Ball’s Pyramid

Guest Post by Clive:

Hatty Gottschalk Pyramid

Photo: Hatty Gottschalk ‘Spaces’ http://hattygottschalk.jimdo.com/

Reproduced with permission of Hatty Gottschalk. Please visit his wonderful photos at:

http://www.mandarin-media.com/photographers/hatty-gottschalk. Well worth a look!

Ever since I saw my first pictures of Ball’s Pyramid, I wanted to know more about this isolated and amazing structure.

The pyramid is named after Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, who discovered it in 1788. On the same voyage, Ball also discovered Lord Howe Island.

In the book The Voyage Of Governor Phillip To Botany Bay With An Account Of The Establishment Of The Colonies Of Port Jackson And Norfolk Island (1789), Arthur Phillip gives this description of Ball’s pyramid:

 “The island is in the form of a crescent, the convex side towards the north-east. Two points at first supposed to be separate islands, proved to be high mountains on its south-west end, the southernmost of which was named Mount Gower, and the other Mount Lidgbird; between these mountains there is a very deep valley, which obtained the name of Erskine Valley; the south-east point was called Point King, and the north-west point, Point Phillip. The land between these two points forms the concave side of the island facing the south-west, and is lined with a sandy beach, which is guarded against the sea by a reef of coral rock, at the distance of half a mile from the beach, through which there are several small openings for boats; but it is to be regretted that the depth of water within the reef no where exceeds four feet. They found no fresh water on the island…” [2]

Ball’s Pyramid is the world’s tallest volcanic stack. It is part of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park, which is recorded by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site of global natural significance.

Ball’s Pyramid is an erosional remnant of a shield volcano and caldera that according to potassium-argon dating formed about 7 million years ago. It is located approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) southeast of Lord Howe Island in the Pacific Ocean. It is 562 metres (1,844 ft) high, while measuring only 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) in length and 300 metres (980 ft) across, making it the tallest volcanic stack in the world.

The Pyramid is located in the Tasman Sea in the south west Pacific Ocean approximately 700 km (420 nm) north east of Sydney, New South Wales. The Lord Howe Island group comprises Lord Howe Island, the Admiralty Islands, Mutton Bird Island, Ball’s Pyramid, and some coral reefs. The Lord Howe Island Group is the top of Lord Howe Rise (an underwater plateau) and sits on the western edge of a large shield volcano which erupted about seven million years ago. The ancient volcano rises more than 2000 metres above the seabed on the western flank of the Lord Howe Rise, a major physiographic feature of the south west Pacific area. The sea has reclaimed most of the original volcano, leaving the Lord Howe Island group. The landscape is spectacular with the volcanic mountains of Mt Gower (875 m) and Mt Lidgbird (777 m) in the south and the northern hills rising virtually sheer from the sea.

Ball’s Pyramid also has a few satellite islands. Observatory Rock and Wheatsheaf Islet lie close by. Like Lord Howe Island and the Lord Howe seamount chain, Ball’s Pyramid is based on the Lord Howe Rise, part of the submerged continent of Zealandia.

1024px-Ball's_Pyramid_North

“Ball’s Pyramid North” by Fanny Schertzer – Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ball%27s_Pyramid_North.jpg#/media/File:Ball%27s_Pyramid_North.jpg

Volcanic heritage

Ball’s Pyramid is composed of nearly horizontally-bedded basalt lava flows, the remnants of a volcanic plug formed in a former vent of a volcano. After the eruption of the shield volcano, the slopes became truncated to form a broad submarine shelf.

Geologists believe that there were two main volcanic episodes in the formation of the Lord Howe Island group. Most of the volcanic activity took place some 6.9 million years ago, and comprised several volcanic vents, ultimately producing a large shield volcano about 30 km in diameter. It is thought that the volcano’s maximum height above sea level was about 1,000 metres.

Around 6.3 million years ago the area around the main vent collapsed and left a huge oval-shaped pit or caldera, perhaps five kilometres long, two kilometres wide, and 900 metres deep. At this time further volcanic material pushed up from beneath the earth’s crust to infill the caldera in a series of horizontal lava flows, varying from one to thirty metres in thickness. In this second period of volcanic activity, the basalt rocks were harder and more erosion resistant, standing today as the southern mountains which still rise to 875 metres above sea level. (9)

Ball’s Pyramid is located in the centre of the shelf, which forms a platform that is about 20 km from north to south, and averages 10 km wide. The average water depth above the shelf is around 50 metres. A similar but slightly larger shelf surrounds Lord Howe Island, and the two platforms are separated by a canyon that exceeds 500 m in depth. Eventually due to erosion by waves the volcanoes will be completely gone, unless a coral reef forms around it and protects its shoreline.

Ball’s Pyramid is home to a small population of Lord Howe Island stick insects, a species previously thought to be extinct. The Lord Howe Island batfish is also only found at this location. (8)

800px-Lord_Howe_Island_stick_insect_Dryococelus_australis_10June2011_PalmNursery

Photo By GraniteThighs reprinted under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lord_Howe_Island_stick_insect_Dryococelus_australis_10June2011_PalmNursery.jpg

 

Tsunami!

There is speculation that Balls Pyramid rock is aligned in the same direction as a mega-tsunami that hit Bass Point and possibly the South Island of New Zealand. A tsunami tens of metres high could cause the strange features observed on Balls Pyramid. (2)

Ball’s Pyramid cliffs are devoid of talus and the feature has an aerodynamic shape aligned to other smaller, sculptured forms on the main island.

Further odd features are widespread within the Australian coastal environment. Lord Howe Island provides evidence that tsunamis did not originate locally along the South Coast of New South Wales, but were ubiquitous in the Tasman Sea. For example, Lord Howe Island is dominated by numerous sculptured bedrock features at varying scales and orientations – the latter without apparent structural control. Streamlined inverted keel-like features are prominent on the eastern side of the island indicating a tsunami wave approach from the Kermadec trench north of New Zealand. (3)

More generally

The Lord Howe shield volcano was built thus. Tholeiitic lavas of the North Ridge Basalt comprise the main shield building phase and were erupted about 6.9 Ma ago. The Boat Harbour Breccia probably formed within the throat of the volcano and, together with the North Ridge Basalt, is intruded by numerous basaltic dykes, which grade into a cone sheet complex near the main vent. Large scale collapse of the summit area of the volcano produced a caldera which was filled rapidly by lavas of the Mount Lidgbird Basalt some 6.4 Ma ago, bringing to a close the volcanic history of Lord Howe Island. The shield volcano thus was built during a short interval in the late Miocene.

Palaeomagnetic data show that the North Ridge Basalt and the Mount Lidgbird Basalt were erupted during periods when the geomagnetic field had normal polarity, and that their formation was separated by at least one interval of reversed polarity when the dykes and cone sheets were emplaced. The directions of magnetisation for the lavas and intrusives are such that, palaeomagnetically, no movement of Lord Howe Island is detected since its formation. (6)

The shelf which surrounds the Lord Howe Island Group extends slightly beyond 3 nautical miles where there is then a very steep ‘drop-off’ representing a major discontinuity between the shallow inshore and shelf environments and the deep sea. The main structure of the seamount is contained within 12 nm of the shoreline of Lord Howe Island. Recent seabed multi-beam swath mapping surveys conducted around Lord Howe Island and Ball’s Pyramid indicate a high degree of benthic complexity. Data from surveys show a rugged terrain on the submarine flanks of these volcanic islands, including down-slope flow structures (probably old lava flows), canyons and numerous volcanic cones and pinnacles, many 200-300 metres high.

Lord Howe Island is the subaerial part of a large seamount which lies at the southern end of a northerly‐trending line of volcanic seamounts extending for more than 1000 km. The Lord Howe seamount chain probably was produced by movement of the Australian lithospheric plate over a magma source or hot spot located below the plate within the upper mantle. Other data suggest that the Australian plate is moving N at about 6 cm/a and from this it is predicted that the seamount underlying Nova Bank, at the northern end of the chain, was constructed by volcanic activity about 23 Ma ago. Similarly, if volcanism were to occur now in the Lord Howe seamount chain its location would probably be around 400 km S of Lord Howe Island (6)

Lord Howe Island and adjacent Balls Pyramid are composed of the basalts that erupted around 6-7 million years ago and sit near the middle of broad shelves on separate peaks of one major volcanic edifice. The central part of the Lord Howe Island is covered by calcarenite that was deposited primarily as dunes (eolianite). Towering plunging cliffs characterise the resistant Mount Lidgbird Basalt, in some cases fringed with large talus slopes. On less resistant rock structures, or where nearshore topography means greater wave force as a result of waves breaking, there are shore platforms. Slumping cliffs abut broad erosional platforms on the poorly lithified calcarenite. (7)

In summary I would like to say much of this article is culled and rewritten from various papers listed below in the References. I’m not a scientist and rely on the writing of others. I hope one day to visit this amazing place but, sadly, it is unlikely. It has fascinated me for years and I wanted to share with you my interest in the place, hence my little article for you all.

Hope you enjoyed learning about it!

References and further reading:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball%27s_Pyramid [accessed 26/5/14]
  1. TSUNAMI BOOK GIVES A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF ANCIENT FLOODS ON MARS

Michael Paine

The Planetary Society Australian Volunteers

Sydney, Australia

Science of Tsunami Hazards, Volume 20, Number 1, page 50 (2002)

During 2001 Dr Edward Bryant from the University of Wollongong published a book “Tsunami:

The Underrated Hazard”. He proposes that the best explanation for a range of odd geological

features along the south east coast of Australia is that at least one large tsunami struck the coastline

around 1500 AD. The book describes these geological features and the mechanisms by which they

can be produced by tsunami. The book also covers historical accounts around the world, the physics

of tsunami, causes of tsunami and a review of the risk to coastal populations.

http://newaddressiswww.tsunamisociety.org/BookReviewBryant.pdf

  1. Natural Hazards 24: 231–249, 2001.

© 2001 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

231

Geological Indicators of Large Tsunami in

Australia

  1. A. BRYANT1 and J. NOTT2

1School of Geosciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, 2522, Australia;

2Department of Tropical Environment Studies and Geography, James Cook University, P.O. Box

6811, Cairns, Queensland, Australia, 4870

http://www.fsl.orst.edu/wpg/events/S11/Bryant%202001.pdf

  1. A management strategy for Lord Howe Island for the Australian voluntary conservation movement. A Paradise in Peril

John Sinclair

May, 2002

http://sinclair.org.au/LHI_Management_Strategy.pdf

  1. Lord Howe Island Marine Park Proposal, March 2000

http://www.marinenz.org.nz/nml/files/documents/5_intl_mpa/impa_environ_aus_00.pdf

McDougalla, B. J. J. Embletonab & D. B. Stoneac (1981) Origin and evolution of Lord Howe Island, Southwest Pacific Ocean . Journal of the Geological Society of Australia

Volume 28, Issue 1-2, pages 155-176.

Published online: 01 Aug 2007

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00167618108729154#.U4Mr0nlOW9I

  1. Colin D. Woodroffe, David M. Kennedy, Brendan P. Brooke, and Mark E. Dickson (2006) Geomorphological Evolution of Lord Howe Island and Carbonate Production at the Latitudinal Limit to Reef Growth. Journal of Coastal Research: Volume 22, Issue 1: pp. 188 – 201.

http://jcronline.org/doi/abs/10.2112/05A-0014.1

  1. http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC38BTY_balls-pyramid-worlds-tallest-volcanic-stack [accessed 26/5/14]
  1. Lord Howe Island Musuem http://www.lhimuseum.com/page/view/collections/displays/environmental/environmental_2/geology/volcanic
  1. LORD HOWE RISE AREA, OFFSHORE AUSTRALIA:

PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF A CO-OPERATIVE FEDERAL REPUBLIC

OF GERMANY/AUSTRALIA GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY

By J.B. Willcox, P.A. Symonds, D. Bennett , &K. Hinz

Published for the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics

by the Australian Government Publishing Service

~Commonwealth of Australia 1981

http://www.ga.gov.au/corporate_data/15139/Rep_228.pdf

(Finally) Completed by Clive Ruffle 3 June 2015!

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81 thoughts on “Ball’s Pyramid

  1. This rather impressive structure is not one of the MDE volcanoes, but it is quite a looker. Clive was gracious enough to provide the write-up. Think of this as a short intermission in the MDE series. Many thanks to Clive on my part since my storehouse of interesting volcanic things to talk about was growing quite small. 😀

    I imagine that the sheer sides of the island provide a really nice skin return on radar. Which reminds me of an argument that CIC and the Bridge watchstanders on my first ship had near Japan. The Bridge was deriding CIC for reporting an island as a ship. They had visual contact on it and it looked… like an island. CIC showed the “island” as doing 15 knots. After some time passed, and we had reached CPA (closest point of approach) and were opening range, did the look-outs get a view from a different angle. The wind was such that smoke from the stacks was wafting back down to the water and the it was in fact, a ship as CIC had classified it. The smoke from the stacks had made it look like a generic rocky island. Other that it making 15 knots of headway, you couldn’t tell the difference visually.

  2. Thank you, Clive! I’d also never heard of Ball’s Pyramid – I’ve just spent an hour looking at the photos and Google map etc. Truly fascinating places. I’d also love to go there – must win the Lottery first!

    • When sailing I would prefer to miss that rock! There does not seem to eb an obvious landing place. You’d get caught between a rock and a hard place – the bottom of the ocean. The steepness made me think of the Skellig Islands.

      • Well, you could anchor the boat a few cable lengths away and take the dingy to the island. I like to do things like that if possible.
        I hope to get to sail to Skellig Mikael at some point.

      • Carl always fancied himself as a latter-day Davy Jones, but one who’s lost his locker and is avidly searching for it. This is why he sails to places like Thera, Krakatau and Ball’s pyramid, that’s why he so enjoys morning coffee inside one of the larger and more ominous calderas of the world to the point of actually planning to live there. But I s’pose one day he’ll tell you all about it himself. 🙂

        • I am probably having some kind of problem yes…
          You forgot that I rode up Pacaya with my mother-in-law to roast marshmallows on the lava bed. The day after MacKenney crater had a particularly large blow out and would have killed me outright. And just so everyone knows, it was my mother-in-laws idea.
          My sweet and innocent looking wife is also pretty much nuts as bat too, come think about it, guess that is why we are married.

  3. My first, non-volcanological, thought was “has anybody ever climbed it?” The extreme rock-climbing fraternity are mad boogers, and that pinnacle is just the sort of challenge they’d love

    • “In 1964 a Sydney team, which included adventurer Dick Smith and other members of the Scouting movement, attempted to climb to the summit of the pyramid. However, they were forced to turn back on the fifth day as they ran short of food and water.

      The first successful climb to the summit was made on 14 February 1965 by a team of climbers from the Sydney Rock Climbing Club, consisting of Bryden Allen, John Davis, Jack Pettigrew and David Witham.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball%27s_Pyramid#Climbing

    • Put Ball’s Pyramid into YouTube and the first ‘film’ that comes up is a montage of pictures with some ambient music in the background. Amid some stunning landscape shots are old pictures of climbers on the top and camped on a ledge at the bottom. I guess some of these are from the 1965 expedition.

  4. And another tragedy caused by not using simple logic. DO NOT DIVE INTO WATER OF UNKNOWN DEPTH.

    It’s a law… OF PHYSICS. In other words, the sort of law that offers instant death or injury for trying to violate it. Rather than trying to prove your bravado, try proving your intellect. I don’t give a shit how brave you are, dead is dead.

    “MENTONE, Alabama — An 18-year-old man who had just graduated from Pisgah High School last month has died after diving off DeSoto Falls in an apparent swimming accident.

    Multiple news outlets report Zachary Ryan Goolesby jumped off the falls Monday around 12:30 p.m. His body was found two hours later. Police say Goolesby was visiting the falls with a few friends.

    Officials say the water was apparently not as deep at it appeared from the surface. DeSoto Park Police Officer Josh Hughes says the water level is low right now. The falls are more than 100 feet high.

    http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/4971b16b147042ec976b45746c61a17f/AL–DeSoto-Falls-Death

    • Oh thank you Bobbi. I follow Nautilus every year and didn’t realise sailing time had come again so quickly.

  5. I’ve really been busy at home and sad to say one of my dogs had died. She would’ve been 16 in a couple more weeks. I’m getting caught up now on the reading. I must say if Gunung Kelud is 10th on the list I can’t wait to see what the rest are. 🙂 Now off to read the article above.

  6. Well well well. A green star just popped up on Bardarbunga. Magnitude 3.3 at a depth of 6.3 kilometers.

  7. … and, now I’m worried about Hurricanes.

    The “news” featured a bunch of “holier than thou” morons living down on Pensacola Beach whining about traffic. Usually, when someone gets that high and mighty, it heralds a karmic event. Maybe this time those stupid twits will realize that it’s a barrier island (aka, an over grown sandbar). With luck, maybe they will try to “ride it out” this time and we will finally be rid of some of them. I’ve got faith in ya! You can do it! And if you’re not up to it, just think about all that stuff that will be looted… by your neighbors who waited for you to run from the storm.

    Seriously, if you built there, you are an idiot. If you stick around for it, you’re an even bigger idiot. Better to run than to die.

    Caveat: I’ve lived along the coast here for most of my life, never being more than 160 miles from it. Hurricanes don’t feel pity, they eat entire islands as a light snack. If you are on one, you either swim, or die.

    Ron White sums it up quite accurately.

  8. From the IMO
    An earthquake of magnitude 3.3 has occurred under the northern caldera rim of Bárðarbunga today at 19:13 (10 June). Only few aftershocks have followed and the activity has already declined since. The event today was however the strongest earthquake in the region since the end of the Holhraun eruption in February. There are now signs of magma movements or the beginning of another earthquake sequence. IMO will closely follow the activity and inform in case of any developments.

    • Probably just further resettling of the Caldera after the eruption. It will most likely go on for years.

    • Interesting! I noticed this afternoon that the area had quite a few small quakes – but assumed it was still settling. I wonder what’s going on under there? We’ll find out – sooner or later! 🙂

  9. Clive thank you so much I did enjoy reading that. I agree it looks like something out of a fantasy film. Another place I can google earth tomorrow on my morning trip round the world. 🙂
    I love VC,,,you never know what will erupt in here next :D. Climbers are a funny bunch… the higher, steeper and pointier the better . Just make sure it’s not likely to erupt without notice.
    Lurking, everytime I see a picture of somebodiys dream home fronting onto a white coral beach and palm trees fronds casting deep cool shadows over the clear green-blue sea I grumpily mutter…”somebody hasn’t experienced a tropical cyclone or a tsunami yet”….. My family think I am just jealous… not in the slightest. I wouldn’t waste even a lottery win on buying in that type of location.

    • I don’t begrudge them the opportunity to build or live there, just that they should bear the brunt of rebuilding the damn thing when it invariably gets taken out. The Insurance carriers defray the cost by jacking up the rates on everyone in the state.

      BTW, this house survived our last hurricane. Which is saying quite a bit, that means it also survived Erin and Opal as well as Ivan. Though I think it was unoccupied for all three. (prudent move on the part of the owner)

      These small, fiberglass houses were made by a Finnish company called Oy Polykem ab in the early ’70s. It was called the “Futuro II” and had a single bedroom, bathroom, U-shaped kitchen area, separate dining area, a curved 23-ft. couch and a central fireplace that doubled as a grill.

      It’s approximately here (on the island) The spit of land on the left side of the image is the City of Gulf Breeze, and the US Naval Live Oak preserve (in case we have to build any new ships).:

      Naval Live Oak preserve – The damaged trees from Ivan were surveyed by archival shipwrights, salvaged and placed into storage should repair parts ever be needed for the USS Constitution. In the period when ships of this type were constructed, the flow of the wood grain played a heavy roll in what structural portion of the ship it was good for.

      • Well, back when we had our UFO flap, that house wound up with a lot of people driving by. No, the house wasn’t connected with it, but people were steered towards it who were out looking for UFOs.

        I think the final outcome was that some dude was flinging lighting fixtures up into the air and taking snapshots of them.

    • And the other bit that ticks me off to no end, is that they claim justification for their building up on the island as a draw for tourists… and now complain because they get a lot of traffic. Either move off the beach and quit draining the insurance companies or live with the traffic. (which they cite as justification for the insurance drain on the rest of the state).

      Better yet, find a short pier and take a long walk.

      • Trying to stop tourists on the road to a beach is even less bright than standing in front of a heard of horny rhinocerous trying to stop them with a toothbrush.

    • I might spend lottery money on such a site! If it is wasted with the next hurricane, it was only lottery money anyway. Not like real money.

      • I have taken it a step further Lurking…
        1. My home is an apartment next to the water here in Malmö. In a not to distant future it will be inundated under water as the oceans rise. Also, every time there is a large storm the storm surge makes it impossible to leave the house.
        2. Our vacation house in Guatemala is on the Hawaii Monterico beach that will be gone from beach erosion, or inundated by a tsunami, or just plain be sunk as a M8 earthquake lowers the continental lip.
        3. My Dear Wife owns a house situated on the caldera wall of Amatitlán. A caldera well known for doing nasty things to things that stand in its way.

        Why now do I do stupid things like this? Well, for the same reason I sail. I value ready access to the beauty of nature higher than I do money. When I die I will have seen a lot of beauty and I can’t anyhow bring any money with me (in case my friend Dr Edward Fredkin is correct in his “On the Soul” from “Digital Philosophy”).

      • Hey Albert…..I’d like to try to spend some of that unreal money. :D…I suppose I am a bit sceptical about “dream homes” as I lved and worked in Jamaica for a few years and I found all the drawbacks of living on a tropical Island……I suppose it’s OK if you don’t have to work. but I wasn’t keen on the heat in the hurricane season and I really missed our English food especially sausage and mash! I guess anyone living away from their native land yearns for the comfort food of childhood 😀

        • yes – I have lived abroad for the past 30 years, in various continents and can get used to anything except food. Those preferences seem to be set in stone at a very young age. I remember hiking in the rain forest in Tobago – it rained (the name contained a hint, in hindsight) and quickly stood in mud to the knees. No such thing as paradise, but many memorable adventures.

        • A paradise waiting, the bright poster said
          The holiday home is with beauty beset
          A blazing blue sky with palm trees below
          The sea-fringed beach seems whiter than snow
          A summer eternal is promised to last
          The flight is reserved but tickets go fast
          I look at the poster so wet in the rain
          Shiver with cold but doubts wreck the brain
          Can I survive such a paradise life?
          Does living require perpetual strive?
          I turn away speechless afraid of the cost
          A final glance back at the paradise lost

          • Sounds like Destin.

            However, Destin has it stuck in their head that they want a European flavor, so in their twisted interpretation, they are taking the “dull” four way stop intersections and making roundabouts out of them. It’s one thing to force a car to use them, quite another to make a tractor trailer rig do the same. Many people don’t comprehend that a rig needs to swing wide to make a turn. Eventually, some concrete vendor will convince them to try the Jersey Barrier thing that is so popular along roadways there… along with Jug-handle intersections.

    • Thank you Diana and everyone for your nice feedback, and to Geolurking for helping me post it. It wabout time I contributed something!

  10. OT Musing:

    From Wikipeda:

    The tomte/nisse is an echo of ancient ancestral cult. He was sometimes seen as the farmer who cleared the forest to build the farm and who in pre-Christian times would have been buried on the farm in a mound. He was sometimes referred to as the haugkall (“mound man”). Other names are tuftekall, tomtegubbe or haugebonde, all names connecting the being to the origins of the farm (the building ground), or a burial mound. It was thought that the tomte/nisse was a more generalized spirits of previous generations at the homestead, and there are references to them following the family/clan, when they are moving.

    In a lecture series I am listening to about the Neolithic revolution, it was mentioned that Long Barrows typically held remains of ancestors and that farmsteads were typically moved from one previously fertile area to fertile area in and around the area near the barrows. The districts around these barrows essentially marked out settlement areas. Interesting that the tomte is sometimes characterized as an ancestral spirit buried on the farm in a mound. Coincidentally, the term “burrough” doesn’t seem that far from the term “barrow” though each word is listed as having different roots.

    Its stuff like this that make you sit back and go “hmm…”

    My grandfather is buried on a small hill next to his farm, as are most of my relatives, and where I plan to be interred at when I kick over, though I am somewhat motivated to lobby my cousins to agree to granting the cemetery a bit more land so that it has room for all of us. (It’s getting a bit crowded there. The spot next to my brother and sister has been “squatted” by someone that I don’t know. Who gets there first depends on who dies first. I have a good argument for it, but I’m not that petty. (and I’m not keen on hurrying up) I’d be happy to just be on the hill. The original cemetery is on land that my grandfather donated for that purpose. (originally for a church, but that has been long gone).

    Hopefully, I don’t wind up like my dad. He was well known within his family of having wandered off. I pretty much did the same thing and am here on the coast. I do however, wish to be planted in Mississippi when I’m done. Maybe I can get someone to periodically come by and dump a bottle of whiskey on my grave. 😀

    No, I’m not superstitious… but I do leave a tray of nuts out on the counter when winter comes along. Always.
    (and if that is superstitious, screw it. I was also a sailor and it’s just a thing that I do. It’s not like I have pigs and chickens tattooed on my ankles to ward off drowning.)

    • What’s with the tray of nuts on your counter? (Counter = kitchen work top?) Any particular nuts? I like superstitions… it’s folk memory and generations way back did these things because they had some real relevance to life.

      • It’s in case the spirit of a relative stops by. Best to have a snack availible rather than making them feel unwelcome.

        …generally mixed nuts, including walnuts and pecans (pecans are a favorite in the south)

    • It is most likely a magmatectonic event. As an earthquake swarm is releasing energy by spreading magma goes in and forms a dyke. The swarm is happening by two known sub-aquatic volcanoes.
      Depth of the swarm if one looks at the M2+ earthquakes is between 5.7 and 10.2km. Looking at anything smaller is useless due to the placement of the SIL-stations and the distance. If a swarm out there run for a week and the larger earthquakes are close to the surface, then we might believe there is an eruption ongoing.

      • Depth of the M2+ quakes was not that far off, after looking at the manual review.

        Now, could it be, hypotheticaly, that in a certain geological timeframe, this part of Reykjanes ridge would have enough eruptions that it would actually surface and extend the coasts of Iceland down SW on the MAR? Or is the water too deep there?

        • There are several sunken islands, reefs, small islets and seamounts out there. I would not be surprised if that part became land in a near geological future.

  11. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-33090028

    This news report is about some very silly tourists who ignored local habit and sentiment (and warnings) and are now paying the price. Basically they climbed a sacred mountain and then stripped off their tops to take photos at the summit. A subsequent earthquake was blamed on them and they are in jail.

    I cannot understand my fellow countrymen and women who go abroad and behave in this way. Would they do it on top of Snowden or Ben Nevis? No. Add the religious factor and ask if they would do it inside any church in this country? No, definitely not. So why think you can go to someone else’s country and behave like a buffoon?

    Sorry for the rant – I’ve seen this kind of behaviour too often to think it’s justified or cute.

    • It is though one of the few times in history that a religion has given an oportunity for a repeatable controlled experiment.
      And in regards of nudity on Ben Nevis… I give you Leeds University Rowing Club…
      http://www.nakedmunrobagging.com/images/leedsuni.jpg Warning: Image shows no canoes.

      There is also a hairdresser that scaled Ben Nevis in a bikini, and another who brought a pole up Ben Nevis to poledance on the top.

      Over to Mount Snowdon: There was also no canoes worn as a middle aged man scaled Mount Snowdon. Image withheld for the sake of sanity…

    • Agreed and made a similar comment on FB. Very bad manners and very immature behaviour. Sadly yes! They were Brits .

        • It said Germans in our news…

          Now, how can we be sure they where not Swedes?
          They had clothes on them to begin with! 🙂

    • if you haven’t had a look at this site and not spent time watching the live action on the sea floor I advise you to do so. It’s absolutely fascinating, especially when they get near to seeps or erupted materials. Thanks Bobbi
      http://www.nautiluslive.org/

      • Yes thanks Bobbi. I tried it when Bobbi put it on here but for some reason I kept getting futbol instead of nautilus until I tried it again after Diana put it on here. 🙂

  12. OT: Question for you Nordic types.

    The Fenris wolf is described as the “the monster of the river Ván” from old Norse according to Wikipedia. My question is where is the “river Ván” ?

    The reason I ask, is that a location near a historical “Black Shuck” account was recently unearthed (May 2014) a pretty enormous canine that could have been coupled with the story. (interred about the same period as the story) And I’m curious about where the creature described as a manifestation of the Fenris Wolf may have been sighted in days gone by. My running idea is that the inspiration of the creature was from a large carnivore preying on animals feeding in the grassy marshland bordering a body of water or lake. (in a Fen) For any hominids living in the area, certainly a terrifying creature.

    Side note, Black Wolves do not actually exist, the ones that are seen are generally dog-wolf hybrids. The varied coloration of dogs came about some time after domestication.

    “The remains of the massive dog, which is estimated to have weighed 200 pounds, were found just a few miles from the two churches where Black Shuck killed the worshippers. It appears to have been buried in a shallow grave at precisely the same time as Shuck is said to have been on the loose, primarily around Suffolk and the East Anglia region.”

    Note: My “tooth monster” (Jake) is about 90 lbs and is pretty imposing at less than half Black Shucks weight. I bought him a new basket ball to play with and it lasted every bit of 5 minutes before he sank a tooth into it. He used his mass to pin it down so that he could impart a kill bite into it. Not a critter I would want to encounter in an angry state in the dark. He’s dark “stag red” and in the dark/dusk, is almost invisible. … other than the glistening teeth.

      • Thank you! Somewhere along the grassland along that river, an early inhabitant had the literal crap scared out of them by a huge wolf… provided they got away. Hello Fenis Wolf legend.

        • Which leads to the Black Shuck meme. Dog-Wolf hybrids have much less fear of humans… the same can be said for semi domesticated wolves.

          Checking out Vanån in Google Earth. Nicely wooded areas near the river and lush grassy areas along the river. Perfect feeding for large herbivores and ample spaces for wolves to prowl. In it’s day, it probably was the perfect area for a pack to dwell.

    • Hi Lurking! You could also look into the many Black Dogs legends in Britain (Black Shuck being one of the most spectacular accounts). Basically in the east Black Dogs are looked on as signs of ill omen – specifically portents of death – whereas in the west they are more likely to be guardian spirits. Sometimes they can shape-shift and sometimes they appear ghostly. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously used the idea in The Hound of the Baskervilles, but he set this in the West Country. The difference in opinion might be due to the east being settled by more incomers from Europe and the west keeping to older traditions/beliefs. (I’m talking about thousands of years ago – not recent migrants!)

      Unfortunately, Black Dogs are rarely seen nowadays but they have been replaced by ABC’s – Alien Big Cats. These are also seen as large black animals. This whole area of folklore is fascinating, particularly as people still seem to be seeing the same phenomenon – but now think it’s a cat not a dog.

      I’ve never seen one but, being from the west, I would think it was a good sign if I did. 🙂

      • I have the oportunity from Time to time, to sit and chat with members of the Forrestry service. I have asked about “skunk ape” sightings. He noted that they had one guy who believed in it, but he was very sceptical. The sheer number of trail cams out there would have offered up more evidence than is seen in the media. Those trail cameras have come in handy from time to time in identifying woodland arsonists.

  13. Kamchaka has a volcano erupting 6km in the air, can’t get the info again, the net is spooky at times, somebody was trying to tell me I am being watched the other day, as I started to delete and log off ? switched it off on the power point, stuff them

  14. Since sunset crater was mentioned in VolcanoDiscovery’s updates (it was a false alarm) I have a question for all you volcano lovers out there. In your opinion, what are the chances of either the craters of the moon monument in idaho, or the long valley caldera in california erupting in the next 5-10 years?

    • Long Valley Caldera has an extremely small chance of erupting in the next 1000 years. In the next 5-10 years, the chances are near zero. Some speculate that it’s a dying volcano. Most of the earthquakes in Long Valley are tectonic in nature, although there is obviously some volcanic activity going on there still.

      As for craters of the moon, kind of tough to say, but odds are probably quite low there as well.

    • Craters of the Moon is considered as low risk, so it is unlikely. Even if it starts to reactivate you would get decades of seismic activity first.

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