Eyjafjallajökull eruption update for April 26, 2010

Night image of Eyjafjallajökull erupting on April 24, 2010. Image courtesy of James Ashworth.

A quick update on the Eyjafjallajökull eruption: Not a lot to report in terms of changes in the volcanic activity at the volcano. The update from the Icelandic Met Office last night sums it up nicely:

Overall activity similar as yesterday. Eruption seen from west in the morning - north crater still active. External water has not affected vent activity much since 18 April. Geologists' field observations (2-10 km from vents) show that explosivity is magmatic and that the tephra produced since 18 April is much coarser than during first four days. Explosions heard at FljótshlÃð, 10-15 km NW of vents. Meltwater discharge suggest similar lava activity. Processing of data obtained yesterday shows that lava had advanced 400-500 m northwards from crater, forming an ice depression extending some 700 m from vents.

Overall assessment: Magma flow rate has remained at similar level over the last few days while plume activity is slowly declining. Lava continues flowing towards north. No signs of melting or meltwater discharge towards south. No signs of termination of eruption.

This update is one of the first to mention lava flowing in the crater, almost half a kilometer at this point. The ash from the volcano is causing little disruption of air traffic today, with even the airports on Iceland reopening after closing over the weekend. Iceland continues to recover from the eruption as well. This is also a report of thermal imaging from space that suggests that the heat being emitted from the volcano is rising, which might make sense if more of the basaltic magma is filling the edifice and erupting in the strombolian explosions and lava flows.

Now, the political storm caused by the flight cancellations continues to rage as well. I still stand by my ascertion that EU officials made the right decision with the information on hand. Most of the articles criticizing the closure refer to information we know now but was unknown to the people making decisions during the eruption - so, remember, hindsight is always 20/20. The question I ask anyone who thinks the closure was wrong: based on the information on hand at the time (ash from a volcanic eruption was likely over Europe, potentially in significant amounts and we have little information of how much ash an airliner can ingest safely), would you have let your mother take a flight? I think, pretty clearly, the answer should be "no". What this all shows is that EU officials needed a better plan to deal with these exceedingly rare events for most of northern Europe and airlines needed to have ready access to information about how their planes would respond. The way the media and business has responded, by trying to scapegoat the government in being "overly cautious" (as they should be) will make the next ash disruption a lot harder to implement and we can only hope that it doesn't lead to a real disaster.


More like this

Erik, my name is James Ashworth. D is my middle initial. Could you edit your post at all? :)

No worries - I get that a lot with that email address! Thanks for the update post!

I has become clear that this eruption phase is going to continue for a long time. But this is quite interesting, as normally this does not happen with Icelandic volcanoes. They just start with a big bang and it is usually over in two to three weeks time.

This eruption has now continued for more then one month at present time, and it shows no signs of stopping. There has also been some inflation (east-west) on THEY GPS station over the past 24 hours, and the south-north movement has stopped deflating on the north-south direction.

Thanks Erik, no worries at all! Glad you enjoyed the photo! :)

Question--looking at the very high resolution ASTER image you linked ("heat being emitted") there are some linear and rectangular features showing just below the center and above the ash cloud. Any idea what those are?

As for the criticism of the decision to cancel flights, I think it's along the same lines as criticism of the response to the novel H1N1 flu - "We vaccinated all these people, and after all that, hardly anyone died!" If nothing had been done, and it turned out to be as deadly as the 1918 flu, don't you think that would be much worse? Some people will criticize any decision, no matter how good.


passerby #7 - the translation I got seemed to refer to the flooding on the first day of the eruption..?

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Yup, the article in #7 refers to melted glacial water that broke through the south side of the glacier starting on the first day of the eruption, and that it had not been possible to get to that area until now because of ash.

"Some people will criticize any decision, no matter how good."

But it was a bad one, in my opinion.

It supposed two things:

1. An airline will fly its planes in conditions it knows to be damaging to them and are unconcerned with the safety of its passengers.

2. It is the role of government to protect people from themselves making bad decisions and that government is some sort of parental figure to the population and always makes good decisions.

I don't buy either of those. Airlines do not want to damage their equipment or see an unsafe situation for their passengers. It is a very competitive market. Passengers will go someplace else if an airline engages in shoddy safety practice. And as the ash level was only 5% of the level considered the limit for aircraft operation by the manufacturers, it is obvious that the government did not consult pilots or manufacturers before instituting the ban.

In fact, the individual responsible for the ban said he knows "nothing about aeroplanes". He had no idea if the level of ash was safe or not.

This is a case of bureaucrats justifying their existence by appearing to "do something". In this case the something cost major industries billions of dollars in the middle of an economic downturn for no good reason.

A lot of people have been dreadfully put out (to put it mildly) by the flight restrictions; and I find it appalling and contemptible that some science-denialists are now pandering to all that frustration, hitching their anti-science shit-wagons to the tide, and trying to get people to turn their rage against their own elected governments. Dragging the AGW manufactroversy into an air-safety debate shows a disregard for human life and safety that borders on depraved indifference. Military and commercial jets have suffered real and life-threatening damage from flying through volcanic ash, and these people are nitpicking about computer models? Grow the fuck up, wankers!

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

My gut feeling is that Eyaf is going to give us one more really big burp before it settles down.

Whats the technical buzz on Katla and Hekla ? I understand that the experts had a pretty busy month and could use a week off to get their ducks all back in a row, but I'd be happy to hear the word "NOTHING" from someone who monitors the sensors on the larger systems.

Since it got lost in the previous Eyjafjallatopic, I'll repeat my question:

Erik/Boris/EKoh/Gijs! Since we do not have access to proper instrumentation, what are the possible causes of the eq swarm WSW Kistufell today? Intrusion event? Tectonic adjustment with no volcanic component? A lot of us do get excited when there's a significant, localised earthquake swarm, but isn't it possible that those fourteen quakes M0.8 - M2.7 at 2.6 - 11.9 km depth (revised figures) may have nothing at all to do with volcanic activity?

@Raging Bee, Dear, don't you find it appalling and contemptable that some pander to their own rage and frustration by using vulgar and foul language for the shock value. Dear please grow up or find a kiddie site.

Actually George, let's take your libertarian viewpoint and run with it. Suppose we did have your libertarian paradise, and an airline did fly under these conditions and let's suppose it crashed. Who is responsible?

Clearly it is the passengers who chose to fly on that plane: if there had been no demand for flights during the time the ash was aloft, there would obviously have been no flights. Therefore the entire rescue/cleanup operation should be funded by the survivors and the estates of the deceased, and perhaps the airline (though again, it would be the passengers' fault for flying on the plane in the first place). Sounds about right to me.

(In fact I do not buy your arguments about the airlines: they exist to make profit, and if people are willing to take the risk they will take the risk. Any numbers on how much an airline crash actually costs the airline - especially after they would presumably shift a lot of the blame to the government agencies for not shutting down the airspace, vs the cost of not flying their fleet?)

Well, I see the corporatarians are out once again, mindlessly repeating the same tired old assertions that have already been disproven by repeated observation of real events in the real world...

Airlines do not want to damage their equipment or see an unsafe situation for their passengers.

And truck-drivers don't want to crash their rigs and get killed either. But guess what -- a lot of them do anyway, because they skipped sleep, drove too fast, and put off preventive maintenance. And why do they do these stupid things? Because they're in a highly competitive market, and they're under serious financial pressure all the time, and whatever the rules say, they pretty much have to do everything they can to get the most work done as fast as possible and keep their short-term expenses down. The same is true for pilots, very few of whom make huge amounts of money.

2. It is the role of government to protect people from themselves making bad decisions and that government is some sort of parental figure to the population and always makes good decisions.

Yet another flat-out corporatarian lie about the thinking of those who advocate regulation. This isn't about "protecting people from themselves;" it's about protecting people from bad decisions made by OTHERS, in situations where the people themselves do not have immediate access to all relevant information, and private businesses are not always willing to provide that information in a timely manner (if they even have it).

And no, we don't believe "government is some sort of parental figure;" we merely OBSERVE that government can, and often does, act to counterbalance the short-term selfishness of businesses, and the people benefit when it does so. George, if you're going to accuse us of treating government as "sort of parental figure to the population and always makes good decisions," then we could just as easily accuse you and your fellow corporatarians of having exactly the same mindset about corporations.

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Henrik I understad your question its the sae one I have and I'vebeen doing some research on it I'll post what I can find your 1st post wa the one that got me started..

By renee usa (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

!........ Yes, Please, official smart people
(of which, i'm not one)...Please answer #13's question above.
And soonish if possible... i gotta get something done around here.
ps... i've been checking Redoubt and it has quieted down again.

"George, if you're going to accuse us of treating government as "sort of parental figure to the population and always makes good decisions," then we could just as easily accuse you and your fellow corporatarians of having exactly the same mindset about corporations."

Seems like common sense goes out the window when any extremism is considered reasonable. Any chance of humans using common sense again, being able to rationally weight and consider evidence and facts, instead of needing to take sides and have their "team" win at any cost?

Clearly there is a real risk for the airlines and their passengers. Some might put the fear of lost profits above all else -- even above the safety of their passengers. Government is put in place by people to help them oversee what they cannot -- because each private citizen doesn't have the time to do the research into the safety issues. Government should represent our common interests and desires, and provide a balance to the often rapacious and irresponsible actions of powerful private business.

Looking at the Vodafone cam, it looks like pretty huge chunks of ice have fallen off the top of the melt water exit!

Fitz, 12:

As far as I'm aware, nothing whatsoever.

Katla has shown slow, steady expansion over a decade scale but nothing more. There are occasional earthquakes under it, but nothing out of the ordinary. Right now it's showing no signs of stirring. When stuff does begin to happen, it's anyone's guess what form the activity will take - some people predict a larger eruption than average, due to the long repose time since the last major eruption (approaching 100 years), but that is more or less random guessing.

Hekla is basically totally aseismic prior to the onset of an eruption, so ANY seismic activity there is bad news. Right now there is nothing. When earthquakes do start, you can probably expect an eruption within the hour. Various data sets show that the pressure within Hekla is currently higher than before the 2000 or 1991 eruptions, so an eruption could be considered imminent but it will likely not be very large (similar to the previous few, and the current Eyjafjallajokull one, perhaps).

@18: this is an area of frequent swarm activity.

Potential causes of stress: pore pressure/geothermal activity, intrusion/fissure expansion, uplift, abrupt change in subglacial glacier surface ablation rate (thinning at surface due to light absorption from ash or carbon black).

Should read: 'abrupt change in subglacial melt-water pool depth), surface ablation rate...'

Scott # 20 I've been watching that too - seems in general as though when the water level rises it comes in 'blurts' - can someone tell me if that is likely due to minor damming and release further up the line?

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

If an airplane had flown into the ash and experienced an accident with fatalities, the ban might have been extended for many more days and the political types would be insisting that the airline executives be arrested and thrown into jail. So what we are doing now is wallowing in the good fortune that no serious harm occured while pumping up the estimates of the financial damages in the hope that governments can be coerced into compensation. Their argument is that while the ash was an "act of god" the flight ban was an "act of regulators", but behind the scenes the airline execs are all relieved that they were shut down simulataneously, sharing the hurt, instead of having to make their own decision with all the liability that would have involved. Really not more than a tempest in a teapot, propelled along by the media in the absence of more dramatic news and stories to fling out into the public.

I'd also like to comment on language use. This site has been referred to young students interested in learning about volcanoes, even at the elementary school level. So why not be polite and save the expletives and rude languange for some other place?

Regarding the row about the closure of airspace..it's worth pointing out that the UK has an election due shortly, and our politicians and media are currently playing the blame game (with the volume at 11!) for party advantage.

If an airplane had flown into the ash and experienced an accident with fatalities, the ban might have been extended for many more days and the political types would be insisting that the airline executives be arrested and thrown into jail...

Not to mention that if Air Force One had run into any trouble while flying our President to that state funeral that was supposed to take place in Poland, Europe's entire ATC community would be in a world of trouble for a very long time.

PS: Sorry about the profanity, doug. I don't mince words for denialists, but I will for younger students. Thanx for the tip.

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Birdseye #24

" ... seems in general as though when the water level rises it comes in 'blurts' - can someone tell me if that is likely due to minor damming and release further up the line?"

Scientists have previously said that minor obstructions are a likely explanation for the occasional blurts.

A flight over Eyjafjallajökull this morning revealed that the crater has become somewhat bigger but there is no increase in activity. The lava continues flowing north at a sedate pace and it's melting the ice as it goes.


By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Anybody watching the vodafone cam? I get the feeling that it sometimes "steams" from the water outlet in the glacier? Does anybody know how long Gigjökul is, and far the lava stream has gone in the jökul? Could it be that it´s steam from the actual lava flow under the ice that is released? I also saw what I think was a collapse of the roof och the water tunnel, with ice chunks falling. Hart to tell though when the picture doesn´t reload so often. I´m waiting for the weather to clear, anybody seen a forecast?

(I´m an interested amateur, nothing else!)

By snotra viking,… (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

I have heard from a fairly good inside source that KLM operated a Fokker 50 turboprop from Amsterdam to Newcastle during the UK flight ban. The aircraft engine was found to have quote, 'glass' inside. KLM did not want the findings publicised. Because this is from a company insider and possible could be traced back, apologies for the anonymous post.

Snotra, the distance from the crater to the GÃgjökull water outlet is 4-5 km. The lava has flowed about half a km so it's nowhere close.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

doug: interesting cite in #29, thanks. Any possibility of using a similar effect to counteract CO2 input into the atmosphere?

Of course, dumping enough iron, and stimulating the growth of enough algae, to counteract human pollution, would probably have some pretty drastic unintended side-effects; so it's probably not much of an option. (And there'd still be all that extra methane coming out of melting ice to contend with...)

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

The aircraft engine was found to have quote, 'glass' inside. KLM did not want the findings publicised.

Why am I not surprised? Any comment, George?

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Mulakot cam shows quite well the plume. Seems there is quite much steaming with separate ash plume.

@Shelly #33:


I thought you guys were imagining things at first, but these photos shows it clearly that you didn't. :)
One minute between each taking.

The Vala cam shows two plumes, one with lots of ash and the other mostly steam.

@36 Raging Bee

Maybe KLM wishes aid and abet the science deniers denial of the veracity of the MET office's scientific computer simulations.

Kenneth, I thought I was seeing things whilst watching the live cam. lol I had to check with the piscaweb photo's to be sure..

The collapse starts earlier:

(...52.jpg) is missing at Vodafone... Why is the crucial moment the one to go missing? ;)

Now lets see. That invisible stuff wasnt there, but it was on the cars. That invisible stuff wasnt there, it plugged one or more bleed air valves. The UK news reported it as an "Air conditioning problem" but the tapes dont lie... It was a pressurization valve in diagnosis on the cockpit and on the ground.

Then there is the MD-11 with the engine off the pylon that has to be rebuilt now but its off the wing because of CASPER particles. As in they didnt and dont exist.

Yep, swing ole mommy onto the plane and dont forget the kids, the aunts and unkles and we can go on a Rosie O'Donnnell family cruise and toss in the air fare for free. If its free, you have a hard time suing. Anyone who has a relative that goes down in a volcanic ash cloud or gets scared to death or nearly from a near dunking do let me know. I can give you the numbers of a lot of real SOB attorneys that would take this one on contingency.

A little from the FAA on operation during non existent ash particle dispersions.....


When volcanic ash is present on the airport surface, and to the extent possible:

a. Avoid requiring aircraft to come to a full stop while taxiing.

b. Provide for a rolling takeoff for all departures.

When aircraft begin a taxi or takeoff roll on ash contaminated surfaces, large amounts of volcanic ash will again become airborne. This newly airborne ash will significantly reduce visibility and will be ingested by the engines of following aircraft.

AIM, Para 7-5-9, Flight Operations in Volcanic Ash.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@kenneth (38) I did watch it at the same time as it happened, just as Shelly did, no imagination this time :) But what do you say about the steam, (sorry no good picture) I saw? Is it just ice cold water coming out or what do you think? I don´t know the temperature of lava (!) I´m sure it variates, could it heat up the melt water enough to cause the roof to cave in?.
I have been sitting on the ground in Landmannalaugar, northeast of Hekla. I dug my fingers into the gravel and the ground was warmer the further I dug. So I suppose the whole mountain is warm now during ongoing lava eruption. Interesting to see the comments made of melting ice, relaesing pressure on the ground. Made me thinking about global warming effects and shrinking of glaciers in general. What impact could that have on subglaciar volcanos do you think?

By snotra viking,… (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Eruption column now visible on Hvolsvelli cam (20.40 GMT). Height less than 1000m above summit (600m to judge by snowline ~1000m to summit ~1600m height on cam). Changes in colour from apparently grey to black. Two large ashen areas not covered by new snow, the one seemingly emanating from the 920AD eruption site having an interesting shape.

snotra# 44, try some of the posts from yesterday and the day before for answers to that question - under other headings or by date - it's like the inside of a hockey rink on some days, or on the ocean in winter - differences in air/water temperature, plus from yesterday there's a photo of the gully without snow, so you can see that it is a very rocky and steep watercourse under there. Lots of opportunities for mist.

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Eruption seemingly increased (slightly) in intensity just before 20.50GMT. Eruption column now at least 1200-1500m high above summit. Estimate of height again based on apparent snowline-summit distance on Hvolsvelli cam.

Am loving the golden glow on the Hvolsvelli cam right now. :)

#48-49, Paclair, thanks for the reading tip!

#53 If some non-scientific media person mistakes the nice yellow glow with sulfur dioxide content it could be really amusing. " Huge toxic gas outburst from volcano!"

By snotra viking,… (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@snotra #44

I'm pretty sure it's steam exiting the vent. You can see, compared to the surrounding area, how white and clean the roof of the opening is compared to the surrounding area, from the steam has melted away the soot covered snow. I think this is why the roof collapsed.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

On the issue of closing the airspace: It was the correct call. It is much better to be on the causious side than to risk people dying. When it comes to flying, I think that the pilot, the passengers, and the crew all share part of the responsibility for what happens. There are some cases where no matter what anyone could have done, a crash was going to occur. Sometimes it is pilot error. Sometime the weather. Sometimes it has to do with a mechanic that got distracted. Sometimes it is the plane itself. And, unfotunately, sometimes some jerk who thinks he is doing God a service by crashing the plane into the ground or a skyscraper.

There is risk in everything. Boris has talked about falling pieces of building in Catania. So who is responsible for all the risks that are in the world? All of us in terms of the things we can do something about. If I have a hose on my sidewalk and someone trips on it, that is my responsibility to keep the hose off the sidewalk. Then there are things that no one is responsible for, such as quakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods (in most cases) and what have you. (Now I don't want to hear anything about HAARP controling the weather, lol.)

So some people were inconvenienced. How may times a day does that happen? I would rather be inconvenienced than dead. What happpened in Europe was nothing compared to some of the disasters that have happened recently. Maybe we all should stop whinning? No, I am not saying anyone here is a whiner. Just a general idea. I admit to my own share of whining sometimes so I don't exclude myself in this. We are humans after all and we don't like to be inconvenieneced. It is part of human nature. Just one of the things we need to take a look at and see if we can think of plan B or C or D even. Not always easy when we want plan A. Sometimes plan A just won't work.

Just to clear this thin up a bit about the 'simulations' (won't someone think of the children): The met office models are about the movement of ash in the air given the prevailing weather conditions. They model where ash is likely to be. The test flights over th past week have confirmed that they are very reliable models.

The evidence of the effect of the ash on jet engines (and turbo-props) are not models. They are hard facts, multiply confirmed by planes in the air and test-beds on the ground. They even showed it happening on the telly.

Am watching Mulakot cam, is that two distinct plumes I see??


Looks like two distinct plumes to me.

At this rate the eruption might last over a year. The intensity does vary but it never stops. Looks like a lot of black ash today coming from the vent area.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Vodaphone cam, you can clearly see flow/steam encroaching the top of the glacier.. excuse my explanation, I cannot explain what I see. lol

The plume that has more steam could be from the lava flow melting ice.

Re #31 posted by "UK". As someone with experience of interpreting (historic) evidence, I'd advice against taking this post "ad facem". All we KNOW is that someone has posted under the pseudonym "UK" and CLAIMS to have inside information about a flight inside the restricted area that resulted in an engine being found to contain glass. This is NOT proof! It could very well be true, but it could also be someone posting desinformation and the fact that the flight supposedly took place during the ban - an illegal flight or a flight given special dispensation - speaks very much against the claim being true. Until there is reliable verification, we'd do well to treat it as not proven and not make use of it in our arguments irrespective of whether it supports our personal opinions or not.

I've created a GoogleMap of the eruption area for anyone who is uncertain about where various peaks and cameras are located. Click on my name below to view it.

Posting websites from people who say outlandish things just gives them a worldwide stage on blogs. Humor sites are one thing but so called news articles in my opinion shouldn't get passed around just to show how outlandish commentators or individuals can be. If you post a website in which you sincerely believe the material from your own assessment that is different than just posting websites that really shouldn't be acknowledged in the first place.

With approaching darkness the Valahnúk webcam is starting to show a bit of reddish glow and a few lava bombs at the bottom of the ash plume.

Looks like we are going to have a nice show today...

By Holger, California (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Some nice explosions viewable on Valahnuk webcam right now.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Libertarian philosophy would only work if we each lived on separate, distant islands.

As for the airspace closures, how about the people on the ground who would be squished by falling airliners? I suppose those people somehow consented?

By Tennyson Lee (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

The white steam ploom on the Vala cam does seem to be quite a bit closer to the camera than the black ash ploom to me.

I am one of those who believe that banning flights outright within airspaces affected by the volcanic ash was the right thing to do in the first place. I strongly agree with those who say it's better to be inconvenienced than dead no matter how much airlines whine about how much money they're losing, or how many travelers complain about getting stranded. Mind you, I'll be flying to Manchester this Wednesday. But if Eyjaf (or Katla or another Icelandic volcano) decided to act up again big time, I'd be more than understanding, even if it would cause me grief.

And now, back to the volcano....I'm noticing a notch with steam coming out at the very top of Gigjokull in the Vodafone and Picasa cams. Is that the lava flow we're hearing so much about? There's no glow that I can see from the lava flow, though there is some from Stromblian eruptions in the Valahnuk cam in Mila right now.

By MK Alberta (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Anna Thank you for the references

One comment on discourse. Please remember children use this site too. (I remember when I had to tone it down for children, a struggle at first, but worth it in the long run ;-)

This whole situation basically occurred because of the movement of funds (200 million pounds) for "climate change" away from other areas of science and other divisions of MET. Essentially it shows the danger to man are volcanoes and asteroids where little funding occurs, instead it's wasted on repeative studies to prove a government agenda...

Give money back to real science, and put more money into volcano monitoring, designing engines that can tolerate more ash, working out how much ash a plane can take (we have vague levels). We need complex studies to learn how ash actually effects an engine. The 747 keeps being quoted, but they found pebbles in the engine because it really flew right through the plume. We need sensors and satellite warnings on all volcanoes and all volcanoes in flight zones need more seismograph monitoring. Just look at Kamchatka, all the funding has been cut for geology monitoring in the area, but we have so many billions for Climate Change, how many times do you need to research the same thing when geology and other sciences are getting cut? Whats the UK budget for Geology vs Climate Change? Why is Climate Change special?

Does the MET use it's computer still to work out the ash cloud, or does it use the satellite now? Is the paint job on it's ground plane finished now?

Give the funding back to the real scientists, and stop this AGW gravey train which is a diversion for science, we don't need so much monitoring on whether it's warming or not or whether my pet uses more CO2 then my car or how to make my sex toy CO2 neutral to "save the world". We need real science done again and this diversion of funds has to stop.

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Oh shoot. Does anyone else think the view tonite from thorolsfelli looks like Fujiyama?

The lava "fountains" are visible from Hvolsvelli as well and occasionally rise more than 200m above the rim. With the crater, what, 200m deep, they must reach some 4-500m in height. Quite respectable!

#67 Very handy link, Thanks :)

WOW that was a nice big ejection there.

Henrik, the flights did take place on "emergency" basis but no scheduled traffic. Problem is that when they did clear them to go flying the friendly skies was no longer so friendly. The MD operator was a North African flag carrier and if you want I can get the exact operator if you want. The Fokker 50 flights were really test flights and they did come back for an inspection after the flight. The effects of ash are cumulative and not a one off deal. If you get a one off with ash you likely are going to go to a funeral or need therapy afterwards because thats an awful quiet when there are no engines on.

Fokkers also operate dead in the stratum that is/was in question and they rarely if ever blow through to 35,000 or more. Its a big frigging Lear Jet for all intents and purposes. Shove the thrust levers forward, pop up to 25,000 and then coast home. Not much cruise on that bird. But if I am not mistaken, didnt KLM dump their Fokkers in early March of this year. I am over here and someone over there has to answer that question.

But another thing and its the accretion and erosion issue. Someone taking an aircraft up and then calling it safe aint science. Nor is it in the accepted non-destructive testing procedures. In fact it is as bogus as it comes. It gives the appearance of safety when there is none.


Time we all face facts, toss in the discussion for fires on the hillside and then let them go out and kill someones mom or family. Aint jack doo-doo going to happen until then because they now have a goat to sacrifice and its the air minister of the EU. He'll be retiring soon, or just as soon as the next eruption hits. I dont blame him... they are now questioning the ban in the first place.

Forrest Gump is in charge in the EU. Good guy, very lucky so far but when it comes to the important stuff he is an idiot.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

#78 thanks for that info Henrik, she is sure putting on a nice display for us tonight... :)

The height it is getting on the Hvolsvelli cam is just amazing.

Where are the experts when we need them...:) I guess the silence is not a good sign about what is happening today. I think, lava flow, EQ swarm and latest eruption have complicated their analysis since the process is unpredictable than ever.

Looks like the dragon is angry tonight....Maybe all of the angry postings and recriminations have awakened the beast;)
"in cauda venenum"

@84 - The cams are located properly (to with 100 meters or so). Transfer the coordinates from the Ja.Is map if you don't believe me.

@Randall Nix #87 Hahahahahah. My latin was half a century ago, so I took you quote to an online translator. We thought google was bad, free online latin to english translator;

'upon the tail of an animal drug'

Now, i know that isn't even close. ;-D

"M. Randolph Kruger"

Volcanoes erupt all over the world all the time. The industry has decades of experience with volcanic ash. I can't remember ever hearing of a plane actually crashing from ash, though I have heard of some scary incidence involving loss of engines.

We have active volcanoes in the Caribbean, South America, Southeast Asia and Africa. Why is ash from a volcano in Iceland more dangerous than one in Indonesia?

It was an overreaction by people eager to justify their existence, in my opinion. The damning part was when he admitted he didn't know a thing about aircraft or what the safety margins were from the people who built the engines.

So you have a situation where you have 5% of the allowable ash and they close down the entire system. The person making that call should be sacked immediately but that isn't going to happen because as we all know, it is nearly impossible to fire someone in government no matter how incompetent.

Problems like this will become more commonplace as we have more of a generation that can't think for themselves and look to see "what the computer says".

Am in awe of this lady tonight!... The Ãórólfsfelli cam is up and running again but showing nothing more that light reflection off the clouds.

Somethings changed, On previous nights I have watched both Ãórólfsfelli and Valahnúk cams in side by side windows, both giving the same display (all be it not quite in unison).. I wonder if they moved the angle of the cam whilst it was undergoing maintainance? Time will tell,,, how many hours till dawn. lol

About 4 hours untill the sun starts to rise, i also noticed that the Poro cam seems to have been moved while it was down.

Using Google Earth to measure camera and crater placement:

Mila Hvolsvelli web-cam 32 km.
Múlakot airport web-cam 16 km.
Mila Valahnúk web-cam 7 km.

@Emero (#86) In my case the silence is due to very much work and me going to bed early, I'm just back to the computer for a few minutes :-)

As for the earthquake swarm in the northern Vatnajökull area, it seems to have subsided for the time being. There have been quite a few similar swarms earlier, and this might mean something can happen sometime in the future, but it does not seem to want to happen now.

The lava flow at Eyjafjallajökull is a positive thing, it means that less gas-rich magma is coming to the surface, and as a result, the ash problem is very much reduced. So I'd say enjoy the show that the volcano (with the aid of the Valahnúk web cam) is providing tonight. It looks quite nice, there we have some typical Strombolian activity.

@91 Shelly When I have watched them they were slightly different. Very similar looking but enough to see variations. These two cams are only about 7 km apart, which may or may not make the difference we are seeing tonight. Also the eruption seems to be a little farther to the right on the Valahnúk cam than a few nights ago so this may account for some differences. Like you say, guess we will have to wait until the sun comes up.

parclair ehhhhhh sorta but not really...."in cauda venenum"...."the poison is in the tail".....meaning that volcanoes and some angry comments often turn vicious at the end;)

The width of the eruption seems to have grown a lot on the
Hvolsvelli cam.
Very impressive.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Just before I sign off for tonight, here's the latest info from the Icelandic scientists. The most important detail is that the remaining active crater is now being filled by a new pyroclastic cone (pyroclastic, for newcomers, is all lose rock material emitted during volcanic eruptions), which seems to be quite big - between 130 and 170 m. So our volcano here might actually grow in height if this goes on!


@Dasnowskier.. I noticed that too, I'm wondering if it's just the low cloud cover making it appear larger??

The people in the house on the hill just left. lol

Sorry if the answer is really obvious, but where are links to the webcams that everyone is watching?

@Victoria 101

Here is the link to the Hvorosvelli webcam. You can access the other two from links on this page.


By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Hvolsvelli looks like it's hosting the volcano version of duelling banjos.

Hard to believe there's 32 km between the camera and the crater!

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Dear Erik!

You are absolutely right in the question about the flight ban. The air companys did not remember the accidents which have already happend in the ash plumes. They want only the cash. They would have got ready for this or similar event(s)!


@ Henrik: The earthquake activity seems to have decreased around Kistufell, which isn't really surprising, I guess. Many of us have seen the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull coming for some time before it actually happened, mainly because of the quakes that showed an interesting pattern that indicated that something was going on down there.

But I guess it's good to remember that earthquakes, even swarms of earthquakes, happen on a daily basis all over the world in areas that experience tectonic and/or volcanic stress. The earthquake swarms at Yellowstone of the last few years are a perfect example of that and they didn't really mean anything significant other than that it's a restless volcanic system in a tectonically very active region.

My guess is that it's business as usual at Kistufell, so maybe some gas moving down there, or some hydrothermal activity, or maybe just tectonic stress that caused the small swarm to happen. What's different about it all is that we're now focused on these events, especially because some of them occur in the relative vicinity (Iceland) of Eyjafjallajökull.

It's like earthquakes in the media. Sometimes you don't hear something 'interesting' for over a year, then something big happens (like Haiti or Chile) and all of a sudden a lot more quakes (even modest ones like 5.0's that don't cause any damage or injuries) make it to the news headlines. When people would see sites like EMSC-CSEM or IRIS they'd realise that nothing special is going on.

So... let's just wait and see what earthquake swarms are more persistent and might be really worth focusing on. I'm not placing my bets yet ;-) .

PeakVT (#88)

"The cams are located properly (to with 100 meters or so)."

You're right. What threw me off is that you use two different icons for the web-cams -- a stills camera and film projector.

The stills camera (Múlakot it turns out) registered with me but not the projector thingies. They're a real eyesore. Why don't you just use the camera-icon for all the web-cams?

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

#94 thanks for the answer Boris! good night

George - With all due respect. There is NO allowable limit recognized by the EU/FAA or anywhere else for that matter. Thats the reason they set up the VAAC to stay out of it, not to determine when you could fly in it. In effect they are flying through a sandstorm and its of an unequal measure. No damage noted on the engines? Well I can tell you that the Sermatel coatings on the blades are suffering every night even now as the cargo haulers leave CDG and BRU. FRA aint far behind. 5% of the ALLOWABLE ash? There are no standards set and if one of these mothers goes down then it will be all over but the shouting.

It is like Erik says.... Throw Momma from the Plane ! Everything they do if and when they fly into a known area is a risk, an insurance risk and if something happens, a risk of criminal prosecution. Did anything happen? Minor incidents so far and an engine change. But, the facts are simple and everyone keeps trying to back up a couple of flawed ideas. First is that there is a standard..There isnt. Second that the NDT inspections have produced no findings, False. The engine changes, the bleed air valves and a few other things have to be inspected and the real problems accrue, or you have the catastrophic in flight problems.

"In 1989, a wide-body passenger jet destined for Anchorage airport flew into the volcanic ash cloud generated by Mount Redoubt, Alaska and lost thrust all 4 engines. The plane entered the ash cloud at 25,000 feet, accelerated, and then rapidly descended to 13,000 feet. The pilot was finally able to restart its engines. The Alaska Range in the area where the plane lost power has peaks from 7,000 to 11,000 feet, so this was an extremely close call. In 1992, the effects of volcanic eruptions on aviation were felt well beyond Alaska when a volcanic ash cloud from the Mount Spurr (Alaska) eruption drifted across the continental U.S. and Canada, shutting down airports in the Midwest and Northeast two days after the eruption. The Spurr cloud affected citizens who are normally not concerned about volcanoes. "

So we can parse, cut, sneak by, but the 747 near Indonesia had ROCKS in its engines and that will stop one cold in the right place, especially the RB211's now with their counter rotating fan and turbine sections. Things are different and very computerish and that computer would likely just up and kill you if it got the chance thinking all was fine. The Redoubt plane tried for a restart and failed twice. Finally I believe it got one started and was able to relight the other three for an inflight turnback. All with 2000 feet to spare.

Not aware of any aircraft that was brought down by volcanic ash? How about sandstorms or dust storms.... I'll take my dust anyway I can get it. But not many rocks at 25,000 feet.

Whipping a dead pony guys, lets move on and just wait for them to kill someone or scare the bejabbers out of them. That is the end result of this you know of course.... When thats done, Erik will be right. I will be right and a lot of the people here will be right. Its not about money really, its about good common sense on the part of the flying public, the guys who fly them and someone pushing a regulatory agency to give the all clear. Want to come down to the ramp in Memphis and look at some severely eroded decicer edges? Now that would be from what?

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Is it really the case that the media is only reporting on earthquakes more?

There is no question that it seems EQ are on the rise because every other day there is a new headline about a new quake. I know it isn't usually this way. . .

@Dasnowskier, @shelly. I've been watching for the last month. It does appear wider. I'm thinking that what we're seeing is not necessarily an expansion of the vent, but the the glow from the lava flow where the ice has been melted. The vent doesn't seem to have been changed in the Vala cam. Good eyes, both of you.

Now a request: Tomorrow look at the throlfsfelli cam and tell me whether you think the glacier is slumping on the north side of the vent. thanks in advance:-)

@ Parclair #112: Thanks for the link! I knew something like that had to be around somewhere ^_^

Well, no need for me to say more on the subject I guess XD .

@Randall Nix #101 LOL, "this are dracones" Very informative. (Here be dragons?)

@ Dan 115
I would love to rent it for the eruption. It still must be at least 20-25k from the vent.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

I just have had a new volcano in Iceland being flagged by my system. The volcano in question is called Esjufjöll and its last eruption is uncertain, along with how what type of eruption happens there and the time frame of early signs. There might have been a eruption there in the year 1927, but that year there was a flood in that area that is been contributed to a eruption in that volcano.

Over the last few years, earthquakes in this volcano have been come more common and larger in size when larger swarms that have happen. I don't think that it is going to erupt this year, but it might not be long until a eruption phase starts in that volcano. But at the moment the uncertainties are high. But the possibility of eruption at this location has been growing fast over the past few years.

More information on the volcano in question.


Let's see if the airlines care to put in the money needed to do all the research to determine the conditions in which aircraft can fly through the volcanic ash. Even with the information just being made available now, the answer is still "don't do it"; learning enough to be able to do it will require huge amounts of money - though likely far less than what is claimed to have been lost in this single episode.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@George #10: I'm glad you're not making the decisions then because you have severely defective logic. Aside from begging the question, (1) the airline execs only care about money; they don't know a thing about volcanoes and they assume that a human can assess the threat on sight. (2) Not everyone is an expert and can make the correct decision; in fact this event makes it clear that the real experts on the subject are an extremely small minority of the global population.

As for the "individual responsible for the ban", I have no idea what you're talking about or why his (or her) particular expertise has anything at all to do with whether this was the right decision or not. I really couldn't care less if there were such an individual and he was nothing more than a politician; the advice had come from people who know what they're doing. Even if we did know how the ash affects the engine wear and what levels are likely to clog the injectors, you still cannot guarantee a safe flight because no aircraft is appropriately instrumented. You're just picking events and (largely irrelevant) facts which you believe support your position; that is not scientific, and that sort of poor decision making can get people killed.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ madscientist, very unlikely that the airlines would put their own money into the research. Rather, they would be part of an industry effort to get congress and other nations to fund one or more government agencies (NASA, FAA, JAA and other agencies) to lead the research, with some or most of the actual work contracted back to the engine, aircraft and systems supppliers.

Re the ban on flights, blaming/crediting governments and/or aviation authorities.

It's important not to think too naively (sometimes us scientists can be a bit too trusting about the people side of things without taking into account how complex and devious people and organisations are!).

The Guardian newspaper was carrying reports last week that the airlines refused to cooperate in setting safe limits in 2008 and before when they were invited to contribute. The explanation suggested in the article was that the airlines didn't want to be connected with setting limits because they were afraid of being sued massively if there was an accident when flying within the "safe" limit that they had agreed to. Better for them legally to not be involved so they could say "safe limits? we accept what the experts tell us, the accident was not our fault, we used best available information, deeply regret blah blah".

Either way, the big airlines are huge organisations with lots of clout and immense technical expertise, so it cuts no ice for them to claim that this was imposed on them: if they had contributed to the discussions before this happened, they would have been listened to.

Right or wrong, the airlines have significant responsibility for the ban happening.

Personally, I was in favor of the ban; after reading some years about Flight 009's predicament in 1982, I knew I never wanted to be a passenger in an airliner with 2 or 4 dead engines and the pilot trying to bump start it!

Oh, one more little tidbit for people who are gung-ho to fly through volcanic ash. The bypass air will be loaded with microscopic particles which will fill the cabin - enjoy the choking. You can't simply deploy the emergency respirators either because they're meant to provide oxygen as the aircraft descends to ~2km altitude (roughly the equivalent altitude which the aircraft is pressurized to), and that descent only takes a few minutes, not hours.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@jon (#118), do you have any information about the magnitude of ice loss from the Esjufjöll glaciers over the last couple of decades?

@118 Jon: Interesting. The caldera size (in sq. km) is roughly the same as Laki/Grimsvotn (though smaller than Katla), and a past pseudo-eruption was sulfur-rich (indicating that a large eruption at Esjufjoll would have similar climate effects to the 1783 Laki eruption). 10,000+ years is quite a long time for magma to build, and that glacier has quite a lot of ice in it to allow a vigorous steam explosion.

Could someone take a good look on the Vala cam I seem to be seeing something moving from left to right towards the crater... or am I just seeing things But something is very different

By renee illinois (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@126 renee Just ignore the UFO's. They are just looking around. ;>) Actually, I don't see anything except some possible very low light reflections fooling the digital camera.

No i mean at just about the same level as the top of the crater could it have gotten larger or a vent increased in size?

@doug mcl, I do not have that information.

@StarBP, This volcano is out of the main rift zone. So I do not know what type of eruption would happen there. But I guess it could be mixed there, give the rock that exist there. But it hard to know what is from a old volcano (extinct) and from a new one. There might have been a small eruption in 1927. But it as it says on the web page, it has not been confirmed. This is a unknown zone there, and a lot needs to be learned and is going to be learned if anything of interest happens there.

@all OT: Long known among my friends as a passionate amateur volcano kook (Dallol, anyone?) while having spent whole clusters of time reloading seismographs and webicorders on AVS, plus having interrupted so many Happy Hours to read usgs quake feeds on my iPhone and having lost a vacation's worth of summertimes tracking hurricanes on storm2k and nws, alas I finally find myself among my people. I don't know a single one of you, but thanks for filling up my days and evenings with your wonderful, illuminating and erudite posts. Really, thanks.

By Carla, Seattle (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Just a curious bi-stander who enjoys this blog.
5 a.m. in Iceland and beautiful webcam of Eyjafjallajökull frá Valahnúk. Lots of 'fire'.

Death and Transfiguration, lovely, just as I'm headed for bed too. ;) Alas, it could be interpreted as a reawakening in the morning for me.

Gijs, thank you! (#106) Yours is exactly the answer I wanted! (Ie after the Eyjafjall example, were all very much "on our collective toes" when it comes to perceived eartquake patterns but there are a number of explanations for even very prominent swarms in known volcanic locations that do not involve magma directly, so be cool!)

@Passerby. I did notice your enumeration of possible causes, thank you, but it was important the answer came from a known vulcanologist in this case!

#66 Post re the KLM. You are right it is not proof. I will try and discover if there is seperate confirmation of this movement at Newcastle during the week in question. The quote I have have comes directly from KLM. I have posted myself as 'UK' simply to protect the source. Of course it throws up lots of questions and there are a lot of reasons why the airline would want it kept quiet. I have no reason to doubt the source and the reason for posting is to add to the discussion. It will never be 100% verified unless you talk directly to the engineers who would have inspected the aircraft and management directly responsible for handling the results.


Is a good page to compare the GPS data from the Vatnajokull region 2004 to present. Anyone familiar with this data - in the 3rd chart is the pronounced episodal raising of the GFUM station due to ice/temperature as it seems to peak around the winter months?

Greg @ 134

Ambrym has almost been constantly erupting since 1996. Many eruptions and constant activity prior to that.

One of the main crimes of the airspace ban is that the Met Office/UK authorites have a air quality monitoring/sampling aircraft at their disposal.Unfortunately this aircraft was A.O.G. during the eruption. This problem didn't become general knowledge until after the brou ha ha was well under way. The reserve air sampling aircraft is propeller driven and can't get up to the levels in which jet aircraft travel.

More than a billion dollars was lost in this incident for the lack of proper data.

And just to remind everybody. The BA and SQ flights that encountered engine problems in Indonesia in 1982 flew right through the eruption plume adjacent to the erupting Galunngung - not thousands of miles away.

By Les Francis (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Matt P

wow, that's a good one. OK everyone, spot the outlier!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@JB USA #68 You have to understand the context of the daft article about the volcano 'shows leaders must repent'. We are in the run up to an election here in the UK, and the person who was talking about leaders repenting is John Manwell, a political candidate representing the Christian Peoples Alliance and standing in the ward of Liverpool Walton. The BBC has a duty to report on what candidates say, and in my opinion they should especially report candidates who are a bit nuts so that people in that ward know what they would be voting for and can make a more informed choice. I would have normally agreed with you, but in this case the BBC was right to cover Manwell's outlandish statements.

@parclair #75 You haven't spent much time in playgrounds have you?

@victoria #101 I have a collection of links too:


And, excitingly, anyone can make an account and add links to the list of they want to!

And finally, @ all the people whittering on about climate change, libertarianism, the evils of the flight ban, incompetence of the Met Office, etc etc etc., please can you just stick to providing actual facts, backed up with links to primary sources? We have already heard your opinions, so we're pretty clear on where you're coming from. If you have links to primary sources, i.e. not opinion pieces from The Telegraph or other news sites with their own agenda, then I'd be delighted to see them. Otherwise, no, not really.

Sorry if I sound testy, but I'm here for information and analysis of Eyjafjallajokull's behaviour and any interesting tidbits about other volcanoes. If wanted a big fight about politics I'd go to Commment is Free.



@Raving #150 - the relevance to volcanoes in general and the ongoing eruption in Eyjafjall being? If there's none, please refrain from polluting this blog!

A lot of the criticism is not about the original airspace closure but about the decision to keep airspace closed for days after scientific data (collected by both airliners and government operated aircraft equipped with testing equipment) showed there was no risk to aviation.
By the time the closures were being lifted the air was cleaner than on a regular day of LA smog.

@Scarlet Pumpernickel (#148). Very interesting, I didn't know such things existed. Thanks for the link! Are these petorleum volcanoes self-contained "volcanic systems" or are they akin to the water component of a geothermal area such as Yellowstone or those in Iceland?

"By the time the closures were being lifted the air was cleaner than on a regular day of LA smog."


I'm sure there are countless websites and blogs out there where people can exchange opinions about the flight-ban, how it was either premature or went on too long. Or even totally unnecessary -- a part of some larger evil scheme. Why highjack this blog? You're most unwelcome.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Boris Behncke (#98). Before that happens, I hope the glacier will disappear so we can see how neatly Eyjafjall has split apart on the N-S axis and Icelandic vulcanologists get a chance to fill in her history pre-920AD. Signs of this split are visible on either side as there is a correspondence of features. Then, when she has revealed her secrets to Science, let our White Lady cover her wounds and shroud herself anew, taller and more beautiful!

I think she deserves it for giving us such a marvellous show! ;)

@Henrik Have you been to the man made one lol http://www.thetechherald.com/article.php/200926/3919/Scientists-give-gr… It's a pretty smelly place to visit!

I guess it's of no concern (according to the earlier article), unless it just keeps going, but maybe if it's not drilled it won't go out of control. Interesting though why this occurs. Is it because the plume is so large under Indonesia or the crust so thin large sections of mud occur? Methane plumes? There have been times in the past where large sudden methane hydrate bursts have occurred from the ocean. So these occurrences must be associated with the thinner crust of the sea.

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

I hope the glacier will disappear so we can see how neatly Eyjafjall has split apart on the N-S axis and Icelandic vulcanologists get a chance to fill in her history pre-920AD.

@ Henrik: your comment made me think of one of my favourite sans ice maps. I know it's pretty low-res, but it's fascinating all the same:


On the Poro cam, when the cloud moves out the way, there's a distinct white plume showing to the left of the crater - is this a lava flow?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Airlines do not want to damage their equipment or see an unsafe situation for their passengers.

Obviously they don't *want* to - but are they willing to put enough of their money into it to ensure that it won't, rather than just hope it won't?

So plane crashes due to poor maintenance do happen (Alaska Airlines Flight 261 for example, although the FAA was also lax in this case). This is why regulation is needed - businesses can and do gamble long-term damage to their reputation for short term profit.

@Helen (#163) that might very well be steam produced by the lava flow.

I hope the relatively good visibility today will permit some new aerial photographs to be taken by the volcanologists and maybe someone else ... that looks interesting.

All quiet on Etna - for the moment.

@Helen, I first noticed this last night before sun set, whatever it is it is moving very slowly..

@162 Hasis, wow that's really interesting, so Greenland actually has a big hole right in the middle of it with an opening into the western sea. Amazing!

Also a few volcanoes in/near Greenland, it would be interesting to know if any hotspots under the ice sheets

This is an interesting map as well http://baird.si.edu/minsci/tdpmap/viewer.htm


By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

As for volcanoes in Iceland (and Gran Canaria) which may pose another potential risk to Europe and North America, it would seem to be timely to put in place a tsunami early warning system, such as is already in place in the Pacific. Japan, like Iceland, has impressive evacuation plans which, I understand, were put into action when a tsunami risk from the Chile earthquake was identified. It was a very small wave which actually arrived but the organization was efficient.


International cooperation will be needed if we are to have such a resource in the North Atlantic.

On a less serious note though the views on the web cams last night were truly amazing - the best yet, with no new risks identified, to anyone, from that wonderful display of pyrotechnics. The little dragon is growing up!

@James, #21: Just to add one thing about Hekla: These are the reasons, that there exists a clear warning by the authorities not to travel on Hekla. And if you do it, let people know, that you do.

@ Scarlet (157) I remember this eruption from my childhood, I saw some of these scenes on TV. It was interesting to watch it now, thanks for the link!

About mud / asphalt 'volcanoes' - mostly they have nothing to do with real volcanism. They are connected to natural gas or oil reservoires. Some of 'mud volcanoes' are connected to postvolcanic hydrothermal fields around hot springs. But most of mud volcanoes can grow where some natural gas comes up forces the soil to build up cones, they even erupt with gas (sometimes being in flames!) or oil mixed with water and soil.

As for volcanoes in Iceland (and Gran Canaria) which may pose another potential risk to Europe and North America, it would seem to be timely to put in place a tsunami early warning system, such as is already in place in the Pacific

At Vodafone cam we see something interesting now at 11:08 local time. There is white steam in direction north, most likely produced by lava fall. But a bit left we suddenly see a little bit of the peak of the south side. That means, that the ice-shield is shrinking step by step, because the peak was not visible with that cam so far!

By Thomas Wipf (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Thomas (#172) - I'm pretty sure that peak has been visible in the images before - I know it's been on the Poro cam for a while and that's a very similar location...

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I 'think' if you go full-screen on the porolfsfelli cam, you can see the lava channel. It certainly looks to me like there is a gully developing.

The water level in the outflow has also risen slightly since yesterday.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@beedragon - yes, the steam seems to be moving again now - before it seemed to stay in the same area for about 2 hrs, now it appears it might flow downwards...

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I 'think' if you go full-screen on the porolfsfelli cam, you can see the lava channel. It certainly looks to me like there is a gully developing.

#154 JTW - "A lot of the criticism is not about the original airspace closure but about the decision to keep airspace closed for days after scientific data (collected by both airliners and government operated aircraft equipped with testing equipment) showed there was no risk to aviation.
By the time the closures were being lifted the air was cleaner than on a regular day of LA smog."

There are comments to eliminate all discussion about airspace closure due to atmolspheric ash, but Erik originates the subject and it seems to need the expertise of science (atmospheric, satellite, etc).

The range of views from "socialist - government regulation without evaluation" to "libertarian - let the financially-concerned actors make all decisions" is interesting. If one comes down on the side of "representative democracy within a free market" then discussions and evaluations never cease, and they often will be painful as mistakes are understood and (scientific, not ideological) actions are taken to correct them the next time. These actions, of course, must be financially possible, so societies must keep themselves out of debt so they can take reasonable actions.

By pyromancer76 (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Does anyone else see what looks like fresh ice loss in a slump or melt area below the lava steam on Vala cam?

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

sorry, I meant voda cam

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

pretty sure that's steam now rising quite far down the gully, above the outlet, on voda cam

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I could be wrong but it looks like steam is rising from near the end of the glacier at the top of the cliff. On the Poro cam.


One for you, Greg:

'She sways to the 'beat of the drum' in her 'Ivory Tower', and puts on 'necklace' after 'necklace' but despite her 'huffing and puffing', she has not yet been allowed to go to the ball. (There was trouble, you see, when she last went down to Cartago!)It would seem that if she is not allowed soon she might 'blow her top'!'

birdseye - i think you are right - in the last image of the gully there appears to be quite a lot of steam.

Are you noticing the mila cameras shaking - is that seismic activity caused by the eruption or is it likely just to be wind blowing the camera - I don't know what set up they have

By hannahsmetana (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@JTW #154: Care to tell me what airliners collected scientific data and what that data was? I am not aware of any such data despite receiving numerous messages about this volcano each day even a day or two before the eruption. "I flew and didn't crash" is not data. At the very least I would have expected a borescope inspection of the turbines before flight, a flight log of particle size distribution and number, a few particulate samples, the flight plan, and a report of a borescope inspection after the flight. Repeat that for every single one of these propaganda "test flights" and you have real data, not this pseudoscience bullshit which ignorant people are trying to sell.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Chris (#169)

"These are the reasons, that there exists a clear warning by the authorities not to travel on Hekla. And if you do it, let people know, that you do."

Most highland roads in Iceland are closed now -- they always are at this time of year:


The land is thawing, the highland roads are soft and muddy and motorized vehicles will just ruin them. That's why they have these restrictions. At this time of year Hekla isn't very approachable. People go snowmobiling there in the wintertime and mountain climbing at the height of summer, in July & August. There's not a soul up there now.

It's true that Hekla is "overdue" but she's been overdue for 2 years now.

There are Road Works restrictions and there are Civil Defense restrictions and they overlap a bit. Here's a map (pdf) of the Civil Defense restrictions around Eyjafjallajökull:


By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@MadScientist - well the MET wasn't flying either and they were drawing computer pictures over europe :P

The fact it, nobody really knows where the cloud really was in which thickness, because nobody tested it in large detail, as the department was underfunded as the funding was busy in other areas.

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Anna can you visit Hekla in July, as I'll be there in July and plan to visit as many volcanoes as I can :)

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

When did Thora (MÃla's cam on Ãórólfsfell) come back online?

And why do I keep reading Poro as Porno? Reynir no Hentai...!

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

SandyR @14;
"@Raging Bee, Dear, don't you find it appalling and contemptable that some pander to their own rage and frustration by using vulgar and foul language for the shock value. Dear please grow up or find a kiddie site."
Tone trolling. SOP for those who have nothing useful to say.

Also, Doug mcl @25;
"I'd also like to comment on language use. This site has been referred to young students interested in learning about volcanoes, even at the elementary school level. So why not be polite and save the expletives and rude languange for some other place?"

Doug, seriously. Have you been reading the things that Raging Bee was responding to? Do you genuinely think that outride lies and distortions are less offensive, or even worse, helpful to any student reading this blog for information on volcanos? Your willingness to give such lies a pass does them and all of us a disservice. You disgrace yourself.

Please. Read more of what the liars say. Note how their language is always polite. Note that they do not respond to polite corrections to their lies. They only repeat the same lies over and over again. How is this helpful to young students looking for information on volcanos? How?

Statistically speaking, there are several Icelandic volcanoes 'overdue.' Statistics revolves a lot about averages and medians, which tend to barely open the kimono, as it were.

Since volcanoes operate on their own schedule, not on one drawn up by a statistician, Hekla just *might* be taking a fifty-year-long cat nap.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Eddie, MadScientist, Raging Bee (and all) - Please, watch the language. Again, I know climate can get people riled up, but this blog is for people of all ages. If you want to violently argue your points with such language, take it somewhere else. I'm not trying to stifle you, but if you can't make your arguments politely, then you're not adding to the debate.

Scarlet (#188): July is a good time.

Chris (#189): Yes, there were a lot of warnings 2 years ago and there are still warnings. But noone has any clue as to when things will happen. When the time comes things will probably happen very fast, people will have something like 30 minutes to an hour and a half to get off the mountain.

That's probably why there are no organized hiking tours to Hekla. Mountain climbers go there at their own risk.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

On Poro - More steam now coming out from below where "lava flow" steam track is.. quite a lot of it, too. Is this the continuance of the flow or a new fissure/vent.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@birdseye (#181) and hannahsmetana (#184), there is clearly an area of profuse steaming somewhere in the upper part of the GÃgjökull valley, and most likely that's the lava flow eating its way through the glacier.

How will this look at night?

@194 Anna so is Hekla considered to suddenly erupt by authorities, is that why they are discouraging people to visit? I've seen some videos of the area, look very nice and colourful and lots of nice steaming areas ;)

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Scarlet, '197: Yes, thats the reason. If I remember corrrectly, the pre-warning time for Heklas last eruption was around one hour. By the way, the direct surroundings of Hekla are not very colourfull - its mostly black (and sometimes red) lava. You probably saw pictures of Landmannalaugar, which is indeed colourfull, but some 30km away.
@Boris: Would be interesting to watch, unfortunately my car is still in the garage...

Perhaps it's high time to lay bets :)

When is the lava flow going to emerge from under the glacier? Or hit that big rock where the opening is?

In the dark of night? Tomorrow? The day after?

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

hehe Anna - was just thinking the same thing! Do I go to bed or do I sit and wait some more? Personally I'll bet on it being a great sight tonight if the flow is on the glacier!

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

hannahsmetana@184 - my guess is wind. The forecast maps call for strong winds today.

Dan@198 - the Vodafone cam and the MÃla cam appear to still be adjacent to each other.

Scarlet (#197)

I don't think the authorities are actively discouraging people, not at all. They just issue warnings when they see fit.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Erik: I appreciate your concerns over tone and language; and I've already apologized for my earlier rough language and made my subsequent posts at least a little cleaner. HOWEVER, as eddie said (thanx for the good word, eddie), the liars make an SOP out of repeating their lies blandly and politely, then sneering down their noses at all the boors who so rudely call them out. Yes, we need to be mature and respectful, but lying is not polite, and liars do not deserve polite treatment -- especially when they're showing such total disregard for human safety, and reality itself, as the threadjacking denialists have shown here.

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Whole lotta tremor now...

By renee usa (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Check out the Poro cam alot of new activity

Anyone else having trouble accessing the Mila cams?

I can't connect with the server.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks PeakVT.

Will the lava form lava tubes under the glacier? I don't know if it works like that under ice.

By hannahsmetana (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@scarlet (#206) - those images are of some geothermal area with fumaroles and mudpots, maybe the Namaskard or Landmannalaugar areas. There is no such activity at Hekla, so the person who posted that video made an error calling it such. Hekla is simply an elongate volcano and currently does not seem to show the faintest fumarolic activity (i.e. gas emission).

Some recent photos of Hekla (taken in April 2010) are here:


This should clarify things.

Got my mila cams back :)

There's a tiny puff of steam coming out more than half way down the Gigjokull now ... I'm betting we'll see lava within the next 6 hours(that one's for you Anna!)

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Scarlet #187 Why do you consistently ignore the evaluation flights made by NERC, the National Environmental Research, which I have mentioned and linked to several times now.

It's just not enough to say "The Met Office didn't fly". It's unfortunate that the Met Office's plane was out of commission at the time, but NERC flew several times with equipment to measure the ash. The Met Office also took other measurements with weather balloons and ground-based lasers that usually measure cloud cover but could be quickly re-purposed to measure the base of the ash cloud.

I'm afraid your assertions just don't hold up to the facts. Please stop making them.

@scarlett, #206: This is not taken at Hekla - since there are no solfatares to my knowledge. The area looks more like Hverarönd (Námaskarð) or like the lava and the solfatars of the 1981 eruption of Krafla. Its anyway tremendous stupid of the person who took this video to get so close to the boiling mud, since the ground is usually not stable next to it. You might end up with your feet in boiling mud or water. Surely not the experience you want to have.
@Boris: Technically question: When do you speek of a solfatare and when of a fumarole?

Whatever is moving on the Thoro-cam is doing so with about ten metres (-5 to +10) per minute now.
Or more to the point, the point of where the steam starts a bit down the mountain is moving with that speed if I have triangulated it well enough, hard without exact measurement and in 2D...
Please note that the point moves up and down in short term, but over time it is downwards with ruffly the above-mentioned speed.


Isn't a bit shallow to compare LA smog with volcano ash?

@Anna #219

You're probably right (I was only guessing!), but what if the lava finds the glacier outflow tube? That could speed things up.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@183 @184 (me) @214
The shape of this white object near the bottom of the glacier at the top of it's cliff doesn't change except for a whiff of mist at the top of it. I think it is a new waterfall.

@Scarlet #187 Why do you consistently ignore the evaluation flights made by NERC, the National Environmental Research, which I have mentioned and linked to several times now.

Because he knows fine well he's lying, and doing so with malice aforethought. He claims computer models are worthless, and only "Observations" are valid; but then he ignores observations when they don't support his transparent denialist agenda.

Isn't [it] a bit shallow to compare LA smog with volcano ash?

What do you expect from that lot? These are the same breed of denialist who do "thought experiments" where a sealed one-gallon jug of air is equivalent to the entire Earth's atmosphere.

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Watching the Ãórólfsfelli webcam and seeing big puffs of steam from about a third of the way down the hillside. Lava or new vent or just hot water? (4pm BST)

@Suw see my 222. It doesn't change so I'm pretty sure it's a (warm) waterfall.

Looks like you're right about it being a waterfall. I hadn't realized that what I thought was a steam puff wasn't actually changing shape.

That whole gully is starting to look quite interesting.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Suw (224)

"Lava or new vent or just hot water?"

Lava is pushing against glacial ice; this produces massive amounts of steam.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I wonder what the tiny feature visible in the middle of the crest of the glacier in the Thorolfsfelli and Vodafone cams? It's been there for hours now, and seems not move, shift or change.


Ok, I wasn't clear. I'm aware that lava plus glacier produces steam.

What I was wondering was:

Is the lava flow, which is now 1km long and heading roughly towards the Ãórólfsfell camera (west northwest from the eruption) now within sight and producing steam at the point where we see it on camera?


Is there a new, small, fissure/vent producing that steam?


Is the steam being produced under the glacier and travelling to the point at which we see it escaping? (Think New York steam vents!)


Is the lava melting the glacier, producing a torrent of hot water and what we are seeing is steam from the hot water as it emerges from under the glacier?

and for completeness' sake


Do we not really know?

So yes, one way or another we have lava + glacier = steam, but I'm curious as to what exactly we're seeing, if anyone knows.

I hope that's less ambiguous.

Looks like an increased flow rate from the tongue between 12:26 UT and 15:36 UT.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks for the maps, Scarlet Pumpernickel and Hasis. I have saved this interesting animation re the opening of the Atlantic Ocean around 60 mya, and the development-volcanism of Iceland seems related to the North Atlantic Igneous Province. http://museum.gov.ns.ca/fossils/geol/globe.htm
Iceland is not represented very clearly, but the mapping is suggestive.

One of my current interests is in Large Igneous Provinces, or those massive volcanic events that can last, I think, a million years, in relationship to plate tectonics (including volcanoes, earthquakes, impact craters, and solar minima). I am not familiar with the literature, but Jun Korenaga in "Origin of the Iceland hotspot and the NAIP" (2005, mantleplumes.org) uses a "convention model" [rather than the "plume model"] to suggest "quite complex dynamics, with profound implications for the origin of anomalous magmatism."

Until the present I have been familiar with this general idea: "Iceland is a hotspot (an area of intense, local volcanism resulting from a plume of magma) over the splitting mid-Atlantic ridge (where the ocean plate is being spread apart)."

Today it seems there are a variety of geological controversies (CIDER - Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth research: "about the proportion of heat coming from the core versus internal radiogenic heating in the mantle; about the degree to which the mantle is chemically, rheologically and/or viscously stratified and whether there is layered or whole mantle circulation; about the origin and even the existence of mantle thermal plumes rising beneath hot spot volcanic centers like Hawaii and Iceland; the chemical/thermal nature and origin of heterogeneity in the deepest mantle (figure 1); the nature and importance of mechanical coupling between the mantle and the core; the chemical composition of the core and its evolution; and the nature and importance of chemical coupling between the deep Earth and surface reservoirs, especially of water and CO2."

What research do Erik, Boris, and others believe is most helpful to resolve some of these unknowns re Iceland, or are they unknowns?

By pyromancer76 (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Suw: I had to google for what you meant by 'New York steam vents', but that's roughly it. The lava runs under the glacier and melts its way as it goes. I'd've said: 'Think Tom Swift's Nuclear Drill', but that would likely be as opaque to most here.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

RBee-Okay, we get it. You think its warming up. Okay then prove it else its time to let the AGW dog go get a rest.

As stated I have a climatology degree but there are a lot of people that are better than me at it that have some serious credibility issues. Clear those issues, get something thats better than the models and above all get the data right into the computers that I do believe in somewhat and let see what comes out of them. For starts though the people in charge of the data need to release it for peer review.

Facts are facts. The people in charge of this Mann/Jones crew have categorically denied requests that have been m,ade to them for that review. The emailGate thing is more than damaging and the fact is that if Mr. Jones had been in the US he would have been indicted without a doubt not for possibly skewing data, but for conspiracy to deny access under the FOIA here. Same in the UK but the statutes of limitations have run out. Ours hasnt been reviewed yet to see if there were any deliberate attempts to use federal money to produce a deliberately skewed result. To be honest, I dont know if the world is warming or not because the data is completely in question. When its -52 in Sweden last winter and the Finns are reporting 58 degrees then there is something wrong. I take no position either way, I DO require something better than a computer model that I have found to have over 53,000 variables that can be changed. E.g. the smoothing program that showed warming in the N. Atlantic when it was in fact cooling. Cant run the programs for 10 years one way and then change them when it doesnt fit the agenda.

Bee-You COULD BE RIGHT about AGW. If its man induced then in 25 years it wont matter. It will either tip over, or it wont. Adding another billion 5 to the planet will test the system. But if you ARE right as I said it wont matter because unless we are ready to start capping old people its just going to drain the system, cause wars, and total collapse of the worlds food supply. That will happen if it heats, it will happen if it cools. Else we get a billion 5 and then we still have to figure out a way to feed them.

Haiti is a good example of regional enviro/climatological problem. 1 million people are now living on supplied rations. If its cooling they are dead and dont know it yet, if its warming, they are dead and dont know it. There wont be any of the "bottom feeders" which is cold hearted as hell but its the truth. If they arent contributing to the harvest then they wont be here. Thats a simple fact. Bee, there is a difference between meteorology and climatology. Ice data doesnt tell the story well enough and its about all we have beyond a load of mud from the Laurentian Abyss. It tells a tale like you indicate of carbon deposition at the time of xxx, but it also tells a bigger story AFTER something happens and that is the organic matter deposition increases. Kill off?
It could be an indicator of what happened after it got crappy and the times are skewed. Even the best ice and mud guys out there say this.

For me this all is inevitable and it becomes survival of the fittest. We know Toba blew and took us down to about 25,000 people. Everything we know would and will change if we get 5 big butt volcanoes going off closely and frankly a volcano emits more crap into the air than we could in 5 years as a race in just a couple of days. Crap in the air is contributed to by man in no small measure. But what is the tip over point? IS there a tip over.. .Dont answer. Its rhetorical.

You will know that there is when you get there. If not then okay else as a hominus you or your relatives will adapt or they wont and that is the most inevitable thing. What we KNOW about the climate and environment now will be overridden in ten years by what we know then. Not much ever stays constant. But, to spend 43 trillion dollars on stuff that will only make more people is insane if man is the problem. We ought to be cutting spending to ensure they dont suffer long. Green means everyone gets to live on less. But it also means more and more people will be living on less and less and that is a true tip over point and its basic biology. Petri dish runs out of nutrients to supply the organism. I cant see how that can happen if it gets colder or warmer. Either way I see dead people.

Me, I do aviation because it pays better than climatology. I am biased against it because the evidence isnt evidence at all unless totally peer reviewed and the IPCC was anything but righteous. They almost totally discounted volcanoes as a problem to the climate, almost ignored in fact. About a page out of several hundreds of pages. How that happened I dont know but if you exclude people from the process the people who question it will question it more. Proof, proof, proof and not using a computer game that you can so easily rig. The AGW people made their bed because of disclosure and the disclosures that were brought out without their permission and they have to lie in it. If they are laying with the dogs who would make billions off of this if implemented then they should be excoriated.

Dont spend money until you have a CLEAR consensus and its anything but that right now. Its three camps- Deniers/Dont Cares/Greenies for the lack of better calls. Each has a bent but the best way to make sure your point doesnt carry is to call people names, stupid, uneducated, uninformed and assert that your "science" is sound. I have some extraordinary questions to ask of Penn State. When I did, I was referred to the legal department. If this were a corporation they would bounce them all out for all of the controversy its causing in the public eyes.

Bee-Start at the beginning and get consensus, peer reviewed consensus by BOTH sides and the middle and work your way up. If your stuff is solid at all levels, no one will be able to deny it. That would include me. God help us all if its proven either way because of the carnage that will follow in the numbers of human casualties.

Sorry for the length Erik but its TIME FOR THEM ALL TO TO JUMP ONTO A DIFFERENT BLOG ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF VOLCANOES ON AGW. Its not that anyone doesnt care, its that this heah boys and girls is about volcanoes and its screwing up my Chi.

BTW IS that a new vent opening? Lava? Boris? Erik?

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

my goodness you read that ? it's been many years but i recall avidly reading that series in the 1960's

@sp 169-- what a great map, it show all the plates with names! (faults and volcanos). thanks:)

@Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson, Neskaupstaður--
"Oh, Ejafjallajokull, you are a beautiful glacier" said Tom, meltingly;-)

@Hasis (#162) What an interesting map! Thanks, well worth a look for those who haven't seen it yet!

Ashy Iceland spring
Eyjafjallajökull glows
Will lava emerge?

Several of the Tom Swift jr. books were translated into Icelandic. Read them a *lot* in the 70's. They were about the only SF around.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@doug: Never thought of making senryu about this.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Top Gear reporters.
Fresh lava and a tall jeep.
Smoke tells a story.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

#244: I'd better NOT show this link to my brother-in-law!

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink


This occured to me as I was driving to the aircraft factory where I work, looking at the sun coming up over the cascades and Mt. Rainier, trying to figure out a way to express my fascination with the thought of lava melting a channel through a glacier. On Mt. St. Helens, the more recent dome building phase actually lifted up the glacier, without melting very much of it, and the increase in slope caused the east and west tongues of the glacier to move futher down hill eventually reuniting like a tie around the fat neck of the old dome.

I just hope Helens won't blow 'er top as spectacularly as last time. Preferrably not at all.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Ash fire ice
Glowing in the night
Life dreams on

Leafing birch in ash.
Glacier in own and day's light.
Evening plus webcam.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@parclair: Do you know if the melody for that [sc]hanty exists as a MIDI file?

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Chasm awaits
Water and ice crash
Webcam shakes

Wow, Kruger, you give us a HUGE blast of incoherent defensive verbiage, and all it takes is a few snippets to destroy your credibility. And then, after that long tirade about AGW, you pompously demand we get back to talking about volcanoes.

The emailGate thing is more than damaging...

I agree: it's VERY damaging -- to the credibility of the people who stole the emails with no lawful cause, took them out of context, and LIED to everyone about what they actually said. (So far, two separate investigations show ZERO wrongdoing by any of the scientists involved. Furthermore, the pro-free-market, anti-reg "Economist" admits that AGW is real and needs to be dealt with. Just because you refuse to join the concensus, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.)

To be honest, I dont know if the world is warming or not because the data is completely in question.

Wow, even for a denialist you're slow. Most AGW denialists now admit that warming is clearly taking place.

Bee-You COULD BE RIGHT about AGW. If its man induced then in 25 years it wont matter.

I guess that's the denialists' next excuse not to do anything that causes them even the tiniest inconvenience. First it was "there is no warming," then it was "there's warming but it isn't man-made," now it's "who cares, there's nothing we can do about it, I'd rather give up and watch millions suffer and die than make any sacrifice to help anyone else."

Dont spend money until you have a CLEAR consensus and its anything but that right now.

And this is yet another clue as to the denialists' priorities: all they want to do is avoid spending money.

Each has a bent but the best way to make sure your point doesnt carry is to call people names, stupid, uneducated, uninformed and assert that your "science" is sound.

A denialist accusing US of name-calling? Don't make me laugh. You're losing the argument on facts, so -- like denialists in all other fields -- you're changing the subject to a self-serving lecture about tone.

If your stuff is solid at all levels, no one will be able to deny it.

Horsemuffins -- people whose short-term economic interests are at stake will always be "able" to deny what they want to deny. Do I have to remind you that there are still tobacco CEOs who deny that smoking causes cancer? Or that there are still Republicans who deny that they ever made any mistakes?

Its not that anyone doesnt care, its that this heah boys and girls is about volcanoes and its screwing up my Chi.

Then why did YOU choose to make a huge emotional comment about AGW? Or are you now trying to forestall a response to your BS?

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Kruger/Bee: You are *SO* lucky I'm not Lina Inverse.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I just looked at your SUV-


I bet you could rig it with an air system and drive it into the belly of a caldera if the grade wasnt too weird.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Lina Inverse, no I don't know about a midi file. Perhaps you could ask at the blog where it's been published. Am enjoying your haiku.:-)

I'll likely not win any grand prizes for my haiku or senryu, but they're a fun discipline.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Real-time volcano
My life shrinks to essentials
Power of webcam

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Tempers erupt
Denial meets denialist
Asinine behaviour results

@Henrik #155 mbl.is/mm/img/tn/700x600/static/skopleit/arnarkristjansson_1710882409_J.jpg

Infallible ...
... religion
... science
... politics
... economics
... educators

Isn't volcanology about catastrophic geomorphological fallibility? :D

First of all, I apologise to erik and other volcanophiles for this, but there is a clear choice to let lies stand without challenge, or confront them for all our sakes. I think the former is a very wrong thing to do. I'd much rather not have to, tho :-(

"The people in charge of this Mann/Jones crew have categorically denied requests that have been m,ade to them for that review. "

See what we meant about repeating the same lies over and over again? The truth is that the CRU received data under license from the bodies that collected it. They had no right to release it to others. The denialists know this and know they can obtain the same data, under the same license if they care to ask. They don't want to. All they want is to harass and delay the work of the scientists.

Again MRK:
"...unless we are ready to start capping old people..."

This is also a distortion. There never has and will never be any reason to 'cap old people'. Any desire to limit population growth is simply fulfilled by people choosing to make less babies. Improved infant mortality figures, education, and women's reproductive choice are all contributing to the existing trend to make less babies in parts of the world, but I fear MRK would rather support taliban-style ignorance. Maybe because that's the only way we can get libertarians?

MRK again:
"[A] volcano emits more crap into the air than we could in 5 years as a race in just a couple of days."
Yet another straight-up lie, multiply falsified.

"But, to spend 43 trillion dollars on stuff that will only make more people is insane if man is the problem."

Fair enough, IF that is the case, then it would indeed be money wasted. The following few sentences comparing humans to bacteria in a petri dish? Well, AGW denialism is one thing, but this seems to be denialism of all human achievement, or any ability to think a way round any problem.

Have you tried saving three images from a webcam, then combining red from one, green from next and blue from the third in a single image? A right psychedelic plume results.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Also, who forgot to close the 'bold' tag?

Question - the lava flow on the glacier will produce more meltwater. If it goes through the glacier/under it, will the resulting meltwater be hot and, therefore, steaming, when it hits the outlet at the bottom of the glacier or will it cool down quickly as it melts ice.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I am a professor of meteorology, and I am very deeply offended by Raging Bee's attitude. There is so much more then you know about regarding AGW, and it is beyond the scope of this forum (I thought we were talking about volcanos?) to debate this, so I will refrain. But, needless to say, my right pinky finger knows more about meteorology and climatology then you will ever know, and your arrogant and ignorant attitude shows just how foolish you are. Please do some real research, and stop trying to insult people. Insulting people shows that you are not able to use real arguments because of your own raging stupidity.

Erik, I think it is time to ban all talk about AGW from here, no matter what one's position is.

P.S. there has been no siginifanct warming since 1998, established fact that even the IPCC agrees with.

there seems to be quite a few eq's around

...unless we are ready to start capping old people...

Wow, I'd missed that one. So now scientists supporting the AGW hypothesis will be accused of supporting "death panels?" Sounds like the Teatards are offering a one-size-fits-all reaction to EVERY issue. When all else fails, scream about "eugenics" and "death panels." On the sheer insanity scale, we're getting dangerously close to "Obama is the Antichrist" territory.

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@#235, Mr. Kruger: the lowest temperature measured, ever, in Finland is -51.5 degrees C. That was in January, 1999. Winter 2010's record cold was -41.3 deg C. Do state facts if you want to climb on your high horse.

OK folks, I hate to do this, but I'm going to ask the climate discussion to please move someplace else. This is a discussion on volcanism and most of the climate talk has little-to-no relevance to volcanism. I don't want to have to start moderating the comments, but this back and forth is not productive for either side.

Erik, I think it is time to ban all talk about AGW from here, no matter what one's position is.

...says BrianD, AFTER getting his AGW comment in.

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@RBee #267 mbl.is/mm/img/tn/700x600/static/skopleit/arnarkristjansson_1710882409_N.jpg

On the eyjafjallajokull-fra-fimmvorduhalsi cam. I've been watching for a while, and think that the lava stream is nearing the end of the glacier. (I think someone posted this earlier, but I thought it might be a cloud or snow). The wind has let up a little, and the steam is rising. So kudos to the previous posters:-)

Ok, my bet, an e-beer, lava at end of glacier tomorrow afternoon.

Suw (#231) and Helen (#264)

The ice atop the lava flow is thinning and in some places it has collapsed, leaving long and deep chasms. The "clearing" closest to the crater is 200m wide.

The hot/warm water just keeps gnawing at the ice, leaving all kinds of formations as you can see here: http://mbl.is/mm/frettir/popup/mynd.html?imgid=529081;nid=1486390

I really doubt hot water can flow through ice tunnels or cracks 1 or 2 km long and come out hot and steamy. But I can't answer your question suw.

There's no new fissure in Eyjafjallajökull, I'm pretty sure of that.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@parclair - from what I've observed the flow is perhaps just a third down the glacier so far - certainly nowhere near the end. What makes you "think that the lava stream is nearing the end of the glacier"?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@parclair - from what I've observed the flow is perhaps just a third down the glacier so far - certainly nowhere near the end. What makes you "think that the lava stream is nearing the end of the glacier"?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

#273 - Passerby

Most of those EQs were focussed in the Tjörnes fracture zone. Looks like something may be going on down there...

Looks like the steam emitting area on the Ãórólfsfelli webcam has started to creep onto the (visible) face of the glacier. If the lava flow keeps it up, we may get to witness a bit of a spectacle over the next few hours / days.

By Holger, California (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I'll take that bet and raise you another that it won't happen till Saturday morning...
I'm going away Saturday and wont be able to keep up to date on the events!!!

5.4 EQ, thinks it's close to Gareloi.

@passerby, @ henrik Do you know where might be the depth information on the earthquakes? Jon's helicorders are perky;-)

@parclair - from what I've observed the flow is perhaps just a third down the glacier so far - certainly nowhere near the end. What makes you "think that the lava stream is nearing the end of the glacier"?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Swarm continuing on Tjornes TF. Submarine volcanic activity?

According to the news, lava has crawled ca. 1km away from the north crater, so it's probably half-way through at the most.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Parclair! Go to the link I provided. Above the top left corner are two tabs marked "Map" and "Table". Click the "Table" one ane you will have all info on the quakes tabulated.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@parclair - from what I've observed the flow is perhaps just a third down the glacier so far - certainly nowhere near the end. What makes you "think that the lava stream is nearing the end of the glacier"?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Eeekk, not sure what happened there - post was published multiple times

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

You do not need hot water to produce steam. An open body of water in a sub-zero environment will produce astonishing amounts of steam even if the water itself is just a few degrees from freezing, ie the steam observed further down may be the result of just such a phenomenon.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Passerby & Henrik, volcanism on the Tjörnes fracture zone is highly unlikely because such fracture zones are just some sort of jumps between different segments of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, they are not part of the ridge (that is, there is no rifting along the fracture zone). The Tjörnes fracture zone is like the San Andreas Fault, a transform fault where two plates glide past each other horizontally. This setting does not seem to be very likely to produce volcanism.

But on the other hand, the seismic activity along the Tjörnes fracture zone may be an indicator that one of the two rift segments it separates is opening.

@Helen. I didn't word that properly. I think it's close to the face of the glacier. Using the eyjafjallajokull-fra-fimmvorduhalsi cam, I draw a line straight up from the point where the melt is coming out to the top of the glacier. I think that there's another face (talking thru my hat here) going up from there.

As I write this and stare at the cam, I think that, just to the right o the center peak, there's a new steam vent on the glacier. (Draw the straight up line to the top of the glacier, then follow the top of the glacier to the right toward the eruption)

@ Reynir (284) surely the distance from crater to glacier is much more than a couple of km? Anyone know how far it is?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

By the way, the eruption column as seen from Hvolsvelli reaches ~2½ km above the summit. That's some 4km (2½ miles) above sea level. Impressive after almost two weeks of continuous eruption.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink


Thank you for posting the photos of the collapsing glacier. Ice melt involves some pretty interesting mechanisms. One is heat transfer from condensation onto the cold ice from the moist airstream. Some research has shown that this is the most effective natural snow melt mechanism. As you noted earlier, hot water quickly cools down to equilibrium and then doesn't cause additional melting whereas a continuous stream of moist air gives up heat of condensation to the ice surface (if its temperature is below the dew point), the surface layer of ice melts away exposing fresh surface for additional condensation. This may be the primary mechanism for the expansion of the diameter of the open holes in the glacier, once they start to vent the saturated air from the stream below.

It's hard to tell what the actual slope is at the bottom of the glacier, but if it's steep enough, a chinney effect may take place that protects the inner surface of the ice cave from melting away quickly (by drafting cold drier air up from below). If the ice cover is preserved we might be able to see incandescent boulders tumbling out of mouth of the ice cave, which could be a photo that is as unique as the stromobolian display against a northern lights backdrop published earlier on this blog. I hope someone has their camera ready!

and others, thanks for the haikus! To bad we couldn't be there to write them out on scraps of paper that we could toss into the holes in the glacier onto the lava and meltwater below.

The furthest extent that the lava flow appeared to reach last time (i.e. directly to the right of the top=most round light-colour feature) has just started steaming again.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

#291: The last number I heard was 2.5km (ca. 1.5mi).

#290: I've been watching that particular vent for a bit now. I'm guessing that the lava stream reaches just beyond that now, as vents in the tongue itself emit so little steam.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Re my last: That was from crater to end of tongue, IIRC.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

The eruption column right now is almost as impressive as it was on the 17th with lots of ash being deposited downwind. (Hvolsvelli cam)

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Helen #291

The distance from the crater to the opening where the water is coming out is 4-5 km.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Dumb question but is the shaking on the Ãórólfsfelli camera wind, tremors, interlace artifact or all of that?

That much? Oh, well. I've bungled numbers before, will do so again.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Does anybody have screenshots from last nights eruption? I was sound asleep when the action went on. :( My computer insist on closing down if I try to view the films on Youtube, it´s old and out-of-date.

Also, I would love to know an explanation why the action takes place at night, or is it just that we can´t see it on cams during daylight, and it goes on 24 h a day? Some nights/evenings it´s pretty dark beneath the clouds and there´s still no sign of "fire". A bit disappointing for me, since I´m 2 hours ahead of Iceland. When is the best time to look, (icelandic time)?

By snotra viking,… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I took a bit of a break and now I have been watching the Mila cams. I have to say this volcano is full of surprises and we never quite know what it is going to do. Is there any chance that the lava flow will head further towards the top of the glacier and start falling along with the water fall? I haven't figured out where the lava flow is so can someone let me know what direction it is flowing? Thanks.

Running water melting ice
Flowing lava melting hearts
Watching waiting breathless

#300: Most likely wind. There are some stiff surface winds in the vicinity, according to the Road Works stations, and the cameras are on a coverless mountain top.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

#302 The best time to watch is during the gloaming, be it morning or evening. I'd suggest to try 22-24 and 06-08 your local time.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks Anna. Those were great pictures. I really got an idea of the scope of the eruption and I had no idea the water and mud had gone out to sea. Wow!

@Anna, thank you for the photo link.
@Reynir, I´ll try to look in the evening, but I think I´ll start the computer for breakfast too.

Takk fyrir!

(Jo, ég er ad skilja islensku adeins, ég var á Ãsland 1989 ad vinna ad baejnum naer Hvolsvelli.) :)

By snotra viking,… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Incandescent brush
Paints farm with somber palette
Time's ashy tree ring

By Carla, Seattle (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Anna, thank you so much-those are spectacular photos and really help me to visualize what is taking place that I can't get from the live web cams. Again, spectacular!

I just realized by watching the Mulakot webcam that the north side of the glacier is almost completely covered with ash. There is only a small spot where snow is visible. I guess that the south side of the glacier also is covered with ash. You have probably realized this a long time ago but I mention it anyway :)

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

#303: If I read maps and pictures correctly, the eruption is at the glacier's top and what lava there is flows NNE towards the glacier tongue GÃgjökull. The current estimate is that the flow has travelled ca. 1km (0.6mi).

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@anna Thanks for the wonderful link!

White lady by the sea
Mysterious glow in the night
Red heart

By snotra viking,… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@All Love the poetry exchange. We may not be there to throw poems on paper into the vent, but we're sure tossing them at Eyja thru the ether.:-D

@Diane, or any other long-term watcher. Is it just my imagination, or has the eruption column moved farther to the right on the valahnjuk cam? I seem to remember it as slightly to the right of the table-top feature in the cam, not so close to the pointy feature on the right. OR has the cam moved?

@parclair: I suspect that's mostly due to the hillside Steinsholt that blocks direct view of the crater from Vala.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ 315 - or does the wind blow the collumn so far to the right and near the ground??

By Lavendel, Swit… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Anna 304. Thanks for the great photos!

The first one from today gives a much better perspective on how large the glacier mouth/tongue actually is. I hereby take back my bet of six hours :)

The Porolfsfelli webcam image greatly foreshortens the distance.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Vala cam, the lava eruptions is starting to show in the black smoke..

By snotra viking,… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ #314 Thanks for insight into MY language - I know we keep words from ancients times, and I think I found another: red heart, rautt hjarta... What is the color hematite, the iron ore, leaves if you rub it against something? Right, a reddish stain - and the Finnish word for iron is ... rauta. Sounds familiar?

Sun setting
Grey tephra cloud drifts
Farms glow gold

#319: Yes, the reflected glow is very obvious by now on both Vala and Thora. We'll probably spot it soon on Hvoll and Múlakot, now that the day's dark enough.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Here is a volcano poem written by
Lord Byron about Mount Tambora.


I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went--and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires--and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings--the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire--but hour by hour
They fell and faded--and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash--and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd,
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless--they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again;--a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought--and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails--men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devoured,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answered not with a caress--he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects--saw, and shriek'd, and died--
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful--was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless--
A lump of death--a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge--
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon their mistress had expir'd before;
The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them--She was the Universe.

Lord Byron

As leaftime day ends / fire's cast off a white cloud / straight to my desktop.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@randall. ***GASP****

parclair sorry how do you excerpt Byron? Where do you cut it? It was all or nothing;) I haven't been able to post much lately so I caught up:)

Another way of wording it:

As leaftime day ends / fire's cast off a white cloud / and beam'd to my home.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Here's an informative news item in Nature discussing issues swirling around the ash cloud and travel shutdown:


The big problem is not the ash dispersion model(s):

"During the days after the eruption in Iceland, a barrage of research showed the ash plume spreading as the model predicted. Ground-based laser ranging picked out clumps of ash; satellite images tracked the overall plume; and research aircraft sampled the plume directly."

It's very much an jet engine engineering/safety problem: "Despite the model's success, the question of how much ash is unsafe remains unanswered."

The article concludes with a statement I'm sure we all can agree upon, "'If the world wants to move forward, maybe we want to research better what is safe,' says Ryall."

Thus far, the article is unsullied by nary a comment....

@randall. The gasp wasn't an editorial comment. It's just that my mind was gasping at the wonder and awe evoked by the poem. Thank you for NOT editing! ;-D

Randall, absolutely marvellous and shows why Byron, not Wordsworth, that most unworthy of Poet Laureates, was the leading poet of his day.

@Kultsi (#320) Even if your language belongs to the Finno-Ugrish group of languages, it is not inconceivable that your "rauta" is indeed an Indo-European import as knowledge of iron would have come from the west. As for "heart", Grimm's Law (same Grimm's as in the fairy tales) gives the series g-k-h and dh-d-t by which the latin word corda translates as "horta" then "heorta" to modern English "heart", German Herz or Swedish hjärta. French "coeur" also goes back to the latin root "corda". The same magic can be performed with a great number of words. ;)

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Seen from Thora, there's a strong glow behind the western Jaw.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I don't know, if is merely a reflection of the glow from the main crater, but in the Ãórólfsfelli webcam the steam plume of the advancing lava flow seems to illuminated by lava as well.

Could it be the glow of the lava flow itself? If that is the case, the lava flow would be quite hot even at that distance from the main vent.

By Holger, California (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Now that the actual eruption can be seen, I'm more convinced that the magma is erupting farther to the right, and that the valahnjuk cam was adjusted to the right to compensate.

@Henrik. I had a friend who, every time she had to write an essay on Wordsworth, labeled it "a poem by Wordy Wordswords"

I came here to find where to look for pretty pictures, and what do I find ... I'm getting educated in the geological sciences first, and now languages. Before long, I may not recognize myself. ;>)

Science flights? Or tourists?

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Wow. Cool ufo showing on all the cams!;)

Did anyone else see the UFO (that doesn't mean its a spaceship - just that for me it's unidentified as yet)?
It flew past then looped over and went back. What was it?

My best guess is that it was the Coast Guard 'plane TF-SIF. It's the best-equipped craft for these missions, they say. Another possibility is a rental craft. Earth scientists used one a few days ago when Sif was not available.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

What a downer of a coincidence it is that all of the cameras on Ãórólfsfell are night-blind.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Dan Florida #338 - Yes. After I sent the post and went back to the Val Cam it was going by again. It was probably just a survey plane but it looked very odd.

If that was a plane, then why did it only have one bright light that could be see from any angle / direction? The light would have to have been underneath or on top of the plane but that doesn't make much sense. And it had no other lights / strobes? And it moved quickly... Very strange.

By Dylan Ray (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Very strange object, seems very fast and manoeverable for anything likely to be taking a look

My wife was born in Roswell, N.M. I'll ask her if she knows what it was.

I saw it too at the Hvolsvelli Cam and took some screenshots. The lightning was great and did not look like a normal plane?!

By Diana, Germany (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Info for those how are watching my plots. The Hvammstangi station is off-line due to a failed AC-DC converter (Power supply). I have started to working on getting a new one. But it is going to take a few days until I get a new one at earliest.

Thank you Randall!

turns out April is National Poetry Month in the USA
( http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/41 ). Maybe if he's somehow at a loss for material Erik can feature our submissions in the Denison Geology department newsletter?

@ doug mcl-
Doug, Did you ever check out the photo's on the Baja quake at SCSN?

@348 Diana Actually my first thought was an airplane. I live by an airport and watch them all the time. Many planes/jets come in with some very bright lights that can bee seen even from the side.
Unless I'm mistaken, the cams are not true streaming, but about 1 second snapshots. They also seem to adjust to low light. If this is true, then a light would possibly come in as a streak just like when you take a picture of the stars at night. I suspect it was a plane circling around the volcano. But I admit a UFO would be more interesting. :)

I missed the UFO and/or plane (seriously -- there's no way someone flew a plane over the glacier in the dark). Diana -- is there some way you can post the screenshots?

I've checked on the MÃla-cams twice in the past 45 minutes and I've been "seeing things" that I have a hard time making sense of.

At one point I saw an enormous red 'bomb' that had been shot from the crater -- except it was moving (falling) towards the crater instead of away from it. That's strange.

Then (on the Ãórólfsfell-cam) I saw what to me looked like a lava stream (quite far from the crater). It was as if the lava was flowing on top of the glacier, past GÃgjökull and in a NE direction

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Dan & Diana, could it have been a Helicopter rather than a plane?

By Marginata, Aberdeen (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Doug C, yes I did, pretty outstanding. Thank you for providing the link. The aftershock activity, if that's really what it is, seems to be continuing fairly vigorously but the last time they updated the SCSN site was over a week ago.

@ Anna: I just postet the links to the screenshots for you, but my posting need to be approved. May be because of the links to the photo-upload side? I don't know...

By Diana, Germany (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ doug mcl - They haven't updated the site since last week and that was for the official change in the EQ name to "Mw 7.2 El Mayor - Cucapa Earthguake." I noticed that SC is still shaking. If anyone else is interested the photo page URL is: http://www.scsn.org/in_house_photos6.html

@353 Anna If you click on my name it will take you to my blog on WUnderground where I posted the two captures I was able to get. On the Hvol cam it is the small dot to the left of the screen half way up.

@354 Marginata I suppose it's possible, although it never seemed to hover in the least. But then again, they don't have to, but I would have thought a helicopter would have so that it could get better camera shots.

possibly a plane with landing light on to find the plume visually rather than when the engine died?

Thanks Dan, that's a very strange object (if it is an object).

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I think it was a plane or helicopter. I thought we were looking at the creation of a ufo myth in action--how fun.

That is, the flyer had lights, we've seen how the cameras treat strombolian eruptions at low light (makes it streak rather than show the discrete lava bombs). When the craft came right at us in the hvolsvelli cam, it appeared as a stationary dot (we could see it still moving and streaking in the other cams). Then, as it turned, it looked as though it made a fast, impossible turn.

I'm the sort of person who gets more fun out of figuring out a magician's trick than watching the show. (Love Penn and Teller) ;-)

Our UFO -It looked too fast for a helicopter. If it were an ordinary plane using it's landing light to avoid the plume, why did it come back again?
Then we have the problem of the superfast turn where it appeared to fly straight upwards.
I'm happy with it being aliens. It's the most logical explanation :)

@ Anna: I tried it again, but it did not work.
I hope you will find my posting here later. On my screenshots you will see how the light changed.

By Diana, Germany (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Of course the reason for the aliens flying over was to take shots for the Alpha Centauri Discovery Channel!

Parclair #315, I think the Vala cam has shifted to the left because the eruption used to be more to the center of the cam than to the right. I think. :-) Seems that way to me.

Well, I missed the UFO thing as I was cutting up a pizza at the time. Oh well..

BTW, any one coming to this blog, please do not think we have said there was a UFO at the volcano! LOL We just don't know if it was a plane or a helicopter.

What! A blast in the night
Red glowing black ash
White steam wafting

@Florida Dan: We have a saying, "All of life is learning." I think that's what we are doing here, even now. In the wee hours of the night we can let our hair down and ponder things like poetry, languages and the whichness of why. One of the wonders of the Internet is the ability to belong and be accepted (or condemned, as the case sometimes is) by a far larger group of people than ever before. So, while the web cams are all black, why not get better acquainted with each other?

Anyone, what's the last song in the Coast Guard video..???

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I don't know what that song was, but I would like to know, too. I liked it. So for any of the Icelanders who can tell us, please do. Thanks.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

BTW, the Vala cam is working. Eyjaf is being fickle at the moment and not as rambunctious. :-)

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@371 Randall Seriously, you live in GB? Small world.
#372 Kultsi Of all nights I am busy tonight, but I would look forward to it some other time.

@Dan, Florida

Snicker.... you guys can keep your $4.00 Garcon Point Bridge Toll. I won't even drive the one to Destin.

Erik-Amen bubba.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ all at the time I post this, it's about 0230 gmt. I think our Iceland friends are tucked away---

@Kultsi, where are you located? I'm in Northern California, USA.

Dan, Florida no I actually live in Pensacola. I have seen lights like that out over the sound from my sailboat....out by the National Seashore;)

Lurker are you from the Pensacola area too? I feel the same way about the new toll.

After missing the plane/ufo/helicopter I went on a search. Someone captured it and put it on youtube.


I usually just lurk here for all the great info. I was sure I wasn't the only one that wanted to see the "mystery" thing.

By Janet, Texas (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Speaking as a fireman, I think the results could be interesting and instructive if Vodaphone were to add a thermal imager to their mast. It's a shame their cameras are so single-mindedly daylight cams.

@SP #189: It is not true that no one knew where the plume was. The UK Met Office (London VAAC - which I presume is in Exeter) would have used appropriate satellite instruments to actually measure the extent of the plume. Given the instruments which are flying, this would only be 4 images per day. Wind and transport models would then be used to guess where the plume may go and they would add in a safety margin in the no-fly area. The wind and transport models work very well for volcanic plumes on the timescales they are looking at. Gauging the altitude of the plume is a little more difficult but they can do even that with reasonable confidence and instruments like Calipso can be used to verify the estimates (we just have to beg the Calipso scientists to process regions of interest to us so we can get results in a matter of hours or days). The fact still remains that while aircraft do not have appropriate instrumentation you cannot claim to know where to fly and to know that it's safe.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I leave work and go fishing during the middle of the "blow out" on the thread, then I come back here and find everything back to normal. That is a wonderful thing. Thank you for putting your foot down Erik....I did catch a 42"(107cm) sturgeon.

By Gordys, Minnesota (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Randall: Nope, didn't miss it, Janet was kind enough to put the youtube link to it on 382. Yes, definitely alien...one night I was out in my gravel pit listening to the wolves and...

By Gordys, Minnesota (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

How many news organizations/web sites are there going to be headlining "UFO Spotted at Iceland Volano" tomorrow? :) Any guesses?

By Gordys, Minnesota (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Regarding the UFO/airplane/etc.

My guess would be, that tomorrow somebody is going to provide a link to a site with awesome pictures / video coverage of the eruption taken from that UFO/airplane/etc. The view of the incandescent eruption must have been stunning.

By Holger, California (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Sorry to be boring but that was definitely a chopper or plane! I suspect we might see some nice night-time shots of the lava flow tomorrow as a result of that fly-over.

I need a few more beers before I start seeing UFOs ;0)

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

UFO was not a UFO. I looked at the video and it sure looked like a plane to me. It may have been a helicopter, but I think it was a plane. Then again, they have been using choppers.

Forgot my logo in the last post.

BTW, I forgot to mention it was an experimental aircraft from Area 51.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Randall, they are testing the model they got from the Roswell incident to see how it does in ash and other conditions.

And if you believe that, I have some very nice ocean front property in Nebraska to sell you. LOL

As I watched it, I think the movement was due to a couple of things: ash and steam, and the fact that the camera is only taking a snap every second and it sometimes waffles on that. It looks like some camera arglebargle to me. But you never know. It could have come from Area 51 ;-}.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Sunlit sky
Soft pink pastel glow
Vala cam

I thought they were the Asguards. (SP?) They are the ones that helped us develop the Promithious. I think they are trying to find the worm hole or maybe the Stargate. I doubt they will find the Stargate in Eyjaf, though. But maybe there is something else there, eh?

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Interesting tracks in the fresh snow.

Let's see now. What kind of news will be in the papers tomorrow? I can see it now: Dr. Klemetti's Blog Claims UFO at Erupting Volcano: worm hole discovered!

Yeah, right. Fun anyway. Wouldn't it be cool if there really was a Stargate? (Sigh)

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Really, I thought they came OUT of the volcano from the center of the earth.;)

Looking at the thorolfsfelli cam.....it seems like something new is going on to the left.

Hmmm. Out of the volcano. Never thought of that, Parclair. I know the G'o'uld (sp?) didn't come from a volcano. Maybe fire people or the Ori.

White puffs blowing
Orange creamy glowing
Ice footprints

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Randall 404 I was wondering if the glacier in that area appeared to be slumping. Then I thought it was an optical illusion caused by tephra, but maybe something is happening there.

By parclair GoCal (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Where are you looking at, Parclair? I am looking at Poro right now. Can I see it there?

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Maybe steam from the cracks has melted the fresh snow above the ash layer ?

It;s around the area of the standing? fog? cloud? I can't get close enough with my screen to tell.

By parclair GoCal (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

This place is beginning to look suspiciously like a social website. Soon will appear links to personal pages with cutsey pets and sun-faded vacation photos, favorite recipes, interspersed with mundane chitchat about the weather and TV shows.

Oh wait! Arguing about the weather is verboten here, but poetry/haiku is permitted.

Minor EQ activity at Eyjaf, while the flurry on the Tjornes continues. Our Pet is still steaming away busily. Vela webcam had some nice images of pot boiling lava at sunrise.

That unusual light was probably was a science recon flight with FLIR/thermal imaging. NASA has promised to provide us with another satellite thermal imaging photo set as soon as the spacecraft positioning/schedule permits.

Well, I have to turn in for the night. I will catch up in the morning.


By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Randall, on the left?

Randall, I am not sure what I am supposed to be seeing, but it looks like the glacier up there on the left has become sort of chewed up and I also see a low cloud. Is that what looks like it slide? Not the cloud, the glacier.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

This time I really have to go to bed!

Randall, did you get my email? Just wondering.

Have fun watching Eyjaf everybody.


By Diane N CA (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Diane yeah that and I think some lava has hit ice maybe a lot lower than yesterday and it does almost look like the glacier or something has changed on that left side.

Diane yeah I did thanks....I am going to send you some links to old books and documents you can look at online about old mines and different mineral locals. I have been real busy lately....Making hay while the sun shines;)

On the Vodafone screen view of the vent. I think the glacier is slumping. And that steam vent we thought we saw yesterday seems to be more prominent.

By parclair GoCal (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Dan, Florida [380]

"...I10 or 98 for me. :)"

Don't forget I-10 - 331 - 77 to get around the BS and get to the backside of PnmaCty. I stay away from 98 if at all possible.

@Randall Nix [381]

Agreed. They've done like... 3 or 4 studies with consultants to see why it looses money. Each one says raise the fare. I use 87 if it's near Navarre, 3 mile if GB, and I haven't used Bob Sikes in 15 years. Nothing out there than I've lost.

@All, anyone know if the activity North of GrÃmsvötn is normal or not? I'm not familiar with what normal activity is there.

Lurking I think it's normal but what's normal when one half of your country is on one continental plate and the other half is on another plate.....with a hot spot/mantle plume in the middle;)

Substantial 'steam' now coming from several points to the left of the crater; all visible on Porolfsfelli camera.

By Kathryn Australia (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I think there may be a new steam vent starting on the face of the glacier.

On the vodafone cam which has the view of the eruptive vent. Go the the slit in the face where the melt discharges. Go straight up to the top of the glacier. The slightly to the right and down is a whiter area. Every so often a little white wisp appears. I think....:-)

By parclair GoCal (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Kathryn and parclair I think you both may be right....looks like lava might have traveled further down and hit some ice....or something is happening under the glacier....maybe?

When the cloud clears (as now),there seems to be at least 3 separate(?) vents. The top-most one seems most active....

By Kathryn Australia (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Looks like the volcano's gotten a new layer of snow lately!

Well, it's been a great time seeing this thread, and I did learn a few things while on it. Thanks to Dr. Klemetti and others who have contributed to all these discussions. I got to get to bed, as I'm taking a flight to Manchester from Calgary tomorrow. Should go okay - as long as Eyjaf (or any other Icelandic volcano, God Forbid) doesn't go berserk!

By MK Alberta (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Has there been a landslide just to the left of the melt outlet? I saw a strange cloud, and I think there's mud spreading over the melt river.

By parclair GoCal (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Argh. The "slide?" is to the Right of the melt outlet. And there's no picasa for the 28th. Did anyone else see it?

By parclair GoCal (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Randall Nix [425]

Ran across a nice paper detailing an analysis of the occasional Mag 5+ events that occur there from time to time. Seems that they may be indicative of an upper and lower chamber (lack of net volume change from the quake). The one they analyzed was in '96 and was later followed by activity a few miles away at Grim.

(I don't currently have the link, it's on the other machine.)

It's useful to examine the political elements behind the decision to close UK airspace.

"Slowly, the details are being teased out â just at a time when the British media are losing interest and focusing ever more closely on the election charade. Thus it is left to Deutsche Welle to come up with the little nugget that adds to our understanding of the threat posed to aircraft confronted by volcanic ash last week.

It appears, according to this source, that the test flights by research aircraft revealed interesting data, not only on particle density but also composition. The ash cloud, we are told, contained basalt â which is relatively benign â rather than another common component of volcanic ash known as andesite, which we are told is far more damaging to aircraft engines.

From a zero knowledge base, therefore, just by diligent perusal of the media over the last week or so, a layman of average intelligence can deduce that the threat posed by volcanic ash is determined not only by its presence, but by a number of other factors.

Particle size is an issue. Generally, the larger particles are more dangerous, although these tend to drop out earlier. Then, particle density is very relevant, as we have seen, with extremely low concentrations being reported.

Then there is the degree and extent of stratification. All things being equal, thick layers of ash present a greater hazard than thin layers, where dwell time is short-lived. And then there is the composition, yet another factor which goes to characterising the degree of threat.

All that must have been â or should have been â known to the experts, the people charged (and paid) by us to anticipate threats and to devise contingency plans and guidelines, to ensure our safety while at the same time minimising unnecessary disruption.

But, if it was, there is no evidence that any such was taken into account in the ICAO contingency plan, which makes absolutely no attempt to assess graduations of threat, other than to characterise visible ash clouds as dangerous.

With such knowledge, though, Peter Sammonds, a volcanologist at University College, London, makes complete sense. He is cited by DW saying that this underlines the fact that it is not enough to rely solely on weather simulations.

"That sort of initial monitoring of the volcano, the modelling by the Met Office, probably needs to be backed up with more intensive atmospheric sampling to try and map the distribution of the ash in the atmosphere somewhat more accurately to provide better input into what the next decision should be," he says.

The sense of this is self-evident, the obvious inference being that aircraft must be available for physical sampling, further calling into question the adequacy of the ICAO plan, which fails to state this very obvious need.

To date, the most voluble critic of the plan's inadequacies has been Giovanni Bisignani, head of the International Air Transport Association, who earlier in the crisis complained that a great swathe of northern European airspace had been closed purely on the basis of computer modelling.

"I call it a European mess because we did not focus on figures and facts. Europe was using a theoretical, mathematical approach. That is not what we need," he said last week. "We need test flights to go into the atmosphere, assess the ashes and then take decisions."

That we need to get our act together is now even more vital as there is a distinct possibility that the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption will be followed by the more powerful Katla, requiring a much more sophisticated response if unnecessary disruption is to be avoided.

But, while this is recognised, there is no sense of contrition evident in the authorities which crafted the original plan, which included the national safety agencies, the EU commission and the pan-European air traffic agency, Eurocontrol.

Needless to say, Eurocontrol is not keen to highlight its own lamentable role in the affair. Instead, we have Brian Flynn, deputy head of operation, claiming that: "The crisis was well managed, but it was managed as a crisis - not as a manageable threat".

He neglects entirely to say that a system was supposed to be in place, and is rehearsed bi-annually under the aegis of Eurocontrol, the last exercise actually taking place on 1 March 2010 only just over a month before systems were tested for real â and failed.

And while some have been quick to argue that critics are relying on hindsight, the potential problems were well known. Eurocontrol itself stated, well prior to the event: "The impact of the dangerous effects of volcanic ash for airlines and for ATC operations can be huge. For example the busy airspace over central Europe airspace could be contaminated by ash only a few hours after an eruption of an Icelandic eruption, if the winds are northwesterly."

Despite this, Flynn has the nerve to say that a comprehensive crisis management system is needed to deal with future events that may jeopardize international air traffic. "Volcanic eruptions are very rare in Europe" he says. "But we must also be able to deal with other threats to air safety, such as terrorism security alerts, health epidemics, and major social unrest."

Quick off the mark when there is an opportunity for aggrandisement, Eurocontrol has assembled a team of "experts" to analyse the lessons of the airspace closure, slated as "the worst disruption to hit international civil aviation since World War II." They met yesterday to start collecting and analysing the data and, no doubt, to prepare their alibis.

Alongside Eurocontrol, in an overt attempt to exploit the crisis, is Siim Kallas, the EU's transport commissioner, saying he will begin working this week with colleagues "to lay out a road map for similar events." While British politicians are immersed in the general election, the "colleagues" are untroubled by such vulgar processes and can focus on expanding their own powers.

With weary predictability, Kallas declares that, "We needed a fast, coordinated European response to a crisis." In classic "more Europe" mode, he goes on to say: "Instead, we had a fragmented patchwork of 27 national airspaces. We need a single European regulator for a single European sky." Thus he will propose speeding up the plan to unify control over all European airways.

This is picked up by The Washington Post but not, so far, by the British media which, as we know, doesn't "do" Europe â especially at election times.

And from hero of the hour, Giovanni Bisignani becomes the villain. "The volcanic ash crisis that paralyzed European air transport for nearly a week made it crystal clear that the Single European Sky is a critical missing link in Europe's infrastructure," he says. He has called an emergency meeting of EU transport ministers for 4 May â two days before our general election, to fast-track the wholesale reform of Europe's air traffic system.

By such means is a major power grab under way, where Britain will be represented by ministers who may not be in office days later and certainly have no mandate.

But the EU has its own agenda. Unified airspace, we are told, would put the skies under one regulatory body instead of leaving decisions to dozens of individual countries - "one of the key sources of confusion in the volcanic ash crisis," which the commission says "made it tough to deal with the crisis."

As we know, though, the real problem was the inadequate contingency plan â produced with the support and approval of the very agency which is now laying claim to taking unified control â compounded by the lack of aircraft capable of collecting physical data to characterise the threat, making up for the inadequacies of the Met Office's model.

When push comes to shove, it really does not matter who is in charge. If the aircraft are not available the next time an ash cloud threatens Europe, we will be just as ill-equipped as we were last week. Solving that problem is down to member states, who must put up the money and the resources, which is of course, why the EU is not concerned to highlight the fundamental defect in the system.

Such then is another example of the cynicism and ambition of the EU. There is no problem, of any nature, which cannot be perverted and shaped to provide yet another opportunity to increase European integration. And, by the time our own politicians have even begun to focus, the game may well be over.

All that will be left for us to do, as The Daily Telegraph points out, is pay the price."

From http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/04/another-power-grab.html

@Parclair & anyone interested: I'm a Finn, about 65 km east of Helsinki, currently unemployed, so I have lots of free time in my hands.

@Perry #435: That's just more nonsense being sold to the public. What we do know is that the volcanic ash is not good for the aircraft. For almost 30 years we have been nagging engine manufacturers (and also airlines) for information to help determine what conditions are hazardous. Hardly anyone was interested. Now it's suddenly a big deal. Since it seems to be out in the public already, General Electric had released some sparse information on what they consider tolerable; the amounts quoted by GE were exceeded in many places by over an order of magnitude. We do not have a network of ground sensors to determine the extent and height of the volcanic plume and have to rely on the satellite measurements (there are 4 instruments which are very useful and for which the data is easily and quickly accessible). Without instrumentation to inform us of the fine details, and with some instrumentation telling us there are hazardous conditions, the only sensible thing to do is prohibit air traffic. There's a lot of hubbub now about developing the necessary instrumentation and working on guidelines to allow some operations to continue during events like this, but I've heard all that before and will not be convinced until I see things happen. It will likely take a few years to develop and refine the instrumentation and the development costs will be substantial. There are also numerous political issues to work around. At the moment no one can just walk into a shop and say "hey, I want a volcanic plume detector for my airplane" - no such thing exists for airplanes. Nor can a human look out and say "hey, that's a volcanic plume" because except in very special conditions, you cannot identify a volcanic plume by sight. In the past I have publicly ridiculed people in the remote sensing community for claiming they can detect a volcanic plume while using instruments which cannot possibly discriminate between a volcanic plume and normal clouds - and these people are supposed to know what they're doing. Joe Ordinary simply cannot assess a volcanic threat and any competent expert will tell you that for the most part they need to rely on instrumentation to tell them what they're looking at.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Looks like there's been a bit of a cave in and the steam plume is coming from further down the glacier. At 10.57 BST

By Anne in Scotland (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Anna: Now you can find my screenshots from "whatever it was" in the posting 359 above.

By Diana, Germany (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

TBH, the lava flow (as determined by steam) on the glacier hasn't extended much further than yesterday. I got a good shot of a large plume a third of way down glacier yesterday which consequently quietened down, but has raised it's head again today.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Re 382 - thanks for the YouTube link, Janet - youtube.com/watch?v=9kCOGRka45o. I wonder if it could have been an unmanned drone? It might have been sent in to measure the heat and dust more closely, as surely no-one could possibly venture that close.

Did anybody notice the tremor increase occurred in the last few hours?
Also GOLA gps station keeps reporting slight but continuing upward inflation.

Wonder what is happening over other side of glacier - from Poro cam there are some large, high dark ejections going on...

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

By the way, why "Poro" ? Shouldn't it at most be "Thoro" ?

Small hlaup coming out from Gigjokull? River level way up on Vodafone camera, waterfall in the notch in the cliff below the right hand side of the glaceir. I saw that tremor increase too - sign of increased activity?

Yep, Mr. Moho, it should. That 'P' looking letter is for the sound at the start of English 'thin'.

@Daniel: the activity picked by the stations listed in that chart isn't necessarily occurring beneath Katla, most of it in fact is from the ongoing unrest at Eyjafjallajökull.

The continued uplift is very interesting, or should i say worrying ? The eruption remains at a constant level. It seems to be moving in a south westerly direction but i'm no expert.Perhaps a new vent or a more powerful erupive phase.

Lava flow on Poro has just entered into one of the melt crater/vent - LOTS of steam...!

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

tidal wave of water just came rushing out of the mouth on the vodafone cam!

Check out the increase in water flooding out at the bottom now...

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

I saw that happen too Helen, did you notice how the water from the outlet stopped for a short while, I guess the lava 'plugged' the pipe momentarily, all hell is breaking loose now. lol The water is gushing out like never before..

@shelly - yep noticed that too, an incredible amount of water now gushing out - is this a concern for locals?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

And now another steam plume further down from where water went in vent... off to left slightly..

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Wow that was a Lahar worth mentioning...

Is a Lahar still a Lahar if it's glacial meltwater and not mud?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Well spotted Helen, I was too busy watching the lower Vodaphone cam. lol

Steam out of the mouth just increased 10 fold, lava must be close to the exit?

OMG huge boulders coming down with steaming water now!!

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Better than morning coffee!

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Mulacot cam showing new steam vents too..

Can I just say... this is awesome!

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Helen Well spotted. Was a bit exited so I wrote fast. No it doesnt seem to be a Lahar. Just dirty meltwater. :)

Lots of new steam vents forming- could we see a glacier collapse soon or is that going to take a while?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

That water coming down must be relatively warm - it's steaming! Anyone for a bath?

By Anne in Scotland (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

#373: The second sone on the video is "Ormurin langi" with the Faeroese hard rock band Týr. It's a few verses from a much longer saga poem. Except for the instruments, it's performed in a traditional manner, though without the circle dance.

#425: Aren´t all countries like that? :-|

#437: If it's on the Internet, it must be true. If it's on a blog, it must be way true.

#444: I prefer Thora. It's an Anglicisation of the fem. name Ãóra. Vala is also a fem. name.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Brave spectator at lake?

Reynir#373, thanks - thought it sounded more like Faeroese

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Oh wow - someone's getting a good view - I'm so jealous I could burst (assuming what I'm seeing is a person stood watching the event on the Voda cam)

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Not a person, a shadow (I should get some sleep!)

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Is this amount of flooding, or potential flooding as I assume this will continue, going to affect Icelanders? We're all watching this and loving it but sometimes I feel bad as people's lives being affected :(

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Only a guess, Thordvaldseyri and others were flooded in the initial jokulhlaup and perhaps these and subsequent water events will not be as severe....??? See Throraldseyri story, Iceland Review 4/20

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

aack, typos - Thorvaldseyri....

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

DIANA #439

Thanks for the screenshots! I also saw the youtube video (thanks Janet). This object seems unnaturally big and bright to me but I suppose it was a helicopter. In two frames it has a distinct helicopter-shape.

I'm really curious and am looking into this.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

#474 Helen, story about farmers dealing with ash..

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Helen: It's big enough to make the midday news, but will probably not cause much damage. Looks like the peak is well past, anyway.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

nice hlaup, live to watch with your lunch! It should have little effect on Icelanders as the flood passes into the much larger Markarfljot river channel which has levees to prevent flooding onto farmland. It will raise the level of the river substantially (Vedur.is talks of 100m3/s vs baseflow of 30m3/s at the old Markarfljot bridge in todays update but not sure if that's including this morning's event). I assume this flood is much less than the initial floods and so does not pose a risk to the road or the bridge.

Thanks all for your replies - reassuring to know the water levels aren't a concern. We had the story re ash on crops and animals here on our news - so sad. I live in a rural, farming community and know what devastation it would cause here.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Helen 481 this article was from yesterday, about cleanup. Try stars21.com/translator/icelandic_to_english.html
It's the best one I have found but someone else may know a better one.

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

I find it possibly that there might have been opening up a new fissure in Eyjafjallajökull. At least there is a lot of steam coming from the top crater now.

Ãorvaldseyri will not be affected by flods from GÃgjökull since that farm is on the south side of the glacier

By VigdÃs - Iceland (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Jón If you look at the Vodafone cam she certainly seem to be abit more angry today.

Lots of steam indeed. New fissure? Dunno. Could be a roof collapsing onto hot lava.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

*grmbl* Where is a bear in the air when you need one?

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

New fissure? Possible, but could just as easily be an ice dam under the glacier has melted and allowed a fresh batch of water access to the vent area. This would explain steam and hlaup.

Vigdis 484 I was thinking of the Iceland Review article from 14/4 concerning the farm Ãorvaldseyri's fields due to the first big jökullhlaup on the river Markaflót.

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

During the night two unmanned (full-AI) swedish long-range bombers lifted from Bardufoss airfield in Norway to try to bomb the Volcano to open up a new channel to aleviate water running into the crater. The idea behind the bombings was thusly to decrease the amount of ash released so that the nordic airspace could be opened again.
If you look closely at the video again you will see the bombs explode right after the airplanes made their respective bomb-runs.
Both bombers suffered heavy ash-damage to the ram-jets and lost power and was sub-sequently crashed into the sea 150 kilometres due south of Iceland.
The bombing mission is considered to have been an unrivaled success since the new channel is releasing large amounts of water from the crater.


From where do you have this info?

I have not seen the article you are thinking of, but if you look on a map you can see that these farms are not that close to Markafljót. It was the flod in Svaðbælisá that went to the south and over the fields of the farms Ãorvaldseyri and Ãnundarhorn.
http://ja.is/kort/#x=467140&y=353012&z=4 (zoom in to see the names of the farms)

I have totally missed that news Carl. Do you have a source for the airplane bombing news?

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Well if its true than She seems very upset about the bombs because I feel something brewing


A small joke;)
First of all I have a hard time seeing that Sweden would bomb another sovereign countrys Volcano.
If it had been correct the unmanned bombers would have started from the Vidsel Test-Field in Sweden not Bardufoss in Norway, secondly they are not full AI instead they are semi-AIs, thirdly they do not have RAM-jets since it is a bit antiquated technology and not very well suited for bombers.

But it was great fun to invent a "news" about the UFOs:)

After looking closely at the images and video I would put my money on the lights being two fly-overs by a camera crew that wanted night fotage for a documentary.

@Carl i heard this story too, is it true the bomber was called gullible?

@ 497 not yet, but I will do create one from the archived pictures tomorrow. For yesterday I have already downloaded the archived images and will probably create the timelapse this evening.

492@vigdis, here are the IR quotes that maybe misled me into thinking that it was originating at GÃgjökull - the melt was on the main glacier but I think G. was the exit route....?

"People measuring the water level in the Markarfljót river in south Iceland, which flooded because of the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull glacier, appears to have peaked and might now be subsiding...The flood is now progressing down the Markarfljót sands and across the hills above the farm Thorvaldseyri, which is located at the foot of Eyjafjallajökull....The river is flooding the pastures at the farm Thorvaldseyri, one of the largest grain farms in Iceland."

By birdseye USA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Helluva nice story, Carl. :-)

For the record, the Swedes do have JAS-39 fighter-bombers but AFAIK no dedicated bombers, let alone bomber drones. I doubt even Merkia has drones with enough range to not need the hangar sub SSSN-558 Rongo-Rongo.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

I asked around and there were a few small planes flying over Eyjafjallajökull last night, sightseeing. No helicopters though, because of the ash situation.

There are no restrictions on flying anymore.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink