Monday Musings: KVERT in trouble again, the volcano takes on a general (and Top Gear) ... and more!


The summit crater lake at Gorely in Russia, taken on June 21, 2010. Image courtesy of KVERT.

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Gee it's quiet out here! : ) Thanks for the news and Eyja summary, Erik, and for the cartoon, parclair.

Did anyone see Fireman on Thorocam on Sunday? Looks like a renewal of activity on the Tjornes Fracture zone.

Guess all eyes are on the Gulf and tropical storm/hurricane. Heavy thunderstorms and tornado warnings in Upstate (southern tier) NY, very hot & humid.

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

Right, we had another good rattle, just shy of mag 3, about 25mi due W, in the wee hours this morning.

However, I've been experiencing definite L-waves, just barely perceptible as local gravity is perturbed by the passing of these slow waves. They passed through twice today, lasting about 20-min each time.

The last time I felt these waves for an extended period of time was 2004.

I think Lurking was right, they are deep slow waves, and we're getting a lot of them. I did some plotting of EQ locations for the last decade for the PNW, with a subgrouping for years that were particularly 'busy': 2004, 2007-8, and it looks like 2010 will be another active year. Interestingly, there are distinctive patterns that suggest terrane block interaction in the northern cascades, with a centroid close to Chelan, Entiat and the Methow Valley.

What is interesting is that this area (Cascades fault arc) is said to have produced the largest inland shake in the PNW (estimated between 7.8 and 8.6) in 1872.

It makes me wonder if we are due up for a larger rattle, ~ mag 5-6 in the Lake Chelan area. We've already had 3 quakes in the immediate location of the 1872 quake this year.

There is quite a bit of recent home development activity in these deeply incised valleys in the foot hills of the Cascades, mostly the Microsoft execs and various well-to-do, feeling very-owed early retired baby boomers from NoCal and Oregon, who have very large, plush homes perched in *very* precarious locations on the steep valley hillsides.

I hope they have earthquake insurance.

Passerby, I tried to find information on that quake zone, but have had no luck (I've relatives in Colville). Is there another name for the fault(s) in the area? Would a quake the size of 1872 affect the Grand Coulee Dam? Thnx

By parclair, NoCal USA (not verified) on 28 Jun 2010 #permalink


Not sure if this is what you are after, but:

covers the Pacific Northwest, and includes the Cascadia Subduction Zone and Mt Ranier area.

I still have no idea if there is an instrumented slow quake sensor available on the Inet thing-a-ma-bob

@Lurking. I was wondering if there's a name other than 'Cascades fault arc" The closest I could get is puget sound faults (, but nothing to the east of there where the towns and lake you named are located.

By parclair, NoCal USA (not verified) on 28 Jun 2010 #permalink

Hmm... If you use Google Earth, the USGS has a really nice plug-in that gives you a graphic of the Quantenary Fault Maps.

Example, 51 miles east of Seattle is the Straight Creek fault running N/S (roughly)Under Seattle propper is the Seattle fault zone, several of those E/W faults cross under Puget sound. South of the Strait Creek set are the Frenchman Hills complex... all sorts of stuff. I'd post a graphic but I fiddled with my plug-in so that all the faults are black so I can make out other features... such as the Quake dots. (things got busy with all the yellows and reds)

If a quake set from the RSS feed gets my interest, or you guys start jumping up and down about an event (not a slam, I jump up and down too), I look at the realtime quake plug in in Google Earth:

And then look at the faults:

The USGS plug-ins:

Historic - Most recent, known movement less than about 150 years

Holocene to Latest Pleistocene - Younger than 15,000 years

Late Quaternary - Younger than 130,000 years

Mid to Late Quaternary - Younger than 750,000 years

Quaternary - Younger than 1,600,000 years

And if I find a fault complex that might be responsible or related to it, I poke around over at too see what I can learn.. mainly the sub-page: where the faults are listed by name and have a nice description of it.

The downside is that a lot of seismic networks have data that don't make it into the USGS list... such as Iceland. But at least Iceland has a decent web interface that I can scrape data off of for plot generation. Other countries seem have have made it as onerous as possible to pull data like that. (lots and lots of markup and no neat table layout).

Hope this helps.

I can't get at the set of technical papers I had at one time that defined and described the northern arc of faults, used to map geological risks for the Grand Coulee dam and Columbia Basin Federal Irrigation Project.

North Cascades region geology…

No, Grand Coulee isn't at risk. Unfortunately, the long-wave seismograph instrument, located in the base of the dam was pulled around 2003 due to program funding cuts. The USGS folks were not happy campers, as it was part of a sparsely populated array for detection of deep movements. The dampening isolation in the base of the dam was exceptionally good.

After 2001, tasked with identifying all types of outstanding risk to agency physical infrastructure, we were particularly interested in the faults that run through the area where the flood basalts uncomfortably overlie the ancient granites, north of Grand Coulee and with surficial faults and erosional features within the flood basalts of the Columbia Basin south of Grand Coulee to the base of the project (near the Tri-cities). Accordingly much time was spent in discussion with the USGS Portland and Tacoma Offices, Seattle USACE and USBRs two area geologists before they retired.

My apologies, only covers SoCal.

I mis-spokenated...

@ Passerby... since you appear to be a denizen of the great Pacific Northwest...

You wouldn't happen to know the whereabouts of a recent INSAR/ISAR image covering the Washington/Oregon area would you? (you know, the funky rainbow graphics showing ground movement between two satellite passes) I think it might be handy to see where the potential event areas are at.. or to see the end result of silent quakes.

Some news on the Fimmvörduháls eruption (the first in Iceland this year):
I don't remember if anyone mentioned it already here, but the new craters have now names: They are called Magni and Módi after the sons of Thor (the volcanoes are located close to Thórsmörk, hence the names). The new lavafield is called Godahraun, since the area, where its flowing over is called Godaland.

In this lavafield a woman suffered severe burns, when she picked up some rocks yesterday and the turned to be glowing hot inside. There are as well some reports on people, who managed to melt their aluminium walking sticks, when the put them in cracks.
There was a photo in morgunbladid, which shows still red glowing cracks:

No, sorry, don't know of specific INSAR projects to measure seismic wave propagation on a broadly regional scale. One barrier would be allocating project time on a satellite for conducting such a study. Has been used on a much smaller scale to observe uplift, along with GPS for various Cascade volcanoes.

hello too all :))

Im wondering on a little something,.

the hotspots on Gigjökull,what are they?? are they hot melt water, or are they cracks with still molten rock inside, as shown on the pictures from fimmvördurhals??
Its amazing that lava can be still molten and hot so long after the eruption..
How can it still be in its flowing state when its so long ago??

Fireman was up there briefly, but not at the webcam site - turns out that's 500M / 1500ft up a hill and there's no road access. Schedule was too tight for me to make the climb. Did get some very high-res shots; watch this space!

Fireman was up there briefly, but not at the webcam site - turns out that's 500M / 1500ft up a hill and there's no road access. Schedule was too tight for me to make the climb. Did get some very high-res shots; watch this space!

#15 I just checked the melting point for aluminum: 660.32 °C,â1220.58 °F . Think of more than sixty days have gone, and it's still that hot!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 30 Jun 2010 #permalink

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This is a good approach to what, for some, may be a controversial topic. Very well though out post. - There's always one more bug. Attributed to Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology

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