Mt. Baker Volcano Research Center T-shirt fundraiser

Last year I mentioned the fundraiser for the excellent Mt. Baker Volcano Research Center - and lo and behold, I will mention it again. The new 2010 t-shirts are out and you can purchase one to support one of the best volcano research sites on the web (and off the web) - with a plethora of information on Mt. Baker, updates on the research going on at the volcano and any news of activity from Washington's northern-most volcano.

2010 MBVRC t-shirt. Click to enlarge image.

This year's t-shirt features Mt. Baker's eruptive history (see above) and can be yours by visiting the MBVRC blog site. You can subscribe to the MBVRC blog as well to keep up to date on what is going on. The MBVRC through support from Western Washington University and all you volcano enthusiasts help support research on Mt. Baker, like the ice-penetrating radar study on the summit area of the volcano (see below).

Last summer's ice-penetrating radar work to determine the thickness of ice in the summit crater at Baker. MBVRC will join this project this summer to complete the transects. The woman on the right is Melissa Park, a Western Washington University grad student running a number of radar profiles on the mountain.

More like this

Evening all.

Alert level at Taal volcano in the Philippines has risen from 1 up to 2.

Some more info here at PHIVOLCS website -

"In view of the above observations and the interpretation that a fresh batch of magma has been intruding towards the surface, as manifested in the seismic swarms in 1992, 1994, 2000 and 2004 to present, Taal Volcanoâs status is now raised to Alert Level 2, meaning that the volcano is undergoing magmatic intrusion which could eventually lead to an eruption. PHIVOLCS reminds the general public that the Main Crater remains off-limits because hazardous steam-driven explosions may occur, along with the possible build-up of toxic gases. Areas with hot grounds and steam emission such as portions of the Daang Kastila Trail are considered hazardous. PHIVOLCSreiterates that the whole Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) and permanent settlement within this area is strictly prohibited."

Given that Taal is potentially waaay more dangerous than a certain other caldera volcano which shall remain Yellowstone, the lack of response to James' post raises a bit of a smirk.

Let's hope she settles down again before anything major happens.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

08.06.2010 10:13:43 63.587 -19.645 10.2 km 0.9 99.0 9.8 km NW of Skógar

Good Morning America, must be a calm day at Lady E, visibility of base of glacier is the best I've seen for a while, meltwater seems to have settled down again into a single channel. Definition is frustratingly not good enough to see ice well. Plume obscured by clouds.

Popocatapetl looking beautiful with snow now at a lower altitude. Turrialba steaming away in sunshine too.
Following link has a good gallery of photographs of Turrialba, Arenal and Poas.

@ Bruce Stout. Thanks for the heads up. Taal must be enjoying his run as the Decade Volcano ;)

@James. Thank you for the heads up! * head slap * Just up, very little coffee. ;-P

@ parclair lol

exactly, credit where credit is due.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Bruce @2 I would suggest that not a lot of regular posters are about at this time of the day, and some that are, namely me, don't have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Phillipino volcanoes. However I have had a look now and see where you are coming from.

Good viewing at the PuÊ»u Ê»ÅʻŠCone Cam too-- lava lake glistening.

Bruce: are you sure you aren't confusing it with Toba, when you say it's more dangerous than Yellowstone? Sounds like a big volcano, but not on that scale.

The bulletin about Taal said

"Temperature measurement of the Main Crater Lake had increased to 34.00C on 24 May 2010, higher by 2.0 â 3.00C from the previous measurement last 11 May 2010 of 32.00C."

When I look at the picture of the crater in wiki, there are two lakes. One in the volcano in the center of the caldera, and the one in the caldera. A rise in temp in the little lake is one thing. 2 C in the big lake is worrisome. Does anyone know which one they're talking about?

Parclair #72 on previous thread:

On the "new" quake map, before they changed the site, you could get that map as there was a link to it. It is nice to know the name of the faults. I still don't like it being the main map, but I guess I will get used to it and like it eventually. :-}

I have been away for a while, and I have to go into town in a few minutes so I will catch everybody later.


By Diane N CA (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

hi all - no time to linger, but chances to sort of keep up - thanks for the Taal alert James, off-radar for volcano newbies! Great 1st hand report, indeed. More pictures here -

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Hi jen,

no, I am not confusing it with Toba. The difference between Taal and Yellowstone is that Taal is close to a large population AND has a very eruptive history. That's generally a bad combination.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Bruce Stout is correct. While volcanoes like Toba and Yellowstone are capable of very large eruptions - which luckily are extremely unlikely to occur during our lifetime - Taal is a volcano that normally erupts violently every few decades. Thus, Taal has killed many more people in a couple of centuries than those mega-volcanoes, and that's why one should consider it among the more dangerous volcanoes, at least in the short term. In 1911, it practically exterminated the population (about 1300 people) living on its island (the one in the middle of the caldera lake) with pyroclastic flows and surges, of which a dramatic report with haunting photographs was published the following year in the National Geographic Magazine. In 1965 it erupted again catastrophically, killing nearly 200. Minor eruptions continued through the late-1960s, producing the first historical lava flows seen at this volcano, and phreatomagmatic activity last occurred in 1976-1977.

The 33 years of repose since 1977 are one of the longest quiescent periods on record for this volcano. I therefore fear this is a volcano that might have a nasty reawakening. Not a world-shaking eruption, but something quite serious for those living nearby. And, as everywhere in Southeast Asia, in the past few decades the population has increased dramatically.

parclair 12: I'd hazard a guess that it's the lake within the crater where the temperature has risen; the temperature of this lake has been continuously monitored by PHIVOLCS for many years, and has -sometimes- given advance warning of eruptions (and sometimes not) If the temperature of Lake Taal has risen by two degrees there is a serious problem, the lake covers an area of 267 according to GVP

Boris: do you know if there are any settlements on Volcano Island these days? I know that PHIVOLCS says that settlement there is "strictly prohibited" but people have moved back against advice before (after 1911 for example)

Hi there!
Don't know if it has already been posted, but just as a reminder: Taal Volcano is one of the 16 so called Decade volcanoes (among others like Etna, Vesuvius, Mauna Loa, Rainier and Santorini - no Icelandic volcanoes listed!).
According to Wikipedia:
"The Decade Volcanoes refer to the 16 volcanoes identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI) as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas."

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

#6 #19 @parclair I must change my eyeglasses - already posted.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Hello to All,

I see that there are two lucky people watching Eyja on Thoro Cam, at a sensible distance !

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Just watched Volcanic Ash: The Ticking Time Bomb on UK channel 5.
Katla is going to erupt. Weâre all goner die!
Well it wasnât quite that bad, but why do they feel itâs more happening to narrate past events using the present tense? It made the parts about recent EJ eruption almost un-watch able.

A bit of googling shows that the prevailing climate around Taal from May to October is the southwest monsoon. In other words even a smallish dumping of ash is likely to go towards populated areas and could well be mixed with rain, falling on flimsy housing? ew. I miss Eyjafjallajökull already.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

@Adrian and they are lovers. @Boris : there is a study suggesting that Yellowstone volcanic system is less and less active as there were an increased part of old volcanic materials which were used at each eruption. There will be probably an eruption in the future (?) but it will not be as powerfull as the Huckleberry ridge eruption or the lava creek eruption (?).

By Jean-François… (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

#21 Thank you, Erik.
No, I wouldn't be surprised at all - I had been visiting this site for a long time before I started posting.
BTW, I recommend to all people interested on Eyjafallajökul eruption to read through the posts from the first days of march on. It's not only informative but very, very, exciting - the whole eruption being unveiled step by step.
As I say, it's addictive!!!!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

@bruce stout [Post 85 from previous thread]

"... what would be the effect of eliminating quakes of M8 and above? Would that remove the upwards trend?..."

Something like this:

Blue: All quakes over Mag 6.0

Red: All quakes between Mag 6.0 and Mag 8.0

I'm sure that the over 8.0s skew the plot, but I don't know if pulling them out is a ... realistic way to look at it. At least it gives an indication as to how much of the energy is from the "black swan" type events. After a while, with enough black swans, they start turning a bit grey.

Note: "black swan" - The extremely rare but still probable events that come around to bite you in the arse just because you ignored the possibility of them existing or occuring.

Quite possibly Jean-Francois. Anyone looked at Hvolsvelli cam recently,theres a lovely mushroom shaped plume !

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

#27 @Lurking I totally agree with you. EQs may be triggered by others and they happen in series. The so called "after shocks" happen even after minor EQs, and we don't know for how long they last, do we?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

@ lurking # 27

I've said it before but I sure wish we had you around during the lead-up to Eyja. This is fantastic stuff, all the more so as I get frustrated that I can't produce such plots myself (I'm a translator and my schoolboy maths is just too long ago).

I understand what you are saying about removing the M8 events but on the other hand, they are fairly rare and I assume (bite apple) that the occurrence of two in a short space of time is merely coincidence. IF they were in any way related I think the graph might be meaningful but as yet I don't know of any causal relationship between such distant events. Removing them seems to indicate a fairly constant level of seismic energy release. (or am I reading the graph wrong?).

re Black swans. That made me laugh. I didn't know the reference but it reminded me of a story when I was 14. We were billeted out in rural Australia while on a hockey tour of Queensland. My mate visited the outhouse (they didn't have an indoors toilet) and while in the middle of his daily toiletries he was bitten fair and square on his bum by a turkey that stuck its head through a hole in the back wall. that seems to be the kind of thing you are referring to.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

@ bruce stout

Yep... that's it exactly. The idea of the "black swan" comes form the historical rarity of them... that is until they found out that in certain areas, they are quite prolific.

Here are the Mag 8.0+ quakes pulled form the other graphs, represented as individual points since a moving average is sort of useless here.

As for relationships... I can't hazard a guess. I've done some poking around at Lunar phase idea and found support for the overall level of activity verses phase... but with only 5 years of comparison (I still haven't gotten around to setting up and feeding them into the DB server) all I can say is that the University of California, Berkeley study on the subject seems valid. In other words the data I've seen seems to agree with them.

Here is an article about the Berkley study:

Apologies to all for drifting into a predominantly earthquake discussion.

Now back you your regularly scheduled volcano...

@ dagmar #31 and how!!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

#88 previous thread - what a fantastic time lapse of Mulakot. Interesting how the dust devils tended to group, with each individual seperated by about the same distance/time. Would that reflect a stationary wave setting each vortex off?

@ lurking. thanks for the link. Looks fascinating. I'll certainly look into this. As for faults, I think anything fault related is fair game here as I am sure there is an intimate relationship between faults and magma propagation and the role of water as this study suggests just makes it even more relevant.

@ gordon, totally agree. The weather conditions are weird, with the distant cloud heading south and the close ground winds heading north, virtually all day.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

@Dagmar #31 & @bruce stout #33

Looks like Eyjafjallajökull is having a few hiccups again.

Nicely illuminated cloud visible on the

webcam. Clearly looks like there may be a few of those minor eruptions they had mentioned before.

By Holger, N California (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

The fading image on Hvolsfelli is reminding me of my favorite Mt Augustine image, which happens to be my current desktop background at the moment, too. (The high res is linked beneath this one.)

By Carla - Seattle (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

@21 Erik-- Larn sompin new evry day! Are the blogs listed in time order within the category? Old to new or vs.v?

@27 Lurking I was grinning about Black Swan events

and then

@30 Bruce-- turkey hen LOL %-D

By parclair NoCal USA (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Is there a red glow at the base of the plume (Mulakot and Thorolsfelli, between the clouds), or is it a trick of the sunset ?

#32, Lurking. Interesting plot. Begs to be fitted by curve-shape software. Looks like a trend to me, but we would want a longer time frame, maybe a 100 years.

The problem is, the technology for measuring and recording earthquakes isn't that old, and the accurate data record is short, and there is an issue of observer bias, too.

There is quite a bit of speculation on the cause of short periods of increased activity. There is correlation to global temperature trends, but the confounding factor is this: there are multiple mechanisms occurring within these time periods of apparently increased frequency for high-energy earthquake clusters, and things get messy when you generalize on trends without picking apart the acting physics drivers and segregating (bins) the probable causes. The drivers which can act in aggregate on large and but also local scales, and cause echo-like interaction in primed fault systems afterwards (with a decay in activity over time) over quite some distance.

Messy stuff.

Interesting reading in a recent article, with a plausible treatment of the physics driving geological activity.

Things get a bit sticky in section 6 with respect to sociological effects; read it with an open mind.

The Cosmology of Climate Change:
Intercorrelations Between Increased Global Temperature, Carbon Dioxide and Geomagnetic Activity

Meanwhile, Lurking can look at the HAARP project and fit his 15-min EQ data for recent quakes in Iceland to a month-long plot of VLF data.

Very interesting plot fits emerge.

Not a surprise, really, considering the auroral oval and the influence of electrojects - driven by particle formation in the outer atmosphere - over high latitudes.

Why these patterns of clustered activity occurs and where it occurs, thats the ticker.

For the later, a Hint: Think 'Quasimoto'

Eyjafäll has an eruption going on I think, as I saw a glow of orange shoting out from beside the dark grey plume.
Its probably from one of the sidevents or the new vent,.

I'm leaning toward trick of light, but as it gets 'darker' we may be able to see more. The clouds are interfering on the thoros cam. And the sun shifts north so much more radically in Iceland than it does at my latitude; I cannot figure out where it would be coming from- *crosseyed with confusion*;-p

By parclair NoCal USA (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Erik just put a post out on Taal

By parclair, NoCal USA (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink


Mainly to see if I could do it. And it's not the VLF data, but it is the HAARP VHF Riometer one month plot used as a background and overlaid with the 15 minute all Iceland average quake energy. If you have good link I can do the same with the the VLF data. Preferably, if the data is in a nice chunk like the one month plot... those 24 hour plots are hard to piece together and I gave up after a few minutes.

I pieced in some of the original scale for the background so that it at least made some sense. The Riometer scale is in dB of absorption and is not the left hand scale.

The time scales (x axis) have been synced.

Original plot that background was derived from.

Nope, it's the Rio data that has the fit. Yeah, I did the magnetometer fit too, for those 'buckshot' patterns of earthquakes that Renato astutely commented on in yesterday's thread.

Technical babble on the Relative Ionospheric Opacity Meter from Univ Alaska

'The riometer uses a sensitive receiver which is typically tuned to a frequency near the lower end of the Very High Frequency (VHF) region. The frequency is chosen to be high enough that radio waver are not reflected by the ionosphere but pass through it. At the same time, ionospheric absorption gets less as the frequency is increased, so the frequency should not be too high if good measurement resolution is desired. Traditionally, frequencies in the 21 to 40 MHz range have been used. A large number of riometers world wide including the one at HAARP use a common frequency, 30 MHz. '

I remove the Quiet Day plot and detector signals, to give a simple absorption plot. From the Rio data page:

'Solar-terrestrial events, such as geomagnetic storms are usually indicated by increases in the absorption level.'

So we're looking at indirect indications of solar flux-geomagnetic coupling that yield a signal in shallow lithosphere, as increased tendency towards tectonic activity in energy 'loaded' faults and fissures. It's also seen in an increased tendency for major rift and geothermal field activity. Both transform faults are prone to small shallow tremors from this activity and we're probably seeing it under Vatnajakoll and up at Askja, too.

Those are our 'pressure indicators' that I spoke of earlier.

BTW, I believe the magnetometer fit is lagged because of an plotting artifact in your moving window averaging choice. Often seen in similar plots of land-ocean temperature data.

I used your earlier plots with the EQ data in place (mostly ignored your averaging), and got a better fit.

There has been speculation that large fault earthquakes give off energy before rupture, that's not what we're seeing here.

@Passerby LOL. Riometer - I'm flattered! (that's about all I got from the whole conversation) :)
@Lurking Is the HAARP thing for real?
@Bruce Stout Loved the black turkey story! (I got that too). I think I didn't explain myself correctly - I didn't mean the EQs are ALL connected, what I was wondering is: how can we separate aftershocks that may continue for so long after the main shock from those who aren't aftershocks? I'm not sure if I'm making any sense here...
Moving over to the new thread.
Love you guys!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

@Renato I Silveira

Yes, HAARP is very real. Some researchers got the bright idea of firing Radio Frequency energy at the ionosphere to see what they could either figure out from it or do with it. As most techno/research oriented groups tend to do, they clustered at the facility and around the concept to all sorts of interesting research.

Mainly, they did some experiments with heating up patches of it and found that they can move parts of it higher as they do. Other studies involve looking at what all happens at the auroral interface and looking at what comes spiraling in from the magnetosphere via the poles... and they also figured out how to look at structures underground much like ROTHR does when looking for vessels/aircraft several thousand miles away.... fire the radar at the ionosphere and bounce the signal several times down range. With very low the frequencies that HAARP can operate at, they can actually look under the ground for things such as man-made structures.
Sort of handy from a military point of view...

Other lines of thought are that HAARP can cause heating in the absorptive structures in the rock/soil and push an already close to failing fault into failure. This idea is not readily accepted, though in theory it could be possible. I'm not that sure that the power levels of HAARP are anywhere what would be needed for that... but every phased array system I've worked with obtains obscene power levels once you get out of the near-field area. (generally greater than 10 wavelengths) At that point all of the discrete radiation patterns fall into lockstep and reinforce each other. Some systems can achieve significantly greater than 32dB of gain just from the antenna alone. If it's designed well and your phasing mechanism/design is good.

But... due to a lot of the secrecy around it... it attracts theorists. Weather modification is yet another theory. What doesn't help, is that reportedly it seems that several countries have instillations similar to it.

For me, the jury is still out.

Again, not to rain on the HAARP folks, but I know the HAARP director and my father has worked on the project, so unless you fancy me as some sort of Fox Mulder character, trust me when I say that 99% of the stuff on the web about it is BS. Then again, I also spent a summer as a kid in Roswell while my dad worked on weather balloons, so maybe the truth is out there.

Well, I wasn't trying to go there but he did ask. I think the data is handy in trying to discern a geophysical effect in what occurs above the ground when quakes happen.

I stand chastised. My apologies.

@Lurking Thanks for the explanation. All I had heard from HAARP was from conspiracy theories connecting it to major EQs around the world. I also jumped into hoaxes of "lights" being seen before EQs that were further blamed to HAARP. I saw the lights and thought they might well be caused by glowing transformers but, as Erik said, they say a lot of BS over the net. I didn't even know if that project existed, so, for me, your post was very helpful, as well as your graphs. I share the "chastisement" with you. And the apologies. :)

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Well... I should have known better than to even mention the "out there" stuff. So, lets look at reality... as best I can state it.

Basalt has a specific heat capacity of about 840 J/kg K, granite is about 790 J/kg K. roughly, you need that many joules of energy to raise one kg of it by one Kelvin. Now think of the mass of a mountain, or a segment of terrain. Even though you are only looking to heat a small part of it, the amount of energy you need is going to climb pretty fast. I worked in radar for 20+ years, and I pretty adept at how they, and the associated antennas worked. Lets take that hypothetical 32dB antenna from earlier. That is usually the gain verses a dipole antenna... about the closest you can get to an isotropic antenna (radiates equally well in all directions). An antenna of that sort will have a beamwidth in the 1 to 2 degree range. Lets assume 2 degrees for the sake of argument. Effective Radiated Power is the down range power of the system... this is after all the beamforming effects/interference of the near-field are done. Ten Megawatts ERP is not unheard of for a really high powered radar. I know we are talking VLF, but the effects are the same. At 5000 km range, that 2 degree beamwidth is going to illuminate a chunk of real estate 174.6 km x 174.6 km, giving an area of about 30,486,503,547 square meters. Lets say we only (some how) illuminate a 1 meter later of rock in our target area. Due to the beamwidth alone you get about 0.00000188 watts for each cubic meter chunk of rock. For basalt, thats about 3011 kg. For granite, 2691 kg.

For granite, that's 790 x 2691 = 2,125,890 Joules needed for a temperature increase of one Kelvin.

For basalt, 840 x 3011 = 2,529,240 Joules.

And we are hitting it at 0.00000188 watts... or 0.00000188 Joules/second. At that rate, it's going to take 1.34633 x 10^12 seconds, or about 42,662 years to raise the temperature by one Kelvin. (calculated for basalt only).

And that's not taking into account ducting/trapping and other atmospheric effects. Even at 10,000 MEGAWATTS... your looking at a time sink of over 42 years in order to get a one Kelvin rise... and don't forget, a lot of that heat is going to dissipate faster than you put it in.

BS, hmm... hey that's my initials.... :think:

By bruce stout (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

@Lurking - I think I can now understand what kind of BS Erik mentioned. For what I could pick from your explanation, there's no way to get even a fraction of rock to be affected by this harmless device in such a short period of time.
On the other hand, I'm still doubtful about the advantage to remove the 8+ EQs from the plot. After all, they are present, and so are the after shocks triggered by them. All we need is a longer lapse of time to achieve more realistic results for the amount of energy involved.
I'm sorry if I sound dumb, but it seems that both my seismological knowledge as well as my English need further improving, so I will be able to follow these discussion more comfortably. Well thanks to you and all the guys in this blog, I'm getting the chance, and, time permitting, I'll be trying to do my homework. Thank you once more!
And Good morning. 3 am in RIo now!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

#55 @B. Stout - Oh, please, Bruce Stout, gimme a break! You're deserving another turkey bite for that. Enough of conspiracy theories in this blog!!! :)
BEWARE THE BLACK SWAN (initials - BS)!!!!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 08 Jun 2010 #permalink

Don't give a tinkers damn about the other uses of HAARP nor for the babble about purported military uses. The location at Gakona, Alaska transmitter affords proximity to the auroral electrojet, at a point where the magnetosphere intersects the ionosphere with the magnetic field lines being nearly vertical.

Its functioning as a crude spectrometer.

Pulling the Over Mag 8+'s allowed us to get an peek at what they contribute to the over all trend... and it also allowed them to stand out in the open and be recognized for what they are.. large data skewing events that seem to be more frequent than in the past, though it is an ultra-short past as geo stuff goes.

By Lurking --- on… (not verified) on 09 Jun 2010 #permalink

From Scientific American ( )

Rock Festival as Human Experiment: Hip Hopping for Science

What would happen if all 1.3 billion Chinese jumped in unison?

Umm...nothing, really.

By Raving about H… (not verified) on 09 Jun 2010 #permalink



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