Michio Kaku and the stale dough

Great Fountain Geyser in the sunset. Photograph by Flicka, Wikimedia Commons.

Flat earthers believe that the earth is flat, but the rest of us have good reasons to think that we know that it is round. The difference is that they trust in their belief in something, and that we trust the scientific process and the data and theories that it yields.

A flat earther stubbornly refuses to acknowledge evidence and state the evidence to be lies, whereas we believe in images from space, satellite telemetry in the form of GPS-signals, and our own eyes as we fly at altitude and watch the earths curvature. We believe in reason, they believe that all is a conspiracy.

I normally say that the more you study science, the less likely you are to become a flat earther.

What boggles my mind is that someone like Michio Kaku, who is steeped in science and have 70 papers and counting to his name, has become a flat earther in regards of volcanoes. After all, I am quite convinced that he is quite skilled at reading papers, so why doesn’t he read up before sprouting flat earth theories about a particular volcano?

So, for the general edification of Michio Kaku I have simplified things in the terminology of baking.


Yellowstone and the stale dough – a brief history

Beating stale dough. Photograph by Samil Korkmaz, Wikimedia Commons.

Yellowstone is a place of stellar beauty, filled with vistas both surprising and serene. As you watch bubbling mud-pots all manner of wildlife will galumph about.

It took quite some time before we understood that the entire place is a remnant and evidence of geological forces on a grand scale.

The first thing we need to discuss is if Yellowstone is a volcano, or a volcanic vent. The question is not as crazy as it may seem, at least if we cast our eyes back into the distant mist of geological time.

Over the last 18 million years a mantle convection or hotspot has created a horse shoe shaped trail of calderas across the Snake River Plains. If we only count the big eruptions, they have only occurred 1 to 3 times at the same location, and then moved on.

So, in a sense of things, Yellowstone is just the latest vent of a much larger volcanic feature that is slowly moving under the continental crust. At the same time Yellowstone itself has the prerequisite intra-crustal magma-reservoir and the repeated eruptions that is a requirement to be counted as a central volcano. This duality is central to what I will write about below.


Misconceptions about volcanoes

Castle Geysir. Photograph by Arad Mojtahedi, Wikimedia Commons.

I do not know if Michio believe in all the misconceptions about volcanoes that I will poke a hole in, but at least some must apply.

Volcanoes receive a steady stream of fresh material. This is fairly uncommon, and those volcanoes that do tend to erupt frequently do that due to the constant pressure that will keep the lid constantly weak (or completely open).

Etna in Sicily, Grimsvötn in Iceland and Fuego in Guatemala are examples of the (almost) constant-feed volcanoes. Problem is just that even these volcanoes tend to go in cycles with waxing and waning frequency of eruptions. Stromboli is perhaps the best example since it has erupted constantly for millennia.

Most volcanoes on the other hand goes through episodic periods of magma arrival. Yellowstone is one of these volcanoes.

If the magma arrives without causing an eruption the magma will start to cool down, and through cracks and water interaction volatiles (gasses and water) will dissipate.

The cooling and loss of volatiles is bad for the power of a future eruption. As magma cools it will turn into a crystal mush with ever lower amounts of eruptible magma contained in the mush. For a volcano to be able to have a buoyancy driven eruption it must contain a minimum of 40 percent of eruptible magma in the crystal mush.

Poor Yellowstone has only 5 to 15 percent of eruptible magma in its crystal mush. In plain words, this means that Yellowstone can’t currently erupt. That is, without receiving a rather sizeable batch of fresh hot magma from depth.

Now, before we talk about the volatiles, we must digress into something that normally is a good thing for volcanic explosive prowess, and that is in situ fractioning of magma reservoirs.

If you leave a vinaigrette in a bottle to its own devices it will happily separate into its constituent ingredients, oil and vinegar. The same goes for magma reservoirs.

The heavy stuff will slowly sink (heavy stuff is not good for big boomy eruptions), and the light stuff (mainly silicates) will slowly float up to the top (silicates are good for boom). Also, volatiles are light and will go up to the top, and the volatiles are good for boom.

This means that as hot new magma arrives it will cut through the heavy stale dough at the bottom and go for the juicy boomy stuff and the volatiles, heat that up, and if that happens in a big caldera system, a big boom will occur.

640 000 years is normally enough time to produce spectacular products for those who like explosive eruptions. There is just one problem.


Enter the stale dough

The problem is that Yellowstone has gone through this process of fractioning in 3 major cycles. All the light boomy stuff and the juicy volatiles available has already erupted, and left is the stale dough of volcanic dregs that prevent the bread to lift.

This means that if new magma entered the system there will be no ready supply of explosive stuff, and as the magma in the reservoir heats up it will be squeezed out like tooth-paste. We only need to look back roughly 3350 years (give or take 200) to find the last rather minor tooth-paste eruption.

So, instead of the giant fluffy pastry that Michio envisage, we will get a rather dull fibrous sourdough rye-bread. The latter is far healthier for you, regardless if we talk about a volcano, or artisanal baked goods.

The problem is not made better that our stale dough has spent the last 640 000 years degassing out of numerous orifices.

Unless someone can magically inject cubic kilometres of yeast and nutrients into the dough of Yellowstone the bread will become flat and dull, whatever Michio believes or not.

Now, let me kick some more misconceptions in the groin.


Beating the dead dough some more

Happily galumphing bison at Yellowstone. Photograph by Daniel Mayer, Wikimedia Commons.

Now and then Yellowstone, like all other large geologic features, suffers from spattering’s of earthquakes. Every single time this happens, people will quote Michio saying that Yellowstone will be the end of the world in a few minutes. Often using quite a few exclamation marks while quoting.

Problem is that not all earthquakes are equal. In large volcanoes you have 3 main types of earthquakes, those caused by inflation as magma enters the system, those caused by magma cooling and shrinking, and those caused by geologic faults meandering through the volcano in question.

To see what is what, you need to have studied geophysics and have access to the raw data. Without both things there is no way you can decide what type of earthquake it is.

At no time has earthquakes been detected at Yellowstone indicating arrival of new magma, or of other types associated with movement of magma, or of a type indicating that an eruption is near. There have though been a few earthquake episodes associated with what is called “movement of volcanic fluids”.

A non-scientist will read that phrase and think that the USGS is talking about magma. Instead they are talking about hydrothermal fluids (water, or water with gunk in it). I know, boring. But this is how geysers are born and they are nifty!

Instead most earthquakes are related to the major tectonic faults running through the caldera, and quite a bit of small earthquakes associated with the shrinking of the magma due to cooling.

In other words, even the earthquakes are telling the story about the ex-parrot pining for the fiords.

Now the volcanic Flat Earther Society and its chairman will be screaming at the top of their lungs, but the GPS is proving that there is uplift!!!

And yes indeed, there has at times been up towards a couple of inches of uplift at a couple of stations (out of many non-uplifting stations). Problem here is that other more active large caldera-systems can uplift several meters in a single day (without erupting).

Moving about is just one sign for a volcano, and it is one of the hardest to interpret. As one part goes up another will go down at another point in time, and the uplift is often not even caused by magma.

Volcanoes like Ischia and Iwo Jima has uplifted hundreds of meters at a steady rate, often with more than a meter per year. Atitlan is tilting an entire lake, drowning a Mayan city under 35 meters of water. An inch is miniscule in comparison.

Campi Flegrei uplifted 7 meters in 48 hours before erupting a small hill. Now, imagine what kind of uplift there would be in Yellowstone even before an eruption? Let me just use the words “Empire State Building” and you will understand better.

But, all volcanic Flat Earthers will disregard this since they believe that galumphing bison is a far better predictive tool than all the equipment and scientists studying the volcano.

Problem here is that they are forgetting that bison are grassing herd animals. They are also both easily angered and easily spooked. And their standard reaction is to either run towards what they are angry about, or away from the frog that goosed one of them. And running is easier after roads, even for a heard of large animals with horns.

So, instead of believing that they are psychically linked with magma, ponder the idea of a frog goosing them.

And the final nail in the coffin. Remember that I wrote that there has been a horseshoe shaped trail of large calderas across the Snake River Plain?

This is caused by the movement of the North American continent. In the beginning the continent moved in the opposite direction of today, that started to change roughly 14.2 million years ago as Iceland started to shove the world around.

Currently all of the North American Continent is being shoved towards the west south-west at a sedate pace.

This is a problem for the continuation of the Yellowstone caldera chain. So far it has been travelling across fairly thin crust filled with cracks, but it is in a short geological timespan going to start moving in under the North American Craton, an old thick very hard piece of the continent. And that will put a stop to the show. Permanently.



Dear Michio, could you kindly return to your day job as a TV-host and stop scaring people without cause? Seriously, the “Oh my GOD!!! We are gonna die!!!-spiel is even more stale than the dough inside the reservoir of Yellowstone.

Or, at least use Google Scholar and search for Yellowstone articles before ever speaking again about that (or any other) volcano.

Obviously I am not stating that Michio Kaku believes that the earth is flat. I am stating that in regards of volcanoes and volcanology he behaves like someone who believes that.


201 thoughts on “Michio Kaku and the stale dough

  1. I had not heard of Michio Kaku so I looked him up on Wikipedia. His list of publications is enough to make my heart sink. Theoretical physics does not a volcanologist make, particularly when the physics is pandered to a populist audience for the sake of cash and headlines.

    Good article and entertaining, thanks Carl. Lets hope you have tip-toed around the yellow can of worms enough to avoid the usual UK red-top journalists erupting…!

  2. Thanks Carl! Every now and then someone predicts something bad from Yellowstone. In fact it is utterly quiet, hasn’t erupted for a long long time and gives no indication that this will change. Socorro (NM) is more likely to explode than Yellowstone. It is a wonderful place to visit though.

    As for the future, it is possible that the hot spot is petering out. If not, once the thick crust (50 km) moves over it, the hot spot can begin to melt the bottom layer of the crust. That could set conditions for a future flood basalt. But that would take 10 million years to initiate.

  3. We absolutely love Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons parks.

    Side note really deep quake on the big island, review shows Automatic still so may change. 74.1 km
    2019-03-02 03:32:00 2.5 74.1

    • 74 km is very deep for the pahala earthquakes, unless this one was somewhere else. At this depth though I dont think it us going to mean anything that quake is almost as deep as the width of the island

      • This one was in the north of the island an there was also another 2.4 33km depth not far away. I’ve actually been noticing what seems to be a slowly increasing number of occasional quakes at about the 30 – 40 km depth range in the general Mauna Kea area. No I’m not suggesting it is about to erupt!

        • The earthquake is probably due to the weight and subsidence of the islands, this quakes tend to occur deep and randomly around Maui and Hawaii Island. In 1871 there was a 6.8 under Lanai which has been attributed to this process. The area of Mauna Kea and Kohala seems to see this activity more frequently.

  4. Unless there is another recent interview, the Daily Excess (Express) and others just reprint the same story every other month or so with a short clip from October 2017. In the full interview Kaku actually says there is no evidence Yellowstone is currently capable of a VEI-8. A future VEI-7 might be possible he said but again he said there is no evidence that one is likely, there is no sign of fresh magma moving in and he doesn’t expect any major eruption at Yellowstone within our lifetimes.

    He does say that planet-wide there is approximately a 10% chance of a VEI-7 occurring per century but he wasn’t talking explicitly about Yellowstone by that point. However I think that is often quoted incorrectly as him saying 10% chance of a VEI-8 at Yellowstone within a century – which he definitely did not say.

    Apologies if I have missed a more recent interview but here’s the Fox News segment from October 2017 – https://www.foxnews.com/science/yellowstone-supervolcano-could-blow-faster-than-initially-thought

    Fox also mentioned this report – https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/10/yellowstone-supervolcano-erupt-faster-thought-science/

  5. Cannot be Quakes 74 km under Kilauea!
    Down there the temperature is 1560 C and rocks are likley molten komatite/superheated basalt
    Souch a hot and molten enviroment near the plume partial melting zone cannot transmitt quakes.

    • Well it isn’t under Kilauea but it is still listed as “Automatic” so let’s see if it is hugely revised.


      M 2.5 – 11km SE of Waikoloa, Hawaii

      2019-03-02 03:32:00 (UTC) 19.886°N 155.702°W 74.1 km depth

      And the other quake is now listed as Reviewed


      M 2.4 – 15km S of Honoka’a, Hawaii

      2019-03-02 00:55:07 (UTC) 19.946°N 155.482°W 33.1 km depth

    • Not buying the liquid idea. If it were, “S” waves wouldn’t propagate through it.

      All you need for a quake is stress to accumulate faster than ductile processes can relieve it.

      • Problem with the mantle is that it is both a liquid and a solid at the same time. What makes the difference is the timescale. Over longer time it behaves as a liquid flowing freely. But in human time spans of seconds and minutes it is due to the pressure behaving like a solid.

        But in this case it is more likely that if an earthquake occurred at that depth, that it would be from a sunken slab of rock.

        • At the molecular level, the mantle is solid. To actually melt it requires more heat. Shear (earthquake S-)waves can’t move through liquids, but are transmitted by solids, including the mantle. Anyway, you are the specialist on that! But you do get convection in solids, as long as they are behaving like sand (or salt) and not like rock, and that happens in the mantle.

          Even stranger is the mush in the crust (as in Yellowstone) of (say) 80% solid, 20% liquid. Quick-sand comes to mind. Liquefaction sees a solid turning to a liquid just by shaking. The fun (and danger) of physics. I find the old documentary (with proper explanations and a mild star-trek sound track!) on the Rissa event very good:

  6. The tone of this article disturbs me. Conclusion: “Obviously I am not stating that Michio Kaku believes that the earth is flat. I am stating that in regards of volcanoes and volcanology he behaves like someone who believes that.” intro “What boggles my mind is that someone like Michio Kaku, who is steeped in science and have 70 papers and counting to his name, has become a flat earther in regards of volcanoes. After all, I am quite convinced that he is quite skilled at reading papers, so why doesn’t he read up before sprouting flat earth theories about a particular volcano?

    So, for the general edification of Michio Kaku I have simplified things in the terminology of baking.” When I come across a contemptuous, flippant tone in what purports to be scientific discourse, it is a red flag. With respect to Yellowstone, Kaku appears to be following models and projections that were considered scientific 20 years ago. With respect to Ioto, he’s following the reasoning I saw spelled out on your own website (the New Decade Volcano program) not long ago. The scientific community which generated those models has since rejected them, and the math and reasoning for both model and rejection are opaque to a person without the specific training in the particular field.

    But what do I know? My training is in evolutionary biology, and I never even found a permanent position in that field.

    • Have a similar education-served me well in getting jobs in Aviation.
      Real Estate. Newspaper delivery. Herding Cattle.
      BTW personal experience-Bison are very, very spooky like Carl described.
      They are not the brightest bulb on the ungulate Christmas tree…

    • We do update and improve our understanding of what is going on in volcanoes. And not everything we say survives the test of time /science.

      The usual suspects among the UK newspapers are mainly interested in predicting disasters. Yellowstone is their favourite volcano, jumping on any flimsy story. Kaku should not have mentioned it. If he wanted to make the case that VEI7’s could be quit bad, we do that as well. We have the chance of one as 30% per century. That is actually 3 times higher than what Kaku stated – I think our number is correct.. VEI8 do not need mentioning: they are exceedingly rare and we don’t understand how they operate. There is no point worrying about another Toba (there is a lot of point in trying to understand it!).

      In my opinion, Kaku went for the ‘how to get attention’ angle, and that is why he mentioned VEI8’s and used Yellowstone as an example. Which it isn’t.

      • Still not exactly in the “flat earth” category; the projections about a Yellowstone eruption have been considered valid science in my lifetime. The flat earth people in this day and age are mostly indulging in satire, ridiculing people (some of whom are serious) who believe in a recent special creation event. The most recent western quasi scientific source seriously entertaining the idea that the world was flat is in the Dead Sea Scrolls – those guys also thought that the lack of congruence between lunar cycles and the sidereal year was punishment for human sin.

        • First of all, this has never been main line science. All that has been stated is that Yellowstone previously has had large eruptions. No research paper I have read states that it will have a large eruption again.

          If you have not met a dead certain flat earther you are lucky, I have sadly met two.
          But, in this context the term is used in the form of a parabel to describe those who prefer belief over science.
          A better example might have been climate change denialists, or those sad beings who chose to not believe in the moon landings.

          Anyways, I am tired of Michio. There are far better astrophysicists around in the vicinity writing about volcanoes.

          Ahem. Your mileage may vary.

          • How Carl would you falsify the scientific theory of CAGW and have you ever attempted too.
            Consider that the two competing theories are CO2 dominated warming with positive feedback vs Warming driven by natural means with negative feedback.

          • Same way you falsify the law of gravity. Do the experiment. Try sit a meter up in the air and see what happens. Try adding CO2 to the air and see what happens. The data is conclusive. One of your ‘theories’ is data denial.

          • I did that years ago, by doing the exact experiment that Albert is talking about. The actual experiment was a bit more intricate, but the basic experiment Albert talks about has been done, repeated by other researchers, and duly verified.
            The data yielded is still used as a baseline comparison to most other reports, for instance the IPCC, and it pans out.

            Even the less accurate (comparatively) data modelling on real data has now transcended the five-sigma range that is required for “proving” a theory.

            So, the short answer is that you are wrong, and have a hell of an uphill proving your standpoint.

            There are no two theories competing, one has won on KO. The other is bleeding in the ringside corner waiting for the ambulance to take the wreckage out.

          • And you two don’t seem to understand the line of questioning. We agree on the greenhouse effect and that doubling of CO2 will result in a forcing of 3.4W/M2. That however is only enough to cause 1.2 deg C of warming by itself, insignificant next to the 3 deg C of cooling over the last 4000 years since the holocene peak. So where is the evidence of the positive feedback that according to theory is driven by an increase in H20 in the upper troposphere. The observations show that temp is stable in the upper troposphere and specific humidity has decline rather than increased. That is called evidence. Simultaneously the observed rate of warming is only half that of the lowest emissions scenario, despite our actuall emissions matching the upper case scenario. This caused the IPCC to decrease their best case from at least 3deg warming per doubling to only 1.5 deg in the last report despite their previous claims of the sciece being settled. (In obvious contrast to the scientific method that states than no theory can be proven, only disproven.) So why do you two apparently trained scientists contually employ logical falacies such as arguments to authority and ad hominem attacks that are unbecoming to science. Last time I checked having an open mind and asking questions was beneficial to scientific equiry. Its quite frankly appalling that you two are completely closed to considering alternative evidence and theories. That thinking would have seen both Darwin and Einsteins theory thrown out for contradicting the consensus.

          • Science is based on data. You are pulling numbers out of thin air to support your argument.
            -The holocene cooling since 4000 years ago is 0.5 C. Not 3C
            -The warming since pre-industrial CO2 is already almost 1C. We are now well above holocene temperatures
            -The observed warming is just below the top range from the IPCC AR 4 report
            -Predicted IPCC AR 5 warming is shown below. Equilibrium climate sensitivity (warming for CO2 doubling) in AR 5 is likely in the range 1.5C to 4.5C. In AR 4 it was 2 to 4.5 C. The lower limit has decreased a little (but not from ‘at least 3 deg’. 3C is the most likely value and that has not changed).

            If you want to do science, don’t make up numbers, and don’t mix-and-match to get the number you want.

          • As for the science being settled, you are directly contradicted by the IPCC who stated in AR5 WG1 SPM footnote 16 “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”

          • I see that you missed the meaning of that footnote.
            It is not related to baseline increase studies of heat storage in an atmosphere due to CO2 loading. Which was what I was talking about.

            Using numbers out of the thin air, or disjointed and unrelated quotations does not impress me.

        • The Flat Earth Society is currently advertising a round-the-world cruise. They do have a sense of humour – some at least.

    • What made me make the flat earth analogy is that he did not read up on current science. And that is actually to put it in a nice context.
      At no point in research of Yellowstone has anyone stated what he said. All research in the last 20 years point in the direction in the article above.

    • My training was in geology, though I never finished my full degree. This was back in the 90s, and my college was within sight of the southern ridge of the Mesa Falls part of the Yellowstone caldera. With what information we had at that time, speculation was that we could see a major eruption sometime in the “next few thousand years”, though my professors said it was more likely we would see basaltic eruptions in the Snake River Plain rather than a major eruption from up there.

      Now we have more accurate information, fortunately, but those old apocalyptic fears based on older information love to linger and get dredged up.

      • I guess that the prediction about the Snake was based on the fact that all recent eruptions had been there, and Yellowstone itself had no trace of any recent eruptions. A significant eruption within the US in the next few thousand years is nt unlikely – but it won’t be Yellowstone. No matter what the Express (UK tabloid) says about once a month.

  7. Yellowstone is dying anyway: and its upper magma system is becomming a granite batholith.
    The upper magma system cannot erupt the ryholite mush will become granite plutonic rock.
    Yellowstone cannot do a VEI 8 for now.
    It requires wast ammounts of melting of continetal crust by magma inflow or extreme difrrentitation from a parret 1000km3 basaltic body. that takes alot of time and happens rarely.
    The litopshere is moving west and the american craton gets closer.
    Its going to get hard to melt through that.
    Yellowstone will erupt again, but it may only do some glass flows or sillicous domes.
    And that requires intrusion of frsh magma into the system under yellowstone.
    Yellowstones gassy ryholite magmas are mostly formed by melting continetal crust and difrrentiation.
    In around 5 million years as the craton moves over yellowstone the volcano will be kaputt

    Its the Snake River Plain where the litosphere is thinner thats intresting
    Snake River plain the astnosphere is quite close.
    Snake River plain is filled by basaltic lava flows mainly pahoehoe from numerous effusive monogentic eruptions. Craters Of the Moon are good examples.

  8. The only yellowstone may be capable of in the near future is some caldera ring fault domes or glass flows
    and thats highly unlikley

    • I wouldn’t write Yellowstone off so quickly. Yellowstone does have extensive plumbing, a basaltic flow 70,000 years ago and a history that does not show any waning of the system in the past million years. I do think Yellowstone can produce a few more VEI 8 eruptions before dying off.

      • Its still not going to do it in our lifetimes though, and it has only had 2 VEI 8s, the one in the middle was a mid size VEI 7 that there gave been quite a few other eruptions of that size since then and those havent caused global devastation. Some of those eruptions happened from still very active volcanoes, aso and aira on kyushu being notable in that regard.
        The most likely existing caldera in north america to do a VEI 8 is long valley.
        The area long valley is in is very active with numerous basaltic abd rhyolitic holocene eruptions and while the long valley caldera itself has not erupted in the holocene it still has a large magma chamber and one day will erupt again. A study recently found it to have over 1000 km3 of potentially still eruptible magma that is still being fed, and a small intrusion happened in 1988, and the mono craters nearby have an evolved composition that suggests a similar large magma chamber with potential of a big eruption one day too.
        The next eruption in that area will very probably be either a basaltic cinder cone or a long lived large volume effusive dome building eruption though so much safer and more interesting, and probably a tourist attraction to see the worlds newest mountain. Eruptions happen there every few hundred years and the last one gappened in the late 18th century so another one this century is pretty plausible.

        This area would be an interesting topic for a post.

        • I wasn’t really talking about Yellowstone as an dire threat but more as a system that is still somewhat healthy and not dying just yet,
          Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous (1000 km3) intracaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago/

          The long valley caldera is the most likely candidate for a VEI 8 in the world for the near future(Geologically speaking), to me at least. The chamber is 28% molten and there as not been a large intrusion as of late. The system does have history of erupting very quickly

          • I would agree on Long Valley on the US scale.
            But we do not need to look far away from the US to find a good bit more fertile large caldera volcanoes that are even more likely to go boom.

          • ” other eruptions of that size since then and those havent caused global devastation.” But a repeat of whatever happened in 546-540, two closely spaced veiling events on the order of a low VEI7 during a solar minimum, would definitely devastate human “civilization”. Long Valley Caldera doesn’t get the press Yellowstone does, but it has at least as much potential to produce a VEI8 in the foreseeable future.

          • Large one-off eruptions (even very large ones like Taupo, Yellowstone or Toba, are not the most worrisome scenarios. The earth has a great track record of sorting out short-term imbalances like that relatively quickly.

            The clouds from large one-time shots are mostly full of heavy stuff that falls out quickly. The more damaging sulfur from a one-time event also can only stay airborne for a few years, at the most.

            The most worrisome scenario is a multi-year or longer imbalance created by sulfur laden plumes from much a smaller basaltic eruption.

      • Ref the “70,000 years ago” thing. Large caldera events are generally followed by “infill eruptions” as the caldera floor is slowly rebuilt and “paved” over time. Until the floor gets into a condition where it can retain volatilizes and mush at gargantuan pressures… nothing anywhere near the the ferocity of the Large Caldera event it possible.

        Even Tondano is still leaking pressure via the Soputan, Sempu, Lokon-Empung and Mahawu ring fault system volcanoes. (Sulawesi, Indonesia)

        … so, technically, anytime one of those volcanoes is active, Tondano, a 20 × 30 km wide Large Caldera system, is actively erupting. Funny how the press doesn’t hyperventilate over that. The same could be said of Sakurajima and the Aira Caldera (now known as Kagoshima bay). Sakurajima is a daughter volcano situated on it’s ring fault system. Several papers have pointed to a connection with it and the magmatic system for the old Aira complex.

        As for Yellowstone petering out… a real possibility. My line of thinking is that it is fed due to an athenospheric eddy current behind the trailing edges of the now subducted Farallon plate, though I do have some less than well supported ideas about how it originally came to be. There is a partially started article about it that I’m supposed to be working on that may or may not see the light of day. It really depends on me re-aquiring my train of thought. If I don’t finish it, the other moderators will beat me senseless since it’s been such a long time since I’ve published here.

  9. And sometimes an earthquake is not an earthquake…

    Tyndall AFB is taking responsibility for the explosions heard in the area. EOD techs were destroying ordinance too damaged by the hurricane to use, ship or store.

    • Along the coastlines there are still now and then signals detected on seismographs pertaining to world war two mines exploding.

    • Yeah, I found the “public concern” to be a bit stupid. That’s very near Eglin AFB and they are always blowing stuff up there.

  10. Earth is round for soure
    A large flat planet is phsyicaly impossible

    Only the smallest asteorids that cannot be round of weak gravity can be flat

    • Well, concider the implications of an Earth made up of a giant “platter.” As you approached the edges, at some point, gravity would have you standing at near a 45° angle with respect to horizontal, and if you loose your footing, you would go skittering towards the center of the platter until the friction of your pants brought you to a stop.

  11. Above 460 to 520 kilometers wide all celestial planteary objects becomes rounded of gravity

  12. Thanks for the article Carl. Every now & then I hear someone say they heard Yellowstone is going to cause catastrophic destruction in the USA. I tell them years from now it could erupt again, but it’s more than likely not going to erupt in our life time. You’ve given me another way to explain it to them.

  13. “… can uplift several meters in a single day (without erupting)”
    Yes, I know how those volcanoes feel. This is how I feel when I eat “fabada” (a typical dish from Asturias, in the north of Spain, based on white beans and famous for generating … inflation).
    Fortunately, simethicone comes to the rescue and, as a result, degassing events occur. 😉

          • Sage advice.

            This happened over in Mobile Alabama today. A collection of port-a-pottys caught fire. (They were placed there for the Mardi Gras parade attendees.) No idea what started it.

            And something I learned today… Mobile Alabama floats are almost exclusively made from papier-mâché. New Orleans floats tend to use canvas in their construction.

  14. This must be a first in human history.

    If you wish for a large number or readers, just write about Yellowstone blowing up. But, if you write about it not being able to blow up a miniscule number of people will read it. This article lowered our readership figures. I find this quite funny.

  15. The six million dollar man was one of those ancient, far-fetched tv shows from the 70’s (in those days a million meant something). In one of the episodes, the poor guy has to fight a Russian Venus lander which somehow (I don’t know how) ended up on the wrong planet and started destroying the locals. The episode is mentioned in the book ‘The Martian’. If you think this storyline pushed the boundaries of credibility, don’t read on.

    In 1972, the Russians launched the first lander mission to Venus. It worked. But there was a second launch a few days later, as a back-up. This one failed: it apparently suffered an explosion and never left Earth orbit. The spacecraft was called Kosmos 482 (presumably it would have received a Venera number had it succeeded). According to NASA it came down to Earth a month later. But this is wrong: it is still up there.

    The orbit is slowly decaying and is now down to levels where eventually our atmosphere will bring it down. Being build to land on Venus, the lander may well survive the descent. When this will happen is still up in the air: it could be next year, it could be 2030, but probably somewhere in between these. NBC picked up the story a few days ago.

    The orbit of Kosmos 482 takes it to just over Canada and over Australia, and any latitude in between (https://www.n2yo.com/satellite/?s=6073). It could come down in any point underneath its orbit. Most likely it will fall into the sea (anyone read ‘The Kraken wakens’ by Wyndham?) but it may not. Get ready – you could come under attack. We may need that six million dollar man.

    • Hey, I used to watch the Six Million Dollar Man back in the late 70s as a kid! And there was also the Bionic Woman. And yes, I’m that old.

      • Many of us are! 🙂 I still didn’t know about the second Venus lander. That’s pretty cool.

        P.S., BW was hot! (back then for young kids.)

    • Gosh – the Bionic Man. That takes me back! I remember seeing a comment in those days by an astute 6 year old who said something close on: “If the Bionic Man has Bionic arms and legs, why doesn’t he squish in the middle when lifting up cars?”
      I still chuckle over that comment years later.

  16. I sucks at writing my keyboard is a disaster
    here is the final version

    Im curious on the venusian clouds albert
    How thick are they how dense are they?

    Are they really dense like earths clouds… or are they extensive and hazy and visibilty quite good in the cloud layer?how opaque is Venus clouds? whats the visibility inside the cloud layer?

    More correct spelling

    • Jesper, in the future just do one post. Spelling is not that important to us, but cleaning the site takes time, and may irreparably harm the comment trees and the posting on an entire article forcing us to prematurely post a new one.
      Thank god nobody had posted an answer before I got to clean things up.

    • They are dense but enough light gets through that the Venus landers were able to take good pictures. It is reported as similar to a hazy day on Earth. The clouds are very high up: over 40 km. So the atmosphere is much less dense where the clouds are, and this keeps the opacity down. The light on the surface is reddish.

    • This is the plot of light levels on Venus at different altitudes (Landis & Vo 2009). Correcting for the fact that the Sun is closer, the light at the surface is roughly 20% of that of a sunny day on Earth.

      • Above the cloud layers there are clear co2 air
        That woud scatter blue light.
        Venus skies above the clouds are blue like on earth

        Venus surface skies are as you says deep yellowish orange

      • at 20%, this is comparable to that of an overcast day on Earth in the mid-latitudes in places like Europe and the northern continental US/southern Canada. The photos sent by those Russian Venera series probes bear this out, of course.

  17. Many data says that venus clouds are extensive… but they are not very opaque visibility in the cloud layers are quite good
    Other sources says they are very dense and visibility is very poor in the cloud layer

    • You can have low opacity and poor visibility at the same time. That is what happens inside our clouds. Light levels are quite high even in fog (at least in day time), but you can only see perhaps 100 meter distance – that is because the light scatters of the water droplets. Add a bit of smoke (say a volcano has erupted), and the light gets absorbed – and everything goes dark. Venus’ clouds are in between. They absorb some light (scatters everything else) but not everything. They do absorb all blue light – what gets through to the surface is mainly red.

  18. Thats true….
    I read that VEGA data the russian venus atmopshere balloons discovered
    that venusian cloud layers are mostly stratiform ( startus and cirruslike ) in many layers and sheets
    With a denser lower part

  19. Albert any cumulus clouds in venus?
    Any normal sulfur cumulus clouds?

    Now we thinks away convective volcanic eruption collumns
    Any non volcanic cumulus clouds on venus?
    I looked at all satelite images of venus atmopshere and can not find anything convective

    • Models indicate that convection should exist, but it is mainly as down-welling rather than up-welling (presumably because the cloud prevent the sun from creating hot areas (even hotter than the rest) below the cloud).

  20. If you want to invalidate an idiot or a skeptic just invite them to your house. I am very skeptical of the modern apocalyptic sayings on climate change and my points are routinely ignored. (Not on this site) That just validates my position as there are skeptical scientific studies that don’t get any attention. Having a sound debate is always better then just labeling someone and moving on. If i could i would invite Michio Kaku and show people just how ridiculous his position is.

  21. Whee….

    Just finished off our part of a strong front driving through the area. Most of the really nasty was well inland, we mainly go straight line winds here. Lee County Alabama had two fatalities. Seems that two “wedge” tornadoes rolled through there. Mayor Bubba Copeland stated there were no known fatalities in Smith Station Alabama though their elementary school got hammered.

    Right now, the weather channel twit is pleading for residents of Columbia SC to put on helmets and take shelter, he even recommended Bike helmets if that was all you had. Seems that town is about 10 min from a long track tornado passing through the area, (*as indicated by Doppler radar) Based on where the speed couplet is at in relation to that Doppler site, the radar itself might get whacked.

      • New stars at Bardabunga, Iceland. This time very shallow. How fit into your model Tomas?

          • That was a response to the tornadoes in Alabama. Not the Bardarbunga shake.

          • The official notion from NOAA is that it was an EF-4. Pretty much what I had in Mississippi in 1992, though mine was from a dollop of high CAPE air wafting ashore and not from a front.

            For anyone curious… NOT a fun ride. The only thing that saved my arse was the weather warning radio. I heard a report of a tornado 9 miles south of a town that I knew was 9 miles west of me. As a general rule of thumb in the Southeast tornadoes track somewhere between 0° and 090°. Split that difference and you get 45°, which is where I was in relation to it. I wandered out to the front porch to look around and noticed that there was one spot where there was no lightning. At that point I sort of panicked, killed the electrical breakers to the house and shoved everyone into the most secure spot I could find. (it was an old house and I didn’t know if the knob and tube wiring had been upgraded)

  22. For millions of years, a group of tiny asteroids circled our solar system. Then, around 9 a.m. on June 28, 1911, one blazed into earthly skies near a village outside Cairo, Egypt. Locals watched the fireball, and they heard its explosion. A farmer even claimed a dog was killed by one meteorite fragment, making it—if true—the only known modern space rock casualty. Let’s hope it was just a rumor, but NASA says there’s no reason to doubt it.


  23. The dayskies of Jupiter, Venus above the cloud layers will be blue
    Clear co2 and hydrogen air that is above the clouds scatter blue light.

    Clouds of Jupiter is covered by a hydrogen stratosphere that causes Rayleigh scattering as on Earth, with Between 1 and 0.1 Earth pressure in Jupiters atmopshere atmosphere you could likley see dark blue sky with high cirrus ammonia clouds and a dark blue sky.
    Lower down the skies turns light blue and below is the main cloud layer.
    Jupiter and saturns upper atmopshere are blue.. but its hard to see since they are so huge.
    Jupiter is just so enromously huge that its blue hazy limb have not been seen yet
    Only in this voyager photo you can see jupites blue skies above the clouds: If you zooms very very very closely coud be the closest photo of jupiter ever skimming the atmopshere.

    • Interesting!
      I would love for the current Jupiter probe to skim close above the clouds so we can really see what it is like. Even at a few thousand kilometres it looks like a painting.
      Perhaps when it closes on the end of the mission NASA might indulge us…

  24. As is typical of me, I have been hard at work doing some more research on kilauea, this time regarding its next eruption and where it might be. The current inflation is occurring on the east rift, which means a stable easy and continuous connection still exists just as it did during pu’u o’o. Pu’u o’o might be dead, but another eruption like it is very likely with this setup. As said before, I have a reasonable prediction of a new ERZ eruption in the area between kupaianaha and heiheiahulu in june 2022, 4 years after the stsrt of the 2018 drain. However, I dont think this will be the next place an eruption actually happens. The next eruption on kilauea will probably be at the summit, either within halemaumau (where it could be randomly licated) or as fissures along the south caldera ring fault, between (and including) kilauea iki and all the way through the 1974 and 1982 vents. A similar eruption might have occurred in around 1790, where lava erupted out of the caldera fault alongside the main keanakako’i tephra eruption. This area showed significant activity in the 1970s, and the major vent of 1959 lines up nearly perfectly with the ring fault. Both 1959 and Dec 1974 had unusually mafic lava compositions, on opposite sides of this area, and both derived from deep sources. All the eruptions in this area are also characterised by huge eruption rates, all the brief ring fault eruptions (except 1982) and Dec 1974 reached rates of over 1000 m3/s at times and kilauea iki 1959 reached rates even higher than during most flank eruptions, rates of up to 30 million m3/day. This area does not appear to connect to halemaumau above the deep magma chamber 5 km below the surface either. The last activity under here occurred in 2015, with an intrusion south of the 1982 vents. I would guess that now the shallow system under halemaumau is gone, there is no direct preference to erupt there, and if a large batch of magma rises quickly it might not erupt in the deep caldera but on the southeast area of the outer caldera, where it could be quite intense or even like 1959. It is also known that pretty much all summit eruptions begin with only a short warning period, inflation would be observed but eruptions start very suddenly there and often only last a few days or less.

    Several summit eruptions are more likely to occur before the rift breaks again, there is probably a certain minimum value for how deep the caldera can be and still allow magma buildup within the east rift to reach eruption levels. Right now the bottom of halemaumau is at the same elevation as the part of the east rift that is showing inflation, but while the magma under the east rift is probably 2-4 km underground it is probably only just over a km underground at halemaumau and parts of the south caldera. This is still too deep to exsolve SO2 without an open vent but shallow enough to show tilt signals. This area is currently underpressured but the magma didnt drain away because no pit craters formed or show signs if forming in the future, so I think it is likely to erupt first before the east rift erupts on a large scale again. This might only be immediately before an ERZ eruption like in 1959 or it might be longer but I dont think the east rift is going to erupt with such a big hole to fill at the summit just sitting there like that.
    The one wild card is pu’u o’o, its connection was very long lived so minor eruptions in its crater might refill it with lava in the next few years, but that is less likely the longer this goes on.

    Because the bottom of halemaumau has the same elevation as the active part of the rift now I am going to slightly alter my prediction that the next decent sized eruption anywhere on kilauea will still happen in June 2022 but it is more likely at the summit first instead, with a large ERZ eruption in the year after that but not just on its own. Slightly different from 1975, which of course didnt make a big caldera or huge eruption.

    Fissure 8 should be called pu’u O honumanukāne 😀

    • With a mangled summit area, before anything of size happens in the rift zones, it seems like there first needs to be an entire summit plumbing overhaul.

      I do not see how the next activity at Kilauea can be anything other than a loud and messy interaction between fresh hot magma & cool rocks and dust occurring initially at nearly 2 km or more below the HVO shield.

      • Well tge ERZ is currently tge only place that is showing activoty, so no plumbing check required, but yes the summit is probably going to do something first. Last post i made another prediction, that summit inflation would start in august this year, 1959 was preceeded by about 4 months of inflation and magma feed which lines up pretty well with the volume it erupted (70 million m3 is 1/3 of 0.21 km3). 1959 was the biggest summit eruption, and most of the others were preceeded by less time, I thing about 1 month in 1974 and so pretty much i would expect an eruption within half a year of when the summit starts obviously inflating. If halemaumau does erupt furst i think eruptions will probsbly be small and in short succession but quickly fill the deep pit, ring fault eruptions will probably be bigger and more infrequent.

        The summit still has shallow magma, there is probably some cooling pockets under halemaumau and there is also magma under keanakako’i and this latter magma is both within 1 km of the surface and still there (if it drained obviously a pit crater would have formed) and this area erupted a lot before pu’u o’o, including literally less than 2 months before pu’u o’o started. This magma also might be quite old, 1971 was noted as being hot but very evolved for summit basalt, maybe in a few decades or centuries it will become hot andesite. This pocket probably formed in the 1400s when the magma stand was high and has been periodically recharged since then (1832, maybe 1868, 1877, maybe 1959, 1971,1974 and 1982 and maybe a lot of intrusions).

    • What does “O honumanukāne” mean in Hawaiian? I cannot find any reliable translation for this. And don’t get me started on Google Translate – it’s bad enough with Icelandic!

      for unclear reason all your comments end up in the dungeon and need to be manually released. Apologies for any delay! – admin

      • I’d ask Ed, but I haven’t seen him since my first tour of duty.

        (His last name was so long that his shirt stencil wrapped underneath his arm.)

        And never EVER make the mistake of calling him a Samoan. {An ET I knew did that once. He never made that mistake again.}

        As for the Gurgle thing, doing word splitting in the thing yield strange possibilities. Being nice about it, I assume Google’s version means something similar to animal husbandry. (Unless there is some morbid folklore about where to toss animals and husbands.)

          • If you had accurately predicted vent 8 and then stood on top of it as it vent off while doing an interview on tv, then the name would have been a given.
            See McKinney Cone. 🙂

          • About a week before the actual collapse at pu’u o’o I did actually say that an unlikely but possible outcome of the rapid inflation at pu’u o’o could be a LERZ eruption like 1955, I cant find the comment though but I know it is there. I think it is on around April 23-25 2018.

          • I will also add that once it was obvious what was happening, I also predicted that a more explosive strombolian type eruption with evolved magma could happen, my reasoning was different (old 1977 magma being carried by the dike rather than intrusion into existing magma pocket), and the location was wrong (not near highway 130) but fissure 17 was indeed a rather violent strombolian eruption of very evolved magma. Of course things temporarily became more typical later in the month but then not even HVO was prepared for fissure 8…

            Fissure 8 already has a long list of proposed names anyway. However fissure 22 doesnt, and its cone is just as prominent, it can be pu’u O honumanukāne instead 😀

  25. Most likley it returns to Kilaueas summit
    Now Kilaueas inner halemaumau pit looks alot like Nyiragongos collpased deeper crater parts did in year 2000 before current congo lava lake.
    For the summit lava lake to reform a dyke/ intrusion needs to form a permanent conduit pipe towards the surface. The 2008 – 2018 shallow piping that formed are as you says totaly gone… ruined by summers caldera collpase. Lava Lakes can form very rapidly.
    The overlook lake made its comming by increased gas emissions and change of gas compostions.
    Then an explosion and glowing hole in the pit wall as the magma collumn reached for the surface.
    Now after the summers drainage the whole upper conduit system is ruined and pancaked.
    The ring faults where its naturaly weak makes alot of sense for the magma to appear.
    Whatever what happens… Kilaueas insanely huge magma supply rates makes soure that summit lava lake actvity or violent ring fault eruptions will soon resume.

    1974 and 1959 was intrusions from Kilaueas deeper and hotter parts.
    Kilaueas main magma chamber is a stooring wat, where the superhot magmas from the hotspot conduit gets stored and convected and cirulated and it cools down to compostions and temps seen in overlook lava lake.
    Most of the cooling takes place upwards under that too.
    Now this magma chamber system needs to repressurize and sent magma towards the caldera floor.

    • The thing I think you are talking about is that a shallow (1 km or less) connection exists between halemaumau and the east rift. That never existed, and looking at the INSAR for early may 2018 the area between mauna ulu and the south caldera didnt really do anything, only later on did it start subsiding and at the same rate as everywhere else in the summit area that also doesnt have shallow magma under it. The active part of the east rift connection is deep probably 3-6 km deep and the deep rift is even deeper still and can probably function as a weak area that magma can rise through as it is probably doing now.

      ERZ eruptions are basically certain with the main conduit still being as open as it is, realistically the only thing that might actually shut down the east rift is a full blown drain and large scale caldera collapse, something like what happened in the 1500s. Those collapses also extended to the east rift where most of the put craters forned in one of either the 1500s collapse or 1780s collapse. Nothing on that scale happened last year, so despite how big last years eruption was it doesnt appear to be much more than a larger version of 1960, a ‘normal’ eruption, and the real terminator eruption is still in the future.

      • There is a deep connection but ths shallow did not exist as belived before
        Kilauea will be back soon enough
        i wants summit lava lake back and overflowing

  26. Kilauea will be ready sooner than later
    There is NO hole or void left behind to fill when the summit drainge happened
    all pancaked. No refilling needed
    Just enough magmatic pressure to breakthrough the rubble and bedrock in the new collpased caldera
    or send an intrusion eruption in an ringfault or upper ERZ zone

  27. M 4.5 – 57km N of Dove Creek, Colorado

    Same area is also under an avalanche warning.

  28. I just learned that thunderstorms cumulonimbus on Jupiter can have anvils 3000 km across
    and they can be 100 km tall! I imagines non stop ligthing where each bolt is strong enough to incenirate a city
    and hailstones the size of melons falling into the jovian abyss

  29. M 4.6 quake has occurred some 19 km W of Red Deer, Alberta at 5:55 am MST this morning (Monday March 4/19).

    It was strong enough to wake people up. A possible cause is fracking, which is commonly practiced across parts of Alberta.

    • The cool bit about fracking that people miss, is that seismic events related to it are stress fields being released that had already accumulated that were relieved before they got into levels capable of making larger quakes.

      Personally, I would be quite happy if a hundred or so Mag 3.0s kept me from having a Mag 6.0.

      In fact, the suspension of operations of two Type-II injection wells in Arkansas was because of what (appeared to me) to be activation of a boundary fault for the reelfoot rift. If you looked at the alignment of the fault face from the mini-quakes, it aligned almost perfectly with the commerce fault up in Missouri.

      BTW, Type-II injection wells are required to stay below the fracture gradient of the strata they are drilled into. As far as I know, at no time did the well operators exceed that. Doing so makes them liable for serious monetary penalties from the regulating agencies. And you know government organizations, they thrive for collecting “free money.”

      • Fracking and disposal wells are different beasts. Fracking is breaking a tight formation that is not very porous and thus giving pathways for hydrocarbons/ water to be extracted. They are relatively small horizontal pockets that target a hydrocarbon bearing formation. They usually deplete within a year or two. As example the current North Dakota oil rush is almost all fracked wells. There are more areas as well in the US. Alberta has in excess of 100,000 fracked wells. It is not really a new technology. I think it originated back in the sixties.
        Water injection wells are chosen for the porousness of the formation. In Alberta there are strict rules as to which formations can be used. Problems with adding contaminants (H2S is a big one) to producing formations coming up in the past. I worked with one that would go into vacuum once the truck drivers had started pumping the water into it. The weight of the water column overcoming the well pressure.
        Seems that the watch dogs in the US are much like here. Spill a drop and the want to fine the guilty party but no its nothing if they do it themselves. We have a well that was drilled in 1900 – 1910 era that has been flowing 300 M3/ day of water into the Peace River. It was long ago abandoned and several attempts have been made to cap it but alas it is still going strong. Do as I say not as I do sort of thing. lol

        • The only reason I brought up the disposal wells is that the rabid anti frack twits were hyperventilating over the Guy AR swarm slinging all manner of claims. The only wells ordered offline were two Type 2 wells near the swarm area.

        • Yup.

          Hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking), when done correctly and legally is mostly not very interesting at all. It is very old and very widely used technology (used commercially since the 1950’s).

          The term “fracking” is mostly used by people who have no clue what it really is or how it works and who, frankly, do not really care. From a marketing point of view, the term “fracking” is genius for those who oppose drilling of any kind. Just the word itself easily conjures up images of bad things happening.

          In fairness, the entire drilling process is really messy and can really do some damage if done illegally and recklessly…..and the vast majority of new drilling would not be happening without the availability of fracking to increase production on the back end. Anti-drillers have successfully labeled all problems on “fracking” when it is really the other parts of the drilling and finishing process that are 99.9999% more likely to be a real problem.

          “fracking is a great marketing tool.

  30. Halemaumau can do many things
    either it does very intense lava fountaining ( basaltic plinian ) that forms huge ammounts of tephra and forms dark basaltic ash deposits and reculites

    It can do large fissure eruptions that last a short time and coats the caldera in lava and forms rows of spatter cones and transient lava ponds
    And forms cinder cones at larger fountains like 1959

    It can do long lived permanent lava lakes that often overflows and filling the caldera with pahoehoe lavas.
    Souch episodes can last for 100 s of years.
    Souch lava lake feed tube flows can cover large parts of this volcano in pahoehohes before 1400 s

  31. … and another front. This one has no where near the horsepower as the last one. I don’t even have a pekinese wrapped around my foot. (= No lightning = lower convection and lower cloud tops)

  32. OT, thought of You, glad to hear You werent’ in the thick of things. i hated those things as a kid………….. rather have earthquakes. ugh, motsfo

    • I’m quite happy to not have been in the “thick” of things. One thing my wife doesn’t understand is that is why I learned how to read a radar.

      Ever since half the roof got taken off of where we were at in ’92 she’ been hyper afraid of weather ever since. I can’t really blame her. I was running around barking orders at her and my Mom.

      • And we just came under a freeze warning. Still not gonna be enough to knock back on the bug population though… got to have a hard freeze for that.

  33. Three stars at Bardabunga, Iceland some days ago and no comment. Seems interest in Iceland is lost? Two of those quakes M4,1 and M3,8. were very shallow compared to the usual plugg adjustment quakes. Some explanations or theories whats going on?

      • I have been a bit busy lately, but Albert is right – I told you so!

        The activity follows the same pattern as before. Several of the large quakes have been shallow, so nothing new here. The most interesting quake in this swarm is the really deep one:

        04.03.2019 03:41:44 64.649 -17.435 22.1 km 1.1 99.0 4.5 km ENE of Bárðarbunga

        This one is close to the area where the majority of the deep activity was prior to the Holuhraun eruption. Not saying that it means anything, but the area northeast of the caldera hasn’t had any deep quakes since before the eruption. This one is still a bit to the SW of the old cluster, so it might be unrelated.

        More predictions: Bárðarbunga will continue to give us these regular stars around the ring fault. I’d say we could expect one of the bigger ones, say M4.8 or larger, in one or two months from now. The model is simple. Just look at this figure and draw a straight line just below the curve. When the graph intersects the line it is ready for another large one. Any M4+ that makes a small jump upwards in the graph will slightly delay the large ones. Also note the depth of the larger ones (big circles). They are distributed between 10 and 0km with a slightly higher probability for shallow ones.


        I will continue to be busy for a while since me, my wife and all the dogs and horses will move to a larger farm than the one we have today. The move is in less than a month and we still don’t have any fences for the horses. That’s a bit of a challenge since the ground is still frozen. Expect less frequent comments from me in a while.

  34. here Turtlebirdman you can enjoy Nyiragongos fluidity
    This is the lava lake in normal activity
    This Nephelinitic stuff is really runny and bubbles like mayhem.
    Lots of small bubbles and crustal plates the lava lake is almost 300 m wide
    Superalkaline, superlow in sillica and superhot

  35. I wonder if pu’u o’o might be collapsing again, like a big block of the rim starting to slide into the deep crater. This gps is not really showing deflation as such but the distance between PUOC (north rim near webcam) and JCUZ (south base of pu’u o’o) and so the graph falling simply means they are getting closer together. In the past this meant deflation but after May last year I think pretty much all the movement has been because of slow creeping of the edges of the crater towards its deep part, with a significant movement recently. It would help if HVO still did frequent updates but they havent gone to pu’u o’o in months.

    • Was this around Feb 19? That event was seen on the GPS and tilt even at Mauna Loa.I had been wondering what caused it.

      • It is but i dont think it is a magmatic signal because it didnt stop, and is still going in fact. If it was magma doing this it would be pretty obvious but all this is happening in silence, so to me the most likely explaination of this is the south flank sliding a bit (slowly, no earthquakes) and then maybe collapses at pu’u o’o that cause the distance between the stations to decrease. South flank sliding would also explain why inflation was slowing at JOKA, it wasnt slowing at all but just temporarily outpaced by the flank movement. I think the area down from pu’u o’o is probably pressurised by now though, but the summit isn’t yet so magma will just go there before a dike foms out in the MERZ.

        • It looks like the feeder dyke into Puh is closing down. I have seen that at other dyke fed vents over the years. Normally there is a delay, and then after a few months it rapidly closes up.

          • Hawaii doesnt behave much like Iceland at all, eruption style and magma composition are really the only similarities. Kilaueas rift zone is pretty much always partly open and is essentially like a diffuse magma chamber.

          • I think you misunderstood me here.
            Obviously the rift itself will remain open, but the dyke running from the large rift dyke up to Puh would be likely to do exactly what I wrote.
            I should perhaps have used the words master-dyke versus sub-dyke to make it clearer, but that might be confusing since the sub-dyke would be the bear in this case.

          • I thought something similar, but in terms of the magma chamber underneath Pu’u’O’o. Which is essentially a wider part of the dike.

          • The decrease in distance between PUOC-JCUZ I would agree with turtlebirdman is probably due to slumping of the rim, the walls of the collapse are probably unstable and will remain like that for a while. Also the data of PUOC is not made avaliable to the public only the graph of distance to JCUZ, PUOC due to its location right next to the crater usually picks up things other GPS don’t (in this case slumping of the walls) so I don’t think it is related to the events on February 19. The GPS around the shield (KAMO, JCUZ, NPOC, and tiltmeter POO) and downrift to JOKA show swelling of the area since the eruption ended which I imagine must be due to inflation of the proximal part of the dike emplaced in May.

            About what caused the changes in tilt of Nov 19 I don’t know, but there was no slow slip event of the south flank, it would have shown strongly in the GPS along the south coast and these events are usually accompained by a lot of small quakes.

          • Slumping would affect the GPS’s but nothing is seen. That is why I felt it was deeper, below the level of the crater. Slumping also tends to be fast (once it begins it accelerates). The closest tilt meter shows both types of events. More distant ones only show the slow event. I don’t know what it is, but sub-surface seemed to fit better. That also agrees with it being seen as far as Mauna Loa. But perhaps the source is not here but in Kilauea?

          • The idea of a slow slip event was more to possibly explain why JOKA isnt inflating much now, but it could be more simple – the other reason I had was that the area has simply just refilled entirely and there just isnt enough hydraulic head between this area and the top of the magma column. At this point I dont think an eruption will happen unless halemaumau partly fills, or if not a vent opens at the summit because then it is pretty clear the magma column is at significant elevation above the MERZ. This is what it took to break pu’u o’o, for the overlook crater to fill to about 1 km elevation, and puu oo itself to have a high magma stand about 90 meters above the 1983 terrain. The bottom of halemaumau is now only about 600 meter elevation, the same as the ERZ just below pu’u o’o, so this deep crater might have to fill first though with kilaueas eruption rates this will only take a few years.

            If you take out the initial big drop at JOKA, which I think is most likely from the May 4 quake, the inflation at JOKA has recovered back all the deflation from last year, so with the quake being mostly a sliding event where the whole south flank moved down and out a bit, the magma movement wont reverse this so at this point I would consider the area ‘recovered’ though not kilauea as a whole yet, and the bit uprift of pu’u o’o probably has a lot of space in it that needs to fill and at best some might make a few spattering fissures like 1979 but mostly be intrusions. This next few years will probably be filled with quite a lot of intrusions but likely almost none of them will erupt and thise that do will be tiny.

            As said before I am predicting that with last years eruption draining about 1 km3 and halemaumau being 0.8 km3 (difference of 0.2 km3) that obvious inflation of the summit will start in August, 1 year after the end of the main eruption. Whenever this actually happens, I think an eruption will occur within 6 months at most, but probably before the end of 2019, likely at the summit in halemaumau. This initial eruption might be pretty small though, but once one starts I dont think it will take much to cause another.

          • Interesting, JCUZ is rising, which is consistent with the further observations of inflation in that part of the rift, while PUOC is falling and just so happens to be on the edge of a 350 meter deep pit crater that only formed 10 months ago and still collapses every now and then… The scale is quite small so not much is going to actually be visible but I think if this keeps up eventually the north side of pu’u o’o is going to collapse into the crater probably quite suddenly. JCUZ is south of pu’u o’o so more likely reflects the general motion of the area as a whole.

          • Looking at this, JCUZ has risen about 20 cm since the eruption last year ended, which is about the same as JOKA so I would assume it is safe to say that the area between pu’u o’o and heiheiahulu has in general risen about 20 cm maybe slightly more in the middle. KAMO station just west of pu’u o’o has risen by about 15 cm, which is comparable, but MKAI station near makaopuhi crater has risen by only about 5 cm, and MALU on mauna ulu hasnt really risen at all. I would guess that this means the ERZ is almost refilled after last year, but the magma system there is about 3-5 km deep while the summit might only start moving when it gets to 1-2 km deep so might take a bit longer. Based on 1977, which happened in the exact area inflating now on the rift, it could take about 300 micriradians of summit inflation to build up enough pressure to cause an eruption in the area, maybe a bit less because kilauea has more stored magma and a more open rift than in 1977. I dont think kilauea will be able to inflate to 300 microradians without a summit eruption happening though.

  36. Please keep follow up comments in the same comment tree as the initial comment. Otherwise we will start binning things.
    Comment post-mopping the place.

    • Not really, that is where the sprungur area goes into the proto-fault that is becoming the new place where the MAR will enter Iceland.

      • Carl, I checked the VES drumplot to have a look at the waveform and found that, in addition to the M3.2, there are still these strange long lasting waveforms that we observed after the quakes near Surtsey. They start with something that looks like a quake, then continue with constant intensity for 30-45 minutes, then end with another something that looks like a quake. Did you ever find out what those signals are? Looks a bit too constant to be eruptive or hydrothermal activity. Someone drilling more holes in Surtsey?

        • No, I have not really found out what is happening there. But before this earthquake there was quite visible popcorn on another nearby station, probably showing initial snapping before the fault cracked.

          • I also noticed those. Wasn’t sure if they could be related to the quake since I never checked that station before and don’t know what the normal background pattern looks like.

            Now we have had quite a few stars to the east, west and south of the SISZ. Nothing really strange about that, but does it increase or decrease the strain accumulated in the SISZ?

          • The others are in other stress regimens, but this last one should have shifted around the stress-field(s) at SIFZ quite a bit.
            There is obviously a bit of a risk that this might be a fore-shock since the area is seismically locked between the new MAR-connection and the VEVZ.

            Hm, went acronym heavy.
            South Icelandic Seismic Zone = SIZS + Proto-MAR
            MAR = Mid Atlantic Rift
            SIFZ = South Icelandic Fracture Zone (Sprungur area)
            VEVZ = VestmannaEyjar Volcanic Zone.

            Another way to interpret it is that the Sprungur area extends out into the ocean, but that we do not see most of the activity due to lack of instrumentation and wave noise.

    • Slacabamorinico is pretty cool name for a Chief. Will he also start a minstrel group and become a mystic?

      • According to the documentation, he was joined by a group on a waggon calling themselves the L C Minstrels.

        (Minstrels of the lost cause)

    • Strange throw… One of the news crew just caught a bag of rice. Moon pies beads and “dabloons” are normal… even packets of ramen. .. but rice? Must be to go with the sausage being handed out. I actually saw a running barbecue grill bring towed along in the Pensacola parade with the floats. (TV coverage)

      (No. I ain’t there, I detest crowds and oppressive parking twits. I stay away from downtown as much as possible)

      • Tea does not a human make, for that you need to mainline coffee, preferably both orally and through an IV at the same time.

        • I tend to ‘double bag’ my tea in a morning so it’s more like tea soup. It has to have more tannins than a peat big. Puts hair on your face.

          Anyway, the Twitter link is sorted now.

          • i wonder which helps the brain more? Coffee or Tea?? Any studies available? Best!motsfo

          • Double tea-bagging in the morning to get a big peat of hair in your face?

            Sir, I bow down to your excellence in morning routines.

        • “Michio Kaku and the stale dough” is a hilariously fun title
          just as ” The goop and the mudcano” is

          • Wife saw the “Michio Kaku and the stale dough” title this Am as she was walking by she said”That brought to mind some sort of Japanese childeren’s story. “ISee Michio Kaku as Michio Kitty Kat.” or some such..”
            BTW she knows who Kaku is…

          • Yeah, but ensure you do a final review to make sure the humor bit doesn’t get into the final draft.

            I used this method quite a bit when writing evals. Some of my most outlandish comedy turned into solid bullet points after rewriting them.

  37. Katla and Grimsvötn and East Rift haves a very bright future.
    As the mar spreading gets focused there and right over the strengthening hotspot.
    Partial melting will increase under the Dead Zone and Katla and VestmannaEyjar Volcanic Zone.
    And especially if the hotspot is getting stronger and more established.
    In the future the mar spreading ride will go from kolbeinsey staright through the Grimsvötn hotspot as it already does and go down into the Katla and VestmannaEyjar Volcanic Zone and connect with the mid atlantic ridge down south.
    Its likely that the dead zone, Grimsvötn,Katla, Askja and VestmannaEyjar Volcanic Zone gets more active if Hotspot and ridge gets better focused in this area.
    large fissure flood eruptions and shield building events more be more common in the future.
    Katla will likely becomes as active as Grimsvötn is today and Grimsvötn becomes a beast with frequent basalt plinians and terminal lava flood events and maybe even subglacial shield building.
    Dead Zone will make more Holohuraun like events and Lakis and maybe shields too.
    A central volcano could even form there as spreading and hotspot gets more established.
    Katla, Grimsvötn and Askja will get more active if all this is true.
    In the future we will see more Holhurauns and lakis and surtsey like events

    VestmannaEyjar Volcanic Zone becomes more active and changes to thoelites in composition as partial melting increases and more land forms.. becoming something like a New Reykjanes ridge and connects to the Iceland mainland. Heimeay is already a proto-central volcano with a magma chamber where magma is stored and differentiated.

    • The very thick icelandic crust is, as I remember it, most thick under the Vatnajökull volcanoes. Could that be an obstacle when the midatlantic spreading zone shift over in that direction??

  38. Talking of rocks


    Mars InSight Lander’s ‘Mole’ Pauses Digging

    HP3 on the Martian Surface: NASA’s InSight lander set its heat probe, called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3), on the Martian surface on Feb. 12, 2019. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR.

    NASA’s Mars InSight lander has a probe designed to dig up to 16 feet (5 meters) below the surface and measure heat coming from inside the planet. After beginning to hammer itself into the soil on Thursday, Feb. 28, the 16-inch-long (40-centimeter-long) probe — part of an instrument called the Heat and Physical Properties Package, or HP3 — got about three-fourths of the way out of its housing structure before stopping. No significant progress was seen after a second bout of hammering on Saturday, March 2. Data suggests the probe, known as a “mole,” is at a 15-degree tilt.

    Scientists suspect it hit a rock or some gravel. The team had hoped there would be relatively few rocks below ground, given how few appear on the surface beside the lander. Even so, the mole was designed to push small rocks aside or wend its way around them. The instrument, which was provided for InSight by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), did so repeatedly during testing before InSight launched.

    “The team has decided to pause the hammering for now to allow the situation to be analyzed more closely and jointly come up with strategies for overcoming the obstacle,” HP3 Principal Investigator Tilman Spohn of DLR wrote in a blog post. He added that the team wants to hold off from further hammering for about two weeks.

      • Getting hammered next to the seismometer as well. But that’s okay apparently – just more data 🙂

    • Not sure exactly where this thing landed (yes, I know, on Mars), and understanding that wind blown sand and dust can form dunes and deep deposits, I’m curious why they thought here wouldn’t be rocks near the surface? In all the photos I saw from the other landers, there were always rocks, with a thin veneer of sand. Deep weathering on earth occurs because of processes that probably have not occurred on Mars for millions of years, if ever. To keep on topic, how close is it to Olympus Mons?

      • There’s a bit about the choice of landing site and a map at https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/timeline/prelaunch/landing-site-selection/

        InSight landed at 11:52:59 a.m. PT (2:52:59 p.m. ET) on Nov. 26, 2018 near Mars’ equator on the western side of a flat, smooth plain called Elysium Planitia.

        Far more details at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11214-018-0531-4

        If the Mole encounters a rock larger than a few 10s of cm as it moves forward, it could be blocked from further advancement. The likelihood of such an encounter between the surface and the required (3 m) or target (5 m) depths has been calculated to be 43% and 59%, respectively. This estimate uses the most pessimistic models, where the surface rock abundance is taken as 5% and the Mole is stopped by any rock regardless of shape or orientation if it is 10 cm or larger. If less conservative assumptions are made about surface rock abundance (e.g., 2.5% or less) and demonstrated capabilities of the Mole are allowed for (e.g., the Mole can push rocks up to 15 cm out of its way within the regolith, and can also deflect around rocks encountered at angles ≤45 degrees), the probability of success increases to 98% and 90%, respectively

      • “how close is it to Olympus Mons?”

        About 5275km. Roughly 8 km from a crater. I would think that the subsurface terrain there is reasonably fractured.

  39. Mars is between Earth and the Moon in size
    that means its internal heat should be in between
    Not as hot as Earth and not as cooled as our Moon

    Mars center temperature is likley around 2800 to 3300 C

    • Maybe a little cooler, between 1500 and 3000 K. That is based on the fact that (1) part of the core is liquid (2) but that part is too small to support a dynamo. Playing with plausible composition and pressure gives you this range of temperature.

      Size of the planet is important but so is the efficiency of heat transport. Mantle convection can help cool the core, and absence of it can keep the core hotter.

      • The moon holds around 1300 C in its center
        Mars thats twice as big and 10 times massive should hold around at 3000 C but not far above that.

      • Mars is smaller than earth and cooled more
        Its litosphere is likley many 100 s of km thick
        But its large enough to be in its last gasps of vocanism once in a while.
        Some pahoehoe flows in Elyseium are very very very fresh looking
        And some marsian basalt meteorites was formed in lava flows 100 million years ago. and later blasted out by impacts into space.
        If mars is dead or not is not known

        • Don’t forget that Earth and Moon have probably had less time to cool. I’m pretty sure the Thea impact added a significant heat pulse to the Earth-Moo system.

          While Venus and Earth-Moon were forming from the billiard table of the inner Solar system, Mars was sitting relatively unscathed on the periphery of the game.

          This fits most ideas of how the inner planets formed.

          • Well, I hate to be the ‘actually’ guy, but Mars was far from unscathed during the Late Heavy Bombardment. In fact, I would say it probably took one of the biggest hits of all behind Thea fender-bending Earth and whatever made Uranus go ‘wibble’. You see, it’s a dirty little secret that the entire northern hemisphere of Mars is most likely in fact a single, titanic crater from an impact that nearly disrupted the planet, and would have been a good part of what boiled much of the water off of Mars and did other horrible things to it. Given the amount of debris scraped off, it seems fairly likely that this impact is a major reason why Mars is as cold and magnetic-less as it is. The sudden vent for heat from the interior would have allowed the core to cool much more rapidly than it otherwise would have, as the general scientific consensus seems to be on the matter.


          • So YOU’RE the bonafide “actually guy”.

            Welcome to VolcanoCafe!

            For all, his point does have merit.

  40. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqlK-iJ51I4

    Fissure 17, when it was forming its cinder cone. Interesting that there is mention of the fountain going to heights of 1200 feet, I dont know if this is the actual fountain or the explosive blasts but HVO never said anything about this sort of size for anything.

    • That was acually a very hot andesite ( old magma ) in East Rift.
      It behaved like a cold basalt from Etna: but this was a very hot 1050 C andesite. Looks like andesites gets pretty fluid above 1000 C explains why Heklas andesites erupts in same way in effusive phase.
      Most normal subduction zone andesites are 800 C and much much much more viscous.

  41. And we get an “earthquake”


    Yeah, it says East of Century, but that’s actually closer to Jay Florida. The rough location is directly under the upper reaches of Escambia Bay. The write up at USGS doens’t really say much about it, but in reality, it’s an artifact along the Port St Joe fault system. One of several ancient transform faults from the opening of the Gulf of Mexico.

    The other possibility, is that it could be related to the South Gerogia Rift zone. It’s contemporaneous to the opening of the Atlantic and failed so that the rest of Georgia and Florida could be part of the US.

    But, with as weak as it was, good luck finding a beach ball.

    I can say though, that the maximum of the minimal quake was probly felt in a gully just off the Escambia river. Here St Rd 4 makes a serious climb up out of the bottom land and warrants close attention to any Transport Trucks headed west bound. Not a place for your brakes to fail. St Rd 87 makes a rather scenic if not circuitous route down to Milton Florida. (Easy to get lost if you aren’t paying attention… and beware of Combines.)

    Just north of here is Alabama.

    • In retrospect, I think it is a subparallel fault to the Port St Joe fault and in my opinion, most likely strike-slip based on Port St Joe’s dynamics. The last notable semi related quake was probably over at Dauphin Island Alabama a few years ago. (Another ancient transform fault)

      And a fully wild arsed guess, probably a sinistral fault.

      If any one wants to pull a waveform for it, there is a USGS seismic station nearby up in Alabama. Probably purely tectonic in nature. And no, I did not have any accelerometors deployed at the time.

      • Ha! It seems to be the main coastal road in Oregon (US 101) which was hit by a slow landslide (note the trees standing upright where the road used to be). The road is now probably exhibit no. 1 in the freshmen course civil engineering 101 – avoid slides.

          • I’m surprised it took this long for our civilization and its depredations to inspire the ents to march to war!

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