Hekla of history: the 1104 eruption

Painting by Borge Ruud, undated but probably 1947

Of all the volcanoes of Iceland, the most famous is Hekla. It is one of five recognized stratovolcanoes in Iceland, and of those it is by far the most active. Over the past millennium, there have been around 20 eruptions of Hekla, accounting for 13% of all Icelandic eruptions. There are more prolific eruptors on Iceland (Grimsvotn and Bardarbunga come to mind), but those volcanoes are far removed from populated areas. Hekla is near to where people live, and its eruptions have affected those people, often badly. On average, the eruptions are about a life time apart;  over Iceland’s human history, most people would have experienced one of its eruptions. Once Iceland became colonised, Hekla quickly build itself a reputation, and it was a fearsome one. Across Europe, this volcano became known as the gate of hell.

In this island there is likewise a mountain whose floods of incessant fire make it look like a glowing rock and which by belching out flames keeps its crest in an everlasting blaze. This thing awakens our wonder, namely, when a land lying close to the extreme of cold can have such an abundance of matter to keep up the heat as to furnish eternal fires with unseen fuel and supply an endless provocative to feed the burning.

This was written around 1200 by a Danish historian, Glaxo Grammaticus, in the Gesta Danorum. It is a description of Hekla, and the floods of incessant fire appear to refer to its prolific lava flows. Over just the 20th century Hekla has produced 1.2 km3 of lava. But it is not a one-trick pony. I also produces tephra, amounting to 0.15 km3 (DRE) over the same time. It combines frequent medium-sized explosive and effusive eruptions. It is not a good neighbour. But is it hell on earth?

Over its history, Hekla has presented different facets: it has not always behaved in the same way as it does now. Between 7000 and 3000 years ago it had infrequent but large explosive eruptions which covered much of Iceland in tephra. It left layers in the soil which are still easily recognised. In fact they are so clear that these layers have been given names. There are four layers called Hekla‐3, ‐S, ‐4, ‐Ö, ‐Hekla-5. At this time, this was a typical rhyolite-like system. There probably was no major mountain. The Hekla-4 layer traces one of the largest explosions in Iceland over the past 10,000 years. Ten kilometers north of Hekla, this layer is still a meter thick. The explosion is estimated at VEI-5, and there are some indications that it originated from a caldera.

After the final Hekla-3 eruption, the volcano changed its behaviour. Now it create many more but thinner layers in the soil. Eruptions became much more frequent but as shown by the layers, they were smaller: either the conduit had cracked, or the magma had changed. In fact, the layers show evidence that the magma had become more basaltic. The eruptions were still explosive: it had not become a Bardarbunga. Each explosion lasted only hours, as indicated by the fact that each tephra layer was deposited in one direction only. The move to a more basaltic composition makes it likely that these explosions were followed (or interspersed with) effusive eruptions. This is the usual mode at the moment: a short explosive phase followed by effusion.

In other words, this is when the lava began to flow. It may also be when the edifice of Hekla began to grow, build up by the numerous lava flows. The Hekla we see may only be 3000 years old! Is this growth phase still on-going? That is unclear (albeit not unlikely). At the moment, Hekla is 1490 meters high, and it has had this height for the last few decades. But as recent as 1907, the height was reported as 1447 meters. Some of the difference can be due to the lava flows of the 20th century, especially the 1947 eruptions which formed layers of 10 meters thick or more, partly around the summit. But Hekla may have had ups and downs. Earlier in the 19th century the mountain was reported to be 1489 meters high, the same as today. This measurement is probably not very accurate, though. But even if the height is not varying, the bulk is probably increasing because of the high lava production.

The new eruption mode of smaller explosive/effusive eruptions has continued over the past 3000 years. But these eruptions were not always equally frequent. The Vikings arrived at a time when Hekla’s eruptions had grown infrequent. For the first 200 years of their presence, Hekla slept: a dormant and unremarkable mountain. A fertile valley north of Hekla, Þjórsárdalur, became home to a farming community. Then, suddenly, Hekla woke up. The explosion that followed was the second largest in Iceland since the settlement (only the 1362 explosion at Öræfajökull was larger). Soon after, Hekla had become a world renowned volcano rivalling Etna. And those farms lay in ruins.

Þjórsárdalur is a deep valley on the edge of the Central Highlands, some 15 kilometers north of Hekla. Nowadays it is known for some spectacular waterfalls, but it may have looked different 1000 years ago – Hekla has not been kind to this area. The fertile soil made it ideal for farming, and a small settlement was soon established. We currently know of 21 separate farms that existed in the area. They probably were not all active at the same time, and some of the farms may never have been viable because the soil eroded too easily under use. But this was a prosperous area. One of the farms here, Stöng, has been rebuild as a show home (Þjóðveldisbærinn), although not in its original (fairly inaccessible) location. The ruins are located in a forested gorge called Gjáin. It is a multi-layered site: underneath the large farm were the ruins of an older farm house. The farm was started by a Viking of legend, Gaukur Trandilsson, in the 10th century. An old story related that Trandilsson became involved with the wife of a nearby farm, which led to an axe duel (ouch) and his demise. Such was Viking life. Volcanoes were nothing to worry about compared to the neighbours. Social distancing was a survival skill.

The reconstructed farm of Stöng

The 15th century Biskupa annalar tells that 11 farms in the Þjórsárdalur valley were destroyed by the first Hekla eruption. Stöng may have survived as a going concern, although excavations have shown that it was covered in 50 centimeter thick, white tephra: the rains kept bringing more down from the slopes to the bottom of the valley, and this depth may have build up over many years after the eruption. The valley was devastated and never really recovered. Later eruptions added more misery, and eventually this community succumbed to Hekla. Sometimes neighbours are welcome, and sometimes they make life hell. Of course, one may wonder how much of the original fertility of the valley was due to frequent dustings of volcanic ash. It is now a mute point. You can have too much of a good thing, even hell. But although this valley partly recovered after the first eruptions, farms in valleys further to the north did not. Several farms 50 to 70 km north of Hekla were abandoned at this time, and their areas were never resettled. The thick tephra made any farming impossible for many years after. And of course, the worsening climate after 1200 would not have helped in those marginal areas. Þjórsárdalur was not marginal, though – it was just too close to hell.

The first recorded eruption of Hekla became famous across Europe. The Vikings had experienced earlier eruptions of other volcanoes in Iceland, including rather significant ones. Eldgja coincided – presumably not accidentally – with the end of the age of settlement. But in general, the annals with the oldest stories of Iceland are silent on eruptions. They tell of the life and misdemeanors of the people in great detail, but volcanoes play little or no role in the stories. Even Eldgja, which must have devastated entire districts (and perhaps killed a large fraction of the population, seeing it was bigger than Laki), is absent from the ancient stories. (There are suggestions that Ragnarok is an echo of Eldgja.) But Hekla is different. It was so important that in the Icelandic writings, the eruptions of Hekla became numbered. The numbering is not given with absolute certainty. For instance, when the Biskupa analar (mentioned above) talks about the 1436 eruption, it states: The twenty second bishop was Gottsvin [..] in his days fire came up for the 8th time in Hekla – some say for the 7th time – and in that fire 18 farms were destroyed in one morning. The Biskup analar becomes more authorative when it talks about later eruptions (e.g. 1510) because it was written near that time and by then it is based on personal recollections. Still, for the earliest eruptions (before a hiatus in the 14th century, perhaps black-death related) there is a complete list, with surprising accuracy. For instance, the 3rd eruption of Hekla (a small one) is known to have started on 4 December 1206, based on a near-contemporary report, and the second eruption (which formed the lava field Efrahvolshraun, west of Hekla) is dated (with slightly less certainty) to 19 January 1158.

The first eruption of Hekla, the one which gave it its fame, is dated to the year 1104. How do we know that so well? Do we?

The oldest report of this eruption is in the Hungrvaka, a history of early christianity in the region. It was probably written in the early 1200’s. The author is not known but the book says that it reports ‘what I heard this man of knowledge Gizur Hallson say’. ‘This man’ is indeed well-known: he was the Lawspeaker of the Althing (parliament) from 1181 to 1202 and died as an 80-year old in 1206. The Hungrvaka tells that ‘During the episcopate of Bishop Gizur were many great events: the death of King Knut on Fyn [..] the coming up of fire in Hekla, and many other great events’. The eruption was seen as one of the defining events of the age. Gizur is not the same as the person mentioned above, by the way. He was bishop from 1082 to 1118. And ‘King Knut’ is not the well-know Canute who turned the tide (an apocryphal story) but one of his successors, King Canute IV, later known as Canute the Holy, who was king of Denmark from 1080 to his murder in Odense in 1086. The Hungrvaka is considered reliable, but it only gives the date of Hekla’s first eruption to within a few decades. It does however indicate that this was the most important natural event of that period.

Another source of information on Hekla comes from the Icelandic annals. These are chronological compilations of events in Iceland, mainly covering the 13th to the 15th century. There are several different collections, compiled by different people. They were probably written at monasteries and chapter houses. The oldest begin with the birth of Christ and list the main events of the first millennium before moving on to Iceland. The events are apparently take from yearbooks which were kept in various places. However, the emphasis is on the events rather than the dates. As they were written down much later than the events they describe, the material from the yearbooks can have become supplemented by later traditions. The tradition of keeping annals seems to have come from the south of Iceland. The proximity to Hekla makes it more likely that the information regarding Hekla’s eruptions is accurate.

The first eruption of Hekla is mentioned in four of the annals. The oldest two are the Annales regii and the Lögmanns annáll; the Gottskálksannáll and Oddaverjaannáll were compiled later, after 1500. The oldest annals are attributed to the poet Sturla Þórðarson (1214–1284).

Three of these four annals mention ‘the first coming of fire in Mount Hekla. This phrasing already show that they were written much later, after Hekla had erupted again. Two mention a ‘sandfall winter’ connected to this eruption: this happens when the wind blows up the smallest tephra and creates sand storms. The year is given as 1104 in three, and as 1106 in the fourth source. However, the fourth source has the eruption in the same year as the establishment of the metropolitan see in Lund, and this happened in 1104 with the appointment of archbishop Asger (1104–37). This is the reason that the eruption is generally considered as having happened in 1104. But it is not considered as conclusive evidence. The four sources use very similar language, and appear to come from a single original source. The date of the bishopric of Lund is well established, but over the years it is possible that the fact that they occurred close in time became interpreted as happening in the same year.

Why did this eruption become so famous in Europe? This has a connection to this bishopric of Lund. The oldest manuscript describing the violence of Hekla, although without mentioning it by name, is De Inferno Hyslandia, part of the Liber Miaculorum. It was written by a monk called Herbert, in the monastery of Clairvaux around 1180. The document mergers several different but unnamed eruptions into a single, extended description. His information came from Eskil, who visited Clairvaux regularly. Eskil was the second archbishop of Lund, from 1138 to 1177. Eskil was responsible for Iceland until 1152 and he had close connections there; Herbert wrote a biography of Eskil based on their personal friendship. It is therefore likely that his knowledge of Iceland came second hand from Eskil. Perhaps the fact that Icelandic sources linked Hekla to the establishment of the Lund see was because of the role of the later archbishop Eskil.

What do we know about the accuracy of the Viking records? This can be illustrated with an example not from Iceland, but from Norway. A record describes events in 1263 in Orkney: The eve of St Olaf [29 July] was on a Sunday, when King Hacon [Haakon IV of Norway] lay in Rognvaldsvoe, a great darkness overtook the Sun, so that a little ring was bright around it on the outside, and that lasted a while of the day. On St Lawrence Day [10 August] King Hacon sailed out of Rognvaldsvoe over the Pentland firth. This was to battle the King of Scotland. Things went badly, he lost much of his fleet in a storm on 30 September, lost the battle, and died in December after returning to Orkney. The eclipse turned out to be a bad omen, a sign from hell. The story is clear, and calculations show that there was indeed an annular eclipse (where the moon appears slightly too small to cover the Sun) on 5 August of that year. However, one detail does not fit. The eclipse was only partial in Orkney. The annular eclipse was seen not in Orkney but in the Norwegian capital at Trondheim. The chronicle merged two separate events which both made deep impressions, into a single story. We should be cautious when uncritically using the oldest stories, written down at a later time.

Do we have any other information? Indeed, we do. Ejecta from the eruption reached Greenland, and became embedded in the ice. The Greenland ice cores show volcanic layers, and one of these layers has been identified as the Hekla 1104 eruption. In fact there is a bit of a circularity, as the fact that this date was well known may have been used in dating the ice cores. Recently, the Greenland ice cores have been re-dated using correlations with tree rings, specifically by using two strong beryllium spikes seen in both the ice and the trees. This has shifted much of the older ice records by several years, and for instance re-dated the Eldgja eruption from 934 to 939. And it also changed the Hekla date: according to this new chronology the ejecta first reached the ice in the year 1108 or 1109. It is possible that the annals were not fully correct: the eruption happened shortly after the establishment of the Lund see, but not in the same year.

The precise moment of the Hekla 1104 eruption remains uncertain, in spite of the precise year attached to the name. (The time of the year is equally uncertain, although the mention of a ‘sand winter’ suggest it may have been in the autumn.) But if nothing else, the story of Hekla’s first eruption shows how well connected Europe was in the 12th century! An unexpected eruption in faraway Iceland was noted by the archbishop in Lund, passed on to his successor, brought to Clairvaux and written up there. But those writings were never meant to be just history. This was ecclesiastic literature, and the moral interpretations were as important as the events themselves. And so the story of Hekla as a hell on earth grew. It became the place where the souls of the damned were kept, including Judas himself. The link with Lund was how Hekla obtained its reputation and where Hekla became hell.

The 1104 (or 1108) eruption itself has been studied extensively by Sigurdur Thorasinson, the giant of 20th century Icelandic volcanology who initiated the study of tephra layers. Much of this post has been taken from his book on the eruption of Hekla 1947-1948, published in 1967. Thorasinson writes that this book grew out of 30 years of field research. He mapped all the known (and unknown) tephra layers of Hekla and showed that many were deposited in a single direction only: this shows that the explosions were brief, without a change in wind direction. He noted that Hekla tephra is white, while Katla’s layers were black. And he uncovered the ancient writings about the oldest Hekla eruptions.

One of his many results is the map showing the distribution of the 1104 tephra. It shows that the wind was southerly at the time of the explosion. The area immediately north of Hekla was worst affected with 20 cm of tephra quite widespread. It was bad luck that this included some prime, albeit fragile, farmland. But a lot of the tephra also ended up on the central highlands where it could do little damage.

The white tephra has a silicate content of over 66%. That is very high for Hekla, and it suggests that the magma chamber had been sitting still for quite some time. It agrees with centuries of quiescence before the eruption. For comparison, the highest content since that time was 62% both in 1510 (after a dormant period of 120 years) and in 1947, after 100 years of solitude. Hell needs time to brood.

The volume of the tephra from 1104 is impressive. The 10-cm contour encloses 2000 km2! The total volume is estimated at 2.5 km3. It is less in rock volume, of course, as tephra is highly fragmented: the dense rock equivalent (DRE) is around 1 km3. This was a plinian eruption, not huge, but severe and damaging. The output is of course dwarfed by that of Laki. But that is the difference between explosive and effusive eruptions. Lava is like oil: if there is a hole in the right place, it will come out. Tephra is like coal: you have to use explosives to get it out and it is a dirty job.

Iceland lacks the largest explosions volcanoes can do: there isn’t enough stress in the rocks to keep the magma locked up for long enough. But Hekla is bit off-rift itself, albeit on a small side rift. It can manage to keep its magma down – sometimes. When it does, the magma evolves to become more rhyolitic (rhyolite-dacite in the case of Hekla 1104), and becomes explosive. 95% of the intermediate magma produced in Iceland comes from Hekla.

As mentioned before, Hekla is a mixed-type volcano. It can have both explosive and effusive eruptions. The 1104 eruption was explosive. Recent results suggest that it was a short-lived (hours?) but steady eruption, which as usual waned towards the end. There is no evidence that any lava was ejected. But later eruptions did produce large lava flows. Hekla is the only volcano on the main land that has these mixed eruptions in historical times. This suggest that the 1104 eruption was a throat clearing event. After that, the conduit was largely open, and eruptions became easier and occurred more often.

There is one point left to make. Hekla’s eruptions are hard to predict, apart from that longer phases of quiescence make explosive events more likely. But explosive phases tend to be short lived. The impact of these depends strongly on the direction of the wind. An easterly wind will blow the ash to populated areas. A southerly wind will deposit it in the empty highlands. Whether it is heaven or hell solely depends on how the wind blows.

And so Hekla became synonymous with the gates of hell. But this reputation may be overblown. Yes, it is a bad and anti-social neighbour who makes nearby living impossible. Some social distancing is strongly recommended. But the eruption which led to this reputation was not the worst it can do. It damaged a number of farms, and some never recovered, however the main populated areas were probably much less affected. The reputation came in part from the unexpectedness of the eruption. This was the shock of a mini-Pinatubo.

We can deal with expected disasters. It is those that surprise us that leave a lasting memory and in our minds, become hell.

Albert, March 2020

91 thoughts on “Hekla of history: the 1104 eruption

  1. i’m so glad no one here needed anything so i could read and enjoy the entire article in one sitting. Thanks, Albert, another stellar post. 🙂 Best!motsfo and ps… i agree…. it’s the stuff You weren’t worried about that knocks You off Your feet.

  2. Thanks Albert. Got a lot of time on my hands, this is perfect for my moning coffee.

    Tsunami warning after this eq.
    2020-03-25 02:49:15 UTC
    Mag. / depth: M7.6 / 10.0km
    Lat / Long: 48.91000 / 157.80000 East of Kuril Islands (Russia).

    • The signal from this one tricked the Icelandic SIL-network into a false detection. This M3.7 never happened and will probably soon disappear from the Icelandic quake list.
      25.03.2020 02:59:48 65.980 -18.270 1.1 km 3.7 50.5 5.3 km NW of Grenivík

    • Hello everybody,

      I am recovering now from it has been probably a case of coronavirus. Started mild last week but i had some hard days since the weekend. Had some medical cals but right now i am taking plenty rest at home.

      This has been challenging. But i see you guys fish me out with a very good bait, a post on Hekla. Nothing better than this!

      I am more confortable with the outdoor world of volcanoes than the inwards world of my blankets and bed

      Cheers all!

      • I am really glad to hear from you! We were quite worried when you went off-line. You will have a story to tell – but now take it easy and enjoy Hekla’s Hell!

      • Hi Irpsit,
        Great you are on the mend, as one of my friends said “if that’s mild ….”.
        I would really appreciate a day by day comment on how the disease developed. Also you have family members and whether they got sick and how sick would also be appreciated. You have a known contact with a case, timing on that would also be really useful. My two friends who have gone down have given me this too, but they were 70 years old and I think you are quite a bit younger. I’m sorry to butt into a volcanic thread to ask this.

        • Good to hear you’re getting through! I second Farmeroz… all info very welcome if you feel up for sharing. Especially early warning signs.

      • I am so glad to hear you are on the mend,I was worried for you.

  3. Irpsit is accounted for.
    He is on the mend, but seems to have had a couple of rough days.
    He sends his best to everyone.

  4. Heklas andesite lavas are probaly the hottest Andesites on Earth, as they move rather fluid.
    Hekla 1970 formed good red orange lava fountains of andesitic composition.
    Fissure 17 2 years ago was also an hot andesite at near 1070 C and it behaved like a cold basalt.
    Hottest andesite ever seen in action. When Andesites goes close to 1100 C they become fairly fluid, despite higher sillica content than basalts.
    Hekla 1970 was 1060 C and pretty mobile for an andesite.

    Most subduction zone volcanoes are andesites, but these are faar colder than Heklas andesites, and therfore far more viscous.

    Heklas andesites are formed from magmatic diffrentiation

    • I bet Wrangell’s andesites must have been pretty warm too

  5. And with the lock-down, one ray of brightness. The sky over Manchester has turned the deepest blue I have seen it. Combination of high pressure and no airplanes. Until last week, any day with weather like this would see thick cirrus from about 9am. It grows from the airplane contrails. You don’t realize how much they impact the weather here until they are not there.

    • Get the city to turn of the streetlights at night, the view will be amazing (obviously the effect will be best during nights with no cloud cover…)

      • Ah, how I’d love that! 10 years ago it was still possible to photograph the Milky Way here in southern Netherlands (admittedly you needed to know where to go to). Today light polution is ridiculous (green houses should be called sodium light houses…).

    • I second this. I’m in the Bay Area, CA and the skies have been gorgeous with the massive reduction in auto and airline traffic.

    • Jupiter have Blue skies too above its clouds right?
      Jupiters stratosphere that covers the clouds, Im soure it scatters blue light?

      Galileo atmospheric probe had no camera, so we don’t know what it saw : (
      But it entered a dry hotspot, so blue dayskies over a dark abyss?

      Thats a very distant Horizon indeed with souch a huge world.

      so you could see a long way. Because of hydrogen Raylenght scattering the sky would look blue, and objects far off in the distance would fade to blue. But since Jupiter is so huge, I will not see the clouds disappear over the horizon; the cloud towers just fade off into the distance?

        • Do Jupiter have cumulus clouds that looks like earths fluffy clouds ☁️ ☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️
          Jupiters clouds looks like earths If I was inside the atmosphere?
          Do Jupiter have fields of cumulus clouds?

          Some Juno Spacecraft Photos shows anvils and cloud shadows : )

          • I’d quite like to know that, too. What is it actually like to be in Jupiter’s atmosphere. It’s a question to which I’d love to know the answer.

          • The deep interior of Jupiter is very very hot indeed and electrons sepparate from the hydrogen atoms
            Jupiters deep mantle, is not very diffrent from the interior of a star
            I think.

            Jupiters metallic liquid hydrogen its hot, its liquid, its glowing hot
            Its conducting electricity very well
            Glowing hot: its very similar to liquid iron… that liquid metallic hydrogen.

            When they pour the liquid steel: thats very very similar to Jupiters strange extreme interior

        • Albert Jupiter is the stuff of nightmares!
          Specialy the cloud free hotspots= thats clear blue dayskies over a dark hazy
          pit below.

          The clear skies above a bottomless pit
          Rain and hail falling into the abyssal hot jupiter depths… where it evaporates and rise up and condese to clouds again.

          After falling for some hours in the pitch blackness below the clouds
          As you look below, a weak crimson glow appears, that grows into cherry then into orange hot, then into fierce yellow.
          The hydrogen air soon turns into fiery liquid thats much hotter than surface of the sun.
          Falling into Jupiter is terrible….

          • Don’t forget the immensely crushing pressure as you drop further down. And along with the hail and rain, it’s likely you’d see truly monstrous funnel clouds dropping down from some storms.

          • Mike K
            Here you haves a Jupiter closeup
            Showing an enormous thunderstorm anvil complex rising from the depths. Its 100 kilometers tall rising well above the ammonia cirrus.
            Souch jovian thunderstorm heads can form anvils 3000 km wide and trail their high altitude cirrus outflows for 10 000 kilometer downwind.
            The storm head here rises well high.
            The cloudsea below is in darkness But the higher thunderstorm head is lit by the Evening sun.

          • Not far below the clouds the atmosphere turns to a hot liquid under high pressure

            You woud fall through pitch darkness for a while and crushed
            But as you look below ..
            there woud be a creepy ”hell spot” that woud glow brigther and brigther

            First cherry red, then orange, the yellow then soup around you gets brigther than suns surface.

            Jupiters searingly liquid hydrogen interior is probaly very similar to liquid iron in apparence
            Really terrible inside Jupiter as I told before
            ( death plounge into oblivion! : )

            Once you falls inside Jupiter, you will never get out from that abyss

          • I sometimes imagines a rusty steampunk floating mining colony in Jupiters ( troposphere )atmosphere

            Manned by humans and keept by robots. Huge steampunk hot hydrogen Zeppelins are used as transports between mining stations of helium 3 and graphite snow formed from ligthing reacting with methane.

            Wonderful sight among the mammoth storm clouds in the red rusty jovian sunsets 🌅

          • Albert do Jupiter have Supercell Thunderstorms?

            Or cold and warmfronts dont exist on a gas giant world where the atmosphere is heated by the planets massive internal heat.
            No supercells on Jupiter right?

            But tilted updrafts and windshear should still allow them to form on Jupiter ? I imagine huge supercells on Jupiter

            Better to discuss this in the VC bar

          • Yes, there are storms similar to our supercells, and in fact they are not that much larger than ours: a factor 2-3 perhaps. The cumulonimbus are up to 50 km tall. They are fed by the water cloud layer below. They come from the large scale circulation, not from cold/warm fronts. The latter would give squall lines, and those are not seen.

          • 50 km tall anvils must be extremely cold on its top.. trailing cirrus clouds after them

            Albert will there one day be a New atmospheric probe with a camera sent to Jupiter?
            Omg I wants to see the clouds and This abyss

            Jupiter is a bottomless pit
            I think everyone woud like Photos from the inside of the cloudscapes

            Really sucks that Galileo Atmospheric Probe did not have a camera 😞😞

          • I wants an atmospheric probe with a good chamera and New intruments sent to Jupiter.

            I wants to 👀 Jupiters ☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️🌧🌨⛈⛅️🌥⛅️🌩☁️🌥
            In real photos from the inside.
            Been a dream since childhood.

          • Jesper,

            Thanks for that pic!

            As to whether Jupiter has supercells, it’s very likely, if not a given. Jupiter has incredible wind shearing that would put Earth’s to shame. This is especially due to all that cloud banding, which in turn is due to it’s rapid rotation rate.

            Jovian supercells would form on a larger scale than even the biggest ones over the North American plains from Alberta to Texas.

            So it’s possible that at least some of those may end up being tornadic, or having strong enough rotation in their mesocyclones. And given that Jupiter’s atmosphere is so much thicker than Earth’s and of course, no solid surface like Earth’s, any big tornadoes (think at least EF4-EF5 on the Fujita scale) would develop HUGE funnels that could extend up to over many kilometres deep! Probably taller than any of Earth’s highest supercell thunderstorms!

            I remember seeing a space art painting by an artist showing multiple funnels between Jupiter’s cloud layers, lit up by lightning.Unfortunately, I can’t remember the artist’s name. 🙁

          • Yes some of these storms are 100 km tall .
            in a bottomless atmosphere tornadoes can get very long indeed.

            Mike K I have a question
            Do you find Jupiters bottomless darkness under the clouds extremely disturbing too??

            The most disturbing places of Jupiter woud be the cloud free ”hotspots”
            there you haves clear blue dayskies over a dark hazy abyss below.

            And evening Jupiter cast its shadow on its own atmosphere.

            Mike K: finds these gas giant planets disturbing as hell 🙂
            Completely Natural to think so?

          • Falling into Jupiter is stuff of true nightmares …

            First you go through the clouds
            Gets darker and darker and sun filtered away

            Then trough pitch darkness for quite a while .. crushed to death
            Black as coal down there

            Then your remains falls deeper through a glowing hot atmosphere that gets transformed into a glowing hot liquid shining brigther than the sun. Hotter and hotter the deeper you sink into Jupiter

    • You whish less steam in the air from aircrafts?

      Solution 1:
      Use Hydrogen and use condensers to reduce water aerosols (and all #CO2 emissions) instead of Kerosene…almost like the NASA liquid fuel rocket engines

      Solution 2:
      Use the magnetic force to lift off your airplanes (https://youtu.be/snPLWsVruCU) or much faster use a #MagneticRingDownSpaceHarbour

      Any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask me…

      • A rather easier way (and kinder on physics) would be to stop planes flying at the altitude here cirrus forms. That tends to be quite a thin layer and its height is known each day. Relatively small adjustments could keep our skies a lot clearer. There would be a small increase in fuel requirements for planes so we will need more efficient planes. But that we do anyway.

    • Yesterday afternoon I was paying local roofer who’d used the weather-window and lack of commercial ‘priority’ work to do a ‘bunch of urgent stuff’ on ours…

      Looked up…

      Albert, I’m at the other end of ‘East Lancs Rd’ from you, under the ‘flyway’, and that sky really was the clearest, bluest blue I’ve seen since, um, 9/11. Not one contrail between horizon and horizon.


    • BTW:
      Strong Influence of Aerosol Reductions on Future Heatwaves

      I also found a German newspaper article which includes the hotter temperatures because the end of the UDSSR and the clean air:


      Looks like even more “surprising” weather effects because of climate change and #COVID19…

  6. Grimsvotn has reached the highest number of earthquakes per month since 2011. With 5 days still to go.

  7. A question about earthquake swarms in Iceland.

    Past month there were several earthquake swarms in various places in Iceland. Krisuvik, Grindavik, Reykjanes, Herdubreid ofcourse, but also at several spots in the Tjörnes region in the north. Just now another swarm. It seems to me the swarm activity is happening more often than average.

    Does anyone know if there is some sort of sequence in swarms, maybe clusters of higher activity in certain periods, all through iceland?

  8. Don’t forget there are volcanoes in the world outside of Iceland that are big, and potentially nasty.

    Merapi had a decent explosion today: Here is a wonderful gif of the eruption – v

    • That look like a very close location, closer than pompei is to Vesuvius. I would prefer to live elsewhere.

    • That’s a picture of an eruption at Mt.Sinabung in 2018,

      • True… didn’t even catch that. Apparently the source I grabbed this from had an improper picture.

      • Janine Krippner warned about that mix-up on Twitter:

        • Here is a video from Merapi. It is good sized but not so much pyroclastic flow if any. Warning: put it on mute.

  9. Roman Mars is in self imposed quarantine/social distancing, so he can’t go to his studio to record new stuff, so he has re-posted the episode “This is Chance!” https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/this-is-chance-redux/

    “It was the middle of the night on March 27, 1964. Earlier that evening, the second-biggest earthquake ever measured at the time had hit Anchorage, Alaska. 115 people died. Some houses had been turned completely upside down while others had skidded into the sea. But that brief and catastrophic quake was just the beginning of the story.”

  10. The first of the new satellite internet companies has gone out of business. Leaving its satellites stranded in space.

    • It appears that they keep operating their currrent fleet (source tweakers.net (in dutch))

  11. Satan’s pillar, A dying fire, destructive force diminished to a whimper, Fertile grounds hide hell waiting. crushed candles.

    What does this mean?

  12. Interesting that Hekla probably had a caldera in the past (it’s mentioned in Albert’s article). I just wonder if any evidence must exist of a buried caldera, like arcuate faults. I remember reading something about Hawaii’s Kohala, the oldest and northernmost of the Big Island’s five volcanoes that while it is a postshield, it may have a buried caldera due to the presence of arcuate faults.

    • When I lived in Iceland and hiked in Hekla a couple of times, I did not recall seeing any caldera like faults or structures. The whole mountain resembled to me an elongated mountain, which gave me the impression that the mountain grew from a small row of crater cones, into the present day elongated mountain. The long fissure cutting across the mountain is still there.

      I cannot imagine Hekla having been a caldera before.

      I could imagine Hekla being an intrusion from Bardarbunga that far away and got past Torfajokull and erupted there, resulting in the birth of Hekla.

      PS: feeling better in recent days. 🙂

      • Glad you are getting over it. This is a nasty virus. Yes, the evidence for a Hekla caldera seems a bit flimsy and is certainly unconfirmed. Calderas are also more likely for highly evolved systems rather than newly build ones (as in its neighbour). There was discussion whether the rift formed first or only after Hekla began to erupt. It is not an obvious fissure-fed system, but perhaps it could have begun as magma slowly accumulating at the end point of a Vatna rift.

        • I did also an antibody testing, one of those Chinese cheap tests (so take the sensitivity of it with a grain of salt) and gave a very faint band on the IgM covid antibody. Trouble is the very faint band only appeared after the 10min test time period (more like 1h after). So I guess the test does not detect the current level of antibodies in my blood. In fact, as the test is about 80-90% sensitive, that means it is missing 10-20% of positive cases.

          IgG was negative, as expected. This was tested 14 days after the symptoms appeared. I still have a few tests left so I will test again at day 21 and I will test also my wife, which showed only very minor symptoms.

          All in all, it seems that I test positive for covid.

          Symptoms are mild now, still having signs on the chest, still recovering.
          Overall, this is a nasty virus, much worst than a flu.

          • Tested my wife and she also tested a fain positive band. So I have the confirmation that the serious illness I had over the past two days (that almost took me to the hospital) was indeed covid19.

            Being 38 and in good sport shape before, no underlying conditions, I must say that covid is NOT a walk in the park. It is a really serious infection, much much worse than a normal flu. I feared for my life a couple of times in the past two weeks.

            So my advice to everybody is: stay safe and stay the f* home.
            Dont think this only affects old people in a serious way. It does affect young people in a serious way too.

            My outline of symptoms:
            Day 1: a sudden high fever starts (nothing else)
            Day 2-4: fever on and off and a heaviness in chest. Very little cough but very dry throat. No sore throat and no runny nose at all.
            Day 5: sh*t happens and shortness of breath, tremors (shock?) and confusion. I call the ambulance and there is indecision about hospitalizing me or not.
            Day 6-10: extreme fatigue and dizziness (cant walk more than a few meters) and a burning chest pain. Slowly recovering but ups and downs and I called for medical help again.
            Day 11-14: slow recovery, begin to slowly walk and get back to normal. Still feeling of bruised chest. Dizziness disappears. Fatigue greatly diminishes.
            Today is day 14 and I am optimistic about the future.

          • Out of curiosity did your wife get sick? Or less sick?
            There is some evidence this disease hits men harder than women.

    • Wonder if a gravimetric survey of Hekla might reveal deep-buried evidence?

    • Wow, an oldie but goldie for sure. Almost 50 years ago.

      We could use some volcanic entertainment of that sorts right now, being holed up in our houses waiting for better times. Of course, nobody would be allowed to travel to Iceland these days…

    • This feels so familiar. The images, the sound effects and everything. I think we might have watched this in the classroom in a science class somewhere in the early 90’s.

  13. The YouTube channel with the Hekla video also has a nice 1970’s video about Crater Lake:

  14. I’m checking the status of Thorbjörn from time to time and uplift there is still ongoing. The rate of uplift has been steady since the beginning of March and during this time there has been a total of around 4cm of uplift at gps stations SENG, SKSH and THOB. N-S and E-W trajectories suggest that the center of the uplift sits somewhere in the middle of the triangle made up by these three stations.

  15. Hello everyone, I just wrote above the outline of my coronavirus symptoms, as some of you were interested, Here it goes again. My message is short and straight: stay home and make you and other people safe, This is a serious thing.

    My outline of symptoms:
    Day 1: a sudden high fever starts (nothing else)
    Day 2-4: fever on and off and a heaviness in chest. Very little cough but very dry throat. No sore throat and no runny nose at all.
    Day 5: sh*t happens and shortness of breath, tremors (shock?) and confusion. I call the ambulance and there is indecision about hospitalizing me or not.
    Day 6-10: extreme fatigue and dizziness (cant walk more than a few meters) and a burning chest pain. Slowly recovering but ups and downs and I called for medical help again.
    Day 11-14: slow recovery, begin to slowly walk and get back to normal. Still feeling of bruised chest. Dizziness disappears. Fatigue greatly diminishes.
    Today is day 14 and I am optimistic about the future.

    • Damn, sounds like a superflu; what age bracket are you in? Wishing you a full recovery.

        • Interesting, two 70 year olds have had less bad symptoms. I suspect this is one that has been about before unrecognizsed, Hence that 50-70% with no symptoms. Particularly the cruise ships,.Old people, but with history, Too pissed to say more

    • I hope you recover well and soon Irpsit! One more story that points out that it not merely a flu….

    • My dear Irpsit,
      Thank you for this, I appreciate it hurts. I fear we will all be going trough similar (unless asymptomatic). Nature is sometimes a shit.

    • Phew! I’ve had moderate pneumonia and many lung infections (until I accidentally discovered the existence and asked for the pnemococcal vaccine and they all stopped) and they were no fun at all. Your description was very vivid and chilling – shows how dangerous it is, how serious.
      Was there anything that you think helped you endure it or even fight it?

      • At the risk of sounding blunt and ruthless, rest and sleep was the only means I use.
        I slept a lot, throughout the day, and prayed like I never did before. Lol. PS. I am not religious but in desperate circumstances, one does desperate things.

        I also ate a fair amount of chicken, because my body was craving more protein than usual. Maybe as building blocks for the antibodies.
        PS. Usually I am a vegan that eats occasionally fish. Lol 🙂

        I also did not take any paracetamol. I let my fever do its thing. Which it did for at least 8 days.

        Whenever I felt like fainting I went straight to bed, and had some lavender diffuser to help me calm down and drift into sleep.

        I drank orange juice generously, but I always do.

        Overall it was a spiritual exercise of telling myself its not my time yet and I must find all means to heal.

  16. Hello everyone

    Is Nyiragongos lava cooler than most basalts?
    This is a lava lake bubble burst in daylight from Nyiragongo, and its hardly glowing at all.
    These lava lake photos reveals alot

    Nyiragongos Nephelinite magmas are also formed by the very smallest ammounts of partial melting, and should be cooler than example Hawaii and Iceland where melting rates are much larger.

    Nyiragongos superalkaline magmas cooler than normal basalts?
    Very dull red colour there in lava lake spattering in full daylight

  17. “Self-isolation proves a boon to rainfall project

    Scientists have been amazed at the public’s response to help digitise the UK’s old rainfall records.

    Handwritten numbers on documents dating back 200 years are being transferred to a spreadsheet format so that computers can analyse past weather patterns.

    The volunteers blitzed their way through rain gauge data from the 1950s, 40s and 30s in just four days.”


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