Friday Musings on Bárðarbunga and Holuhraun

I wont waste space with a lengthy introduction … let me simply say that this post is down to you … our Readers, Commentators and Dragons … thank you!

As you read these musings please remember … we are not ‘experts’ … just imaginative and talented, self proclaimed Volcanoholics … and heck, if the IMO aren’t sure what the future holds  … we can only wonder, watch and wait.


Firstly, I am not an expert. Secondly, I have not been following every last quake at Bardarbunga. Thirdly, I am playing devil’s advocate a bit. Lastly, and in the spirit of pure speculation, I absolutely reserve the right to completely change my thoughts at any time, for any reason!! ☺
So, right now, what do I think will happen at Bardarbunga? Nothing. The Nornahraun vents will continue to effuse and eventually the eruption will peter out and stop. When that may be is anyone’s guess.
Note that this has happened before. The current eruption site is a reactivation of a historic crater row, and this appears to be an obvious weak spot that has been exploited previously. I’m assuming that this crater row was the site of the 1797(?) eruption that created the Holuhraun lava field (and which was not accompanied by any central volcano eruption as far as I am aware). I have seen some places that attribute Holuhraun to the Askja system, although that would appear unlikely given current events.
I have yet to see any convincing evidence that the eruption is fed directly from the mantle, and therefore I don’t believe Nornahraun is a volcano in its own right.
For now I believe the eruption is being fed directly through the dyke from BB’s own chambers. As those chambers empty, so the caldera floor is subsiding – but hinged on the southern side so that it acts like a lowering trap door. That process may be enhanced by the effects of tectonic rifting as Bardarbunga’s caldera is also being pulled apart.
So far the subsidence has not been destabilising enough to the rock around the lowering trap door for the magma to find a route upwards from the chamber and, besides, the Nornahraun eruption is proving adequate in relieving the pressure on the system. If that pressure equalises, then the eruption will stop.
In that scenario what happens then, to my mind, is more interesting. If Nornahraun closes up, how will the inevitable ongoing pressure increase affect the central volcano? Now that the quakes and subsidence have no doubt destabilised the caldera floor to some extent, would a subsequent injection of magma then find it easier to erupt around the edges of the caldera floor, or even through it, rather than via a dyke?
Original cones

Satellite image shows the original crater row that was reactivated by the current eruption. (Google Earth)

Leslie Robson Gompf


I don’t know if I am convinced that Holuhraun is acting as a pressure relief for Bardabunga, though the decrease in SO2 emissions from it over the last couple weeks would indicate to me that the amount of eruptible magma from wherever it is coming from is in the midst of being depleted.  I cannot say if that magma is mantle (which I thought all along) or being forced out of Bardabunga.
I remain concerned with the punctuated deflation of Bardabunga.  I believe I see several layers of hot stuff under Bardabunga from the earthquake plots.  I wonder how much water from the caldera is making its way down near or into the magma chambers.  Are we going to get to see a large steam-powered explosion when that mixing takes place?  Perhaps.  Maybe even likely.  At worst, we may even see a proverbial “trap door caldera” which I equate to Bigfoot, the Boggy Creek Monster and Mothman in likelihood of being actual beasts, in action.
I look at newer earthquakes along the suspected dike out of Bardabunga as evidence that the rifting has not stopped nor has the flow of magma from the mantle.  I don’t think what has already been erupted is enough to deplete the current rising blob much.
What do I predict?  More lava out of Holuhraun; more earthquakes; and an explosion out of Bardabunga in the not so distant future.

GeoLurking enlightens Kilgharrah

GL Bardabunga is a giant festering boil, sedately seeping out via Holuhraun. This could very well be the pace that the Deccan traps were erupting at until the Chicxulub impactor at a nearly antipodal position really ruptured the crust on the opposite side when the shock waves coalesced at the eruption site.
K Ummm … I have no idea what you are talking about … but if you say so I am sure its true (ish!)”
GL Well… the gist of what I am saying, is that the Deccan Traps, which is coincidental with the demise of the dinosaurs, was likely just a fissure eruption happily spewing magma from a hotspot. The asteroid impact over in the Yukatan, of about 6 miles in diameter, it impacted with about 1.31 x 1024 Joules of energy, or about the equivalent to a magnitude 10.3 earthquake. When the shock front from that arrived at the Deccan Traps eruption from all angles simultaneously (antipodal), it probably ripped the ongoing fissure wide open and increased the magma flow.
In other words, it made an ordinary eruption much more vicious.
That the Deccan Traps were ongoing at the time of impact is certain. That the impactor arrived at the time of the K-T boundary is certain. There is some scientific argument about which one killed off the dinosaurs. My position is that it was the coincidence of two disasters that wiped out the life forms that didn’t survive the K-T extinction event.
Taking that a step further, should we get a monster impactor at the antipode to Iceland, it could be a repeat performance.”
K Really? Ooh er …


Is there going to be another shield volcano some years (or decades) down the road? This is a spot NE of Geysir, where a lot of holocene shield volcanoes are present, and where swarms and deep quakes often occur. Always in this spot!

unnamedYou probably think I am a shield volcano freak.
Indeed yes. I can’t stop thinking one single day about the few days I visited Holuhraun this summer.
Back in 2012 or 2013 I said that eventually we would have an eruption near Kistufell, because of often deep quakes there. Then, as the swarms started in Bárdarbunga I predicted the dike could erupt as a shield volcano in the Holuhraun region. I was right.
Shield volcanoes are common in two spots in Iceland, north of Bárdarbunga and between Krisuvik and Langjokull. Each “s” in the figure is a recent shield volcano.
I love shield volcanoes, they are beautiful, symmetrical, but painfully boring to hike. You need to walk dozens of kms over their gentle slopes of loose rough lava rock.
We know that as Icelandic hotspot peaks in volcanic activity in decades ahead, I am rather confident to bet on the black swans: eruptions in this spot NW of Geysir; in Vatnsfjoll, south of Hekla; or halfway between Thordarhyma, SW of Grimsvotn, and Oraefajokull.
By the way, Holuhraun is much less gassy these days. Last time we felt a gas pollution here in Iceland was roughly two weeks ago. Thanks, Baugur.
My predictions:
Hilarious: Bardarbunga magma can’t erupt due to weight of ice cap, it moves an astonishing 1000km southeast and erupts somewhere in the middle of France. Why France is a question that will occupy geologists for the next 100 years.
Deeply serious (or maybe not): Holuhraun eruption continues until late January and then stops. Subsidience gradually slows down. A large earthquake takes place in Tjornes in 2015. A minor eruption near Askja follows in years ahead. By 2025 a large rifting episode starts at Veidivotn, at the same time, that aliens establish open contact with the human species, as wars and revolutions ravish across our world. Because of that epicness, no one will care about Veidivotn. In middle of these times, eruptions will occur also in Vatnsfjoll and northwest of Geysir.
Deeply philosophical: Why on Earth, did Iceland start to erupt much more often since I started living on top of it? I first came to Iceland in 2009 and shortly after Iceland erupted, then again in 2011 (Grimsvotn) and now Bardarbunga with a regional rifting event. It even behaved the way I said (a shield volcano at Holuhraun) Surely I must have some influence over it. What happens now that I will leave Iceland in end of January? Will Holuhraun also stop by then?
Mystical: Icelanders, or a part of them, believe in trolls. Some have even claimed to have talked to them. Trolls are lava rocks. Therefore, Holuhraun must be a mother of Trolls. 100 m3 of them every second. Are they all staring east facing the sunrise?
Enjoy your Friday. 


OK, having watched dfm’s plots and read everything I can find I reach the conclusion
I have held for several weeks already and already committed myself to.
The plots in the caldera show eq activity North and South with a relatively calm space in the middle. Having observed Sil station data it is clear from some of them that during an eq the S wave is missing meaning the signal has passed through magma or ‘soft rock’ between its source and the Sil station. I believe there is a vast chamber or reservoir in this eq free zone which can be worked out by correlating the sil eq data lacking S waves. I have said this all along and the new accelerometer readings seem to support it also.
Studying the contour lines of Bardarbunga I see the weakest flank as being the steepest area on the Northwest, which also coincides with the site of the Vonaskard sil which has been consistently high since 16th August. This is where I believe any eruption from Bardarbunga will break out.
I also see evidence of a fissure connecting Bardarbunga with Tungnafellsjokull and therein lies a possible risk. I think following a major event we will see further activity along NVZ and WVZ. Also bearing in mind it has only been a few months since Hekla’s risk level was raised, this is another distinct possibility given the borehole strain reactions to eq activity in Bardarbunga and it lies at the tip of the Veiðivötn system.

Bill G

I understand the scientific community has never witnessed this intensity of EQs without an eruption.   And the sinking of the glacier is astonishing, and new in this day of modern instrumentation.  What could expain this? I was on a mountain horse ranch some time ago and in the winter when the lake froze, it developed a leak and made for some fabulous ice skating (banked sides!).  What if the rifting/grabens caused a leak in the lake below the glacier. Forget the melting of the bottom of the glacier.  The top of the glacier would drop.  There would be all kinds of deep explosions.  But this immense glacier contains it because a lot of the action is too deep.
Where does the water go?  Well there’s not that much of it compared to the size of the lake.  It just has to drop 10’s of meters to see the ice sink.  But this water has been percolating for centuries, so the upper magma chamber is already quite cold.  So there wouldn’t be any explosions in the old, dead upper magma chamber.
Remember this is a very big glacier, offering a very good seal to the pressure cooker.  So the 10km of rubble beneath the bottom can have lots of voids.
It hasn’t reached any rivers yet because the water flow is not on the surface.
We need to get Irpsit to call his friends and get an ice sonar to see what’s happening. surely someone has one that the IMO could borrow.  (USGS?)  I have friends!! Either that or we could ask for volunteers to dig a deep ice-fishing hole.  People with short life expectancies and/or prisoners with time to Barder.
Obviously, some of the action to the side of the cauldron has magmatic origin, but even that could be influenced by the lake water.


I think we are seeing more dykes in ring faults, but I don’t think the bung is dropping.


The eruption currently is confined to Holuhraun. Barbardunga shows strong deflation and earthquake activity. How will this proceed? The plots below give some indication. The deflation is fitted with an exponential decay, with a change in time constant and zero level in early October. It fits extremely well. The earthquake activity (as energy in M3+ quakes) has been fitted with the same exponential. Since early October, this fits well. It indicates that the current earthquake activity is purely powered by the deflation – there is no indication for rising magma. But there was a major change in early October. What happened?
deflation (1)
The exponential decay is easiest to understand as relaxation. It indicates that the magma chamber had emptied earlier, and that the mountain takes time to adjust to the reduced pressure from below.
The whole event started with movement at the MAR (rift). This is not actually under Barbardunga but runs some distance to the east. The expansion along the MAR lowered the pressure and set up a pressure gradient between Bardarbunga’s magma chamber and the MAR. The magma began to flow, created a path, and filled the MAR. Once in the MAR it turned North. Eventually it found a weakness which allowed it to reach the surface (twice, in fact).
I believe that the connection from the Barbardunga magma chamber to the MAR collapsed in early October. The collapse pushed more magma into the rift but stopped the outflow from, and re-increased the pressure in, Barbardunga. The total loss of magma was probably 3-6 cubic kilometers. Barbardunga may take months to come to rest and will subside by another ~10 meter but is unlikely to have a major eruption. Smaller eruptive events may be possible.
The magma has filled the rift, and created a new magma chamber in it. A fraction of this (typically 30%) will erupt. I think Holuhraun has already erupted quite a lot of this 30%. The eruption seems to be declining (based on how far the lava is seen to flow). I would expect it to erupt 1.5-2 cubic kilometer in total. It probably has produced a bit less than 1.5 cubic kilometers so far.  It should stop in the next month or two – unless it can find a new source of magma!  If it slows, the upflow may get blocked while the pressure is still significant. In that case a smaller eruption along the rift to the south may happen.
The rift has been heated by the magma. If this heat conducts into nearby, old magma chambers, it may cause some remelting. Small eruptions in nearby volcanoes cannot be excluded, in this case. So I would expect this episode to come to a close before spring. Bardarbunga will slowly re-inflate (this may take 50 years) and the rift will cool down. A small spring eruption in Askja may be possible.
This is my ten cents worth! In my experience, nature rarely pays much attention to me, though.

Aaron Hunter

The north side of the caldera is going to sink, melt, and finally explode, followed by lava fountains that erupt out from what used to be the north side of the caldera. These fountains will shoot at least 40 meters into the sky.


My conservative view is  based on the premise that this has occurred before; but without the benefits that 21st century monitoring brings:
The Holuhraun craters are evidence for this, as is the presumably pre-existing graben between the Bardarbunga caldera and the eruption site.
The caldera itself has subsided before without a major eruption, the existence of the caldera itself tells us that. I realise that just because something has happened in one way before doesn’t mean it will happen exactly the same way next time, but my gut feeling tells me that:
The Nornahraun eruption will continue for a number of months until the whole system reaches a state of equilibrium and “rests” until the next time.



Recently, rises and falls in the tremor have been noted by IMO. Several interpretations have been made of this, I think the most precient is that of the pathway starting to close off. This would mean that the transients are in effect, “chuffing” of the flow trying to keep the pathway open. I’ve heard this time and again when a ship getting underway sounds it’s whistle. Water condensate that has collected in the steam line is blown out and until it is completely removed, you get a wavering of the sound. I think the worst one was when a stream of hot rusty water was blown all over the flying bridge, causing the forward lookout and signalmen to go scrambling for cover.
In Holuhraun’s case, its the slow blocking off of free flow. To me, this signifies a “hammer” effect beginning to form that is actually causing pulses of back pressure all along the magmatic system. Whether there is enough overall pressure to open up a new pathway has yet to be seen, but I think it is possible for a new vent to open elsewhere along the dike or along one of the ring faults. If it’s a ringfault breach, there could be a smallish eruption at the main vent… but not spectacular. There is even a possiblity that a reawakening could happen along the Gjalp fissure since it is the youngest and most recently active Bardabunga feature. Since the dike intruded into the Grimsvotn swarm, that system is also in play, and I can’t rule out something showing up there.  Grimsvotn’s last show was in 2011, and is much fresher than Gjalp, and therefore weaker. This is only a possibility if one of Grimsvotn’s chambers got in on the dike intrusion from Bardabuna. No, I don’t have any data backing that up, just ruminating. Though GPS data from Grimsvotn would be indicative if it has merit..


Volcanic inspirations: the plays of William Shakespeare

Volcanoes have long been popular with writers. The modern English author Robert Harris set a story in the shadow of Pompei. The 19th century poet Matthew Arnold based a poem on Etna. Jules Verne used the Iceland volcanoes into his story. Much further back, the writers of the Edda clearly were inspired by volcanoes.  A 9000 year old mural in Turkey is believed to depict a volcanic eruption. The bible includes references to apparent volcanic events.  Frankenstein, not itself about volcanoes, was written in the gloom of Tambora’s eruption. Even writers who did not directly write about volcanoes were fascinated by them and became avid volcano watchers. Charles Dickens is forever associated with Vesuvius and Mark Twain with Kilauea. William Shakespeare and Pliny the Elder are other examples of historic volcano watchers.
Shakespeare was known for using hidden references, possibly even hiding his name in the King James translation of the Bible. His personal interests are equally hidden in many of his plays. Only recently has it been discovered that these interests included volcanoes. He lived at the time of the Santorini eruption (1570), Hekla (1594) and Katla/Eyjafjallajökull (1612).
Early drafts of his plays show his volcanic inspirations, where some of his most famous phrases appear slightly different. Here are a few examples, with their probable origins.

On the Hekla eruption:
“The lady doth erupt too much, methinks”
(This was later adapted for use in Hamlet, as “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”)
“Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ the magma of human kindness”

On other Icelandic eruptions:
“What’s in a name? That which we call Eyjafjallajokulla by any other name would explode as sweet”  (after the 1612 eruption of this volcano)
“Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldera bubble”
“The course of true lava never did run smooth”
(Both are believed to be about the Katla eruption, also 1612)
“fair fires but foul fumes”
(It is not know exactly which Icelandic volcano this referred to)

On Vesuvius:
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Pompei, not to raise it”
Again, clearly a reference to a volcanic eruption but not known which one:
“Off with its head!”

Shakespeare was an early convert to the idea that volcanoes affect weather. Thus he wrote:
“Now is the winter of our discontent”

Finally, Shakespeare was a prolific blogger (‘Quaking Bill’) and knew the early Volcano Cafe well. As he wrote there:
“I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it”

So what did Shakespeare expect of Bardarbunga? He clearly knew that volcanoes need to inflate before eruption.
About Bardarbunga, Shakespeare wrote:
“I’ll not budge an inch”
It is therefore inferred that the Bard did not expect Bardarbunga to erupt.
Thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.

The Ghost


Are the magma chambers of Bárðarbunga being emptied to fuel the fires at Holuhraun or is she being fed by the mantle?

It seems to me, long time lurker, addicted amateur and avid reader of all that VolcanoCafe has to say, that we need know the definitive answer to this question. In the absense of that I prefer not to speculate on the future but to sit back and watch in awe as the events unfold!

A sincere thank you to everyone who has contributed to this post.


315 thoughts on “Friday Musings on Bárðarbunga and Holuhraun

    • Yes, some big ??? when I look at the shadows.
      I tried something. Maybe for some reason the picture was color inverted.
      I inverted back and got this negative. (Which is, I think, a double negative..).

      Makes a lot more sense.

    • It’s a great place. My fav spot in Iceland probably!

      But going now on a tour in wintertime is risky. Glad you did it fine. Some months ago, one of these similar tours got into serious trouble when they went during a harsh storm. Pour tourists got into trouble, and company got sued and fined. In summertime it’s a different story, it’s very easy to go there, and it’s fabuluous hiking territory, if one takes care.

      • Really wonderfull place, I did the full trek in 2011 summer, 4 days from Landmannalaugar to Skogar via Pomorsk, climbing foggy Fimmvorduhals and walking on “fresh”, black and glassy hot brand new lava, Also met an artic fox over there!

  1. Bárðarbunga Earthquake Energy Release Graph
    Of interest is the reduction in tectonic earthquakes ……. being replaced by nore frequent lower magnitude volcanic earthquakes,……. the number being recorded by IMO in table “Vatnajökull – earthquakes during the last 48 hours” is increasing,…… there is lots of <M1 quakes many of the pulsing style not recorded, which add up to 200-300 extra per day.

    We are seeing a saw tooth rise & fall on the tremor plots coinciding with large quakes responsible for falls in activity……. the saw tooths are increasing in amplitude and duration.

    The red low frequency line "movement of gases liquids & magma" at Bárðarbunga is shown well on

  2. A violent storm tomorrow predicted for Iceland. The forecasts and news are clear in their remarkable warning:

    News speak even about the possibility about the repeat of a aweful worst storm some 23 years ago, for Reykjavik, where houses in the capital were evacuated.

    Still the wording now from IMO, is not as bad as it was placed earlier today when it included the mentioned for a “dangerous storm” and “violent storm”

    “Dangerous wind gusts may be expected near mountains tomorrow (up to or over 50 m/s) and no trawelling weather.”
    ” Southwest strong gale wind tomorrow evening and in places violent storm in the western and northern parts. (average wind more than 28 m/s.).”
    “Becoming southeast 18 to 25 m/s after noon tomorrow with rain, considerable or heavy in the southern part. Becoming southwest 20 to 30 m/s by tomorrow evening with sleetshowers and later snowshowers”

    However the computer models are impressive, predicting an explosive cyclogenesis, with winds gusts possibily up to 60m/s, or 200km/h. Sustained winds of 30m/s, or 110km/h by the coast,but possibly more and significant more at times by the southern highlands.

    It’s just about a hurricane category 1 intensity.

      • Just one step down from Hurricane force 12, the highest the Beaufort scale reaches. I have seen such storms forecast for the West of Scotland a few times, F12 that is.

      • Interesting to note that just this last Nov. 7, a super storm in the Bering Sea reached 924mB (per analyzed data). Officially it was measured at 929mB , but the station was not in the central core per satellite. Because real data in that p[art of the world is rare, there is debate over whether this storm had the lowest pressure ever achieved in the Pacific basin from an extra-tropical low. No matter, this was a major atmospheric bomb that went off. In hindsight, it is now apparent that this single storm influenced weather across virtually the entire northern hemisphere. When a storm like this bombs, the jet stream becomes highly amplified downstream, with a high pressure building northward along the storm’s eastern flank. The northerly-displaced high pressure in turn, pulls down cold air on its eastern flank, which is exactly what happened. Most dramatic was the severe cold-air outbreak that brought record early season chill to most of the Central continental US, with a huge snowfall in areas like Buffalo that crippled the city for over a week.

    • Closed circulation around a warm-core low? Generally they are extra-tropical by the time they merge with the Icelandic Low. (cold-core systems driven by the temperature differential)

    • Oh no! I hope things aren’t too bad for you. I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, so I know a thing or two about hurricanes….Katrina being the worst I have ever been through. Stay safe friend! 🙂

  3. This one is totally off topic. Just for GeoLurking – remember the puppy I got early last year, the one I called Lurk – well he is now fully grown and has a new buddy called Billy. You have often mentioned your own dogs in various posts over the years so I figure you have a soft spot for our canine friends. Lurk has really grown up to be a handsome dude, he is now 18 months old and Billy is 5 months.

    Still on the topic of Dogs – This time to Kilgharrah – what happened with the 10 pups you had to hand rear? I remember you were on here regularly with riddles, then the pups came along and you were struggling to cope. Did it all work out OK in the end?

    Anyway – here are my non-volcanic dogs


        • If you are in the US, you have probably seen the window decals in cars/minivans depicting stick figures of the entire family. You have also probably seen the “My kid is an honor student at {whatever school}”.

          In the spirit of the “My kid can beat up your honor student” decals, I saw one today depicting a relatively large terrier chasing a stick figure family. It said “My terrier can eat your whole family”.

          • The vehicular stick figure craze has reached Australia too. I have yet to see anything as entertaining though as the terrier pic you describe! I love it!

            • of late, the fitness minded have taken to putting 13.1 and 26.2 decals on their cars bragging about having done half and full marathons. Since long distance running doesn’t guarantee a long life, I’m waiting for a photo of a coffin or two with the same decals emblazoned on them. Then we will see how dedicated a runner they truly were. Along the same lines, I am also waiting to see a tombstone with an “I Voted” sticker.

            • This hasn’t reached UK yet – I’m sure it will as we seem to take on anything American, particularly if it is a marketing opportunity. We’ve just had Black Friday which was introduced by Amazon and Asda (owned by Walmart) just a couple of years ago. The other supermarkets decided this was a great idea and we’ve just had mini-riots in the aisles, with the police called in to sort things out etc. Hopefully the shops will decide this is a bad idea and go back to our traditional sale time – which is after Christmas.

        • Thanks. They are Cockapoos. American cocker/poodle cross. Just like Labradoodles but smaller and slightly more manageable.

        • I forgot to add, he is the terrier that would eat your family. Actually it is only Doberman, Alsation and Collies he wants to eat, I think he suffers from little dog syndrome.

          • Sweet! My scruffy Lhasa Apso definitely has little dog syndrome. She barks furiously at any dog she meets and then hides behind me when they bark back. She is very good as an alert dog but then expects me to do the guarding!

  4. Hello all you crazy volcano freaks! This post is one of the best ever, showcasing so much thinking and also humor—thank you! I have been traveling, to both north and south, and have not had computer access for a couple of weeks. I was sure Bard would blow as soon as I was away from my computer, and am pleased that it did not. The Holuhraun eruption looks even bigger than before, still so beautiful.

    Trolls are lava rocks?? I would like to hear more about that. Here is a pic of a large troll which lives under one of the bridges in Seattle. That is a real Volkswagen Bug it’s got ahold of.

    • Arrrrrrrrrrgh! Oh My! Well that just proves that the Vikings and more found The USA well before Chris Columbus and co. and of course this was an inspiration for the film Sleepless in Seattle. Let’s face it, with a possibility of North American Trolls like this lurking in the neighbourhood who could sleep soundly? (They had to pretend the film and sleeplessness was based on a previous romantic film so as not to cause local panic )
      PS….I am sure I know that face from somewhere……

  5. What an amazing Post. Thank you Kilgharrah for all your hard work collecting and editing the individual offerings.
    . What a range of ideas and formats. Absolutely brilliant.
    I just want to throw in one more really in-depth ,deeply complex and maybe highly controversial ingredient into the discussions and musings. This especially for those battling on academic courses which involve the physics and complex chemistry of eruptions……….

    • My Head of Geography (a lovely chap called Dale Moore, I kid you not) plays this as part of the Y8 syllabus. When the students come to do a detailed case study in Y11, they can still sing the song!

  6. A wee bit late, but related to Thanksgiving

    “A Tennessee woman entered into a prolonged, fraught stand-off with a wild turkey that was blocking her car in her driveway. She tried shouting at the turkey, charging it with her vehicle and also coaxing it out of her way by feeding it a raspberry, but ultimately conceded, “I’m not a wild turkey, so I really have no idea what a raspberry means to a turkey.” In the end, she was able to scare the turkey away by hurling a frozen turkey at it.

    … yeah, I’d probably run if you threw a frozen human at me too.

  7. OT

    Forecast windgusts for Reykjavik are 65 kts, for Keflavik even 70 kts ( this is in nautical miles, so devide by 2 for m/s)

    Really impressive winds.
    Good luck Icelanders, be safe tonight!

    300754Z 3009/0109 15020KT 9999 RA OVC018 TX07/3016Z TN02/3024Z
    BECMG 3011/3013 14035G48KT 5000 RADZ OVC012
    TEMPO 3013/3018 14045G58KT 2500 +RADZ BR VV005
    BECMG 3018/3020 23048G60KT 5000 SHRASN BKN008CB
    TEMPO 3019/0102 23055G70KT 1000 +SHSN VV002
    BECMG 0102/0104 23030G45KT 2500 SHSN OVC004

    Source: NOAA

  8. Weather forecasts for Iceland are a bit worst this morning.

    Computer models predict *sustained* winds up to 120km/h in Keflavik, Reykjanes, Snaefellsnes and by mountains like Bardarbunga. Later in the evening, sustained winds up to 130km/h are predicted near Akureyri!

    Gusts will approach 200km/h, possibly by the coast and exposed lowlands, but most likely near mountains and ice caps.

    The south coast should see sustained winds of 95km/h and Reykjavik of 105km/h.

      • No one ever cares what’s going on in Iceland, unless they are affected by it.
        But indeed it’s a deep red alert, if this would occur in Europe. But I can see some similar storms have hit Europe this decade. Kyrill in 2007 was stronger.

        • It’s not just that, it’s also what different countries define as yellow/orange/red alerts. I’m from a central European country and I can tell you that alerts there are for much more difficult weather than they are here in UK where I am now (here there is a yellow alert for not much out of the ordinary). Just seems Iceland is much tougher and well-prepared, but we know that here. 🙂

          • You’re right about that Ursula, I get a text every time there’s a Yellow warning in my area and there’s one in place today for fog – but there’s no fog at all – just a bit of mist this morning. In fact they put out so many alerts for ordinary weather that real alerts, for something that might cause a problem, get ignored.

            • I mean people when driving need common sense. Fog demands care. Normal winter weather does too.
              But violent storms like this demand a special alert to remind people of the unusual degree of danger.

              I drive ocasionally in small gales, it’s fine. With strong gales, it’s dangerous, especially if there is snow.
              With storms like the one of today, it’s especially dangerous. And not to mention the fact that increasing number of tourists which are totally unaware of it. The worry is not actually for Icelanders and locals, as much as it for the tourist travellers, which will still drive today. Some even go against the rules and do stupid things like camping in winter, hiking in the mountains when this weather occurs, go glacier hiking on their own, without equipment, or drive up mountain highland jeep tracks, which are obviously snow-locked at this time of the year, and they try that not with jeeps but with small cars. It’s quite astonishing the amount of foolish mistakes tourists do, actually.

              One of the most epic ones was last year, when someone decided to do a picnic dinner on a floating ice on Jokulsárlon (glacial lagoon that drains the ice cap out to the ocean), and quickly they were washed out to the sea, and cried for help. They were awarded the (dumbest) tourist of the year 2013.


            • And there are tourists right now at Jokulsarlon and Gullfoss…
              (The Hekla webcam is down so not much chance of seeing a flying sheep.)

        • You are right. i apologize for demanding back euro by my dutch government, because the icesave debacle. Asking so much money from only 300.000 civilians is outrageous. Most people here think that’s just. But they don’t realize that the country iceland has a smaller population as the 4th city Utrecht…

          • I’m not Icelander.
            But you’re right. The mistake was done by a private bank, not by the Icelandic population. Although most of the Icelandic population voted for a government that allowed that to happen, even at their knowledge. And still 4 years later, they voted again for the same government party that brought them to collapse. Mistakes tend to repeat themselves, and big mistakes too, just like small eruptions and big eruptions.

      • Perhaps that is why Iceland has very few trees, these sort of winds are not a rare occurrence in Iceland. No wonder the Icelanders are a tough people.

        • Yes, but the lack of trees in Iceland is not due to the wind.

          Actually 1000 years ago, 40% of Iceland was covered with birch forest, while nowadays it’s only 1%, and this is because of a massive deforestation of the original forests. Nearly 98% of them were erased by grazing, to either grazed grassland or plain desert, due to erosion.

          It’s actually an example of one of the worst deforestation disasters across the world!

          I need to say that in recent decades the forested area already doubled rom 0.5% to 1%, so it’s already a good effort but far away from the original forest cover.

          The reason: sheep introduced by human, which graze without control.

          In areas where sheep never went, like Árbyrgi, Skaftafell and Thorsmork, Icelandic birch forest is beautiful and tall, withstanding very well the volent winter storms and repeated volcanic ashfall.

            • After the Highland clearances moved all the people to make way for sheep. I always feel sad when I see the ruins of deserted crofts.

            • Many people see Scotland as a wild and untouched place, they don’t realise just how much impact humans have had on the landscape and no more so than in the Findhorn valley or Strathconon. It’s a similar story on Dartmoor and many other areas across England and UK in general.

          • I’ve seen as conserved scrub land are being destroyed as ash storm beats on them.
            I have also seen that land conserved from both grazing and planting is usually worse than the land that has long been grazing with sheep.
            Farmers in the Hekla region also confirm that scrub land and sheep can coincide nicely while weather conditions are good as of the last decades.
            So even though this deforestation has been blamed on our bad bad foolish ancestors, and is still taught in schools. I want to point out that there is many indications that this might be an oversimplification of the large context and it is likely that weather and volcanic activity are the key variables.

            • Isn’t it not so much the introduction of sheep, as the felling of the (abo)riginal timber for housing and fuel, THEN the sheep eating the young trees that would have grown to replace the felled wood?

            • Laban. When I say bad foolish ancestors, it is alleged, so that maybe they were not idiots and maybe, they also looked after nature and their children in similar way we do ? Perhaps they would have tried to stop the sheep eating the new trees ?

    • There is also an interview with our old friend Nemisio Perez, scientists from INVOLCAN are in Fogo to assist with monitoring etc…

    • I think it’s very well worth a watch! It also really shows very well how little magma is involved in those blasts/fountains and how much gas is. clearly a gas driven eruption. thanks for the link 🙂

    • Thank you Schteve! “The night movie is well worth a watch”??? – what? – it is simply stunning! No wonder local people are in such a miserable situation: you can see that the footage has been taken from a very short distance to the vent. Although it looks like it is a harmless strombolian eruption, I don’t think that any volcanologist would advise people to get that close – we don’t know about the gases and the pollution gathered around the volcano.
      I will do some research to hear what Nemesio and his fellow experts have to say.
      Many thanks! 😀

  9. Quite several Bardarbunga quakes this morning, interestingly as storm approaches. 3 or 4 large quakes. Possibly anything between M3.5 to M4.5
    Though it seems like storm it’s not. Though the storm is heading and soon there will be lots of noise.

  10. Much rumble at the Dyn drumplot with short intervals.
    Could that be readings connected with the pulsing lava at Holuhraun? Magma that somehow has troubles reaching the surface?

          • Too many sharkcanoes and washing them down with magma! He’s a greedy boy but at least he’s only burping and not spewing. 😀

        • When you look at the costal plots you clearly can see wind effects I think, Mopshell, or am I confusing other matters … ? Sure, not an expert! 🙂

          • Well, I prefer to believe that IMO have got it right when they ascribe depth to the squiggles on the drumplots. I know others don’t agree so you’d be in good company if you feel that these aren’t quakes but wind gusts.

            • Wind bursts from underground do not make sense to me 🙂 .
              The rumble is registered at Dyn and Von almost at the same time. I have a feeling they are some kind of low M quakes, coming from B, I didn’t notice them before in this large amounts. Looking closely at Dyn plot you may count up to 8 in 15 minutes! Sometimes hardly visible. B. is grumbling.
              But I asked it as an open question if they could be related to Holuhrauns pulsing. Hard to say maybe.

              Many times wind has been given as a possible reason for fluctuations in measurements. I don’t believe that much in wind effects. But certainly in weatherconditions like in Iceland at this moment, sensible equipment can give false readings. IMHO not expert, well you know, lots to learn. But always trying to be a good observer. 🙂 Thanks Mopshell for the response!

            • I wonder too about the pulsing at Holuraun – maybe it is connected to those small quakes. I’m sure IMO are onto it too. As for the weather, I do recall IMO saying that they couldn’t pick up any small quakes during strong storms because the effect of the storm masked those quakes. That’s why ot appears that there are fewer quakes during a storm like this one.

              IMO have also stopped manually checking quakes – I’m assuming this is because they’ve sent everyone home during the storm which seems fair enough to me!

    • 100% earthquakes at BB …..up to 20.30 I count ~80x …….. IMO is listing at……Vatnajökull – earthquakes during the last 48 hours……..~45 for Sunday………were in a “calm period” atm …….quakes will ramp up over the next week

  11. VC warning. Today you might actually see flying sheep, like someone claimed to have seen some years ago.

    In windstorms like this one, many things can fly. Not only sheep, but cars and buses can be thrown out of the roads, ship containers can be turned, people can be thrown meters away too, and smaller trees can be not only uprooted but start flying horizontally. But nothing compares to flying sheep.

    • I remember once driving a car along an exposed seafront in a Force 11 gale, Suddenly I had no steering as the front of the car lifted of the ground! Really very frightening! Thankfully it only lasted a few seconds but that was enough to make me drive really slowly until I was in a more sheltered area.

      • Yes, very roughly:

        Above 150km/h (40m/s) wind can start to lift a bit a small car and making it slide.
        At around 180km/h (50m/s) the wind can lift the car enough to make it turn on side, or move it well off road.
        At 250km/h (70m/s) the wind car can lift entirely a car above ground, if wind is sustained

        (but it depends in circunstances, the aerodynamics of it)

        So far, this storm has feature sustained winds of 35m/s on the highlands, and gusts past 40m/s, just enough to slide a vehicle and lift it a small bit.

        But much more dangerous gusts are on the way, and if sustained and under special circunstances, could in fact turn a car on its side.
        Move video to min 0:55 and see an Icelandic storm lifting a car upside down

        • When I was in the Lofoten’s earlier in the year, there was a big storm that blew one of the big Arctic Buses off the road. By some miracle, the driver managed to keep it upright and no-one was seriously injured, despite being 40 metres or so off the road. I was in a Rorbru at the time, watching the rising tide get uncomfortably close from the storm surge. We’d had some pretty big storms over the winter in the UK (resulting in much of my area being flooded for a few months), with some very strong winds (with a few red and several amber warnings for winds and rain and quite a few red flood warnings and evacuations), but that storm probably exceeded those, prompting a weather warning and like Iceland, Norway doesn’t tend to do weather warnings unless they warrant it :P.

          • The UK has only done weather warnings since the Great Storm of ’87 that affected the South Coast and South east of England severely as well as Northern France and Belgium. 18 people died as a direct result of the storm in England and 4 people died in France. I live half a mile from the Channel coast and houses in my town had roofs and end of the houses ripped off with rooms gaping open to the weather. Whole forests were felling with almost no trees left standing in them. That storm centre pressure fell to 951 mb over the English Channel. So a little worse than this one hitting Iceland but if Iceland regularly has corrugated iron roofing on their flats then they could have big trouble with this storm!! Stay safe everyone there. More people would have been killed that night in England if it had arrived during daylight hours.
            Here is a summary of facts from the Met office.

            • We missed the worst of that storm in the southwest, even though we often bear the brunt, as it tracked up through the channel, instead of tracking along the south coast. The rain and storm surges were what affected the southwest more over the winter this year, with several storms having gusts in excess of 80-85 mph and one hitting 94 mph. One other that tracked a little more to the north resulted in gusts of 94 mph. To put that in context, 50 m/s, which is what IMO are predicting for parts of Iceland tonight (or in their words, up to or exceeding) is 110 mph, probably very similar to what hit the Lofotens when I was there.

            • Avonlight, unfortunately I lived in the area that experience the worst winds, 90mph sustained winds at one point and the worst was that no-one expected more than the light winds forecast for the South. I couldn’t believe the devastation when I got up the next morning!

            • I was pregnant with my eldest child at the time, living in the same village about 15 miles inland from the Sussex coast, but a smaller house.
              We did not sleep a wink that night; the whole house shook and it sounded like a freight train with intermittent breaking glass the whole night. We ended up drinking hot chocolate in the kitchen.
              The next day we could not get out of our road as the ways were blocked by fallen trees. Several properties had chimneys blown over through the roof. Our conservatory had lost every pane of glass, sucked out skywards by the pressure. Every window was plastered with a sticky goo of tree/leaf sap and sea-salt. All winter and spring, trees were blackened with salt damage on the southern sides.
              Many thousands of trees were destroyed, either blown over completely due to shallow roots, or with trunks snapped off by the sheer power of the gusts. Even today, many woods, forests and large estates still show the aftermath of that storm.

            • I was living in Surrey during that 1987 storm and remember it well. We lost all our big trees and there were roofs torn off buildings. When I went into town the next day, local police were directing us to walk down the middle of the street because it was too dangerous to walk too close to the buildings. Poor Sevenoaks became Threeoaks overnight.

            • I lived in Hove. Around 04:30 my walls and windows were visibly bowing and I thought the house was going to collapse. Decided it was too dangerous to stay (three floors up, facing SW) so I would go to a nearby concrete office block with an underground parking area. Climbed out of the house over a massive tree blocking the door and headed out. Found so much huge wreckage flying around that it was suicide. Turned back and spent the rest of the night sitting on the floor up against an interior wall in the NE most room.
              At 05:35 the roof finally went. The noise of a roof being torn off has to be heard to be believed.

    • When I was in Kindergarten there was a winter storm so strong I could not get home from school. I literally could not round the corner of the building, was blown back each time. Fortunately a teacher found me and took me back in her car. I was the smallest kid and the last one left.
      When I was about 12, a group of us went out in a bad autumn storm, because we were 12. Walking past some apartment blocks on a hill, the storm lifted three of us off our feet, the tallest boy in the group grabbed a lamp post and we managed to link hands, I was at the end, and at one point was completely off my feet and horizontal in the air.
      Good Old Days… that same winter we (much the same group of boys) did a survival training hike with the scouts in a blizzard up by Laugarvatn. Coldest I remember being. Totally awesome.

  12. Breaking News from Cape Verde’s Fogo Volcano
    Live stream from Schteve’s link above reports that the eruption that was thought to be waning down picked up strength with lava flow front advancing at a speed of 20 m/h.
    The head office of the Architecture winning award building of the Natural Park of Fogo Island/Chã das Caldeiras, Vila da Portela, has been totally engulfed by the lava, forcing inhabitants to leave, as of 4 am this morning.
    At this very moment ash is gushing out of the main vent, with lava circa 960º temp. and not such high CO2 rates, as previously announced.

  13. What would be causing the increased tremor on the green line? And does anyone know where the seismo station is situated?

  14. Last warning issued at Fogo Island: People has one hour to flee. Mandatory evacuation is in progress, people is crying, regretting the loss of the headquarters of Natural Park and possibly, of the whole village of Portela, while two lava fronts advance at a speed of circa 20 m/h blocking the only exit through the southern caldera rim.
    There has been a lot of progress in the recent years due to the quality of wine and coffee, main economic revenue from Cabo Verde nation, as well as of tourism. Now, even the volcano can’t be visited by them. Alas!
    Sad news indeed! 😦

    • So sad for them all. The video of the eruption was so magnificent during the night but then in the day it seemed to have increased in power a bit more. To see the lava flow so close to the houses though is always a sad sight.

  15. Poor people of Fogo; what an ordeal. Hoping we will have a chance to help them somehow.

    Ignorant question here again: if you look at Mila cam 1, there’s a spot just above where R2 used to stand, which is pulsing red just now. Can’t catch it on a screenshot, I can’t seem to time it right. Is that lava reaching the edge of the ice, perhaps?

    • Now pretty much invisible! As it all is… here’s my best try at a screenshot earlier, but I kept missing the bright pulses by the time I’d got the cursor right across the screen. Pulsing area outlined, faint glow visible.

    • I think I cannot say much for now, since Mila cams are covered by a dense fog. But I would presume it was the northern lava front, or a break out from previous flows? 🙂

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