Thursday Throwdown: Eyjafjallajökull update, VPOW and the weekly SI/USGS Report

Grading grading grading!

A webcam capture of the eruptive plume from Eyjafjallajökull on the morning of May 6, 2010.


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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…
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An aerial view of Eyjafjallajökull erupting on May 11, 2010, with the extent of the black ash from the eruption on GÃgjökull clearly evident, along with the cracks in the glacier near the lava flow. Photo from the Icelandic Met Office, by Sigurlaug Hjaltadóttir. Since this past weekend's…

The IR webcam is looking very colourful now that the cloud cover has thinned

(copied from old thread FYI)

For those watching the thermal cam, a few words of advice. I've used thermal imagers extensively, and they have their advantages and limitations. Remember they record the temperatures, usually in the far infrared, of *solid surfaces*. This means they're fairly good at seeing through smoke, mist, and dust, and they're totally unaffected by darkness. But this also means, for instance, that they may well not show the plumes. I can be in a burning building, point my thermal imager directly at flames - and the imager will pretty much indicate the temperature of the wall *behind* the flames.

And of course, as you can see, *heavy* cloud can stop them seeing very far. I'm not sure if we would even see a LARGE heat signature through those clouds, if you take my meaning!!

@Dubliner re:#470 Its funny you should mention the colour changes in the sky over Ireland. I took this picture the other day and i'm just outside of Dublin in Kildare i couldn't believe how yellow the sky was. I had a polarising filter attached to the camera at the time.

@Dubliner Yes I'm up in N.Ireland and right now the clouds have a funny unusual yellow tint to them


How thick is the crust in this part of the World? And how does 23km compare to the earthquake patterns found in other Icelandic eruptions?


Ref:4 sorry it was meant for Dubliner and Kaboom. Although Kaboom that is a beautiful picture and the sky here tonight is not as spectacular as that just a weird hint of yellow

@4 Ruby: Since you guys are talking about weather in Ireland and the funny looking clouds I thought I would post this link to a weather webcam in Ireland. As of right now it is focused on the clouds. I do see the yellowish color you are talking about.

By Janet, TX (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Hoo-boy! Ash accumulation on Fimmvörðuháls and Skógaheiði since mid-April is over 10cm (4in). [] Very little or no lava flow, and the eruption is in an explosive phase. Lot of tephra expected. [] Repairing the road to Ãórsmörk (a very popular tourist destination) for four-bys and trucks probably easy. []

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

#9: It's odd, sure, but not unique. Not too long ago I spotted a 12-hour period of quiet.

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

@7 Thanks for that Janet I had a look, but it is even more of a yellow tint with blue skies in between it is really quite beautiful

re:data feed for EQ's - resting, just resting.... ; )

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

The photos on Volcano Picture of the Week are just amazing! Some truly awe-inspiring images. I just wish they had an RSS feed... :(

Obtw, Janet... In the weeks before and after summer solstice, it's reading light outside at midnight in Iceland.

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

@suw, re: Erik's Volcano of the Week link - I second that - the pyroclastic flow one has interesting info attached...

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

I am going through ash/steam plume withdrawls once again. The FLIK Infra-red is not quite the same as actually seeing the plume in black/white and gray.

#14) It must be nice to see 21 hrs of daylight by the way. I just would go mad during the winter months. I am here in Dallas-Ft Worth, TX, where we have 9hrs 50min daylight on 12-21 and about 13hrs 20mins daylight on 6-21.

Hoping the clouds break, we're missing one beautiful eruption :o)!!

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

#16: If you ever find yourself in N. Alaska (say, Prudhoe Bay) around that time, you can enjoy it yourveryownself.

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

Iceland Met "E" update, hot off the press :o):
Current events
Assessment - 06 May 2010 20:15

Explosive activity has increased and effusive part has decreased for the last two days. This results in a higher eruption column with increased tephra fallout.

The ash plume, observed from commercial pilots between 0530h and 0800h: 30,000 ft/9km. ICG helicopter flight between 13h and 14h: sometimes under 20,000 ft (where there is a cloud bank) and oscillates up into the cloud bank (over 9 km).

Considerable ashfall at Ãykkvabæjarklaustur in Ãlftaver (at a distance of 65-70 km), (everything has turned black). It has not been established whether the ash cloud south of Eyjafjallajökull is ashfall or ash that has already fallen and is being blown from the ground.

Discharge from GÃgjökull decreases further and meltwater seems to be running from the eastern side of the glacier. This is different from tuesdays meltwater were water was running from the west side. Lava flow might be changing the direction of meltwater flow. Such changes should be taken seriously with regard to possible outbursts due to accumulation of meltwater.

Earthquake activity is still being recorded. At least 10 earthquakes have been located since midnight. Most of the earthquakes are sourced beneath or south of the top crater in the eruptive conduit that has formed since 3 May. Most of the earthquakes are less than magnitude 2, the biggest M2.2.

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

See more in Status Report issued by Icelandic Meteorological Office and Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, at 18:00.

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

Iceland Met office has updated activity

Water being held back to some degree? Not good when it lets loose, if that's what's happening. Spectacular show when it let loose, though.

Small steam plume just above the crevace.

I wonder if there is a new melt-escape area to the left (on the fimm cams) of the area that we've been watching. The new thermal cam shows a fuchsia area to the left of the glacier which appears to be the same color as the melt water on the cam. I can't see it on the normal light cams, mainly because it's too hazy.

What does anyone else think?

By parclair NoCal USA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

the flir cam is good at showing the small steam plume just below v shaped notch i think the red glow in the notch is not a false image

Boris Behncke (from the previous thread):

"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"

Answer: 3500 comments per thread here at Erik Klemetti's blog?

I'm not familiar with the volcano webcam situation in the world. I expect a lot of webcams are pointed towards volcanoes in Europe, N-America and Japan. But what about S-America, Africa, Indonesia etc?

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

"... has added an additional thermal viewer (FLIR), so you can even watch the volcano through the Iceland fog"

Not with a thermal imager - you can go blind in very humid conditions (which probably doesn't happen in Iceland), but fog is a definite killjoy. Now if it were a cooled "short wave infrared" camera you would be able to see through fog, although the volcano would go invisible at night except for the nice hot spots. The great thing about the thermal imager is that things look pretty much the same any time of day or night (well, except in fog, mist, rain, and very high water vapor content in the air).

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

@23 vodafone is showing it also when clouds allow

To make it more real, @Gislio on Twitter - Eyjafjallajokull - Scientists near the crater describe ash falling on them being like hail falling - #icerupt #ashtag

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

#23: As far as I can tell, it is a river already shown on maps. If you have DMA map C761-1812-3 (Eyjafjallajökull), it's on vertical 69.1, horizontal 60-61. If you don't have it, I'll try to dig up the link at - I got my copy there.

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

@Reynir: Thanks for the info. I'm learning. I just can't imagine having that much light at midnight. A weather question...Is this foggy~cloudy the norm for May in Iceland?

By Janet, TX (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#32: This close to the seaside, I'd have to say yes.

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

@Fireman: Actually, it's mid-infrared. Far infrared would require somewhat different equipment. You know how you set up a sheet of water to cut out the radiant energy from a fire? Well, the same technique will work for those infrared cameras - they just won't see through such a thing. Water vapor is something they see pretty well, so you'll see plumes from the volcano; in fact, against a nice cold (cloudless) sky, the camera will see plumes that are invisible to humans. What you won't see are, say, a huge plume of hot CO2. You won't see SO2 either unless it's very hot and/or very plentiful or you put an appropriate filter in front of the lens. Yeah, in the band this thing operates at, most gases are invisible.

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

Thanks Shelly (29)!

A bewildering array of web cams!

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

#32, I believe Iceland receives about 30% of total possible sunshine/yr. Normally a very snowy/rainy area, as an area of Low Pressure called the "Iceland Low" is near Iceland most of the year.

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

@31 Thank you, I've no maps at that fine of a resolution. Where I'm looking is a triangular area on what I think is the side of the mountain. (the new image is truly foreign to me). Is there a river on the side of the mountain?

By parclair NoCal USA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Regarding the Katla cam, it's pointed in a direction of close to 330° true.

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

on the flir there is a constant fusha blob to the left of the glacial outlet by carefully matching the size of the flir and vodafone images to get a idea of it's actual location i am wondering if there is a weak segment of the wall that is allowing some heated water to seep through if so it could be the source of a possibly huge outflow when or if it fails

@MadScientist 34: Hah. Water curtains. We *used to* set up a sheet of water, many years ago. We don't do that any more. Fire science has known for years that the water curtain, great idea you would think it is, doesn't work; radiant heat goes right through it! And sets the house next door on fire if you're not careful. The only thing that works is cooling the house next door directly, with hose streams.… - see section on 'Exposure Protection'

I would however agree that exactly what we see or don't see will depend on the precise wavelengths the camera uses. We'll see when the weather clears a bit!


#41: I get the idea that a water curtain doesn't work because a practical curtain is too b4y thin. Probably too coarse, too.

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

that is a great map thanks now wait for daylight without clouds ;-)

when i was ship board us navy we used a fog nozzle that was very effective at cutting radiant heat from huge fuel fires let us get close enough to apply foam directly to the fire and god save you if the foam cover was broken the fuel would re flash and eat you right up

#40 Thank you for the terrific map link:-)

I'm still studying the situation-- the map is in oppositional direction, and it's been a few years since I read a topo map. I think I agree with you; I'm having a problem visualizing why the top would be wider than the bottom (it looks from the map that the valley widens, rather than narrows, but I'm still trying to read the surrounding cliffs.

I'd like to end this with the icon for "my mind is thoroughly twisted and confused, but totally happy with the problem" but I don't know what that might be;-D

By parclair, NoCal (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Opening on the glacier is rather big.

Mind you, folk... this is not home territory to me, so I may very well be wrong and that the actual vertical of the fuchsia spot on the DMA map is 68.7 rather than 69.1.

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

There will now be a brief interlude.

Whilst we wait:

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica(continuously erupting over many years)steps up her tremors today, and Turrialba has quietened right down this week but don't trust Turri - she could now be ready, after all those drumbeats refer March 3rd.

#45: I'd guess said icon to be an eye-smiley with a typhoon over the head.

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

Just the humble physicist coming out in me...but to explain the IR cam - the ocean is blue for a reason... So if you ever go diving on say a reef, a red fish looks green.

Figure that out, and you have figured out the IR cam and it's limitations.

In addition to the usual thanks to Erik, Boris and the other star players. The folks at Mila really deserve a big word of thanks for going out of their way with the cams on this one and making much of this debate possible.

Oh, and good morning from Singapore!

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

Another interlude:

I recently discovered that not only could I not identify most of the new countries in Europe and Asia, I was a dismal failure at identifying places in Africa. 8-(

So, I decided to combine my education about volcanos with my education about Africa. I've discovered that there is very little information about the volcanos there. ;-( I think they're too poor? to have monitoring of any sort. I've recently started my search in French in hopes of finding data. This seems promising. But there's not even a category in USGS for Africa. Hmmmm

Back to the topo

By parclair, NoCal (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Regarding the fire curtain.

it still has its place, last year i was sent to plymouth on a ship firefighting course as our brigade has many ports in its area. Going down into a room fully engulfed in fire ( gas powered for safety) through a hatch and with a vertical fixed ladder. A hose was held with a wide spray under arm as we went down with another coned over me by firefighters above. Its was very effective and no other way would you be able to enter that room.
So although not used in property fires this demonstrated that a water curtain is pretty damn effective in protecting from heat and flame.

@#40 thank you for the map!!
And its wonderful informative glossary!!!

#53: One can say a lot about the military, but they do take their maps seriously. In fact, I tend to look at this map before the Icelandic maps. Furrfu.

Anyway, I had a look at FLIR's website. My first guess would be that the new cam is a longwave (ten-micron) security camera.

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

If this is the ash plume, as I suspect it is, heading SSE then WSW, Europe is fortunate the winds are as they are. I wonder how much is ash and how much is water vapor that is making the plume visible in this satellite image?

By Gordys, MN USA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@La Kat previous#300. I dont know if Eyjaf's EQ swarm consisted of Chouet's long or conventional period EQs. The spikes in EQ rate ( up to 70 per hour) finished about ten days before eruption started. For those ten days the EQ rate was only about 1 to 5per hour. The only obvious change in those ten days was a trend from 8km to about 4km mean EQ depth, and a rise in tremor. So EQs per se would be bad predictor of Eyjaf eruption. Redoubt muts be different.

@Henrik previous#250 We need more spikes. If Eyjaf does not come up with more there's always Katla... BTW we are no longer alone in our quest for understanding, real heavy weight expertise is rising to the challenge. Hope it does not turn out ot be damp squib!!

By Peter Cobbold (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

aliens on flir

Can I add my thanks for the map, it adds another dimension to what we are looking at, and again shows the scale of what we are looking at. The webcams make the landscape look smaller than it is without any human reference points.

Going back to yesterday (I think) the link to the paper regarding Iceland's tectonic origins was fascinating. Like most people I've always assumed Iceland to be on a hotspot, but the (now) obvious observation that there is no evidence of previous seamounts along the line of plate drift
does suggest another cause of volcanicity is required.

Only problem with all this info being hurled at us is the feeling that sometime soon Eric is going to give us a due date for essay or exam!

Finally, Ive been dipping in and out all day and everytime I look, that notch at the top of the ice wall is bigger. It's going to go sometime soon...

So as the new camera is thermal image type it will not see heat through water curtain I.e. thick cloud or fog with cold water droplets. Heat will show up as white or light areas. It will contrast thou so more heat and colder stuff will go darker. Ie heat will show relative to surroundings. Ground may look light as warmer than the air, but get lava in picture and the lava will glow white and ground will darken as of the relevant difference in temperature. I hope this helps a little.

humans show as bright yellow to white on the flir cam if that holds for the valley floor that dirt is HOT

@53 I think you can thank the Defense Mapping Agency for the glossary. I particularly like the "red-light readable" and "Destroy when no longer needed" legends.

I suspect DMA (now NGA) are also responsible for Google's Icelandic place names - check out for a pretty comprehensive database.

#60: All I'm willing to say is that the ground is the hottest part of the image. It may be that the cam scales the image for max. contrast.

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

Reynir you may be right
the last time i had anything to do with IR cameras the colors were locked to a fixed temperature scale

@Reynir #62

You are right, the camera scales the image according to the highest and lowest temperatures in the image. Earlier, when the backpackers walked through the image, the whole color scale shifted and the ground got darker relative to the people. Therefore, the valley floor is not that hot, it's just the warmest place visible right now.

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Robert Bordonaro [37]

The only problem is that the Icelandic Low (as well as the Bermuda/Azores High) has been pretty much AWOL for most of the year. For a while, it was parked over the UK, and it also spent some time over Nova Scotia. Right now, it's parked just East of Newfoundland.

Gina CT ; its thermal image not infrared.
Thermal image picks up contrasting heat and infrared gives visability in darkness.
Please see my post above for discription.

Holgar: That is what i would expect, visible warm body parts will shine as light and cooler objects will then darken due to temperature difference.
I took the time to explain this but seems no one read my post No 59
What you saw is typical of a thermal image cam and thick water droplets will hinder any view of heat coming from the volcano.

@45 The narrowing of the valley could be related to the hardness of the rock. with ice and water flow cutting througth softer area at the top then being squeezed between harder rock/lava deposits right to the valley floor. It may also be related to the change of slope, with ice flow accelerating at the break of slope, becoming more erosive, and therefore cutting down rather than spreading out

#67, I blog quite a bit in Weather Underground, We all marveled at the fact of the negative North Atlantic Oscillation, and the position of the A/B High and the Icelandic Low. We truly appreciated the cold and snow, 14" of snow fell in Arlington, TX in 2/10. At least the great folks in Iceland are getting a break from all the miserable weather!

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

@Robert Bordonaro [70]

It's going to make for an interesting season come June. The path of the ITCZ waves is pretty much determined by the B/A High. If they are in as much flux then as they are now, good luck calling a path.

@pyrotech #69

Sorry, I didn't want to duplicate your explanation. The example of the backpackers walking through the image was just too good to pass up as an explanation for the camera behavior.

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@pyrotech: I read your post 59 and thank you for the post.

By Gordys, MN USA (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#71) All the folks at Weather Underground are expecting a very, very busy Hurricane season in the Atlantic/Caribbean Basin.

All the major forecasting agencies are calling for an above normal season, I have this gut feeling that this year will be a BIG mess!!We may have a slow start, but come August/September things are going to be WILD!

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

Pyro, Gina:

We're not talking about the same kind of water curtains. You're talking fog nozzles; they are of use in the kind of situation you describe, to protect an individual firefighter. Hell, here's a video of me practicing exactly that kind of technique:

This is what we mean by an actual water curtain device, a device you place on the ground to spray a thin sheet of water into the air:

That's about all it's good for! They *did* work in firefighting occasionally, but that was more by luck than judgment: when they did work, it's because they were wetting down and cooling the structure they were hoping to protect, NOT because they were preventing the radiant heat impinging on the structure - which is what the theory was.

Which end of CT are you at, Gina? I'm only about 4 miles from the CT line...

#68: Yep, we noticed that effect earlier as the clouds lifted off Ãórólfsfell.

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

@pyrotech 59 Did too..was part of a (very) small-town mutual aid FD for a while long ago.

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

Reynir 77, thanks for that! We play a similar game, but the ball is suspended from a wire, and the game is to push the ball to the other end of the wire. One good way to do it is to use the hose stream to 'take out' the other team, *then* play the ball... ;-)

Anyone else see that speck of light on Ãóró?

La Kat, I saw Turrialba today, it had a big gas plume and still closed to public. Poas also degassing strongly but no eruption. Heading to Arenal manana.

I have been away for some time so I decided to check on Eyja again. I see that she still is going strong. Interesting to hear about the larger plumes today and the increased SO2 amounts. Those deep earthquakes are also interesting, something might be moving down there.
I wonder about the latest GPS measurement from the SOHO station, the vertical drop seems strange. But meiby it is a incorrect measurement that they will correct tomorrow

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Yesterday, there was someone on the opposite side of the gully taking a night-time video. Perhaps that was happening tonight as well (I saw the light too).

Looking at the FLIR, I can just see the lava flow. It doesn't appear to have advanced very much over the last few days.

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

I'm seeing a 'hot spot' below the 'V notch'- between it and the split rock - could it have broken through there?

By Kathryn, Australia (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Looks like something may be happening inside the meltwater tunnel. The FLIR is showing a temperature change - a little line of colour is starting to flow from the bottom of the lava flow/steam plume heading towards the top of the meltwater tunnel.

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

#88) It appears some magma has mad it to the surface in the FLIR pic. It would be awesome to have at least one clear day over the summit of "E" to watch this awesome eruption!

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

@ [86]

Of course, always have to have a new project to spend non-existent money on. Just look at some of the less than optimally financed countries.

While remote sensing has it's place, terrestrial research is always in need of financing.

But... if you have well financed cattle hauling operations like Delta, Pan-Am, Spirit, Southwest, etc. throwing money at the politicritters, well, they tend to do what the master beckons them to do.

It seems to have been the spot that was intermittently puffing the wisp of steam yesterday. There was a fair steam plume showing for a while showing distinctly on the new camera....but of course, it's now stopped.

By Kathryn, Australia (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Wow, I have come back after a 2 day business trip to FLIR.
GREAT. We are so lucky to have this technology.
I however, do not see any break through.

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

I'm watching a decent show on this eruption on Discovery Channel right now. 9-10 EST

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

USA today article has the plume at 421,000ft high. LOL! Ice age is coming! LOL!

That's about 79 miles... almost at Low Earth Orbit. A bit higher and they might hit the ISS.

Discovery Channel is doing a thing on Eyjafjallajökull and Icelands more nefarious eruptions. They mentioned the Laki eruption of 1783. The show narrator stated that it put out about 120 million tons of SO2, and that it erupted for 8 months.

That works out to about 500,000 tons of SO2 per day. In "Friday Flotsam" of 30 Apr 2010 (here) it was noted that Kilauea sulfur dioxide emissions have dropped to about 520 metric tons/day versus the 2,600 metric tons/day it was putting out in 2008.

According to Wiki, Pinatubo did 20 million tons of SO2 during it's 1991 event. It's been widely reported that this resulted in 0.5ºC drop in global temps.

Is there a site or reference that gives an estimate of global volcanic SO2 output, and/or takes a stab at the relationship of SO2 an cooling?

I'm aware that there is quite a bit to it... atmospheric circulation, latitude etc. But is there a generic rule of thumb that anyone has come up with?

Discovery program pretty good until the global warming thing came up. Iceland volcanoes have been going off despite how much ice is over the volcanoes. Even the ice sheets of Antarctica don't stop the eruptions that happen under them. Nor does the deep ocean stop underwater volcanoes. Give me a break!

#101) A "Pinatubo" or larger eruption is needed to inject SO2 into the stratosphere.

SO2 is an aerosol and it reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth's surface. The cooling can be 0.5C for smaller eruptions and more pronounced cooling in the order of 2+C in larger eruptions, like the 1783 Laki eruption. The effects last from 1-3 yrs, depending on the amount of SO2 released.

Thankfully, those eruptions are the exception rather than the rule. The Jet Stream helps to carry the SO2 around the globe. There is the Polar Jet and the Sub-Tropical Jet in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. The SO2 injected into the stratosphere slowly dissipates over a 1-3 yr time period in larger eruptions and climate returns to normal.

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

#103 :o), The top of the ash plume is barely visible in the upper portion of the Hvo web cam!!

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

On the Hvol cam you can just start to see the top of a plume

'night all - wake me up if something happens...

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

Re comparative SO2 amounts. Earlier today Hasis posted

It's a press conference at the European Geologist's Union about a theory of mass extinctions and flood basalt volcanos (think Deccan Traps). The whole thing is worth watching, but in the initial 5-10 minutes there is a discussion and slide showing the relationship of SO2 between famous eruptions.

By parclair, NoCal (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Erik #96

Well, if nobody else takes a stab at it, how about this:

If the volcano starts to bulge out again, supposedly towards the south-east, and shows renewed seismic activity, we may be heading for another rift opening up. Perhaps on the flank of the mountain with less / no ice covering the eruptive edifice. Could be quite a show, if it were to happen that way.

Of course, the people that live around that side of Eyjafjallajökull would suffer badly from such a thing. Therefore, let's hope this is just idle fantasy....

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Fireman: I meant the drop in radiant energy you notice if you're, say, holding a 60psi hose (or even a garden hose for that matter) and approaching a bonfire. It's pretty easy to block all the thermal infrared for such a small target as a human; when dealing with something like a house, forget it - you have to pump water way too quickly and you're better off wetting the house; you'll achieve the same effect with orders of magnitude less water. If you have a fire cam handy you can try the garden hose trick in the back yard to see how easy it is to blind the camera.

@Scott: The ocean looks blue because it is reflecting the blue light scattered in the atmosphere. Try going out to sea at night and shining the brightest lights you can find - the ocean is nice and black. I can't remember if blue is transmitted better than other colors in water, in which case if you go deep enough everything will have a bluish tint when lit by the sun.

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

#110) Jon, considering the plume height is about 20,000 ft, yes, the plume is a little smaller than yesterday. The "E" volcano is not finished by any means, she is taking a "break". Yesterday, "E" shot ash up over 42,000 ft. We have the "bulge" being picked up by the GPS sensors and the 10-20 earthquakes tell us "E" will continue to put on quite a show!

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

For those of you who have been looking at the FLIR camera its a neat addition and under certain circumstances, it will work in some fog conditions. But someone was saying that it will look through fog. Actually not, in fact its worse if there is a humidity level of more than 55% and /or smoke. The fog conducts the heat and makes it pin point invisible mostly. You would though see a bright flash if it goes. Lightning might put it into reset mode too because of its heat and a small aperture.

The Iraqi's figured it out and would set large oil fires during Desert Storm and create clouds of smoke that would blot out the IR signatures of the targets for the GBU's. Thats when we turned to mostly laser guided sight bombs. After a while they ran out of this and that and we got them one by one. But, if the volcano goes on a foggy night the ash, smoke and very likely the very humid conditions could produce a blank screen. Its appreciated that they are trying but it rarely goes the way you want.

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

Oops ... I missed Gina's post on the fog nozzle - a great practical example of how water does block that radiant energy.

I wish the colors were set up differently on the IR camera though - and that we had a scale for the apparent temperature. It's still pretty neat to be able to watch it almost any time of the day and night.

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

Ok am I the only one who's not getting any value from this new thermal cam? If it's foggy/cloudy/etc. all I "see" are the usual landmarks. If it's not, then I can see what I need to see on the regular cam anyway. Am I alone here, or should I be more excited about this new gizmo? :)

Water Latent Heat Vaporization = 2260 kJ/kg

I was going to say that earthquake activity continues to look suspiciously low on the IMO site, but just a few minutes ago there were two under Eyjafjöll.

@Pyrotech #68: There's infrared and infrared and infrared and infrared. Some cameras sold as "infrared" are near-infrared and the scene can be lit with something like an LED which produces no visible light. Then there are the "SWIR" cameras (short wave infrared) which are in the "mid-infrared" region; the scene for those cameras can be lit up with a nice hot lamp with a germanium filter in front (so no visible light is transmitted). Then there's the "LWIR" (long-wave infrared) which is somewhat misleading because it's also mid-infrared, but those cameras are also known as "thermal infrared". Although you can light the scene as with the SWIR, you don't need to unless your scene is at a uniform temperature - otherwise you see objects via the energy they emit at whatever their temperature is. And then there's the "far infrared", but I don't even know if there are imagers for that region; I never had a need to do imaging in the far IR.

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

@beedragon: Generally lava doesn't advance quickly - you can outwalk it. Personally I've only seen very fast moving lava in movies (or right where it's coming out where it's still incredibly hot - it flows much easier then). When Etna was gurgling lava a few years ago people were having parties and watching the wall of lava creep on (unless they were in the path in which case they packed what they could and left). There's also that guy in Hawaii who's right in the middle of a region of flow but he refuses to leave while his house is still standing.

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

@Jon #86: well, what Dr. Prata says is true (after all, he's the one who worked out that volcanic ash can be detected using some satellite instruments). One of the older meteorological satellites happened to have channels that allowed the detection of volcanic ash, but the currently flying replacement can't do it - I think the next bird to fly in 2011 or 2012 will be able to again - I'm not sure though, that might just be wishful thinking. The satellite images can give you the lateral extent of the ash which is above about 4km altitude, but you can't locate the height of the plume with any accuracy. That's improved a bit since Calipso was launched, but Calipso can't provide enough timely data for the entire plume, just a little strip here and there. Whether it's worthwhile or not to build such satellites is another issue.

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

Randall Nix: not if the person has stolen Katla's "walking pants" ;)

#109 reference to Erik article posting
"If the volcano starts to bulge out again, supposedly towards the south-east"
Discharge from GÃgjökull decreases further and meltwater seems to be running from the eastern side of the glacier. This is different from tuesdays meltwater were water was running from the west side. Lava flow might be changing the direction of meltwater flow... "

Today's update also stated there was a change of meltwater toward the eastern side.

On the FLIR view - I do not have the directions orientation on this view so can we see the eastern side in this Poro cam??

@Randall #120: I won't go to that volcano then! I'll stick to Hawaii or Sicily or any number of other places where the lava takes its time ...

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

JS US: yes, if you're looking at the thermal cam, it's the leftmost pinkish-purple vertical (i.e. go left of the black stuff ;)

@Randall #120: where did you get the figures for Nyiragongo? (I don't even know what type lava it puts out.) Looking at other sources, they agree with my own (very limited) experience:

www geo mtu edu/volcanoes/hazards/primer/lava.html

hvo wr usgs gov/volcanowatch/2002/02_02_28.html

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

"The lava emitted in eruptions at Nyiragongo is often unusually fluid. Nyiragongo's lavas are made of melilite nephelinite, an alkali-rich type of volcanic rock whose unusual chemical composition may be a factor in the unusual fluidity of the lavas there. Whereas most lava flows move rather slowly and rarely pose a danger to human life, Nyiragongo's lava flows may race downhill at up to 60 miles per hour (up to 100 km/h)."


MadScientist here is one source:
Because of the extremely high speeds of the 1977 lava flows, estimated by some observers to peak at 100 km/hr (62 mph) on Nyiragongo's steep upper slopes, the death toll from the 1977 eruption was staggering. Some reports put the number killed in the thousands. Exact numbers will never be known. The fast-moving flows swept through rural villages in the middle of the night, catching the villagers unaware and, in most cases, asleep.

I can find you more but it will be after the EJ volcano show on Discovery is off.

The lights at Villarrica summit is because the lava lake has rised almost to the surface, so the explosions (they are usual) are more visible, but the cameras show it spectacularly. It looks like (according to the POVI) that is a normal cycle, because 5 years ago happened the same.

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

MadScientist here is something from John Search's site:

According to eye-witnesses, lava flows reached the outskirts of Goma in 20 minutes, at a speed of 30 km/hr. Further uphill lava flowed at 60 km/hr, reaching 100 km/hr at the fracture point. Fast lava flows generated strong winds which unrooted eucalyptus trees and destroyed banana plantations.

@Randall and parclair: Thanks. What a curious volcano. I'll stick with the more usual types.

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

I am wondering why there is such a huge drop in melt water coming from the glacier. Anyone have a good idea that could explain this ??

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

1. There's still a bloody good plume occasionally visible on the Hvolsvelli cam.

2. The thermal imager is doing a pretty good job of picking up the incandescent (in the IR at least) material hidden behind the steam on the glacier.

3. Where is all the meltwater going? I worry.

By the looks of the tremor plots etc it sure looks like she's holding her breath!

Nice white bright spot on the flir cam

Fireman, I am with you being concerned about the lack of meltwater flowing from the glacier. Where is it going? If it is just dammed some how there could be a huge out burst when it is finally released..

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

Its seems to be new (for me) steamvent on left side of vodacams "big picture". Just below clouds you can easy spot it righ now. Its near at left blank of the picture. Meltwater is maybe going over there??

It's a huge plume hitting above the clouds. And wide.
Frá Hólosvélli

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Peter! (#56) The phenomenon is real. We have just observed one such ~48 hour long oscillation on an Icelandic scale end 18 hours ago. Over the past 3+ months we have seen too many of them for it to turn out to be circumstantial. Even if it does turn out to be a squid (an unusually large squid I am confident), I am convinced it will not turn out to be a damp one. As you were the one person who recognised what we were seeing, I do hope that you get some sort of recognition for it!

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

I love when bird flocks fly in front of the plume totally unaware of the danger. It's a squabby cloud!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

You can see the plume clearly on Vodaphone. From Thórosfélli you can only see its contour on the thermo. Why so?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Oh, plume becoming visible now on the infrared cam, too.

Hey guys: don't miss the wonderful view of the plume on Vodacam!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Why did the IR image go so very very very bright during the last mins? ( Obvious answer it is hotter) but whats the reason for this?

It's heading southeast. Beware Europe!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Renato #147

Thanks for the tip! That's a stunning view, finally.

I guess the Mila Thórosfélli view field doesn't reach high enough, therefore it's missing the plume above.

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#150 After so many hours avidly peeping through clouds it is really rewarding! We deserve it, Holger!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Renato #151

The Vodafone cam has so much better resolution. It's a truly stunning view.

Let's keep it a secret, so that the server doesn't get too busy again ;-) (like that is going to happen....)

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

It's interesting how steam plume from the lava flow is not as bright as the eruption from the vent seen from the IR cam.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink


By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Renato #153

The eruption plume could easily contain hot particles that radiate brightly in IR, particularly when seen in front of the cold / dark background of the more or less cloudless sky.

Looks like not many other people still up tonight / not up yet in Europre.

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

This ash cloud is quite big, and appears to be getting bigger at this moment. It seems like that the size is variable over time, but that might be normal.

Did you just see the guy taking pictures? And I was already thinking my screenshots would be worth some euros!LOL!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Renato #157

Yup, the early bird gets the great picture!

Jon Friman, glad to see we aren't the only ones here today.

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Some guy is taking photoes of Eyjafjöll:

I hope he would show us his pics here :-)

Our favourite Icelandic lady don't seem to be tired at all.

#156 It's my great honor to witness this wonder with you, Jón. You're the man! Wish I were in California now, Holger, so I could get some more hours of sleep. But the view is breathtaking - it's going to be another of those volcano "hang overs"!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

If we get lucky we might get another stunning time lapse movie of todays action from Phillip if and when he gets hold of Vodafone's image dump on Picasa.

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I'll post screenshots tomorrow. Lots of people will envy us! They came out beautifully!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

The guy taking pics was visible on the IR cam too.

I don't think that Mila's decision to put the FLIR picture on the same page is a good one - the refreshing rates are appalling, probably because of the need of bandwidth at either sending and/or receiving end. The visible light picture sort of toggles between focused/unfocused - loss of pixels, I suspect.

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

There seems to be few minutes difference between IR-cam and normal view @ mila. This guy with camera was visible in heat picture before real ligh cam.

You fore casted the rise of the eruption Jón. Congratulations!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@Birgit #163

There was an interesting time delay between the Vodafone cam and the Mila IR picture. It took about a minute or two longer on the IR picture for the guy to show up.

Renato, even with the Pacific Daylight time zone I'll have to turn in soon. I have a big presentation to give tomorrow. Gotta be fresh and sharp...

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#168 You need some rest, pal. I think we've seen the best of it. Soon I'm hitting the road too! Good luck everyone! Save the nice pics to me!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

# 170 @Volcanophile Does it mean we will have to upgrade eruption status to plinian?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

It appears there is very little or no new lava flowing in - they did point to this in yesterday's statement - and whatever is there, is rapidly cooling: the steam plume is considerably smaller than in the previous days.

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

Alright, last post for tonight:

Actually, the FLIR image is quite fascinating. It shows the radiant heat of the rising plume well. No wonder the plume is so vigorous and strong. Over the last half hour or so the plume has begun to out-shine the steam emissions of the lava flow.

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#172 Is it because it turned more viscous from the concentrations of silica?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Peter, Bruce & other oscillationists! I've been thinking about why we see EQ almost exclusively in the rift zones and how that would affect the bolus theory. Why only there and not uniformly over the bolus impact area, which might be most of Iceland?

Are you familiar with the principle of Chobham armour? Basically, Chobham armour is multi-layered armour where each successive layer is of a different material which gives it a different RI (refractive index) visavi the plasma jet of a HEAT warhead. The effect is to scatter and break up the jet, thereby greatly reducing its penetrative potential.

Could it be something similar with the observation that earthquakes almost exclusively occur in the rift zones? Peter, earlier you postulated that magma accreted in certain locations just below the crust. If this is so, there is a theoretical possibility that the magma could fractionate and/or have a different temperature. If we assume that different magmas at different temperatures have different permeability/RI to the bolus propagating energy form, this could explain why EQs occur almost exclusively within the rift zones. Yes, EQs are due to rocks breaking, but which phenomenon causes the rocks to break?

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

It's 4:20am here in Newfoundland ... can't sleep so I might as well watch the show :)

#176 3:55 in Rio de Janeiro. I'll have only three hours of sleep, but she's addictive!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@178 ... very much so ... it looks very active today! The eastern sky is just starting to wake up this morning ... looks like it will be a nice day for a change!

But I think new clouds are coming to say good night! :(

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Yes ... too bad ... they are moving in fast.

Dacitic? After three weeks of continous basaltic to basaltic - andesitic eruptions? With a fresh influx of lava from the depths forecast from the recent EQ activity, ie more primitive = basaltic magma? Isn't this eruption, very peculiarly, working in reverse? What a reprobate our Lady Eyja turns out to be!

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

Does the image from the new visible spectrum camera at Ãórólfsfell seem to be stretched vertically to anyone? Something about it doesn't seem quite right.

Ok who ordered the clouds? lol

#183 I've noticed that too...

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@184 ... I don't think this volcano likes being watched :)

Morning all, quite a show at the moment, though I think the cloud has actually calmed down over the last couple of days. Those brief glimpses we got during the cloud cover suggested a MUCH bigger plume and I think we missed the really big action that produced that SO2 cloud which is currently floating of the west coast of Spain and the Bay of Biscay.

However, the plume looks noticeably greyer (and not just from steam diluting a black mafic cloud). I wouldn't be surprised if the ash is indeed richer in SiO2 which begs the question of whether this is coming directly from a deep source or whether basaltic magma from a deeper source is injecting into a shallow fractionated sill or chamber. The seismic patterns seem to suggest the former but I don't know if you can get SiO2 rich magma from the mantle/crust boundary like that. Maybe EKoh or Boris or someone can fill me in on that (hint, hint).

@ Henrik, I'm afraid you lost me on the refractive indicies thing (no fault of yours, just my limited knowledge!) To start from the beginning (so that I don't confuse myself!):

I think the boluses thing refers to capsules or pulses of melt (probably eclogite to follow Ms. Foulger's paper) rising through the mantle to stall at the mantle/crust boundary. When their buoyancy overrides the resistance offered by the crust an intrusion event occurs. The resistance offered by the crust will vary depending on local faulting and the nature of the crust itself, e.g. any existing dikes etc. that will facilitate the rise of the magma.

The oscillating pattern, as I understand it, is an expression of the arrival of such pulses at this boundary (which seems to be in surprisingly ordered succession - hence the string of pearls analogy) and their subsequent propagation through the crust. So far so good.

So, to get back to your question as to why EQ's only occur at rift zones: wouldn't the most obvious explanation be that rift zones are already fractured and this is where the crust offers least resistance?

If this is what you are actually saying anyway, then pardon!!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

In The Halls of Valhalla I finally take my place
With my sword and my shield I enter Odin's realm
I'm an immortal spirit now with a heart made of steel
With the gods on high forever I will live
and laugh at the fears of man

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

Hi folks:
I am comming back to Katla connection. Could it be possible the following way: Eyj. inflates, erupts ... finally deflates and this strong subsidence extends as far as the Katla fault system, thus opening it and triggers Katla ?

Any comments?

By Hanns Sperl (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

It looks like the whole Mila camera operation went belly-up.

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

Sometimes it works when you say that something doesn't - it starts working right away!

I still don't like the picture quality on the visible light camera, not one bit! It's like it had auto focus on, and it keeps focusing between the fog and the far wall - quite useless at full screen.

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


It looks like the whole Mila camera operation went belly-up.

Posted by: Kultsi, Askola, FI | May 7, 2010 3:37 AM

I couldn't get any of the cams for a few mins. Just try reloading a few times. Worked for me.

Hard to tell through gaps in the clouds, but the plume may be getting bigger.

Henrik thank you I needed that right before I go to sleep:) BTW between work and the volcano I am still studying and enjoying your thesis.

@Bruce (#188), yes and no. Thinking of it as a physical body of eclogite makes it comprehensible. The way I try to think of it is in terms of energy, energy forms and interactions. I think of theses boluses not as boluses of eclogite or other materials, but as carriers of energy, an energy bolus if that makes sense? As with the discussion above about steam/cloud permeability to IR, the materials/strata the energy bolus encounters on its upward path will react differently. Some will be permeable and the energy bolus will continue its upwards rise. Some will be opaque and stop further propagation in that direction. Some will react and it is the reactions we (theoretically) can detect. Since what differentiates solids from fluids is a crystal lattice, is it too far-fetched to think of energy in the form of a bolus interacting with and affecting crystal lattices? Something akin to phenomena such as piezo-electricity?

I hope that makes it clearer - even if I managed to confuse myself thoroughly! My brain is not used to this level of abstract visualisation and conceptualisation, and I find that I lack both knowledge and language to think precisely. :o

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

Yeah, the focus problem is rather irritating. Also, as someone mentioned earlier, the refresh/framerate has really taken a hit. Seriously, at times, the vodafone still cam has been smoother. But they've been good at getting stuff fixed so far, so I'm guessing we won't have to put up with these niggles too long.

The FLIR cam is pretty spiffy.

Thanks for that video, Vince.

Sorry my bad english..
Here two Pics, see the right side.


#193 naaaah... Just light playing with your head. Those have been seen b4.

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

Das dürften Lichtreflexionen in einem Tropfen oder sonst was auf der Kamera sein, ist mir auch schon öfter aufgefallen. Lava ist das nicht.
Just a reflection on the lense, the spot would not be possible for lava to appaer. I have been waiting to see lava on this cam for days but so far i have not seen any.

@ McHard 196 - I think what you are seeing is a rejuvenated stream of water from the right hand side of the glacier (pretty small though).

@ Henrik, yes, that makes sense to me. I said this before somewhere but a geologist once explained quakes to me as like when silly putty snaps, i.e. a crystal lattice will only take so much strain before it breaks. The different structural properties of the surrounding strata as well as existing faults and so on will interfere with the propagation of the resulting seismic wave so I guess a pressure wave rising through a volcanic system will be subject to similar discontinuities.

I really wish we had a 3D map of the seismic activity over time (like Korfs but animated over time) because we may have actually been able to see this.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

@195 Thank you so much for the video I was asleep while all that was going on and missed it. Great to be able to see it.

An impressive plume on the Hvolvöllur camera.

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

Mila have zoomed the Poro cam right in on the top of the opening.

They've shifted the Thorolfsfell camera to point more upwards. Still the same pixel mush for picture.

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

I do not believe it was, that only water is, look here the picture of picasso voda verge, it looks as if something would explode.


Múlakot webcam is far enough to see the massive ash plume.

Ich habe genau den Flecken angeschaut und das auch bemerkt wie gesagt. Ich wäre wirklich froh wenn es Lava oder eine Explosion gewesen wäre, wars aber meiner Meinung nach leider nicht. Aber Philip wird uns hoffentlich wieder mit einem Videozusammenschnitt dieser Kamera beglücken und da kann man dann nochmal genauer nachsehen.
I know it is impolite not to talk Englisch here, i just wanted to help Mc HARD a bit.
And McHard, if you keep following this blog i am sure your english will improve, i am learning A LOT here, not only about volcanism.

@ McHard.. ich glaub, dass Du nur eine kleine Wolkenlücke gesehen hast. Ein Lavastrom wäre mit ziemlich viel Dampf verbunden. ;-)

By bruce stout (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

Sorry, but the pictures it was really over
Birgit @ 212 and @ 213 Bruce
Thank you:)

The FLIR camera is now showing its worth. Impressive hot plume and evident lava flow.

Did the plume become significantly darker?

Nifty little lenticular cloud.

And - when the cloud at the top disperse, the column changes to a (much) darker colour and does not attain the same height. Since this seems to be a repeating phenomenon, I give you two choices:

a) Changes in magma composition and force of eruption coincide with changes in cloud cover.

b) The eruption column interacts with any cloud present which results in the changes in colour and altitude observed.

Since b) is the far simpler explanation, it's the more likely (See Popper and Ockham)

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

On the heat camera the colours have changed. It was said last night that the colour range adjusts to the temperature range on screen. in other words the hotest thing is white and the coldst purple, a given colour doesnt equal a certain temperature constantly.

Given this fact it is interesting that the ground is now mostly red, when it was yellow earlier. this suggests the the white area, the plume, is alot hotter. would this make sense since you are suggesting the new magma has arrived?

This is indeed a new phase just starting.

@ Peter Cobbold 156
@ Henrik Sweden 142

All volcanoes are said to have their own unique seismic signature but Redoubt was certainly notable in her short period of quiescence just before she blew her top. (Fooled a few people, there!) After much misbehaving, and cause for concern, she suddenly settled down gaining a reprieve for good behaviour from The Alaskan Volcano Observatory who officially reduced her alert level i.e. put it back down a level! Hence my comment (300 6th May) that Turrialba may be doing the same and is not to be trusted.

#220 I'll offer a c) When the clouds disperse, the amount of light reaching the camera changes and it reacts with adjusting to the total amount and that will make the plume look relatively darker.

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

Ooops! Meant @ Peter Cobbald's comment at no.56 (not 156)

sorry guys, but I beg to differ. The cloud only looks darker because the sun has shifted behind it. :-)

It looks more uniformly grey to me which would indicate less or even no phreatomagmatic activity. Henrik, I still don't buy the cloud explanation for the huge cloud of SO2 put out the other day.

For a colour comparison remember the densely black clouds at the beginning of the eruption? This is nothing like this.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

#222 To compensate for Redoubt, Pagan went yellow VONA level yesterday...

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

Jamie (#221)! Consider the alternate explanation - there no cloud there to interact with, ie to cool, the eruption column.

LaKat, I agree - "Human wishes rarely influence natural phenomenae" or "If an observed phenomenon can be linked to either a benevolent or a destructive event to follow, get the H outta there!".

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

Darn! is having a glitch.

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

Bruce! SO2 does not build huge, billowing clouds, H20 does. Remember the unique properties of the water molecule!

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

Everybody, look at the FLIR cam now.
It looks like they're experimenting with temperature readings.

Look a temp scale and a Hotspot reading. Mila, I´m impressed with your sensitivity to what we spectators want.!!

had a 47 degree hotspot just now

By snotraviking (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

Well, very interestingly, some more data has appeared on screen on the thermal camera. It shows a temperature scale and there seems to be someone using it to assess the temperature of the plume and the lava flow.

@Kultsi (#223). Nice explanation but it does not explain the observed changes in altitude! ;)

Bruce (#230), I didn't poh-poo you did I? Since there was no corroborating evidence for a substantial increase, I merely offered an alternative - and in my opinion more likely - explanation. If I offended you or anyone else, I sincerely apologise! :(

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@232: Thinking more about it, I'm not sure if they will keep it though. Temperature readings from a FLIR camera can be misleading. Certainly hot spots aren't in reality only 38.5C hot or so.

Does anyone else think that the water flow on the left hand side is coming from under the glacier tongue. If this is the case then i think this is where our meltwater extrusion burst(if one is to occur)will manifest itself. Any thoughts.

Also the judging by the size of the jeep that was parked here yesterday and various video's that have been shown the flow from under the tongue is most likely quite violent.

: ) !

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@#234 Henrik: wind is the logical explanation to that, but sadly, well lack data to assess that factor. Wind speed at one level would not be enough, we would need speeds at several altitudes to assess the wind shear.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

New flood on lefthand side of glacier tounge just now

By snotraviking (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

Ha, Henrik, no offense taken (I'm kind of difficult to offend on this kind of thing).

No, I was referring to the discussion yesterday morning when we were all getting excited and you dismissed it as the result of excessively damp cloud cover, even though there was indeed a ruddy great cloud of SO2 bearing straight down on Ireland that hadn't been there the day before.

You might be right, particularly as there hasn't been any associated reports of excessive ash, just I don't see how something like that huge cloud of SO2 can be explained by local airborne moisture interacting with the plume.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

My understanding of thermal imaging is that it measures infrared. In which case the intensity is a function of the distance the object is from the camera. In order to get a decent reading they would need to know the distance the plume was from the camera and probably also a reference distance to an object of known temperature, for example the glacier. Perhaps that is what they are doing now, calibrating it.

@Henrik, Swe. I hope you don't mind if i suggest your use of exclamation marks gives the impression you are shouting all the time :) That might be why people get a bit upset. What you are saying is always interesting though.

@ Henrik no. 227

I think you meant to say: "malevolent". (Bene = good!)

BTW: Your standard of English is excellent - just thought you would like to know.

As for the clouds i don't think they effect the height of the ash plume. With cloud convection you are talking a few degress in temperature difference to create updraft. With the volcano the ash plume is most likely very hot and will push through the cloud with little or no resistance. 850mb and 500mb temperatures have been fairly constant for the last few weeks ranging in temperature from -10 to -15 DegC.

I take things as i see them, the ash plume is higher because the eruption is stronger.

Nice colours showing on the Poro cam - looks like the lower bright spot tallies with the areas of steam that have been seen above the arch.

@Birgit #148: The camera is set to automatically adjust the dynamic range of the image so you can see the most detail when there is little temperature difference in the scene. This makes it useful for some things but absolutely useless for other things (such as gauging the temperature of objects). If you have a very large contrast in the image such as a clear sky (about -40C) and a warm plume (about +80C) or even volcanic bombs (~600C or more) you tend to lose all features and see only silhouettes. This is even more obvious if some object is so hot that the detector cannot correctly register the energy received. So that's probably the effect you see - just a large difference in contrast and the camera's computer automatically attempting to scale things. There are other techniques which can be exploited to show better images in such a situation, but then the usual image from the camera would not be interesting at all - if only they would automatically switch between image processing techniques.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

#244 I don't agree. The hot spot upslope Gigjökull seen on the Thorolfsfell (or Ãórólfsfell, if you want to use the local character set) is probably the only glimpse we have of actual lava - and it really is much higher up, at least a mile, maybe more, along the glacier, I'd guess.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

Mila cams are down for me

Thank you MadScientist. That explains. I think the cam turned bright just when the new more active phase started.
And i would like to thank the people of Mila for providing the cameras for us and constantly improving things. After all we are people living far away from iceland and still we can watch this eruption right when it happens. With the pictures and Jons helicorders and the tremors one can get a really good idea whats going on. Not that i understand everything our experts here are discussing but i am learning more and more about volcanoes. Eyja sure is faszinating and i became a scienceblogs/eruptions addict.

So did the eruption enter a new phase today?

This may be a case of crystal mush "rejuvenation" as someone said earlier....

The almost-crystallized rhyodacite magma under Eyjaf has been melted back to eruptible status bay week after week of basaltic injections, and we see it erupting now.

I wouldn't be surprised if we had yet another switch-back to basaltic magma after a few days, then back to andesitic, etc etc....

Anything seems possible in this eruption. We could even have dome growth, then basaltic lava flows, then back to dome growth, or even the two erupting simultaneously, or magma mixing to any extend.

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

Now on Hvolsvelli we can clearly see the plume. It is HUGE, as big as it was at the start of the eruption... and there is NO WATER involved in the eruptive process now.

This looks just like St Helens or Pinatubo right now, LARGE mushroom cloud.

This.... is at the very least a *solid* subplinian activity.

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@Ruby I can't get any of the Mila cams right now either. I get a server down message.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@ Volcanophile 249

yep, that makes perfect sense to me too.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

I think Mila has set up a program to automatically follow the hottest spot in the picture.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@Henrik, Swe

In general you have a valid point with your water-theory.
Even if you haven't said it water has a much higher energy containment potential than water-free air. It also as you state has some rather unique qualities as dispersers and as cloud-builders. So far your theory is bang on the money.

Now to the small flaw.
Your theory would have been valid if you had made the comparison between dry air and watery clouds. But that is only possible normaly in laboratories or in some degree over large desserts. Not in Iceland during fog-season:)
I would say that the air humidity is about 60 - 80 percent in clear (no cloud) air and between 60 - 90 in the clouds. The only large difference between the clouds and the clear air is temperature driven, ie. if the clear air reaches a certain temperature point it starts to go into steam.
And do not for all parts forget that cloud-building is also in large parts driven by micro air particles. You can get a whopping good rain if you "seed" clear air with silver-nitrates.
Conclusion: The difference between the clouds you say enhances the plume and "clear air" is only a couple of degrees and some dirt.

Conclusion 2: Actually Henrik might be right though if I reverse order you theory. A larger plume will increase the "cloudabillity" due to wind increase (lowers dew point and temperature), particle amount (will give adding points for the airs watermolecules, and of course lower the air temperature).

Conclusion 3: (Public health warning, philosophical humour) Soros Law, if one has to invoke Popper one has forgotten to look for a new solution.
All is Poppers fault since he was the thesis supervisor for George Soros. And as we all know he has built a fortune out of global crisis management, so in any good logic, since he benefits from large crisises all is his fault, or more to the point. Popper blew up the volcano;)

dagnabbit,rabbit,no view for me either except Mulakot -glad I got up early . Those who can see, please post occasionally what you're seeing, especially any changes in water, etc.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

The Mila cams have all been up and down like a yoyo since they installed them new cameras at Ãórólfsfell.

Jón FrÃmann's helicorder is detoxing right now :)

detoxing! Haa! nice way to put it...

crikey is that a small pyroclastic flow on the vodafone cam or just another trick of the light? whoa.. sun just came out, that will be it.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

Vodaphone cam is showing more water coming out from under the east side of the glacier tongue this morning.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

Got my access back to the Mila cams. As much as the FLIR image is fun, I'd love it if they'd put the Thorolfsfell cam back the way it was! The new image is not good.

Vodafone is giving a better picture, but the constant refreshing of their page is headache-inducing.

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

Can anyone else see a big yellow square in the voda cam - what's that all about?

By hannahsmetana (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@Volcanophile (#250). Steady on there, I've checked with old screenshots (Hvolsvöllur camera). Although it is certainly large today, it is nowhere near as big as on the 16th and 17th of April when it overtopped the screen by some distance. Nor is it as high as on the 27th. It is slightly higher than it was on the 21st, 22nd and 2nd albeit more voluminous today. :)

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

#262 I can't see any squares, but there's an X on the west (right) side of the split rock, "Treasure Be Here"...

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

The lava flow appears to have increased. The steam in the glacier is greater but more significantly there is much more of a 'hot' line coming north from the plume site on the thermal camera.

Are all those signals on Jon Frimann's helicorder only noise or is there some earthquake too?

Somebody who is good with time-lapse movies. I would like to see how fast the lava is moving in the ice, could that be done with timelapse on the heat cam? I´m trying to decide if the hotspots are increasing in size, hard to see in normal motion.

By snotraviking (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@268 well from the blurb, I am not holding out much hope for it. They make it sound like they just discovered the Toba eruption well, doh! No doubt I will watch it anyway given the chance but it hardly looks like news.

love this bit: "to predict if such a disaster could happen again" lol

By bruce stout (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@Snotra (#269)

I don't think the lava has advanced one bit in the past two days or so.

If I remember correctly scientists said yesterday that the lava (what little there is of it) seems to be pooling in some hollow high above the split boulder outlet.

By Anna, ReykjavÃk (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@snotraviking I think we've been waiting nearly two weeks - since we saw the first steam plume at the top of the glacier tongue - for lava to be visible. We're still waiting.....

By beedragon Canada (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink


Yesterday they said this, "The lava stream down GÃgjökull has been stationary for the last two days."

There are two hot spots in the upslope channel, but how hot they really are, is anyone's guess, as the FLIR only shows relative temperatures.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

@Bruce 188 Henrik 198. A bolus of energy could embrace any of: heat, kinetic energy, buoyancy, chemical reactivity, (others?). Boluses of heat seem less likely at Eyjaf because of Prof Foulgers cold plume papers (no evidence for hot plume). Chemical reactivity- seems to ne to be too slow to produce very sudden EQ-rate rise and a symmetrical spike.Kinetic energy we've visited before- negligible with respect to mass of crust above bolus. That leaves buoyancy. Maybe hydraulic coupling, but we have not considered sinking of the overlying crust into a lower density bolus (think of boat sinking into mass of rising methane bubbles). To me crustal sinking into a bolus would lead to compression of surface of crust , but GPS show expansion. On other hand bending (expansion) of lower crust could explain deep EQs at 25km. And maybe compression of surface reduced strain and EQ numbers in the top 1km we saw in the swarm.

By Peter Cobbold (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

Hi Peter, nearly missed you here.

What you are referring to would be the top pressure/squeeze mechanism I mentioned above. Unfortunately I think the observed inflation rules this out. Did you see this when it came out?,72

Scroll way down to near the bottom of the page or do a text search in the page for "crustal deformation associated with magma intrusion" for that great interferometric map.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

Earthquake swarm around noon, Jons helicorder is showing crazy things... while watching the Webcams (I watch Vodafone, Mila and Mulakot at the same time on 2 Monitors) it seems that the eruption is getting stronger reaching a Sub-Plinian characteristic very soon.

By Thomas Wipf (not verified) on 10 May 2010 #permalink