Notre petit nuage magique

In her 1948 novel “Trollkarlens hatt” (Finn Family Moomintroll), Finnish author Tove Jansson describes how on the first day of spring Moomintroll and his friends discover a large, black hat and bring it home without knowing that it is the Magician’s lost hat and that anything that stays in the hat too long will be transformed into something completely different. The first items to end up in the hat are some eggshells and next morning, they discover several small clouds. Experimentation yields the facts that they will carry a person and that it is possible to steer them to where you want to and they have a lot of fun riding their little magical clouds before they disappear.

Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden riding their little magical clouds. (Tove Jansson, “Trollkarlens Hatt”)

Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden riding their little magical clouds. (Tove Jansson, “Trollkarlens Hatt”)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all, just like the Moomintroll and his friends had our own little magical cloud that could take us anywhere in the world we wanted to go whenever we felt the need? To leave behind the almost too-familiar and drab view out of our window on a late and rainy November evening and exchange it for some gloriously exciting, beautiful, awe-inspiring and, dare it be said, sometimes frightening views! In a way, we actually do as there are hundreds and thousands of online webcams for us to peruse.

My very own magical cloud materialised in late March 2010 when a fissure opened up on the saddle between Eyjafjallajökull and Myrdalsjökull at a place called Fimmvörðuháls (“Five Cairns Pass”) and the generous Icelanders quickly positioned cameras to show this latest wonder to the world. Together with many others, I spent hours glued to my chair in front of the PC, ogling the views provided. The very best views were to be seen when then the sun had set and just before total darkness engulfed the fire fountains. Looking back, I think many of us can say of those days – “that’s when I became a volcanoholic”.

Fimvöduhals 2010

The Fimmvörðuháls eruption in late March 2010. The “Lava Fall” is hidden behind the spatter cone but the steam cloud of a magmatophreatic explosion is visible in the background. The scariest thing was to watch how close Icelanders and the groups of tourists would go to the spatter cones and rivers of lava. (Unknown photographer)

Unfortunately, my PC-skills were such that I had not yet discovered that via the simple expedient of pressing the “Prnt Scrn” button and then pasting the resulting “screen grab” into MS Paint, I could make my own photographic record of the event. By the time the main eruption of Eyjafjallajökull started on April 14th, I had rectified this deficiency and made hundreds of webcam photos in addition to spending almost all of my free time glued to the screen.

Eyjafjallajökull at 21:25 UT on April 14th 2010, the first day of the eruption as seen on the Mila Valahnukar webcam.

Eyjafjallajökull at 21:25 UT on April 14th 2010, the first day of the eruption as seen on the Mila Valahnukar webcam.

Again, the generous Icelanders hastened to set up webcams to showcase the eruptions with Mila providing live streaming of the event while Vodafone provided high-resolution stills that updated every minute or so. I cannot recall now if it was on the second or third day of the eruption Mila set up their Hvolsvöllur cam which was to provide the most spectacular views of the eruption.

April 17th was arguably the most spectacular day of the eruption with what must have been pyroclastic flows that exploded spectacularly as they came into contact with the glacier which sent the ash three times higher than it had been at the vent as can be seen in this webcam image (Mila Hvolsvöllur webcam)

April 17th was arguably the most spectacular day of the eruption with what must have been pyroclastic flows that exploded spectacularly as they came into contact with the glacier which sent the ash three times higher than it had been at the vent as can be seen in this webcam image (Mila Hvolsvöllur webcam)

As an aside, there are advantages and disadvantages with both types of webcam. Live stream webcams let you follow events in real time, albeit at a lower resolution. You can sit with your finger hovering over the “Prnt Scrn” buttom and have a reasonably good chance to capture the more interesting and transient events. The other type of webcam provides stills that update every 10 seconds to five minutes. While there is a very high likelihood that you will miss the most interesting events, you do have time to make a judgement on which frames to grab and, usually, at much higher detail resolution.

After Eyjafjallajökull, I was hooked and I dare say many share this experience: Once you have witnessed your first eruption “Live”, you cannot wait until the next one. You are addicted – “Hi! I’m Henrik and I am a volcanoholic” – and all that matters is the next fix. Luckily there have been several interesting and photogenic eruptions since and even if I readily admit that webcam captures never can rival the truly awesome photographs taken by experts such as Marco Sulle, Mike Ross, Adrian Rohnfelder and many, many others, they have a special place in my heart. Here are a few more I’d like to share:

Volcanic night has fallen over Vatnajökull as seen from Jökulsarlon at 21:48 UT on May 21st 2011. It is of course the 2011 Grímsvötn eruption. (Mila Jökulsarlon webcam)

Volcanic night has fallen over Vatnajökull as seen from Jökulsarlon at 21:48 UT on May 21st 2011. It is of course the 2011 Grímsvötn eruption. (Mila Jökulsarlon webcam)

 

The great Tolbachik fissure eruption as seen at 22:23 UT on December 30th 2012 – in fact this is sunrise on the last day of the year in Kamchatka.

The great Tolbachik fissure eruption as seen at 22:23 UT on December 30th 2012 – in fact this was sunrise on the last day of the year in Kamchatka.

 

Kluychevskaya Sopka at 07:30 UT on October 6th 2013, after local sunset. It is one of the most photogenic of volcanoes in the world and eruptions are frequent, almost always minor Strombolian accompanied by lava flows. (Kvert Webcam)

Kluychevskaya Sopka at 07:30 UT on October 6th 2013, after local sunset. It is one of the most photogenic of volcanoes in the world and eruptions are frequent, almost always minor Strombolian accompanied by lava flows. (Kvert Webcam)

 

It is not always the eruption that attracts interest exclusively. When this mobile Doppler radar, affectionately dubbed R2D2 by our readers, was removed there was consternation for a while until it was revealed that it had only been temporarily removed for maintenance. (Mila 2 webcam, September 3rd 2014)

It is not always the eruption that attracts interest exclusively. When this mobile Doppler radar, affectionately dubbed R2D2 by our readers, was removed there was consternation for a while until it was revealed that it had only been temporarily removed for maintenance. (Mila 2 webcam, September 3rd 2014)

 

Strombolian explosion at dawn at Mexico’s Colima de Fuego in February 2016. Can anyone identify the stars visible in the picture? (Webcams de Mexico)

Strombolian explosion at dawn at Mexico’s Colima de Fuego in February 2016. Can anyone identify the stars visible in the picture? (Webcams de Mexico)

 

Lenticular clouds together with eruptive activity at Popocatepetl shortly after local dawn on August 16th this year (Webcams de Mexico)

Lenticular clouds together with eruptive activity at Popocatepetl shortly after local dawn on August 16th this year (Webcams de Mexico)

 

These are some of the places my little magic cloud (petit nuage magique) has taken me over the years. Which is your favourite memory of volcano-watching via webcam? Is there a particularly stunning or interesting webcam capture that you would like to share with us?

Over to you!

Henrik

Momotombo volcano, Niquaragua, shows signs of increasing unrest

Yesterday, there was an earthquake swarm directly below the Momotombo volcano as reported by Albert. Today, the webcams show an increase in out-gassing and the seismographs show numerous brittle quakes and tornillos, signs of magma moving upwards in the system. Momotombo began an eruptive cycle earlier this year after a century of quiet but has been relatively calm for the past few months. The recent activity could signal a renewal of eruptive activity and thus it is one to keep an eye on.

 

 

Yesterday's (Sept 15) earthquake swarm as seen from a station some way from the volcano which reveals the details better than those too close (INETER)

Yesterday’s (Sept 15) earthquake swarm as seen from a station some way from the volcano which reveals the details better than those too close (INETER)

The latest seismogram from station MOM! close to the volcano. Note the tornillos, the twisted quakes, that are indicators of volatiles moving in the conduit making it resonate much like the pipes of an organ. (INETER)

The latest seismogram from station MOM! close to the volcano. Note the tornillos, the twisted quakes, that are indicators of volatiles moving in the conduit making it resonate much like the pipes of an organ. (INETER)

Here are links to the three webcams that update once every five minutes or so. Do not forget to bookmark them!

From Managua across the lake: http://web-geofisica.ineter.gob.ni/webcam/v_momotombo/index.html

From the east looking to the west:  http://web-geofisica.ineter.gob.ni/webcam/v_momotombo2/index.html

From the SSW looking to the NNW:  http://web-geofisica.ineter.gob.ni/webcam/v_momotombo3/index.html

/ Henrik

 

Update

And there is more activity happening at Momotombo. In the early hours a fumarole was born on the flank of Momotombo, and two hours later this happened.

Birth of a fumarole.

Birth of a fumarole.

Intensification of the fumarole two hours later.

Intensification of the fumarole two hours later.

The fumaroles goes nuts at 2 hours and 5 minutes after being born.

The fumaroles goes nuts at 2 hours and 5 minutes after being born.

/CARL

139 thoughts on “Notre petit nuage magique

  1. Favourite one I’ve watched on the webcams was a summit paroxysm at Etna a few years ago. A bunch of us were on here commenting about it and it turned epic – people were calling it “Etnatubo” and a few people (including Carl and Henrik if I remember correctly) got carried away and added “Tubo” to their user names. It was brilliant.

    Actually, the eruption of Etna in 1992 is the first one I remember really following – I came home from school every day and went straight on teletext to look for updates. My mum says I was also glued to the telly when Pinatubo erupted, but I don’t remember that one first hand – Pinatubo was a couple of weeks before I turned 7, so I must just have been too young to retain the experience in my memory.

    • I have an especially strong memory of watching a live stream of an effusive Etna eruption back in… early 2000s. 2001 maybe? Sticks in my mind for two reasons:

      – I watched it using a projector which put it on a 6′ screen

      – It was a live stream *with sound*; I would go to sleep with it growling away in the background.

      I’m really disappointed at the number of volcano webcams that don’t offer sound.

  2. Not a webcam thingy, but I remember during the 2011 Grímsvötn eruption, that I looked more than a few times to the northwest hoping that the clouds would clear up enough for me to see the eruption plume in the horizon. Alas didn’t clear up enough, but I would have scrambled to the top of the highest mountain here as fast as possible then.
    Fingers crossed for next time…

  3. The beauty of webcams is that you will not miss the eruptions.
    I have spent a long time near or on top of volcanoes while gloriously missing to actually watch an eruption.
    I have missed Etna, Grimsvötn, Soufrière Hills, Anak Krakatua, Majon, Sakurajimi, well the list is long. Suffice it to say that I even spent a night below Stromboli without getting to see anything.
    So, while being stranded at an airport during Eyjafjallajökull I turned into a fullblown webcam addict watching how events unfolded.
    After that my personal jinx disappeared and I have had the fortune of watching several eruptions firsthand.

    My best webcam eruption was though the webcam event that never happened.
    Before the great Kelud eruption I spent two years happily watching the slow motion extrusion of the lava dome there. And as I saw the signs that it would erupt in a second more violant episode I put up a post here on VC about it, went and bought some snacks and turned on the webcams of the place.
    Life was good as the evening fell over Kelud and the signs kept on increasing. All of a sudden all Webcams shut off and I could see how seismometer after seismometer turned off. This happened about half an hour prior to the eruption, and I suspect that it was intense electromagnetic interaction in the form of piezo-electric activity that short-circuited them.
    But, creativity is the mother if invention so I used more faraway equipment to follow the short but very brutal borderline VEI-5 eruption that followed. And by querying those of our commenters that live in the vicinity I could even make an isopac-map and thus calculate the size of the event early in the Indonesian morning. To my amazement that calculation of ejecta still holds, the local scientists in the end came up with the same number of 0.8km3 DRE making it one of the two most powerful eruptions in this Millenium.

    The second one of my 3 favourite eruptions also was to abrupt for even the crafty Icelanders to put up good webcams at since it happened in the middle of Vatnajökull. I am of course talking about the majestic Grimsvötn 2011 eruption. It may not be a surprise that this is the other of the two largest explosive eruptions in this millenium with an ejecta of 0.8km3 DRE.

    Now to the third of my favourite eruptions. And this was webcam heaven.
    I am of course talking about R2D2s favourite eruption, Holuhraun. Watching Manhattan squirt out of Baugur was a sight to behold.

    Even though I prefer to fly out to eruptions I am not going to be able to go to everyone I wish to go to. I do have to work, and many times there is just no airplane going that way since airline traffic is stopped. So, I know there will be many more nights that I will be sitting transfixed watching eruptions as they unfold staring at my screens at home.

    Nice article Henrique Amoreause!

    • Oh, I forgot to write about my favourite webcam moment.

      That happened during the Eyjafjallajökull eruption on a very stormy night.
      All of a sudden a sheep flew past the webcam and tumbled over the side of the mountain the webcam was placed on. That is where our fixation with sheep and volcanoes stem from since many a good old reader in here saw the same thing. It is the webcam moment of webcam moments for most of us.

      The poor sheep died and fell into a crevasse. That in and of itself is not that uncommon an ending for a sheep in Iceland. After that a certain TV personality, let us name him something unbelievable like Bear Grylls to not point any fingers, found the very dead and half-rotten poor sheep.
      The TV personality ate the rotten sheep raw, vomited profusely and then turned our favourite webcam sheep into a rather stinky sleeping bag.
      Poor little sheep was not even safe in death.

  4. Oh no, not again.
    Now we just lack Borisatubo and that Etnatubo will go at it again 🙂

  5. We will soon interupt our regular posting with an update.
    Time to brew coffee, pop the popcorn, turn on the large screens.
    We now leave over to the studio where Henrik is getting the late night news ready.

  6. Of webcam staring I have as yet very limited experience, although I suppose Holuhraun was a pretty fascinating eruption. The youtube “fly-by’s” were pretty spectacular.
    But I think my armchair fascination began some while ago. I don’t even remember which volcano it was, except that it was probably back in the 1990s, and it was Icelandic.
    I saw he TV coverage of an eruption from a volcano entirely covered by ice. The very notion of a sub-glacial eruption had never even occurred to me before that time, but as the news footage continued over (I’m not sure of the timescale) a few days (?) I saw a large vent blast through ice, and massive glacial floods extending over a huge area.
    I still have no idea which volcano this might have been. Any idea?

    • Can only be one 🙂
      Gjálp fissure eruption of Grimsvötn in 1996. It was a highly unique event and surprised quite a few scientists.

        • Be sure and check out the back story of Gjálp and her run-in with Thor. From the tale, it becomes obvious of why they picked tgat name. The volcanic feature produced a ginormous outbusrt flood…. as did it’s namesake.

          • This fascinates me so I will…In the morning. Really tired after a gig tonight (musician). Thanks.

      • Yes, this is definitely the one. The video seems to give plenty of information. I remember the news footage showing the development of this series of cauldrons over several days, and the enormous flood that followed.

        • Few people know how big that one was. The amount of emplaced lava almost rivals that of Holuhraun, and it was emplaced at a much faster pace.
          The Grimsvötn 2011 eruption emplaced about as much lava + 0.8km3 of ash (DRE).
          Grimsvötn is one whacked out volcano. No other volcano on the planet can produce series of eruptions on that scale.

  7. It was Bob on El Hierro that finally did it for me… Glued to my PC, I couldn’t tear myself away! Sadly I can’t find my screenshots… They must be there somewhere but I have changed my PC since then and they are on a disc in the chaos of my filing system :D. However I still have my first ever volcano screen shot.. Sakurajima before she went big time. Thanks for the memories Henrik 😀
    ~original

  8. I have coffee, candy and assorted other webcam suitable things and put the Momotombo cams up on the big screen in the living room. Ready to rock thanks to Henrik!

    • 😀 Just because you’ve prepared, nothing will happen. It’s like that old adage about milk – it only boils when you turn your back on it. And then you’ll blame me! 😀

  9. Webcam moments: nobody has mentioned my favourite, which kept me fascinated for hours at a time during her recent(ish) bout of hiccups: Colima. Which has the advantage that it is only rarely that there’s a complete weather grey-out

    • The Colima (de Fuego) of Mexico I take it? I did include a screen shot of it in the article but have plenty more as it’s a high-quality cam, it erupts very often with little Strombolian hiccups and, as you say, the weather is usually good enough to allow you to see it.

  10. I was able to post my /Rumination
    http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/blogs/study-finds-deep-links-across-languages
    only because I went into VC directly, when I clicked from the email I get about a new post I get this:
    Secure Connection Failed

    The connection to jetpack.wordpress.com was interrupted while the page was loading.

    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.
    Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

    • Oops, something has gone screwy with Jetpack (our super behind the scenes plugin that does so much work for us), unfortunately (or fortunately) my email link worked ok, so there is no way to check what’s gone wrong.

      Sometimes it glitches and sorts itself over time

  11. My favourite webcam shot? Don’t know; I have thousands to sort out , if only to get the disk space back 🙂 My first was probably a screen shot of Carl’s favourite ( 😉 ): clouds on Katla 🙂 , then followed by lots (and lots, and lots ……..) of El Hierro. I have one or two of Sakurajima, and a few others 🙂

  12. I want to hear more about the flying sheep. I would have loved to have seen that webcam!

    My last webcam adventure was sitting waiting on an eruption, only to watch a pig that couldn’t make up its mind about whether to leave it’s shelter and come out or not. He must have poked his head out of that door every five minutes or so for about an hour.

  13. I have seen some amazing volcano moments on camera, but a few of the most memorable scenes only involved the volcano as a supporting actor….such as the time a bird flew through while Popocatepetl was erupting..or the funny group of tourists that decided to whip-and-nae-nae for the camera at Telica…or the day a single rainbow manifested itself in four Etna-cams…or that morning the Sun rose straight up out of Gran Cono at Vesuvius.

    Best volcano-moment, however, goes to Bardarbunga..the day “the Beast of Bardarbunga” appeared over the fissure.

  14. It was Holuhraun that brought me here — and likely most of the youngest “generation” here. That one got so much online publicity that to avoid overloading the Mila site with traffic people were syndicating the live stream using Youtube, multiplying the capacity by the enormous factor made possible by Google’s vast server farms and dark fiber tracts. I spent relatively little time on Mila itself but lots on YT in September 2014…

    • Yeah, Google was on a tear in the late 90’s buying up all the dark fiber they could find.

      For them that don’t know, dark fiber are the extra lines in fiber optic bundles that were laid concurrent to normal “pipes” (backbone network lines). Originally intended for redundancy in the event the main trunk went down, they went unused for years… until someone with the money and resources could aquire and make use of them.

  15. Friday
    16.09.2016 23:31:12 64.016 -16.662 1.1 km 1.2 36.09 1.0 km E of Hvannadalshnjúkur
    It was the second one yesterday,the first being 5+km down.
    Since I have been watching here, the quakes here have been few and far between. Is this one volcano that will surprise everyone ? Certainly from what I have read it will disrupt traffic on the ring road that passes below it’s massive flanks and provide spectacular viewing but since there isn’t a very handy cam I guess we will miss the explosive beginning!
    http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/oldroot/volcanoes/volc_images/europe_west_asia/Oraefajokull.html

    http://oro.open.ac.uk/12911/

    • I think that, if there are clear signs of a show about to start there, someone would rush out with a camera before the kablooie starts. Or at least one can hope.

  16. Great read I was also glued to mila r2 we love you 😂😂

    ED: Rescued from the dungeons. / H

  17. Spending days and nights on trains instead of aeroplanes, swearing at my icelandic friends because they were not properly taking care fo their volcanous, I was not at all enjoying the Eyafjallajökull eruption. However, a couple of years later I was climbing around on Myrdalsjökull when we clearly felt a tremble in the ice. A few days later there was a jökulhlaup and I started to follow the seismic reports on from IMO. After that I was hooked up and rewarded by the fantastic Holohraun eruption. On the way I found the Café. Hopeless addict since then… Thus, Holohraun are the only webcam shots I have saved so far. Looking eagerly for more!

  18. Saturday
    17.09.2016 08:22:08 64.058 -21.417 4.6 km 2.7 99.0 2.5 km NNW of Hellisheiðarvirkjun

    Saturday
    17.09.2016 08:15:28 64.059 -21.416 4.4 km 2.5 99.0 2.6 km NNW of Hellisheiðarvirkjun

    Saturday
    17.09.2016 08:05:54 64.057 -21.419 4.6 km 2.2 99.0 2.4 km NNW of Hellisheiðarvirkjun
    Saturday
    17.09.2016 08:04:33 64.058 -21.417 4.6 km 2.6 99.0 2.5 km NNW of Hellisheiðarvirkjun

    http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/earthquakes/reykjanespeninsula/

    • This swarm at Hengill is purely tectonic in nature and probably related to fracking.

  19. And once more it seems like volcanoes tend to do as we state at Volcanocafé…
    After a night of phreatomagmatic events there is a nice warm glow on top of Momotombo.
    If things go as they usually do at this stage there will be a more normal eruption relatively soon.

  20. And as morning comes at Momotombo there is active degassing and a nicely blooming fumarole on the flank.
    The seismic activity has diminished from the levels during the night.

    • I would be a tad surprised if this one fizzled out Henrik.
      And that is a gasbow and not a rainbow. Or, maybe perhaps a volatilebow 😉

      • Gas makes no rainbow. This is a rainbow. The slightly indistinct colours and blue being more prominent than red (the blue bands probably repeat but this is hard to see) shows the water droplets are small, but not as small in fog (fog bows become colourless). Droplet size is probably around 0.5 mm. Sizes much larger than 1mm give very clear colour bands, and smaller than 0.1mm gives a grey-white fog bow. Let’s call this drizzle.

        • Albert, now you killed the discussion 🙂
          It is probably a steambow since there was no rain at all there.
          There can indeed be a thing like a gasbow, but it will not give a full colour spectrum like we are used to with a regular rainbow.

          • You don’t need rain for a rainbow. Anything that causes droplets in the air will do. But it has to be liquid drops: just gas won’t work. Here, it seems the water condenses in the plume.

          • Do not forget ice particles, they also produce icebows. I see them when it is cold enough in northern sweden during winter.

          • Yes, they are marvelous. My favourite is the smile in the sky, the circumzenithal arc. It is visible in Manchester fairly regularly but rarely noticed because you need to look straight up! And the phone is down..

          • In February you often get them in my hometown as more humid air is pushed up above the cold dry air. As the sun hits that it is like the entire sky catches psychedelic fire.

  21. And according to your own nomenclature the phreatomagmatic activity that caused the nice glow would count as eruptive behaviour.

        • Now since we have decided that Henrik is at fault, who is then going to pay for the beers next time we meet?
          (of crap, it will be me)

      • Earthquake count:

        Magnitude less than 1 in all: 101
        Magnitude 1 to 2 in all: 46
        Magnitude 2 to 3 in all: 10
        Magnitude more than 3 in all: 0
        Total: 157

        source IMO

        That’s quite a bit off energy released due too human actions.

        • It is about that depth. They have drilled quite close to the magma chamber to get enough heat to run the powerplant on dry steam.

    • Like I said above, it is tectonic in nature and probably related to the fracking project.

      • And people say fracking doesn’t have any effect on the surrounding area? LOL Looks like the kettle is boiling hard this morning at Hengil.

  22. And the article has now been updated with webcam images of Momotombos new fumarole going nuts.

    • I loved the R2D2/Dalek image, with the fire, ice and smoke in the background. Made you feel like a spectator to the end of the world. As in the Fire and ice poem:

      Some say the world will end in fire,
      Some say in ice.
      From what I’ve tasted of desire
      I hold with those who favor fire.
      But if it had to perish twice,
      I think I know enough of hate
      To say that for destruction ice
      Is also great
      And would suffice.

      by the suitably named Robert Frost

  23. I know Hengil is related to water injection/Fracking….. but this is a pretty big swarm….. never really understood why it was a good idea to shove anything into a volcano under pressure! These quakes are pretty deep and if there was no fracking I would say it was tectonic but grab your hard hats in case magma found a way up!

    • It is one of the best sources of clean energy on the planet. That is why. 🙂

      • Ah yes! of course! is that waste water the same sort of stuff as that in Blue lagoon?

        • Basically it is the same. You repump it back to keep the pore pressure at the same level otherwsise the area would subside and the water be finnished.

          • Hengill never erupted in recent centuries, so it seems a relatively safe volcano, but what I find intriguing is that Krafla began its series of eruptions just right after the first geothermal power station was finished in the 1970s in Krafla. I heard reports that a test borehole even erupted magma (the first manmade artificial eruption). I always wondered if the human activity made the eruption easier. Because to my mind, a borehole is insignificantly small compared to a large volcanic system if I am not wrong.

          • Krafla was well and truly ready to erupt on its own and the infinitesimal effect humans could have had would have been towards the opposite.

  24. My first volcanic experience started with my trip to Iceland back in July 2009, when I visited Eyjafjallajokull and Katla, and a nearby farmer told me “i have a feeling that this mountain is going to erupt in soon”.

    I was quite impressed by that prediction and also by seeing Eyjafjallajokull very smooth ice cap, and compared to my second visit to it, during the eruption and then after with a big hole punched in that ice cap!

    I landed in Iceland in 2010 (as I moved to my 5 year stay in Iceland), seeing the eruption from the easyjet airplane, some 40km away northwards, as the aircraft flew past subtle layers of atmospheric ash and I wonder “the airplane shouldn´t be flying here so near the eruption”. It was amazing however. Sadly when I went to the area was already gone, and then I had my famous moments of melting my boots in Fimmvorduhals and feeling the wobly cooled lava flowe under my feet, with the distinct impression that the lava was flowing just some meters under me.

    Second volcanic moment, also without a webcam, was Grimsvotn. I was in Reykjavik that day. The night before I dreamt that Laki had erupted and a friend dreamt of a volcanic eruption in Iceland. How proper and astonishing thing to think about. Anyways, that week a US priest or whatever he was, had forecast the end of the world for the day that Grimsvotn erupted, and as it started I was once again amazed by such a funny coincidence. I say, God, if He exists, must be joking with me now.

    The day was sunny and clear in Reyjkavik and after the news we saw a mushroom cloud eastwards. I joked it was probably Grimsvotn but stating to my friend that such a far away eruption could never produce a tall enough eruption cloud to be visible from Reykjavik. Or everyone is wrong and its actually Hekla or Katla erupting.

    But quickly we realized it was Grimsvotn, hearing the radio and we saw the thunder as we drove eastwards. Next dawn we drove to Skaftafell, just 50km away from Grimsvotn in the middle of the dark morning. By midnight still total darkness, ash falling like snowfall, and the police asked us to go back. We did!

    Next volcanic moment, and again a coincidence was Katla event in 2011. My mother visited me in Iceland and while coming from the east fjords we decided to camp by Katla (in Takgil camp which was just at the edge of the ice cap). But because Katla was runmblig a lot that summer I decided that it was probably not safe and drive to Reykjavik instead. That night Katla began its tremor and flood, and the people in the camp we were suppose to go were indeed evacuated by helicopter.

    Lastly, Holuhraun. I was hiking in Langjokull when the 100s earthquakes started in 15th August. I spent the next 2 weeks trying to catch the eruption and experiencing every few hours the M5 shakings across a significant part of Iceland. The police had already blocked any chances of visiting the eruption. The day it started we were talking of jeep lights in here, but indeed the eruption started by 7pm and someone was right, that fixed light wasn´t a jeep, it was a lava vent starting. By midnight, the light grew and became red and like a fire. I was sure it was an eruption but the official news only came by 1am!

    The next few days I went there with jeep, just 40km away, scared of how many ways I could die: flood risk, volcanic gas, sudden ash eruption, sinking sand, etc I took the easy and only legal way to see the eruption, which was by airplane, and I will never forget it. The rest of the days I would just see the eruption in the webcams, except for a few days where the eruption could be visible from far away from certain parts of Iceland.

    • Wonderful descriptions Irpsit! Thank you for sharing – it is amazing that you were able to get so close to so many of those sensational eruptions!

    • You’ve always been one to share your experiences with us, Irpsit, thank you! One that was not so much fun to read about but very interesting nevertheless, was how you had to secure your house against all that SO2 at the height of the Holohraun eruption.

      • Sleeping half the night with a gas mask… lol
        And letting the shower run for an hour in hopes of clearing SO2 from the house…

        What a crazy time that was…

    • Irpsit thank you. I always remember your hiking trip up Hekla too. So many memories. Thank you for sharing and making those volcanic moments feel more personal. XXXXX

      • Hike to Hekla was very pleasant (in 2011 or 2012 can´t remember the year now), but I missed a second change to do it again back in April 2013 when Hekla was very restless and an allert was oficially issued. A group of friends of mine went nevertheless (I didn´t!) but they got the scare of a sudden tremor and rumble on their way to the summit. The quake was never recorded in the IM map so they and I will never know exactly what was. Could have been some movement of ice also. But I can only imagine their faces when that happened.

        • I remember we pleaded with you not to go 🙂 We worried about you and still we care :). At least we think you are safe in Austria 🙂 Just try to avoid land slips and avalanches 🙂 or we may have to send GeoLurking over the border to rescue you 🙂

    • Great description – thanks, irpsit. Makes me want to live in Iceland even more, though the shower SO2 scrubber would be completely beyond me!

    • Your Katla episode was most likely at the same time as mine. We participated in a guided glaciere climbing at Myrdalsjökul and felt clearly tremors. A couple of days later a bridge on the ring way was washed away by a jökulhlaup. But at that time we were safe with friends in Reykjavik. Anyway, that glacier shaking triggered my interest in geology/volcanos

      • Yeah I felt earthquakes from Myrdalsjokull a couple of times. One morning when hiking Fimmvorduháls in June 2010, and another time in Thorsmork from Katla I think back in 2011. It seems those M3s can be felt quite well when you are very near the edge of Myrdalsjokull ice cap, but not from Vik.

  25. My first webcam volcano was Redoubt 2009. My favorite, however, was El Hierro’s “Bob”. That’s when I found VC and my education began. I was one of several “newbies” that must have driven Carl crazy. But the silly chatter among new friends was so much fun. Of course Holohraun was the most impressive. Thank you, Henrik, for taking us down memory lane.

    • I do not know, could be one of those that has had hlaups earlier this year around Katla.
      The age of the sword puts it a bit early for being a Varanger-sword. But, on the other hand it has survived to this time in Iceland.
      A Varanger sword is made by saracen-method by layering the metal, much like a Katana in Japan.

    • Sunday
      18.09.2016 20:42:51 64.627 -17.475 5.5 km 3.8 99.0 2.9 km ESE of Bárðarbunga

    • There are probably going to be green stars regularily for years to come on Bárðarbunga, as the things settle down after the caldera collapse after Holuhraun. Nothing to worry about, at least that how I understand it.

  26. The seismic activity at Hengill has picked up with two M3 earthquakes. The largest so far is M3.6.
    We will see where this leads to, so far the activity is tectonic in nature.

  27. hhat makes me once again start to hum on the Cliff Richard song that goes like this: “I see a star, a brand new star ..”, hehehe

      • And the earth is trembling in Groningen eversince… (albeit most people agree that has to do with gas extraction)

  28. I found this article on Eyjafjallajokull http://en.vedur.is/about-imo/news/nr/1859
    Apparently the magma intrusion before Fimmvorduhals was right under Eyjafjallajokull ice cap all the way up to 1km deep, then magma turned eastwards to Fimmvirduhals 3 days before the start of that eruption. That 1km turn eastwards, is already within the mountain itself.

    This contradicts what has often been stated here in the blog, that Fimmvorduhals itself was fed from a feeder dike right under itself and that a portion of that magma triggered the old evolved magma located under Eyjafjalljokull. No, it seems that the feeder dike was right under Eyjafjallajokull ice cap, and actually 5km east of Eyja main vent, and 5km west of Fimmvorduhals vent. So actually located halfway in between.

    Nothing shows of a connection to Katla, as well said often here in the blog. At 10km deep the magma seems to have intruded all the area under Eyjafjalljokull, from the main vent towards Fimmvorduhals.

    • Thank you for that info Irpsit. It shows that what the “experts” say is not always correct. With volcanoes it pays to have an open mind and to just wait….all will be revealed…eventually 😀
      No offence to our “experts” as you can only hazard a guess as to what happens under the ice.

  29. Some interesting comparisons of ash, lava and DRE volumes of Icelandic eruptions.

    Barbarbunga (Trölladyngja shield volcano) >15 km3
    Bardarbunga (Thjórsáhraun fissure) 25 km3
    Bardarbunga (Tröllahraun fissure) 1862-1864 —- 0.3 km3 lava
    Bardarbunga (Veidivotn fissure) 1477 —- 10km3 ash (1km3 DRE)
    Bardarbunga (Holuhraun fissure) 2014 —- 2 km3 lava

    Katla (Edlgja fissure) 7 km3 ash (1.3 km3 DRE) + 19 km3 lava
    Katla 1755 —- 2 km3 ash
    Katla 1918 —- 0.7 km3 ash

    Grimsvotn (Laki fissure) 1783 —- 1 km3 ash (0.4 km3 DRE) 16 km3 lava
    Grimsvotn 1983 —- 0.1 km3 ash
    Grimsvotn (Gjalp fissure) 1996 —- 0.7 km3 ash
    Grimsvotn 1998 —- 0.1 km3 ash
    Grimsvotn 2004 —- 0.05 km3 ash
    Grimsvotn 2011—- 0.8 km3 ash

    Hekla 1104 —- 2.5 km3 ash
    Hekla 1766 —- 0.3 km3 ash + 1.3 km3 lava
    Hekla 1947 —- 0.2 km3 ash + 0.8 km3 lava
    Hekla 1970 —- 0.07 km3 ash + 0.2 km3 lava
    Hekla 1980 —- 0.05 km3 ash + 0.15 km3 lava
    Hekla 1991 —- 0.02 km3 ash + 0.15 km3 ash
    Hekla 2000 —- 0.05 km3 ash + 0.11 km3 lava

    Oraefajokull 1362 —- 10 km3 (2.5 km3 DRE)

    Askja 1875 —- (0.3 km3 DRE) + 0.4 km3 lava

    Krafla 1974-1985 —- 0.2 km3 lava

    Eyjafjalljokull 2010 —- 0.3 km3 ash + 0.03 km3 lava

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