The ash plume from the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption.

To say that the Eyjafjallajökull eruption has become the most significant volcano-related news story of the year would be an understatement. There has been wall-to-wall coverage on every major media outlet, dissecting everything from the effect of ash on jets, to the effect of ash on people, to wildly premature commentary on the climatic effect of the eruption to the potential place in history of this event. The eruption is affecting a wide swath through society: the European economy may take a hit of billions of dollars due to cancelled flights, the funeral for the late Polish president may be delayed, bands heading from Europe to the Coachella festival are having to cancel, and much much (much) more. However, the airspace from Iceland to Russia and as far south as Germany is still closed, with really no end in sight at this moment (although some airlines are trying limited flights).

Now, based on the discussions here on Eruptions and my conversations with people, I would say none of us guessed that the ash hazard from Eyjafjallajökull was going to be this distruptive to air travel in Europe. Most of the discussion was short term events -floods, lahars in Iceland – or long term – climate effects due to the released aerosols. This goes to show how significant the threat of ash is to aircraft and how globally disruptive it can be. If you need an example of how this might affect the United States, imagine the disruption to air travel if Mt. Rainier were to have an ash-laden plinian eruption.

The eruption itself seems to be continuing strong – and by some reports, intensifying. The latest update from the Icelandic Met Office reads:

The plume from the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull volcano is still ongoing, reaching hights of 4 to 5 kilometers, occasionally reaching higher altitudes. The plume drifts with north-westerly winds reaching Europe. It has been detected over Norway, Sweden, northwestern Russia, northern Polland, northern Germany, northern France and southern UK. There is no indication that the ash from the volcano is decreasing and it is predicted that high-level winds will stay north-westerly today.

Not exactly what weary travelers around the world want to hear right now.

Lahar from Gígjökull glacier, taken April 16, 2010.

Mudflows (lahars) and floods caused by the rapid melting of the Eyjafjallajökull ice cap are still a dangerous hazard to people near the volcano in Iceland – you can see some of the mudflow deposits (Icelandic) on the Icelandic Met Office website (and above), typically looking like thick, grey flows likely full of volcanic ash and tephra. We are beginning to get some idea of the aerosol emissions from the volcano as well – with sulfur dioxide plumes and fluorine (Icelandic)concentrations. Again, I warn against drawing any conclusions about climate from this eruption at this point! Remember, all the volcanoes in the world release 130 times less CO2 than the human race does each year, so even big eruptions add relatively little to the atmosphere. You can still watch the eruption through the clouds on both the Vodafon and webcams.

The far-reaching effects of the ash are evident everywhere, especially from space. The ash has fallen on the British Isles and the threat of ash looks like it could be here for a while. Important to keep in mind, if you are concerned about the ash hazard, please check out the USGS page on ash – it does an excellent job of explaining the hazard posed by ash and what you can do to protect yourself and your property.

There is so much news about this eruption being put out that I will try to update this post throughout the day as I find more interesting information about the eruption.

UPDATE 1: More an update on people than the volcano, but I just found out that Einar Kjartansson of the Icelandic Meteorological Office, one of the key spokesmen on the eruption is a Denison University alum (where I currently teach). Go figure!

UPDATE 2: Eruptions reader Hanns posted new compositional analysis of the ash from the explosive eruption. Most is ~57-58 wt% silica, which makes it andesitic overall. This is a change from the basaltic magma of the earlier fissure vent eruptions. The question is whether the change means that the basaltic magma is mixing and/or assimilation the rhyolitic crystal mush in the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic edifice, or something else is being tapped. The ash is fairly Ti and Fe rich as well, which might suggest a large component of the more primitive basalts from earlier in the eruption. Now we just need to get a hold of an actual chunk of the tephra to see the textures!

UPDATE 3: Curious how much this ash is costing airlines? The latest estimate is $200 millions a day!


  1. #1 Philipp
    April 16, 2010

    a relatively clear moment, no plume to be seen on the vodafone camera:

  2. #2 Bas v D
    April 16, 2010

    Off topic, and on a positive note, the closure of european airspace due to the volcanic ash cloud probably led to a good nights sleep for hundreds of thousends of residents across europe living near airports. In my home town of Almere the Netherlands, the effect is stunning. No noise (normally evry 50 seconds a jet pases over) I can hear birds singing and i even woke up at 5 am because something was “missing”: ie the aircraft noise… I do feel sorry for all the stranded passengers, but for now it is almost heavenly quiet.

  3. #3 MadScientist
    April 16, 2010

    The Icelandic volcanoes are one of the most significant threats to air traffic around the Atlantic. There are no volcanoes on the east coast USA, so we don’t cause any trouble. The Italian volcanoes seem to be fairly well behaved most of the time – Stromboli for the most part goes on doing what people have observed it doing for who knows how long and Etna rarely throws the sand high enough to be a nuisance to anything but the nearby airports. The air space above Iceland is also very busy, so eruptions there are bound to be very inconvenient. Now if a volcano somewhere around Napoli were to go up, I’m sure it would get much more attention in the news even if it didn’t disrupt air traffic as much as this one.

  4. #4 Heidi Ritter
    April 16, 2010

    @ Philipp #1
    I don’t agree. There is a very dark background cloud behind light coloured clouds. Think that’s the plume?

  5. #5 Koen v G
    April 16, 2010

    Thanks, for the great info on this blog. I’ve been able to follow the eruption very well thanks to the many contributions here.

    A new MODIS image has just been released showing the ash over Northern Europe, including Belgium where I live:

  6. #6 Philipp
    April 16, 2010

    @ Heidi #4
    I have the images in 5 second intervals (preparing for yet another timelapse animation) and to me it looks as if all the clouds in this image are moving in the same way and are travelling horizontally, the dark cloud also entered the frame from the right and moved on further east, I think the plume should behave a little different.

    Compare the image in my first posting to this one, taken 1 minute earlier: see what I mean?

  7. #7 Jón Frímann
    April 16, 2010

    The wind direction where I live in Iceland has changed to north. So that means that the wind in south of Iceland is turning about the moment.

    I did see reports of the ash cloud getting up to ~8 km high earlier today. But the normal high is ~5 km at the moment.

    I did have fears of my own that this would happen. At least I did warn some people that I would know about some of this. But this is a lot more then I did expect to happen.

  8. Thanks for your continuing quality reporting on this eruption and others.

    I was a bit disappointed that you choose to use the a version of Ólafur Eggertsson photograph with exaggerated tone mapping. This is the original which gives a much better idea of what the cloud actually looks like.

    Photographs that fiddle with the dynamic range can be pretty, but I don’t think they belong in scientific reporting.

  9. #9 Mauri Pelto
    April 16, 2010

    The first eruption had a very limited impact on the adjacent glacier. This second eruption has had a significant impact, that is hard to determine as yet, though it has not vaporized the glacier as I have read. The main outlet glacier had been retreating rapidly and will certainly not benefit from this eruption.

  10. #10 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    @Mauri Pelto
    this is the original of that image

    a series of radar images showing the progression of the initial ice melting

  11. #11 EKoh
    April 16, 2010

    Well I guess we have an answer to my musing the other day about what effect an ash cloud would have on air travel in this part of the world. Obviously the key difference between her and the Aleutians is that instead of only major transcontinental air routes being disrupted, we have additional smaller routes and many busy terminals being knocked off line.

    Any official word yet on the ash composition?

  12. #12 Hasis
    April 16, 2010

    I don’t know, poor old Matt Roberts. He’s flown back from his holiday in the UK, made to work non-stop like a blue-a*** fly-ing here there and everywhere; measuring this, photographing that, analysing the other…and when he does take a photo of a debris flow that you like…you don’t credit him for it!


  13. #13 Thomas Wipf
    April 16, 2010

    Iceland news quote a glaciologist saying, that there are magma channel-connections between Eyjafjallajökull and Katla:

    I don´t think there is a proof of that.

  14. #14 Dario Leone
    April 16, 2010

    look now the vodafone webcam! another lahar is starting

  15. #16 Philipp
    April 16, 2010

    No! Don’t look at the webcam, it is becoming overloaded!!!


    But yes, a jökulhlaup is in progress, and the plume is visible at last.

  16. #17 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    the other difference is the pacific routes normally don’t depend on landing in Alaska so they can haul a partial load and fly further south of the great circle routing if need be a less fuel efficient but doable scheme
    this Icelandic eruption is impacting the great circle routing and worse the destination airfields

  17. #18 David Calvo
    April 16, 2010

    #3 Madscientist, don´t forget we have some lazy, powerful volcanoes here at the Canary Islands, and wind uses to blow NE component, straight to all the Europe-South America connections…and also some volcanoes at Açores….

  18. #20 hannahsmetana
    April 16, 2010

    Am an enthusiastic amateur – very new to this. Just got a glimpse of a very black looking plume on the Eyjafjallajökull frá Valahnúk webcam as the clouds cleared a bit – the sun is behind the plume so may have biased how dark it looked. Also noticed that there is still smoke/steam rising at Fimmvörðuhálsi, the original eruption site. Would that be cooling or is there still likely to be some activity going on there?

  19. #21 Dario Leone
    April 16, 2010

    jökulhlaup in pics 🙂

    4 consecutive images

  20. #22 Jón Frímann
    April 16, 2010

    I did come across news reports that Finnish military aircraft had flown trough the ash cloud over Finland. The jet engine in those military aircraft is damage, if not totally ruined.

  21. #23 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    it will do that the ash melts in the combustion chambers and then gets deposited on the turbine blades then they stop working

  22. #24 mon
    April 16, 2010

    @Jón Frímann(21): the news is true. This happened early on Thursday morning in northern Finland, before the airspace was closed. It was a routine training flight with five planes. At least one of the planes has sustained major damage in its engines. Pics here:

  23. #25 George
    April 16, 2010

    This might be the time to revive fast ship passage between Europe and North America. Halifax, Nova Scotia would make a great air/sea gateway in North America (or maybe St. John’s Newfoundland even).

    Europe could be without reliable air transport for many months.

  24. #26 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    Europe at least has a good reliable rail system

  25. #27 Anna
    April 16, 2010

    Balloons 🙂

    At what altitudes do they travel?

    Here are some pics (video) of the Markarfljót River. Interspersed with politicians talking about damages.

  26. #28 Robert
    April 16, 2010

    People in Iceland better get ready for a new round of lawsuits against the country from mainland Europe … This time for damage due to failure to control and contain the ash crisis. 😉

  27. #29 hanns
    April 16, 2010

    i just saw the chem coposition of the scoria: it is more dacitic (57.5%SiO2)!! Which means a different magma chamber! I think a mixture of the basaltic (47 SiO2) with the dacitic magma may result in even more violent eruptions. I hope they stay separated.


  28. #30 Fireman
    April 16, 2010

    @George 24: Or a transatlantic ekranoplan service: less ash at sea level and much less danger if you do encounter it…

  29. #31 Philipp
    April 16, 2010

    @ dario leone #20

    can you send me the full-sized pictures by email? (you can find the email adress on my homepage so I can incorporate them into the timelapse which I am trying to build?

    Due to the overload of the webcam I am not getting a steady stream of images…



  30. #32 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    @hasis, which picture belongs to Matt Roberts?

    @Dario Leone thanks for the vodaphone captures. I can’t access V. right now (little spinning wheel or blank screen), so the images were very helpful.

    @george reviving seas passage would be dynamite fun. Are there any ships besides the QE 2 that are built for heavy seas?

    @Henrick, were you referring to Jonathon Swift? (Sorry to be dense, I need to run to the library to read section 4)

    Finally, thanks to all the participants on last night’s thread– I’m sorry I was sleeping!

  31. #33 Jón Frímann
    April 16, 2010

    There is now a major deflation going on in Eyjafjallajökull. It has moved the THEY GPS station 2 cm since the current eruption started. The East-West movement has not changed a lot.

  32. #34 Anonsters
    April 16, 2010

    @Bas v D (#2):

    On the other hand, it’s been a disaster for people trying to get home, like my French friend stuck in Algeria, who is looking at having to fly to Madrid in order to get to Marseille in order to take a train to get back home to Paris.

    And then there was this: (which, I confess, made me laugh).

  33. #35 bruce stout
    April 16, 2010

    Finally, finally, finally the weather clears.

    some great views from Valahnuk at the moment. That’s quite explosive dark ash there at the moment. I am actually surprised to see it still going so strong.

    OTOH we should all still remember this a really small eruption and look at what it’s doing!

    @Anna Balloons? I actually did think the other day how great (and inexpensive) it would be to have a webcam on a tethered balloon, particularly the last couple of days to get above that low cloud cover.

  34. #36 Mike
    April 16, 2010

    Hanns, 57.5% SiO2 is essentially basaltic andesite. You have to get above 63% to consider it dacite.

  35. #37 David Calvo
    April 16, 2010

    #28 Hanns. That composition belongs to a more andesitic than dacitic term. even can be related to a mixing between the mafic mama and a rhyolityc reservoir….so the question is if that mixing has really begun or just a kind of water has been involved during the magma storage.

  36. #38 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Ekoh – ash F composition percentage was on the high side and the bulk of the ash was reported to be moving along with prevalent winds aloft at above 5 KM, as reported in a link in one numerous posts made on this blog this morning.

  37. #39 Erik Klemetti
    April 16, 2010

    Hanns, thanks for the composition. 57.5 wt% silica is actually andesite rather than dacite, but does imply that maybe we’re seeing the basaltic lava of the fissure mixing with more silicic material in the volcanic edifice. See my update in the above post.

  38. #40 Dario Leone
    April 16, 2010

    @ Philipp #30

    I’ve sent them. I hope to the right address 🙂

  39. #41 Erik Klemetti
    April 16, 2010

    This link is for Randall (well, for all of you, but he might enjoy it most).

  40. #42 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    For those who believe that clear skies indicate an absence of volcanic ash: an insightful bit on the Finnish Fighter Jet that sustained engine damage, mentioned above.

    ‘A Finnish F-18 Hornet jet had a scare, nearly overheating even on a short flight as the ash blocked its cooling ducts. Air Force spokesman Joni Malkamaki says the Hornet “flew for about an hour” on a regular training flight in clear weather and the pilot saw no signs of any volcanic cloud.’

    (source QUINN and BARR, AP News Service).

  41. #43 EKoh
    April 16, 2010

    Great, we have some compositions to look at. The initial lavas definitely look alkalic and silica-poor. Unfortunately I have other things to attend to right now.

  42. #44 MK
    April 16, 2010

    I’d suppose the current eruption of Eyjaf might be shaping up to be the largest in Iceland since Hekla blew up in 1947 and sent up about 0.2 cu. km (according to the GVP – is that right? – I’m terrible with the powers of 10*) of tephra? It’s got to well into the VEI 3 range now, as someone in an earlier comments section hinted.

  43. #45 einar
    April 16, 2010

    even if there were a lot of volcano’s on the east coast of the states and then having some active ones in italy (@Madscientist, comment #3), canary islands and açores (@David Calvo, comment # 18) that would/does not generate great problems for the aviation service far downstream from the source. what does is if ones mixes hot lava and water/ice. which none of the above mentioned hypothetical/real volcanic areas have, but Eyjafjallajökull eruption certainly does. at least for the time being.
    what i have not seen are predictions/speculations when the eruption may clear itself from the water/ice. which would change the character of this eruptions significantly.

  44. #46 doug mcl
    April 16, 2010

    I’m curious about how the iron rich ash might affect the biology of the north atlantic as it mixes into the upper surface layers. Any comments from the marine biologists in the crowd?

  45. #47 Holger
    April 16, 2010

    @45 doug,

    Iron is a limiting nutrient in the oceans. We might see a limited algae bloom, but the amounts are not that significant. I wouldn’t expect any toxic algae blooms or things of that sort. But I haven’t been involved with marine biology for many years now. Any current marine ecologists on this forum?

  46. #48 Kris B
    April 16, 2010

    The research vessel was off the Markarfljót outlet yesterday, no results announced so far…

  47. #49 Holger
    April 16, 2010

    The New York Times just published an article about Eyjafjallajokull with a cool radar image by the TerraSAR-X sattelite.

    You can clearly see the overall topography, the new craters etc….

  48. #50 einar
    April 16, 2010

    @doug mcl [#45] & @Holger [#46]
    the answere to the original question may be quite complex. guess experts in marine biology can not answere this on their own. needs a collaborative work between geologists/vulcanologist, metereologist and physical/chemical/biological oceanographers! quite a challenge if you ask me. and now only thinking about getting this bunch of experts to talk to each other 🙂

  49. #51 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    Man, I thought I was well read, but you all make me sad {:( I got a 4 out of 10 on Erik’s quiz :-(( I’ve printed out the list of books and authors, and will be adding the library to my list of errands today. Must. Tear. Myself. Away.

  50. #52 Tennyson Lee
    April 16, 2010
  51. #53 doug mcl
    April 16, 2010

    @einar, holger, kris b; it seems like it could turn out to be an important natural experiment. I’m looking forward to reading research reports on it for years to come!

  52. #54 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    @Parclair (#31) Yes, I do refer to Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Divinity and Part IV to “Gulliver’s Travels – Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms”. 😉

  53. #55 George
    April 16, 2010

    Wonder if this ash might actually help in some areas. Would a light dusting of this ash act as a trace element fertilizer for parts of Europe?

  54. #56 Philipp
    April 16, 2010

    time-lapse animation of this afternoon’s jökulhlaup, thanks to Dario for the additional images!

  55. #57 Holger
    April 16, 2010

    @einar #49

    There are a number of studies on the effects of iron on plankton growth. For a while it was speculated that fertilizing the oceans with iron would allow increased plankton growth and thereby increased uptake of CO2 to reduce global warming.

    A number of experiments were conducted in the South Pacific Ocean / off Antarctica, but the effects were disappointing. Yes, plankton / algae grew more vigorously, but most of the iron was carried into the deep sea by dead / decaying plant material.

    Therefore this route of reducing global warming was unproductive, and even an effective spread of iron by a volcanic ash could (such as this one) shouldn’t have too much of an effect on that end.

  56. #58 einar
    April 16, 2010

    can i kindly ask that the UPDATE 2, be put in more laymans term. the update & and referred measurements it cites means that this eruption is “a change from the basaltic magma of the earlier fissure vent eruptions” towards “assimilation the rhyolitic crystal mush in the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic edifice”. which i read as that this is no longer an question of the lava flow “breaking the ice” – which once done would make this eruption no longer newsworthy for the aviation industry – but something else.

  57. #59 Erik Klemetti
    April 16, 2010

    Einar – This isn’t really changing the true nature of the eruption (my description in UPdate 2). Rather, this shows that the lava doing the melting under the ice cap has been changed by interaction with other crystals/magma inside/under the volcano. You take your basalt that was erupting at the old fissure and put it under a pile of rhyolite magma or mush (mostly solidified) and it will melt that material, creating melt (magma). Then you mix it with the basalt to get an andesite (basalt is low silica, rhyolite is high). The additional water from melting the ice cap will add to the explosivity, making it a potential mix of relatively viscous magma (compared to earlier stages) and water. Of course, this is speculation on my part, but it seems reasonable. It could mean that we will see ash for a while if the magma erupting is andesite (like you get at many of the Aleutian volcanoes) or whether the composition changes during the eruption.

  58. #60 Holger
    April 16, 2010

    @George #54

    Volcanic ash is known to be a good fertilizer for terrestial plants as well. Which is why farmers like to grow crops next to volcanos or on their flanks.

    But for terrestial plants it’s more the micronutrients (like molybdenum, chromium, etc.) that are very beneficial, since most soil has enough iron.

    After Mt. St. Helens blew up and deposited ash throughout the NW USA, in many areas the farmers plowed the ash into their fields as quickly as they could, since they didn’t want the wind to carry away this free mineral fertilizer.

    For some crops and certain soils the farmers even buy volcanic ash as fertilizer.

  59. #61 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    that was good our dragon is just like a frat boy drinks to much then vomits

  60. #62 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    I think I see the plume now on this webcam

  61. #63 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    Damn, there are still some clouds that want to be in the way. But I saw the plume for a while. But let´s hope for more good views.

  62. #64 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    More good views now if you hurry.

  63. #65 Anne
    April 16, 2010

    Apart from a video of the Fimmo eruption purporting to be of the current one and the use of the dreaded ‘S’ word, this is, I think a fairly well-balanced and well-researched piece on volcanos in the main-stream media (UK Telegraph website).

    I’ve been transfixed by this episode for days and have nearly worn out the refresh button on my keyboard.

  64. #66 Tennyson Lee
    April 16, 2010

    I think the top of the plume is visible in this pic:

  65. #67 zander
    April 16, 2010

    On the vodafone webcam slightly to the right of centre there are two gullys cut into the hillside by the torrent of water from the meltwater. I’ve noticed there has been a partial collapse of the gully furthest to the right.Is ther any possibility of a massive land slip of the hillside to the right of this from the constant erosion ?

  66. #68 Randall Nix
    April 16, 2010

    Erik thanks I really did enjoy that little quiz even if I didn’t do all that good…..I am hoping you will scale the grades it:)

    Gina….hahahaha glad you liked that;)

    Here is another funny one….from a member of Monty Python “Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Know what I mean?”

    Volcano Ash Can’t Stop John Cleese; The Actor Takes $5,100 Taxi Ride’t+Stop+John+Cleese%3B+The+Actor+Takes+%245%2C100+Taxi+Ride

  67. #69 stub
    April 16, 2010

    Going strong couple of hours back:

  68. #70 Hans Erren, Netherlands
    April 16, 2010

    sunset a bit dissapointing today
    Scheveningen beach webcam

  69. #71 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    @Zander 66

    it is a possibility in one of the vid’s of the outflow the water was spraying out of the face of the rocks and the glacier snout has been reshaped from it’s former shape rather dramatically
    the gully close to the center looks more like a tunnel when I zoom in the pic

  70. #72 motsfo
    April 16, 2010

    @64……. dreaded “s” word………
    the only s word that i can think of is “snow” and we
    are sadly expecting more :..(….
    it’s April 15th…… where is the global warming i’m so
    looking forward to???
    end of rant……but i’m almost finished with knitting project since i moved the knitting up to the computer. ;).
    on with the show.

  71. #73 EKoh
    April 16, 2010

    @45 Doug
    Iron-rich is a relative term. What we mean is that it is on the high end of the range of iron concentrations expected for these types of magmas. More importantly it is not free iron, it is bound in oxides and other compounds. It is not immediately soluble and available for organisms, over time I’m sure it will be, but much of it will have settled to the sea floor by then.

    There probably is some fertilizing effect, but the point is that this would not be unusual and such material is commonly erupted and dispersed over the world’s oceans every year. Since these are pretty typical Icelandic lavas and tephra one could probably go back to the Surtsey and Heimaey eruptions to see if there were any biological effects.

  72. #74 Jón Frímann
    April 16, 2010

    According to news there is a new flood coming. But it might already have bypassed the Vodafone web cam. Currently the plume is reaching 5 to 9 km high up in the air.

  73. #75 Philipp
    April 16, 2010

    the plume is very impressive on the hvolvelli webcam now, the sky is becoming less cloudy.

  74. #76 tenttu
    April 16, 2010

    @21,@41 Finnish Air Force released some images of the damage caused by the ash for their F-18 Hornets.

  75. #77 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    take a look at this one great plume

  76. #78 Anne
    April 16, 2010

    @71 The dreaded ‘S’ word was “supervolcano”

  77. #79 Austin
    April 16, 2010

    So, just watching the Hvolsvelli cam, looked like it was mostly white (assumed) steam, then suddenly a large black patch (ash, I’d guess) which also rose higher, then mixing with white again. I guess this is what you guys mean by it being “explosive”.

    Back to lurking, but keep up the good work. This has been really informative/fun to follow.

  78. #80 Tennyson Lee
    April 16, 2010

    If you missed it live, here are some pics of the plume forming:

  79. #81 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    if the weather cooperates and the low clouds go away it should be great viewing tonight

  80. #83 Brian
    April 16, 2010

    Am I right? Looks like tremor is on the increase again.

  81. #84 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    For those asking after SO2 satellite mapping of the plume, NOAA Satellite Information Service (NESDIS) has a OMI webpage dedicated to vertical column volcanic SO2 density observations for select regions: main page

    I believe the grid of SO2 composite map choices has been recently updated to include Iceland and NW Europe.

    The scale at the bottom of each map grapnic is in DU; 1 DU corresponds to a total mass of approximately 91.5 tons of SO2.

    Thanks NOAA Satellite SO2 and UMBC Sulfur Dioxide Group!

    If you click on the GOME-2 button, upper left hand corner main page, you will retrieve a GOME-2 satellite image page for Iceland.


  82. #85 George
    April 16, 2010

    “HiRes pic of the craters by TerraSAR-X satellite”

    I look at that and think “wow, look at the size of the caldera that thing sits in!”

  83. #86 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    Right now on the Hvolfelli webcam, awesome mushroom cloud…

  84. #87
    April 16, 2010

    Wow what a sight!! at the Hvolsvöllur cam right now.

  85. #88 hanns
    April 16, 2010

    watch the ash cloud at the hvolsvelli cam!

  86. #89 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    Sorry for the misspelling, should have been Hvolsvelli…

  87. #90 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    Sure this must be full of lightning…

    This could be quite a show at night!

  88. #91 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    i wonder if any one is making audio recordings of this beasty

  89. #92 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Thanks, Socuel! Lovely high-res satellite image that clearly shows the progress of caldera deep ice N-S pothole melting when compared against early image links posted yesterday.

    Explains those periodic bursts of meltwater.

  90. #93 Greg Martin
    April 16, 2010

    great post! it is amazing to see all these resulting events unfold & to be able to view the health, science & travel perspectives as revealed in social media results forökull/

  91. #94 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    visible here a view closer to the base

  92. #95 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    Wow… That’s energetic…

  93. #96 Hans Erren, Netherlands
    April 16, 2010

    big brown cloud eruption on vodafone webcam now!

  94. #97 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    Amazing… Jaw-dropping……

    Can’t find words to describe….

    PS: now it’s BEYOND MAD on Hvolsvelli! Vulcanian activity at its best!

  95. #99 MK
    April 16, 2010

    Looks like the plume’s getting really dark with ash at times!

  96. #100 socuel
    April 16, 2010

    The Jokulhaup in your timelapse is really impressive Phillip !
    It is triggered by some massive icefall (we see some dust falling before it starts) ?

    Yet another ash cloud animation :

  97. #101 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    *sigh* No hope of seeing squat, now that THOUSANDS have jumped on webcam sites. They’re going to crash soon.

    Image capture and jpg posts would be useful.

    From what I could see before I lost webcam updates, the ash content just shot way up again.

  98. #102 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    the people that live around the katla cam must be miserable it’s a dense grey misma in the air

  99. #103 Emanuel Landeholm
    April 16, 2010


    I really need to go to bed now but I just can’t take my eyes off the screen!

    Makes you wonder if it has been like this all the time, hidden behind bad weather…

  100. #104 Bill
    April 16, 2010

    How does the current eruption compare with yesterday? Same?

  101. #105 R. de Haan
    April 16, 2010


    @einar #49

    There are a number of studies on the effects of iron on plankton growth. For a while it was speculated that fertilizing the oceans with iron would allow increased plankton growth and thereby increased uptake of CO2 to reduce global warming.

    A number of experiments were conducted in the South Pacific Ocean / off Antarctica, but the effects were disappointing. Yes, plankton / algae grew more vigorously, but most of the iron was carried into the deep sea by dead / decaying plant material.

    Therefore this route of reducing global warming was unproductive, and even an effective spread of iron by a volcanic ash could (such as this one) shouldn’t have too much of an effect on that end.

    Posted by: Holger | April 16, 2010 1:38 PM”

    What Global Warming Holger?

    Global Warming like this:

    It’s time for a reality check like this:

    And forget about hoaxters like this:

    Before we start geo engineering a non problem!

    Or use highly scientific experiments to put the masses on the wrong foot.

  102. #107 Daniel
    April 16, 2010

    Awesome image of the plume at right now…

  103. #108 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Thanks for the plume animation and image files, Socuel.


  104. #109 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    @ Bill view today much better. Yesterday was too cloudy to see anything. Has “voldafone” slowed/stopped?

  105. #110 Holger
    April 16, 2010

    Alright, I give up. How can I get any work done, if the Hvolsvelli webcam

    keeps providing such an awesome show…

  106. #111 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    It seems to be cranking up now…

  107. #112 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    If only those nasty low clouds went away!

  108. #113 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Parclair, The vodaphone only refreshes every 6 seconds, giving the appearance that it’s stopped. The second capture on the page gives a greater idea of what’s going on.

  109. #114 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    @parclair all the cams are slower than last week many more people on line looking now that it so impressive
    to say nothing about the people stuck in airports trying to find out why they cant fly

  110. #115 Necrosis
    April 16, 2010

    It’s really blowing its top at the moment.

  111. #116 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    I presume Iceland and UK Met Offices are chitchatting about this plume emissions expansion with NATS, as this may narrow their window for getting flights shuffled in and out later today if the plume spread enters European airspace latter.

    You know, if UK Defense Dept has an unmanned drone handy, I suspect they can safely evaluate residual volcanic dust aviation hazard.

  112. #117 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010


  113. #118 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    if it was really nasty it would start a flood basalt eruption after this phase

  114. #119 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    The absolute maximum would be getting a live pyroclastic flow down Gigsjokull’s channel on Vodafone cam….

  115. #120 Dori Sig
    April 16, 2010

    Now the view is better, and i have added photos and videos on my blog

  116. #121 Brian
    April 16, 2010

    As it’s going so well right now, how come there is not a whole load of meltwater coming out of the glacier?

  117. #122 Austin
    April 16, 2010

    There’s a lot more black than white now; does that imply that the potential melt around the “vents” has exhausted?

  118. #123 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    Did you see the heli in the Vodafone cam at 20.29.01? Wonder how long til we see the photos taken from it!

  119. #124 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010


    just wait for it…..

    Water is accumulating below what remains of the icecap to form a lake… as soon as the level of meltwater will reach the crater rim it will spill out..

  120. #125 Matt
    April 16, 2010

    The ongoing event is a persistant large vertical column of ash approaching 10-12,000 meters. There are still moderate mid-to-upper level winds quickly carrying this plume off to the ESE. The events this afternoon and evening will certainly keep airspace restrictions in place indefinitely for UK and Northern Europe.

  121. #126 M. Randolph Kruger
    April 16, 2010

    You can see the actual plume in real time as its erupting now. Look on the SE corner of Iceland.

    Did I read correctly that someone indicated that there might be yet another chamber opening up –Determined by composition of the ash?

  122. #127 peter
    April 16, 2010

    What about the possibility of caldera collapse?

  123. #128 socuel
    April 16, 2010

    @Passerby : Forget about Picasa. I’ve set up a pic pump here

    Tell me when you don’t need it anymore.

  124. #129 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    @Peter that would depend on if there is a large magma chamber feeding this beast and how deep it is and how empty it is close to the end of the event
    it would be intresting

  125. #130 Alan
    April 16, 2010

    where was the most recent caldera collapse eruption? when? So much to learn!

  126. #131 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Done! Thanks, socuel!

  127. #132 Brian
    April 16, 2010

    Forgive my ignorance but, in the vodafone image, did the terminal moraine of the glacier contain a lake prior to this eruption?

  128. #133 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    Socuel, thanks for everything you’ve done for this community.

  129. #134 Randall Nix
    April 16, 2010

    Not sure if Erik will like this.

    Will the Iceland Volcano Change the Climate?

    The vast plume of material spewing from this week’s eruption of an Icelandic volcano is reddening sunsets and clouding skies across Europe. If the eruptions continue and get bigger — a possibility given the explosive history of Iceland’s volcanoes — even the global climate could be affected. But the current eruption is too wimpy to have any significant impact, scientists say……

  130. #135 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    Lost in the excitement of the eruption – there have been eleven quakes ~21km ESE Grímsey today, starting with a M3.4 at 6.3km 13.14.38 GMT. Typically just below M2.0, the depths range from 5.0 to 14.0 km.

  131. #136 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    @Brian i am not sure if the one vodafone is looking at has one the other outflow path has or had one for sure

  132. #137 George
    April 16, 2010

    Something in the nature of the eruption changed at about 20:45 GMT. The ash plume simply stopped, things went “quite” from a visual standpoint and then the plume changed to steam.

  133. #138 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    really interesting on the Vodafone cam…

    Now, back to steam, virtually no ash…

  134. #139 Emanuel Landeholm
    April 16, 2010

    Did you spot the horse rider on the Hvolsvelli cam? What a time and place for a nice, quiet evening ride.


  135. #140 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    Right now, the beauty is surreal – creamy pinkish-orange eruption plume against an azure backdrop.

  136. #141 Hans Erren, Netherlands
    April 16, 2010

    @129 Brian
    Yes it was called Lonid
    see these pictures and maps from my visit last summer

  137. #142 Boris Behncke
    April 16, 2010

    It looks like the activity is becoming intermittent, with pauses between individual ash and vapor emissions. The activity seems to stop completely for many minutes and then starts again. That’s normally what we see when an eruption starts waning, but in this case I fear anything is possible.

    There is now a very comprehensive report in English at the Nordvulk web site. No way the tephra plume rose to 12 km, they say maximum 8 km and average 5 km. That’s just a bit more than we had at Etna in the fall of 2002, when air traffic in Sicily and southern Italy was repeatedly disrupted during an interval of 2 months. It’s nowhere close to Plinian and even sub-Plinian. It’s phreatomagmatic. As violent and disruptive as this event is, until now this eruption is small compared to events like Pinatubo or even Rabaul 1994. And I wish it will stay like this, although after all that we’ve seen it is impossible to say how it will develop from here on (seeing pyroclastic flows on the Vodafone webcam would be awesome but I am not really wanting to see them; I’ve had close looks at them twice on Etna and that’s twice too much). It is certainly the most powerfully explosive eruption since Hekla’s large 1947 eruption and I’d say the VEI is in the high range of 3.

    At the current state of affairs I wouldn’t expect neither a caldera collapse, nor an effect on global climate (not enough sulfur dioxide).

  138. #143 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    From ash to steam… and now more ash than ever…

  139. #144 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    @George (#134). Visually, yes. The tremors at mostly show a slight up-turn in the last few segments after a period of steady decline. Jón Friman’s geophones still show harmonic tremor albeit at a low level for the last four hours, but no complete cessation.

  140. #145 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    Wow. I got some great screen shots the last minutes.

  141. #146 Austin
    April 16, 2010

    Looks like the winds have stopped/slowed down (the cloud’s going up, not sideways), and it just went pitch black again. The winds will at least be good news for Europe.

  142. #147 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    look now on the Hvolsvelli cam…

    It may be the start of the main Plinian sequence of the eruption!

  143. #148 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    “No way the tephra plume rose to 12 km, they say maximum 8 km and average 5 km.”

    Give it a minute.

  144. #149 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    And as I post, there’s a great increase in activity – steam and clastic material.

    “Water boils at 100C but milk when you turn your back on it.” (Swedish proverb)

  145. #150 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    I wager the plume is over 30k feet high now the last boom was impresive

  146. #151 Jón Frímann
    April 16, 2010

    The eruption appears to be changing about phase. Just after a short brake something has changed given the plume size and look. This is bad I think.

  147. #152 Brian in Bellingham
    April 16, 2010

    Watching this has definitely hurt my work productivity, but it’s worth it.

    Boris Behncke mentioned that this is small compared to Pinatubo. If you look at this picture, you will see how much bigger the Pinatubo eruption is compared to what we have been seeing (at least so far).

  148. #153 Boris Behncke
    April 16, 2010

    Yep this looks quite powerful. Might be one of the taller plumes of this eruption. Like I said, anything is possible.

  149. #154 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    something bad on the horizon

  150. #155 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    On the right of the column on Holsvelli cam, I can see something which looks like a pyroclastic flow…

  151. #156 Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson
    April 16, 2010

    If you want black, look at the Katlacam. Remember to turn off ALL lights around you and full-screen the picture.

  152. #157 Randall Nix
    April 16, 2010

    Boris shhhhhhhhhh……I think it heard you;)

  153. #158 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    Is that a pyroclastic flow shooting off to the right (south) I see @ 20.15 Hvolsvelli cam?

  154. #159 Brian
    April 16, 2010

    @Jón There certainly seems to be more coming out sideways.

  155. #160 Boris Behncke
    April 16, 2010

    @Henrik, I was wondering about that, too

  156. #161 Jón Frímann
    April 16, 2010

    Rúv web camera for Katla ( is now in the darkness of ash fall. The ash cloud looks quite bad.

  157. #162 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    it could be a large fissure opening up also say a ring ? time will tell

  158. #163 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    Now there is…

  159. #164 Randall Nix
    April 16, 2010

    FYI if you have it Wagner’s Die Walküre is a pretty good sound track to this thing;)

  160. #165 Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson
    April 16, 2010

    Preferrably with Sky playing. The electric guitar strangely fits better than horns, IMAO.

  161. #166 Randall Nix
    April 16, 2010

    Magic Fire Music act 3

  162. #167 Mike
    April 16, 2010

    I, too, detected lateral ash movement, as if a (tiny) pyroclastic flow is on the move. The Hvolsvelli cam stutters greatly for me, so it’s difficult to tell.

  163. #168 Günter Frenz
    April 16, 2010

    In those radar images were 3 holes visible in the ice with a bridge of ice in between. Could a breakdown of this bridge be a cause of the events we’ve seen in the last minutes?

  164. #169 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    Wow, it sure is dark at the Katla cam, I don´t want to be there that´s for sure. How far away from the eruption is the webcam?

  165. #170 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    Yet another large explosion…

    Given the size of the mushroom cloud, this one may be even bigger…

  166. #171 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Wonder if those individual melt holes are coalescing as they widen, gaining caldera volume and that’s the reason for this aggressive change in plume behavior?

    We should be seeing a jump in meltwater Q(flow).

  167. #172 VolcanoMan
    April 16, 2010

    To the rest of the world this will be remembered as the natural disaster that killed nobody because we have learned that airplanes flying through volcanic ash clouds have a statistically significant chance of experiencing life-ending turbulence. But for me, this will be remembered as the first time in my life a subglacial eruption directly and adversely affected anyone beyond the island of Iceland…any Icelandic eruption is exciting to me because I love that country, but this eruption and how it is inconveniening our puny species!!! Yeah, I always cheer for the disaster in disaster movies… And the ash, the ash!! We know its chemistry, but what about its petrogenesis? Is the majority of it going to be microscopic fragments of glass associated with lava quenching and fragmentation upon contact with water? Or will the majority be fragmented by the rapidly expanding gases, and contain some ratio of minerals to glass. The plume looks grey enough to suggest that the eruption vent may now be ejecting ash without any significant explosive quenching anymore (which would produce far more steam, like the initial basaltic eruption).

    And I don’t like to speculate so early on when so little data exists, but my first thought is that one single, relatively shallow, barely rising magma chamber which has been happily fractionally crystallising since 1821 just recently got a new injection of hot mafic magic, which shot through the mushy viscous remnants of a glorious basalt, remelting a lot of the material that had solidified, but mostly pooling on top of the old chamber because the new material was far hotter and more buoyant. Then the chamber underwent some mixing of still molten material from 1821 (if any existed), newly molten material and fresh basalt. That basalt sat around for a bit generating andesite as it mixed with the melting products beneath it, but before too long, the rock above the chamber fractured and it spun off a basaltic dyke that created the first fissure eruption. This basalt that was mostly from the new injection, and temporarily relieved the pressure, which when relieved, sealed the fissure.

    Then the newly invigorated portion of the existing magma chamber started rising, nearing the surface which happened to be covered by a glacier. Meltwater started to seep in and the LP seismicity started. Enough intermediate crystals were melted by the now-departed majority of the basaltic injection, and as we know, the most silica-rich crystals melt first…the basalt that did not erupt in fire-fountains underwent my favourite form of magmatic evolution – assimilation (especially awesome because the Borg do it and Borg is an Icelandic word), by basically melting crystals more felsic than itself and turning it into an intermediate magma. This is the magma that is now making me so happy.

    That’s just my take on the situation…I don’t read Icelandic so I don’t know their scientists’ views yet, but it seems to me that one volcano can only have one magma source at a time so erupting lavas of two separate compositions so close together has to involve the felsification of the initial basalt. This is one way in which that can happen.

  168. #173 Gina
    April 16, 2010

    @166 some place to the south of the dragon

  169. #174 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    If you look at the Hvolsvelli cam, you can see the shockwave propagating through the low-level clouds which as I watch seem to be blown towards the camera.

  170. #175 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    You could see someone arriving at the house on the hill a few minutes ago and they’ve been walking around outside (on the Hvolsvelli cam).

    I want to be him 🙂

  171. #176 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    >Wagner’s Die Walküre

    Might want to save that for the fireworks later.

    On now: Copeland’s Rodeo, Hoedown movement.

  172. #177 SNOW_JOKE
    April 16, 2010

    Shame its almost Night in Iceland now. But luckily I reckon by 3amBST the first rays of sun will once again be cast over Eyjaf, hopefully showing us what’s been going on throughout the night in terms of stability (or not so.)

  173. #178 Philipp
    April 16, 2010

    I think that at least part of what we are seeing is the change of wind direction, instead of the strong westerly wind now the wind is coming from the north, allowing the plume to become higher, as the wind is not as strong and directing the ashfall to the south instead of east. Maybe this is what looks like a pyroclastic flow.

  174. #179 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    There is not much change in the harmonic tremom, possible there is a slight increase. I think there might hawe been several of those tall plume events during the last to days. We are only noticing them now because of the clear view. The sideway flow might be something new though, it looks scary and dangerous.

  175. #180 Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson
    April 16, 2010

    #166 @Mattias: A quick-and-dirty estimate is 44km ESE from the craters.

  176. #181 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    To be trite, Night on Bald Mountain, starting now

  177. #182 Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson
    April 16, 2010

    Not a bad choice.

  178. #183 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    There are more ash and steam columns visible now on the Hvolsvelli cam reaching the top of the view.

  179. #184 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    Thank you Reynir, that was quick! I guess there is quite a lot of ashfall in this area. Would be interesting if someone could measure the accumilation when things calm down a little.

  180. #185 Jon
    April 16, 2010

    This looks like it’s getting real bad!

  181. #186 Volcanophile
    April 16, 2010

    Even if it’s about night, here’s another one…

    Very fast rising steam plume…..

    I’m truly sure this stuff is full of lightning…

  182. #187 George
    April 16, 2010

    Yes, it is after sunset. Maybe we will see some lightning.

  183. #189 Jón Frímann
    April 16, 2010

    @George, I have already seen two in the ash cloud. But the cloud looks way stronger now then before. This is not just a win effect I believe.

  184. #190 Jon
    April 16, 2010

    Big explosion!!!!!!!!!!!

  185. #191 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Wouldn’t mind hearing John Seache’s observations.

    I read something made sense and also made me a tad apprehensive. Now the respiratory MDs are saying blah, blah blah not much danger.

    Au contraire.

    From AP News Service, April 16, 2010 (45 min ago)

    ‘Oddly, the sun shone over much of Britain and the European low countries — more used to overcast skies than sunshine. Europe could be treated to spectacular sunsets for weeks or months to come from the lingering dust.

    Rampino, the volcano expert, said the explosive power of the eruption was unusual for Iceland, where volcanic activity normally occurs as lava flows.

    It may have been an interaction between the volcano’s magma and the glacial ice that thrust the ash high enough to catch the winds of the jet stream sweeping toward northern Europe, he said.’

    That first sentence seems innocuous, right?

    Wrong, it suggests a weather anomaly called an anti-cyclone, that may feature warm dry air descending rapidly to ground level. Under the right conditions, it can drive SO2 and fine dust into the near-surface weather environment over urban centers, trapping gas pollutants, aerosol and dust. It can be very stable and slow moving.

    It’s what causes vog to form when this air settles down at night producing haze. If we have this anti-cyclonic pattern setting up again, then we have climate blocking, which is why these systems can persist over Western Europe over days.

    It would also explain reported damage to military aircraft even though the skies were clear.

    This may not be such a hunky-dory time to have an uptick in ash cloud emissions, as it can be sucked up and accumulating at a time when people are out enjoying fine weather without understanding why they are smelling rotten eggs and tasting grit, even though the sky is clear and the ash is supposed to be entrained far above them.

    Extra caution may be warranted, for susceptible subpopulations in UK and Western Europe.

  186. #192 Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson
    April 16, 2010

    Aiyah! I could barely cut-and-paste it due to shaky hands.

  187. #193 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Holy $..t!

  188. #194 George
    April 16, 2010

    “Big explosion!”

    Yes, just as it got too dark to see!

    It went up very quickly though and appears to be continuing but it is very difficult to see.

  189. #195 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    The impression I had was that the ~21.58 GMT explosion was a) wider than previous explosions, b) covered approximately 1/3 the width of the Mila camera screen, c) the “spread” was not the billowing upwards of previous clouds but rather a more rapid ascent and at an angle to the vertical on both sides, plusd d) was accompanied by side explosions of a lighter colour N and S of the main plume. That said, it was hard to see even if zoomed in and using the full-screen option.

  190. #196
    April 16, 2010

    Two pictures from the eruption tonight. One taken at the Vestmann Islands:

  191. #197 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    @ Henrik
    I saw the explosion as flatter and wider as well with side explosions. It really looked to me that much denser materials were involved. I could have sworn I saw large, far darker boulder-ish type materials both upward and at an angle to the vertical on both sides.

  192. #198 Antony
    April 16, 2010

    Regarding CO2 release and volcanoes, everyone quotes that one study from USGS, but in effect, if ocean acidification is occuring from “CO2” in the air, then why are lakes around the world showing no sign of this?

    More likely the 3.2million unmonitored undersea volcanoes are responsible…

  193. #199 Randall Nix
    April 16, 2010

    Henrik I saw the opera a few years ago , they had they lyrics in English up on the screen. As I listened to the music from “Magic Fire Music act 3” earlier I was trying to remember the English lyrics…it seemed to me they were very appropriate for the occasion;) Can you help me with them?

  194. #200 socuel
    April 16, 2010

    Truly impressive :
    (scroll down for the pictures)

  195. #201 Stephen Tierney
    April 16, 2010

    Living mid uk not much here on the smell front at the moment tha was reported more in the Shetland isles.

    Thin layers of dust coat the cars there too.

    Me personaly have a suspicion of a slight gritty residue when i breathe which i aint noticed before, hope its not psycho…you know however just thought i’d say.

    Thanks for your revenge Iceland lol this was plotted all along just waiting for the winds to switch direction before you hatched your evil plan. Not nice but effective all the same. Will sue when my car gets dusty lol

  196. #202 Larry
    April 16, 2010

    You’d be hard pressed to get billions of tons of CO2 out of volcanoes each year unnoticed. Pinatubo was millions of tons of CO2, humans put out billions of tons of CO2 from fossil fuel sources every year.

  197. #203 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    @Frito Lay (#194). That was my impression too. If we call the direction to the middle of the column 12 o’clock, I may have seen two such objects – one at 1 o’clock and the other at 1.30, both having just passed zenith and on the way down.

    A speculation – the dark cloud travelling horizontally reported in #151(?), 152, 155-157 & 164(?)) may have come out of the breech in the crater wall at Gígjökull?

  198. #204 Tracy Twitchell-Fung
    April 16, 2010

    @socuet 197….Wow…those pictures are out of this world. Thanks. Loving this blog…been following since yesterday and learning more each day about volcanos.

  199. #205 M. Randolph Kruger
    April 16, 2010

    Latest ash dispersal graphics. London advisory.

    It carries over into Saturday late but its not looking too good for flying.

    The costs estimated are direct airline costs and doesnt begin to cover the secondary costs. In a week many car companies will have to shut down because they get parts from France, Germany, Italy and the UK flown in by UPS, Fedex etc.

    Schedules will have to be changed to accommodate a severe shortage of flyable airplanes as well. If they have flown through this stuff then it will require a compressor washdown at the minimum and a borescope inspection of the fuel nozzles and leading edges, air data systems for abrasion and plugging. Most engine blades have sermatel coatings on them for just this kind of thing but its not enough for the amount that is being kicked up. Excluding the latest eruption this afternoon the particles have been collecting closer to the ground than would normally be expected. Anyone know anything about the composition and how fast by particle size that it rains, drops out at? Any studies.

    A lot of it isnt making it across the Norwegian Sea and its not uniform in nature. But this was the first eruption. Have to wait and see. Temps have held fairly stable with some slight drops e.g. 3 degrees yesterday as it crossed over SW Sweden, but they rebounded so for now its okay. The altitude of the eruptions are not beyond about 24,000 so thats good too.

  200. #206 Randall Nix
    April 16, 2010

    Henrik never mind i was able to get Google to translate a page for me;)

    “Loge, listen! Harken here! Harken here!
    As I found you first, a fiery blaze,
    as once you vanished from me,
    a random fire;
    as I allied with you, so today I conjure you!
    Arise, magic flame,
    girdle the rock with fire for me!
    Loge! Loge! Come here!
    Whosoever fears the tip of my spear shall never pass through the fire!”
    —–Wagner Magic Fire Music act 3

  201. #207 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    Is this it Randall?

    Oh Warfather on high,
    I am calling you from the battlefield
    And as I take my last breath
    I call for the mightiest of miracles

    For none but the brave, be he king or a slave
    With a pounding heart in his chest
    Will be worthy to rise and with the Valkyries fly
    And ride to the ancient Valhalla

    Oh Warfather on high
    Listen to my prayer
    I lived my life by your rules
    Oh let death cover me now

    For none but the brave, be he king or a slave
    With a pounding heart in his chest
    Will be worthy to rise and with the Valkyries fly
    And ride to Valhalla of old


    with the Valkyries, ride over the battlefield
    Ride your horses and come to me
    I’m waiting for you to take my
    soul, high in the sky to
    Valhalla of old

    Valkyries, ride over the battlefield
    I’m dying and glad to bleed
    Because I know today I will take
    my place with the heroes
    in Valhalla of old

    For none but the brave, be he king or a slave
    With a pounding heart in his chest
    Will be worthy to rise and with the Valkyries fly
    And ride to Valhalla of old


    with the Valkyries, ride over the battlefield
    Ride your horses and come to me
    I’m waiting for you to take my
    soul, high in the sky to
    Valhalla of old

    Valkyries, ride over the battlefield
    I’m dying and glad to bleed
    Because I know today I will take
    my place with the heroes
    in Valhalla of old

    In The Halls of Valhalla I finally take my place
    With my sword and my shield I enter Odin’s realm
    I’m an immortal spirit now with
    a heart made of steel
    With the gods on high forever I
    will live and laugh at the
    fears of man

  202. #208 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    @ Passerby,
    I agree, and I think it’s really irresponsible and incomplete journalism. I think the larger issue is that a lot of people treat the “sciences” as independent and in isolation (including some scientists!) rather than recognizing that it’s all just one big system (human, animal, earth, oceanic, atmospheric, solar) where one change affects the whole.

    But anyhoo, the medical profession and politicians are both notorious for underplaying things sometimes. Until it’s too late.

  203. #209 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    The weather outlook for tomorrow looks great for volcano watching. A area of high pressure and a cold dry airmass will visit Iceland. This will mean stable weather and hopfully quite sunny. The wind will be from the north and the air will dry out when it passes over the iland. So my forecast is that there will be more clouds on north side of Iceland then on the south side where our volcano is.
    Icelandic Met Office also show some nice weather

  204. #210 Randall Nix
    April 16, 2010

    Henrik that will do too;)

  205. #211 Larry
    April 16, 2010

    When it comes to economic impacts, I’d expect to see creative rerouting soon. Europe has a good rail system, as long as you can get things in by air some place, they can finish the trip via rail. Would be a great time to own a ship in Europe 🙂

  206. #212 Henrik
    April 16, 2010

    They are indeed Soucel, thanks for the link!

  207. #213 Gijs de Reijke
    April 16, 2010

    I don’t need to go to where the eruption is happening… The eruption comes to me ^_^ !


    I made these pictures in Germany (near the village of Großenkneten) on the evening of April the 15th. I was there for fieldwork (partially on glacial deposits, so nothing really volcanism related this time) for two days. I didn’t have access to internet over there, which was really frustrating with Eyjafjallajökull giving a truly impressive show. I got updates by phone however and I got people to check Eruptions Blog for any updates ^_^ .

    A classmate of mine is supposed to go to the States this weekend. Guess she won’t be going anywhere… I hope the ash won’t be in the air when I’m going to Scotland on May 1st, or I’ll have the same problem…

    @ Bruce Stout: Andesitic, eh? One Vulkan Bräu for you, one Vulkan Bräu for me 😉 .

  208. #214 Tracy Twitchell-Fung
    April 16, 2010

    Apologies to Soucel. My eyesight gets worse as I age.
    Thanks to Henrik for the polite correction. 🙂

  209. #215 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    Yes, I can see lightning on the thorolfsfelli cam! 🙂

  210. #216 Tracy Twitchell-Fung
    April 16, 2010

    Apologies to Soucel. My eyesight gets worse as I age.
    Thanks to Henrik for the polite correction. 🙂

  211. #217 Brian
    April 16, 2010

    Looking at the windmap for tomorrow on it looks as though the output from the eruption will be coming straight to me on the Isle of Skye :o(

  212. #218 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    I checked the high altitude winds and they show that the ash cloud forming tomorrow most likly will travel southward instead of east. Hopefully some of it will be travel west of UK but UK will probably get some of it eventually. This wind direction should help improving conditions a bit in Europe. But unfortunatel the wind will start to turn again during monday/tuesday which will start transporting ash southeast across Europe.

  213. #219 Tracy Twitchell-Fung
    April 16, 2010

    Apologies to Soucel. My eyesight gets worse as I age.
    Thanks to Henrik for the polite correction. 🙂

  214. #220 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    @Henrik #200 Yup, saw those.

    I’m not qualified to comment on your speculation at all since I’m by no means a volcanologist. I’m just a little potato chip with great eyesight 🙂

  215. #221 Tracy Twitchell-Fung
    April 16, 2010

    Soooo.apparently…when I click enter (multiple times)…it is accepted each time. Sorry! 🙁 Glad to see Frito Lay has great eyesight! 🙂

  216. #222 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Awesome pics, socuel! Especially the one with the two aircraft being up close and personal. Thanks!

  217. #223 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    There is activity going on at the “Eyjafjallajökull frá Hvolsvelli” cam.
    There was a explosion at 2 o’clock, but further to the east of the caldera than i expected. (small one)
    5 mins. later there was a beautifull orange (vertical) lightning at 12 o’clock.
    01.10u (Belgium time)
    just to let you know.

  218. #224 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    @Frankill: I saw the same thing at the same time you did, but thought it was just an anomoly. Just now at @ h:31 it just happened again – right-side of screen, midway down. Orangy flash. What the heck would be in that location?

  219. #226 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    @ Fritto Lay I Don’t know, difficult to geuss with nightview. Maybe a wider colum than before.
    another Fissure?
    the caldera is more opening?
    Or we are wrong 🙂

  220. #227 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Frito, if the wind is stalling and the mixing height is decreasing, then it’s wet dust fallout that has collected and is discharging considerable static charge, in bursts.

    That static discharge rate is a function of physical mixing rate (allowing charge transfer and accumulation by finest particles) ash density and effective surface area, silicic acid and water content of the ash at or near the point of discharge.

  221. #228 socuel
    April 16, 2010

    Before I hit the bed, here is a timelapse of the end of the day for the plume, for those who couldn’t connect to the cams (@Passerby ?). Sorry Phillip if I duplicate your work, I don’t want to stand on your toes.
    Video is at the end of this post (sorry for the french blah-blah):

    One frame every minute, 10 frames per second, so 10 minutes scales to 1 second and thus this 30sec video shows 5 hours (late math is always risky…).

    About the pictures, I agree, the pilot for the red plane probably has suicidal tendencies.

    @Tracy No problem !
    @Tracy No problem !
    @Tracy No problem ! 😉

    I learned a lot again today, thank to all of you.
    Have a good night fellows. Tomorrow will be a sunny day !

  222. #229 Jón Frímann
    April 16, 2010

    Latest reports from Ruv tell that the ash cloud is reaching ~10 km at the moment, and that there is a lot of lighting in the ash cloud.

  223. #230 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    there are 2 different light effects going on.
    1 is orange lightning (without bright white light).
    (right in the middle of the collum)
    2 is only white coloured “a flash” (circle) 10x bigger than
    the lightbulps on the foreground in the “Eyjafjallajökull frá Hvolsvelli” cam.
    But this “white flash” was far more to the right than where the colum schould be.
    Does this mean that the collum is that much wider now?
    if not, then this maybe was not a discharge?
    gust asking

    @Frito glad you saw that to 😉

  224. #231 Tracy Twitchell-Fung
    April 16, 2010

    Bonsoir Socuel! Thanks for your forgivness:-)

  225. #232 Lurking
    April 16, 2010

    RE: Update 3 (Airlines loosing $200 million a day due to eruption)…

    I guess Ryan Air should have thought twice about that pay toilet idea. Karma has a way of getting you.

  226. #233 Chance Metz
    April 16, 2010

    10 km again? Almost as high as when it first started. That has to be higher then the 28,000 from the latest VAA from London.

  227. #234 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Passerby, thanks for the explanation 🙂

    Frankill, I was going to choose Door #4 until Passerby explained. (I still suspect it was the Man in The House on The Hill who, for the next few days, won’t be able to turn on his bathroom light without the whole world knowing).

    Socuel, yet another awesome video from you, thanks! I’d love to see a timelapse video from the Hvolsvelli cam today. I wish I’d asked for a pic pump earlier. 🙁

    Mattias Larsson: Thanks for the wx forecast. Do you know if there’s a fund set up to cover the economic impact to my life of spending yet another day glued to my computer screen? Anyone?

  228. #235 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    All I can say without seeing it is that you’re seeing color differences related to the gas mixture/temperature in discharge path within the column and off to one side where dust is falling, and that both events are probably static discharge (lightning), as confirmed by others (ruv news)…unless we are told, otherwise that there are now magma fountains by IMO geologists. Kinda doubt it, though.

  229. #236 doug mcl
    April 16, 2010

    Re. Volcanoes and climate, here’s a link to respected UW climatologist Cliff Mass’s blog:
    including a comparison of eyjafjallajokull to st. helens

  230. #237 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    @Lurking the best one i heard in years until…
    Frito’s bathroom hero…..
    That can’t be beaten!

  231. #238
    April 16, 2010

    Pics of the ash cloud in Iceland tonight:

  232. #239 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    I think the lines are lightning, the bursts are probably static charges, and the single lights (that move) are of human origin (house, car, airplane).

  233. #240 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    You are welcome Frito!

    Btw, here are some screen captures from this evnings action

  234. #241 Randall Nix
    April 16, 2010

    George sounds very good to me….I don’t think it will make some people happy;)

  235. #242 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Mattias, thank you so much! I so wanted to screen capture when that last daylight blast happened (the one before the nightfall blast). I remember it was the highest blast visible after watching for so many hours, and that you got it with the man on his horse is simply awesome!

  236. #243 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    @passerby thank you fore explaining.
    could you also explain if a colum is discharging (thus coming down on itself) falling down and getting wider?
    how much wider could this be now? it was at 4/5 from the cam view to the right.
    Do you expect discharge (without lightning) take place
    that far of?
    would really like to know that 🙂

  237. #244 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    @passerby re Frankill’s #239 – I have the same questions but couldn’t elucidate them as well as Frankill has. It was just such a strange sight being so large, seemingly so near to the cam, but so far off to the right of what we had seen all day. My first thought was that it was someone actually working at the webcam site with a flashlight and the light hitting the back of a coworker’s (beige or orange) jacket for two seconds.

    Ok now Frankill’s gonna think I’m weird 🙂

  238. #245 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    I am happy that I could help Frito!

    First there was some time with a smaller white plume. Then I was amazed when saw the dark cloud starting to rise in front of the white plume. So I decided to take screen shots like crazy for a while. 🙂

  239. #246 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Surface winds are heated during the day and rise by convective force. After sunset, the direction of surface winds change as they may cool and either become stagnant, suppress ash column height by reduction of effective mixing (reduced convection/mixing column pressure) or reverse direction in mountains or hilly area. This may change the height and direction of emissions column movement. You saw that throughout the day, the prevalent low level and mid-level winds were catching the plume and pulling it SE. That pattern will change after the sun goes down and will also depend on the presence of advancing pressure changes (weather fronts).

    I can’t say whether the column has increased in width, although I did see the burst of increased emissions just before sunset, thanks to socuel’s kindness in preparing a movie for those of us who couldn’t obtained sustained webcam access due to viewer load.

  240. #247 Mattias Larsson
    April 16, 2010

    Good night everybody. My bed is calling on me.

  241. #248 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Thanks again, Mattias. You rock!

  242. #249 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    @ Frito. Face it, anyone who identifies himself as an intelligent corn crisp is bound to be considered a bit different.

    Pay them no mind.

  243. #250 Gordys
    April 16, 2010

    @Frito Lay: I’m thinking that you could move in with me and we could spit the cost.

  244. #251 Gordys
    April 16, 2010

    Looks like siesmicity is on the up-tick.

  245. #253 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    @passerby ok thanks, that explains very well what Frito and i saw. nice to know!

    @Frito you described that white flash perfectly!
    glad to know it was not your “naked butt in the bathroom”

    @Parclair thanks fore helping us out!

  246. #254 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    @Gordy – Deal!
    @Passerby – Po-ta-to 😉

  247. #255 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    @Passerby – “herself” 😉

  248. #256 R. de Haan
    April 16, 2010


    “I don’t know the scientific grounding for this, but its simplicity appeals”.

    If that’s the case the simplicity of this demonstration must appeal to you as well:

  249. #257 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Frankill #249 – Thanks!

    I wonder what time Bathroom Hero will have the coffee ready for us tomorrow morning …

  250. #258 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    The authorities are catching on. They now admit the plume is much heavier. They are also advising caution when going outdoors. From the AP News Service tonight:

    ‘Winds pushed the plume south and east across Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and into the heart of Europe. Authorities told people in the area with respiratory problems to stay indoors, and advised everyone to wear masks and protective goggles outside.’

    Do not wear contact lens – wear glasses indoors, as the fine particles can move indoor through screened windows and doors opened during fine weather and by unfiltered building ventilation pathways.

    Do not be deceived by apparently clear skies. Sinking air mass cand collect, hold dust and deliver it to near ground level as the air mass dries during the day. The high-pressure front is projected to move slowly eastward while expanding it’s footprint North-to-South.

    Watch or listen for local advisories.

    When exposed to this ash, very small jagged glass-like particles may irritate eyes, exposed skin, sinus and upper respiratory tract and lungs if inhaled. If the particles are small enough, they will move deep into the lungs, and will not come out, causing prolonged irritation and in some individuals, nerve spasm, worsening chronic bronchitis, asthma and COPD.

  251. #259 Gordys
    April 16, 2010

    @Frito Lay: Ah cool. I need someone to help me weed the garden(once it is planted that is):)

    @angela: I like the graphic. I was wondering about that, the question was posted earlier in one of these threads.

    I am guessing that it is too early to tell what the gas emissions have been so far from this eruption. I have not had to time to do any surfing today. I’ll try to find out if no one else has the info handy.

  252. #260 Anonymous
    April 16, 2010

    This is a nice one taken tonight, from vestmannaeyjar Islands, not by me btw….

  253. #261 George
    April 16, 2010

    Remember that you are viewing a (sparsely) populated rural area at night in that camera. A “flash” can simply be a passing automobile. Yes, even Icelanders are sometimes out and about at night (especially on a Friday night) and a passing auto or even one far away making a turn or climbing a hill can result in headlights hitting clouds or cause a reflection into the camera causing a flash for a frame or so.

    Be careful about reading too much into things.

  254. #262 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    For those of you wondering why I am explicitly warning against adverse ash effects, I will also post a link:

    Air pollution over Western Europe (last 24 hours), OMI NO2 vertical column density, satellite image (April 17, 2010)

    This is a measure of local aerosol pollution. It can and will absorb to ash particles and can badly aggravate pollution exposure effects (acids, metals on jagged fine particle surfaces) in those hot spot areas that match the ash deposition pathway.

    This is what I do professionally, BTW.

  255. #263 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Gordys, #255: I posted the NOAA OMI SO2 satellite links early today. In response to an appeal made yesterday to UMBC and due to obvious public interest in gas emission exposure, NOAA added new pages for volcanic SO2 maps with satellite overlays for Iceland and NW Europe. Very thoughtful and helpful, as the diffuse SO2 signal wasn’t enough to set off advisories from European monitoring agencies.

  256. #264 Gordys
    April 16, 2010

    @ Passerby: Thank you. Not a good time to be in Northern or Western Europe.

  257. #265 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Passerby, that’s great. It’s as if they read your post 🙂

  258. #266 Gordys
    April 16, 2010

    @Passerby: Thank you.

    I try to scan through all of the posts before I post anything, but sometimes it is difficult. There are so many informative links to follow.


  259. #267 Simon
    April 16, 2010

    Apologies if this has already been posted, but some pretty cool pictures from Eyjafjallajokull

  260. #268 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Maybe. Erik’s blog post yesterday is clear evidence of Eruptions vast popularity and active public following, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised the news services are monitoring it as well.

    I’m so pleased that the science agencies I interact with professionally have been quietly responsive to requests for information that I’ve been able to convey here, by providing images and data, despite their busy schedules.

    It would not have happened so smoothly, just a few years ago.

  261. #269 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    @Passerby 259 i live right in the middle of that hotspot
    (Antwerp) what does that mean?

  262. #270 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Passerby #264 – I have no doubt that this blog is very quickly being recognized as a central source of world-class expertise for laypersons and news media.

  263. #271 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    One day’s exposure for healthy people isn’t problematic, but chronic exposure may sometimes induce (or worsen previously contracted) respiratory disease in susceptible individuals.

    If you smoke or are consistently exposed to second-hand smoke, if you drive a truck for a living or have a long daily commute in heavy traffic, if you work in a dusty environment or are exposed to fine suspended particles, gas emissions or chemicals at work, or if you have a family history of respiratory illness – especially if your mother or grandmother has had it – you have elevated risk and are considered susceptible to adverse effects of chronic hotspot pollution.

  264. #272 silwx
    April 16, 2010

    got this from another forum,don’t know that how good the info is. “Neighbors son is stationed at Keflavik AFB … and he just called his dad and they have been hearing very loud rumbles the last hour. Enough so he is a bit freaked.”

  265. #273 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    @Gordy, from your last link – that red thing that’s on latitude with Aberdeen (and the surrounding bluer stuff) – I take it’s indicative of higher concentrations of SO2?

  266. #274 Gordys
    April 16, 2010

    @Frito Lay: Yes, you are correct. Check the bar on the bottom of the graph for the concentration.

    I have a laptop with wireless. I just pick a few weeds, push the laptop forward, pick a few more weeds….just don’t get any dirt in the keyboard.

  267. #275 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    @ 268. I can take an educated guess.

    It probably means that Gina’s acute observation on the precarious state of the outlet glacier’s ‘nose’ is correct, that structural integrity has been compromised and that massive failure is imminent.

    This is why I took pains to repost a link to another blog that discusses the extreme recession (largest of any Iceland glacier) and made pointed remarks early on in other blog threads before the eruption stated, on the various risks of thinned outlet glacier.

    Emergency Civil Service should be aware of the situation and maybe considering evacuations in the event of major outlet glacier nose rupture, which would send many large boulders and very pieces of ice tumbling into the plains below. It will take out roads, bridges, etc and may endanger buildings if they are in the flood path.

    We should be seeing shallow seismic activity, gunshot pattern on the south edge of the glacier if this the case.

  268. #276 Gordys
    April 16, 2010

    @Frito Lay: Passerby has a very good post on #83 that will explain what you are seeing.

  269. #277 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    hm not to good.

    Our national wetherman today said “it was a day with less fine dust particles as usual….
    also the cloud moved over and was at an altitude between 2 and 5 km’s.

    Is that risk very close by, or is it already happining?
    at late midday there was a very very fine coat of dust on
    the balcony realing. i could not see it but when i jently
    went over the realing a fine yellow-ish dust thing was
    on my finger.
    could not smell anything.

  270. #278 Fireman
    April 16, 2010

    @silwx 268: No mystery there I think:

    Heavy lightning in the plume just now; I’ve been seeing a fair bit on the Valahnúk cam. Where there’s lightning, there’s thunder. Bit surprised it echos as far as Keflavik!

  271. #279 Diane
    April 16, 2010

    Frankill, it is there already. If you got fine dust like that, it probably was ash and I don’t think it would have a smell because it doesn’t have SO2 in it. Just take precausions and if you have to go out, wear a mask that is N95 rated, if you have one. If you don’t, get something to wear that will help or stay inside if possible. Ash is not something you want to have to deal with. It is nasty. It is silica and can wreck havoc in your system if you get too much.

    Boy has it really kicked up today. I monitored some, but I have been all evening catching up. I think night is the scariest when there is an eruption like this going on because you can’t see what is happening unless there is lightning in the ash cloud. Then if you hear rumbling, it can be rather unnerving to say the least. I hope this doesn’t get worse.

  272. #280 motsfo
    April 16, 2010

    That Air Base is about 150 miles away but it’s entirely
    possible that he is hearing the eruption. Years ago climbers on McKinley heard one of the Cook Inlet volcanoes
    go up. They stuffed their ears and wrapped their heads with
    clothing trying to cut the sound. Apparently volcano sounds
    can be silent next to the volcano and extremely loud far away. We just don’t know everything (yet! 😉 )


  273. #281 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Most people are reasonably sensitive to SO2; if you can’t smell it, it probably passed to the east of you out on the Islands. The level of detection varies from less than 3 ppm if you have a sensitive nose to 3-5ppm (parts per million) for average odor detection ability, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, if you can smell it, its already present at levels that may cause adverse health effects on longer exposure in open air, especially if the local air is humid.

    If you saw the dust on your balcony railing, it’s obviously present in the air as well and may present light-to-moderate risk with short term exposure (few days or longer), depending on your health.

    The plume is likely to sweep back and forth over the east coast of Scotland in the next few days as the winds shift and volcanic activity varies over time.

    There was one very odd report early here that someone smelled a manure smell rather than rotten eggs – that would be ammonia – an unlikely emission from a volcanic eruption.

  274. #282 Diane
    April 16, 2010

    Hey Fireman, did you see that vast lightning display? Boy was that cool. I wish I could have a picture of that one.

  275. #283 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    this time 2 giant lightnings at the same time, way from middle to the right of the cam view.
    this must be a big colum by now.

    Diane I will do just that.

  276. #284 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    The thorolfsfelli cam has been pretty amazing as well. Some really BIG flashes!

  277. #285 Gordys
    April 16, 2010

    This is a page that is posted on the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory web site, that explains a great deal about ash and SO2.

  278. #286 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    Tonite it becomes clear why Vulcan was the smithy of the gods.

  279. #287 Diane
    April 16, 2010

    Frankill, thanks. I don’t know how you would do that, but I bet everybody on here would like to see it.

    I saw one of the flashed that was behind the column and I could tell it is pretty big and high. Kinda scary.

    Motsfo, thanks for that info. Volcanoes are weird. Have you been watching the lightning? I bet it reminds you of something, huh?!

  280. #288 Paul
    April 16, 2010

    @268, Recent quakes near the AFB

  281. #289 Sandra Dís
    April 16, 2010

    Here on this photo you can see what is happening now. I´ts really creepy. Freaks me out. I´m just glad that I´m in Reykjavík but not near the Eyjarfjallajökull.

  282. #290 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    The distance is about 95 miles (150.2 km); too far away for thunder. Previous reports of lightening discharge in volcanic plumes reported them as being silent.

    Low frequency ice cracking would carry a long, long way over dense sea coastal air, especially at night.

    I worked for a consultant that solved a difficult riddle of repetitive, loud low-frequency noise over a distance of some 120 miles by area residents, most readily heard when out of doors or in a basement. It was caused by a series of very noisy mine ventilation fans, proved when the mine operators graciously shut if off on a weekend to test the origin theory.

    Low frequency song from whales can be carried through water when bounced off of seamounts, passing for many hundreds of miles along the ocean floor; it was reported last year. Prety amazing.

  283. #291 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    @ 284 Oh! Maybe seismicity at the geothermal field on Reykjanes peninsula, nearly forgot about it. Has happened before.

  284. #292 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    Diane seeing me staying indoors is not realy usefull 😉
    @passeby i realy hope that railing dust is something else….
    Also applause for those Mila and Voda guy’s giving us this
    live close up views.

  285. #293 mike
    April 16, 2010

    Passerby, volcanic lightning makes thunder just like normal lightning does. I’ve seen and heard it many times.

  286. #294 parclair
    April 16, 2010

    Sandra Dís Thanks for the link. It’s great to be able to study the flash;-)

    Motsfo I read that the initial Krakatoa explosion was not heard nearby, but could be heard in China!

  287. #295 Passerby
    April 16, 2010

    Thunder can only be heard about 25 miles away.

    Low level seismic unrest on the Reykjanes peninsula makes much more sense and would induce anxiety if it was heard but not easily felt (except in chest cavity as pressure waves).

  288. #296 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    Just trying to catch up here …

    It’s simple sound wave mechanisms, folks. The lower the sound frequency, the greater the amplitude. You won’t hear all the bass sounds from your own basement stereo, but your neighbour 8 doors down is cursing you.

  289. #297 Frankill
    April 16, 2010

    @Gordys281 That seems a very usefull link for me. thank you very much.
    i am gona read this tomorrow. it’s been a long night
    and i am still recovering from a flu.
    Everybody will be wakening here in a few houres.
    So its a bit early in the morning for me to read this complex stuff;)

  290. #298 Frito Lay
    April 16, 2010

    @ Gordy Thanks for the several very informative links.

    Re: your post #270 – I can totally relate. Please have your people send for my things. 🙂

  291. #299 Diane
    April 16, 2010

    Sandra, that is an awesome picture! Thank you for sending the link. Motsfo really knows what you mean about it being creepy. She is just across Cook Inlet from Redoubt, about 50 miles away. She knows!

  292. #300 GT McCoy
    April 16, 2010

    A contractor friend of mine was roofing a home in Union,Oregon
    210 or so miles from Mt St.Helens, on may 18th,1980, when
    Bang!Bang!Bang! he was almost knocked off.
    I was in Longview Washington.Didn’t hear a thing…
    Saw more than I wanted,however..

  293. #301 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    Sleep well Frankill. I hope you feel better in the morning. Thanks for all your information today.

  294. #302 Passerby
    April 17, 2010

    Sandra, thanks for posting that grand photo! I watched the webcam and waited, but didn’t see anything for almost 10 min, gave up.

  295. #303 parclair
    April 17, 2010

    Frankill, please wear a mask. I think passerby has recommended one that will catch small particles. Having lung issues is a bitch 🙁 I wheeze when I visit my fave active volcanos. Prevent that for yourself. Nitey nite.

    To those who shall remain nameless;-) Daily Kos has asked their commenters to add a quote to their signature. My fave lol is

    “Never argue with a fool, they will lower you to their level and then beat you with experience.” by (God loves goats)

  296. #304 parclair
    April 17, 2010

    I’m watching both thorolfsfelli and valahnjuk cams. Occasionally, there will be a flash from thoro, and a second or two later, a flash from vala. Is that just technical delay time, or is that the event running thru the eruption cloud? Any ideas?

  297. #305 Frankill
    April 17, 2010

    Again thanks for all the usefull advice you guy’s and girls
    give me.
    and good night (or day) to you all.
    There are some new things on my shopping list now 😉

  298. #306 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    The Vodafone webcam currently has a clear view of the eruption, even in near complete darkness you can see the eruptive cloud rising.

    Hopefully the view will be as clear tomorrow during daylight.

  299. #307 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    Wow, dawn is coming and the view is getting better by the minute.

    I guess everyone else is sleeping now…

  300. #308 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    parclair, the video at both Thoro and Vala are becoming bright now. You can see the light coming now from the east (green) on Thoro, and definition is also becoming clearer with daylight at the Vala cam.

  301. #309 eddie
    April 17, 2010

    First light and the view from;
    shows the ash cloud looking like a giant buddah/gorrilla with the face of scarlet johansson!

    G’morning folks.

  302. #310 corporal_E
    April 17, 2010

    I’ve been watching this site since yesterday, but this is my first post. Both Eyjafjallajökull frá Valahnúk and Eyjafjallajökull frá Hvolsvelli cams are clear, and showing a big eruption right now. Huge dense ash clouds going mostly vertical, and reached altitude very quickly. Great job to everyone on here. Good luck

  303. #311 Kver
    April 17, 2010

    It’s nautical twilight in Iceland now and it’s really cranking out the plume w/lightning.

  304. #312 Carla
    April 17, 2010

    Not sure if this has been mentioned lately, but Mila’s Hvolsvelli webcam is showing some ominous and magnificent silhouettes right now.

  305. #313 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    Die Valahnúk webcam shows a lot of lightning now.

    Great to finally have a clear view of the eruption.

  306. #314 corporal_E
    April 17, 2010

    Lots of lightning on Eyjafjallajökull frá Valahnúk cam every 30 seconds or so.

  307. #315 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    Good morning Holger, Eddie and corporal_E. I’ve watched these two cams for 10 hours and the current explosions are the largest I’ve seen yet.

  308. #316 Anonsters
    April 17, 2010

    Can anyone explain what it means that there have been a handful of extremely shallow (0.1 km) EQs recorded on the Vedur site? Is that just a normal on-going product of volcanic eruptions (as magma moves up and out or something)?

  309. #317 Hank Roberts
    April 17, 2010

    big flashes of lightning in the cloud, just about dawn:

  310. #318 Carla
    April 17, 2010

    Yeah, really neat to see the lightning as it happens. WOW. Really thrilling. Feels like morning to me, but time to go to bed here.

  311. #319 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    Good evening Frito Lay, it’s still Friday over here (US West Coast).

    This is absolutely the best view of the second eruption we’ve had so far…

    It’s going to be difficult to go to bed soon.

  312. #320 corporal_E
    April 17, 2010

    Good Morning Frito and everyone else. This is positively amazing. The colors of the eruptions are incredible. This is so historic.

  313. #321 parclair
    April 17, 2010

    Good morning, all

    Is that a big phreatic explosion in front of the plinian column? Should we be looking for a flood? The front explosion it white, while the column behind is grey.

  314. #322 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    From the view on the Hvolsvelli webcam it is clear that the direction of the wind has changed. Maybe the travelers in Europe are going to get a chance to catch their flights in a day or two.

  315. #323 SNOW_JOKE
    April 17, 2010

    Even a Westerly change still wouldn’t be great for Atlantic travellers, not to mention for the residents of Keflavik/Reykjavik.

  316. #324 corporal_E
    April 17, 2010

    Are there any good cams on Katla? Thanks

  317. #325 bruce stout
    April 17, 2010

    Fantastic viewing at daybreak, really stunning stuff. The day started with a huge eruption cloud followed by a number of large steam bursts.. oh here come’s another ash explosion.. plume towering up to top of hvolsvelli webcam (8 km?) 10 mins of this has made up for the last two days of frustrating cloud cover!!

    @Gijs 🙂 a beer each it is!!!

  318. #326 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    I’m in east Canada and it’s surreal. I feel it’s morning here from watching the videos all afternoon and evening, yet it’s time for me to go to bed.

    The cams are spectacular this morning in Iceland, aren’t they?

  319. #327 parclair
    April 17, 2010

    This is the cam on Katla

  320. #328 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    The Vodafone webcam has the best views (at least in my opinion), even though it updates only every 6 seconds.

    My wife will be mad, but I’m not sure if I can tear myself away from the screen.

  321. #329 bruce stout
    April 17, 2010

    this looks like classic phreatomagmatic activity to me.. ie. there is a lot of melt water entering the vent leading to regular explosions.

  322. #330 corporal_E
    April 17, 2010

    Thanks parclair. Is there some reason that it is out?

  323. #331 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    Holger, your wife can explode any day, but this is historic! 🙂

  324. #332 parclair
    April 17, 2010

    @corporalE 325 I don’t know. Yesterday there was HEAVY ashfall in the area. Perhaps it affected the cam. Also, lots of people signing in can affect the ability to access the cam.

    Wow what an explosion!

  325. #333 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    Frito Lay, true. I’m sure I’m going to last another hour – at least.

    Today would be a good day to get great views of the crater from a helicopter or small aircraft. I bet they’ll send some up soon…

  326. #334 Randall Nix
    April 17, 2010

    Well I wonder what surprises the new day will bring….FYI I know I mentioned it before but in case you are just now tuning in…..Wagner Siegfried Act 3 or anything from Der Ring des Nibelungen makes a great soundtrack for this volcano….It syncs up with the volcano just like Dark Side of the Rainbow;)

  327. #335 corporal_E
    April 17, 2010

    The frequency and intensity of these explosions is jaw dropping! Its 0130 hrs est here and I should go to bed, but I am going to go summon some liquid courage and keep watching. What do you all honestly think the chances of Kalka erupting are? WOW, another huge one!!!!!

  328. #336 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    VEI 4 – sometime today this eruption should pass this arbitrary mark, if it hasn’t already, as the first event generated ~0.027 cu km and this event is quoted as being (10 -) 20 times greater. ~0.027 + 3x~0.027 = ~0.108 cubik km.
    (In light of last night’s episode especially, I find it very hard to accept the lower figure quoted)

    @Frito Lay (#217) – speculating on the evidence available is half the fun as long as people stay within the realm of the plausible!

    Passerby (#264) & Frito Lay (#266), I concur. This is one reason why caution is needed as a sensationalist journalist might come up with something like this: “On Eruptions, the World’s premier blog dedicated to volcanism where many noted volcanologists such as Dr Boris Behncke of the INGV regularly contribute, the consensus is that ……… (enter your pet Doomsday scenario)”. Out of respect for our host, Dr Behncke and other professional vulcanologists who contribute to our understanding and enjoyment, I’d suggest moderation in what we post and the way we express it.

    @Tracy and Luna_the-cat – don’t worry, girls with glasses are the best! 😉

  329. #337 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    I’m sure the pilot of that little red Cessna with the suicidal tendencies is doing his pre-flight checks as we speak.

  330. #338 fubar
    April 17, 2010

    I think it’s mostly done, birds are singing again where I’m at, it’s a bit far away but close enaugh…it is no longer a threat.
    If the eruption still holds up it will be small.

  331. #339 Randall Nix
    April 17, 2010

    fubar be careful it might hear you;)

  332. #340 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    These explosions are coming in clearly separated spurts. It’s quite a different visual from last night’s non-stop show.

  333. #341 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    Even at first daylight it was still more or less non-stop. Now it is clearly episodic and the time interval seems to go up. We’ll see what the rest of the day will bring…

  334. #342 bruce stout
    April 17, 2010

    @ henrik

    I doubt this is VEI 4, most of what we are seeing is steam and the lack of cloud cover is helping make it look really dramatic. But those shots of continous black billowing ash emissions from two days ago were pumping out much more DRE than it is now. Let’s see how the experts rate it once it’s all over. This still looks to me really similar to Ruapehu in 95/96, maybe slightly bigger.

  335. #343 bruce stout
    April 17, 2010

    @ Frito Wish I had seen that!!

  336. #344 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    I’ve just had an epiphany. (Why now and not much earlier, probably because I’m slow.)

    We are not watching a stratovolcano named Eyjafjall erupt! What we are priviliged enough to watch is an eruption of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge! This is why the reported fissures cover 2km N-S. This is why there are troughs running N-S through the crater, visible now that some of the glacier has been removed and there is no cloud. This is why Eyjafjöll has this elongated E-W shape, which is unusual for a volcano.

    If Eyjafjall is to be considered a volcano, “strato”, “shield”, “complex”, “tuya” are misnomers.

  337. #345 bruce stout
    April 17, 2010

    As always, I seem to have spoken too soon.
    It looks like there have indeed been some big ash explosions over the last 24 hours judging by this and what the others have posted about nighttime activity:

  338. #346 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    @ Bruce Stout

    Someone here grabbed a few screenshots when things started going crazy last night, but I’m too tired to remember who it was now )-:

    You can see them at:

  339. #347 mike
    April 17, 2010

    This really does look just like a Ruapehu eruption. Water and magma mixing to create big billowing clouds.

  340. #348 bruce stout
    April 17, 2010

    @ Frito, thanks for that!! thanks also for the best one liner of this whole series.. Ha!

    re state of the eruption, the Institute of Earth Sciences seems to have it right:

    “On 15 April the eruption plume reaches mainland Europe with closure of airspace over large part of Northern Europe. Activity continues at a similar level with ash generation and flow of meltwater in pulses. Jokulhlaup/lahar occurs in the evening. On April 16 some variability occurs in seismic tremor and tephra generation, but overall the eruptive activity remains stable. Pulsating eruptive plume reaches above 8 km, with overall height of 5 km. Large closures of airspace continue.”

    Looks like we could be in for the long haul.

  341. #349 Hjalti
    April 17, 2010

    Just saw a helicopter flying towards the volcano on the “Eyjafjallajökull frá Hvolsvelli” webcam. Looking forward for awesome pictures 😀

  342. #350 Boris Behncke
    April 17, 2010

    Good morning from foggy Sicily, I see those who made it through the night got a fine show. And the weather has improved so that maybe today we might see the first clear direct views of the vent area, which should be interesting.

    For the moment (05.21 GMT) the eruption seems to have weakened considerably (probably the instant this comment is posted it will again break out furiously). It remains intermittent (that’s already a reason not to call it Plinian at all, because Plinian is a sustained, powerful, vertical jet to the stratosphere). Yesterday evening news sources gave the maximum plume height as 10 km, which is indeed a respectable height but it was also attained during the early phases (winter 1963-1964) of the Surtsey eruption and during the 1973 Heimaey eruption which is commonly known as a Strombolian (or violent Strombolian) eruption.

    But intermittent means not that it’s over – many eruptions do become intermittent and then fade out, but Surtsey went on with intermittent phreatomagmatic activity for five months before its crater fully emerged above the sea and the activity became Hawaiian.

    Here we see a different type of eruption, which most resembles the 1996 Giàlp event. That one lasted little more than a week (if we consider the explosive activity that broke through the glacier, which in that case was 700 m thick). In the current eruption we all know it might go on, possibly with interruptions, for a much longer period.

    One of the most fascinating aspects of this eruption is the appearance of primitive (basaltic) magma followed by more evolved magma. I mentioned in a post that seems prehistoric (just around the first outbreak), Cerro Hudson in Chile in 1991, and somebody also did more recently. That eruption started with a first basaltic phase, which produced lava fountains and flows, and a few days later there was a massive andesitic Plinian event.
    It is known since quite some time (the late-1970s if I remember that right) that major eruptions of evolved (andesitic, dacitic, rhyolitic) magma can be triggered by the ascent of mafic (basaltic or basaltic andesitic) magma. This new, hot magma can pierce into a reservoir of evolved magma which has been stagnating for a while, and disturb its equilibrium. Sometimes the new, hot magma can shoot all the way through the evolved magma chamber and arrive first. Pinatubos’ dacitic cataclysm was preceded by the extrusion of an andesitic lava dome. At Soufrière Hills (Montserrat), the current eruption is believed to have been triggered by the influx of mafic magma from depth. There are lots of cases like this.
    So it seems that here we have another eruption that was triggered by the uprise of basaltic magma, which seems to have disturbed the evolved magma chamber but also appears to have been deflected by it – thus the first, basaltic episode of this eruption. Meanwhile, the evolved magma started stirring and eventually came up – that’s what we have now.
    Question is, how much more evolved magma is there? Is more basaltic magma going to rise into the system (like at Montserrat, where the eruption has been kept alive for nearly 15 years now due to continued uprise of mafic magma)? All of us will be here to see, eventually.

    But for the moment, the eruption seems to be taking some sort of a break, which is good for the people there, and for millions of people stuck on airports.

  343. #351 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    Frito Lay, the first airplane is visible on the Hvolsvelli webcam.

    I bet it’s only the first of many today. I hope we’ll bet to see many awesome pictures and youtube movies.

  344. #352 mike
    April 17, 2010

    Boris the scene on the Hvolsvelli webcam right now really reminds me of Etna in eruption.

  345. #353 Holger
    April 17, 2010

    Looks like the wind keeps turning. Ash fall appears to get close to the Hvolsvelli webcam. I bet the folks who live in those farms are not going to be pleased about that.

  346. #354 Boris Behncke
    April 17, 2010

    Folks, among all the images we’ve seen of this eruption so far (and I count both the first and the second episode), I believe these are some of the most awesome.

  347. #355 Boris Behncke
    April 17, 2010

    Latest information (from Morgunblaðið, says the eruption was strong throughout the night with maximum ash plume height of 8.5 km (not 10), and started to weaken after 04.40 h.

    The eruption is now again continuous but considerably less violent than the activity last night.

    There are now lots of spectacular photos being posted at Flickr ( -> search “Eyjafjallajökull” or “eldgos” or “iceland volcano”)

  348. #356 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    We better get down to Bathroom Hero’s place for a coffee before it starts to taste gritty!

  349. #357 Philipp
    April 17, 2010

    @ 224 socuel

    actually my toes are not THAAAAT big!

    Here is my version of the sunset on Eyjafallajkökull from the vodafone cam:

    I don’t speak frencht but from your blog I gather that you plan to go to the Fjallaback this year? Me and a friend hiked from Skogar to Landmannalaugar last year. (I have been to Iceland before once in 1992, my friends spend some summers there as a cook/guide for camping tours). My friend is planning to hike the Öskjuvegur and ascend Herdubreid this year.

    Walking through the landscape I always wondered what the actual processes were that created the very different pieces of landscape we walked over, and when they happened! All those lava fields and plains/canyons sculpted by jökulhlaups really gave me some food for thought while walking.

    I was surprised about the amount of warning/information about how to behave when a volcano erupts available in the huts. With hindsight I must say they were not over-exaggerating the danger. I really don’t want to be caught in a tent under that ashfall.

  350. I notice the last two magmatic intrusions are possibly opening a new pipe slightly southward. If this continues, and Prof. Höskuldsson’s announcement yesterday (and Boris and Henrik’s and VolcanoMan and other’s all put together in the meantime)… we come back to the potential unrealised explosiveness of this situation, do we not?

    Is it possible that extremely hot basaltic magma is still being injected into the core of whatever was/is now a shallow and widening andenite-magma chambre? That is seemingly being chewed out below the caldera, and the “chewing out” process (going back to last week when I made an allusion to ebola) is weakening the strata from within, while at the same time expropriating the newly-remelted gassy rhyolites which, if I visualise correctly, float above and are somewhat mixed with the basaltic magma.

    If rising pressure warrants it, and the strata yields during a yet-to-occur “big push” from below, it still seems possible an undermined upper layer could blow off, and also possibly in the southward direction. Someone correct me if I’m wrong in this possibility. I remind you all of the sub-sea debris piles I brought to the blog’s attention that I first spotted off Eyjafjallajökull in 2006, and for which I had since been seeking an explanation.

    IF this magma-mixing type of eruption occurs once every 2000+ years (about once every 30 or so Eyjaf eruptions) and IF it leads to explosive episodes, some of which in turn lead to slope failure or explosion toward the sea… that could explain those long trails of debris (one seems to be almost 150 km. long) down the steep submarine slope to the abyss.

    Only one question remains – if there IS even a slight reason to consider this a faint possibility… what size tsunami will result?

    I suspect a very large one is possible (an earlier point I raised). Will this mean anything in terms of planning? CAN it be planned for at this juncture? Bother.

  351. #359 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    Holger, I don’t get it. $Millions are being lost due to the shutdown of aviation east of Iceland, yet we’ve got these kamikaze pilots flying within miles of the fallout.

    But whatever. I’m looking forward to the pics and videos of the volcano (not the crash 🙂 )

  352. andesite – excuse my late night typos

    Also I promised a URL for any papers on the link between deglaciation and increase in eruptive activity. Here’s one –

  353. #361 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    Michael, don’t you think it’s far more likely that the debris trail and postulated collapse is explained in a similar manner to the event off Norway ~10,000 years ago? (Erosion products, silt, deposited by rivers over millenia and building up until it collapses under its own weight, possibly triggered by an earthquake.)

    In the exceedingly unlikely event that there was a flank collapse (on a mainly basaltic volcano?), I would expect from the rift clearly visible to run N-S through Eyjafjall’s crater that it would be to the West and not out to sea.

  354. #362 Philipp
    April 17, 2010

    Looking at the dustdevils whirling about on the floodplain in the vodafone images, and the visible layer of wind-driven dust on the Hvolsvelli webcam I think the wind from the north is pretty strong today and the kind of low-level flight we saw yesterday in the Giksjökull area would be even more dangerous today.

  355. #363 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    Uggh. I’m going to bed now while Michael awaits his call from FoxNews/SkyNews/CNN to get a soundbite about his tsunami comment.

  356. #364 Lurking
    April 17, 2010

    Several posts back, someone noted that station THEY had exhibited what may be signs of deflation.

    Has anybody noticed that station SOHO shows what may be inflation at the same time interval?

    I don’t know the reliability of the data, it seems that a lot of noise gets factored out in the final data sets… which means that this may just be an illusion of sorts. But I thought I would mention it.

  357. #365 Anna
    April 17, 2010

    Frito Lay #354

    I haven’t seen planes but aren’t they all safely upwind from the volcano?

    Also, volcanic ash poses more threat to jet engines than to the old kind with propellers (not sure what they’re called in English).

  358. #366 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    This is what we saw last night (#151(?), 152, 155-157 & 164(?))

  359. #367 Philipp
    April 17, 2010

    Eyjaf clearing it’s throat in the morning:

  360. #368 Boris Behncke
    April 17, 2010

    Certainly the planes are flying on the upwind side. There is a very sharp line of demarcation between the ash plume and the ash-free space on its upwind side. You can actually fly very close to the plume on that side, and most of the famous photos of Mount St. Helens on 18 May 1980 were taken that way. You should definitely not come anywhere close to the downwind side of the plume, but I am certain all pilots are extremely aware of this …

    Definitely the eruption is taking a bit of a break. For now.

  361. #369 Philipp
    April 17, 2010

    I think the ash cloud is not the major risk that these pilots are taking:

    The picture was obviously taken from a third plane. Either the pilots are very good or very crazy. They should at least be circling in the same direction, and the pilots should very much conenctrate on the airspace around them and not the lahar next to them – which would be difficult for me to say the least.

  362. #370 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    “Milk boils when you turn your back on it” – Hvolsvelli cam.

  363. #371 Anne
    April 17, 2010

    Valanhuk webcam spectacular at present

  364. #372 socuel
    April 17, 2010

    @Philipp 224 : nice timelapse, with much more pics than mine !
    I hope you’ll keep on posting those.
    I added your Youtube profile in my link list (link is on my name).
    Just saw “Good Morning Eyjaf”? Awesome !

    Yes, the plan is (well… was) Skogar to Landmannalaugar. Who know what the plan is now…
    Agreed, this event will be food for though during the hike, that’s sure !

  365. #373 VulcanEye
    April 17, 2010

    Is there any downside to this eruption,as everything ive seen & heard so far has been good.

    1 Noise pollution for people iving neer airports have abated.

    2 Less Co2 emmissions as aircraft are enormous contributors to human produced Co2.I was on a flight once (747) i was 1 of the 20 passengers,the airline would not put us on annother companys aircraft as if their aircraft did not take off they would lose the slot at that airport.

    3 Wildlife (birds e.g.) are returning to airport areas.

    4 This ash high in the atmosphere will blockout some of the sund radiant energy,yes? and as a result help cool the planet?
    Has anyone done any math to calculate by how much the current ash dispersed in atmosphere will reduce global temperatures?

  366. #374 Antony
    April 17, 2010

    Since Volcanoes are now caused by global warming (anyone see the nutter article today that the ice melting is causing a hotspot to somehow get more active even though in the Little Ice Age Laki erupted bigger lol), I prefer the US postal service to work Saturdays so we get more eruptions 😛

  367. #375 Boris Behncke
    April 17, 2010

    yes there it’s having a spectacular comeback – but this time even I was ready to expect this if you read my previous posts carefully.

  368. #376 blf
    April 17, 2010

    Also, volcanic ash poses more threat to jet engines than to the old kind with propellers (not sure what they’re called in English).

    Maybe. The ash will still sandblast the windows, clog the vents, and stick to parts of the aircraft. It will also be ingested into the air-intakes, and presumably clog the filters. What it won’t do (except perhaps in turboprops?) is melt, which is what it does in turbojets.

  369. #377 Anna
    April 17, 2010

    Philip #362:

    Wonderful video!

  370. #378 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    @Boris (#370). I find it hard to belive that you could be taken by surprise as with your vast experince you know what to expect and when to expect it – even the unexpected! 😉

  371. #379 Rudolf Posch
    April 17, 2010

    Hi scientists and Volcano lovers!
    I have added some (35) annotated selected webcam screen shots from yesterday April 16th evening and today morning to my Picasa Web album “My favorite shots from Mila and Vodafone webcams”

    The recent pictures are chronologically at the end of the album. Look into the album and enjoy!

  372. #380 James Reynolds
    April 17, 2010

    Wow, it’s really going full bore again! Amazing scenes on the webcams now!!

  373. #381 Boris Behncke
    April 17, 2010

    @Henrik (#373), being surprised is part of the business in volcanology. Etna does surprise us each time she does something. This is because volcanoes are terribly complex systems. Basically one should be prepared for anything to happen at any volcano, and then carefully evaulate what is more probable and what is less so. Because the most apocalyptic scenarios are the least likely, we should consider them a remote possibility and try to be prepared for the worst case, but not waste too much time pondering on it (or, as certainly some people do, long for it to happen, or others, be excessively worried about it). Etna has had Plinian eruptions as recently as 2100 years ago – for a volcano that’s just an instant ago – and cataclysmic caldera-forming eruptions with pyroclastic flows extending at least 15-20 km from its summit 15,000 years ago – that’s still very little geologically speaking. I am not worried at all about this.

    So it is far far more likely that Eyjafjallajökull will continue at this scale, maybe get a bit stronger, and then a bit less violent, and maybe like this for a couple of months or years and that’s already going to be a problem for Iceland and possibly for international air traffic. It’s hardly what one would wish to see continue. But a scenario which envisages a massive, caldera-forming eruption or maybe even a sector collapse, and an Atlantic-wide tsunami… well, not impossible, but very very very unlikely. If the Icelandic scientists had the faintest impression something like this could happen they would absolutely certainly discuss this with the responsible authorities in all areas that could possibly be affected.

    @Bruce (#337) The Ruapehu comparison does spring into one’s mind indeed. That’s absolutely the same type of eruption as Ruapehu did in 1995-1996, and also in 1945.

  374. #382 motsfo
    April 17, 2010

    i’ve been here since it started (yesterday)
    and it’s 1:30am here in Alaska.
    Where’s the “off” button…..
    Good Night,

  375. #383 motsfo
    April 17, 2010

    i’ve been here since it started (yesterday)
    and it’s 1:30am here in Alaska.
    Where’s the “off” button…..
    Good Night,

  376. #384 eddie
    April 17, 2010

    Thanks VulcanEye. So-far, the eruption is not reaching the stratosphere so it will not affect the whole global climate. It will make europe and russia cooler for a number of years, and the reduction in air travel will also certainly offset carbon emissions.

    It seems now that, given the economic impact, both main parties in UK elections want the libdems to win 😉

  377. #385 Mr. Moho
    April 17, 2010

    Even if the global climate will most likely not be affected, wouldn’t its effects on the regional (european) climate be reason of concern?

  378. #386 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    Boris, isn’t that dichotomy present in all of us? To want to do/see something for the excitement it offers and not want to do/see it as we dread the consequences and whichever side we lean towards is defined by our capacity for compassion and level of understanding?

  379. #387 eddie
    April 17, 2010

    I think concerns would likely be along the lines of;

    regional cooling -> more demand for domestic heating
    -> more fossil fuel burning -> more global warming.

    Others’ thoughts?

  380. #388 Zulu
    April 17, 2010

    The eruption looks quite impressive on the webcams but i think that’s also to the effect that we have clear skies today for the first time since Wednsday.

    Neverthanless, the amplitude of the vulcanic tremor is showing an increase at the moment.

    At my place here in Southern Germany the ash cloud is clearly visible at the moment. There’s a fine milky layer (brownish tone towards western horizon) in front of the blue sky

  381. #389 kere
    April 17, 2010

    The weather forecast for next week looks good.ðurland/Eyjafjallajökull/long.html

  382. #390 Jón Frímann
    April 17, 2010

    @Boris Behncke, This is a Andesite type of eruption according to the chemical analyse of the ash. So it is going to remain explosive even if there is no water in the top crater.

    According to the news here in Iceland the plume has been reaching ~9km over night. The eruption still shows fluctuation.

  383. #391 mike
    April 17, 2010

    Anyone remember the movie Dante’s Peak? Volcanologists at the time ridiculed it for the scenario of a mild basaltic lava eruption followed by a larger-scale explosive eruption. But that seems to be what has happened here.

  384. #392 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    The dragon has carved a new tunnel under the glaciers snout over night truly impressive how powerful flowin water can be to eat holes in a rock wall now there are 3

  385. #393 R. de Haan
    April 17, 2010
  386. #394 stub
    April 17, 2010

    @354 Kamikazes were back a moment ago:

    She decided to expolode at quite interesting moment. Guys are ok anyway and propably flew to northern Iceland.

  387. #395 Monika
    April 17, 2010

    @ eddie (382) Or if the summers become more hot, we use much more energy for air conditioning… So we must stop the Earth spinning and keep everything the way it is now?
    I don’t think heating is the main problem, well.

    By the way, can you imagine how beautiful our sky is now? NO PLANES! No contrails, only vivid blue tint all over us. It is stunning! 🙂

  388. #396 Suw
    April 17, 2010

    Eyjaf appears to be having a bit of a coughing fit, with the eruption pausing momentarily a couple of times between 12noon and 12:20pm (BST):

    Note two clear air patches in the plume:

    And a few minutes later:

    Unfortunately I didn’t catch the initial cough, as my screen capture software chose that moment to force an update! Grr at technology.

  389. #397 pyromancer76
    April 17, 2010

    @eddie #382. I assume you are being facetious re your conclusion “regional cooling -> more demand for domestic heating -> more fossil fuel burning -> more global warming. I hope the scientists and science-lovers on this site understand that human-caused CO2/Global Warming (AGW) has been proven to be a scam (Steve; EM; last few years of the Best Science Blog and many other real science sites).

    1) Physics — there is a limited physical ability of CO2 to warm the atmosphere; 2) Math/statistics — CO2 is a miniscule trace gas in the atmosphere; 3) Geological history — rising CO2 follows global warming rather than causing it; 4) Biomass history — plants gobble up their primary nutrient and when the flora flourishes CO2 seems to diminish.

    We need all the energy resources we can develop reasonably; this does not include windmill turbine power or even massive solar developments. They are not efficient and are being developed only with your tax money. They take value away rather than produce value. Our biggest concern with energy development is as it has always been — real pollution that can be documented by proper science, not pseudo-science buddies approving each other’s papers in supposedly peer-reviewed journals. So far no one has shown that human-caused CO2 in the atmosphere is dangerous in any way. In fact, if one looks at the history of warming episodes of the Holocene and notices that we might be lingering in one of them longer than most, then we might welcome any CO2 warming we can add to the enormous forces of Earth. Take a look at modern Milankovitch theories.

    Further research in which I am interested: truly in-depth consideration of volcano/earthquake increase during deep minima. If solar activity gives only a small amount of changing temperature (Leif Svalgaard), then were the great number of volcanic eruptions during the 17th C to 18th C a significant part of the Little Ice Age fall in temperatures rather than the solar Maunder Minimum? I am aware of articles that claim that volcanoes are erupting/smoking all the time and that there is no statistical proof of more at minimima. I wish the matter could be revisited. However, do we have the geological research that can give us accurate answers at present?

  390. #398 Jón Frímann
    April 17, 2010
  391. #399 Suw
    April 17, 2010

    Captured a few more images from the Valahnúk webcam to illustrate the belchiness. They are all here (although one’s out of order because it uploaded at the wrong size):

    Looks like she’s erupting with vigour now though!

  392. #400 Suw
    April 17, 2010

    By the way, does anyone here use IRC (chat)? Would anyone be interested in an IRC channel to discuss realtime developments?

  393. #401 socuel
    April 17, 2010

    For the pre-eruption earthquakes plot nostalgics out there, there is now a Java applet that can animate EQ data from the IMO.

    You can test it here :

    It’s fresh out of the oven, so hard hat is required.
    It’s been somewhat tested by Michael (thanks Michael) and it seems that it doesn’t play well with Safari. It should work fine with Firefox, Chromium and IE though.

    In next the version, date selectors will be added, and a second dataset too (raw/reviewed EQ data).

    If you have any comments on the applet, please post un the comments on the applet’s page. I don’t want to clutter this thread with this.

    Have fun !

  394. #402 Mr. Moho
    April 17, 2010

    By the way, the THEY-REYK GPS deformation chart has been updated with yesterday’s temporary data point. It looks like deflation was just a temporary trend. Of course more points (days) will be needed to tell what’s happening with more certainty, but it doesn’t seem this eruption will be going to stop any time soon.

  395. #403 eddie
    April 17, 2010

    I’m sorry guys. Didn’t mean to attract the nutters, liars and conspiracy theorists.

  396. #404 suw
    April 17, 2010

    @socuel #396 – that is the best visualisation of the earthquakes i’ve seen so far. good job!

  397. #405 Nigle
    April 17, 2010

    If global warming is going to be introduced then you might as well include all the other religous cults. How about sticking to the facts this event is interesting enough without fairy tales. Keep up the good work gentlemen.

  398. #407 Andrew
    April 17, 2010

    Hello all,

    I have not seen any comments here about that other recent eruption at Grimsvötn 2004. I know that eruption lated only about a week, but it was also subglacial and pictures seem to show a good sized ash plume. And yet I do not remember any international impact from that eruption. Does anyone know more detail on this?

  399. #408 Anna
    April 17, 2010

    Andrew # 402:

    The eruption didn’t last long and probably the ash blew northwards.

  400. #409 Volcanophile
    April 17, 2010

    @kris: Totally fantastic. How can you spell “Holy $h1t” with your hands trembling in admiration?

    If you look closely, you can see now the glow from the lava at the base of the plume. Does this mean the eruption is transitioning into a purely magmatic (Vulcanian?)phase?

  401. #410 Kris B
    April 17, 2010

    and lets not forget the sunny black day and the people right under the plume, it’s so dark that drivers don’t see the road and they have to wear masks inside their cars…

  402. #411 Andrew
    April 17, 2010

    Thanks Anna!

  403. #412 ray
    April 17, 2010

    From BBC website:

    Volcanologist Thor Thordarson told the BBC there may be more to come from Iceland: “We are probably in for quite a long run of eruptions from Icelandic volcanoes – a number are ready to erupt and probably will within the next few years.

    “The last two times this volcano erupted it was followed by a significantly larger eruption from the neighbouring Katla volcano, which typically produces much larger eruptions, plus floods. Whether they are a coincidence or whether they have some links we don’t know.”


  404. #413 stub
    April 17, 2010


    BBC article about Grimsvötn 2004.

  405. #414 Jón Frímann
    April 17, 2010

    Eyjafjallajökull is making massive ash cloud at the moment. It is huge, and it seems to be growing.

  406. #415 R. de Haan
    April 17, 2010

    By the way, can you imagine how beautiful our sky is now? NO PLANES! No contrails, only vivid blue tint all over us. It is stunning! 🙂

    Posted by: Monika | April 17, 2010 7:22 AM

    Yes, another step back for civilization, something that makes many Earth Day fanatics very happy. It’s beautiful!

  407. #416 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    At the moment and for the past half-an-hour or so (-13.27GMT), a substantial amount of the ash column is travelling along and on the ground, down the SW slope. I s’pose it’s an academic question whether or not this qualifies as a pyroclastic flow.

  408. #417 Dasnowskier
    April 17, 2010

    Could this eruption still be in a “throat clearing” phase waiting for a stronger blast? Andesite eruptions are explosive aren’t they ?

  409. #418 Kris B
    April 17, 2010

    Some plumes are white, some black, any child can see that, but with so many eruption experts here, can somebody explain why, since both come from encounters of water, ice and magma, what is the real difference…?

  410. #419 Dasnowskier
    April 17, 2010

    I just saw a helicopter flying tword the Volcano on the web cam. Maybe some new video coming.

  411. #420 M. Randolph Kruger
    April 17, 2010

    Latest ash dispersals and expecteds for the next 12 to 24…. graphics.

    It is expanding. The areas noted in RED are considered to be dangerous or are expected to be.

    No significant risk above FL 350…

    Like you could climb in clear air to get to it?

    FVXX01 EGRR 171240
    DTG: 20100417/1200Z
    PSN: N6338 W01937
    SUMMIT ELEV: 1666M
    ADVISORY NR: 2010/014
    OBS VA DTG: 17/1200Z

  412. #421 Volcanophile
    April 17, 2010

    @ Kris:
    Might depend on the ratio magma/water involved.

    My guess is the activity is cyclic because meltwater actually seeps into the cracks into the caldera.

    Every time water enters there, it quenches the magma and flashes to steam (black to white). As the quenched magma blocks up the conduit pressure rises until the cap is blown off in a big explosion. Then water infiltrates again and the cycle resets.

  413. #422 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    any one know how many eruption sites there are ? watching Hvolsvelli before the last bang i thought i saw a puddytat actually at least 3 individual rising clouds with discreet stems

  414. #423 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    the other question does it look to any one else like the beasty in migrating towards the river valley re images on Valahnúk and vodafone especially the vodafone images yesterday vs today even with the cloud cover yesterday it looked further away during the clear spells

  415. #424 Shelly
    April 17, 2010

    I saw that too..

    Am watching the vodaphone cam mostly, keeping my eye on the lower cam, is the front edge of the glacial shelf growing?? am totally amature where volcano’s are concerned but excited all the same.

  416. #425 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    I think it is in the process of falling apart it may be moving but it has lost a huge amount of mass over the last week comparing pre glacier eruption to now

  417. #426 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    to the other mythologists here where was loki chained up?

  418. #427 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    Try the Hvolsvelli cam (Mila) instead for some pyroclastic flows! (I am pretty certain.)

  419. #428 robert somerville
    April 17, 2010

    south side of volcano is sure getting a dump of ash … could we call it a hot pyroclastic flow, or not ? I suspect if it was very hot we would be getting reports of flooding , assuming there are any people there to report it …

  420. #429 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    Look to the side where there’s a streak of brownish white smoke along the path and also, in the gaps between bursts how steam rises in tall plumes (must be 100s of metres high). There certainly is some melting going on in the path of those clouds, question is “how much”!

  421. #430 deej49
    April 17, 2010

    could it be possible that after this eruption quiets down that what we will have left is the 5th lava lake in the world. It seems to me that is a possibility. As the eruption began six weeks ago with basaltic fissure eruption, then where has that magma gone? it is my opinion that it could be accumulating within the base of the openings that are apparent on the top of the glacier. Just a thought but it would be fantastic for iceland to have a lava lake.

  422. #431 Erik Klemetti
    April 17, 2010

    If I’m seeing what you all are seeing, those could be considering pyroclastic flows formed from column collapse. They might also be billowing ash settling out of the column, so they might not be true flows, but instead a nice steady “ash drift”. That being said, it might not be too surprising to see some minor ash flows during the eruption.

  423. #432 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    it is starting to look as though the glacier snout the vodafone is looking at is going to be consumed as the eruption is moving closer to the breachc

  424. #433 GT McCoy
    April 17, 2010

    In my years in aviation, I was around both Volcanic -St.Helens- and Wildfire activity as I was an Aerial Firefighter. I would fly through smoke from a fire any
    day, but Volcanic Ash-forget it. One of my many St.Helens
    trips had a USGS fellow say: “Can’t you get_Closer!_”
    -while a nice Ash and Steam plume was coming off the building
    dome. I said “Yes, but we might not make it out of the
    crater if both engines quit..”
    We stayed upwind…
    I am impressed with the Icelandic efforts to document this..

  425. #434 Mattias Larsson
    April 17, 2010

    The ash cloud heading south is easy to see in this satellite sequence

  426. #435 Henrik
    April 17, 2010

    Erik! Look at the Hvolsvelli cam now if you’re not and tell us what we see, please!

  427. #436 Birger Johansson
    April 17, 2010

    @ 268, 276 : Regarding the surprising long-distance reach of the thunder. The sound is refracted by layers of air that conduct sound at slightly different speed due to temperature differences. The effect is like an acoustic lens that bends the sound, usually downwards so the thunder from the volcanic eruption ir refracted sideways and downwards instead of radiating away in a spherical pattern.
    The same effect was observed at Mount St Helens, where towns at intermediate distance heard noting, but distant towns heard the explosion well. Sometimes only infrasound survives the trip -the windows in Gotland shook with the German artillery bombardment on the Eastern Baltic coast 1941, even though there was no audible sound.

    A very common variant of the phenomenon can be experienced on chilly winter’s days, when the temperature inversion near the ground makes faraway sounds appear nearby- many have gotten lost in the woods because of this confusion (I know I have).
    Surprisingly, there appears to be an optical counterpart of the effect you can see on very cold winter evenings with high air humidity: Instead of streetlights being surrounded with a diffuse spherical halo of refracted light, the light seems to have a preferred up/down orientation. This makes distant sources of light appear to be connected to diffuse colums of light going straight up for a hundred yards or more.

  428. #437 Kris B
    April 17, 2010

    @Gina #417, yes three main wents have been documented by radar from airplane and satellite, maybe they behave to some extent independently:

    and their likeness to Edward Munch’s Scream is striking,

    and even the colour of the sky in the Scream is thought to have volcanic explanations…

  429. #438 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    Hvolsvelli appears to be showing ash flow events to the right of the visible venting

  430. #439 Birger Johansson
    April 17, 2010

    To avoid disastrous engine failure in mid-air, I agree that ekranoplanes would be a safer high-speed option over the North Atlantic right now.
    Another option that would be impervious to disaster would be the highly manouverable spherical airships designed by Hokan Colting. Since the tensile strength of the canopy prevents the gas to expand beyond the safe maximum altitude, you do not need any ballast in mid-flight, nor do you have to worry if the engines fail, you will simply drift with the wind.
    -To make safe close-up observations of an active volcano, you would just have to make sure that the wind direction will take you away from the volcanic plume if the engines fail.
    [And if you have enough oxygen, you could circumnavigate the world with the jet stream in less than three weeks 🙂 ]

  431. #440 Shelly
    April 17, 2010

    Anyone else wishing that Hvolsvelli cam would pan right. 🙂

  432. #441 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    yes shelly have to wait for the maint crew to visit it

  433. #443 Fireman
    April 17, 2010

    @Shelly 435:

    Don’t forget the other cams: give a wider view showing the top of the plume and shows the entire plume from a fair distance; good for estimating height (currently ~ 6-7km as I eyeball it)

  434. #444 Hans
    April 17, 2010

    Jon’s geo-phone indicates the volcano is relatively quiet and yet the pictures show a very active and powerful vent on the Hvolsvelli cam on what I assume is the North – upwind – side of the volcano. Also there may be some pyroclastic flows on the downwind side of the plume. In any event if this is a quiet moment I’d love to see what it looks like when the geo-phones are really humming. The explosions must be amazing if you are close enough to hear.

  435. #445 Shelly
    April 17, 2010

    @Fireman…. Thanks.. 🙂

  436. #446 Jón Frímann
    April 17, 2010

    @Hans, There is a 10m/s wind masking the harmonic tremor from the volcano. There is also a cultural noise now showing up on my geophone. But for the most part I am seeing the harmonic tremor from Eyjafjallajökull.

  437. #447 bruce stout
    April 17, 2010

    @ Hans # 438 this morning just after daybreak was a very powerful jet of ash that went up as high as the volcano appears from the Holsvelli webcam (guesstimate 800+ meters) within the space of seconds before it started billowing. Very impressive display of power. Haven’t seen anything comparable yet, mind you I am enjoying glorious contrail-free weather in the south of Germany right now 😉

  438. #448 Randall Nix
    April 17, 2010

    Gina Loki was bound with the entrails of his own son….and I think it was at or near Franangrsfors at least that was where he was caught;)

  439. #449 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    web trafic must be huge i have lost 2 Mila feeds and vodafone

  440. #450 bruce stout
    April 17, 2010

    Gina, me too. I’m going back out into the sun!!

  441. #451 Andrew
    April 17, 2010

    @Fireman – thanks for posting your picture of Gígjökull from earlier this month. The pristine state of the glacier at that point is a stark contrast to how it looks on the web cams today

    @Gina 427: If you have not seen this image it may be a good reference

  442. #452 Thomas Nygreen
    April 17, 2010

    @Fireman 437:
    I think this is the best one now:
    Updates approximately every 10 seconds.

  443. #453 Hans
    April 17, 2010

    @Jon – thanks for the clarification. Fantastic work getting those geo-phones set up. That was brilliant.

    @Bruce – I am in western Canada, just having breakfast and I think I saw the same jet. It was a very black, andesite or basalt, jet that shot up in an instant. There even looked to be a shockwave in the ash clouds high above. All in all a very impressive display.

    Anyway … I must now race off to work 🙁

  444. #454 Zander
    April 17, 2010

    Some awesome footage of last nights lightning and the eruption today on Shows just how powerful this thing is .

  445. #455 Jón Frímann
    April 17, 2010

    I do believe now that the eruption is going to get more explosive soon. When I don’t know. But I am seeing clues in that direction. But it is far from certain that this is going to happen.

    But my model is predicting that for some reason. It might be happening now. Because a lull in the activity was predicted before that is going to happen.

    Now I just wait and see.

  446. #456 Shelly
    April 17, 2010

    I noticed she was quietning down.. The lull before the storm then….

  447. #457 Brian
    April 17, 2010

    @Gina Maybe a fibre’s burnt through or a microwave dish succumbed to the ash. When I tried one of the alternate cameras just now it looked like the eruption had stopped but it seems to have been a short nap because now there has been a big black explosion.

  448. #458 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    Looks like we’re off to the races again! Great call, Jón!

  449. #459 Anna
    April 17, 2010

    Jón #448:

    Yes, i will be interesting to see what happens. Icelandic scientists seem to be at a loss — or they just prudently refrain from making predictions. A geophysicist from the Uni said only a couple of hours ago that she saw signs that the eruption is winding down but she appears to be alone in thinking so.

  450. #460 Passerby
    April 17, 2010

    Agreed, Jon. On the global scale, EQ activity is again increasing. Note the ‘walking’ pattern from south to north on the US west coast fault system from Mexico to the Canadian border. Also the large EQ west of the China-S Qinghai activity centroid (which ruptured at approximately the same time as Eyjaf subglacial eruption) and continued activity in the Western S Pacific.

    This could be visualized as another rolling ‘flex’ of the crust, with an increase of vertical pressure through the mantle-crust interface and horizontal stress-strain jump at loaded (susceptible) members.

  451. #461 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    interesting cycle happening on the Valahnúk cam the eruption goes calm screen clears then a steam explosion followed in seconds by a black plumed explosion usually enough to black out most of the view then repeat in about a 30-60 min cycle
    the timing is more than likely off due to the net being overloaded at the moment the mila cams had been almost real time feeds now they are intermittent the ones still on line that is

  452. #462 Shelly
    April 17, 2010

    She just woke from a short nap, Jon you were right, or is this just another tantrum heading for the big melt down? 🙂

  453. #463 parclair
    April 17, 2010

    Here is a linguist’s take on the pronuciation of our pet:

    (crossposted on Eyjafjallajökull eruption update for 4/17/2010)

  454. #464 Shelly
    April 17, 2010

    Heres a screen shot taken just before she woke from her short slumber,, did anyone else see that helicopter? I couldn’t see it on any of the other webcams?

  455. #465 Matt P
    April 17, 2010
  456. #466 Jón Frímann
    April 17, 2010

    I want to clear something up. My model is predicting a magnitude of one or two bigger eruption happening soon in Eyjafjallajökull. I am still trying to work out the phases in Eyjafjallajökull. But it might be that we are on the second phase already. It is hard to know. It might not even be known until after the eruption has finished. But we are going to know soon what happens.

  457. #467 Kathy B.
    April 17, 2010

    Finally just caught up!
    @R.deHaan 248 Thanks!
    Really aggravating w/o web cam views, but thanks to everyone for capturing vids & pix & especially for all the other info sites. No time to read everything today, but have book marked for later perusal. Actually have folks who formerly listened politely to my excited info. (pat on head – yes dear) asking me questions, some of which I can answer due to the amazing amount of solid info available on this blog. Thank you Thank you all.

  458. #468 Passerby
    April 17, 2010

    Simon Carn (Michigan Tech Univ and the SO2 Group, UMBC) has posted the following on the Volcano list-serv:

    ‘For anyone looking for information on the Eyjafjallajökull eruption derived from satellite remote sensing, I have put together a website with some resources here:

    This is part of the IAVCEI Remote Sensing Commission website.

    Regarding any speculation on the climate impacts of this eruption to date, measurements by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on April 15 revealed only ~4 kilotons of SO2 in the volcanic cloud. Data from April 16 show reduced amounts.’

    The IAVCEI>Eruptions website also provides satellite information from the Chaitén 2008, Redoubt 2009 and Sarychev Peak 2009 eruption events.

    Thanks Simon!

  459. #469 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    do you think a caldera collapse is likely?
    that depends on how large a void is left after all the ejecting is done but i don’t know yet

  460. #470 Passerby
    April 17, 2010

    Gina, please read Boris’ comments posted earlier today.

  461. #471 Jón Frímann
    April 17, 2010

    @Gina, I cannot predict caldera collapse, not even with good data. But if it does, the warning is going to be short just before that happens. But I do hope that is not the case now. Because the effect of that would be massive. Both for Iceland and Europe.

    Eyjafjallajökull is a 700.000 year old volcano. There must have been a episode like this before in it. But what it lead to is unknown to me and science.

  462. #472 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    Passerby thanks
    i don’t think it would be a nasty thing if it did happen but that depends on the size of any void created eh

  463. #473 Passerby
    April 17, 2010 has posted striking photos of last night’s volcanic ash cloud lightning.

  464. #474 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    thanks Jón & Passerby
    just curious, a basalt eruption is from what i understand a feed thing from deep sources and the higher silica eruptions are usually from a storage chamber closer to the surface that consume the available material leaving a void

  465. #475 Gina
    April 17, 2010

    thanks to all for the great info i think it’s time to take a rest

  466. #476 Mattias Larsson
    April 17, 2010

    Meiby we should continue the discussion in the new fresh thread soon. This one is starting to get a bit long 🙂

    By the way. Here is a nice webcam shot

    I really love that webcam!

    If you right click on it and copy the “picture webb adress” and then past it into a new browser tab you can get it on mega-size 🙂 You will end up with

    It will update when you update the page, just like the original webcam page. I guess you can do the same with the other webcam shots, but they are not showing the volcano.

  467. #477 Mattias Larsson
    April 17, 2010

    Meiby we should continue the discussion in the new fresh thread soon. This one is starting to get a bit long 🙂

    By the way. Here is a nice webcam shot

  468. #478 Diane
    April 17, 2010

    Head for the new thread, folks. I agree, Mattias.

  469. #479 Mattias Larsson
    April 17, 2010

    I really love that webcam!

    If you right click on it and copy the “picture webb adress” and then past it into a new browser tab you can get it on mega-size 🙂 You will end up with

    It will update when you click update in the browser. I guess you can do the same with the other webcam shots, but they are not showing the volcano.

  470. #480 Mattias Larsson
    April 17, 2010

    Sorry for the double post. I didn´t think the first one got through

  471. #481 Frito Lay
    April 17, 2010

    Mattias, thank you so much for the mulakot directions! Perhaps you could also post this information on the newer thread?

  472. #482 parclair
    April 17, 2010

    Since there are two entries after this thread, I suggest we move to the most recent. It’s tiring having 3 windows open and skipping between them;-)

  473. #483 Boris Behncke
    April 17, 2010

    I’ve been away for most of the day and just caught up a little bit with what has happened (no significant change as it seems, which is a good thing), and what has been said.

    The idea that andesite eruptions are only explosive is WRONG. There are extensive andesite lava flows and domes around on this planet, formed by effusive activity. Mount St. Helens did emit numerous andesite lava flows during an eruptive period between the 1480s and 1700s. Montserrat is building an andesite lava dome since 1995. Even dacite can erupt virtually non-explosively, as the 2004-2008 dome-building eruption of Mount St. Helens has impressively illustrated. It depends on the gas content, if there’s not much gas such as water vapor and carbon dioxide, there will be little explosive activity. On the other hand, a lot of water vapor and carbon dioxide will make even a basaltic volcano very explosive, Etna being the most significant example of that type. Magma chemistry is not all, gas content (H2O and CO2 in particular) are equally if not more important.

    But it is true that most andesitic activity is explosive at least for some time, but in some cases it calms down and emits lava as either a dome or a flow. There’s no way to say if any of this is going to happen here. Gas measurements are certainly one way to understand if the eruption is running out of explosivity and will either continue more effusively or end alltogether.

    A caldera collapse in itself will be less of a problem than the eruption that creates that much of a void under a volcano that it can collapse to leave a caldera. Caldera-forming eruptions commonly produce pyroclastic flows, which are not a pleasant thing, and pyroclastic flows scouring and melting glacier, well .. the outcome of that has been seen in 1985 at Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia.

    I have the impression nobody has seen the first aerial photos of the caldera and the vents so far, which once more have been posted at Flickr. So here we go:

  474. #484 GeorgeR
    April 18, 2010


    I’m seeing glowing stuff ejecting on the Hvolsvelli cam. Big explosions and red stuff arcing through the sky.

    Thank you for this blog so that I had a chance to see this live.

  475. #485 gsgs
    April 19, 2010

    so, how much SO2 is emitted by E. per day
    any estimates ?

    The meaurements of particle concentration at
    airplane height, are they available ?
    Can we make a colorcoded map
    of Europe updated daily ?

  476. #486 Samen
    April 19, 2010

    I love comment number 2

    “Off topic, and on a positive note, the closure of european airspace due to the volcanic ash cloud probably led to a good nights sleep for hundreds of thousends of residents across europe living near airports. In my home town of Almere the Netherlands, the effect is stunning. No noise (normally evry 50 seconds a jet pases over) I can hear birds singing and i even woke up at 5 am because something was “missing”: ie the aircraft noise… I do feel sorry for all the stranded passengers, but for now it is almost heavenly quiet.

    Posted by: Bas v D | April 16, 2010 9:20 AM”

  477. #487 thor
    May 12, 2010

    I am In Awe,. wow, look at the plume,.

    eyjafjöll reminds me more and more about the volcano In the movie Dantes Peak,. look at that.. There is no words really..

    what`s next this Lady have in store for us?

  478. #488 quinn
    May 16, 2010

    THAT. IS. CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! no wonder they shut down all the airports, just imagine flying through that!!!!!!!!!!
    that is too much for words to explain.

  479. #489 jodie green
    May 24, 2010

    is it true that the other volcano neer this one could erupt and destroy the human race like the dinosures

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    December 13, 2010

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