Maui Nui – Big Maui

Maui Nui Landsat Photo

Maui Nui Landsat Photo

The four islands between Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii are the remnants of a large volcanic edifice, referred to as Maui Nui, literally Big Maui. At its height some 1.2 MY ago, it was about 50% larger above sea level than the current Big Island of Hawaii. Following that peak the normal cycle of landslide, erosion and subsidence divided Maui Nui into its current four separate islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Kahoolawe. This piece will give a short geologic history of those islands.

Volcanic activity on all the Hawaiian Islands has four stages of activity classified like that on Kauai. These include preshield (sub aerial) which is primarily alkali lavas; shield (aerial); postshield (alkali); and rejuvenated (alkali). For all these islands, the preshield and shield building lavas comprise the vast majority of erupted materials. Preshield builds the island from the ocean floor. Shield building builds the island above the ocean surface. Postshield takes place at the end of the shield building stage and normally fills the caldera. Rejuvenated takes place some hundred(s) of thousands of years after the main eruption stops and is characterized by cinder cones, phreatomagmatic and similar eruptions. Rejuvenated eruptions emit by far the smallest amount of lavas by volume in construction of a Hawaiian Island.

Stages of Hawaiian Volcanism

Stages of Hawaiian Volcanism

It is also important to note that all the Hawaiian Island sit in a pretty strong band of trade winds blowing generally east to west. This means that the upwind side of the islands is very wet, generally covered with tropical rain forests. Rainfall increases as the water-laden air mass is forced higher up against the volcano. On the lee side, the air mass is drier, and drops successively less rain as you get farther away from the central volcano. On most islands, the windward side has sufficient rainfall to support tropical rain forests, while on the lee side, it supports vegetation more appropriate to the deserts of West Texas. Cactus is not uncommon on some of the islands.

Rainfall Patterns of the Main Hawaiian Islands

Rainfall Patterns of the Main Hawaiian Islands

This distribution of rainfall is important in the evolution of life on Maui Nui and explains a lot about what is seen on the islands today.


Initial growth of the island appears to be a single shield volcano underlying Penguin Bank, which sits between the island of Molokai and Oahu. Molokai sits some 42 km east of Oahu. The shield volcano underlying the Bank started building some 2.2 MY ago and was briefly connected to Oahu as the next expression of the hot spot that created the string of Hawaiian Islands. Today, the top of the volcano sits some 60 m below the surface of the Pacific and is topped with coral.

Schematic of the Hawaiian Hotspot

Schematic of the Hawaiian Hotspot

The next island to start forming was Molokai, which is the northern most of the remaining group. The western most shield volcano started forming West Molokai some 1.89 MY ago. The western volcano started some 1.52 MY ago. Normal shield growth only takes some 200,000 years for each volcano given estimates of island growth for Kauai and Hawaii.

Yet another set of vents erupting out of three rift zones formed the island of Lanai south of Molokai with major activity between 1.46 – 1.2 MY ago. Lanai was connected to Molokai by the shared volcanic edifices. Lanai is a single shield volcano.

Simultaneous with eruptions forming east Molokai and Lanai, the volcano forming West Maui was active some 1.6 MY ago. It is now considered extinct. The East Maui volcano – Haleakala – became active some 800,000 years ago and had its last eruption of rejuvenated magma some 200 – 500 years ago.

The final active volcanic center, and smallest island is Kahoolawe which is a single shield volcano active some 1.03 MY ago. It now sits some 10 km south of Maui.

The Pacific Plate continued to move and with it, the activity continued to move southeast relative the existing islands. The oldest volcano making up the current island of Hawaii is Kohala, which was active some 1.00 MY ago, breaching the surface some 500,000 years ago and erupting for the typical 200,000 years. It sits some 50 km southeast of Maui.

At its largest some 1.20 MY ago, Maui Nui was some 14,600 km2 above water.


Now that the growth of the larger island of Maui Nui is moderately nailed down in terms of shield building, next comes its destruction via a series of landslides, subsidence and erosion.

Evolution of Maui Nui

Evolution of Maui Nui

The connection between Molokai and Penguin Bank was broken some 700,000 years ago. The connection between Lanai and Molokai opened up some 600,000 years ago. The connection between Kahoolawe and Maui opened up some 150 – 200,000 years ago. Maui, Lanai and Molokai have been intermittently connected since then, mostly due to variable sea levels due to glacial episodes during ice ages. One article estimates the islands were connected as recently as 18,000 years ago due to the lower sea levels during the last great ice age.

Note that the reason the islands are no longer connected is because of the subsidence of the entire structure at the rate greater than 3 mm / year. There is a drowned reef line around Molokai some 400 m below the surface that rises around 30 m from that depth.



Landslides Around Maui Nui

There are three main landslides / slumps associated with the greater structure. The difference between a landslide and a slump is velocity. Landslides move very quickly, often creating tsunamis, typically spreading debris tens to hundreds of kilometers on the ocean floor. Slumps are much slower, do not necessarily create tsunamis, and do not necessarily deposit material on the ocean floor or nearly as far along the floor should the debris reach that far.

List of Known Largest Hawaiian Landslides

List of Known Largest Hawaiian Landslides

The first and largest slide was the Wailua Slide, which appears to have taken the northern half of the East Molokai shield volcano down to the bottom of the Pacific with it. It covers some 13,000 km2, is just under 195 km long and 40 km wide. The failure took place when the volcano stood some 1,300 m higher than today.

Around 2,500 km3 of Molokai fell off toward the north. Its source is a 40 km wide amphitheater that took most of the northern half of the East Molokai volcano. The landslide was relatively high speed as debris climbed out of the Hawaii Deep, the depression the mass of the Hawaiian Islands created in the Pacific Plate as magma is transferred from the mantle to the surface. During its runout, the debris flow climbed some 300 m uphill before it stopped.

The landslide appears to have taken place around 1.4 MY ago and generated a tsunami between 600 – 700 m locally on Molokai and Lanai. This height is verified by the presence of corals high in the mountains of the island.
Note also that due to subsidence, the scarp face the landslide released from is now well below the surface of the Pacific.

A second slide is the Hana Slump, which appears to take place from an active underwater rift zone called the Hana Ridge. This ridge reaches east from Maui and crosses the northern end of the Big Island. At its end, there was a debris slump covering some 4,900 km2, measuring some 85 km long by 110 km wide. Given the proximity of multiple debris slumps north from the Big Island and the Kohala Volcano, the area is fairly complex. Age of this slump should be on the order of 500,000 years. I have not found any associated massive tsunamis with this feature.

The final massive landslide if the Clark Slide out of Southwest Lanai. This feature is bound mostly by the Penguin Bank to the north and proceeds mainly south and west in two lobes. It is tentatively set at around 650,000 years old based on a successive series of coral reefs around Lanai, the lowest some 1,000 m below the surface of the Pacific. The head of the avalanche has the typical amphitheater shaped source where part of the island calved off downslope to a bottom some 3.5 km below the waves. Original dating of tsunami debris attributed to the slide had to be reevaluated as the debris was dated at some 105,000 years ago which has now been tied to the Alika debris avalanche off the west side of the Big Island.


Molokai is roughly rectangular in shape, with the two volcanoes on the ends with a saddle in the middle. It is oriented east – west. The island is 670 km2 in area, hosts a population of some 7,300 and tops out at the eastern volcano at some 1,500 m.

Sea Cliffs of Molokai

Sea Cliffs of Molokai

Both volcanoes were built by layered basaltic lava flows once the edifice broke the surface of the Pacific. The layers measure from less than a meter to some 25 m thick. They are separated by soils and ash some centimeters to one third a meter thick. The Eastern Molokai Volcano is topped with a caldera that used to measure some 7 km in diameter. There has been massive erosion on the flanks before and after the flank collapse that removed the north half of the eastern volcano exposing numerous dikes on both volcanoes.

East Molokai Volcano

East Molokai Volcano

There are cinder cones and spatter cones on the western slope of East Molokai from the final stage of volcanism. There are the remains of at least one cone created by a phreatomagmatic eruption at Mokuhooniki a couple kilometers off the eastern end of the island.

Phreatic Eruption Cone - Rejuvenated Volcanism

Phreatic Eruption Cone – Rejuvenated Volcanism

Postshield lavas are rare on the older, western volcano. However they make up a substantial volcanic unit on the eastern volcano. The majority of the final volcanic episodes built cones and flows on the north shore of Molokai, one of the episodes forming a peninsula hosting a former leper colony. There was also at least one lava tube associated with this structure.

Kalaupapa - Rejuvenated Shield Volcano

Kalaupapa – Rejuvenated Shield Volcano

Early settlers mismanaged livestock on the island to the point where the dry western end of the island was mostly stripped of vegetation. Since then, has been poorly regrown and suffers substantial erosion.


Maui is the largest remaining island of this grouping. It is just under 1,900 km2. The eastern volcano, Haleakala tops out at over 3,000 m. Maui hosts a population of over 140,000 and sits some 50 km west of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Landsat Photo of Maui

Landsat Photo of Maui

As with Molokai, the western volcano is the oldest while Haleakala is the youngest vent. The isthmus connecting the two volcanoes was built chiefly by lavas out of Haleakala. Both mountains are constructed by multiple layered lava flows during the shield building stage, interspersed with thin layers of soils and the occasional ash deposit.

The Hana Slump is the closest known landslide associated with Maui, though the velocity of the collapse does not appear to be significant. Note that Maui is a lot like the original shape of Molokai before the eastern volcano calved and slid north.

As with all Hawaiian Islands on the windward side, Maui generates a significant amount of rain as it wrings water out of the trade winds forcing them up the slopes of the volcanoes. On the windward side of Haleakala, over 750 cm of rainfall yearly is not uncommon. On the lee side, there are places that average 40 – 50 cm per year or less. Droughts are not uncommon with significantly less rainfall than that.

Map of Young Lava Flows on Haleakala

Map of Young Lava Flows on Haleakala

West Maui Volcano is the oldest, having gone through all three aerial stages of Hawaiian volcanism. Its highest point is some 1,700 m above the shoreline. It is constructed primarily of layered basalt flows which are heavily weathered and present spectacular cliffs to the ocean. Following the main shield building phase, it went through a series of postshield eruptions which filled the 5 km diameter main caldera mostly with lava. The final phase was the rejuvenated eruptions which ended some 500,000 years ago.

Panorama of Haleakala Crater

Panorama of Haleakala Crater

The East Maui Volcano, Haleakala is the most recently active Hawaiian volcano not associated with the Big Island. It has at least ten eruptions over the last thousand years, and numerous over the last 10,000 years. Magma being erupted is of the rejuvenated variety. The most recent eruption is thought to be somewhere between 250 – 500 years ago. The volcano is thought to have been originally about a kilometer taller than it currently is. Most of that loss of height is thought to be due to erosion.

Map of Recent Activity in Haleakala Crater

Map of Recent Activity in Haleakala Crater

The volcano itself is once again a layered basalt mountain, though this one is claimed by some as the largest single volcano in the chain in terms of sheer volume. It is topped with a crater that measures some 3.5 by 12 km. Interestingly enough, geologists do not write of this as a caldera, as it is breached on either end by valleys carved by erosion. Recent activity in the crater has created an array of spatter cones, cinder cones, basalt flows in the crater and flows reaching downhill to the north and south of it to the sea.

Cinder Cones in Haleakala Crater

Cinder Cones in Haleakala Crater

Other rejuvenated volcanism within the last 1,500 years has taken place at the western edge of one of the rifts that make up Haleakala, with flows southwest to the sea. There is another region at the far northeast corner of the island associated with the east rift zone has many small cinder cones that have covered an area of the island with new lava. The east rift zone slopes down into the Pacific and becomes the Hana Ridge mentioned earlier as a source of a slump along its northern slopes. It is named after Hana, which is on the eastern tip of Maui. Haleakala is considered an active volcano for planning purposes.

Dragon's Teeth - Rejuvenated Lava Flow Maui

Dragon’s Teeth – Rejuvenated Lava Flow Maui


Lanai is the remains of a single shield volcano which erupted from three rifts arrayed around the central vent / caldera. It is roughly egg-shaped and sits some 15 km south of Molokai and 14 km southwest from Maui. As such, it is well shielded and protected from the trade winds and the moisture they carry. The island is some 364 km2 in area and supports a population of just over 3,100 per the 2010 census.

Map of Lanai and Molokai

Map of Lanai and Molokai

The central volcano tops out just above 1,000 m and supports a pair of calderas, one large and one small covering a combined 10 km2 in area.
Lanai sits on the lee side of Maui, so is drier than many of the other islands. The windward side of the island gets some 96 cm of rainfall yearly near the summit and 25 cm near the lee side coast. The primary crop is pineapple and sugarcane, both of which are being phased out in favor of tourism. Like Molokai, initial settlers allowed livestock to run wild for a time. This along with the drier climate made rebuilding of the plant coverage difficult.

Lanai Central Volcano

Lanai Central Volcano

Like Molokai, the shield building stage comprised of multiple layered basaltic lava flows interspersed with thin layers of soil and the occasional ash deposit. Because of the dryness of the island, spatter cones, pits and other normally observed rift zone and caldera lava sources are still easily found, with some 47 locations on the island. Think of Kilauea as the current example of this sort of volcanic activity.
There was no postshield magma emplacement found. And Lanai did not get any rejuvenated volcanic activity.

Boulders at the top of Lanai Volcano

Boulders at the top of Lanai Volcano

Early geologic surveys of Lanai found limestone, corals and other debris rather high in the valleys and the slopes of canyons carved by rainfall. These were misidentified as being due to massive changes in the height of the island above the ocean. As it turns out, the majority of these deposits were all brought ashore courtesy of tsunamis generated by the multiple massive landslides around this part of the Hawaiian chain.


Kahoolawe Map

Kahoolawe Map

Like Lanai, Kahoolawe is also the remains of a single shield volcano. It sits some 11 km south of Maui and 27 km east of Lanai. It is some 116 km2 in area and stands just over 450 m above the ocean. It has no permanent residents.

Like Lanai, Kahoolawe, was built by multiple layered basalt flows. Unlike Lanai, it is not high enough above the ocean to generate significant rainfall, averaging 25 – 60 cm per year, a semi-arid climate for this part of the world. It is also among the windiest of the Maui Nui islands and stands in the rain shadow of Maui. Wind is the primary erosive force on this island.

Airborne View of Kahoolawe

Airborne View of Kahoolawe

There is a central caldera on the eastern end of the island measuring around a kilometer in diameter. All three aerial types of volcanics are identified on this island, with the postshield mostly filling up the main caldera. Following an extended period of inactivity, rejuvenated magma eruptions did occur on several places on the island. There is no significant flank collapse associated with Kahoolawe, though tsunami debris is present on the entire island.

Goats were introduced onto Kahoolawe by Captain Cook in 1788, sheep in the mid-19th Century. These animals denuded the island of most of its native greenery, which is suspected to be mostly grasses, bushes and scattered trees. Once the vegetation was gone, the soil followed, being blown away by the constant winds. An estimated 1 – 3 m of soil was lost from the summit and left some 40 km2 of the island stripped all the way down to the weathering basalt lava flows. The goats and most sheep were killed off in 1918 and owners have started trying to reclaim the vegetation.

Downwind Denuded Portion of Kahoolawe

Downwind Denuded Portion of Kahoolawe

During WWII, Kahoolawe was turned into a gunnery range and impact area for Navy and Army Air Corps training. It was used for that purpose for over 30 years until Hawaiians decided it was sacred and the weapons training needed to stop. It was turned back over to the State of Hawaii in 1994 along with a military cleanup of exploded and unexploded ordinance. It has been turned into an Island Reserve for Hawaiian cultural purposes and agricultural remediation. This is probably the saddest single Hawaiian Island.


As we saw with the geologic history of Kauai, once the island is formed, it dissolves back into the ocean in a relatively short period of time. Total lifespan of these four islands has been around 2.2 MY from the first shield volcano built at Penguin Shoals west of Molokai. There were another five eruptive centers, making Maui Nui similar to the Big Island of Hawaii in construction. Want to see what the Big Island will look like in a few hundred thousands of years? Look no farther than 50 km west to the former Maui Nui.

Maui Shore Line

Maui Shore Line

/ Agimarc

Past VC Columns on Hawaii

Additional Reading

693 thoughts on “Maui Nui – Big Maui

  1. These two quakes from yesterday are interesting – look at the locations and depths:

    11.11.2014 __ 22:30:32 __ 3.1 km __ 4.2 __ 99 __ 3.6 km NE of Bárðarbunga

    11.11.2014 __ 15:32:30 __ 3.0 km __ 3.9 __ 99 __ 3.5 km NE of Bárðarbunga

  2. Yesterday 10 M4+, no M5
    5 in the range M3.0 – 3.9

    Tuesday11.11.2014 22:30:32 64.665 -17.476 3.1 km 4.2 99.0 3.6 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Tuesday11.11.2014 19:54:44 64.659 -17.401 8.4 km 4.5 99.0 6.4 km ENE of Bárðarbunga
    Tuesday11.11.2014 19:39:47 64.679 -17.516 3.2 km 4.4 99.0 4.4 km N of Bárðarbunga
    Tuesday11.11.2014 17:31:06 64.673 -17.440 7.8 km 4.2 99.0 5.5 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Tuesday11.11.2014 12:25:38 64.669 -17.440 2.7 km 4.3 99.0 5.2 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Tuesday11.11.2014 11:53:02 64.669 -17.377 5.0 km 4.6 99.0 7.8 km ENE of Bárðarbunga
    Tuesday11.11.2014 11:52:25 64.668 -17.446 3.4 km 4.0 99.0 4.9 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Tuesday11.11.2014 05:11:54 64.668 -17.462 2.5 km 4.0 99.0 4.4 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Tuesday11.11.2014 03:39:52 64.672 -17.449 7.5 km 4.6 99.0 5.1 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Tuesday11.11.2014 01:49:50 64.661 -17.373 3.3 km 4.4 99.0 7.7 km ENE of Bárðarbunga

    Todays untill now, not checked:
    Wednesday12.11.2014 11:49:21 64.670 -17.390 1.1 km 4.2 50.5 7.3 km ENE of Bárðarbunga

  3. GPS is now back online again.
    IMO comments that the already known 1,5 m rise is to be disregarded.
    There is an interesting “bump” after the rise though. Suppose we have to disregard that as well, because of some ” initial levelling issues” , there is still an ever so slightly inclining tendency visible for the past 6 hours.
    It might all have to do with the lifting and we might need to give it a couple of more hours to settle, but….
    IMO states that readings have become reliable “since this morning”.

    I’m looking forward to see how this develops!

  4. Just an amateur question – why is it that the folks at IMO check those quakes in such a seemingly random way? I know they are understaffed and overworked, but I don’t understand why high 3s and even low 4s go unchecked while a couple of 1s have indeed been examined.

    • Location! A quick check reveals the the first two low-magnitude EQs are quite deep at 13.3 and 11.3 km (16 – 17 km ENE of Kistufell) and the third turns out to be at just 1.5 km depth. The unchecked higher magnitude EQs seem to be in the same general location where we’ve had daily mag 5s for two months and as they are only ~1/1000 the strength, they are rather insignificant in comparison. Also, as they have access to spectra and drumplot signatures, it may be that the higher mag unchecked ones have purely tectonic signatures whereas the lower magnitude EQs could possibly have profiles indicative of magmatic-tectonic activity or suchlike. We do not know!

  5. Any news on the Kverfoll Cam? – does not seem to have updated since 03:10 – 9. november 2014.

    I am sorry if this has already been answered previously.

    • The visibility may be so poor that they are not bothering to store the pictures.
      If there is anything wrong with the camera they need a helicopter to reach it, and it may not be good flying weather.

        • Thrusters didn’t work, harpoons not fired. The thing’s on what the Scots call a shoogly peg – with little gravity I hope those screws are in.

          17.00 Oh dear! It seems the anchors did not shoot properly so the scientists have no way of knowing at the moment if the probe is secured on the comet. The Philae team is considering whether to fire them again. The problem with doing that is that gravity is very weak and the motion could shoot the probe back into space. Another tense wait.

          But the Telegraph live coverage is saying “first pictures within the hour”.

      • Actually, Homo Stultus. Even with all of this “achievement” there are still gazillions of selfies being shot and idiots waving their fingers at other drivers.

        It’s also not the “first” landing. It’s the first designed and planned for purpose landing, but not the actual first. The actual first was for a cometary probe that completed it’s mission and they sat around trying to figure out what to do next, so they nudged the probe in for an impromptu “landing.” More of a soft bump than anything else.

        But, I do have to tip my hat to ESA, they put this idea to work, designed, built and delivered on their plan. It’s proof that there are still a few Sapiens genes lurking around in the Stultus genome.

        In the “Ambition” video, they weren’t kidding around about how much stuff could go wrong. The fact that they accounted for the sources of many potential bad things and came up with a solution before it went wrong is the most amazing part of this whole affair.

        • I am actually not sure how to define Homo Stultus, is it someone making the best of what sticks lies around him/her to kill their next meal, or someone that spends 1.4 Billion Euro’s of compulsorily taken taxes to land (or try to) a computer on a lump of ice and/or rock, when people are starving to death and living on the streets?

          I think the IMO have more bravery and knowledge, gathering data about our own world and risking their own necks in a very dangerous area with very little funding. Imagine what 1.4 Billion Euro’s of funding would have provided in this current event tech wise.

          • “land a computer on a lump of ice” ROFLOL!!!!

            Well, it beats wasting your funding on studying why Lesbians tend to be overweight rather than seeking a cure for Ebola. Then complaining about not having the money to work on the cure.

            US Federal funding for the research that this clip comes from ran about 3 million USD over the 10 years of the study.

            • Hey Geo, I’m not justifying any other wasteful projects either nor making any remarks at all about lesbians. Call me old fashioned, but I think we need to sort this world out, start caring and stop fighting before we reach for other worlds. Doing stuff like the IMO are doing is wholly justifiable.

              We are allowed our thoughts on here Geo, I don’t mock you preoccupation with homo stultus as I find it humorous too and you are a clever bloke. I’m not getting stroppy just straightening out my right to an opinion too.

            • I don’t do falling out Frances, life’s too short. We all share a lot of info and some good humour in here. I am merely expressing an opinion to which all of us are entitled to their own. That’s me finito on the subject. RIP

            • @scotsfjohn, I think the character “Ripley” put it most eloquently.

              “I say we dust off and nuke the site from orbit”

              As for the Stultus side of things, the more I look at it, the more I am thinking that the devolution to Stultus is very very real. It’s quite sad, really. Due to our stupidity we allow power hungry morons with their own agenda manipulate public opinion and make giving up ones liberty, sound like a really cool thing to do.

              As for the wastefulness of Rosetta, I don’t really think that is a waste at all. Numerous theories have been put forward as to what we should do if an object is discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. In my opinion, that’s just a matter of time. None of the ideas about how to mitigate it have any bearing on reality, because we simply don’t know how they are put together. If one is a “rubble pile,” shooting it gives us the “Lucifer’s Hammer” scenario where the Earth is bombarded by a planetary sized shotgun blast when it breaks apart. There are just too many unknowns to field a plausible mitigation strategy. Rosetta is helping to fill in those unknowns.

  6. What a technological achievement. The data that comes back will be fascinating. I wonder what the chemistry and structure of the comet will be. Congratulations to all involved. History has been made.

  7. Am I right in seeing/ interpreting the yellow line on von as harmonic tremor? And there are (only recently) a series of strange lines on the pinky/ purple dyn.

  8. Right now it seems like the lander actually might have failed :/

    Either the harpoons to anchor it to the surface didn’t fire, or they weren’t able to get a proper hold of the surface…

    The backup plan then is to manually fire the anchors again, but the thrusters on top of the lander (that is supposed to press it against the surface to negate the “recoil” of the harpoons firing) aren’t working either…

    So a worst case scenario is that they fire the harpoons, they don’t get a hold and the recoil pushes it off the comet… The gravity is so low there that the lander supposedly weighs only 1 gram at the surface…

    Further some people are speculating that the lander is actually lying on its side from landing on a rock (speculation based on transmission between lander and mothership being “intermittent” and not steady”…

    Not looking too good right now…

    • I said I’d believe it when I saw the pictures. I do hope it’s OK but I did wonder if all that leaping about was a bit premature. Brilliant feat just putting the thing down gently, but it would be nice if the whole thing works.

      Just think though – you send a command, and 25 minutes later the beast hopefully responds – another 25 minutes for the response to get back to Earth. No quick fixes here !

    • Oh dear. “19.10 So it appears that the Philae lander bounced when it hit the comet and lifted off once more before settling somewhere away from original touchdown site. Scientists have also lost the radio link because the probe is now below the horizon and will not be contactable until tomorrow morning.”

      ESA – “We still do not fully understand what has happened.

      Some of the data indicated that the lander may have lifted off again. It touched down and was rebouncing. We saw data on the solar generator which could be interpreted that the lander lifted off and started to turn itself. About two hours later this information of turning stopped. So maybe today, we didn’t just land, we landed twice.”

      • That doesn’t really sound too bad… If it just rebounded, twisted around its axis a bit and then landed again we should be ok…. The intermittence in the radio connection worries me a bit however… But we’ll see tomorrow 🙂

        • I just wonder how far it could have gone in the two hours it was apparently “in the air” !

          Let’s hope all is good when the antenna’s pointing our way again. I’d really like to see a picture from the surface and some chemical analysis.

  9. Looking at the infamous GPS again now it’s fixed, the IMO says it started working normally from morning today. Assuming morning to be somewhere around 6 – 9am then BB has not been subsiding, but rising slightly.

    I’m not jumping the gun, just querying whether the unit is indeed accurate now its back online?

  10. Every time I read the title of this post, I am reminded of Maila Nurmi. The Finnish-American actress that developed the character of Vampira. (and later was the inspiration for the Elvira persona of Casandra Peterson.)

  11. OT – The sound of a comet: xxx – then they spoil it with Zorba… Any forest frog will be able to tell them what the message is. 🙂 Weird to know it comes from so far away. And yes, our planet still faces many problems with its human ‘beans’ that cannot manage to live peacefully and cleverly togethe; it is a lot of money too, thinking of things needed by so many people, but it still fascinates me that the beans somehow manages to get out into the universe.

    • It is part of a pattern that has been ongoing and building, you can see it here. There are swarms of quakes that show as large spikes and then a big quake and it starts building again, but the pattern is slowly increasing in its peak size and showing longer periods of building

      • A saw-tooth pattern used to be obvious in the display of quakes on the bottom of the GPS graph. Now the time scale of the long-term drop covers too many days and the quake patterns is not visible. I used to be able to “predict” the size of the next large EQ dependent on when it occurred by (visually) creating a best-fit line from the quake after the last big one. After a few weeks that pattern stopped. … What I’m trying to say is that the “building” pattern then was not associated with “pairs” (or more) of EQs. In my (very non-expert!) opinion, although EQs are part of the build-release pattern, I think the presence of pairs, triples, etc. signify something different. (I leave it to others to speculate on what it is they signify 🙂 )

    • Well yes, this is an interesting one, like someone throws a stone in an empty well. pock… pock…… pock ……..

      Another thing is (at least the last days) that more M4’s are occuring compared to M3’s.
      I read here at VC that snow is ( could?) affecting the quacke measurements. Why would that be? I can imagine that wind is disturbing the measurements somehow, but snow?

      (Lack of any expertise here … 🙂 )

      • According to IMO (who would definitely know), small quakes are ‘masked’ in the onset of bad weather. Therefore very few small quakes are recorded during this time.

    • Yes, I’ve certainly noticed this too! Remember a few weeks back when I initiated the Strictly Come Quaking pairs competition? That was because suddenly there were pairs of quakes that were very close together and I hadn’t seen this before.

      But now, as you say, they are appearing in strings of 3, 4 and even 5 quakes! If this was happening before, then the quakes were so small that they barely left a smudge on the line. Now they are much bigger quakes – strings of M3s and M4s, mostly M4s. This certainly represents an uptick in activity.

  12. Today my niece and I were reading / cutting out pictures in old National Geographic magazines. One described the night when 1,700 people and 3,500 animals on August 21, 1986 died in Cameroon. A herdsman high up told of a boom, a cloud, a bad smell at Lake Nyos – a volcanic crater lake. The next day he found the villagers down below dead from a burst of CO2 it was later found. It reminded me of the two Icelandic policeman getting into trouble with gas the other day when the oxygen was depleted.

    Yet the lethal gas bursts from Cameroon Crater Lakes are not due to volcanic action below, says Haraldur Sigurdsson in a scientific paper.

    Scientists are monitoring the lakes and engineers have been syphoning off the CO2 gas below the water. Should anyone be interested: xxx (2012)

    Every day I learn something new about volcanoes… and I was not even looking for information…

  13. Apologies for copying this comment across from beneath the relevant post linking a video of a semi clad lady but…

    Considering some of us have a quick look at updates while at work it is a bit unfortunate if, instead of explaining to an interested boss about a rather magnificent wonder of nature, we find ourselves in HR explaining why we are looking at soft porn.

    Can we consider keeping links to NSFW material out of the blog?

    • And if you had noted, the post that titillated and offended you had been modified to remove the content that you found so alarming.

      This blog was founded for the casual discussion of things volcanic. As such, sub-topics arise that bounce around just under the main discussion. The one that was active is the devolution of mankind, as such, the video with the music fit as an example of the point that was being made and was relevant to the subtopic. We don’t do rigorous “stick to nothing but volcanoes!” really well. That’s why you will find everything from recipes to stratospheric gas loading in our subjects.

      And, if I’m wrong, the other dragons will eat me alive in the den, or Carl will strike me down with his Ulfberht.

  14. Have just struggled through an entry on Dr H Dr Sigurðsson’s blog and promptly after twisting my brain found a translation by IngeB on Jon’s blog. Interesting – new evidence of rifting too.

    • IngeB didn’t include the meaning of this bit “Það er því greinilegt að nýja gosið er í sprungu eða yfir gangi, sem er samhliða og mjög nærri sprungunni sem gaus árið 1797.”

      Giggle translates it as “It is therefore obvious that a new eruption is a crack or aggression, which is parallel and very close to the crack of erupted 1797th.”

      Can any please translate this to clarify “crack or aggression”?


        • Thanks, islander.
          For the next bit of clarification, something probably talked about on here when I wasn’t looking —
          Does this mean that the current fissure is
          — not using pre-existing vents at all, or
          — using vents older than from 1797?
          Or maybe it just means that the new cracks are new?

          • New cracks, mostly tandem to old craters (from 1797), partly using same location
            but also leaving some older cones intact (so basically another, and third even, flank eruption in basically same place). This has been quite noticeable on some airials I have seen.
            When I was there (4 sept) there was rain over old southern cones, so skipped that.

  15. I haven’t been here much recently but it does not look like much has changed at Bardy or Holuhraun. Looks like slow motion caldera deepening.

  16. Well here’s question from a non expert. My 8 yr old granddaughter asked can you cook a hot dog or marshmallow over the lava? I told her I think you’d have to have a suit & a long pole. 🙂 It’d be really hot to get near and stand there. Plus I think poisonous gas may absorb into it. So couldn’t eat it. Well it developed into a conversation here with everyone joking about it. Anyone care to answer my granddaughter with their opinion? Remember she’s 8. 🙂

    • Can you cook a hot dog over lava?

      Well that depends on how you usually cook hot dogs.

      In the uk hot dogs are often bought pre-cooked in cans and re-heated in a pan with the brine solution they come in. In this instance the re-heating is through a process first of conduction as the heat from the stove comes through the pan, then convection as that heat is transferred to the brine.

      If you cook hot dogs on a hot plate then it is conduction.

      In either case above the immersion in or contact with lava would incinerate the foods rather quickly.

      Or, if you cook them under a salamander or over a grill it is via radiant heat. In this case yes you could cook them over lava. Similarly marshmallows are toasted via radiant heat and this would work. However it is worth consider how much the food would be tainted by the unpleasant gasses, as well as the general lack of kitchen hygiene in traditional viking cooking.

      I think that’s about right.

    • Not an expert either, and I’ve never been there, but I believe there are places in the Canary Islands where tourists guides will do just that for you.

  17. Could be signal problems due to the lift last night.
    Otherwise I think it’s safe to say that this is a real change in the pattern.
    You can see it best on the long term subsidence chart from IMO.
    Maybe the next “fiver” will kickstart the descent again, but for now the lid is level.
    Go Bardi!!!

  18. check out all of the 11-min median filtered graphs. something’s up. the peaks on the green and the overall. more than a storm? I thought blue would rise with the wind. red and green are really moving on Von, Dyn, and Grf

    • I’s say the blue and green are both responding to the current storm. If the storm noise goes below 1.0 hz then red will be partially affected too. However, the red line has been steadily rising regardless of the weather and, from what I’ve read, is more likely to be recording magma movement.

      • My take on RED line: its equal: Water running in rivers, alledged lava movement (it does not make that much of running sound really) and waves hitting distant shores – It the BASE noise, likely here rising becuse of the “wind” (thats Storm to you, we are used to this “just wind thing”)

        OT 😉 highest ever Aurora Value (5 of 9 – I have seen in long time) is forecast for Saturday & Sunday nights here in Iceland. Reykjavik-Faxaflói Bay area on Saturday night, Borgarfjörður & North of Langjökull on Sunday night (subject weather holds out) Fingers crossed and my flu-ist going away before that time.

        • I understand i s l a n d e r but the problem with that is that we can hear running water and wind. 1.0hz is way below a human’s hearing range which, so I’ve read, is why they use it to detect magma movements underground. If it only detected what the human ear can hear and what is obvious, then it would be useless to volcanologists. Given what scientific papers have to say about how very low infrasound is being used to detect changes that indicate imminent eruption, I tend to believe them.

        • Islander, are you also ith flu-ish?

          Here in Grimsnes lots of people complained with flu-like symptons, lungs, couch, i went to doctor the other day and he told me lots of people around like this, and it’s due to the gas pollution.

          It was really bad last weekend (>3000ug/3), but these last days have been much much less gas pollution. Levels here today are just 300ug/m3, things are just like a bad day in a large city, that means air is completely clean and breathable. That’s how LOW my standards of clean health got!

          Our village even bought a local SO2 meter, but it’s not linked to the IM network.

          Also unusual numbers of dead mice around. They must be more sensitive than other animals. No problem with sheep, birds or horses at all.

          • Its mild flu all right, have fever with it,
            and “halsbólga” (sore throat)
            – so just stay inside (no, not dying!)

    • This has been rescaled – here is Ian H’s tinypic up to 1st November – high on Y-axis is 4.5

      and this is just now (20141113 0047) – high on Y-axis is 1.2 – the peaks are much lower now:

      • Hi Jane

        They are also different plots, one is from the onset and the other is just a couple of days. However the latter has been rescaled just yesterday

        DYN and DYN1

    • Maybe, if all goes well we could see the following 5 warnings tonight:
      1. Warning Fissure eruption in Holuhraun (north of Vatnajökull).
      2. Warning Today (thursday) volcanic gas pollution might be felt in the W-ern part of Iceland.
      3. Warning Considerable rain is expected in the east (…) and water may increase in rivers and streams, and increased risk of landslides.
      4. Warning A strong gale warning (more than 20 m/s) is in effect (…) Considerable rain is also expected in the southeast and east parts at first.
      5. Warning Northern light will be bright tonight and if you are a tourist you might choke with weirdness with all this volcanic activity, gas pollution, landslides and hurricane gusts.

      • *I think all foreigners should be taxed extra over the weekend…
        and use the fund for a “5 Star Aurora” party*
        *can take Visa or Mastercard…*

    • There is one problem with this, VON moved and is still moving east not west?

      Also, where are the quakes from the fissure running from the NE corner of the caldera, that are is dead?

    • Thanks for posting! Now if I could only figure out what it is showing. The giggle translation is sadly lacking (“After sea Tweak this over coffee a few weeks embodiment is executed in this forming what I think is correct. “)
      It seems to show that (in his interpretation of the data), Hreppar initiated the action by being forced further northwards. What confuses me is that the path of magma out of Bunga is only apparent at the start of Hreppar’s invasion. (Perhaps data from before “the start” would be useful here.)

      Then, I think it shows that as Hreppar continues to be pushed under Bardarbunga, the plates want to separate and for a while there were two paths (which we’ve seen clearly via EQ data). The eastern path “won” that argument.

      Do I have that right?

      Which leaves me wondering, is Dyn a station without a continent? What about URHC?

      • I was thinking that the animation just might explain URHC, which has been twirling in all directions since it was installed (later than the others).

    • Note that the earth can deform much more easily than we do graphics. What if the motion is more uneven, contorting? Think about stiff cake topping. The kind that has harder surface, and inside somewhat guewy, viscous and pliable. Then take a knife and gently push against the topping… it will form small hills and valleys. If you were able to crack the topping at length, and then rotate, while pulling apart, well you got the picture maybe.
      Also, there are many places, cracks, inhomogeneities etc in the rock, which would preferrably deform while stressed.
      However, this model could explain why there are almost no quakes on the western wall/side. But, there are almost none southward of Bardar either, along the rift. Then one can remember that some faults move, without quakes. I know of some.
      I am quite convinced that there are at work the plume (which is probably sizeable), and tectonic forces. Neither of them ceases, and both are there. That said, it does not mean that there will be/won’t be an explosion.

    • That’s a really good example of how to display data in an easy to understand way. Well done.
      Doubtless people will disagree and a better model will arise, but in the mean time this is brilliant.

      Does it really pulse like that? Really weird.

  19. A little fast? Well, he co-authored the song, I guess he can play it how he sees fit. 😀

    When I was much younger, my mom took me to one of his concerts. He was a master of the instrument.

      • It is my understanding that the sil sensors are buried deep and not sensitive to the wind, unlike the infrasound which picks everything up. Plus they started climbing before this storm arrived.

            • Probably. The Icelandic storms are certainly big enough to generate noise underground as well as above ground. I think they can also generate infrasound – particularly near the coast from the pounding of waves. Iceland is an island and no part of it is that far from the sea.

            • So how do you tell the difference between storm noise and a genuine tremor spike?

              Do you just have to wait for the storm to end and see if everything stays high?

              (Sorry if this question has been answered before)

            • Ansver: compare many stations and check wind charts.
              Eazy. Do it all the time. Take all my warrnings very seriously.

  20. Was thinking a higher 5 is on the cards today.
    I still don’t know if there is a CO2 pool under the water at Askja. Could someone please just say Yea or Nae? So much to read.

    • I am going to stick my neck out and say No.
      There will be a lot of convection going in the lake at Askja. Instead of the stratification that develops in the lake in the Cameroon

      • It is suspected that inflowing rain upset the lower region of Lake Nyos.
        Would not a land slide in Askja do the same?
        Is there not convection in all crater lakes? More in Askja because of the climate / temperature changes, where it problably stays much the same in Cameroon?

      • Good point, Colin. Thermal sources in the caldera must keep the lake well stirred to keep it from freezing. That would lessen layering, and ‘dynamic’ equilibrium between layers that can easily be overturned.

  21. What is the normal conductivity of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum? I am looking at Rafleiðni (µS/cm) 125.0 at 0800 today, but others such as Kreppa are only Rafleiðni (µS/cm) 45.5 today.

        • But it sounds as if it’s hanging on by a thread or on what the Scots call a ‘shoogly peg’. Can’t take any samples at present in case the reaction sends it aloft again. And they don’t yet know exactly where it is !

          Fun and games …

  22. Yesterday:
    9 M4+ quakes, no M5+.
    2 in the range M3.0 – M3.9

    Wednesday12.11.2014 21:42:28 64.674 -17.459 6.3 km 4.3 99.0 4.9 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday12.11.2014 21:14:29 64.619 -17.401 3.8 km 4.1 99.0 6.5 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday12.11.2014 19:07:00 64.680 -17.445 4.5 km 4.2 99.0 5.9 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday12.11.2014 15:05:16 64.662 -17.459 2.0 km 4.1 99.0 4.0 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday12.11.2014 12:38:46 64.671 -17.470 3.1 km 4.5 99.0 4.3 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday12.11.2014 11:49:21 64.669 -17.401 8.6 km 4.4 99.0 6.8 km ENE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday12.11.2014 06:06:15 64.668 -17.455 0.9 km 4.0 99.0 4.6 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday12.11.2014 06:01:15 64.682 -17.464 6.5 km 4.3 99.0 5.5 km NNE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday12.11.2014 01:18:36 64.614 -17.430 2.8 km 4.0 99.0 5.5 km ESE of Bárðarbunga

    Today till now:
    6 M4+ and 10 in the M3 range

    Remarkable are these M3’s and M4’s in relatively short time, about one hour and fifteen minutes:

    Thursday13.11.2014 08:59:11 64.677 -17.420 0.1 km 3.1 99.0 6.5 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Thursday13.11.2014 08:58:23 64.669 -17.425 8.6 km 3.2 99.0 5.8 km ENE of Bárðarbunga
    Thursday13.11.2014 08:36:55 64.660 -17.426 8.6 km 3.1 99.0 5.3 km ENE of Bárðarbunga
    Thursday13.11.2014 08:35:27 64.625 -17.357 0.4 km 3.0 99.0 8.3 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Thursday13.11.2014 08:32:58 64.697 -17.512 11.8 km 3.2 99.0 6.4 km N of Bárðarbunga
    Thursday13.11.2014 08:30:12 64.667 -17.388 3.0 km 4.5 99.0 7.2 km ENE of Bárðarbunga
    Thursday13.11.2014 08:29:38 64.681 -17.405 1.2 km 3.8 99.0 7.4 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Thursday13.11.2014 08:26:48 64.673 -17.451 7.6 km 4.2 99.0 5.1 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    Thursday13.11.2014 07:42:56 64.622 -17.361 1.1 km 3.8 99.0 8.2 km ESE of Bárðarbunga

    Source IMO.

  23. The video posted a while ago, is the most insight and easy to understand video for each and everyone of us here at the blog, as done by the IMO:

    Two motions happen: Hreppar pushes into Bardarbunga direction, while causing sideways movement near Hamarinn and Tunganfellsjokull, and rifting to initiate in two regions, Kistufell and Dyngjojukull-Holuhraun. Only the longest rift has erupted so far.

    As Hreppar microplate pushes into Bardarbunga, it squeezes magma into the rifting zones and the caldera sinks. But faulting and magma only move significantly in the NE corner of Bardarbunga, as it happens.

    In the future, this is a perfect scenario to trigger (in a “near future”) further rifting eruptions along Kistufell, Dyngjujokull, Askja and perhaps at a more long-term, in the dead zone, along Veidivotn.

    This is a MUST-SEE video.

    And a must to include in the next post.

    • It is a nice (agree must see for sure) video which seems to explain what might be going at the wider B. area. In relation to the video I would like to point at a link in an earlier post from BillG:

      The IMO page in the link shows a sequence of the GPS movements around Bardarbunga in the period 13 august – 9 november 2014.

      I have spend a few hours to ‘read’ every station on the map each date and made an excel file with dates and stations on the two axis. I estimated for every date on a station the direction of the movement (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W or NW) and when relevant the distance of movement (<5, 5, 10, 20, 30 mm etc.). I didn't take notes on minor movements. It's a quick and dirty method! But I think it is useful to compare the stations with eachother and try to differentiate periods in which changes in the rifting proces can be acknowledged …

      Extracted from the IMO GPS maps.

      The first period 14 -08 / 03- 09 show the movements on most GPS stations as in the Youtube video by Gudmundur Jonsson posted above, DYNC and GSIG are the major players, later on joined by GJAC and URHC (activated at a later date?). VON is a recalcitrant station that moves mostly not along in the west direction. Also GFUM, which would be on the 'european' plate, is not showing the behaviour as one would expect; at first moving south and afterwards moving north along with HAFS.

      Then a larger period occurs in which the movements are not that clear as in the first period. At several stations larger GPS movements are registrated, but most of the time only show minor or no movement at all. Remarkable is that the direction of movement varies strongly within few days on a single station. Even opposite directions are seen on upfollowing days. I wonder if these readings have something to do with inaccurate measuring due to weather conditions …. Sometimes larger movement can be leveled out (in a way of: N 5 + S 5 = 0).

      In whart of the latest period?
      The European plate is moving to the north/south) west, The rotating plate shows not much progress and the America plate doesn't move simultaneously anymore; only URHC and HRIC are still trending west.

      • Since the nearby (to BB) GPS stations reflect not only plate movement but also move towards the “Sinking” caldera, the whole tectonic story can’t be explained by GPS alone. In my amateur opinion.

    • I notice on the video now the man who posted it, Gudmundur Jonsson1, now says:

      “Riftin is mostly stop, and it has been quite a long time (60 days). This model is to show how mekanic might work in this.
      I´s 100.000 years of movements, so there is not much chance of eruption in the caldera in the next few years as a direct result of this. But this suddent moves that occurred in august appears to have launched a process in which magma travels up to Bárðarbunga, it could cause an eruption in our future”

      So … now I am even more confused. Perhaps someone who speaks Icelandic can contact Gudmundur and ask for more details of what data he used? (You can comment on the video and he can respond there, or you can send him a message via YouTube by clicking on his name, then clicking on “about” and “send message”.)

      • “100.000 years of movements”: not possible.
        2cm x 100.000 = 200 meters. If such a rifting would have occured, Iceland would be insanely rifted at this point.

        200 years? Yes, much more likely number
        2cm x 200 = 400 cm or 4 meters

      • Hello everyone and thank you for showing interest in my model here is a loose translation of the text accompanying the blog, hopefully it explains something.

        How rifting occurs at Bárðarbunga.
        This is not obvious. I think many things point to the Hreppar, playing a role in that. It is likely that the easternmost part of it extends to Bárðarbunga. I made a model that simulates the mechanical properties, and tried to set it so, that it showed movements shown on the GPS stations around Bárðarbunga in August and early September. After thinking on this over coffee for a few weeks, I stumbled on the embodiment in the video,which is what I think is likely. The movements on the video are 100,000 years equivalent (2.5 cm year year total 2,5km). Movements in August and early September are represented in this model They are not to scale. After, comes a situation where the system is to recovering from the larger movements, and magma, water and debris is filling the void. The model describes no such things.

        • I find your model very interesting and it fits with so many of the observations.

          I have a question regarding the location of the rift going northwards from the Northeast corner of the caldera and the one south running Southwest along the edge of the plates. What made you locate these in these positions or how exact do you think these locations are, close or approximations?

          it is very nice to see things animated like this!! Thanks very much

          • These are very rough locations. Fissure to south-southwest, Eurasia / Hreppar is where several +3 quakes were a few years ago. Fissure to south west is as far south as I had to get her so SKRO and VONC were in America. Fissure from the north east corner is where the swarm began on 16 August, there were several tectonic related quacks there just in the beginning.

            • Thanks so much for your answers,

              Your thought process made me go back in time myself and look closer at the events leading up to this, as you can see from my pictures I posted :)….plus I also drank some coffee, it helps!

    • I’ve just watched/listened to the live news conference. Although it looks like rock to us it probably isn’t what we would call rock, but they’re not quite sure what it is yet. So exciting! 🙂

        • Question to be asked is this: would NASA or ESA have reasons to cheat in landing on a comet, an asteroid or a moon? If so, why? Even if we think about such reasons or whether or not on the truth of something, it doesn’t mean we are right about it. I only know that I had friends at ESA once, and there was no cheating as far as I knew.

          More hot topic. By 2025, many countries will be aiming at least to have reached the Moon, countries like China, India, Iran, so any conspiracy if it exists will be exposed, or those countries would never reach the Moon. It’s difficult to keep a conspiracy with Iran reaching the Moon 😉

          That’s the beauty of the future.

          • Ahh yes the future –

            I actually have a bee in my bonnet about 1.4 Billion Euro’s being spent of this, and every other crackpot waste of money out there.

            I know I am at difference with the scientific community in here, but my morals wont let me take any other stance. Monitoring by IMO = essential science, landing on a lump of rock and ice = not essential, in fact I find it a bit sick with the level of poverty around the world.

            • Except that monitoring by IMO = use of GPS which is a product of the space program.

              And there is plenty of food to go round – it is prevented from going round by human greed, which science isn’t going to do anything about. (Not even GM – which is corporate greed in a humanitarian mask.)

            • Jane, I didn’t call the whole space program a waste of money that could be better used elsewhere, just crackpot wastes of money. I am a mariner and user of gps and that tecknology is, like the IMO science, wholly justifiable.

              I cannot find it in my heart to prioritise landing on a comet over people dying in poverty whilst governments are spending taxpayers money unwisely.

              That’s democracy though, there are more people think like you, than me. So plenty of money for space race schemes, and not for the worlds real problems.

              I’m prepared to leave this and revert to the volcanology in here, but I wont back down on my own feelings on things I don’t agree with.

            • Hmmmm….

              The question is whether NOT doing this would actually reduce child poverty. In many cases child poverty is a result of people having too many children, and actually extra money doesn’t solve this, indeed may make it worse.

              Excessive population growth is likely a major cause of so many wars, its how humans reduce their populations when they exceed carrying capacity. Sadly, wars tend to increase family size.

              Its not simple, is it?

            • Knowing what comets are made of, and how coherent (or not) they may be structually, might be quite useful if at some future date we find one on a collision course with Earth

            • The events in the film completely destroyed all the hoax-mongering. Even NASA didn’t know what had happened until after the film was released!

            • Well actually NASA put their foot in it a couple of times over the photo’s. There are definitely problems with the photo’s and I suspect that studio photo’s were used in some instances and that cast doubt over the entire mission, is you look at NASA’s own photo’s you can see the ‘conspiracy theorists’ photo’s have not been doctored, they are genuine.

              Now I know about the radio dishes, but you have to remember this was at the time of Nixon the honest and they were desperate to land on the moon before Russia.

              Remembering that in front of a huge crowd of people David Copperfield both made a Jumbo jet disappear and walked through the Great Wall of China which were later shown to be the whole crowd being in on it. Witnesses can be bought, records ‘discovered’ later that they should have known about from the start.

              If there was not the iffy photographic evidence I would be convinced myself, but I have to ask why the photo fakes? Don’t get me wrong, I watched every live broadcast at the time with fascination.

          • The dark side of the moon is the ideal place for a military installation. Small asteroids or comet fragments can be outfitted with devices capable of altering their orbits. You have to think longterm. Then much less energy is needed to direct the piece to the desired location.

            Needless to say such undertakings are all futile and literally every such mission will fail. Dozens or hundreds of missions will fail in the asteroid belt. The aereonautical organizations will readily admit to this. There will be no cheating about anything.

  24. Philae Lander bounced on impact and it took 2 hrs for it to return to the comet surface, it then bounced again and it took 6 min for it to finally settle in its current position. Same Figaro link as above. Google translate gives pretty good translations of the posts.

    • I wouldn’t expect anything else than that!

      It’s a rock of 6km wide. It’s like a mountain, but in space. Gravity is REALLY low.
      I sneeze there and I am definitively pulled away from the comet surface, and so will be some of its ice.

  25. on the moon landing I always wonder why we spent the lives and money to achieve that and never went back? surely there is money to be made, minerals to be mined why did we not build a moon base? Why a space station?

    • At the cost of NASA flights they would have to find bags of already mined diamonds to make it worth while – and that might not be enough to pay for one flight.

      • I think they stopped because they’d beaten the Soviet Union and that was what it was about (alas).

        To think they went from Al Shepherd’s sub-orbital flight to a Moon landing in about eight years ! And to think it’s more than forty years since the last human set foot on the moon. “There were wonderful giants of old ….”

    • There have been six manned moon landings :
      Apollo 11 landed 20 July 1969
      Apollo 12 landed 19 November 1969
      Apollo 14 landed 5 February 1971
      Apollo 15 landed 30 July 1971
      Apollo 16 landed 20 April 1972
      Apollo 17 landed 11 December 1972

      I got this info on:

      Just put each of the above in the nasa search and it should take you to them.
      When it was on tv I was glue to it. 🙂

  26. A very interesting sequence of quakes here. All checked 99%

    13.11.2014 16:50:22 64.665 -17.369 8.6 km 4.4 99.0 8.0 km ENE of Bárðarbunga
    13.11.2014 16:49:17 64.680 -17.470 8.5 km 3.1 99.0 5.2 km NNE of Bárðarbunga
    13.11.2014 16:48:07 64.684 -17.429 9.6 km 3.1 99.0 6.8 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    13.11.2014 16:46:41 64.693 -17.397 9.8 km 3.2 99.0 8.5 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    13.11.2014 16:44:03 64.673 -17.463 0.0 km 4.0 99.0 4.7 km NE of Bárðarbunga

    5 quakes in 6 minutes with three being 3+ and two 4+

    • My prediction if it follows the pattern, something is going to POP in the south soon and drop all of this activity down.

      So at least a M5.5 to 5.6 in the south within the next 24 hours

    • In my opinion this has become settling quakes only, subsidence seems also be settling
      (but might continue with a bang) or run out quietly with anything happening.

      My opinion is that some unexpected can happen and change everything.
      Even small eruption might start near Askja or Bárðarbunga itself.

      • That fits with the way the quakes happen for sure, you do not move things around this much without making a little noise

        It is like the north is moving more than the south and it has to catch up sometimes, if there was magma moving wouldn’t there be at least some periods of extended tremors?

  27. @Scotsfjohn RE: 1.4bn comet nonsense.

    This is an argument I quite like having. Lets take a look at the numbers.

    There are roughly 3 billion people in the world living on less than $2.50 a day, so about £1.60 a day or €2.00. Split that 1.4bn between them all and you can give them €0.46 each, for one day.

    Balance that against the possibility of finding that we can use comets for rocket re-fueling or supplies of water and thereby oxygen to breathe, and opening up the whole of the system to exploration and colonisation.

    What a very low price to pay towards creating a new future for us, one where we are not so dependent on this crowded, polluted, factionalised and conflict ridden world.

    • GY curious about the logic and nothing else – I am here for the interest of a volcano and not politics –
      what makes you think these people, who created the “crowded, polluted, factionalised and conflict ridden world” would be any different in a little comet, or even in a large new planet were they to find it?

      • Because we know better.
        And we have the knowledge to do better.
        And we control our population growth, which in most of the developed world is negative excluding immigration to two generations.

        Go figure.

        • Unless you are an android, knowledge does not necessarily make you better… at least not human… and android by definition would not be human.
          However, I wish you best of luck for your endeavor for expanding the population growth to other planets, planetoids, comets, asteroids, or whatnot. Must be quite exciting really. What would be the one most important item you would take with you for that kind of a journey-?

        • Ok controlled population growth, that takes us to the one child system in communist China, are you advocating that? And penalties from breaking the rule?

          Who are ‘we’ and ‘knows better’? Scientists, politicians, bankers, or the majority of people? Are you advocating a state knows best policy where the masses are strictly controlled like in communist China?

          Cant figure?

          As you said in your earlier post –
          “Excessive population growth is likely a major cause of so many wars, its how humans reduce their populations when they exceed carrying capacity. Sadly, wars tend to increase family size.

          Its not simple, is it?”

          No, you are correct, it isn’t, and that’s why I get concerned at wasteful governments spending on crackpot schemes when THIS world needs sorted out.

          Several of you have remarked that this is building a new future for us, where? They were doing this in the early days of the space race, where is the future it created? People still dying on the streets of the ‘civilised’ world of hunger and cold. Tinpots dictators still in power because superpowers always oppose each other on sanctions/action.

          There’s a hell of a lot needs sorting here before spending billions landing a very expensive computer on a comet or any other needless scheme.

          Yes in a more certain future I would back reaching out to the galaxies, but we’re not ready for it yet.

          • SJ – for your consideration –

            Actually we already know how to control population growth – make the people affluent like the West. Over the last half century, as the individual wealth has increased, birthrates have decreased. Europe & the US are the two best examples. Birth rates in China, India and Japan are also falling for much the same reasons, though the effects of China’s one child policy are as you point out pretty awful. The other place population growth is plummeting is the Middle East, though for a completely different reason – something about bringing 21st Century women into a 7th Century lifestyle seems to limit the desire to procreate.

            Your argument regarding don’t do this until we do that is at least half a century old, and like then irrelevant, as there will always be a reason not to do something. Why not do both? Or better yet, privatize it to the point where people and businesses can spend their own money on things they want to do. Governments have a role in opening the frontier. People and businesses and religions for that matter have the role in moving permanently into that frontier. It is what we humans have always done.

            Final point. One of the best reasons to land computers on comets and asteroids is that they occasionally hit this planet. From an orbital dynamics standpoint, the orbit of the earth sits in a veritable shooting gallery of Near Earth Objects (NEOs). This population of orbit crossers occasionally intersect the location of this and other terrestrial planets. These tend to make large caliber holes in the world, much worse than the most terrific volcanic eruption. The more we know about them, the better we can do something about an inbound sometime in the near future. And there will be inbounds. Remember the Chelyabinsk bolide in Feb 2013? It was only around 20 m in diameter yet exploded with 500 kilotons of force.

            SciFi writer Arthur C Clarke quoted Larry Niven a couple decades ago: “The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn’t have a space program.” The corollary is that if we don’t choose to leave this planet, we will become extinct also. Consider it a biological imperative. Cheers –

            • The other reasons are that most of the water on this planet is thought to have been introduced after the collision that created the moon. There are no small number of scientists including the previously mentioned Fred Hoyle, who believe that life was introduced initially via cometary impacts. A few of them believe they have spectra of nebulae that match that of diatoms and plankton found in the oceans. Cheers-

            • Evenin All,
              I want that quote on a t-shirt 😀
              It will make a nice change from:
              There are three types of people; those who understand maths, and those who don’t…

          • Lets see, where is population stable (or fallling)? Its those countries where women are valued (and not as cattle) because they produce income for the family AND where education gives significantly higher income. Once that happens its in the interest of families to have only a few (like 2, one and a spare) children and educate them as much as possible. This (in much of the world) costs $$$, so needs both parents working. Anyone who has regularly visited SE asia over the last 30 years can see this in action, without any govenmental influence (take a look at Thailand for example).

            So, to reduce child poverty you need fewer children to do that you need education as valuable and women free to work (or run a business). Notice no money in from outside is needed to do this.

            Or you can fund excessive child production by giving more money for more poorer children, which supports the production or more poorer children because they are money producers. People are not stupid.

            It ain’t simple, or for that matter either fair or just.

            But then nature was never fair or just and nor is real life at the boundary.


        • When we get to talking control on growth population. Who is anyone to tell someone you can or can’t have a child/children. People aren’t pets. You can have an opinion on that and control yourself on what you have, but to enforce that on someone else is no one’s business but their own.

    • I find only one snag with your arguement GY and that is in the last sentence.
      creating a new future for us, one where we are not so dependent on this crowded, polluted, factionalised and conflict ridden world.
      What makes you think that a new future for man wouldn’t include at least the last part, factionalised and conflict ridden world as man’s inhumanity to man is seemingly inbuilt in a very high proportion of people.
      Cynical, maybe but I have lived long enough to be told about a war to end all wars and still we are fighting and still not much improves for the common man.

      • Not cynical. Mankind takes an awful long time learning. As soon as it goes anywhere else, and is no longer utterly dependent for survival on its fellows, it will start fighting again to satisfy is seemingly unlimited greed. In other words, we shall take the rot with us. Last night I looked at pictures of the US soldiers disabled by two totally useless recent wars, and wondered about the many on both sides who died for no purpose at all, and yet we keep on producing more weapons to kill and maim, using our technology to try and do it from a distance.

        • Spot on. I always remember the line from the Terminator film where the boy says, “We’re not going to make it are we, humans I mean” and Arnie replies, “It’s in you nature to destroy yourselves”.

          Just a film, but never a truer word spoken.

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