Millennium Volcanoes

As we labour to rescue what can be saved, we shall continue from where we last were. Here again is that fabulous post by Albert, alas, without the original reader comments:

Pompei and Vesuvius, engraving by Friedrich Federer 1850 (WikiMedia Commons)

Pompei and Vesuvius, engraving by Friedrich Federer 1850 (WikiMedia Commons)

Volcanic eruptions have become major attractions, and even rather minor eruptions can make front page news. In modern days, any volcano deciding to erupt will find itself instantly monitored and Volcano-Cafe’d. But in the days before global coverage (and, dare I say it, Volcano Cafe), many eruptions went unnoticed. Thus, in May 1831 and again in August, parts of Europe and the coast of Africa were covered in a “dry fog” similar to (but not as extensive as) the one caused by Laki in 1783. But the sulphuric haze (if that is was what it was) was not identified as volcanic and the culprit has never been discovered. For older eruptions, the existence of records depends entirely on location. We have very good dates for Vesuvius or Mount Fuji, but none whatsoever for Mount Erebus. In 1915, Shackleton described seeing an iceberg with a clear volcanic dust layer embedded, but ascribing it to a particular volcano would have been difficult. (Given where he was at the time (the Weddell Sea), Deception Island with its ashy eruptions must be a suspect.)

The best records we have come from ice cores obtained from Greenland and from Antarctica. Ice cores are drilled out of the ice sheets and can be up to 3 km long (or deep). The yearly cycle of snow fall and summer melt leads to annual layers, which can be counted just like tree rings. The older layers are found at the bottom of the ice cores, and they can be as old as 123,000 years in Greenland and 800,000 years in Antarctica. The ice contains pollutants that became embedded in the snow, and small bubbles of air. These become isolated from the atmosphere as new layers accumulate above, and preserve a sample of conditions of the past. Dating ice by counting layers can be as accurate as one year for layers of a century old, and a few years for layers older than 1000 years. If a layer is seen in several ice cores, the date becomes more accurate. Ice cores have been used to measure past CO2 levels and temperatures, and lead from the 1850’s gold rush, but they also contain a history of the major volcanic eruptions.

Similar to dendrochronology, a great number of layers are counted and painstakingly measured, after which it’s simple arithmetics in order to assign a date (year) to each layer. But the further down you go, the more compressed the layers become and once compressed into ice, annual layers are no longer visible to the eye. Detailed analysis of the ice core can still tease out the annual layers, using for instance oxygen isotope which measure temperature. A slice may be cut out and analysed for chemical content. Volcanic eruptions may be detected by visible ash layers, acidic chemistry, or electrical resistance change. By comparing the sulphur contents in ice cores from Greenland and Antartica, it’s possible to make a calculation (an educated guess) to indicate the general region of the erupting volcano. By melting the sample and drying off the water, any ash trapped can then be analysed for chemical composition and put under the electron microscope for a visual comparison with ash samples from specific volcanoes in order to obtain a tentative match. (Shaun Pitman)

Similar to dendrochronology, a great number of layers are counted and painstakingly measured, after which it’s simple arithmetics in order to assign a date (year) to each layer. But the further down you go, the more compressed the layers become and once compressed into ice, annual layers are no longer visible to the eye. Detailed analysis of the ice core can still tease out the annual layers, using for instance oxygen isotope which measure temperature. A slice may be cut out and analysed for chemical content. Volcanic eruptions may be detected by visible ash layers, acidic chemistry, or electrical resistance change. By comparing the sulphur contents in ice cores from Greenland and Antartica, it’s possible to make a calculation (an educated guess) to indicate the general region of the erupting volcano. By melting the sample and drying off the water, any ash trapped can then be analysed for chemical composition and put under the electron microscope for a visual comparison with ash samples from specific volcanoes in order to obtain a tentative match. (Shaun Pitman)

Volcanoes produce two things that can end up in the polar ice: tephra (ash) and sulphate (SO4>). Both can reach the stratosphere after a major eruption and travel large distances. Tephra contained in the ice is mainly ash (particles less than 2 mm across, including glass shards) and these can often, but not always, be seen by eye in the core. Sulphate is measured either from analysis of the gas bubbles contained in the ice, or from measuring the electric conductivity of each layer which in effect measures the acidity of the ice.

Not all volcanic eruptions are recorded in the ice. It depends on how much sulphate and/or dust was ejected, but also where the eruption occured. Ash falls down more quickly and tends not to spread as far. Thus, ash in Greenland may come from Iceland (if the wind was right), Jan Mayen, or Alaska, but is less likely from (say) Java, unless the eruption was very large. Sulphate can stay up for several years and can spread out over an entire hemisphere, or both hemispheres if the eruption occured in the tropics. (Dispersal from south to north or vice versa is more difficult so non-tropical vocanoes mainly affect their own hemisphere.) But due to the vagaries of weather, it may miss one location and show up strongly in one a short distance away. The ejecta need time to spread to the polar regions, and this can take up to a year. The ice core date can therefore be a little after the volcanic date.

Ice core showing an unusually obvious volcanic dust layer. Credit: Heide Hoop

Ice core showing an unusually obvious volcanic dust layer. Credit: Heide Hoop

Several recent scientific papers have identified the volcanic layers seen in a number of different ice cores, and have tried to tie these to the guilty volcanoes. Sometimes this is easy: for instance, the layer at 1815/1816 is readily identified with Tambora. Sometimes the obvious answer is not fully right: the 1991/1992 layer is obviously attributed to Pinatubo, but in fact in the south may also contain material from Mount Hudson, a Chilean volcano only a little weaker than Pinatubo which erupted four months later. Older layers are more difficult to assign to a particular volcano. The list of volcanic events in the ice cores goes back almost 100,000 years. The famous Toba eruption, 73,000 years ago, and 100 times stronger than Tambora, has left a strong signal in the ice. The Phlegrean eruption in Italy, 34,000 years ago, is also clearly seen.

I have tried to compile a list of the ‘millennium volcanoes’ as seen in the ice, using recent papers . Where possible, the originating volcano is identified. The original papers list the dates for the sulphate and tephra layers, and give possible volcanoes if known. Many of the identifications are in the recent list of Michael Sigl from 2013 and 2014, others are in earlier work by Jihong Cole-Dai. But many of the layers are simply listed as ‘unknown’. I have tried to confirm the proposed identifications by correlating with a list of known eruptions of the past millennium, by Nicholas Deligne (2012). Sometimes there are significant uncertainties on the volcanic dates which makes a specific identification more difficult. Some dates come from radio carbon dating, either ‘calendric’ (real years) or ‘uncalibrated’: in the latter case they need to be adjusted to account for the fluctuating 14C content of the atmosphere. If they are listed as ‘BP’ (before present), they are counted back from 1950 (somewhat arbitrarily defined as ‘the present’). Other dates are from historical records. The list agrees with many of the proposed identifications, but in some cases the dates are not in good enough agreement. I also found about 10 new potential identifications.

Ice cores are stored in very large freezers. Here is the one at the National Ice Core Laboratory, NICL, in Lakewood, Colorado, USA. (NICL photo)

Ice cores are stored in very large freezers. Here is the one at the National Ice Core Laboratory, NICL, in Lakewood, Colorado, USA. (NICL photo)

The list of millennium volcanoes is shown below. Some large eruption may be missing if they left no ice record, and some eruptions seen in the ice cores may have been weakish (VEI 4) but were closer to the pole. All the largest eruptions should be in this list, but for comparison I also show some of the larger recent eruptions with no ice record. The eruption date is given if known (with month), or otherwise the ice core date, followed by the (suspected) originating volcano. The indicative VEI is given and the ejected volume in ‘dense rock equivalent’, i.e. the size of the hole it left (the volume after ejection can be several times larger because tephra expands so much). Both are taken from the literature if I could find this, or scaled down from the post-eruption volume given in Deligne’s catalog. Next, the amount of sulphate deposited in the ice cores is given, relative to that of Tambora (1815). Tambora deposited twice as much sulphate in the south as in the north (80 versus 40 kg of SO4 per square kilometre). Thus, equal numbers in both columns actually means twice as much in Antarctica. Numbers larger than 1 indicate more sulphate than from Tambora. That does not automatically mean that the eruption was bigger: it may have much closer to the north (or south) pole than Tambora was.

The last columns gives an estimate of the latitude of the eruption, based on the ratio of arctic to antarctic sulphate. This should be taken with a healthy grain of salt, and is certainly no more accurate than 10-20 degrees. Where the volcano is known, the actual value is also shown, for comparison. In most cases there is reasonable agreement. In some cases, such as 1477, the arctic and antarctic ice cores probably trace different volcanoes. Where no volcano is known, such as the large event of 1808, the estimated latitude gives an idea where the culprit might be located. In a few cases this calculation was used to identify a potential culprit, or rule out a proposed one.

Tambora is often mentioned as the largest eruption of the past millennium. This is however not clear. Two eruptions have left larger deposits, and probably exceeded Tambora: Kuwae (1458) and Rinjani/Samarand (1257). Tambora is now considered to be the 3rd largest eruption of the millenium. The three largest eruptions are all from the same part of the world, giving an indication where future disruption is most likely to come from.

One warning to end with. People have looked for evidence of past eruption mainly in volcanoes with known recent activity. The list of identified culprits is by no means complete. Some sleeping giants may have been overlooked. But in general, it may be wise to keep an eye on any volcano in this list.


Albert List part 1

Albert List part 2

Albert List part 3

Albert List part 4


  • 1831: An identification with Babuyan is often proposed but seems unlikely. The dust/sulphur is seen only in Greenland, not Antarctica, and the dry fog reported in Europe that year also suggests a northern location, perhaps North America.
  • The 1808/09 eruption remains a mystery. It has left a strong signal in Greenland, equal to Tambora, but a bit less than Tambora in Antarctica. This suggests equatorial, and possibly not Indonesia.
  • Quilotoa, AD 1229: This is normally called the ‘800BP’ eruption (making it AD 1150), but a range of calibrated 14C dates indicates a bit younger ages, towards 1220-1260. The 1285 event could also be a strong candidate for this eruption.


  • Cole-Dai et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, volume 102, page 16,761 – 16,771 (1997)
  • Abbott and Davies, Earth-Science Reviews, volume 155, page 173 – 191 (2012)
  • Plummer et al., Climate of the Past, volume 8, pages 1929 – 1940 (2012)
  • Scott et al, GPA special paper (2005).
  • Stigl et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 118, 1151–1169 (2013)
  • Deligne et al, Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth, Vol 116, (2010)




133 thoughts on “Millennium Volcanoes

  1. Great informative post for future reference, and cool that it was not removed.

    In the meantime, there was a mid-low frequency event at Askja today, well seen on the drums around Asjka all the way to Bardarbunga and looks like a very deep quake or something magmatic, given the frequency. It looks similar to teleseismic signals, but it is not teleseism, since it is only recorded on the stations near Askja and diminishes fast with distance. It could also be perhaps something non-quake related, like a landslide event or something like that, but if there would be a landslide that would leave a seismic signal more than 60km away, than I am sure we would hear about it in the news. A fluid-magmatic-tectonic event is most likely, and given that there is no clear initial break, it is quite likely something magmatic, since there are spikes in the pulse, probably rock breaking.
    I remember seeing something similar at Hekla once, and looks similar to something we are occasionally seeing at Cotopaxi. Strange indeed. 🙂 Tho it is a pretty isolated event, with no other signals or quakes recorded since, except some possible microseism.

      • LOTS of things we have to sort out, that being one of them Andrew. 🙂

        • I was going to whinge about the flickering background, but either you have just fixed it or siging in has sorted it. 🙂

          • Probably has to do with the underlying code page loading. Once it was fully loaded, the browser quit reflowing the page.

  2. Well this is good!! Hi to Ursh and others who have managed to join us again.
    I am so pleased that Albert’s post has been retrieved. Not just for the info (That table is really useful for reference) But I just love that picture of the Ice Cores in storage.

    • Yes, good that normal service is restored. Am I right in thinking that we can save the posts, but not the comments? My posts on Tambora were only fillers, but I wrote them for our Volcanocafe community and readers. I’ve still got copies if you want them, but my concern is that I don’t want someone else claiming them and hiding them away, Smaug-like, as part of their hoard.

      I also love this article – the archaeologist in me greatly appreciates the dating of volcanic ash. Anything under cannot be dated to after that event, anything above cannot be dated to earlier than that event. Very useful! 🙂

      • Know how you feel, Talla. Even “fillers” take some time to research and write. Others would need permission from you to use them, especially if they want to be taken seriously.

      • Your posts were more than “fillers”, Talla. Please, do not denigrate them! Also, I believe that they belong to the posts we have back-ups of, although I am not the person handling that.

        • Thanks! I do have copies if you don’t have back-ups. 🙂

      • I have only done a couple of posts but anyone other than VC community ,Carl & Myself republishing them will get repercussions. I don’t think they would rock the scientific world but hey!..They took my time and effort. Do not belittle your very valuable contributions.

      • In my archive operation, the comments were saved, but I am not adept at WP back end operation so that the comments can be restored in their original format. Besides, they are linked to the individual people that said them, and their login account. This is where the greatest problem would lie. How do you get a comment (which is just a field in a linked database) back to it’s original linkage if what it linked to (the user name and time-stamp) no longer exists on the server?

        Yeah, it could be done, if you had all day to write the scripting to do it and you understood all of the nuances of the databases original construction.

        In the meantime, the archive and comments still exist, but in a RAR archive on my machine. If they are needed for legal reasons, they can be retrieved. Short of that, It tends to fall into the same advise I used to give an occasional customer who wanted to recover lost files on their hard drive. Yes, it can be done, but unless the data is needed to keep you out of jail, it’s not worth the cost. The hard drive recovery service that I had a referral discount agreement with was quite pricey, but they have a phenomenal recovery rate. (above 95%). That’s why whenever I hear a news head yammering about deleted hard drives, I laugh with ridicule. That’s full on bullshit that “the data is lost forever.” If it is needed bad enough, it can be gotten.

        • thanks for that, I have a problem with that, when I changed operating systems,and the guys doing it, felt ok to delete things, like I don’t need that, which is b/s, will have a go when I have some time to do it

          • If they loaded the OS on to your original drive, you may see some success with “recover my files” but the more your new load of windows operates, the more likely that it will eventually overwrite the “lost” files.

          • the files are on a saving system I can’t access, it ;has to do with it being XP, I kept the pc with a ltd windows 7 on it,but with 32 bits, the new one is on a other PC with 64 on it, or the other way around, can’t think of it right now, I just bought another monitor as well, so I can operate the two Pc’s and put the XP back on the old one, that is the thinking of it, I like a pc just for writing, and not on the net, privacy reasons

          • Well, I don’t work at that shop anymore, but the way I used to do it was to sell a new hard drive for the reload and to place the old hard drive in as a secondary drive with the operating system disabled. That way the client could access old data from the old drive. As long as there was nothing wrong with the drive controller on the old drive, things were as they were before the OS went belly up. In the extreme, a USB gizmo that interfaced with the old drive’s bus could serve to make the old drive available as a removable storage device.

            As far as I know, IDE and SATA buses are supported by devices like that. SAS I haven’t run across yet. (SAS is more of a server bus standard used for RAID arrays.) And, speaking of RAID, they don’t apply. Once a drive is in a raid set, you need the raid controller and the other drives in the set to get at the data. (striping and CRC checking are used in RAID arrays and unless you can duplicate that, you’re boned. On the plus side, depending on the RAID configuration, they are much less susceptible to wholesale catastrophe.) If you crap a drive, just replace it and the array will rebuild. (RAID 5) The Dell servers that I perform maintenance on even keep a designated fail-over drive at the ready in the array should one go belly up during normal operation.

        • One important thing to remember, is that if a drive is over written with new files, any files that pre-existed on there are subject to being overwritten if their space has been marked as available to the operating system. Once overwritten, the data is pretty much gone. In this method, the previous information is completely lost.

          And, an odd chracteristic of the way Windows deals with files, when you delete a file, all that happens is the first letter in the file name is cleared and the clusters associated with it are marked as available.

          Some user available programs are able to retrieve deleted files quite well. “Recover my files” is one that I have used on occasion with success. Failing that, and it is hyper important, “DriveSavers” is the company that I point them at. They can go as far as using a clean room to pull the platters and mount them in an undamaged drive frame/housing to attempt recovery. They are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but they are very good at what they do.

          I generally recommend them only if the data is important enough to keep a client out of jail.

  3. Really hope the articles from the begining of the Bardarbunga activity can be saved. I always enjoy reading those.

  4. Hello, do not worry about the copyright for the articles that people have published at Volcanocafé.
    They are all formally copyright by the owners of Volcanocafé unless the author has expressly requested that the copyright will remain with the author.
    So if anyone hoarded away the articles and started to republish them somewhere else without express permission they would be in a world of hurt. The only one with permission to republish material from Volcanocafé is Vitton George who publishes them in french.

    • That’s good to know. I’m sure anyone who posts here feels the same as me – that we write to be read by a specific group of people – volcanocafeholics. It is a terrible shame about all the comments. They provided a valuable running commentary – particularly of Bob and Bardarbunga.

      • They will be saved to.
        We are working hard at getting it all back.
        It may though take a while as we have to await the results of what the court decides against the person who has named herself the new owner of the old volcanocafé site. I did not think she would dare to publicaly state that she is the owner.

        • Wow, that is a lot of nerve for her to come out and admit that. One thing by her doing that is you know for sure who it is.

  5. Dont know how many articles are gone, but seems like that Google has available in cache several articles, this one looks to be no longer available in the previous volcanocafe website:

    About the comments on Google cache articles, it all depends when Google screenshot the article, to check for Google Cache (next to the url, click on the arrow, cache):

  6. Tcht… nothing is safe nowadays. Even volcanoes get stolen. For a while I tried to work out who the goodies and baddies were, and then I gave up and simply read what I find. Haven’t been reading much for a while. New grandmother and looking after the adorable 5 1/2 month little soul. I love babies that don’t cry for any old rubbish… only for food and then only after the littly reminder a few minutes before did not seem to work…

    Had to reregister, couldn’t remember my old password.

    Thank you for all the things I have learned here. Sometimes I wish BardaBaby would just wake up for a few days and rattle all the scientists and send Dalek racing back. 🙂

    • Welcome to our new home Hen and Congratulations on joining the Granny Club. Warning ….It is very easy to get Toddlerised….It happens to me frequently 😀 (Toddlerised = Feelngs of warmth, wetness, eventually leading to silly behaviour in Parks and open spaces. Language starts to deteriorate. ) 😀

    • Congratulations Hen. I’ve 6 grandchildren. Maybe you would call yours chicks? 🙂 My youngest is 5yrs. Seems like yesterday they were in diapers.

      • I only have 10 grandchildren 2-32 and and 7 great grand children, the one good thing is, they mostly living in different parts of the country, so now i have time to do things for me for a change, it is funny so my kids are getting a lessons in kids and grandkids, how times are changing

  7. FED is looking a bit tetchy this afternoon, perhaps a slight grumble from Lady H?

    • Someone mentioned that there was a storm on Iceland at the moment which explains the thicker line, but nice quakes 😀

      • Yes, and my, the weather has certainly turned moody on the webcam! 🙂

  8. Testing, one two, Testing!

    Good to be here in the new and ‘improved’ version of Volcano Cafe. Now, let’s get some volcano’s rumbling!


    • Hey Jory, good you found us. And no trouble commenting, JAY!

  9. It is nice to see this post here. Lots of thanks to the dalek dragons (or sheep?)! I have kept a copy of the comments on it (including the deleted ones). Perhaps there will be a way to restore those. Now I hope that the excellent Taal post resurfaces soon as that was such a gripping read and a staggering amount of work. This site will be a good home, once the furniture and decoration is in.

    Diane, Daleks have their proper name last, so you could be ‘Dalek Diane’.

    Volcano watching
    Summer solstice heralds change
    Blossom becomes fruit

    • I love the editing you did over at the old place.
      The new DVP series will be edited in as quickly as possible here and then the series will continue.

      I am writing on the next instalment in that series, but with all of the extra work our little Teutonic Thief has created for us things will be slowed down slightly. All the legal work being done is a heap and a deuce.

    • Awwwwww! Albert. Thank you so much. 🙂 And So few words but poetically you have described the situation as it is.

      • Albert ! I bow to your superior knowledge of all things ET, Daleks in particular and have changed my name yet again.
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Shuffles off muttering…Who am I? Where am I? What is the meaning of life?

    • While examining a pile of brush cuttings in the back yard, I tugged on one to see how gnarly the pile was. The “tooth monster” thought that the whole pile quivering was a sign that it is time to play, grabbed the stick I was pulling on and took off into the yard with it. I nearly busted a gut laughing at him. Especially when he tried to run into the house, not thinking about the width of the stick he was holding.

      • Well, at least he didn’t come unglued like that first time he saw a pile of leaves that I had back there. The wind fluttered the surface leaves and he thought for sure that there was this large hulking creature out there. Until I took him out to it on a leash and walked him around it, he wouldn’t go near it. Now it’s a regular stop for him on his morning rounds.

  10. A short rumination on this wet Sunday Morning. Some scientific thoughts on cause and causation. and being Maths phobic, I think more along the lines of Murphy’s or Sod’s law.
    Today has been pencilled in for a couple of weeks as a BBQ on my Veggie patch where family members can congregate and help me with the jobs I can’t manage myself anymore and in return I provide BBQ fare, drinks and CAKE . Murphy’s Law states , “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. BBQs and rain don’t go well together. Today after a couple of really dry weeks…It rains….
    So being a bit annoyed at the vagaries of the British weather I got to thinking about Murphy and who the poor bloke was. His life must have been full of disasters, Crises and general angst. ..
    Here he is on this link.

    When I read this article I thought of Lurking….. Not that he is a crisis or a disaster but because the general humour of Col. John J. Stapp just appeared similar.

    Here in VC , those who maintain the site and most who comment are all like minded. Being seriously scientific and professional in their approach to their given fields they understand the importance of Murphy’s Law and thus , to use a quote (slightly altered) from the above article,
    ” ……… their good safety record in VC is due to a firm belief in Murphy’s Law and in the necessity to try and circumvent it. ”
    Hence we are back on track without too much disruption.

    Whilst on the subject of highly scientific laws and Lurking’s Homo Stultus I really had to draw attention to
    Stapp’s paradox. yes the same Col. John P. Stapp
    He stated,
    “The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle.”

    I need coffee #2 so leave you all with this magnificent site on the above link which should give you all plenty to think about if your day is also disappointingly wet and miserable.

    My thanks for making me smile to all contributors to The Murphy’s Law Site.

    • “The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle.”

      😀 One has to love Col. Stapp, brilliant!

  11. Thanks for bringing the Taal post back! Great that that has been rescued. I wanted to re-read it.

  12. Several of our readers report that they cannot comment on the resurrected posts. We are trying to figure out why and correct this a.s.a.p.

  13. The Hilina Slump in Hawaii just had a magnitude 5.2 earthquake.

    • Never a good thing there. Any increase in subsidence?

      More importantly, is there a beach ball anywhere to be found?

  14. Could we kindly ask all of our users to try and post on all of the published posts. There seems to be a problem with the comment-posting.
    If you encounter a problem. Please email us.

    • We are slowly getting closer to fixing the problem. Stay with us for a while longer.

  15. It is a pity that you have experienced such inconveniences and wish you all the best in your new home 🙂

    • Inconvenience depends on how you look at it. An acceleration of an already thought-out plan is another view. (an ad-hoc version of item #2)

      Personally, I think it is more of an implementation of a few basic “skills/rules of life” that I learned from each ship I have been stationed on. 1 – Crisis management, 2 – Contingency planning, 3 – It can get worse, 4 – It always does and there will invariably be some entity cheering it along.

      • #2 determines how you deal with #1, Numbers 3 and 4 mean that you don’t stop with #2 because more stuff is likely just around the corner. The cheerleader in #4 pretty much guarantees it. Usually it’s the guy preaching change for the sake of change. You know, the one that needs the 2 x 4 up the side of the head.

        “Change for the sake of change” is never a good thing. A system in constant flux can never achieve optimal efficiency.

      • I see you mastered the rules for mitigate constraints/Inconvenience. With some delay, happy birthday 🙂

        • “Mastery” implies 10,000 hours of experience at the task… I think I am well shy of that number.

          (See “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell for more on the 10,000 hour rule)

          Of note is that driver insurance premiums take a rather large drop when they reach 25. That’s about how long it takes to accumulate 10,000 hours of driving experience.

          Note: The idea of the 10,000 rule comes from work by K. Anders Ericsson. Gladwell used it as a central idea in his book.

    • Looks to be chugging. But with no open vent, where is it happening at?

      Note: If those had sharper rise times, they would be “poppers”

    • It certainly looks like something is knocking to be let out.

      • My bet is on something significant happening within the next 10 days, though I’ve been wrong before. :p

  16. The station is on the north flank, under the crater. It is the closest station to the main vent.
    The system just keeps pressurising, and eventually something will poop.

      • This latest report on Cotopaxi from It would seem that there are some climbers who will not heed warnings.! I would want to be far away from this volcano right now!

        The volcano has been showing signs of unrest. Since mid-April this year, and particularly during May and June, a marked increased in earthquakes and SO2 emissions have been detected, which could be signs of a magma intrusion beneath the volcano. Even though climbing is currently restricted, parties are sumiting the volcano at their own risk.

        This site has some magnificent images of Cotopaxi. Worth looking at.

  17. Albert, thank you, I really enjoyed reading that article. Me another long time lurker here, but I love to see Volcano Café continue! Great work!

    • Well, that was a ‘funny five minutes’. Thanks to Hobbes and Lugh for fixing the problem with commenting. 🙂

        • It was very quick by computer standards! (I’m a bit of a technophobe and have trouble with machines and software glitches. I sent my new laptop for repair under warranty nearly a month ago and, apart from confirming receipt, I’ve not heard a peep from them since. At my old workplace my phone was repeatedly being repaired or replaced but within a day the screen just read ‘BAD’ and wouldn’t let me do anything but take or make calls – none of the fancy stuff that other people could do!)

        • In my line of work, somehow, for a short period, my residence got listed on the web as a depot level repair facility for Toshiba. I was a bit taken aback when a lady showed up on my doorstep seeking warranty repair on her laptop one Saturday morning. Yeah, I can do that level of work, but I am not set-up as a service center. All my parts have to be ordered in to deal with issues as I encounter them out in the field.

          • LOL! I’m pretty sure I sent it to the right place as I stuck the address label they sent me on the box. I’m just glad I didn’t trade in my old Dell (I’m using it now) when I got the new thing. The Dell was the cheapest laptop I could find when I bought it – about 8 years ago – and it’s never let me down.

          • Little secret about your “old” Dell. If you ever have to reload it, the Dell installation disk will automatically see the architecture as being valid and not pester the crap out of you about registering.

            This works as long as that chassis was an authorized version for the build of Windows that was prevalent at the time.

      • Jay!

        GL Edit = “EXFOLIATE!”

        And in keeping thing volcanically oriented… even my humor:

        “Granite forms plutons of igneous rock several kilometers below the surface as magma slowly cools and crystallizes. The granite is under great overhead pressure.

        Then, granite is uplifted to the surface during a mountain-building event. During the mountain building process, the overlying rock is eroded as the granite is uplifted, and the pressure on the granite reduced. The granite expands and forms fractures or sheet joints parallel to the surface. The granite then erodes in concentric layers (similar to how an onion peels) forming rounded masses called exfoliation domes.

        • I’ve been there. Not much to write home about. Lots of fields, farm equipment, and probably the best chicken gizzards around. (if you call ahead, they will have them ready by the time you arrive, fresh out of the fryer.)


          As a rule, I am not fond of chicken, but a good batch of gizzards can’t be beat. The ones these guys make beat the ones from the store north of Defuniak Springs on Rte 331.

          (If you work at that store (North of Defuniak), sorry, but your gizzards are a bit “bleh”. Thank God you guys also sell picked Jalapeños so you can get them down. While I am at it, what the hell is with those little dough balls of sweet corn that you have deep fried? Thinking I had fried okra, I nearly hurled when I bit into that thing.)

        • You ought to try having an email server under your control. For a while there, I would make an email account on the fly to register for something then toss the addy after I got finished. In fact, that’s where my primary email for VC came from, the difference being that I kept it and use it for VC related stuff. The identity is based off some non-descript airfield in S Iran that I saw on an aeronautical chart. The other part is the first name of a guy I bought a dog from. Insiders at VC know my real identity and how to get in touch with me in my non active on VC hours.

          • Do you get any sleep? 🙂

            One of my email addresses came from a typo – now have to find out if it has any embarrassing meaning anywhere 😉

          • Sleep? Not often. Vodka works best, but I don’t dare become reliant or I could face liver damage.

        • And a secret private “jolly” of mine that still makes me chuckle.

 is still an active address. Don’t expect to get anything from it, but when a site is obviously collecting addresses for SPAM, I give them that one.

          At one time, it used to be where you could report SPAM, and with enough complaints, would shut down the network feed to the subnet generating spam and the ISP would have to literally jump through their arse to get their feed turned back on. is long gone, but the addy is still alive… somewhere.

          If the site sends an activation code to your email, that’s obviously not going to work, but in some cases, it is handy to keep the SPAM list polluted with it. Ya never know, some all powerful network feed somewhere may take action on it and literally ruin some SPAMers day. Thats also why I have no problem with posting it here in the raw address format. Some address collectors troll through websites and forums looking for email addresses to add to their lists. That’s why you see some people use pseudo obfuscated addresses like me{at} That’s only partially effective since all that has to be done is to look for combinations of characters that mean @. These specially built spiders work much in the same way that Google spiders operate, only they are written to specifically look for email addresses.

          I’ve used a private spider called HTDig to run indexing on specific websites to whatever depth that I wanted. Mainly what I used it for was to index a set of pdfs that I had stashed away in a directory. It was really handy being able to quickly locate a specific reference in a paper during heated online arguments. Adobe itself has a similar functionality, but it is not as quick to access as having a prebuilt local webpage with the search engine on it.

    • All are welcome, so long as you don’t bite!

      If you do, then we set the Daleks to exterminate!

    • Patience grasshopper is a good mantra. Forgot password and voila with time I could sign in without it. Thanks folks for making it easy for dummies.

      • Lol my sleep deprived brain read that as “patience Talla Hopper”… Must get more sleep!

        • Hey, not a bad Idea. I’m pretty sure I have to get up and do something tomorrow.

        • When people ask for my surname and then look a little confused, I repeat it as “Hopper, as in Grass.” They get it then and never spell it as Hooper! 😀

  18. I finally read the article on Taal. Really good. Thanks again Azost for finding it on google. 🙂

  19. Cotopaxi continues with the bad mood, with continuous volcanic tremor episodes, with VT quakes and LP/VLP/ULP events.
    Current SO2 degassing values are 2000-3000 t/day, which is a decent elevated amount, and the in the average since the onset of this episode back in late May.
    Average SO2 release in the past 4 years at Cotopaxi was ranging between 300-600t/day.

    EDIT: added img tag so link displayed correctly /Hobbes

  20. Let’s see if this works. Been a while since I looked in, and was disgusted to think that anyone would deliberately do that.

  21. Log time lurker – if this was a ship I would have been a plank holder! Just checking I can still post although don’t often as there are a lot of people on here who know a lot more than I do. I have learned a lot though! Keep up the good work folks.

  22. It appears that we have managed to get images to properly post with only their url.

  23. Surtsey reminding us that she’s still there.
    29.06.2015 12:50:12 63.331 -20.625 14.1 km 2.3 99.0 2.3 km NNW of Surtsey

  24. The Bardarbunga GPS which Ian discovered had re-appeared, has remained flat at its new level. Does anyone know whether IMO has made any comments about it? I am wondering whether it was re-established at a slightly different (higher) location, or whether there really has been a change in the (ice?) level at this location.

  25. Hi all, lurker from the beginning, (dr.Klemetti’s blog > jonfr >volcanocafe 1>volcanocafe2) what a trip!
    Always tuned to your wonderfull vulcanic minds, go on!!
    (this is also a test comment, from Italy)

    • Salve Vittorio. Buona sera! Just practising my Italian but it’s good to see you here 🙂

  26. Google Cache still has all of its comments as well. I suggest harvesting copies of everything Google and Wayback have from the site. Even without the database the HTML could be used to make the text of the usernames and comments available, though without the dynamic features or the ability to reply to the old comments. They could be at a “pre-crash comments” link on each (pre-crash) article or something.

  27. I find your post remarkable Albert, thanks a lot, I enjoyed the article and the discussion very much. 🙂

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