The Dead Zone


Updated 13 Sep 2012, see end of article.

In logic, an assumption is a proposition that is taken for granted, as if it were true based upon presupposition without preponderance of the facts. (Wikipedia)

Back around May of this year [2012], Carl asked me to do a series of simulations using KWare’s Heat3D, a program written by Ken Woheltz and the Reagents of the University of California under the sponsorship of the US Government. It is a cool little program that allows you to run heat simulations of magma intrusions into rock of varying characteristics. I had been prompted to write an article about one of the more perplexing areas in Iceland (well, to me it is). Not feeling that I was up to the task, I offered to do the supporting graphics if Carl could find someone to write the meat and potatoes of the article. I killed off a weekend working up the plots, but two of the catch points that we ran into were; “What temperature of the intruding magma should we use?” and “What exactly is the geothermal gradient of the region?”

With those two uncertainties, and the bedlam of real life, the post never made it to the forum. Things happen.

Before I go on, I must warn each and every reader here that I am not a seismologist, geologist, or bona-fide expert in the field. I read a lot, have been “studying” geology and physics in some shape form or fashion for about 37 years. I am just an amateur like many of you, so there is ample room for error.

With that out of the way… now we discuss


First, “The Dead Zone” is not an actual named place. It’s just a colloquialism specific to VolcanoCafe. It’s that region of Iceland between Katla/Torfajökull and Bárðarbunga/Grímsvötn. I refer to it as “The Dead Zone” due to the seeming low number of quakes. Historically, and pre-historically, the region is quite active with fissure eruptions. Irpsit and others can give you more definitive dates and names about the area, but I am limited to what I can cobble together from various sources. There are many other features here, but the main ones that I can find data on are Veidivötn, Vatnaoldur, Skaftar, Eldgja and Trollagigar. (spelling as listed in GVP and may be missing some of the diacritical marks) Veidivötn, Vatnaoldur, and Trollagigar are part of the Bárðarbunga system, Eldgja belongs to Katla, and Skaftar belongs to Grímsvötn. (As parts of the parent volcanoes fissure swarms). As you can see from the overview plot, there just are not very many quakes in this region. (Ignore the dot dashed blue line, that was part of the original plot set and is not used here)[originally, I had planned to do a cross section of the thermal gradients for each fissure line placed side by side, in cross section, but the scale made the graphic a bit unwieldy for use on the web… very wide and not very tall.]


Now, why is the Dead Zone dead? Because it is really… really hot. Much more than you would think. When an eruption is completed, magma sits and cools after the eruption is over with. This cooling rate depends on the thermal conductivity of the surrounding rock. For Basalt, the heat capacity is 840 J/kg K. (this is what I used in the simulations), Granite, for comparison is 790 J/kg K. This is in part due to its lower density. How it works… in order to raise the temperature of one kilogram of the material by one Kelvin (same as one degree C), you need 840 Joules of energy (for Basalt). Since we are talking about heat capacity, Water is 4185.5 J/kg K and Ice (at 0°C) is 2090 J/kg , so you can see how water or ice can drastically affect what is going on. This is one of those “gotchas” that can throw this whole scenario off. This area has a high water table and that can seriously affect how accurate the simulations are. Keep that in mind as I continue. [The high water table was also partly responsible for the “rootless cone” phenomena – some scoria cones had no apparent source of magma and were driven by the water flashing to steam under the flowing magma sheet/river]

When a dike intrudes into rock, whether it erupts or not, it starts loosing heat at a rate that can be calculated (provided you have the skill, or a program written by someone with the skill). Heat3D runs through the iterations of how heat migrates into the surrounding rock.
Here is how a single intrusion works out over a few years.


In my original set of graphics, I used a temperature of 1600°C magma due to the runniness of the flows and how far they traveled. My original guess was 1100°C based on a statement that I had seen in a paper, and much discussion occurred between Carl and myself about what would be the sane value to use.  I went back and used the 1100°C value just to keep it sane and more in line with published data.

“Time constraints on the origin of large volume basalts derived from O-isotope and trace element mineral zoning and U-series disequilibria in the Laki and Grímsvötn volcanic system” Binderman et al (2006) places the temp in the 1120–1140 °C range based on a “Mg in glass” geothermometer. (calculating diffusion and formation rates vs temp and pressure). Another reference (that I can’t locate at this moment) implies a temperature of 1200°C at 250MPa for one of the clast minerals. 250 MPa is in the 10 km depth range. Still uncertain of what temp to use, I went with the program default of 1250°C.

I used a 10 meter dike width based off of the average of three known dike sizes contained in “Geodetic GPS measurements in south Iceland: Strain accumulation and partitioning in a propagating ridge system” LaFemina et al (2005). This produces a really bad 95% confidence range of 0.5 to 10.2 meters. (three samples is horrendous, but it’s all I had) Since the size of the plot grid has a direct play in how long the simulations take to run, I used 10 meters in order to get the simulations done in one evening. [some attempts became multi-day efforts and were scrapped due to boredom]

Now the actual run. As noted, this is not the original, and for brevity, I focused on only one system, Veidivötn. In case you didn’t know it, Veidivötn is probably the most lively fissure system in the region. It’s responsible for many of the Tungnaárhraun tephra layers. (THc. THd, THe…) GVP places an event there at the following dates: -6650, -4800, -4600, -4550, -4400, -4200, -1200, 150. For each eruption, I placed a 10 meter wide dike and ran the program out until the next intrusion date, which was then added and the process repeated. Another “gotcha” that you should be aware of, the eruptions did not necessarily occur in the same part of the fissure. This simulation assumes that they did. In effect, this skews the region towards being hotter than it might really be (and don’t forget the possible effect of the water that was mentioned previously)
So… here is the final product for what conditions may be like under the Veidivötn fissure. The temperature scale from the previous plot applies here.


Pretty gnarly eh? This is the crux of why I think that you don’t really see many small quakes in this region. Each one of those fissure lines has a heat structure similar to this. The crust is for the most part, plastic and yields to any stress that comes along… until it arrives too quickly for it to give. Then you have the larger quakes and potentially an opening of the fissure if the conditions are right… such as a nearby parent volcano being at or near erupting and having a ready supply of magma to flow down the rift and open it the rest of the way up. Structurally, there isn’t really much there to hold the two sides together. Plate shifts can do it (tectonic), or a parent volcano.

[NOTE: Apparently that was the exact the scenario that played out for the Holuhraun eruption.  What took me by surprise was that the dike from Bárðarbunga intruded intl the Grímsvötn fissue swarm and propagated off to the North, apparently moving away from Grímsvötn’s already plump chamber where the lithospheric stress and prevailing magma pressure kept the fissure from opening towards it.]

From “IAVCEI General Assembly 2008 Conference Field Excursions, Excursion 1: Historical Flood Lava Eruptions The 1783-84 Laki and 934-40 Eldgjá events” August 14-17 2008

“In 1783 the people of south Iceland had enjoyed a favourable spring and were looking forward to summer. However, their destiny was about to change. Weak earthquakes in the Skaftártunga district in mid-May were the first sign of what was to come. The intensity of these earthquakes increased steadily and on 1 June they were strong enough to be felt across the region from Mýrdalur and Öræfi. The earthquake activity escalated up until 8 June when a dark volcanic cloud spread over the district, blanketing the ground with ash (Figure 18a). The Great Laki eruption had begun.”

I’ve worked out the distances to Mýrdalur and Öræfi from the Laki site and applied an Mw to MMI estimate based on a few real world quakes from the USGS catalog in order to get a feel for how the power drops off over distance. Based on the MMI levels at which a quake becomes detectable by an unaided person, the quakes leading into the Laki event were likely in the Mag 4.5 to 5.0 range [or larger].

It’s a bit of a reach, but extending the formulas from “New Empirical Relationships among Magnitude, Rupture Length, Rupture Width, Rupture Area, and Surface Displacement” Wells and Coppersmith (1994) down to Mag 4.5, you get the following numbers.

Mag 4.5 – Surface rupture length 0.5 km, Subsurface rupture length – 1.3 km, Downdip rupture width – 1.7km.
Mag 5.0 – Surface rupture length 1.3 km, Subsurface rupture length – 2.7 km, Downdip rupture width – 2.9 km.


There is a bit of slop in the formulas, it is an attempt to get a working estimate of the physical manifestations that you would see from a quake. These particular formulas are only considered reliable for events down to Mag 5.2, but they do track well with no oddities in the curves. According to the paper, below 5.2 the confidence in what the formula says drops off.

From that, it seems that the Mag 4.5 to 5.0 quakes are what is needed to open the system up. They have the right sort of features; the crust itself has likely healed very little from the previous events and should not take a lot of energy to re-open.

All this rumination and reading is one thing… but there is always something missing when you think and talk about these fissure eruptions. That’s the scale of the things. Since none of us were around, we just don’t know or have a frame of reference. All we have are eyewitness accounts. From some of those accounts, we know how long or how tall the fire curtain was, but that’s it. Just numbers in a book. Here, I have scaled an image of a generic fissure eruption and placed a few well known silhouettes in front of it so that you can see just how big these things are.




GL Edit: The silhouetted buildings are;
Empire State Building – 443.2 m, Taipei 101 – 449.2 m, Burj Khalifa – 829.84 m, Sears Tower – 527 m, Petronas Towers – 451.9 m

“GVP” = Smithsonian Institution – Global Volcanism Program



Irpsit says:
September 12, 2012 at 18:26

From what I know Laki eruption could be observed from almost anywhere in Iceland, in distance. The reports even speak that you could see the fountains from far away, but probably not everywhere in Iceland, as 1km high is not enough for that.

This put me on a search for two of the images that I made for the original article. I was able to pull them from Google archive of my mail.

They are not as stunning as the scaled image, but they are worth pondering. The ruddy maroon rectangle represents the Skaftar (Laki) fire curtain anchored to the surface, as seen from a couple of locations.

1400-meter-skaftar-curtain-as-seen-from-tindfjallajokull-mod1400-meter-skaftar-curtain-as-seen-from-hekla-modNote, the summit of Hekla would probably not a very wise location to view a fissure eruption from.  In Hekla 2000, it went from 1st quake to full on eruption in less than an hour and a half.

<hr>Yes, this is a repost of an article that I had writen previously.  The idea was to bring every body up to speed with what is probably an unfamiliar term specific to VolcanoCafe, the idea of “The Dead Zone”

One last item though, in my recent rehash of Ruminarian V, I noted that overall atmospheric circulation patterns has a general flow upwards at around 60”N.  This is the region of the Icelandic Low, a semi-permanent feature for the area.  Any SO2 emission is pushed up towards the tropopause as part of normal circulation.  How long it takes to diffuse across that boundary is beyond me, but the average tropopause is much lower here than in the tropics.  Once the SO2 crosses to the stratosphere, it is easily dissociated by sunlight and can transition to sulfate pretty quickly.  The consequences of a Laki sized or larger fissure eruption would likely be quite bad.  (Yes, I know that Laki volcano did not erupt in 1783, it was cut by the fissure eruption and for some reason, it’s name got attached to the event.)


79 thoughts on “The Dead Zone

  1. Thanks Geolurking! It is easy to forget how long the heat from an eruption can last. Even after centuries, the heat is still there. It disperses into the rock by perhaps 1 centimeter per pay, or 3 meters per year. At that rate, it takes forever. Also easy to forget how enormous this eruption was. Even in the UK, the sulfur in the air from Laki is reported to have killed 20,000 people.

  2. Thanks GL! I was going to say what a cool article – but it is actually a hot one. I’d always held the idea the zone was cold and dead, so I find it fascinating that it is the opposite. A place well worth keeping an eye on. Out of curiosity, any Icelanders able to tell us if any of that area retains warmth or heat detectable by a visitor?

    • I think when the article was originally published, that though came up in the comments. If I remember, nothing was really noticeable. Remember that water can carry an enormous amount of energy since it has such a high heat capacity. 4185.5 J/kg K. That’s 209,275 Joules for every kilogram of water heated from 0°C to 50°C. Basalt has only about 0.202 of that, so about 4.9299 kg of basalt could be cooled by 50°C for the same amount of energy loss. This huge heat capacity is one of the reasons that cold water is so dangerous if you get stuck out in the middle of it during flooding or falling over the side of a ship in the North Atlantic.

      If I remember correctly from the man overboard worksheet, at less than 85°F water temperature the lethality of exposure goes up quite dramatically and cuts the needed rescue time down quite a bit. Thank you Williamson turn that put the ships bow right near the location of the victim. We had one Fire Controlman who was on roving security who was coming down from the flying bridge when we took a hard Stbd list, he lost his grip and went over the railing of the bridgewing backwards, right past the Captain. The Captain tossed a smoke pot and we executed the turn, pulling right up to the sailor. Scared @#$@#less at the sight of the ships pulling up on him, he was @@#$les and elbows frantically swimming away from the ship. In his minds eye, he thought for sure he was soon to be run over. The Boatswains rigged the netting and fished him out of the water. Since the water temp was so high where we were, he wasn’t in danger of hypothermia, though there was a shark threat. (you trade one for the other when it comes to temps).

      What amazed the Captain was that the sailor had not removed his sidearm. “That would have been the first thing I got rid of” was the Captains statement. A week prior, another rover had lost a magazine and several rounds and was charged $50 a round at NJP. (But, that was due to being hungover when he relieved the watch, so it was a dereliction of duty issue. When they were doing weapons turn-over, one round had popped out of the magazine and he grabbed for it, dropping the clip over the side.)

      {I know because we used to drink together. Closest thing to a true alcoholic I had run across}

      • About the Williamson turn; when executed, it kicks the stern away from the person falling over the side. (which moves the ships screws away from them)

  3. Can’t seem to get the top-of-article image to load for this particular article. Sometimes I see “connecting to” spin for an extended time before giving up but other times everything seems to load quickly, so I’m not sure what the trouble is there.

    • Thanks, I’ll go look at it after the coffee kicks in.

      GL Edit: Image has been relinked.

  4. # sound of breaking silence #
    Last weeks and months there have been small quakes in the general area. Hekla also.
    Notable (prediction) by Leading Geologists (in recent Newspaper interviews) for Bárðar region in next ten years are high – Bárðarbunga – now preparing, might produce up to five or ten events. There might (possibly) be repeat of Holuhraun, but also south turn, with floody results in Thjórsá region.
    HNY * fades * (will not discuss)

    GL Edit: Found this bouncing around in the jumphouse. Released.

    • There have been very shallow quakes in Bardarbunga, I guess due to the re-inflation. It will be interesting to see what happens. There may well be an eruption from another Icelandic volcano before Bardarbunga does something again. Hekla?

      • Interesting,that a year ago Bardarbunga was having the life drained out of it and on the verge of collapse.Where in fact the opposite was happening and the magma erupting was excess from a deeper source,a percentage of this would have been interacting with the shallow evolved magma emplacement.In other words the Holihraun eruption was a sideshow to the hidden real main event and most fell for the distraction.

        • I wouldn’t cal 1 km3 of lava a ‘distraction’! But there is a lot more going on underground. Only a minor part of the magma coming up from below makes it to surface. most stays underground and helps the plates to separate. If Iceland as a whole gets about 1 km3 of magma each year from the mantle, the Bardarbunga area may get 10% of that (perhaps a few times more if it really is hte main supply for the rift zone over a distance of 100 km! Say 0.25km3 maximum. 10% of that may make it to surface, so an eruption to size of Holohraun could occur every 40 years at most. Extra eruptions over the next few years would have to come from pre-existing reservoirs: the new inflation may not come from injection of mantle magma. Perhaps the loss of pressure due to the eruption now sucks in magma from surrounding regions. Or perhaps the rifting has reduced pressure in that area and that has induced new melt? Guessing…but extra melt could by itself cause the inflation.

          • Yes 1km3 is not a minor amount in its self, but even a modestly sized caldera such as Bardarbunga could contain over hundred of km3 of magma,so by definition ,this was a relatively minor hiccup on the scale of the system.

  5. Well, it’s about that time.

    Of note, Pensacola has moved their gaudy pelican drop shindig to the corner of Garden and Palafox. That will mess up down town traffic up pretty well. I wonder if the “Community Redevelopment” cartel will be issuing parking tickets… reportedly Escambia county made arrangements to deal with the tickets that were being issued to their process servers while delivering court documents.

  6. Sheldon, Nevada seems to be intensifying. Would 1000 quakes be enough to raise a red flag?

    • What’s interesting is the cumulative seismic moment, not the number of quakes as such. Since the most numerous, blue, quakes are listed as “magnitude < 2", the vast majority of which are almost certainly bound to be less than even M 1.0. Because it is a logarithmic scale and a difference of one magnitude equals 32 times, two magnitudes equals ~1,000 times as powerful. This implies that the few orange "magnitude > 3″ quakes have in fact released more seismic energy than the almost 700 blue, “magnitude < 2" have. Also if you think back to the Bardarbunga crisis there were about 100 quakes in excess of m 5.0 and even then, not much happened on the surface. That said, this area certainly requires observation so I'd suggest yellow flags are appropriate at the moment.

  7. The 63 story Dubai Hotel is engulfed in fire. I sure hope everyone got out. Live coverage on cnn.

    • According to officials there, they are still gonna set off their fireworks downtown … while this thing is still burning.

      • It’s still in the building and can’t get out.

        I never was a high rise firefighter, but at this point it’s mostly a “protect the exposures” sort of operation.

  8. Very nice article, thank you Geolurking!

    Leading to a few questions… 🙂
    Are there more dead (hot) zones known in Iceland?
    For example in the region north of ‘about’ Herdubreid aren’t many quakes either.

    I understood that THE hotspot in Iceland is located under the T-junction: Trölladyngja area.

    Is the hot plastic region in the Veidivötn & co fissures about the same as a mantle plume hotspot like Td?
    Or is there larger magma, solitary body that may have contact with deeper sources, sometime?

    • No clue here. But interestingly, at one time the Icelandic plume was described as an “incipient” feature. That’s a word with a very specific meaning and it definately got my attention.

      Time will tell.

  9. .Thanks for the Post Lurking. Definitely not Dead ! There are several hydro electric power plants in the area providing power to the Icelandic energy grid. These cause some confusion to newbies attempting to analyse the IMO tremor graphs! The fast flowing river system there are fed from the huge glaciers to the North East.

    Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year. May eruptions be spectacular but not dangerous and may everyone and their families enjoy peace and good health.

    Now This Man puts the rest of us Volcanoholics to shame on new year’s Eve !!!!!

  10. At my age, I’ll admire the Russian climbers and not emulate them! I’m content to spend New Years Eve at home with my dogs, a glass (or a few) of wine, and watch the celebrations around the world. Happy 2016 to all my VC virtual friends. A toast for happiness, good health and prosperity 🍷🍻🍸

  11. NAILED IT!

    As most of you know, I’m sort of a fan of the Black Swan idea. I’ve mentioned it from time to time, and have pointed out the Gaussian Cupola behind the indexing of credit default swaps as being a really good example. → “The Formula that Killed Wallstreet” (by Felix Salmon of WIRED)

    Well a recent movie has come out called “The Big Short“, ‘based on a true story‘ that is written around the events leading to the 2008 event. The movie opens with a quote from Mark Twain.

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
    It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

    And that is the perfect description of what leads to a Black Swan.

    • Now here is a Black Swan I am very partial to! Ladies you may appreciate this more than the gentlemen here!!! The black leathers and a whip are definitely not expected in a classical Ballet!

    • Och Aye Hobbes! Mi Lum reeked really well yesterday as The larger of our Lurcher’s ,Poppy, who really isn’t a full shilling at times, threw her New stuffed toy on the coal effect gas fire Not only the Lum reeked so did the whole house!
      Husband was told off firmly for removing the fire guard. He “doesn’t like the look of it and the Kids are all grown up now”… It wasn’t a Black swan event as the probability of Poppy doing this was calculated by myself hence the fire guard. The removal of the fire guard is also par for the course as Husband gets ear ache about if often.

    • Þakka þér fyrir. Ég óska ​​þér og fjölskyldu heilsu þína, auður og Happiness árið 2016

  12. Happy new year everyone !! Gleðilegt nýtt ár !!

    Edit: Released from the Aksimet dungeon. / H

    • Not my thing, but my wife is ticked off at Michigan defeating Iowa in (American) Football. She is quite thrilled that the Alabama team (essentially rednecks) are “pounding the snot” out of the Michigan team.

    • Scratch that, Vodka Bob is there in the flesh…

  13. Errata: Skaftar was in 1783, not 1983 as I mistakenly typed in the article. I currently don’t have edit capability and will change it tomorrow unless someone gets to it first.

  14. Happy New Year everyone!

    I saw 2016 come in at the animal clinic. My son’s dog got injured. She needed a few stitches, but she’s going to be ok.

    Heading to bed now, but will read the article tomorrow afternoon. It looks like a good one. 🙂

    • Oh! I am so pleased the dog is OK and Thank you for your wishes.

  15. My first rumination of 2016. I’ll keep it very short as I am half way through my first coffee and will have to go down and make my second.

    Here is this morning’s view of Katla, Iceland. Hekla , just across the river flood plain , west of her is even more shrouded in cloud and mystery.

    Will either of them erupt in 2016? We have been waiting… and waiting…..

    Really all I am saying is, that another year on and we still cannot predict or even have the tiniest inkling of exactly how Volcanoes “work”. We know so much more than in 1916 but still so much to discover.

    THAT is what makes life so precious and exciting for me. You are NEVER too old or too busy or too uneducated to be able to learn something new each day or at least to ask the questions , just once a week even………..” WHY?” ” HOW?” “WHEN?”…….

    Time to make coffee

    Have a wonderful 2016 to everyone around the world .


  16. Happy New Year everyone and thanks for your support and patience during 2015! 🙂

  17. Happy 2016! I’ll do my own rerun and repeat this from a year ago. It should still be valid!

    A new year alights on a changeable Earth
    We wait in the hope of a volcanic birth
    Rumours of unrest on expectant hearts
    The impatient patience of the watchful guards

    Octopus alike, Bardarbunga sits
    Tentacles spread in its dykes and its rifts
    Feeling for weakness through cracks in the crust
    Sundering rocks which we thought were robust

    Solfatara still sheds its sulphuric smells
    Yellowstone quietly geyses its wells
    Mauna Loa inflates while hiding its threats
    Stromboli’s lava still spurts pirouettes

    Fissures erupting to make people follow
    Flocking to glimpse the jets from the hollow
    But when the flow wanes, away the crowds leap
    In quiet the Earth can return to its sleep

    The future lies hidden in rocks deep below
    Where magma is trying to make fractures grow
    Mantle plumes rising and plates pulled apart
    The Earth in its silence still playing its part

    In faraway places the sleep is disturbed
    where ground is inflating and mountains perturbed
    Shaking begins – the magma is rising
    The world like a phoenix awaits fire’s baptising

    Tremors foretell of the burnings to come
    Delights to the watchers but sufferings for some
    Their houses on fire and lands overrun
    The people are fleeing whilst others have fun

    A new year alights on a changeable Earth
    We hope and we fear a volcanic birth
    Rumours of unrest bring fright to our hearts
    What power the Earth on our lives can impart!

    • Thanks Albert!

      Today’s webcams from Yellowstone

      and Stromboli

      • Thanks Bill 🙂 One very seasonal and one full of brooding 🙂 Happy new Year 🙂

    • Thank you Albert. I really liked this Poem when I first read it because it summarises so well, what we all do here in VC . We want the spectacle, we love the anticipation and the discussions but we really don’t want the harm and devastation that Volcanoes can bring.

  18. Happy new year from the High Lonesome of NE Oregon.!!
    -8C and foggy/stratus. Bit of snow. Went to bed early and my redneck neighbor had a fireworks show of considerable noise
    and debris. Poor Springer hid under the bed for hours. Nothing
    like waking up and thinking there is an artillery barrage going on..

    • Very best wishes to you and yours tgm also 🙂 We had a bright spark ( pun intended) that obviously had not set his clocks right and didn’t understand the idea of making a noise was, in pagan times, to scare away evil spirits . Set off two mortars at around 1.00 am. House shook, windows rattled and dogs cowering and whining cos our bed is too low for them! I say it was a he, could have been a she..if it was she would not have had kids to comfort and try to get back to sleep!
      Local evil spirits now actively seeking vengeance!

      • I have been nervous since my neighbor tried to burn down the
        neighborhood two years ago….
        I get a bit twitchy when the family gathers there…

  19. And west Texas and Mexico are slated to have freezing rain. Gonna be some chilly Apaches. That’s the area of their reservations.

    • Know a few -they aren’t rich and an un-insulated single wide
      ain’t fun …

  20. Err, what?

    Finally, A. G. Paul, a railroad baggage man, came running from the depot. He grabbed O’Kelley’s hand, thus freeing Burnett’s gun hand. The policeman immediately fired two shots and killed O’Kelley. Thus making him “the man who killed the man who killed the man who killed Jesse James“.'Kelley#Early_years

    Robert {generally regarded as a coward} Ford shot Jesse James in the back.
    Edward Capehart O’Kelley shot Robert Ford. (not in the back, but in a duplicitous manner)
    Joseph Grant Burnett (police officer under duress) shot O’Kelley.

    The reason for O’Kelley killing Ford was never known, but O’Kelley reportedly had married into the Younger clan, which was part of the James-Younger outlaw group. Dunno if that had anything to do with it or not.

    Note: There is also a line of supposition that Jesse James faked his own death.

    (Unrelated other than the name Jesse)

    • One of my German-swiss relatives (On the McCoy side only one that wasn’t Ulsterman or Cherokee). He was a young kid setting on a cracker barrel in a General store in a little Missouri
      Ozark town. Local Sheriff was bragging about what he would do if he confronted Jessie James. Something to the effect:
      “I’d shoot that dirty son of a biscuit eater.”-or something to that
      effect. Then, according to what young Hans had written down,
      (In my mind a Eastwood-esqe character) -stood in the door, and said:”Ah am Jessie James, whatcha gonna do ’bout it!”
      Sheriff Fife, in a state of panic, jumped through the window
      and ran to the Jail. -Locked himself in and his- deputies out..
      Jessie smiled , chuckled and left…
      This is the ballad of Jessie James:

    • With regards to Robert Ford, he met a fitting end.

      “On June 8, 1892, while Ford was preparing to open his saloon, O’Kelley walked into the tent with a shotgun. Ford was turned away from the front entrance. O’Kelley called out, “Hello Bob.” As Ford turned around to see who spoke, O’Kelley fired his shotgun, hitting Ford in the neck and killing him instantly.”

      It’s also probably the source of the “Hello Bob” dialog of Emilio Estevez in the movie Young Guns.

  21. Wandering about the internet, I ran across a comment regarding flint corn (aka Indian corn)… it seems that was the only crop to make it through the “year without a summer” in Vermont. Likely due to its lower starch content and tougher kernals. In order for it to be a viable crop through a volcanic episode, it would have to already be in your crop rotation. But it is good to know that at least one cereal crop can make it through a volcanic cooling event. Its a pretty difficult corn to eat, but it makes good fodder for livestock. And according to my grand dad. The husks are usable as toilet paper.

    • It is a bit shallow but the position of that swarm is very interesting as it is there or thereabouts where the MAR stopped unzipping after the great activity around Eldey half-a-year ago when, according to Carl, sources inside the IMO said the chances of an eruption were 50-50.

  22. So… the predicted (conduction-only?) heat profile for the dead zone after multiple intrusions sounds quite reasonable. How might it change when you bring any groundwater circulation or hydrothermal systems into the picture? How deep might a hydrothermal system penetrate into the ground? (1-2km, or most/all of the way to the bottom of the crust?) Would there be a depth below which you might not expect to find much water?

    I strongly suspect that nowhere near enough is known about the area to provide reliable answers, but I’m more curious about the questions that could be asked which would factor into an answer.

    • Well, Veidivotn has an entire lake sitting in it’s area, (“Veidivotn” = fishing waters{lake}) and water has a heat capacity far in excess of basalt. Personally, I think water (meteoric or otherwise) acts to rapidly remove thermal energy from the rock that it can get to. With a sustained influx of heat from magma bodies you have geothermal feilds such as Yellowstone, as long as you have a ready supply of water to replace that evaporating once it gets to the atmosphere. “The Geysers” geothermal field in California, and the power station over at Hengill periodically replace the deep water in the fractured region in order to continue power plant operations. With Hengill, you can occasionally see this as a widespread number of quakes on the IMO plots.

      Reportedly, “The Dead Zone” has a pretty high water table, so I imagine that it didn’t take long to sap the heat from the fissure eruptions once it ceased active rifting.

      What is really fun about Hengill, is that it is at a de-facto triple junction where the SISZ meets up with the MAR. Triple Junctions are inherently unstable an prone to migrate when the conditions are right. When the Farallon Plate finally subducted under the North American Plate, two separate tripple junctions migrated north and south along the plate interface until they achieved relatively stable orientations. The North moving one is now the Mendocino Triple junction off the coast of California.

      For more information on wandering triple junctions, I recommend Global Tectonics 3rd edition. It has a table of the various configurations and their relative stability.

      Grimsvotn has a crater lake. According to lore, Grimur used to fish there and his ticked off giantess wife cursed his favorite lakes. We encounter them when they become too deep and they lift the glacier/breach the edge and produce an outburst flood.

    • Iceland should be pretty dry deep down. It lacks a subduction zone which could bring sea water to magmatic depths. Instead it gets its magma from the mantle which is mostly bone dry. So it depends on how deep surface water can get, which I guess is 1-2 kilometer. Underneath oceans water can penetrate down to 10 kilometer depth but that is under high pressure. Note that whereas heat suppresses earthquakes, water injection enhances them. That is why fracking causes earthquakes.

  23. “Using mathematical models, scientists have ‘looked’ into the interior of super-Earths and discovered that they may contain compounds that are forbidden by the classical rules of chemistry — these substances may increase the heat transfer rate and strengthen the magnetic field on these planets. The findings have been presented in a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.”

    Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. “‘Forbidden’ substances on super-Earths: Scientists say ‘forbidden’ substances may increase heat transfer rates and strengthen magnetic fields on super-Earths.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 December 2015.

    Haiyang Niu, Artem R. Oganov, Xing-Qiu Chen, Dianzhong Li. Prediction of novel stable compounds in the Mg-Si-O system under exoplanet pressures. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 18347 DOI: 10.1038/srep18347

    Elsewhere, on Earth: “GUATEMALA CITY, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Guatemala’s Fuego volcano belched black ash high into the sky on Sunday night, as an eruption that began last week intensified, but authorities have not ordered the evacuation of nearby villages

    • Stars do seem to be coming in pairs lately. And at shallow depths…

      I was a bit surprised when I checked the drumplots. Just as last time we had double stars, these two were preceded by long period tremors lasting about 5 minutes. Last time it was from a quake in Afghanistan, this time the origin seems to be an M6.7 quake in India. It’s probably just coincidence.

      • Maybe you shouldn’t rule out a connection entirely. It has happened twice, and in both cases the earthquakes that followed were identical in strength. You could speculate that the long period waves induce water to move around in the fractures, and that this reduces the tensile strength. If the upper levels of Bardarbunga are currently not in equilibrium, small effects could trigger failures.

        The deep earthquake of yesterday may be interesting.

        • Maybe not, the events do look very similar. I guess all we can do is wait and see if it happens again.

          Thanks for pointing out the deep one, I was blinded by the stars and almost missed it. M2.6 sounds quite large for that depth. Isn’t it likely that this indicates a fresh inflow of magma and that the quakes this morning were a result of increasing pressure in the system?

    • Using WikerPeekatYa eruption dates, Soputan has an average repose of 6.88 years, so it’s well within the normal routine for the volcano.

      Of note is that Soputan is on the rim of the Tondano caldera. (20 x 30 km)

      • Which explains the short repose time: It’s an area of greater influx of juvenile magma.

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