Holohraun Five Years Later

A guest post from Salting

I visited Iceland many times in the past to meet friends and take a day off on my way between Europa and US. In summer 2011 I made an extra-long stop and visited a glacier to better understand the forces that shaped the coastline around my Swedish home island. Trekking the glacier tongue Solheimajökull our guide decided to cut our trip short. I never felt anything but the guide claimed he sensed movements in the ice that worried him. Back with access to the internet, he showed me the IMO earthquake page with red dots in Myrdalsjökull and a couple of days later a jökulhlaup swept away a bridge and parts of the main road that runs around Iceland. The events triggered my curiosity for Icelandic geology and resulted in daily visits at the IMO pages and similar. Some years later I found the Volcano Café and the fascination went from serious to a severe case of “volcanitis”. When the seismic activity around Bardabunga increased in 2014 my condition developed from severe to incurable and as I watched the seismic track snaking its way from Bardabunga to the final eruption sites in Holuhraun I knew I had to see the place myself. However, it was not until this July, five years later, that I had the opportunity to make the trip. With a rented jeep, my wife as a “Grand Theft Auto” style driver and an Icelandic friend as a guide, we set off to negotiate the F-roads on a round trip to see Holuhraun and other Iceland volcanic celebrities.

Five years ago: The seismic activity had been gradually increasing in Bárðarbunga and the fissure swarm north of the volcano since 2007. The activity dropped down during the Grímsvötn eruption in May 2011, but soon after, gradually increased again.

Graph from Icelandic meteorological office

An intensive swarm was reported by IMO August 16. Subsequent quakes, seismic tremor and GPS measurements showed that the pressure inside the caldera increased and caused the formation of a dyke and magma movements first to the southeast and after a 90 degree turn to the northeast. August 23rd the dyke reached under the Dyngjujökull glacier and a subglacial eruption with massive ashfall was feared. No eruption surfaced, however, and instead the dyke propagated further 10-12 km northeast outside the glacier with many > 3M quakes at a depth of 5-12 km. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPaF2bxVAv4

Graphic from Icelandic meteorological office

August 29, 2014, 02:00 an eruption started from an old volcanic fissure on the Holuhraun lava field, about 5 km north of the Dyngjujökull ice margin Holuhraun north of Dyngjujökull. It was a small fissure eruption and at 02:40 AM the activity appears to have decreased.

New eruptions from longer fissures were reported from August 31.

The eruption site with lava fountains September 4. Picture from Icelandic meteorological office

Some drone footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cICS9MtRRw

As we all know, the eruption continued for months causing an expanding lava field (hraun) covering the plains north of Dyngjujökull glacier. The formation of the long dyke and the eruption of lava were accompanied by strong earthquakes around the rim of the Bardabunga caldera and dramatic subsidence of the ice-covered caldera floor. The best explaining model was that fresh injections of magma had gradually increased the pressure in the large magma chamber under Bardabunga. The chamber lid/caldera floor was envisioned as a several kilometres thick plug/piston with a 600-800 of meters icecap on top. When the plug was stuck, the pressurized magma instead of pushing the plug upward broke its way out sideways through weaker rocks in the chamber wall to the south. Soon the dyke/pipe was blocked by another pressurized chamber (that we now discuss as the proto-volcano “Greip”, https://www.volcanocafe.org/greip-june2019/). Instead, the magma found a new way to the north and finally erupted. The magma required to fill the dyke and feed the eruption was flowing from the Bardabunga magma chamber and the loss of pressure and magma caused the plug and caldera floor to subside. While the eruption once started was going smooth without much noise, the subsiding caldera plug caused a series of strong quakes. Calculations based on the size, positions and shrinking of the magma chamber allowed for surprisingly accurate predictions on how long the eruption could be expected to continue and the eruption finished at the end of February 2015.

From Futurevolc and Gudmundson et al. Gradual caldera collapse at Bárdarbunga volcano, Iceland, regulated by lateral magma outflow, 2016 Science 353, aaf8988. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8988.

The subsidence of Bárðarbunga caldera, that was caused by draining of magma away from the volcano and out to feed the lava, dropped from over 80 cm per day to less than 25 cm per day at the new year 2015 and the accompanying magnitude 5 or larger earthquakes there, which used to happen every day, came a week apart or more. Satellite measurements of heat flux show a decline from over 20 gigawatts in early September (to put this amount of energy in context, the average UK electricity demand in 2012 was 36 gigawatts), to fewer than 5 gigawatts by the end of November.

Picture from Icelandic Meteorological office

Five years after the outbreak form the Bárðarbunga magma chamber and dyke formation, I finally managed to reach Holuhraun by jeep from the Dreki (dragon) camp at Askja. The hraun (lava) had erupted on a vast plane north of Dyngjujökull glacier formed by erosion material from Dyngjujökull, and several earlier “hrauns” from various sources around.

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The plains northwest of Holohraun Dyngjujökull in front. Photo by Salting

Most of the plain is covered by black or grey coarse sand, ash, and remains from some older hrauns were visible, most clearly in the northwest.

HoluhraunEvolution.png (2340×1654)

Picture Source: http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/articles/nr/2947#des25.

Several investigations regarding the composition and origin of the lava have been published and reported that the geochemistry of the eruption products firmly locates it within the Bárðarbunga volcanic system. By carrying out careful geothermobarometry, the magma was concluded to be stored at 8 ± 5 km prior to eruption( Hartley et al., 2018Gudmundsson et al., 2016). Although the erupted magma is extremely homogeneous in composition, complexity in its crystal cargo reveals that it was ultimately assembled from heterogeneous mantle melts that underwent crystallisation and mixing in the lower- to mid-crust. Re-equilibration of melt inclusion H2O contents indicated that crystals spent at least 1–12 days in their carrier liquid before the eruption, consistent with lateral transport in a mid-crustal dyke from the Bárðarbunga central volcano to the eruption site.”

holuhraun.png (813×610)

Picture from Hartley et al. (2018).

The new Holuhraun, now more than 4 years old, is really impressive. The tourists that arrived when the area was opened after the eruption enjoyed swimming in the heated river/lake north of the hraun but today there is no noticeable heat left on the surface. Warm and wind/sand protecting clothes were badly needed.

The first site we visited (the tourist site on the western edge with a marked route) has large areas where the solidified roof had caved in when liquid lava had moved away underneath.

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West side of Holuhraun with a marked rout for visitors. July 2019. The rock show clear signs of erosion and storms have started to move in sand and ash from earlier events. Photo by Salting

Some signs of life invading the hraun could also be seen, a few green straws, a tiny patch of lichen. This is, however, a hard place for higher life forms! The sandy ground drains away water very efficiently and sandstorms will bury the small patches of life.

Another site on the south east, closer to the eruption site, has much less of caves. Both sites were extremely rugged and it was hard to move safely around thus limiting our excursions. Most of the solidified lava has a very “spongy” structure, reminiscent of all the gas it held.

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Holuhraun Northeast side July 2019. Photo by Salting

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Holuhraun July 2019. Photo by Salting.

This makes it sensitive to erosion. There is a lot of precipitation in the area and many freeze/thaw cycles every year. Strong winds with sandstorms grind the rocks down. The process is obviously very efficient and rapid and Holuhraun has already started to erode. I wonder how many more hrauns have flooded this area just to be quickly degraded or buried by the sand! How long will it take to erode/hide the 2014 Holuhraun? Probably a within an eye blink on a geological timescale!

Where will the next large eruption on Iceland take place? With great respect, we trekked to about 3 km northeast from Hekla. Who knows? Maybe she will be the next erupting volcano in Iceland. She is a real beauty, for now resting in a peaceful green landscape with sheep and lovely Icelandic horses grassing around.

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Hekla from northeast July 2019. Photo from Salting.

Other hot candidates are Grimsvötn and Katla, but they are unreachable for us ordinary volcano tourists.

However, on the way to Askja and Holuhraun, we passed the fantasy evoking “Upptyppingar“, or Mount Viagra”. Actually, the name is not for one, but for two peaks. Increased unrest here and northward towards Herdubreid may be a prelude for an approaching eruption. So for now waiting for the next upcoming hraun to visit! In the meanwhile, my wife developed a taste for tuff driving in rough terrain and now wants to register for the Dakar rally. Anyone who knows if there are any volcanoes to see along that road?

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Upptyppingar from the southeast, July 2019. Photo by Salting.

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Herdubreid (Icelandic for “wide shoulders”) from Southwest, July 2019. Photo by Salting.

Salting

110 thoughts on “Holohraun Five Years Later

  1. Fantastic! I was fascinated by the fast weathering. You know it won’t last, but I had not realized how quickly it goes.

  2. Excellent reporting.
    Did you also knew that Holuhraun was probaly the hottest Iceland lava eruption ever photographed in action.
    Holuhraun was 1185 C I think, thats around 200 c hotter than Hekla and around 100 C hotter than fimmvörðuháls eruption.
    Holuhraun was really hot and fluid and very gassy.
    This kind of magma I imagine is now filling Grimsvötn.

    • Probably this hotspot magma was also the one that erupted in Grimsvotn in 2011.

      And I would be curious about the following:
      Next time Katla or Hekla erupt, is the magma going to show signs of a more hot and primitive source, or would there be no difference?

      • Irpsit thats must be the case
        2011 was very crystal poor and mafic and thoelitic in composition.
        It was even less crystals in 2011 than in Holuhraun. Grimsvötn probaly erupts the most pure hotspot magma in Iceland

      • Probably not as much, the reason is that they are further away from the center of the plume head.

  3. What a great opportunity, Salt! and great shots too…. however i was most impressed with Your wife’s driving. 🙂 Best!motsfo

    • Well, I had to pay a not so small extra for repairment of the car when we turned it back to the renting firm… But the trip was worth every Icelandic krona!!!

      • I bet it was worth it!
        And given the chance, I would also let my wife drive, she is a far more able driver in the mountains compared to me. Wife power!

        • What? He can’t take responsibly for the vehicle? She has to be blamed? Granted, it was a dual effort, but just because she was driving doesn’t mean it was her fault!

          I nearly got stranded with no gas out in the Desert on I-10 several years ago. My wife was driving. It was my fault for not emphasizing the criticality of keeping an eye on the fuel gauge. Fortunately, the Agricultural inspector wanted to know if I was a basket of fruit sleeping under my jacket and woke me up. I politely informed him that I was not a banana and then noticed the fuel gauge.

          • 🍌🍓🍎
            I do not wish to make any proposal concerning the routing plus handling the car as my wife is at the wheel.

            She takes full responsibility, she says.

            And true thing, she pays her speed fines.

        • We hit some rocks when going over a small river and some protection shields under the car were damaged or lost. The car continued to function well but with a little bit more noice…

          • Of cause it was my fault. I should have checked the river bed before she went over🙄🙄😁

          • You can actually rent those giant arsed custom built off-road cars made for galivanting about in the netherparts of Iceland.

          • Good grief. The driver must have felt in heaven. Now THAT is the real ‘taking back control’.

          • It was one of the larger Toyota models, not the custom build monster cars,
            We were told to go over rivers where the water run fast because thats where its shallow. Calm water=deep water. The bad thing is that fast running water moves away gravel and small stones and leave only larger rocks and boulders so going over usually means very bumpy rides😬

  4. Thanks, Salting. I’m sure your report brought back many memories for many of us volcanoholics that got hooked by the Bard. During my visit to Iceland last year it was hard not to think of the possibilities of visiting Holohraun while tending to my flock of offspring. All 9 of us still talk of our Iceland visit as the best trip. ever.

    • Here is Anak Krakatau as of last month. The crater lake is still there. Over the last two weeks the lake has bene continuously obscured by a local cloud. I am wondering whether there is some weak activity, but it might just be the local weather.

      • According to Igan there is intense geothermal activity, he also posted a couple of pictures of the lake. So, the cloud is probably produced by the lake.

        For those who do not know Igan, he is the head of the Sinabung observatory, and has done extensive research on most other volcanoes in the area. Igan is the current Indonesian Popstar Famous Volcanologists now that Surono has retired.

  5. Nice little swarm at Grímsvötn. The GPS has also been doing a little dance routine since Aug 26. Looking at the full GPS plot it seems like it did some similar moves in the last months prior to the 2011 eruption, but it’s hard to tell for sure since you don’t see the details in that plot and those months are winter months, which means there could be erratic data due to snow.

    • Hi Tomas Andersson
      Yes Grimsvötn is really exciting..
      Is it true that, the magma chamber in South caldera is melting its way up and melting the walls, expanding? Andrej Flis data suggest that… what do all the other instruments say now on Grimsvötn?

      • I think it only updates once every day. These quakes will probably give a small step upwards, enough to be visible in the plot, but nothing really dramatic.

        • It will be years until an eruption happens….
          The climb on the plot is so much less steep than 2011 and 2004……
          But Carl says alos the upper magma chamber have increased in size and is harder to pressurize now, takes longer

          • 1.5 years I think. But it could be earlier if a catastrophic failure happens.

          • Albert I haves a question:
            Since Grimsvötn haves the highest and most open magma supply in entire Iceland, its completely molten and open conduited.
            Is it possible for a more permanent open conduit in Grimsvötn ?
            Grimsvötn is open conduited and hot fresh and basaltic now.
            Grimsvötn should be able to do this stuff, its already pre-built inside

            Imagine long lived a glacial surtsey phase in Grimsvötn.
            I imagines something like 2004 opens up in the caldera wall
            BUT it wont stop at all, instead it slows down, and forms an island in the glacial meltwater lake. Later it becomes effusive when that island opens up a lava lake that overflows more or less constantly.
            Possible when tephra cones in meltwater lakes grows large enough to isolate the magma from the water.

          • I knows the water and the ice makes it violent and caldera roof and water presses against… but Grimsvötn is an open conduit all way down to the hotspot probaly. The caldera roof iis like a lid above

            2004 and 2011 magmas ascended without no earthquakes at all..
            Hot and molten inside there..
            All it needs to do is to find a weak spot up

          • We do see increasing earthquakes so the conduit is not fully open. Lava lakes are rare and need specific conditions. It is not true that they connect deep down to the mantle. A lava lake is in effect a magma chamber at the surface. There will be a connection with deeper magma but that will be a separate chamber (or perhaps more likely a series of sills). The chamber is kept so high because of pressure. This can be pressure focussing in a conical mountain: magma tends to be pushed a direction parallel to the surface, so in a conical mountain it goes to the top. Grimsvotn does not seem to meet the conditions. The magma chamber is at some depth, the mount does not have the best shape, and most importantly, it is located on a rift which means the magma has escape routes if the pressure gets too high. So not impossible but not very likely, in my opinion.

          • No open conduit in Grimsvötn? Carl whats your opinion?
            Maybe Albert says its semi open?

          • Looks like Albert trys to say that Grimsvötns conduit to the magma chamber is not competely open…
            Because of increasing earthquake swarms.

            Whats your opinon Carl?
            What I read from internet…
            and from you and others, Grimsvötn should be nearly competely open at depth

      • Jesper, it takes time before it updates, first they have to be checked into 99%, and then there is typically a 3 to 4 hours delay for some reason.
        Now they are in, and today is gloriously yellow.
        Right now we are tracking for a second yellow month in a row.

    • Wonderful uplifting article, the planet is truly blessed with the human presence I especially like how we put a slam dunk on the last ice age before it could potentially harm us. Keep up the good work pro people!

    • Interesting. Every individual statement in the article is possibly correct. But the narrative is creatively unbalanced. Non-existing connections are implied. I know that the climate will become a staggering crisis, and the earlier we take action the more likely it is we can manage. But this kind of article is not helping. Let’s focus on facts and science, and what we can do. It is a solvable problem.

      Emotions can overrule facts. That is how the climate deniers got so many people to buy their self-profiting message. This article falls into the same category. Extremism, on either side, causes problems, but never solves them.

      • The only question is how are fellow scientist so gullible.
        Science abhors logical fallacies, yet climate science is non stop personal attacks, (calling people deniers), arguments to authority (consensus), cherry picking data rather than testing hypothesis, failure to release methods, and so on.
        Red flag after red flag, yet fellow scientist are unwilling to even question it because they are blinded by ideology and their sense of academic supremacy.

        Its pretty obvious that in this post modern world that the Age of Enlightenment has come to an end. The likes of Galileo and Da Vinci would be turning in their graves at the downfall of the questioning mind, and a return the an age of Ideology over substance.

        As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
        Manipulating them is the oldest trick in the book.

        • Hmm and yet all I am seeing is the logical fallacies of crying over being called a denier, but accusing the opposite end of being gullible.

          Complaining about how academici which have studied decades in their field have more authority over people that havent.
          But drags in historical figures that have nothing to with the debate to gain a false sense of authority.

          Attacking the facts, but not giving any arguments of why the facts are wrong.

          And applying to reason in a post that is entirely emotion driven and asking for substance in a post that is so empty of substance, I could post it in any other conspiracy discussion and nobody would notice it was originally about some other topic.

          And the unbased scaremongering at the end tips it all of like a cherry on the pie.

  6. GPS data from Iceland:

    Nearly all Vatnajokul / hotspot volcanoes show inflation. The question is who will be the next one to erupt.

    Grimsvotn has been exhibiting accelerated GPS changes such as inflation, especially in recent days. But it’s difficult to know what follows next. Often sudden inflation is followed by deflation. But sometimes by an eruption. It’s getting close to the cumulative seismic threshold. And any eruption will come relatively out of the blue. Risk is high.

    Oraefajokull continues a long-term of inflation. And in recent weeks it has also slightly accelerated. But without a few days or weeks of major swarms, I don’t expect an eruption there. Risk is low for now.

    Kverfjoll and Askja also shows minor long-term inflation. So I guess one of these will erupt in the next 10-20 years. Without swarms, I do not expect any eruption there in the near future. Risk is possibly low for Kverfjoll, but medium for Askja (because of ocasional swarms)

    Hamarinn, as usual, shows very big inflation for a long time. This is because it sits in the spot near where usually eruptions for Veidivotn originate. I think Hamarinn is a very strong candidate for an ashy subglacial eruption. Risk is medium to high.

    Bardarbunga also shows inflation but that’s nothing new. With occasional swarms and its recent history, I would say risk is medium.

    Katla, shows seasonal inflation (as usual in the summertime). But without weeks of swarms, I do not expect any eruption there. Risk is low for now.

    Hekla also shows inflation. It has shown for a few years. So nothing usual. But we know that an eruption there will probably come quite suddently. Medium risk.

    Changes for an eruption are in my view ranked like this, from highest risk to lowest:

    Grimsvotn, Hamarinn, Bardarbunga, Hekla, Askja, Oraefajokull, Kverfjoll, Katla.

    • If I would make the same list it would be in a different order.
      Grimsvötn, Öraefajökull. Hekla, Thordarhyrna, Herdubreid, Askja, Vatnafjöll, Katla, Bardarbunga, Greíp, Geirfuglasker, Krisuvik, something in the Vestmannaeyjar, Theistareykir and then Kverkfjöll.

      • I think ‘something in Reykanes’ and ‘something in Tjornes’ should be on that list too. Where is Geirfuglasker; is it by any chance that glacier-tongue directly west of Öraefajokull? Cause that part of Vatnajökull has had some EQ’s the last weeks that I didn’t notice before (but could be weather related-end of summer?)

        • “Geirfuglasker” pertains to the now extinct Great Auk. Something along the lines of “Great Auk Rock.” That’s gonna be out beyond Reykjanes peninsula.

          Purportedly, there is another Geirfuglasker east of Surtsey.

          As for the Auk, the last known breeding pair were killed to satisfy the needs of a specimen for museum displays since they were so rare.

          Internal organs of the last two specimens;

        • Geirfuglasker is on the Reykjanes Ridge and Krisuvik is on the Reykjanes Peninsula.
          Theistaeykir extends out into a volcanic feature in the Tjörnes, and judging from activity it could erupt. Another that I did not mention (as not to list all volcanoes, would be the one I have forgotten the name of, east off Grimsey).

          Skaftafell (the one west of Öraefajökull) is not that likely to erupt, it has been long-time dormant, so it would even for an initial intrusion be extremely noisy, and there is also a lack of telltale numerous deep earthquakes indicating magma arriving from depth. It is most likely quakes caused by cooling magma shrinking the magma reservoir.
          That being said, it is one that we are keeping track of, and that we might write an article about later on.

    • I just want to mention one of my pet peeves here 🙂

      if I juggle 3 balls the chance of me dropping is low, and the risk (of unpleasant consequences) is low
      if I juggle 5 balls the chance of me dropping is high, but the risk is still low
      if I juggle 1 chainsaw the chance of me dropping it is medium, but the risk is high

  7. Something interesting!

    While we await something to go boom on a bit of a grander scale, here is something to keep track of that is geological.
    Mannen Mountain (The Man) in Norway is once more moving, last 24 hours it moved more than 100cm, this might be the time for it to send 100 million cubic meters of rock into the lake below. 100cm is larger than the previous record of 62cm in 24 hours.

    The authorities have evacuated everyone (for the 11th time), and closed the railroad below. When it falls the rocks will dam up the river below.

    So, when it falls we get a mountain collapse, a tsunami, and basic havoc, without danger to life. A grand spectacle of nature in other words, the second best to a large eruption.

    Now, can you follow it live? Yes, Norway has thought about us and produced a page with both a live camera with night capabilities, and a thermic cam (the one below).

    https://www.nrk.no/mr/sja-direkte-fra-mannen-1.12012651

    • The crack starts roughly at the right lower corner and runs upwards and to the left. Big chunk of rock…

      • The warm zone is becoming larger, at least during the hour or so I have been watching on and off.
        Problem is that I do not know if it warm rain water, or an effect of the crack warming up as it slides. 🙂

          • Sweet!
            Do you think you could translate it for the readers who are not fluent in Norwegian like you and me? I would do it, but I am at work.

          • Sure. The video starts with the question “What will happen when Mannen falls down into Romsdal(name of the valley?)”
            Rough translation of the vid.
            “The mountain has a volume of 10-20 million cubicmeters, which equals about 2 million dumptrucks.
            Veslemannen (the little man, and the part which is in danger of collapsing) contains about 1% of the volume of the entire mountain.
            A rockfall can hit a number of buildings, the E136 and Raumabanen(train tracks).
            The inhabitants of the area are evacuated frequently, as there are many small rockfalls. In the future there’s danger of an enormous rockfall that could dam up Rauma (name of the river) and cause flooding in the valley.
            There’s no question about wheter Mannen will fall, it’s just a question about when and how huge the fall will be.”

            The full article which has more info, can be thrown into google translate or “right click -> translate” and a decent result will happen

    • Call me a dumbo but the top cam is blank (night) and the ‘thermic cam’ has 2 September date stamp on it. So…not sure we are seeing the current time?

      • I think the night cam has conked out, actually. No picture. The thermal cam is definitely out of date, and shows only a finite recording.

        • Top cam is having a problem with fog and night, and the thermal cam is actually running, but the time-stamp is a bit weird, currently I have 2019-07-01. And finite, not so much, mine have been running for 22 hours, and it slowly changes over time.

          • Thermal cam starts a 24 hour pre-recorded sequence. Slide the bar to the right, and press play, goes back to the beginning of the 24 hours. You can take a gander at any point in that video by moving the slider to the hour you choose.
            Unless my web access is doolally, the thermal cam is old recording from the dates shown.
            (Ducks under VC Bar counter to avoid hurled Swedish Lager glass….)

    • A little update:
      Since 12.00 local time on Wednesday there have been 39 rock slides, the last recorded one was at Thursday 19.45. The size of the rockslides has increased over time.

  8. Killauea has gone interestingly quiet. After a deep earthquake swarm at Pahala and a swarm at the summit the summit tiltmeter has flatlined. Is Kilauea now extinct, or is it the calm before the storm?

    • Uh.. I’d think what you meant was “dormant” rather than “extinct”. These are two entirely different things.

      As for the “calm before the storm” part, well, who knows? Like most, if not all, volcanoes (and other geological processes like earthquakes, of course), Kilauea doesn’t operate on a schedule.

    • The tilt right now is showing a DI event, these are a frequent ocurrence where the shallow summit magma chamber deflates for usually 1 to 5 days then sharply returns back to normal. You can tell it is one because the Pu’u’o’o tiltmeter has also started to fall as the event propagates downrift.

      They aren’t usually so perfectly flat-floored like this one, it must have reached a rare equilibrium between the DI event own deformation and the background inflation of the volcano.

      The tiltmeter will probably go up any time now or in a day or two what it does afterwards will show if there has been any change in the rates of inflation due to the recent swarms or not.

      • And as I commented, the inflation phase of the Deflation-Inflation event may have just started

    • Thats very nice! you know Hawaii is otherwise the ultimate marine desert
      This is the worlds clearest tropical ocean.
      Clear and blue, lacking plankton and nutrients… isolated in the tropical deep sea.
      The visibility in Kailua Kona is extremely good 70 meters or so or even more.
      These crystal clear tropical waters are otherwise almost lifeless

    • Oh, the slip is away from the coast towards the northwest.

      That’s a relief because if you have ever traveled the coastal road beneath etna you feel that it wouldn’t take much for the whole lot to slide into the sea, over thousands of people.

  9. Thanks for taking us down the Bard’s memory lane. It took a while for me to get use to not watching the eruption once it had stopped in February. An addiction I gladly have. I’m envious of your trip & of your wife driving there. Both are a dream of mine. 🙂

  10. I swear to god if i hear one more article about “The big one.”, I am going to (edited). It feels like every year in the fall season, something magically happens that suddenly triggers a shallow interest in news agencies that slowly fades in the winter.

    A kind reminder to Be Nice.. Admin

    • “The Big One” is very real. Problem is, it is a geological phenomena and like volcanoes, doesn’t follow schedules. PERIOD no matter how breathlessly the news claims otherwise or desires. ANYONE making a prediction about such an event is simply following the methods of a standard charlatan. Eventually their prediction will “come true” if they make enough of them, purely from the fact that if they keep saying it’s soon, eventually they will get it right. After all, a broken clock is usually correct twice a day. Why do they get away with it? People tend to forget the missed calls and the perpetrator will not shed light on the fact that most of their predictions were grossly inaccurate… if not flat out incompetent.

        • Those chances are currently not high. There is a reason we have not had spanish-flu-alike for more than a century. There are systems in place to limit the spread, and these worked for instance with SARS. Tropical diseases such as ebola appear to be treatable given enough research. There is a risk of malaria re-spreading but at the moment it is under control. The biggest risks are from (1) WHO failure (they do a lot of coordination and say the US withdrawing could greatly increase risk); (2) overuse of antibiotics. The last is a real danger. We are mad to be wasting antibiotics to improve cattle growth and now even on orchards in Florida. But that does not risk pandemic. It just makes ordinary injuries difficult or impossible to treat.

    • @Tallis Rockwell

      I think I found the motivation behind the hoopla. Seems there is a groaner of a movie out and someone felt the need to get in a bit of marketing in the form of a B/S news story in order to drum up interest. Not saying for certain, but it does seem that way.

      The initial scenario of the movie is that there was a Mag 12.7 in the LA area. Realistically speaking, that would have shifted LA north of San Francisco at around 3223 mph and left nothing but rubble, period. No burning buildings as in the opening shots because nothing resembling a building would have been left standing. Anyone there would have been instantly killed by the several thousand g force they would have experienced. Pretty shoddy movie if the opening conditions would have left all the main characters dead if it had actually happened.

      • Well I’ll contain my sociopathic rage concerning general disrespect given to legitimate threats and say the movie still looks better then a general shark movie.

      • Don’t give the movie too much credit. It’s a general collection of tired old movie tropes strung together with a shoddy plot trying to play off the better constructed San Andreas. At least in San Andreas you had a semi accurate portrayal of a humongous Rayleigh wave. San Andreas tripped up on the idea of some non-existent fault boundaries but did well otherwise. {It also had better eye candy}

        • Last shark movie I watched you could tell who was gonna get whacked because he was the only one who smoked in the movie.

          I’m guessing the director had an anti smoking agenda. You see psuedo-subtle SJW crap a lot in modern movies.

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