The Missing Piece Part 3: Endgame 

Some things are so easy to miss and once they are noticed, we either crawl into a fetal position and cry ourselves to sleep or become very excited over the new prospect. I have done both recently and formulated my own hypothesis, concerning silicic systems and their dynamics. After looking at the previously mentioned supercomplexes, I think I have found the answer on why some intrusions cause no eruptions, small eruptions, or big eruptions, as well as the movement of magma within the reservoir without external variables, and at the end, I will explain why I believe that the 40% percent threshold for eruptions is not valid for these silicic systems.

Everyone thinks of these systems as one volcano because it’s true.The long valley caldera is huge but it’s one volcano. However, once things start getting big, the rules begin to change. After all, the altiplano puna volcanic complex comprises one huge magma body but not a lot of people refer to it as one volcano. So in this article, we are not going to consider these massive silicic systems as one volcano, we are going to consider them as multiple volcanoes. As we have established before the melt within the system takes the form as connected or unconnected dykes and sills within the un molten, semisolid magma body.

First, let’s answer why some intrusions don’t cause any eruptions, All intrusions would rejuvenate a portion of magma within the system but as we all know this doesn’t always produce an eruption. Let’s use a 1,200 km3 chamber for an example, with only 24 km3 or 120 km3 of natural melt magma mixing between rejuvenated and natural melt will be unlikely. This is part of the missing piece, everyone thinks of these systems as a whole structure but these volcanoes are so big that the same rules that apply to smaller volcanoes won’t always apply here. What I am saying is that these pockets of melt acts as “mini-volcanoes”

 The intrusion rate is usually 1/100,000 of the total volume of chamber per year, sometimes a little less sometimes a little more but ultimately this such an insignificant percentage it’s hardly worth comparing in terms of volume but how does the magma chamber react? Instead of reacting with the entire chamber, the intrusion produces a melt pocket that takes the form of a sill or dyke. The pocket of melt, being hotter than the surrounding chamber makes an effort to rise to the top, it won’t always be successful, the pressure at the bottom at the magma chamber could keep the melt from ascending and it might stagnate at the bottom.

Sills

I believe these melt pockets drive polygenetic and monogenetic volcanism, and as these pockets have multiple compositions, a mostly silicic system could produce abundant mafic and intermediate products. I have briefly touched on this in one of my previous articles and I will continue this idea.

Instead of causing major destabilization of the chamber as a whole, the intrusion simply makes another pocket of melt within the system and more minor instability across the chamber as a whole. The melt within these systems would have to last longer under this idea, as the intrusions would not rejuvenate the same areas of melt which would lead to the second part of my idea but we’ll get into that later. This idea would explain why silicic systems such as Corbetti produces plenty of mafic products, as mafic melt pockets produce eruptions without a lot of commingling with the rest of the felsic or intermediate magma. More evidence for this idea lies in the fact that magma-mixing has been speculated to be an important factor for caldera-forming eruptions and is not a regular occurrence in these volcanoes. In order for this to be true that would mean that there is some level of segregation between the fresh and evolved magma.

Another important factor in caldera-forming eruptions is magma motion, and since thermal rejuvenation is not needed for the magma to move, how does this happen? Even if you were to assume the melt in the chamber was homogeneous in terms of viscosity, the melt will always be hotter then the surrounding chamber and as such it will have a degree of buoyancy. As all the magma slowly moves in a common direction, this magma will start to co-mingle, becoming interconnected before turning into one large melt body.

Another factor in magma motion is likely the difference in gas content, the gas-rich magma is likely to ascend more quickly than the gas-poor magma. It likely that less viscous magma degasses within the chamber and enriches the magma surrounding it while losing it’s own eruptibilty. As these bodies become more connected, the system could maintain a healthy transfer of gases between different portions of melt. How active and healthy these systems are would have a massive effect on the mechanics of the melt within the system. Using this idea I’ll break down why some intrusions, using this idea, cause no eruptions, small eruptions, massive eruptions, and finally medium eruptions.

Why do some intrusions cause no eruptions? This is the easiest thing to explain. Even though calderas may not need any thermal rejuvenation to erupt big, it’s still the most common cause for eruptions, and without it, a large eruption is less likely. The first reason is that the melt pocket is not strong enough to reach the surface of the magma chamber. Even though magma may be buoyant, the pressure at the bottom of the reservoir would put the ocean to shame, and it would still take time to reach the surface and as such weaker intrusions in an unmolten chamber would not do much for the system.

The second reason is that there is a significant amount of useless mush within the system and due to the more local effect of the intrusion under this idea, the intrusion may not even react directly with the eruptible magma. Instead of the intrusion directly rejuvenating the good magma, the heated bad magma activates the system. This is what I believe is happening at volcanoes like Laguna del Maule. This could easily explain why some volcanoes go through heavy resurgence and produce no eruptions.

Smaller eruptions are produced by melt pockets that reach the surface of the chamber. However, the intrusions that produce these eruptions do not activate a lot of the volatile magma within the system. For mafic and intermediate eruptions, the intrusion was intense and instead of being bogged down inside the chamber, the magma directly rises. Since the more youthful, previously intruded material is likely to be towards the bottom of the system, an intense intrusion would reactivate this magma and not the other more volatile magma towards the top. Once at the surface the melting pocket will trigger some phreatic eruptions while the magma escapes the reservoir. The scale and type of the eruption would depend on the strength of the crust, the quality of magma, in terms of gases and temperature. Interaction with the hydrothermal system would likely lead to more explosive eruptions and interactions with the tectonic faults could lead to more effusive eruptions although this might not always be the case.

The eruptions could last as long as the intrusion does and even linger after it ends, as long as the melt pocket is strong. This idea works with calderas with more rigorous magma supply. The same concept would drive recurrent eruptions at certain vents, examples of this could be Satsuma-iwo jima and Soputan.

The same idea could work for silicic intrusions. Even without an intrusion, isolated melt pockets reaching the surface could also trigger these eruptions. The aforementioned “Bad magma activating good magma” (We’ll call this Magmatic Aid or M.A in this article) could drive small pockets and this magma could rise to the surface. This idea explains both polygenic and monogenic eruptions at calderas and provides another answer to why active systems don’t produce large eruptions like dormant systems.

This idea came from the Cerro Bravo- Cerro Machin system. In order to drive that much lava and tephra over huge distances from a single source, the yearly supply must be massive, and with that supply, it created massive melt pockets that drive the volcanoes of this system, and with a more interconnected system, the magma that goes into the complex will be inclined to move into certain areas and I think it’s clear what that area is <coughs> Nevado Del Ruiz <coughs>.  A  supercomplex as vigorous as this will probably not produce a massive eruption because it’s too active, but once it evolves, I think this system will produce a HUGE eruption. I don’t know how much but still, I think it’s going to be massive. We’d have to wait tens of thousands of years at the minimum so don’t hold your breath.

Nevado del Ruiz smoking in the background http://hablemosdevolcanes.com/c-colombia/nevado-del-ruiz/

What about large eruptions? How does an intrusion cause massive eruptions when it seems they aren’t needed? The first thing that is needed is that the volcano has not erupted in a long time. In that way there isn’t an aids to enhance the initial ascension of the intruded material. It begins to rejuvenate the products at the bottom of the reservoir, and some of the silicic magma, through M.A.  Towards the top, some of the pre-existing melt has become connected or even formed one body.  Once the intruded and/or M.A born products reach the older melt, it gives it a massive boost in terms of mobility and now a large portion of magma is in motion at once. This would also set the stage for more substantial magma mixing and better transfer of gases

How much magma has been activated and put into motion with these chain of events will decide the pressure of the magma chamber and the pressure decides the size of the eruption, not the amount of melt directly. If pressure preceding the Wah Wah springs caused a cool system to produce a massive eruption through depressurization or pressurization, then it would stand to reason the same idea would work with other caldera-forming eruptions just on a smaller scale. Even then more melt in this stage would mean more pressure and a bigger eruption.

With really big systems a similar thing could happen without magma intrusion. As previously mentioned the pressure at the bottom of a magma chamber would be far greater than the pressure at the bottom of the ocean. Let us use our 1,200 km3 chamber as an example and assume it’s an almost perfect cylinder with an area of 120 km2 and a depth of 10 km. What would be the pressure at the bottom? Within an area of 1 inch2, there would be 6.45 cubic meters of magma and since we’ll assume the whole chamber is silicic, there would be pressure levels of around 31,000 to 32,000 psi. Rounded off of course! I don’t think this enough to rejuvenate a large amount of magma and would have to shave the number because there is no magma at the very bottom of the chamber anyways and you would have to factor in the shape of the magma chamber as well. But with deeper bodies, these number could easily double or triple. This number doesn’t factor in the crust, gases, and compressibility of the chamber. So take this number with a grain of salt but this gives us a picture of what life is like at the bottom.

A “cool” magma chamber still has a temperature of around 400-600 C so I believe the pressure at the bottom of a very large magma chamber could activate a portion of magma and this magma would make its journey to the surface. The pressure would need to add 400-200 C to the material at the bottom. Once this level is reached it would be almost impossible to stop it since the only way to end the machinations producing the self melting volcano, would be an eruption. The chamber could be loaded with gases due to past intrusions not producing eruptions This would not be a quick process, the machinations of this would take 10s, 100s, or maybe even 1000s of years.

This is how I believe the Wah Wah springs erupted. The volcano was so big, it activated itself. This would explain why thermal rejuvenation-less eruptions are not common because a lot of volcanoes just aren’t big enough for it. This could be the machinations driving the activity of Uturuncu. While it is no guarantee, if there was an existing system big enough for this process, it would be the Altiplano-puna volcanic complex. If this is what’s happening at Uturuncu, then this is what likely drives eruptions at this complex and makes things scarier and more interesting for Bolivia. Unfortunately, this @#$! Pandemic is stealing all the doomsday attention from both scientists and the media and making international volcano investigations more cumbersome so we might not be able to verify this idea.

We’ve got an explanation of smaller eruptions and large eruptions but what about medium eruptions i.e VEI 5s, VEI 6s, and low-end VEI 7s?  Similar mechanics would cause these eruptions just on different scales. VEI 5 and low-end VEI 6 eruptions are likely driven by the same mechanics that cause smaller eruptions. Instead of just being predominantly composed of mafic or intermediate magma, the intrusion picks up a relatively large portion of felsic magma which forms a diversely composed magma pocket. On the other end on the intensity scale, the processes would be identical to the large eruption machinations just without as much magma.

Now here is the hard part, how can we, using our modern instruments, find out what exactly is happening when a caldera goes through unrest? There could be some basic hints depending on the levels and progression of unrest. A protracted period of seemingly static unrest likely means that the volcano is going through M.A with swarms taking place as the M.A activated magma interacts with existing melt. When a smaller eruption is coming, the unrest would be intense but gradually become more localized as the magma rises. The build-up for the eruption would vary but it could be very quick.

For large eruptions, it would be much more subtle. There would be the initial earthquake swarm caused by the intrusion, a swarm for when the magma reaches the surface and chamber start to pressurize, and the swarm preceding the eruption with smaller mini swarms caused by smaller mechanics and interaction within the system. There would be constant long period earthquakes growing more and more visible on instruments as the magma rises. With intrusion-less eruptions, there would be no initial massive earthquake swarm. There would only be small levels of activity before the eruption as the process would be slower. The best way to discern what is going is to study the movement of magma within the system and to find the cause of seemingly innocuous activity.

You’ve known me to be a person who never trusts anything mainstream and who loves to challenge himself, other and pre-existing ideas. As an example, I once tried to publish an article discussing conspiracy theories, the differences between dangerous and non-dangerous conspiracy theories, combating those dangerous ones, and what leads to them in the first place. So the point of this series is to challenge the 40% melt threshold, I believe that this idea is outdated. The first issue is that if caldera-forming eruptions are driven by buoyant magma, under the  40% melt threshold there would be more than enough pressure to trigger a caldera formation eruption. In my opinion, there would be no conceivable way that a magma chamber that molten shouldn’t produce a large eruption and only trigger small eruptions based on the idea of buoyant magma as a trigger. What would produce a large eruption with the 40% melt threshold idea devolves in confusion and a big mess. Why would a 40% molten chamber trigger a puny VEI 3 eruption and not a VEI 7+? The chamber isn’t going to lose all of its heat in a few months, it would take years! So the idea of magma buoyancy triggered eruptions and the 40% melt threshold doesn’t go hand in hand unless the pressure and melt needed for a large eruption would be far greater than this. Thankfully, the existence of the Wah Wah Springs eruption tips the odds in my favor for my argument that the 40% threshold is invalid. We can’t assume that we’re right about anything we can’t prove and I can’t prove my hypothesis so I could be wrong. Volcanoes operate on their own rules, this world, this universe, and God (if you’re religious like me) operate on their own rules and it’s up to us to find out what they are.

Fin

Tallis

162 thoughts on “The Missing Piece Part 3: Endgame 

  1. Im a bit confused, is the idea that a loss of pressure causes decompression melting of magma near the bottom of the magma chamber which ends up setting everything off without a big input?

    • I’m not sure either. I don’t exactly understand the physics that went into this at all, it makes very little sense to me…

    • I didn’t explain it properly but essentially what I am saying is that once a volcano gets to a certain size, the pressure towards the bottom of the magma chamber starts to rejuvenate the magma within the area. This is my idea of a self rejuvenating volcano. I believe this how the wah wah springs eruption started.

      • Interesting. It looks like it isnt a very sustainable feature though, being that it leads to total self destruction…

        I am not convinced of the viability of the Nevado Del Ruiz group to do this though, it is large volume but not colossal, and is hardly productive. While as you say there might not need to be direct rejuvenation rhyolite has a high thermal capacity and requires a massive heat source to stay molten, like a very large scale mafic melt zone. Basalt is denser than and largely immisible with rhyolite magma so will not usually erupt. When it does though it is tholeiitic basalt very similar to Hawaii, such is the case in Yellowstone and in New Zealand, and this means there is a lot of heat and extensive melting.

        Nevado Del Ruiz to me looks like just a normal group of stratovolcanoes. Columbian Andes is also a compressive zone, it should squeeze magma out not let it accumulate at shallow depth. I am interested to be proven wrong though, I dont know much about the volcanism of that area.

        • I don’t think the Cerro Machin-Cerro Bravo complex is a self-melting volcano, but I do think the activity at Uturuncu could be driven by similar process and since there is very little interest in such a massive system, we can only speculate on inner dynamics of the Cerro-bravo complex but I can assure you that this system isn’t normal and it is colossal.
          https://i1.wp.com/www.volcanocafe.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/word-image.jpeg?w=800&ssl=1
          The Corbetti caldera and some other calderas produce mafic products on regular basis, while mafic magma is denser, it is also hotter so it could have a degree buoyancy as well.

          • Interesting. It is only a few cm over a year though, in that sort of tectonic environment it might not be volcanic deformation. It is interesting that the center isnt actually under a volcano too, maybe a new one is in the early works.

            I have actually often wondered what the youngest polygenetic volcano is, that being one which is going to grow into a huge mountain and last a long time. Most volcanoes we have seen form are monogenetic like Paricutin, or on the sides of bigger volcanoes like Pu’u O’o. Cerro Negro is maybe the youngest forming in 1850 but its volume is small and in geologic time it could appear as a single event that was protracted, theres similar cones nearby. Izalco might fit into this too, just longer lasting.
            Maybe Hekla is the youngest volcano that is a mountain and has a dated formation and sits as its own system. It is complicated and maybe actually a question for the bar 🙂

            As for mafic eruptions at silicic volcanoes they are volumetrically minir, more what I was refering. By number they are common. In the TVZ basalt is maybe 10% of the volume but in the Holocene theres been at least at least a dozen or more, and Tongariro is hot andesite that behaves like basalt. All goes into my idea of much literature being too simple an explaination, or not challenging the old beliefs, which is what Volcanocafe has been doing in leaps and bounds recently 🙂

          • Momotombo (or Momotombito) might be a shout for youngest Stratovolcano Chad

          • Yes. Bagana is another very young, and rapidly growing, one. And of course, Anak Krakatau should not be forgotten

          • Bagana isnt a stand alone volcano though it is like Pu’u O’o, a satellite volcano. Anak Krakatau is also sort of like this, a somma volcano though instead of a lateral vent.

            How old is Momotombo?

          • Yes, most new volcanoes can be argued to be new vents of pre-existing volcanic systems, Cerro Negro belongs to Las Pilas, Izalco to Santa Ana or Bagana to Billy Mitchell. In this sense they are not too different from Chaiten being reborn in 2008 after a long dormancy, the old conduit had probably turned to rock.

            I guess that in the strictest of definitions the formation of a new volcano takes place when a certain magma storage breaches the surface for the very first time. As far as I’m aware that has never been observed. However there is Dallol in Ethopia, which does have a magma chamber, it produced a dyke intrusion in 2004, but has yet to erupt any lava to the surface, so is not technically a volcano yet? Therefore Dallol might be born and become the youngest volcanic system in the world, but it could still take centuries or thousands of years before that happens…

          • Interesting. There is a good possibility that the answer to my question is in Africa, places that are like Dallol but have erupted. But I guess its also very possible a lot of the young looking flows in Africa are not so young and are preserved by the arid climate.

            I think in a normal setting Dallol would have erupted lava by now though, it is sitting underneath a salt deposit which is less dense. NaCl has a melting point of 801 C, it isnt strongly incandescent because it is transparent as a liquid (personal observation) but we are talking a liquid at magmatic temperature.Would melted salt erupting at Dallol be considered a form of volcanism? NaCl mixed with other salts of alkali metals like KCl and CaCl2 will also melt lower than any of the compounds on their own do. Would be very strange, but it might very slightly resemble carbonatite lava.

  2. In the Netherlands last week we had a severe cold spell with severe frost in the nights, lakes became frozen. On a small lake in my residence fault lines developed in the ice crust, even with triple junctions. Water seeped through some of these cracks to the surface of the ice, just like a fissure eruption. Is this in fact a kind of volcanism when water seeps through cracks in the ice to the surface? And do even grabens and subduction zones develop in ice on frozen lakes?

    • Cryovolcanism

      Infact large frozen lakes and seas can develop true Ice tectonics and mountain building

      Icey collision belt

    • Well plates that get subducted fall to the core and get remelted, the remelted stuff is what forms mantle plumes.

      Ice is always less dense than liquid water so it cant sink, but sometimes ice plates can override each other if they get pushed, so it is sort of similar. On planets and moons with deep water layers and frozen surfaces this could be thought of as plate tectonics, and the places where water wells up as a form of volcanism. Aqueous ammonia with salts dissolved in it can become a viscous liquid at very low temperature like on Titan, maybe not unlike how we think of lava but it is very cold 🙂

    • A bit small. I’m waiting for something more like M4.9. Don’t be surprised if there is one in the next couple of weeks.

  3. M7 in Japan. Off-shore near Sendai, close to the location of the 2011 quake. I don’t know whether there a tsunami warning. Fairly deep, so perhaps not.

    • As far as i’m aware, there’s no tsunami warning on this one. suspicious though. there’s too many similarities to 2011 this year already for my taste…

      • Looks a bit far from the plate edge. It’s been a while since there was a large quake isn’t it? I think the last M8 was 2018. Not that we want them to happen, but stress is likely building up in the meanwhile.

  4. Has a higher vent opened up on the side of Halemaumau, a reworking of the spatter cone area? I was only seeing new lava coming in at the level of the lava lake, and now its coming out from the side too.

    • No theres no new vent, sometimes lava erupts between the lake crust and the wall of the crater, you can see it around other parts of the lake in the background. These are rootless vents though, lava that was in the lava lake already.

      If a new actual vent opens then it will be very obvious. Think of how active the eruption was at the start, if a new vent opens it will look like that, fountaining and open channels, as well as rapid lake rising.

  5. How close is Grimsvotn to erupting? Anyone got any GPS or tremor data?
    Always remembering getting stuck abroad for an extra week in 2010.
    It had been poor weather the previous week and was 28C all week – was great!

      • Ooof. I’ve been wrong many times before but gonna plump for April. It looks on the verge.

      • Iceland has said the risk would be higher in the event of a jökulhlaup (flood from draining the caldera lake). That could happen as early as the Spring, if the weather is mild enough, subject to what any underlying magma gets up to.

        • Yes I think it will go during a flood, realistically if it isnt a big eruption the flood will probably be the more impressive part 🙂 but if there is a lot of new magma that has flowed in since 2011 (maybe as much as 1 km3) then it very well could end up being a big eruption again, we will see. Big eruption doesnt mean long eruption though, but 1 km3 of lava will very likely breach the ice and lead to a lava fountain which will be exiting.

          July is the middle of summer in Iceland so I presume the most likely time for a flood, but yes it could be any time now really.

          • I should say that 1 km3 is 4-5x the DRE of 2011. But theres probably not enough water around to turn all of that into tephra so probably at best this would still be a VEI 4 maybe low 5, with an intense effusive phase. If it goes big though its going to sleep for a long time, but a small eruption will be followed in short succession.

            Maybe a question for Jesper, if the icecap lifts and the lake can drain out, how much of it will be left afterwards vs when it is full?

    • There is very little earthquakes in Grimsvötn in general .. mostly swelling inflation.. this is signs the arera is like Etna, hot and ductile and open conduited.
      Severe swarms are unheard of in Grimsvötn

      Grimsvötn almost certainly haves an open conduit system.
      The volcano itself is made of hydroclastics and pillow lavas and subglacial sheet flows.
      The entire thing is a loose pile

      Aaand the most shallow magma chamber in Iceland

  6. And now Mauna Loa feels obliged to join in. A shallow M3 right at the centre of the summit caldera. It took 3 minutes for the most sensitive of the summit seismographs to stop ringing.

  7. I am beyond angry, this is why conspiracy theories exist,
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/13/new-do-not-resuscitate-orders-imposed-on-covid-19-patients-with-learning-difficulties
    Absolutely disgusting, as a person with various mental illnesses, I hate being thought of being stupid or subhuman. As you can see from my articles, I am not stupid. I spend so much energy trying to be nice and considerate for society so far I haven’t encountered a lot of disrespect as I am really good at hiding things. If this becomes a trend, I don’t know what I will do, maybe i’ll fear Allah enough to keep my cool. Please spread the word on this issue.

    • Haven’t read the article but if the URL is anything to go by, the DNRs would contravene anti disability discrimination legislation.

    • Unbelievable! it seems our society hasn’t learned a thing from history, so we will keep repeating it over and over. Hope more humane minds will prevail!!

      • Evil people are going to exist, that’s just how the world works and evil people take advantage of others suffering to push forward their own vision. What is sad, is that there is barely any rage or protests from what I am aware of. Within the USA, Gov Cuomo has sent covid patients to nursing homes which caused a massive amount of deaths and tried to hide the data.
        What do the people do? Nothing. They are too screwing around on tiktok and onlyfans, so many of them are useless and they are going to let this continue. It’s sad really, this society needs good volcanic eruption and then I’ll be happy.

    • Youngest I can think of is Hekla, the first eruption of which was a bit over 7000 years ago. There was basaltic volcanism at that location since the Pleistocene and it is still ongoing but Hekla gets its magma from a source that is probably further north, maybe from some interaction with the Bardarbunga deep rift, and is effectively an invader of this basaltic system. This northern magma is only erupted at Hekla itself. Until 1104 it seems to have been intermitent though, because the northern end of Heklugja erupted alkali basalt several times in the century just before settlement. I would also argue it has increased substantially in the 20th century.

      The area really ought to be studied, some of the basalt flows are of very large scale, Langviuhraun 3200 years ago was almost twice as big as Holuhraun, and Krokahraun and Axahraun, both between 5000 and 6000 years ago were each nearly 6 km3, though most basalt flows are much smaller like those observed in recent time (1913). The dating errors on these flows are so big though that its hard to even identify them to a particular millennium let alone any sort of pattern.

      A few other examples are Heidarspodar which is in north Iceland near Myvatn, and Ardoukoba in Djibouti, both are very young and Holocene in age. As for really big volcanoes, Kilauea, a lot of it has probably formed only since the last glacial maximum, it isnt the youngest but deserves a mention for that.

  8. The Mauna Loa summit activity is developing into a swarm. However, now that this has been mentioned it will probably cease. It happened as the summit had fully recovered from its deflation event. Presumably the magma chamber that lost pressure is re-pressurized and the surrounding rock is not happy.

      • Melting does not produce earthquakes. That happens in solid rock. Not saying it does not happen, but it is not what is causing these protest quakes.

    • HVO doesnt expect an eruption because the quake level is about an order of magnitude lower than before 1984, but there has also been nearly 20 years of continuous magma flow yp to now, 1984 was only 10 years and before 1974 its not clear there was any significant flow. The supply is not nearly so high as Kilauea but it probably is going to behave much the same, there is going to be quakes before but all very small.

      Big quakes will happen during a dike intrusion but if that is happening there is no more speculation, Mauna Loa doesnt passively rift much so theres nowhere for the magma to go except out, and its immense height gives a gravity drain that is way higher than any other volcano on earth, 3x as high as anything in Iceland.

      • Mauna Loa does passively rift though, not as much as Kilauea who is dominant right now, but still its flank does move slightly to the SE as the deep rift of Mauna Loa opens up.

        • More what I meant is Mauna Loa doesnt seem to have the internal space to not erupt in a big event. Kilauea has had significant intrusions where little or no magma surfaces, which can I guess be termed as a ‘failed eruption’, 1924 being the best example. Mauna Loa as far as I can tell has not done this in historical time, there isnt a situation of a major dike not also driving a big eruption. 1868 might be the closest, because the eruption is probably not as voluminous as the dike to get so far downrift, but that eruption was still not small, and apart from that all flank eruptions are dominantly eruptive. 1950 must have been nearly entirely eruptive to not induce a caldera collapse.

          Mauna Loa also lacks graben structures on most of its rifts too.

  9. https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/currents/overlay=temp/orthographic=-99.58,46.14,456/loc=-98.562,26.544

    Have anyone seen this???
    Freezing winter weather at sealevel down to latitude 26 in America! The Canadian winter high pressure flows right down into the tropics. This is winter snow ( almost on Hawaiis latitude! ) Canadas polar air is a real leviathan .. flowing that south.
    Americans does not have the Gulf Stream

    In Europe this woud be winter snow down in the red sea and dubai arabia!

    • Absolutly not this far south. In Europe the Alps are in W/O direction, in America N/S.
      The Alps are up to almost 5 Km, so this cold air will be mostly stopped.

    • Micha Bunsen

      This is America.. They dont have the Gulf Stream .. its snow at latitude 25 absoutley incredibe same lat as Dubai

      When cold Canadian air flows over the warm tropical waters of the Gulf Stream in mexican gulf you can get very heavy snow showers and even tornadoes

    • The furthest tip of the freeze would be as far as you say, which is pretty amazing. Down to 25 deg N.
      Luckily in asia there are mountains in the way.

    • “Americans does not have the Gulf Stream”

      No, not in the way that Europe does. But we do have the Gulf of Mexico. Right now “Viola” is drawing moisture north off of it and dumping snow on the south plains of Texas. As for the Gulf Streams influence on the US, it closely skirts the Eastern Coast up to about Cape Hatteras then angles off towards open ocean and is generally only a real hazard if you are doing Underway Replenishment around the VACAPES opareas and north of there. You see, when two ships are alongside and you cross into the Gulf Stream or an eddy of it, you have a change in the dynamic response of the ships and could inadvertently have a collision. A lot of planning goes into making sure you don’t drive into an eddy during the alongside period.

      Caveat: Not an expert. But I do have a few years experience of being a crew member of an AOE out of New Jersey. (CICWO qualified)


      Note: If you haven’t seen two H-46s deftly moving cargo from one ship to another… you haven’t seen ballet.

      And though a common description of the Seattle was an “upside down cockroach” (due to the M frames), that bugger could haul some SERIOUS cargo. She did her job quite well.

      Unrelated (sort of) side note… the Sacramento AOE’s were a result of the follow-on battleships to the Iowa class being cancelled. The keel was finished out as a replenishment ship that could keep up with the carrier battle groups. The power plant was essentially half of a battleships power plant. My last deployment was essentially the ship playing “ping pong” across the Persian Gulf delivering fuel and supplies to the ships on patrol in the area. Interesting, yet stupid, as most military actions are. Nothing against my nation. But as a Sailor, I am allowed to detest and adore my previous assignment without being considered insane. {If you want fun, try running from a Hurricane on one of these}

      Honestly, My “hatred” for this ship was because I was previously attached to a Cruiser and was quite disappointed at being stuck with an AOE. It wasn’t the AOE’s fault. You go from sexy bad assed Cruiser to an Auxiliary and you’re naturally disappointed. As an AOE… she was quite “bad assed” in her own right. My assignment was due to my detailer trying to get even with me so I said F-that and retired.

      I did my job and met my requirements and he could go F-himself.

      • CICWO qualified

        So, did you have to take a test like that one that gave Deanna Troi fits? 🙂

        And though a common description of the Seattle was an “upside down cockroach” (due to the M frames), that bugger could haul some SERIOUS cargo. She did her job quite well.

        So, she may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts? 🙂

  10. Sure wish the Volcano world would get as interesting as the current weather pattern….notwithstanding the excellent posts by Albert, Tallis, Hector and the VC clan to maintain a high interest level….thanks to all for the time and effort and willingness to share what makes VC such a special place/haven.

    So, as we continue to wait for something to go “pop”, a disruption/split in the PV (Polar Vortex) following a SSW (Sudden Stratospheric Warming) event coupled with a waning La Nina is creating havoc over much/all of the Northern Hemisphere. For example, here in California we are continuing to face severe drought conditions despite being in the “heart” of our rainy season, as high pressure ridging is continually deflecting storms northward over the far PacNW coast. The ridging is due (in part) to one lobe of a split PV over NE Asia that has been generating periods of powerful cyclogenesis in the far NW corner of the Pacific, which in turn is forcing high pressure in the Cent. Pacific to push into/over the Arctic then tele-connecting with the North Atlantic NE of Greenland, essentially cutting the PV in half.
    With the PV now in chaos, Pacific H.P.and L.P. over NE Canada are working in tandem to drive uber-cold/dangerous polar air southward into a surface trough that’s covering much of North America all the way into/over the Gulf of Mexico. This extraordinarily cold air has at times extended to the west coast of N.A. past Seattle, where many records were smashed from 9″-16″ of snow/ice that fell 2 days ago.
    Meanwhile, the Gulf of Mexico is seeing some sea-level snow and especially freezing rain, with near white-out conditions further inland. Temps are absurdly cold…well below zero (F) just inland from the Gulf Coast last night…however being near the water is not much help either as it is now only 19F (-7C) in Houston (10 a.m. local time), with an overnight low of 11F expected. These are unheard of temps not only for the immediate coastline, but elsewhere as well, as freezing rain/snow/temp records are being smashed over a huge area. Yesterday in fact, Texas had the first day in history of having every single County under a Winter Weather warning at the same time…all of which is reflecting how extraordinary this synoptic-scale pattern is.

    • Blame the jet stream. It has weakened quite a bit. It gets its energy form the temperature difference between the polar and lower latitudes. The polar regions have warmed more than the lower latitudes, so the difference is less and the jet stream gets less energy. A weaker jet stream is more easily pushed out of the way, and cold air can come south. Equally, warm air can go north. There has to be a balance. Extraordinary, yes. Unexpected, no.

      • Agreed. What else makes the current pattern so anomalous is the effects of La Nina have been amplified by the same weakening of the jet/circumpolar flow + temperature changes you mention…especially SST’s. There has been an anomalously strong east flow over the Equator for much of this last year, with cooler than normal SST’s on the west side of most major continents showing up due to upwelling…with La Nina in the Pacific the most obvious example.
        La Nina typically produces a northward shift in the East Asian and Sub-Polar jets into Northern California through British Columbia as large-scale pressure systems set up and become quasi-stationary in the mid-latitudes… which in turn can bring juicy zonal flows and Atmospheric Rivers (AR)’s to our coast…albeit in narrow “plumes”. Conversely during El Nino conditions, southern California typically sees more stormy weather and above normal rains as a STJ/southern jet develops over southern California while the northern half goes dry.
        But nothing is the same any more. We had a Super El Nino in 2015 (*strongest on record per several metrics) and it was a ho-humm Winter, while the next year under a weak La Nina we got record rains. Now, we have had a weak/moderate La Nina still chillin’ out in the Pacific, but the storm track shifted way further north than usual.
        As of now, the new climate data for California is showing our rainy season has shrunk by ~ 27 days in the last 20 years. Note that California rains used to start like clockwork by the end of October, with the rains pretty much over by early April. But that is no longer the trend…rather the Fall/early Winter is now very much drier than before with the overall precip pattern becoming increasingly back-loaded with slightly more intense storms in late Winter/early Spring, but fewer of them.

      • Google earth.nullschool.net earth global, wind, 500hPa and temp overlay shows it well.
        You will spend some time playing if you start, I promise.

      • Thank you Albert. That is the clearest, most concise explanation I’ve heard.

        Yes, wobbly jet stream is causing the temperature extremes.

  11. The filmmakers of Return Of The King really nailed Mount Dooms fluid basaltic lava physics well.. when Gollum falls into it. This is perhaps How Kilaueas summit lava woud behave If you fell into the low density gassy parts of the lava lake.
    Gollum woud catch fire instantly.. But they decided to not show that.. just the greed for the ring..

    In most lavas you cannot sink at all.. its too viscous and too little gas
    But Nyiragongo and Kilaūea are runny and gassy

    • In most lavas Gollum woud not sink at all.. Infact he woud only deform it and also smash all his bones ( If he fell into Etna river )

      But Kilaūea and Nyiragongo maybe the same thing as in the film ( because they are gassy and haves very very low viscosities )

      • On SA 3429, Mount Doom erupted, signalling Sauron’s attack on Gondor, where it earned its name “Amon Amarth.”[1][2][3]

        After the War of the Last Alliance and Sauron’s disappearance, it seemed to be dormant and only sprung into life when the One Ring was rediscovered.

        On TA 3019, Frodo and Sam trekked the slopes of Mount Doom and entered Sammath Naur.[4]

        With the destruction of the Ring, Mount Doom had a massive eruption, sending massive lava floes down its sides and scattering the area with volcanic debris.

        It’s amazing that it’s almost constantly passive effusive out of the top conduit on film and yet the doorway and somewhat inadvisable viewing platform are clear of the clearly unstable indoor lava lake until the ring gets dropped in, but that’s magic for you.

      • He would fall into the lava lake but not sink, lava lakes are denser than water even if not as dense as solid basalt. Nyiragongo is a massive SO2 source so probably its lava lake is degassing faster than its supply rate, the lava is probably about 1.5-2x as dense as water, so similar to the overlook lava lake just before it drained. Kilaueas lake today is probably a lot denser, except for the surface layer in the active bit it is all degassed lava that is dense and probably not so fluid. Gollum would maybe sink in the plunge pool but nowhere else.

        Also Middle Earth is a product of a creation story, was actually flat once, and has magic, so maybe not to be taken too literally 🙂

        • That’s interesting although i’d assume it would be an agonisingly painful death. If you had suitable clothing (some sort of Titanium or polymer suit?) you could do the backstroke maybe?

          One must always pick at the flaws of geology in fantasy stories.
          On that note Game of Thrones has some interesting volcanic features too.
          Winterfell is built on hot springs and Hardhome may have been caused by a volcanic eruption for instance. Dragonstone and Valyria too.

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq7DDk8eLs8&feature=emb_title

        Lots of food Waste thrown into Erta Ales fluid lava lake. This is an accurate simulation for Gollum : )

        Basaltic lava is much Denser than fire.. so conduct more heat towards the body, but lava also transmitt heat very poorly.

        You burn very quickly in souch a hot and dense Liquid enviroment,
        No pain at all.. If you are submerged instantly in the melt, instant death. At 1180 C you starts incenirating instantly, outside an in.. you outer parts quickly burns.. while your inner moist body quickly boils dry… probaly almost explosively.

        The lava liquid stone is much much denser than a fire at similar temperature, so Gollum burns much faster in the lava lake than in any fire pit.

    • One other rather coincidental and very appropriate thing about filming Lord of the Rings in New Zealand is that there actually were giant eagles there, up until as late as the 1400s. Theres also multiple lines of evidence they tried their hand at eating people on occasion, so there is that.
      Basically New Zealand was a real life dinosaur island, all the big animals were birds we even named the biggest one Dinornis… the only mammals were bats and seals until 700 years ago. I guess the fact it took only a century or two to utterly exterminate that ecosystem with stone age technology means we beat the dinosaurs fair and square…

      I also think there is just a tiny possibility New Zealand was the filming location because there are no snakes, a lot of the scenes were in wild forest, similar terrain exists in southern Australia but you would be a fool to walk in long grass unadvised there… 🙂

      • The Maori had jade weapons. Jade is one of the hardest stones out there, I think only diamonds and sapphires are harder.

        This isn’t really “stone age” weaponry in the sense most would imagine it.

        • Yes, its no paleolithic handaxe, but it is still considered stone age because the Maori, or any other Polynesian culture, ever used metal tools, its hard to find metals on an active volcano… New Zealand has metal ores but you would need to actually know what those are to make use of it otherwise it is just a rock, coming from oceanic islands is not a good learning place in this case.

          The same thing is true of the great civilisations in the Americas, their use of metals was largely ornamental, weapons and tools were mostly stone, so this is also considered ‘stone age’.

    • You burn down much faster in lava lake than in a fire at similar temperature

      Density of the sourrounding hot enviroment is why…

      It takes almost 1 hour to cremate a body in 1000 C.. because its mostly in a very hot air enviroment, the oven air does not transmitt heat well.

      Lava is really really dense stuff
      Even fluid gassy lava at Kilaūea are very very much denser than any atmosphere like a blowtorch.
      Submerged in gooey lava lake. any combustable material is heated up more than in a fire enviroment at similar temperature.

      And If Gollum – Smeagol fell into liquid titanium .. the results woud be even faster .. density I think

      • Lava is hot and dense enough to burn pretty much anything organic No matter the water content … Gollum and Human remains are No match at all… combusts itself inmeresed in hot basaltic lava

      • Huge Trees are still burning very slowly in large lava rivers… trees contains many tons of water.. and wood does not transmitt heat well

        Sometimes lava flows cools around trees forming molds and casts… that may leave charcoal If its a small short lived flow

        But in a deep lava lake a large tree thrown in is gone in hours…

    • “nailed Mount Dooms fluid basaltic lava physics well”

      Not quite. Basalt is about 3100kg/m³. Golum, being sort of a humanoid derivative is about 1030kg/m³, He would NOT sink. He might flop around on the surface screaming a bit… but he definitely isn’t gonna sink. At least with the final scene of one of the Terminator movies, the character as presented has about the same density as what he is being dipped into.

      And in retrospect… it appears that several have already addressed this issue. My apologies for saying essentially the same thing.

      • Basalt is that dense, but lava isnt that dense as a liquid. In 2011 Kilaueas lava lake was the same density as water, maybe you wouldnt fully sink in it but after falling from such a height you would plunge deep. The bigger problem is actually that the ring didnt sink, it is made of gold.

      • In most lavas Gollum woud not sink at all.. Infact he woud only deform it and also smash all his bones
        ( If he fell into Etna Aa lava river )

        But Kilaūea and Nyiragongo maybe the same thing as in the film ( because they are gassy and haves very very low viscosities )
        The old Overlook lava lake had extremely low viscosity as well as a crazy gas content, density as low as water with all that gas.

        Halema’uma’u can be so very fluid it reminds me of liquid aluminium
        Overlooks gas content made it as dense as water .. Falling from a great height and its a plounge ( look at Erta Ale video )

      • Gold woud melt inside pretty much all pure basaltic flows : ) 1080 C melting point

        But Cast Iron .. pig iron only the hottest basalts can melt that… melts at little over1200 C

        and No lava can melt raw steel today ( over 1500 C )

    • The last reports had that there hasnt been any sort of inflation at Taal after the last eruption except in the north section, not under Volcano Island. It must have a sizable magma generation to be as big as it is, but it has also only been a year and it took a good long while to erupt again after 1911, 54 years.

      What sort of magma does Taal erupt? I just assumed it was some sort of slightly cool viscous basalt, like at Etna or Pacaya, but if it is able to have a major dike intrusion it cant be too viscous or the magma wont flow so far, and the eruption was not entirely magmatic even during the lava fountains. Taal could be a very hot volcano that is being masked by the abundance of water around it, like a tropical version of Grimsvotn.

  12. The Mauna Loa swarm is continuing, to my surprise. It is also showing rapid extension of the summit, and decent inflation. Kilauea is also showing rapid extension. None of the GPS’s show inflation, but they are moving away form each other. Any inflation is confined to the caldera. This is becoming a race between two volcanoes. Kilauea is smaller and nimbler and can respond faster.

    Worth keeping an eye on the norther part of Kilauea’s caldera. It has done nothing for a long time but with a neat plug developing in the lava hole, pressure might be transferring. Who knows – just a low probability, high excitement chance.

    • Mauna Loa is hyperproductive been 33 eruptions since 1840..
      A very active volcano for soure… every eruption been producing hell of impressive flows of lava, even 1984 ( 250 million cubic meters in 3 weeks ) was an incredible sight, Maurice and Katia Krafft walked right up to these fast torrents of lava.

      And 1950 was almost like a Mini Laki the opening of that even exceeds Wolf 2015 by many many many times

    • Well I was saving this for an article but said article is going to be in development for a long time. Because it is looking like I might not actually have that time I will just put it here, Mauna Loa is going to have a massive eruption in the very near future. By massive I mean massive, the biggest effusive eruption since Laki and probably of a similar intensity, a caldera formation that has been several eruptions overdue. Could be on either rift, but a southwest rift eruption is going to be a scary event. Ocean View is going to be a modern day Pompeii if that happens, one can hope 2018 was a big enough warning.

      Kilaueas north ring fault is maybe inactive, the deep magma chamber today seems actually to extend outside the southern wall in the opposite direction so a total collapse in the future will probably expand the pit south over reactivating the northern part. Maybe the summit is expanding into the Koae faults, trying to link up better with the rifts. The ongoing inflation is very rapid, nearly 10 cm cross caldera in 2 months, at this rate the dip from the eruption start will be recovered in a few weeks. The tiltmeter is also showing slight uplift. Looking like a new caldera vent will open, or a fountaining phase at the west vent.

      • Think geological time scales. The current configuration of Kilauea with the rift 7 km south of the caldera is not entirely stable. Eventually something will move. But those things go very slowly. If it hasn’t happened in the past 20,000 years, it is unlikely to happen in the next 20. The current caldera is perhaps 500 years old, over that time nothing has really moved so every part of the caldera is there for a reason that still exists.

        • Technically geologic time for Kilauea is the same as human time, but ignoring that technicality almost nothing is known about it before about 2500 years ago, only that it erupted the Pahala ash in the late Pleistocene. The rifts seem only to be the shape today because most of Kilaueas growth has been in the east rift not at its summit which puts it at the mercy of Mauna Loa even though it is more active. Once Kilaueas summit is massive enough to resist Mauna Loa it will most likely correct itself rapidly.

        • It has done eruptions like this in the past, in 1710 was the last time and there is at least 4 other flows of this magnitude in the last 2000 years.. That early 18th century eruption is in the Na Pu’u a Pele story and is probably what created Mokuaweoweo. There isnt going to be a 15 km3 flow, 1-5 km3 more like, but given the hydraulic head and amount of magma present the eruption rates will probably be comparable if not greater than major Icelandic eruptions.
          1950 more or less was the same as this anyway, just not as long, ocean view is in deep trouble.

          Realistically the first eruption will probably be a summit eruption, but as in 1984 sometimes that doesnt matter much, 1984 set up all of the vents in the first day.

          • But why suspect a caldera forming eruption now? The Hapaimamu/Na Puu o Pele eruption probably happened during a short dominance of Mauna Loa, there had been some sizable eruptions in the NERZ towards the end of the 17th century, and some very young lava flows from the summit and upper rifts that were cut by the formation of Mokuaweoweo. This indicates a high eruption frequency in the decades before Hapaimamu took place.

            Same with the caldera forming events in 1868, that happened at peak dominance of Mauna Loa, and was preceded by large remarkable eruptions in 1852,1855 and 1859.

            Instead we have a very sleepy Mauna Loa with little supply that hasn’t erupted in 37 years. I would reach the opposite conclusion, a major eruption would be unlikely.

          • Well that is good, means we have a competition 🙂

            My main reasoning is that Mokuaweoweo is full, and the last two eruptions were of comparable volume and similar in style, yet didnt involve any collapse. This next eruption, or at least a near future eruption, is basically the long delayed terminator of the last dominant period. Theres a good chance the actual next eruption will be a summit eruption but that wont change the outcome much.

        • I’d love to see a repeat of 1950, but the big question in my mind is what caused 1950 to be so big? ML had been a conveyor belt since 1859, with a lot of eruptions along the SWRZ.
          As far as I can tell, ML erupts the same lave chemistry no matter what rift zone, radial, summit–there are no ‘rest areas’ like along Kilauea’s ERZ. I think everyone was expecting another 1926 and then *that* thing happened…sorta reminds me of Tarawera without the groundwater. Strange.

          • One of the things that has lead me to my conclusion is that the last 3 eruptions have all been similar in style, basically a continuous fissure that begins in Mokuaweoweo and advances out down a rift, its not like a normal flank eruption where the lowest vent is widely separated from the ones at the summit. To me this indicates there isnt any space to fill and the magma is going to erupt out of every place it can, and that is prime territory for a caldera collapse.

            Maybe what would be the scariest scenario is something like 1950 that then turns into a caldera eruption, a massive fissure advancing down the southwest rift and then instead of getting weaker after a few days it only intensifies. Such an event would also probably set off a major earthquake, which might only serve to accelerate the situation…

          • Although Mauna Loa eruptions do always start at the summit, the dyke always starts to intrude below Mokuaweweo so that the first outbreak usually happens there. It has been like that in every, or almost every, historic eruption.

            This is unlike Kilauea who can initiate dyke intrusions from various locations over the volcano.

          • Now I get you were trying to say the difference was in the fissure being continuous during 1950 and 1984. I guess that could be due to high pressure indeed, and a more compressional stress in the SWRZ now that the space created by 7.9 earthquake has been filled by repeated dyke intrusions.

      • Dunno. A lot of authors think the Panaewa picrite flow ~1500 years ago caused the caldera collapse. But the timelines don’t match up when the age of the beheaded summit flows are considered. I think ML will give us a run-of-the-mill spectacular 1984 or 1926-sized eruption.

        • It very likely did cause a caldera collapse, but flows younger than Pana’ewa overflowed from the summit so it didnt create Mokuaweoweo as it is today, rather a predecessor.

          • Mauna Loa has probably collapsed 3 additional times since Panaewa, because there were 3 episodes of summit overflows each ended presumably by caldera formation. There may have also been some small nested collapses that do not leave much geologic evidence behind, like in 1868.

          • What are the other 2 times? I know of the Hapaimanu eruption, and the Kipuka Kanohina flows that are just under it are also large scale a’a flows from around 1200, but I dont know of any other big flows in the right age range.

          • The Pohue Bay eruption matches in age with a caldera collapse, somewhere around 600-700 AD, can’t remember exactly, it was a massive eruption very similar to Hapaimamu.

            The second major collapse was about 1100-1200 AD, there is no obvious candidate, Kipuka Kanohina is the best.

            Third collapse was almost certainly Hapaimamu.

          • Mauna Loa is probably more prone to large scale effusive eruptions than anywhere else, in the last 2000 years there has been at least 4 eruptions around 5 km3 of lava which is rather incredible. Hapaimanu is probably second only to Laki among fast effusive eruptions in the last 1000 years.

            The 18th century would have been great for us lava lovers, early on we have Hapaimanu, Myvatn fires and Lanzarote all within about a 20 year time period then Kilauea erupting continuously on its east rift from 1730s?-1790 like it is now, Hekla in 1766, Laki in 1783-1785 and then repeated mega lava lakes and fountains at Kilauea in the 1790s-early 1800s. It is a long time, so maybe actually a bit less eventful than it sounds, but the fact all of these happened within one lifetime, maybe we will be similarly lucky 🙂

          • I should say large volume and fast effusive eruptions, Kilauea has it beat for total volume but isnt so intense when it erupts, at least not usually.

    • Theres a few tiny quakes showing up at Mauna Loa on the HVO quake map, the same sort of tiny quakes that are usually filtered out and which started appearing at Kilauea in the weeks before it erupted. Maybe this means nothing but it also could be a big sign. The GPS trend is remarkable, 5 cm of extension in 3 days, which is a lot over such a big area, its about the same as what Kilauea did before erupting…

      It also looks probable to be another dual eruption, a lot of photos of Kilauea from recent weeks have Mauna Loa in the background, a perfect angle 🙂

      • Let’s not go too extreme. It is 5 mm in 3 days, not 5 cm .. The average rate is around 4 cm per year.

        • Yes I realised the scale was in mm not cm only after I posted the comment. It is still 6 weeks of inflation in 3 days equivalent, so its not nothing. The tiltmeters dont show anything, magma must be pretty deep.

          I guess that puts the current inflation at Kilauea into perspective. Not many volcanoes can inflate while already erupting, at this rate the deflation from the beginning of the eruption will be recovered in a few weeks. Probably a new vent will open soon, or the existing one will surge, maybe get the lake high enough to see from the lookout.

  13. I’m finding your discussions on Mauna Loa and Kilauea interesting! Anyone put a finger on timescales? Kilauea certainly caught us hopping this year. Please, I’d love to hear more of your theories and ideas.
    Thank you!

  14. Grimsvotn is now beginning to swarm. A series of earthquakes in the past few days, after months of hibernation. Small stuff (M1-M2) but that is what it does. If this is the beginning of the run-up (big if!), it could be 100-200 days before the bang.

  15. Hector & Albert, are you here? Any comments upon Taal? I just read Hector’s analysis regarding Taal from October 2020 (unfortunately comments are closed there – so I comment here). Taal acts up again: Volcanic tremor for 3 days. Inflation is NORTH-WEST since mid 2020 due to phivolcs_dost! Taal island deflating. So we have a dyke more located under Tagaytay? I am 14.4km north-west of Taal btw. Experienced last eruption, 2020 Taal eruption was like concrete rain – so very similar to 1911, just as you described it in your article! Made metal corrode rapid fast, my umbrella – which I used to protect from the “concrete rain” – looked like it aged 10 years, the chrome toyota sign on my car turned more cooper like, also my water tanks aged like 10 years. “Just” from 2-3cm of ash/rain mix (14.4km north west).

    • https://www.volcanocafe.org/taal-eruption-update/
      There was a dyke intrusion in the north-west corner a year ago also, many rift zones trend NE/SW which is parallel to the Macolod corridor. If memory serves most eruptions in recent centuries have been on the west side of volcano island which is north westward in the scape of the caldera.

    • Hi Matt! Currently no dyke intrusion is taking place at Taal. Dyke intrusions are accompanied by fracturing of rock, which produces strong earthquakes and cracking of the ground surface, you would be able to feel the shaking, similar to what happened a year ago. PHIVOLCS reports the occurrence of tremors, these might be related to hydrothermal activity, which is very intense right now in the Main Crater of the volcano, but does not necessarily mean any magma movement.

      A scientific article recently modelled the dyke intrusion of January 2020 and estimates that the volcano deflated by about 0.5 km3, of magma, back then. This volume was intruded into a dyke in the Macolod Corridor, and is a far greater amount of magma that was erupted from the volcano, this might be good news actually, it is a volume that has been removed away, and it will take a long time for Taal to refill. It is natural to see inflation of the Taal Caldera as it is slowly resupplied the magma it lost, PHIVOLCS mentions that the Main Crater is deflating but also says this information comes from tiltmeters, these instruments are extremely sensitive and might be picking up very small changes related to hydrothermal activity or even weather, who knows.

      In the short term, I see some possible hazard related to phreatic explosions that would only affect the Main Crater, otherwise it should be quiet. Of course volcanoes are complex systems that are hard to predict, something unexpected can happen, like a resumption of volcano-tectonic rifting (a dyke intrusion along the Macolod Corridor), but the way things are looking the volcano would be expected to rest for a “long time”, on the order of decades possibly, while it refills the large volume of magma used in the intrusion.

      I hope you find this insightful.

      The following article models the dyke intrusion and deals with some other aspects of the 2020 eruption, for anyone interested:

      https://www.essoar.org/doi/abs/10.1002/essoar.10504404.2

      • Thanks, Hector, for your detailed analysis. Let’s hope that you are right. +91 tremors again yesterday at Taal. The action never stops 😀

      • This covers it well. In cases like this, small changes in tilt and localized inflation/deflation are often caused by circulating water, not magma. However, water is a dangerous substance and capable of producing significant explosions. The order not to visit Taal Island should stay in place for now, and for a long time to come.

    • Etna is due for a flank eruption, theres apparently at least 12 active vents right now erupting simultaneously in all 4 summit craters and now several are fountaining too, the last time there was such high activity in all the craters together was in 1995-2000, and that lead to major eruptions in 2001 and 2002 on the flanks (0.3 km3 combined)

      Really it is just a matter of time, the similarity to Kilauea in the year leading up to fissure 8 is unnerving…

    • Mauna Kea postshield eruption looks very similar .. But perhaps larger and much longer lived
      Same kind of basaltic magma

      • Mauna Kea would look very similar to this, but its lava is different. Mauna Kea erupts hawaiite (type location) which is the alkaline equivalent of basaltic andesite. I think it has erupted actual andesite too, where Etna erupts low silica alkali basalts like Hualalai but at a relatively low temperature compared to a plume volcano.

        The basalts erupted around Hekla and Katla are very similar to Etna basalts too, and also very similar in eruption much more strombolian than hawaiian and very little or no pahoehoe. This includes Eldgja, which must have at times been a line of etnean fountains a few km or more long and 600m to 1 km high with colossal a’a flows spreading downhill.

  16. There was a third paroxysm at Etna, even bigger than its predecessors. The paroxysms have taken place at intervals of about a day and a half, each seems bigger than the preceding one, at least judging from the tremor, will there be a 4th or was this the end of the sequence???

    • I am always intrigued by Etna.. It is a massive edifice and probably soon (in geological terms) too heavy for it´s own weight.

      As soon as there is a tiny opening the eruptions (paroxysms) are massive, the high fountaining shows the high pressure the system is under. If released a bit the conduit probably slams shut, but I wonder if there is a bigger eruption around the corner, with the system being quite charged obviously!

      • All 4 summit craters with a combined total of at least 12 vents are active right now, just like 1995-2000. If we get 60+ fountains in a few months again that would be good 🙂

        It has been a long time since there was a major flank eruption though, one was attempted in 2018 but didnt get anywhere, the last flank eruption proper was in 2001 and 2002 (two eruptions same dike), which still mostly happened at a high altitude. Flank eruptions are supposed to get more common in times of especially high supply like today, but instead of that recently there has been over 100 paroxysms and major cone formation at the summit, and several subplinian eruptions. The central crater/caldera of 1669 is well and truly gone, as I said the comparison to Kilauea before 2018 is hard to miss…

        • 1669 is visible as its cuts the upper cone… steep and then the upper cone gets much shallower slopes … Like Erebus … but yes 1669 is totaly buried
          But perhaps is it the 10km3 Etna basaltic roman plinian caldera that I thinks of here

          • The break in slope is the Piano del Lago caldera, which might have been created in 122 BCE. The central crater is today the Voragine and Bocca Nuova which have sort of merged to one again but a lot smaller than the original.

            The eruption rate since the 1970s has been ever going up, apparently sustained average of nearly 2 m3/s which means since the modern period of activity began in 1995 there has been possibly been over 1.5 km3 of lava erupted at Etna. Maybe there is a more official number because this seems a bit big but in any case theres evidently not a lot of space underground for magma to go so it is erupting wherever it can, just as l said for Mauna Loa this is a prime situation for a major eruption, it is exactly the same as Pu’u O’o, and we know how that ended.

          • The magma output should be correspondent to the tectonic activity, Etna is fed through the Malta escarpment. With the decreased volcanic activity in Greece, Turkey etc. it could be that the African plate is finding it’s movement less restricted northward (or more restricted, stationary melting?)

          • That stuff is way too big to respond in human timescales, the plates are basically almost a fluid at the scale they operate on (thousands of km and millions of years).

          • Fair point, we humans forget how important we are in the grand scale of things. It could have been happening over the last millenia or so though, there hasn’t been serious volcanic activity on the eastern edges of the African (or Nubian) plate for about that length of time, whereas Laacher See, Campi Flegrei etc. have erupted in the Pleistocene/Holocene.

        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VToChdU2pTA
          A rare pure ash free lava fountain from Etna ( etna trying hawaiian fountain )
          Feb 16 2021 fountain was a much larger verison of this one..
          But its true that Etnean basalts are much more visocus than Hawaii and Galapagos. Its lower temperature here and perhaps microlites that makes Etna more taffy

          You almost never find any smooth shiney flow surfaces on Etna, Not even in the insulated lava tubes …does Etna haves a shiney surface… Bronte Pahoehoe are Etnas most spectacular pahoehoe.. but not even they are the smooth Hawaiian type.

          Etnas hornitoes are also rough looking with higher viscosity https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/etna/photos/eruption-june2019/lavaflows/image24.html

    • Etna is one of the most impressive volcanoes on the planet!
      And she haves a specialy impressive magma supply knowing that she is NOT a plume.
      Of all NON hotspot volcanoes, Etna coud be the most produktive of these.
      Etna is quite impressive it also haves a very high gas content and viscous basalts perfect for huge fountains. Etna probaly haves a very massive deep resovair and conduits are open, If supply gets even higher, we may get a villaricca like lava lake in Voragine, Infact its weird that Etna does not have lava lakes but probaly is beacuse the conduits are too narrow and broken up near the summit.
      An Etnean lava lake will resemble Tolbalchik main vent lava lake.

      With holocenes massive supply to Etna.. another 1669 is due, basicaly a fissure 8 put in a large city
      The material destruction and chaos woud ber beyond imagination. An even earlier large flow flowed there before

    • Todays blowout made 800 meters tall fountains… so tall they where like a lava lapilli tephra spray
      In the night it woud be a pillar of helll going up… but in the daylight today it was mostly a dark spray of black tephra… with a dark red centre

  17. This NASA image I found the most impressive. Catching the rover while it is parachuting into the crater. Getting this image right was quite an amazing bit of navigation.

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