Second fissure opens in the Icelandic eruption

Superfast entry as I run out the door but ...

The new vent that opened on March 31 at Fimmvörðuhálsi in Iceland. The old vent is to the right in the image and new to the left. Image captured at 5:45PM EDT.

A second fissure has opened at the Fimmvörðuhálsi eruption in Iceland. Check out the webcam and you can clearly see a new set of vents (Icelandic - try Google Translate) on the left hand side of the image - and that wasn't there earlier today. You can see an image of the new vents here.

Thank you to all the Eruptions readers who have been keeping us posted!

More like this

Busy busy today, so just a brief update on the ongoing Fimmvörðuháls/Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland. The coalesced vent of the Fimmvörðuháls fissure eruption in late March 2010. The eruption is still going, albeit potentially with a little less vigor than before - and you can watch it…
The eruption at Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls continues on - the explosive spatter and bomb eruptions at the new central vent (on the second fissure) were impressive all night, making the hikers/cars/aircraft look like mites in comparison. This eruption has, so far, followed the pattern of…
The fissure vent eruption near Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland. Image by Ãorsteinn Gunnarsson, March 22, 2010. It has been hard to keep up with the flood of news from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland. Eruptions readers have done a good job with getting new images, videos and info up as they…
Lots to do! Tourists flock to the Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls in Iceland. The media does love the term "supervolcano", and a number of Eruptions readers sent me a link to the article on the dreaded submarine "supervolcanoes". I would delve into this article from Live Science, but it sadly…

Looks like it opened up parallel to the first. Tensional stress at work!

Great views!

Is there a map that shows where the fissure and cameras are located, along with N-S directions? I get turned around each time I look at these.


New rift is perpendicular to the old rift, but perhaps that's what you meant.

By Emanuel Landeholm (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

There is a chance of this new fissure to continue to expand, or there might even open up a 3rd fissure there soon. But it is bit uncertain what happens, as it appears that the crust is boiled in that area at the moment.

So much for the eruption slowing down.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

From my favorite movie=
"NOT Sinking!"
(Eric the Viking)


where are you getting your info , do you have access to some tiltmeter data/dilation data, etc .. can you share the links (or repost them )

By robert somerville (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

@robert somerville, I don't have anything like that. Even if I would like to. But I track the data that I can find on the internet. That is earthquakes, GPS, tremor plots etc. I do have my own seismometer (geophone). But it is located ~40 km away from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and is having connection problems at the moment (internet issue it seems).

The rest I do with really fancy calculations in my head. Even if I don't understand normal maths like the one that they teach in school.

This eruption is far for over...

Let's hope those fissures are not propagating towards Godabunga or Katla, that's exactly what could trigger it.

If escaping lava from Eyjafjallajökull injects trough the propagating fissures towards its neighbour, it could end up destabilizing what's in Katla's magma chamber and prime it for an eruption.

Has anybody got a map of the vents?

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

You're right, its not parallel, I was eyeballing it from the photo. Based on the map you linked it looks like it could be a conjugate fissures (cross-cutting set which intersect at ~60° and ~120° angles), also possible with the tension and rifting going on. Its possible that instead of one fissure lengthening we could see an expanding set of fissures.

That doesn't sound good and with volcanoes anything is possible.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

The new fissure is almost in North-South line. While the older one is close to East-West.

There is a risk of the new fissure expanding, or a new fissure opening up in the area. The eruption has not dropped in the old crater at all. It appears to be unaffected by this new fissure.

If you go to the Icelandic Met Office site. Then click on the tab on the top of the page; "Fimmvorduhal, (sp-)".

Good article; Magma Path Reveled. Very interesting fluid dynamics.

By J. Kennedy (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

There appears to be a considerable risk that a new fissure is going to open under the glacier, and that means floods and explosive eruption in that area.

Given the earthquakes 5km SSW of Básar there is a chance that a the new fissure is going to open there, or close to that area. This area is under glacier and that is just disaster waiting to happen if it starts quite like the other two fissures.

This was meant to here. But did go in the other post by a mistake.

You can clearly tell the second fissure is bigger. A lot more steam or ash is coming out of it and I belive I can see a cone already forming from all the lava and tephera.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

For all gamers! Lavos is rising! Heil Our Large Spiky Planet Eating One Eyed Bugs.

@Jon #14, I posted a message to yours on the other thread. I don't do calculations in my head, but I get gut level feelings about things. When I saw the steaming this morning, I knew something was up.

Boy, I could be wrong, but between the origianl fissure and the new one there is a steam vent that seems to be getting more active at the moment. I am just wondering if it will also open up and I saw cars leaving that area last night!

the continuous GPS measurements last 2 days seem to indicate the area around the vents underwent/is undergoing significant inflation event, seems to be outside measurement error bars .. maybe this is going to get significantly bigger than first thought ???

By robert somerville (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

I have noticed that too. I would not be surpsied if it did open up. Of course it may mean that both fissures merge into one huge fissure. What does suprise me is how long the intnese activity has been going on. A few days ago it would wax and wane over time but for two days it has been going storng.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Diane, you are correct. There is a steam vent there and it was not there around 19:00 to 00:30 UTC when the new fissure formed. This might well be a start of new fissure. But it hard to tell at the moment in the dark.

sorry if posting twice

looking at the continous GPS, it appears that a significant inflation event has happened/is happening at the stations in the area (readings are outside error-bars, probably not all outliers in the same direction , looks like this thing is going/could be to be bigger than first thought :

even hvol, on other side of Katla is seeing some inflation ??

By robert somerville (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Jon, actually I saw it a couple of nights ago when I was watching lava blocks fall on the back side of the mound. I figured it was that, but now it is much more promenant than it was. Now maybe what I was looking at was a car light, but I am not sure. It was odd to say the least. I hope it is just steam and gas from under some hot cinder or tephra. However, I think it is something more.

Looks likes your new vent just went Diane. I wonder how much gas is in that magma. If this eruption coalesced into one large vent, would that be like taking the top off of a soda bottle?

@Diane, This area had a lot of steam activity before so that confused people. For instance the geologist and the news people did think that the steam from the new fissure was because of a lava flows in the area (according to the news earlier on Rúv). But that did change suddenly when the new fissure did start to open.

The new fissure is currently creating a high level of steam activity. So much in fact you can hardly see the eruption from the Ãórólfsfelli, web cam (Vodafone, MÃla) and that is a lot of steam to block that view.

Gordys it hasn't quite yet, but it is getting more active. I have seen three fingers of steam and gas from there.

@Jon, you're not kidding it is creating a lot of steam and gas! It looks like it is shooting up to about 1100 meters. At least the glow is that high or looks like it. I can see if there was gas and steam from the area before how it could confuse people. It just tells me to watch it for trouble. Sometimes a fumerol is just a fumerol and won't do more than steam and gas away.

Right now, it is just hard to take my eyes off of it!

Why is the new fissure producing so much steam? intreraction with snow and lava prehaps.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

It looks like the bottle cap got unscrewed a little more.

Ahh, I have to wake up at 3:55 in the morning and it is 9:00 now.

Looks like it's expanded activity since Erik posted the photo above. Mesmerizing.

@Chance #28

I would say it is probably interaction with ground water below the surface.

Must be a lot of groundwater because by now you tihnk it would almsot all be vaporized.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

@Chance #32

There can sometimes be quite a bit of ground water and more seeping in as water is vaporized by the heat. Think of a shallow aquifer. As the water boils off, water from surrounding areas flows in. It would continue to steam like that until all the water is gone from the surrounding area and no more can seep into the hot spot.

true and alot of that would be snow and ice melt so that makes sense.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

>Lavos is rising! Heil Our Large Spiky Planet Eating One Eyed Bugs.


You can tell when Google Translate is having problems conveying the intended meaning of translated phrase or two.

Well, there are problems with the cam again. It just went off, then on,then off again. ARG! Oh well, I suppose I need to get something done around here. :-)

Wow, I thought it was declining before but now it looks as if it may turn into a significant event after all!

Who is going to make the request to adjust the camera a few degree to the left so we get the best possible view of the old and the new fissure eruption?

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

Watch the dark area between the two fissures, down at the base on either side. Signs of weakening and failure.

The eruption is going to grow in strength.

I see no one has bothered to look at Socuel's marvelous rolling graphic recently. It tells the tale of fissure 2 erupting, elegantly.

Non! Leave the camera right where it is. The action may migrate rightward, shortly.

my two cents worth- grab bag prediction:

fissures will start moving towards west Katla ...

By robert somerville (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

Robert Somerville I hope you are wrong....even if they do I won't worry until something happens in the Katla caldera. Right now they are heading the other way....but it is very interesting right now with the sun about to come up.

I wish the other camera was working...I think I see something on the almost looked like another vent may have opened on the other side of that hill to the far right.

Boris anyone else up now and looking?

Good thing they evacuated and closed that sure isn't calming down.

Are you talking about what looks like rising steam/smoke on far right?

When I look at that view:

for some reason a quote comes to mind:

"Hell is empty and all the devils are here."
William Shakespeare---The Tempest

I posted these in the other thread:

179 This was just posted:

Danger at the volcano eruption. Read this if you plan to go there

Posted by: Randall Nix | March 31, 2010 11:25 PM

181 Oh and this too:

From Delight to Danger. New Iceland Eruption Rift opens…

Rescue Operation at Eruption. Helicopters Save 50 People

New Crater at Iceland Eruption Zone: Live Webcam

Posted by: Randall Nix | March 31, 2010 11:29 PM

Ist there another opening on the N end of the fissure near hrunagil? on the thorolfsfelli cam some glow is visible (there was vigorous steaming visible yesterday)?.

Why is quake activity smaller, when new fissures open?

Good morning

By hanns Sperl (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

hanns relief of pressure maybe...there wasn't all that much EQ activity though before the new vent opened....I think that is what caught everyone by surprise. It appears to be calming down a little in the last few minutes.

First of all, congratulations Jon! An e-Beer or a crate of it is most certainly indcated! It is very interesting to see which of the multitude of predictions over the last month or so that have turned out to be correct and the processes by which they were arrived at:

The first prediction made was the area where the eruption would occur and it was made using "logical dedudtion". This was made not on this blog but somewhere else in cyberspace and referred to here. IIRC, someone had had a look at the topographic map and spotted the old scoria cones in the Fimmvörðuhálsi area. If you look at pictures and maps of Eyjafjöllajökull, you will see that the base at approximately the 1000m a.s.l has several areas where previous eruptions have taken place. Since larger eruptions through the main vent would have buried these lesser sites, "logical deduction" would have provided the answer that this type of eruption has in geologically recent times been the most common and since the Fimmvörðuháls area is not glaciated, this area would be the most recent and thus likely area.

The second prediction was as to the type of eruption by Bruce Stout and is an example of the "intuitive leap". It sounds haphazard and chancy, but really isn't. Bruce has great knowledge of volcanoes around the world and on a subconcious level, a comparison of known facts provided the answer.

The third prediction was time, "just under a week" made five days before the eruption based on an analogy. This is an example of a genuinely "lucky guess" and not a true prediction even if thinking outside the box provided a seemingly correct answer.

The fourth predition is Jón's second vent, arrived at by logic deduction based on available facts. Incorporating all published data plus that of his own geophone/seismometer, Jón came to the conclusion that the eruption was not in decline and that in all likelihood, a second vent would open up. He based this (is this correct Jón?) on the following facts: a) there was no sustained deflation indicating that the eruption was not large enough to relieve the volcano of magma, b) seismicity continued at all levels which indicated one or more blocked passages which could yet open up, and c) harmonic tremor was sustained, even if variable. To his credit he stuck to his guns, even when faced by professional opposition, and was proven correct.

While on the subject of predictions and guesses, may I draw your attention to a process known as "logic complementation"? We tend to see things that are not there but logic/experience tells us ought to be there, ie if we see smoke, logic and experience tell us there must be a fire somewhere close, thus we see it. This is very common in witness psychology but there have been several examples here, foremost of which is my own "observation" of new vents on the second or third morning of the eruption... :o

@Henrik, I did notice that the earthquakes there where getting really shallow. Many of them where at ~100 meters. There is still a chance that there are going to open new fissures more to the north then before. But as things are changing it seems that a fissure opening under the glacier is the next thing to happen. There have been earthquakes in that area and they continue to get more shallow as more of them happen. They also carry the low period seismic signal, that tells me that magma is making the cracks wider in the crust. This simply might be a matter of time, or what is more likely is that there is a sudden increase inside Eyfjallajökull that starts that eruption with a bang. There might not be many earthquakes before that fissures opens up.

The reason why we didn't get any earthquake this time might because the crust here has turned "soft" because of the 1200C heat in the lava flows below it, from the feeder channel where the lava is pushing it self up.

I use the method that can be simple explained like this. I check if there is a more possibly of B and D happening then C and A. It is a complex process. But it works most of the time. But not always as it goes.

The cam images are very impressive right now. Profuse steaming all over the place.

Looks like there is a TON of melting/evaporation going on.

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

I would like to say something about this current eruption.

I'm sorry for my bad English as it is not my mother language, let's hope I will manage to explain clearly what I mean...

IMHO this eruption is not one from Eyjafjallajokull proper, but from a basaltic dike which coincidentally erupted in a location not too far from the preexisting volcano.

Iceland is notorious for having lots of monogenic volcanic fissures, such things already happened around Hekla, where fissures nearby the main volcano erupted lava with an entirely different composition from the usual samples from Hekla itself.

Only one thing could tell.. chemical analysis of the sample to know if the magma could relate to Eyjaf, to Katla or to something else (intruding basaltic dike, rifting event from elsewhere).

But what's not good is if there's any silicic eruptible magma under Eyjaf or Katla, any basaltic melt going in the wrong place could start things off... indeed with a bang...

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink

Short but interesting report by a pilot who just spotted the moment when the second fissure opened. I´m envy that he could see this moment. He reports about a flash light and then suddenly the crack was open. I never saw this moment when a fissure opened so far, ther was just a webcam time-lapse fissure of the piton de la Fournaise. I did not know that it can go so fast, I thought there would be steam first, then maybe a little crack opening step by step. But it seem to open extremely fast. Read this on:… People were making pictures shortly after it cracked - would love to see them....if anybody knows about a video or picture showing a fresh crack/ fissure, please let me know....

By Thomas Wipf (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink


I know nothing about volcanos and i am quite worried now.
Could you guys please provide some sort of alert level so we ignorants have a chance to decide when its time to do something?
Like when is it time to go buy food and so on.

Also a little bit about possible scenarios would be very usefull.
On many sites there are a lot of doomnuts talking about the end of the world etc. People like me need to lean on science and knowledge, so here i am!
How serious can this be? Is it a possiblility of world wide impact at all?
Regards to all.

On the cam, things are starting to get interesting to say the least...

The steam plume is rising very high very fast by convection, and we can see it rotating counterclockwise.. something reminiscent of cumulonimbus clouds I believe..

PS:: As I'm typing, I swear I saw a lightning strike in the plume!

That's CRAZY!!

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 31 Mar 2010 #permalink


Buy food if you are hungry :)
But seriously, this volcano is nowhere near the size of a catastrophe. The official size of this eruption is around VEI 1, which is the smallest, while Laki, Pinatubo or Krakatoa were classified as VEI 6, and they also not caused the end of the world, although were the largest eruptions within last millenium.
This volcano is simply a bonsai among others, but is so well documented, measured, displayed, etc, that we love to look and talk about it.

Volcanophile certainly has a point, though from the seismic activity preceding the activity it seems to have come from below the center of Eyjafjallajökull, so it is probably closely related to that volcano. But it's quite primitive basaltic magma, something that has not stayed and differentiated in a reservoir for some time. I am not very convinced there's much risk of silicic magma being involved in this case, although it might turn out wishful thinking. In the ideal case this will continue to be one of these eruptions that play around opening a little fissure here and another there, like Hekla did in 1970. So I agree with Jón that more fissures will possibly open, though as things look for the moment, the largest risk remains that of snowmelt and phreatomagmatic explosions where there is interaction with snow. Much of the vapor and gas that we see in this moment is due to such interactions, and it appears much more voluminous because you can clearly see that the weather is more cloudy and humid. The Ãórólfsfell actually shows a veil of cloud moving in, hiding the view of the eruption. Higher levels of relative air humidity lead to more condensation, a phenomenon everybody living near a constantly degassing volcano knows well, because on humid days gas emission appears more vigorous and voluminous although in reality there is no change in emission.

I guess the lack of seismicity before the second fissure opened is because no new conduit has formed, the conduit has only bifurcated in its most superficial portion - it has propagated laterally. And again, our experience from Etna confirms that it's not the opening of the fissures that makes seismic activity, it's the vertical uprise of magma, and the breaking of rock in this process. When Etna erupted in 2001, the opening of the first fissures was preceded by four days of extremely strong seismic activity. During the next few days more fissures continued to open, over a whole length of about 6 km, but seismic activity died down after the first fissures opened.

On the contrary, when there was long-lived activity that was fed by a sequence of little magma batches, you'd see seismic activity preceding each new batch by a few days. That's exactly what has also happened here, and what led to Jón's expectation of new vents opening. The question is, will this eruption evolve further, with still more vents opening? For once I hope Jón is not right when he says that the eruption might extend to the subglacial part of the volcano. That would render things more complicated and increase the hazard from this eruption, which is not what I wish people who live nearby.

In the meantime a new map of the lava flows as of 31 March has been posted here:…

Well, this is bad. The expansion of THEY GPS station has started again. But that tells me that the volcano is inflating again, and that is bad is it fortelling of more fissures opening up in the area. There might not be a lot of vertical movement before a new fissure opens, but then it might. Hard to tell for sure.

There has also been some earthquakes at ~5km SSW of Básar in the last few hours, and that is also a sign that new fissures might open up at any time with no warning at all. The earthquakes started to happen after the new fissure did open up.

Wow! It is interesting with this new fissure opening. When I look at the fimmvörðuhálsi webcam I see some flames in a area halfway between the old cone and the large steam plume. Is this the new fissure? Or is the new fissure where all the steam is?

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Based on the Fimmvorduhals webcam, it appears to me that the steam/cloud arisen from the new fissure generated a local snowfall.

It was the new fissure that I saw back in post #67 :)

By Mattias Larsson (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Again, I would avoid catastrophisms, so far this is the most harmless type of eruption that there is, let's simply enjoy it. I am sure Icelandic civil defense organisms stay put in case the scenario worsens, but for the moment there's no way saying whether this will happen or not. What seems a good possibility is that the fissure system will expand further, like it did yesterday, but still all that we see so far is rather contained - a fissure system less than 1 km long, Hawaiian-style, nearly totally ash-free activity, this is even a small eruption for Iceland standards. We would absolutely looooooove to see such an eruption here on Etna (unless it happens close to populated area).

And it is absolutely a very beautiful eruption. For those who haven't yet realized this, look at this video, it's breathtakingly spectacular.…

@Boris Behncke, I would like to avoid being with dangerous happening. However, I just use the data that I have and what they tell me. Currently the data is telling that there is a chance that there is going to open a fissure under the glacier. There are indicators that the current fissures are not enough to release the pressure that is building inside Eyjafjallajökull. That means that the magma is going to make a new path ways to release that pressure. The best way for the magma to do that is to go up in direct line. That line is under a small patch of glacier and now it is just a question of when, not if in my opinion.

Harmonic tremors are on the increase in Eyjafjallajökull at the moment. It should show it self in the eruption soon or has already.

Jón, we're all watching ... this is rather exciting. If a fissure really opens under the glacier you'll have a bottle of real red wine from Etna. If it continues to open small fissures outside the glacier, you'll have to content yourself with more e-beers :-)

Volcanic lightning is not so crazy, Volcanophile. In fact it is a common phenomenon at volcanoes around the world. The frequent minor eruptions of Sakurajima and Krakatau often feature volcanic lightning in the plume. Perhaps it is unusual for a basaltic eruption though.

Just checked the Vodafone webcam. Perfect weather but not much activity at the moment.

Wow great link ! Any idea of the rate of gas emissions from this eruption anyone ?

15.07 GMT, another large EQ spike ~5km SSW Básar - M 2.2 at 2.4 km and M 2.8 at zero km

Webcam was repositioned, pulled back, over night to a safer location?

That M 2.8 is just been upgraded to a 2.9 at 0km

Also moved to 3.7 km SW Básar. This places it on or just outside the right edge of the frame of the second Vodafone webcam just above the glacier's edge (above the toungue visible at lower right).

16.08 GMT Largish white cloud appearing fast and very localised on the right edge of the second Vodafone cam. Having been caught out before by logic complementation, I am vary, but please look a.s.a.p and tell me what you see!

In my above post (#83), should read EQ "felt" at Thorsmork but it originated from Eyjafjallajökull.

@ Diane and Chance

I just zoomedd the fimmvorduhalsi cam, and I agree, it looks like some steaming between the two current vents. The steaming seems to be in a fixed location. (Look at the second vent, and then go down to the right until halfway between the two vents. )

My only experience with volcanos are those that are active (kiluea, shasta, pompeii, yellowstone) and there's always breathing and huffing around them. This is the first "from nothing" volcano I've watched. Would gasses be leaking up with no eruptive consequences?

Oops, meant Lassen, not shasta (got S on the brain, a climber's trapped up there)

parclair some of that steaming is just steaming water vapor and not another vent opening. The lava flow is hitting ice or coming into contact with water.

Why are there people still driving up there? It looks very active at the moment.

Parclair, since they have moved the cam back, I can't see what I was seeing last night which was some steaming between the two vents. I suspect it can open up if it is more than just steam from water vapor as Randall has said. Before the second fissure opened up I saw a lot of steaming in that area and I thought something was up and it sure was up! I am not sure if that area will do anything more than just steam.

Have you climbed Lassen? I have been on top twice and I just wish I could have had time and energy to take a look around. I would love to climb it again, but that is out of the question.

"Parclair, since they have moved the cam back"

I am not sure they physically moved it back or of they just reduced the zoom a bit to get a wider field of view. I think they just zoomed out a little.

The area were the second fissure opened was covered with snow from the winter. No wonder that there is a lot of steam.
Its the same with the "old" fissure, the lava thawed the snow, which was there. Its quite a strange image, red glowing lava next to snow.

Parclair, you know what?! I just took a good look at the cam again and I think that little steam area I saw last night just might have opened up. The stuff coming from it looks black so maybe it did crack open. Not sure, but it does look like it. Steam is usually NOT black!

The new vent is blowing like a gusher now!

Hi newbie to the list from NE Oregon, sitting on a slab
of Columbia River Basalt in Island, City, Oregon Ok,
that slab is covered with several hundred feet of Grande
Ronde Valley blue clay. Being a former Commercial Pilot.
and did a lot with USGS and Amry Corps of Engineers as to
survey of St.Helens before and during the eruption, I am quite impressed with the videos and pictures of this eruption. What little hair I have stands up on the back of my head, like the time I flew a USGS vulcanologist inside
St.Helens crater a few weeks after the May 18th event.
I will never forget that glow...

By G.T. McCoy (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Welcome aboard, G.T. McCoy.

@Jon, there are a lot of cars going up way too close. Could some of them be volcanologists? I agree with you. They should not be going up so close to the vent.

Diane, I climbed Lassen many years ago. I don't remember the view around, but sure remember the view straight down from the trail. (I remember stumbling more than once)

Now I'm wondering about another one, on the top pic of the cam.

on this side of the scoria heap, just below the currently chugging vent. It looks white, but I think it drifts into the fimmvorduhalsi view as grey. What do you think?

The jet from the new vent has a lot of ash in it.
Does this mean something has changed with the flow?
The old vent looks the same.
A lot of vehicles moving very close to that new vent hope they have hard hats.

The earthquake at 15:07 UTC was a low frequency earthquake (ML2.9 0km event), that means that magma created it and the magma is now at ~0km depth and is cooking the rock at the moment. But it does not appear that it has pushed trough the crust yet. Even if it at shallow depth. The harmonic tremors are increasing according to IMO plots. This is developing really dangerous way. It is hard to tell when the magma might break up. But that is only when the pressure is enough on it, and that does not appears to have happened yet.

@Boris Behncke, then my mom and dad will have a good red wine to drink. Sine I don't drink alcohol in real live. :-)

Are the Vodaphone and Fimmvörðuhálsi webcam image fields opposite of one another?

On the Fimmvörðuhálsi (site linked in Eriks opener to this thread) camera, to which fissure vent does the far-right, nearly off-camera plume belong?

To me, it looks like a new emission source, but you I can't be sure because of the shift in perspective with this camera since last night.

The camera image field change: although whether physically moved or by camera focal zoom is uncertain, except that there are tell-tale tracks that suggest it may have been physically relocated for equipment safety or to expand the visual field.

Interesting to note the diurnal shifts in activity.

Holy COW! That steam emission just went crazy. Can't see what happened, though.

Wow ! there's a huge amount of steam just erupted from a possible new vent on the vodafone webcam.

Passerby, I determine the cam views by the plume drift. Right now, it appears that all plumes are drifting to the right, so I'm assuming both fimmvorduhalsi and the vodaphone cams are pointing in the same direction from the same general area.

Boy, the snow field on the fimmvorduhalsi cam is getting dirty. There's some grey on the right foreground that could be evidence of a 'dirty' vent on the right, off camera. (Earlier the plumes were drifting more to the left, which is when I saw the plume coming from the right of the camera.

I'm going to be offline for a few hours, and miss the sunset. Can someone do some screen grabs from the fimmvorduhalsi cam? I think I'll be able to get eldgos on my droid (if I can figure out how to refresh). Thanks much.

big new steam plume in the neighborhood of rift #2. Could the rift be extending?

By doug mcl. (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

@doug #105

Or a lava flow just found some ice.

After the 2.9 it may be a new fissure. I hope the vehicle that just went by toword the steam gets out OK.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

I hope that's not just some random people i see driving around up there on the webcam. Taking an awful big risk.

~18.35 GMT. A young lady in the company of two men walked past the webcam, speaking into her cellphone. She stopped and blew a kiss to the cam/viewers. Wonder if it was "our" Heidi Ritterbusch who finally stopped being a "vulcanologist who has never seen an eruption." If so, congratulations Heidi, and thanks for the e-Kiss!

Sightseers are driving up very close to the eruption site, you can see them more easily now because they are using lights on their vehicles.

Public safety officials aren't monitoring this rubbernecking for safety? Shouldn't there be signs that say, 'Do not go past this point?'

I'm on my way up again - leaving in a few minutes - will post an update when I can

@Zander (#110). I think you and I may be of the same mind: If I were to go, I'd go with a vulcanologist renowned for his or her abject lack of physical courage... ;)

@passerby, with huge billowing clouds of steam and molten rocks being ejected hundreds of feet into the air, doesn't a sign saying "don't go past this point" seem a bit redundant?

I remember when St Helens was getting close to its big blow, and the local authorities were trying to get people off the mountain, with a common response being "I'm not going to let the g'vment tell me where I can go and where I can't go.

Putting a sign up isn't usually needed to help smart people avoid doing dumb things and is rarely effective at getting dumb people to make smart decisions.

@Passerby #114

I believe everyone is aware of the risks involved. Think of it in more Darwinian terms.

Morgunblaðið has just released a short interview with one of Iceland's foremost volcanologists, Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson. He described the eruption as "stable" and said there was no way predicting how long it would last. The opening of the new fissure yesterday (31 March) was in his opinion due to magma finding a path through fractured and weakened rock. Asked about the significance of earthquakes below Eyjafjallajökull today, he said there was nothing special about them, that there had been a lot of seismicity since the start of the eruption, and this was caused by the continued ascent of magma.

This interview plus another impressive video can be found at the following link:…

From this video and another one that I indicated in comment #72, you can appreciate how much the lava has already filled of the deep canyon into which it is continuing to cascade.

Watching the closest webcam in the late afternoon light, there is nothing I can relate to further vents opening, it does indeed seem stable. Lava emission seems to be pulsating, which is why there are repeatedly new surges advancing in direcions previously spared by lava flows. The new flows thus encounter remaining snow, each time producing a lot of large steam plumes.

People are ignoring the ban of travel to this area. The own risk zone is 5 km around the eruption area, the ban zone is 1km around the around the eruption.

There might be a change to this eruption sooner then we think in my opinion.

Looking at the MÃlu webcam from the south: did the new fissure activity increase or extend to the south and east at around 3:20 (ET)?
Sudden surge of cars leaving, and there is a new fire fountain with fair amount of ash projected very close to where a lot of the cars had bunched for a look.

Boris The girlfriend and I are having a wine later tonight from close to where you are, 2003 Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo AGLIANICO. I bought a case of it back in 2004, I had one a few weeks ago and it seemed to have aged well....I hope this one did too. I envy you for being so close to good wine and an active volcano....Salute!

@ Henrik , although if i lived close to it, it would be VERY tempting.It makes for so much better viewing in the fading light now. It's now possible to see glow from the original fissure , the fountain of the second including the lava river flowing down into the canyon.

The vodaphone cam looks like the whole downhill side is covered in lava now.
Similar effect on the long range Mila cam.
Is this just a artifact of the lighting?

It does appears that the new fissure is getting longer in the last hour or so. This process might have started around 15:20 UTC. But it is hard to know for sure.

Be careful of these webcam images. It can be tricky because the vent can illuminate a steam plume and make it appear to be active eruption when it is not.

The problem becomes more pronounced as the light levels drop.

Randal, it is probably putting out exactly the same, it is just that with darkness coming on, it is more visible than it is in full daylight.

For example, imagine I held a stick that I had removed from a fire. In daylight the end would look black. But in darkness you would be able to see the glowing ember that is not visible in daylight. It is sort of the same thing going on here. That and the illumination of steam from the eruption which makes it very difficult to tell at night which is the vent and which is steam with a webcam while you can clearly see the difference in daylight.

These are not glowing embers, they're hot conflagrations. You would have seen this by day. Even if the camera is enhancing light capture for image quality, the eruption has definitely picked up pace after dusk.

The rubbernecking, risk-besotted sightseers appear to be very close to the eruption site, despite official prohibitions.

@George, I know about the light effect. Been watching the web cameras for a long time now. But compare the image in this post and what you see now online. There are some changes going on, that is for sure.

I am simply amazed by the traffic up there. Dozens and dozens of cars moving between the two vents.

Hate to say it but someone will get killed if the authorities keep letting people drive right betwen the two eruption fissures. There coems a point where safety has to come before thrills and I doubt msot of these people can explain how a volcano erupts or the difference between mafic and feltic lava. About as bad as those wanabe strom chasers who have no clue what they are doing

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Yes, this time I do agree perfectly. One fountain from the new fissure has grown BIG and it's inclined - toward the place where all the people were, and it seems many are driving away from it

It is hard to determine the distance the cars are from the two fissures from the webcam, but the police and various search and rescue teams are up there to make sure people dont go to close. But there are always some people that venture to close and the police or the s&r teams have to drive them back.

The lava that is pushing up appears to reach the hight of 200 to 300 meters easy. The camera is located a bit far away, as you can see by the size of the cars.

The IMO seismometers also show signs of more harmonic tremors as the time passes by.

Judging by the daytime view, the closest cars are actually less far away than the lava fountain is high. This is rank stupidity, the potential consequences of which is something I'd rather not have to watch live.

Actually, i think the camera perspective is lying a bit. Sure people are close but not necessarily THAT close...

The camera view has changed since that picture was taken. The view is "zoomed out" to give a wider field of view than it had 24 hours ago. You can now see more stuff to the left that was invisible to the camera last night. (Talking about the view frá Fimmvörðuhálsi) It might be slightly more active, and you are going to see more from the opposite side (the view frá Ãórólfsfelli) because the lava field has grown considerably in the last 24 hours.

Overall, it looks to me like the eruption is relatively stable. And it could stay like this for a year or stop next week or get twice as big tomorrow. We just can't tell.

With what happened yesterday....I am not so sure that it is that stable....Before this is all over with I bet more vents will open close to the ones we have now....An E-Beer bet anyone?

@George 144

I totally agree. We just have to watch and wait...and enjoy.
And hope that it behaves for the local population.

I hit submit too soon. I was agreeing with George about the eruption staying like this for a year, stop next week, or get twice as big tomorrow. As far as for today, it looks like(as far as inflation goes), the eruption has found an equilibrium. Of course there were those EQs earlier today, do we have magma finding other places to go that have not shown up yet? What is going to happen tomorrow? What is the supply system? We don't know.

Ahh Randall, it is tempting but I can't take that bet.

Alrighty then. It's a bet....I feel like I have been suckered in.

Wonder what these people would do if a lava bomb came flying right at them. Would they run or take a picture of it? A lot of them would do the latter I think.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Randall, I never was a very good poker player. I wonder how I can get e-beer delivered in far Northern Minnesota.

I have a question. Has the weather been very generous for the viewing of all parties of this eruption, or is this typical for this location?

The weather was quite nice in the last days. And it has been stable as well, which is not guaranteed. It was clear, not to much wind, very nice. It may change on the weekend.


I agree...Wow, this is cool, splat sizell.

Gordys Not sure but if we can get one delivered to Pensacola Florida then we can sure get one delivered to Minnesota;)

Oh and by the way Blackjack is my game of choice:)

As far as i can see it untill now, every few days it's gearing up.

Gordys Lets see now....metaphorically speaking how many volcanic face cards have we seen come from this deck so far? I count 2 on the table, both of those are metaphorically speaking low face cards so I am betting there are still a few aces, kings and queens left in the deck;)

I've got my 2 cents of quite unscientific thought...

Basically, besides differences in lava chemistry, gas contents etc, eruptions come in 2 styles...

There are the ones which start big and calm down progressively, such as Chaitén, Hekla, etc... Typically the most silica and gas rich magma comes up explosively in the first place, and, as the gas supply is more and more depleted, the eruptions become weaker and weaker, more and more effusive or extrusive.

And there is te other kind... When things start slow, gently, then ramp up and up to the final pyrotechnics. Something like Tungurahua, Mayon, Vesuvius 1906.. In those eruptions, the more magma is erupted, the more hotter, gas-richer magma comes up and makes an even larger way for more, even hotter, even gassier magma to come.

We don't have a clue about what Eyjaf is going to do next... Wait and see... but, it indeed seems gearing up now..

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Randall, lets think about this now. Just getting to this point was iffy, there have been intrusions before and nothing has happened. I am thinking with just the eruption starting, you have used up an ace, king and a pair of jacks. With the new fissure yesterday, you used up a couple of queens. So what I am thinking so far, you have used up an ace, king, two queens and a pair of jacks. We have to think about what altitude this eruption is going on at. I'll bet you one of my aces and one of my kings that the next fissure opens up at a lower elevation that what the eruption is at now....unless we get a new magma influx, maybe for some reason the plumbing to the current eruption site gets blocked, or the throat that the eruption is keeping all of us so mesmerized gets blocked...then??

Sometimes basaltic fissures eruptions can and do become much more explosive...

For example, this is a basaltic fissure eruption in Mihara Yama, in Japan, 1986...

And another one... just for fun... not too far from us in Europe, Boris will certainly recognize it ...

If the magma feeding Eyjaf's eruption becomes more gas-rich, or if the next fracture meets a shallow aquifer (whigh would create steam, and herefore gas pressure), things could start to get much more interesting...

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Gordys, Randall! The the two fissures are about 4-5 km from the main conduit/feed from below (~5 km SSW Básar). Right now, the last bit of ground above is too hard to break through and the magma has found a path of lesser resistance, more or less horizontal, to the fissures. My bet is that IF the magma breaks through in another place, it will be much closer to the main conduit. We've already had a M 2.9 at 0.0 m depth, which Jón says had a magmatic signature, about 1½ km north or NNE of the main conduit. If you are on PayPal, what about a real bottle of red on that?

About people taking unacceptable risks - note that hardly (if any, as it's an large area, unaccessable w/o guide) any tourist will go on his own. It are the tour-operators that take the risks. As a tourist, you rely on the tour-operator, and as usual - it's all about money. Last night, saw tremendous amounts of headlights on the webcam - either snowmobiles or 4wd's. Big money for the Icelandic tourist-industry, on average 400 Euro's or so, and tourists have to sign they accept the risk. If you go to Iceland for the eruption only, and the operator tells you it's save ("we know the location situation, and we take safety first"), what would you do as a tourist ?

Ok Randall, I had to start someplace for negotiation. How about the jack and 8 of hearts for the fissure?

Good point Volcanophile. I have not been able to find any information about gas emissions. I am wondering if there has been any change of chemistry since the start of the eruption.

...and Heidi should be back at her hotel as of writing this - exhausted, but too excited to sleep. Looking forward to read her story.


Point taken. We are going to have to let him in on the game Randall.

@Anna #162

Those are indeed great pictures. However, they make me think of the Darwin Awards, as well as the movie Independence Day, when the awestruck people gather underneath the space ships.

By Barry Abel (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Jon, is the depth of earthquakes measured as depth below sea level, or is it corrected to indicate depth below actual ground level at the site? 42 m is not very far below ground!

Gordys and Jon sorry I was out walking the dogs...had to get away from this thing for a few minutes anyway;)

Gordys I will go with an 8 and a jack for the first 2 vents....Hey it's cool with me...Jon can be in but he has the advantage by being there:)

Thank you for the link, this makes perfect sense in retrospect.

On my way down. Brief impressions - less lava flowing and lower vigour at the vents. There's a new flow to the east of the first fissure; people were approaching it closely and in one case frying eggs at it!

When it comes to volcanoes everyone is a tourist. Consider all the volcanologists who have died in various eruptions in recent decades - at Semeru, Galeras, Unzen.....What constitutes "unacceptable risks"? Unacceptable to whom? As long as people are aware/informed of the dangers then they should be free to make their own decisions as to how much risk they take. In this case, the risk seems pretty minimal and I would go there right now if I could. Who here wouldn't?

Re Fireman post 183
On Your Way Down?
as coming back down from the volcano.
Are You on site?


Fireman, that is what I suspected. At one point, it looked very much like a vehicle had driven right to the active edge of the largest vent, and when the eruption suddenly flared up, the jeep disappeared into the glare. When the flare died down, it looked like the vehicle might be burning, as it was conspicuously bright. But you just couldn't be sure of how close the many jeeps and snowmobiles were to the vents.

Still unsure of the cause of the occasional narrow ribbons - brief light flares in the webcam nearfield. Didn't look like image distortion, but might be a transmission artifact.

The harmonic tremors where just taking a big jump few moments ago it seems. That cannot mean anything good in my opinion. But I hope that for now the current fissures can keep up with the inflow of magma into Eyjafjallajökull.

Passerby, if you're talking about twin streaks coming off the hill mid-screen on the frimmvorduhalis cam, I'm pretty sure those are vehicles of some kind. I've seen them the last couple of nights, and there's a distinct pooling-of-light effect as they come down the hill to the flat area.

Ah, the camera's down now. Tomorrow.

Parclair, re Lassen: It was quite a long time ago I climbed it, too, as in 30 years! I remember looking down at the parking lot when I was about half way up and I saw some kids start up the trail. When I had gone about another half mile, they had caught up with me! Real good feeling. LOL It was really neat up there. I could not do it today.

I think they needed to post safe places to go and see the eruption. I know people do get too close. Even volcanologists risk their lives to get the info from the lava flows and all the other stuff that comes out of them. I have seen a picture of John Seach dressed in silver heat protective clothing almost at the edge of an erupting basaltic volcano. They do take precausions, but sometimes it gets them. I just hope nobody gets hurt in Iceland and everybody that goes to it has a good time.

are all cams down ?

Gina, I'm not sure, but on the one site, one is disconnected and you can't see anything on the other.

How about it? Are any of them working where you can see something?

@Thomas Wipf 60 and others - a note here about speed. The important point I would like to make is that at a time of low seismicity, there were 3 straight-shot vertical bursts of magma, one on top of the other (practically). The first burst opened the new fissure and was traveling at great speed. Here's my evaluation:

Seven nearly simultaneous quakes starting at 15:07 UT/11:07 AM EDT.

Set One traveled vertically 2.4 kilometres in 17 seconds (its 2nd and final expansion of the set - at surface/0 km. ripped it open like a zipper) and was the most forceful - R2.8

...50 seconds delay, then...
Set Two traveled vertically 2.2 kilometres in 14 seconds (its 2nd and final expansion of the set - at the 1.4 km. depth)

...70 seconds delay, then...
Set Three traveled vertically 2.7 kilometres in 13 min 17 sec. (its 3rd and final expansion of the set - at 1.3 km depth)

So as I "see" it (since all three ejections vertically smoothed the walls, subsequently there has been little seismicity because there has been little resistance. In addition, since set 2 and set 3 each expanded the "walls" at the 1.3km depth, there is a wider "throat" there into which to pump more magma. So this one could be a "keeper" and the one higher on Fimmvörðuháls may gradually block up.

I think it's important, however, to consider that if there is more vertical deformation that even this significant a fissure is not relieving the upward pressure from the reservoir which wants release. And this magma can travel quickly and without warning when it wants to get "out"... 2.2 kilometres in 14 seconds equals about 155 metres per second... again, I remind, without prior warning! Despite the wise words of a senior geologist, nobody *really* knew it was going to come out there.

Everyone think about this please. If there is more vertical deformation I suggest that Civic Protection remove people from Eyjaföll altogether. This is not some dolphin show.

And I also remind folks that the pattern of consistent and early "channel-opening"... secondarily most prominent (after the present fissure location)... was under the southeast flank facing the sea - not under Gigajökull. Magma already opened its advance path within Eyjafjallajökull, inside the mountain and almost all the way down to the sea... view Socuel's timelapse again if you've forgotten.

p.s. the uppermost panorama (click on my name-link) shows both gorges, I believe, down which magma and lahars are now flowing. The hiking trail is between them.

None of the 3 i know of the vodaphon, 2 mila - Eyjafjallajökull frá Ãórólfsfelli - Ãtsýni frá Fimmvörðuhálsi

Jon, all I get on Vodaphone is a blank page. It could be a program problem for some of us.

Fimmvörðuhálsi camera is back now showing nicely lit steam emission and lava fountain at the first fissure's scoria cone.

Nope, not for those of us who are transatlantic. Page comes up, but it spins trying to open and won't start the media player, same as it has on occasion during previous days - but only at night.

Too many folks connected to those websites.

I was referring to vodaphone; Fimmvörðuhálsi camera working fine.

Fireman, I don't see any volcano photos in the Facebook album you linked to.

By Barry Abel (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

At Parclair, #189. No sir, its not twin streaks, its not vehicular in origin. It's a thin streaming transient, like a meteor, running at a slant to vertical. Short-lived. Too far away for flying embers and without a light source to illuminate it, doubtful its snow or ash.

There is some interesting thing going to, besides the steam. There are two dots of light near the new fissure and the old one. They are small, but they appears to be growing in size slowly.

If the last few nights are any indication, the vodaphone won't be available transatlantic until 600 Iceland time. Which is approximately 2.5 hours from now.

Passerby, I'm afraid my resolution isn't good enough to see your phenomenon.

Diane, when I said remember 'down" I remember the straight-down, loose rubble sides of Lassen. My legs were rubbery and the drop was scary!!! I'm glad to have done it.

@ Jón regarding the chance of a fissure opening up under the main focus of seismic activity and the 4km lateral branching of the conduit very near the service to the eruption site:

What I imagine is that the main conduit rises up the main EW fault line underneath Eyjafjallajökull until near the surface where there is a sudden discontinuity in the fault line, possibly because it is capped with a "recent" lava flow that hasn't faulted yet. The magma then flows sideways along the fault line and underneath this cap until it reaches the edge where it erupts.
The alignment of the surface fissures still intrigues me though. I can only think this is some kind of surface anomaly.
As for a sub-glacial eruption, we probably won't see one until a weakness develops in the overlying cap for the magma to exploit. This would probably equate with the larger earthquake that you were waiting for. Alternatively, the magma might find some other weakness in the overlying rock but this is a big unknown. I'd love to know what is happening to the west of the diversion!! I assume this avenue is plugged otherwise we would have seen some kind of activity there (melt sinks in the glacier, etc). Do you know if, and how, this is being monitored? This might be an issue, particularly if inflation resumed. (on this note, do you know why the GPS plots a week old? They weren't always like that!)

At the moment though, I would put my money on the activity staying in the region where it is.

@Henrik, thanks for the flowers! But it was just fool's luck, believe me!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Jon, thanks for all the data and information you've passed our way. I just realized the time for you! When DO you sleep??????

I also see the "snake eyes' in the screen. During the day, I mentioned them, and someone (can't remember who, sorry) thought they were steam eruptions from lava flow. I'm not sure, because from the distant webcam, I think they'd be uphill from the 2nd outbreak. (Trying to keep things in spatial place is hard with only pictures). I'm watching them too.

@bruce stout, the earthquake that I was waiting has possibly already happened(?). It was a ML3.1 earthquake that did happen in the early progress when this all started. The activity might continue in that area, but that area also has glacier. This thin glacier free patch is not big and any more fissure are might end up under the glacier at any time.

@parclair, I am going to sleep now. But this days I sleep in 5 to 6 hours at each time, and when there is a break or things get stable with the eruption. I sleep a lot. I don't have a job, so it is ok.

@ Jon, ha! another night owl! I also often get by on very little sleep. Far too much happening to waste it in bed!

Re the fissures spreading uphill towards the glacier. If the above reasoning is correct (i.e. a cap sitting on the main fault line, then the fissures are not likely to propagate uphill unless the cap is particularly thin and weak. They might propagate downhill though, at least until the elevation of the main lateral conduit. If this height is anyway where the eruption is, then activity will stay where it is, probably with more fissures opening up near to the existing ones.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Bruce! "Only the true Messiah denies His own divinity!" (Life Of Brian, scene 18)

Randall! I truly am impressed! Shakespeare and Dante forsooth. An education in classical litterature?

on an unrelated note, I don't know if anyone posted this before, but here is a pretty stunning video of the dome collapse at Montserrat 11 Feb.

now, that is the kind of eruption I would be running away from ;-)

Henrik, I think I could accept to being related to a Brian lol
"he's not the messiah, he's just a very naughty boy!"

By bruce stout (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink

Another M 2.8 ( 4.6 km ENE of Básar) thats quite a few km's
north of the existing fissure's.
magma related?

Forgot to mention it's a 0.1km depth

@Bruce Stout

I have noticed the date on THEY also. My thinking is that the data on the graph has corresponded well with what we have been seeing in the eruption, the dates are simply incorrect for so reason. Of course I could be wrong.

@Frankill, it looks like a surface tension earthquake. It did not carry any magma signature. It also doesn't belong to any volcano. It appears to be outside Mýrdalsjökull volcano system by 1 or 2 km. It is not in Eyjafjallajökull volcano system.

ok Jón, thanks for explaining that one.
It was a bit far off.

just looked at the Fimmvörðuhálsi cam i think the wind is really bad or a explosion happened of to the right and behind the cam

There was chunks of what looked like snow/ice and other debris blowing to the right and away from the cam for about 2 min

Hummmmmm....not liking where the most recent earthquakes are located....looks like one may have been in Katla and a 3+ between the two volcanoes...Jon what do you have on them?

Henrik I love Shakespeare...I am a 16th Century man stuck in a 21st Century world;)

@Randall Nix, it was a normal earthquake. But closer to the surface then normal. It is also located outside all known volcano areas far as I can tell. Even if it was close to Mýrdalsjökull volcano, it appears outside it.

This just the local bedrock stretching it self and adjusting. But for what is the good question, I might not like the answer to that given the clues that I am getting.

The harmonic tremors are on the increase now for some reason.

That 3+ one looked like it was in between Katla and Eyjafjallajökull

"And where two raging fires meet together,
They do consume the thing that feeds their fury"
Taming of the Shrew---Shakespeare

The recent spike in tremors might be due to weather-induced noise (wind, snow, rain, etc) occurring near the seismometer(s).

By Akira Shirakawa (not verified) on 02 Apr 2010 #permalink

Randall, Jón! If you look at the radar map showing inflation from space, you'll see that this EQ was right at the edge of the "inflation zone".

Well, there seems to be a white-out on one of the cams and the other one sure shows a lot of snow with the wind blowing a gale.

I checked the cam before all that started and the area where people were driving over seemed black. It is turning back to white now. Did something happen last night that caused more ash to be flying around?

@Randall, I dig your quotes from Shakespeare even if I am not a fan of the old bard. He's ok, just not my cup of tea. :-) If I do any reading at all it would be a biography or something related to geology and volcanology. I used to do a lot of reading. I'm one of those who never quite figured out what I wanted to do. Spent 16yrs in college for two degrees and got burned out. Was going for my MA when I quit. Too much arglebargle. ;-}

@Randall (#237). "What is it you would see? If aught of woe and wonder, cease your search." ;)

Diane I am glad you like them.....Everything I know....tis worth knowing I learned from the Bard;)

"There was a lady once, 'tis an old story,
That would not be a queen, that would she not,
For all the mud in Egypt."
King Henry VIII

@diane the last time i experienced snow like that was in the 70's when i was at KEF air station employed by the us navy as a flight engineer in P-3 aircraft hated the weather then it doesn't snow vertical in Iceland it is a horizontal horror

In Erik's parlance - hat tip to Randall! Sir, your knowledge is profound! It is indeed Hamlet (Act V, Horatio to Fortinbras). I had to rifle through my "Compleat Works" to find an appliccable passage, but the greatness of the Bard is that he is never short of an appropriate quote for every occasion.

Henrik so true....I know I will catch some grief for this but I will take The Complete Works over the Bible any day;)
Here is one for Katla;)

"And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on"

hmmm ... snow and fog at the volcano, nothing to see this afternoon, though all your contributions, especially the excursions into literture and drama here are certainly enlightening! But if you want to see some gorgeous images of the Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörðuháls eruption, I recommend that you re-check Flickr:…
(with variations on the theme, inserting "eldgos", "iceland volcano" and "Eyjafjallajökull" as search terms). Breathtaking stuff here, often in high-resolution.

"The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,That ever I was born to set it right!"

Love Google btw... ;)

@Gina, I bet it is! From what I was able to see on the cam it was blowing sideways alright. The closest I came to that was in '91 when we had one heck of a blizzard here with 40-50knot winds and at my place I got 30" of snow in one day at 2700' in the Sierras! They got about 4' in town at 3200'. One guy who had lived here since '45 had not seen snow like that. So far, we have had 23" (since Dec. when we had 14") where I live now, just about a mile from where I used to live and now I am at about 2500'. Had 2" on Wed. and by the end of the day it was gone. It could snow again tonight if the temp goes down.

A flight engineer in P-3 aircraft in Iceland. I don't think I would have cared for that. Thank you for serving, though. You were doing an important job.

That the snow is sticking on the original scoria cone surprises me. I hadn't thought it would cool so quickly.

Henrik "O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!" :)

Boris glad you like it. what do you think of the most recent quakes at Eyjafjallajökull? There were also some good pics in the Daily Mail today.

@george #249,

the scoria is very black. So the surface cools quickly by radiation to the clear artic skies and by conduction to the cold icelandic wind. But since it is also very porous it is a good thermal insulator. The cone will be very hot just a few inches below the surface even though snow can stick to the surface. Also, since snow is in itself a good thermal insulator, it helps the cone maintain its internal temperature. Without a penetrating rain, the cone will stay warm for quite a while.

According to the news tonight (that I have look better at). It appears that the magma is coming straight from the mantle and from a great depth. It does not appear to stop in a magma chamber at all it seems.

Is it just the lighting or has the eruption intensified?
Sorry I had to bail last night Randall but I had a visitor show up that needed attending to. Work was a Friday from hell so I didn't have a chance to follow the action except for a brief note.

@ Randell
the vodafone has a good image of the flow. yes the beastly is awake and looking irked, where are my tasty tourists
to the far left where a fume plume was originated all day (when visible)is definatly heating up

Has anyone found out information on THEY? Are we looking at days delayed information or are the dates an anomaly? The actual data seems to have followed the activity of the eruption.

Grodys I understand I work from home on the computer most of the time...unless it's the government that work I do part time....and that gives me lots of chances to watch. Yes it appears to be intensifying as we speak.

It is getting dark so as usual, you can now see more than you can during the day. It looks like it "intensifies" every evening.

Anyway, the tremor seems to be picking up so maybe it is really increasing in output.

Randall, if you look at that comment from this morning you will see I kind of had the same problem. Late nights and little sleep will do that to me.

I also note that the Ãórólfsfelli camera has been "zoomed in" since yesterday's view so the lava field and vent(s) are going to take up more if the field of view.

the flow on the right side is getting much larger
the left side where a plume was all ay seems to be starting to flow also

Coming staight from the mantle.
would not be a real surprise.
We were talking about it since those "organised spikes"
I think this wil get Peter's attention to.

@Jón did they say how the know it's coming straight from te mantle?

That's a very interesting piece of information Jón! This would mean that the magma that made the breach - 6 cm over an area of 20+km diameter ~0.02 cu km - is just sitting there, filling up most fissures underneath Eyjafjöllajökull. When the deep eruption is over, you'll have a mountain that is 6 cm higher with the old fissures sealed by tough basalt. This is probably an explanation why there was such a pronounced eq activity before the eruption - old, basaltic eruptions behaving similarly.

(PS. Philosophy is logic unbridled by science...)

Well, maybe they didn't zoom that camera in after all. It looks like just the snow cover changing the look of the topology to cover some "landmarks" I was using to judge things and that the lava flow has continued to expand.

Maybe it hasn't been zoomed in, I can't be positive either way until some of that snow melts.

my eyes might be deceiving me but it looks like a new fissure is opening a bit closer to the camera 2 very hot spots on the left and the right side flow is also getting hotter

Randall, I don't read Icelandic either, I can get an idea of what is being said in Spanish and French but that is it. Google's web browser "Chrome" does a good job. Sometimes very interesting in Icelandic but it makes a huge difference. I have not yet figured out how to get it to translate .pdf or .jpg files, I don't think that it can yet.

@Frankill, I think they know by chemical analyse the lava and the ash.

@Henrik, actually. That means that the magma that was before this began in 1994 has been remelted to a point, and most of it might already have erupted since the eruption did start. But there is a lot of old and new magma mix down there that appears to be ready to find its way up sooner rather then later.

That 5 Km long horizontal long conduit to the eruption site..lots of pressure....hmmm. I hate to say it. but I don't think that I would like to be on one of the snowmobiles that I see in the camera.

@Randall, check comment 168. We may both owe Henrik a bottle of real wine. If it happens I promise that I'll go in on my half...hope it doesn't though. An eruption under the glacier would cause more than just a mess.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Gordys I think I misunderstood you up there and thought you said Jon but if it does what Henrik says then I will go an inexpensive bottle;) Or I could mail him one of my good ones say a vintage Bordeaux (IF?) I can get it shipped to him....But if the vent opens below the others he doesn't win....right? He is saying "more or less horizontal, to the fissures. IF the magma breaks through in another place, it will be much closer to the main conduit"

@Gordys, Randall: I think the time axis at the GPS pages ( are in decimal parts of a year. Today is the 92nd day, 92/365 is just over 0.25, hence 2010.25 for the last tick mark.

Notice also there's no mention of a month, just year and decimal.

Randall, that is the way I understand it exactly. I am still trying to figure out how I am going to get that E-beer from you. It is going to be an early night for me so I will not be here for much longer. Lack of sleep, well worth it though. :)

@Andrew, Thank you.

Gordys I gotta take the girlfriend out to dinner so will be gone for a little while but back on a little later....who knows there might be something to see later;)

I wonder how much more Eyjaf can "grow" if these deep intrusions keep coming.
The mantle is a very big place...

Right now, nothing points to the eruption getting bigger or a new vent opening, in fact it seems to be dying down. But if there is a new twist and a new vent does open where Jón and I think, I'll settle for an e-Brand at the moment provided there's an option on a real one to be shared between us at a later date. Hopefully most of us can get together for the little excursion to the Eifel area that was discussed a few weeks back.

To continue your MacBeth Randall (#279): "Fillet of a fenny snake, In the caldron boil and bake; Eye of newt, and toe of frog." I'll leave the third witch to Gordys, Boris or anyone else who fancies a bit of culture thrown into the Katla.

OK I'll bite
The 3rd
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron...
I prefer for those viewing up close another of the bards works.
"Once more unto the breach".
I will not continue out of respect for those who choose to violate the exclusion zone.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 02 Apr 2010 #permalink

On second thought Please remove my post. I find the quote of the witches to repugnant for today's world and taken out of context down right unacceptable.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 02 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Henrik, the weather in the area is getting quite bad and that blocks the view to the eruption. Currently there is no change in the tremor plots that I can see. The eruption is still going, we just cant see it.

@Hendirk82. thanks for pointing out the direction to look at with the Vodafone webcam.
I've been keeping my eye on that one from the moment you told it.
That in combination with Jón's concern about it.
i hope you have your E-brand moment very soon ;-)

I see a large bright area on the Porolfselli cam right now. Maybe the snow has cut down a bit.

@Dasnowskier, your post stayed. Oh well... Personally, I think it was, um, rather gross. But, then, I am not into brews of that sort.

Dansnowskier I understand you meant nothing by it....there are many more by the Bard we could use but for now I am OK with a change of prose...Something more recent....say late 20th century....from Babylon 5 perhaps?

"And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place"

Wind and snow, an icy wail
Cannot compare with the roaring tale
Of a caldron born of magma deep
And lava's black mountain across the steep.

Yes it is Randall.

Hail, snow and rain that praise the Lord
I've met them at their work
And wished we had another route
Or they another kirk!

(old Scottish saying)

(hopefully my post with *correct* links to my first images will make it through moderation this time!)

Thanks, Randall.

while the view on the Eyjafjallajökull frá Ãórólfsfelli cam is rather small (the only one i can get now their appears to be a rather large lava flow from the right side of the fissure and what might be 2 lines of activity towards the left if any one who can get the Vodafone cam this time of night confirm?

@Gina, it is hard to tell from the Vodafone web camera. But there have been earthquakes SSW of Básar few min, ago. The shallowest one at ~100 meters depth according to automatic system.

Jon, that is sort of forboding isn't it? I think more is coming. Not sure, just my gut feelings. I don't do any complicated calculations. :-)

Jon 100 meters....300ft are you sure? Where are you seeing this I checked the site and it appears to be having tech problems.

Diane if it is just 300ft down then yeah I would say that was somewhat foreboding.

No vodaphone, no eldgos.mila. What's happening out there, for those with webcam access? (Been off-web for the last 8 hours). Did the eruption increase? Is there actually magma flow, or the same cinder flow we've seen the last few days. Thnks.

BTW love the shakespeare, love your poem Diane. Very expressive of the moment.

parclair it was cooking pretty good earlier....but it's the shallow EQ's and where they are that is troubling me and I think a few others here. That quake earlier in Katla wasn't such a good thing either.

@Randall Nix, I live about ~150 km away from the volcano. But I can still get ash falls over me if that starts. The data from the automatic system, and the quality is rather poor it seems.

@parclair, the Vodafone web cam works for me. They must have problems with the international connections.

Thanks Randall and Jon.

Jon, the vodaphone turned on at 0600 your time last night. I think it shuts down between sundown and sunrise for us. Do you have a week's worth of supplies laid in, just in case?

Cams have all been useless for me in the USA (yes, arrived home earlier this evening!) for the last hour or two at least. Vodaphone shows archives from earlier today. but nothing recent or live. Hekla is 'buffering' but never manages to display anything, Ãórólfsfelli worked earlier, is now black, Fimmvörðuhálsi is 'disconnected', the simnet Eyjafjallajökull cam is showing (apparently live) darkness with nothing visible.

@parclair, that should not happen. I did send a email to Vodafone complaining about this issue. Hopefully they fix this after Easter.

I don't have any supplies, besides the normal that I keep. I won't do any such arrangement unless I need to.

The eruption is going strong it seems, with no signs of even slowing down.

@Randall Nix, Katla is going to start erupting at one day. The question is just when. But the eruption in Katla can be be over in a week or two. But they can also last for one year at the longest.

@Fireman, the web cam that I point to is at distance of ~45km. That is why you don't see anything.

Well now, things could get interesting. We've got a large coronal hole sliding into view, beaming a strong solar wind stream that will cause geomagnetic effects at high latitudes over the next several days.

Looking at the USGS 7-day Global EQ Map, the number has moved smartly upward, with several interesting ones, including the only hotspot north of Iceland, Jan Mayen Island that also sits on the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR). At it's height of recent activity in March just before our Eyjaf erupted, we saw an average of 260 on the map; it's dropped down as low as 155 in the past week, but its now up at 191, including an EQ in central Turkey and Poland.

@ Fireman. Media blackout? Odd synchrony if it's accidental.

I wonder if someone got fried. one got fried, it's the weather. Out of respect for people living close by please lets not talk about people getting fried.

Thank you, Parclair.

I guess we will have to wait until morning to see what is happening. I just know the eruption is going and going and going...

Wish I could see it in person at a safe distance. I have a very hard time getting anything done because I am on the computer watching a volcano and reading all the posts. LOL Love it.

The Vodaphone webcam works for me. If you can't get fresh images try setting your system time zone to GMT. For some reason images don't get updated if your system clock is different than what the page expects, or at least this was what occurred to me with Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and Windows 7.

By Akira Shirakawa (not verified) on 02 Apr 2010 #permalink

Changing time setting worked like a charm. Thanks Akira (whichever you are, the fiber-optic laser design whiz or startup investment god).

Vodaphone visual image makes no sense with respect to previous images observed, must be weather related distortion.

@Passerby, the Vodafone web cam loses focus in the dark. I don't know why. But it has something to do with the software that they are using.

It has focus too much it seems. It will get better when the daylight starts.

It is now just 1.5 month until there is 24 hour daylight in Iceland.

Jon, I was thinking that we'll lose the sunrise/sunset views of the eruption once the 24 hour day starts. It also explains your energy right now (besides the high from the eruption).

Dasnowskier #286 :-)! To your #287, I do understand what you mean but, should we really give up our cultural heritage because it offends some simpleton who cannot place it in the correct context? Isn't it fair to say that when we encounter something we do not understand, we should not destroy the evidence of our ignorance but rather make an effort to understand it? If the former, it will not be long before we have returned to pig-ignorance and witches will yet again be burnt which is the last thing we want. This is what history teaches us and, as was pointed out a few weeks ago, if we ignore the lessons of history we are doomed to repeat it...

Diane, your #292 is pretty good! I take it it's the first in a series of twinned couplets dedicated to the world's volcanoes?

I certainly hope they don't go back to burning witches....if they did....then I would have to stop giving away 4 leaf clovers to the people who need them the most;)

Randall, me neither. The only way to combat ignorance and the intolerance it breeds is through education. When ignorance rears its ugly head and claims education and knowledge are offensive, I draw the line. When good people such as Dasnowskier feel they have to retract perfectly legitimate statements and quotes out of fear that some ignorant fool somewhere might find it "offensive", the line has been well and truly crossed.

Jon sounds like that is good news bad news...sort of....Good news is it isn't from the mantle....Bad news is it does have fluoride but it sounds like a lot worse has come from past Hekla eruptions.

Thank you Jón, that is a very interesting result, not only for vulcanologists but also for rock hounds such as the sapphirophile Randall and my garnetophile self!

Randall, IF there are pockets of pegmatite on that mountain where gems might have formed, the amount of Ti in relation to Fe (in a different environment, we might get the required Ti2O3 and Fe2O3) tells me that there is a goodly chance of grayish blue sapphire, possibly of the star variety given the prevalence of titanium (rutile needles, ie the TiO2 reported). Katla would thus be a better bet for decent-to-good blue. ;) When it comes to garnets, the most likely ones would be almandite, pyrope and grossularite with their intermediaries. But there would also be a chance to find the very rare titanium andradites. No chrome or vanadium, so I expect no bright colours in the garnets.

IF, a big IF the right conditions exist/have existed. Again, thanks Jón for the link!

"Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish."

Forgot to add - the floride indicates that there may be nice druses of topaz hidden somewhere up there as well.

Randall, do you think Yorick might be interpreted as a metaphor for that - "Alas poor Yorick, I knew him Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now..."?

Henrik They occur in several different environments but the ones I find are in high grade metamorphic rock, usually on the margins of ultrabasic or ultramafic rocks....low in silica and high in aluminum.

Yorik is used as a metaphor for Hamlet to point out how the King and the Jester will both one day share the same for worms;) With that I need to get some is 4:18am here.

Randall, good night! For when you come back - with a volcano that has produced both silicic and mafic eruptions, with a very high temperature mafic intrusion going on and evidence of quite a few in the past, does it not set your sapphirine pulse beating?

#302, Randall Nix:

"Jon how about Fáfnir as the name for this volcano? A powerful dwarf dragon;)"

No way. Fáfnir is the name of an Icelandic motorcycle club, a Hells Angels associate that's only a few steps away from becoming a fully qualified member.

As for a name for the new volcano there have been several suggestions. The one I like the best is "Kettlingur" (Kitten).


Thanks to Erik Klemetti for creating a blog devoted to science and eruptions that gathers a committed group of commenters. From the West Coast of the USA in a few minutes of an early morning, I read: Jon's link to a chemical analysis of the lava (I add a new Favorite - Inst of Earth Sciences, UIS - hope it is not part of the AGW "global warming" scam) in addition to receiving immediate updates on the eruption; rock (gem?) hounds' comments on new possibilities; links to great photos of the eruption from web cams; a heads up re a strong solar wind stream; a reminder that soon Iceland will have 24 hours of daylight (what a different way to live); a discussion of literature; and a strong commitment to truthful education. I am very grateful as I drink my first cup of coffee.

By pyromancer76 (not verified) on 03 Apr 2010 #permalink

Right Pyromancer76, well said.
This really has been an amazing performance so far that has been presented to us. It's been like sitting first row at a major media event which allows you to watch all in such detail. I have enjoyed every moment of it.
Great posters and a great accumulation of knowledge, gut feeling and spirit.

Thanks to all of you.

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 03 Apr 2010 #permalink

Thanks Gordys, I had this site bookmarked but was curious if any other web cams were in position!

Totally off topic:
Have a look at this web cam today if you are interested in the ongoing Chaitén eruption.
Wonderful views:

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 03 Apr 2010 #permalink

earthquake activity under the ice picking up may be nothing to worry about or the dragon is twitching his tail

The harmonic tremor in Eyjafjallajökull is increasing at this moment. It does not appear to be related to steam explosion. But that was a theory put forward in the news today by geologist.

I guess this means that the flow is increasing, and that also means that there is a risk for new fissures opening at any time.

Otherwise the eruption is stable and does not even appear to close to being over.

I wonder if this is like in the year 1612 eruption, or in the year 912 eruption. Sadly, there are few reports on the later one and none on the 912 one.

i need a link to a camera on the Icelandic volcano.
None of the ones i turn to are working.
haveing withdrawls... ;)
(tremor.tremor............having tremors.)

i need a link to a camera on the Icelandic volcano.
None of the ones i turn to are working.
haveing withdrawls... ;)
(tremor.tremor............having tremors.)

@346 (Jón FrÃmann): do you know if raw seismic data from seismometers installed near the erupting volcano are publicly available somewhere for downloading? By analyzing them, it would be possible to tell if the recent increase in tremors we are seeing is really due to volcanic/harmonic tremors or, instead, mostly due to noise induced by the currently bad weather.

By Akira Shirakawa (not verified) on 03 Apr 2010 #permalink

This one's off-topic as well, but it might be a forerunner for a new thread here at "Eruptions".

Our volcano here, Etna, seems to be a bit jealous of the massive interest in the Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörðuháls show. Following a cluster of small seismic swarms during the past week, a more serious seismic sequence was recorded on Etna's northeast flank last night, starting with a M4.2 eartquake at 20.04 GMT. That event occurred at the Pernicana Fault, which is an old acquaintance for us - it's the most active fault of a dozen on Etna, and it plays a fundamental role in its dynamics.

The hypocenter of that earthquake was very shallow - about 1 km. That is typical of Pernicana earthquakes, because this fault shows mostly horizontal movement, and it cuts to a depth of maybe 6-8 km below the surface, it's a fault that borders a mobile portion of Etna's flank, which shows conspicuous movement eastward, toward the Ionian Sea. Each time this sector moves, we see displacement and often ground rupturing at the Pernicana fault. Ground fracturing was last seen in June 2004, and now again, during the night of 2-3 April 2010.

I've posted a series of photos taken today during a field survey in the area affected by ground fracturing at Flickr:

We know that the displacement of Etna's east flank, of which the earthquakes at the Pernicana are usually a first indicator, is often followed by flank eruptions. So it was in 1981, in 1984-1985, in 1986, in 2002, and in 2004. The interval between Pernicana ruptures and flank eruptions has varied from a few hours to several months. So chances are that Etna will erupt again in the near future - not tomorrow it seems, but within a few weeks to months.

Enough space and material for speculation, bets, and discussion here! And if Etna erupts before, say, June 2010, one E-beer (plus a number of real ones) is certainly for me.

Boris, I've a pile of webcam links to watch Etna. Which link would be the best to keep an eye on the envious and jealous Etna?

I agree a watch thread would be useful. Although, if that happens, I don't know when I'll get to my chores! ;-) (Whohoo, any excuse to avoid chores) I;m already a bore to my friends about Eyjafjallajokull.

Liked your pictures. They remind me of the roads that pass over the San Andreas fault.

Have an e-beer for the heads up.

Boris, if that meeting in the Eifel ever takes place, you'd best come well prepared as we all owe you several pints of Vulkanbrau each and not a few bottles of wine collectively for the patience and understanding you have shown as our guide throughout this eruption. A talent such as yours sir, is wasted on field work when the world ought to be your classroom. I am a professional educator. I have taught pedagogy to aspiring teachers at uni. I hope I do not embarrass you, but in you I recognise the virtues of the first-class teacher.

@Henrik #354, I agree with you whole heartedly! I have know Boris for quite some time and he defininely is a teacher in the best sense. I don't think his time as a field volcanologist is wasted at all. I think sometimes the field geologists/volcanologists actually know more about it than the ones who just study the subject without actually seeing what they are studying. I think all geologists and volcanologists need to get out in the field at least once in a while.

@Boris, seems like that road always gets cracks when there is even a mild (by our standards here in CA) quake. I guess it was the series that kept the cracks coming.

Thanks for the heads up on Etna. I just want to let you know something. Your site where you posted updates and such was the first one I found and I have appreciated all the info you were so willing to share with me since before you got your PhD! I hope you are not embarrassed because you don't need to be. We are greatful for your input. I know I am. So many ebeers to you.

Mots #348, you ain't the only one who is having withdrawls! LOL I can hardly wait for the cam to be back. Oh well, I suppose they will get it fixed evenutally.

Radiant streams a canyon receives
Steaming vents that willingly deceive
For a blast that rends the rock assunder
Stabs the heart with the sound of thunder

I dedicate my poetry to all the people of Iceland. There is more to come.

Etna shares interesting tectonic and magmetic similarities to EVZ volcanoes. Grimsvotn also erupted in 2004 and coincided with heightened seismic activity at Katla.

Boris, it's possible that Etna will erupt, maybe for the same reasons as we are seeing rare eruption of Eyjaf.

Etna also has a magnetic personality.

Why, thanks folks. That's not embarrassing, your appreciation, it's a great pleasure. It makes me feel that my message has gone through. Thanks to you all for the intellectual input, the interest, and the passion, and for all the hints at information that no one of us would have found on her or his own as completely as it came across this blog.

I've done many years of teaching, both at local schools in the Etna area and also for American students in the Study Abroad program and at the Mediterranean Center for Arts and Sciences in Siracusa, 80 km south of Etna. Communication with non-experts is, in my opinion, paramount in our job, although this is not yet universally understood and applied, and in Italy it's a bit more difficult still. Unfortunately here we have a government that doesn't give a **** for education in all senses. But that's another story. Fact is, I do love to share what little I hope I have learned and understood. And here we have one of the most amazing volcanoes to tell the world of.

Field work is the flesh and blood of geology, so without it I would feel deprived of one of the most refreshing and exciting aspects of my work. Driving up the mountain to see the effects of the Pernicana earthquakes today was one of those experiences where you feel your tension and expectation mount, because all I had heard was that there had been ground fracturing but I didn't know the extent of it. When I saw it, I just went "holy ****" repeatedly (rather the Sicilian version of it). But I do love the teaching and communicating as much as the work in the field, and having all together plus the principal work at the INGV, well ... I could imagine my life easily having gone in a much more bland way than this.

Diane, it's good to be back in touch. You witnessed, at a distance of thousands of miles, one of the most extraordinary periods of activity our volcano has had since humans observe it - back in 2000 Etna broke a number of world records. We over here all hope it will one day do something similar again, in 2006-2007 it did a little bit of it but not on the scale as at the turn of the millennium. Now you're there from the start as Etna prepares for its next eruption, which will probably be something new because that big lady always does something new.

We just hope that it will not be too much of a mess. The likelihood that Etna's next eruption will be far more dangerous than the current one in Iceland is elevated. Already the earthquakes of this night have caused more damage than Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörðuháls ...

May I turn your attention north, to the Tjörnes Fracture Zone, ~15 km WSW/SSW Kopasker where there's been sustained EQ activity at a location offshore? It's just had two M 2.1 and one 1.7 at 22.4, 9.8 and 5.9 km in a manner reminiscent of the ones that have heralded increases in the Eyjafjöll eruption and also the new fissure opening.

Hoorah! fimmvorduhalsi is back up!!!:-D

"How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't!"

When I first found the science blogosphere I rather naively thought there would be lots of discussion about the latest discoveries. Certainly there is some of that, but there's also tons of politics. I don't object to the politics, it's just not what I was hoping to find. This discussion is exactly what I imagined and hoped to find. Theories discussed in a civil manner; wonder, amazement and beauty shared; and even poetry!

So from me e- beverage-of-your-choice (since Jon does not drink alcohol) whether your predictions come true or not. Your thinking out loud is a treat for me.

"fimmvorduhalsi is back up!!!"

But apparently moved to the practically the same location as Ãórólfsfelli with a bit wider field of view.

The Fimmvörðuhálsi cam is definitely moved, but I think it is much closer than Ãórólfsfelli. It appears to be looking up from one of the canyons which has been catching the lava flows. If the lava ouput is picking up, which it appears to be doing right now, then we may be in for a treat.

Unfortunately, the Fimmvorduhalsi cam's just gone offline again.

Sorry, spoke a bit too soon - it's back up again. Guess it's being fickle today. Wonder why they decided to move that cam farther away?

@363... I take it back, it is nearly the same angle as Ãórólfsfelli, but I am not sure what is at the bottom of that canyon, could be gravel.

Could it have something to do with the fact that it gave a very good view, not only of the eruption, but also of the extent to which entrepreneurs circumvent the prohibitions laid down in order to reap the full reward of this windfall? In other words, the camera was "removed" or "made inoperable" in order to keep the revenue coming in?

I don't think it's my imagination, or the 'dusk' effect; do others see things cranking up significantly? Definitely seems to be flowing more lava, and is that a new flow heading West I see, on the side of the cone associated with the first fissure?

@ Jón: I think the value of the coverage of the advancing lava would comfortably exceed the value of the webcam! But then it's not *my* webcam... :-)

@ Henrik: I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory... there's coverage of what people are doing up there all over the nets: Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, you name it...

Something odd happened. A spot of red just appeared near the original crater. It was not there before. It is located east of it.

Maybe a new fissure opening up ?

@Boris, I remember watching Etna's SE crater spew Stombolian style when the web cam changed every 30 seconds. I have watched it grow larger over the years and it has been really a neat thing to see. When they changed the cam I have had nothing but trouble getting to it and you told me it was because of politics that it was changed in the first place. Oh well, things change all the time.

It was before my DH and I got married that we had the opportunity to watch Etna from Etna Treking when it was really going to town and flowing big time into Vale de Bove. We couldn't take our eyes off of it and then Treking went off line. I emailed you about that and you said it had something to do with the outfit that was sponsoring the cams. Same group that did it for who you work for. Politics again. On that note, we are not happy with the *&%$&^%(*& we have in office now. That is all I am going to say about that.

Back to Etna. I will be watching and waiting to see what the evious lady will do. You never know.

Thanks Boris for all your input here. I was very pleasently surprised you were posting here to put it mildly. :-)

It has kept us all enthralled has it not. Thank you all for the discussion and the links..and for helping to teach me patience and humility. This is a wonderful place. It is still deflating, at least at the location of THEY.

Indeed, there seems to be a new light source and it lights up some steam around it. It might be a new fissure or a lava flow from the original fissure.
Hmm, it is not so bright (yet) to be a new vent.

By the time i wrote this down, it got significantly brighter with exponentially increasing steam activity.
YES! A new fissssure.. :) An e-Beer for Jón.

@Jon, I think something is happening, but I don't see a red dot, but that might have been where it is fountaining more to the left of the main (largest) fountain I see. I can barely make out some steaming and a bit of glow (very hard to see) to the left and futher down the pike. I think it is what is going into the canyon. Keep us up on what you think. You seem to have a way of "volcano whispering". ;-D

..feeling so lucky that this happens in front of the recently restarted webcam..

I think a new fissure did just open up a bit lower then the newest one. There was a massive steam explosion there few moments ago.

Can this be confirmed by anyone other then me that is viewing the web cams ?

Jon, I think I missed it, but I did see more activity below the main vents on the Poro cam. I seem to see more there than the other one.

Jón, I also saw what I think you're referring to, but I read it as a lava flow encountering water or snow. It seems to have died down now, I didn't see it as a new fissure.

I could swear it was a new fissure with steam explosion, appr. 500 meters east from the original vents. It went on for 2-3 minutes, then finished.

I hope all the tourists were evacuated from there in time.

Jon, I have seen a lot of lights go on and off and I think some of the dots of light are tourists out there getting to places they maybe shouldn't be. I saw a very bright light to the left and up rather high so that maybe was a copter.

@Fireman (#370). Not in real-time, which would allow - or even make - law-enforcement officials act when too many people + vehicles congregate dangerously close. Sadly, only 1/6 will never do anything they know is illegal or wrong even if there's no chance of being caught. 4/6 will never do anything they know is illegal or wrong - if there's a chance of being caught, otherwise they will if the temptation is big enough. The last 1/6 will do whatever they please and d--n the risk of being caught. That's the general human population for you, but I'd willingly give you 99% law-abiding people if you give me the possibility of at least one rascal.

Unfortunately, it is not far-fetched that such a rapscallion, intent on making as much money as possible, would react to police instructions that would mean a decline in income ("If you don't respect these instructions, we have to regulate traffic") would remove the one source of real-time information.

Now, if there is an official presense at the vent 24/7, I would have to concede that it's not longer a plausible explanation!

I had seen the same thing 380 jon saw.

The bright spot east of the original fissure is getting brighter, it does not look like it is a lava flow. The area is close to the upper left corner of the image from Vodafone.

It might well be that the steam explosion was because of the lava. That is why I was seeking conformation on that event.

Fireman, to the matter at hand: Since you have been up there, do the live feeds convey anything of the grandeur and experience? Please tell us your impressions and thoughts!

@Henrik - I should have mentioned that: both nights I was up there, there were mountain rescue and police on-site. If they wanted to warn people off, all they had to do was tell them - or make a couple of arrests, if they really wanted to make a point. They didn't, they seemed comfortable with what was going on. They had certain areas taped-off.

Of course on the first night I was there, the new fissure opened in front of us and they really DID get into gear, chasing everybody well back from the vent area!

It's impossible to really police a mountain top, and (to risk stereotyping) I got the distinct impression that Icelanders were a tough independent people who wouldn't have very much respect for police telling them where they can and can't go on a mountain top - although obviously things are different when there's a very clear reason, like a new fissure!

@Jon - now I see what you mean. At this instant it's a thin white line running across, to the left of the first cone and above the lava flow? Hmmm, yes that very well could be a fissure. Or it could just possibly be a row of lights from Jeeps up on that hill; there were many all lined up in that area when I was up there. If it IS a fissure I hope they're not there now!!!

The steam explosion was some distance away from there, down near the lava flow as I saw it.

@Henrik - no, the live feed conveys *nothing* of what it's like to be up there! I've been up close with lava on Kilauea more than once, but this was much more intense. I don't have time for a detailed report but I'll try to throw some photos and video on a webpage tonight.

Yes Victor, that's what I thought Jon was referring to when he mentioned the steam explosion. I too wondered briefly about a new fissure, but it seemed to die down fast and was in the area of the lava flow, so I read that as lava encountering snow.

It is hard to see what is going on there at the moment. But there is something interesting happening east of the new fissure. The light I did see before is apparently west of the old crater. I got bit confused with the direction before.

It might just be lava flow. Hard to know at this moment.

@Jon... oh *that*. I mentioned that back at post 368; it appears to be a new tongue of lava, it was visible before dusk. West ~ Right on the Vodaphone cam, correct?

@Firema, that would be correct. I think.

I must point out that the harmonic tremors indicate that the pressure is increasing again in the eruption, and that it looks like that the two vents we currently are watching can't handle the flow properly it seems.

Wow....I take some time off from the volcano to spend with my girlfriend and I miss all kinds of stuff....a new vent?

Diane the poetry was beautiful....and the your dedicating it to the people of Iceland....even more really deserves a 4 leaf clover (a real one and not an e-clover) If you go to my site you will see my email address, send me an email with the address where you want me to send it and I will mail you one next week....Hey it never hurts to have a 4 leaf clover in your back pocket...especially when you are panning for gold;)

@ Viktor Sorry Viktor, but I think it is just an optical effect mirrowing the real eruption on that webcam, because the shape of the light and the light spot are totally the same. So no new fissure!

By Thomas Wipf (not verified) on 03 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Viktor Sorry Viktor, I made a mistake. Of course there are two pictures you made! So we discuss the two lights. I think it is the same second fissure but the middle part is not active anymore so it seems like a new fissure in the night.

By Thomas Wipf (not verified) on 03 Apr 2010 #permalink

Henrik I think you would be more likely to find Topaz in that environment....or maybe Red Beryl. I know they do find Corundum in Australia and Montana in basalt. I have also heard of Corundum being found in pegmatites in Alabama and North Carolina. I usually look around the margins of Dunites or what used to be Dunites which have undergone retrograde metamorphism to Soapstone or Serpentinite.

There is a really cool place in North Carolina called Chunky Gal Mountain you would are a few links to pages with pics on them. I will try to dig up some pics we took there a few years back. These links will give you an idea of the place.... oh and there are lots of really nice rhodolite garnets there;)

If you want I will also try to dig up some pics of the place where I find corundum in Alabama....usually I am way too busy looking for stuff to take very many pictures:)

@Viktor & Thomas
The other thing that really messes things up in the bi mode (night/day)cameras in they flare badly when in the low light mode so they loose details in the attempt to make a image in lowlight high contrast enviroments

Jon the more I think about it...the more I think you could use a 4 leaf clover really have kept us informed. It never hurts to have a 4 leaf clover in your back pocket when you go out on a job interview....or if you have an active volcano in your back yard;) If you go to my website and you will see my email me the address you want it sent to and I will send you one in the mail next week:)

Hi everyone
Sorry - it wasn't me passing the webcam. I was way too busy looking at the eruption!!!! Yes - I DID go up there on thursday evening/night. We were alowed to go to around 800 meters distance because of the new-crack-opening-event on the night before. And maybe Im not the "normal" type of volcanologist - but I felt no need to go closer. Is quite powerful and not to be joked with. The evening was an amazing trip by super-jeep and snowmobile across the glacier. About 1½ hours at the eruption all together and then back on the snowmobiles in the night.(Thanking Chris for doing the driving and for being very good company). So -I WAS exchausted when I got back to the hotel at 2 am - but not from trekking - just from all the impressions and a VERY long day. A friend was kind enough to borrow me a really expensive camera for the trip - so I hope to have caught som awsome pictures!
My best advise: Just go there! It's rather accessable and the Icelandic tourist-companies are doing all they can to give as many people as possible the opportunity of getting there. It will cost you some money - but it's worth it!
It can be done quite safely - if of course you disregard the fact that a volcanic eruption will never be "safe"...
So get your XXX'es out of the office and away from the computer - and GO!

By Heidi Ritterbusch (not verified) on 03 Apr 2010 #permalink

I am thinking that we really do need to revisit the subject of Etna here. More than half of the eruptions of the past 600 years have occurred in the 20th and early 21st century.

Curiously, we note that the eruption duration of each cent event has progressively increased since 2000. This volcano is worthy of close study.

This is a volcano with a serious case of ultra-cool.

I am seeing that on tremor plots that the harmonic tremors are increasing from what they where previously. I think that signals stronger eruption in Eyjafjallajökull.

@Randall, thank you for your generous offer of a 4 leaf clover! You must be good at finding them. Where my folks lived, they had a pasture that must have had a strain of them because I would look down and find them all over the place. Big tall ones, too. That pasture is no more so I don't think the clover grows there anymore as it gets mowed regularly. *Sniff, sniff* And thank you for your comments on my poetry. Eventually I will post the whole poem when it gets written.

I have been to an area in Montana where you can find corundum laying on top of tailings if you know what to look for. I want to go back there and do some panning, too. The only bad thing about it is the mosquitos and western diamondbacks. I don't know which is worse. I think the diamondbacks.

@Passerby, yes, Etna also needs some monitoring. And it can be a fickle mountain with all kinds of surprises from Strombolian spouts to 30' walls of aa lava flow that creeps along and takes everything with it. Let's hope that the next eruption will be one that will put on a show and not hurt anybody or anything. Something tells me, though, that the quakes Boris mentioned and the pics of the damage it did are saying something about what may be coming. An eruption for sure. When? Who knows?

@Jon #403 somehow that does not surprise me. Thanks for the heads up. Man, watching this is getting addictive! LOL

Not so difficult to forecast a new eruption at Etna, Diane. Etna is not our Sleeping Beauty Eyjaf.

Etna sounds like clockwork, with a periodicity of ~18-24 months.

Perhaps she will start with bang, and we may see something that has not happened for a very long time.

@Randall Nix, thanks for the clover offer. :-)

The dot at the west side of the old fissure has returned. It does not look like a lava. But it well might be. It is hard to tell at the moment in the darkness.

I now fear that we might see a new fissure opening nearby the current two fissures. But this fissure that I think might open is most likely to open near the cliffs end and even split them open. Something that has not been seen before. But I might be wrong about the seeing part. The rest is just a big question. But there are clues to this already. As it appears that the pressure in the current went appears to keep increasing for some reason, while at the same time something is blocking the opening of the fissure under the glacier (the glacier it self?).

@351 Boris,

Those cracks in your photographs look like they've already been filled in. Is Italian road maintenance that fast or am I misinterpreting the pictures?

Looks like this community might refocus its attention onto Etna soon, if the action is going to start there...?

Diane yes I am very good at finding them here in our yard. I found 40 last year and 27 this year, I also found a 6 leaf last year. We give most of them away to people who need them....these have proven to be VERY special 4 leaf clovers;)

Randall, I have found 5 leaf ones, too, and also 6 leaf. I have not been 4 leaf clover hunting in a long time. Once I was outside at a college and as I was waiting for a class to start, I was looking for them in the yard area between classrooms. I found some. Where I live now, it is hard to find because we have bur clover here and that stuff doesn't have them. But I may get somewhere where I can look for them. If you spend time at it and happen to be where a strain of them, you can find them. I do believe they can come in strains. At least it seems that way. It is fun to look for them and a nice passtime, too. Just like panning for that yellow stuff.

There are some people who belong to the club who can tell you just by looking at your gold where it came from. At least where it came from in CA. Have you ever seen Aussie gold?

Diane no I haven't ever seen any Aussie gold. I have only found it in Alabama, New Mexico, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona.

Randall, Aussie gold is a beautiful bright shiny yellow. Very pretty stuff. The gold I have seen around here can be reddish in color and also have more silver in it at times. Other than that, it is a dull yellow.

The president of our club pulled a fast one on one of the members one time. He told the guy that he would clean up a nugget he had by putting it in some nitric acid solution. When the guy wasn't looking, he switched to a much smaller nugget. When he saw that he just flipped. Then they told him what they had done. Too bad it wasn't an April Fool joke. It would have been a good one.

@Holger (#408) - yes, they did fill some of the larger cracks quite fast. But that's extremely untypical of Italian (especially Sicilian) road maintenance, you won't imagine the state of most of our roads and highways here.

@Passerby (#406) - Etna does indeed erupt very frequently, so generally you can hit it at any given moment (unless it is in eruption already) if you say it will probably erupt within one or two years. But when it comes to the details, it gets tricky. Will it be a summit eruption (not too dangerous but totally spectacular, as Diane here will confirm), or a flank eruption (potentially devastating)? Will it produce little ash or a lot (problems for air traffic)? Will it occur on sparsely populated western flank or on the densely populated southeast flank? How high will the lava emission rate be (a fundamental factor in determining whether the lava will reach populated areas or not)? Will it build itself lava tubes (which permit more efficient transport to greater distance)? All these questions are to be asked, and currently there's no means to answer them. So, we have to wait for further signs from the volcano.

What we do know is that she's swelling; the swelling started even before the last flank eruption ended. So that's a remarkable difference with Mauna Loa, which for the moment has stopped inflating. Etna inflates virtually always when she's not erupting, because she is constantly fed with magma.

We would certainly love to see again what Diane has described, the incredibly awesome lava fountains (that's quite more than Strombolian activity) rising up to 1000 m or more above the vent. We had 66 such lava fountains in the year 2000. In 2007-2007 we saw 7 of them. I think in its whole life, which is now 39 years long, the Southeast Crater (youngest and most active of Etna's four summit craters) has made around 300 of these lava fountains. Yes, Passerby (#401), Etna is a serious case of ultra-cool. Also because in spite of all the studies and all the monitoring (which is now at the same standards as in Hawaii) Etna retains quite a lot of mystery.

I want to point out that the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull has now been going for two weeks non-stop. But it started on the 20th of March 2010. It is now entering its third week today, and it still shows no signs of stopping.

I'm looking at the fimmvorduhalsi cam. Is it part of the second rift, or is there a new little flaming section just to the left of the 2nd eruption, with it's own little stream of dark smoke? It's between the 2nd eruption and the stream of lava going downhill.

Diane, I love your fourclover of words (#355) and the thought (#356) that came with them, very apt and appropriate respectively!

Heidi, awww! I had so hoped it would be you, blowing a kiss from the eruptions at all your watching friends over at Eruptions. I'm glad you and our friend Chris had a grand experience and that you both had sense enough to stay safe!

i'm enjoying everyone's input.
A+ on the poetry.
Thanks for the update on the cams.
But are there 3 fissures now????
Seems to be three independent sources of smoke.
The last forming to the right and lower down???

i was hoping someone would know for sure.
i've been away hunting and gathering and
i'm not used to seeing this view of the volcano.

Anyone? Anyone?

Randall, motsfo (Good Morning)! Based on my very long and distinguished career of lava-watching (a little more than ten days...), I'd say it's water vapour smoke from a lava flow, very short or long, that has encountered snow/water. ;)

for some reason my computer won't read live vodafone.

i guess we are the only ones still up.
But i'm cheating cause i'm in Alaska and it's 11:35pm.


07.46 GMT (minor but impressive) steam explosion.

About the Vodafone issue. It works for me here in Sweden most of the time but I loses it too a couple of hours every night.

Advise from Akira Shirakawa in post 319:
"The Vodaphone webcam works for me. If you can't get fresh images try setting your system time zone to GMT. For some reason images don't get updated if your system clock is different than what the page expects, or at least this was what occurred to me with Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and Windows 7."

Might be worth a try. Haven't tried it myself though, yet. But I wouldn't be surprised if it does the trick.

Might be the lava flow, long foretold (to wax poetical) that is "predestined" to go over the edge in front of our eyes, is finally happening albeit NOT "any minute now".

Thanks, Kenneth, that solved the problem.
Changing to GMT worked.
That was very exciting; and everyone who slept thu
it will never know. ;)


Re. the vodafone cam. Apparently the server gets confused when local and remote time are at different days. Ie. since Sweden is currently GMT+2 and Iceland is GMT, swedes cannot watch the cam between 22:00 and 23:59.

@428: I also suggest to refresh the page, as it appears that the problem has been solved. People still having this issue might have an old cached version of the webcam page loaded in their browsers.

By Akira Shirakawa (not verified) on 03 Apr 2010 #permalink

Back to the eruption. It seems the (new) lava flow is slowly but surely eating its way through the snow towards the precipice. (Vodafone cam)

Vodafone has never worked for me. Neither on my home computer, nor in the INGV office.

As for the new gas columns, whenever you see dense white plumes rise you can be almost certain that it's lava flows interacting with snow, not new vents. From experience on Etna and collaborating with other scientists on volcanoes like Klyuchevskoy and Llaima, it seems established that when new fissures open across snow or even glaciers, they produce virtually no (phreatomagmatic) explosive activity and very little vapor - it's the lava flows that interact more vigorously with snow. That is probably because in the immediate vicinity of a new vent all snow melts or evaporates nearly instantaneously, without having a chance of interacting with hot magma in the vent. The most violent explosive events we've seen so far during this eruption in Iceland has occurred where lava mixed and interacted with snow, especially where it dropped into the deep gorges. The problem with such explosive interactions is that they can occur at distances of up to several kilometers from the eruptive vents, and they can produce small pyroclastic flows.

Henrik it sure looks that way.

Chunky Gal is really neat place....the tourists go to Franklin North Carolina for rubies but the serious hunters in that area go to Chunky Gal and Buck Creek.

ahahaha ... now Vodafone works for me.

What I find interesting is that the lava flows from the second fissure never seem to go very far. That means, the rate of lava emission is quite low and pulsating, so that rather than forming a stable channel or even a lava tube, the lava forms in recurring surges, and often changes directions. The same has occurred during much of the latest Etna eruption, lava flows did not travel far and thus gradually accumulated to ever greater thickness as one lobe piled upon another.

Boris, are you saying that the lava from the second vent is more viscous than that of the first vent, or that they are of similar viscosity but as the second fissure has a much lower rate of emission, sustained lava flows do not form? Or is it a combination? What about a temperature difference, with the first vent producing substantially hotter lava, therefore less viscous?

In daylight you can hardly spot anything on the webcam, but steam.
Still, it seems to me that the 2-3 minute activity during last evening was not necessarily only lava-snow contact.…

It's true that there is a straight line of lava coming from the second vent, going to the left. However, on the left side, maybe 200 meteres behind that line, there is a constant, concentrated source of steam, just like near the two original vents.

Also, there is a recently appeared dark plume, just in front of the flowing, which is perhaps a new lava fountain.

I wish Mila would move the Fimm cam back much closer to the spot.

Boris means exactly what he has posted. The lava ejection rate is low and punctuated and therefore able to cool before migrating very far.

Socuels graph appears to provide evidence of this third vent event, although much smaller in magnitude than the previous two.

Earthquake activity has just increased.

I have a feeling this is going to be a VERY active day!!!

@Eric W.
Hello Eric, where did you get the quake data?

By R. de Haan (not verified) on 04 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Passerby (# 442). I do not doubt that you may be correct. What I marvel at is how you can arrive at such a firm conclusion about the thoughts behind the words of others. Since mind-reading is not part of any curriclum, I have always found it wise to let other people speak for themselves, and if I do not completely understand what is said, repeat what I heard. This is very basic communications strategy, taught at freshman level at most half-decent universities.

Since I know very little of your field of expertise - a failing I share with most people posting on here I dare say - could you please explain to us how you read that from Soucel´s graph. I am afraid that by not stating how you arrive at your conclusions, you violate one of the most basic principles of good science - repeatability.

the vodafone has had it's zoom pulled back after the nasty storm the last couple days
Fimmvörðuhálsi appears to have been relocated from what was a good location to a lower location and further away and/or the zoom was taken out entirely
Ãórólfsfelli needs a higher zoom but it has a good location

Boris' could not have stated his meaning more plainly. He did not say that there was a change in apparent viscosity. You questioned meaning, despite the succinctly stated observation of a change in _lava emission rate_ and pulse timing.

You violate the most basic of discussion community rules, slyly sliding in wearing ad hominem attacks into posts, repeatedly.

If you cannot read a graph, that is your problem. Twice before there have been large excursions in depth with concurrent jump in seismic activity with matched appearance of new fissure emissions. The last rolling graph excursion also coincided temporally with the third report of webcam evidence of new source of lava eruption, but much smaller scale than previous fissure activity and this also matched visual evidence.

How is this hard to recognize? It is a simple, repeating pattern.

Viktor, thanks for the great links.

No news of a third fissure anywhere, neither on Icelandic newspaper web sites (Mbl, Visir, Ruv), nor on the IMO and Nordvulk sites. And watching the webcams, I miserably fail to see anything indicating that new vents have opened up. Though in the archived images of Vodafone early this morning there was a number of glowing spots in a strange position, to the right of the second fissure, but these were most probably lava taking a more westerly course, around the cones that have now built around the vents of the second fissure. The steam explosions seen later today were further evidence for lava flows, not new vents.

As for the low lava emission rates, Passerby (#442) got that right, it's a question of cooling and thus being not able to flow very far - not that much one of viscosity, which is determined rather by chemical composition, gas content, and temperature. But what we can't see in the webcam images is how much of the lava is possibly flowing through tubes - because from the news reports I gather that the lava has advanced a bit further down the large gorge north of the active vents. That way it wouldn't be visible via the web cams but it would actually have created itself a most efficient means of transport.

A useful tip for viewing pictures/video or even reading small print on the Internet. This works with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

Hold down the "Ctrl" key and press the "+" key to zoom in and the "-" key to zoom out. This will affect only your active browser window.

Thanks, Boris!
Yes it was exciting last night/early morning!
Wish You'd been here to explain it but You have to sleep
sometime. Thanks again for Your input and i enjoyed Your
pics of Etna's recent activity. Guess we'll be looking
in on Etna soon.

Best! and Happy Easter to Everyone who Celebrates it.

Happy Easter to you also Motsfo. I heard my first grouse of the year drumming today.

Happy Easter to all.

@Randall, do you ever sleep?

Happy Easter everyone and especially those of you who are "up there" this evening!

Peter! I do hope the Easter Bunny brought you a broadband connection in advance and that you are now too busy catching up! We haven't heard from you for quite a while now? I hope everything is alright and it's nothing more sinister than Easter celebrations of the Cobbold clan!

Oh yeah about 6 hrs a day/night on average;) I work on the computer and from home most of the time so I have a very non-linear type of work day/night...unless I am working on one of the Navy Bases that day....then it is early to bed, early to rise.

Good morning to all. Well, it is morning here still. :-) I got up very late 9am or so.

Gordys, I think Randall does catnap. Right Randall? ;-D BTW ,thanks for the tip on zooming. I did not know how to do that.

Motsfo, yes, Islandic eruptions are far different from Redoubt. That pic you sent was an awesome plinian blast. Just like last year. The ash is not so nice.

I just wish they had not moved that cam!!!! Maybe they could have just moved it back and then zoomed in.

Villard, thanks for that link. Methinks he was awefully close to that flow! Right on the edge! The film did show what takes place at a fissure. I don't understand Islandic, but I knew what he was talking about when he mentioned lapilli. There was a lot of that, for sure.

You won! :)
It's like we are watching our bonsai-volcano with microscope and you came up with this 16:9 monster.
Btw, can you show some webcams and tremor measurements prior that happening? ;)

Happy Easter to all commenters.

@Randall, I am usually early to bed early to rise. The alarm clock goes off at 3:55 AM during the work week, whether I want it to or not.

It is off to Easter Dinner.

Thanks for all the input guys, I'm finding this absolutely fascinating.
Another tip - holding the ctrl key and using the little scrolling wheel on the mouse (if you have one) also works with zooming - not only Internet but also Excel spreadsheets - handy to get all of a big spreadsheet on the screen at once

By Anne Cotton (not verified) on 04 Apr 2010 #permalink

Happy Easter from Sicily, though here it's already evening. The news here is no news, Etna has returned to calm after more than 170 earthquakes on the Pernicana fault between 2 April evening and 3 April mid-day.
Let's hope it'll give us a few more weeks of peace, and especially, no overlap with Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörðuháls, because otherwise how to choose between all the webcams you guys, and I would no longer be able to watch the Iceland show at all.

Boris, that would be a near tragety if you could not follow what is going on in Iceland! But, then, Etna is a volcano and I suppose once in a while you could mosey on over to see what is going on even if only for 5min. Of course, the "Old Lady" just may cooperate. :-)

Maybe it's just an optical elution but does it appear that lava mound is close to toppling over the cliff in the foreground on the left side of the cam view?

I had meant to say right side of the cam view

@469: from which webcam? I'm unable to notice that. Can you post a screenshot.

By the way, as the low frequency component of volcanic tremors (0.5-1.0 Hz) increased slightly in the last few minutes, steaming from the volcano also appeared to increase sensibly, at least from what I see from the Vodaphone webcam.

By Akira Shirakawa (not verified) on 04 Apr 2010 #permalink

Optical illusion I think... OTOH, the lava flow we spotted to the West (right) side of the cone yesterday has hit snow on the edge of the cliff and is making an impressive steam plume ATT.

Just to clarify, in my previous post I was not referring to the new steam plume occurred just a while ago now.

By Akira Shirakawa (not verified) on 04 Apr 2010 #permalink

massive steam pillar on the right starts behind the "flat"

@470 Akira, On vadafone just left of that major steam vent in what it appears to be sort of a V cut in the cliff face. I zoomed in for a closer look. Not so sure if I'm seeing it correctly.

Boris, would you be inclined to give us a brief technique description and findings synopsis from your 2009 publication, 'Modeling unusual behavior of Mt. Etna, Italy, by means of event bush' (J. Volcanology Geothermal Res 185(3):157-171)?

Looks like novel diagnostic and prediction tool for a very unusual volcanic complex.

Is that a new fissure under the steam????? look like a lava plume.

@Erik W: if you look back to yesterday evening on the Vodaphone cam, you will see a lava flow working its way down that side of the cone. It seems to me that the plume was most likely due to that flow finally hitting snow above the edge of the cliff there; we've seen similar plumes from other flows on more than one occasion.

where the last steam came from there is a darker plume starting yet to me it looks as if it is internally light hard to tell as it is in the sun

@Fireman I would say there is a new eruption where that steam vent was on the right hand side of the second fissure.

Well, it's getting to sundown If there's a new fissure, we'll be able to see it. We need to look for straight up jets of orange. Puffy orange will probably be steam lit by lava.

19.39 GMT Steam explosion (smallish) to the west of the vent. For about 10 mins prior, the whole vent (from l to r in front of old cone) seemed to be producing small lava fountains (Vodafone zoomed in, thx Gordys, Anne!). Looks like another lava flow.

it would haw been nice if this eruption had happened in november
the season of perpetual twilight

19.53 GMT. Same location, another "blast". Snow in front looks discoloured as if dirty water had run across it.

20.04 GMT. Another steam explosion at the front of the putative lava flow (west).

There is smoke and fire at far right screen at small peak on ridge.

the base of the stem plume is moving to the right
i am wondering if the small canyon to the right of the plume that dumps from the cliffs is connected to where the lava is flowing

zoomed in at 260% on Vodafone it looks like maybe another vent opened in front of vent 2.....I see 2 jets there one if front of the other and I don't think it is the first vent we have had all along either........what do you guys see?

that's on vodafone zoomed in close.

IF it is a new fissure, it corresponds to the 3D EQ map on Vedur site:

The shallow EQs (referring to underground magma movement) were located W-NW from the first opening, around 2-3kms long, and this new steam source is also in that direction.

Though, last evening's bright activities were also fissure-alike, but probably were simply magma vs snow explosions.

I would think that it's not going tobe safe up there in the not to distant future.

Before it got too dark, there were four vents discernible - three on a line E - W with the middle one the largest, and one vent more or less at right angle to them and some way (1/3??) up the slope of the first scoria cone.

is there a bright spot on the ice cap behind the eruption???

The westernmost "vent" seems to be, not a vent, but part of the lava flow. When the steam relents, you may see the flow glowing right at the place where steam explosions have occured. Zoom in!

@Erik W: yes there is. Headlights.

@Henrik: Zoom? How? I don't see a zoom control...?

That, Erik, is a parked car. The people who go up there park on that ridge - the view must be spectacular! You'll see more as the night progresses.

Vodaphone camera.

Well, it looks like flares to me.

Still not sure, though. I've been watching the hot spot between eruption 2 and the new /flare/steamy area the last couple of days as a potential new eruption, but have come to the conclusion that it's a lava flow. The new steamy areas is downhill from there.

But, the new steamy area doesn't seem to be behaving like the lava stream heading to the left from eruption 2.