The little volcano that could

Nishinoshima happily erupting in 20191231. I could not find a good photograph from a later date, only sat-pictures. Photograph purloined from the GSI/Japanese Coast Guard.

The little part here is highly metaphorical, or perhaps I should say challenged in regards of prominence. The volcano in question is once more Nishinoshima.

Back in 2013 when it rumbled back to life it was all the rave, but nowadays I bet that even most volcano afficionados have missed the return of the ocean beast.


A short recapitulation

This photograph is taken in infrared on the same day as the picture above, in infrared the enormous scale of things are easily visible, whereas above it seems to be just a cute little puffy thing. Photograph from GSI/Japanese Coast Guard.

Prior to 1973 poor Nishinoshima was a deeply misunderstood minute island in the Volcano Islands Group along the Ogasawara chain. Not so strange since the larger southern brother in the Volcano Islands is none other than Iwo Jima.

The misunderstanding part comes from someone stating that it had not erupted for 10 000 years. I have now spent 7 years trying to find a reliable source for that dating, by now I am quite comfortable stating that it is either a mistake, failed translation, or just simply a factoid out of someone’s butt.

Nishinoshima is normally rated as a stratovolcano, rising 3 000 metres from the ocean floor, occupying around 600 square kilometres at the base. It has a 1 in 10 gradients on all sides except towards the Ogasawara Through where it is far steeper.

It is believed that the Ogasawara Through is the main driving force of the volcanism in the Volcanic Islands, problem is that it is still argued about exactly what the Ogasawara Through is. I have seen articles stating that it is an arc/back arc setting, or a spreading centre Graben, I even found a rather dubious source stating that it is a plume track (that we can probably rule out though).

The sub-aerial part of Nishinoshima in early 1973 consisted of a small island and a few rocks poking up along the north-eastern end of a 1.2-kilometre-wide caldera. The caldera was by this time almost filled in; it was only 107 metres deep at the deepest point.

The Ogasawara Through runs in a NNW/SSE direction with Nishinoshima perched precariously on the western shear-wall.

Whatever had happened to the tip of the original Nishinoshima volcano, it seems like it may have meandered down in a generally easterly direction, and that it was slowly building up below surface until the 1911 survey.


The eruptive history

Heat coded image showing the lava flows on the 13th of march.

On the 30th of May in 1973 an island forming eruption started that lasted until sometime after the 1st of May in 1974. This left a flimsy island that was later joined with the old Nishinoshima by wave action.

In January 2000 a minor sub-marine eruption filled in portions of the caldera, setting the stage for the later rapid Island growth, the stage was now set for the current set of eruptions.


The 2013 eruption sequence

On the 20th of November in 2013 an eruption was noticed about south-east of the old island. In early December a new island had formed, and on the 26th of December the old and the new islands merged into an ever-expanding eruptive island.

As the eruption ended on the 14th of February 2017 researchers descended on the island to study how life would return to the island, there was much rejoicing among them. By now the island was 2.3 square kilometres.

Apparently, scientist feet are irritating to large volcanoes, so on the 17th of April 2017 the island resumed explosive eruptions, laying waste to the equipment left behind. This eruption was over on 3rd of October 2017, leaving the island at 2.9 square kilometres.

No doubt researchers started to rejoice again as they planed a new mission to the island, but it seems that they where to slow, and Nishinoshima resumed eruptions between the 12th of June 2018 until the 31st of October the same year.

By now the scientists had stopped rejoicing, observing that observational flights were probably a good idea for the foreseeable future. It was perhaps a wise choice.


The current eruption

InSAR showing expansion directions. Source, GSI. Note how the lava flow is not making even a dent on the eastern side.

Any normal volcano would by now have relaxed and opened a beer, patted itself on its back after a work well done, and invited in the by-now frustrated scientists. After all, every eruption in the sequence that started in 2013 had been smaller and smaller, a sure sign that things should be winding down.

It turned out that Nishinoshima was not a normal run of the mill volcano. On the 6th of December 2019 it rumbled back into life in what in raw lava volume is equal to the entire first eruption.

So far, the still ongoing eruption has increased the size by 30 percent to 3.8 square kilometres, not a mean feat since it by now is growing outside the original caldera at ever greater depths.

What is the not so good part of this, is that the island expansion has hit the precipice of the Ogasawara Through, as evidenced by the straight line that is forming on the east side of the island. Any further growth in this direction would take rather stupendous volumes to build up the shear-wall of the Graben.



The Future of Nishinoshima

By now it is probably safe to assume that Nishinoshima is a far more serious volcano than previously believed. There is a distinct chance that the volcano will continue to erupt with interludes ranging from months, via years, to a few decades for the foreseeable future.

The money shot from GSI (again). This animation shows the expansion caused by series of massive lava flows.

The growth will be along the northern and southern coasts, since there are marked ridges going in these directions, to a lesser extent it can continue to grow on the western side even though the depth curve is steeper on this side.

So, if all goes well, we will end up with an elongated island out in the ocean, life and rejoicing scientists will start to sprout forth, and people of a somewhat Swedish nature with a sailing boat will plan to go there.

There is though a threat to this glorified future of palm trees, happy birds, rejoicing scientists and mad Swedes.

The threat is simple, there is after all a minor risk that a large portion of Nishinoshima will slide off into the steep sided Ogasawara Through, opening the magma chamber, causing a volcanic tsunami cum Krakatau racing towards the Hawaiian Islands.

The only thing we can do about is arming the island with equipment and via remote sensors monitor it, giving advance warning about any upcoming craziness. As usual, science is there to save lives, regardless of if the scientists are rejoicing or not while doing it.


135 thoughts on “The little volcano that could

  1. Are typo comments welcome here?

    “but it seems that they where to slow,”
    “but it seems that they were too slow,”

    No, they are seen as rather pointless, just be happy that we do not write in our native Swedish or Dutch.
    Instead we write in Irish so that our readers will be able to follow things. Since we just recently changed the official language to Irish, it will take us some time to catch up on the details of spelling in this rather green language.

    • Carl doesn’t use the to/too/ and i can’t remember maybe the two also? as some others do….. he interchanges them to cause a little hiccup in some of our minds to see if we are paying attention. 🙂 i rather enjoy it. Language esp spelling isn’t the important item here… sharing thoughts is. Hope You are not offending by my sharing this You might be new and i’m OOOOOLLLLLLLDDDDDDDDDDDDDD> Best!motsfo

  2. Wow. Note that in the animation, the crater is slow migrating to the east. That suggests the island is already slipping a bit.

    • I think that if it was indeed slipping the crater would meander the opposite direction. Anyway, I do not think it is slipping yet. But, I have been wrong before.

      Nishinoshima is a very interesting little volcano. I had almost forgotten how interesting.

      • Looking at Google Earth there appears to be a slide extending east across Ogasawara Trough. Could there have been a collapse in the past?

        • Yes, there was one, that is how we got the by now extinct caldera.

  3. Thank you Carl
    Very beautyful Aa lobes flows this volcano forms
    The viscosity seems to be between Andesite and Basalt.
    ”Viscous strombolian” viscosity

    Is this basaltic andesite ?
    Hekla in Iceland probaly haves a very similar viscosity to this one. ( Hekla haves much much more gas )

    • Viscosity depends on temperature and sillica content
      Paricutin seemed to also have very similar viscosity to Nishinoshima

      We are growing a very nice ”Sea Paricutin” on that Island
      But Nishinoshima is polygenetic and will probaly grow into a beautyful Stratovolcano ?

      • I estimate 13 000 pascals for Nishinoshima viscosity 🙂

        • I think the viscosity is too high for that
          This is higher viscosity than Etna
          I think Nishinoshima will become a stratovolcano
          The lava is around 1050 C in this volcano

          Many basaltic shields are well over 1100 C
          And Mount Michael is 1280 C making it the hottest among subduction zone volcanoes

          • You just need to look at how the volcano is building up right now, one flat layer after another. Classic shield building.

          • The volcano is cinder cone..
            But maybe a cinder cone on top of some – kind of shield …
            So yes you maybe right.

            But the viscosity Here is much much higher than typical basaltic shield volcanoes.

            Nishinoshima will never become something like Fernandina
            Not hot enough and lacks the fluidity

          • Carl Rhenberg
            Nishinoshima Island may become a ”sea version” of africas
            Tarso Tousside : )
            That too is nice young stratovolcano build by basaltic andesite spiney Aa lava flows

          • Belknap In USA is another extremely likley future for Nishinoshima Island

            Same viscosity and eruptive style

          • Nishinoshima is already a stratovolcano; and a sizeable one, over 3000m edifice height. If it were on land it would be an impressive beast, like, say, Karymsky or Sangay. Not so little.

          • It is not actually a stratovolcano in the usual sense, it is more a hydroclastic pile more closely related to a tuya. Above surface it is a classic shield with a cone made out of ballistic material.

  4. Thank you. An intriguing volcano. Any news on Iwo Jima’s long build-up?

  5. I would be quite concerned at a Mt St Helens slide but underwater, which might be excessively explosive. That deep trench so close and unstable is worrisome, particularly if aimed at Hawaii.

  6. Real off topic, but since the #COVID19 post and comments, I’m actually not sure if there is anything OT at all…

    I was trying to figure out if there is any possibility of connecting the history of the Ural and any other Eurasian mountain range. Somehow like the Alps with the Jura range…so fare I did only had a look to the western side of the Ural…failure?

    Did you ever post anything about a possibility that the “small” island called Iceland maybe the reason for the Scandinavian mountains…(and even had influence on the GB and Irish islands)? I’m only remembering to have read that other plates cause the mixup mess of Iceland tectonics, not that Iceland messes all the others…at least I did understand it that way…I really think I should go deeper in this hot plumes theories…

    One hypothesis claim that the early uplift of the Scandinavian Mountains could be indebted to changes in the density of the lithosphere and asthenosphere caused by the Iceland plume when Greenland and Scandinavia rifted apart about 53 million years ago.

    • I will leave the Ural question for Albert.
      The Icelandic plume is young, it started roughly 14-15 million years ago. One could say that it is more likely that the Icelandic plume is the end result of that break up and not the cause.

      • Aren’t the Urals a remnant of a suture created when Europe and/or Scandinavia slammed into Asia?

        • IIRC, yes, and their erosion exposed fossils which ‘named’ the Permian era ??

          Can’t remember precise source, but I remember reading about the vast alluvial fans extending West, giving an ‘Alpine’ scale to the business…

  7. It is a bit reminiscent of Krakatau with the eruption on the edge of a precipice.

  8. Also this article got me roaming google earth looking at Japanese topography. Hokkaido has a lot of crater lakes with Holocene activity. Kussharo, Akan complex, Toya, many others. Lots of rhyolite and dacite. Yikes.

  9. Is an infant coral ecosystem already in place around the new growing Island?
    Is Nishinoshima even in the tropics?

    • Nishinoshima lies at about 27°N, so it’s actually in the subtropics. Coral reefs can and do develop under the right conditions this far from the Equator. It’s possible that coral reefs can grow there. Ogasawara Island about 130 km to the ESE, is at a similar latitude, and has coral reefs. Nishinoshima is also nearly as far south as Okinawa, which also has coral reefs.

      • At 27°N or S in any ocean
        The climate must be very mild and pleasant indeed ( perfect temperature all year around )

        Not the burning heat of Equator
        Not terrible soggy cold of temperate oceans

        Instead its just right

          • It dont matter
            A Subtropical Oceanic Climate like Azores, Madeira are extremely pleasant and mild

          • This is the weather at Iwo Jima. It is similar to Florida, but gets many more hurricanes (typhoons).

    • Holy cow! That must have come across a nice bit of dry brush, scrub or grass. Maybe there’s a shrub with qualities similar to creosote that grown there.

  10. I have just been looking at the coronavirus reports.. I have to say that the USA has impressed me by pretty well taking it on fearlessly. They will take a near instant hit and come over the other side with a courage that other countries just cannot muster. They will be over it and getting on with life months before europe even gets to the peak and although pretty horrific (OK VERY horrific), that is what pandemics are. Whether Sweden will keep its balls on I doubt, but the inability to face reality in so many countries is very depressing. Shit happens and that is the time to work it all out logically and face reality to minimise damage overall. What most governments have done is to take the politically correct and/or easy option that in many ways saves fewer lives (taken over time) but is politically correct. Sadly nature doesn’t give a fig for opinions or political correctness.

    • Swedish balls are firmly affixed and going nowhere, and Denmark is opening up now to Swedish levels.
      Most countries will have opened up in a couple of weeks as their starving populations demand some food on the table.

      • Impressive. I guess they all know there will be a big peak in illness and in deaths before they come down the other side into herd immunity? I’m really impressed that sweden and denmark had the courage to go for this, whilst trying to moderate the speed of transmission as far as is reasonably possible. In britain we are going for eradication but have no idea what to do next, even if we ever get there. We will be bankrupt by then anyway.

        • Impressive? Well, it is more that we have a good health care system that has received a lot of extra resources, so far we are well ahead of running out of ICU beds.
          And, being open is still done with quite a lot of limitations, but these are guidelines that almost everyone follows.

          In the end it is more a question of us being stubborn buggers that will not do away with law, democracy and civic liberties. Especially since losing them does not even come with the benefit of saving lives.
          Every country will have roughly the same deathtoll per capita, as long as the healthcare system is not overrun.

          • Good relative to what exactly? Our healthcare has been crawling on its knees trying to provide the same service to a growing populace with an ever shrinking budget that keeps getting slashed year after year. How many times prior to covid-19 hasn’t the system been in the news with alarming reports of people dying in the corridors because of lack of personnel and resources to deal with people in any kind of reasonable time? That said though so far the extra resources sent in immediately have helped although we should be thankful that the rate of patients has so far been relatively slow compared to southern Europe

    • The response in the USA depends considerably on which state you are talking about. Louisiana and New York have raging out-of-control epidemics because they did nothing early on, or what they did was run around with their hair on fire expecting someone else to solve the problem. Some other states, namely Washington, California and Ohio (and also Texas) are doing a better job.

    • Facing it head on “with courage” is a pretty stupid thing to do, according to the vast majority of epidemiologists. Every country will have roughly the same death toll per capita as long as the public health system ist not overburdened, like Carl said. But that’s entirely the point of the measures put in place in lots of countries. You will still have the deaths you would normally get, but stretched over a longer period of time. Letting it run out and going for herd immunity would be the better strategy IF you could provide intensive care for everyone that needs it. Too bad you can’t. That’s because countries like Italy or Spain have incredibly higher death rates. And some places in the US are on a fast track to exactely that. Suppressing the spread of the virus has absolutely nothing to do with “political correctness”.

      • I couldn´t agree more Leonard, without counter measures the point were there are no ICU´s available anymore is reached quickly and consequently more people die than necessary.

        Trying to diminish the number of casualties (and yes – it is clearly more with health systems being overstrained than from economic impacts in the long run) must be the goal of any functioning community. To put the other strain of thought to the extreme would be “we do not need old people, they are too costly”, and no one really wants that. Infection curves in Europe are flattening already, and in the mean time the health care system / production of critical goods like respirators and masks catches up with demand. A pandemic can be handled relatively well when you have enough ICU´s – best example being Germany.

        But what about the economy? If everyone has Corona, it´s like no one has Corona. No country will come out of that in a good shape, in the end we are all in the same boat!

        • I went out for a walk today, for my allowed daily exercise. It felt like 40 years ago: much less noise, many fewer cars, and friendly people keeping their distance. And I wondered whether a bit smaller economy would be so bad..

          Of course you can never really go back to the past. For one, there are many more people now, and the welfare of those days was build on much of the world being much less wealthy which was never going to last.

      • To show how fast numbers can apparently rise though, Scotland is shown as “no excess” but the National Records of Scotland said yesterday using later data.

        the total number of deaths registered in Scotland from 30th March to 5th April was 1,741. The average number of deaths registered in the same week over the last five years was 1,098.

        There is a suggestion some deaths may have been recorded slightly delayed.

    • Calling Bullshit here.
      The nations in europe that did intervene did manage to keep things low enough for the medical system to manage. While the US is suffering a lot of unnecessary deaths.

      What you are suggesting is nothing less stupid as refusing to evacuate towns under a smoking and shaking volcano. So the surrounding towns don’t have to be burdened by evacuees and can go on with their lives quicker.

      And then call it bravery.

      • I second that Magma Shard, and a sad but accurate comparison!

  11. Is Ogasawara “Through” a spelling error. Should it be Trough or Trench?

    • Yes.

      Do note that Irish is a second language to Carl, it is amazing that he managed to learn it in just a few weeks. /Admin

  12. Waffling removed.
    Jesper, you have already written this.

    • Even so, they ‘got lucky’, as an inter-island ferry with several hundred aboard that was reported ‘missing, presumed lost’ turned up un-sunk, but having lost ~35 passengers / crew washed off the deck…

      Downside, the ferry should really, really not have sailed given the dire forecast. Up-side, have they a sea-story to tell !!

  13. Another notice here
    Erta Ale eruption seems to have stopped
    No lava flows or lava lakes at all where spotted in the last expedition to that volcano.
    No thermal emission from space either.

    A very long eruption indeed ended

    • Yep its kind of sad too
      That thing been going for a very long time… and now silence. Better luck another year I guess

      I guess even Carl and Albert are stunned by Erta Ales ”quit the show”

      I wish you best luck from Gothenburg: I will be home in a week

    • Could the ‘mini-plume’ have switched to dyke formation ? Per the ‘mega-crack’ that garnered such attention ??

    • Kilauea, Ambrym and now Erta Ale, we have been losing many lava lakes these last 2 years.

      • In fact we may have lost 8 lava lakes? Kilauea had one at Halema’uma’u and another one at Pu’u’o’o, Ambrym had at least 2 inside Marum and 2 in Benbow. And Erta Ale had the lava lake at the summit pit and a second one in the satellitic vent to the southeast.

        • Nyiragongo, Villaricca, Masaya, Erebus and Mount Michael remains now

          And Nyiragongo is by far the largest lake now.

          Strong heat signal over Nyiragongo again
          The lava lake coud be overflowing again, or the caldera wall vent is pouring lava flows over the crater floor. The lava lake overflow fillings is soon as high as 1996. Nyiragongos lake is rising constantly with the years.
          The higher the lava lake grows in Nyiragongo, the more pressure and stress is put on the edifice around it.
          A big lava lake column 3 km above sealevel is unstable

          • Given the ‘benign’ geology, would we be talking side-vent / parasitic cone / lava flow per Hawaii rather than full-on flank collapse per Mt St Helens ? At least there’s no adjacent water for ‘hydrothermal’…

          • Actually much of the caldera wall of Nyiragongo is made of ash (which is why the cone is so steep) so it is not such a benign volcano, the ash was probably erupted in phreatomagmatic eruptions.

            But a flank effusive eruption is more likely yes, which still poses some considerable and deadly hazard when you are dealing with Nyiragongo…

          • If Nyiragongo erupts ( drains its lava lake it coud be very hazardus )

            In 1977 Nyiragongo burst open and the Nephelinite came rushing out!
            Extremely fluid lava poured down through the flanks and minutes got to settlements kilometers away. Eyewitness suggest flowing of between 70 km/h and 100 km/h and the flow passed the forests at such a speed that it did not set fire to the trees and even left the thicker leaves with a thin glassy layer. Ground deposits were blue black glass at places only a centimeter thick. Numerous persons , mostly the elderly or children, coud not escape from the flows. Exact numbers of victims cannot not be confirmed. Although the official count was 74, it is belived that maybe 400 people may have died. The lava flood covered persons with a thin glassy caparace including an elephant herd where all killed by the lava flood. Elephants encased in black blue lava glass.
            Around 20 million cubic meters of very degassed magma from the upper lava lake conduit were erupted in an hour, after which the eruption stopped instantly. An eruption rate around 6000 cubic meters per second was estimated. The driving force was primarily the hydrostatic pressure of magma in the upper 1000 m of the lava lake conduit located above the main vents. Lava spatter found in trees around the fissure vents testify to violent fountaining caused by the absoutley extreme pressure exerted by the magma column at the onset of the eruption.

            A scary example with fast flowing lava. A very unusual eruption and short lived, it lasted just one hour
            Maurice and Katia Krafft arrived 2 days later I think, everything was over.

        • Mount Michael is a very hot one
          1280 C been measured by satelites
          Its a very large lava lake 150 m wide or something. And likley churned violently by fountains to give off souch high readings. Because its so extremely hot it means Mount Michael is rising directly from the astenosphere

          This is the hottest Subduction Zone magma on Earth.
          Its competely liquid and at very low viscosity.

          Kilauea and Erta Ale are much hotter in their far depths down ( But cools on the way up )

  14. reykjanes peninsula is really active with 5 magma intrusions I think…I wonder we are going to get another mega fissure eruption.

  15. Here’s a thing. Today on BBC Radio 4 an expert said what others have told me which is that those dying of CV are not dying because of the virus but due to cytotoxic shock, first stated here months ago by someone too. Without this its a very mild to quite nasty flu-like sickness. Now once I discovered that CV latches onto angiotensin receptors (angiotensin causes capillaries to contract, increasing blood pressure) I was puzzled as to why it wasn’t far more fatal, after all it sprouts a molecule that looks just like part of angiotensin on its prods. Wouldn’t be good to be allergic to angiotensin because your blood pressure would fall and you would die if it all got mopped up by antibodies to it. So maybe mostly people find another, less dangerous, thing for the antibodies to attach to but just occasionally make a mistake, virus-induced autoimmune diseases are quite common these days. Even arthritis can be caused by one.

    • There appear to be two distinct phases to the virus. Phase one is where you get the mild symptoms and almost everyone gets this bit, with a very few completely asymptomatic people. That’s when the immune response to the virus is swinging into action and it lasts for about a week to 10 days. If you only have phase 1 you’re fine, albeit you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck.

      However if at about 10 days your symptoms persist then you are in trouble because the second phase starts kicking in. I’ve seen that referred to as the putative truck reversing backwards and forwards over you repeatedly. This is where the immune system goes into overdrive and the cytokine storm kicks in. Massive inflamatory response etc, etc leading to ARDS and very often to death. Specifically it looks like it’s the interleukin 6 pathway is the one that’s causing the problems. That’s responsible for an awful lot of autoimmune problems. In that stage you can also get nasty secondary bacterial or fungal infections as well.

      Consequently treatment protocols are starting to include IL6 inhibitors when the second phase of the disease is reached. Steroids are also being used to generally dampen down the immune response as well. Of course it’s a delicate balance because you don’t want to dampen down the immune response too much otherwise the virus will simply surge back. Secondary infections are being fought through prophylatic use of antibiotics.

      It was a combination of cytokine storms and secondary bacterial infections which made the Spanish Flu so lethal. Neither could be treated a century ago, but of course they can be treated now.

      • It was suggested that the original infection load may be important. If you caught a small dose from touching an unwiped surface, you may have an easier time than if someone sneezed full in your face.

        • It would be logical that the dose would affect the severity of the disease and a recent New Scientist article (Puzzle over viral load, 4/4/20)mentions that this is so for flu and sars and mers so its reasonable to think it will be the same for cv-19. Sadly the article then confounds initial infective dose with how much virus is in the tissues (obviously after infection) and finds little difference between those with bad or mild symptoms.
          Since the killer is a cytokine storm (as stated here months ago) this may not be closely related to the severity of the infection but more by the body’s response. Since we know the virus mimics the angiotensin protein I guess its possible for the immune system to target (part of) that in error which would mean it attacks quite a few key body systems and not just the lungs but the heart and kidneys too. That may be more to do with chance than infection severity, but then it could be the reverse.
          PS There is a good mechanism for why a small infective dose would result in much milder symptoms than a large one and a shorter duration.
          PPS I am getting a tad pissed off with people discounting ‘likely’ because its not ‘certain’ or ‘tested’. For management purposes you almost never have full (or often very good) information yet a decision has to be made. Far, far better to make it taking full use of what limited information you have, and the fact it may be wrong, than to wait until you can be certain, when time is of the essence, as it is here.

        • Yes initial innoculation dose is often very important in terms of severity of infection. It may well be that a high initial innoculation leads to a greater immune response and thus to the possibility of a cytokine storm occurring in stage 2 of disease progression.

      • COVID19 basically follows a classical model of infection and declining immune function with age.
        If you have a appropriate TH1 immune response you produce lots of CD8 lymphocytes that eliminate virus infected cells. If you have an inappropriate TH2 response (designed for fighting bacteria/parasites) instead you get neutrophil recruitment, which are basically a kamikaze flamethrower brigade. When IgG antibodies start getting produced (day 10) they activated the neutrophils further though the FC receptor and trigger the cytokine storm.

        Now the TH1 pathway and TH2 pathway inhibit each other, in particular IL6 is produced by TH2 and inhibits TH1.
        What do we see in severe COVID disease
        Low Lymphocyte to Neutrophil ratio
        Elevated IL6
        High antibody Titres
        Mild COVID you see the exact opposite. Because TH1 recruits Neutrophils and suppresses Neutrophils/IL6/Antibodies

        Now for why age cause problems, there are two main factors.
        1/Lymphocyte numbers
        When you are young you produce a lot more lymphocytes (3000-9000 per micro litre vs 1000-3000 for adults) So the probability of having a matching lymphocyte interacting and responding to a virus is much higher. Obviously Young people are constantly encountering novel pathogens and have to mount an immune response. At the same time the immune system is still somewhat immature and tends to mount a less aggressive response. Everything is better regulated so to speak.
        Also as you age some people start producing increasing amounts of CD4 helper cells differentiated towards TH2 activation. Is unknown why this happens but it does seem to be somewhat linked to lifestyle related illness of the western world.
        (Aka metabolic inflammatory processes like obesity)

        Of course CD4 cells are important for down regulating immune response. So the lower they are the worse the cytokine storm gets.

        As far as prevention/treatment, make sure you’re not deficient in zinc, Vit D and sleep as all are critical to TH1 pathway activation.
        Thats also why they are looking at the BCG vaccine for polio, as its known to enhance the general TH1 response.

        • This is very interesting re IL-6 and TH2 response. Thanks for the post.

        • Thank you. This set of x-inhibitory pathways has been known to me in general, but not as specifically as you have stated. BCG is for tuberculosis but does indeed generate a massive response, its been used for tumor reduction for the same purpose. Is this the system where its been suggested that regular exposure to bacterial challenge (aka less hygiene) reduces inappropriate autoimmune responses. Its also why bacterial infection is quite common following viral pneumonia, the bacterial response side is suppressed following the viral response activation.
          Its worth noting that in nature humans would only rarely see viral pathogens, mostly animal ones often carried by parasites, but would be constantly deluged with attacks by bacteria from every cut and ingestion of raw/off foods.
          That was a great post.

        • Have been taking zinc supplements and Vit D (and K to assist absorption) daily. The boyfriend and I have stayed well all things considered. This was a great post. Thank you.

          • I’m kind of weirded out by vitamin D.

            My doc told me to avoid sun exposure due to some of the other meds, then seemed to be concerned about my low vitamin D.

            I just miss grapefruit juice. 🙁

            (The falvinoid specific to grapefruit can mess with the potency of drugs, either raising or lowering their effect)

        • Interesting piece of information, many thanks for sharing, I‘m wondering if IL-6 inhibitors (a relatively new class of drugs used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis) might be beneficial for some patients as they would prevent inhibition of the TH1 pathway by IL-6.

          What is your opinion about people suffering from allergic asthma? Some data suggest that they don’t have an elevated risk (if the allergy is managed correctly), other studies indicate a higher risk for a serious outcome (like people who smoke).

          As a medicinal chemist, I‘m not convinced of the effects of chloroquine and 8-hydroxychloroquine. The quinolines have generally bad side effects and the mechanism is not understood at all. Remdisivir is probably the best drug to go for at the moment.

          • I like the sharing of ideas. But I do want to point out that we are not medical professionals.Vitamin D is probably a good idea but most people get quite a bit from sunlight. Severe zinc deficiency is rare, and it can also be overdosed. And medical reports seem divided on whether hydroxychloroquine is a cure or a toxin. Do check with medical experts, keep your distance and after reading this, wash your hands.

          • I was wondering about that too. Also asthma is a risk factor for the virus from what I have read, but the main ones seem to be hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

          • Posters here forget our first line of virus defence: The interferon system! It is capable of wiping out or very much delaying local virus spread in our tissues after exposure to low doses of virus. It also help alert the adaptive system, T and B cells etc.. to prepare for specific antibody production. The efficient IFN system is probably why most of us gets very mild, or no noticable disease symptoms when exposed to small doses of virus. Zn, vitamins etc?… If you eat an ordinary balanced diet and has no other systemic health problems, you should have well enough of all that stuff. Do not spend your worries and money on expensive magic pills!! 😊

        • all that aside viral load is a big component as well as individuality, some may be more susceptible than others there are too many cases of 20-50 year olds getting it to say it is a age related disease. We did a big disservice to many by painting it as that and having younger people see it as an elder only disease and take needless risks.

  16. I’m assuming this is some kind of error but MIROVA registered 2341 MW VRP (“Very High”) at Taal yesterday!

  17. Just throwing it out here, here in the Faroes we’ve had three days in a row now with no new cases, and the rate of recoveries is going decently quickly in the right direction. So by my estimate the last infected person will have recovered in about a week. A bunch of stuff will open up again after easter.
    And with strict orders for anyone coming this way to go straight into 14 days self isolation, things are looking bright, though it only takes one idiot to break quarantine and then we have a shitshow going. But the situation is def looking ok.

    • It sure is taking it’s time though, I can’t wait to see 1200 km high lava fountains!
      Grimsvotn and Bardarbunga are making some more noise too!

      • I can’t wait to see 1200 km high lava fountains!

        Where, on Io?

      • I reckon At 1200 km everybody in Europe and much of North America will be able to see the tops of the lava fountains.

        Not too keen on some of the other likely effects though!

  18. Explosive activity continues. Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Darwin warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose up to estimated 47000 ft (14300 m) altitude or flight level 470 .
    The full report is as follows:

    FVAU02 at 22:43 UTC, 10/04/20 from ADRM
    DTG: 20200410/2245Z
    PSN: S0606 E10525
    ADVISORY NR: 2020/19
    FL370 MOV W
    OBS VA DTG: 10/2245Z
    OBS VA CLD: SFC/FL370 S0611 E10527 – S0610 E10304 – S0534
    E10257 – S0505 E10339 – S0602 E10530 MOV W 20KT SFC/FL470
    S0544 E10450 – S0531 E10411 – S0442 E10312 – S0409 E10343 –
    S0517 E10508 MOV NW 25KT
    FCST VA CLD +6 HR: 11/0445Z SFC/FL370 S0611 E10527 – S0611
    E10243 – S0514 E10243 – S0502 E10353 – S0555 E10531
    FCST VA CLD +12 HR: 11/1045Z SFC/FL370 S0611 E10526 – S0612
    E10226 – S0514 E10227 – S0451 E10318 – S0602 E10530
    FCST VA CLD +18 HR: 11/1645Z SFC/FL370 S0612 E10525 – S0612
    E10219 – S0516 E10214 – S0445 E10319 – S0556 E10523
    NXT ADVISORY: NO LATER THAN 20200411/0145Z

      • No. Anak Krakatau is too small for that! Even a VEI-3 would be pushing it. We have been waiting for this, in fact. There was still water in the crater and at some point that was going to get in conflict with the rising magma.

      • The VEI is a measure of total eruptive output for an event. In a VAAC report, the only usable data (for me) is the height of the column over the edifice at a specific time stamp. After a few VAAC reports I can start to tally an estimated VEI. I do this by getting every availible VAAC I can get my hand on for it along with the time stamps. I then use linear interpolation over one second intervals (since my conversion goes to cubic meters per second) and then sum that over the eruptive period. It is in no way accurate, but it puts you into the ballgame with a reasonable estimate.

        As Albert notes, this is a fairly pekid volcano and not overly capable of doing anything stupis big in it’s current state. And even with that, a VEI estimate off of one data point (a single VAAC report) is pretty foolhardy.

        I can’t even do an estimate of the ejecta rate on this computer. I’m on a freshly booted Raspberry Pi and don’t have any of my tools loaded on it.

        (The Pi is my current diversion to get my head off of effectively being trapped in the house by my wife because of Governor’s orders)

        • Unlike many you are at risk of being killed by this (inferred from the picture built up of you over years). Most people are only at risk of a nasty bought of flu, or even more mild.
          PS When in Utah last year I did get to eat green tomato fritters in a family diner in the middle of nowhere and they were delicious as advertised so many thanks for that.

  19. Can someone comment on the warning in iceland. Jon freeman has written about it ON his blog.

    • This is about the possibility that the activity triggers a larger quake on the transform fault. This fault can get to M6+ but not M7 as far as we know, and it is ‘overdue’. IMO has warned right from the start of the events that this was a possible outcome but of course they do NOT predict it, just indicate that is a higher probability than before. Iceland is fairly earthquake proof, but an M6 quake coudl certainly damage buildings and roads.

  20. Interesting earthquake near Mono Lake. The area is somewhat volcanically active, and has erupted within the past 500 years. No indication that this quake is anything else than tectonic though.

        • Looks more like an aftershock sequence since there is no unusual activity before the big earthquake and there is some difference in size between the largest (M 5.2) and second largest (M 4.6) event. It is also located far outside the system of Long Valley.

    • This is on the opposite end of the Owens Valley fault from the July 4 earthquake of last year that was centred near the Garlock Fault which is still not settled as it has 250 small quakes registered every week. So both ends have had a good shake now.
      I use this a map a lot

      and this one as well

      This is a interesting and complicated area. The Smithsonian has a handy app of holocene volcanos for Google Earth. Sorry I don’t have the link and its late here but it’s there on their site. I count 9 volcanic areas within 100 k of the Owens Valley fault (not very active ones from what the Smithsonian nerd boxes tell me) and the faults to the east of Mono Lake. I can’t remember a similar sequence for the last decade. Large quakes seem to be less frequent on the east side of California. I read an article a few years ago that the eastern faults were not well understood.
      Using the conservation map reveals a endless array of faults and a curious area between the Long Lake caldera and Mono Lake. All I could find was awhile ago and referred to it as a proto crater, somewhere in the wiki world. I haven’t the link and besides Bywater Call is belting out Walk On By on the blues channel and time to close my eyes.

      Stay safe all

  21. Krakatoa erupted, is there going to be an article about this?

  22. How long has Corona been around?

    “RaTG13 is the name, rank and serial number of an individual horseshoe bat of the species Rhinolophus affinis, or rather of a sample of its feces collected in 2013 in a cave in Yunnan, China. The sample was collected by hazmat-clad scientists from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan that year. Stored away and forgotten until January this year, the sample from the horseshoe bat contains the virus that causes Covid-19.”


    “When Covid-19 broke out, attention focused on pangolins, mammals often called scaly anteaters. Early analyses of the pangolin version of the virus seemed to indicate it was even more closely related to the human version than the RaTG13 bat sample was. The illegal pangolin trade for traditional Chinese medicine brings people into contact with sick animals. Just over a year ago, 21 live Malayan pangolins destined for sale in China were intercepted by anti-smuggling officers in Guangdong. Despite the best efforts of a local wildlife rescue center, 16 died with swollen, flooded lungs, rich in coronaviruses.

    The role of pangolins in the spread of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, remains unclear. A closer look at more of the Sars-CoV-2 genome, published last week by Maciej Boni at Penn State University and David Robertson at Glasgow University, together with Chinese and European colleagues, finds that human versions of the virus are more closely related to the RaTG13 horseshoe bat sample from the cave than they are to the known pangolin versions. It is not yet possible to tell whether the virus went from bat to pangolin to people, or from bat to pangolin and bat to people in parallel. ”

    Happy Easter!

    • Could be an endangered species if it has no other host animals and when most humans are immune!

    • Given that this thing has infected domestic cats and a tiger from the Bronx zoo, I am thinking it is not a species-restricted virus. The 2013 paper suggested as much.

      • Unfortunately, the spectrograms have been “under maintenance” for almost 6 months now. Is there any other way to find the LP earthquakes.

        • If they have been identified (as a labeled quake on the HVO or other monitoring site), are labeled as “other” which includes eruptions, explosions, tremor……then you can use the USGS earthquake map page to search for them. It will not help looking at a quake/signal that has not been reported to USGS.


        • With Hawaii I can download seismic data and make spectrograms but there are sadly no stations near Chiles/Cerro Negro that are available the way I do it.

          Some volcano-monitoring organizations give LP earthquake counts, Ecuador or Colombia may give that data in their activity updates.

          • I would like to ask, is this seismogram showing general fluid motion? It wasn’t like this a few months ago and once the LP earthquakes started to ramp up ALOT, It started to look like this. I wrote an article about this that admin hopefully deletes because I am writing a better one.

          • Do you mean the continuous fluctuating wavy signal? That could de some sort of tremor or LP… If there is any other station that shows the same change that would make it more likely particularly if the observatories of Colombia and Ecuador do confirm an increase in that kind of earthquake activity.

            Finding events that can be correlated between 2 stations is very important, you get rid of most types of noise.

          • Both governments have reported almost 300 LP earthquakes from Jan-Feb and I am still waiting for the March report. Due to the Pandemic outside noise has dropped significantly as stated by the IGEPN. CHL1 seismogram data is not being released reliably since both instruments have been showing these signals (Suspicious) I can show you later today

  23. Only six new comments in 24 hours? No new top-level article in ages?

    Is it time to put VolcanoCafe in an ICU and on a ventilator? 🙁

    • Glad to be missed. The delay is actually due to corono (not kidding!). We hope to have a post ready for tomorrow. Birds of Hawai’i.

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