Changes in the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull?

National Geographic film crew near Eyjafjallajökull, April 18, 2010.

UPDATE 1PM EDT 4/19/2010: I can almost categorically say that Hekla is NOT erupting, contrary to Twitter or the brief banner on MSNBC. See my comment below (#68).

In what is sounding like a bit of a broken record, the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull is still going. However, we might be beginning to see some changes in the style of volcanism - even the first suggestion of lava flows at the new crater. As mentioned yesterday, since the eruption became subglacial, we've been seeing eruptions where water - in this case glacial meltwater - has been playing a very important role, creating phreatoplinian or surtseyan style eruptions driven by steam explosions. Although the ash is andesitic, most of the explosiveness of the eruption likely lies with the water. The ash plume at the volcano this morning is smaller than 3,000 meters / 10,000 feet and after watching some of the show that Eyjafjallajökull put on last night, I would venture to say that much of the activity (Icelandic) is strombolian, with explosions (some large) of lava at the vent, throwing incandescent ash and bombs. The explosions are coming from gases escaping from the magma in the conduit and these bombs can travel hundreds of meters - but it is less likely to produce the large ash plumes we have been seeing. All of this implies to me that right now, there is less meltwater entering the crater area. This could change quickly, but this eruption has become a little more like Ruapehu in 1995-96 with abundant small explosions and ash plumes as the andesite erupts.

This change, of course, hasn't helped Europe too much yet. NATO aircraft were damaged yesterday from an encounter with the ash. However, even with this news, limited flights have been allowed throughout Europe starting today. The economic fallout is just beginning to be felt, as British Airways is now asking the EU for compensation for the ash cancellations. However, some economists are saying the true cost of the ash will be fairly limited, at least in the UK. The ash is now affecting airports in eastern Canada as well. The political fallout of the ash might be impressive as well, with the European Commission claiming the ash restrictions were "excessive" and now recommending only restricting airspace within 50 km of Iceland.

I'll post more updates as the day progresses, but even watching the webcam, it appears that Eyjafjallajökull is settled down a bit.

{Big hat tip to all Eruptions readers for the countless comments and links on this eruption - I could never keep up with all the news you are finding!}

UPDATE 1: Those of you who enjoy fiction might like this.

UPDATE 2: I'll likely repost this tomorrow, but a great image of the ash plume from the weekend over on the NASA EO. And here's another from today.

More like this

Erik, this blog you have is an absolute goldmine of info, any hat tipping should be done by us to you for having this blog in the first place!

Looks like things are quieter from an ash cloud point of view, but the tremor levels are still reaching new highs over the last hour or two... is that just down to the strombolian activity at the crater, or do we think its more than that?

By paul wakefield (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I second that, Paul, great site you have here. Great commenters, too, thanks all.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

... although I surprised you dared utter the words that she's settled down a bit - it's becoming like saying MacBeth to an actor...

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

In the previous comments thread I said that the airlines do not have a point over the ash restrictions. It appears that I was at least partially wrong. From what I now understand this ban is based, at least in major part, on Met Office computer models rather than observations.

Computer models of weather phenomena area notoriously unreliable in their application beyond the near future. I know that this ban is being extended in small amounts, but if it is not mainly based on observations then it appears that those criticising it have a much stronger case than I thought previously.

By David Newton (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

On the Mulakot cam, is that a second plume between the original and the cloud to the right?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

In reply to David Newton's comments above.

The Met Office are getting a lot of stick for this. I've got a friend who works in that area and as he pointed out so far, wherever the MO simulation has said there is ash, direct measurements have shown ash to be present. What the simulations are not so good at is predicting small scale gaps in the plume.

And the MO only provides the raw data for the actual decision to be made by air traffic control.

They're doing the best they can with limited knowledge and very little direct sampling.

By Mike Richards (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I realize that it would be more expensive for the airlines, but why don't they just fly lower?

By freelunch (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Regarding the use of models - detecting the ash in the air by anything other than sophisticated air sampling means or by radar is almost impossible. The models are the best bet of knowing the highest probability of ash concentrations in the air. The ash cloud is variability, but sampling at such a rate to know the exact ash content of the ash over most of Europe is next to impossible. Models are our best bet to at least having some idea of where ash could be a significant problem.

You can see fellow scibling Chris Rowan's post about ash detection as well:… other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco Eyjafjallajökull volcano is still not dead...

By Nomen Nescio (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Regarding the detection of ash by radar: what kind of radar is necessary to detect the ash? Is such radar widely deployed over European airspace? I would imagine that it is the same sort of radar which detects rainfall which is certainly widely deployed.

If such radar is widely deployed then at least over land it would be possible to get the information from observations rather than computer models. Of course that still leaves the areas over oceans which is a large area.

By David Newton (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I realize that it would be more expensive for the airlines, but why don't they just fly lower?

because it would be insanely more expensive, for all but the shortest of hops (where they already don't have the flight time to reach optimum altitude). it would also considerably decrease their range, that is, it'd make long-range flights outright impossible. plus they'd have to spend even more time dodging weather, bird flocks, and other low-level obstructions, further increasing travel time and costs.

might still have to be done, though, if the ash cloud doesn't subside or shift soon enough. the potential financial losses to all of Europe, not just the airline industry, are fit to boggle one's mind.

By Nomen Nescio (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I have posted a logical, practicable method to view low mass density ash cloud at various altitudes that may be afford ultrafine particle mapping in 3-space. It was depicted graphically by the competent scientists who run the Smog Blog (air quality blog) at UMBC, after I mentioned it here, which provided graphical evidence of it's utility.

You use linear and cross polarization scopes. These can be used at ground level for horizontal swath data grabs and mounted on surveillance planes for vertical column data grabs. The data can be compared against radar mapping to assess ash cloud density variation and periodically updated for verification of relatively safe, 'near-clear' air space.

In a former post here, I gave a thumbnail explanation of the physics. We have (for reasons I won't go into here) an situation of unusual charging of particles within the fair-weather electrical circuit that induces dense electrical charge accumulation on ash particle surfaces, with the largest charges borne on the smaller particles by charge transfer. Fine and ultra-fine particle size classes are very difficult to visualize by radar, and are nearly invisible to the human eye. The are also charge-buoyant and tend to linger at or near higher altitudes of long distance flight paths.

This detection method could be of considerable help in estimating ash damage risk to resumption of airspace traffic as the eruption continues.

Many thanks Dr Klemetti for this welcoming place and also to your wise chorus. It's refreshing to see knowledge of our beautiful world given without resorting to hyperbole. Confidence in science will be redeemed through steadfast and calm labour such as yours.

I'm not sure if there's a benevolent fund for vulcanologists injured in the line of duty or if it would be better to support under-resourced geology efforts, to buy the papers quoted here online, or to give to a favoured charity of yours. In any case I hope that you suggest to your many guests a monetary outlet for their gratitude and that they learn more about Iceland and its beautiful people.

Thank you.

By Fearghal Hlidskialf (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

There's been a crash with a small airplane (2 persons) in the UK. Not sure yet if it has anything to do with ash.

By Frouke Janssen (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Over the last couple of days seismic activity around Katla appear to have picked up considerably.

Anyone have any suggestion as to what this may mean? To me it looks like a reasonable increase in magnitude however with only a few days worth of data on that chart it may just be a standard increase from a low period?

I'd also be interested to know what the different Hz mean, different depth of the seismic activity or density of material it's travelling through?

Maybe this has been posted before, but here is the first paragraph and link to the source article in this morning's ATW daily report:

"There have been 90 incidents over the last 30 years in which aircraft have encountered volcanic ash, invisible to weather radar and totally undetectable at night, and several of the encounters created very dangerous situations."

The World Organization of Volcano Observatories has stepped forward with the results of the March 2010 Workshop convened by the World Meteorological Association.

One of the discussion sessions centered on strengthening cooperation between WOVO scientists and global meteorological forecast centers (on whom airspace authority and airlines industry depend for risk evaluation) with regard to volcanic hazards observation and reporting.

From the Volcano list-serv email received this morning:

WOVO (the World Organisation of Volcano Observatories) is a commission of IAVCEI (International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior), which is in turn a member of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. The IUGG has consulting status with both the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the World Meteorological Organization, the two UN specialist agencies that organise the rules and science behind the International Airways Volcano Watch.

The theme that WOVO has been exploring most strongly over the past few years has been how cooperation with the worlds of meteorology and aviation works, and how it might benefit operational volcanology. Recently, the WOVO site ( ) has been updated with two items:

1) A stand-alone publication that explains how 'State Volcano Observatories' (given responsibility by their country for providing information to aviation) can work within the International Airways Volcano Watch, including cost recovery arrangements that *may* be negotiated.

2) Summary text from a recent WMO workshop in Santiago, Chile, about how volcano and meteorological agencies can best work together in both aviation and general warning contexts. The full text of that report will be available in due course.

(edit) Note: the text on the WOVO site is from the draft report and is the most relevant to observatories.


@Andy [#17]

Looks to me like they changed scales again. Station GOD full scale range was 2500 just a couple day ago. Now it's been turned down to 1000.

Wow, this place is such a find! I've been searching for the site where the volcano geeks (I say that with great respect) are congregating. I want real information, not media spin, particularly about Katla. I will check back here often.

First thanks for the great discussion. Am learning a lot!!

Regarding the small plane that crashed in England today, and whether it might be ash related.

There had been a total of 21 crashes in all of the UK in the past 10 years That's an average of 2 crashes per year, but that was with NORMAL traffic volumes. With most planes sitting on the ground, how many went up in the last 24 hours? I'm guessing it can't be more than a handful.

So, what is the chance that this was just a random 'regular' crash, unrelated to ash?

Statistics, anyone?

The tremor information at hraun.verdur is being updated every 10 minutes. That has increased from 30mins earlier today and every hour before that.

16:23 'The Met office has warned that the volcano's activity has started to increase.

A Met spokesman told the BBC that whereas eruptions had subsided this morning to between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, they had increased within the past two hours back to a height of 10,000 ft.

Although this is not back to the initial maximum height of 30,000 ft, the spokesman said the unpredictable nature of the volcano's activity meant that there was still cause for concern.'

http : //news. bbc. co. uk /1/hi/world/europe/8630145 . stm

By fire walk with me (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

The thread below this one on the Eruptions Blog has a late entry (Hasis) that is particularly useful for demonstrating ash plume damage to aircraft.

This directly rebuts assertions by the European Commission that there is a lack of correlating evidence of aircraft damage from ash, based on test flights made yesterday under clear skies with initial reports of no apparent damage.

Please download and read:

It's a special report published by NASA in 2003, documenting DC8 damage sustained during a science recon flight over Hekla volcano, during the 2000 eruption in South Iceland.

Excerpt of the NASA report abstract:

Although the ash plume was not visible to the flight crew, sensitive research experiments and instruments detected it. In-flight performance checks and postflight visual inpections revealed no damage to the airplane or engine first-stage fan blades.

Subsequent detailed examination of the engines revealed clogged turbine cooling air passages. This paper presents volcanic ash plume analysis, trajectory from satellites, analysis of ash particles collected in cabin air heat exchanger filters and removed from the engines, and data from on-board instruments and engine conditions.


NASA or NOAA agency document libraries may have other reports of aircraft encounters with ash plumes, as agency scientists are frequently involved in in-flight volcanic eruption visual recon and gas-and-ash emissions data logging and analysis.

It would be useful to have agency science librarians search for additional documents; an email with this request has been dispatched.

Well after a good nights sleep I have logged in and had a look around.

1) The volcano looks much quieter today. Last nights incandescent display must have been due to more fluid lava with much less water interaction. Perhaps enough ice has melted so that lava flows will be the next thing to watch out for.

2) The seismic data and Jon's geophone indicate lots of action under ground. We may be looking at lots of lave effusion at some time, it it's not already happening. It will be interesting to see when or if it breaches the caldera.

3) If the data from:
has Katla component, or is mainly Katla then watch out!

@ Tennyson 24

That graph is a much better one, so essentially there is nothing major likely to be happening?

The things I can't exactly understand now about measurements are the following:
- The 2 daily meteorological baloon measurement at many stations could also be instrumented with some ash sampling device, why we can't read about it? It would be very useful.
- There are only a small number of LIDARs in Europe, but they are able to measure the atmospheric aerosols so volcanic ash too, I think a LIDAR is a bit more expensive than a hot dog, but maybe some more of them would be also useful to detect the particles above the continent. They could give us a real time data, with more info than satellites, I think.
Atmospheric aerosols also change the polarization of the sky, there are some good specialists of it around the globe, maybe they would also be helpful in suggesting other measurements regarding the atmosphere above us.
The media always have a sense for panic, so it's the same with the ash falling out over Europe, even very far from Iceland they shout out for health risk, etc. Where can we reach any official data about dust particle samplings? Most of the air quality services are also measuring drifting dust, so there should be data about it, maybe with real samples with chemical analysis, with microscopic images, etc. Where are these data?
Well, most of the questions were only ideas.

I guess it is time to get the old C47s (DC3s) out of mothballs. Those were good planes. Small, but tough. After all, they flew the Berma hump and were sometimes overloaded and they still took off. I had the opportunity to fly in one right by Shasta. Then there are the DC6s. I flew in one of those when I was a six yro. I remember that one very well. We flew in a Tstorm and the plane was going up and down, up and down, and I was laughin my head off. It was at night and my mom was green around the edged and I rememeber this poor guy about three seats behind us on the other side and he looked soooo sick. Imagine what that must have been like for them hearing a kid laughing everytime the plane got in that turbulence!

Yeah, I know. Not a feasible idea. Too bad it wouldn't work very well.

EQ activity over Iceland has resumed after an 8-hour quiet period.

This has been a useful indirect indicator of potential for increased plume emissions, per entry #27.

Morning all.

Am I the only one who gets a 'server not found' msg for the Mila cams?

Henrick, I'm reading Swift. V. funny.

I haven't been able to get into the mila webcams for the past 4 hours.

I've been able to view the mulakot and hekla cams. Do they show the same image but from different angles?

By beedragon (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

SOL's Eyjaf page is functioning again. Don't everyone go there at once....

@36, I havent been able to access the MILA cams since about 03:30UTC

There had been an official apology by the admins from the mila cams some days ago, that they would limit access for people outside from Iceland in favor to the inhabitants, if traffic increases to much. The icelanders are more directly dependend to see what their volcano is doing than foreigners all over the world.

Yes the webcams are playing up, i personally think those pesky Icelanders don't want us to see them pressing Eyjafjallajökulls off switch !

@34 Diane
They didn't call it the "vomit comet" for nothing!

@jon I bet Buffalo Airways has their charters sold out to the east coast;0

The BBC has some traveler's opinions on the whole mess:
seems many are less upset at the delays than at the airlines' response.

However, the Royal Navy is on standby to bring back stranded Britons. Its being compared to Dunkirk,I don't know if that means you have to wade off the beach to the nearest boat while being shelled and strafed ;) Worst Vacation Ever!

Andy (#17), Hans (#29) Relax! IS NOT showing activity at Katla but Eyjafjallajökull! If Katla was showing that level of activity, the Icelandic news would have been full of it yesterday and general warnings have been issued long ago, rest assured of that!

A bit off the subject.. But do you have any updates on the Gaua volcano in the Torba Province? It's a very big one and has been more active as of late. Thanks

Jon #40, I didn't know they were flying them in Canada, but I do know they still use them here in the US for certain things. I was at O'Hare waiting for the next flight once and I saw one on the tarmac. I had been watching the planes taking off and there was one every 90 seconds! The little DC3 put putted out and then took off and it looked so tiny compared with all the big planes taking off.

I have done some flying and when I was in N Dak, I was in a Cessna 150 and I was in contact with the tower at Bismark and they told me to land. I came in and as I was landing that little plane, here came a 737 (may have been a 727) on final at the other end of the runway. Yipes! Well then knew I was going to be out of the way before that plane touched down, but I can tell you it was quite a sight!

Does anyone have a link to a good map, that shows both the volcanoes and live webcams? There is some confusion due to language, over just which cam is pointed at which volcano.

Mike R - I'll try to have updates on some of the other volcanic activity around the world tomorrow.

Reports out that Hekla is erupting, can anyone confirm?

I have added wind information web page in regards to Hekla sensor. It can be used to figure out how much wind noise there is at any given time.

The eruption is still going strong, and it has mostly stopped fluctuating like before. I am not quite sure what to make of that.

Is the composition of the tephra changing and if so how? 2. How about the composition of the gases. Is COSPEC being used? Thanks, I appreciate the updates

By ian lange (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink


I am at work and can't really look up this info myself. If those tremors are for Eyjafjallajökull, where is the monitoring of Katla? Is there a chart somewhere online?

The linked article from the WSJ on the neutral effect of the economy in the UK has got to take the prize for some of the shoddiest reporting on this crisis yet. I thought that it was just science that the journals got wrong, now it is economics.

"Email Printer Friendly Permalink Share:
facebook Twitter Digg StumbleUpon Viadeo Orkut Yahoo! Buzz Fark reddit LinkedIn MySpace Text Size
By Neil Shah
Five days after Europeâs airspace was closed due to a cloud of ash spewed by an Icelandic volcano, tourists still canât enter Britain by plane. British companies canât get supplies into the country as easily or ship goods out. Bankers and chief executives are cancelling meetings. So, will this have a lasting impact on Britainâs fragile economy? Maybe â but not a big one.

Economists believe the fallout from the flight ban over much of Northern and Central Europe will be limited for Britainâs economy, at least for now, though specific industries like tourism, airlines and pharmaceutical firms â whose products travel by air â canât be the happiest lot right now.

Londonâs Heathrow airport, one of the worldâs busiest hubs, is still out of commission. The International Air Transport Association estimates that airlines around the world are losing more than $200 million a day. And lawmakers in Britain are considering emergency measures to help folks unable to get back home.

It makes sense to worry about the British economy, which, unlike the U.S., is still struggling to find strong momentum, though the latest economic readings have been encouraging. The governmentâs preliminary take on first-quarter GDP arrives Friday, with most economists expecting the same growth rate that we saw in the fourth-quarter of last year: 0.4%.

But, given the sometimes upside-down logic of economics, the overall impact of the closures may end up being broadly neutral for Britain.

Howard Archer, an economist at IHS Global Insight in London, points out that while tourists canât fly into the U.K. and spend money, travelers already in the U.K. canât get out, either. Stranded families are going to have to find something to eat here and a place to stay, possibly mitigating the negative impact on hotels and restaurants.

The global airline industry may be suffering from a loss of revenue, but itâs possible that other transportation industries â rental cars, trains, buses â are benefiting as travelers shift gears.

As happened earlier this year when Britain suffered its worst cold spell in decades, any business meetings that are being put off will be done later, pushing activity further into the calendar.

"Itâs true that U.K. exporters like pharmaceutical firms canât get their goods shipped out of the country as easily. But firms also canât import items either â which means the final effect on British trade is neutral."


I suppose that there is no housing crisis in the US because although people can't sell houses, people can't buy them either -- so the effect on the economy is neutral!

UK Met has answered - in practice - some of the questions about modeling and sampling to determine the basis for ash distribution.

See -…

They have three maps. One is based upon on-the-ground sampling stations throughout the UK providing information on actual ashfall. This provides information (I presume) about conditions at airports and whether one could safely take-off and land, as well as health conditions for local populations and concentrations for those having to breathe the stuff.

Another map is theoretical, based upon wind direction and speed, plus calculations of existing ejecta paths as seen and already in the air (and includes the caveat that no prediction can account for what the volcano is about to do). As of today, for instance, the wind direction is carrying ash/tephra of different densities southward directly toward UK and Ireland after which is spread and dissipates (theoretically) while meeting a cross-wise band heading west that has already been observed from prior days. So it represents part observation and part computer modeling, and is targeted as a no fly zone (I believe) at 20,000 feet.

The third map is a boundary map (below 3000 feet) based on Sunday onward (as of today) observed and theoretical airborne and ashfall... and presently indicates heavy loading of Ireland, UK and the Benelux-Germany and eastern European countries southwards projected in the days forward.

The third map is

@Anne, I thought the "vomit comet" was the plane they train the astronauts in to get used to weightlessness. I had no idea it was refering. also to a DC6! I had fun on that flight anyway. I tried to sleep and the stewardess was trying to get me to sleep also, but I was just too excited.

One bit of info I got on the flight from Sacramento to Klamath Falls in the DC3: I sat next to a guy who had been in the air force and he told me that turbulence is like riding in a jeep over a rough road. Hmmm. The next time I flew, it was a flight to Washinton DC and we got into some clear air turbulence and that is exactly what it felt like; riding in a jeep on a rough dirt road.

George R

It must be the anti-panic mode. From the beginning there have been media reports saying the volcano wasn't going to blow at all. They try to downplay absolutely everything, it seems.

MSNBC has a rolling breaking news alert: Hekla is erupting.

No news about Hekla on either nor However this article… specifically states there is NO ACTIVITY AT KATLA.

Victoria (#54), as far as I am aware, any activity at Katla would show up at these stations too. If you look at this there is a lot of information about the Icelandic volcano monitoring systems!

@Henrick #46

Ah, that makes more sense, that set of graphs is being banded around as activity for Katla, I guess it is a mixture of the two, showing any activity for both?

Can anyone tell me what the difference in Hz is however? It's something I either never learned or forgot in my education.

#33 left side of plume in the "elbow"

Twitter is a problem. Irresponsible news outlets seem to simply report tweets as facts. People retweet things they see and pretty soon it becomes "fact".

I *believe* the Hekla cam was repositioned to see the current activity sometime yesterday or the day before.

The webcam for Hekla shows no plume that I can see. Just clouds, but no obvious "plume".


The only place I see reporting this is MSNBC. This would definitely be a surprise if it was erupting. Maybe steaming, but erupting?

UPDATE: and just like that, the "red banner" on MSNBC is gone, not retraction or anything. Alan, if you're reading, you need to stop MSNBC from jumping the gun on something that Hekla erupting!

Thank you, Erik. I had a hunch this was bogus. Too bad a person can't hold MSNBC accountable! It was irresponsible to say the least.

Jon, here is the info I get from my Norton Safe Web program:

"Norton Safe Web had analyzed this page and determined that the site is unsafe to visit. This Web site may attempt to install malicious software on your computer.

"The site may also have some threats that are classified as ANNOYANCE FACTORS. These annouance factors are not dangerous, but i tcan be a threat to your identities. Some examples of annourance factors are pop-ups, hacking tools, joke programs, tackware, misleading applications, and the unwanted applications that install without your permission.

"Symantec recommends that you do not visit this page.

"You can use the FULL REPORT option to get more information about this Web page. YOu can also ust his link to provid your feedback on this web site and to read user reviews from other Norton customers."

I have no idea what is going on, but I got the box that told me there were 37 things on your site. None of them seemed to be viruses, but other things that can be on computers. Even though you have a safe site, it might be a good thing to check it out anyway just to make sure.

I am not very computer saavy, and I just want to precaution you. I went into the site again and I didn't get the box so I am just as stumped as you are. It could be that someone with something on their computer transfered it to you site. They may not even know there is anything on their computer, either. Hacking does go one and sometimes it can affect what we think it won't.

Now, as for the rest of you, don't get nervous. Just check your computers. BTW, I get the same box when I go to the site that watches Turrialba.

Well, if only MSNBC is reporting it, then I wouldn't worry too much. Of all the news outlets, they probably have the least influence.

They need the ratings so maybe this is just a stunt to attract viewers.

Diane and others-there are Four-engine Douglases still
working- DC-6's and 7's Tanker 62 is my old Airplane.
nice shots of the Three Sisters in Central Oregon too!
Back n the 90's I flew with Butler for about 8 years.
Sell Real Estate now-to the delight of my wife...

Oh the humanity! The only link I was able to use to watch Eyjaf was the Hekla cam. The minute tj's question hit this thread, I lost it. Overloaded! But I'm sure that many people are using the lost cam as confirmation that the volcano blew up--I'm in withdrawal for pictures.

@72 ... strange I get no warning of this nature ... we use McAfee. There are some major explosions going on right now on Eyjafjallajökull. I'll take the risk and watch them ... thanks anyway.

@76 parclair


This is a screen capture. Hit f5 or refresh to reload the image.

By beedragon (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

The web cam change seen around the world in 60 seconds. Mass hysteria, dogs and cats laying together... :)

I got to wondering how much air a jet engine uses. A relatively small jet engine (GE T58-8F) apparently processes 11,000 cubic feet/minute (about the volume of air in a pair of really large houses.)

If you start thinking of it in those terms then it explains why even what seems to be a tiny density of ash poses a risk to such engines. All of this air is funneled through a small and very hot opening, well above the melting temp of the ash.

This might help people who look at the apparently clear sky and wonder why you can't fly.

Jon #78, I feel the same way. I have a feeling that something isn't right with my program. For all I know, I could have something on My computer. Anyway, I hope Jon Frimann will check it out. It doesn't hurt to run a check every so often ,especially since we are on the web a lot these days.

I will say his corders are going strong and showing a lot of activity.

@beedragon Thanks!

@Diane, It is not my site that is unsafe. But it is someone else web page that is on the same server that is unsafe. I have called the ISP.

My web site is clean. But Norton is marking the whole domain as bad because of one web page.

The ash did just turn black few moments ago. That is not good I think.

Doesn't anybody bother to call the relevant authorities before posting a scrolling red banner on a news site? This is getting surreal. We can panic and jump up and down on the blogs all we want since there is no requirement for any sort of credentials to post here. But a news organization that is broadcast to millions of people with authority?

I think we need to get a handle on this internet/tweet thing. Otherwise we will panic and all run to the same side of the planet, which will make it tip over. BREAKING NEWS: EARTH ABOUT TO TIP OVER!

@Diane ... I agree ... but it's like a drug ... I am addicted to watching it no matter what the cost ... lol

The stress... the excitement what should I watch first!? I'd take a nap but Ejy haunts my dreams too. Something very large seems to be brewing and I can't walk away

Get a load of this:
"...Volcanologist Dr John Murray told BBC World Service that the ash that has been causing all the problems has diminished greatly: "As the situation is at the moment I should think things should be clear by tomorrow (Tues) evening, I am not a meteorologist.... but certainly if we don't get a sudden increase in ash again then - yes - I'd imagine things will clear up pretty quickly."

This was just posted on the BBC

I guess he's a bit out of the picture on what's ACTUALLY HAPPENING...

I have to admit I'm a bit mystified at the "let's-all-jump-on-the-bandwagon-and-declare-the-problem-is-over-so British Airways-can-get-back-to-flying-around-Europe"


By Matthew UK/Afg… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

So the EU Ministers met and have a consensus on lifting of flight restrictions, with 3 zones (open, caution, restricted) on Tuesday.

EU moves to ease Europe flight curbs

The IMO Latest Updates web page has a useful animation graphic at the bottom (Boundary Layer) that shows the complexity of air mass movement over the North Sea and NW Europe and the progressive thinning of the boundary air stream carrying ash that will permit resumption of air flight travel.…

I suggest that you bookmark it and look at it later on, because if everybody rushes to IMO site, you will crash their servers yet again.

Jon Frimann, #85 thanks for checking. I didn't think it was your site, and I was confused so I thought I should let you know. Now we can all check you site and know it is aok!

Jon, #87, yeah, it is like a drug! I am addicted to it, too.

Renee, #88 I dream about volcanoes frequently and since I have been monitoring this site, I have had some. Did just last night! I do have one that is recurring and is pretty weird and cool at the same time.

I don't know if this has been mentioned, but I hear from one member of the weekend's scientific expedition (from the university) that a pyroclastic surge occurred on Saturday. I'm not sure what time.

I did witness what I thought looked like a plume collapse when I was there (on Saturday), but I sort of wrote it off because I wasn't expecting this eruption to produce one. I got a few photos at the time but they don't really show the rapid 'collapse' I watched. I need to look into this some more.

Activity today it down - the plume is now perhaps only 3 kilometers high. One theory is that a bubble of very silicic magma is pushing upwards, reducing the gas that can escape from the vent at the moment. If that reaches the surface, we could get a much more explosive eruption. I'm due to go out there again from Wednesday for at least a few days, so I'm watching this one closely...

James, if only (more) journalists were like you! We need people like this, so please stay safe!

Eyjafjallajökull is now making a lot of black ash. I think that means the magma is getting more rhyoliticin nature.

@James, I might have seen few of them on Saturday. But they did appear small and hard to so. I didn't have any conformation on it. So I just kept it to my self, as it was not big and poorly observed by me.

Four-of-five local vertical tremor readouts continue to give evidence of climbing activity. EQ activity has resumed at Eyjaf after a quiet period, near Basar.

Latest news is that an overflight has revealed no evidence for a lava flow. There is also a new pdf file with updated radar images, revealing little substantial change to the vent morphology in the past 3 days:…

Another update, at the IMO web site, speaks of "hraunkleprar" having been sighted in the active craters, but no "hraunrennsli" - the latter probably means lava flow (thus, there is no lava flow), but "hraunkleprar", Jón please help ...

There's also a bit about the chemical composition of the products of this eruption at Nordvulk:,78
which says that the current eruption is the result of mixing of fresh basaltic magma (the magma that fed the Fimmvörðuháls episode in March-early April) and residual trachyandesitic magma that had stagnated in the system since the 1821-1823 eruption. That's exactly what I suggested already a couple of days ago. Nordvulk scientists suppose that less silicic and less explosive transitional-alkali basaltic magma is on its way to the surface.

The ash plume appears more vigorous in this moment, though it's a mere shadow of what it has been two days ago.

I don't know if this has been mentioned, but I hear from one member of the weekend's scientific expedition (from the university) that a pyroclastic surge occurred on Saturday. I'm not sure what time.

I did witness what I thought looked like a plume collapse when I was there (on Saturday), but I sort of wrote it off because I wasn't expecting this eruption to produce one. I got a few photos at the time but they don't really show the rapid 'collapse' I watched. I need to look into this some more.

Activity today it down - the plume is now perhaps only 3 kilometers high. One theory is that a bubble of very silicic magma is pushing upwards, reducing the gas that can escape from the vent at the moment. If that reaches the surface, we could get a much more explosive eruption. I'm due to go out there again from Wednesday for at least a few days, so I'm watching this one closely...

Hi All. I have been following this blog for a while and am still totally fascinated. ( Reduced my sleeping hours a fair bit.)
Question: Is anyone in here from iceland and would be willing to send a handfull of ash to me? Samples from other countries where someone collected the ash, would be even better but a doubt someone is willing to part with those samples and iceland sure has plenty of ash right now. I work in a museum and have access to several Microskopes among them a SEM ( wich allows a Magnification up to 24000 fold. Of course i would share potential pics i could take if you should be interested.) Or does someone have an idea whom i could ask?

Black and white smoke. Have we elected a new Pope?

@Boris Behncke, It is quite not lava bombs. But it is lava that is thrown out of the crater and is solidifies before it hits the ground. It builds up the crater, amount other things in the volcano.

Re: Birgit's request: If any kind Icelander wants to send me some of the Eyjafjallajokull ash or scoria, I would be quite delighted. If you can, send me an email at eruptionsblog at gmail dot com and I can send you my details (and likely spring for the shipping too).

@Boris: IIRC, hraunkleprar = lava bombs or owt like that.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

The earthquake mentioned by Passerby is now listed as follows:

19.04.201017:45:5063.651-19.5200.1 km2.499.03.5 km SSW of Básar

Note the location and depth. I'm headed for the Vahlanúk camera. ;)

Yikes, apologies for the double-post - my internet connection has been awful lately...

I just looked at an ash sample from a day or so ago that a friend collected from up on Myrdalsjokull (topping Katla). It is much darker than the stuff that I collected, which was coming down on the lowlands on Saturday evening. She showed me photos of a definite change in ash colour - there are two distinct layers in the Myrdalsjokull deposits, with darker ash on top.

Alot of black smoke coming up now. Seems abit more active than before.

No quakes around Hekla. Doubt that it would erupt without a little bit of activity first. 2.5 quake on Ej though. Maybe they saw a twitter bird.

Aircraft and ash clouds - We are going to send human beings by the thousands up into the sky to test if it is safe? It has been said that this crisis is "unsustainable." That is an economic concern. If we are capable of doing this or allowing it to happen to the tune of the old token of wealth then all of the volcanoes need to go at once. The survivors would be much better off. Get real!

Hey, I have some pictures I took this morning that are very interesting and may show a Bishop's ring in the southern US. I want to post them but don't have them on a web site or know how to post them here. Any suggestions?

Erik, your summary of events starting this thread is right on the money and an outstanding scientific analysis! Great job in getting the information through!

All Mila cams down?? Or is it just me?

All Mila cams seem to have been down all since about 8 a.m. EST.

By beedragon (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Daniel. When I asked the same question, I was told these were also closed to international viewers. This was to insure access for the locals, who need it way more than us.;) Earlier in the thread a myndavelar cam was posted (I have a browse that can't use that particular entryway). Cheers

110 restricted to Icelandic viewers i wish they could get a mirror site running to divert the load

Nahh... My (rather old) book uses the word 'hraunkúlur' fyrir lava bombs. I suppose, then, that -kleprar are splatters.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

>wish they could get a mirror site running to divert the load

Already sent a suggestion email to MILA along these lines, pointing to economic opportunity as the webcam images have considerable public following at present.

Richard try submitting it to

"I'm afraid I'm not personally qualified to confuse cats, but I can recommend an extremely good service."
Monty Python's Flying Circus

Thanks Randall.

Looks like that web cam on the volcano has been disabled. Probably cuz it wasn't smothered in advertisements and allowed us to get our volcano news REAL TIME (when there wasn't cloud cover). Oh well. It was nice while it lasted!

Too bad the mila and Vodafone cams are no longer accessible to international viewers. But look on the bright side - the Mulakot cam's a lot closer to the volcano. This means we could have a much better view if Eyjaf decides to do a repeat of last night's fireworks! And no lights close by, either!

MK: the Vodafone cam posts an updated image every 5-10 min to the picasa website I linked above. This is accessible to international viewers.

Ok They are up on Thanks again Randall! What would I do without you! We are going to have to hook up when the big guy goes. I don't have any import but I've got about 0.0000001 KM3 of Miller if you are interested.…

Everybody please give your opinion on what this is! My 7 yo boy noticed this when we went outside this morning.

This site works fine:


You just have to keep hitting refresh. I think I have worn one of my mouse buttons off.

@pika - I was referring to the older one before the site shut down - only thing is, was it better at updating more frequently than what they post on Picasa Web? Otherwise, it's still not bad for comparing between current and earlier episodes of the eruption.

That certainly looks like a Bishops Ring Richard, but the chances of this being directly from the ash content from Eyjee is low at that distance. Something else is probably causing that one.
Cool photos though.

PS I have just found this site and it's invaluable to anyone who doesn't want to rely on the media, and wants to see this whole thing for what it really is. Amazing stuff. If everyone keeps inputting like this, we're at least going to understand it all a lot better.

being one of the .is natives, i can confirm that the webcams have been up and running domestically more or less the whole time. although there is some understanding expressed here on the blog by participants, it is kind of unfair. reason being:
1) i estimates that 3/4 of the island inhabitants are 1-2 hours driving distance from the eruption - so they can actually see, feel and smell it,
2) the islanders get continous local news updates - and may i add relevant ones :-),
3) it is actually having a relatively larger global consequence than local ones - if i may use the popular native "per capita" comparison.
4) volcanic eruptions are not really big news in iceland - although i have to add that this one has hit some 1-3 hundred inhabitants quite severely so far (dare you to convert that to "per capita".
that being said, i have sent an e-mail to the lot at to get a mirror site.
ps! at the moment there is absolutely nothing happening on the mila web-cams. the clouds are obscuring whatever is still visible (see prediction of cloud cover here: and the (now ever shortening) darkness of spring is zooming in

For the moment the eruption plume looks weaker than it has ever since the eruption started. It will be interesting to see at night, I guess - if there's Strombolian activity it should be very visible. The volcanic tremor appears quite strong still, so there might be a nice show to see at least on the still images of Vodafone and mulakot.

I have been idly speculating on why it appears that the ash cloud is moving in different directions at the same time, which should be impossible. It makes a nice atmospheric mystery.

I think that the lower altitude winds are blowing in one direction and upper in a different (not uncommon.) So as the top of the cloud hits what looks to be relatively strong winds it gets blown that way -- but ash that precipates from the cloud makes it down to the lower levels. Thus it appears that the wind is blowing in two directions at once.

There is a lot of interesting atmospheric stuff in these pictures. If anybody is working on a textbook these time lapse pictures might prove useful. If my science books had contained more volcano pictures, I might have paid more attention!

# 128 Thank you for the update on the cams. Feel free to input here any time, please. :)

What can you expect from "social networking?" Pretty soon we won't have sex, we will have textual intercourse.

This is hilarious, you must check it out for yourself!

Fox news put this up on their internet site. Nice article implying that there is no worry for us Americans. Go to the article and save the ash cloud distribution graphic. Look at the entire name for this picture. Too much! It seems that someone has a different opinion.…

America....Love it...or lie to it.

Text if by land....Tweet if by sea

Kiss my free Ass

Thank you Erik for respecting our rights to free speech!!!

Has anyone else been looking at the seismic activity around the Bárdarbunga site? The closest seismic sensors show a large ramp over the past few days, and a lot of the earthquakes around the site show a pattern similar to previous eruptions and magma flow.
Im still trying to dig through information on the sensors and gps data. But I must admit I'm no expert in this, so without the training it's a case of looking at previous patterns in other eruptions and trying to see if anything looks similar.
A lot of people seem to be worried about Hekla and Katla, but most of the activity seems at the moment to be along the edges of the fault line to the north and to the SW, and centred around Bárdarbunga.
Has anyone got any depth measurements on the seismic activity here? It could just be magma moving, and granted it has been quiet for a few hours now despite lots of activity yesterday.
Just wondered if a Bárdarbunga eruption had crossed anyone else's mind?

"But a news organization that is broadcast to millions of people with authority?"

Don't was just MSNBC...nobody was watching anyway.

@ Richard - 124: There was a ring around the sun in Seattle, too, yesterday afternoon. I assume it was the ordinary variety and didn't think to shoot off a pic, despite the camera in my hand.

I sent an email to MÃla and I suggest you all do, to put some pressure on them to something about their servers or bandwidth.

Vodaphone has a new message up, they say they're dealing with some technical problems.


Brilliant! "Doomsday!" typical of course.

Right clicking and "save as" is going to be a new door to comedy for me from this day forth. :)

Carla, I didn't know there was an ordinary variety of rings around the sun. Maybe yours is coming from Alaska or somewhere up there. Maybe they are testing LSD again or something. If you see it again please send some pictures. I have heard you can get these from dust, ash from large fires, or when the west coast is going to slide in the ocean. Oops, did I let that slip out?

Just change out MSNBC or the Huffington Post for BBC;)

"The BBC would like to apologize to everyone in the world for that last item. It was disgusting and bad and thouroughly disobediant, and please don't bother to phone up because we know it was very tasteless, but they didn't really mean it and they all come from broken homes and have very unhappy personal lives"
Monty Python Flying Circus

@Richard: Look up 'cirrostratus' on the 'pedia. The usual sort of rings happens in that.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks for a superb site. Have studied the 10 minute-averaged tremor (vertical component) at the site and found by comparing the signal strength between the different stations that almost all of the signal is coming from near the eruption site (depth is uncertain). However there was an anomaly at station HVO between 1800 and 1810UTC or between 1810 and 1820UTC, especially in the frequence range 2-4 Hz, where the signal rose by about 60% and was higher than ever during this eruption. No rise at the other stations except in GOD where a spike could be seen at lower frequencies. Seems that the anomaly could be much closer to HVO than the other stations. HVO is situated SE of Katla, so is this temporarily signal coming from Katla?
I am a meteorologist in Sweden but have an M.S in Seismology in Taiwan where I also has been working as a research assistent. However, have no experience in Volcanology.

I was watching a TED talk this morning by Michael Specter:

"You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts"

@richard #134, I am sure that if any of that illegal alien ash tries to cross our sacred, (yet strangely ungaurded) airspace borders, the minute-men militia and tea party patriots will rise up in their balloons (for which they have unlimited hot air supply) and just swat that gosh darn ash back across the border, all without increasing your taxes.

High altitude phase-ordered particles (dust and ice particles) can cause a Bishops Ring visual effect. has featured a couple of photos of this phenomenon in recent months.

If I were to guess, I would say you saw evidence of high altitude dust originating from the Saharan Desert. This dust is carried across the Atlantic, into the Caribbean and as far west as the Yucatan Peninsula on equatorial winds. It regularly deposits over the southern US, particularly Florida and the eastern Gulf states.

Randall you are being very naughty (uppity for us southerners) and using free speech again. I bet you own a firearm or two as well don't you? You probably even want your vote to count don't you?

Hey, are there any videos of ash clouds coming out of the UK? I hear you guys have more cameras over there than the paparazzi. Oops, I did it again, did I? Sorry Gordy.

Seriously Randall, I noticed all of the Stars and Bars on your web site. We go back to the Revolutionary War here. I wonder if our dads etc... have served together?

What did I do with my beer?

Here's a satellite image taken at 12:41 GMT:

The plume from the volcano is only 3-5 km high so does the ash stay roughly at that altitude or does it climb as it works its way to Europe?

Does anyone know?

Ingemar looks like the ash will be going more North next week, instead of Southeast....This may help parts of Europe that are being effected now....but that may not be good news for you guys....any thoughts on that?

Erik Klemetti, you write so well! Thank you.

#146 @Erik,, my curiosity got the better of me... lol

Randall yes maybe you are right, There have been some flights to central and northern Scandinavia today but probably that area will be closed later on again.

This is a link to a fun interactive site, that does a good job of explaining how different types of magma create different types of eruptions, and the type of volcanic rock that is created.
Hat tip to our gracious host DR. Erik for the link on a post some time ago.

I just move the slider to the right and listen for the boom. :)

The one and only remaining webcam that I could view has gone offline. Mulakot.. is this the same for everyone?

The ring around the sun can be caused by emissions from the back of planes. Look it up in relation to contrails.

@shelly - same here. Uh oh.


I think we just hammered off the net, all I get is a timeout last time I tried refreshing.

The good thing about living in the 21st century: I can watch volcanoes on the other side of the planet.

The bad thing about living in the 21st century: When we _all_ try to watch it at once, we can't watch it...

I guess it would only take time for the Mulakot cam to go down after Mila's went offline.. There must have been lots of habitants of our beautiful planet earth watching that cam.. Oh well, who do I e-mail. lol

The Old Gary Lady? You've hit the big time young Dr. Klemetti. Who knows, maybe we'll be seeing you on Colbert.

What do you get when trying to connect to MÃla web cameras ?

There is one web cam left running for you international viewers, it is where my sensor is at Heklubyggð. See my earlier link for the image.

I find a blank white screen showing: skilar villum. Tæknimönnum 1984 ehf hefur verið gert viðvart! Referred by

I guess somebody else got swamped?
:-( No more pictures.

It is a shame that doesn't work anymore. That one is the easiest of the bunch to proxy someplace else. I believe I would be able to build a proxy for it in the US and get it "on the air" in very short order with enough capacity to handle the North American viewing.

Is it possible that the auto refresh website crashed the webcam? Computers can push the buttons a lot faster than humans.

The Mulakot cam died, noooooo

I can't access that site either.
No more real-time images except those from which are very inconveniently updated every 10 minutes on Flickr.

Fair play @ Monika#168. This is what i love about these forums. There's a lot of proper knowledge out there!
Hey wanna go for dinner? :) As long as you're not more than a flight away that is. :):)

Just a thought, the three frequency ranges seem to be converging near Bardarbunga, getting progressively higher. Is this a pressure build up? It's possible it's still coming from SW but I just get the heeby jeebies about this.

@ Jon,, yes that cam still works... not much to see from that distance but as I'm addicted to this volcano it will do very nicely.. Thankyou..

@Karen.. I get the same message as you from Mulakot...

I guess it's time to piece together todays Mulakot time lapse. :)

Error translates as: returns errors. Technicians 1984 Ltd. has been notified!

Technicians 1984! "Try reseating the handset in the modem cradle and switching to 110 baud. If that doesn't work, reload the driver from the cassette tape.""

(Just ragging a bit cause I'm frustrated. :) )

Richard....sorry I don't own a gun....I am sort of a pragmatic attitude is "before I have to hit him I hope he has the sense to run"....I absolutely do believe in free speech though. I wouldn't doubt some of my folks have fought along side yours since my family goes all the way back to the 1600's in North America. This may disappoint you but I know my vote counted....I went door to door campaigning for Obama....considering where I came from and my family wasn't a decision I took lightly. I do pride myself in being a different kind of Southerner....Over the years I think I have evolved from a redneck to more of an enlightened rouge;)

George you are my hero...that may save me from a total meltdown. I am so addicted to following this I cannot handle the thought of no pics!

Where's Geraldo Rivera when you need him with his live broadcasts? :)

I took the dog for a walk and noticed the ring is still there today over Seattle. Here's a pic. Looks just like the photo on the Cirrostratus wiki page, not so much like the Bishop's Ring images Monika referenced:

Jon, would try removing your link to see if it restores the
Mulakot server feed, please.

Oh randall, are you blushing?

@Passerby, It is not that. There where too many people refreshing too many pictures, and in fact creating a effect that is similar to a ddos attack on the server.

My web page just takes one picture and only that picture is reloaded. That makes a less load the re-loading all the pictures. I hope that they repair the server soon. It might need a good reboot or something like that.

@Monika (168) Outstanding! What I saw was definitely a 22 degree halo as you said. Thank you for the information. If you don't mind me asking, do you think we will see different sunsets from this?

where is everyone.......
(motsfo wandering around in the unlighted webcam...)
Hello............ hello...........
Anyone? Anyone?


@ Danny (175) Well, I don't know where you are, I'm in Hungary :-) By the way I also don't know how far a "flight away" might now be as I haven't seen any aircraft for more than 3 days now.:-)))

@Carla (182) That is also a 22 degree halo made by the cirrostratus clouds you mention. Nice pic with strong colours!
Maybe in these days more and more people raise their eyes on the sky that is good for everyone.
Feel free to ask if you see something unusual up!

#124 Richard,

I have to disappoint you but that doesn't look like a bishop's ring. I don't know the field of view of the lens you used but it looks more like the common 22° halo, which is caused by ice crystals. More examples can be found at:

On the same brilliant site on atmospheric optical phenomena you can find a bit of information on the bishop's ring, its formation and example images:

I'm also keeping an eye open for a bishop's ring... I hope to catch one. Maybe I already did but I'm awaiting confirmation.

Iâve been (quietly) watching this site for a couple of weeks now. Learned a lot, laughed a little, lost too much sleep. The last two days I feel there is a danger that the vulcanology is in danger of being swamped by an eruption of wild speculation and banality.
#16 & #25 Light aircraft have been flying in the UK throughout this event. I drive to work along the road that this plane crashed beside on Saturday. A tragedy for those involved, but I quote the Air Accident Investigation Branch âFrom what we know of the accident so far, thereâs no reason to connect it to the atmospheric conditions from the volcano.â
#45. I think political spin about the Royal Navy conducting a second Dunkirk is mostly to do with covering up a few inconvenient electoral poll embarrassments.
As a gas turbine repair engineer, I have seen plenty of engines damaged by sand, stones, a bullet and even an Imperial White Tailed Eagle, but Iâm not about to start speculating on the probability of risk of flying through ash.
Lets leave this site to volcanoes & the experts, both amature and professional, in no particular order, thanks to Dianne, Passerby, Henrick, Jòn FrÃmann, Erick Klemmetti, Randall Nix, Boris Behncke, Michael Cerulli Billingsley, and sorry anyone Iâve forgotten.
Various other uninformed blow-ins, fruit cakes and loony tunes, please pipe down.
Ohâ¦â¦. Whilst Iâve been typing this I see you mostly have.

You may take only one image, but the refresh rate request overloaded the servers buffers. It crashed. It was working up until you setup the feedforward link. It may be coincidental in timing, but if you are connected when the server is finally reset, it may crash again.

The administrative contact for the domain is according to a WHOIS.
If someone is able to set up a proxy site maybe it's worth mailing them.

@ Anna (186) Are you in Iceland? Are you saying the cameras are down locally also? That wouldn't be good.

# 190 I live very close to the crash site and yes, there is no known link between the crash and the ash cloud.

NATS are now reporting that the volcano eruption in Iceland has strengthened and a new ash cloud is spreading south and east towards the UK.

Any information on this strenghtening eruption?

Erik great article and you are a very good writer...but you didn't mention what could happen if the Big "Y" volcano were to erupt(I try not to say the word;)

The last image from the Vodafone cam shows a tantalising redness to the bottom of the eruption column. As the wind is blowing the ash away from the camera strongly this may be the actual shower of hot material from the vent.

@Passerby, I work a lot with computers. The refresh rate on the web page that I set up was less then refresh rate they had on there own image. They update there image with a ~30 seconds period. But my web page was only updating only at 1 to 2 min intervals. So it was not that.

The server would have crashed without me setting up that web page. As it just sends the data for one image, not all of them. So that is less load for the server.

Einar (#129), thank you for those, in my opinion, wise words! If I may add to them:

5. There will not be many better opportunities for Icelanders to market their country as a tourist attraction, especially not this cheaply!

All 3 MÃla cams are working domestically again --

I'm starting to see lava in the Valahnúkur cam ...

Thanks for the update Anna, you are currently the eyes for the rest of the world.. :)

198 Notice the address that the myndavelar webcam requests get passed to:

"Limit" suggests that their site has simply passed its bandwidth limit not crashed. They just need a subsidy.

Jon, you are right about the servers. Since you are not redirecting but updating your server, anyone looking at your server does not put any strain on the server you get information from. If anything, it puts stress on your server.

Monika:) I'm in the UK, in the midst of it all. I even considered organising a no smoking ban today under all major flight paths, because it can't be helpin. But I settled with sending a picture of a BA jet fitted to a Dyson vacumn cleaner to Sky news and the BBC. So far, they havn't approved my photo. :)
Hungary's not so far away after all!

@#190 I've got qualifications in physics, chemsitry and biology, and for the past ten years I've looked at everything I can about life the universe and everything. I'm by far no expert in volcanoes, but I like to try and understand what I can. I've already learnt a whole lot more than I ever imagined from a random blog site I found in the wake of a media storm from Eyjee (my nickname for it btw) and its amazing! So ok if this site does descend into chaos, text messages and cross country music appreciation when volcano analysing should be the focus, then of course complain. But we didn't get anywhere in the world from following the books, we just kept asking questions!

This site is a great thing, and as long as it's properly moderated and given a bit of leeway so it's not always "too serious" you may as well let it happen.


PS Monika - what music you into?

Mike you better take me out of the expert category....I am more a volcano/disaster color commentator and not really a play by play guy;)

"I'm afraid I'm not personally qualified to confuse cats, but I can recommend an extremely good service."

I join the other ash collectors. If anyone in Iceland could send some ash over I'd be very grateful ^_^ . That goes for any volcanic material from anywhere by the way ;-) . For those who might want to swap some volcanic stuff: I have a lot of materials from Germany (Laacher See and Kaiserstuhl e.g.), Scotland and France. Even some stuff from Morocco.

Thanks for the screen shot Jon.. :)

Looking again at that message from the site, the server may not have crashed. They might have simply exceeded their bandwidth allocation from their hosting provider.

re: small plane crash (Caveat: as a non-scientific, non-technical person, I don't know whether ash will do anything to engines of small aircrafts at all, so please feel free to fill me in, thnx )

I guess the question that I have is whether ash-related engine failures, just for instance, can be identified quite quickly from an initial inspection of the wreckage. I'm thinking of the engine damages found on the Finnish fighter jets. Also especially to the NASA research plane in 2000… where scientists on board determined they had flown into an ash cloud, but nothing abnormal was experienced during the flight, nor any damage detected by visual inspection after they landed. Ash damage was only discovered after borescope inspection. The engines were eventually restored to 'standard' operating conditions at a cost of $3.2 million!! (see report at link)

So I'm thinking this doesn't seem like something that you can determine right at the scene, shortly after a crash. Maybe it's simply too soon to tell. Anyone?

@Richard (185) Well, for a colourful, orange nd violet sunset we need a lot of SO2 to be ejected into the stratosphere, that has not happened yet at Eyjafjöll... But sunsets would also be different with ash too, but moving towards a less colourful side.
It depends on the particle size that scatters sunlight; with SO2 that forms really tiny (only about 0,5 micron in diameter) droplets in the stratosphere the so called Rayleight scattering occures, this means that colours are extragerrated by scattering. This also happens with any normal sunset or sunrise (in a less emphasised way) just because of all small aerosol particles in the atmosphere.
But the ash particles are a bit larger in size range, about 10-50 microns, with this size the so called Mie scattering takes its turn. This means that the colours are faded or weakened a lot, so the sunset would appear less colourful than usual. The average "ash" sunset is pale yellow and pale brown, hs much less colour than a normal sunset. You can take a look at it at my pics taken on Saturday:

Just got a clear shot at Vala. Very certain there's lava brewing in the pot.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Sucks that none of the webcams with great shots can be viewed anymore. Only in Iceland cn you get the Mila webcams if I am correct? In America we woauld rarely have a problem with too much traffic on a website so we have to shut it down for most people. They need a better server or else a lot of international viewers will be turned off not knowing what is going on excpet for screenshots.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Gunna toss a few captures in the bucket now...

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Question on icelandic landscape.

Last year I took a hike through Iceland and encountered quite a few landforms I could make sense of, but something I am still not sure of: near the Markarfljöt canyon in the area downriver from the Entujökull which is an outlet glacier from Myrdalsjökull there was an area which had a rolling/wavy appearance, and I was wondering if that is some sort of moraine or if it is actually sculpted by a massive jökulhlaup from the Entujökull:…

Is it something similar to the Palouse Scabland in the pacific NW that were created by the run-off from glacial lake Missoula?

What I donât get is that Vodafone is a massive company with massive communications infrastructure. This for them is great advertising so how come they havenât worked out that they can get this free and pipe it all over the world with minimal effects to the Icelandic bandwidth? What a waste especially as Iâm addicted and needing to change my provider! (HINT HINT HINT)

@George RE:212 I agree. From the message it does look like he has used up his bandwidth for the month. Maybe we should all send him some money for some moreâ¦.

Reynir, thanks for that. So, are you staying up all night? :)

@ Chance (217) Comparing Iceland to the US is like comparing a speed boat to a supertanker. They have nowhere near the resources we have, nor the available bandwidth. They just recently got a new underwater high speed cable that even allows us to see what we have so far. They are not set up to handle the internet traffic they have seen, nor should they be considering the costs. And it's not easy to just update a server or add bandwidth.

@Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson Thank you!!! I feel better now after my fix;-)

The webcam is from an airport, which seems to be closed since we didn't see planes around. If somebody could figure out who their broadband provider was, I'm sure they could take credit cards. The companies don't care who pays the bill.

(Years and years ago some random nice person renewed when the registration lapsed due to the billing information getting lost. Red faces inside the company I can assure you...)

I'm suffering withdrawals! Our biggest problem may be that it's nighttime in Iceland now, so any changes they could make (if we beg hard enough) probably won't happen until tomorrow anyway.

I wrote Mila pleading for access :)

By beedragon (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Great shots Reynir, thanks for sharing..

It's 23:18 here in the UK and my bed time, I'd love to stay and play but have work tomorrow, Have fun all,,

Maybe now that it's cleared all the phlegm out of its throat, EJ can get down to the business of a Hawaiin style eruption, with the a'a' doing a really good job of erasing the outlet glacier on its way down the slope?

Dunno if all night. Even I gotta sleep sometimes.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Works like a charm. thanks Reynir.

Valahnúk cam is up

Valahnuk cam is on now for international viewers and WOW!!!

Hvolsvelli is displaying the same thing many of us watched last night: repeated bursts of red. So glad this view is back up.

John I was just about to go to bed... Now the cams are working again I guess you all can twist my arm and make me stay a while longer. lol

I have been looking around. The server crashed and we just have to wait until they fix it.

The server has unlimited bandwidth according to the server provider web page.

Currently the harmonic tremor on my seismometer appears good, with out too much wind noise I think.

The cams from are up and working for me, also. I'm in Canada, and I think it should be working for any of us in Canada and the US.

And, yes, you really can see glowing bombs being thrown up into the air on the Valahnjuk cam.

@DavidL (214) For small plane, read small piston engine probably no higer than 2000 feet. Plenty of these still running fine in cars at only slightly lower altitude. Yes, for a large jet it would take a lot of investigation.

Really impressive lava ejections on both Hvolsvelli and Valahnuk!

By corporal_E (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

According to The Telegraph "Gordon Brown announced that three Royal Navy ships would help return strangled British travellers from the continent." (, my emphasis)

I knew that some Britons behave badly when in France, but not on the scale that the French have started strangling enough of them to mandate a massive transportation back to the UK.

By Thomas Nygreen (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

OOps, forgot to say...

Thankyou Mila webcam peeps.... x

How do we thank Mila? It's wonderful the cams are back!

@Danny (207) In this case you could reach me even by foot in some weeks. :-) But it might be important to know that I'm married, so please think it over again if you'd like to come or not. :-)
Of course if some day you really come to Hungary, me and my husband would be happy to invite you for a good dinner to our place. Music: hard rock, prog rock, blues and fusion jazz are in my style. :-)
I also have some fine pieces of volcanic rock, eg. from Iceland I own a small part of Askja, another small part of Hekla too, but I even have a piece of scoria from Bromo at Java, Indonesia. :-) And if Eyjafjöll sends us some more ash I hope to collect any piece of it and save it for the future. :-)

Well-done, Mila! Hvolsvelli is up as well.

The company took the hint, quickly worked their magic and have saved the day for the Eyjaf Fan Club.

:) Snubbed. :P
I was just trying to find a date before the 26th, it's gonna be amazing guys! I'll keep watching it unfold. Good luck!

From what I have learned on this site over the last few months I would say this eruption is in a strombolian phase. Please correct me if I am wrong.


By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

About to toss eight more captures into the same bucket.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

lol - cheers monika, not snubbed then, just very late! Keep watching the show Mon, it's gonna get fantastic! If you look at all the seismo graphs for the past two weeks, you may even feel this from Hungary when they line up. :)
You gotta love the way we get to live in a time when we get the chance to see these things. :):)

Now we'll see if NASA scientists can work their magic. We've contacted the appropriate parties and asked them to consider test flight evaluation in Europe of a new on-board aviation hazard detection and warning technology. If the co-inventors are game, it may be a big help in managing flight risk, especially if they can demonstrate sensor detection at low ash density.

NASA seriously rocks as a superb science and engineering R&D agency. I hope this works out because it fills a very real and urgent need in the commercial passenger and freight transport aviation industries.

This eruption may last a while and it will not be the only one in Iceland in the near future.

oddly, geology has kind of a same clock as history. both being actually quite slow-mo, relatively speaking. which is counter to the instant time media/we/this blog lives by.

may i hence abuse this web-site by diverting the attention of some of you instant seeker of knowledge to some relative old stuff. this being the full compilation of the available historical cartographic maps of iceland. the site is (in english)

one even might find a drawing/reference to the last historical eruption of Eyjafjallajökull (1821) in one of them.


@ Monika: these I made last Thursday near the village of GroÃenkneten, Germany:


They should all be there now. Had the browser crash and felt it wiser to reboot Ladyhawke, it being a Windows box.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I won't hear anything said against Iceland telecoms; a good strong 3G signal virtually everywhere it seemed to me. Heck, I was posting photos to Facebook in real time from half-way up Mýrdalsjökull when I was there two weeks ago.

Hey guys, I have been at work most of today. What time did this mother pop a cap again?

Latest ash forecast...

Subject: FVXX01 EGRR 191723

FVXX01 EGRR 191723 2010109 1724
DTG: 20100419/1800Z
PSN: N6338 W01937
ADVISORY NR: 2010/023
OBS VA DTG: 19/1800Z

God I love these guys....

Graphics here...

BTW-it was QUIET at the airport and this was strictly charter stuff. Fedex ducked to Madrid, took the southern route and got a few outta there yesterday afternoon and arrived about an hour late last night. They'll put the it can wait stuff into the sort tonight and the other well I have been working my butt off all afternoon. I saw a pilot later on that is a MD-11 captain and he said that sausage was FULL on the inbound. Medical/perishables are on priortty right now. As for the ash cloud... He says you can see it and it looks like a wispy layer of smoke, no ash that you can call ash like we are seeing. It was thin but was thicker to the North of Madrid. There is a lot of sheet lightning but I didnt buy that it was caused by bumping silicic particles. More like a storm a long way away reflecting into the cloud tops.

Any direction to vids or pics would be happily accepted since I have been out saving the American economy single (sort of ) handedly.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I am so pleased that Mila is back
yet i miss the high quality images Vodafone has their dumps just don't make it (to small)

Morning everyone (well from Australia- 8.50am). Another great fireworks display tonight. This site is really addictive thanks to you all. I was just comparing an earlier comment by an Icelandic local about how they are use to these volcanic events and just get on with life. Well its similar here in Cairns, Australia. Every year we go on Tropical Cyclone watch. But it still does not detract from the awe and excitement that nature provides.

Thanks a lot to everyone at Mila who helped and led us back to our addiction to the webcams! :-)

We certainly didn't disparage Iceland telecommunications companies; on the contrary, we understand that they're not used to handling an ongoing international user demand onslaught on top of peak local demand. We just supplied an economic incentive to look for a technological workaround.

And we did applaud their efforts.

Looks like our telcos got right well slashdotted, yeah. (Even if it didn't come from /.)

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Based on my small grasp of events to come....

See this link (in French)…

1:) The seismic crisis began in april 2009, and it's only a month ago magma reaches the surface...

2:) The eruption seems to be fed by very primitive magma which mixed with the dacite of the 1821 eruption, making andesite. This andesite is progressively evacuated from the main chamber.

This may be either a "cycle-starting" eruption, where the magma chamber is filled anew, this could signify Eyjaf is going to have more frequent small-scale eruptions during the next months/years/decades.

This could also be the beginning on something much more massive. So much magma intruded inside the volcano, it had to find another outlet (i.e. Fimmvörduhals) to vent. We may have lots of basaltic magma in store (given that the crisis began 1year ago, this gives plenty of time for the volcanic plumbing to fill to capacity).
This basaltic magma could very well escape excentrically, in a large basaltic fissure eruption, since the whole system is weakened in a SW/NE direction by the overlying icelandic rift.

There is another disturbing possibility. In the link I gave, it is stated that the Fimmvorduhals basalt are somewhat similar in composition to what Katla erupted in 1918.

This would mean that the 2 volcanoes are indeed connected. So it would be a matter of WHEN, and not if, Katla will erupt.

Furthermore, Katla is overdue to erupt, last one was in 1918, assuming the magma supply inside is constant, next blast could be twice as big as 1918.

Food for thought...

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Fireman, then you must have been using 3G from SÃminn. They are using 3G 900, so signal in most places. But they are also using the standard 2100Mhz band also. I hope that you don't get too big of a bill for that data use in Iceland.

Harmonic tremors continue to increase, and they appear now on my seismometer as the wind has slowed down for now.

Jon #255, that is a great video. It is looking more like Etna now, with the Strombolian activity. Steam, ash, and lava being thrown into the air. Wow! This volcano definitely has a mind of its own. I just wish the cams would come back on line.

@Volcanophile: Katla is overdue according to an average. This ol' gal is not Old Faithful. She's a cat, not a dog.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Gijs, wasn't sunset at 2107 hours local time? Would this still be from sunset two hours ago? Seems unlikely...

Diane the cams are back... lol

@Gijs de Reijke....

Yup... overdue means nothing in a scientific way. That was just to say, Katla has had its own sweet time to fill up its magmatic plumbing... so if any triggering event happens, it may very well follow through...

Next problem is, magma inside Katla's chamber could have started to fractionate, leaving behind more silicic, more gas rich magma...

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I am so glad that Mila webcams are back. After 3 weeks of watching the "Volcano" (as SNL pronounced it), I suffered from withdrawals too.

I was even starting to wonder if we shouldn't do like PBS, and do a fundraiser to cover for some of the bandwith cost. Unfortunately, if the trouble is a small infrastructure tailored to the number of the country's inhabitants, that is not meant to cater to the world watching Icelandic webcams for a unknow time span, money might not be the solution to the situation.

In any case, thank you Mila.

Diane, I've got the Mila cams. Which were you looking for?

@ Jim: I think you're forgetting how far North Iceland is. Around this time of the year it's normal for the sky not to turn completely dark at night at those latitudes. However, in reality the glow is not as intense as in the picture, but that has to do with the poor light conditions the camera has to deal with.

One other thing that gives it away is that the volcanic glow is very dynamic. It changes visibly from very almost invisible to very strong.

There is no such thing as 'overdue'. There is a perfectly logical sequence of temporally consistent, additive factors. Those factors are at play in the present eruption, but will not be in play for Katla for a while yet.

Next up, I think perhaps Grimsvotn. We can only hope the wind is flowing in the right direction (north into polar circulation), but as others have noted (well-regarded authors of recent technical papers), the present climate ensembles affecting Western Europe are not kind in providing typical wind patterns for the next few years.

NOAA reports that we've just had the warmest March on record, period. We need to be thinking about rebound reactivity for more than one subglacial volcanic center.

@Gijs (254) Your beautiful pics shows a normal sunset, with very nicely coloured clouds. I love that pic with the reflections in the cow's eyes, one can really say "Holy cow" now :-))) Thanks for sharing!

@Danny (251) The last eq I've felt here in Hungary was back in 1985... We are not too good at eqs. :-) Of course this hi-tech age is awsome for us, all of us. Before Eyjafjöll's eruption the last one I have watched via webcams was Redoubt, that was also very interesting. But now with this community here at Erik's blog I feel much better. :-) It's great to have so many volcano enthusiasts collected here and to get many useful info from each other.

Gijs, Got it understood, by the way do you know orientation of the Katla cam?

Can someone tell me the diameter of the crater we are seeing on the Valahnúk cam? Just curious..

@280: Grimsvotn may also go during the next years... aswell as Hekla.

But the problem with Katla is that it has an actively erupting volcano right next to it...

Could it be triggered by deflation at Eyjaf? That is, lack of "back-pressure" from Eyjaf or contraction could lead to fractures opening?

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

#253 Einar: Thanks for the map link.
It is really funny to view the old maps from 1500 and 1600. Especially if you use the DJVU softvare so you can zoom in and check the details. I like the funny art in some of the old maps. They are really artistic work. Check this one out for example, it has funny symbols for the volcanos. And Hekla was named Hekla already at the year 1548. Use DJVU if possible for better detail

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink


You say "yet" about Katla. Does that mean you think it is just a matter of time?

Was March really that warm? It turns out that a lot of the data that was used was incorrect. For example, in Finland, they forgot to put the "-" sign for their temperatures, so instead of Finland being colder than normal (which it was), NOAA showed it being much, much warmer (which it wasn't). Simple human error, no conspiracy, but there is a lot of very sloppy work done there. Some of it is because reports from weather stations around the world are in different formats, and can be confusing for the person trying to put it all together.

I would look at the satellite data, much more reliable, doesn't have any human errors, and doesn't have any of the questionable "adjustments" made due to thousands of weather stations no longer being functional, and therefore estimates from ground thermometers hundreds of miles away have to be made in order to "adjust" the data.

Here is a more accurate map of March. Not as warm as NOAA says.

Back on topic, I wonder if the cams are visible now because it is night, and therefore less people in Iceland are viewing it, therefore they are not blocking other locations from seeing it. Maybe a pattern that will repeat itself.

By Brian in Bellingham (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

#282: The cam looks about due north.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Those of you in Iceland - what can you tell us about tourist approaches like those being made last week to view the lava fountains? I'm arriving in Reykjavik in a few days and wonder how close people are venturing?

By Seattlelight (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Monika: that sunset was a lot more red than usual, even pink around the edges. Apparently this effect was visible all over the Netherlands and parts of Germany thursday evening. I checked the sunsets again the days after, but those were definitely less red (yellow and orange). Today was again nothing unusual, but the amount of ash in the air is very small anyway.

The cows... Comletely oblivious to what I was doing XD .

@ Jim: the cam is located southeast of Katla (with a view to the northwest), which also points out that the glow is merely midnight sun: the glow of midnight sun moves around the northern horizon. It should be getting less visible during the night, when it moves further east.

@288: It's probably a network bandwidth issue. There is far less data sent when the photo is all black so their server can handle more users after dark.

By Tennyson Lee (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Passerby (252) It sounds very interesting to have any kind of new device to detect ash. Do you have any link for information about the technology? I'm just curious about the method they'd use.

Dr. Erik Klemetti, your people demand a new updated evaluation of the day and comments of the current development since new data, graphs on the seismic activities and maps/models of ash dispersion have been added through various sites. You have provided a great opportunity to follow any developments, but as you see your people are hungry for solid information:)

PS: one question: is it coincidence that big earthquakes strike at night time and is there any correlation nightly volcanic activity with the increased seismic activity?

By fire walk with me (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Gijs, thank you sir!

@Brian in Bellingham: your map was set to show the temps for today. Click on Jan or Feb and you will get a different result. Countries at the poles such as Greenland and Iceland were much warmer than usual. Northern Europe was colder than usual, oddly enough predicted by climate change models but looking at one month in climate is like looking at three seconds of the webcam and extrapolating what the volcano is going to do next.

Here in Seattle, it was the first time that I have ever waxed the boat in Feburary. For a few days Seattle was warmer than Florida! However that probably has more to do with El Nino than climate change per-se; climate change is a very long term signal.

@Gijs (291) Of course you can find really red sunsets around the globe even if no volcanoes erupt at all. This is a normal behaviour of our sky. Sometimes when you see certain kind of clouds their colours are more vivid - these clouds are mostly altostratus, altocumulus. The common in them is to be horizontally flat, so if Sun shines them from below a great part of sun's light could be reflected towards any observer being around. If it was seen all over the Netherlands, this means you all had the same type of clouds around.
If you wish to see a vivid volcanic sunset, as I said before you need a great amount of SO2 in the _stratosphere_ and Eyafjöll had not sent anything up there. The other thing you need is a clear sky, because volcanic sunsets are painting the sky itself, not the clouds. You can find dozens of examples here:
That was Sarychev's eruption last year with some very nice sunsets and dawns.

A dumb question for the volcano people from a mathematical physicist - meaning my knowledge of rocks is limited to big and small...
Is the lava being ejected now hotter?
I could be completely wrong, since I am having my breakfast and still waking up, but the colour temp of what I am now seeing looks hotter the previous days. Almost white, about 2-300+C over previous days .
I was thinking a change in atmosphere, or even the cameras, still just wondering though.
(Probably just wrong and need a shower).
Otherwise I was wondering if that means hotter stuff is reaching the surface?

It sure is a lot more dynamic looking now though. Another reason I was thinking increased temp with lower viscosity.

Pure speculation on my part...

@ Monika: thanks for the website! Great examples of volcanic sunsets. But I can imagine that ash particles (regardless of at what altitude it can be found) can also change the colouration of a sunset, as it diffuses sunlight as well?

i wonder how much of the explosive activity is due to gass bubbling up through the lava and how much is due to ice/water flowing into the pit

10 o'clock news in Iceland, it starts with a video taken ca. 3 hours ago:

I layman's terms they're saying that the glowing red lava splatters have lined the crater(s) and so they're in effect insulated from the surrounding snow.

The lava/boiling rock is just bubbling in there with nowhere to go.

This eruption gets curiouser and curiouser.

Back on topic, I wonder if the cams are visible now because it is night, and therefore less people in Iceland are viewing it, therefore they are not blocking other locations from seeing it.

And less people in ashpocalypse-struck rest of Europe viewing (or trying to), which I'd guess would take a significant load off the servers.

Going off on a tangent here, but it's weird to see the comments on the general theme of "unfortunate little Iceland, with its poor infrastructure" -- well, if anything I think this incident proves that it is the telecoms operators and ISPs in the rest of the world that have found themselves operating out of a backwater, and clearly disconnected from where the action is. Get to work and lay some more cables!

@ Jón270:

T-Mobile tried to mug me for $5,000 for data usage in Iceland! The Mafia are more honest - at least they make no pretense of being honest, they're upfront crooks. I got the bill abolished when I threatened them with publicity :-)

@Scott: It could be automatic colour correction trying to keep the image as neutral as it can.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Anna- many thanks for your translation. Also interesting footage on same News about the ash.

@Fireman, Actually this is the SÃminn how charges T-Mobile for the data. But this is a lot, even if you are from a EU country or the U.S.

I am getting a bit frustrated with Icelandic scientists. They continue to believe that this eruption is turning to a lava type of eruption and they are in fact expecting to see lava appearing soon and hit the glacier close to the eruption. While this eruption appears to be strombolian eruption and nothing else. Currently it is having it's low period. But that might change at any time with no warning at all. The icelandic scientists where also for a long time expecting this eruption to follow the "Icelandic model" of eruption here in Iceland. Where the eruption start with a big bang and fuss, but soon after it starts to loose pressure and dies soon out on the quiet note. Not unlike what you see in Hekla or GrÃmsfjalli (GrÃmsvötnum). So far, Eyjafjallajökull has broken all the rules for an eruption in Iceland, and I think that he is going to teach the icelandic scientists some new lessons in the coming weeks.

I am not going to trust on the eruption being like it is now, as it is going to have it lows and highs in coming weeks or months. I am expecting a lot of ash in the high, and low to none in the lows.

@Tennyson: thanks for making those videos. When there was nothing else available to view last night, this view was so exciting to see. Looks like tonight might be a repeat performance.

@Jón FrÃmann: that Fyrstu_eldmyndirnar video is rearranging my neurons. Thanks for posting. Who should be credited for that? Makes my heart race.

A question:

If the ash pillar is only 3-5 km high does that mean that the ash falls into the sea somewhere between Iceland and Europe?

Or does the ash ascend and end up in altitudes where it poses threat to aircraft?

Tom #308: You're welcome!

@Gijs 291: There is no midnight sun in Iceland, as it's south of the Arctic Circle (except for the small island of GrÃmsey:

But as night is defined as the periods when the sun is more than 18 degrees below the horizon, there is no true night at the coordinates of Eyjafjallajökull between April 7th and September 5th (2010 dates), although it gets pretty dark for all practical purposes.

Twilight times for April 19th/20th
21:02 Sunset
21:58 End of civil twilight
23:26 End of nautical twilight
Astronomical Twilight
03:08 Beginning of nautical twilight
04:35 Beginning of civil twilight
05:32 Sunrise

But in only a week there will be no astronomical twilight (meaning that parts of the horizon will be noticeable all night):
(Twilight times for April 26th/27th)
21:23 Sunset
22:25 End of civil twilight
Nautical Twilight
04:06 Beginning of civil twilight
05:08 Sunrise

By Thomas Nygreen (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Does anyone have an idea how high the ejecta seen in the Valahnúk webcam is going? I have no sense of the scale.

Dumb question - where I sit, the Mila cam frames refresh about once per second. Is it the same way for everyone, or does my internet connection speed just suck? :)

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@318: Looks like it refreshes every second here too, Frito Lay, but the refresh for me depends - sometimes it flows, sometimes is is choppier. Right now, I could say it's about once per second.

Monica, if you don't mind I would like to wait on NASA's reply before I mention it here.

Jón, the geologists are under a helluva stress load. The national economy is fragile, Europe is slowly emerging from recession, and the air transportation industry is demanding relief. Everyone wants to hear that the volcano will now settled down and become more predictable.

The timing of the eruption could not have been worse, for many reasons, the least of which is that it occurred during a peak holiday travel period for Europe, Easter break.

For a region supposedly still reeling from the aftermath of the recession, there sure were a heckuva lot of folks in holiday travel mode, while there was an ongoing eruption (albeit not a major ash maker), and during an unusual cool climate cycle in Europe, which speaks to unusual wind patterns that have aggravated the situation.

Perhaps we should be been more vocal here at Eruptions, and yet we were adamant that the eruption was not over, in the quiet after the first periglacial fissure eruption and before onset of this more active period.

I think the answer that IMO should give back to the European airlines:

You didn't know when you had it so good, for so long.

How prudent was it for you to schedule a record number of cheap flights during a most unusual and ongoing eruption?

You had damn close to a month's warning, for there was NO reason to believe that this volcano would not erupt violently. History has shown that it can start lazily and still erupt extensively. You can expect that it will NOT end soon, as hoped.

The European Commission is also remiss. They should have acted more prudently in expecting an eruption, with travel officials advising caution to holiday makers in planning for nonessential air travel during a HISTORIC (a wild-card) Icelandic eruption, in a location that has been the source of more than a few calamitous volcanic emissions affecting lives in Europe.

The vast majority of the stranded passengers were engaged in nonessential holiday travel.

Of course, IMO will say nothing of the sort. They are, afterall, stoic and careful in what they do.

But it is good to be able to remind those who are most vocal about economic loss and consequences, that there was a PLENTY of impending activity indicators that that went unheeded, with nearly a MONTHS lead-time for which to counsel prudence to the travel industry and casual travelers alike.

Re: #317. Some rule of thumb guesstimation:

Valahnuk webcam assumptions: If the peak is 1500 meters, and the slope is about 20 degrees, then the crater is roughly 4,400 meters away. If we assume the webcam has a field of view of perhaps 10 degrees, and that the glowing fragments are going maybe 1/5th of the screen at maximum, then that means we have a 2 degree difference = about 150 meters at the aforementioned 4,400 meter range.

The figures I'm basing my calculations on are guesstimations, but the resulting figure doesn't sound too unreasonable?

By lifeblack (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Frito Lay I'm getting about the same refresh rate from 'Down Under'.

@ Summers thank you. Mine is choppier at times as well. Thank goodness it's as good as it is now. These cams are mesmerizing tonight.

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Jón: Not to be too picky or anything, but daylight is a very wage term. The sun is not above the horizon, so it's twilight by definition. The first day with ordinary (civil) twilight from sunset to sunrise this year is May 12th in ReykjavÃk. And I would not call that 24 hour daylight, even though it's enough light to walk home from the bar.

By Thomas Nygreen (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Frito: You are doing a lot better than I. With my slooowww DSL, my connection speed is 560K download and 100K upload. My sister ditched her DSL, dropped her land line, and went with WildBlue. Her Internet access access is now 4 times faster than mine. Alas, I am out of cell phone coverage so I don't have that option yet.

I get a refresh about every 5 seconds.

If this is a "less active" phase, what does a "more active" phase look like? I'm seeing more on the camera tonight than last night, although perhaps it was moved. Those little white dots that we are seeing must be pretty darn big to be able to detect from this distance and they are going a long way up and a long way over.

Is what we are seeing large bubbles rising to the surface and popping (to put it crudely?)

Terrible refresh rate here in Godzone but we're not renowned for our bandwidth !!

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Gordys I'll have my people send for your things then :)

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

The orange "stuff" or ejecta we see is bigger than yesterday, and is visible more frequently, if not almost constantly. It is hard to define a scale (1/4 inch on my screen doesn't help), but it is at least 4 times taller than last night.

@Frito: Sounds good to me. I hope that I don't have to take a airplane ride. ;)

I am not convinced that things are "less active". Looking at the harmonic tremor plots, things have been trending up for the past 24 hours.

thank you for this bit of information. I just happened to be doing a school project on volcanoes when this occured. I've looked everywhere and you are the only that seems to know what type of eruption it is.

@Michael Oh boy have you come to the right place! You have some world-renowned experts from just about every field of science on here (not me though lol)

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Maria, there are a few great maps in this pdf report found at

that show the location of these stations and more.

The report is also a great read as well.

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Passerby, Playing politics with nature always ends in a disaster. I am hoping that it is going to be avoided this time around. But the human factor is turning bad at this moment. I am sure that we are going to see ash related incidents soon with commercial airlines. Maybe not crash, but damaged engines and a lot of problems that follow it.

About the warning. Earthquakes in a volcano does not always mean eruptions. But the clues for me where obvious. I at least did see the chance of eruption in Eyjafjallajökull in August of 2009, and I did write a blog post about it, and I did try to warn IMO scientists. But nobody did listen until it was too late, and I feel that they are still not listening. That is why I am going to get phd in volcano science and earthquakes to equal the levels a bit.

I think that the eruption might have started it new high phase few hours ago, when the ash production started to rise suddenly. How far it is now, and how big it currently is hard to know at the moment due to darkness.

I am not a geologist or a vulcanologist.

We seem to be seeing an increasing trend in harmonic tremor. Inflation at the THEY station is increasing. So if you have increased harmonic tremor, that would indicate that "stuff" is moving around underground. If you have increasing inflation of the surface, it would indicate that new material is entering the system faster than it is leaving.

I don't see any indication at the moment that things are about to quiet down.

I just realized the activity we are seeing on the web cam first has to travel the distance up from the depth of the glacier pit to be viewed on the Val cam. The glacier was was how many meters thick...200-300. I would say some of these blasts are at least 500 meters from base to peak or over 1600 feet. Amazing.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I guess the decision to open flight zones (tomorrow) and parallel to that the impatience of the companies would be a milestone for the further actions of governments. (Hypothetically, like MET office's concern about the rise of ash clouds tonight) If the intensified eruptions would cause an increase in ash production, maybe more than yesterday or before, then how would the governments act according to the deteriorated situation? would governments waive the chance to open the zones or submit to the companies' demands? tomorrow would be an important day, 'if' the risk would be higher.

By fire walk with me (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

The mainstream press seems to be constantly saying that a larger volcanic explosion of Katla is "unlikely." I don't see that there is a real reason to say this, besides quelling panic.

Please, what do the experts on this page think about it?

More time lapse video from the Mulakot camera. I got 9 hours of pictures today before they went away. I skipped making a video for the 18th because the only interesting thing that happened on that camera all day way the small plane that parked partly in view for a bit. This one is in HD.

By Benjamin Franz (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

They are playing with fire here. I would not be one of those on the frist flights I can tell you that. If anything does go worng we will know why and how it could have been prevented. Let's hope nothing like that happens but these airlines seem very arrogent The ay seems confsung as heck to me and I can bet a lot of pilots will fly into the wrong zone tomamrow on accident becuase these zones are fixed and ash moves with th winds. stupid idea really.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

A new article from Haraldur Sigurdsson explaining the Volcanic tremor in this eruption, which Google Translate mangles quite nicely...titled (according to the translation)

Turmoil In The Teeth Eruption

I think he's saying that there may be lava pooling either in the crater or just below the surface which is causing the high tremor amplitude.

I also found a website with 9 GPS sites around the volcano:

@Gijs (300)
Scattering depends on the particle size. An SO2 aerosol droplet has only some molecules struck together so it can keep its small size (cca. 0,5 micron). Ash particles are larger, they are cca 10-50 microns. If you have the smaller size (0,5) range, scattering will strengthen the colours. If you have the particles larger (10-50), scattering will fade out the colours. These things can't be changed as it is a physical law, the connection between the light wavelenghts and the particle size is fixed. You might also look after volcanic ash particle size range yourself with google.
Altitude is also important because is some material is at a higher place, it would be lit by sun in a later moment, so we from the surface of Earth would see it in a much darker sky. Think of a torch's light: you won't see it in daylight only if you stand beside it, but at night you easily notice it even from 5 kms.
I hope I could help you.

@Passerby (320) Of course, I don't mind :-)) You know, couriosity kills the cat. :-)

Re: Dasnowskier (#346)

That realization makes me feel better.... I was all depressed that my guesstimation was off by a factor of 10 or more....

By lifeblack (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Well done Benjamin- a great coverage of yesterday.

Since there are no dumb questions let me ask this:

did all the webcams start working again at Midnight in Iceland?
Could that be because that when they get their days worth of fresh bandwidth?
Are you all burning thru their bandwidth now? Or did they really get bigger buckets? Are we gonna be be crying again tomorrow morning?

Haraldur Sigurdsson's blog (link cited above in post 351) provides a simple and easily understood interpretation of the vertical tremor sensor data patterns with respect to changes that have occurred during the eruption.

Peak events are also correlated to meltwater flood reports early on, in the crater fissure eruption, which also makes sense - it was magma melting the overlaying ice.

Harald is obviously correct, in that we are now seeing magma sparking and roiling in the crater fissures, quite visible on the MILA webcams tonight.

Great time lapse Tennyson. Strong work. Just tuned in to the Hvolsvelli cam. Seems much more impressive tonight.

Fitz: There was a malfunction in the Farice communications cable which meant that 3 out of 4 Icelandic ISP's had no connectivity outside of Iceland. This situation lasted for about 8 hours and I'm guessing this is why the webcams were unaccessible to persons outside the country.

I have been keeping up to date with this intermittently and i would just like to recap.

There was the very first original eruption, then a second fissure opened and was spewing lava. Now there is a new eruption under the glacier that has now melted the glacier and reached the surface creating a cinder cone?
If this isnt correct please correct me! Also, what has happened to the original eruption now etc?

Sorry to come across as a complete novice as i know it must be very annoying to the experienced guys here, but a little help would mean a lot :)

My guess they will shut down the international access to cams in the morning. Just my educated guess, especially if volcano stays very active.

Our estimations are only different by 50 meters if you were mentioning visible ejecta.
Ice = up to 300 meters plus 200 meters visible ejecta total up to 500 meters.
I just was looking at the pretty pictures and not taking the thickness of the glacial ice into account when viewing, to realize how tall the basts were from the source.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Victoria 348: An eruption of Katla at some future date is not 'likely', it is 'certain'. The only question is 'when?' ;-)

At the moment the best that can be said, IMHO, is:

1. There is some suggestion of a link between the adjacent volcanoes, such that an eruption at Eyjafjallajökull *may* tend to set off Katla a little later.

2. The idea that there is such a connection is fairly credible.

3. There are no signs of unrest at Katla at this time, and therefore nothing to suggest an eruption is imminent.

4. If anyone starts talking about any eruption being 'overdue', they're talking out of their hats.

(5. is 3. above a fair comment, or does past experience suggest that Katla is prone to erupt with little-to-no warning, Hekla-style??!!)

My friend and his co-worker flew over the glacier today and got footage of a powerful shockwave emanating from the crater, it hit the plane with a loud thud and rocked the plane a few seconds later

Well I guess no one can, or no one will, address my questions. Guess I'll go to sleep and see how things look in the morning . . .

With the wind shifting later in the week, is this not going to be more of an issue for Iceland and create more local interest? Just another factor that may impact our access to cams, since they have already shown the willingness to restrict foreign access?

Oops, sorry, didn't see there was a response!

@Sara: Wow. I think that while it gives us great video, flying around near the crater isn't exactly the safest thing to be doing...

By Benjamin Franz (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Luke #363, no, I don't think anyone gets annoyed by questions. That is how we learn is by asking questions. I am not sure if a cinder cone is in the making or not, but it sure looks like Strombolian fountains taking place and that would tend to crate a cinder cone. However, there is a crater that is deep there so what I think is happening is that the lava that is being ejected is adding to the sides of the crater. I am not sure how much is getting above the rim, but if it is strong enough, it could build up.

Ask all the questions you want. I am an armchair geologist/volcanologist. :-)

@Victoria 348: I think that what Fireman said in 366 is very well said.

@Fireman: And you got to watch it when it was just "little", that is way cool.

When you visit Harald's geology blog, use google translate to view the page on Eyjaf, right hand panel hotlink.

The second blog entry down is the one we want. Harald describes the results of a 2009 student thesis, and makes comparisons of the lava samples of the present eruption being comparable to the 920AD eruption.

Google truly mangles the language. We would be eternally grateful if a native speaker would give us a translation, please.

This is important.

See the map graphic, which shows the western location of samples of the 920 eruption compared against other Holcene eruption samples. The red circle represents the new ash samples.

I think Harald is dead right on this, with the progression of ejecta composition.

920 is also the year that Katla erupted.

@dougH 364: I don't think they are restricting foreign access because they're trying to hide anything. They are limited by network bandwidth and server capacity. They can provide webcam access to many more people at night because the picture is mostly black and consumes far less bandwidth. The blackness compresses much more than a daytime photo.

PS. I think it looks a lot more active tonight compared to previous nights. And I'm guessing the 40+ hours of continuous harmonic tremor suggest a lot of stuff is moving underground.

By Tennyson Lee (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

The quake in Austrailia was upgraded to a 5.2. It was about 6 miles deep and about 350 miles east of Perth. That is unusual for Austrailia to have quakes. I want to watch that situation.

BTW, I can predict earthquakes! I predict there will be a 7.0 somewhere in the world in the next six to nine months. ;-D

#373. Hell ya, the Western Australia 5.3 shake was unusual. Look at the historic seismicity and shake risk maps on the USGS EQ website.

10 km. Heavy rains and storms, quite unusual, late March and April 2010. Same pattern that we've seen elsewhere there unusually severe EQs have followed after heavy rains - probably pore water stress.

Lifeback- thanks for that interesting article- it puts it all in perspective.

Good points and I've also heard of other reasons for restrictions. I never thought a hide thing but just simple bandwidth network issues. The fact they restricted and who means it could happen again. I hope not and we can at least see the nighttime stuff.

@Diane 379: The "set by location program" means they don't know how deep the epicenter was. They just use the 10km (6.2 miles) as the default (or they use the average value for some areas). I found this out this a few years back when I thought it odd that so many earthquake epicenters were 6.2 miles deep.

By Tennyson Lee (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks Scarlet for the translated link, I'm using Google Chrome with the translate plugin so it translates the page automatically.

I like this line especially: It probably indicates that the magma to flow into Gigi and the eruption is now established, the level can be called mixed drinks.


The EQ thing has bothered me lately, not because recent ones near populated area's but because I'm not seeing the whole picture. Does USGS post ones in middle of oceans so we see overall activity?

Thanks Erik for your awesome blogs and information. I check in every day and have learned sooooo much from you and everyone posting comments. Love all the links and videos and photos. A goldmine of volcano information!

@Tom - it occured close to the superpit, could removing all that dirt cause uplifting and earthquake? Just like after dams are filled...?

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Scott - Use and pop in the link. It works really well, I've been reading so many foreign pages I could never read before, and you can even click through the page and it keeps working, amazing!

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

re: dougH (#385) I suspect the USGS only auto-posts earthquakes that register on the USGS network (which I think includes guam, hawaii, alaska, etc). Earthquakes that aren't large enough to register half a world away (compare the icelandic earthquake site to the USGS site) aren't posted on the USGS data pages.

I would suppose that quakes that didn't originally register, but are scientifically interesting may make an appearance as they're entered manually.

By lifeblack (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Here is a silly question for someone to answer.

I have read here and other places that as of yet Katla has not shown any signs of activity. But then I read that the two volcanoes are only eight miles apart. So how do we know if anything is going on -- since any sensor on Katla is going to be reading from the our girl.

I'm asking seriously, not "gee how stupid everybody has been." There must be some way to tell the difference, and it is probably quite interesting.

I've been told it's not exactly a default per se. It means that it's a shallow quake with some horizontal siting uncertainty. The value is a depth approximation using epicenter location software models, when there is a problem with adequate seismic stations or signal data quality or initial rupture signal discrimination issues.

@DougH Would this monitor help?: (F5 or refresh after initial load)

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

#389, from the USGS earthquake site FAQ:

'Starting in January 2009, the USGS National Earthquake Information Center no longer locates earthquakes smaller than magnitude 4.5 outside the United States, unless we receive specific information that the earthquake was felt or caused damage.'

@GeorgeR, I think with multiple seismometers located around the two volcanoes, any signals can be triangulated to give an accurate location for any activity. From what I've read, history says that Katla seems to erupt with almost no warning...

I would hypothesize that as the magma chamber is emptied and allows contraction under Eyjafjallajökull, maybe this allows the chamber under Katla to expand and draw in new magma since it's so relatively close, thereby setting off an eruption there?

Re GeorgeR (#392)
The simple answer I am afraid you will find less interesting than you might have hoped....

While it is true that a specific sensor might be affected by both Eyjafjallajokul and katla (think GPS station GOD, sort of between the two volcanoes), the best way to tell whether katla is active is to look at the sensors surrounding katla vs the sensors surrounding Eyjaf and see if the radial motion points to things happening in one spot vs the other.

There's other methods, probably the most interesting (in my opinion) is the use of InSAR to get a reading of elevation change over a wide area, not just at specific points. It's specific to use on bare ground (elevation comparison over a period of months doesn't work well with trees, for instance). Note: InSAR is not a real-time sensing method, but a time-difference method.

Also, even with the higher levels of tremor, it's possible to detect and locate small earthquakes, and to tell which volcano they are happening under.

By lifeblack (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

EQ's in Kalgoorlie are rare but not unheard of. There was a 4.5 tremor there in 1987. Its only about 250km from a fault zone that runs through Meckering which had a 6.9 EQ in 1968. Don't think the Super Pit would be in play as the epicenter was 30km nth of Kalgoolie.

Aww drat! Cam went off just when it was getting good. I'm thankful that I saw what I was able to.

The sun is already coming up on the Hvols cam.

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

They zoomed up Hvolsvelli cam. Looks great. The sky is glowing so you can see the steam rising out the magma.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks for all the info on USGS EQ reporting. I heard most major EQ happen in unpopulated area's but trying to reason that with ring of fire reports and wonder what is missing and what it might be telling use. I'm in the camp activity has increased for whatever reason and with high populations a bigger concern than historicaly may have caused.

They zoomed up Hvolsvelli cam. Looks great. The sky is glowing so you can see the steam rising out the magma.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Why is Vala cam still in darkness?
Looks like the day is dawning, but not in Vala cam.
These lava bombs are reaching such high altitudes!
Worth looking!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Earthquakes are not unusual in Australia. There are dormant volcanoes on mainland Australia. Australia as a continent is moving North Eastward at 7 cms per year - 7 metres per century.(Off the hotspot that is offshore Mt Gambier in South Australia).

By Les Francis (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Major jump in visible activity on the webcams, last couple hours. No comparison to what I saw last night, increase activity seems roughly comparable to the tremor graph pattern.

Very consistent level of incandescence.

Now it looks like what you'd expect to see in an erupting volcano! None of the occasional wimpy sparkings of last night.

Now we can see some daylight in Valahnuk.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks for that info. That gets me to wondering what kind of positioning error there is. I'm sure it is pretty precise but I just realized that in the earthquake info that I read I don't recall any estimate range. GPS gets thrown off by weird things like reflections off of the side of buildings (caution if you navigate by GPS in a steep fijord) so you would think that earthquake signals would be really tough.

The Hvolsvelli cam has the National Geographic cover shot right now.

When a deep 7 is no worse than swallow 5 I wonder why EQ scale is meaningful? While it's nice to know the original force, why don't we scale it for effect on the surface? Granted there are other local factors but shouldn't we measure the potential surface shaking to scale it? Also when the ash cloud moves over Europe why do some assume we should react the same way if it moves over Pacific Ocean and easy to avoid?

Renato, Vala is in a different position and it is sort of behind Eyjaf. In other words, Eyjaf is blocking the sun at the moment.

#404, Gordys - thanks for the NASA EO link. Robert Simmon surely does have 'an artists eye' in choosing among satellite images to capture and post.

Nice to know the EO team is looking over our shoulder here.

Thanks Robert!

Whats appearing on the Ãórólfsfelli cam just below the Mila sign?

Anyone have comment on ash cloud being generated this morning now that it is visable?

@Bill - isn't that the same event as seen on other cams but from a different angle? Looks like same side almost as Valahnuk cam?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Yes Passerby, NASA EO is a wonderful site.

Does watching this eruption get anyone else disorientated? For me it's like I'm looking out a window thinking, it's getting light out...gotta get up and get going, or gotta sneak home and get in bed before the lady finds out that I've been out all night.

@Helen - might have widened the camera angle as I'm sure that wasn't visable same time yesterday..

Could be wrong...frequently am...

The ash clouds look like giant paws ready to swat airplanes from the sky.

Seriously it seems to be pretty dark ash, but this is a difficult hour to make any judgements. Wait for more light and then at least I'll be able to tell you what color the ash is.


#389, from the USGS earthquake site FAQ:
'Starting in January 2009, the USGS National Earthquake Information Center no longer locates earthquakes smaller than magnitude 4.5 outside the United States, unless we receive specific information that the earthquake was felt or caused damage.'

Posted by: Passerby | April 19, 2010 11:31 PM"

Have a look at:

Here you find real time quakes measuring magnitude > = 4.0

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

If you were standing in front of the Vala view, with the flame on your left, you'd head around the corner of the rock and get the Porol view. The great thing about the Porol view is (last time it was up) it points to the whole gully. It'll be awesome once it's in full daylight!

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thank you Diane. I was already wondering if that could be some kind of "local aurora", but now they are both visible... and beautiful!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Frito - thanks for that, confirms my bird brain navigation isn't tooo bad :)

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Anyone have the embed code for Hvolsvelli cam?

@ Chance Metz, being on the first flight out is probably the safest, when they are really carefull and all the agencies are coodinating their data sharing. Being on the 1500th flight out, a day or two later, when the pilots are tired, the airlines are trying hard to catch up and the controllers are becoming more complacent about airborne ash is when it might get a bit dicier.

@Gordys - yup! I sooo want a coffee and some bacon and eggs right now. Just don't tell the missus you were up with me all night!

@GeorgeR 420 - lol if only the those paws could reach far enough to slap those airlines execs eh?

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@doug mci: And when the mechanics have gotten tired of doing a complete/through inspection of every engine and control/sensing device.

She's throwin bombs!

By Tonni Hauge-Moeller (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@gordys, right-o, and when the press has moved their spotlight onto the next thing to start hyperventilating about too.

Well there's the Strombolian activity that I expected (see my post #130) ... so with that the eruption seems to have stabilized for the moment. It looks tremendously like Etna in 2001 and 2002.

Re earthquakes in Australia, if you look around on the internet you'll find that in 1989 there was one which even killed a number of people (I think that's the single one historic Australian earthquake that caused fatalities):

Why am I not too convinced that Katla will erupt very soon? Because (a) it's not showing any signs of activity, and (b) there is a tremendous amount of closely spaced volcanoes that are extremely independent, and historically, eruptions that appear connected (like the scenario that some expect for Katla) are rather the exception than the rule.

But yes, Katla will erupt again, and given its historical rhythm this will rather be sooner than later. But, you know, volcanoes change their behavior. Vesuvius is one of them. Vesuvius used to erupt nearly continuously until 1944. Now it's been asleep for 65 years, and that seems like it's "overdue" since a long, long time. But then consider that before its devastating AD 79 eruption (the one that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum) it had been asleep for 800 years, so it might very well take a similarly long repose period now. Obviously, once that period is over, it's gonna be no fun at all. But why shouldn't Katla be able to do the same as Vesuvius and peacefully slumber through a number of centuries? Volcanos can do that, so we should consider that possibility as well.

@Jón FrÃmann (#311), please be careful in criticizing the Icelandic scientists. I did explain before why they are keeping the ball low, so to say, and I am very convinced that they know very very well what they do. You know, once I was like you, I had my own web site about Etna and loudly voiced all that I believed and all that I saw, while the colleagues at the INGV were much quieter and seemingly not doing much. Later I calmed down and was given my present job at the INGV (yes, the two things were related) and discovered what immense means this institute possessed, and how much more they were able to see than I had been doing over all those years. It's been a tremendous lesson.

Very nice aerial footage of the Strombolian activity recorded yesterday evening:

One more word to Jón - I do absolutely appreciate all the information that you provide, and the chance to look at the seismic activity via your webicorders. But I think I've made clear that because you've got your ideas and the freedom to voice them without risking to end up in serious trouble (also, legal trouble) that doesn't mean the others are idiots. Keep that in mind because one day ... you might be part of the team they're in :-)

@Boris: I thank you for your knowledge, wisdom and advice in this place. It is appreciated.

Hi Boris. Thanks for your information about Australia. Yes the Newcastle quake was a bad one for Australia. I guess it really hits home just how unstable the whole earth can be. Yet we in Australia have been tpld many times that geologically we are very stable in cpmparison to many other areas. o when something lie Kalgoorlie happens everyone sits up (for awhile) and wants to know why these earthquakes are happening down under.

A Geplogist in Australia said that we now have many more Seismic stations and so it is only natural to record an increasing number of tremors/quakes. Also the world's expanding population means that there will be a greater fatalities due to increased urbanisation.

Here is a timelapse animation of more than 6000 images I grabbed from the mulakot webcam yesterday, it starts at dawn and ends at 18:21 UTC when the mulakot webserver stopped responding due to traffic overload.

The formation of the clouds over the mountain and the huge amount of dust kicked up by the strong northerly wind in the plains is impressive.

Anyone have the embed code for Hvolsvelli cam?

Is it me or is the eruption plume from Eyjaf even weaker than the day before? I've only noticed that just now, since I just got back after a couple of beers at my local pub!

But still, I cast a wary eye on Eyjaf - the tremors are still showing no signs of letting up.

@432 Boris. i think You both gained a great deal.
And so did we.


Vodafone webcam screen shots taken last night (April 19 - 20) show, I think, Strombolian activity, which is less visible in the day light images. The eruption plume looks smaller this morning, although since all other web cam images are not available here (in Finland) at the moment, it's hard to tell. Less ash injected into the atmosphere is good news for European air traffic. Let's hope ash clouds over Europe disperse enough in a few days so the air traffic can be restored safely.

But of course more phreatomagmatic activity could occur later on if magma pushes into new fissures under ice...

A big thank you to Dr. Erik Klemetti and all the commenters here! I've been lurking a couple of weeks now and this site has been really helpful and fascinating!

By Terhi Tormanen (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Philipp: Thank you that was awesome. Early on it was an excellent example of how an eruption plume can flow at a lower elevation, then suddenly rise up and look to be erupting from a location far from where it actually is. It seems to me that Boris has a post about that same thing at Etna.

@Terhi: Welcome. I was a lurker for a long time also.

@Tennyson Lee: The names of the different charts, do you know what they stand for? I mean the "god", "esk", "mid", "hvo" and "hau"..

@Daniel 446: I don't know what the full names are, but those are the names of the seismometers. They're all within 100 km of our favorite volcano.

Longitude Latitude Station Year Month Day
-19.96471 63.96851 hau 1989 December 08
-19.88573 63.65833 mid 1989 December 21
-18.84781 63.52610 hvo 1999 October 19
-19.45080 63.52503 esk 2001 October 04
-19.32236 63.65976 god 2006 July 25

By Tennyson Lee (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Volcanophile (#270) You said: ""There is another disturbing possibility. In the link I gave, it is stated that the Fimmvorduhals basalt are somewhat similar in composition to what Katla erupted in 1918.This would mean that the 2 volcanoes are indeed connected. So it would be a matter of WHEN, and not if, Katla will erupt.""

Now, if you take a pot and a kettle (pun for those who remember) and in the pot you put 1/3lb butter, 1/3lb sugar & 1/3lb molasses while you put 10lb of each into the kettle, then heat until they mix thoroughly, you end up wit 1lb of pot-cooked fudge and 30lb of kettle-cooked fudge. Does this prove that there is a physical connection between the eyjapot and the katla, or does it prove that the same basic recipe cooked in the same manner will yield the same end product?


@dougH [412]

"When a deep 7 is no worse than swallow 5 I wonder why EQ scale is meaningful? While it's nice to know the original force, why don't we scale it for effect on the surface?"

I'm not an expert, but I imagine that when they study these things is does a lot more good to know just how much energy is involved. Spain had a Mag 6+ here recently and about the only noticeable thing was that someone though the dog had gas. The quake was 300+ miles down.

Now... recently I was fortunate enough to catch a report from the USGS on a Mag 6.9 at 11km and 7.2 at 35km. These two events were later corrected by USGS as a 6.7 at 18km and a 6.9 at 44.4km.

This gives some insight into the scaling that occurs. For the orig 6.9 event, the magnitude was scaled at a 0.15 x depth (km), for the orig 7.2, it was 0.1 x depth (km).

A whole lot more goes into it that just some fanbois like myself running trendlines, such as waveforms, ground structure, intervening faults etc. I'm okay with that. I have my rule of thumb and am quite happy with it.

hi... just wanted an update...

is everything over? have been following for a week now and i have learned a lot, the informatin that everyone is contributing is really addicting..

thank you for sharing...

By Jen Roy / UAE (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@452... everything over? No. It's still erupting. Just not a much ash as when it first started.

But it's a volcano. It will go on doing it wants to / needs to... erupt more, erupt the same that it is now, slow down, smolder away or it could stop and then start all over again. Who really knows?

By Dylan Ray (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Lurking and @DougH (and all other shake-ologists out there) Youz guys are obviously not up on the latest. Put your plate tectonics away 'cause ... women are to blame for earthquakes! ;)

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Thomas Nygreen: yeah, that's what I meant ;-) . Thanks for correcting me by using the right word though!

@ Monika: well, your story does make sense ^_^ ! I knew that SO2 is very well known for producing beautiful volcanic sunsets, but I didn't know that sunlit volcanic ash by itself doesn't produce the right wavelength to show the same effect. I demand more SO2 in my ash cloud! @ the Icelanders: if you'd please start all over again, it would be greatly appreciated ;-) .

@ Henrik: every volcano gets a different composition of the magma that feeds them from other volcanoes, even if they can be put under the same name (basalt, andesite, rhyolite, etc.) and even if those other volcanoes are nearby. The composition of the country rock has the greatest influence on that process. A great example are the volcanoes of the Westeifel Volcanic Field. The 250 scoria cones and maars there are almost all very closely related to basalt (basanite e.g.), but still different in composition. Even vents from the same volcano can be different, as Boris can probably confirm seen his experiences with Etna. When two volcanoes that are near to each other have exactly the same magma composition (I don't really know if that's the case with Eyjafjallajökull and Katla, but I'll leave it up to the experts to answer that) they are likely connected. History shows that they have erupted at the same time in the past on a few occasions, so that would suggest there being a connection between, at least in some eruptions. Whether or not it'll do the same again in the (close) future is not something anyone can tell right now, as there are no signs of impending volcanic activity under Katla.

And men who wear dresses are responsible for volcanoes :D

I just got up!

Geophysicist Magnús Tumi has this to say about the amount of ash/pumice/lava Eyjafjallajökull has been producing (comparatively speaking):

It's in the same range as the smaller Hekla eruption.
It's four times greater than that of the 2004 GrÃmsvötn eruption.
Only a quarter of the Gjálp 1994 eruption.

He also says that the ash is much finer than the ash from Katla in the past. I guess that means that if Katla erupts, say sometime in the next year or two, the ash is unlikely to travel so far.…

Any updates as to wether any webcams will be online today?

Hekla: Down
Katla: Down
Mulakot: Down

All that is still up is Heklubyggd and that is at a far distance and updated every 10 min or so?

@454 Frito Lay
UGHhhhhh... If only this had been a joke...
I live in the same general vicinity of this kind of idiocy (the Shi'ia sect is also widespread here in Afghanistan). The Clerics' desire to dominate and control women in all possible ways is laughable -- even to most simple, small-village Afghans.
We just had an earthquake nearby here yesterday and deaths and widespread damage resulted from it -- but our local Imams and Mullahs were quick to link it to the seismic event on the Tibetan plain from a week ago! Not to the un-piousness of women!!
Poor Iran... With so much seismic risk, the future does not look good for their women and girls...
--> Sorry, I know it's off-topic, but had to chime-in.

By Matthew UK/Afg… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Daniel, 3 are online right now. Do you need links?

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Gijs! The Norvol site has a comparison between the two and says they are very similar in composition. I'm not so sure similarity proves a direct physical link - which in turn is taken as "proof" that Kartla "must" erupt soon. Yesterdays Twitter about a bogus Hekla eruption proves we're skittish enough as it is without need for further "proof" to fuel hysteria. ;)…

@Henrik, the Hekla rumour derived from the fact that the Hekla cam had been redirected to our Lady Eyja. Surely there must be a way to reprogramme the little text at the bottom left so people know what they're actually looking at. (-:

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Henrik: I agree with you that a similarity in magma doesn't necessarily mean that Katla is going to erupt as a result of the current activity at Eyjafjallajökull. After all, correlation does not imply causation. The mechanical process under both volcanoes is also an at least equally important factor in whether they will erupt together or not and we still don't see any changes in the behavior of Katla that indicates it might join Eyjafjallajökull in the near future.

What we have to work with are geological records (that show that the activity at Eyjafjallajökull can work as a fuse, but has only done so on a limited number of occasions in the past) and activity that currently takes place (seismic activity, changes in size and shape of Katla, gas emissions, etc.). Based on that, it can be said that it's not worth worrying about an eruption of Katla now. Besides, IF katla would erupt any time soon: why should it be a big caldera forming eruption and not something a lot smaller?

So kudos to those who are still with their feet on the ground ;-) ! A theory only becomes truly relevant when there is evidence that something is indeed going to happen.

Are there any webcams axcessible to the outside world?
Surely the Icelandic Tourisim board should have some up? :p

By VulcanEye (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Phillip, Boris and all the others.

Thanks a million everyone for all the input. Particularly grateful to you Phillip as I have not had the time to follow the eruption as avidly as I did in the beginning so the time lapse vids have been fantastic for me. The weather patterns yesterday interacting with the plume were amazing.

I follow Boris's arguments that the volcano now seems to have entered a steady state where two critical things seem to have happened, both of which should reduce the amount of ash emission:
1. it looks as though the andesitic tephra was a remnant from the 1821 eruption that got activated by fresh basaltic injections from below and one would assume most of this has now been erupted. The lava fountaining, spattering certainly seems to indicate this. (proviso # 1: there may still be a hidden chamber/sill of more evolved magma that hasn't yet come into contact with the mafic intrusion. This would tie in with the theory James mentioned that there is bubble of rhyolite ascending to the surface. Egads. Let's hope there is no truth in that one!)
2. the vent has cleared itself from direct contact with the glacier, depriving it of the large influx of water which powered most of the explosive activity we saw. (proviso # 2: another fissure or crater may open up and the whole cycle thing starts all over again). Another positive aspect here is that there is no ponding of melt water in the caldera (apparently).

So that's my little summary of the last 1200 posts ;-). Now the questions:
1. How long and what conditions are needed for magma to fractionalize? These intrusions have been going on at Eyjaf since 1991 and possibly even before then, when there was no seismic network installed to measure them. Judging by the extent of past swarms and the extent of the 2010 one, there might be a very large sill in place to the east of the volcano. Are sills conducive to fractionalization or do you need a more rotund body of magma (i.e. a chamber) to generate sufficient volumes of dactite/rhyolite to power an eruption? What sort of time frame do you need for more silicic rich magmas to evolve? Hundreds of years or just decades?

2. Is it a fair statement to assume that a volcano that erupts basalt relatively frequently from its main conduit doesn't have the time to generate a body of more evolved magma or is this too simplistic? (Compare for example to Heidi's volcano just to the north, Tindfjöll). I think I can guess the answer to this already, but I'll put it out there anyway.

I really enjoyed the photos of the numerous fingers of the jökulhlaup advancing across the floodplain. Made me think this is probably the same kind of pattern that the multiple channels of rising mafic magma would make as it seeks the path(s) of least resistance in its ascent to the surface.

Taking the analogy further, a sill in this case is a bit like a floodwater reservoir, accommodating a certain volume of the intrusion (with associated uplift) until a pressure point is reached and it no longer suffices for the continuing feed of fresh magma. I imagined this is what happened here before the first eruption. At least this explains to me the observed pattern of widespread quakes (up to 8 km and more around the volcano) at the onset of each particular session, with activity then becoming more focused at one geographical location before suddenly waning.

I would love to know more about this as I think it has major implications for other basalt field eruptions like Auckland (where there are no tectonic faults at play to faciliate sudden and rapid magma propagation, i.e. any pending eruption will like display a similar swarm like behavior to what we have seen here).

By bruce stout (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I can find no webcams working - just my connection or same for all? Even Mila's are down.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink is pointing to EJ "" "" has the Vodafone screen captures

These are the only three that are working for me right now.

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

I wonder if anyone can comment on the broader aspects of this eruption so far. If I make an uneducated stab, corrections will be a good learning experience.

It appears from VI_2009_013.pdf that magma has been rising from about 1991. Am I to assume a sequence something like:

1)Magma starts to intrude into the base of the volcano some time in the 1990's.
2)This remelts some old lava from an earlier eruption.
3)During this time period the magma, initially homogenous, separates into a lighter and a heavier fractions combined with remelted fractions.
4)Is the lighter fraction acidic (silicic) and of a higher melting point/more viscous?
5)A minor fissure opened lower down the mountain at Fimmvörduháls, this tapped of the lower, heavier, more fluid and less gas-rich magma and produced the lava fountains.
6)Meanwhile the bulk of the (lighter fraction) magma pooled high in Eyjafjallajökull.
7)This eventually erupted through the ice producing an explosive mix with the meltwater.
8)The lava was not very fluid so tended to explode due pressure relief and was easily fractured into fine ash.
9)A combination of much less water production combined with a more liquid and less gas-rich (or at least the gas can escape easily through the fluid lava without exploding) has resulted in a less explosive and calmer phase as the earlier (silicic?) lava was exhausted.
10)To come? More undifferentiated, and presumably hotter (coming recently from depth) lava may start erupting. This may cause further remelting of existing old lava in the system, and do, er, what?

Could we have a brief physical explanation for the major lava compositions? Eg rough composition, whatever passes for pH, melting points (perhaps a range from viscous to fluid?), general coments and so on?

Is there any evidence for lava tube movement in Katla predating today as there was for Eyjafjallajökull?

Correction to my 467: Hekla is NOT pointing to EJ

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

Correction to my 467: Hekla is NOT pointing to EJ

By Frito Lay (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

@scarlet pumpernickel #471

the pumice rafts? They're real. They washed up on Fijian beaches a while later.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink


I spent a few months driving Earthwatch volunteers to and from Kverkfjoll in 2002/3 and one of the joys of the rather uncomfortably jolty journey was watching the ash clasts [can't remember which eruption it was specifically] either blowing around in the wind or, near Askja particularly, floating past on the surface of the streams. It's weird but true!

on lake Taupo once my Dad jumped off the front of our boat thinking he as jumping onto the beach. He plummeted straight through the pumice and disappeared under the water still holding on to the line to tether the boat.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink
YSL Shoes has definitely put his touch on slingbacks. The designer, of course, managed several times to create controversy during his career with, of all things, his fragrances. In 1971, he appeared nude in an advertisement for his menâs cologne YSL. Then, in 1977, he named one of his womenâs perfumes Opium, which led to charges that he was glamorizing drug use and trivializing the 19th-century Opium Wars in China. Its slogan was âOpium, for those who are addicted to ysl shoes .â In 1992, his plans to call another perfume Champagne prompted a lawsuit by French wine makers (the Saint Laurent company lost).

By Replica YSL Shoes (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

I found this paper yesterday, about Katla and Eyjafjallajokull:

Erik Sturkell et. al. 2010. Katla and Eyjafjallajökull Volcanoes, Developments in Quaternary Sciences, vol 13, 5-21.

Any comments on this from the experts here?

@Helen L ok, so it's an old one, I just saw it for the first time and that was just few days ago. Very interesting though

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

Helen, was it not on the news back home? It was near Tonga. If I remember correctly Erik may have even posted on it at his old blog.

oh look! our first spammer!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

Webcams showing a slightly stronger eruption in progress than yesterday

@pika (#480) - the Sturkell et al. paper pretty much sums up what has been discussed here over the past few days. There is a possibility that Katla will follow the Eyjafjallajökull eruption (if there is enough "eruptible" magma available) after a short time. The volume of magma that intruded into Katla during 1999-2004 is given as approximately 0.01 cubic kilometers, which is one-tenth of what has been emitted from Eyjafjallajökull during the first 3 days of its current (explosive) eruption. If that is really the state of affairs (assuming that no further magma has accumulated since 2004), then Katla will possibly not erupt unless there is a new intrusion into its feeder system, and there is no evidence for this going on in this instant. Surely enough, things can change rapidly. I personally think Eyjafjallajökull has already created enough of a mess, so let's hope Katla will wait - although one day certainly time will be up, and when she erupts, things will be a bit more serious at least in terms of glacier melting and flooding.

Would this be a good time to go to iceland to look at the volcano? Or is it taking a rest right now?

I've been stranded in the UK until next week anyway so I thought I could take the opportunity see the volcano now when the flights to iceland might be back!

Seems to be some discrepancies among the various stakeholders and "experts" making statements to the media:

"There was no sign of escalating activity at Iceland's erupting volcano Tuesday, and the plume of ash wreaking havoc for air traffic across Europe had clearly diminished, experts said."

"We are not seeing an escalation in activity," University of Iceland geophysicist Sigrun Hreinsdottir told AFP.

"We still see a contraction of the volcano, which is always good. I would worry if we saw expansion of the volcano, but we are seeing the volcano shrink," she added.

*** She said she was "really surprised" that Britain's National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said late Monday that the eruption was increasing and a new ash cloud was heading towards the British isles. ***

Gudrun Nina Petersen of the Icelandic Meteorological Office meanwhile said the volcano was clearly spewing less ash.

"If there (is) ash detected over England tonight that's going to be from 24 hours earlier," she said.

By Matthew UK/Afg… (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

I dont know but I think it seems that there are quite alot of black smoke coming up...

What are the chances that another explosive event would take place here? Are there any readings or estimates as to how much eruptive magma is still left in the "reservoir"?

@Matthew (#486) - where's the contradiction? The scientist said that there were signs that the activity was diminishing, and she was surprised that the British NATS still warned of an increase in the eruption when in reality there was no such increase. That, to me, appears rather coherent.

@Daniel (#487) - it's always possible that the eruption will again gain in vigor, like if a new volume of gas-rich magma reaches the surface. Or maybe there can be slumping of ice from the remaining glacier within the caldera into the vent(s), causing renewed explosive interaction with magma. As long as the eruption goes on, we will probably see fluctuations in the level of explosive activity. But note also that today the wind is less strong than yesterday and the ash plume rather than being bent down is rising nearly vertically and thus is obviously higher, even when the quantities of ash remain the same.

Could it be triggered by deflation at Eyjaf? That is, lack of "back-pressure" from Eyjaf or contraction could lead to fractures opening? But the problem with Katla is that it has an actively erupting volcano right next to it.

If the ash pillar is only 3-5 km high does that mean that the ash falls into the sea somewhere between Iceland and Europe? Or does the ash ascend and end up in altitudes where it poses threat to aircraft?

A 50km exclusion zone around Iceland? What fucking morons - who voted them into office? Nature will not be so accommodating.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Boris: thanks for the interpretation. I'm no volcanologist, although am fascinated by all this. I am in computational science, so when I see things like GPS time series and tremor plots and various charts as in this paper, I am all like, oh what cool datasets, let's go get these data and see if we can find some patterns and visualise this in some other innovative way. :-)

I think it's great what you and Erik and Phillip and passerby and all others here are contributing to educate all us others. I want to say thanks to everyone!

@lina (485):

I don't think it's easy to get to Iceland from the UK right now.

The Icelandic airliners have been able to continue with their scheduled flights to the US and Canada, Spain and Norway but flights to the UK and other European countries have been few and far between. Two flights are scheduled today though, to Glasgow and Edinborough.

The weekly ferry to Iceland (from Scandinavia) is doing quite good business, strangely enough (strangely because it's such a long and tedious journey). Seems some people have the foresight of just getting on a ferry instead of hanging around airports, waiting and hoping.

Yuck! The webcam at Hvolsvöllur shows little more than a growing wall of brown mist with a bare hint of plume above it.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Reynir - Porolfsfelli is the one to watch right now :)

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 20 Apr 2010 #permalink

The Mulakot cam's back up on both sites! But because of very low clouds, you can't see much right now. The Mila cams are still up of course, and you still get good views on Valahnúk and Ãórólfsfelli. But like Mulakot, you can't see much on the Hvolsvelli cam right now.

The eruption plume looks taller, but this seems to be due to less wind rather than a strengthened eruption. I'm not an expert and don't claim to be one myself, so I could be wrong.