahu, Hawaii

  1. Thank you Bobbi, great post and nice twist!
    Landslides spreading out over 100 km into the sea, are just mind-boggling.

  2. Cool post Bobbi! I’ve only been to Oahu once on a refueling stop flying from Auckland to LA. We flew in in the early morning and we slid past those enormously steep eroded remnants as landed. The most amazing landforms I had seen to date. Incredible.

    There was a paper in Nature a couple of years back talking about an east and west distinction in the plume under the Hawaiian islands which shows up in their Ur Th signatures. Quite tantalizing as it means the hot spot is basically a kind of twin from down near the mantle core boundary right up to the surface. You can still see the distinction between Kilauea and Mauna Loa apparently. Looks like the Wai’anae and Ko’olau ranges are the expression of the same thing on Oahu.

    • I spent 7 days on the island and the thing that struck me the most was the color of the lush green. You just can’t capture it on film. And the smell of the pineapple plant. I ate so much pineapple when I was there, my tongue and throat were blistered when I got back home. They serve it with every meal and drink. Sometimes raw, sometimes baked.

    • My recollection of Oahu is getting my lighter stolen and torquing the brain of what was probably a vice cop in hotel circle.

      She kept coming on to me and I kept turning her down. “Nah, not interested.” I was already under pressure to get back to Pearl Harbor and that is a really long ass walk. Much later, I was stopped by detectives who pulled up and asked me what the idiot leaning against a wall that I had walked past had said to me. Evidently he was the subject of their investigation. They declined giving me a lift to the base. Somewhere under the Ala Moana Boulevard a car left the road and hit a traffic pole. I stuck around and gave the PD the info over what I had seen. They were nice enough to drop me off at the base afterwards and saved me about three miles of walking.

      That’s something I am going to have to stop doing. Either through anger or poor planning, I have wound up walking on too many occasions. And not through “nice” neighborhoods. I think the longest was about nine miles and it will eat a significant chunk of time out of your day. I’ve been hit in the back of the head with a thrown newspaper, stopped by the cops, but so far not been accosted by criminals. It’s been 15 years since I last did it and don’t plan to do it again.

      BTW, that lighter incident was out front of a bar that we were frequenting.

      • I Los Angeles you should never walk. I once tried to walk from Venice Beach up to my Hotel.
        After about an hour I was arrested for walking. According to the officers it was not natural that a guy in a suit was walking such a distance. I spent for hours in the police station.
        Only other time I was arrested in my life was at the Maidan Square in Kiev (Ukraine). There my offence was (if I understood things) that I had been smoking on the street (which is legal). It happened 3 times in 1 week.

        • On my one and only trip to L.A., my work colleagues and I were staying in a hotel not that far from our company’s office where our training course was being held. One fine morning, we decided it was such a nice day we might walk the 1.5km or so to the office. The guy in reception was most insistent that it was not a very good idea, and that we would inevitably get hassled. We changed our mind and drove – not without its own problems as it was the first time in a right hand side of the road country for any of us.

          Colleagues from our Italian office who were attending the same course did decide to walk one day. They were stopped and questioned.

          • Thanks for the warning of Los Angeles. Now I’m 1 million % more certain that I NOT will join the trip the dancing network I’m in will have to LA in april next year.
            Completely madnes that seams to not be allowed to walk as long distance as a persong want.

          • LA epitomizes “car culture” where nothing is within walking distance. If you are wandering around, odds are you are up to no good. If the cops stop you, you’re lucky. Street gangs are less forgiving of people invading their turf.

            • Yep, and car culture is the antithesis of who I am. I am a non driver, have never held a driver’s license in my life, probably never will. My natural modes of conveyance are my own legs, the bus, the bicycle, and our rather good electric train system.

  3. ROFLOL!!

    Local “news” was covering a re-enactment of military activities at Ft Pickens. They did a gun salute where several of them in period uniforms lined up to fire the salute. The squad leader calls off the firing order and many in the line with rifles flinch backwards from the volley… but no ammo or powder charges were used.

    I tally that up in my “ridiculous” file of short term memory.

  4. hi * Waves at all*

    Been away for VC for a while..
    Great stuff, thanks Bobbi.

    *I think there has not happened much lately,
    but I see its one week since last time I showed up here.
    Lots to catch up.

    • Yes, last registered earthquake on the internal list was 16.48, but when I check manually I can see quite a lot of earthquakes after that. A small swarm south east of Grimsvötn started at 17.27… So the map is down.

  5. Here’s a view of part of the Grand Mesa in Colorado on Google Earth. I take it these grey areas are lava flows?

  6. Thanks Bobbi 🙂 Nice post. I would love to go to the Hawaiian islands. They are truly beautiful. My nearest to the life style was when I lived in Torquay, Devon, SW England. I got arrested there…..Back in the 1960’s My Hippy friends and I, dressed as hippies did with long hair and tie-dyed shirt dresses…the girls wore similar :D, were accosting the local holiday makers and giving them white ox-eye daisy flowers whilst entreating them to make love not war. This seemed to scare the majority as Long hair and strange clothes were perceived as threatening. It wasn’t long before the police arrived and carted us off to the police station and cautioned us for breach of the peace ……..sigh…….Peace and Love ……… What criminals we were then….. 😀 .

      • Oh! And my father was so disgusted with my long hair and fringed suede mini skirt, bare feet and the fact I had made “a spectacle of myself” he told me not to come home dressed like that….So I promptly went off and settled down on the beach where we all had a wonderful time singing protest songs round a fire, No drugs. No alcohol (couldn’t afford either) But now with hind sight my poor parents must have been so worried. In those days though us college kids were far more innocent and the drugs scene hadn’t really hit the UK. It was a good time to be young 🙂

        • Really amuzing to read your story Diana. I was born in 81, so I never saw the hippie scene, it was one of those things I would had loved to have experienced.

          Anyways, still on the political side, I am deeply ashamed today of being an European. Not only I was sad with the whole economic crises, austerity and divisions between countries, some blackmailing others, now we have the masses of Europe, some 25% voting for the extreme right, far right and anti-Europe, anti-immigration ideas. It starts like this, intolerance, extremism, it ends far worse we can expect.

          I am deeply shocked by this, and I have been wondering whether any of my European friends is really one of these intolerant people. They must be somewhere. It’s crazy to see people swiming from simple angriness at politicians (totally understand and concur on that) to downright politican extremism and racism/hate ideologies.

          Le Pen said Ebola could be the solution for Europe migrant problem. This is a terrible awful political position and sadly French people vote in majority for it. They are insane. What would happen if Le Pen would become prime minister of France? End of EU, civil war in France would be likely too. An immense crises within Europe. Ukraine would be like a walk in the park, compared to that. And it’s not only France, it’s most of Europe. Look at Greece, Hungary, Holland, etc… the neonazis are there and sadly they are back. We cannot allow for this to repeat again!

          • irpsit I understand your concerns and without getting into political discussion, all I can say is that the only certainty in life is change. People do not like change and often react quite dramatically when they feel the winds of change. This inevitably causes more changes than they had bargained for!
            I cannot understand why the human race never seem to learn from the lessons of history.

          • The greatest harm to civilization is the concentration of power. The more it is concentrated, the more the mongers will try to wrest control for themselves. Plato’s republic outlined the natural progression of government evolution. The most unstable form of government is a pure democracy, which rapidly devolves into a tyranny. Thats one reason that the US founding fathers gummed up the works by making a representative democracy. The idea was that if you get enough people arguing about it, almost nothing is ever decided. Well, at lest that was the plan. The Dems and their close brethren the Republicans have managed to nullify that control system.

            As for immigrants… if they eagerly adopt your culture and acclimate to the existing society, becoming productive members, there is nothing wrong with them. Too many times a population will bring the worst of them along for the ride. Those that wish to be hyphenated citizens. I am of German descent, but that doesn’t make me a German-American. Technically, I am pure Redneck through and through, with a natural born affinity for beer.

            • I think you are onto something… I could live with calling myself a Beerian that come from Beeria, and Beeria is situated wherever anyone drinks a cold beer in freedom. All of a sudden the world constitutes of 4 Billion Beerian Brothers and Sisters. Then we would have Peace on Earth.
              We would of course be strongly allied with the Winers from Winea and The Boozers of Boozeville.

            • Here in Australia we call rednecks “bogans”, but the principle is the same. I’m quite “bogan” myself, particularly the affinity for beer and the enjoyment of any sport involving men clashing over a strangely shaped ball. (Right now NSW is leading QLD 12-8 in State of Origin match 1. Grrrr. Go Maroons!).

              So call me a beerian, or a redneck, or a bogan. Its all good.

            • You know, that “No war for beer” comment reminds me of the two faced nature of one of our “parties.” Like good little sheep, they constantly bleated “no war for oil” yet right now, after they acheived the power shift that they themselves wanted, we get massive subterfuge used to move weapons into Lybia, which were then funneled to Syria to precipitate the overthrow of a ruler who would not allow a pipeline to be put in that would financially impact his long time ally. Since public opinion could not be ramped up, no US action was put in place to augment that coup. Now, they pull the same social media hyped up discontent in Ukraine and they find themselves sitting a poor position to try and coerce Pooty poot since they have no way of curtailing Gazprom’s monopoly on the gas supply. As for the dead ambassador… well, dead ambassadors don’t typically offer up testimony in an investigation. Dead men tell no tales.

            • Only problem is that Beeria is doomed.
              The world supply of hop is almost gone so we are facing a worldwide shortage of hop. And without hop, no beer. It is expected that the price of hop will get so high that the amount used for a regular beer will be 50cents and for an India pale ale it will be about 2 dollars.
              Sad times ahead… The news anouncer almost cried when he told the news. The weather man tried to cheer him up… Then came the epic “To hell with weather, we will have no more beer”.

            • Plenty of fresh hops down here Carl. The New Zealand and Tasmanian hops harvests went just fine! I’ve had to somewhat alter my brewing toward NZ varieties, as it is getting hard to source European noble hops (been a couple of years since I could get good Czech “Saaz”), and even U.S. Pacific Northwest varieties are getting more expensive because the craftbrewing industry there is using ’em all before export.

            • Problem is just that the NZ hop harvests are to small for the worlds consumtion.
              It is true that it is the increased usage of hops from craft breweries that is creating the desperate shortage together with failed hopcrops.
              Sigh, we are all doomed… 😦

          • The two most dangerous things in the world is Stupidity and Fear.
            When those two intermingle in the same person the world is in danger. Then you have breeding ground for powerhungry and oportunistic people to take advantage of their Fear and Stupidity and that is what we are seeing. It sadens me more than I can express with words.
            I fervently hope that the world soon will swing back to being more open and less scared.

            • I was only 14-15 years old around the time of the 9-11 attacks in the USA. I think any time a dramatic event happens and you combine it with fear, you get two things: Scared people trying to point fingers, and politicians who see an opportunity to exploit people’s fear.

              Despite the fact that I was fairly young, even I was a bit taken aback by the sudden fervent nationalism that came after the 9-11 attacks. Suddenly, everyone was super nationalistic and scared. Not nearly enough people questioned whether going to Afghanistan was a good idea. Not nearly enough people questioned the patriot act. If you did question anything in the wake of 9-11, you were suddenly “unpatriotic” and anti-american.

              It’s just amazing how easy it is to form a hive-mind mentality, especially once a catastrophe occurs and people think they need to be afraid for their personal safety.

  7. A real hippie chick story:

    O’Hare Airport in Chicago, early 1979. Rotating back from a remote in Korea on midtour. Had been traveling for about 18 hours, tired as a dog, cranky, and just wanted to get home. Working the airport at that time were a bunch of religious youngsters. There’s a scene in the 1980 movie Airplane that parodies what was going on in US airports around that time.

    This time, if you had short hair (military), for some reason, they were on you like stink on brown stuff. The sweet young hippie chick would give you a flower and if you accepted it, you were shortly being sold all the books and trappings of their particular belief by her and her friends. I watched this for a while before one found me. She asked me if I wanted a flower, so I grabbed it and ate it in my best John Belushi style, complete with drool and wild eyes. Didn’t say a word. Her eyes got really, really big and she backed into the crowd. I didn’t see any of them for the next 3 hours I was there. Was I bad? Cheers –

    • Rofl….I was always and still am before my time :D. Trust me back in mid 1960s the flowers were a genuine symbol of peace and Love…nothing at all religious…Just a reaction to fears about world peace from the Cuba Crisis then Vietnam. It’s such a pity everyone jumped on the bandwagon. But then I suppose the gentle ideology of a true flower child was bound to wilt in this materialistic world. 😀 >>>>>>>>>>> potters off to talk to her plants.

      • Sorry, with as many times as I got the shit beat out of me I never could appreciate the B/S peace message. It didn’t take long to learn that if you pick out the biggest agressor and drop him to his knees, the others with think twice about messing with you. Oh, and that idea about a fair fight? Typical bull crap. When faced with getting pummled, you use what ever is needed. A table works wonders if you can weild it.

  8. USA’S CNN Summer Series THE SIXTIES debuts Thursday, May 29th.

    From Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) and Gary Goetzman.
    Should be a fun recollection of those times for us oldsters and an education for the youngsters!
    For those not in the USA-maybe it can be viewed through YouTube?

    Oh Diana, how I would have loved to have read your ruminations then!

  9. CNN’s summer series, THE SIXTIES, runs for nine consecutive Thursdays.
    There is CNN Worldwide. . .anyone know if it is in their lineup?
    One segment is ‘The British Invasion’ and we all know what musical group that is about! 🙂

    • The Beatles were the gospel singers for the 1960’s, singing about love and the way to build a fairer world. It did for John Lennon though, as hippies faced a backlash in the corporate eighties. The sixties and seventies were all about freedom within a gentler world, and Hollywood moved to Wales for its myths and legends that were intrinsic to the landscape. Not exactly zen but wellies and wet stone, paraffin stoves and coal smoke and rich hippies with wall to wall carpets and floor to ceiling speakers. I recognise Diana’s world in that far off summer of 1970 – Woodstock and the Bath Festival, and Joni Mitchell busking in Paris in 1968. Idealism was a good thing.

      • Nah. They were tools used to “foment” discontent in much the same way that “social media” is used today.

        Note the word “foment.” It slipped out during an interview with some obscure CIA connected person… one of the many that get trotted out to make commentary on the “news” shows. It came up when discussing social media.

        • Hindsight without the rose tinted glasses sees only the acid casualties, exploitation and marketing of the new brand. Rock was a crazier adventure and then punk ended the illusions of those sixties pioneering dreamers. It was a good time to be young though and the kids today see all the music that was new then as mixed up all together now.

        • Speaking of acid…

          WEAR Ch3 in Pensacola is full of myopic idiots that can’t even conduct a passable investigation.

          Recently they reported on nasty water down at Quiet water beach and stated that it was due to recent storm activity. Not one question was raised in relation to a train derailment up in McDavid back during our ice storm event this last winter. Not one single note about whether there is a connection to Karenia brevis (native to gulf coastal waters).

          Back during our ice event, a train derailed up around McDavid, dumping a sizable quantity of phosphoric acid. CSX cleanup crews went in to remediate the spill, but since no one was allowed to go look or film, no one knows how they remediated it. Typically, phosphate is a byproduct of phosporic acid neutrilization. What is phospate? A FERTILIZER. plants love it. So do dinoflagellates like Karenia brevis.

          This could be the beginnings of a red tide bloom and our reporters don’t even get it…. let alone have half a clue.

          Personally, I’m staying away from shrimp and shellfish out of Escambia bay for the next year. Filter feeders tend to concentrate and accumulate the breve-toxin that Karenia brevis secretes.

            • Well, I’m not a hazmat tech, but I understand the concern. Long range cameras on that friken helo could have done the trick. Annecdotally, the way it played out was that someone reported a derailment to 911, CSX was contacted to verify, they said there was none. 20 minutes later they call back and state they do have one.

              As for hazmat incidents, the strangest one that I was on, we were at the local horse arena hosing down the dirt for the competition later that evening. As a benifit, we were allowed to hang out and watch the event. Being that we were already crewed up, we were acting as a ready standby unit to respond to calls. We got one. It came via Tallahassee. It seemed that they had a radiation detection at the weight station and we were sent to investigate. We pulled up short about a half mile from the scales and got out the biniculars to see what could be seen. Nada. Just a box truck at the scale house. It turned out to be a fish truck. Evidently, it had been used to transport something medical related at one time… though I know of no equipment that can leave a residual signature in the metal of the truck unless it was carrying some sort of isotope at one time. (a source).

              As for that helo that I mentioned…. it’s the sheriff’s helo. They had shut it down due to the cost of operating it, but they brought it back out to operational status. On evening I was listening to them (the helo) call in a report of a grow operation. They requested the closest unit to respond. The respinding unit, was a guy at the local county admin building, who walked out the door, across the parking lot, and around the fence to the site of the grow operation. Hell, all he had to to was look at what was poking up above the fence and he could have seen it. For that they needed a helo? Give me a break.

              The derailment issue would have been perfect for the helo. All I’m looking for is a bit of accountability. If the State DEP gets involved, I’m okay with that. Our “news” idjits don’t seem to care about looking into things that could be a serious problem. (well, with “Vodka Bob” there, I can’t really be surprised.)

    • George Harrison’s sister, Louise, used to live in Benton, Illinois, USA which is about an hour’s drive from where I live. She ran a bed and breakfast called (what else?) “A Hard Days Night”. It had a lot of Beatles memorabelia. I don’t know if she still lives there, but I think the B&B was sold a few years ago. I met her once and found her to be a delightful, charming lady.

      • George himself lived in a ‘modest’ little pad in my local town. The family still lives there.

        I never saw him, but my good friend recounts the time when he went to a town pub one lunchtime to find GH having a quiet drink with Dylan. According to local folklore the Traveling Wilburys jammed there a couple of times in the back bar – that must have been quite something if you had just dropped in for a quick pint!

  10. Latest update on cerro negro / chiles (Colombia) via google translate:

    “This week network monitoring volcanoes Chiles and Black Mountain on the Colombo-Ecuadorian border earthquakes recorded around 6500, which are mostly located in southwestern Chiles volcano at distances less than 4 km from the summit of this volcano, with depths between 1 and 8 km for the top and magnitudes of up to 4.0 on the Richter scale. On May 21 at 2:53 am 3:44 pm and 6:46 pm three earthquakes reported felt by the inhabitants of Chiles Indian Reservation, which is located 2 km southwest of the volcano were recorded Chiles, had local magnitudes of 3.7, 4.0 and 3.3 respectively, and depths near 3 km. Continued crustal deformation of the volcanic building recorded since November 2013, at stations installed at these volcanoes. continues working with the Geophysical Institute National Polytechnic School in Quito (IG-EPN) in the analysis of this activity and corresponding volcanic threat. SGC will continue to oversee the evolution of volcanic phenomena and report on the changes can be detected. Sincerely, DIEGO GOMEZ MARTINEZ Coordinator Working Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Pasto”

    • My question for something like this is when do you raise the alert level to orange? You have no history to go off from this volcano, and the quakes have been rumbling on at a pretty strong rate for quite a long time at this point.

      • They have probably decided on a set of key values where they will raise the allert level and start evacuating. I would guess that the local volcanologists did that fairly early, probably after confering with international collegues who have had a similar volcano erupt. And they have most likely taken into account that a lot about this volcano is unknown.
        I would guess that the most important key figure would be how high up the purely magmatic signals are and the amount of magmatic signals.

        I am here guessing that if this continues and the magma continues to rise upward they will raise the level sooner rather than later.

        Furthermore guessing here is that if Chiles continues like this the evacuation will be done anytime from now to 3 months into the future and that a month or more later we would see phreatic activity start as the throat clears of the volcano. But this is just guesses on my side. I do though think that there is a fairly high risk that the volcano will erupt within a years time.
        Do not forget how long time a stone cold volcano takes to wake up. Remember that Kelud needed pretty much a year and that El Hierro needed half a year. This is not Hekla we are talking about….

        • True points about taking a while to wake up. I think you can especially see that given how energetic the quakes have been with multiple M4 quakes and a lot of M3’s in there mixed in with all the small microquakes that are normal.

          The quake stack DOES seem to be fairy shallow right now with events supposedly registering at 1km depth, but it’s difficult to tell how long that’s been going on for.

          I think a lot of this representative of a closed system vs. an open system – an open volcanic system can wake up without requiring tons of energy, but closes systems have to punch through miles of hardened bedrock.

          I think it’ll be interesting if this does erupt to see how large the eruption actually is – on one end, it’s been forever since this volcano has erupted, so it’s impossible to say how large the magma chamber is. Has the old magma chamber completely crystallized beyond eruptibility? Will the new injection of magma rejuvenate the old crystallized magma so that it can erupt again? Have there been fresh injections of magma in the last 1000 years so that there is a fresh magma chamber of some size?

  11. I have noticed since some weeks ago, that the way that strain oscilates on has seem to change, in Hella and Hvo stations. Could this mean changes in stress in SISZ after the 4.5 quake last month, as it prepares for another adjustement? Also, station has changed its tremor pattern. Well, very minor changes that could be just noise or other variations, which do not mean nothing per se.

  12. And in the real world…

    Today the world was served the biggest outright falsity ever produced by an assortment of countries. I am surprised that they even dared to do it since someone who is an expert in the field, like me, will expose them.

    As you all know an assortment of world powers have been looking for MH370 outside of eastern Australian waters for the last 7 weeks.
    As some of you know I was rather surprised that they were searching in that area to begin with since the trail pointed somewhere else. But, I thought that they had something tangible since they claimed to have picked up the transponder signal from the Black Box of the airplane. After all, either you have picked up the signal, or you have not picked up the transponder signal. This is one of those times were things are either Black or White, there is just no Grey.

    Today the news broke that they are calling off the search and that the signal was “a mistake, probably a signal from the search ship itself”.
    Here is were it gets really really iffy… To explain things I have to use a parable to not get too technical.

    Imagine that the Mona Lisa had been stolen from the Louvre and that I am the retired curator in charge of the da Vinci paintings at the Louvre and that I am the world leading expert on Mona Lisa. I am now sitting at home reading that they have found the Mona Lisa. I know that at least 10 people have looked at the painting who are experts in renaissance art, so of course I generally trust that they know what it is they are looking at. After seven weeks the news comes out that they have not found the Mona Lisa, instead they have found a photograph of a Baboons Arse.

    Here comes the thing, it is as unlikely that a score of experts on interpreting signals would mistake any signal with that from a Black Box, as it is that 10 experts on renaissance paintings would mistake the Mona Lisa for a Baboons Arse.
    Heck, a normal junior hydrophone-operator would never make the initial mistake.

    Now comes the thing, about half of the ships involved in this search has a hydrophone system that is it either directly designed by me, or is a derivative of that system. I know the specifications to a T on the systems the western ships use.

    Now, can the signal be falsified? Yes. I could do it without breaking out in perspiration. Either you take a recording of the original (real) transponder signal and bounce it off the ocean floor. That gives a bit of an iffy return signal that is diffuse.
    The second way is that you drop a transponder buoy down to the ocean floor that is transmitting a recording of the original signal.
    The third way is that you do a digital falsification.
    The first option would most likely have been picked up by a senior hydrophone-operator on one of the western ships.
    The second option would be much harder to spot. It would take a senior expert comparing the actual signal from the airplane with that received. A transponder buoy would only be giving out a slightly imperfect signal. At least ten people on the planet could have pinpointed the inacuracy, and I know that at least the US employ 5 of them to do just this. This would involve a lot of technical steps that I have omitted here both to not get to technical, and also since it would in part hand out classified information.
    The third version is the second easiest to spot, You just take a sample of the ocean noise and compare it with missmatches and then you compare the sonar transducivity of the ocean at the same spot, I seriously doubt that anyone could do a falsification perfectly of that.

    So, either the chinese ship falsified the data (which would have been cought within the first few days) or for some unfathomable reason 3 different world powers spent millions of dollars on ships out at sea for an extended time to prove a lie that all 3 of them are purporting to be true and that all 3 of them knew was false to begin with. There are just no other options for this scam.

    • Carl when this whole mess started with the plane you hinted at that there was much more to this then was being let on. now this post, can you share your thinking on what happened?

      • I can only share that I still believe that something very different happened. I can though not go into detail.
        Only thing that I can write is that the plane dived and headed off towards the Andaman Islands and that 24 hours later the airplanes engines sent out a startup signal that was picked up that confirmed that it had gone in that direction.
        I thought that there had been a mix-up of the engine signals numbercode when they claimed that they had picked up the transponder signal. So, basically due to a hoax from 3 major powers the trail is now stonecold and the plane can be anywhere on the planet. I do not any longer think it will ever be found again since obviously nobody wishes the plane to be found.
        To the best of my knowledge nobody is pursuing any investigation about where the plane actually went and what really happened.

        I would surmise that a bunch of people with a tremendous pull (government level) wanted the plane to be gone and that they probably had very good reasons to do it. I know that this sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it is the only reason I can come up with after todays “news”. I should also state that if I needed someone or something gone from the face of the planet badly enough I would probably have made the same decission that the power that be probably made. Sometimes you need to do bad things.

        • That brings you back to the initial questions: “who” and / or “what” was on the plane. But, based on what is available in the UK press, there does not appear to be anything that would warrant a major cover up.

          • Well, I for one do not have a single clue what that would be.
            One should also remember that the chance is that the plane went down somewhere around the Nicobar Islands and everybody died. But, that does not explain the above mentioned whopping big lie.

    • Keeping with the theme…
      As the plant was in jeopardy they started to import the Thai original instead here. It kicked more butt, so try to find that one Lurking… 🙂

      And anything chili related is highly on topic, it is after all quite like lava 😉

      • My guess is that the town began to weigh the economic implications of their actions.

        Anecdotally, I know of a few cases where some one has moved in near a pig farm and then tries to get it shut down due to the smell. The judge took a “who was there first?” approach to the case, which is odd, nowadays it seems to depend on who can pony up the most money.

        • We had a couple of those around the airport in my former hometown. People who built houses next to the airport and then tried to sue the airport for the noise…
          They handled the both cases in the same time. The Judgement has become a Swedish classic… It is very nicely worded, but it all boils down to “You guys are so stupid that you should not be allowed outside of your houses without professional help, case dismissed” They had to pay all the costs for the case.

    • At one time, I had a few of the plants that make up the more lethal concoction. They fall into the bird pepper family and quite literally, hurt. The problem is that it’s hard to taste anything when the back of your throat is scorched and you are frantically fleeing around (anywhere) to escape the pain and find some relief.

      I think Goya makes a similar concoction.

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