Wednesday Whatzits: Volcanoes of Italy, Eyjafjallajökull update, video of a Guatemalan eruption and Gaua from space

An undated painting of the island volcano of Ischia near the Bay of Naples, Italy.

Guess what? It is the end of the semester (well, school year) here at Denison, so I might be a little busy for the next couple weeks.

Here are some news bits (with special thanks to all who emailed me some of these links):

  • Boris might have more information or opinion on this, but Italy is back in the news concerning the threat of volcanism to the country. This time the volcano is Ischia, off the coast in the Bay of Naples. Guido Bertolaso of Italy's civil protection agency is quoted as saying that the "magma chamber is loading up" that the volcano. I'm still not entirely sure what that means, but Bertolaso implies that Ischia could be a bigger threat to the area than Vesuvius. Ischia last erupted in 1302 AD and tends to erupt explosively, forming dome complexes. It has also produced the 56,000 year old Green Tuff ignimbrite.
  • Speaking of Vesuvius, another statement from Bertolaso called Vesuvius the "the biggest public safety problem there is in Italy" and warned that over one million people will be in danger when the volcano erupts again. At the same time, it was announced that Italy will begin monitoring undersea volcanoes near their coast.
  • The European airlines affected by the Eyjafjallajökull eruption will be getting monetary relief from the EU for their estimated $3.3 billion dollar loss due to the airspace closure. We'll see how that changes the tenor of the political debate on the ash. The volcano continues to puff away. The current assessment from the Icelandic Met Office suggests the volcano has reached a steady-state in the current eruption:

    Overall assessment: Plume elevations and magma discharge levels remain similar to the preceding four days of activity. Lava continues to flow north from the eruption site toward the head of the GÃgjökull glacier. Despite light ash-fall occurring up to 45 km west of the eruption site, today's explosive activity and ash production represents a fraction of conditions during the height of the eruption (14-17 April). There are no measurable indications that the eruption is about to end.
    Magma flow: No measurements possible today; however, the intensity of the eruption suggests that the discharge level is similar to the preceding four days (i.e. 20-40 tonnes/s).
    Meltwater: Continuing discharge of water from GÃgjökull due to ice-melt at the eruption site. Discharge at the old Markarfljót bridge, 18 km from GÃgjökull, is estimated at ~100 m3 s-1, of which ~30 m3 s-1 is baseflow.

  • I mentioned the eruption at Santiaguito in Guatemala yesterday and if you want to see some up-close (probably too up-close) video of an eruption of the volcano, check out this tourist video. Even looking at the conditions on the domes before the explosion, you have to wonder why anyone would think it was a good idea to hike up there. If there are any rich benefactors out there who want to suppose volcano research, the "volcano observatory" at Santiaguito might be an excellent candidate to fund.
  • Finally, activity continues to increase at Gaua in Vanuatu - and you can see a great image of the eruption at the NASA Earth Observatory. The ash-and-steam plume has become thicker and taller, with frequent volcanic bombs as well. Evacuations of the island are underway as the threat increases.

More like this

*Watching video*

*Sigh...* Dutch people -_-'

Santiaguito is a major tourist attraction these days, despite the hazards the volcano poses. Guides lead tourists to the top of the dome. One of my best friends went there last year and he even got to walk where the eruption in the video took place. So he got beyond the place where this video was made 0_o' ! When he got back to the Netherlands, well... I didn't refrain from telling him that he should never have trusted those guides. Monday's eruption showed why...

video - A new visual definition of nervous laughter...
thanks for the new posts, enough to keep us all busy for some time to come.

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

Think the lava has reached the bottom of the glacier now, can just make it out.

healthy steam plume coming from the base of the falls on the Ãórólfsfelli cam when the clouds allow a look Re 534 previous thread

Yeah about 5-10min ago when it was clearer, I caught a glimpse of a lot of steam coming up, billowing style, from the base of the glacier. Can't see much now.

Anyone for fluoride in their drinking water?

Hi from novis Lena. Is it common with EQ on/in myrdalsjökull?
just see

I detest clouds! The suspense of not seeing anything is horrible.

By renee chicago (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Re Ischia, it is surely correct to call public attention to the hazard this volcano is presenting to an all-too-dense population on this very touristic island off the Italian coast near Naples. Like INGV president Boschi's appeal for funding to monitor the Marsili seamount, here we have a similar manoeuvre, given that the Marsili appeal seems to have been successful (our good friend Silvio B.* just promised to give funding for the monitoring of Marsili and other submarine volcanoes in Italy). Ischia has not erupted for 700 years, which is a long period for humans but not for a volcano. Currently there is no indicator that an eruption is imminent - the Osservatorio Vesuviano of the INGV is monitoring Ischia along with Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei, and the information is presented here (in Italian): ... currently there are no significant variations in the state of the activity of the volcano (same at Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei).

But it is important to call public attention to the risk of future eruptions from these volcanoes, and while Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei are now known, also in the broad public, to be highly dangerous volcanoes, Ischia has been somewhat off the screen thus far. So it's good it is being named as a potential source of trouble - even though it might remain silent for a few hundred years, like Vesuvius; although things might start moving in a few weeks, in a few months ... no one knows in this moment.

Valahnúk cam showing a large 2 steam plumes masking a black one

Wow. If you do a search for videos from tourists at Santiaguito you'll get a lot of results and tour companies. Crazy and intense! I have no problem with people playing with their own lives, god knows I have, just as long as they don't play with the lives of the rescuers who would be tasked to go get them at the end of the day.

This one is for those tourists getting too close to the edge;)

"One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us."

Kurt Vonnegut

The Bay of Naples is certainly an interesting place - Vesuvio, Campi Flegrei, Procida, Isola d'Ischia, Capri. Connect the dots. What lies between?

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

I'd sure like to dip a thermometer into the water running out of the tip of GÃgjökull.

Hm. Gaua steams along like Stanley on the NASA pic.

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

@Henrik the bay of napoli a caldera?

These might be of interest right now;-)

Two abstracts on the forms that lava meeting ice create:

And here's a link to a complete article on observations of lava/ice structures during a Vatnajokull eruption in 1996

By parclair NoCal (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Gina, I've never seen any mention or hint of it being so. Ever. It's just that all those volcanic centers arrayed in such a fashion makes me wonder about the overall geology of the Bay of Naples area.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

It is puffing like a percolator coffee pot a large volume of water gets hot is ejected really fast then calms down and repeats

I think what i saw initially was a large ice fall the crevice in the rock now goes all the way up no separate water tunnel over the keyhole But how thick is the ice on top of that rock

I had no idea it was even possible to climb Santiaguito itself. Almost ten years ago, I climbed Santamaria, camped at the top and watched and listened as Santiaguito roared and steamed far below (and Fuego erupted in the distance at the same time). Going onto the active dome itself certainly didn't look sensible.

As for Eyjafjallajökull, I guess some magma found some more ice to melt at about 11.15 today - there was a pulse of meltwater which started around then. You can see it on these two frames from the Vodaphone webcam, 25 minutes apart:……

Flow has virtually stopped and a large chunk just fell off above the outlet

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

there is a wee steam plume about 3/4 of the way to the cloud bottom on the left side it gets to the clouds then a huge gout of high velocity water gets ejected and the plume goes away until the water spout stops
there seems to be a volume of black muck in the initial ejection of water but it may be the lousy lighting
it is extremely violent the water is arcing higher than the portal it is ejected from

The water is really gushing out from the big opening at the lower end of Gigjökull; at the upper end there is a huge open channel in the ice spewing steam. Quite spectacular.

I'm noticing that the opening is slowly but visibly getting eroded in the process!

It sure would - that's a huge amount of water running very fast and most likely contains lots of hard stuff: sand, stones, mud...

A very small steam plume appeared above the opening, visible on Mila's Ãórólfsfelli cam.

Unfortunately it went away as I wrote the message - sorry.

Does anyone know the topography under the Gigjökull glacier?

Looks like the lava stream may have reached the edge of a steep cliff underneath the ice and periodically sends hot material over the edge. If it keeps going like this we might see some incandescence coming from the glacier area sometime tonight or early tomorrow.

By Holger, California (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Can people in US still access live voda cams? they don't seem to load right now.

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

@Mr. Moho #26. You saw it, I saw it. And as I type it's appearing again.

By parclair NoCal (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Mr. Moho did you notice that the water ejection got more violent when the plume went away

i would like to know how far the water is going outward before it starts falling

sooner or later the channels that are allowing this surging will be eroded :(

@birdseye 30 I lost vodaphone a couple of hours ago.

By parclair NoCal (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

@30 birdseye It's open to the US but seems to be extremely busy right now. No closeup but the long view is similar to the Ãórólfsfelli cam.

Mr. Moho & parclair, I've seen those puffs of steam as well.

If the outflow of water is an indication of the stability of the glacier and if the lava flow keeps going like it appears to do right now, it might trigger a larger scale collapse of the glacier tongue sooner rather than later.

By Holger, California (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

tremendous steam plumes from the midway hole from time to time - she's breathing pretty heavily, a forced draft from below helping? Tho it looks more as though the exit expulsions are being forced by a big downdraft..?

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

The reason for the plume lessening as the ejection gets more violent is that the steam will be sucked under with each water rush. And I expect eating out the glacier from underneath.

My guess anyway.

@36 Philipp,

Thanks, great animation as always.

Comparing yesterdays movie to the current state shows nicely how much further the lava flow must have come. The area that creates most of the (currently) visible steam was barely active yesterday.

By Holger, California (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

@28, JB... Can anyone guess why so many visitors from tiny Finland of 5.5M people? ;)

Hang in there, new steamer doing nicely....below & to left of the big one

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

Philipp, thank you for the animations. I look forward to todays!

By parclair NoCal (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

A plume of steam rising from the middle of the down slope of Gigjökull - a new opening in the ice, I suspect.

That wee plume Gina mentioned is not looking that wee anymore...

another blowhole starting to the right...great animations Philip, thanks - , todays' should be interesting - dang, it'll be dark soon!!

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

I get the vod cam but it is so busy that it tries to load but can't.
Poro cam long view - you can get a close up view by using your keyboard commands.

(Mac I do not remember but look up your keyboard commands)
CTRL +key (enlarges area you want a closeup view)
CTRL -key (reduces the area back to normal)

Hold the ctrl key down and then push ONE TIME ONLY enlarge or reduce. Wait for the page to enlarge or reduce and then repeat command. But only once until the page reacts.

#41 - count for Finland - I'll assume everytime you access or refresh your page it gets counted. With Europe losing its airspace that would count for high traffic and this blog got national press in the USA.

@Henrik 13
The Goulf of Napoli, my city, it is not a caldera.
For example the island of Capri and the Sorrento's Peninsula have a calcareous sedimentary origin, and some regional faults, make them as a morfological Horst beetween two graben basins (the Napoli's Gulf and the Salerno's Gulf).
But the same faults, are a preferential route for magma and all the Volcanoes of my region are built on some of these faluts or on the conjunction of some of them.

The 3 main volcanoes are Vesuvious, The Campi Flegreii and the island of Ischia. The island of Procida is considered part of the campi flegrei's caldera.

But all of these volcanoes have different magma's chemistry and they don't have an unique magma chanber as some articles presuppose...

Dangerous place were built a kind of "megalopolis". here lives more thann 2 millions of people considering Napoli and all other cities around.

But it is a wonderful place to visit. Napoli is a "city in a painting" :)

By Dario Leone (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

yeah I see it, at first i thought a ccd artefact but it is fairly constant. Second guess is lava showing through a window in the filtered out.
Maybe a mix of both, or none of the above...

Looks lime green from here also.

the cam has lost it's battle with available light :(
now time to hope the fireworks are good
i find the interaction of water/ice and fire fascinating

@parclair et al - I tried to clean it off my screen....

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

When i look at the the front of the glacier (on the Thoro webcam) and go fullscreen,
there is a "schadow line" arround the front face of the glacier.
beginning at the top hole, where the water comes out, going up to the left in a 45° angle.
Then going left horizontally, and at last going down beside the rock and big piece of (wet)ice.
That last one seems to be 1 big piece,
Now, the water level right next to the big piece of ice (let's name it legg) is rising, or the
ground is beeing eroded.
Whatever it is that is another attack on the glacier i think.
Water is getting very near to the "legg"
If ice begins to melt from the "legg" bottem up, more and more weight will begin to "hang"
So a pulling effect in front and crevasses from behind, something is gonna be moved.
The exithole in front has again lost a few bits and pieces today.
Of course; these lines could mean nothing at all.
Just amazing!! Thanks to everybody involved, while being glued to this place and the cams
very often.

@birdseye LOL I decided I'd been looking at the screen too long, and went and did a chore.

By parclair NoCal (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Not sure if this sort of estimate has been posted before.
According to this Google Maps view (assuming the scale is correct):…
the width of the glacial tongue at its thinnest, where it passes east of the split boulder that forms the outflow tube, is approx. 180m. This makes the outflow exit about 30m wide and the large steam hole higher up about 60 to 70m in diameter. These estimates are even slightly conservative. Can other posters confirm that I´m not way off mark? Am a bit surprised at the size since from pictures it all seems smaller.

By Bjarni, Hafnar… (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Bjarni (#59)

I'm not surprised. If you look at the Vodofone picture (in daylight) you can see roads in the area. They're not very eyecatching because they're dirt roads and sort of blend into the landscape. The size and width of the roads give you an idea of who big a car or a jeep would look in the image -- very tiny indeed compared to the holes and cracks meltwater is pouring from.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Is it quiet or cloudy? I can't decided. Cloud usually means at least some light reflection but tonight all I see is inky darkness and I don't like it one bit!

An opportunity for an early night methinks. lol

Universalgeni Katla eruption is not..."eminent in all likelihood" because of one EQ....if you see a dozen or more in an hour....then maybe we will worry;)

@60 Anna Looking back at some pictures I can't find one road. :( I'm sure they are there like you said, I just can't see them. I can only guess that it's because they are so small. I am sure this is MUCH bigger than it appears on the computer. Getting out the magnifying glass soon thought. ;>)

at 60 meters diameter the volume of water would be huge for the time it was flowing at full speed when it was surging up over the exit hole

@dan florida think that's last week....

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

@69 I was going by web- translation of the legend - what I saw was just a map of Iceland with red squiggle on the top of Eya...? and legend under.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Slow night. Should be some glimmerings in around an hour.

By parclair GoCal (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Must be really cloudy. Haven't seen even a hint of glow on any cam. Mist/fog in the air on the Hvolsvelli cam. Might be ash.
And jeeze... what is with all the lights on every night? Those are farms aren't they? Don't they sleep on farms? Go to bed! Y'all have to be up at sunrise to err... um... farm stuff.

The Katla cam has a little light. V, little

By parclair GoCal (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Ãórólfsfelli cam becoming watchable. Doesn't appear to have snowed overnight. Lot of water down there. No major steaming evident, but possibly some venting just below the cloud line.

Lightening up on Poro cam - can see there's still steam rising from outlet and lots more water below... expanded out to left of image

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

I think my Vodaphone link died of stress

By renee chicago (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink


I think my Vodaphone link died of stress

Posted by: renee chicago | April 29, 2010 12:46 AM

Not loading for me either.

Actually, things look quite quiet on the Ãórólfsfelli cam. There's a lot of water, but now it appears to be coming out of the base of the cleft instead of gushing out higher up in a waterfall. No real steaming to be seen, and the crater is shrouded in cloud. I hope the sun comes out so we can get some definition of features. Anyone know the weather report?

It' supposed to clear up today but cloudy again later

By renee chicago (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

EJ is being so very quiet and makes me wonder what she has in store for us

By renee chicago (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink


Weather looks set to be fine for about a week starting very shortly. Very cold for the time of year and I expect Iceland will have snow even at lower levels.

a wonderfuil ridge sits over Iceland sending air into western europe and further. If Volcano becomes ashy again , Europe will know it.

By Jonathan Witty (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

I dont think she will get "ashy" again. Atleast not to the same extend as before when she had a fresh supply of ice.

But she has sent us all a few surprises in the last weeks so one can never be sure.

Apr 29, 8:40 UTC: no gushing melt waters, no billowing steam from the up-slope furrow of Gigjökull. Nothing like yesterday. Waiting for a new batch of lava, perhaps.

Lady Eyja is asleep
curled up in a blanket of cloud
I wonder what she´s dreaming about...

Wake up Eyja!

By snotra viking,… (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Valahnuk cam appears to have changed significantly - terrible image quality at the moment but is the view from it now the top of the glacier??

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

Steam seems to be rising up the water flow on Thoro cam. Or is it just regular haze?
Maybe Eyjaf is just going back to sleep, for now. Tucked in her white, soft, blanket.
There was no plume or fire actvity this night. Maybe Erik was right and we should turn our attention to another volcano. The lady is back to hibernation? Or just leaving space open to Queen Katla?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

I like the French reporters - Le Figaro gave "The Daily Mail" a spanking about their silly claims that there was no reason to ground air traffic (a truly revolting article by the Mail which included an undated "file photo" showing an infrared satellite image of the earth - as if the photo were meant to prove there was no volcanic ash). Now if only everyone would learn to read French they can see some real news and a far more intelligent view of what happened, why, and what people want to do now.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

There are certainly alot of seismic activity to the north at Tjornes fracture zone. Isnt there an underwater volcano at that location?

@Daniel, #92 Read this comment from Boris Behncke, which answers your question:… comment #289:
[...]@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.
Posted by: Boris Behncke, Catania, Italy | April 27, 2010 3:11 PM[...]

Renato Silveira (#89), I doubt she is done. All of yesterday, there was vigorous melting visible as a thick blanket of steam hiding everything above ~1200m from view and also all the water running into the Markarfljot visible at the foot of the glacier. Yesterday's flow was reported as 100-120 cu.m. (base flow 30) and temperature +11C as opposed to the normal +1½C. Tremor is still high and Jón Friman's seismographs, which he so kindly has made available to us, still show what I am given to understand is harmonic tremor which indicates movement of magma. When all of these signs abate, then and not before, I am willing to believe she is done.

Philipp! Thank you for your wonderful timelapse youtube movies! As has been remarked, they give a very good summary of what has gone on during the day, keep them coming please!

Dario Leone (#39). If I remember correctly, didn't you mention some weeks ago that you lived in Campi Flegrei, inside the Solfatara Crater? The reason I wonder about the Bay of Naples is its geographical shape, location of known volcanic centres and resemblance to other large calderas. At least one of those centres has produced sizeable bodies of ignimbrites of different composition in geologically recent times (Monte Epomeo Green Tuff around 55-33ka, Campanian Ignimbrite 35ka & Nepoletan Yellow Tuff 12ka).

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

waiting for lava flow
like watching paint dry
but still here we are

Clearly Haiku is not my forte :)

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Hm. The Vodafone cam is down in Iceland too.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Geophysicist Magnús Tumi was in a lengthy interview on TV last night, talking about eruptions in Katla among other things. There seems to be this general perception that Katlas's next eruption will be disastrous, that the present eruption is merely a "rehearsal". Not likely, Magnús Tumi says.

Katla has erupted 20 times in historical times (since the 900s), 6 have been BIG and the rest Small or Medium:

920 Medium
934 BIG
11?? Small
1179 Small
1245 Small
1262 BIG
1357 Medium
1416 Medium
1440 Small
14?? Small
1500 BIG
1580 Small
1612 Small
1625 BIG
1660 Medium
1721 Medium
1755 BIG
1823 Small
1860 Small
1918 BIG

A medium Katla eruption is similar in size to the present eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, perhaps a tad bigger. A BIG Katla eruption is 4 to 5 times bigger. Big or small, a Katla eruption will probably cause quite a bit of damage locally (jökulhlaup) but it's unlikely to cause disruption in air traffic in Europe ...

Eruptions in Eyja have been few and far between and she's really unpredictable it seems.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Vodafone hasn't updated its picasa album for today either so perhaps the webcam is broken.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Katla has shown some increase in seismic activity. This may be within normal parameters I am not sure. But as far as i understand the station which is the most interesting is "GOD" which means Godabunga. This one is right on top of the dragon and would not be affected too much from EF. So an increase here, which has occurred since yesterday, should indicate a Katla related seismicity. I am not sure what the amplitude means but an increase is an increase. In this case from an average of ~600 up to a steady average of ~800.

This might all mean nothing but it does arouse my interest. And that there was an EQ beneath Katla yesterday makes it even more so.

@ Madscientist 91

Do you have a URL for the Figaro article? I'm collecting various newspaper sources for this eruption as a way of teaching A level general studies science and society - I've got the dreadful Daily Mail articles. They'll be a great example of biased reporting. However, I'd love to include the Figaro article as well but I haven't tracked it down. At least, speaking French I can go a rough translation for the non-linguists in the group and leave it as is for the others.


By Emma, Lancashire UK (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Henrik 94

Yes, Napoli is built partially inside the Campi Flegrei Caldera.
Older houses and monuments of my city are built with bricks made by Campanian Ignimbrite and Nepoletan Yellow Tuff. These two very big eruptions were emitted by the Campi Flegrei Volcano. I live exactly on the eastern flank of the Caldera and about 20/25 km from the Vesuvio.

By Dario Leone (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

True feelings exposed
the Lady hides now in clouds
Composing herself.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Vodafone camera is out - the pictures stop at 0158 last night - and Mila camera at Thorolfsfell is obscured by snow, I think. Double BLAH!

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

It sure is a good thing that we don't have to worry about volcanoes and ash clouds in the United States.
Hey! You in the back. Stop looking at the Cascade Range and Yellowstone!


As Eyjaf and the cams seem to need their rest, at present, perhaps you'd like to see Yogi Bear having a whale of a time on Madison River:

Is that white-water rafting or a bit of snow showing on the graph?

Yes, it's possibly snow-melt, or a herd of buffalo nearby, or maybe just all those school kids on a riotous day out!

Meanwhile, this is something I may be dealing with shortly.


The leak, now estimated at 5,000 barrels per day, threatens coastal wildlife, pristine beaches and estuaries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

A mass oil sheen has already been created by the leak on the surface of the sea. The crude slick is now almost the size of the US state of West Virginia, and BP and the coastguard are desperate to contain it before it reaches land.

BP says its the largest oil spill containment operation in history, involving dozens of ships and aircraft.

According to the Vodafone cam page, a hardware failure interrupted the show, but they hope to have it fixed RSN.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

It seems the vodafone cam AND archive are offline, therefore no timelapse for today!

I am planning a weekend trip to NY for June, and am thinking about appending few days in Iceland - would it be worthwhile? Will Eyjaf still be putting on a show (nobody knows that). Will Thorsmörk be accessible? (nobody knows that) Will it make sense to visit Fimmvörduhals and see what changed since my last visit last year? It is a gamble, not sure yet what to do...

New EQ at EJ

By renee chicago (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

And another teeny one under Katla - that's three showing on the map now for the last day.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

She was showing activity yesterday too...

By renee chicago (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

And now the last two EQ at EJ and Katla from today are removed from the map?!

By Diana, Germany (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Heh. Soquel KINDLY put together the movie. altho' kinkly might be appropriate for we volcanophiles;-D

They were there I saw them! First we lose the Voda and now the quakes

By renee chicago (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

The 2 Quakes on Katla and the one on Eyjafjallajökull are still on the map for me.

There were 3 EQ at Katla and 2 at EJ...

And that's just a new one at EJ... ;-)

Another now shows fof EJ the info is different if you follow the link and then choose Earthquakes all regions on the very top of the left hand side

By renee chicago (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

@120 parclair Thanks for putting EQs in perspective from these 2 videos which are timelapsed from before the initial eruption.…

I better understand the "swarm" concert and the large number of EQ events that occured leading up to the first eruption of EYJ. I also understand better why they do not say Kala is showing any signs of erupting although there have been some EQs even in this area previously during EYJ initial eruptions.

It is interesting to observe the EQ data daily and I understand Jon's helicorders are down for a few days.…

@120 parclair Thanks for putting EQs in perspective from these 2 videos which are timelapsed from before the initial eruption.…

I better understand the "swarm" concert and the large number of EQ events that occured leading up to the first eruption of EYJ. I also understand better why they do not say Kala is showing any signs of erupting although there have been some EQs even in this area previously during EYJ initial eruptions.

It is interesting to observe the EQ data daily and I understand Jon's helicorders are down for a few days. volcanism/earthquakes/myrdalsjokull/#view=map

on Ãórólfsfelli
wonderful snow storm must be snowballs falling if i can believe the white streaks
also hard to see but there is major surges of water I watched one take the almost empty river with it's boulders showing to a flood with huge ripples where the boulders were

@120 parclair Thanks for posting the EQ link, great site - I also had noticed that EQ's were showing and then suddenly not there on the vedur site - no cacheing explains it, so, good for the French Connection.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

What was that said earlier about the weather clearing up?!! LOL Looks like it is not going to cooperate right now. At least you can see something on the Poro cam, but not much.

Waiting bated breath
Cold cloud snow
Not stopping

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

@birdseyeUSA, #129: These quakes appear on this list automatically and are being manually curated later on. Which means that an expert is looking at the data and then decides, if this is a real signal. Thats why quakes are sometimes disappearing, sometimes they are changed in their order of magnitude and sometimes one quakes is even divided into two.

Warm water
11 Celsius
Fog springs up

It will be interesting to finally see what is left of the grim's tongue what with all the outflows and this nasty ice melting weather

RE earthquake swarms

From my first skimming of the following article, it appears that Katla can have a swarm for a short time (hour to a couple of hours) and then erupt. I also found interesting is that some (most?) eruptions are never visible like the Eyja has been. We've been tremendously lucky to see this:-D.…

Just for the record, for those who are writing Haiku, the format is 5-7-5. Syllables that is.

Parclair, you may not be trying for Haiku, but if you are . . .

I see nothing, nada. Cloudy and rainy today and it's going to be cloudy and rainy tomorrow. But there's a good chance the weather will clear up a bit tomorrow night. I'm hoping the lava stream will make a grand entrance tomorrow twilight time! But chances are it won't be till Saturday or Sunday.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Well, i have a little personal experience with volcanoes.
(being across Cook Inlet from some of the most active for
many years) And the trouble with a volcano is:
When there is something to watch, then You can't see it.
You're either too close, or clouds or ash or fog or night or something gets in the way.
Yes, we were very fortunate to see so much this time.


@ Victoria-- there's another form 3-5-3 which is what I"m using. ;-)

@Chris 131 Thanks for the clarification! We 'out here' are all so fortunate that there are instruments and cameras so available, and people who are happy to share their knowledge. Eyafjallajökull and all of you who are her interpreters seem to be cooperating, to provide an opportunity for the spread of knowledge and understanding beyond the scientific community. Blessings on you!

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

For anyone new: I have created a map showing the locations of the webcams, peaks, and other features. It may help you to better understand what people are talking about. Click on my name to see it.

I have also created a second map showing the lava flows from Fimmvörðuháls fissures. A link in the "i" icon on the main map will take you there.

#120 and #134 Parclair…

Page 7 picture with Red Dot
"This uplift and outward displacement from a centre inside the Katla caldera (marked by a red star) suggests magma inflow in a magma chamber, which is possibly located at 3â5 km depth"

Makes the current EQ Blue dot inside Katla crater more interesting as it appears closer to the articles Red Dot reference.

Parclair FANTASIC ARTICLE - SUMS IT ALL UP from Historic Time to 2008.

@Victoria Heh. after I wrote you, I went back and looked at my latest. Note to me: NEVER write haiku until 2 cups of coffee. 3-6-3 snicker.

Okay, I will be annoying. Haiku must have a 5-7-5 form to be Haiku. Otherwise it is poetry, but not Haiku.

That is all. Had to say it.

I'll stop commenting on this now.

@139 Diane I got: when I tried your link

Not Found

The requested URL /SO/televolc/hotvolc/Islande_Avril2010/indexEN was not found on this server.

In Finnish 'haiku'
is a puff of smoke rising
which fitting here is

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Victoria... interesting about the haiku, I didn´t know the rules. I´m still waiting for a poem from the icelanders in the old poetry form as in the Edda. Link to this Available in icelandic and swedish.

This is from Havamál no 28 in swedish and lower down in icelandic.

Klok den synes,
som kunnig är
att spörja och spörsmål besvara.
Hemligt aldrig
kan hållas sådant,
som går ifrån mun till mun.

Fróður sá þykist
er fregna kann
og segja ið sama.
Eyvitu leyna
megu ýta synir
þvà er gengur um guma.

By Snotra Viking,… (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

# 147 Swedish translation to English is better than Icelandic to English. The following from Snotra

Swedish translated:

Wise it seems,
who is knowledgeable
to ask and answer questions.
Secret Never
may be such,
that goes from mouth to mouth.


Erik, this is only a new phase of the war conducted by Bertolaso against Boschi....: he wants the money for monitoring for himselfâ¦

I only hope that somehow money will arrive for monitoring all the tyrrenian volanoesâ¦.

But it would be better that those resources will go to INGV and the italian marine geology research insitutes than to Bortolasoâ¦.

Wet, fresh grass and ash.
Clouds blank everybody's view.
That's Iceland today.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

#74: The cam is placed within the village Hvolsvöllur.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

"Scientists have discovered a cluster of underwater asphalt volcanoes rising from the sea floor just off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif."

Erik it also looks like the Fuego volcano in Guatemala may be erupting.,volcanic-ash-hinders-guatemalan-air-traffic.html,,OI4407020-EI8140,00-Erupcoes+deixam+Guatemala+em+alerta.html

For those interested in Haiku:

This is a Yale article about teaching the 5-7-5 form Haiku. It's easy to read. The actual discussion of the form start with "Why start with the Modern...." and is followed by "Concepts within the Haiku container" It has a valuable lesson in "A really bad Haiku" which illustrates the principles in the earlier section.

The following two articles discuss a 3-5-3 and a 2-3-2 form of Haiku (and why some poets use these forms).

I've found Haiku to be a great way of distilling experience.;-)

In case some of you missed it, Boris Bencke gave us the following reference during our discussions of the potential magnitude of the eruptions. Someone else pointed out that is is part of a larger paper, Explosive Volcanism: Inception, Evolution, and Hazards. I've started reading it and though dense (I'm using wiki a lot) it's fascinating:…

By parclair NoCal (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

With Haiku wisdom
Volcanologists create
Perfect fire of words

No sky
no earth - but still
snowflakes fall

"May this island be / joy and beauty to us all," / geologist said.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink


Why not go for 1-2-1?

@Victoria: 5/7/5 is the canonical form, but don't diss the others. I happen to like 4/5/4 as well. But if you really want a 1/2/1...


By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Good one!

How about.

Volcano blog
Daily log here
Bye Haiku

still grey fog hovers
billowing steam, lava flow
figment of mind's eye

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

lurkers, stalkers
waiting for clear sky
create Haiku

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

As night turns view black, / tired eyes spot nothing but / logos in corner.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

black of night
nothing to see here
move along

As much as I'm procrastinating, perhaps now is a good time to catch up with my laundry :)

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Well, since there's nothing to see of the volcano, raindrops on the Hvolsvelli webcam create some psychedelic patterns....

By Holger, California (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Hoping all day long
To glimpse Islandic dragon
Shrouded in thick mist

By Summer, Canada (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

earth mind soul life death
where do they all meet?
online volcano haiku

@170 That's what the MET said when the cluster starting around EJ volcano, it's not going to erupt LOL

I guess they just have probably received too many emails asking if Katla is going to erupt :P

By Scarlet Pumpernickel (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Oh, screwed that one up. Forgot 7 in the middle. Oh well, I really ought to be working anyway!

#173 Katla

I think the confusion lies in that the URL has Katla 2009 in its http address. People perhaps assume Katla is involved in this data collection but now we know it is not from their statement above the data graphs. This was or is an emergency. In emergencies no agency is funded adequately to address the expectations and demands of its citizens which less from the global population.

@diane 177 Nope, stll no happiness.

By parclair GoCal (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Eyjafjallajökull is a splendid looking mountain and it has a an immortal place in Icelandic literature. Not least because one of the greatest heroes of the Icelandic Sagas (Gunnar) lived nearby.

Consider this poem by Jónas HallgrÃmsson (1807-1845):

The sun's imperial pageant in the west
purples the Eyjafjalla Glacier, standing
huge in the east beneath its icy crest.
It dominates the summer dusk, commanding
the screes beneath it, sketched against the cold
sky like a reef where tattered clouds are stranding.
Hugging its roots, cascading waters hold
hoarse conversation with the trolls where wary
Frosti and Fjalar hoard their secret gold.
Northward, you see the Summit Mountains, very
sober and formal in their blue-black frocks,
but girt with green where steep and valley marry
and helmed with snow above their sable rocks.
They stare at tarns whose streams will soon be plying
their way through meadows filled with lazy flocks
and sprinkled thick with little farmsteads, lying
deep in the shadow of the sheltering heath.
Far to the north, its snowy peak defying
the heavens, Hekla stands on guard: beneath
its bulwarks, bound in dungeons deep as night,
Terror and Death are gnashing greedy teeth,
while high above them palisades of bright
obsidian glitter, glassy as a mirror.
From there you look on scenes of pure delight:
Wood River glides through leafy glens, then, nearer,
murmuring more softly, makes its leisured way
through farmlands ripe with radiant harvest --- dearer
than gold --- and grassy meads where cattle stray.
High on the hillsides, fragile blossoms gleam;
golden-clawed eagles glide above their prey ---
for fish are flashing there in every stream ---
and whirring throngs of thrushes flit and trill
through birch and beech groves lovely as a dream.
Now, from the farmstead highest on the hill,
two mounted men ride solemnly, descending
down toward the ocean. Though the air is still,
the winds at peace, a raging sea is sending
its swell against the sand-shoals, where it raves
in angry warfare, ancient and unending.
Anchored offshore, a ship from Norway braves
the whirling surf, its sail still furled, and turning
dragonhead prow to face the furious waves.
Aboard this boat, their spirits proud and burning,
two brothers now must leave their native land,
destined to suffer years of homesick yearning,
far from their loved ones, on a foreign strand:
outlaws and exiles, sent abroad to hide
and pay the penalty the laws demand.
Handsome and strong, his halberd at his side,
Gunnar is leaving HlÃðarendi's hall;
beside him, girt with grey-blue sword, astride
a blood-red stallion, sitting staunch and tall
and tied to Gunnar with intense devotion,
Kolskeggur rides, a man admired by all.
Thus, in a comity of mute emotion,
the brothers guide their horses from the farm:
Kolskeggur gazes out across the ocean,
while Gunnar, glancing backward, finds the charm
of home so master him, he does not care
that savage foes have sworn to do him harm:
"Never before has Iceland seemed so fair,
the fields so white, the roses in such glory,
such crowds of sheep and cattle everywhere!
Here will I live, here die --- in youth, or hoary
helpless old age --- as God decrees. Good-bye,
brother and friend." Thus Gunnar's gallant story.
For Gunnar felt it nobler far to die
than flee and leave his native shores behind him,
even though foes, inflamed with hate and sly,
were forging links of death in which to bind him.
His story still can make the heart beat high
and here imagination still can find him,
where Gunnar's Holm, all green with vegetation,
glistens amid these wastes of devastation.
Where fertile meads and fields were once outspread,
foaming Cross River buries grass and stubble;
the sun-flushed glacier, with its snowy head,
sees savage torrents choke the plains with rubble;
the dwarves are gone, the mountain trolls are dead;
a desperate land abides its time of trouble;
but here some hidden favor has defended
the fertile holm where Gunnar's journey ended.

(English translation by the American Dick Ringler -- great job).

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

I give up. I don't know why it isn't working here when that is the addy on the site. Arg! Oh well, I tried.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Anna-- The poem is beautiful. Not only does it describe what we've been seeing on the webcams, but it contains information a volcanologist could use to define the volcano.

But the language---I know a translation is only a pale imitation of the original, but I get more of a 3-dimensional feel for the area.

It's a sad story, isn't it?

By parclair, NoCal (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ 180: Would that be the same Gunnar as in Njal's saga? BTW in regard to fiction or film, I would recommend Hrafn Gunlaugsson's second film (I forgot the title), it uses the harsh geography as a powerful backdrop to the Kurosawa-style plot.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Speaking of Eyjafjallajökull, I wonder if anybody noticed the increase in tremors over the last few hours. Unfortunately all webcams are dark... so maybe it's the bad weather? Wind readings on Jón FrÃmann are low, though.

@SP #175: Not much change in air quality at the ground in most places - which is to be expected. Just don't insist on flying.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

@beedragon Huzzah for the save

@diane Yes a really interesting post. I really like the snow/tephra photo

By parclair, NoCal (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Beedragon #184, thank you, thank you, thank you! My typing is not the best. LOL I tried three times after all. I think I could easily invent a new language if I left my typing uncorrected. LOL

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

BTW, Beedragon, a case of your favorite e-beverage to you! :-)

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Sisterhood: Eyja and Katla
volcanoes by seablogger

Letâs review the volcanic situation in Iceland. Eyja was fogged in today, but it was last seen erupting from two craters in the summit icefield. The new crater still has ice close to its rim, and its activity has been strongly phreatic, with constant steam explosions throwing molten material high in the air. Lava bombs have been landing occasionally outside the crater, which has ice walls at least five hundred feet high, and probably a rock-pit extending far deeper, though it has not been visible in footage I have seen, as the heavy plume hides any view within.

Eyjaâs older vent is less violent because the ice has melted well back from its rim, and less water is intruding. I have not seen any reports saying lava has risen to the surface or flowed out. Meltwater from the eruption has mobilized numerous lahars (hot mud-flows) that have ripped apart the glacier in the north-trending valley below the older crater, which is near the northern rim of the caldera. Lava would proceed that way if it emerged, and eventually it would reach the wide flat vale that opens to the west and south. That land was wonderfully verdant pasture, but it has been overwhelmed by the lahars, and a number of farms are ruined.

Seismic tremor has been somewhat variable in recent days, but it remains strongly elevated. Magma is still moving in the volcanic system, but much of the tremor may result from degassing of lava in the upper part of the volcanic conduit, and from constant phreatic activity in the new crater. There have been very few earthquakes since the swarm that accompanied the onset of the summit eruption. However the recent quakes have shown a new and striking pattern. There have been two pairs of small temblors, each pair nearly simultaneous â but only one quake of each pair took place under the summit of Eyja. The companion quakes were centered ten miles away, under Katla caldera.

This brings to mind the well-remembered pattern of Eyjaâs major quake swarm preceding the March eruption. Most quakes were centered beneath Eyjaâs comparatively small caldera, or under the col of lower ground to its east, where lava actually broke through. But a fair number of the small temblors also occurred under Katla caldera, at widely-scattered locations, but most frequently near the northwest rim, closest to that col where Eyjaâs breakout occurred. The lava of that first eruption was basalt. Katla is predominantly basaltic. Eyja has a different chemistry. It is is andesitic, and the current summit eruption has shifted chemistry toward Eyjaâs norm.

Katla is a large volcano with a much more turbulent history than Eyja. By historic standards it is overdue for eruption. Eyja has erupted only a handful of times since Iceland was settled circa 900 AD. On each occasion Katla also erupted some months later. It is quite reasonable to expect an eruption from Katla within the next year or two, and possibly much sooner. It is also reasonable to conclude that Katlaâs deep source has fed the eruption attributed to Eyja, and perhaps most or all of Eyjaâs other eruptions.

It may be that the smaller volcano has arisen from a mixed melt â partly from Katlaâs source, and partly from remelt by intrusion of superhot Katla magmas. This would account for the difference in chemistry between two volcanoes that share a common source. In any case, we can be quite confident that Iceland will see lots more volcanic activity from the Katla complex this year. Europe will be lucky indeed if this active period does not have more significant effects than the thin and harmless remnant of ash which so disrupted the lives of so many people a few weeks ago.
7:56 PM, Thursday, 29 Apr 10 |

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

@anna, 180, the hair is still up on the back of my neck. That poem will surely inhabit my dreams tonight.

Tremor readings for Eyjafjallajökull are at the moment at record levels since the last explosive events. Is anybody able to confirm if there's some kind of flooding ongoing?

Daylight is coming back and Hvolsvelli cam is showing a grey solid mass of clouds. Is EJ still hiding from us? What is happening!? I´m so curious.

By snotra viking,… (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Maybe if we all blow at our monitors in unison we can clear the clouds out of the Ãórólfsfelli view?

@R.deHaan (#191). It's quite obvious that this chappie Seablogger is not a scientist, much less a volcanologist. There are two grave errors; a) Katla & Eyjafjöll share a common deep source - in that sense, so do all volcanoes... and b) Correlation is causation. It's quite obvious that he is confident that as Katla is overdue anyway, an eruption will occur that proves him correct about the link between the two.

No, "Seablogger" is just another another of those individuals who hope to appear sagacious by couching the blatantly obvious in terms favourable to an increase in public admiration for their sagacity. Thanks for posting it as an example of the worms that crawl out of the woodwork.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

An interesting read for those of you bored of watching cloud cam...

My knowledge of geology is fairly limited, and I had no real interest in it until a few years back in Thailand when I noticed the large crystals in the rock I was sitting on. Which then got me checking and reading more.

Anyway what I wonder if anyone can answer is why some volcano's explode so rapidly?

My own reasoning is some sort of sudden degassing, or that the rock is brittle and fractures suddenly. The only other thing I can think of is water suddenly getting in ala Krakatoa. Which then makes me curious how you can have two volcanos very near and yet almost completely different in behaviour.

Another thing I was thinking of as an explanation might be mixing of magmas causing sudden degassing, eg. diff temperatures/pressures etc.

Just throwing my ideas out there, hoping for enlightenment. Since everyone talks about Katla errupting suddenly - but I never see anyone say how/why.

@195 Dan, that link is to a short-period display of the same instruments as this: - only here the time frame is from the beginning of the top crater eruption. IMO it represents tremors caused by the eruptive activity - those explosions are big bangs, and even man-made bangs show on seismograms - and does it better than the short-time plot, as it gives more perspective to the magnitude changes of the tremors. Note that the scales show different magnitudes.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

Well, let's discuss the Katla - Eyjafjalla "connection" then! Here's what we know:

There's been four eruptions of the Eyjafjalla volcano since Iceland was settled - 920AD(?) VEI 3, 1612 VEI 2, 1821-3 VEI 2 and 2010- VEI 4(?). In between, there have been non-eruptive intrusion events such as the 1994 and 1999(?) ones. Katla has erupted far more frequently, 27 times since 920AD, so in that sense of course an eruption of Eyjafjalla will be followed by an eruption of Katla. The interval for the three past events is - 920(?) same year (note that the E date is given as ? and it is not clear which volcano erupted first), 1612 same year Oct 12th (although no dates are given for E, its eruption preceeded K by anything from days to the better part of a year), 1821-3 E eruption ended on Jan 1st and Katla eruption began on June 26th, half a year later. (Source: Smithsonian Institution)

From the information available at Nordic Volcanological Center, we know that they have separate "plumbing systems" of different nature. Eyjafjalla has a series of sills at 5-7 km depth and possibly a small magma chamber at 1½-2 km depth whereas Katla has a large magma chamber at shallow depth, 2-3 km, below a caldera. The current eruption of the Eyjafjalla volcano is different in that the magma of the main eruption is similar in composition to the usual Katla samples.

IF there is a connection between the two volcanoes, I can come up with three possible explanations:

a) A common, deep source at ~20-25km depth. This is not a very good explanation as a mechanism that explains why eruptions of Katla are seven times more frequent than eruptions at Eyjafjalla must be provided. Also, an explanation must be found as to why an eruption of Katla never has been followed by one of Eyjafjalla.

b) A physical connection, sill or fracture, that runs from Eyjafjalla upwards until it enters Katla's plumbing and magma chamber where the primitive basalt magma triggers an eruption. Since the Goðabunga "cryptodome" intrusion is about 2/3 of the distance from E to K and is credited to Eyjafjalla, this explanation is at least possible if not plausible. However, if such a physical connection existed, one would expect it to receive some sort of prominent mention in the Norvol papers and data.

c) Pressure release. As magma intrusions occur regularly, the crust would be in a constant state of uplift and tension. An eruption of Eyjafjalla where this pressure is relieved over a large area - and we know from the Norvol data that such an area, 20-25km in diameter, exists - might conceivably (by leverage) place further stress on the crust over Katla and its shallow magma chamber, sufficient to trigger a breach and a subsequent eruption. This to me anyway, seems very far-fetched and I'm not even sure its a scientifically sound hypothesis.

My amateur opinion is that all these models are far too elaborated and far-fetched and that Ockham's Razor provides the correct answer - the observed correlation between eruptions of the Eyjafjalla volcano and Katla are due to coincidence.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

@scarlet #171

Thanks for the link. Just a small point - the abstract discusses the first example of a pyroclastic deposit under water and under 3,000m, but doesn't mention a pyroclastic flow. (I haven't read the whole paper as I don't have a login.)

Pyroclastic just means 'relating to, consisting of, or denoting fragments of rock erupted by a volcano'. A pyroclastic deposit is simply a layer of bits of rock ejected by a volcano that haven't lithified, i.e. haven't been cemented together.

What the abstract says is that, contrary to expectations, enough volatiles can build up in magma at that depth to overcome the pressure of the water column above it and to cause an explosive eruption.

This doesn't mean that there was necessarily a pyroclastic flow; you can happily get pyroclastic material without a flow.

Wikipedia's article on pyroclastic rock seems pretty good.

Ooh. Can get a few glimpses through the clouds on the Ãórólfsfelli cam. Meltwater looks like it may have increased. Also maybe fresh snow higher up.

@Henrik: Eyja-Katla connections. I would counter that Occam's Razor might state that it is rather surprising that the three previous historic Eyja eruptions have always had a Katla eruptyion following them within a year. That seems statistically very unusual - a quick play in excel shows this to be the case. I have also seen yet to be published good evidence for near-synchroneity of the 920AD event (both perhaps erupting simultaneously), which strongly argues against mere coincidence for the Eyja-Katla connection. This paper will be coming out rather soon I think.

I agree with some of your reasoning on mechanisms though - difficult to say what the mechanism is, particularly given that it needs to be one where activity in Eyja can precede Katla, and not the other way round. I'd maybe favour destabilising of the larger Katla magma chamber in some way, as it may be a directional mechanism as Eyja doesn't have much of a magma chamber. But a very interesting system it is indeed!

Thanks for the heads-up, Ragutis! The appearance today is different from yesterday, but that's understandable as with the lover figure for the flow reported by Norvol ~130 cubic m per second, the glacier loses some 11 million cubic m per day (0.011 cu km).

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Andy, to a certain degree I agree but... (herein lies a tale I am sure) I'm pretty certain that the paired 920AD eruption wasn't present on the until very recently. Also, the dating on Eyjafjalla is done by "Tephrochronology" whereas the Katla date is based on "Historical Records". Normally, there is a margin of error when using methods such as tephrochronology, but in this case, none is given. Also, the 920AD eruption was a small VEI 2 and thus limited to Iceland which would make the identification less certain than had tephra been found in Scandinavia and the British isles as well. Therefore the 920AD date given for Eyajafjalla is not scientifically sound! Most likely, it has been lumped together with the 920AD Katla eruption because someone believes that when E erupts, K follows - therefore E's eruption must have been in 920AD, prior to that of K!

That still gives us two coinciding eruptions, 1612 and 1823. Until someone provides a reasonable, non-metaphysical mechanism that explains just how E may set off K but K doesn't set off E, Ockham's Razor (William Ockham) disposes of the correlation as coincidence.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Gordys, that is a neat little demo, thanks. I never thought about viscosity itself.

By Scott, sg (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

The statistical problem with Eyjafjalla-Katla is that nothing shows causation. It is like - assuming - oil changes are more frequent than tyre changes in a car, that the oil change must influence the tyre change. (Ignoring the common cause that it is in for a service).
Eg. if an oil change is every 600 km and a tyre change every 3600km - then amazingly the probability that an oil change will be following by a tyre change is 1/6...even though mechanically they dont even have to have correlation. An extreme case would be cars in the artic that are left idling at night through the winter.

So there are some subtleties - even if my example is not the best. Playing around though you can end up with some stuff like the probability of an eruption of Katla given Eyjafjalla is 4/27=0.148 and P(Katla)=0.026 and P(Eyjafjalla)= 0.0039 still the causation is meaningless to interpret I didnt even bother doing correlation.

There are other problems too, such as basing the numbers on the last 1010 yrs, when from what I know the area is ~700k yrs old. So maybe what we know might not be that true. (The last 1000 yrs being abnormal).

The only interesting stuff I was able to calculate was that Eyjafjalla "should" erupt approximately every 6.5 Katla eruptions. Which if you follow probability means that Katla wont be due to erupt after Eyjafjalla until another 2 or so eruptions of Katla are done. Complicated by the fact that Katla might be overdue and depending on how you count those incidents in the 90's etc.

And conversely Eyjafjalla should erupt every 256.4yrs - making it early...

So while the probability is fun and may offer a few clues, in the case of volcanos it's use seems very limited to me when there are so many unknown factors.

BTW, looks like a lot of water where that glacier used to be...

By Scott, sg (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Just done a program to calculate the probability of the observed pattern of Katla eruption following Eyjafjallajokull eruptions. It was set for a 1100 year period with 20 Katla eruptions (min 10, max 100 years between eruptions), and 3 Eyja eruptions (min 150 years between eruptions), the eruptions are otherwise random. I got the following results, with 10 million iterations for each test:
K follows E by <10 years every time: 1.36%
K follows E by <5 years every time: 0.24%
K follows E by <3 years every time: 0.066%
K follows E by <2 years every time: 0.02%
K erupts same year as E every time: 0.0003%

So it looks like there's a connection between the volcanoes of some sort, given the <3 years max between E and K eruptions in the historic period, with K following E.

Parclair (#183) The poet was a natural scientist actually. He was for several years in government employ and travelled extensively in Iceland.

Birger (#185) Yes, it's the Gunnar of Njáls Saga. He lived in Hlidarendi which is not far from the Múlakot of web-cam fame. The poem is called Gunnarshólmi (Gunnar's Holm), by the way. Gunnarshólmi is a patch of land near Markarfljót River. It was believed that this is the place where Gunnar turned his horse back and decided not to leave the country (he'd been outlawed).

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Oops, looks like my results were messed up by using the "less than" character and I didn't preview - sorry!
K follows E by less than 10 years every time: 1.36%
K follows E by less than 5 years every time: 0.244%
K follows E by less than 3 years every time: 0.066%
K follows E by less than 2 years every time: 0.02%
K erupts same year as E every time: 0.0003%

So it looks like there's a connection between the volcanoes of some sort, given the less than 3 years separation between each of the historical E eruptions and the subsequent K eruption, with K always following E.

Why do I suddenly remember this series: white lie - lie - real bull - statistics - weather forecast - sociological study - political campaign speech...

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

The MÃla-Thórólfsfell cam offered a glimpse a few minutes ago and it seemed to me a lot of water is flowing now.

Geo-scientists now think they've underestimated the amount of lava coming up in the past few days. The new estimate is 20 m3 (50 tonnes) per sec. They have no idea how far the lava flow extends from the glacier though.…

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Vodafone cam is back - check it out.

Henrik, the best I can do is assure you the physical evidence is clear that the eruption in 920 was near-synchronous, with Katla following Eyja - it's something I've seen in the field, but it's not mine to publish the details, here or elsewhere. It's certainly not assumption! So that, allied with the other two close eruptions in 1612 and 1821-23 (based on historical observation, not tephrochronology) rather strongly argue for a link. It doesn't *prove* a link, as coincidence is still possible but unlikely, (however you spell Ockham, Occam is also in common usage). It also doesn't mean that it will happen every time - so far there's no indication of any activity in Katla.

The Vodafone cam seems to be working again, and is showing a lovely shade of gray.

Does anyone know if flow data from the Markarfljót is available online?

@PeakVT - this site has some flow data

They haven't updated for the 30th yet, but here's the report from the 29th:

Meltwater: Web-camera views show continued discharge of water from GÃgjökull due to lava-ice interactions. On 28 April, the discharge of Markarfljót was measured twice at the old bridge, ~18 km downstream from GÃgjökull. The flood that began at GÃgjökull at ~11:30 GMT yesterday reached a peak discharge of 250 m3 sâ1 two hours later at the bridge. Both yesterday and today, mean discharge from GÃgjökull was 130â150 m3 sâ1, which is higher than in previous days. The electrical conductivity of Krossá and Steinholtsá remains high (see report from 28 April for details).

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

In between clouds on Porolfsfelli, it looks like the roof of the meltwater chute has finally collapsed.

What else will we find when the clouds disappear?

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@anna Reykjavik - off topic question, related - in 2000 I bought a plate in an antiques store in Reyk., a 'smoking' volcano surrounded by a slain dragon, a falcon sitting on the dragon - have been unable to find any direct literary/mythology connection. Any ideas? Someone's imagination?

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

voda cam - Exit is 'breathing' again, water level down

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

looks like another series of mini-hlaups

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

After staring at the screen for umteen hours (i have such an exciting life) i've lost perspective. Just how wide is that neck of water in the middle ground??
Any guesses?

I suspect the meltwater channel has collapsed and blocked the lower end - when that lets go, there's gonna be one helluva gush. The former lake looks like a mud pool on the Vodafone camera.

I hope somebody would go and clean & refocus the Mila webcam at Thorolfsfell, not much of a picture at the moment; Vodafone picture is much better, but not a real-time stream.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

my guess in about 100-120 meters based on the water vent that was posted as 60 meters (the one that was a nice neat round hole above the huge split boulder)

I have nothing to refer against, so all I can do is make a totally wild-assed guess: 50-100 metres wide.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

13.59 GMT Steam column rising in the channel not far from the drop. Lava front this far now?

Again, based on the lower average figure for yesterday's flow, the glacier is losing some 11 million cubic metres per day via Markarfljót alone. Anyone see a figure for the amount of glacier evaporated as steam per second or day?

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Both of Jon's helicorders are online.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

beedragon Canada@222 - I'm looking for something closer to real-time, like the USGS Daily Streamflow Conditions website. Thanks, though.

Wow, Impressive! Fast draw with the info/You Rock!
Really Impressive.
Thanks: i was beginning to feel like i could step across it.
Thanks for the reality check.

@Henrik, Swe | April 30, 2010 1:32 AM

What's wrong with you?
Why is it so difficult to discuss content without patronizing sneers, even insults!
Seablogger IMO made an interesting observation about the recent quakes that happened at the same time in both volcano's!

That's was the reason why I posted his article!

As far as I know, NO OTHER person here made this observation!

I am really flabbergasted about this kind of response!

Grow up!

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@motsfo that was from a scale drawing in pdf., referring to glacial face at lagoon, not lagoon outlet channel....extrapolate..?? i don't have handy topo sheets :D Someone else probably has a better measurement.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Birdseye (#224) No idea!

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

steam coming from the old water vent in the glacier tongue

Gina, I don't think so, because it does not change over time on the live feed - which I hope were better. However, I think there is considerable sinking in the glacier from the big hole upwards.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

I see it too Gina.. :)

But now there sure is steam! Both in the big hole upslope and at the lower exit hole.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Gina, yup. on zoom view, lower cam, got some nice grabs of good steam - comes & goes .

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Wow! Like an old steam engine, puff-puffing along!

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Also a big spike in the 0.5 - 1 Hz at GOD.

@motsfo (#227)

"After staring at the screen for umteen hours (i have such an exciting life) i've lost perspective."

If you look at the area just left of that neck of water you'll see a road. It lies along that knobby hill and is cut off by the river. The road will give you a sense of perspective.

Also, if you check Google Earth you'll see a handful of photographs of GÃgjökull. One is called "Melting glacier in Thorsmörk nature reserve", it's a view across the glacial lake (that has now disappeared) towards those boulders, or what to call it, where the water is now flowing out. It's interesting to compare the photograph to the present day view from the Vodafone cam, the new layer of gravel/sediment just by the opening must be about 20 m thick.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

aack - voda cams either overloaded or down again, and no cache from today....

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Oh, but there is... from 1144 hours onward.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@klutsi..Patience, I tell myself, patience! I looked too soon...

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ KUltsi - sorry! Typo! I invert all the time.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Anna or someone local: have you got any data on the water level and/or temperature in Markarfljót at the moment?

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@kultsi The Icelandic Met Office website says(Hydrology-flow) that you can read the flow meters on that site,but perhaps only in the Icelandic version, I haven't found it yet in English....

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Well, was that it? I mean no steam from the upslope lava trench, not much water (relatively!) from the exit hole... What cannot be seen, yet, is the amount of activity in the crater.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@R. de Haan (#238)

So sorry if your feelings got hurt, but... You made the cardinal mistake of posting a text by someone else (unless, of course, you yourself are "Seablogger") without any comment or hint as to why whatsoever. In such a situation, the reader is perfectly free to come to whatever conclusions about the text and to your motives in posting it and you have absolutely no reason to complain if the reader didn't look at the text in the way you wished but failed to express. The fault is yours alone.

In that situation, I had two choices after reading the text: a) you had posted it because you shared the views of the author, or b) you posted it because you wanted to draw our attention to an example of the insufficiency of current journalism. I choose the generous interpretation, alternative b) in which you had seen through the charade instead of swallowed it hook, line and sinker. It seems I was wrong.

You tell me to "Grow up", which I find rather amusing. In the famous words of Igor (Marty Feldman) in the Mel Brooks movie "Young Frankenstein" - "Too late!". I am 52 years old, a retired major of the Royal Swedish Guards who after retiring picked up MA:s in English (linguistics) and History. I have taught at university level. I have been the MD during the reconstruction of a club with seven European and nine national championships. I have been a consultant for two works in History, one concerning Poland in World War II, the other the Battle of Jutland (WWI Naval). Under the circumstances, I find your injunction to "Grow up" rather amusing, but I am sorry I did hurt your feelings.

To the rest of the community, I apologise for the display of bad manners in ennumerating my accomplishments.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Henrik SWE 256

"So sorry if your feelings got hurt, but... You made the cardinal mistake of posting a text by someone else (unless, of course, you yourself are "Seablogger") without any comment or hint as to why whatsoever".

1. Make your apologies to the author of the article which I am not!

2. A Cardinal mistake? Forwarding an article about a volcanic eruption at a blog about volcano's? Did I miss something?

3. "I am 52 years old, a retired major of the Royal Swedish Guards who after retiring picked up MA:s in English (linguistics) and History. I have taught at university level. I have been the MD during the reconstruction of a club with seven European and nine national championships. I have been a consultant for two works in History, one concerning Poland in World War II, the other the Battle of Jutland (WWI Naval)".

Thanks for posting your most impressive CV! Congratulations.
I am confident that volcano experts all over the world will envy you for such detailed expertise in their field!

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

@#254 birdseye, I found the data! Starting point at and graphs for Markarfjlót at…

Didn't they say something about +11 degrees C yesterday? The graphs don't confirm that. Today's high level does not coincide with max temperature, so there might have been considerable amounts of melt water from elsewhere - that would be at or close to 0 deg C. So, the flow from Gigjökull is still considerable, although not at jökulhlaup levels. What is missing, is the reaction time from actual jökulhlaup at Gigjökull to water level rise at Markarfljótsbrú

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Kultsi @ 258 - there are several measurement sites on the Markarfljót, and one does show a rise of 8°C. You have to follow the link VigdÃs posted.

@PeakVT - if you look at my links, the first one is the one Vigdis posted, while the other is directly to the _only_ Markarfjlót measuring site. The graph for that site shows a max water temperature of 7.11 at 1300 hours.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Kultsi @ 262 - your first link is not the same as VigdÃs posted at #235, and your second shows only the Markarfljótsbrú station. If you go to the full site, you can see that the maximum temp on the 28th was over 12°C at Markarfljótsbrú, and over 13°C at Markarfljót, Ãórólfsfell. The rise between midnight and noon on the 28th at Markarfljót, Ãórólfsfell was over 8°C.

Randall, you are absolutely correct. Beatty, Beresford's "Nelson has come again" who had been promoted out of turn to the most coveted command in The Royal Navy, at Dogger Bank and Jutland proved beyond doubt that he had been promoted several steps above his incompetence level. Aided and abetted by those who had backed him, he set about revising the records that so inconveniently revealed his lack of professional ability, this from the position of Admiral of The Fleet/First Lord, in the process proving himself to be a first-class cad and bully as well. Proof of the damage he caused to history is that every year, there are new books in English which try and arrange the facts in a hitherto unthought of manner in order to prove a British victory. Strewth!

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

It's a pity that the planet Venus isn't more volcanically active. It would be absolutely wonderful with a "Deccan traps" type of eruption on Venus. A totally guilt free super eruption!

Iâm not positive I entirely agree with you on this post. Still I am always amenable to innovative concepts. Probably will have to feel about it. Great blog anyway

I'm still learning from you, while I'm making my way to the top as well. I definitely love reading everything that is posted on your website.Keep the stories coming. I enjoyed it

Yo. First of all - nice blog! Secondly this article was also good and interesting to read, but I don't think everything you have said is real truth. I will need to google about few things you have mentioned in your artcile to make sure. But anyway thanks for the great effort and good luck on writing other articles. P.S sorry for bad English, I aren't English native speaker.