And The Woolly-Winner Is…

Thank you to all that voted, we had a great turn out which certainly helps distinguish clear winners and other voting trends. I hope some of you managed to find the time to read up on some of the volcanic features you’d never heard about and gained some insight along the way.

So, without further ado…

1st Poll Winner

The next main Icelandic central volcano that VC readers think will erupt next is…


The snow-covered edifice of Öræfajökull. You can clearly see the ice-filled caldera complete with cauldrons in the ice. Photo by Antti Lipponen, CC

Not a surprise considering the amount of activity it’s had recently and the change in IMO alert colours. The appearance of multiple cauldrons is a great indicator of increased heat flux from below. Whether this activity will escalate exponentially from here on is yet to be seen. Bear in mind that this old beast may take a lot of persuasion and time to fully wake up.

Second place goes to…


Hekla, in snowy sleep mode. Photo by Peter Coughlan, CC.

So, the bi-polar overgrown fissure row comes in second. Hekla will always be one of those volcanoes that could erupt at any time. The more years that pass, the greater the chance. The recent deep earthquakes are an obvious sign that activity is increasing below but will it be days, months or years? That’s what makes Hekla such an enigma.

Third place goes to…


Aerial shot of the massive ice-cap covered edifice of Katla. Photo from Wikimedia, CC

Well, no surprise to see Katla in the top three, regardless of unwanted media attention. This monster has been rumbling from its slumber for some time. Andrej has made a great plot, that I’ll try find, that clearly shows the increase in activity over recent years. Like Öræfajökull, this one will puke green stars all over IMO’s map before we get to an eruption.

Poor Grímsvötn languished behind in fourth place and is no doubt sulking about it. I have my concerns about Grimsvötn, we know what this hot-spot fed can do but we know little about what it could do in the future. More research is a must.

2nd Poll Winner

This poll was to cover those occasional named, sporadically active and mostly unpronounceable that could upset the big hitters and steal their limelight. Some of them, if they were to erupt, would be such a black swan event that even the black swans wouldn’t have seen it coming.

1st – Reykjanes and Svartsengi

Reykjanes peninsula. Wikimedia, CC

A surprise winner, I certainly didn’t see this one coming. An area that sits head-first into the rage of the Atlantic and suffers the wrath from it. Even so, it has many historic lava flows and has seen many swarms over recent years. Its last eruption was in 1240 CE so has been dormant for some time, but this common for the RVB.

2nd – Herðubreið

Herðubreið. Wikimedia, CC

This beautiful tuya is a relic from a colder age but has seen some intriguing swarms recently. A recent intrusion that started at Upptyppingar may have jumped over towards Herðubreið. This is something that Carl is looking into with some polts from Andrej so I’ll leave that theory for him to explain. It would be a fantastic sight to see a new cone or extension of the existing one occur in our lifetimes but it would be sad to see it destroyed by something bigger, although this may be unlikely.

3rd – Goðabunga

Approximate location, based on seismic data, of Goðabunga. Map by BeardyGaz

The noisy cryptodome in Katla’s side… or is it? Seismic data indicates a potential separate feed for Goðabunga so is this its own entity rather than an intrusion from Katla proper? Another area that needs its own article with more explanation.

Other notable votes:

Deadzone (of unknown origin) – A reasonable score for the rarely rumbling deadzone. Who will give birth to its latest hell chasm? We know it will happen one day but hopefully, the Northern hemisphere will be prepared this time.

Greip (unknownabunga) – A favorite feature of mine, one that’s finally found its way into a scientific paper even if they pointed the finger at it being a deep feed for Bárðarbunga. Plenty of deep activity here, the day a swarm towards the surface occurs will be a very exciting day!

Helgrindur (0%, ? Votes) – a vote for the name – might be a Judas Priest fan 😉

I’ll archive the polls when I get chance and have it easily accessible on the menu bar. I look forward to seeing how many of you are right.

Beardy Gaz

19 thoughts on “And The Woolly-Winner Is…

  1. I voted Grimsvötn
    Thats the most likley to erupt
    Rapidly refilling the magma chambers
    The recent years been small scale earthquake actvity there, suggesting the magma chamber is expanding and stressing sourrounding rock.
    Being an open conduit system, there will be little or NO earthquakes just before it blows

  2. Voted Hekla.
    The others are known to still need a long while before able to go. While Hekla could erupt as I type.

    • or the wisdom of the cow…. cow sourcing…. mooooove over sheep…. 😉 motsfo needs a nap…

    • That’s okay. One of my cousins told another cousin of mine about my home made Chipotle so I had to make up a batch for her. I gave her two choices. 120 grams of Jalapeño based chipotle, and 60 grams of Habanero based chipotle. Both smoked in Hickory. It’s gonna be interesting to see how she likes it. I gave her fair warning about the Habanero variety, so it shouldn’t take her by surprise…. but Habenero always takes people by surprise, even when they are warned.

      {No bovines were harmed in the manufacture of my chipotle.}

      • I know this is not a cooking website, but Trinidad scorpions could cause a volcanic explosion (tie-in) if mishandled, plus, it’s late on a weekend. So, I have some frozen habs and some Jalapeños still growing outside. I’ve never made home made Chipotle, so would I be out of line or way OT if I asked for a quick pointer or two, or at least a reference for making my own Chipotle? 🙂

  3. I’m actually surprised grimsvotn wasn’t 3rd, katla is pretty likely to erupt soon but I don’t think it will beat grimsvotn. I guess that isn’t what most think though so we will see, probably within the next 5 years.

    Also of significance, kilauea is officially not erupting for the first time this century…
    HVO lowered the alert to say the eruption is unlikely to resume, probably after a recent thermal image showed no heat from any of the vents. I guess this means any new lava from now on will be counted as a separate eruption all on its own. They still haven’t been saying anything about the inflation near heiheiahulu though, they just say the deformation is minor compared to when the dike was formed but that is a rather large event and I don’t think another eruption would have to be preceded by the same level of earthquakes.

    To add to the discussion last post, it could be more sensible to assume the deformation will be exponential with initial linear growth followed by acceleration like what happened at pu’u o’o in March and April. It is really inconvenient that there is no working station on the other side of Leilani estates, otherwise a more accurate estimate of the scale of deformation could be calculated. It does look like something to be concerned about though, even if it is currently fairly deep set.

    • Who would’ve thought at the start of this year that we would see Kilauea at both RED/WARNING and YELLOW/ADVISORY?!

      • Somehow I don’t think it will stay on that setting for very long. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it goes up to red again before the end of next year…
        It is also quite a sobering thought that while kilauea has erupted nice and slowly, so slow that it was ignored by the media mostly and millions of people went to illegally poke sticks into the lava, added up it erupted the same amount of lava since 1983 as the skaftar fires eruption… On top of that it is already quickly recharging for another sizable eruption only 2 months after its equivalent of a VEI 7…

        But beyond all that this is really almost a historic moment, for the first time in my life (and anyone else under 36) kilauea is not erupting. This is also a big moment here in that a non-Icelandic volcano has taken centre stage of a large part of this site 🙂

  4. I also have another question that I have been wondering for a long time, is godabunga a cryptodome in the usual sense or is it a forming basaltic magma chamber? And if it is the second option is there a chance for a sizable eruption from it (possible shield?).

    Cryptodomes I think are just lava domes that erupt through very soft sediment so that technically it is mostly underground but still an ‘eruption’ so to speak, showa shinzan in Japan being a good example that was very well documented. They are also the same sort of thing as lava domes, silicic magma that is of dacite or rhyolite composition.
    I read somewhere (probably on here) that godabunga only started forming in 1999, meaning it is the same age as me and I don’t think that is anywhere near long enough to be anything other than slightly evolved basalt. Can cryptodomes be made of basalt?

    1999 is also I think when magma started going into eyafjallajokull and a minor eruption is believed to have happened at katla so this could have been a pulse of magma under this area. Hekla also erupted not too long afterwards in 2000 and thus might have been partly from this too.

    • Hard to call. Godabunga has a separate quake stack leading down towards the Moho than Katla proper. Both of Katla’s stacks trend a bit to the east, Godabunga’s stack trends towards the west.

      This sort of points to three separate feeder instances for the mentioned features. {Yes, Eyaf has it’s own stack, separate from the other three.}

      This is based on the ASSUMPTION that the quake stack indicates a magmatic feeder system. (and since it is an assumption, it could be flat out wrong)

      As for cryptodome or not… a cryptodome is an accumulation of magma that has not breached the surface… yet. Whether is does so in the future, well, if it does, then it’s no longer a “crypto” dome. If it cools into a solid before erupting… then it’s a pluton.

      Successful pluton emplacement vs failed eruption. Depends on your point of view.

  5. No surprises with my choice, Lady H 😀 Always worth keeping a close eye on. Looks like another quake this morning too… i think from looking at the fed drumplot


    Phil and John 2 hour livestream on the recent information at kilauea.

    On Hawaii tracker there is finally a GPS at PGV, and it shows nothing at all… This means all the inflation at heiheiahulu is far enough away that it doesn’t affect this area. Pretty much that means the centre of inflation in that area is about right where the highway is.
    I guess that means the area experiencing uplift is about 3 km wide, and maybe 20 cm of uplift at the epicentre and 10 cm at the station. I don’t know exactly how much new magma that is but it seems like something to be watched closely if it is in fairly close proximity to a known weak point. I guess pu’u o’o in 2016 had to inflate about 15 cm to rupture at the start of the 61g flow, and that magma had to move through about 400 meters of the ground before erupting, the magma under the highway has to move a km at the least so about 3 times as much, meaning 45 cm of inflation at the station on heiheiahulu. In 1.5 months it has risen 10 cm so it will take about 6 months at this rate to reach that point assuming it stays consistent through that time, it probably won’t though, it will probably speed up near to an eruption and likely slow down after a while if that doesn’t happen quickly.

    • Keep in mind that after the 6.9 earthquake and the voluminous eruption the system should be underpressurized so it might need more time to recover, at the same time as the whole system recharges with magma the summit area will do first and it might break upwards if the ERZ allows the summit to build up enough pressure to erupt.

      HVO has first mentioned the inflation at Heiheiahulu (or as they say reinflation between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Highway 130), they say that one interpretation is that the rift zone is refilling with magma which would be the same we have been talking in here.

      • The question is really whether the quake actually did take any pressure off though, it definitely didn’t stop the eruption being as big as every other fast eruption on kilauea since 1790 put together. If anything the quake only made things faster, and maybe created a few months of extra time before an eruption that would have happened anyway. It took only 2 years before all the space made during 1975 to be taken up and an eruption happened, and it took only about 7 years before it was full to bursting, literally. This displacement was much less and the amount of magma much more so I think it is almost negligible at this point. Maybe expecting heiheiahulu to erupt within 3 months is being optimistic and assuming a lot but if nothing has happened anywhere by this time next year then I’ll be surprised.

  7. I still think Grimsfjall volcano is still the most likely to erupt. There is no denying Oreafajokull is currently in inflation. Bardabunga remains busy. Hekla, is it true that more earthquake activity is happening in that area? Finally, I found the information about Katla gases to be very interesting. Sure there are others including fissure sites and more. All of these are spots to watch.

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