Threat of Icelandic ash closes airspace over Europe

The ash from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption as it spreads over Europe on April 15, 2010.

The newly-subglacial Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010 has now begun to be felt outside of Iceland. The ash being thrown into the atmosphere from this explosive phase of the eruption has prompted officials in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Norway to close the airspace above their nations due to the threat that ash poses to jet aircraft. Remember, the silica glass shards that make up most ash can melt inside jet engines, causing them to stall - which could lead to crashing. Luckily, so far we have not seen this at any eruption, but we have had a couple near misses when the airplane lost power to all four engines. This closure of much of the airspace over northern Europe has disrupted travel all over the continent and into/from North America - and exactly when the airspace will reopen is unclear. There is also the problem that if the eruption continues, the prevailing winds will push the ash over more of Europe into Russia, so we might expect more countries closing their airspace later this week.
UPDATE: More details of the eruption from an Eruptions reader in Iceland.
UPDATE II: Very premature, but the media is already talking up the climate angle on the eruption.

Eyjafjallajokull eruption on April 14, 2010 as seen from space. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory.

As for the eruption itself, all reports suggest it is going strong. The plume has reached anywhere from 8,000-11,000 meters and was spectacular on a Terra image taken yesterday (see above), stretching across southern Iceland over the clouds. There have been sporadic floods related to the eruption as the glacier melts from the heat from the new fissure - you can see some of the eruption footage here (although the video is in Icelandic) - you can see more footage here as well. Hundreds of people were evacuated from areas threatened by the floods and significant property and roadway damage has already been reported. What is most impressive is the amount of grey volcanic debris already being washed down the drainages into the lowlands and out to sea.

Armannn Hoskuldsson of the University of Iceland said that the eruption is purely explosive, with no signs of lava flows, most likely due to the abundant water near the vents. The BBC has posted some great images of the eruption, show the towering plume that is part dark grey ash and part white steam - you can see this as well in the shot sent to me by Eruptions reader Jorge Santos (below). If the weather conditions are good, you can follow the eruption on the various webcams around the volcano. In all, this is an explosive impressive event that follows weeks of fairly passive Hawaiian-style volcanism - a lesson in how quickly the nature of an eruption can change.
UPDATE: And this is why Business Week should stay out of the volcano-reporting business.

A shot of the grey and white plume from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption on April 14, 2010. Image courtesy of (and copyright) Jorge Santos.

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The steam and ash plume from the Eyjafjallajökull subglacial eruption that started early morning, April 14, 2010. Well, after the brief respite when there was speculation Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption might be over, we now know what was going on. After the original fissures ceased…
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Too many clouds on the webcams . . . . rats.

Helka web cam is a complete white out is that snow or ash?

Hekla is due north of Eyjafjallajökull. Winds are currently from SW and W in the area. Sum: It's more likely to be snow.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Posting this here as well. :)

Just got out of a meeting with all the main scientists dealing with this little crisis. :)

The latest:

- Not sure when it began. Earthquake swarm subsided, replaced with gradual tremor onset. Gradual onset much like the Fimmvorduhals eruption.

- Currently tremor is increasing. There are highs and lows in activity but the general trend is up.

- GPS stations in the area shows a subsidence on Friday following the end of Fimmvorduhals, then a sudden increase on Monday preceeding this eruption. At least one showed a sudden subsidence again immediately before or during the very early part of the new eruption.

- Tephra fall is currently around 5mm depth near to the volcano, and is ongoing and quite heavy now. The plume is blowing east and tephra fall is confined to quite a narrow zone.

- Late afternoon yesterday, the plume was seen to begin to contain darker patches. Darkened very rapidly at around 6-7pm, indicating the onset of full phreatomagmatic activity.

- Tephra fall was initially very dark, either basaltic or basaltic-andesitic although it has not been analysed yet. Reports this morning of a gradual change to lighter colours, grey-brown. Maybe more evolved magmas are making it to the surface? Again, no actual analysis done yet. The university don't even have tephra samples in hand yet due to transport issues.

- Tephra is (was?) very fine-grained and so there are some worries about the fluorine content (smaller particles, larger surface area, more fluorine on surface...).

- 'Best guess' is that the eruption rate is 10x that of the Fimmvorduhals eruption, based on fissure length and the rate of ice melting, but this really is a total guess.

Business Week should probably stay out of business reporting too ;)

@5 James. Its interesting that you mentioned the fluorine. HF is present as a trace gas in many basaltic eruptions, but is often slightly higher in Icelandic lavas. Its infamous there because of the Laki fissure eruption in 1783. HF in the Vog over time contaminated the grazing grasses, which poisoned and killed much of the livestock. This created famine amongst the Icelandic population. Here's the important thing to remember, it was not so much the concentration of HF (which was still a small percentage of the gas), but the volume of the eruption, one of the largest historically recorded series of lava flows. Even a small percentage of a large volume over time winds up being a large amount. This eruption is nowhere near as close in volume as 1783.

The precautions mentioned for handling the ash seem prudent, since there will be a film of several acids on fresh tephra and HF is nasty stuff.

I bring this up only to head off any wild speculations that there is a toxic HF cloud resulting from this eruption.

Boris, do you think that this could be called a "phreatoplinian" style eruption?

Thanks so much for that update James, very interesting.

I'm not afraid to ask stupid question BUT once the weather clears is it possible to get up onto a safe portion of that glacier either by snow mobile or chopper? If so that's what I intend to do if possible...

I don't know about Boris, but I think phreatoplinian would be an excellent name for this eruption.


For sure. This isn't likely to end up in another Laki situation, but I know there were warning about fluorine up on Fimmvorduhals, so I assume they have the same worries here. Even if it's not going to kill 25% of the Icelandic population, it could still mess with livestock.

Funnily enough I had to write a quite extensive paper on Laki 1783-84 recently so it's quite fresh in my mind.

@James Reynolds:

I was told today that it's very fractured up there, and you'd have a lot of trouble. Certainly you'd need a guide to get you across it safely - someone who knows the safe routes. And I'd bet they've been covered in fresh snowfall since anyone was last really up there, so it's probably not a great idea.

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend it. I'm not one who never takes unneccessary risks, but even I wouldn't try that one.

@Henrik 233 previous thread, LOVED your story. Are you a story-teller by trade? If not, you might consider writing....

@James, 316 previous thread, thanks for the update.

@Jon Friman, you're work, reports and predictions, FTW

James - thanks for that, appreciate the feedback. I certainly wouldn't venture into that area without a guide since I'm unfamiliar with the region.

Once I'm on the ground I'll try and assess what's possible and not possible.

Thanks again.

My background - freelance videographer covering severe weather, eruptions etc! Mayon was the last eruption I covered so the geography of this event couldn't be more different!

I think its also not only a matter of HF but also of soluble fluorid, which can easily get into the food of animals.
@James Reynolds: I don't think that anybody who knows this area is actually going up. I wouldn't try this either.

#7 EKoh

"Here's the important thing to remember, it was not so much the concentration of HF (which was still a small percentage of the gas)"

It is my understanding that it isn't so much HF gas that is a problem as it is that the fluorine components are extremely water soluble and quickly enter the bio-system via water transport. Water transports it to the roots of plants which take it up and are eaten by animals as well is transport it to drinking water. The fluorine components leach out of the ash, scoria, lava, etc. quickly as water from natural precipitation percolates through it. They enter the food chain quickly and are hazardous in large amounts.

@Chris - I certainly won't be going anywhere alone without a local guide. I certainly appreciate the insight from people familiar with the region, thanks.

Looks like the weather is going to be pretty bad tomorrow then hopefully Saturday it will clear up to give us a better view of the eruption.

@Stefan, #14: Yes, thats right. The road through Mýrdalssandur is closed due to ashfall and wind. The sight has been reported to be below 50m in this area.

One thing I am interested in is the possibility that we can gain some context of the scale of previous eruptions in Iceland from looking at the effects of this one. For example, by comparing the amount of haze in Europe resulting from this one to accounts of "dry fogs" of the past, could we possibly get some idea of the size of those older events by comparing the impact of this event?

Granted, weather patterns are key and can produce different impacts at great distance even for the same size eruption but it is a thought experiment I found interesting.

#7: I don't know about Boris or Erik, but I think "Phreatoplinian" would be an excellent name for a band.


The fluorides present in ash may or may not be soluble. Sodium and Potassium fluorides are soluble and hence are toxic at relatively low levels. Calcium fluoride and most other fluoride salts are not soluble and are essentially non-toxic.

Ash from the 1989 eruption of Lonquimay in Chile contained large amounts of soluble fluorides (but no HF) and poisoned thousands of domesticated animals, but few people, as they could be told to avoid the ash and not eat the poisoned animals. A nasty way to die too, as with most poisons.

The large volcanic eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia in 1883 led to the colorful sunsets in the years after, and that should be the inspiration for Edvard Munch's psychedelic sky in the painting "The Scream".

@15 George,
You may certainly be right about the mechanism of toxicity, but the point remains that the problems from Laki were as much a function of the amount material that came out over time as the presence of F. As Chris @13 stated there could be an impact on livestock, which won' result in a famine of course, but won't help the Icelandic economy.

In any case, there is not a F-rich cloud coming from this eruption that is going instantly snuff out people. Again, I bring this up because some fear-mongers may start to proclaim that very thing is going to happen (all the while asserting they hope it does not, but fear it will).

@James, do they know why the ash has been turning light coloured rather then dark like before (?).

There is a lot of wind on my Hekla station. The harmonic tremor has been lost in it. I think.

Hi Erick, thanks for your coverage and insights. currently tracks 15 blogs on the topic of Volcanoes and is thus a great way to scan many data sources at once of this breaking story.

If anyone would like to have a blog added to the site, just enter it into the "Sugesst a Blog" box.

Many thanks,


There is a clear recommendation from the authorities to wear dusk masks in the areas where the ash is falling and to avoid going out, if not neccessary.

On rereading the report on Lonquimay, there was some HF in the gas, but no poisonings from gas exposure, only through ingestion or inhalation of ash.

I can see that the amplitude is increasing on the Hekla seismometer, but I see a smaller smaller increse when I watch the tremor plots for the area around Eyjafjall.

Is this because the main tremor frequency is higher now, 2-4Hz is showing higher values than 1-2Hz and 0.5-1Hz. During the peak yesterday the highest amplitude was in 0.5-1 Hz part and 2-4 Hz was showing roughly the same amplitude as now.
I see on the Hekla page that the instrument used is a 4.5Hz geophone. Does this mean that it will best detect tremors with this frequency? That could explain what I am seeing.

Jon, am I right or is it the wind that effects the Hekla geophone?

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Jon 23#: Aha, it is the wind. Thanks :)

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Chris (25) The masks are needed for avoiding the mechanical dangers of the ash as it consists of tiny, sharp particles that could cause hemorrhage in the respiratory system when inhaled. The same would be caused inside the animals' mouth and stomach if they graze grass when it is covered with ash. Not only the fluorides are dangerous.

Boris, Parclair, thank you but it really is a paraphrase of "The Little Engine That Could" albeit with a different moral. Reading it over again, I realise it has to be redone when not in a somnolent but rather in a sufficiently caffeinated state. However...

"In the beautiful country of Italy, where oranges grow on trees and people smile a lot and drink chilled fruit drinks called granitas, there is a Grand Old Lady which we know as La Signora. Grown-ups simply call her Etna, rather unimaginatively and respectlessly I might add, but that's grown-ups for you. You and I know better, so we call her La Signora because she is harsh, beautiful and calculating and noone has ever understood her moods."

A question:

OK, so UK airspace (among others) is closed for what sound like very good reasons. But I keep hearing 'until 7 am tomorrow'... How come they expect it to be OK by then? Is that justified? If the volano is still going strong, what grounds are there for expecting fying conditions to be fine any time soon?

I hope someone here can answer this - it's not something I've seen even discussed in the media, let alone clearly explained...


Not that I know of, no. The current theories relate to either an increase in silica content, or something to do with particle size, I think. There was some debate about it in the meeting but it was mostly in Icelandic, so I didn't get much of it!

@outeast, #32: I think they cannot say "until further notice" since the airlines need some base for planning. I don't believe that they will fly tomorrow morning, which means my boss is stuck in the UK, another colleague, who wanted to go to Copenhagen today, is still stuck here in Iceland.

@Mattias Larsson, It is a mixture of wind and harmonic tremors. But the harmonic tremor is increasing at the moment. Current wind is 8.5m/s and that creates decent amount of noise on my Hekla sensor. But the eruption is there too, so at the moment it is quite hard to tell what is what. My 4.5Hz sensor can go down to 1Hz with good signal. It is a bit harder with frequency below 1Hz.

The harmonic tremor continues to increase according to IMO sensors. I do think that is mean increasing power of the eruption, and that is not good.

Jón! If I read that right, the latest measurements show that movement north decreases, east increases as does the movement upwards. In short - in spite of the eruption, inflation increases? Is that correct?

@36: VERY interesting data indeed!
Is it as I thought, that the now molten ice was countering the pressure from beneath the volcano?

This is a very interesting eruption. In the college natural disasters class that I teach, we are coincidentally dealing with volcanoes starting on April 19, and I think I will merely refer to this as the "current Icelandic eruption" rather than trying to say the proper Icelandic language skill is such that the name doesn't exactly just roll off my tongue!


Holy, cow, Jón. To someone who doesn't completely understand what he is looking at, that "up" chart doesn't look good. And combined with what you report from the IMO sensors, it looks like we aren't going to see a quick end to this one.

Is it possible that the current eruption's gone up a notch in the VEI scale to 3? If so, that could be the largest historical eruption of Eyjafjallajokull to date! Both the earlier historical eruptions in 1612 and 1821-23 were a 2 (about 0.01 and 0.04 cubic km, respectively according to the Smithsonian GVP) on the VEI scale. As for the eruption in circa 550 CE, it doesn't appear to be known, but Iceland wasn't settled by Vikings until a couple of centuries later. But I'm sure it's possible Eyjafjallajokull must've erupted more times than that throughout the Holocene and perhaps even Viking times.

On a personal note, this is probably going to be a pain in the rear if Eyjaf keeps it up (and probably will over the next several months) - I have a flight planned from Calgary to Manchester in about two weeks.


I think Chris is right here: they're saying "at least until $time" and the airlines then cancel any flights that fall into that timespan and wait on further decisions. This morning the $time was 1600 GMT today (15 April), so they've already extended it.

@Ekoh (#7) and Erik (#9), phreatoplinian did spring into my mind when seeing the first images of this eruption. It seems that the plume is quite tall for this sort of event (a phreatomagmatic eruption), it's quite violent, and it's neither Plinian (that would be fully magmatic without magma-water/glacier interaction) nor Vulcanian (fully magmatic, too), and ultra-Vulcanian is reserved for eruptions producing a lot of lithic material in discrete bursts, which is not what we see here.
@Angela (#19), when I was young and dreaming of becoming a rock star, one name I considered was "The Pyroclastic Flows", though "Phreatoplinian" wouldn't have been bad either :-)

Boris, I had a girlfriend named Shelly Pahoehoe...

By damon hynes (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@46: ...followed by a jump downwards, it seems.

A question for the wise.
All this ice that's melting must weigh rather a lot. Does the reduction in downforce on the mountain encourage the eruption or is the effect miniscule?

@50 Brian ... Just my ingnorant guess but 3 possibilities

1) Melt runoff produces isostatic rebound and relief of pressure.

2) Isostatic rebound reduces pressure and provides further opportunity for magma rushing up from below.

3) Pressure from below is increasing

Also, tremors have gone uptick but also downtick. It's ringing.

Based on the model linked in #28, looks like no flights for 2-3 days at least. Great site btw.

By Tom Byrne (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Followup question, re: Brian...

I am assuming the GPS stations are located on rock, not ice... Could the ice melt & weight removal result in the inflation seen on the GOLA GPS station?

If the weight removal is actually substantial, would this cause expansion of the material in the magma chamber as volatiles bubble out? (instead of injection of new material from below)

By lifeblack (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Boris and the The Pyroclastic Flows with all your favorite hits from their number one album, Phreatica:

Baby, You Know The Scoria
Tuff Stuff
Stratospheric Loading
You Are My Lahar of Love
Fire In The Water (aka Black Smoker)

... and many, many more!

Actually, make that last one "Smoke In The Water" with special guests, the Hydrothermal Vents.

Gina gets a GOLD STAR!!!
Excellent images

@50 and 51
Appreciable amounts of isostatic rebound is seen when there is a removal of very large amounts of ice, something the size of a continental ice sheet.
The rates of rebound are also very slow, not something that is readily observed over human timescales. Rates of a few cm per year have been calculated, but again that is after the retreat of large, km-thick ice sheets that covered substantial regions of continents. The scale of melting from this eruption is several orders of magnitude smaller.
Also isostasy involves the whole thickness of the crust and the upper mantle. The inflation and deflation you see during this eruption is due to magma movement in the very uppermost part of the crust.

@George (59) A whole set of literature talents meet here: Diane with her heartful poems, Henrik with his interesting fairy tales, and now you with those lyrics and humour! :-) Maybe someone would write a heroic poem in hexameters about Eyjaf's eruption in the style of Homer. :-)

re: Ekoh (#62) Instead of the crust / upper mantle readjusting to the reduced weight, could the inflation be caused by volatile-driven expansion of the magma as the weight of the ice overhead lessens?

By lifeblack (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thank you motsfo
the melt holes in the glacier are huge and growing i don't know how deep the ice was but that is one huge volume of water

@Jon: Watching your Helicorders there seems to be some major activity. It cant all be wind can it?

It started at 14.30 and have been going since. So how much of it is wind and how much of it is volcanic activity?

basically is she getting worse?

@Jon: Watching your Helicorders there seems to be some major activity. It cant all be wind can it?

It started at 14.30 and have been going since. So how much of it is wind and how much of it is volcanic activity?

basically is she getting worse?

There is information in the icelandic news that a big flood has started from GÃgjökul (the glacier tongue in the north of the volcano).

As long as the weather situation is relatively stable, with predictable winds (mostly west to east), passenger aircraft should have no trouble flying to and from Keflavik airport.
You might get an opportunity to do some volcano sightseeing this summer :-)

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

George, sometimes I regret not to have followed my adolescence dream of becoming a rock star. The titles you listed would have been inspiration enough to write the tunes around them ... plus one that actually a friend of mine (who is also a volcanologist) proposed, a reggae bit saying "don' like volcano". That was long before Montserrat came alive.

Being a complete outsider to vulcanology, I have no idea of how the rising volcanic gases interact with the meltwater of the overlying glacier, but I know there is a lot of concern in TV news over the volcanic dust lingering in the air for long.
Will the gases percolate up through the scalding hot water too quickly for the particles to settle as a colloid paticle/water mixture, or will the gases get somewhat "purified" from (some size category of) the particles?
If the smoke is water vapor with just traces of dust, the consequences for air traffic and reduced insolation might be less severe.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

There could be some local effects like that, but they're not required for deformation to occur. The movement of magma by itself into layers and fractures near the surface can cause inflation.
The latest info sounds like there was indeed a big meltwater lake forming on the vent. Wonder if it overflowed or breached, guess it could be a combination.

Re 77 There must be quite a bit of dust in the plume because there are reports now of some depositing on the ground in the Shetlands and on the UK mainland.

I captured a few images from the Vodafone cam (camera timestamps 18:56:22, 19:03:32 and 19:26:25) and it looks like GÃgjökull has already emptied out.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Re 79. There must be indeed.

I just went outside and saw dust deposited on the roofs of the cars parked on my street. I picked some of it up and it does look like little shards of glass so I guess it wasn't just dirt. I put a plate on the balcony to see if I can catch some ash tonight.

I live in Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. There has been a distinct smell all over the city since about noon. Not exactly like eggs but more like manure.

By Emanuel Landeholm (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Winds are forecast to change to out of the North tomorrow. That will play havoc with transatlantic aviation. Then winds are forecast to change WNW which will aim the ash more directly at Ireland, the UK, and France.

>Massive flood is under way from Eyjafjallajökull. It can be seen on the Vodafone web camera.

Yep, as predicted by the informative rolling tremor station graphs. Long build up before peaking today. Never heard of using this instrumentation method for meltwater runoff events, but it works a treat. Made possible by the improved monitoring system that has proved to be very useful. It's one of the best investments that IMO/Geologic Institute could have made.

Another helicopter flyover and IR-imaging expedition is warranted, as the fissures 'holes' could be shifting geometry.

@Brian 50 although I agree with Ekoh about slowness of isostatic rebound, one of the first papers I read about the relationship between earthquakes and snow cover was Japanese observance of heavy spring melts followed by increased EQ activity. The "lifting" effect of early Holocene ice burden on increased Icelandic volcanism was also the subject of two papers out of Nord Institute I read a few years ago... when I settle I'll find the citations... as there was a direct relationship with melting ice cover and volcanism in general. That is not to say how localised a phenomena it can become in this instance.

A few additional historic/pre-historic notes on fluorides. In 1105 I believe (I'm without notes at the moment) most monasteries in Europe lost their herds due to fluoridosis - I believe that was Hekla related. And on several occasions going further back, the population of Ireland left behind a record of times when "a snow fell which tasted like wine." I'm still attempting to time-match those chronicles to prominent prehistoric Icelandic eruptions, because soon after the people and animals usually succumbed to a widespread "mysterious plague." I agree - a horrible way to die.

I don't know if it's helpful at this point, but those of you who are eager to "climb aboard" and get up on the slopes, so to speak, please keep remembering the issue of periodicity.

I've pointed out in the past, and I think time is bearing me out, two factors seem to be at play (in addition to all the very wise geologic concerns about magma composition, etc.) somewhat consistently. Those are that all the shallow fissures broken open in the past month or more (many of which registered lower that magnitude 2 because the pressure resisting the magma expansion was lower at the shallow depths... and hence aren't retained as data except as "noise") remain available as possible exploitable avenues for "unannounced" new fissures.

The multi-channel strata seems to be unexpectedly vulnerable to the stronger forces of magma *during the push phases.* Meaning - we won't necessarily know in advance where it next comes out. This goes back to a very early point made by James.

And secondly, the periodicity seems to give unbelievable ferocity to certain "shoves upward," quite apart from any ongoing eruptive breakthrough. And those "pushes" are timed somewhere between 20 and 36 hours apart, are often ominously preceded by an extended period of quiet, and come in an abrupt, fast succession of groups of quakes from bottom to top... apparently widening the chosen vent just prior to a big upthrust.

When either Peter, passerby or myself have an opportunity to parse socuel's data over the course of the next day or so, hopefully we'll find a reasonable guess for the interval or "hiatus" between each set of "pushes." Meanwhile, I think it's fair to guess 20 to 36 hours, and those who are watching the charts more closely than I can at the moment may see that we could be due for another pop.

Re periodicity: Since the eruption began in late March and Eyjafjöll didn't mask it any longer, I have the impression that there seems to be a repeating pattern of earthquakes involving all of the Iceland fissure zone. First, it's relatively quiet with the odd quake here or there. Then over a period of six hours or so activity begins in most of Reykjanes (Selfoss), the Myrdalsjökull area, Vatnajökull, Myvátn and the Tjörnes Fracture Zone. It is as if a giant subterranean wave rolls past.

I think Passerby may have remarked on this indirectly and I'd love to hear Peter Cobbold's opinion on it. Mind you, it is an impression, nothing more!

Jon, agreed. Check out the baseline upward drift on the tremor recorder output.

Note the scale and frequency plot differences.

Holy $..t look at the tremors.... The graph has gone completely saturated now...

Either we have a large flood going on now, or we may have a paroxysmal activity starting right now...

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Jon #35: Thanks for the info about the Hekla sensor. It is good to know that it works well down to at least 1Hz. Jon and Boris, thank you for posting links to those awesome videos :)

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@90 Volcanophile, which monitors are you watching? I don't see what you are describing on the various ones I have up at the moment.

Did anyone get screenshots of the flood from today from the Vodafone cam that they would share? All I've seen today is cloud.

By Benjamin Monjay (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Is the IMO server off-line?

@Carla... I picked up the start of a large tremor increase on one of Jon Frimann's monitors at about 20h25...

I was seeing the tremor go up and up and up until the trace went all black... a few minutes later, it had diminished....

Look on the trace at ~20h29...that's what I was looking at.

But something happened indeed...

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@volcanophile, @parclair. Thanks. Had those open before rebooting then didn't reopen. Today is tax deadline day in the states and I am multitasking. Probably not the only one here...

I have a feeling that these two plots are showing slightly different result for the "mid" station. Comparison of the Red low frequency looks especially suspicious. Is it just a matter of different scales?

Btw what does the numbers on the vertical scale stands for? In the first scale the plot goes to 8000units and in the other it goes to 1200.

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@carla Nuuck nuucck. Already filed ;-) (It helps to have a cpa to prevent fights between spouses.

@100: the scale of these plots and others related ones, which are similar to USGS' RSAM charts in many ways, is generally dimensionless, which usually makes charts uncomparable one between each other.

The two charts you show also have very different scales in both X and Y axes, so that's way they may look much different.

#93: I captured a few ca. 19Z. I got the tail-end of the flood, I think. Don't have a photo page to post to, though.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Man, I've been misspelling like crazy today (you're for your, Nuuck for Nyuck) I've become a volcano zombie.

@ stefan thanks a million for the pics! Not the first time I have thought what a fantastic site you guys have there!!!

@ everyone, isn't it kind of intriguing, that, apart from the spikes, that those tremor plots are still trending upwards? I wonder how long this might go on??

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks Mr.Moho. I will keep that in mind :)

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks Christian

By Benjamin Monjay (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink


No way to know... but this may mean the eruption is still gaining strength...

As far as I can guess, Eyjaf has now largely surpassed what it did in 1821, as this is indeed much more than a VEI 2.... we have yet 0,024 km3 of lava erupted at Fimmvörduhäls, and who knows how much ash is being erupted... it's now a solid VEI 3 at least, since we now have far-reaching ash clouds and 11km+ high ash plumes.

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Health authorities on guard as ash cloud sweeps across Scandinavia

By Bjoern Amland (AFP) â 1 hour ago

OSLO â Norwegian and Swedish health authorities and experts urged caution Thursday as a volcano ash cloud blew through the region, but said health risks were mostly related to the grounding of ambulance planes.....

Mind--once you can get onto the Vodafone server again, you could try using the time sliders at the top of the page to backtrack through the images. I'd suggest starting at 19:05.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Volcanophile, please keep track of the wind here (link below). If it goes a lot over 6m/s it appears on my sensor quite well in most wind directions. However, the harmonic tremor from Eyjafjallajökull eruption is making the think dark band on my sensor, I am in no doubt about it. But wind noise is there also, so it a bit mixed from time to time.

In total, the harmonic tremor appears to be increasing from when this started yesterday. That is not good in my opinion, as the eruption is gaining strength and that means more ash fall and more floods.

I can confirm that fluffy, sparkley, grey ash has arrived on the windscreen of my car standing outside here on the Isle of Skye. Looking at it under a loupe you can see all the little flakes of glass.

@Henrik 88. I cant get the EQ movie-map, but the spatial pattern ypu describe is seen now on the IMO map (Norse version is working OK I've never seen that pattern in ten years of using it as a home page. It's remarkable, as if the main Icelandic volcanic and seismic zones (RVB;SISZ;EVZ;NVZ; TFZ) are outlined out in EQs just as drawn in the textbooks. As for propagation, I'd trust your eyes - we are very good at pattern recognition (hunter-gatherer heritage I guess). Getting to analyse the data for propagation would be a demanding task, you'd need a statistician's helpto eliminate fortuitous hits.
If your EQ waves are real, I dont see how could such small EQs (mag1-2) could themselves propagate activity over such distances: an underlying seismically silent mechanism?

By Peter Cobbold (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Motsfo: If you have any of those nylon stockings left over for keeping the ash out of engines from when Redoubt was acting up, you might want to put them on E-bay. I am thinking that they will go for good money across the big pond about now.

@ Jón, since you pointed the wind factor out a while ago I have always read your plot in conjunction the other tremor plots like these:

There's been a lot of wind over that time but the underlying trends are unmistakeable. It certainly looks like the eruption is strengthening.

I imagine that a big factor in the high signal for the crater eruption is the phreatomagmatic activity and icefall/jökulhlaups. The trouble is, even after factoring that out of the equation, there is an unmistakeble sharp rise in activity since this new fissure broke. As far as I can see that can only be explained by higher magma output as I can't imagine the impact of the glacial melt rising over time. On the contrary I would have thought that would wane.

So higher output means greater efficiency in magma transport from depth up the conduit or perhaps that a shallow magma reservoir/sill is getting tapped here and the conduit is widening over time as the sill empties and allowing a greater volume through.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

We recently passed 36 hours since the end of the most recent swarm of earthquakes, followed by relative quiet. I'd say to get our guard up now, as the usual sequence would bring something significant up from below starting anytime...

...tricky little one, has a lot "up the sleeve" I think.

@Jon 117 ... whoah.. we cross-posted. Is that for real?? Are they reporting dactite? That is big news. This indicates to me that the supposed shallow level reservoir is getting tapped. Now it is just a question of how big it is and how much fresh hot basalt is firing it up.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Henrik88. I wonder what the EQ map would look like if all EQs since early March were suprimposed. Eyjaf would be messy but the pattern of major zones might be really clear. My impression was of very little EQ activity in the WVZ.Try capturing every second day of Socuel's movie map and superimposing?

By Peter Cobbold (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Gordys did you see where I corrected the guy in the other thread....It's kind of hard for someone like that to come back and say that I don't understand or underestimate a real threat...not if they have seen my website;) Speaking of which Motsfo might want to hang on to that stuff....I don't think Redoubt is finished.

@bruce stout, This is the big possibility at the moment. But I should know more tomorrow. But the eruption is 100% explosive for sure, and it is not just because of water magma interactions.

It might be old magma (from 1821 - 1823 eruption) that is creating this eruption. But it is hard to know for sure now.

@116 Jón FrÃmann

In the wikipedia link you listed it says at the bottom:

"Dacite magma was encountered in a drillhole during geothermal exploration on KÄ«lauea in 2005. The magma was encountered at a depth of 2488 m and was repeatedly drilled as it surged up the drillhole and quenched over a range of 8 m. The dacite magma is a residual melt of the typical basalt magma of KÄ«lauea."

Does this mean the current eruption under eyjafjallajökull is also being feed by residual melt from previous eruptions (e.g. 1821)?

@Randall: Yes I did. I put in another comment since then, in a way I didn't feel right about it, that should be Eric's congratulation thread. That dude is in Never Never Land....and there is no use arguing with a crazy man.

@Peter and Henrik (hey, this is like the old days!)

I am not sure what you will see by doing this but the thought of waves of seismic activity is not that unusual. Unfortunately the system gets very chaotic very quickly. You will get some order after major quakes and, on a larger scale, might be able to discern some dynamic and passive triggering of fault movements from nearby quake activity but even the experts have trouble at this. To complicate things, don't forget that there is also the phenomenon of slow earthquakes (creep would be a better word) that won't show up in your analysis at all. For an animation of global EQ activity over a couple of weeks the USGS animation can't be beat:

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink


The volcano is erupting dacite magma now...
This is indeed the shallow magma chamber getting tapped. We have here the exact replica of the eruption of Hudson, in Chile, in 1991. Large subglacial plinian event triggered by a basaltic fissure eruption.

That eruption was a VEI 5+. Lets hope this one won't go that way...

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@philippe 123 Thanks for the pics. I tried looping through the vodaphone starting at 1900, and really didn't understand what I saw. NOW i get it.

@Randall: Pretty good Randall, he will not listen though. I am going to shut down my comments for tonight. I feel I am getting in the way of those that know more and are actually able to figure out what is going on with this eruption.

Thank you all. I will be following along.

This kinda sucks.. There's gonna be a moment when the ash column will collpase and form a pyroclastic flow. On a thick glacier, I really don't know what is going to happen..

But probably lots of mud and jokullhaups ahead.

Were the preceeding flood events caused by pyroclastic flow activity?

And... more important... was the Fimmvörduhäls camera taken out by a pyroclastic flow or buried in ash?

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Peter Cobbold
Peter, using the IMO reviewed data I do not see the waves we had before March 20 eruption. That's quite weird and needs some more digging. If you don't mind, I'll head up to something else before checking this.

@ Jón, thanks for the video. Note that the melt holes in the glacier are no longer in a line. Looks like this is turning into a regular crater eruption.

Good news is the aerial photos only showed a low mostly steam plume. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it really doesn't go Plinian on us.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Volcanophile, I hope that it does not reach VEI=5 levels. At the current time I am estimating VEI=1 or 2. But that are just my own guesses based on what I see. I might be completely wrong in size estimates.

All I do know for now is that the eruption appears to be growing in strength. But there is little visual on what is going on at the moment. But in the next 48 hours the weather should clear up in the south part of Iceland. Allowing visual on the ash plume and Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

so far (to the best of my knowledge) we are still a long way from pyroclastic flows happening. You would need a much higher and buoyant eruption column for that.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@gordys and randall-- I've been following another, very controversial story at the same time as our little dragon. This thing really erupted into vile abuse on both sides, and is now calming down. When people stopped engaging the cranks (those who cannot or will not reason) on both sides, the cranks went somewhere else, and the conversations resumed. (altho' I've got to admit that sometimes things really anger me. I make myself wait a week before I join in those conversations----)


In fact, you don't need a high column to make pyroclastic flows (at least St-Vincent type)... What you need is density.

You need a very heavy, very ash-laden plume. So dense that, instead of convecting upwards, it becomes denser than the surrounding air and rushes downslope.

In this video of Montserrat erupting, pyroclastic flows start way before the column is fully grown, with a plume height of guesstimated 2 km.

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@parclair: Thank you. That is the voice of reason. I am learning.

Three things: First, the Nordic Volcanological Center has a terrific page (in English) on this eruption:

My apologies if that's already been linked to somewhere in these comment threads. Even if so, it's worth repeating.

Second, wasn't there some concern early on about a possible linked eruption at some point from Hekla? Scientists were collecting lava samples from Eyjaf at the start of its first eruption to compare to Hekla's, I read, to get some idea of what might be possible; never heard any more about that.

I did read at the NVC that what Eyjaf is producing is very dissimilar from that in the Mýrdalsjökull/Katla system, but this is all a new land for me and I'm not sure how that all fits together, Eyjaf/Katla/Hekla.

Finally, are there any monitoring pages publicly available online (in any language) for Hekla, just so I can keep an eye on it, out of curiosity?

Reposting in hopes of answer...

Is there a standardized way to count eruptions, or a particular jargon used to quantify or categorize eruptive events?

By my count, we're currently on the third "eruption" in Iceland for the last month, as I've been counting distinct eruptive events. The first Fimmvörðuháls fissure opened on March 20th. The second fissure commenced eruption a week later. And then Eyjafjallajökull began its eruption yesterday. So, I count three.

But I can also see the logic in referring to two eruptions (Fimmvörðuháls and Eyjafjallajökull). Or even one (counting all eruptive events as part of the Eyja eruption).

So I'm curious to know linguistically, how would this be quantified in volcanological terms?

Volcanophile, I stand corrected. I even commented on exactly those same pf from Montserrat so I should have known!! There are some clips of pfs rushing down the slope from the dome without descending from any eruption cloud at all which gave me a good case of cognitive dissonance when I first saw them. Obviously I haven't got over yet!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@angela, The earlier eruption actually was just one. There where two fissures that did open up and a lava flow. At one time, both fissure where erupting. But they both closed ~24 hours before the eruption in the top crater in Eyjafjallajökull started.

@ Angela it's a good question but I doubt you will bet anyone wanting to stick their neck out on it! Maybe one of the professionals will chime in with better input!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Bruce 126. I can see large-mag EQs triggering associated EQs tens of km away, but m1 or m2? I do wonder if creep has been triggered by Eyjaf's EQ swarm (and those spikes!!) and maybe by the eruption (including inflation/deflation.

By Peter Cobbold (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Angela, Boris answered your terminology question in a post made earlier today, providing an excellent analogy in a recent Etna eruption that featured all four summit craters and some fissures in action at once - all part of single 'eruption period'.

@ jon friman (129) The 3 vents in the glacier shown in the video look like some grotesque demonic face if you rotate it by 180 degrees, pretty creepy :)

Thank you to absolutely everyone who has answered my question, and especially to Boris for the very clear explanation (Passerby, thanks for flagging; I'd miss the initial response). I'll modify my description of events to follow suit (one eruption with two episodes, the first of which featured two phases). Sweet!

And Boris, if you need song lyrics for that new band you've started, let me know... I owe you a favour.

There is another bimodal volcano i have been reading up on the Newberry Caldera, Oregon it is a basalt shield with a rhyolite dome in the center it is a great place for quality obsidian it seems to have erupted both at the same time or really close in time

Nice job, NASA Earth Observatory website team and MODIS Rapid Response Team (who captured the image cited by Gordys, above)!

Happily, UMBC air quality blog has also come through on our requested imaging help as well, with an entry today on our Pet's noisy hijinks.

Still no plume SO2 data, but give them a day or two and we should have it.


@Passerby thanks for the link in #155
There is a good video of the flood outburst on that site
it wont take long to destroy the rock the end of the glacier is sitting on if things don't slow

#152 Jón

If you look at the future forecast for the next few days, a disturbing thought comes to mind. If the past is any indication, we could be without reliable air transportation to Europe for a year or more.

Gina, just northwest of Newberry Crater is the Three Sisters region, which displays an incredibly diverse array of recent volcanism. The South Sister stratovolcano alone is marked with cinder cones, basaltic andesite flows, dacite domes, and quite a bit of true rhyolite. Overview at Nearby (within long-ish walking distance) are small basaltic shield volcanoes, cinder cones, many dacite domes, etc. A fascinating region!

Some other Cascade volcanoes are bimodal to some extent. Mt. St. Helens typically erupts dacite, yes, but the pahoehoe basalt flows that created Ape Cave were erupted only 2000 years ago.

152 @ Jón,

"Here is the wind map for Iceland. Due check where the wind is going, because the ash cloud goes where the wind goes".

Posted by: Jón FrÃmann | April 15, 2010 7:41 PM"

Hello Jón,

I think this map shows the surface winds (thanks for posting it).
Interesting for local assessment.
What's important for the track of the ash plume however is the track of the Jet Stream!

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Mike Thanks that whole area is totally fascinating from the flood basalts to the massive H2O floods that etched the land so thoroughly and the cascades:)

Randall and Gordys, I posted on the other thread and said a few things more for that guy to think about. I know he will not listen because he is basically scared! Eyjaf will affect some things, but not to that extent.

Anyway, we have really been fortunate to be able to watch this from the get-go and see what can happen with a volcano as touchy as Eyjaf. So quiet for so long and then, boom. As Boris posted, the not so fun side of an eruption. I think we all were hoping it wouldn't do what it is doing, but nothing we can do but watch and hope it doesn't get any worse. It could. Anyway, we had a really good show for a while and the people there and tourists got to see it and Heidi did, too! I am happy for her.

Catch all of you later. I will be monitoring and if I have a mind to, I will post. :-)

M. Randolph Kruger if you have been to my website you will see I look at extinction events and all kinds of disaster scenarios. I understand your fears but I also know this volcano isn't bad enough yet to do the things you are talking about. Joe Bastardi is saying the same thing, if you won't listen to me then you should listen to him. The colder weather we had this year came from a combination of things, mainly the





Just add the www. to the links.

Volcanoes may have played some part in the colder weather but compared to the things I listed above....volcanoes were nonstarters. If you get a volcano like Tambora, Taupo, Long Valley, Campi Flegrei, Cerro Guacha or Yellowstone...then you can worry about the matter where you live. If you get one like Loki or Katla....then you might want to worry if you live in Iceland, Europe or maybe in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere. This volcano will need to get a whole lot worse or Katla will need to blow and blow in a very big way before anything like that happens.

I will be one of the first to raise the alarm if it looks like a volcano is going to change the weather or bring about any kind of global cataclysmic event....this isn't one of those events. No one knows when this volcano will stop erupting or if it will get worse. As it stands now it is a threat to air travel and maybe a health threat regionally but it is not the great weather catastrophe you are making it out to be.

Please if you want to argue global that....or if you want to argue about volcanoes....then do that. Mixing the two arguments, just makes for a convoluted argument which in the end makes very little sense.

Gordys, I got your point. On the other thread, I just couldn't resist posting something. Notice I didn't address anyone. Just my observations.

Michael, it probably is good you cancelled your trip. Not a good time now unfortunately. I wish you could have seen it when it was just giving us a nice show. Oh well...

Passerby, I did not intend to leave you out of my thanks to the croud. :-) I just couldn't remember everybody off the top of my head. Must be the weather.

Anyway, I appreciate the posts and I enjoy checking here every day. I do get envious of some of you because you are either there, or get to what is going on before I do. Hours before. But, I enjoy catching up. Good work everybody.

@Randall: Look at what parclair said on post 139, it makes great sense. I did a search on the guy, there is nothing that you can say that he will listen to.

Mr Krueger appears to be somewhat confused over cause and effect (although not as much as some of his fellow meteorologists).

An extended solar activity minimum coupled to a marked down-turn in global economy sits on one side of the temperature ledger and anthropogenic and natural aerosols that include aeolian dust and biomass burning as sources sit on the other side, as chronic insulators that keep heat from leaving the lower atmosphere.

The aerosols are winning the war. The present solar activity downturn will extend though at least one prolonged solar cycle, maybe two - even then, heating will be slowly rising apace through 2030.

It was intriguing to hear USDOD spokesman announce today that global oil production shortfalls will occur as soon as 2015 with oil prices well over $100/barrel, given the smart uptick in energy consumption in Asia and recovery of demand in North America and parts of Europe shortly.

If coal energy dependence grows, it will not be Martha Stewart Moment (Not a Good Thing). We need that coal to make petrochemicals in the future. Waste not, want not.

Erik-our-Host should erase Kruegers comments and edit who answered him in the leader thread; divisiveness has no place among hearty commendation posts.

passerby excuse me but Erik shouldn't erase anyone or edit anyone's comments....anymore than he should edit you. If the guy wants to argue a point in a civil way...why should he be edited? If everyone agreed with everyone then what good would that be? If Erik edited every off the wall, left field comment then I am sorry but many of yours would never see the light of day...."He who is without sin then let him cast the first stone"....Don't even be thinking about picking up any more rocks and throwing them passerby because it certainly would not be you.

Gordys, Diane and parclair I know what you are saying but he is making the rest of us cranks (even passerby;) look I do feel the need to correct him on a few points.

@passerby, your juxtoposition of oil prices, weather and volcanoes in a single post was not just masterfull, but also caused me to dredge up from deep memory a recollection of a Flip Wilson sketch, where dressed up as an evangelical minister he preaches that the reason the world is getting so hot is because we are pumping out all the oil! Just like your car engine, if you don't keep it well oiled it will burst into flames.

re. oil production shortfalls, in addition to the resurgent demand in developing economies, you can also figure in the ~ 3-5 year lead time to design and install new production and refining facilities (outside the US, much longer inside US borders due to permiting requirements). So now that prices have stabilised and economic growth is looking more likely, the oil production companies are dusting off or moving up investment plans for capacity increases in 2014+ time frame. I don't think we will see much of a production short fall in the 2015 time frame, unless it is either engineered or due to conflict in one or more of the major production regions. Significant switch over from kerosene to now abundent shale formation natural gas in US and other home heating and electical generation markets will move the 2015 shortage scenario further out into the future, if not smooth it out altogether.

Randall Nix.... Do you know what an IC-800 is? Passerby, I have a degree in climatology and not meteorology even though I spent many years as an air traffic controller and hold an associates in that as well. I wouldnt begin to be a present conditions person. Joe B. is a good meteorologist as are many at the college.

All of the other things you say have an effect, but nothing IMO can change the facts that we were already in a swing and then we got swung a lot further in recent history and that one thing has been multiple eruptions around the world. Not massive but coupled.

Thats all SO2 and other gases. Whats with you Nix, you edit comments of other people along with Passerby? The are of course coupled because by your own admission an eruption causes climate change. Passerby-You seem to be one of those leftist control freaks...

EDIT ME? Passerby? Your name implies more of a drive by shooting thought. What? A discourse about climate change caused by volcanoes shouldnt be on a volcano page.

And for the record two of those degrees came from Embry-Riddle so if you want to get into a curriculum vitae contest then take it to an email. I will be more than happy to give you mine so you dont clutter things up here guys. Having a disaster page doesnt qualify you for much Nix.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Randall, I did post an answer to the guy and I don't blame you for feeling the way you do. I don't think Erik should start editing either unless it gets really nasty. As long as it remains civil, then don't edit.

I just hope we can get back to what is going on in Iceland and not get too wrapped up in some ideas that seem to be really off the wall. Post things for them to think about, but maybe we can focus on other things. I think others who check the blog will make up their own minds as to whether the rest of us are cranks or not. So far, I have only seen one or two "cranks".

That said, I just appreciate all the info here and even the ideas that come that are not volcano related.

Jon, here is an e-case of Sprite for you! You have really been The Man. Keep letting us know what is going on and what you think is going to be happening. I hope you are not in the path of all the ash. I really feel for your island and your people right now. You certainly didn't need this. Let all your friends know we are thinking of them and Iceland. Take care of yourself.

M. Randolph Kruger "Whats with you Nix, you edit comments of other people along with Passerby?" excuse me but either you can't read or can't figure out that I was trying to defend your being able to post without being edited. Sorry M. Randolph Kruger but your being a teabagger and "rumor-monger extraordinaire, super-secret, inside information guy M. Randolph Kruger" doesn't qualify you for much. Influenza Information/Blog/117A4FF1-EA82-4780-BF49-1A23777D530F.html

I was trying to give you some good advice and keep you from looking bad but after listening to Gordy and looking at some of the other things you have posted in other places....I think it's actually a lost cause.

Jon Friman, now that this thing is worsening, will a relief fund be set up for the farmers and others affected by the eruption?

Looks really clear on the Katla cam compared to last night. We should have a good day of viewing.

Jon Friman kept predicting the eruption would be "bad," but until now it has been very, very good - both for the harmless show it put on and for the Iceland economy. Now however Jon's initial prediction is coming true, and it has indeed turned "bad" - at least in terms of the disruption to air traffic and the floods.

Randall Nix-I am an IC-800 with 13 years in the USAF as both a combat controller and air traffic controller. From there I spent another 11 years with the FAA as a controller. During this time I completed three degrees and have associates in several others. So automatically unless you have a climatology degree, an associates in forestry, a degree in applied technology and a certification as an NGO then I really cant understand your little rub.

Now for the record old boy an IC-800 is as high as it gets inside of the FEMA/DHS circuit and your little friend Monotreme disagreed with a position held by one Dr. Webster who is the flu hunter here in Memphis and I called him on it. The good doctor is a friend and I deliver some of the ugliest crap on this planet to his labs. That includes bio-infected samples of the highest order.

I by the way own and operate a moderate sized fleet of airplanes now and we ground handle most of the larger airlines. We are bio certified to operate in a Level 4 environment with suits, masks and that includes entry into bio-containments. That included swine and bird flu... Been to Egypt lately? I have for just that reason. It wasnt for the climate I can tell you.

We are also emergency responders with contracts with the States of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi and the United States Government if there is a crisis as NGO's for ground handling operations. We were the third flight into New Orleans and were up and running in 6 downloading food and supplies there. Now you can keep up your pissing contest along with Gordy or comment on something productive and son, this is more explaining than I have done in recent history to anyone including the damned IRS so lets drop it or I will fly off because you seem to think you are some sort of divine intervention here. Basically put... Whats your point? You have a web page. Okay, nice but thats not the story and you know it. Hufford, Russell and many others are agreeing with me that this could be a very bad event simply because of the latitude its at along with Redoubt, Sarychev, Sheveluch, Klyuchevskoy and others. Joe Bastardi also commented back when Kasatochi blew and it wasnt that it was going to warm up.

So when someone bucks you start with a snark and then wonder when someone calls you on it?

Its good its a free country or was Randall and I always give respect where its due. So far I am not seeing it from your end or your friend Gordy's.

Now you drive safely, play nice with the other little kiddies, dont talk to strangers who question your thoughts too much and above all ...FLOSS ! I am done with the 10 year olds.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink


Hi Randolph,

You do the readers of this website a disservice by going on your diatribes and taking this thread off topic. Please be so kind as to stay on topic better.

Thank you.

M. Randolph Kruger respect is something earned and not something bestowed upon yourself. I am who I claim to be....then again I don't claim to be all the things you claim to be;)

The sad part is that on some (very very very few) things I actually think you are right....It really is hard sometimes finding myself on the same side as people like you....if even for only a few things. There is one big differences in you and I....Mr. M. Randolph Kruger....I listen to people and try to learn from them....even if I don't always agree with don't do that. You don't listen to anything and you learn nothing. Also I put info on my site and let people make their own decisions about what could be a threat to them. You just tell people stuff to scare them....just for an effect...just to get a reaction....and that "Son" is so sad. I really have nothing left to say to you M. Randolph Kruger except good luck with all your super secret sounds you are very important to the welfare of this nation;)

Don't make me stop this car ...

Another day is dawning. It looks like plumes are gone and weather is fair.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

This is going to make Erik and Boris happy;)
In praise of⦠volcanologists

In less spectacular times volcanologists track achingly slow changes to the earth and make big contributions to society while doing so.....

This may not make them happy.

Icelandic volcanologists carefully watching Eyjafjallajokullâs big sister
The erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano may be causing its fair share of havoc but scientists say we may have seen nothing yet.....

Schleyer, you missed the other side of this but I do apologize. I asked a question of Erik and it related in the 1 mill post. Those two started up for whatever reason like they were the hand of God and divine in their reason. I hold a degree in climatology and Nix has a web page. I stated bluntly to them that due to the latitude and the jet stream turning where it does that this could take SO2 north into hostile territory for us. E.g. its already colder than it has been in about 20 or so years around the Arctic. I also backed it up with NIC shots and that the ice hadnt melted enough for plantings in Canada and that if this continued, it could be as it was in the 1700's. Now whats inciteful about that? For some reason they went off on El Nino and other things and thats not too far off the mark but historically speaking when a volcano or a group of them go the weather turns for the worse. E.g. the Irish potato famine was caused by weather pattern changes relating to a volcanic eruption and actually several in close succession. Roughly the same places are being hit now with the first vestiges of the effects as it did in the 1700's. Got any idea what that means in numbers of people if the wheat crop is crap? So I posed the question and that was that the effects could and likely will be close to what they were back then if for no other reason than the amount of aerosol dispersal there was already at the jet max. I asked Erik for his assessment because I didnt know enough about volcanoes but I do know weather and the effects of them on it. Acidic atmosphere and Acid rain can kill crops, plankton, freshwater aquatic life, cut CO2 and Ozone like a knife. It also kills airplanes and thats where I make my cheese. So you can bet I am all over this right now as we are transiting freighters all through the corridor.

Indeed the jet stream is going to carry any further ash/SO2 to the NE and over into Russia if the jet holds in that area for the next two days. I postulated simply that the effects are already there from these past two winters in the N. Hemisphere if this goes to really shoot the temps down. El Nino as Bastardi said was active and as a result the snow and ice went all the way into the lowlands of Mexico, Dallas-biggest snow ever recorded. Houston bout the same. But they took issue with the thought that guys that are a lot better than me at it are also stating.

So I would say that was on focus as you suggested and these two guys started quoting a guy from Accuweather that I have met. Their position? It will take a lot more than this "little eruption " to change the climate. I say not because of whats already there in the atmosphere. Redoubts gas cloud cleared to 70,000 feet with particles and across the last three years there have been a lot of them that popped damned hard. Not to those levels but Kasatochi in particular as one of the posters here said it was loaded. Indeed that ash made it to the Bahamas and yes, we had a helluva winter in the N. Hemisphere. Dr. Veenema in the NL was to speak at a climate change symposium but was snowed in. Her position was to counter the IPCC and state that for the record that she believed it was a load of crap. I do too and she like me believes that the climate is operating cyclically and everything from Milankovitch, solar output, El Nino along with the volcanic activity are coming into play. But, thats about what I said on the 1 mill hit page. My single point is this and I will leave it and that is that the levels of the highly reflectives such as SO2 are at incredible levels over the N. Hemisphere and that it wouldnt take much to tip it over. I also put the link onto the post.

Sorry if I offended you by commenting. Seems they have the thought police here.

Like I said though I am done with them. I wont respond to them at because they have appointed themselves to the PTB. My test? Watch what happens to commodities as the ash is all the way to Kenya now. Lets wait and see if its cold or hot come October. If its snowing as it did in August in New York State, killing cranberries and wheat in Canada in September then I will just say I was right or wrong and move on. Not much you can do about it when you consider it.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

MSNBC had an interesting segment on the Eyjafjallajokull eruption.

But they couldn't pronounce the name, if their name depended on it.

Contents wise there wasn't anything that hasn't been discussed here already.

Two of my coworker are trying to make their way back from Europe to the US. We'll see when the manage to get back...

@ Philipp (194) Very impressive timelapse! Thanks for sharing!

Hi, does anybody know the location (GPS) of the vodafone webcam, so I know from where I am looking at the foot of the glacier?

Randall, Diane, Gordys, Parclair, Passerby! I find Dr Swift eminently applicable when it comes to observations of human behaviour, especially part IV. ;)

Here is some good news:)

Limited Scottish flights resume after ash fears
Glasgow Airport passengers
Some Scottish flights are due to resume

A limited number of flights to and from Scotland are to resume, following fears over a plume of volcanic ash drifting across the UK from Iceland.....

@einar, thank you. After looking at the MSDS for it, it looks like there is not only a biohazard, but there could be a corrosion issue for exposed metal... nothing catastrophic, but enough to initiate/accelerate corrosion on things like the overhead power cables on electric rail lines.

Lets hope that there is rain in the ashfall areas that can dilute this stuff.

@socuel Thanks for the link page way back up on this page at #98. Handy resource.

@socuel Thanks for the link page way back up on this page at #98. Handy resource.

yay!!! we're getting images on the vodafone cam again!! Also looks like the eruption is ramping up again after a lull.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Henrik I understand....I always thought Jean-Paul Sartre had a good point too...."The first act of bad faith consists of evading what one cannot evade, of evading what one is."

;) :)

Peter, Bruce, Soucel, Passerby! To use an analogy - when faced with a problem in history such as the Fall Of the Roman Empire or the causes of WWI, it's easy to get too close and take too narrow a view. If we step back and observe it from afar, say 300BC - 500AD and 1688 - 1990 respectively, we usually get a much better picture of the processes at work. Likewise, I think it's possible we may have taken too narrow a view when we looked at explanations for the periodicity observed in the pre-eruption EQ data. Perhaps the "bolus propagation" takes part over a much larger area? Perhaps its mechanism of propagation is radiation sonic/heat rather than physical ramming? It would be very interesting to have a look at EQs for all of Iceland - minus those for Eyjafjöll (incomplete picture but less contamination) - from say januari - present?

ok, so it was brief... lol (excuse my jubiliation, I have just been hanging out for some pictures from the webcams since all that cloud cover yesterday)

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@205/bruce stout: picture of webcam is now fine again,
but wait until Saturday, according to we will have blue skies all day.
You know from where we are looking at the glacier? Is it from the north?

Hi Daniel, at a rough guess at 63°42'30.82"N 19°39'45.27"W or close to it, i.e. to the north of the volcano across the Myrkarflot (excuse spelling). Note the ice blocks lying in the river bed! They must have come down last night.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

Parclair was asking (#174) if relief funds will be set up for farmers and others affected by the eruption.

No, there has been no talks of that. Not yet, we are still very much in the midst of things.

Farmers are being shuttled back and forth constantly -- during the night there were two more jökulhlaups, 5 hours ago and 6 hours ago.

The glacial floods have left massive amounts of mud in their wake, destroying a lot of cultivated fields so some farmers in the area have suffered massive property damage already:…

Livestock will be fine as long as the animals are kept inside and fed and provided with uncontaminated water.

Milk farmers are are throwing the milk away because portions of the ring road have been flushed away -- a lot of people are stuck in the area.

At this point there is no way of knowing what the extent of the damage will be.

For those of you wondering about the damage being done by this eruption. The Icelandic government has a emergency relief fund that is going to be used in a case like this. It is going to cover the damage from the eruption. It was also used to cover the damage from the 2008 Mw6.3 earthquake in South Iceland (South Fracture Zone).

Currently the wind is going to turn north, and that means that the ash cloud is going to blow south of Iceland for some time being. But I do not know how long this wind direction is going to last. But I do know that if the eruption last long enough I am going to get ash at one time or a other. But it is impossible to say when, as it depends on so many things.

I have finally managed to make some prediction on the eruption after a 24 hour of observation and trying to get data. This is a poor grade prediction based on poor data. But it looks like that the eruption is going to gain a lot of strength as the time is going to pass. It might drop down in the mean time. But it is impossible to say if that actually happens or not. When the eruption is going to gain strength is hard or impossible to say at the moment. But I am fairly sure that there are going to be some warning signs before that happens. But I do not know what signs we might get. It is quite possible that we only learn afterwards what those are going to be.

Now it is just wait and see status for everyone.


"Now it is just wait and see status for everyone" - especially for those at airports...

Fascinating ideas Jón. Why do you think it will get stronger?

@ Henrik, sorry I don't follow you on that one. I would have thought a heat wave would need a medium to propagate it. A pressure wave (if that is what you mean by sonic) makes more sense to me.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@212: No, these must be old images from Fimmvörðuháls..

@209: Jon, for "the eruption is going to gain a lot of strength" do you mean compared to current levels or in absolute terms?

Don't think I've seen this linked yet - here's an interesting radar image of the eruption site taken Thursday.

Having a bit of fun with pareidolia - the "face" in the image sure looks like a guy who has spent ages chained under the tooth of the world serpent getting poison dripped on him. Perhaps Loki is a better name for the new mountain than I thought.

@bruce stout, It appears to be like how Eyjafjallajökull plumbing system behaves. At least that is what the data indicates. Both what I have read before in earlier research and what I am seeing in current harmonic tremors. I am missing GPS data and that creates uncertainty, as I cannot watch inflation or deflation in Eyjafjallajökull.

This is what happened in the Fimmvörðuháls eruption event. It grew over time and was strong for quite some time before it did stop. I am expecting something like that to happen now. But at a lot larger scale then at Fimmvörðuhálsi.

for those that want some orientation (like the reference to the vodaphone webcam, (@bruce stout, #207) but do not have access to decent physical map the most reasonable map on the web (at least that i know of) can be found here:
.one can zoom further in/out to get names of rivers, mountains, farms. and also get gps coordinates (click on "GPS hnit" and then right click on a particular location and you get the coordinates - appears on the shaded bar above the graph). here one can e.g. find the Valahnjukur, where the Mila webcam is located ( being roughly at: 63° 41,156'N, 19° 32,584'W
apologies if info is redundant to some,

@ socuel. Ha! you French guys have all the luck!

@ einar, Thanks! that's really useful.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 15 Apr 2010 #permalink

@kere, They have moved the camera to Ãórólsfell it seems. So now it is at same place as Vodafone web camera. The web camera at Fimmvörðuháls is now under layer of ash I think.

@socuel, great picture! :-)

There are earthquakes happening in Eyjafjallajökull and I don't think that signals anything good is going to happen soon.

Sorry if this is a silly question - I'm new to all this, but finding all your comments very interesting.

Can you tell me why it looks like there are 2 plumes of ice clouds coming from the southern iceland region on the met office satellite images over the last 12 hours - are their 2 sites producing this at the moment? Or is it a function of the weather?
Thanks & thanks for all the links to webcams etc!

I heard a brief radio interview with Prof Steve Sparks this morning and his main points seemed to be:
1. Current initial phase of this eruption will be on the days-weeks scale, as it is mostly phreatomagmatic. I believe that was based on the fact that the water source is finite.
2. Overall eruptive period would most likely last 2 years with some peaks and lulls in activity (from the previous eruptions that there is some data/info on)
3. Re-stated the likely Katla link on the years scale
4. Said he believed the ash was not a ground level health risk (for the UK and mainland Europe) as "lots of people live near volcanoes around the world, and there doesnât seem to be a link to serious health problems", although he did say he is not a medical expert on that.
5. Air Traffic disruption is likely to continue as long as the wind maintains its direction and even if it shifts because of the minute size of the dust particles it will take days/weeks to clear from the stratosphere.

Not sure I entirely agree with all of that but Iâm by no means qualified to comment. Im way down in South East UK and there is a VERY fine coating of dust on car windscreens etc and my throat feels kind of scratchy and dry like I have been sanding fibreglass (may just be psychosomatic, but donât think so), I feel for you guys right near it. Hereâs hoping Jon is not too correct :)

@Henrik 204: you said: "Perhaps the "bolus propagation" takes part over a much larger area?"
Yes,yes, yes I agree!! I'll come clean on why I think the EQ oscillations in Eyjaf pre-eruption are important. I envisage magma boluses ascending under the entire area of Iceland overlying the mantle plume. Putatively, boluses have thickened the crust from the 10km thickness generated at the mid-oceanic ridge to around 20-30km in central Iceland, and 20km under Eyjaf, over the past 25m years.
The reason I have been pushing those oscillations is because they might have implications for:
1. the plume hypothesis (hot or cold?),
2.might contribute to local differences in lava composition (eg Eyjaf vs, Katla),
3.underlie eruption periodicity...
Prof Gillian R Foulger's papers summarise the plume dispute, for example:

That's the reason why we need evidence of more EQ oscillations at other Iceland volcanos. Oscillations might be rare,not because boluses are rare, but because the local geology does not permit swarms of thousands of small EQs to be detected before eruptive activity starts. Thus I doubt a volcano with established conduits and magma chamber would show oscillations: more likely it erupts as soon as a bolus arrives (eg Hekla, Katla). Kraftla is where I'd search the EQ data stream prior to its last eruption as it lies within (just) the plume's influence and as a fissure eruption may lack well organsied prexsiting conduits. Also Heimay, except it is a little off-plume. How good are the EQ data sets for those times?
If Prof Foulger is right then looking for oscillations at other volcanos overlying truly hot mantle plumes is a waste of time (hot, convective accretion onto crust, not boluses of ancient subducted Caledonian oceanic crust).
So as you have pointed out we should indeed continue to search EQ data streams for oscillatory behaviour.

As you point out boluses may not only act mechanically/hydraulically (as I suspect the Eyjaf data tell us) but also thermally, where the oscillations would I think be slower and perhaps less distinct/superimposed ( and maybe apparent only in a volcano's periodicity?.

By Peter Cobbold (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

If you are seeing ash particles settling around your area, my advice would be to wear a surgical mask outside - those with Asthma more so. Particularly if the ash has a high silica content.
Based on experience through Galunggung 1982. The ash then was like fine talc - but very bad for your health.

By Les Francis (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

3 EQ directly on top of the volcano within one hour. Magnitude 1.3-1.5 and one at 1.1km and the other two only at a 100m depth.

Looking at the cameras there is not much to bee seen due to poor weather.

But judging by the EQ´s and that they were very tightly clustered something must have happened?

This morning has been very whiffy in Aberdeen, rotten-egg smell stronger than yesterday. And although I haven't noticed especial levels of dust on things, for what it's worth, my contact lenses feel like they are sanding my eyeballs. I am not especially enjoying that aspect of things.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Luna_the_cat, switch to glasses now. You are dealing with dust that is in the micro scale. It is there, but you just don't see it. Europe is getting the fine stuff, while the bigger stuff is being left here in Iceland.

#222 (einar): thx for the map info/link!

volcanic tremor rise under Grimsvotn!!!

@ Peter, I think we have to move away from the image of moving boluses of magma rising through the mantle and arriving at the underside of the crust to explain the oscillations.

I agree that the plume theory still seems to be the most likely explanation for explaining the accretion of crustal material that makes up Iceland but I can't envisage boluses moving at the, by geological standards, lightning fast time scales that these oscillations were occuring at.

rather I'd favor an earlier theory of yours where you likened the underside of the crust to a membrane and the oscillations marked the passage of hot melt through this membrane.. If you still mean boluses in this sense then I am still with you. Just I can't see them constituting the plume in such discrete rapidly moving packages, and then over such a wide area, particularly given that the mantle is a plastic solid anyway.

What I imagine is that there are discrete tipping points at which a pool of underplate melt passes certain critical parameters upon which it starts its ascent through the crust (either physically as the passage of magma or simply as pressure wave through an existing network of magma channels). This then cascades into an earthquake swarm that is both an expression of and a faciliation of further magma movement.

What these tipping points might be though is intriguing. Maybe pressure loss due to extensional movement triggering more melt, or opening up channels for ascent to start.. Lord knows!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Peter (#227) Hekla, Katla - beautiful, sharp logic! And this - "local geology does not permit swarms of thousands of small EQs to be detected before eruptive activity starts" - yes! Earlier I made a comparison with shaped charges, but there are also other instances where a certain geometric shape may channel and amplify, such as in a bass horn (audio, loudspeaker).

What if the crust underneath Eyjafjöll has such a shape that it channels and amplifies the "bolus pulses" (for lack of a better word in my vocabulary)? Because of the "channeling and amplification", the pulses became detectable, which they are not if directed elsewhere. That's also why the EQs seem to follow the rift zone as its shape, roughly, corresponds to a cut-through horn. Where the "bottom topology" is especially "favourable" to this effect, we have a volcano "topside".

Sorry, got carried away! ;)

Slight gap in the cloud on Valahnuk webcam. Can see the plume.

Dust masks and removing contact lenses seems like a sensible precaution - although all the air quality monitoring staions I can find across the UK are not reporting any significant rise in PM10 or PM2.5 particulates. Any one seeing any different?

Just an irreverent aside - memorybits, an online memory card shop is offering 22% off everything "as long as British airspace is closed", mainly on the basis that Ash rhymes with Cash. Do you think they are betting on days, weeks or months? lol

@ Henrik

dammit people I have work to do today!!! Ha!.

Well I like the acoustic analogy. Just remember that each fissure represents a crack in your sounding bell and as far as I can see there are an awful lot of them around Eyja so I am not so sure the analogy fits. Remember too that it is quite normal for there to be thousands of earthquakes leading up to an eruption (not always the case - look at Okmok last year) but seismic activity expressed in RSAM plots and so on is one of the best indicators around that magma is on the move. So it is not the EQ swarms that is unusual here but their off and on pattern that was so regular. If this is an expression of a longer wave pattern then that is intriguing but for the life of me I can't imagine what that might be other than some internal feedback loop like you see in a geyser.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Bruce (# 211, 236). Like you, I find it hard to think of the hypothetical(?) bolus as a physical object exerting physical force directly. But if I imagine the bottom below Eyjafjall to be an approxiamate funnel shape, there will be a blob of magma sitting there for some time. Introduce another element - intrusion of magma of a different composition or radiated energy - and this blob will react. It will "do nothing" until there is a drop in pressure elsewhere such as the ground above giving way. Then it will move (pressure equalisation) until there is no further pressure gradient to transcend.

At least that's how I imagine it.

God damn it ! Does anyone know when or if the weather up there is going to clear ? I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms here.

@Bruce (#239). I think of it it as a workman breaking a rock with a sledgehammer. The rock chips and breaks but the workman still keeps his rhythm, chipping away. That's why I feel it's appropriate to look at all of Iceland but remove Eyjafjall from the data in order to "listen to the hammer hammering and not the rock breaking".

"Work is the curse of the thinking classes"

The cam on Fimmvörðuháls shows up intermittently. All it shows, though, is fog and a shaking stay.

The Met. Office's earthquake map shows several surface shocks (1.3-1.5) in the glacier.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

@zander [#241]
if you want to see the prediction for yourself: the cloud cover predictions are given by the IMO (, see
according to that prediction the most likely clear view is from midnight tonigh until 21:00 on saturday. the times line is given in local time, which is throughout the year is alwas GMT.

Looks like the cloud cover is lifting a bit off the glacier. The Vodafone cam is intermittent clear and showing lots of ice frag on the ground. Fimma (cam on Fimmvörðuháls) and Vala (cam on Valahnjúkur) dropped out almost simultaneously a coupla minutes ago.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Fimma and Vala are back up, but right now I'm completely clueless about where Fimma is and which way it points.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

From Civil Defence: The road between VÃk and Kirkjubæjarklaustur is closed due to ash fall.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

The camera behind the Fimmvörduháls link is on Thorolfsfell. I think Fimmvörduháls has been taken off, since you cannot really maintain it any more. I can try to ask somebody, who works at MÃla, if you are interested.

Direct links to the animations in the articles in my previous post, along with translation of the Norwegian explanations:;action=File.getFile;ID=3271
* Yellow: Accumulated downfall; ash downfall not caused by rain
* Red: Accumulated downfall caused by rain
* Black: Ash cloud;action=File.getFile;ID=3275
EMEP model showing the distribution of ash at an altitude of 5 km. This is the altitude with the highest ash content.

The numbers on the right are given in micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m^3).

The model also takes into account predicted rainfall, which increases downfall, and decreases ash content in the air.

Time stamps show UTC. The animations and images can be used freely as long as they are credited to The Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

By Thomas Nygreen (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Heavy ash fall due east of the eruption. Add'l: The ash is F-rich - 23-35 mg per kg. Not good.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Haha, Google translation is really funny sometimes. I translated this text to swedish and english. The 2 sentence from the end is translated to "First, have fallen mature content but then as fine Salla" in english. When translated to Swedish it becomes something similar to "First there has fallen pornografic material, but then as fine salla"

By the way, has anyone seen any good views of the ash cloud today, meiby photos or videos from above the clods? All I can see on webcams is grey.

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Henrik,Bruce. I am sold on discrete boluses; rapid on and off of the spikes/symmetry in time/sphere and torpedo.etc..
Prof. Foulger's 'cold plume' requires crust to be accreted from magma that remains chemically distinct from the mantle continuum: boluses could provide this. Also I get impression that the Iceland plume is cold- there's no good evidence for high temperature convective activity, unlike other plumes such as Yellowstone, Hawaii.
But I like concept of horns because of their potential for focussing hydraulic power. As a bolus arrives it exerts low pressure over wide area. This pressure is then amplified as the overlying fluid magma-filled fissures narrow with decreasing depth. There is about 10km of crust to cross from its base to the EQ region at around 8km mean depth: hydraulics could do that. So 'narrowing fissures with hydraulics': yes I'd buy that for explaining EQ spikes(given boluses of course).Indeed we could envisage the percentage of solidus to liquidus steadiy increasing with crustal depth, providing the necessary narrowing-fissure geometry.
This deep crustal structute would not be peculiar to Eyjaf, nor would boluses. So the EQ oscillations must reflect peculiar geology of Eyjaf. Perhaps its 200-year period is important by allowing thousands of strains (ie incipient EQs) to accumulate until the next bolus swarm arrives. Short period volcanos would not accumulate so many potential EQs between boluses ariving so oscillations not detected there. Unfortunately the vast amount of EQ data comes from short period volcanos...
So we might need to wait for the next long period eruption to see more spikes - which is what: Laki? Eldja?.
Frustrating this geology business- can't do experiments.
Long periods twiddling the thumbs.
Give me liver cell to inject any day!

By Peter Cobbold (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Chris: Looks to me you're right. The image fits with what I used to see from there.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Mattias: The Katla webcam is probably the one getting the best pix, given how murky it is--in broad daylight, at that.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thomas #255: Great animation!

@Jon. Any updates on harmonic tremors? Seems quite calm but steady at the moment.

Quite impressive view on the vodaphone cam now...Pitch black plume rolls over...

@ Daniel 263 - this is not the plume, but a cloud the camera looks directly to the glacier and a plume should be visibel above the clouds covering the glacier, but I don't see one, see my comment on the newest blog entry.

My best guess is that the first view of the plume will be from either Hvolsvöllur or Vestmannaeyjar.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Philipp: Ah I stand corrected. :) Weather messing with me..

@Daniel, due to distance I don't get the finer detail of the harmonic tremor. Unless it is big. But that has happened few times over the last 24 hours.

Currently the wind is 8m/s and that shows up a bit on my sensor. But I am reading harmonic tremors there is no doubt about it. They make a thick band on my plot when the wind is slow.

The sun is peeping through the dark clouds at Vala. A few minutes ago I could see ash particles passing in front of the cam. Hadn't seem then since wednesday.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Damn, guess I gotta learn to pronounce "Eyjafjallajökull" now. Whatever happened to the good ol' days when we didn't have to bother with places whose names we couldn't pronounce? Yet another grievous blow to American exceptionalism. Is nothing sacred anymore? No wonder the teabaggers are so unhinged...

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Peter - I'd love to get back to you on this but have a deadline in two hours. I'll post something later!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Yes, Valahnuk and Holsveli both are working.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Got a few-minute fresh snapshot from Vodafone showing black roots just above the glacier. Just *got*ta sign up for a photo page.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Watch Vala. It's quite dark now!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Damn clouds! It is hard to get a peak at the plume. But I think it might be smaller then during the past days because I cannot see it in the small holes of the low clouds.

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Valahnúk is getting intermediate breaks in the weather an when that happens the jet black plume is impressive
the katla cam is by the wind direction south of the eruption all the others are to the north of it

Can't comment on the magma bolus theory - the proposed level of detail is too fine for me. Geophysics technical literature discussion in quite complex, with more than one theory of circulation. It's impossible to objectively evaluate. Peter refers to a cartoon model of magma slugs rising through the crust that has been posted here in reference links.

All I can offer is that it appears that geomagnetic flux signature may serve as a proxy for circulation perturbations at the bottom of the crust. Something is causing repeat waves of upward push (deformation) at specific locations, suggested by a global-wide pattern of mostly shallow earthquakes along ridge-rise areas, fault zones and active geothermal locations - eg, thin crust prone to vertical moment and off-axis stress-strain with high energy response observed at transform faults.

jökulhlhaup coming down right now at the Vodafone webcam!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

That would be the meltwater event heralded by the earthquakes? Just starting to show up on the vertical tremor graphs at GOD station.

Jon Friman.... This is the transport mechanism for this at the 300MB altitudes (30,000-35,000 feet). You can see that its going to head NE at the upper levels but the lower levels where people are is going to be caught up in the low south and west of the UK. It will be entrained into that low and rain a lot of it out at sea. But everything at the mid range transports to higher is going to end up in Western Europe and as Erik says as far as Russia.

As we all know it would seem that this is just getting cranked up. Also this is at all altitudes, silicic in nature and even though you cant see it its like getting silicosis in a mine. The acid thats embedded in it will cause severe respiratory problems. No telling how many cancers will turn up in a few years due to exposure.

I would keep the link as its overlaid with the actual weather systems. To use it simply put in 7 days and 6 hour intervals and hit the animate button. It will bring it from 7 days back to present.

All flights in the UK are grounded now until at least Saturday a.m.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Excellent link posted earlier today here, worth a closer look.

From a Glaciers Prospective Blog. GÃgjökull Retreat and Eruption Impact on this Glacier entry (updated today).…

During the pre-eruption phase, we chatted here about glacier recession as a factor in changing capping pressure on active volcanoes. I posted links to recent articles on glacier recession in Iceland and an informative AGU poster session (pdf format) that indicated substantial recession estimates at Eyjaf since 1992. Comparative photos are provided in the blog entry cited above along with a useful dialog of photographic indicators of outlet glacier recession progress.

@Lurking: Thanks for that link re: putting it all together!

Also, last night after posting here, I read more and realized that I had confused Katla and Hekla. It is Katla where there is concern of a "linked" (my word) eruption, also as per the Times Online article mentioned above (repeated:… ), so the information at the Nordvulk site that this lava is quite different chemically from that in the Myrdalsjökull-Katla system is actually very good news, though of course nothing can be ruled out completed.

Haha Helga. That was funny. Unfortunately he talk so fast that it is difficult to learn the right pronunciation. :)

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 16 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks Helga! I've been trying since the beginning to wrap my tongue around this pronunciation, and suspect I will never get it right! A friend of mine on Twitter said it's a bit like this:


But the double-l sound lays between an English tl and a dl.

I've also had help with Fimmvörðuháls, which was explained as:


With 'vir' to rhyme with 'sir' but with a more trilled R, and howls with a shorter ow than the English word. Stress on the Fimm, with secondary stress on the howls.

Of course, textual explanations of pronunciation are always going to be somewhat lacking.

There was a light dusting of fine orange-brown dust on my car this morning (central Scotland) - presumably from Eyjafjallajökull. The sky above looks perfectly clear and blue however.

There was a brilliant interview on BBC radio yesterday regarding this. Some guy who was stuck in the airport was saying 'they took our money and now they're taking our holidays.'

@Alex: That page is gone. Probably because it was far more likely a scammer than an actual child stuck in an airport. ;)

By Benjamin Franz (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

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