Dome collapse at Karangetang in Indonesia

Karangetang in Indonesia erupting in June of 2007.

This year we haven't had a lot of news about volcanic activity in Indonesia. This is not to say that eruptions haven't been happening, rather they just haven't been in the news. If you check out the current status of the volcanoes of Indonesia, you'll see that no less than six volcanoes are on orange (Level 2) status and another fourteen are on yellow (Level 1 - and there is a Level 0 as well). So, it is a active arc as arcs go (compare that to the Aleutians or Cascades).

This means that it should come as little surprise that Karangetang on the island of Sulawesi erupted overnight. Based on the reports, it seems that the volcano had a partial dome collapse (possibly aided by heavy rains) that caused a block-and-ash flow to be generated along with potentially a minor explosive column. This eruption was not expected and the collapse happened so rapidly that there were no evacuations and at least four people are dead and more are missing. The local government is now evacuating the nearby villages.

Karangetang is a very active volcano, with frequent small eruptions over the last 10 years, mostly in the VEI 1-2 range. However, just because most eruptions are small doesn't mean you should be lulled into a sense that the volcano is "safe". You can see images of the region around the volcano and some of the small Strombolian explosions that occur frequently at the volcano over on Stromboli Online along with video of an eruption in 2009 (video) from an Indonesian newscast.

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Well, this is a gruesome, unexpected, surprise.
Volcanoes are capable of catching people totally unaware of their imminent danger.
This reminds me of jökulhlaups in Huaskarán, Huila and Iceland. Also landslides and mudflows that may occur even when volcano is dormant. Another example was the sudden lava lake collapse in Nyiragongo, all deadly events.
That this may serve as an alert to people living near volcanoes, specially if they have an icecap on it.
Thanks for the post, Erik.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 06 Aug 2010 #permalink

How sad that some were caught off guard. I hope that everyone in danger is able to get away before anyone else is hurt.

I have a question about all the earthquakes happening near Yellowstone. My guess is that there should be no concern since there aren't that many quakes happening and they are all quite small.

I was just wondering if there was a good site to monitor the activity other than

I am a volcano novice that just really got interested in volcanoes with the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. So I'm learning as I go along.

Thanks in advance for any info!

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

Hey Janet, I'm new at this too but I have found some really good sites both on my own and from this excellent site.

For Iceland go to:

A great site for Yellowstone is:

For all events from weather to volcanoes try: or

And last but not least is a great site for Volcano updates.

I hope that these help.


Janet: You can watch the webicorders on the University of Utah site. The ones to watch for this sequence are in the Tetons, especially the MOOW station.

You can see a lot of activity that is too small to be on the earthquake map.

Thanks so much Erik and Jen. I will check out the Utah webicorders.

I agree that it's nothing to worry about. I just like watching the activity on different volcanoes. Heck, I get a kick out of watching the Old Faithful webcam! :o)

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

If you look at the YMR station is this activity normal?

@Janet -
If you like to watch geyser activity, here's Geysir - yes, the one that gave the name to the rest, although it got mangled in the process.

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

Watching the activity of volcanoes in real time is fascinating, and is clearly not a new phenomenon! If you get the chance to visit the exhibition in Compton Verney, near Stratford on Avon in England, there are some amazing paintings of historical eruptions, including of Vesuvius, painted in the 18th and 19th centuries - I hadn't realised how often Vesuvius had erupted - and images from Iceland, of volcanoes and their impact on people and the landscape. The exhibition was 3 years in the planning and has borrowed pieces from a wide range of different exhibitions.

Typical news media work: as they have no footage of the latest Karangetang eruption, they are linking in the 2009 eruption video.

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

@Kultsi ~

Thanks! That's a nice one. I just love watching those. There is something about watching the earth in action. My family thinks I'm such a nut...hehe! They call me a "volcanotard". I've collected a folder full of videos of eruptions, both on land and under water. I like seeing "new real estate" being made. If I was younger I would no doubt be going to college again to study all of this.

Thanks to Erik and this blog I have learned a lot. Lot's of nice people here have answered so many of my dumb questions over the months too.

By Janet, Tx (not verified) on 06 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Kultsi (#9), I guess that's because Karangetang lies on an extremely remote little island where you can hardly expect any cameramen to wait for a dome collapse, which is a very sudden, unpredictable, and short-lived volcanic event. News will over and over again feature archived footage of volcanoes, because some eruptions will occur during bad weather, others will be over before any camera is aimed at them, so there will be not always be some exclusive footage of a new eruption available.

In any case this event illustrates what my point about Katla being an "overrated" volcano was in a previous entry here. While all the world looks at one volcano (like Katla or Yellowstone), or one determined area (Iceland), other volcanoes will erupt elsewhere and spread death and destruction without anybody having thought about them. I do consider Katla potentially a very hazardous volcano but it's intensely monitored and a new eruption will not come as a surprise. There's not much more that can be done about it in this moment than wait and see if signs of an imminent eruption become clear - and hope the lessons from Eyjafjallajökull have been learned. But there are numerous volcanoes elsewhere that are not properly monitored, where communication is relatively limited and logistics are far from perfect, that's where people are likely to die.

@Boris, being a non-seismographer can you explain the helicorder I posted earlier today at no. 11? Are these movements due to outside effects or seismological events?

@Janet TX. I too love to watch old faithful. Have you ever seen the double blow? Old faithful and some other geyser in the background. Really cool.

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

@11: YMR station at Yellowstone picks up much human activity (mainly cars, etc). That's why, if you haven't noticed yet, there's an increase in signal during day/work hours, especially in summers. During night time all goes quite again.

@parclair ~

Yes, I have seen the double. Awesome stuff! I hope one day to get out there to see it in person. Till then the internet will have to be my travel provider. :)

Another beautiful thing I've enjoyed the last couple of days....all the beautiful aurora pics that have been coming in. There were some splendid ones in Iowa!…

And in Minnesota!

By Janet, Tx (not verified) on 06 Aug 2010 #permalink

@9 Geysir doesn't erupt, Strokkur does though

Speaking of Yellowstone.

12 years of quakes

I haven't worked up a background map for it, but I was able to get all the data into a sheet to fiddle with.

@lurking. Are the xy on your chart lat/long? Thnks for the chart

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

Yes. If I fiddle with the longitude to reverse the sign, I label it as west longitude. I didn't on this one so I didn't label it.

I had enough of a problem trying to get the 4D aspect working right to color them by year. I'm still new at 4D.


Heads up on that plot. For 2007, there is a big arse hole in the data. About 71.8% of them are missing... everything from 03/31/07 Until the end of the year.

According to there are 947 quakes there, but only 267 in the actual file.

No, I don't know why. Could be a DB glitch on their server. Everytime I pull it down I get the same file.

@Lurking ~

Very nice chart. Without the background map it's a nice little piece of art! :)

By Janet, Tx (not verified) on 06 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Janet TX

There's an app for that.

Same plot, sans lines.

Amaze your cohorts, print it up on a color printer and hang it on the wall... wait until someone asks you what it is.

thanks Lurking great plots again.

Blame Canada,
photo of the mud…
This is on Mt. Meager, near Pemberton, which is in the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt

Earthquake Data

Thanks to all of you for the wonderfull comments, all well said.
Thanks for your story Jon!
"The answer is blowing in the wind."
Im one of the trolls, but you really dont feed them bad.
You all listen, explain, help and guide us through all this stuff.

@Raving -
Ice as such does not carry sediments the way water mixture does, as the case has clearly been here. So I say: there must have been water dammed within the glacier and the collapse released that water: a jökulhlaup; on the way down the slope the water-ice mixture gathered sediments, filled the first valley with highly-fluid stuff that proceeded down the valley in a huge lahar wave, denuding the slopes of any loose stuff and gathering more ammunition that way. When the lahar reached more level ground, the debris sank and was left there, blocking the other waterways.

Currently, the danger is in the damming/dam breaking of the rivers and subsequent flash floods downriver.

Anyone more knowledgeable of these things shoot me down.

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

This is the ause of the no reconstruction of Chaitén, a volcano that is fully active, although the fire could destroy the city before an eruption.

By Guillermo (not verified) on 07 Aug 2010 #permalink

Grrr.... responded in the wrong thread.

My Post[168] from the other thread:


A TV station picture gallery of it is located here:

I linked to what appears to be the (or a) scarp face. This was not a small slide based on the amount of tree cover scoured off the valley walls.

Reporter Leah Hendry: "'s made out of this kind of volcanic rock, almost like the kind of feeling of a pumice stone, so when the water ends up getting in there and ah it's been warm and the waters melting and it ends up breaking that rock right off, which is why they're concerned about the rain..."

Well, she's excited and on scene. At least she wasn't seen dragging a fallen limb into position set up a more exciting camera shot like Geraldo did here in Pensacola.

And just in case the TV station changes the content around (which many tend to do), here's that scarp photo squirreled away for safekeeping:

But that's not a glacier. It's looks more like loosely consolidated material that the water pushed through... similar but different.

I think the reported had it right.

"it's been warm and the waters melting and it ends up breaking that rock right off"

It's a mass wasting event of... well, surreal proportions.

#32 There's an image posted with the news showing huge blocks (of ice?). If anyone could take a look and explain what are those circular marks on all the blocks I would be glad to hear. :)

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 07 Aug 2010 #permalink

Highly erodible volcanic soils.
Steep hillsides at elevation.
Glacier recession.
Last 6 years, record warmth.

Glacier tongue failure? Possibly. July is the warmest month in the region. More precip falls in summer as rains than in winter as snowfall.

Geologists sent in to evaluate the cause should be posting a report in the next few days.

@24 Dennis - Did a quick search of scienceblogs for 'Meager' and only noticed your post after I had posted my question. I apologize for not noticing it beforehand.

When is a mudslide not just a mudslide?

a) When the mud comprises volcanic sediment, it is called a 'lahar'.

b) When the retaining moraine wall of a subglacial reservoir fails it called a 'jökulhlaup'.

Can it be assumed that 'jökulhlaup' might occur independent of geothermal activity?

What is the likelihood that geothermal heating played a role in this event?

#35: Geothermal activity is present. Affected river valley area is known for it's hot springs.

@33: Mudslide, after heavy rains, not avalanche (snow). Note farmers field of hay stubble. I think your 'Stones' are hay ricks, tarp-covered to keep them from rotting.

Aside: Google *really* must do something about their Icelandic-to-English web translator.

@33 Renato -
Those white things are round hay bales, wrapped in plastic - the "cow eggs" we discussed earlier.

@35 Raving -
Yes, jökulhlaups may occur without geothermal activity, in the summer when enough seasonal meltwater gets dammed and then breaks loose.

@36 Passerby -
I quite agree with you about the Google translator and Icelandic. However, they would need somebody from Iceland to help in a big way.

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

#37 @Kultsi: How come I have not learned my lesson! Tricked again by the cow eggs. Shame on me. Thank you!

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 07 Aug 2010 #permalink


"In a new article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers led by David Wake of the University of California, Berkley detailed how four different waves of divergence among frog species -- the point when new species are created from a common ancestor -- can be explained by four major tectonic events in the region.

The uplift caused by India slamming into the Eurasia tectonic plate created natural barriers that isolated the frogs and led to a diversification in species over time.

...first split in frog lineage occurred around 27 million years ago: Nanorana frogs evolved north and northeast of the Himalaya-Tibetan plateau, and Quasipaa amphibians evolved east and southeast of the plateau...

Further [splits] occurred around 23, 19, and 9 million years ago as new episodes of geologic chaos played out..."

Hirji , Zahra. "Tiny Frogs Reveal Big Secrets of Plate Tectonics". Discovery News. 7 August 2010…

There is an interesting shift from quakes at Eyja to Katla, but nothing too unusual, as compared to last year, when the occurance of frequent quakes at Katla was also a pattern.

For example, it is hard to be excited about the 6 quakes at Katla in the past 48 hours (Aug 6th pm). Four of them were less than 1.0 magnitude. And more food energy is obtained by a human from a McDonalds Big Mac Sandwich (2.25 mega-joules) than is released in a 1.0 magnitude earthquake (2.0 mega-joules)! Haha, that's a good fact to keep in mind ... keeps things in perspective.

William Boston

By Katla Seismicity (not verified) on 07 Aug 2010 #permalink

The ground around Katla appears, to me, to be rising and spreading outward.

I have been observing the three Eyja-Katla GPS stations which are closest to Katla: FIM2, SOHO, and GOLA.

Here are the stations on a map:

Here are the GPS Stations' data plots:

Here's how I see it:

FIM2: Clearly rising trend the past two weeks. Moving south the past 2 weeks (consistent with Katla swelling).

SOHO: Rising slowly ever since Eyja eruption; rising a tad faster the past week. Possibly. new southward movement (consistent with Katla swelling).

GOLA: Rising in past two weeks. Possible sleight change of E-W movement toward the west (consistent with Katla swelling)?

Very preliminary ... but the links are good to have for keeping tabs on the ground action (or lack thereof) at Katla.

By William Boston (not verified) on 07 Aug 2010 #permalink

Also OT, but useful to bookmark.

Global Map of Seismicity, 1975-1995.

Useful reference when you are wondering if a particular EQ location is unusual, also for discerning larger patterns of ridges, subduction zones, back-arcs and continental tectonics.

$40: Very cool article, with an unusually detailed article summary in Science Daily.

@passerby, is that last bit missing a link? The .gif didn't seem to have an article attached...neat graphic, tho.

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

#41 @WIlliam No wonder I got confused by the "whale tongues". :)
#44 @birdseyeUSA works for me... thank you @passerby

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 07 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Katla Seismicity

Hmm... that would put the Mag 7.2 Mexicali quake right at the 1.59 GigaMac range

"...great deeds equipment are working in medical channels that creeps filled..."

Oh. Dear.

Evidently the slopes of the range that Meager Mt is in (where the mondo slide was) have a tendency to just fall off. Even on the imagery in Google maps you can see slide scars all over the place.

50°37'54.00"N 123°30'16.00"W

By Lurking... ove… (not verified) on 07 Aug 2010 #permalink

@29 Lurking
That scarp shows in the Google Earth images that predate the latest slide, and it's on Mt Meager's main peak - I suspect that damage is from the smaller slide last year. This latest slide is said to have come off the adjacent Capricorn glacier just to the left of that scene.

As an aside, the initial report on the slide referred to Meager as the "latest large volcano to erupt in BC", but in later reports that was twisted to "largest, latest volcano to erupt in BC" which I believe is incorrect on both counts. The gsc.nrc.gc.can/volcanoes website lists several that have erupted more recently and some that are larger...

@Lurking #46

Actually, I calculate it as 1.9 GigaMacs. An order of magnitude increase is ~32x increase in energy, and 0.2 increase in magnitude is ~2x increase in energy. So 6.2 orders of magnitude increase from 2.0 MJ of a 1.0 quake expressed in Big Macs is (2 MJ x 32^6 x 2)/2.25 MJ/mac = 1.9x10^9 Macs.

Of course, this is an approximation...the real value would also be influenced by whether we're talking Richter Magnitude or Moment Magnitude, which determines how closely the rule of 32 applies to the actual logarithmic energy curve (although Moment Magnitude was designed with a correction factor to align it closely to the Richter Scale, there are differences that increase as the magnitude increases). I'm going to start referring to earthquakes by their Big Mac magnitude...if earthquakes weren't so damned deadly this might even become an internet meme. :p

By VolcanoMan (not verified) on 07 Aug 2010 #permalink

It's been a busy morning for seismic news about Mexico and Chile, here are the links for the stories.



It certainly looks like things are starting to really wake up now, from Mount Karangetang's sudden eruption in Indonesia to the huge glacier that broke off in Greenland

The one thing that has been at the back of my mind are the series of EQ's in the Philippines that happened at 650km deep, the main reason for that is a lot of the quakes were measured at a magnitude of 6 or higher, for a quake that high on the surface it would have to be huge 650km's in order to travel to the surface.

By Robert Hurst (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

The BigMac Quakes,
nice perspective for a Mag. 1.0

Thanks for all the links, still i dont get the whole story behind the "less-accepted geologic theory", but it sounds interesting.

@ #42, 46 & 51. To continue the pythonesque - let's update the VEI in the same way! Using the BMEI, BigMacEruptiveIndex, the 1.7 x 10^12 MJ released by Mt St Helens in 1980 should correspond to 755 GigaMacs. What next? Free USGS updates with your take-away order?

Mad (crazy for AmE speakers) as it seems, it might actually be a way to provide funding for adequate volcano monitoring. With the USA alone eating some 30,000 million hamburgers per year, even 0.1 cent per burger (in return for the scientific community using the term "(Giga) Macs" to lighten up their reports) should result in some $30 million for volcano monitoring. Could it be jacked up to a staggering 1 cent per burger?

By Henrik; Swe (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

Every day, especially in summer the park opens in Yellowstone at about 6 a.m. and the YMR sensor goes crazy. Trucks and buses, cars, people start to position for the race in. The main drag into the park from the west is right next to YMR and the next favorite place is Old Faithful. The sensor picks it up and it looks like a swarm of quakes per Jacob Lowenstern of USGS

Wonder what it would look like if there was one parked next to Indy when the gates open 3 hours before a race, even more so during a race?

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

@12 hi like the one in Germany which is classed as a VE7 volcanic explosive 7 a super volcano Rhineland-Palatinate…
Last eruption as-12,900yrs ago lastest activity was on the 30/07/10....Scientists believe that a new eruption could happen at any time,which today would be a disaster beyond all description according to this. well if thats the case dont you think people need to know more of this and more research should be done...

@leon [54] -
No, not suddenly like Karangetang, which had a lava dome, ie. solidified cover over the still fluid magma - an unstable system, if you ask me. At Karangetang, the heavy rains are said to be the cause of the lava dome collapse; whether thermal stress of sheer weight of the water, I cannot say. That kind of collapse needs not give any forewarning, as there need not be any EQs or other indicators.

In Germany, OTOH, EQ swarms and ground deformation are to be expected before an eruption. Four EQs this year do not a swarm make.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

@ 53 M. Randolph K - the things we don't think about! Wonder what all our ground transportation, airport runways, subways, cars etc around major cities do - do you suppose we ever set off some sort of surface harmonics? Idle non-scientific minds.....

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

@56 birdseye. Wouldn't it be something if all the traffic in the LA basin was actually relieving stress on the faults in the area? Heh;-)

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

@58 passerby. teehee. I liked off the mark's "inactive volcanos" Perfect for a sunday.

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

@VolcanoMan [51]

I used log E = 1.5 M + 4.8 and did the comparison of the two values.

@57: ? How can mass loading from dense urbanization relieve either vertical or horizontal stress on a fault system??

Human-induced seismicity includes: Mining, oil and gas drilling, hydrofracking, and liquid injection (deep-well injection of wastewater, ASR (aquifer storage and recovery of reclaimed water) and geothermal field development).

Dense urbanization in highly-faulted coastal environments has been studied as a potential source of stress loading on faults, but geophyicists are very cautious about causal mechanics, as it's doubtful that these stresses propagate deep enough to set off an earthquake in a loaded fault segment.

For a giggle, nip over on YouTube and search for "Katla volcano". From the descriptions attached to the most popular videos, you will "learn" the following:

"Scientists are worried about an eruption at the Katla Volcano, which is overdue for an eruption and has increased its activity by more than 200% over the past days. Katla is a super volcano, more than 100 times as powerful as (Eyjafjallajökull)."

One of the video contributors, who has the tell-tale "2012" attached to his user name, responds to a comment to his video with the following words: "Without honest information from scientests we are in the dark" and "I feel justified in my public warning." To make matters worse, this is filed under the tag "Education".

Alas, people WILL believe what they WANT to believe and unfortunately, "honest information from scientists" is not only infinitely less exciting than scaremongering, but also requires that the consumer educates her- or himself to some extent.

This is why I love Eruptions, thank you Erik & all!

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Passerby [61]

Given enough cheeseburgers, the mass of a given population will increase at a rate inverse to the loss of mass over the regions that produced the material going into the cheeseburger...

By Lurking... (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

#58 - #62 Hey, guys! Funny Sunday mood, uh?
@passerby loved the cartoons, specially the snails and the sloth.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

My faves: "Inactive Volcanoes" and "Earth Dates Venus"

Thanks Passerby!

By Princess Frito (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Princess Frito - me too - @passerby, liked all the offthemark ones. Never thought of looking for cartoons on the web, let alone by subject learn all kinds of things here! Anyone know any volcaano-related songs??? Must be some Hawaiian ones for/about Madam Pele, but others?

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

@Parclair #14 I have seen the double geyser blow at Old Faithful when I was there. One thing about that: the geyser in the background didn't used to be there! Old Faithful used to do its thing in three stages. It would start up, drop a bit, then go up further, then drop a bit than the really roar. It doesn't go as high as it used to and my guess is because of the one that goes off at the same time in the background. A lot of things changed after the quake in 1959. We had just left Yellowstone before it hit and my DH was parked about half a mile from the Madison Canyon slide when it hit. He was able to turn around and go back to West Yellowstone. Old Faithful is still predictable, but not as much as it used to be before that quake.

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

The ground around Katla appears, to me, to be rising and spreading outward.

I have been observing the three Eyja-Katla GPS stations which are closest to Katla: FIM2, SOHO, and GOLA.

Here are the stations on a map:

Here are the GPS Stations' data plots:

Here's how I see it:

FIM2: Clearly rising trend the past two weeks. Moving south the past 2 weeks (consistent with Katla swelling).

SOHO: Rising slowly ever since Eyja eruption; rising a tad faster the past week. Possibly. new southward movement (consistent with Katla swelling).

GOLA: Rising in past two weeks. Possible sleight change of E-W movement toward the west (consistent with Katla swelling)?

Very preliminary ... but the links are good to have for keeping tabs on the ground action (or lack thereof) at Katla.

William M, Boston

By William M, Boston (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

@54 Leon.

Actually Erik posted a very nice post on this blog regarding the Laacher See volcano a while back.…

Quite interesting to read about it especially since there are some CO2 emissions on the south-east end of the lake indicating some activity. However the "Can erupt at any time" comment by some scientist somewhere is something that can be said about any given active volcano I assume. There was a few (unconfirmed) EQ´s in the area this year but has not recorded this on so I am not too sure about that.

But lets hope that this one does not erupt any time soon. That would be a catastrophy beyond comprehension. A VEI7 in such a populated area would be unimaginable. I cant imagine anyone would want this.

By Daniel_swe (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

There is quite an interesting pattern in the latest three earthquakes on myrdalsjökull, a fine line of three :)

09.08.201003:25:0363.602-19.1095.7 km1.630.782.5 km N of Hábunga
09.08.201003:14:5263.665-19.4075.7 km0.433.23.9 km ESE of Básar
09.08.201003:12:4963.631-19.2594.8 km1.490.021.1 km SSW of Goðabunga

Anyone that could explain this?

Holmsá has a Normal waterflow 33,1 m3/sec
Eldvatn has a High waterflow 176,5 m3/sec

Holmsá station is between Myrdalsjökull and Eldvatn station.
Shouldnt this station record higher waterflows also?

Or is it two separate rivers?

And at 00.00 the night between 08.08.2010 and 09.08.2010 there was a dramatic increase in waterflow.

Holmsá has a Normal waterflow 56 m3/sec
Eldvatn has a High waterflow 198 m3/sec

What could cause this? Dammed up water which was released?

By Daniel_swe (not verified) on 08 Aug 2010 #permalink

@ Daniel

I think ...vatn means lake in english, so there is probably only an increase of water because of rain or so. if you consider to display the 1 month data package, this looks, in my opinion, just like a normal increase, because the waterlevel of the lake has been higher some times ago.

so just normal fluctuations in my understanding

@Daniel @Stefan -
Different rivers; here's Hólmsá…

and here Eldvatn… on the map.

I haven't located Hólmsá's measuring station, Hólmsárfoss, but the one with high flow, in Eystri Ãsar, is on the map.

Depending on context, 'vatn' does mean 'lake', but the basic meaning is 'water'...

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

Idea: Use many months of Eyja tremor amplitude data as input into a music synthrsizer or an audio synthesizer program in order to "hear the music of Eyja".

Maybe she is trying to communicate. O,o

By William M Boston (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

Something soon going to happen at Kodiak island in Alaska? Lots column activity action there for a while now.

Is Katla rising?

Now looking at GOLA GPS data.

Here is GOLA GPS stations on a map:

Here is GOLA GPS data ploted:

It appears GOLA has been rising in the past two weeks. Possibly a sleight change of E-W movement toward the west (consistent with Katla swelling)?

Something to keep an eye on!

William M Boston

By William M Boston (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

@William H Boston:

Beat you to it:-)
At least in a sense. I took the tremor chart from Jóns helicorders and inputed it into motion-actuating servos in my recliner. Gave a fairly spectacular feeling sitting in the recliner, watching the cam-show on the video-projector and burping like a bat out of hell from the beer-atoms being split in the stomach when the tremors racked the body.

Beer-atoms =

Is Katla rising? (part 3 of 3)

Now looking at SOHO GPS data.

Here is SOHO GPS stations on a map:

Here is SOHO GPS data ploted (a big graphic, scroll down):

It appears SOHO has been rising slowly ever since Eyja eruption; rising a tad faster the past week. Possibly new southward movement (consistent with Katla swelling).

Something to keep an eye on!

William M Boston

By William M Boston (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

William H Boston (On Katla):

Sorry, you should take a new look on the plots you have presented, most of the values are falling or steady and the two that I saw that are rising have done so in such a minimal way that they are within error-limits. No signs of Katla bopping:)

@bruce stout #77

Hearing & Visualizing GOD?

Yes, thanks for link. That was in my mind. The problem with "regular" seismic data though is that it is just a series of isolated, single-valued events, which gives rise to rather boring pings and pops when synthesized.

But the rather unique islandic "tremor plots" record a continuous waveform, which has the same form as audio waveforms, so something more like real music (or voice even?) would be expected when months of the tremor plot data are combined in a continuous stream and then highly compressed to match audio frequencies, and then played back via synthesizer.

Many audio players, such as Windows Media Player, will also give great animated visualizations based on the waveforms.

Wouldn't it be fun to hear and see a visualization of a tremor plot from GOD? :>)
or, less noisy:

And to hear how the music changed when Eyja erupted.

William M Boston

By William M Boston (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

Interesting cool idea. Use cool edit pro? Or maybe use the free open source Audacity to play with the waveform.

@Carl #81

RE: Is Katla rising?

Yes, the movements are just barely noticeable at this time, and made subjectively, so additional observation is required before being considered conclusive.

That is why I famed the observations as a question: "Is Katla Rising?"

I hope we are talking about the same data plots. There are three plots in the graphic for each station. N-S plot, E-W plot and UP-Down plot. Since the graphics are huge, scrolling is required, or better yet, copying and pasting into a graphic file viewer program.

Anyway, I see it exactly as I stated in the posts above:

FIM2: Clearly rising trend the past two weeks. Moving south the past 2 weeks (consistent with Katla swelling).

SOHO: Rising slowly ever since Eyja eruption; rising a tad faster the past week. Possibly. new southward movement (consistent with Katla swelling).

GOLA: Rising in past two weeks. Possible sleight change of E-W movement toward the west (consistent with Katla swelling)?

Some of the movements stated are quite clear as I see it; but one week or a few weeks of a sleight trend does not constitute a significant event ... but it bears watching.

Many believe that Katla will soon be swelling with magma then erupting, so the data plots from those three GPS stations should be high priority for close scrutiny over the coming weeks and months, looking for evidence of ground rise and movement in a direction away from Katla.

William M Boston

By William M Boston (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

as Jon stated

there is smoething going on under Myrdalsjökull, from 30 km and up, so there is somthing stirring under there. but when or what will happen, is yet to be told,.

-There will be no surprice if "Katla the dragon" flies, but I recon that she will just keep on moving about,and stirr and in a few months or years she will tell us exactly what she are doing..

but there is something going on under that Icecap, and its not just icemovement thats for sure,.

I was tending to think that Katla had worn out her energy in last year's small eruption, and since it had been so quiet all through Eyjaf's event, I was not expecting much. But Jón's statements changed my mind and present activity gives enough reason to say there's something there that wasn't there before. So, I think we must consider she will erupt any day in a near future, and this will keep us going with the good discussions here. Maybe Etna will come first, and then again we have Boris to lead us.
I only regret that RUV's cameras aren't working for me (Katla's and Hekla's).

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

Just checked, RUV's cams are back. Thank you RUV people!

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

Thank you Lurking. In my layman opinion, there might be something rising there, but still too scattered to consider an eruption imminent.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

Since we are furtively in prognostication mode...

A comparison of this month's quakes to a set back during the height of the Eyj love fest.

At about 10 to 15 km depth, the trends of the quakes tend to come together.

@87: You are confused; there was no eruption last year. The last minor (subglacial) activity was 1999, followed by an inflation period thereafter, thought to be due to magma intrusion.

The period 1998-2004 was unusually warm, with extended and severe drought in many areas. We are in another drought period (they are common in LaNina-like periods), it's unusually warm for the first half of this year and we have historic fires ongoing in the Northern Hemisphere.

The resulting aerosol maps of late July-early August are worrisome. Smoke/carbon black from extensive biomass burning events over large continental land masses generates a super stable layer of heat-trapping aerosol. While the climate science folk are correct that these dense smoke layers prevent surface warming, anyone who has lived in an area inundated with smoke during the hot summer knows that near ground level air temperatures also do not cool at night. The heat is effectively trapped and grows for as long as the overlying air mass remains steady.

This is *precisely* why Moscow is now experiencing it's worst heat wave ever (the head of the Russian Meteorological ministry claimed this morning that it was 1000 years, but that would seem to be a slight exaggeration).

Smoke aerosols can be acidic; the chemistry effectively prevents water droplet formation, creating a dry area downwind.

Month-long heatwave and intense forest and peat-fires have exacerbated drought conditions across Russia, with new fires arising in the Volga valley and Siberia. On Sunday, as many new fires sprang up, as were put out by Federal emergency fire management teams.

Russia is one of the top suppliers of wheat; the wheat crops will be less than half of normal yield this year.
Egypt, Syria and Turkey are major importers of Russian wheat. They will have to look elsewhere for their purchases this fall and winter.

China has also had record agricultural burning in the East, adding to the smoke haze wafting through eastern Asia, and out in the Pacific. These brown clouds affect low altitude cloud formation and alter precipitation patterns over the open ocean. This affects SST (ocean surface temperatures) and in turn, may perturb seasonal weather patterns over North and Central America.

Meanwhile, Canada is facing an extended dry period and for a second summer, an early and exceptional fire season. In fact, the fires in central prairies are also breaking 130+ year old records.

Fires in the US are more moderate, but are adding to the smoke haze from Canada being carried on the Jet Stream...up and over the North Atlantic.

In other words, aerosol haze is building up in northern latitudes from multiple sources over major continental land masses.

NASA AIRS image of Aug 1, from UMBC, discussed on the JPL website (situation is much worse now, 8 days later)

Most recent global SST Map

You can see the heat-eddy propagation to the maritime coast of Iceland. The waters remain warm.

I wonder what that will lead to,. warm oceans means stronger storms during storm season, that kicks of in november-january..
In january 1st, 1992 Norway was hit by a hurricane with winds up 77 m/s(277 km ph), that year the atlantic ocean was very warm before the storm hit, and we had no winter..

this winter 2010, we had 2 meter of snow and really cold weather until mid of may, and the summer has been a disaster we have had 2 days with temps over 20,the rest well, lets say it has rained and rained, and rained..

I wonder what effect all that smoke and dust from all the fires and Eyjafjöll will have,and El Nino(La Niña) will surprice us with this season?

You're right, I mixed the years, it was 1999 indeed. I was just reading this interesting article on Eyjaf-Katlia (posted sometime ago) and just noticed my mistake.…
It mentions EQ activity under Myrdálsjökull: "It has been suggested that the Godabunga cluster is an expression of a rising cryptodome" and relates seismicity to "seasonal ice load change and resulting pore pressure change at the base of the ice"
This heatwave is worrisome. Wonder what consequences would it have on future volcanic activity over Icelandic "jökulls".
If you don't mind, I would be most thankful if you could provide any links to articles describing volcanism not caused either by subduction or mantle plumes (if there is such a thing).
And @passerby, we can never thank you enough for the illuminating content of your posts, always supported by solid references, which contribute to the general interest and seriousness of this blog.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

if i remember back when Europe bake in a heat wave following spring summer Uk had the same problem with a heatwave. same this year i notice its slowly moving westwards but cant break through the north/west cool flow,A blocking effect know were for the high pressure to go so its stuck in the same area, so the Northpole is now getting colder and the rest will follow.will 2010/11 be worst than 09/10 with a even colder winter highly cooling has already begun! oh yeah thanks for the links @55 @69

Good lord, Renato, you're asking for a books worth of references.

I can't give you what you're asking for, because volcanoes form for obvious geological reasons. However, other factors can modulate or influence eruption activity periodicity. One of them is an extended period of large icecap presence, followed by rapid recession.

There was an enormous jump in continental volcanism in response to ice sheet recession, in several major syncopated postglacial rebound periods after the last Ice Age (over the last 12,000 years) and to a lesser extent, in major interglacial periods before then.

Thank-you for the kind words. Sometimes, I post here for necessary tintinnabulation, meant to...inform certain public officials. We're seeing interesting extremes at present, in record droughts, historic fires and rains in adjacent regions on the same continents.

The largest firestorm in US history occurred in 1902, in a period of record global heat and drought - records that in some places, would not be broken for the next 100+ years.

It was the end of the Little Ice Age in the far Northern latitudes. It was also the year Bardarbunga erupted.

And it was not coincidental, but there is much more to the cause than meets the eye.

Couple new papers from the IES on the topic of your inquiry.

Climate effects on volcanism: influence on magmatic systems of loading and unloading from ice mass variations, with examples from Iceland. (April 2010)

Influence of surface load variations on eruption likelihood: application to two Icelandic subglacial volcanoes, GrÃmsvötn and Katla. (April 2010)

And lastly, Páll Einarsson, of IES, apparently is tired of us posting about 'Eyja'.

"Eyjafjallajökull is not a difficult word"

Great, seismic grammar nazis.

I abbreviate it as Eyj typically when I am too lazy to cut-n-paste, which I tend to do from time to time. I also don't get bent out of shape when someone abbreviates a US state which I am sure happens quite a bit more than an abbreviation of a volcano. I don't usually abbreviate Katla or Hekla, mainly since it's just two more letters and pretty easy to toss in there on the fly. GrÃmsvötn has a cool abbreviation as Grim, but it sounds pretty cool when fully pronounced... which is likely inaccurate, but the English pronunciation just sounds good. Sort of like a bad guy from a movie.

I realize that twits texting tweets has mangled most languages, but come on, I've managed to actually pronounce it correctly twice... and shortly after that gave up when I saw another native speaker pronounce it differently.

7.3 Earthquake in Vanuatu. According to John Seach a small tsunami was generated. Next volcano is Kumae about 100 km NNE.
Vanuatu is very active this year.

By Martin Fischer (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

#98 @passerby "Good lord, Renato, you're asking for a books worth of references."
Yes, I know, this is my endless curiosity. Don't take me serious, I'm sorry. But thank you for the tolerance and the links, I'll keep on asking things, so get prepared. There's still a lot of homework to do.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 09 Aug 2010 #permalink

#17 Hazards of Geysir:
(Translated by Google with some help)
"Tourists at Geysir
Two years girl burned on the face, hands and chest when she fell into hot "Regression" of Geysir area on the afternoon. She was traveling with her parents when the accident occurred, but they are foreign tourists. She was brought in an ambulance to Reykjavik.
Who said Geysir doesn't erupt? I have just seen a couple of eruptions reaching 18 - 20 m. I don't know if they were "induced" by powder detergents but they were neatly visible. Wonder there are no fences protecting people form accidents.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

#103 -
Renato, some places are not 'nanny states' - they even assume parents looking after their offspring, not because the state shifts responsibility, but because that's the local way of things: they cannot imagine it being otherwise.

Likewise, the locals know the water shooting out is boiling hot, so they don't go too close, especially on the downwind side. Fences would be a sure way to get some a*ole going under or climbing over; getting your toes uncomfortably warm is a better warning sign, and taking a step back without a fence behind you is much faster.

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

Two steam plumes at Lady E today. The interesting one is the one on the east side of the summit crater (Thorolfsfelli cam) and seen to the south of the "eruption crater" in the Hvolsvelli cam.

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

Good morning everyone, there was a a strange tremor at Yellowstone at 23:00 hrs, there was some activity that was followed by long sine-wave measurements wich continued for some time and into today.

I checked some more locations and they showed the same thing on a different scale at the same time.

Does anyone have a idea what could cause this?

By Robert Hurst (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

#105 @Kultsi, thank you. I think I finally got the exact meaning of the word "nanny state". It's been often used in this site, but never knew exactly the meaning. I don't know how it is in Iceland, but in Yellowstone, for what I know, people often get seriously injured by stepping on fragile soil covers lying over superheated water around the geysers. As it seems, that's not the case in Iceland. So, let them children learn their lessons the hard way!
#107 Robert, good morning. Did you read the recent posts regarding noise interference in Yellowstone plots? We should always take it into consideration until we think something is really happen.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

Hey Renato, what struck me as interesting was the time of day and the wide range of the sine-waves at multiple stations throughout the Yellowstone and Teton seismic measurement stations. The strangest thing is what Daniel noted was the same pattern throughout the region. The reading at the north-end for Pikes Peak shows the waves at 23:00, all the way to the southern end at Snow King Mountain It's just really odd.

By Robert Hurst (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Boris Behncke, Catalina, Italy #111, Thank you Boris, it's amazing that a quake so far away can show up, it makes you wonder how much power is stored in the earths many plates.

By Robert Hurst (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Renato (#103, 104): I think you saw Strokkur erupt. Geysir is the one in the front, and has no frequent eruptions. Strokkur goes every 4 to 8 minutes.

Are there other similar events picked up by Yellowstone recorders to suggest that this sin wave pattern is indeed from an earthquake on the opposite side of the world?

Dec 25 2003 earthquake in Sumatra should show us a similar event if that sine wave is indeed from the Vanuatu earthquake, shouldn't the recorders in Yellowstone also have picked up the large Sumatra quake? Can someone check that out?

If not then we indeed have something else at work here.

@115 Raving

Before getting excited about AUST also consider ENTA and have a look at the historical data in the link provided.

GFUN has been getting taller.

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

@Raving [115] -
I'd love to get data from AUST & ENTA, but haven't found it this far, so I have to do with GOLA, FIMM & SOHO, from here: - the fast-orbit plots are old; the rest is up to Aug 4.

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

@RR 103:

Certainly Geysir erupts, very regularly - when I was there last month it was erupting every ten minutes or so, and this seems to be a very reliable pattern.

I can't understand who would let a child that age run free in such an obviously dangerous area; I'll be back there next week with my two year old girl, but she'll be strapped firmly in her stroller!

@Boris, #111

It certainly makes one feel like a tiny spec in the whole. :) Thank you for the explanation. I had no idea that it could have such an effect. Although it was a pretty big quake..

By Daniel_swe (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Chris #116 - the big Sumatra earthquake was 26 December 2004 (there was a devastating earthquake in Bam, Iran, exactly one year before), and yes that was EXTREMELY evident on seismographs all over the world. There had been already a magnitude 8.1 the day before not far from Antarctica and looking up the Etna seismic graphs I thought "wow, that's a big one", luckily it struck a remote area, but the next day the world's luck ran out. Seeing the huge waves on the Etna seismic graphs I was struck with awe, then the news came in of the size of the disaster, the tsunami and all, and later it became evident that it had been a magnitude 9.1 (or maybe even 9.3). Unfortunately the graphs of the big Sumatra quake have long since gone from our archives, and I don't really wish you to see something similar anytime soon because it means really really EVIL stuff going down ...

@Kultsi, #118

It seems that there is a small (very small) uplift at SOHO and GOLA during the last week or so. Would this be an effect of a melting icecap? Reason would suggest that less pressure from the ice would result in a small inflation that is not nescessary due to magmatic pressure right?

Just taking a stab at a theory here..;)

By Daniel_swe (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Boris and @Chris

If there WAS something else at work wouldnt the sine waves look a bit different? These seems to be too..long..(in lack of a better word) More like drop a pebble in a pond and the further away the waves go the more spread out they get.

By Daniel_swe (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Daniel_swe, @Raving -

Thanks! Where is that GFUM thingy?

When looking at Mýrdalsjökull, I'd never leave out the ones that I mentioned (GOLA, FIMM & SOHO). The data I use for them is from the IES site and is said to be "detrended" for annual & semiannual changes.

The text Raving gave in [115] also explains the EQs around GOLA.

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

There is actualy a small fence around Strokkur. I think the parents were just not looking good enough after they'r child. but bad things can happen, i for myself hope that the girl gets well soon. something like that should't happen to a girl that age.

#128 - very good link: lots of GPS data and a useful map!

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

#87 Posted by: Renato Rio

RE: "Shirakawa ..edition on Redoubt's harmonic tremors. "

No telling from the video or comments there that there was harmonic tremor recorded. Harmonic tremor would be awesome to record though, because it seems almost like a pure sine wave, and may therefore sound like a single musical note or tone.

Also, Love or Rayleigh waves, which are the slowly transmitted vibational waves from an earthquake, as recorded at distant sensors are very like sinewaves, so they too should be interesting to record as audio. Yellowstone, for example, picked up some of these slow waves from today's (UTC time) Mag 7.3 quake in VANUATU:… (bottom of recording)

By William M Boston (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

#130 @William I'm sorry. I thought I saw harmonic tremors edited on Shirakawa's Youtube Homepage. But maybe I'm wrong.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

I haven't taken time to look for an Icelandic project extrapolation, but the University of Alaska Museum of the North has an on-going installation (since 2006) of environmental-sensor derived ambient music.

The Place Where You Go to Listen.

News story can be found at:

'Alaska's state seismologist, Roger Hansen, also collaborated with Adams (composer who created the installation). Real-time seismic data continuously flows in from five stations around Fairbanks. Hansen says geologists have for decades sped up sounds of tectonic movements so humans could hear them. The low-toned drum sounds Adams developed to represent earthquakes are more artistic, but you can only hear them if you visit The Place since the low frequencies won't reproduce over the radio. Hansen says he enjoys the intersection of music and science. We have the fidelity of seismic data. It comes with different frequencies and amplitudes and harmonics â and those are all the same physics issues that you have in music, you know, whether it's piano strings or organ pipes.'

The Aurora Borealis is represented as bells. You can imagine how glorious it must be at present, with auroral displays adding their ringing tones to this ambient music project, after a prolonged Solar Minimum Quiet-time.

#132 That must be amazing!

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 10 Aug 2010 #permalink

I've been trying to get the museum to provide overnight live streaming from the display, via their WWW streaming audio link patched to the campus NRP station.

It would be very cool to listen to while working. There is another sensor driven environmental ambient 'machine', out of the UK, that streams space telescope radiowave-based music.

I like the idea of using ground-based (the UA installation picks up weather data and translates it, as well as natural sounds of nature, light levels, seismic, gravitational and others) sensor data feeds and synthesized overtones.

Any location with a set up a similar environmental sonics recording and translating equipment and streaming project would have an entirely different character and sound signature.

What would our favorite volcano sound like, I wonder, at full steam, fountaining fire at night, sending jets of ash skyward that is full of lightning? What would the massive ice field should like as it reacts to a thundering eruption, to summer rains, or when outlet glaciers are running with steaming water or lava?

Even when Iceland's volcanoes are not singing, the earth, ice, morraines, meltwater rivers and mountain weather is extraordinarily active. This small continent is booming with tectonic and volcanic-seismic activity.

Gods, it would be like listening to an endless symphony.

@134, 132 Passerby

Wow ... they sould should post on youtube.

By William M Boston (not verified) on 11 Aug 2010 #permalink