Friday Flotsam: All quiet in North Korea, what to watch for at Katla and the Kilauea lava lake

Quick hits to wrap up the week:

Looking into a skylight at Kilauea. Image taken July 8, 2010, courtesy of HVO/USGS.

More like this

Eyjafjallajökull, an ice-capped volcano in Iceland that last erupted in 1823. We talked a few weeks ago of signs that there were increasing signs that an eruption could occur on Iceland - increased seismicity on the Reykjanes Ridge suggested that magma might be on the move. Now, we have two pieces…
The ash-and-steam plume from Eyjafjallajökull on April 19, 2010. Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland is slowly settling into a pattern of strombolian-to-surtseyan (depending on meltwater access to the crater) explosions that have been sending ash up to 2-5 km above the summit. We can see this new, more…
The steam-and-ash plume from Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland, March 22, 2010. Overnight, the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland added to its oeuvre, producing what is being reported to be a 8-km plume. Images of the plume (above) suggest (to me) that it is very water-rich, so likely this is the…
Brief news! Lava flows reaching the sea at Kilauea in Hawai`i. Image from November 2009, courtesy of HVO/USGS. The Alert Status at Cleveland in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands was raised to Yellow (Advisory) by the Alaska Volcano Observatory after new signs of activity emerged. The latest report from…

The cluster of earthquakes in the western part of Katla caldera is quite interesting. But it is too early to know if it means anything, as earthquakes are quite common in this area.

I was just about ready to ask Lurking to do a nice plot of the Mýrdalsjökull (mind you, not the kettle) quakes.

That kettle does have a history of boiling when least expected and on short notice, but like you said, Erik, it's not a real swarm, yet. I'm sure to follow how they develop, but as Jón said, EQs are common in that area - I've been waiting for a 48h lull that hasn't happened this far.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 09 Jul 2010 #permalink

Am wondering about the linkage between Katla and Eyjafjallajökull, specifically:

- The heterogeneously episodic behavior of Eyjafjallajökull (including Fimmvörduháls)

- The correlated and coordinated pattern of alternated changes in ground displacement as measured by GPS across Iceland

- The correlation and coordination in tremor behavior across regions

- The nonlinear spreading and redistribution across the several parallel rifts.

It suggests to me that things are changing, that agent of change is at a wider scale than magmatic intrusion and/or plumes, that this flux of change causes the heterogeneously episodic behavior of Eyjafjallajökull's eruptions and it's coordinated linkage to eruption of Katla, that the agent of change correlates and coordinates the wide scale changes across Iceland


you can just see the plume on the porol cam looks bigger than earlier

i thought, that during the summer months the icecap on top moves slightly it causes slight minor quakes as the sun heats and katla norm erupts in autumn according to past history

@leon -

The letter in the beginning of Ãórólfsfelli is NOT a 'P'. It's a letter that got dropped out of the English alphabet a while ago, and it's called 'thorn'. If you want to transliterate it - that is, use an English alphabet equivivalent - that would be 'Th', which is a close pronunciation of 'Ã'. In old English, the letter looked a bit different - that is why you see signs like 'Ye Olde Shoppe'; those are poor imitations of the original thorn; the 'Ye' IS 'The' in modern language, and is pronounced likewise. Here's more on that

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 09 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Raving, Hi - do you have a copy of G.R. Foulgar's 'Iceland and the North Atlantic igneous Province' ( Material, maybe, to be gleaned there for answers to part of you question, as it takes on the plume theory.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 09 Jul 2010 #permalink

Im thinking I remember earlier caveats about material at mantleplumes, so bear that in mind....

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 09 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Kultsi, Askola, FI [2]

Still mulling that one over. (kettle?)

Meanwhile, after determining that Mýrdalsjökull is the glacier that I keep seeing in the data, it dawned on me what it was I was supposed to be plotting. (it's been a long week, sorry)

Plan View, last 5 days:

For all, FL will likely be running a special on pre-greased mullet and redfish this year. Get it before it's flammable!

@7 your such a dick you know that. does it matter

@leon [11]

Actually, I doubt very seriously that he is an extremity of that description.

The "Ã" = "th" vice "P" has been covered ad nauseum ever since the recent Iceland eruptions have been going on. It not that you are wrong, you are just knowledgeable about that part of the language. I didn't fall into it since I usually just steal the spelling with cut-n-paste. One victim of the "Ã" issue actually found an obscure Icelandic site that used it with the incorrect transliteration, so it's not that big of a deal once you are aware of the correct way of rendering it. Now, if you want transliteration nightmares... try Cyrillic. When I did reports years ago, I had to keep a cheat sheet handy just to render the names in something that would fit an English keyboard.

So no, he's not that extremity... just possibly exasperated.

Lurking: I found it useful to overlay your plots onto the appropriate IMO EQ map.

>For all, FL will likely be running a special on pre-greased mullet and redfish this year. Get it before it's flammable!

That would have been a likely remark made by your sockpuppet character, 'Raving'.


Heh... Sockpuppet. No, not my sockpuppet, but I can't state that he is not someone else's sockpuppet.

Besides, better a sockpuppet than a happysock.

@13: I took your Grimsvotn plot from the other day and overlayed it onto the topo maps (IMO), which was useful, as it confirmed the EQ swarm alignment with the major fissure systems within the Vatnajakoll icecap area.

Similarly, the N-E trending EQs north of Mýrdalsjökull seems to indicate alignment with major fissures north of Katla.

Kultsi posted a useful http addy for IMO EQ maps by week/year. That was welcome, because many of us wondered at the historical patterns of miniquakes in the area.

Homo fecae, hetero deus. Would appear to indicate commonality of seasonal-warming trend patterns, as many of us suspected and Erik suggested, in his blog post header.

Well, if you want one skewed for a specific overlay, point me at it and I may be able to tweek the x/y scaling so you get a better fit.

ok i take it back i apologize to Kultsi but i did think he was picking hairs for moment 'p' but i am from England with English local accent

@leon [17]

No biggie, I come from a part of the US where a seven course meal is defined as a 'possum and a six pack. When I originally came to Eruptions, it was because of the fissure event. I had no idea that I would learn about the Icelandic time capsule of the alphabet. English, the language, is a highly modified and adapted germanic derivative. A lot of our more fancy words came from France (Normans) while the more basic ones are closer to the original roots. (and the Normans were originally transplanted vikings who became latinized in their language) What makes English so prevalent is it's adaptability... which can also be bad when it gets down to specific meanings that tend to change with time. An example is that "bundle of sticks" word which now has an exceptionally abrasive meaning here in the US as opposed to actually being a "bundle of sticks."

Thanks for the offer, but I can snap the x-y coordinate systems to match with a bit of effort. I appreciate the plots.

You do know that I wasn't criticizing you, when I made the somewhat sarcastic comment on longterm plots of EQ versus Rio activity last week, correct? I've been plotting data for about 30 years. I know what a moving average window is, and how it works - and doesn't work so well.

When you are using a large moving average window over a period of months, with a dense data set, you build in 'lag' as a consequence of trailing numbers being weighted more heavily than leading numbers with each window progression, yielding an uneven averaging effect toward the end of the averaging period.

I tried dropping hints twice, my bad. I should have given you links. It's a common issue with moving average trend analysis, and there are interesting alternative methods, derived from economic analysis. The StatSys program package website has a good discussion of these statistical methods. It's a handy website to bookmark as a statistical reference guide.

Good-oh, Leon, for apologizing.
Isn't Kultsi a 'she'?

>An example is that "bundle of sticks" word which now has an exceptionally abrasive meaning here in the US as opposed to actually being a "bundle of sticks."

??? I know it's been a long day(week) here, but that blew right by me.

Passerby: Can I echo your ??? ? Can't think of anything at the moment (well it IS 0611 here) except maybe Fascism, whose original symbol was, indeed, a 'bundle of sticks' (with an axe)

@ Fireman - Wow! link works - thanks for posting. Got any more?
@ Passerby and Mike Don...... wakey, wakey! Let us know when the penny drops :-)
Hint: many years ago when our school choir toured the US, the choristers were told not to use the UK slang for a cigarette........

By Kathryn, Australia (not verified) on 09 Jul 2010 #permalink


Ref: the "bundle of sticks" thing. I shouldn't have used that analogy. As you and others have clearly demonstrated, it was a poor choice. Kathryn, Australia is on the right track, and the Fasces as a bundle of rods with an axe is probably derived from the same root word... but this bundle was usually meant for sticks you would gather up to toss into a fire rather than a symbol of power or authority. Oddly the US dime had the Fasces on the obverse until 1946 when it they made it into a torch. Must have been due to that fascism relationship.

So... in the meantime, just mark this as an obscure reference that should be dropped.

Hey, look! A graph!

Pac NW, View North 2010 quakes from the listing.

I really wish the little lava pond in Halemaumau would emerge from its hole and spread around the crater to return to its former pre-1924 glory. The way Mark Twain saw it, when it was a wonder of the world.

By mike lyvers (not verified) on 09 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Passerby [19] -
Swinging there the last time I checked...

@Kathryn [23] -
That word would have been very badly received indeed, as badly as a reference to someone's merry lifestyle.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 09 Jul 2010 #permalink

Well, it wasn't intended as such. I did a two hour stint hunched over a laptop motherboard and 5 hours of road time. It was about the only changing word definition that came to mind. I've always been amused at that one since the meanings are so far apart. It's almost unfathomable how the definitions can be connected.

A better definition morph world be "gaff" or "gaffer"

A gaff hook is used to retrieve a line, impale something with a hook, or to make a verbal mistake. A gaffer has multiple meanings, including an electrician on a movie set or someone who hand forms glass.

The gaff hook is a nautical variation on a pike pole, which was used by pikemen... and a pike is also road... or a type fish.

Oh my, swinging in the britches:)

@Diane in the former thread:
Thanks for the explanation of Eriks rootless barbarians!

@At all:
Gotta love the swarm at Herðubreiðartögl, I have wet dreams about hearing american news-anchors trying to pronounce that if Herðubreið erupts. Strange place really for a swarm, I would have expected that in Askja and not in Herðubreið.
Perhaps Lurking could do a plot for Herðubreiðartögl and Askha area, if I am not imagining things there have been quakes on and off there for a couple of weeks.

@Passerby and Lurking:
I am starting to be jelous, I want to know who is my Sockpuppet, or do I have a sock in my puppy, or...? Questions questions:)

I didn't understand the "sticks" ref either, but I went to my trusty urban slang dictionary:

My fave is the b-word in the Queen's English. Back in the 70s I was on a train, discussing the differences in language between Murikan and True English, and when we got to the B-word, the couple, parents, asked us to not use the word. It also ended the conversation. Heh.

By parclair, NoCal USA (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Carl, nice article. It also highlights a common human trait, something we can all share.

"As the weather was turning cold during the pick-up trip and it had to be done relatively quickly, no downloading was done in the field, but was done at the first opportunity in the lab of the Science Institute in ReykjavÃk."

Nothing like scampering around in rough terrain trying to get your stuff when the weather is getting bad and your freezing your arse off.

There's an interesting article in Science Daily about the nature of 'sticking and slipping" in the two Indonesian earthquakes (2004, 2005) and what affects the the length of the slip in subduction faults. Excellent theory with great predictions.

By parclair, NoCal USA (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@parclair [32] -
You lost me here - there are close to one hunnert thousand b-words in the Urban Dictionary, and I cannot for the life of me think of a very bad one. The one for a female dog is about the most common, but I don't know any differences in meaning on different sides of the Pond for that.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@ kultsi, The word is a swear word in British English and begins blo***. I always get trapped in these conversations, I don't know why. Once, during a viewing of Goldfinger, I tried to explain the why the character Pussy Galore was so funny. Heh. No more questions, please. ;-?

By parclair, NoCal USA (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@ Kultsi... I wonder if the b-word could be 'bugger'? Which, to someone who has now spent a lot of time in the USA, is a peculiar usage. The literal meaning (archaic and seldom used) is 'to engage in anal sex', but it's a very common everyday expression in British english:

'it's raining - well that's buggered our plans to paint the house'.

'well I'm buggered!' - as an expression of surprise.

'that little bugger next door broke our window with his football!'

'I dropped a brick on my foot; it hurts like buggery'.

Very common expressions and very English; would sound very peculiar in American English , replacing 'buggered' with 'sodomized' - which would be the literal equivalent!

Bloody? That word has slipped down the scale of seriousness in swear words in the last half century or so; it would be considered pretty mild these days, although perhaps slightly... lower-class? and maybe offensive to the ears of those with pretensions! It's very freely used, on TV too.

The words considered truly offensive in relatively polite circles in the UK are the same as in the USA these days, especially the 'f' and 'c' words. Although 'f' might be freely used between friends, it shouldn't be with strangers.

Hi everyone,
Well, I see that the weather is back to normal at Eyja.Anybody who can see a plume must be using a Crystal Ball.
Talking of crystal balls,it's got a bit "biological" on here recently ?? Have to lift the tone above the waist line Folks..
@#29 Hi Carl,
I have been keeping an eye on Herðubreið since mid April this year.It's not the first time that there has been a small swarm there.Who knows but it's been a damn long time since "she" erupted.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@those trying to help me w. swearing properly -
I once had a conversation with a Briton on the merits of pronouncing the name of a German philosopher correctly; his given name was Immanuel. The proper pronunciation is something I won't use outside the reference to said philosopher.

Otherwise, we Finns find the swearing among the English speakers lacking in force and being tame. Maybe that's because we don't get it - which is not a bad thing; much less bruising.

Fireman, my thought of your last example of buggin' things was, "Hmmm... Is that from personal experience? Must be bad if it hurts as much as dropping a brick on your foot." Well, that was just a train of thought on the side rail; I get the idea about the usage.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Carl's article citation was a mere technical warm-up to a much better article:

Lower-crustal earthquakes caused by magma movement beneath Askja volcano on the north Iceland. (2009).

and, not surprisingly, since the g-god Einarsson had his hand in the pot, it leads to a truly masterful article:

The fissure swarm of the Askja volcanic system along the divergent plate boundary of N Iceland. (also 2009)

It provides an explanation for much of the seismicity observed, in the Triple Junction (North American, Eurasian plates and Hreppar microplate).

Most of you can't access these papers, so you can't get from 'there to here' conceptually. Instead, we'll turn to the MS thesis of the lead author, a co-production of Einarsson and geological wizard, Harald Sigurdsson, that thankfully open-access.

You get all the tender goodness of that last paper, with the full bells and whistles seismic background and process explanations, plus a full reference base.

The fissure swarm of the Askja central volcano. AR Hjartardóttir (2008), 125 pp.

Now ain't that just ducky?? We have here, the ne plus ultra of explanations for the EQ patterns we see above Vatnajakoll, near Askja and Kverkfjöll.

Thanks Harald and Pall! You guys rock!

@Passerby -
Don't we tip the hat at Ãsta Rut? It's her paper, after all.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Yes of course! But this is a master's thesis, with all of the underpinnings and content style that are typical of Pall and Harald's technical thoroughness and vast knowledge base. The late Guðmundur E. Sigvaldason, professor emeritus and former director of the Volcanic Institute, also supervised this student.

Kultsi 36: In respect of the differences between American and British usage, can I cite the Austin Powers film, "The Spy Who Shagged Me"? Title had 'em rolling in the aisles in UK, but clearly didn't have exactly the same meaning in the US, or the corporate suits at the film company would have had conniptions :o)

The paper we want to read is the third paper by ARH (cited above), but the thesis lays much of the explanatory groundwork needed to understand the shallow tectonic (fissure intrusions) and deep magmetic processes.

Unfortunately, hardcore chemistry, non-medical biology and especially geology along with engineering technical journals have few electronic open-access papers posted.

Do read Parclair's link at ScienceDaily. The paper is:

Contrasting Décollement and Prism Properties over the Sumatra 2004â2005 Earthquake Rupture Boundary. Dean et al. July 9 2010. 329:207-10. DOI: 10.1126/science.1189373

The article graphics and supplementary mat'l are open access.

@mike don [44] -
I'm in a position to get it from both directions; the vast majority is from the US, but that does not mean that I don't get the UK idiom, too, like the title of that film - at least occasionally.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Diane, N CA (in former thread): This is Rialto, from Rio. Please you donât have to apologize: I change names all the time here. I tried to keep it as a nickname, but our fellow bloggers rejected the idea.
BTW Iâve been watching the film âDevil at 4 oâ clockâ on TV (Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra) and I remembered you saying you liked such films when you have a cold. I had seen it when I was a kid, but it proved to be better than I thought. If you havenât seen it, keep it as a hint to the next time you catch a cold (God forbid). Iâll leave the comments for later, donât want to spoil the experience.
@everyone: If that isn't a steam plume on Eyjaf's slope, what is it then?

By Renato I Silve… (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Just done snarfing all these articles - odd but nice that Iceland Telecom subscribes to Springer's for all of its users.

You're not the only ones keeping an eye on the area north of Vatnajökull. Mum says that the last time she was in the area (quite a few years back), she could feel the tension in the ground. Got me wondering if electric or other fields vary a lot in EQ zones.

By Reynir, NK, .is (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Reynir, NK
Your mother's words reminded me of the film I mentioned above, when Spencer Tracy's character (a priest) says: "I can feel the devil under my feet."
Magma is kind of "devilish" indeed.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Renato - I call them clouds; they are steam, too, but not of volcanic origin.

@Reynir - subconscious reading of the terrain & sensitivity to micro tremors, I'd say. Some are good at witching wells; my attempt at that resulted in us getting a really good well where others said 'no way!' I just looked at the lay of the land and told the back hoe guy: dig here - and at one meter he hit the bedrock; 15 meters of borehole brought water and 25 meters made a good well. Ten meters from the well we had gone four meters deeper with no sign of bedrock; that's where we built our house.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Reynir: read
Iceland Consortia for Electronic Access.

I hereby formally request honorary appointment as scientist- citizen of Iceland.

@#52 Hi Reynir,
I too formally request honorary Icelandic Citizenship and Acting Role as Scientist (Makes for a much broader scope of which type).

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@#48 Hi Renato,
Umm,i've been watching the cams on and off for a few hours now and it's very hard to tell.If I was forced into a corner I would have to say "Yes,there is still activity at Eyja".

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

And two small swarms,Grimsey and Herðubreið.The four at Herðubreið were on top of each other in the space of fifty minutes.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Kultsi @Adrian #51-#54 Hi there! I'm stuck to this computer for days trying to finish a paper due to next Tuesday, but every now and then I switch to Eruptions blog and, of course to Eyjaf's webcams. I'm addressing to you guys who were "present" to Friday's activity and I believe, and maybe I'm totally wrong, that the event was a bit underestimated.
I buy Kultsi's theory of cracks opening under the lake, and I think that it's still happening, sporadically though, even if the weather is not helping observation. At the moment I posted my comment on a "steam plume on the left slope" the weather was fair enough to tell steam weather clouds from volcanic activity, i.e. steaming from the cracks. Now it's gone. But at that instant you could really see a puff. And I think there are still more to come, weather permitting.
On Friday I saw snowflake-like particles hitting the lens of Hvolsvöllur cam, which couldn't be snow and I explained them as being light ash, emitted or carried by the plume, which was, then, turning from white to gray. But as I said, I can be wrong. And yes, I saw a blast too. As for the "lightning, I admit it could have been a flickering of the image, but there was a clear moment when the crater rim burst into steam (on Friday). Anyway I'm grateful to have shared that special moment with you guys and others that are to come.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@#56 Hi Renato,
Yesterday was a good day,the best for some time.I think that we all agree that Eyja has not finished yet,whatever it be.
The shot from Mulakot at present is not "convection cloud".It's steam being blown over the ridge,then upward.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

I think I'd enjoy even more, were it not for how much I have forgotten since school. I really feel like an old fart at times.

By Reynir, NK, .is (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Evenin' all!

She's still steaming albeit not as much as a couple of days ago (Thorolfsfelli cam). To my lay mind, that must mean magma is still (moving) close to the surface. The reason there is no eruption at present is because a) there is no magma pushing up from deep below, and b) all available old magma sitting in the piping that could be revitalised, has been revitalised. Here endeth today's lesson in how to state the glaringly obvious.

PS. The eq activity of the past week or so E-ENE of Lady E seems to be centered on the Godabunga area where there is a substantial body of magma sitting since 1999(?) about 1½ km down. So where do you place your eBeer? Nothing more, renewed eruption at the main crater or an eruption at Godabunga?

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Lady-E is DONE. Maybe she will roll over in bed but she sleeps the long sleep. Katla = Baaa humbug no big deal.
Look at the rest of the world for action.
Where will the next VEI 3+ come from is the question. Lady - e I doubt it....

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Dasnowskier: They said the same back in the 1820s, too. Ya gorra wait for at least three and preferrably six months before stating that an eruption is over.

By Reynir, NK, .is (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@#61 Reynir,
Well said that Icelander !

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Eyjafjöll is known for its on/of Eruptions, she usually rests in between her eruptions,I dont trust its over yet..
They said it was over in 1820s also, but she took them by surprice.
there is still Hot Molten rock in Fimvorurhals, and same is belived under Eyjafjöll, so even tough it seems calm, it just might be brewing deep down there still..
A sleeping/dormant Volcano is always a possible bomb,even after 1000 years...
and Eyjafjöll well its only a few weeks since her last eruption and we should not state or even belive that its over.
Btw remember that Katla usually have an eruption between 6 months and a year after eyjafjatlajökutl. so dont push that eruption aside either, it just might go boom with out giving any real signs....

Hi, to me now looking on the Mila web cams lady E reminds me how she looked in may. steam increase then eruption follows

I still think she's done for this eruption. Maybe a VEI 1 burst ...IE rolling over in bed but, I think all significant eruptive activity is done.
Past Katla eruptions near Eyjaf were coincidence. At this time I have seen nothing to make me think Katla might go. If Katla starts to rumble before say, 1 year after the start of this eruption then I will change my tune. But now that we have monitoring devices... if the quakes do not come from the direction of Eyjaf then I will still not be convinced of a relationship. Katla erupts much more often than Eyjaf.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@65 katla followed after the last three eruption at Eyjaf and was explosive on each time i also think there is link deep underneath that we cant see i might be wrong on link part and katla is know to erupt within months of lady E

@#64 Hi Leon,
It's not a bad view on Thoro cam at the 'mo but try Mulakot:great view as the plume is in profile.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

I only see clouds on Mila.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Mulakot is mostly weather related as well. Topography is the major cause of those clouds

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink


"... Katla = Baaa humbug no big deal.
Look at the rest of the world for action."

Yup... all done, not a threat, nothing to see here.

Keep thinking that. By now it is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE that anything could ever happen over at Katla.

Oh, BTW, you happen to take a gander at the quakes that have occurred in July?

Funny... doesn't look like a peaceful sleep. It's not a sign of a pending eruption, but it clearly indicates that there is no rest for the wicked.

@67 cheers Adrian having the same feeling as i did back in may with steam plume then eruption but i could be wrong keep thinking she could split open to the side and all that water in the crater gushing out on 'p' cam not like i want that to happen of course watching the cam to much i think

@68 look closer

"By now it is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE that anything could ever happen over at Katla." These are not my words. Improbable is closer to my thinking. I never say or think impossible with a volcano (Chaiten).
Virtually impossible and I would build a house on the summit, if it was sold ground LOL.
I do however see the interest is Scientifically proving the relationship between Eyjaf causing Katla to blow. That would be neat, however I do not think it is so.
I hope I am wrong ..or actually I hope I am right. Who needs the massive economic disruption Katla might cause to Europe.
GO Netherlands

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Well... Eyj was beginning to become a geo-tourism thing. So that helped... a bit. It's farm more interesting to gaze at an erupting volcano rather than stare at a tarball or a flailing pelican...

@65 you say katla erupts more than lady E true but katla does not cause lady E to erupt. lady E cause Katla to erupt, a trigger or connection and one thing in life that i learned was never say never

last eruption at lady E before 2010 happen back in on the 19th December 1821 to January 1st 1823 Katla erupted on june 26th 1823 to July 23rd 1823 almost seven months later, going back to 1612 lady E erupts no given days date with Katla erupting on October 23rd 1612 and again going back to 920AD lady E erupts and Katla again follows in 920AD All happens in the same year as lady E sleeps katla wakes up

@ 21 Fireman -I'm slow to catch up - Nice Photos!! You did get there - I wasn't sure - how was it to be there? Thanks for posting the link.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

After seeing the hardship of the ultrafine ash and gases to area farmers in May and early June, and more recently 'ash storms' kicked up by convection and storms that are redepositing this erosive material, it is perhaps best to be prosaic in the Mediterranean way.

We have seen many marvelous sights during Eyjaf's eruption this Spring - first at the picturesque Fimvorurhals lava fountains and then later at the crater, in a powerful and at times, achingly beautiful, lightning-colored night-sky column display of Sturm und Drang.

Iceland has been most gracious in allowing so many from so far away, to play voyeur. We are pleased and grateful with all that we have learned here, much of it provided by IES and IMO. Thank-you!


I don't think that is an accurate assessment. It's that correlation not equaling causation thing. Katla erupts on average, about 64.5 years, with an SD of 48.3 years. In a nutshell, that means that about 64% of the time, Katla will erupt within 16 to 112 years since it's previous eruption.

For Eyjafjallajökull, the average is 423.6 years and a range of 177 to 669 years. (245.9 yr SD) It is almost impossible for Eyj to go off and not have a Katla eruption pop up within just a few years. Why? Simple, No matter when Eyj goes off, 2/3rds of the time Katla is either going into or is already at an eruptive phase.

Could it be possible? Definitely. Is it proved? No.

In 540, Eyj Erupted. Katla had already erupted about 10 years prior. In 590 Katla went off again.

In 920, Eyj Erupted. Katla had already erupted in 904, but went off at the same time (920)

In 1612, Eyj Erupted. Katla had last erupted in 1580, 32 years earlier. So, it erupted in 1612, and in 1636, and 1693, and 1721.

In 1821, Eyj Erupted. Katla went off two years later in 1823, and again in 1860, 1918 ...

Katla tends to erupt on it's own schedule no matter what Eyj does. Can there be a connection? Well, that's why they are always trying to figure the piping out underneath the two.

Let's put it a different way. While "Lady" E may take a while to get around to doing her thing, all Katla needs is a beer and your good to go.

Hey there! She's back again. Look at the plume?
Ok, just coughing a bit. But she's beautiful doing so! And I agree with @passerby: thanks for Iceland and Icelanders, Mila, IMO and all!

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@leon @lurking I tend to agree with that - Katla is a "more often" volcano, whereas Eyjafjjöl keeps her secrets to the very special generations... :)
But then why, at the very beginning, most volcanologists put a Katla's eruption into question? And why are we still speculating on this? And Lurking, I'm sorry, but you are the first one to tease us with your graphs, who keeps our fantasies going. (to whom I am most grateful!) :)

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Kultsi, where are you? I'll keep an image from Ãórólfsfell cam for you. Is that some sort of "Icelandic cloud formation"? LOL

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

It's 4:30am, Sunday morning in Finland. Kultsi is in bed.

Go back to your paper.

@passerby! I've been working on it since 9 in the morning, so, its time for hallucinations...
Here we go: Lady E is behaving pretty much like she did on Friday morning. Only the weather is not collaborating. But my theory is: there's a crack, lava is still hot in the crack, lake spills and she goes puff, carries ashes mixed in steam droplets, plume cools down, and splashes back to the rim. Like a counterfeit of a plinian ash-column break.
Ok, Rialto, back to your paper.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

All I see on any of the cams is clouds. Maybe enhanced by the hot crater lake but just clouds.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Renato -
I'm here, now. Just to be on the same page, you are prolly talking about the cloud about a kilometer up Gigjökull from the split rock. That is not one of the clouds that appear from thin air, that's steam from the end of the lava travel, or close to it. Easy to spot, as the source is stationary and even puffs from time to time. It does that whenever there is enough water for it to steam.

As to the source of the water, I cannot tell. It could be from the crater lake, but most of that seems to get boiled away close to the crater, on the upper part of Gigjökull. It could very well be from the lava canyon walls, which are ice mostly and it's summer.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Renato -
If you put the crack into the lake, you don't need the collapsing column: water flows into the crack, heats up for a while and boils out in a gush of steam, taking water on top with it to splash over the rim. Geysir action, IOW.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

A nice steam plume visible on both Múlakot and Hvolsvöllur cams.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

#90 @Kultsi, I hope I didn't bring you out from Queen Mabe's brest! Yes, it keeps splashing over and over. Not a South American- Carmen Miranda-Chaiten way; no. She's polite, Nordic Garbo style. Even when she burps she's chic. That's what fascinates me about this volcano.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Passerby (#20) Ever eaten prairie oysters?

Homo fecae, hetero deus.

An example is that "bundle of sticks" word which now has an exceptionally abrasive meaning here in the US as opposed to actually being a "bundle of sticks."

??? I know it's been a long day(week) here, but that blew right by me.

Posted by: Passerby | July 10, 2010 12:31 AM

@Passerby Yam! Thankfully it was not "maggots". They don't go well with oysters... >;)

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Just picked that from Wikipedia:
"In June 2010, Volcano expert Hazel Rymer said seismic activity was increasing as Askja and that an eruption could be around the corner. It was ruled out that any activity from Eyjafjallajökull was responsible for the increase in activity at Askja. The news came as scientists continue to watch Katla."
Judging from ongoing activity looks like it's pretty much around the corner...

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

I've printed out a copy of Foulgar's paper and will read it presently. Maybe it will register better on paper. Thanks for the suggestion.

By Raving @Lurking (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

And now for the shipping forecast ...


By Raving @Lurkin… (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Definitely rather more pleasant than oyster maggot broth.

By Renato@Raving (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Gorgeous effect of sunlight on the plume. frá Hvólsvélli.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

I think the sun is rising right behind the steam plume. Amazing!
Bring the fagotti and lets hear a piece from Purcell.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

When will we, if ever, have another eruption as spectacular, magnificent and covering most of of the spectrum of volcanic expression?

First, the intense earthquake activity (feb-march) beginning not long after Erik had put up a topic "Rocking on the Reykjanes Ridge", which kept us all in suspense - "will she, won't she" - and speculation as to when, where, how.

Then, after what seemed an eternity to an expectant community, the marvellous live broadcasts of the Fimmvörduhalsi Hawaiian to Peléan fountains, lava flows and phreatic explosions.

Finally, the main show - Surtseyan, Strombolian, Vulcanian to almost sub-Plinian with jökulhlaups, ashfall, closed airspace and what looked very much like pyroclastic flows as well (April 17th).

The 2010 eruption of the volcano underneath Eyjafjallajökull - Icelanders, could we please have a proper name, she thoroughly deserves one this most beautiful of all your volcanoes - can also be claimed to be the first (ad hoc) on-line workshop in volcanology that taught hundreds, if not thousands, of ignoramii such as myself the rudiments of volcanology and knit a community truly global in scope. Both Dr Klemetti and Dr Behncke have summed it up as a "once in a lifetime eruption". Now that it is seemingly over, deep down I think we all hope for a twist in the tale because we do not wish it to be so.

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink

Heh. They are having picnic on the Gigjökull end moraine: four cars already, and one seems to be a bus.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

@#102 Hi Henrik,
May I say,Bravo,for such a eloquently written and succint post. Your last three lines have put into words what should have been said around the third week of May when the main eruption died down.I sincerely believe that there will be "a twist in the tail".
Re your post #59,I read it last night with a slowly expanding grin on my face. Your theory of the "revitalising magma" certainly holds water.And yes,it is "glaringly obvious,chuckles.
I won't take you up on the e-beer just yet as I am quite undecided at the moment.May'be if the main crater re-activates in a big way,then we could have a bottle of e-champange and share it with everyone.
P.S. Always thinking about the Icelandic farmers though.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

Good morning everyone!
Before I go back to my paper I would like to join the toast to Henrik and his wonderful speech and to thank Lurking for his new graph.
Lurking, I was trying to figure out the other volcanoes around Askja and I think they should show on your map, do you think it's worth it? I mean Herðubreið (litle further NE) and Kverkfjöll (to the South, under Vatnajökull),as it seems to me they are pretty much involved on this event. Or?...

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

@102 @Henrik
And we must be thankful to the fact that, except for a couple of poor lost tourists,and perhaps some livestock, there were no casualties from Eyjaf's eruption. As for the farmers, I remember watching an interview made by a Brazilian journalist who went there where the ash fall was more intense, and the farmer said with a smile "- We Icelanders are used to our volcanoes. We love them!"

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

#106 As for the air traffic disruption, oh well, I think the world needed something like that to stop and reflect a bit.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

@80 lurking i agree katla erupts at different times, but i was on about when lady E erupts katla tends to follow months later. what i was thinking was the eruption explosion from E causes energy to spread out and makes katla become more active and because the magma chamber for katla is deeper down and lot bigger so its a lot longer to erupt.but what i just written is just a theory!going back in April 2010 media was very quick speculate to say katla will just gone sit back keep checking the web cam and wait,and go with @83 Renato on this one. more links here if your intrested.

Herðubreið - that's North of Vatnajökull and NE of Askja - keeps shaking. Nothing very powerfull, but persistent, at about 7 km in depth; about 50 EQs in the last 48 hours. Neither is that something new, 'cause swarms in that location have been seen before.

Like Carl, I'd like to hear a news anchor trying to pronounce Herðubreiðartögl - which is actually easier than Eyjafjallajökull.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

@#109 Hi Kultsi,
Herðubreið..yes,i'm keeping an eye on that area.The swarms are sporadic but increase in intensity each time.They also seem to be on a Nne/Ssw line in general but they are very close to the North Atlantic Ridge so perhaps hardly suprising.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Lurking, #101: check your Askja coordinates. Something doesn't look right with that plot.

Plus the fact that the IMO's helicorder for Askja has been down,and out,since,I think,the end of June.Makes me wonder how much damage it sustained as it went "off-line" after a particularly violent bout of activity !

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink


Dunno, here is the Askja data from the plot and the source that I used.

65.0316.751.516 - Dplot
65.03°N16.75°W1516m -

Now there are a second set of coords also listed: 65°2'0"N - 16°45'0"W. I went with the first set.

It is a rather large set of nested calderas, and this is the listed summit... which is probably the just the highest peak in the area. I have the same issue with my Katla plots... the point that I label is just the one that shows up at that site... even though the actual caldera is sizable.

Here is a plan view of that same graph with the surface turned off. The outlined triangles are other volcano peaks/features/items appearing in the list.


That's sort of my point. It's almost impossible for Eyj to erupt and not have Katla erupt. That's what Katla does, and it does it with such frequency that the correlation has little meaning. It's similar to matador walking into ring and waving a red flag. The color of the flag really doesn't matter, the bull is going to charge anyway. Just like poking a hornets nest with an oak rather than maple stick. (just make sure you are ready to run)

Part of the problem is that a lot of media sources will trot out whatever show pony that will garnish them the most viewers... and viewers crave excitement, danger and sex. (at least according to the formula) Witness the Yellowstone coverage every time there is a significant swarm.

@Renato I Silveira

Actually, the other volcanoes were int that plot but they were obscured since I had a terrain layer turned on. You can see them as the outlined triangles in the following plots.. which use the same data. There may still be an issue with the actual location of Askja, but until I get a better source, I'm keeping the one I had. (as noted above)

NOTE: the depth of these plots is large.. upwards of 2 degrees. (thickness of the cross section)

View North:

View East:

Did you grab a copy of the MS thesis I posted yesterday on the Askja dike swarms? Pages 23 and 25 have the figures we want.

I would take your last plot and overlay it onto a window image grab (I use WinSnap).

I grabbed a thesis... there were several links and I wasn't sure which one was the targeted one. I have the one that points out that one of the authors is tromping around a pit crater with a red rucksack. He was labeled as predominantly as the interface of the shield lava and the hyaloclastite and I wouldn't have seen him with out the label. I don't think it's the one you are refering to since pg 23 and 24 are talking about the "Krafla Fires" (MSritgerd_ARH.pdf)

Google search, 'The Fissure Swarm of the Askja Central Volcano'.

When in doubt, I'd go with the IES topology for Askja, given the variation in reported coordinates.

Your plot lines up beautifully with the fissure map graphic with EQ 1998-2006, page 25.

Evidently, this is the correct document. I used the page numbering of Adobe rather than the one on the page.

A first try at wrangling the data onto a background image from Figure 12 page 25 looks... sort of promising, but likely contains some error. Note the tick mark in the lower left corner, that is 17°W and does not line up exactly with the plot's 17°W.

Do note that this is a "tight shot" which is zoomed in quite a bit.

This plot uses the same data set as the previous ones and has not been updated to "right now"

Anyway, I have to go pick up a bushel of corn. Be out later.

Scrap my plot. It's WAAAAAAY off on the vertical scale.

Just a minor aberration Lurking.
Eyja now has a good head of steam,now showing,on Thoro Cam.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

Avast me hearty.It's Ye Olde BBC Shipping Forecast Theme !

@#121 Lurking,Hi,
Pretty well confirms what I thought.Good old Herðubreið wins the prize.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

She's showing a good head of steam this evening and I think is still affecting the weather across the UK. We still have 'chugging' lines of clouds like steam train puffs across the sky, though the map shows no concentrations of ash in the air. (I think the link showing ash concentrations is: 'conccol_VO_1_.mht') And we are enjoying a lovely heatwave.
I also wonder whether the potentially explosive link to Katla may be part of the water system which is still feeding Lady Eyaf? Where is the water feeding in from? Is it seawater or a deep freshwater source, or is it all from the glacier?

Finally a non-weather enhanced view of the steam plume.
Looks like 2 centers of activity. Vigorous as well
However I do not think it is strong enough at this time to effect weather more than a few miles away due to clouds.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

Lady E is clearly huffing and puffing: the steaming is cyclic and the amount varies quite a bit. Geysir-like action, in the crater, IMO. There are two places of steaming, the crater and the lava canyon's uppermost part (2-4 km?). There is no melted rock in contact with the water, just bloody hot stone that boils the water.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

Hope the bushell was full!

Could you do us a favour and not only mark out Askja, I know it is a jolly and nice volcano, but the thing is that the majority of activity quakewise the last decade has been at H and H-tögl. (That dear Passerby was why I didn't go with the other articles, they where concerning Askja mainly)
I know that it is counted as an unlikely one to erupt, but it is the currently more active after all.
Thanks in advance!

@Lurking part 2:
Or... (fawning shamelessly)
Could you do one just for H and H-tögl? I am having trouble seeing if there is signs that the quakes might indicate rising magma.

#126 @Kultsi A giant geysir. Could only happen with Lady E.
Thanks for the graphs. I'm sorry to annoy you asking to show the names. But I didn't know we were talking about a forth volcano: There's Askja, and Herðubreið, and Kverkfjöll. Herðubreiðtgöl is yet another one? I like the tuya shape on Herðubreið. But Wikipedia says it has erupted in Pleistocene, which means it could be dangerous or just that there is no chance of erupting?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

Herðubreiðartögl, this is quite a nice site with a lot of information for those of us who like to visualise what we think and talk about:

Herðubreið & its immediate vicinity has had a lot of seismic activity over the past three or four months, but nothing near the present amount. Some 55 quakes over the past 48 hours represents quite an increase in activity, but will anything in the way of an eruption happen? Probably not, but then again... ;)

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

@123: The point of yesterday's post was to show that the IES-UK collaborative effort had hammered out an explanation for the discrete patterns of shallow and deeper earthquakes in this area:

'Close to Askja the swarm is dominated by eruptive fissures....This may indicate that magma pressure is generally higher in dikes close to Askja than farther away from it.'

On the left side of the graph, those volcanic EQs are dues to magmetic movment. They are the EQs close to the central volcano in Lurkings newest graph.

>The proportion of tectonic fractures gets larger with distance from Askja. ... Volcanic fissures and tectonic fractures are either oriented away from or concentric with the 3â4 identified calderas in Askja.'

Right side of graph, green-colored lines and in the vicinity of Herðubreið - those are lined up with the beach ball stress diagram shown in the article supplemental material (the article itself wasn't open-access, just abstract and supplement pdf file).

The fissure swarm of the Askja volcanic system along the divergent plate boundary of N Iceland (2009).

This green-colored basalt area around Herðubreið dates from the last major glacial rebound period (4500 years BP) of volcanic activity.

'Most of the tectonic fractures are located in the northern part of the map, both in hyaloclastite ridges and post-glacial lava flows' (from the MS thesis, page 69/125).

Generally, in this area, the shallow quakes are due to tectonic stress from plate spreading.

@124 the heatwave that affecting the Uk is down to heatwave in Europe trying to push west and down to southwest with gulf heat trying to push north east and less active Atlantic low fronts to the south of the uk but stay to the north which why Scotland and Ireland so far have had wet start to their summer 7 or 9 European countries have stated a heatwave to contines in to the new week. uk heatwave end tonight for most of the uk heavy rain and a 10 degree drop i can also warn that there will be a worldwide cooling effect this winter 2010/11 with la nina

@Fireman @Jane #21 #130 Stunning, indeed! Thanks for reposting, Jane, or they would have gone unnoticed.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

Fireman, your photos are lovely... I've bookmarked for future contemplation, thank you!

Jane, thanks for reposting, missed first time.

By parclair, NoCal USA (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

Could that be a second steam plume to the far left on the Mulakot cam? Probably just a cloud but It has been around looking suspicious for some time now. Great blog... I am learning so much!!

Nevermind- looks like a cloud. I'm starting to see things from too much volcano staring. Still a good opportunity to mention how much I enjoy the discussions here!


Yes I can. But I'm going to need you to verify the lat and lon for them. I have 65.18N - 16.34W @1.682m for Herðubreið, but since I am not from there, I am not entirely sure I have the right volcano. The nuances of the name spelling make me a bit paranoid of doing the plot until I know who is who in the zoo.

And yes, the bushel was full. Now I have to process it.

@birdseyeUSA I have just about finished reading Combined electromagnetic geochemical and thermal surveys of Taal volcano... J. Zlotnicki et al, Bull Volcanol.

Not quite sure what to make of all the ...

Magnetic quenching of magma, piezoelectric effects, thermal contraction during cooling ... the sun's magnetic field flipping.

Entrainment between the sun's magnetic field and magma plumes? I don't know enough. Hmm..

Could the enhanced rate of spreading in Iceland be an artifact of a reduced rate of thermal contraction as per sub-oceanic rifting? Also read some abstracts claiming that rift activity was very sensitive to availability of thermal flux.

I have no idea as to what magmatic lensing is yet.

@Reynir [122] Some would say that the "shipping forecast" was the most important part. I myself would value the 'sleep portion' but that music is oh so delightful. Strangely it perks me up with a reminder of 'all nighters'. Thank you. :-D

First stab at it. Too late to diddle with getting the depth colors rendered. I will likely flip it on it's side and give you a profile of that nearby swarm from the south and the west.

Bed time now... zzzzZZZZZzzz.....

Hi all;
A fatal flaw was that they failed to have any representative posts ready to go up when the blog went live.

Had they done so, and had the content been surprisingly acceptable, the reception might have been better.

Instead we get this "Hi! Welcome to ShillBlog!" (crickets) and everyone, quite reasonably, expects the worst.

Shall we move to the new thread?

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

@kultsi @lurking Kultsi's map is just great. Bookmarked it. And your graph, Lurking, is perfect. Now I understand the multiple calderas you were talking about.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 11 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Lurking141 i had an email on this on the 11.06.10 Askja volcano saying new magma is accumlating in plumbing system by a women called Dr hazel Rymer who has been monitoring system beneath the mountain I know that Askja is 180 miles of North of Eyjaf on the same tectonic plate.Last major eruption was back in 1875 which caused a three mile wide crater. also known to erupt every 40 years but stated that Askja activity is not link to the recent activity of Eyjaf

Off to he newer threads - Eric has more new rocks for us. Have just spent way too much time going through this thread after a hiatus, snatching info and graphics for my ongoing 'Eyja technical' collection.
OT@raving97, reynir 22 - thanks, reminded me of a great lovely schooner going by the end of the Rockland breakwater a couple of weeks ago.

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

21 and 136: thanks Fireman, these are brilliant photos. May I use them with my A level class?

@stigger: sure. Just please credit them 'Copyright 2010 Mike Ross /' - I'm just alert to the risk that they'll end up outwith my control!

@150 thanks Fireman; I will just show them on the smart board, not store them anywhere or put them on the VLE and of course, I will credit you.