Eruption at Eyjafjallajökull becomes "more explosive"

A shot of the strombolian activity at the vent of Eyjafjallajökull, taken on May 4, 2010. Image courtesy of the Iceland Met Office.

The latest news from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption has the volcano erupting more explosively again (see above), possibly due to an increased influx of water into the vent area - in any case, the ash has become denser (by volume in the air) and the plume is higher (see below) than in the last couple of weeks. The rate of lava flow extrusion has also gone down in the last few days. The latest update from the Iceland Met Office has a lot of details on the current activity thanks to some flights over the volcano:

Plume was observed at 5.8-6 km height (19-20,000 ft) estimated from the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) flight at 10:40 and 15:30 GMT. It is heading east-south-east to south-east from the eruption site. Plume track clearly visible up to 300-400 km distance from the eruption site on a NOAA satellite image at 13:13 GMT.

Water levels have been rather constant. Water temperature at Markarfljot bridge was low this morning (below 2°C) but seems to be rising (about 5°C at noon). Water level seems to be slightly decreasing.

Lava is still flowing northwards, forming a lava fall down the steep hill under GÃgjökull, about 4 km north of the crater. Blue gas is seen rising from the lava and white steam plumes are seen somewhat lower and mark the front of the lava stream. The size of the eruptive crater is 280 x 190 m. Lava splashes are thrown at least a few hundred meters into the air.

The overflights of the volcano produced two great image galleries of the current eruption, both worth checking out. You can see some video on the current eruption in this BBC article, while IceNews has an interview with Dr. Ari Trausti Gudmundsson on the volcano and this eruption. As always, you can get caught up on the day's activity at Eyjafjallajökull by checking out Philipp's excellent time lapse video from the vodafon webcam. The upshot of this new activity is that more airspace over Ireland and the northern UK (Scotland) have been closed due to the threat of ash in the atmosphere. Right now, it is unclear when the airports might reopen, but the current ash advisory suggests it might not be today for Ireland at least (none of which is good news for the EU airlines primarily affected by this eruption.)

The eruption plume from Eyjafjallajökull, taken from an Icelandic Coast Guard aircraft on May 4, 2010. Image courtesy of the Icelandic Met Office.

More like this

The steam plume from a lava flow moving down the slopes of Eyjafjallajökull on May 2, 2010. A quick note on the activity at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland: The ash from the ongoing eruption has caused a partial closure of airspace over Ireland from 0600 to 1200 on Tuesday May 4. This is one of the…
Grading grading grading! A webcam capture of the eruptive plume from Eyjafjallajökull on the morning of May 6, 2010. News: A quick update on the Eyjafjallajökull eruption: The volcano has been producing an impressive ash plume over the last day (see image above). The current ash plume is reaching…
The eruptive plume from Eyjafjallajökull taken Holsvelli webcam. Image courtesy of Mattias Larsson. Sorry to disappoint everyone visiting to blog while they sit at any number of airports around the world, but the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull appears to still be going strong. The Icelandic Met…
A shot of the summit area of Eyjafjallajökull, showing the twin steam-and-ash plumes from the lava flow and active vent. Picture taken by Dr. Joseph Licciardi (UNH). Over the weekend, the newly reinvigorated ash eruptions from Eyjafjallajökull combined with favorable winds meant that ash from the…

With the change in color has the composition of the lava changed? Is it still a dacitic ash? Also, is the vent now erupting material from deeper in the chamber, or are some other factors at work?

Kver, my guess is that it could be a higher proportion of ash to steam in the plume, giving it a darker color, but that is just a guess. You might also be seeing fragmentation of a more mafic (basaltic) lava like what is erupting now as opposed to the more andesitic lava of the start of the eruption. By the way, has anyone run across any new compositional analyses from the ash?

One more thing for all of you in Europe who want to be a part of research on this eruption:

To volcanologists in the UK and Europe,

Today ash is again affecting UK and Irish airspace, and we may receive new ashfall over the coming days. We are carrying out a study to look at the potential health hazard of the Icelandic ash, both in Iceland and affected parts of Europe. We would be very grateful if you could help us with sample collection:
1) If you have samples already and can donate a sub-sample
2) If you would be prepared to collect fresh samples.

1) We will be carrying out analysis of bulk ashfall collected in Iceland but also will be analysing micro-samples collected in the UK and beyond. If you have micro-samples we would grateful for a sub-sample which, if possible, has been representatively sampled from your sample although we appreciate this is difficult. We will be carrying out SEM analyses so require very little deposit.
2) We urge you to be prepared for any fresh deposits by putting out clean, plastic trays which are regularly emptied/cleaned, or maybe even just keeping your car clean so that you can brush off new ashfall with little contamination, from the roof or bonnet.
For guidance on ash collection, please see the Guidelines at which have been written with any tephra analyses in mind, not just health-related analyses. For information on the work which we will be carrying out, please also see the Protocol for bulk ash analysis (for assessment of health hazard) which is available on the same webpage. Obviously this protocol will only apply to substantial bulk samples collected from Iceland. Micro-samples will be analysed by SEM for grain-size distribution, morphology and composition.
Please contact Claire Horwell (Durham) directly with any queries (


For those of you who have given up checking...... Hvolsvöllur camera is working properly again. The angle of the shot is back to its original orientation so we have both 'houses on the hill' - but no mountain, as she is still hiding in the fog.

By Kathryn Barnett (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

has anyone posted or done any thermal imaging for Gigsjökull on any of the met flights?

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Oh, they've added little maps to the Mila webcams to show thier locations. Useful.

I have a new theory. My theory is that the crater of the volcano is much smaller than the volcano itself. That is the reason why it is difficult to explore volcanoes. And i think that all magmachambers are connected to each other around the world, because there is always earthquake on the edge of the continental plate or a new volcano. And one on the same time in the other edge. I´ve been doing this research by myself for the last fourteen years and i have many new ideas and theories. If you like i can reveal more about them!

By Anton Berg (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I'll have to put out some trays to try and catch some ash, but in London it might be hard to tell the ash from normal background filth. Living here, I'm rather too used to a layer of particulates accumulating on anything left outside too long.

Does anyone know the specifics for the seismometer station Básar? (Básum?) There is a tremor graph with a code "bas" but I haven't been able to find any details about it.

For anyone new: You can see a map showing the locations of the webcams by clicking on my name below. It also contains links to many information sources.

@peakVT, if you haven't already, try @9 , more details than I had found so far - (more than I know what to do with,alas!!!)

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@ birdseyeUSA 6: I certainly will take a thermal imager on my next visit to the volcano, which could be as soon as next week.

I too will put out some trays to see if we have any ash fall in my area... Not sure if it will tell them anything though as I live only 12 miles from Durham where the ash 'research' is based. surely they will be doing their own collection from there. :)

@pgen, thanks, those are new since I looked earlier this a.m.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

It seems that the IceMetOffice hasn't documented the station in Básar yet, but it was set up during the Five Cairn eruption (it's surely easier for you to say Five Cairn Ridge/Pass than Fimmvörðuháls).

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Well, Viktor, this would seem that we are in for continued eruption:

"Significant changes in horizontal movement at GPS stations around Eyjafjallajökull have been observed in the last 48 hours. Renewed northward displacement is seen at stations BAS2 and STE2, located just north of the ice cap. To the south, westward movement is apparent at THEY (see figure below), while station FIM2 - located further east - shows eastward movement.

So the volcano is inflating again.

There is increased EQ activity that could indicate increased intrusion. There is decreased tremor which can indicate a reduction in the eruptive flow, and there is increased deformation of the volcano at the surface indicating inflation of the volcano.

Okaaayy... Hvoll (the webcam at Hvolsvöllur) shows sun on the ground. Finally. Maybe we'll get a peek under Eyja's cloud kimono soon.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@PeakVT (#11): Is this what you are looking for?

Station ID: BAS2

Name: Básar
Longitude: -19.474417
Latitude: 63.676967
Network: Semi-CGPS
Installed: 2010
Monument Type: Steel mast
Antenna Type: TRM41249.00
Antenna #:
Receiver Type: Trimble NetRS
Receiver #:

See 'CGPS stations in Iceland' for details about different stations
and 'Eyjafjallajökull Volcano GPS time series' for time series showing the displacement of the different stations around Eyjafjallajökull at this URL:

earthquake in katla/eq at 16:22-16:23 today at same time.

how would we understand if katla would be influenced by eq?

Com on and blow away the clouds! I`m so curouis that OH!!!!
Please give us a little peak!

@ #22 ~ I noticed a cloud mid-screen yesterday on the Katla cam. Today it is still there in the exact same spot. Could that possibly be steam? I see the truck there but no people. :)

By Janet, Texas (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#22: Looks like it might be a tech checking the radio/TV relay on Háfell, where the cam is.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Must be a tech guy at the Katla cam. Pic is going upside down. Can't wait for the fog to lift at the other cams. With signs of increasing activity, should be interesting to see what happens the next few days. Unfortunately, this thing is quite a nuisance to the locals, and over into Europe. I do feel for them, and those who travel there.

Jón, did your Hekla helicorder decide it was time for a coffee break?

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@ Reynir - thanks.

@ Kenneth - I already have the data for the GPS station there, thanks. The seismometer is probably nearby, but they are run by different organizations, so I'm looking for something official to confirm the location.

As a non-volcanologist, am I right in concluding that as far as this volcano is concerned, (and based on George's comment #19):
1. Earthquake (EQ) = large amplitude earth shaking due to large volume of magma moving as reflected on
2. Tremor = small amplitude vibration due to magma passing through smaller passages (George's "eruptive flow") as reflected on
3. Tremor can also be due to glacier collapse 'noise' etc.
What can explain the drop in tremor seen recently?
I wish I were young again, so I could learn more about these things. So much knowledge, so little time.

Behind lawn mower
my head fills with ice pictures
Dandelions blow.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Is Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland?if iit is wow big eruption iceland made me get stuck in italy'''''''''''''''!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@dubliner 32 Good questions, hope someone will answer for us learners. Gather (maybe wrongly) that sharp spikes on hraun.vedur also indicate earthquakes.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Kultsi, The electric company took the power off of the area where my geophone is hosted. It does not have UPS at the moment, as I cannot afford one at this time. But it is going to have one soon I hope.

The reason why the tremor plots at IMO are acting strange is because of the new magma inflow. The new magma is creating pressure waves inside the volcano I think, and that creates the flux we are currently seeing. When the first pressure wave reaches the surface all bets are off what is going to happen after that. But when it does, we are going to notice it clearly on the ash plume according to my model.

On that map, the Katla caldera is inside the dashed circle below Myrdalsjokull.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

8 @Anton Berg | May 5, 2010 10:44 AM

"I have a new theory. My theory is that the crater of the volcano is much smaller than the volcano itself".

I think you are on to something because we have never found a volcano with a crater that was bigger than the volcano!

The same goes for assholes!

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

*blink* *blink* Not only is Vala out cold, but Hvoll just looked at the sky... then nowt but the proverbial 1kHz whistle tone.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@39 de Haan
Sarcasm and name calling don't belong this blog,please.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@jen #37, the Katla webcam is not pointing at Katla, but at Eyjafjallajokull. I think the fact it's called Katla is causing some confusion, but that refers to where it is not what it's looking at.

@R de. Haan #39 Really, there's no need for the mean-spirited attitude. Anton may not understand basic geological concepts, but that's no reason to start laying into him.

Hvolsvelli cam is back and Ãórólfsfelli has gone down for maintenance.

Hvoll is back up. No sign of clear sky or singing cartoon bluebirds.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

"I think you are on to something because we have never found a volcano with a crater that was bigger than the volcano!"

I think there have been several. Caldera collapse comes to mind where the resulting crated is larger than the volcano that caused it. Yellowstone, Long Valley in the US, for example.

Thank you for the help re: the earthquake map and the webcam. I knew you could see Eyjafjallajokull from it but I thought Katla was also in there somewhere. Very helpful to know it's not a view of Katla at all.


Other noteable calderas include Taal, Aniakchak, Okmok, Tengger...

@Jen #46 I knew I had the map links round here somewhere:,-19.724579&spn=0.429335,1.234589&t=p&z=10

This will give you some idea of where everything is. It is a bit confusing!

@49 Suw ~ So is there a cam that does point to Katla? Thanks for clearing things up for us novice volcano watchers!

By Janet, Texas (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Janet #50 I'm not aware of any cams that are specifically pointed at Katla, no, but perhaps someone else here knows more than I do!

Is that a huge ash cloud coming towards Katla cam or just bad weather?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Renato, same question I was having when seing it.

#47: ???

#51: Sorry, Suw, but the Katla cam does point towards Katla. It was turned a bit further west for a short while after the eruption moved into the glacier, but then reset to its usual view. The text has been reset as well.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Have the tremors gone into upswing?

@55 Suw: No problem! We all goof sometimes. At least I'm clear now on what I'm looking at. Well I would be if the darn clouds would poof out of there. :)

By Janet, Texas (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#55: I do have a slight unfair advantage: Maps of the area, plus I was thereabout last summer.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Anybody know why the Katla earthquake has been removed from the map/table?

Look at Hvol Cam!

Wow! Look at Hvolsvölur cam right now. Like Pinatubo! (just kidding)

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

the cam from Hvolsvelli if you look at the top of the image there in a nice plume showing

The Hvolsvöllur camera is showing a very tall ash cloud. Apparently the intensity of the eruption intensified. Any comments from the icelandic media?

By Holger, California (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Huge ash cloud showing on Hvolsvell cam right now. Looks like the sky might just clear enough for some decent viewing later on today.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

That`s a huge steam plume!

the cam at mulako is still under the cloud cover so nothing their

More novice questions, while we watch the show on the Hvolsvelli camera. (I know there was a whole conversation about how that's not the grammatically correct way to refer to it, but I'm afraid I still don't know the correct usage.)

- How does this current activity compare to what Eyjafjallajokull has done, historically? Bigger? About the same?

- Is it possible Katla's magma chamber would have found a route through Eyjafjallajokull? (If that's a hilarious question, I will not be offended. Just enjoying have experts here to ask.)

It was just a big "puff". Looks like it's gone by now.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Well the view on the Hvolsvöllur camera was quickly covered by clouds again, darn it.

At least now we know who's avidly watching the webcams, since there were six near simultaneous postings with the same comment ;-)

By Holger, California (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

a bit of drivel the geometry from Hvolsvell to the eruption for the plume to be that high it is in the 20,000 foot area perhaps to 25,000 ft

Wow! Just caught that glimpse of the plume too. Seems to have increased in size again today.

I must confess I'm confused by the eruption today; apparently increased ash intensity from recent imagery but lower harmonic tremor, and increased EQ activity. Do we have a rising bolus of new magma entering the system and presurring upwards, or sinking magma back to the mantle, but with water ingress to the cone causing a more explosive eruption?

A few kind words now for those who make education and learning here fun; thank you. The quality of the posts on this blog, the enthusiastic contributions, and the "signal to noise" ratio make for a pleasurable read, whether for active contributors or lurkers like me. Keep up the truly excellent work.

Argh! I spend all day with the Voda cam open, just in case, and then I miss the one notable event from Hvolsvell. Typical!

I do love the way that the media (and Accuweather) talk about how Eyjafjallajokull has erupted "again" and has a "new" ash plume, when it hasn't actually stopped, it's just ebbed a little. I suppose they think the general public can't grasp the concept of an eruption waxing and waning.

I was thinking about that too Martyn and figured if it was magma sinking then the EQ's would be in the top few km's moving downwards but the EQ's have started at depths of 20k and are now happening around 12k moving upwards, but im just a casual observer too so i may be very wrong.

Re #59. The Katla located eq appeared on Iceland and Mýrdalsjökull maps at 16.30. Stayed on all maps until disappeared 19.20. Also disappeared from tables. (It was recorded as Wednesday 05.05.2010 16:23:54, Lat: 63.613, Long: -19.275, Depth: 6.1 km, Mag: 1.7, Qual: 64.66; Location: 3.2 km SSW of Goðabunga. The ones before and after are still there.) I'm no conspiracy theorist, and this maybe to do with "Preliminary results" but is someone pulling data to stop speculation about Katla? The eq still shows on alternative map at Any thoughts? (PS, Well done folks - excellent site, discussion. Thanks.)

By Andy, Ireland (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@32 Dubliner,

well it looks like none of the professionals are going to answer this so I'll throw in my 2c:

1. an earthquake is a signal made when there is slippage along a fault or, at the low end of the scale, when rocks "crack" due to the release of tension. The signal from a quake has a typical shape, starting out large (a spike) and tapering off. The further away you get from the quake the more distinct the difference is between the P and S waves from it (see wikipedia on this). Moreover the alignment of these waves reveals useful information about the type of quake involved which is read as moment tensors. See Chris's fantastic blog entry on this:…

With regard to volcanoes, earthquakes are either tectonic in origin, like any other normal quake, or volcanic, meaning tension release due to the build-up of pressure from rising magma. As far as I know, it is virtually impossible to distinguish the two, all the more so as a lot of volcanoes are sited on typical fault lines where there is a lot of slippage anyway. So yes and no, an earthquake under Eyjafjalla might be due to rising magma, but also might indicate resettling of rocks as the volcano settles into a new position because of all the activity.

2. Volcanic tremor on the other hand has a totally different signal and can be seen as a constant buzz (like on Jon's helicorder: (scroll down a page to see it)
Tremor does not result from a sudden break of country rock but from the resonance produced by pressure build-up, myriad gas bubbles popping, steam generation (take your pick, I have heard all of these) and is commonly associated with moving magma.

Bear in mind, as you have already indicated yourself, a plot like Jón's can also display a whole range of other sources like wind or even wave action (like Raoul in the Kermadecs) as well as normal rock falls or icefalls so caution is required in reading the damn things. I still can't get my head round them and generally wait for the experts to make a statement.

With any luck one of them might chip in here and correct me :-)

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

The view from above is a little clearer:

Next time we should arrange for the the eruption happens in a sunnier locale.

#69 @Holger, I was just lucky. I've been avidly staring at those cameras the past few days, when I could, but not now. I just passed by and saw the plume, and said to myself: O, my God, @Jon Frimann (#36) was right! This is Pinatubo! And then, it dissipated. But I was not lucky enough to see all action that's been taking place. And I don't expect much after this ash fall intensifies, as we've just seen on Katla's cam.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

did anyone grab a screenshot of the plume just now?

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Here you can still see the EQ on Katla and the data are refreshened every 5 minutes!!

How is this to explain?

BTW great discussion here, I learn a lot, thanks!

The deepest earthquake recorded so far was on ~25km depth. This means that the new magma is coming from a great depth and is pushing up fast and with great pressure. This is going to mean a lot of problems when it reaches the surface, that would the top crater in Eyjafjallajökull.

@75 and 80. Thanks for the alternate link: yes, I see that the EQ is still showing there. Would love to know why it's been removed (not relocated, simply removed) from the IMO map/table. Could someone with credentials request an "official" explanation? (If there's no explanation, conspiracy theories will blossom.)

Jón, did you see Peter's comments on hydraulic coupling in the last thread? (which I agree with btw)

If fresh magma enters the system at depth there may be very little time delay to a surface expression because the pressure it causes will push the material already in the system out the top first, like a hydraulic braking system.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@bruce stout, I did know if this. As this is not complex maths. But there is also some mixing going to happen. But currently the pressure changes inside Eyjafjallajökull is creating the flux we are seeing in the harmonic tremor, as the eruption is not as simple it used to be.

@Susan, Sometimes automatic systems can be wrong, so wrong in fact that in many cases they just make up earthquake where there is none. It happens, and when it happens the false event is simply deleted and it is no problem.

@Martyn WHOA!! I can see why you were so excited. Thanks for the link.

(btw.. that forum was like stepping into a whole parallel universe!!)

Note to self: Get car ready for next holiday. Check refund of airline tickets.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@82 I'll give it a shot. I don't think there is really an official explanation needed for the EQ removal as I think they say on their site that they will remove EQs at times to verify a discrepancy. There's been a number of one's on Eyja that where removed as well and then a few are put back. During the swarm that came before the initial eruption last month, such was the case. They remove plotted EQ and verify errors in the data. The one on Katla came at the same time as two on Eyja. Someone please correct me if I am wrong. I do not see any reason for them to "hide" EQs

#85 @Susan, there's a good example of this kind of "false alarm" on the USGS site where they reported an earthquake M 8+ in Hispaniola, and then deleted it.
#79 @Bruce, I did grab a screenshot, but it was a bit too late. You can only see the plume faintly dissipating behind the clouds. I'll try to upload it on media fire and later give you the link.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Jon 85. Yes, I suspected it was a false reading. But this situation is being watched globally, so any tinkering/adjusting with the published EQ data should be explained by IMO, seems to me. Already, there are bloggers announcing Katla EQs (plural), based on this report.

For anyone looking for a good picture of the plume check Martyns link @84.

#86..Concerning the "Parallel Universe" mention, that made me think of "Dr Who" episode of the "Parallel Universe".

"E" is having an "ash/magma" convention, too bad I/we cannot see it :o(!!

By Robert Bordonaro (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Martyn - !!! And it of course happened when I made a run for more printer paper and ink.....thanks for catching it!

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

To Anton Berg and those who replied: Crater bigger than the volcano? Check out Ugashik, on the Alaska Peninsula

More very recent earthquakes on the official list.

Yippee, another EQ!! False alarm or not, but this is killing me - Iâm currently packing to go to an isolate island with no electricity (= no web)!! Eyjafjallajökull or birdwatching? I guess you guys would never choose birds. Well, I wouldn't either - if I hadn't been following this blog I'd be in Iceland now and wouldn't be afraid of buying a flight!!!! ;-)

Anyway, I've packed a dozen books about volcanoes and hope to get back soon with less of these novice questions but please, one more - yesterday you were talking about pyroclastic flows: how far do you think one could reach? The people living on the farm in Hvolsvöllur cam - are they in danger? Or the guy on Vodaphone cam yesterday at 15:38, was he really lucky? Just trying to get the picture. And hoping you icelandic guys are gonna be all right.

IMO has just released new update on activity

#91: The red text states that "these are non-validated results from automated preprocessing."

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#91 @Dagmar, I already went through this, and honestly, I don't think they would omit such valuable information as to hide EQs under Katla. I witnessed that happening at Yellowstone - there were many bigger EQs that were deleted, and the whole Yotube world came with HAARP and FBI theories and at the end I was explained by respected geologists (such as the ones we have here) that they had to recalculate the algorythms and then remove them. Sorry for the awkward explanation. And I wouldn't be that much alarmed if there were actual EQs under Katla, since it's a fault zone. If Jón Frimann and other helicorders would show harmonic tremors, then we should start to worry, but as they say: Katla and Hekla are "silent", they don't show much warning before they blow.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Another one under EF

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

This may be a dumb question, but is there any correlation (or inverse correlation) between earthquakes and tremor? Has anyone plotted one against the other?

We need an aerial webcam, looking down from above the clouds. Hardly too much to ask for, is it?

By Bjarni, Hafnar… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@ Peter

just in case you are following this thread, I just replied to your last post in the last thread.

does that make sense? grief... must be time for bed.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Susan/TX & Dagmar. Re Katla - some days ago, there was an interview with Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson (the "head geophysicist") who reminded people that most eruptions of Katla are no bigger than the current one in Eyjafjöll and many smaller. Professor Guðmundsson said that very big eruptions of Katla are rare indeed and that since the last big-ish one was in 1918, the chances very much favour a smaller eruption next time (IIRC).

Anyone remember where the interview was posted?

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#103 @Suw, I don't know if @dubliner explanation (#32) answers your question, but as far as I know, earthquake swarms, volcanoes and harmonic tremors have much in common. I can't tell you much more than that, or if I clearly understood what you mean by "correlation". (This is a total amateur speaking, please!)

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

another photo of plume at

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

How about the obvious, that Katla last erupted in 1999 as a completely subglacial event?

@ Bjarni

totally agree. I mean, even a balloon tethered to a line would do it.

@ everyone:
this rise in eq activity worries me a bit. I mean, the conduit is open, so why is so much pressure building up in the system to generate this kind of activity - or is this activity in reaction to the evacuation of so much material? (for some reason I doubt this, considering the volcano is inflating again). Note too, that the quake activity ranges through the entire thickness of the crust. hmm...

@Ekoh, Erik, Heidi or one of the other pros:
I was assuming that the evolved magmas would be found in chambers in the crust. Can they also be generated at the mantle/crust boundary? Could we be witnessing a change in eruptive behavior because more evolved magma is now reaching the surface from depth?

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Renato #108 What I mean is that I was wondering if there's any point plotting the tremor and the earthquakes on the same graph, and whether that would show up any interesting correlations between the two. E.g. if there was a peak in tremor at the same time as an earthquake, then perhaps the two are related. Or if it might show an inverse correlation, e.g. when there's a dip in tremor there's an increase in EQs.

I'm not sure if there'd be anything to be gained, but just curious about whether the two plotted together would be useful or just a curio.

#107 Scary cloud! Is it supposed to precipitate as acid rain, or the SO2 will just remain up there blocking sun radiation? How toxic could this be to Irish people?
Does it mean we are having here more basaltic magma, as in Hawaii?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#112 @Sue, I'm sorry for my dumb interpretation of your question, which certainly was not directed to me.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Renato #113

on the contrary. When the April 14 eruption started a lot of the explosive activity could be explained by the interaction of glacial melt flashing to steam and blasting up very fine ash (much to the disappointment of various airlines)

Now the vent is clear of the glacier so the explosive activity we are seeing is likely solely due to the quality of the magma (unless a new vent has opened under the ice, which is a distinct possibility). However, if this eruption cloud is from the existing vent it means we are looking at much more explosive magma (i.e. magma with a lot of dissolved gas in it, most likely dactite/andesite). This would be a totally new ball game.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#112 Oops, Suw! Just didn't want to leave it unanswered.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Renato No worries at all!! If I had more time I'd figure out how to plot the two things together myself, but sadly I'm up against the Deadline From Hell. Not that you could tell, given the time I've spent here tonight! ;)

# 113: This is not likely to be toxic to the Irish, but if you have asthma and suffer from pollen allergy, this could add to your woes. It is (jet) aircraft that are in danger of critical trouble if they stay at the wrong altitude too long.
Because of the eruption, Swedish TV is showing "Dante's Peak" this weekend. I am wondering which event in the film is *the most exaggerated*: The lake water that becomes acid (instead of merely acidic), the ash that clogs up the helicopter turbine in mere minutes, or something else?
-Btw Pierce Brosnan will have his 59th birthday on Sunday. By now he should be big enough to get films with better scripts (although Dante's Peak was far far better than

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Check out the Katla Cam. I'm seeing things that shouldn't be there.

I believe Jon's helicorders are up again.

Suw - I'm just an amature newbee here, butI just read a blog written by Haraldur Sigurðsson where he mentions that small earthquakes can occurre without getting notised when there is a lot of tremor

By VigdÃs - Iceland (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#116 #118 I'm mostly grateful for all the learning I get here. I really can't help you with the plotting, (wish I could)!
@Bruce, that means I was not so far when I compared this to Pinatubo? - Scary...!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Matlee What is it that you are seeing that bothers you?

@ vigdis - Welcome!!

Haraldur Sigurdsson is quite right. You can even see them on Jón's plot.
But I would LOVE it if you could give us a synopsis of his blog post. Google translate just doesn't do it for me. I'd love to hear his take on the latest developments.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#120..Viewing a Katla Cam, not sure if the plume of steam/ash is from "E" or Katla, link below:

By Robert Bordonaro (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@birger 119 My fave part of Volcano is when they beat the pyroclastic flow into the cave. Wow, that truck is fast.

By parclair NoCal (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I believe that would be too close to be E I did see that
earlier and was told it was a cloud...but it back in the same spot as before

#119 @Birger: I'm glad the Irish will be spared the hazard. But I hope that airlines won't insist it is harmless this time. As for Dante's Peak, well, don't you think it's kind of funny that acid lake? Maybe films like this respond for a contradiction we show in our love for volcanoes. We want to see the best of their blows and still don't want them to cause any harm. But then we watch those movies and we believe that we can just escape a piroclastic flow riding a jeep.
#120 @MattLee: Do you mean the steam cloud?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@127 That was Dante's Peak

What do you see unusual on the katla cam ? i can not spot anything unusual with my untrained eye.

Tremor plots ticking slightly higher too

I am inclined to think that the white is a normal cloud in a mountainous area if i am wrong the game is totally changed
it looks like clouds in northern new england in the mountans

I think what your looking at on the Katla cam is a form of Lee cloud. Now if there is any heat escaping that could cause something similar but its been there all day and i would think the Iceland Authorities would be pretty worried about it if it was anything to be concerned with.

Maybe her crater ins't big enough right now to release all the pressure that is coming from deep below.
So pressure (deep below) builds up and it wil widen already existing channels and/or make new ones on the way up. (creating EQ spikes)
After the spikes the eruption can get more power like she
did 2 times before with the fissures and the crater eruptions. (does this makes sense?)
Is she in for a third time?
anyway,i think she's not going to close the curtains any time soon.


Here is the balloon,err, satellite.


Real-time images, you have to find Iceland yourself, though. It is on this picture, for instance…

The plume can be better discerned in Bands 3-6-7 images than in true-color.

Sorry if this was posted earlier.


Re Katla - Unfortunately the moment I got back to the cam they switched the exposure. All the colours were gone and there was less definition in the view. I thought I had seen a grey cloud rising, expanding and moving to the right behind the white cloud. The other thing that bothered me was the sheer size and effect of the light on the horizon. I would have thought that the crater area of EJ could not be seen from that angle.

Just five syllables,
Followed by seven more,
Self-referential ;-)

@127 Volcano was where lava flows 20 times as fast in a sewer as when on the surface. Dante's Peak was where you could drive over a semi liquid lava flow in a truck AND save the dog.
Iceland seems to have the same weather as Skye today. Is there any prospect of fine viewing weather tomorrow?

#120: If you mean the cloud at centre, it's an ordinary water vapour cloud. Think humid air hitting a steep mountainside. There's one right where the cloud is, and the prevailing wind is towards it.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Re. correlation between tremors and earthquakes.

As far as I understand things, while a seismogram contains essentially the whole time domain signal (there is the issue of sampling rate, but let's not go there), a tremor graph shows only the time averaged energy (no phase information) in a certain narrow band of adjacent frequencies. So a seismogram is to a tremor graph as a recording is to, say, the c-note.

So in general, yes there is a strong correlation between the two types of signals.

Caveat: IANAS. (I am not a seismologist)

By Emanuel Landeholm (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#120 #128 Well, I must say that this foggy area has been there for the past days and it seems it's just a local mist. By the way, is there any possibility that Katla's eruptions, in the past, might have been confused with those of Eyjlaf? It's happened before, with Novarupta, in Alaska.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@138 maybe it depends on language/pronunciation how many syllables you find?

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Hello everybody, some of us here in Romania are volcano-adicted too :) Since our volcanoes are long time extinct (leaving quite beautiful marks, as you can see ), I'm all eyes for Eyja. Thanks a lot for providing all the info and fun! :)
That being said, nobody seemed to notice that the last quake was extremely shallow, only 0.2km (200m)!!! It's only preliminary (not yet at 99.0 by quality) so it may be changed later, but still, very interesting to think what happened at such little depth to trigger it...
Keep flowing! :)

By cristihan, RO (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Reynir @ 140 We missed each other in the ether. See my 137.
I suspect it was the ash cloud drifting from EJ - but it didn't look that way when I saw it. The light on the horizon was very red and bright at the time with reflections in the clouds, as there are now, but the colours are gone.

@130 You're right, Dante's Peak: I slipped between mind and fingers:-) My fave part of Volcano (among MANY high points) is when the lava is diverted (!?!) through the storm drains (!?!) into the ocean without any freezing and damming of the lava(!?!)

About the eq situation. I'm curious to see if a rift eruption starts at Eyja. When I look at rift maps ( for example) One runs by/thru Eyjaf. Other volcanos on the rift have had these sorts of eruptions. The north south line of the eqs makes me wonder whether the magma is moving up in one continuous line.

@111 Bruce, what do you mean by evolved lava?

By parclair NoCal (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Frag! Bet I missed the one millisecond where there was a view of Eyja at all, too.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@bruce stout
My english is not that good that I'm ready to translate his blog word by word, but he is bloging about a trip he made to the Icelandic IMO. He had a talk about the erruption and checked out theyre instruments. He discovered that small earthquaces can be "lost" in the tremor, and that although the "measuring net" is good, earthquakes need to be over 1,5 on Westfirðir to be picked up and over 1,0 on Snæfelsnes. He want's this to be improved, and suggests putting up measuring stations at two new plases, because although people might think there are now quaces there, they could be but are not picked up.

By VigdÃs - Iceland (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Randall: damn, they must have seen my post :)
Otherwise, small difference, 0.2 compared to 18.4, I understand how computers get confused like that :)

By cristihan, RO (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

bruce stout (#125)

re. Haraldur Sigurðsson's blog: He makes a mention of the fact that smallish EQ's aren't picked up, or don't register, when there are a lot of tremors (as VigdÃs has already said).

In layman's terms:

Most of his entry is about EQ sensors or rather the gaps in the network of sensors that need to be filled. The accompanying map shows the coverage in Iceland. The red and orange areas have a very good EQ sensor network. In the yellow areas only EQs above 1 register and in the green areas only EQs above 1.5 register.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

VigdÃs beat me to it!

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Suw, I just got back on and I haven't checked all the posts so if this is a repeat, you will know why.

The stuff that you get in London that is the usual junk is very different from ash. You can tell the difference under a microscope immediately, I think. So just set out your trays and the people who are going to assess it will take care of particulars.

I have a degree in electron microscopy so I know a little about it. My degree was a tech degree so I don't have a 4yr. though it took me 4yrs to get it. LOL It was not easy.

Anyway, I hope you will get some good samples and I think it is great you can be a part of the research. Not fun to have the ash, but having the samples will help immensely for the knowledge we will get from it.

Thank you for doing it.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@ Vigdis 151 THANKS!! Very much. I really appreciate your effort. Icelandic sounds so beautiful but I am totally at sea with it. Haraldur Sigurdsson is such a big name in Iceland volcanology I wish he posted in English (though unfair of me I know).

@Anna cheers!

@ parclair this goes back to a post by Ekoh where he explained how rhyolite could "evolve" from basaltic and theolitic magmas by crystal fractionation. Basically the stickier magmas like dactite and rhyolite can develop over time from basalt magmas like you find on mid-ocean ridges.
The stickier magmas tend to be more explosive.

.. and now I have to hit the sack. g'night everyone. hope the weather clears.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink…

I am posting this here, because it is what I myself, and the taker of this picture witnessed at 21:55:40 Iceland time on the Katla cam. It is relevant to your discussion.

It was an explosion, or seemed like an explosion to me anyway.

We both posted threads about it on a conspiracy forum, but were ridiculed.

An orange glow started forming on the cam right where that bright flash occurred at around 21:44 Iceland time, then that happened.

The glow is STILL there now too.

The Katla cam now - surely that light can't be coming from the EJ crater? Isn't it too far over to the right? The exposure setting of the cam can give strange impressions but this is odd.

@159: I think it was the sun.

mwill, thanks for the link. I am trying to imagine what trick of sunlight and clouds/mist/fog/ash could produce that effect.....very odd indeed.

Mr Moho, with respect, the sun was behind the camera at the time and even the reflected glow on clouds near sunset wouldn't account for that. The light source is still moving to the right on the Katla cam. What is it?

@159 mwill: I was watching today when that happened. I must say I was a little freaked out when it happened too. I think they were adjusting the camera and moved it toward the sun and it gave an effect of an explosion ( a very good one). Techs had been there a couple of times today working on the camera.

By Janet, Texas (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@mwill,mattlee, I think if there were trouble at Katla all our Icelandic friends here would be saying something about it,and there would be strong warnings on local radio and TV. Iceland doesn't play with the safety of its people. They will let us know, I'm sure, if something happpens - not to mention the scientists whose blog and life work this is.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Has anyone else noticed anything unusual at the Katla summit in Iceland?

By Robert Bordonaro (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Dubliner #32, This is as far as I have gotten so far in catching up. LOL. You are never too old to learn. I don't know your background so if you haven't studied much geology, go to Amazon and get a book called "Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Tsunamis" by David A. Rothery. It isn't very expensive and it is part of the Teach Yourself line of books. It is a very good book for those who want to learn the basics and I think it will help you to know what we are all talking about. In the mean time, keep asking questions.

On your first question, if it hasn't been answered, some of the quakes with large amplitude can be techtonic in nature, even when around a volcano. In CA, Mammoth Mt. has a couple of techtonic faults on it so some of the quakes there are techtonic. Some may be due to magma movement under the mountain and some may be due to the snow and CO2 seepage that is there. Mammoth also has a small glacier there and the CO2 gets trapped under the snow in winter and it can be a problem. I don't know all of the mechanisms that are working in a volcano, but there can be both magmatic and techtonic large magnitude quakes going on. I hope this helps with the first question.

I think if there was a glacier collapse, there would be more than just tremor. I think there would be a large amplitude quake (no necessarily a huge quake) that would show a different pattern on the graf than a typical quake. I am not sure on that, but that makes sense to me.

Tremor can also be caused by slow rise of a large influx of magma in a conduit. At least that is my understanding as well as probably through some of the smaller channels magma takes before it breaks out.

The reduction in frequency of tremor is probably due to a slowing of the magma in the conduit. It is sort of like trying to use a cake decorator. You push the stuff though and when you slow down on the squeeze, there is less pressure and less shaking of the cake decorator. Sorry about the analogy. It is what I could think of right now. LOL

It is more complicated than what I have said, but it involves magma, gases in the magma, and the pressure that is exerted which is from the gases being built up. I would think there is less pressure after some of the gas has been released.

I hope I am giving you some good ideas here. I could be wrong on some of it, but I do know that gases create a lot of pressure in the magma.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

i liked the part where the alligator ate the cow......



Latest update from the Iceland Met Office:

Assessment - 05 May 2010 20:50
Increased seismicity suggests that new material is intruding from deep below Eyjafjallajökull and latest GPS-observations suggest inflation. So far, GPS-signals are not large.

Plume at 5.5-6.5 km height (a.s.l.) according to IMO's weather radar.

Due to mild weather and snowmelt, increase in discharge was noticed in Markarfljót peaking at midnight. Discharge from GÃgjökull seems to be decreasing and oscillations in water temperature at the old Markarfljóts bridge relate to air temperature. Pulses of meltwater from GÃgjökull are unnoticeable.

Lava flows to the north and spreads at 500 m a.s.l. The lava tongue is about 200 m wide and lava channels that join at the tongue are about 30-60 m wide. The lava channels gets wider every day.

There are no signs that the eruption is about to end.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@167 Yes, the summit is boring. For Iceland that is unusual.

Katla erupted in 1999 maybe. That might have been the once in a generation performance which would have been most unimpressive because it wasn't easily recognized as being an eruption.

I have no expertise. Yet my intuition tells me that Katla has been there, done that and fizzed quietly, this time round.

@Bruce 105. Yes its their symmetrical shape that limits choices of mechanism. I agree with you re crustal extension being more likely to produce a sudden sharp rise that tails off - we didnt see that.
Maybe there is 'string of beads' coming from a discrete deep site. Would magma rheology predict smaller beads to rise faster than larger ones? - our two biggest were the last to arrive. Maybe some really small ones arrived before march but were of too small a size to generate a discernible shape of spike? But those EQs should still be clumpy, not randomly distributed temporally. I'd suggest the entire 2010 swarm should be interrogated for your 'string of beads' phenomena??

I'm still hoping we see more oscillations, .....though a free-flowing eruption would not produce them (to my thinking, the hydraulic pressure disppates up the conduit) so maybe on the other hand its good they have gone!!

I suspect that we have reached the limit of our efforts at explaining them. Maybe the literature contains examples of other symmetrical EQ oscillations,but that is a job for professionals. Or maybe they exist unnoticed in data sets from other volcanos - another job for a professional to uncover.
It would I think be very useful if the EQ rate data for all of march (maybe all 2010) were archived on-line as a simple hor by hour static plot so that the peculiar earthquake rate oscillations are in the public domain. But Socuel's plot starts with the eruption, that's too late to see the oscillations. So our conversation about oscillations and boluses must appear very esoteric to any audience who came to this site later than 20th March! My apologies folks.

By Peter Cobbold (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

mwill @165 and Raving @167 I am not suggesting that anything is happening to Katla just that odd things can be seen on the Katla cam.

@petercobbold172 But we're doing our best to catch up!

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

How does it come that the cams at Eyjafjallajökull are dark (night) and the Katla cam shows light? I mean I see white clouds or steam at Katla right now.

@Dagmar 175 - Shhhhhhhh! They don't like us to talk about it. :)

175 and 176. Either the moon is real bright shining through the clouds, or something is glowing. I am not sure if that is from the "E" Volcano in the distance, or Katla is "alive". ANY word from the great folks in Iceland?

By Robert Bordonaro (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@mattlee Haha, well I see it and you too, I find it weird that the Katla cam has light and the other cams are dark. I did see the orange ealier too, can't be the sunset because the Katla cam points to the NORTH :-)

Are the lights on the Katla cam maybe Northern Lights?

By Corporal_E (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Dagmar - On consideration I think the orange glow might have been the sun (out of the corner of the cam's eye, as it were) but there were other things on the cam that looked odd. I would be surprised if the light from the EJ crater could travel so consistantly through the cloud cover. But that does not mean that Katla is erupting. Something else might be happening elsewhere on EJ or in between where the original eruption took place.

@birdseyeUSA 174. We are trying to understand why the EQ swarm that preceeded the eruption was unusually structured: there were distinct oscillations in EQ rate. One big 'spike' on 15-16 March lasted 24 hours,with peak rates af around 1 EQ per minute, separated from others by a day or more of low rates(1-5per hour). Watching them in real time was exciting. The spike rose rapidly from basal rates, plataued for most of the 24 hours (with suprimosed 'spikelets') then fell away as rapidly as it started. We have been speculating as to how a volcano could generate such organised behaviour. Its all wild guessing with no professional input (or inhibitions). I can email you the plots if you post your email here.

By Peter Cobbold (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@petercobbold181 thanks you, maybe someone with more prof. e-address, me, so won't post, thanks anyway. I 'm sorta getting the gist of it little by little! Is there a link you could post for all?

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Last night someone was saying that Iceland has hit the point of twilight at midnight. I think the Katla cam has low light capabilities. And lastly, earlier today, other someones said the Katla cam is not actually aimed at Katla, but across to Eyjafjallajökull.

@Dan, Florida & Corporal E - Perhaps you didn't see what we saw. There was a single bright light source originally. Then there were two. The strength of the twilight could clearly be seen at the same time on the cloud in the middle distance. Anyway it's 2 am here and I'm off to bed. Big long night in UK tomorrow. EJ has given me just the training I need for it. :)

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I saw the 'clouds of light' on the Katla cam. It's not an eruption but I have no idea of what it was. I don't even know if the camera is pointed at Katla.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

The sun does set 'northward' up here in the late spring/summer time. And sometimes the northerlights are bright enough to shine through the hazy clouds.

And the moon does odd stuff too.

It could be this:
RIOTOUS AURORAS: A solar wind gust hit Earth's magnetic field on May 2nd and triggered the longest-lasting geomagnetic storm of the year (so far).......

Icelandic humor --->

(The error message is in English)

My camera withdrawal is so bad..........this morning my 5 boys accused me making the cinnamon rolls look like little volcanoes!

2 new EQ's not very deep

The ash cloud has now been reported at 31.000 feet high (~9.5km) I am even expecting the ash cloud go get higher as the time passes and the new magma comes up Eyjafjallajökull plumbing system.

Renee, I know what you mean about cam withdrawl, lol. I am having it as I am sure we all are.

Don't know about this
No cams to watch and no bliss
Show thyself Eyjaf

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Any climate changes possible? A pretty big SO2 column suddenly appeared for today...… (updates daily) (permalink, copy and paste)

To see what I mean, here is yesterday's: (change last two digits to see any date in May 2010; to see any other month you also need to change the name of the two-digit and four-digit folders, for instance .../2009/02/...20090214 for February 14, 2009)

@194 Jón: Sounds like the stratosphere to me! Am I correct? Hmmm... Vigorous SO2 emissions into the stratosphere... Laki, anyone?

another EQ 3rd for today Thursday already 1.7 2.9km deep

@Fireman #191

Aha! I knew there was someone (an insane someone!?!) over there last night. A few of us saw moving lights on the other side of the river over the passage of about an hour.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Fireman #191

Aha! I knew there was someone (an insane someone!?!) over there last night. A few of us saw moving lights on the other side of the river over the passage of about an hour.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I am going through web-cam withdrawls! I pray and hope the weather clears up near our friendly "E" volcano, so we all can watch the beauty of the eruption. The little peeks we get of the ash/steam plume is nothing but a huge tease.

By Robert Bordonaro (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I'm going to say this cautiously, since everytime I say I can see something, clouds cover it up, but right now, on the Hvolsvelli cam, you can just see the top of a huge black plume at the top of the screen ... so it's still way up there!

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

#203, You're right, as the dawn is breaking over Iceland, we can now see the top of the ash/steam plume!! HOORAY!!!

By Robert Bordonaro (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

It looks like it goes off the screen too so you know it hs to be way up there over 30,000 feet. I doubt the clouds will break up though at least not for a few more hours.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@Chance I hope it doesn't take a few more hours ... I have to go to bed in about 45 minutes. I would be nice to see at least one eruption before then :)

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Me too I only got a few more mintues myself. It ahs been awhile since we have seen a ash plume this alrge, since the strart of the 2nd eruption in fact.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Anyone desperate for volcano views can look at the HVO cams ( ). Not much happening, though.

Thorolfsfell camera is just starting to come into focus as well. Hopefully we'll see some 'good stuff' today and not have everything covered in fog.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Just out of curiosity what would be the direction of the current plume?

The plume is blowing to the south east.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I am afraid that for the next week or so it will be towards Europe. I would have to look at the long range info to tell you for sure just how long. Dan in Florida are you up? He may know for sure....Lately I haven't kept up as close as I normally would.

Holy crap! That's an impressive ash plume. What direction is it blowing, North? NE?

And, I don't want to jinx anything, but I think I can see a volcano on the Ãóró cam. Well, the lower half of one anyway.

Ragutis toward the Southeast.....if you mean the web cam......I think you are seeing steam from lava and water/ice right now but there might be a new vent in there somewhere.....maybe a little higher up.

The image on the Thorolfsfell cam is coming clearer but still has a way to go. I'm suspecting that there has been more landslides from the right hand side of the moraine ... looks like the water flow is all heading to the right side of the meltwater pond around a dark mass.

But, I guess I'll only find out for sure in the morning. It's my bedtime.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink


What happened to the pristine snow covered volcano I remember from this past weekend. The eruption column now looks really menacing on the webcams.

This time I was lucky. Dear me! Anybody needs screenshots?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

@218 ... right hand side of the meltwater pond, should have said "left"

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I suspect that there will be no flights in Europe for awhile. This is the largest plume I have seen on this volcano. If this keeps up, forget about Katla. We might be graduating into the big time right here.

I've been away for a week with no connectivity. Pure torture! I can't believe how much has changed, It will take awhile to catch up, but meanwhile I am so STUNNED by the plume just now on the Hvolsvelli cam. Wow. Plus some new seismic activity. Drrr!

What happened to the cams?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Rats! Both cams went down. Now why would they do that just when we were able to SEE something?! mumble mumble mumble!

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Oops!They're back.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Randall, I think both of them may be away given the different time zones. It is 10:50pm where Erik is and it is probably morning where Boris is. Maybe Erik has turned in, but Boris should be up or will be soon. I think they should see it, too.

Boris, if you are on, take a look. Quite a blast going.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I am estimating that the plume has now reached at least ~12 km altitude now. But earlier it was at it's highest about 9.5 km. The power of the eruption seems to be increasing fast at the moment.

Figured you were, Erik. :-)

I must say there is a lot of interesting wind shear up there with the clouds moving one way and the ash looked like it was going two ways. I suppose an eruption like this can create some strong wind shear.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Anything on the news?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I'm confused. (Not the first time, I assure you)

The Hvolsvöllur cam faces ESE. The plume is heading away and to the left. Either I'm lysdexic, or that's northish, east at best. ESE would be directly away, SE would be away and to the right. Or is it getting turned around at higher levels?

I've had a couple of beers, but I did get my orienteering merit badge 20 some years ago.

Then again, I spent 10 minutes looking for my car at the mall last weekend.

Impressive nonetheless.

Last Updated by PeakVT 10 hours ago
Location of the MÃla.Is Hvolsvöllur webcam (camera looks east-southeast and is located ~33km/20.5mi from caldera at ~60m)

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Vodafone stills becoming viewable, BTW. Meltwater is waaaay down, it seems. Anyone see any lava glow this a.m.? I didn't.

I think the ash cloud is blowing to the east right now, too. The IMO wind and ash forecasts agree. Just east of Mýrdalsjökull and offshore, though, the winds turn sharply to the south.

Those are low level clouds you see on the Hvolsvelli with the plume peeking through. The plume is way up there and with force, which means it's probably not being affected by the relatively weak low level winds.

Ragutis and Renato, what you are seeing is clouds coming in that are drifting from another direction than the eruption. That is called wind shear when the direction of the wind changes abruptly at certain altitudes. Pilots have to deal with it all the time. Here in CA there is an airport just out of Sacramento in the little town of Lincoln that has some wind shear upon take-off. I got into it once and it was a bit of a challenge to say the least. Wind shear can make a plane drop or rise rather quickly and it can be scary if you don't know how to deal with it. It can be very disconcerting to suddenly be put into a bank on take-off when you are not very far off the groound. I had that happen and I was soloing and decided to ride with the bank in controled flight to get past it. I also have had the plane rise 200' in just a few seconds. If it had gone down, I would have had a problem.

So that is what is going on up there. Wind shear.

By Diane N CA (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I saw a slight glow on Thóra but no more.
Well it's time to bed. Have a good time of all you!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

"And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire"
Micah Chapter 1 Verse 4

Just a verse I remembered from my religious days:)

I just started watching thoro cam after nightshift. It's 6am BST here and I was watching a yellow-glowing cloud from the lava flow. At first I thought the glow was reflected from the lava flow but it has followed the cloud. I think it's phosphorescence.

@Eddie - was also seeing same, although I thought perhaps it was the sunrise reflecting on the steam?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

I don't know if this has been asked already, so forgive me for a naive question, but: how much SO2 is this eruption releasing? Have any COSPEC readings been taken? Will this lead to another (sigh!) wet cold summer in Britain? I know that cooling effects are usually associated with major explosive events, but the famous 'mystery cloud' (tracked back to a relatively small eruption of Nyamlagira) showed that stratospheric SO2 can come from unexpected sources: and this eruption has continued for some time now

Hi Mike, I haven't heard anything on that front but I have been tracking the Modis SO2 page frequently (mainly to track Gaua) and have not seen any significant SO2 concentrations over Iceland at all.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

mike don sorry I don't have the figures....if you see them anywhere please post them. It might have put out quite a bit of SO2 over the past few days. Today I think it was putting ash high enough but how much SO2....that is a very good question....I would like to know the answer to that myself.

@Peter (#172) & other "oscillationists". The difficulty is that we see the boluses in two dimmensions only, indirectly. It reminds me of the imaginary two-dimmensional creature who sees a ball pass through, only in our case we know very little about the shape of our plane of view - the underside of the Icelandic continental crust where the EQs give us a pinpoint image similar to those of cosmic rays on photographic film. To take the cosmic ray analogy a bit further - it's as if we were trying to build a picture of the star reponsible for the rays from their impact in another medium.

Intellecually fascinating to us "oscillationists" but boring as H to anyone just "here for the view"!

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Jaw-drop. Wow!! that must have all been in the last 36 hours or so since the last time I checked. Looks like the eruption has REALLY ramped up.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Boris or Erik higher SO2 and more explosive magma...this is not a very good sign is it? Could it be that a big mafic recharge is mixing the magma?

Afraid so Randall, good morning btw! But I do notice the changes in water emission from Gigjökull. a) Down to pre-lava flow levels, b) Right side (west) almost "dried up" - main supply now from left side (east). Wonder how deep that pit behind the remaining ice wall is and how long it will resist?

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Where can you find the depth of the earthquakes?
And where is all the meltwater gone to?

Randall N-The altitude is generally about the jet max-35,000. But the word YIKES comes to mind because that indicates this thing is really chugging from the belly of the beast. SO2 is dangerous as hell to the environment and it will cut the ozone and clouds like a knife, turn the salt water fresh in ref to the THC and that aint good.

With a 1/3rd slowdown in the last 25 years of the THC it explains loads of stuff about the environment and perceptions of it. I read a paper yesterday that suggested that if the THC slowed by even another 10% it would freeze a lot of the EU year round and actually make snowcanes. The water simply would stay relatively warm at the equatorial regions, super hot in fact and then release hurricanes north into abruptly colder climates, thus turning it into the snowcane. It would explain a lot of stuff such as the incursion of the ice fields of the ice age all the way to the Kentucky line. Same with the mastadons. Relatively warm, running in front is a hurricane and then it encounters the cold. BOOM - 12 inches of snow in every inch of rain.

But, that SO2 in that concentration is big time bad ju-ju. Strongest concentration I have EVER seen and it has little dispersion.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

hi Henrik, the low outflow might indicate ponding but it could also indicate lower lava levels because the magma is now all getting blasted sky high.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Have you got any screenshots of the plume..... i always miss it.


By claire uk (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Just out of curiosity on the SO2 charts is the scale PPM?

clair uk sorry I didn't get any I was too busy looking.

Henrik sure looks like this volcano has entered a new and not so nice phase....I sure wish Boris or Erik were online....I would love to ask them a few questions right about now;)

Even though the column appears to be much larger to those lucky enough to see it earlier this morning, I very much doubt that the eruption has gained in strength.

The reason it appears higher and that we have renewed air space closures is the local weather - summit-hugging, water-rich clouds that "are eaten" by the eruption, hurling it several times higher into the air. This phenomenon - water fed to an eruption - was very obvious on the 17th (snow) and a few days ago (cloud).

Any half-decent vulcanologist will confirm that this is so. ;) ;)

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Tremor is down to very low levels - for this eruption - with a slight upturn in the last hour after a 32-hour period of steady decline (44 hours if you allow for slight-to-moderate reversals). However, this volcano behaves in a rather peculiar manner as there seems to be an inverse relationship to level of tremor & all other indicators of eruptive activity.

Erik, Boris, EKoh, Gijs, Heidi! Is the Eyjafjalla volcano a reprobate amongst volcanoes?

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Henrik, that SO2 map tells it all. There was virtually no SO2 signal a couple of days ago. Also the brief visuals showed a MUCH bigger plume, possibly due to atmospheric effects, granted, but I doubt there is enough water in clouds to generate such a pronounced change. Moreover, it's not the first time we have had dense cloud cover over the eruption.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Oh I trust you Randall! (Morning Bruce!) But think about it! What were the weather conditions like when the first period of air traffic closures were neccessitated by spread of ash? Thick cloud over Eyjafjallajökull! And now, with new closures? Thick cloud over Eyjafjallajökull! In between, what happened when there was no cloud over Eyjafjallajökull? The eruption column only reached ½ of previously attained heights.

I know Erik says "Correlation is not causation" and I wholeheartedly agree. But on this occasion, with an SO2 rich and H20 poor magma and the closest sources of water being cloud, snow and ice, the conclusion is inescapable. At least inescapable enough to merit further search for and reading of scientific journals, papers and works! ;)

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

Henrik if it is putting out that much more SO2 that means the whole makeup of the magma/magma chamber has changed....and not for the better. Maybe we need Erik or Boris to talk me down now but I tell you it's not a good sign.

sorry mean't the east forgive me its only 3am here

@Vigdis #151 and @Anna #154 Thanks for the translation. Very interesting stuff!

@Diane, #156 Thanks for the info. I'm not sure I'll get a decent sample here as I'm not sure if any ash is actually falling this far south. But I will give it a go, possibly after the roadworks that are right outside my door have finished, as I'm sure they are kicking up more particulates than usual.

@ everyone watching the Katla cam: I think we have to be very careful about possibly overinterpreting what we see on the webcams. I was watching the Katla cam last night when it automatically adjusted its aperture to better cope with the failing light and the result was darkness and then a flash. It surprised me, but when I looked at the picture it was clear that the camera was adjusting to the light, and that nothing had really happened. It's quite easy for things, like the sun, to look weird on webcams.

Right... time now for me to start hoping that Eyjaf is kind and lets my husband fly home from Budapest on Sunday!

So how long has it been since the river dried up? It seems to be back at its pre-eruption flow rate ....

#96 Essi

How intense pyroclastic flows would Eyjafjälla produce? It had always been assumed that Hekla was incapable of producing the most dangerous of volcanic phenomena, the pyroclastic flow. However, a team from the Norvol Institute in ReykjavÃk, reported in 2003 that they found traces of a pyroclastic flow, roughly 5 km long, stretching down the side of the mountain. This will call for a reappraisal of volcanic eruptions of the basic rock type, which up to now were generally thought not to produce large pyroclastic flows. Any suggestions about Eyjafjälla?

I believe the plume is about to come into sight on the Hvoll cam. It may already be infact. Clouds spliting.

on the Hvol cam you can just start to make out the plume...I hate it when the clouds tease!lol

Um... seems to be a significant reduction in steam on the glacier. Lava flow interrupted?

I gotta get some sleep now. I really have a bad feeling about the SO2 increase. I hope when I get up later Erik and Boris have both told me just how wrong I am.

The ash cloud how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking
The wind through it playing has language for me.
Whenever the light through its branches is breaking,
A host of kind faces is gazing at me.
The friends from my childhood again are before me
Each step brings a memory as freely I roam.
With soft whispers laden the leaves rustle oâer me
The ash cloud, the ash cloud alone is my home.

The ash cloud has descended on Hvolsvöllur :-|

@raving - Thanks, that slight re-arrangement of one of my native folk-songs brought a tear to my eye.... I'm Welsh and couldn't help breaking into song!
Let's hope that this ash cloud doesn't do too much damage - but I too worry about the SO2.

By Kathryn, Australia (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

A new EQ at 24.5 km

For those who mentioned air travel disruption here is latest information as i see it.
Both surface wind and high altitude winds keep the concentrated ash to the west of the UK. There may be some high altitude no fly zones over the Atlantic. That is till Monday of next week when upper winds start to head back over the British Isles and some other parts of Western Europe. By Wednesday of next week surface winds also head in a general direction towards us from the Eruption. As we go further ahead there is more room for error but it would appear that flights will have little disruption until late in weekend and then it depends if the Volcano is still as active as it is again right now. If it stays like this i think we may see some disruption next week.

ah, finally the Hvolsvelli webcam is clearing up ... looks like a serious plume indeed, though in part that might be due to less wind rather than strengthened eruptive activity (especially with the low tremor we're seeing since yesterday). But it's always difficult to tell when you're not there and have more information than just a webcam image.

Suw (#272) is perfectly right, watching web cams can be the cause of a lot of misinterpretation, again that's one thing we've had a lot of trouble with at Etna. Especially once the cams are more sophisticated, like infrared or thermal. Many of these do seem to light up when it gets dark, and sometimes show more detail and more structure in clouds at night than during daylight.

Sometime ago I took a shot of the sun rising behind Vesuvius, for the untrained eye this might well look like an eruption (without ash, though):

Somebody said this before, if Katla were to erupt, the news would explode all over the globe in a matter of a few minutes. And after all, chances are that once it erupts, it will not be much bigger or maybe even be smaller than what we've seen here in the past couple weeks. There's absolutely no way to tell. For the moment, it's not showing any signs of an imminent eruption, and I think the story developing at Eyjafjallajökull is fascinating, disruptive, and multifaceted enough :-) The deep (and shallowing) seismic activity below Eyjafjallajökull in the past few days seems to promise that the show will go on for some time. Let's hope it will *BE* a nice show more than anything else.

As a final note ... some of you should try and move to live near a frequently active volcano, like Etna. For some time you will freak out and run up the volcano each time it makes a burp. After some time you'll have seen so much lava and other eruptive events that you'll become a tad blasé, and start skipping events because you know there'll be another one tomorrow or next week or, in the worst case, next year. Eventually, you'll hope the volcano will keep silent just for a bit more because you know it's gonna be a mess when it erupts again :-P --- And you bet, here at Etna we all wish it will wait still for a few more weeks or maybe a few months, maybe just until after the summer holidays.

Gandalff, on which site can you see the depth of the earthquakes?

Thorolsfell and Vodafone webcams have become very dark in the last few minutes. Increased volcanic ash emissions or very heavy weather clouds?

Regarding the SO2. How much SO2 is EF ejecting at the moment? Are there any updated readings?

And how much did Laki in 1783 eject? As i have come to understand Laki caused a whole lot of trouble due to the ejection of this lethal gas.

Would be interesting to see a comparison in SO2 ejection between the current eruption at EF and Laki in the 1700´s.

NOTE! Just a comparison to see the scale. I am not trying to be a doomsday prophet here. :-)

I can see small whisps of steam rising from the sump above the opening of the split rock..

How far from the 'split rock' is that sump, my guesstimate is about 50'.. am probably way out. lol

The huge steamplum on Hvolcam is gone!
When do you think the lava is going to break thru and reach the ground?

Interesting, looks to me like a relationship between the reduction in Gigjokull meltwater and the increase in explosivity in the eruption itself (good satellite link Gandalff!). Less lava reaching the top of the glacier?
However I would extremely doubt any relationship between the weather and the height of the eruption column (Henrik). Water into a magma can certainly increase explosivity and eruption column height, but I have never ever heard of water vapour/clouds driving a large increase in column height - maybe a small increase aided by a change in the adiabatic lapse rate? The column height is driven by the explosions and heat from below and within the material. Far more likely that this is just the surface expression of the new injection of magma, as recorded by the rising height of earthquakes over the last few days.
It is ironic, but entirely coincidental, that the more explosive eruption phases have coincided with northwesterly winds driving the column towards Europe and the Atlantic.

No geomorphic indications of pyroclastic flows from Eyjafjallajokull, but that does not rule them out as possible with the right eruption column! But whether this is the right sort of eruption column, I have no idea. I hope not.

@ Shelly, it's been steaming for some time. The best view of it (or part of it) is the seam of the two Vodafone images - you can see a close up of that steaming vent and the mouth below it

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Shelly. Steam has been puffing from that hole for at least two days, that i have seen. the hole has got bigger over that time.

I have seen a couple of small bits of ash slide of the glacier this morning, it is definitely moving. Keep your eyes pealed for new bits of white appearing as ash falls off. Especially look out for small chunks of ice falling off too. I expect the arch to crumble before any lava shows through, but i said that 2 days ago :)

Another EQ at 25.1 km. The last 3 quakes today have all been deep, 25-26 km down.

Thanks Helen and Jamie, I didn't get a glimpse yesterday. :)

I too have noticed the 'face' to the lhs of the 'split' getting whiter and wondered why that was. :) guess I didn't think of the obvious. lol

Andy! (#296) There will be little or no effect visible on a large eruption where the column (usually rich in H20) reaches into the stratosphere anyway. If you don't believe me, check out low cumulus on the horizon just as the sun rises! The heat of the sun will cause the cloud to billow and rise upwards several kilometers. Same thing here although the source of heat is a volcanic eruption column. I've seen it and I do have screen shots from a few days ago that seem to support the conclusion.

If you still do not believe it, check out time lapse "movies" on YouTube from the 17th and then explain how an eruption column that barely had energy enough to rise more than a kilometre above the crater suddenly jets up to altitudes of 3-4 klicks after it touches the snow on the hillside!

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@ Brian 139 Re: Pyroclastic flows

Pyroclastic flows do speed up over water as they turn it to steam and therefore friction is reduced i.e. they can travel across the surface.(Different yet similar principle to how a hovercraft works.)

Pyroclastic flows are also capable of travelling uphill as some volcanologists have experienced to great personal cost.

Here is an interesting piece on it:

In an arial shot onn the UK news just now I saw what looked like a new smaller ash plume on the line of the lava flow. Looking at the Thoro cam there does appear to be darker matter rising behind the steam. Perhaps it is just a trick of the light.

Earthquake table has been updated, the 08:37:41 EQ upgraded to a 1.9. Interesting that the depth of the last 3 EQ's went from 29.5 to 26.8 to 25.1 km. Could that indicate more magma rising?

How reliable is the SO2 sensor system?
The current SO2 mapping:
shows very little SO2 compared to the "Previous 1".
Has that SO2 stream simply disappeared? The winds do not seem high enough to carry such an organised stream to south of Ireland (or not) in such a short time.

Bill, I think it's do with with the orbit of the satellite, it will only shown when the satellite is overhead for that area. I'm sure someone else can explain it better.

#307: If you look at the cloud data you can see that the area where the SO2 is supposed to be was simply not imaged in that satellite passage.

Where is the explosive plume? Tremors way down. Still steaming in the Thorolfsfell view. Deep quakes. What's going on?

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Again, I might be seeing to much into it, but I find interesting that HVOL (Lagu-Hvolar) is being pushed toward East, while SOHO (Solheimaheidi) appears to be (albeit slowly) pushed toward West. Of course we will need more data points to be certain of these trends.

Since deformation reported by THEY and GOLA appears to be consistent with magma injection occurring beneath Eyjafjallajokull, I wonder it this means that something is starting to move or pushing below her sister volcano too.

Of course and again, this is just my wild speculation.

#308,#309 Thanks G & K - looking back it seems to have missed covering the area for a number of passes.
That may also account for the sudden appearance - worth watching to see the next one.

Now two more EQ's at much shallower depth in the Caldera,, I get a feeling of de javu. lol isn't this what happend a few days ago?

@raving281 good morning - good one!
@Kultsi -it was up all night now it needs to pull up the covers lol...

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I just came across this really quaint watercolour of Eyja erupting in 1822. I'm not entirely sure about the pov -- there seems to be a bit of artistic license involved. It was painted by one Erik Bruun, a Dane who was travelling in Iceland at the time.

The 1821-23 eruption has been mentioned here often but I'll go through the bare facts again:

Dec. 19 1821. The eruption starts. There are big jökulhlaups in Markarfljót and lots of ash but the eruption only lasts for 2 weeks.

June 26 1822. The eruption starts again, now with renewed energy. Eyja is at its most active July 20-27, with 7 active craters. Fine ash falls far and wide in the South.

After that Eyja simmers down but ash continues to fall intermittently for months.

By the beginning of 1823 there is no more ash but steam continues to rise until June that year (there seem to be no reports of lava flows).

In June 1823 Katla starts erupting! But it's a relatively small eruption that only lasts 4 weeks.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#305 The reason there are two different plumes along the lava channel through the glacier is that the lead is hot water -runoff, whereas the second one about half way up is the actual lava.

By Scott, sg (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I wish they could move the Voda cam that shows the mouth in close-up up a bit as we could see the steaming glacial vent in more detail and it would cover the most interesting part of the glacier at the moment in far better detail than the top view. :)

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Anna Reykjavik I can't sit that long...

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Yes i noticed that too. Seems very slight upward movement also. Might be normal for Katla. Those are the two to watch for Katla and only question is that movement normal due to variation in glasier due to summer melt or is it actual ground movement due to magna movement. Any expert here like to explain what would be early significant sign on HVOL or SOHO to a possible sign Katla awaking?

The left hand side of the glacier that reaches down to ground level is becoming increasingly pock-marked with dark spot of melting and there's a fair amount of flood water coming down off of it.. looks quite unstable to me.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

From the norwegian broadcasting today.

Measurements made over the past few days shows that the volcano is now charging up for a new outbreak.
There is new material into the volcano from the depths - now it's probably five to six kilometers below the ground.
This is bad news, says Sigrunn Hreinsdottir at the University of Reykjavik. We see increased activity and increased flow of magma to the roof of the volcano, she said. Hreinsdottir and her colleagues have different monitoring stations around the volcano. Over the past few days, they have recorded several earthquakes deep in the ground, and they see that the ground around the volcano now braces again. It shows that the volcano is charged with hot stones from the depths of the earth, and that for the first time since the outbreak started getting more ammunition than it uses up.For people in Iceland will be the worst of a new eruption under the ice. Then there will be floods, and it will be produced large ash clouds, "says Hreinsdottir. Scientists can not say when the new eruption starts, or if it will start at all. They have measured the 30 earthquakes in the last three days. There are only two days ago we began to see something, and we have not been sure. Now we are completely safe and will follow closely, "said Hreinsdottir. Scientists hope they can say anything about what will happen, but the volcano has already surprised them several times.

@Anna Reyk. great little watercolor, thanks

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Pretty woman waving in front of Thoro cam now :)

Hehehe. Hello mountain peoples! Look at them all happy and waving. The mysterious man is only on the voda cam though. Reminds me of the weeping angels on Dr Who.

By hannahsmetana (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Some pretty girls in front of the borolfsfelli cam!!

lol she's got her trusty banana - always helpful in the shadow of a volcano... :)

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Anna Reyk

the island in the foreground is one of the Westmannaeyja.

While the painting may not be 100% accurate it shows some things that we also have seen during the last few weeks: the dual plumes (dark ash, white steam) and the dark, ash-colored surface of the glacier.



Would be such fun if there was a mic/speaker on the cam - we could tell them to GET OUT OF THE WAY!

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Famous beautiful icelandic assistant professor on the thoro-cam, forgot her name:)

Increasing amounts of ash falling off the ice arch. Are we about to see something?

Birdseye 318

Perhaps if you invest in a Lazy Boy? A ceiling-mounted screen so you can just lie in bed?

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Question - with steam that close, how come the outlet isn't 'breathing?' Collapse above?

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Sigrún Hreinsdóttir was the name I was looking for... and some unknown research assistant.

Why don't I live in Iceland? An entire country of Volcanoes and beautifull women who can explain them:) (Sighs whistfully...)

Hi, i have been closely following this blog for weeks now, but i normally dont write just read . Great info, cool people. Now i think i see steam in the lower Vodaphone Cam pic. ( just above where the ladys head was a min ago. Maybe the arch will be coming down soon. Although, i often thought it would be a matter of minutes, till this happens and it did not.
(( Still hoping to get some ash samples to do a SEM on them.))
Birgit Austria

camcorder in brain? wild dreams -

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

on thoro cam - ahh - skyr!

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Interesting coincident - the lady mentioned in the Norwegian broadcast comment above then appears before our eyes!

@ JamieZ - I think you're right, although I also believe the area directly to the left of the big arch may breach soon, too.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

If anyone knows the lady they should direct her to this blog so we can see pictures of what we look like.

By hannahsmetana (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I got a screen shot of her waving :) Not sure how to post here though!

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Welcome Birgit - the area you mention has been steaming for some time now... I think we're all sat here watching and waiting to see if/when the arch collapses - what's the betting it goes when I have to go to bed lol midnight here

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

From that you can see the lag on the mila cam is a good few minutes 3-4 behind voda cam?

By hannahsmetana (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Oh forgot, on a german blog which is hosted by Chris a lady mentioned an url some days ago with pictures of the Volcano and an aurora and stars. Most of them have been mentioned already on this blog but number 6 was new to me. So for the Astronomy freaks (like me) .....Maybe a new riddle. But on the number 6 Pic the constellations are easy to determine, even i figured them out.,1518,690785,00.html
Just click on the pic

Well - if scientists who could ge authorization to drive up to the moraine are choosing instead to climb Ãórólfsfell then maybe the threat of pyroclastic flows is real :-)

Steam seems to be visible at the top of the lower camera's field of view - can't be long before the arch collapses ....

Birgit - if you go to the Voda cam and go to the seam between the two images you can see the steaming vent right at the top... and the arch below..

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

If you remember, at the very beginning of the water flow out of the glacier, there was a channel in the now-dry gully to the left of the current crevice/gully down which the water is now pouring. Around that original gully/channel there must be weakness from the tunnel? And the glacier looks fairly crumpled and unstable above the original channel... I wonder if water will break through here again?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

As another interested bystander, who has to go back to work right now, please can you grab some screenshots if anything big happens in the next 2 hours?! Thanks for all the info!

""From that you can see the lag on the mila cam is a good few minutes 3-4 behind voda cam?""

I also took my image from Voda cam, but cropped it, just taken at different times :)

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Helen and Chris
Yeah thats the very point i am staring at intensly.
Btw, some woman mentinoed she could have quit her cable because this live show is far more interesting than tv. And educational too. Same goes for me, and if Eyja does not hide herself in clouds or fog, i am undergoing sleep depriviation.

A wee bit of editing would be good - just add gamma and the people just jump out...

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

From Jon Frimann's helicorder I'm seeing several small earthquakes that haven't been added yet to the official lists. Another small one occurred as I'm writing.

According to news the ash cloud has been reaching 10.5km altitude at its highest. This morning it did go to about 10 km high. But most of the time it is at 5 to 8 km altitude.

I see there have been 7 earthquakes at <2.1km depth very recently. I guess it's possible that they caused the ash to fall off the glacier. Who knows what is going on up the top now though!

@Henrik265 Tremors seem to be still heading up

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Philipp (329)

Yes, the Westman Islands is the only contender really!

" ... it shows some things that we also have seen during the last few weeks: the dual plumes (dark ash, white steam) and the dark, ash-colored surface of the glacier."

Not to mention the "decorative" cracks or crevices in the black glacier where the white ice shows.

Slightly off topic: The Volcano Museum on the Snæfellsnes peninsula has a lot of volcano paintings from all over the world, many of them naivist. They come from the private collection of volcanologist Haraldur Sigurðsson (the museum's founder) who has been collecting them for decades.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I tell you what, seems like magma coming up the pipes and pretty fast, we could be in for a show if the cloud disappears that is.

Anyone know some sun dances ?

OMG - my ISP has emailed to say we've used up our 50gig allowance for the month and now each additional gig will cost me NZ$20!! How long will I get on Voda for $20? aarrghh

Still, it's cheaper than a flight to Iceland...

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I see my post #359 got cut in half. i was just going to speculate that the earthquakes may have caused the ash to fall off the glacier, rather than deformation of the glacier itself.

I was also wondering what massive events may be occuring further up, out of our sight. Events which would make our anticipated calving look pretty small beer.

@Viktor364 !!!

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@362 I think you must be doing a sun dance keep going it seems to be working lol

top of plume I think just visible on Mula cam

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@369, lol. The weather looks to be quite nice tommorrow.
@362, i was reading that myself need to make sure to check back at 3. They mention something about the composition of the ash changing.

Hi Dan, my name is Bob and I am a Eyjafjallajökull camaholic, and a Weather Underground blogaholic!

By Robert Bordonaro (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

EQ, not EG...too much coffee and awe to type correctly

By Corporal_E (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I want to start a little competition. The objective is to get on the Ãórólfsfell webcam holding a piece of cardboard (or paper) with you name on it - the first person to do this wins ...
I probably won't get there till Saturday so I doubt I'll be among the first dozen or so (depending on how many locals are monitoring this blog of course).

Actually I find the EQ outlayer towards Tindfjallajökull being far more un-nerving than any idle Katla speculation.
That one showing up in a swarm with four Eyjafjallajökull quakes might be theoretizised as activity moving north.

Just idle thoughts...

Does anyone know if there's a graph of historic earthquakes for Eyjaf? E.g. a list of the last month's activity? 48 hours is interesting, but I would love to see a bit more than that.


collapse, or avalanche ?? , i seem to see some ice faults either side of the ice arch, all the way up to the open area above it ..

By robert somerville (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Renee, Yeah, I have been going back and forth alot. I only started watching on here after the big eruption went off last month. I wish I had been watching the EQ activity before it went off last time, as I am a huge EQ tracker (very amateur, but I love it). I only got into Volcano stuff about two years ago when I was doing a laser tag installation in Portland, OR. I worked through the night so that I could have the next day off to go see Mt. St. Helens. It was love at first sight.

So, my next question or thought is this: For those who have been tracking this thing since before the big eruption, does this current EQ activity look simliar to the EQ activity before the big eruption last month? Thanks

By Corporal_E (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Nooooo everbody start to blow at screens

@Corporal E , see @Peter Cobbold@181, maybe a source, I didn't post email

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Ãtsýni frá Ãórólfsfelli web-cam shows a few "small steaming vents". I am glad I got to see the Hvo web-cam earlier before the low clouds moved in and obscured the view :o).

By Robert Bordonaro (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

How ever stole EJ give her back right now! She disappeared again...

Actually, I think the cameras MÃla is using have microphones and speakers. We just need to persuade the MÃla techies to give us access. Or to play an audio file shouting "Get out of the way!" every minute. :)

Here are some pictures of a camera being installed near Fimmvörðuháls (possibly the one at Valahnúk?):

People are waiting for the ice arches to collapse - but I think it going to take some time, those structures are incredibly durable. Why do you think people started building arches and domes?

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@390 Thanks you scared them into giving her back thats telling them lol

@birdseyeUSA Thank you. I missed that post

By Corporal_E (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Yet another nice satellite-image of SO2-cloud, seems to have started to twist in an eastward direction out into the atlantic down at the irish coast.

Strange thing is that it seems to be dislocated from Iceland now, either the SO2 emissions have shut down or the satellite didn't catch it.

@Anna Reyk. can you give a brief rundown on the Fréttir article about trying to clean up at the Folk Museum at Skogar?

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Re the SO2 image in 251 [thnx PM]

I was walking the dogs last night and looking out across Morecambe Bay to the Irish Sea, the sky was a real bruised red, you know, the way your thigh looks 24 hours after you've flipped yourself over the handlebars onto the kerb or somesuch. We're having some beautiful sunset effects here at the moment. I guess 251 goes some way toward explaining why.

Missed the Iceland Review article yesterday that explained (I think) the pyroclastic flow warnings - they surmise there will be a break between the crater rim and Gigjökull sometime soon.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

The EQ near Tidafjallajökull is gone from the map.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Whilst it is cloudy I want to come forth with an un-clouded idea.

To my knowledge the Volcano is still un-named, how odd that might sound. If I have gotten it correct it is actually known as "The Volcano under Eyjafjallajökull" and not Eyjafjallajökull.

Eyjafjallajökull is as you all know the name of the Jökull ontop of the Volcano.

How about we name the Volcano? I think it deserves a name. The name should be rather forn-nordic in origin and have an asa-aspect to it since the rest of the Volcanoes on Iceland do (except those that are volacnoes under Jökulls..). My first and rather silly idea was to name it Särimner after the eternal Pig that the Asa slaughtered and ate every evening in Valhall. In the morning Särimner would be born again.

But then it actually dawned on me that Volcanoes should have female names.

So I would like to propose that we name the Volcano Sigrún after Sigrún Hreinsdóttir. That would make sense in 4 ways; 1) it is Icelandic, 2) It is an As name, 3) She is a Volcanologist:) and 4) She waved at us.

Anybody else in favor?

-379 @Leifur
An interesting idea, as long as folks are not standing in the way as something big is going on :)

By VigdÃs - Iceland (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@401 That is good. Would have been potentially bad if it hadn't been an eco or somesuch. It is enough with all the quakes under Sigrún:)

@400 Bas v D WOW. That is awesome. Thank you so much for that link!

By Corporal_E (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I think we should call the volcano Pierce after Pierce Brosnan for some fine acting in Dante's peak.

Don't plan any trans-Atlantic flights ....

@Carl 402 Why not - but should we wait to see how badly E. performs?? How do the names Katla and Hekla fit in? (we need some more Icelandic education here while we wait...)

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

So you are saying that Pierce Brosnan is an ancient female Asa-godess from the forn-nordic mythology? ;) Interesting!

I think I will go by the friendly wawing Sigrún instead:)

Birdseye (396)

The article doesn't say much, only that 40 volunteers are doing housecleaning at the Folk Museum. The fine ash found its way into all of the houses.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Carl, I think you have the hots for Dr. Hreinsdóttir! :-D

But I take your point; I've been to Iceland once, and I loved it from the moment I arrived. It's one of the few countries where I would like to live; volcanoes, beautiful landscape, beautiful women, friendly crazy people - but not too many of them, it's not crowded! - weather never gets too hot for me (which it does it New York every summer!), great social structure, proud and ancient history... I could go on!

Only downside... yes everyone speaks English, but to live there I would want to learn Icelandic, and I think that could be pretty tough!

#402 - Carl, a fun idea! The last reason is absolutely the best.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I say we call the Volcano Billy.

Yes Carl i am. Its a well known fact that Pierce brosnan was a Asa-godess from a forn-nordic mythological time in a former life as well as being a celtic high priest who helped build the giants causeway... It says so on wiki.

Katla and Hekla are forn-nordic mythological female names, Laki is male though.
Did my masters (one of my 3) in forn-nordic/icelandic literature way back when before I switched to physics.

Askja is of course an exception:) That is very much a more practical name... "Volcano bee thy name Ash (Askja)".

#408 Katla means kettle so that fits well. lol didn't know the translation of Hekla so looked it up and it means hooded..

@AnnaReyk Thanks, that's what I gathered - quite the job - and makes you appreciate how it must have been in earlier times when eruptions happened
@400BasvD great video - That gives me a better visual of what happened-(not accustomed to seismic graphing lol) and seems to show (am I right?) how the eruption actually pops somewhere other than where the swarms are greatest...'guess where I'm hiding..' Shows the outlier quakes nicely.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Whilst the cameras are obscured I've been thinking about the rock at the front of the glacier. Looking at google earth it looks like that rock used to sit on top of the glacier. It has since been dropped as the glacier has receded.

So I've got to thinking about why water flows out where it does. I guess the jokulhlaup most often run down the sides of the glacier and therefor the first exit point is that crack in the rock. But the lava will probably run down the bottom of the valley under the middle of the glacier.

So if it is still working its way down it is probably towards the tounge on the left or up against the back of the rock. I guess this would explain why water is no longer running out of the crack in the rock.

You probably all figured this out already but that's my brain working :)


What's wrong for NAT traffic? The ash is low, below FL350 or 10500m. Trans Atlantic flights fly well above those levels. I don't expect problems.

Suw (421)

Kitla means tickle in Icelandic :)

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

sorry about the stuttering :-)

When your browser warns that in order to refresh it has to retransmit I guess you're supposed to pay attention :-)

Still - as they say in Iceland, "aldrei er góð vÃsa of oft kveðin" (I wonder what what Google's translator makes of that!).

someone is trying to steal the camera.

@Anna #428 I guess "Tickle" is somewhat appropriate, given how well she has tickled our curiosity.

Ok, I'll stop grasping at straws now. ;)

Boris or Erik I posted this last night but didn't get an answer so I am posting it again.

254 Boris or Erik higher SO2 and more explosive magma...this is not a very good sign is it? Could it be that a big mafic recharge is mixing the magma?

Posted by: Randall Nix | May 6, 2010 3:01 AM


By what right do we name geographical features of another country? Earlier on, the honorifics The White Lady (because after each covering of ash, she managed to renew her white gown) or Our Lady Eyja were adopted - but not as names! That right belongs to the people of Iceland.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

06.05.201015:22:1463.605-19.63513.6 km0.449.5510.9 km NW of Skógar
for now a baby-eq ...

@425 - wish it were so - but the operating levels are actually from FL300 to FL390 - and airlines don't operate just above ash-laden air.

#435 Randall Nix. The SO2 increase is related to changes in the thermodynamical conditions inside the volcano, the more SO2 you get, the less pressure you have inside. It´s more related to Pressure conditions inside. Less pressure means easier path to surface to magma, so then you can expect changes in the activity of the volcano...

Should be fine to know if there is any Rn monitoring there at the volcano.


By David Calvo (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Oh, and Sigrún means Victory Rune.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Suw, speaking of place names (and the fact that the volcano itself doesn't have a name)

There is this one very noticeable natural feature on Eyjafjallajökull, a huge box-shaped rock at the very summit. Perhaps it's a part of some ancient crater rim, I don't know. It's called Goðasteinn (The Rock of the Gods).

As the story goes, right after Christianity was was accepted in Iceland in the year 1000 (this was a decision taken at the annual general assembly) a chieftain-priest took graven images of the old gods to Goðasteinn and threw them in the crater.

Maybe this is just a myth but it's possible that this big symbolic gesture actually happened. In that case there was a crater -- or at least a big hollow of some kind -- at the top of Eyjafjallajökull in AD1000, 80 years after the last eruption.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Henrik, Swe

SÃ¥ ytterligt svenskt:) (How utterly swedish:)

Actually naming of things is as always an ongoing process, anyone and anybody can start using a name, and if enough people adopt it, it actualy becomes a proper "name" as in denominator for an object or an idea "nomenisation" (and in some occations even a "mem").

That is how places normally get the name, let us say for instance the Village of Kräkångersnoret (Bovine-regret-field properly, but can also be read as Vomit-regret-snot). The villagers called it Kräkångersnoret, then the authorities in Stockholm for some arcane reason changed the name to Påläng (pole-field), but the Villagers re-changed that into Puling (no known meaning at all).

So I would say that if a couple of hundred people at this site started calling it something (Sigrún) it would probably in a few years start popping up on maps in Iceland.

#417: Does that mean that Brosnan is a descendant of an ancient Irish potato goddess?

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#442 Randall. NP, but what is that much more do you think?

By David Calvo (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

The Thorolfsfell camera is out, maintenance is going on at Valahnúk, and the one at Hvolsvöllur doesn't show much of the mountain. Oh well...

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Kyle 433 Looks like they succeeded!

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

David Calvo the volcano had been putting out very little of yesterday it is putting out much more SO2....If it is putting out that much more SO2 then that means the whole makeup of the magma/magma chamber has changed.....and that is not a good thing.

Today's status report and special meeting should be interesting!

PS. Carl - You could always email Dr Hreinsdottir your thoughts on the matter and ask for her opinion. Do you want her email address?

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#445 As a matter of fact Brosnan was married to an ancient Irish potato goddess that went by the name Tatos. Her father was King Hunky Doryius and lived in the province of Navan. Navan in old Irish folklore means "stoney grey soil". The marraige was doomed from the start as Brosnan was on a low carb diet and couldn't eat potato as it made him bloated and constipated.
The story goes that he left Tatos for a beautiful goddess from Galway named Dymphna d dykus. They lived happily ever after and travelled the world in a Massey ferguson tractor.

From wikipedia..

#449 Randall Nix. OK randall, now i understand what you mean. One possible mechanism explaining these fluctuations it that convective circulation within the magmatic chamber can bring fresh magma periodically to shallow levels, allowing increasing degasification and then decreasing degasification as the batch of magma lowers its gas content, becomes denser, and sinks to give space to a new magma pulse. It should be nice to know how much SO2 is being released.

By David Calvo (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink


From Wiki on Laki:

"The system erupted over an 8 month period during 1783-1784 from the Laki fissure and the adjoining GrÃmsvötn volcano, pouring out an estimated 14 km3 (3.4 cu mi) of basalt lava"

And... B.Franklen had this to say about the rays of light from the Sun:

"They were indeed rendered so faint in passing through it, that when collected in the focus of a burning glass they would scarce kindle brown paper."

Keep in mind, he was over in the Philly area in the US.

So... I think we are a far cry from SO2 emissions at that level.

About a year ago, I read an interesting paper comparing the effect of ambient humidity on SO2 in eruptive emissions. Tropical volcanoes have to punch through a thicker atmosphere to reach the stratosphere and the higher amount of water vapor tends to cut down on the amount of amount of SO2 that can reach that far. Higher latitude volcanoes do not have as much as a problem.

Exactly how this changes the relative effects of SO2 is beyond me since I don't have a firm grasp on where the worst place (most cooling) for SO2 wold be at in the stratosphere. Granted, it does do some screening at all levels, but the stratospheric SO2 is the one that every one keeps yammering about.

I do think that any Icelandic SO2 that makes it to the stratosphere would ride the top of the Ferrel cell and drop back down at around 30ºN between it and the Hadley cell.

Pinatubo's SO2 column, having been shot up at about 15ºN, would have blanketed the equatorial regions (top of the Hadley cells)... and that is where Solar radiation is the most direct. This probably made the SO2 from Pinatubo to have a greater effect.

I have since lost the link to that paper, but I did find an updated version of some one else's paper, but they were too stuck on anthropogenic effects for me to be able to stomach putting the link here.

Idiocy in text: Post 454 -> "Franklen" should be spelled as "Franklin".

@Henrik, Swe

Actually I already have her e-mail;)

But, I prefer to make things in secret, so I will write an e-mail to Ãlafur Grimsson instead and make an official petition at the þing (parliament) to change the name:)

@David Calvo (452)
Thanks for that, you expressed very clearly what was circulating in my mind for a long time :)

Leifur@429.... There are still NO tolerance levels established by the FAA, EU, ICAO and the Met Office is out on a long limb here by making the statement that the engine manufacturers have established a criteria...They havent. Why? Because it sets the precedent and if the criteria is flawed they cant say they didnt know. Its not just the engines that keep it in the air either. This SO2 trail that Randall posted up is a mofo on airplanes and acid in the intakes to the air data system will destroy it in minutes....All resistant aluminum but not to that kind of concentration.

Its pilot error if anyone goes down. If I was a blood sucking trial lawyer I would be begging for one to go down with that information being up there. I would buy a ticket just for access to the jetway so I could have access to the people whose family members went down.

If one goes down in the N. Sea there would and will be no survivors even if it was able to ditch properly. 7 minutes before you are numbed to the point of almost incoherence. 15...?

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#443 Anna, thanks for the explanation of the Guðnasteinn rock; I saw it on the map here: and wondered how it got its name - I did understand it, 'cause I've been using Germanic languages, on and off, ...for a while.

About place names: often it's the official types who mess things up. There have been countless Piss Creeks or Shit Ponds in Finland which the map makers have renamed into something more PC - only the names still live among the population after several generations. Go figure.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Regarding the name of the volcano. How about Mount Eyja, Mount Island or just Eyjafjöll?

@ Randall Nix [485]

Okay, but I was responding to Daniel @ 291.

What is concerning you? If it's the idea of pulsing SO2 emissions from degassing and convection, I think it's plausible. (but I'm no expert)

#453 Eitthvað fannst ekki...

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Funny what you find on Google Search, under the line...
"An Icelandic volcano, dormant for 200 years, has erupted, ... you change your bad mood by change your hairstyle." Well, she's done that!

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Hi everyone. I've been lurking on this blog for a couple of months now and have enjoyed every minute of reading up on speculations regarding Eyjafjallajökul.

I wanted to share the story behind Katla's name with you, but her name comes from hearsay..

"It happened one time in Ãykkjvabæjaklaustri, after it had become a settlement for monks, that a Abbot who lived there had a housekeeper one that was called Katla. She had an ancient mood(i.e was inclined to heathen ways), and she owned trousers those that were of unique nature, such that anyone that tried them on, never got tired while running(icelandic hlaup).Katla used these trousers in emergency situations. Many feared her witchcraft and her temper,even the abbot himself.
In the monastery there lived a shepherd named Bardi. He was often yelled at by Katla if anything was missing from the sheep's that he herded. Once during the fall, the Abbot and Katla left for a feast in town, and Bardi was supposed to have run home all the sheep before they came home. Now the shepherd couldn't find all the sheep that he should. He then decides to put on Katla's trousers, then runs around and finds all the sheep. When Katla came home, she soon realizes that Bardi has taken her trousers. She secretly takes Bardi and chokes him in a acid barrel that according to ancient custom was placed by the main entrance and let him lie there.
No one knew what had become of him, but as the winter passed and acid began to run low, people heard these words of her: "Soon will Bardi be revealed". But when she knew that her evilness would soon become apparent to all, she puts on her trousers and runs out of the abbey and headed northwest to the glacier and plunged down into it and was no more to be seen. Soon there after a hlaup came from the glacier that was mostly aimed at the monastery. It was thereafter believed that her witchcraft had caused this. The canyon was thereafter referred to as Kötlugjá and the area which this hlaup completely destroyed, Kötlusandur "

Anyone have a sense for what is going on in Bárðarbunga?
Earthquake activity there seems to be a bit high, with one over 3 - an eruption there would be bad news and there's been mumblings over the years that one might be due, on geological time scales... well, Icelandic geological time scales.

Thelma #466

An interesting story, never heard it.

"She secretly takes Bardi and chokes him in a acid barrel [...]"

This should probably be sour whey, not acid.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Thelma: Thanks for the story.
@Steinn: Probably nobody knows that. I remember an comment on this blog by James, who said that conservative estimates among the experts say, that GrÃmsvötn may erupt within the next two years. Or he maybe not. Only time will tell.

I'm intrigued by the way the quality of early morning and late evening daylight has changed here in Ireland, whenever the ash cloud is said to be overhead.

I and others have found a very precise yellow hue that is cast, unlike the general 'warm' or 'red' colour of a sunrise or sunset on dry days with high pressure and little cloud.

When the ash alert is in effect, the fading light is strikingly sulphurous in colour, and the Sun's disk appears even more harsh on the eyes than at other times.

I see that papers have been written on the subject of polarisation of light by atmospheric dust.

Has this been observed in a measurable way in the present dust clouds? Aside from the colour cast, would polarisation of sunlight be observable to the naked eye, as it strikes objects?

#470 sunlight, prolly not; the human eye is not very good at it. Truly polarized light does not reflect from objects where the reflection angle is at 90 degrees to the polarization plane. The reflection from water is horizontally polarized, so filters with vertical polarization (Polaroid glasses) cut out the glare by cutting out the reflection.

You are usually able to rotate a polarization filter on a camera lens, and rotating the disc while looking into the viewfinder lets you assess the amount of polarization in the incoming light.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Do we have a 'new' cam not working?
rats... didn't get the name but it's straigth across from the glacier.

all this crying over closed airports.. I don't give a flying fuck about jetsetters playmobil!
What are the implications of all this additional atmospheric dust on human health? No one seems to mention that..
As if a closed airport is the worst this thing can bring us.

By rijkswaanvijand (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Lurking I think Erik's headline says it all.....Eruption at Eyjafjallajökull becomes "more explosive" and that was written before this last big release of SO2. The higher SO2 is a very bad means there has been a real big mafic magma recharge(the deep quakes)....depending on the viscosity of the parent magma this can lead to some very nasty events.

Erik.....Boris.....are you out there? Please talk me back down, I really need to get some work done....I need you two to tell me just how wrong I am so that I can;)

#470 Dubliner
On the 15th April 2010 I took a series of photos of a spectacular sulphurous coloured sunset, unfortunately I did not get up in time to see the sunrise on that day or the day after. I live in Fife, Scotland and this particular sunset effect has not, by my family anyway, been seen before or since that date.The same day we did have volcanic dust on our car and garden table.

(hit amid my drivel/navel)
That new cam's "name" right across from the glacier, since
i don't seem able to spell straight. ;)


Gee ... I'd love to know what the guys on the Thorosfell cam are talking about!

There's a new cam on that page too "Hitamyndavel" ... no idea what that refers to yet, but I'm sure someone here will educate me.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

dubliner I bet your sky does look strange. I bet it will get even stranger before this volcano is finished.

rijkswaanvijand come on man don't say that are reading this too.

What new camera are you talking about?

Link me up to the goodies:) (Got the shakes right now for images after cameras going off-line and all the clouds...)

Loving the new Camera!

#483 Literally 'heat camera', right?

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Randall (#476) hahahaha, I am glad that I work on another very fascinating volcano - even though its' not erupting (yet), it's keeping me busy enough.

I don't think things will get much bigger than they have already been, though I might be wrong ... we'll have to wait and see. If it's basaltic magma coming up (which I'd consider more likely), it will stay relatively modest in terms of explosivity. In a basaltic eruption, the SO2 will not be a reason for great concern. Etna produces up to 30,000 tons per day of that stuff when it erupts, and we've never heard of any significant consequences of that, neither local, nor regional, nor global.

But it's really difficult to say how the activity will go on, there are quite clear signs that magma is moving up from depth but we don't know a thing about that magma except that it's more likely to be fresh primitive (that is, SiO2-poor), and possibly more gas-rich.

All you folks who pass half of their current lives here clinging to the web cams, what are you gonna do when Etna erupts next - there are about 10 web cams looking at that volcano ;

the cam @mulakot is showing the cloud cover is lifting slowly the ridge line is visible but nothing beyond yet

Maybe the guys are talking about how to hook up the new cam.
or 'we climbed all the way up here to look at fog/we could have just used the internet cam like the guys on the world famous eruptions blog.

ok... enough wasted time/let's get back to decent discussion:


If the new camera would just come online...

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#479: Thermal imager? What? How? where? Why? Ohhh.......

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

The cam pages are showing something in Icelandic about the GPS's. I have been a bit out of touch because of the ash clouds and the screw'd up things that are happening with it here in Memphis.

That said, is there something I need to know about it such as the uplift, the spread or anything like that...Short version plz.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink


YOu'll have to forgive me my eagerness and almost constant stalking of this page and the webcams. This is my first virtual up-close-and-personal experience with a Volcano and I'm finding it totally fascinating. My husband thinks this whole thing is like watching paint dry and just rolls his eyes when I have my nose up against the screen trying to pick out little red pixels out of pitch darkness! (Maybe he has a point LOL).

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Boris Behncke, While we do not know what type of magma is coming up. I must point out that it might be highly evolved magma, if it is coming from a deep chamber that has allowed to evolve over a great deal of time. Next 48 to 72 hours are going to tell us what type of magma this is terms of explosiveness.

I do know one thing, and that is that the new magma is pushing up with a great deal of force. The force is so great it is creating earthquakes of a depth of ~30 km. But that is highly unusual thing to happen in Iceland.

Those are GPS coordinates for the cameras.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#492: The mention of GPS are each cam's GPS-based co-ordinates in degrees, minutes and decimals (as far as I can tell). The red vee is the angle of view.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@ Boris 287: I remember using an Etna webcam during an eruption... must have been 8 years ago or so, when I was living in the middle of Manhattan; it had sound as well as video, I would project it on the big screen and fall asleep to the sights and sounds of the eruption!

Boris thanks for your answer but did you see the recent SO2 satellite images and the very large plume of SO2? The volcano wasn't putting that much out before...a big increase in SO2 is not usually a good sign...or is it? I am not talking about SO2 and the weather....I am talking about changes in the makeup of the magma and changes to the magma chamber as well as the fact that it means there might be a VERY large magma source for this volcano....Wouldn't you at least say that a change to a much higher SO2 output indicates this is maybe entering a new phase?

One day I hope to see Etna in person but I would have to sail there...I don't really like flying;)

Boris (#487): "what are you gonna do when Etna erupts next - there are about 10 web cams looking at that volcano ;"

Pester you like we do now, what else! Director Boschi will understand and appoint you "Liason Officer of the INGV to the Eruptions Blog", won't he? ;) ;)

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink