Tambora’s long echo through history and culture. Part 2: 1816 – present

By Talla Hopper:


Sketch of a sunset c1820-30 by J.M.W. Turner. A study has shown that the use of the colour Carmine increases in artists’ palettes in the years after a large volcanic eruption.

In the previous article on Tambora I concentrated on the immediate aftermath of the eruption and the devastation caused in Europe and North America in 1816. Now we will look India and China and the long reach of the worst eruption in 2000 years. Again, I got most of the information from ‘The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the volcano that darkened the world and changed history’ by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P. Klingaman and ‘Tambora: the eruption that changed the world’ by Gillen d’Arcy Wood.

India and China


The weather conditions that brought misery in Europe and America also caused famine, death and disease in Asia. Snow was reported in the summer of 1815 in some parts of China and the devastating cold appears to have lasted longer here than anywhere else. The worst affected province was Yunnan in the south-west of China. It normally has a pleasant climate bringing bumper harvests and was a rich, comfortable area known as the ‘Land of Eternal Spring’.   The effect of Tambora was to weaken the warm southerly monsoon winds, allowing the cold northerly wind from Mongolia to sweep south. All of China was affected but Yunnan was to endure a famine lasting from 1815 to 1818.

Rice is a crop that can put up with a great deal, but it does not cope with prolonged cold and this is precisely the condition brought about by the Tambora years. The rice crop failed completely. A poet called Li Yuyang documented the famine in a series of increasingly sombre verses:

“The clouds like a dragon’s breath on the mountains,

Winds howl, circling and swirling,

The Rain God shakes the stars, and the rain

Beats down on the world. An earthquake of rain.”

This is the beginning of the first poem of the series. Later poems cover topics such as the police beating back hungry crowds begging for food and houses collapsing from the unceasing cold rain. Finally Li Yuyang documents parents selling their children, then infanticide and the suicide of a desperate mother.

The Chinese regime was famously well organised, but the grain stores put aside for famine did not allow for years of bad weather, only one season was covered. By the second year there was very little help to be had and the severe situation showed up the years of neglect and bad management when the system had not been tested. The famine finally ended when the summer of 1818 brought the usual weather and a bumper harvest.

However, the remaining farmers of Yunnan had been changed by the awful experience and many decided that a cash crop was preferable to a subsistence food crop. The cash crop they chose to grow was opium.

A century later the hill tribes of Yunnan drifted south into Burma, Thailand and Laos whose northern highlands make up the “Golden Triangle” of opium production for the modern drugs gangs. The link between Tambora and the modern international drugs trade is a tenuous one, but it is a link nonetheless.

Thousands of people died in the famine in China but Tambora had not finished yet: the most deadly effect of all was about to be unleashed, and this begins in India.

Tambora’s cloud arrived early in India. By late April 1815 the temperature in Madras had fallen by 24 degrees F. A heavy load of ash has been found in the Arabian Sea which came directly from Tambora. The aerosol drops that remained in the atmosphere began to interact with weather patterns in the same way that caused devastation in America and Europe. The sun’s heat was kept out but the Earth’s heat was kept in: the stratosphere warmed but the surface cooled. This depressed the minimum and maximum temperatures which caused the disruption to the jet streams. In the Indian Ocean the winds bring the life giving and cooling monsoon rains. These rains fall for three months of the year and the winds also brought the trade fleets from the Indies and from the west: Africa and Arabia.

From November to March the winds are cool and come from the north but in May the land warms as the Earth tilts towards the sun, the winds change to the south and bring rain drawn up from the Indian Ocean. The rain is torrential but brings life in the form of quickly grown crops.

The monsoon failed in 1816. The trade winds faded to nothing. There were wild swings in temperature in the Bay of Bengal, from cold to hot, but there was no rain. The rivers, coming down from the Himalayas, still ran into the Bay but the tanks and wells of drinking water became stale. The drought broke in September 1816, when the monsoon would normally be declining, this year it brought horrendous floods. There was a resultant upswing in disease, most were waterborne as the rank, stagnant, water left over from the drought joined with the rainwater and spread over the land.

January 1817 brought more unseasonable rain and by May one of the endemic, seasonal diseases of the Bay of Bengal showed up at the wrong time, and in unusual strength. This disease is now known to the world as Cholera. It had been a mild local disease caught in the winter months of November to January. It did not kill many people as there was a built-up immunity in the local population. Somehow the disruption in the weather pattern of 1817 brought about a disruption in the disease’s normal path.

Cholera now broke out across India, carried by the traders, farmers and soldiers of the new British colony. In November 1817 the British Grand Army, camped near the river Sinde in north central India were suddenly struck by cholera. Between 15th and 20th November 5000 men, women and children died. Ten thousand people died in this single event.

Soon the numbers of dead reached millions. The newly invigorated trade winds took Cholera first to the Dutch Indies and East Asia, then on the overland trade routes to Arabia and Russia, finally it reached Europe, Africa and America. By the 1830’s millions were dead. People continue to die today of Cholera: there was an outbreak in Haiti after the devastating earthquake. It is Tambora’s lasting legacy to the world.

There are other legacies of Tambora. The search for the Northwest Passage, which resulted in the disaster of Franklin’s expedition, was set in motion by the short-lived opening up of the Passage in 1817 by the weather chaos caused by Tambora. In Switzerland, Ignace Venetz formulated the idea that the Earth had been subjected to repeated Ice Ages when he was asked to help save a village at risk of flooding from a newly formed glacial dam.

Cultural consequences

An event as huge as the Tambora eruption must change the way people think about their world, whether they know the reason or not. Tambora had some unexpected consequences, some of which are noted below.

The cholera epidemics that came out of the Indian sub-continent may have had the effect of changing the minds of European colonists in the tropics. Until the onset of this deadly disease it appears Europeans thought of tropical parts of the world as being much the same as temperate parts, apart from the climate of course. Now these areas were regarded with some dread, as somewhere a deadly disease could appear without warning and wipe out millions. From this time onwards the tropics were regarded as dangerous places for the delicate health of white women and children. Regular long leave in cooler areas was prescribed for white men. An inevitable culture of “them and us” began.

Then consider the traditional Christmas Card. Much of the iconography of Victorian Christmas, the snowy scene with a stage coach heading for the glowing lights of the distant village owes a lot to Charles Dickens’ depictions of London and England in ‘A Christmas Carol’ and his other books. But Dickens was born in 1812 and his imagination might have been coloured by the cold and snowy winters of his early childhood.


‘The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up, 1838’ by J.M.W. Turner showing Turner’s continuing obsession with weather. (Voted Britain’s favourite painting in 2005).

The paintings that have illustrated these two articles were painted during and immediately after the strange and awful weather created by Tambora. Both Constable and Turner were profoundly influenced by what they saw in 1815 and 1816. Constable was on his honeymoon when he painted ‘Weymouth Beach’ and Turner was painting a series of pictures for northern patrons when he painted ‘Lancaster Sands’. Already both artists were formidably talented but they both became obsessed by clouds and atmospheric effects. Turner’s paintings influenced many later artists, in particular the Impressionists.

Finally, remember the traveller in Switzerland complaining about the terrible weather in 1816? I mentioned her in Part 1 and she was, of course, Mary Godwin, later Shelley and the author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. This is perhaps the most remarkable and enduring cultural consequence of Tambora’s weather: not only was the now universal idea of the mad scientist creating a monster born during this summer, but also the myth of the Vampire as an aristocrat.

The Shelleys were in Europe to save money, to get away from Mary’s disapproving father and to travel in Europe, which had been closed to British travellers for many years due to the Napoleonic Wars. They didn’t like France, due to the bad weather and the attitude of the French (who obviously would not particularly like the attitude of the English at this time) and so they went on to Switzerland to be thrilled by the mountains and soothed by the lakes. The thrill of sensation was fashionable and an appreciation of the terrors of nature was also cultivated. The awful weather, particularly the tremendous thunderstorms of the summer, would have heightened their already fervid imaginations.

They settled by the shore of Lake Geneva and spent a lot of time with another poet, Lord Byron, who had also left England to save money and escape notoriety. He had employed a doctor/companion called John Polidori who was part friend, part servant. Poets were probably the equivalent of pop or movie stars in our time; they were celebrities and they were also educated and clever. Byron was famously ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’. He was probably not very nice, particularly to someone like John Polidori who had his own literary aspirations.

Mary was 18 that year, Percy Shelley was 27. They travelled with Clare Clairmont, Mary’s step-sister who had been Lord Byron’s lover and was pregnant with his child. Byron had taken a lovely house, the Villa Diodati, for the summer. On the night of 13 June 1816 Byron wrote that he had witnessed the “mightiest of storms” that he had ever seen.

On 18 June the young aristocrats, equally bored and thrilled by the weather, met at the Villa Diodati and told ghost and horror stories to one another. Their imaginations were fired by the weather, the awful state of the famine-struck people they had met on their travels, and by the latest ideas of the time – the industrial revolution was hitting its stride and was countered by the Romantic Movement. Lord Byron’s poem “Darkness” came from this night of story-telling. Mary’s story was honed by her through the rest of the year and was published in 1818. Frankenstein’s creature is perhaps conjured from the awful suffering they saw during that year of famine with the multitudes of refugees struggling through the mud and ice.

John Polidori’s story – which was, of course, dismissed by Byron – was later published as ‘The Vampyre’ where for the first time a blood-sucking revenant was described as an aristocrat rather than a peasant. It was probably Polidori’s revenge on Byron for treating him so badly. This version of the vampire story was taken up Bram Stoker for his Count Dracula.

So two of the most popular, and current, horror stories were born on the same night – forged by Mount Tambora’s terrible weather. Remember that the next time you see a ‘Twilight’ film or ‘Frankenstein’.

 Image5Woman before the Rising Sun (or Woman before the Setting Sun) by Caspar David Friedrich c1818-20. The colours are believed to accurately show the Tambora effect.


Klingaman, William K. & Klingaman, Nicholas P. The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the volcano that darkened the world and changed history. St Martin’s Press, New York. 2013.

Wood, Gillen D’Arcy. Tambora: the eruption that changed the world. Princeton University Press. 2014

585 thoughts on “Tambora’s long echo through history and culture. Part 2: 1816 – present

    • And the fumaroles are strongly sulfuric and not really that much pure steamy. And they also said that this activity is very similar to the 2001 events when nothing happened, but totally different than the usual phreatic stuff.

      • That sulfur content would probably explain why the eggs reek of it and have black shells when they boil them. (iron and sulfur)

        Black Eggs of Owakudani, Hakone

        “Owakudani is an active volcanic valley. I have heard that it was known as “Jigokudani” (the Valley of Hell) by locals some time ago. Once you step foot on its wonderous soil, it will surely will take your breath away. I am not just talking about the magnificent view of Mt. Fuji, but also the rising volcanic gases that originate underneath the valley itself. When you look around you, there is an infinite amount of steam pouring up through vents scattered around the mountain, and a very distinct odor that will remind you that you are indeed traversing a very live volcanic valley… “

        Written by Abby Rodriguez. Read the rest at http://en.japantravel.com/view/black-eggs-of-owakudani-hakone

      • And, from your link:

        “The finding led a local government to freeze until Monday its permission for hot spring and other business operators to enter an evacuation area within a radius of about 300 metres around Owakudani.”

        Using the Giggle Lat-Lon as a start point, that puts the parking lot inside the exclusion zone. The start point is a few hundred feet towards the hill off of the lot following the direction of the closest lane.

        • In all fairness, shall this (by some remote chance which is getting less remote) actually get explosive, then a 300m radius is a freaking joke. They are trying to really limit the danger zones to limit tourist fallout, but at what cost.

          • Well, it worked for El Hierro, they managed to diminish the threat and Nemesio managed to get in on a paper about an un-noticed volcanic eruption off to the west… that happened to have been fed by a magma pocket precariously located under Sabinosa. The more conspiratorial would say that was why he suppressed my videos. Personally, I know he was just trying to protect his money kitty. Yeah yeah yeah, he could have gotten people killed, but “at this point, what difference does it make?”

            Edit add: How do I know it was under Sabinosa? Because that was where the GPS data pointed at it being until dickless shut off the power grid.

        • And I mean magma explosion, not phreatic.
          It will happen one day. Perhaps not in this round or in our lifetime, but it will eventually.
          Given the age of the complex and the time between magmatic eruptions, there hase to be a relatively fair share of dacitic-rhyolitic magma down under (no name pun intended).
          The active hydro-thermal system speaks volumes.
          This might be a steamy valley, but the caldera sure as hell wasnt caused by steam. 😉

  1. Tremor pulse at Grimsvotn just now, with a clear initial break. Seems localized.

  2. “Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the immense halo of gas enveloping the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest massive galactic neighbor, is about six times larger and 1,000 times more massive than previously measured. The dark, nearly invisible halo stretches about a million light-years from its host galaxy, halfway to our own Milky Way galaxy. ”


    So, if Andromeda is typical, and is about twice the size of the Milky Way… and if we too have a gaseous halo, shouldn’t the borders of these two envelopes be getting to the point of starting to interact with each other?

    Or maybe I should just go back to staring at the parking lot

    • This is the gas around the Andromeda galaxy. Yes, if our Milky Way has a similar halo of gas, the two would touch or nearly touch, as the press release said. But we are probably a bit smaller and as we don’t know how the halo formed, we may not have one. Or maybe we do. Make your guess. The two galaxies have evolved differently and are certainly not identical.

  3. More local St. Helens news.

    After the mountain blew in 1980 the drainage to silver lake was blocked off, so the amry corp of engineers drilled a tunnel through a hillside to allow silver lake to drain off before it could overtop the loose volcanic debris. Now motion along one of the faults the tunnel crosses is pinching the tunnel off.

    news link:

    Unfortunately for everyone, the tunnel falls under US forest service jurisdiction, and the forest service is almost criminally inept. Will they get it fixed before the fall rains come? Gosh i sure hope so, but i’m not optimistic.

      • Yep. I never take my kids near bear country without a firearm. Without wanting to trigger a 2nd amendment debate, that’s one of the things anti-gun folks almost always overlook; the need to carry a firearm for protection from dangerous wildlife in parts of the country. City folks and Europeans almost never think of that, yet it’s one of the reasons guns will NEVER be banned in the USA, like I’ve heard many Brits advocate.

        • We don’t advocate banning guns at all – guns are legal in the UK, but you need a license. I can’t remember the details, but many types of guns are unavailable outside the military. If you need a gun for shooting deer or other game or for competition, then you can get one. I can’t think of anyone here advocating ‘banning guns’ in the USA, just amazement at what kind of guns that seem to be available, and the ease. Guns are a countryside thing here, like owning a tractor – you just wouldn’t consider needing one unless it was connected with your job.

          • Europeans and most foreigners tend to think Americans are more obsessed with guns than we really are. Some Americans own hand guns, but I would wager most still do not (depends where you live).

            “Guns are a countryside thing here, like owning a tractor – you just wouldn’t consider needing one unless it was connected with your job.”

            This actually pretty accurately describes the sentiment of American gun ownership. Most who own guns do for sport. Some own for personal security purposes (these people rarely take their gun outside their home, and typically have it for self defense reasons in a higher crime area).

            Assuming most americans are in love with gun ownership, or want to get crazy assault rifles is like assuming all Germans walk around wearing Lederhosen with a pint of beer all day. It’s just not true, and most of it originates from a caricature of a small percentage of vocal idiots in our country.

            Note: I’m not anti-gun ownership, but most Europeans have a seriously skewed view on Americans and our view of gun ownership.

            • You’re right, the image is skewed. I had the impression from my American friends (sadly not having visited yet) that it’s exactly as you describe. Equally skewed is the idea of guns being totally banned here… the truth is that most people want to be pragmatic and sensible about such things, wherever they are.

        • “…near bear country without a firearm…”

          Not allowed firearms on Eglin AFB except duing deer season, and only with a permit from the base and a valid hunting license.

          I mention that since Hwy 87 south in Santa Rosa County is posted with bear crossing signs, specifically in the Blackwater River outflow area.

          Most of NW Florida is prone to wandering Ursidae. Not long ago, they were having a problem with Black bears snacking on family pets. Not as strange as the serial goat mutilator of Fort Walton Beach, but still odd.

          “And Thompson said she’s sure the goat was killed by the same person or group that killed the other five. She said there are similarities that haven’t been released to the public that are consistent in each incident. “


        • Without wanting to get involved in or expressing opinions on an american debate, it does seem that many more children are hurt by guns than by bears. The cure is itself a danger. The word that comes to mind is ‘overkill’.

          • Mankind has always been at the the pinnacle of the art of predation. Typically, the favored prey is within the species.

            From the Boat Axes of Corded Ware culture to the most advanced modern drone weaponry, it’s all about getting the proper tool for the job.

          • And, something that mankind is also not known for, is always thinking things out.

            Sometimes we fail to properly consider the ramifications of our actions.

        • I am seriously thinking of getting a suitable gun/rifle, if we are going for a dry spell, which I think so, wild pigs are no fun to have hanging out the back fence now, since the cows are walking through, was a bid hairy a few years back in the dry, my big boy (marvin the dog) managed to scare them off, he is getting on now, thinking…

      • There has been black bears spotted north of the Ohio River. They have used the bridges that span the river and have actually swam across it. They’ve been spotted in Ohio and Indiana. A mountain lion has even been spotted in Indiana too. I myself have seen coyotes and red foxes. I’ve ducks and guinea fowls killed before. That critter was dealt with after being caught in the act. I wouldn’t hesitate using a firearm to protect family, pets or livestock. I would like the authorities deal with it like mention on the news, but we live in the country. I don’t think a wild animal is going to wait til the police get here. Of course, you want to avoid coming in contact, but you may have no other choice. You are actually your first responder.

      • I empathise with that bear. I was lying in a beach towel sunning myself at Dunn’s River ,Jamaica when a herd of tourists off a tourist boat stampeded up the beach towards me. There was no time to run. Luckily the herd parted and ran either side of me. They had camera view finders fixed on the waterfall and nothing else mattered except getting the shots to take home and bore family and friends.

        I am sorry, but if humans invade wild territory without due respect then they should accept the consequences. Polar bears, baboons and others who enter townships searching for food rightly get their just desserts if human children’s lives are at risk. We react in the same way as those bears.

        • Agree with you, Diana, I have a hard time with people who do not respect the wild and what it can do. I was raised in the high lonesome, my Pop taught me a lot, he would not have dreamed to get in the way of a momma bear and her cubs…

  4. Bears are all over the place in the US. I went to Yellowstone in August 2013, we saw several grizzlies and black bears.I live in Connecticut and we have black bears in my neighborhood. My friends in Michigan deal with them just outside of Detroit.. New Jersey now has a hunting season for them. Hunting regulations have brought them back to full population… On another note I was listening to New York radio the other day and they were complaining about traffic on the west side due to police tracking a Coyote in riverside park. How it got across a bridge I will never know. Did it pay the toll ?

    • They are q impressive! Safety valves? Possibly but how long before they cannot cope with the pressure below?

    • Well, that’s the thing. Safeties are designed to support a very fine tuned, highly prodigious steam generation system. The forced draft blowers are shoving air into the firebox as fast a possible, and the fuel heads are taking that pressurized fuel-oil and spraying it into a fine vapor behind the burner front. Buried deep within there are tubes that carry the water, which has to be purer that what you find in your water tap. Any minerals that are in it will essentially start to form travertine inside the water pathways of the boiler. (In a boiler overhaul, these tubes get replaced because old tubes don’t transfer heat as efficiently) The steam chest is where any unboiled water is removed from the super heated steam because if they are in the steam supply to the turbines (carry over) they can damage the blades. It’s a well orchestrated bit of chaos to managed a steam plant. Sure, the watch may seem slow, but what is going on inside the system is high speed and well balanced.

      Now, after reading that, consider that Hakone is doing the fundamental part of it with no specific engineering, and is making steam at a rate that it quite easily reminded me of things you see on a 1200 or 600 psi steam plant. None of this gugle gugle burp stuff of Yellowstone. Just high pressure scorch anything that is flying by sort of steam. I know that it’s not anywhere near 1200 psi when it hits the atmosphere. Superheated steam is invisible, you can hear it, but you can’t see it.

      I’ve been trained in the navy’s version of the quality control system, and can tell you that main steam systems are in some of the tightest quality control levels, requiring copious documentation, tracking and verification of repair parts and materials. At this level, the material is tracked from the time of manufacture and acceptance after testing until it is used in the system. In effect there is a chain of custody on the material.

      Caveat: Not an HT, MM, or DC specialist, but I am ESWS qualified.

  5. And a reposted lament from late last night. The PW setting on my tablet PC was incorrect and the post didn’t make it in.

    We at VolcanoCafe, meaning those of us who frequent this site, are presented with something that we, as a group, have never ever seen. A web-cam located directly in the area where a pending eruption is quite possible (though not certain). The Hakone camera is within the hazard zone, and is probably only 200 or so meters from the actual point of interest. You couldn’t ask for a better view. On that camera, the central point of the hazard zone, is just 50 to 100 meters beyond the far end of the parking lot.

    Now if the camera had an image update faster than about once an hour, we would be in pig heaven.

    • With the update cycle being the way it is, I have a prediction of how this will unfold.

      Someone will get news of the eruption and will visit the camera site. If the camera hasn’t been blasted to smithereens, you will see a crater and debris… possibly a hole where part of the parking lot has been forcibly excavated, with cracks showing where the ground has been up-heaved along the edges.

      The other possibility is that the seismic tremor will settle down and Hakone will go back into it’s long slumber.

    • Thank you for the link!

      Dunno, the last time I saw a parking lot swell, was in Jackson Mississippi, and was due to yazoo clay. (Likely not at play in Japan)

      ” The average composition of the Yazoo clay is 28% smectite, a water-bearing mineral, with the remainder made up of six other minerals. The volume increases are most pronounced in smectite-rich regions of the clay.

      The clay’s ability to expand is incredible. Research has found the volume increase can be more than 200%, and is almost always greater than 130%. “

  6. I don’t know if you guy realize it or not… but I am absolutely stoked that this is mostly playing out in a parking lot. If the camera is not destroyed, you will be able to do force estimates based on where the debris lands and how many parking spaces from where it originated. (the amount of force to throw it that far) The lot is a veritable grid system that can yield pretty good distance estimates.

    For the armchair volcanophile, you don’t get better data than that.

    And for Diana, when I was stationed in Jersey, I ran across what appeared to be the top of a Cruiser poking up form the trees. Being stationed at the only ship capable naval facility anywhere nearby, I was perplexed. Turns out, it was this http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/100years/stories/cornfield-cruiser.html

    • One of my cousins worked there-after he got out of the Navy. He says it is a great
      conversation starter..
      -Also a source of some highly doubtful sea stories…

  7. I would like to repeat a note from Down Under Andrew about Grimsfjall some days ago.Tremors are slowly but every day more rapidly increasing from about the first of May. I have been following the tremors and quakes a while and find it very interesting. Could someone with knowledge on the subject comment please? 🙂 In my (very amateuristic) view something substantial is happening there.

    It says 2014, but that is not correct.

    There are many minor quakes at the grf station, not sure if that is new …

    • Well, personally in my (also totally amateur) view, this signal is focused on Grimsvotn. It is present on HUS, VOT and ofc at Gimsfjall, but thats pretty much it. I cant say what this could mean, since I am not an expert on Iceland volcanoes and their monitoring, but the fine people at IMO are, so I will wait for their statement, shall there even be any.
      But if I speculate a bit (nothing wrong with that I think), I would initially bet on hydro-thermal activity. I do not believe this to be strict magma movement, since the frequencies and patterns dont match, it also isnt wind noise, since that has a well known clear signal. It is true that there are pulses of volcanic tremor at Grimsvotn and lets not forget stronger tremor pulses on April 1st, and April 27th, when I was the only one noticing it, while people said it was nothing and just wind noise (check previous comments in this post). There is a chance, that something is going on at Grimsvotn, and what you see on the drums are lots of microquakes, which esentially cause these spikes on the Infrasound plots, making it look so “tremorish”. IMHO, there is some magma movement below Grimsvotn, perhaps upward, causing some increase in Hydro-thermal activity, which is causing this signal. You could “almost” say this is an Icelandic version of Mt.Hakone. Under Ice.

      This signal first appeared actually at HUS station, and was somehow abruptly ended by the M3.2 at Hamarinn.

      Tho the sporadic quakes in this part of Vatnajokull, do perhaps indicate some changes in this region. There are perhaps sone features below ice that we might not be aware of, so I hope that IMO explains this, since they are the masters of their craft for this part of the world.

      Personally I do not expect any imminent eruption, since I do not see any clear signs. lets wait and see like always. These are active volcanoes under ice, and they like to roll in their sleep. 😉

      Unless its Oraefajokull, that mofo pretty much awakes instantly and with a bad attitude. Kinda like when I abruptly wake up my girlfriend.

      • 😀
        Thanks for the resume of events and your opinion on them Down Under Andrew. 🙂
        I don’t believe in wind causing the stronger pulses either.

        I found another long term graphic (source IMO) that puts the last weeks tremor rising in perspective …

      • There is some news about the tremor. I picked up a link at Jon’s blog.

        I don’t understand Icelandic but Giggle is helping a bit …
        At the bridge at Gigjukvisl increasing waterflow aswell conductivity is measured, a small ‘hlaup’. IMO thinks there is a connection with the increasing tremor at Grimsfjall. There is a peak expected about midweek.

        From http://www.vedur.is/um-vi/frettir/nr/3134

  8. Come to think of it, Mt.Hakone events at the moment remind me nicely on the Pinatubo onset sequence. 😀 (ignoring the scales obviously) 😀

    • I actually thought the same thing, but it’s important to remember that this can be said about many volcanoes at the onset of their activity. This is also somewhat similar to the activity we’ve seen at Sinabung prior to the start of its eruptive phase.

  9. There is actually a teeny tiny swarm under Tenerife – x2 yesterday 1.5 and one today at 2.2 all at 30km depth. Talking about Big Cats – some of you may recall I used to look forward to seeing a black lynx panther hybrid stroll past my house in Wales once every 3 years on its way to visit the resident leopard in the ‘captive’ breeding programme in the local zoo. The policy of police and press denying sightings meant I didn’t report it, though when I saw it chasing sheep and later heard it had killed 6, including the farmer’s prize Suffolk ram, I did at least tell the farmers who were teasing him that I had seen it. It must have lived to round about age 12 to 15, since I saw it 3 times and my neighbour saw it 3 years before my first sighting. I heard that a farmer had finally shot it and buried it on his farm, but the best story was from a quiet, studious botanist, sitting on the grass in a field, studying rare plant life, being interrupted by 2 gambolling black cubs with their mother. He stayed very still until they went on their way. Of course there aren’t really any Big Cats in Wales. Everybody knows that.

  10. I had an hour to kill the other day, and went to a sandwich shop in that town. While milling about waiting on my Cheese Steak, an advertisement for an upcoming movie came on the TV. It caught my attention, and the staff of the shop just looked over at me as I burst out giggling. It’s another disaster movie. The featured villain: The San Andreas Fault. Poking around on the net, I found a trailer for it. In the trailer, you do get an aerial view of a movie rendition of a propagating Rayleigh wave, something I have never seen in a quake flick, so, it has that going for it. I have no idea of the details of the quake scenario they present, but on one scene from the trailer, there is a humongous crack where the ground has separated. That sort of motion implies normal mode faulting. (Yet the San Andreas is a strike-slip system) Whether this is some ancillary event along a related fault off of the main fault I don’t know, but taking a copy of the guy peering down into it, and using him as a measuring rod (assuming he is about six feet tall), it appears that this crack is roughly 9 meters across. Working through the Wells-Coppersmith equations for normal mode faulting, that is something close to a Mag 8.6 quake. That’s what you need to get an average displacement of roughly 9 meters. A Mag 8.6 will give you MMI-X level shaking out to about 10 to 14 km from the epicenter using the West Coast model.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but according to the Wikipedia entry, it’s the typical “guy has to save his loved ones from a catastrophe” sort of plot.

    Now, I am not saying that a Great quake from the San Andreas won’t give you a tsunami, but the principle motion for that system is strike-slip. You probably would not get anywhere near the oceanic displacement needed for a tsunami of the size depicted in the still frame. A Cascadia quake? Maybe, since it is a mega-thrust style of fault and can lift obscene amounts of water if it ruptures catastrophically. I suspect that you wouldn’t see this size wave at San Francisco though… maybe at Seattle since it would be pretty much right on top of the event. It also probably wouldn’t be a breaking wave like this unless you have a somewhat shallow angle to the underwater terrain as it approaches the coast. It would be more like an incessant sea level rise like we saw in the Indonesian tsunami. Remember that actual wave heights as they approach the shore are highly dependent on water depth. For tsunamis, the water essentially stacks up as the wave front slows down.

    Caveat: Not a marine physics expert, though I have seen my share of storm surges. (different critter, but similar physics once it reaches shore.)

    • In another trailer for the same movie, there is a seiche occurring in a swimming pool, so maybe these guys actually did a bit of research in making the movie.

      And if you are a Dwayne Johnson fan, sorry for wizzing on the movie before it is even released. As one of the many people who are fans of the restless earth in all it’s grandeur, it had to be done. After all, we watch volcanoes for pleasure around here and try to guess what they are doing. My favorite web cam is of a parking lot that is in a potentially precarious location.

      • You haven’t ruined it for me. I’ll go see it. My husband and I like the Rock. 🙂 I did see a couple of the trailers on tv. You just know they’ll over exaggerate some scenes. Special effects I hope will be good, maybe not necessarily what it’d really be like. We do like you say ‘we watch volcanoes for pleasure’. Now on the list of cams I watch, I find myself checking a cam watching a parking lot or rather what’s next to it. 🙂 It would be nice for the cam to update sooner than an hour. :/

    • One more thing about the trailer, in it, there is a scene of someone diving head first into the water. NEVER EVER DIVE HEADFIRST INTO water that could be riddled with debris. That’s a fast way to either incapacitate yourself or die. That is one of the first rules in leaving a damaged and sinking ship. Twisted steel can slice you right open. If you survive, you have just become “chum.” If you have to enter the water, climb down and enter in a controlled manner. If you ever have to jump, do so feet first and project yourself as far from the vessel as possible. Anything over a few feet will scare the crap out of you, but be patient, you should come back to the surface shortly. (and don’t jump in while wearing a flotation device… unless you like having it covering your face, because that is what it’s gonna try to do. The best bet is to toss it near where you are going to land, but don’t jump on it, that will hurt and possibly break a limb. If you jump while holding it, it will be snatched out of your hands when you hit the water… possibly breaking a finger or two.)

      • After enduring 18 to 19 years of the “we’re gonna have a swim call” rumor, the ship I was on actually stopped and held a swim call. We were in about 18K feet of water and the captain had the accom ladder and motor waleboat with an embarked rescue swimmer standing by in case anyone got into duress. Additionally, sharpshooters were stationed incase we attracted the attention of any passing sharks. I took the opportunity to try out in a real world setting, the water entry methods that I had been taught. Grabbing my crotch and holding my nose, I hopped out as far as I could from the ship and dropped feet first into the water. The first thing that went through my head was “err, where is the water?” As soon as that registered, I plunged deep in, and my thoughts were now “where’s the surface?” I bobbed back up and paddled around with my ship-mates and had a generally decent time. It was the only swim-call that I had ever experienced and it gave me bragging rights with the grand-kids when they start bickering over who has swam in deeper water.

        One of our Radiomen decided that he was going to show off for the female crew members and actually attempted to dive off of the 01 level, despite us being told not to do so by the command. As expected, it didn’t go according to his plan and he over-rotated, pretty much landing on his back. The whaleboat and rescue swimmer had to go fish him out of the water and that pretty much ended our swim call. He got lucky and didn’t break anything in doing that, but he would have died had the safety crew not been there to get him out of the water. He was definitely in no shape to stay afloat on his own after that stunt.

        • Don’t know about that. I don’t remember the exact outcome, but I think he got a reduction in rate for that event. It was a direct violation of the Captain’s directive.

          The only smart thing was that we had safety crews at the ready to compensate for stupidity.

    • To be fair, the trailer does seem to suggest its not the typical big one. But more one of those “Obscure scientist has weird geological theory that causes disasters all over the world before being resolved by nuking” kind of flicks.

      Its hard to tell how accurate it is when they make up their own geological rules. But that’s not going to stop me from having a good ride out of it while nitpicking the science. While secretly hoping they can shoehorn a volcano or two in there.

      • Now, the manifestation of a transverse fault like that in a strike-slip setting is not unusual. Reidel sheer structures typically are the first manifestations of a forming strike-slip transform fault. You can see a really good example of these along the Southern Icelandic Sheer Zone to the west of Hekla. There, they are called “sprungur,” which means “crack”. At depth the fault plane rotates to match up with the underlying motion along the boundary of the Hreppar microplate and the Eurasian plate. (This is also why I am of the opinion that Hekla has remained essentially an over grown fissure cone row rather than transforming into a true stratovolcano. It’s dominant eruption trigger is the separation of the plates rather than a build up of magmatic pressure)

        SISZ gives you a nice example, note the purple lines. → Reidel sheer structures.


        But… to make something as large as in the video still (above), you are talking a gobsmackingly huge energy release along the transform fault that caused it. I can’t calculate the coupling that you would need to do that, so I can’t even hazard a guess as to how large it would be.

        For comparison, the Yuha-Wells fault lies at the southern extent of the Elsinore, San Jacinto, and San Andreas… it runs roughly east-west and sort of ties the bottom end of those faults together. But it is not a normal mode fault, it’s another strike-slip system. The deal with it is that it shows sinstral sheer rather than the dextral sheer of the San Andreas. (sinstral and dextral denote the apparent motion of the land on the other side of the fault. “left hand” or “right hand” motion)

  11. Oh! I like a good disaster movie I annoy the Sh*t out of those watching it with me with my nit picking too :D….. But sadly those in Nepal and other places are dealing with the real thing. Let us hope that those in California responsible for forward planning have the correct procedures at the ready and we don’t see the chaos and sadness that we saw after Hurricane Katrina.

    • Katrina’s “disaster” aspect was mostly manmade. No one had to be there, transportation was available but left unused. Thank you Mayor Ray Nagin. (and they re-elected him)

      As for Nepal. The only thing really worse than a “Great Quake” are back to back great quakes with overlapping isoseismal regions. What was a formerly sturdy building has been pre-damaged by the leading quake and is not as structurally sound as it was before it all started.

      • You know, you nearly made me miss a scheduled maintenance time with that comment.

        An 8.2 would be 0.82 meters displacement on average. A 7.8 is .77, a 7.3 is 0.7 meters average, each separated by a few km for the different areas of the overall fault plane. (thrust fault). That leaves a residual of .05 to 0.12 meters here and there that have not been accommodated, along with whatever other stresses have not been manifest. By itself, that .05 to .12 is only about mag 3 or so, but with the other stresses built up along the system, it’s any bodies guess.

  12. Looks like Mt Etna is preparing a new paroxysm. Webcams show weak strombolian explosions since last night. Now tremor is increasing and strombolian activity is getting stronger.

  13. About the ‘hlaup’ originating in Grimsvötn that was refered to earlier, above: Imo has put a notification in English at their website: “A minor jökulhlaup in river Gígjukvísl – hazardous levels of gas at the outlet”
    http://en.vedur.is/about-imo/news/nr/3135 .

    Tremor readings still are rising, IMO states the peak of the hlaup is expected around the middle of the week.

    Also there is a signal at the drumplot GRF now, that could be caused by the Jökulhlaup (stations HUS and VOT are joining, weather seems fair).

    Source graphs: IMO

    • Geolurking, I meant this contribution, in my screen it says “your comment is awaiting moderation”.
      That means, I think, this post isn’t visible yet … ???
      Maybe WP is hicupping? 🙂

      • Geolurking it’s the previous post with the link

        Not sure if you can see it, it is “awaiting moderation” .

        GL Edit: Always helpful to note what a link is a bout.

        Icelandic Meteorological office

        Water level at Gígjukvísl.
        A minor jökulhlaup in river Gígjukvísl
        Hazardous levels of gas at the outlet


        A minor glacial outburst flood (jökulhlaup) is occurring in the river “

      • Gotcha. I was referring to your 13:45 which I saw no problem with. Poking around in the dugeon I found the one you were talking about. WordPress does that automatically if a post has a large number of links. It throws that over into the “needs approval” bin. I cleared it and it should be visible now.

        Again, Thanks for the links!

  14. I guess this is another part of how Grimsvotn functions. Once a glacial flood occurs earthquakes slowly increase over a period of time.

  15. I just reread the Nevada del Ruiz article from April 2013 and there was an update a month ago of activity. Similar as in the past.

    • This adds up to a little under 3/feet per year (depending when measurements started) at the current rate (which is likely not stable). Impressive inflation, although many calderas do this inflation on a somewhat regular basis with nothing happening. From what we can tell, this may only be getting going, as the earthquakes have seemed to become more prevalent than when this started (Sunday had highest ever recorded quake count here).

      Another thing worth studying is the span from which the inflation is occurring. What you really want to measure / check for in inflation is the cumulative volume increase, which would include the total area over which said inflation is occurring. 1 cm of inflation over a 10 kilometer area is 10x greater in volume than a 10cm inflation over a 1 kilometer area.

  16. Booya! Note: This is a running sub-theme that interests me.

    “40,000–year–old human mandible, found in a Romanian cave, has a mix of human and Neanderthal traits; genetic analysis suggests the individual had a close Neanderthal ancestor 4–6 generations back.”


    Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis → Homo Sapiens Sapiens (our ancestors) → Homo Sapiens Stultus (modern humans)

    And, taking a page from Carl’s take on it, Neanderthalis was bred out of existense… probably by randy teenage girls enraptured by the inherently muscular frame of Neanderthalis.

    (No, not misogynistic, never underestimate the power of hormones. These tendencies exist to this day among both sexes. Homo Sapiens Stultus is pre-occupied with sex to the detriment of the species. Don’t believe me? Go check out Spring Break or any festive gathering of humans that are of breeding age.)

      • I think my most memorable Spring Break experience was being stuck in traffic a couple of cars back behind a convertible loaded with bikini clad college girls. (Highway 98 along the coast) Off to the north of the road somewhere in the swampy mosquito laden marsh, was a ruptured sewage line. The gentle breeze wafting the aroma across the highway. At least I could roll up my windows. They couldn’t. They were not… happy.

      • Well, as a parent, presumably in the US, something I think you ought to know…

        In the US, the most popular month of conception is November.

        I think this is based on the US being a “Harvest Festival” oriented society. (It’s also a time when people get together and meet their long lost cousins 😛 ) I did look at one other region, the Åland Islands (because it was the first country that showed up in the database until I could figure it out) They peak in June. Being a Nordic country with a great emphasis on Midsummer festivities, that makes sense. (so prevalent that the parody commercial was made about it) The US has an upward nudge in June, but I think that is more a function of summer bar-b-cues than anything else.

        BTW, I was joking in that cousin comment, despite what some political operatives wish, we still have really strong consanguinity taboos.

        Source data that the plot is based off of is from: http://data.un.org/

    • Sorry. Biology is biology. To the benefit of my sanity, mine finally got past that stage of her life and wound up married. She has now had a girl and will fully understand the angst that her mom had while she was growing through that age. It’s the grand-parent reprieve. We get to see our kids dealing with the headaches and worries that we had to endure.

      The other daughter’s oldest son is the grandkid that “owns” the dog that I keep here. His problem is that he won’t commit. The girl that he is dating is a looker and has probably the most sensible (sane) personality that I have seen in females of that age group. He could do a lot worse with the other girls around here.

      Note: The dog wasn’t pawned off on me. I told him the dog stays. I like that dog. He’s not to be trifled with.

  17. Just in case nobody has found it yet and If you are bored with looking at the car park at Hakone here……

    ………If you click on the blue Japanese writing at the top right hand corner above the cam view it takes you to an interactive site. There is a nice clear map of Japan ( actually the world but no webcams outside Japan) with blue ball pointers. .Click on a blue ball and a small web cam view of that point appears. An added bonus is the titles are in English too. It’s helped me learn a little more about Japanese locations. Here is the link that the blue writing takes you to. Not all cams are of volcanoes. It’s quite interesting hunting them out though 😀


  18. Hi all. Just crashing in here to say I’m still reading posts and being on ‘Volcano Cafe’. Many thanks for your posts. I’ve been busy of late and unable to contribute.

    Meanwhile I have been researching Ball’s Pyramid (remnant volcano) out New Zealand way with a view to a potential mini-post. If folks are interested I’ll bring it to fruition and send it over? Let me know.

    All the best everyone!

    • Clive Thank you. Yes ! I think our readers would be most interested . I am not good at getting things posted but I am sure Lurking will see you right. 🙂 I know how difficult it is to find time to write posts. and we really appreciate these contributions however long or short. 🙂

      • Hope you did get my answer GL? E-mailed you directly back. Work in progress but I’ve got to do a family visit 300 miles away this weekend coming (24 May) so there may be a bit of a delay. It’ll be there folks! Just bear with me. 🙂

  19. anyone here feeling confident with seismographs/grams ?

    Granyia (over on the Volcanohotspot blog) seems a little alarmed by vesuvius – it is in the thread at the end of this article

    it would be nice to have a contructive comment there from someone who can show it’s roadworks/fumaroles/whatever it is – and if is something more interesting – harder to determine that would be interesting too.

    I know there were squabbles – but splitting the sites seems to have caused a drop off in content and comment on both (and I’m missing my wild speculative science hit) – hoping that commenting about comments on the other site is acceptable.

    • Hi Edward. No problems with me. About Vesuvius Seismographs. I am presuming that you are referring to location BKE V . If you look along the top there are tabs with the date and time of day. The first one is for Midnight to 4 in the morning. Click on that and there are very few signals. certainly yesterday there was no single large quakes. No signals that look like volcanic rhythmic tremors. Now click on the 4.00 to 8.00 am tab and you will see as the locals start going to work by bus, car or train the signals become more frequent and intense.
      By Mid day on the next tab things are really busy and the signals do look quite alarming. Then as the day progresses they settle back down to night time activity.
      Obviously if the signals came from the volcano they would be more consistant and continue through the night. I have heard that the crater has been used as a dumping ground at times. so there will be some traffic around the slopes. Tourist buses such as those going up to Etna may be in use and would cause tremors if they pass very close to the monitoring equipment.
      Vesuvius is in the middle of a huge urban sprawl with associated activity of Transport, building work etc. and this will be picked up by the monitoring equipment.
      here is the link where you can explore the various locations of the monitoring equipment.
      I hope this allays any fears and explains the graphs.
      (I am not an expert and this is purely my amateur explanation and so could be very wrong!)

    • “hoping that commenting about comments on the other site is acceptable.”

      It’s a bit crass. It essentially amounts to advertising (spam). They left of their own accord and should fly by their own merits.

    • God bless those people that are helping those people there. You think they fly in on choppers and drop off food, medicine, etc… You don’t really think how there are those that hike through the mountains for hours to check on the villages. Thanks for the video.

    • Because that’s what Indonesia needs… another pissed off volcano. (/sarc)

      Actually, this is just part and parcel to living on top of islands formed by subduction volcanism. The same could be said of southern California, but their subduction zone turned into a transform fault about 20 myr ago with it’s own unique set of problems.

      Yeah, I linked to the movie trailer again, but the geology scenario, from what I can discern, doesn’t rally offend common sense. Sure, some of it’s going to be outright wrong due to the need for a catastrophe to drive the “plot” line, but some of the representations of the quake size seem to be reasonably accurate. Something above Mag 8.6.

      The failure mechanics of the buildings? Dunno, I’m not a structural engineer. But at MMI-X shaking, you get 193.1% g ground acceleration. (expected within 22 km of the epicenter in the California model)

      How is the movie going to be? Well, they took a page from 1974’s “Earthquake” and stuck Alexandra Daddario (38-26-36) in the cast in order to prop up the plot. “Earthquake” used Victoria Principal. So, that doesn’t bode well for the plot at all. As a 13 year old when Earthquake came out… I highly enjoyed the “Sensuround*” aspect of it. (* obscenely huge sub-woofers in the back of the theater) and the character of Rosa Amici (Victoria Principal) appealed to my gender. The movie “Earthquake” really didn’t have much in the way of plot. It mostly centered around everything going to hell in a handbasket, and Rosa Amici had to deal with a lecherous member of the National Guard hell bent on raping her. The National Guard were presented as about as professional as the ones that were presented in “Southern Comfort” (not at all reputable, more of a slam against the military in general.)

      The director (Walter Hill) had this to say about Southern Comfort: “It was a universal audience failure… Usually you can say they loved it in Japan or something. I don’t think anybody loved it anywhere.

      • The Mag 7.8 1906 San Fransisco quake had MMI-X out to about 4 km from the epicenter.

        The high end of the 1906 quake estimate of 8.5 seems more accurate since San Fransisco itself was reported to have MMI-XI shaking, and an 8.5 would generate that out to 10 km, with MMI-X out to 20 km. (again, using the California model).

        I have no idea if the movie takes into account of seismic engineering. Many modern buildings in California implement some sort of seismic mitigation scheme, anything from base isolation to harmonic dampers in tall buildings.

        And, from the Wiki entry on the 1906 quake: “Capt. Leonard D. Wildman of the U.S. Army Signal Corps reported that he “was stopped by a fireman who told me that people in that neighborhood were firing their houses…they were told that they would not get their insurance on buildings damaged by the earthquake unless they were damaged by fire“”

  20. It may be worth keeping an eye on Kilauea. It is developing an earthquake ring just east of the current lava lake, and inflation shows lave is moving in this general direction. It may stay below ground or move into the rift zone, but it is an unusual behaviour.

      • The first question is what happened. There was very steep inflation, while the lava rose until it flowed into the Halema‘uma‘u Crater. On May 13, the deformation changed to the southern part of Kīlauea’s summit caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone (from HVO reports), and the lava in outlook crater dropped steeply. Normally, magma rises below the crater, but moves into the rift towards Puʻu ʻŌʻō . This time, the magma rose higher (was under higher pressure) rather than sideways. It seems the shallow magma reservoir under the outlook crater developed a leak and magma sloshed eastwards, where it caused deformation (the ring-like earthquake structure is still there), while the level in the crater dropped.

        What happens next depends on two things: can the magma flow into the rift zone, and is there still magma coming up towards the surface? If the flow up is no faster than the flow into the rift zone, nothing will happen although there may be a later increase of flow rate out of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. If magma moves up faster, there will probably be a lava lake forming in Halema‘uma‘u Crater, most likely through ground cracks within ring structure. If the roft zone can’t handle the flow, there could also be an eruption southeast of Halema‘uma‘u. HVO warns that the magma reservoir is under higher pressure than usual, and if something gives events could develop rapidly – within days. But at the moment it seems like a new equilibrium has been established, and activity has quieted down. If that breaks down, the first sign would probably be a renewed increase in earthquakes.

    • Gojira?

      Dunno, but the rapid update cam looks quite forbidding.

      I think the area is being visited by a cloud.

      Click the image for the ustream cam. It seems clearer now.

    • Fog, I think. They put the handicapped parking places furthest from the volcano. Forward thinking.

  21. I am guessing that I have the most ungainly neighborhood squirrels around. A squirrel should not be flat enough to slide under the front door, but invariably, that’s the sort of squirrel that I find in the street in front of the house.

    Apparently, yet another one missed a step and has joined the retinue of flat squirrels. I’m just glad it was not me that took it out.

    • Friend of mine did a paper on :”the contribution of the automobile to the evolution of the
      Townsend’s Ground Squirrel.” then did a comparison of slow vs, fast and stupid vs.
      smart squirrels. The automobile was improving the species.
      The class Professor almost bought it ..
      Then he broke out into a belly laugh.
      “O’Toole, you can’t possibly be serious?!!”
      He wasn’t-sort of…

    • I think the high incidence of flat squirrels here is due to the power lines crossing the road here. I’ve seen them loose their footing halfway across, usually regaining it, but evidently some are not as adept at recovery. I don’t think rat-guards would work, the squirrel would just hop up over it.

  22. Here is the recent quake pattern at Kiauea. The lava lake is on the left. The ring-like pattern seems to be developing just to the east of the lava lake, where the image is centred. I would have ignored this except for the tilt in this direction which indicates magma is moving out from below the lake. But you can’t tell magma were to go. it may just move quietly down into the rift zone.

    • That rift zone has always had me worried. Hawaiian islands tend to undergo mass wasting on a fairly regular basis (geologic time-scale). The 1975 Hawaii earthquake was on the Hilina Slump, and that had about 12 feet of drop for that event. It’s also the structure that was the site of the largest quake in Hawaiian history, a Mag 7.9 in 1868. From Wikipedia: “southward displacement of the south flank of Kilauea up to approximately 10 centimeters per year”

      Why the issue with the rift zone? The “Great Crack” runs down the middle of the rift zone.

      More from Wikipedia (about Hilina, not the Great Crack) “On November 29, 1975, a 40-mile (60 km) wide section of the Hilina Slump slid 11 feet (3 m) into the ocean, widening the crack by 26 ft (8 m). ”
      The current thinking in most of the USGS statements about it are that the new underwater volcano off the coast is acting to hold the toe/foot of that landmass in place, keeping it from slipping out to sea.

      And, it doesn’t take much to get enough shaking going on.

      Plots derived from the formulas in the Atkinson-Wald “Did you feel it?” papers.

  23. OT, but this is crap of the highest degree.

    Mayan pyramid bulldozed by road construction firm

    A construction company has essentially destroyed one of Belize’s largest Mayan pyramids with diggers and bulldozers to extract crushed rock for a road-building project, authorities have announced.

    The head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, Jaime Awe, said on Tuesday that the destruction at the Nohmul complex in northern Belize was detected late last week. The ceremonial centre dates back at least 2,300 years and is the most important site in northern Belize, near the border with Mexico.


    Belizean police said they were conducting an investigation and criminal charges were possible. The Nohmul complex sits on private land, but Belizean law says that any pre-Hispanic ruins are under government protection.

    In other words, they will investigate until some bureaucrat figures out who to finger for a payoff. Apparently, it’s a good source of income for the bureaucrats since this is the same one that was razed in 2013 for gravel.

  24. I’m still keeping half an eye on the Bard1 webcam (B2 now points at Kverkfjoll) and there’s a biggish plume of steam coming from the lefthand side of the lava field just now, more or less where the river used to run, if I remember correctly. Is that likely to be the groundwater springs reactivating? Melt water?

    • Many thanks. Fascinating diversion. But I can become engrossed in watching a parking lot. It’s sort of a sub-specialty that I developed from sitting in the Bravo Watchtowers for hours on end. They gave us binoculars just so that we could verify what it was we thought we saw. Sometimes your head starts to make stuff up as you gaze into the parking lot. The binoculars let you get a better view. Personally, I spotted no crimes, though I did see plenty of people hurling into the bushes.

      To give you some character of the place, right outside the base was National City. The place they filmed “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.” The other thing about National City, is that it was also the location of “The Westerner” and “Antonio’s.” Two popular drinking establishments with variable reputation. (see, I can be nice 😀 )

      Years later, on another “security” (Shore Patrol) assignment, rather than watch parking-lots, I acted as one of the liasons between the command and local law enforcement. (essentially, I retrieved service members who had relatively minor legal infractions. Probably as low on the surety services levels as you can get. Essentially, I wrote bond vouchers to get the service member out of jail and back to the command. Only once did I have to go “off bond” and forcibly take a guy back to jail for skipping court. He was not a happy camper when he realized that I had the jail staff close the vehicle sally-port doors before I opened the van. I think he really didn’t want to go back and was probably gong to bolt.) Anyway, back to the story. While in this capacity, I retrieved one guy who literally sprayed the interior of the back of the van with vomit. “As a precaution” I hauled him over to Navy Hospital just to make sure that he had not endangered his life by drinking too much. They kept him. By the time we were ready to go clean out the van, they had him gigged up with IVs and a catheter to try and dilute and cycle the alcohol out of his system. We hosed the van down, and I was quite pleased that I had the sense to drag his happy arse to someone who could take care of him. 😀 After I got back to my station, I contacted his tenant command’s quarter deck to let them know where he was at. (Quarter Deck: Ceremonial entry point of the command where the duty officers stand watch. Even shore based commands have them.)

      Note: If you drink so much that medical staff have to put you on an IV to try and keep your body’s fluids stable so you don’t die, you might have a drinking problem. In the case of the guy that I left at the hospital, he had failed to pay for a candy bar. When we showed up, he had already paid the clerk since the deputy was near ready to arrest him. Due to the proximity of the base, the deputy called for us and we gave the service member a courtesy ride home… though we didn’t quite make it there.

      And no, I don’t even want to tell the story of the puke monster. That was disgusting… OMG, that also reminds me of the “hot chick” (self perceived) that fell into the bay! LOL!!!

      • Valid point. However, the puke monster story is about a guy who was definitely not an emetophobe. That is the disgusting bit. (I’m guessing that he was too drunk to notice or too horny to care.)

        It’s also commonly thought that sympathetic vomiting is a function of primates foraging in groups. If one member of the group gets sick, odds are that everyone has eaten from that same tainted food source and the whole group purges what could be lethal material just to be on the safe side.

  25. “An analysis of satellite data found that the ground level rose by up to 12 cm between April 17 and May 15, the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan said Saturday on its website.

    So far, the agency has observed the ground raised by crustal deformation in an area around 200 meters in diameter in the volcano’s Owakudani district, but it said the scope of such activity has not changed drastically.”


    4.2 mm/day for 28 days? Hmmm…

    • 200 meters is a pretty small area. I wonder if that’s simply what was observed, or if that defines that actual boundaries from where the uplift is occurring.

      • Looking at this again, if this truly is only taking place within a 200 meter radius, then it would be quite likely that this intrusion / uplift is occurring in fairly close proximity to the surface.

    • So I did some more research here and dug up something that may be partially relevant. What I wanted to know was what the inflationary patterns were like at Pinatubo prior to its eruption in 1991. I found a good article here – http://pubs.usgs.gov/pinatubo/ewert/ .

      This quote stuck out to me – “The tiltmeter recorded only deformation caused by the formation of the conduit from the top of the magma body (5 to 7 kilometers deep) to the surface, not the emplacement of the magma body.”

      I can see this as possibly being similar to what is going on at Hakone right now. We have a small conduit / dike forming off a larger magmatic body as the magmatic pressure is exceeding the strength of the rock above it. If this were a deep intrusion, we would see deformation over a wider radius. That’s not to say there isn’t a deep intrusion as well (it could be the source of overpressure), but this deformation is in too narrow of an area to be caused by a deep source.

      The question becomes whether this will level off or keep progressing.

      Also, this could easily be hydrothermal based on the shallow nature of the inflation, although hydrothermal events don’t tend to cause slow gradual inflation.

  26. Hello Folks,

    Given the Spring Melt? Holuraun lava flow steaming activity that has been going on.
    Has anyone found any information indicating the channels the river is now using?

  27. Hekla seems a bit twitchy today.
    19.05.2015 11:24:37 64.036 -19.539 10.7 km 0.6 99.0 8.0 km NE of Hekla

    Nothing particularly dramatic but just looking at the strain meters and the tremor graphs , she seems to just be a bit restless. Not a good idea to go hiking over her this week… she will probably just settle down again.


  28. I’m getting so excited about Iceland! Despite the lack of lava, we decided to really splurge and get a helicopter to take us out to Holuhraun — and more! Because there are 4 of us and a heli takes only 5 passengers, it is a private tour (with Reykjavik Helicopters). The travel agent in his planning document has called it “The Incredible Helicopter Adventure” We’ll visit Holuhraun, Askja, Laki, Landmannalaugur, Hekla, and Eyjafjallajokul, landing at Holuhraun (if that pesky off-gassing is at low enough levels), Askja and I think 1 other place.

    Of course we’ll be doing lots of other things during our stay in Iceland …

    My main reason for posting is to ask for advice on clothing. I need pants — none of my current wardrobe would hold up to a scrape from concrete, much less a scrape from any of Iceland’s lava fields. Should I get the traditionally hearty jeans? Should I get ripstop pants? Is there some other fabric / material I should be considering? We’ll only be out in the highlands the one day on the helicopter, so I assume by necessity it won’t be a horribly windy / high weather day. We will, however, be out-and-about to Myvatn, Krafla, Snaefellsness, etc.on our own — max. 2-3 hours of hiking at any one time. We’ll have Gortex jackets and rain protection to go over our pants — probably not Gortex as they will be basically single-use items. Would I need an additional outer layer if I have ripstop pants? (I’ve never owned any.)

    6 weeks. We leave in 6 weeks. WOW!

    • If you can find them try Moleskin trousers. I used to wear them all the time when I was a voluntary countryside warden. This work entailed walking or driving the Landrover over rough highland terrain in all weathers, working on forestry maintenance and dry stone walling amongst other quite heavy work.
      They are hardwearing, warm and dry out quickly . jeans are not recommended as once wet they stay wet and cold.

    • For trousers/pants, you would do best to have two pairs, one in a light, synthetic fibre: these should wear well, are light-weight, and quick drying. These would work well round town and on warmer, dryer, less windy days when you are out and about. For cooler, wet and windy days, “softshell” fabrics are excellent: they are warm, windproof, water-resistant, tough, and dry quickly. Reputable manufacturers include The North Face and Mountain Hardwear.

      I’d go into a local outdoor shop that sells hiking and climbing equipment, explain what you need and ask their advice.

      I would emphatically *not* use cotton of any kind anywhere on my body in the hills: it’s cold when wet, insulates poorly, and takes a long time to dry. Woollen base layers (eg Smartwool, or Ice Breaker) work very well, don’t smell, and are warmer when wet than synthetics – though there are some very good synthetics around, and these usually dry quicker than wool but lose insulative properties quicker when wet.

      And don’t think that photographs in travel brochures show typyical weather: Iceland can produce the foulest weather you can imagine, and worse – even in summer. If you prepare for it, you’ll not be disappointed. But you might get fantastic weather. When I trekked across Iceland in 2013, on many days I wore four insulating layers; I also wore a woollen hat and gloves most days!

  29. “News” MORON strikes again.

    A local guy got nailed while trimmings trees in a bucket truck. When they got him down, his heart stopped and they started CPR until the Ambulance arrived. He made a full recovery and suffered no brain damage. In the course of the news report, they noted that his sister was an ambulance crewperson but was home on maternity leave. At the end of the story, the reporter quips that now his sister knows just how important her job is.

    Here is a clue for you [censored], SHE PROBABLY ALREADY HAD A PRETTY GOOD IDEA that she has an important job. You don’t go through paramedic level training (needed for ALS) and spend time as an ambulance rider without seeing how your job is important to people. How that relates to getting nailed by a power line is beyond me. Sure, she could have very well been on the responding crew if she were not home on maternity leave, so what are you saying? Women shouldn’t have maternity leave? If I am in duress and require the services of an ambulance, I don’t think that having the attending technicians who are trying to stabilize my life signs should be encumbered by one of them being quite pregnant. What if I am carrying an infectious disease? Ambulance crews deal with dangerous situations on an almost daily basis. Let her stay home and deal with having a healthy baby.

    I swear, where do they dig up these vapid idiots?

    • Journalism school,unfortunately..
      One of the quickest ways to clear out a pilot shack
      at a Tanker base is the approach of an “action News crew.”

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