The Moon and the Moonie

This is a revisit due to something Albert spotted out on the Internet;


GeoLurking / April 22, 2012

Part I: The Moon

Time and time again, someone bops along with the idea that the Moon or the Sun causes an increase in seismicity. They climb up on their soapbox and thump their chest denouncing the world (that would be the rest of us) as being blind to the obvious correlation. That we will all suffer some sort of ruination if we don’t heed their warnings or suffer some calamity akin to a slow and brutal death.

Hey, sounds like fun. Let’s play.

Here is a plot of all earthquakes greater than Magnitude 4.5 as listed on the USGS website from 1973 to 2010.

Wow, that looks a bit compelling. How about the power distribution across that same data?

Well… that seals the deal. Right?

Not so fast.

First, I would like to point out that there is some research that points to a lunar influence in the activity of certain already seismically active regions, but that this research is founded on actual science. The effect is ephemeral and buried in noise. This is not intended to debunk that research, only to illustrate just how misleading some of the source data is, and how easy it is to jump to conclusions.

Now here is the nugget-o-truth that most people tend to miss:

The longer that the Moon spends at a specific location and phase, the more likely it is that quakes will occur while it is at that location. There are a couple of things that need to be taken into account. The Moon completes an orbit around the Earth about every 27.321 days. All orbits have a Perapsis (closest point on orbit) and an Apoapsis (furthest point). At perapsis the Moon is at it’s highest rate of speed at about 1.076 km/s. At apoapsis, it is moving at 0.964 km/s. Obviously, this speed is not constant. The period of the Lunar orbit is 27.321582 days. The Moon goes through a full phase cycle in about 29.53 days3. That’s almost the same period… but it’s not. The reason is that the Earth moves as well, in its orbit around the Sun. Say it is New Moon, with the Moon in-between the Earth and the Sun, so that we only see its night side. 27 days later, the Moon is back in the same position. But because the Earth has moved, the Sun appear displaced – by about 15 degrees. The Mon has to cover an extra distance before it is again in-between the Earth and the Sun: it takes a bit over 2 days. The first period gives us the (lunar) tides, and the varying distance to the Moon. The second period gives us the Moon phases. And each lunar phase does not last an equal amount of time. The day/night terminator moves across the Moon’s surface at about 10 miles per hour. When the Moon is at first or third quarter (half illuminated), the terminator is mid-way across the Moon (as seen by us) and you can see it move. When the Moon is new or full, the terminator is on the edge of the Moon, and it is moving directly towards us or away from us. And that you can’t see: the phase doesn’t change until the terminator has moved far enough that it is beginning to move sideways – as seen by us. So New Moon and Full Moon seem to last longer than a half-lit Moon.

Couple this with the dynamics of an elliptical orbit, and you get this odd characteristic.

This is the dwell time of the Moon on two separate phase cycles. Notice that the curves, though similar, do not match. This is due to the ‘not quite the same’ durations of the phase cycle and the orbital period, so that the effect of the elliptical orbit is moving around the lunar cycle. Also notice that the amount of time spent at the New and Full phases is longer than at mid phase.

Let’s take a look at several cycles in order to see if there is a pattern.

Sure enough… that orange is the plot of several phase cycles. The blue is an average of what is seen at that phase over those same cycles. (the average of the orange curve). We can go a step further and run this through a curve fitting program in order to see if there is a function that matches.

That’s pretty good… but note the end points, even though the curve is a good fit, it leaves enough uncertainty on the ends to make it mostly useless. I provided the plot mainly since I pissed away about two and a half hours in Eureqa’s “Formulize” in order to find it. <del datetime=”2019-04-20T04:18:31+00:00″>(it’s a really great program though)</del> I no longer think this.  Their shoddy liscencing protocol is not something I wish upon anyone.    Plus, I do not wish to spend the next few years arguing with the company that bought them out, so I got rid of the software.  The “KISS” principle is a better method. “Keep It Simple Stupid” and you will find simpler less convoluted formulas are easier to make sense of.

Taking the idea of using the mean of the curve to calculate a correction factor, and using the 1000 bin average from the previous plot (the one with the orange and blue), we can apply that to the quake count curve.

Err… where did the trends go? Okay, maybe the power curve will still show the significant signal.

Hmm… not looking so good.

There is still an artifact in there… at least it seems to me like there is an artifact in there… but it’s small. So small that the last thing I would do would be to stand on a soap box preaching at people about it.

Part II: The Sun and the Moon

I realize that some people are adamant about the seismic connection with the Sun and the Moon. I also realize that I have pointed out a few issues with making this connection. One might argue that I was being very selective in presenting the data… okay, fair enough.

Here are some more plots that may, or may not, show a connection. You be the judge.

Image by GeoLurking

Image by GeoLurking

Nothing there that really jumps out at ya eh? Okay, a few more:

Do note that the apparent dwell time of the Sun at mid Winter and Mid Summer really stands out in that last plot. By the way, see those horizontal bands? Those are the latitudes of seismically active areas.


Again, the bands equate to known active areas… this time in longitude.

You may think me an ass for not believing in the Sun-Moon-Earth connection. That’s your prerogative. But unlike some, I actually went out and looked for myself. I’m not one to buy a pig in a poke. Personally, I don’t see it in the data. If your numeric skills are better, knock yourself out. I could stand to learn a thing or two while reading it. But if it’s BS, I’m not gonna buy it.

One thing that you should really take away from this, is the realization that as humans, we see patterns in anything.   What we see is not always something significant.  Bonafide researches spend countless hours doing something similar but more advanced, just for the purpose of proving to themselves that what they see is actually real… or not.  Proving something wrong is just as important as finding something new.

As Richard Feynman would see it, proving a wrong lets you know that you still need to seek a better answer.



198 thoughts on “The Moon and the Moonie

  1. I used to offer up my original spreadsheet for download, but have since cleaned it out of my system. Recreating it should be piecemeal (but lengthy) if you desire to play with the idea yourself. The quake lists and timestamps are available from the USGS. The licensed version of Alcyone Ephemeris will take formatted queries by time-stamp to yield the ephemeris data.

    Fair warning, the data set is HUGE once you put it together. The Excel 97 that I was using at the time choked on the sheer volume of data, so I had to upgrade. You may also have to figure out how to implement binning of your data to make the calculations digestible enough to not croak your computer or to spend a couple of hours waiting for a spreadsheet formula to finish. This is an instance where using a database might save you a lot of time over using a spreadsheet. If I were to do it again, I would probably go with MySql running on Linux.

    Despite the derisive nature of my post, counter discussion and argument is welcome. Some may find it convincing, but I’m gonna be a hard sell.

    One thing I learned when working up the original article, is that if your “signal” doesn’t rise more than 2 standard deviations from normal noise, it probably is not worth persuing. (Thank you Jack@Finland wherever you are! And thank you Albert for helping me kick this one out back out into public.)

    • Great post and I wasn’t here to see the original, and at the risk of commenting before I’ve read other responses, I think the main point is what you said, “if your “signal” doesn’t rise more than 2 standard deviations from normal noise, it probably is not worth perusing.”

      There are a lot of studies in other fields where they use statistics to draw conclusions, but but don’t even look at, or publish, the variance or uncertainty, or whatever. Yet people believe them like gospel.

      Phil R, but think I’m posting as unakite, since that what it’s showing below this post.

      (sorry, but I’m still a little technologically challenged 🙂 )

  2. and this is good Friday…which often has a fullish moon…. as was decided in Nicaea in 300 something so that pilgrims could have the light of a full moon to find their way on pilgrimages. Found that out when i commented to a priest as the Holy Thursday Adoration was coming to a close at midnight and i looked up and said…”Wow, another full moon for Easter”…. duh….. sometimes letting ignorance show will actually teach you something. i wasn’t aware of some thinking there was a connection between the moon and earthquakes… up here there are lots of ‘earthquake’ fables…. the only one i believe is “There’s another one coming.” Best!motsfo

    • Sound thinking. There is always another coming along eventually.

  3. This post was a classic and is still current, and well worth re-posting.

    The link at the top mentions that “Looking at only large earthquakes also allowed Hough to pare down the list to a manageable number that could be matched to lunar phase information found in online databases.” Lurking managed to convince excel to do the full list. It was quite an achievement.

  4. Few people on this planet ever get to write or say something profound.
    This is profound.
    Or as Lurking and Feynman would say. “I just did the numbers”, well that is how profound things come to life.

    • Technically, this endeavor was caused several years ago by an online article based on UC Berkley research that noted some correlation to San Andreas activity. They didn’t come up with anything that much different than I did. All I can really say is that there might be a small signal there, but as Jack@Finland pointed out at the time, it wasn’t ( and still isn’t) large enough to rise above two sigma from back ground noise. The article that Albert found says roughly the same thing.

      All my shenanigans really do is to illustrate how difficult of a problem it is.

      If someone comes along and finds a good connection, I’m all for it, that is if their data stands up to scrutiny.

      In school I used to get hammered with “Show your work”… hopefully this helps.

    • Let me expound a bit.
      Before Lurking wrote this there was no answer to this question. Well, there where to be honest answer for and against. Som scientists had used limited datasets, some had come to the conclusion that there might be something to it, and others using different limited datasets said there was nothing. I myself was sitting on the benches on it since I could not make head or tails of it.
      I remember that me and Lurking was talking about it and he said something along the lines that he would try to plot the entire dataset.

      Well, the rest is history. There was literally a before and after this article. He plotted such a glorious stake into the heart of the zombiescience of the time that almost nobody has revisited the field.
      His plots has by now meandered into many Universities and are being used in the seismology courses.
      Not that many get to drive a stake into zombiescience.

      In my eyes this piece of “I just plot things” are among my top 3 articles in geology together with “The Petrology of Thingmuli” by Carmichael and “The eruption of Hekla 1947 – 1948” by Thorarinson et al. And that says quite a bit.

      • A lunar influence never seemed to make much sense to me, seeing how small the forces are. You can argue that a big quake can be set off by a small effect – but there are many small effects. Air pressure change. A land slide. A big wave. If this were true, the moon would not have a chance. So Lurking’s finding made sense to me. Still, the data decides – if there is a lunar effect, it needs to be shown fro the data.

        The discussions relating solar cycles to effects on earth are similar. Some big impacts are claimed from very small effects. I have mentioned the study relating volcanic eruptions to solar cycle as a deeply flawed study. The data is also more difficult since solar cycles are not entirely regular, making it harder to predict what the phase of the cycle is at a point in the past. The claim for an effect on climate is a bit stronger, but still to me far from convincing. One that needs much more study.

      • Indeed so and furthermore the usual response “well it would show if only we had more data” really doesn’t work at all. We have all the data and lots of it!

        PS My reply waay below was sent yesterday and was directly to the post!.

  5. Playfull amateur in geoscience but can understand at least some of your analysis. Convinced you are right that tidal forces has no influence on triggering earthquakes or volcanism. Hower, this report suggest that tidal forces continuously squeezes the earth and thereby add enough energy to keep up the mantle or core temperature etc.. Also, the most extreeme tidal forces realy causing volcanism I know of is on the Jovian moon Io, also constantly squeezed. Wonder if there are periodic variation in activity on Io that can be tied to the tide?

    • The hard part of dealing with and analysis of Io’s data. Is getting it. How it relates to the Earth is the difficulty. On Earth, the relationship in quake energy to tidal forces is so astonishingly wide that finding a connection is pretty much swamped by chaotic signals.

      My general thought is that if there is an effect, it might show up as,a quake triggering a few seconds early or late over what would have happened anyway. This level of skew is about what you would see as that hint of “maybe something” in what I have here. Still not significant enough to be a bona-fide signal.

    • Interesting article. To add to this, Venus, a planet similar in size and composition to Earth has no global magnetic field, so the Moon may have played a part in creating Earth’s magnetic field, particularly in the past when it was closer to Earth.

      • Just supposition on my part, but the Thea collision that formed the Moon, may have given us a bit more iron for our core than we would have had. The energy from that may have helped kick start our dynamo.

      • I thought that was because venus spins too slowly to generate a dynamo. If it is the same composition and almost the same size it should still have a core with an inner and outer layer and it also probably has active tectonics (though not continuous plate tectonics like on earth).

        • That is probably right. We don’t know enough about the inner structure of Venus to be sure but the very slow spin certainly will make a dynamo very difficult to maintain.

    • Indeed. To me its rather obvious that the tidal effects of the moon on the earth combined with that from the sun put quite a lot of energy into our liquid core. Its very notable that bodies with high tidal amplitudes, particularly when “complexified” by other bodies seem to have more internal energy than those that do not. The earth and Io are the best examples but other moons of the gas giants show it to a lesser effect.

      Consider Mars, believed to have no molten core so by definition has cooled completely since its formation so all smaller bodies should have done so as well without an extra source of energy. Some have not.

      The earth-moon system was admittedly ‘reworked’ later than mars (Venus may well have had a later collision though) however note carefully the marked difference in internal temperatures between the moon and the earth. One has a frozen solid core and earth is basically a liquid ball covered by some scum. The difference? The moon sees no earthtides as it is gravitationally locked, the earth sees big moon tides. I can’t find the expected initial orbital distance but from memory some 200Mm which is *really* close.

      I also wonder if the reheating after fractionation allowed earth to lose much of its atmosphere because high temperatures result in many gasses having molecular speeds in excess of earth’s escape velocity. Decades ago (as part of an exam question) I worked out the half-life of various atmospheric components and there was significant loss over geologic timescales. One advantage of methane is that it escapes rather more easily than, say, oxygen.

  6. Thanks, Lurk, data doesn’t stale with time if done well.
    Now something OT-
    Central Washinton University series on the the Columbia River Basalt flow and comparison with others-Siberian, Deccan, Icelandic…

  7. Umm….

    But … but, er I don’t think anyone here (that is who persisted for more than a few months) ever held the lunatic view of earthquakes linking with lunar effects.

    I should point out that above perhaps ‘moon-centric might be better than ‘lunatic’ despite the same meaning.

    Also no excessive accuracy implications although quoting the lunar orbit to 8 decimal places may be considered by some to be needlessly precise in context.

    • I did point out that at the time of the original article, there were some who brought out the idea. Our current batch of readers seem to have better wits. {Yeah, I’m playing to the readers, but it is true. Much of the discussion here is very insightful.}

      As for the over precision, I was taught that if a program spit it out, to use it. Yes, it is a bit too “precise” and infers greater accuracy than is likely there. I agree with that observation.

  8. There is a bit of a (small) earthquake swarm in the northern part of the Kilauea caldera.

    • They are all very shallow. The only think I can think of is that there is maybe a shallow sill or dike being intruded and it is either really slow or going into already hot rock so it is not particularly obvious.

      Either that or the quakes are normal depth magma quakes on the outside of the magma chamber and are not checked yet but that is strange if that is the case, usually they are checked within a few hours and some of the quakes are a few days ago now.
      Im not good at reading the quakes or telling volcanic from tectonic quakes but I think these might be volcanic, though not ‘eruption in an hour’ volcanic. They are sort of ‘house shaped’ for lack of another way to describe a square with a tapering triangle on the side of it. They sort of look like some of the signals I saw on a video about the 1959 eruption.

      • Actually after some research it looks like the larger ones are tectonic but there are some volcanic signals there too.

        The quakes are all about -0.1 to -0.3 km deep, which im assuming is set to 0 at sea level which puts these at about 1.2 km deep under that part of the caldera. Most likely these are reflecting a sill or some other intrusion forming slowly, which is interesting that it is in the northern part of the caldera.

        I expect HVO will talk about it soon if this continues.

        • I think the earthquakes should be tectonic due to settling of the caldera wall though I havent been able to look at it calmly yet, it is similar to previous shallow swarms that have been ocurring since the caldera formed.

          • Been a while now and there are some tremors in the last few hours, the induvidual quakes before seem to all be tectonic quakes but there is some movement of what is most likely magma.

            From the situation that has lead to this, if an eruption does happen it will be pretty small, like the first 1982 eruption, a small flow lasting a day or two. These might be in short succession before something a bit bigger happens like in 1961.

  9. Not me… but I find it time of the year appropriate.

    And a warning to all of you since summer is coming. NEVER leave your kids in the car, FOR ANY REASON.

    The standard scare story is that within 15 minutes, the temperature inside a vehicle can climb to 115°F (46.11°C). Well, it’s true. I’ve checked it myself using an infrared thermometer.

    And while the tragedy described in the link would qualify as a Darwin event, it’s not, she is pregnant again.

      • Summary of the article at the link for those who can not access it;

        An officer in Mississippi fell asleep after meeting her supervisor at a motel for a session of sex, while she napped afterward, her 3 year old daughter died in her patrol car from the heat. The officer was prosecuted and incarcerated. Now it turns out she is pregnant again. (Second article linked off the first)

        “Cassie Barker pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter in a plea bargain after being indicted on a second-degree murder charge. The Sun Herald reports prosecutors recommend the 29-year-old Barker spend 20 years in prison. Harrison County Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois said he wanted more time to consider the case and would sentence the ex-Long Beach officer April 1.

        Cheyenne Hyer died Sept. 30, 2016, after her mother left her strapped in a car seat for four hours while Barker was with her then-supervisor at his home. The car was running with the air conditioner turned on, but wasn’t blowing cold air.

        The girl was unresponsive when Barker returned. Authorities say Hyer’s body temperature was 107 degrees when she arrived at a nearby hospital.”

        “The mother had left her daughter alone in a car at least once before, at a store in nearby Gulfport in April 2015. Police responded and child welfare officials took temporary custody of the girl at the time. Barker was suspended from the Long Beach police for a week without pay. The girl’s father, Ryan Hyer, said he was never notified of that first incident.”

        He is currently suing the city of Long Beach MS and Child Protective Services for not adequately dealing with the first incident and the subsequent death of his daughter during the second incident.

  10. The resumption of US manned flights may be a little more delayed, after the accident with the SpaceX capsule yesterday. The story I heard is that the launch abort engine caught fire when running a test sequence. They weren’t actually firing it, I think, as that was scheduled for a test flight and this was a prelim test of the system. Wait and see what is left of the capsule.

    • Seems this was the final part of the test and the “anomaly” occurred when they tried to fire the SuperDraco engines, This was the crew-dragon that previously flew to the ISS unmanned.

      This video is thought to be genuine on the NASA space flight forum.

      • It is possible. In NASA speak ‘anomaly’ is a strong word that can stand for ‘total destruction’. They have their own language. This particular system is meant to push the capsule away from the rocket in case the latter suffers an ‘anomaly’ – I would expect it to fire quite hard as there isn’t much time to outrun an explosion behind you. Not explode itself though.

      • It appears from the video that the explosion was just below the capsule. That may just have been the way the shock came out but I am wondering about a fuel leak. After the initial explosion, you get smoke, and a second later a second, much larger explosion when presumably the tanks themselves went up, after which you get the orange smoke.

        • Hmm,

          Firing a high power rocket engine strapped that close to the ground may well produce significant shock wave and thermal transmission to the fuel tanks. As I understand it they engines were not supposed to have been fired from this stand.

          My 10c worth.

  11. If you really want to be a good scientist you should have your beliefs shaken not stirred

    • In actuality… I’m no where near being a scientist.

      I just plot stuff.

      And speaking of shaken, not stirred… Did you know… the adhesive used in the LCD panels of some Dell laptops smells of Gin? A really sticky gooey material… with the distinct aroma of Gin.

    • Hmmm….
      Slightly backwards, good scientists ENJOY their beliefs being shaken AND stirred.

      Quantum mechanics didn’t really do it, seems to me it says everything is a wave, but (like an organ pipe with standard lengths) many systems are quantised. For convenience these tend to be the ones we use for measurement and use.

      Discovering Nother’s theory and thus the energy (and other ‘fundamentals’) is NOT conserved in General Relativity was a bit of an earth-moving experience though, shattering actually. Truly wonderful.

      In practice most of the scientists I know are human (IYSWIM) and generally are quite hard to get to see another point of view, or even seriously consider it. The amount of time and effort needed to get to the advanced expertise and knowledge in their exiting area prevents them. It needs younger scientists who are not in that position to take the next steps.

      Best quantum mechanical example: string theory, all the experimantal evidence shows its WRONG but the powers that be persist in trying to prove its right, stopping most other alternative scenarios.

      Best QM/Physical one is explaining galaxy rotation curves (and probably related expansion of the universe problem) by unseen ‘dark matter’ and unseen ‘dark energy’ both of which need to be entered differently for every type of galaxy and have never been detected on earth. There is a methodology to explain this called MOND ( which works well with a single very basic extra assumption. This clearly requires some modification of existing theory but nobody important is looking at how this can be done. My prediction is that when QM & GR are united this will fall out in the wash.

      • QM works extremely well and is confirmed by all experiments done. Same for General Relativity. String theory is different: it is not QM as such but a framework for explaining which particles exist. As you say, it has done rather poorly and failed every test. But because it is a framework rather than a single theory, it has proven hard to falsify. I don’t like it but of course that is not a scientific judgement. MOND is in fact actively being researched. Several people I know work on it. So far unsuccessfully: it can fit individual galaxies but not the general population. The theory is not dead but has problems. We know dark matter exists, just not what kind of particle it is. Dark energy is more controversial. Something is needed in the models, but whether it is an ‘energy’ or something like Einstein’s cosmological constant is not clear.

        • My information is that out of the box MOND fits nearly all galaxies of all types and all ‘normal’ ones (guess 95%+). Unfortunately its not a theory but like Kepler merely an expression that fits the facts. A theory would link it to other proven theories as an extension as GM extended Newton.

          For example I was for some years in discussion with someone who thought he was close to uniting QM & GR but he had an extra term in the doppler expression (essentially one of time) which generated MOND (and a few other very useful side effects) but this did NOT require modifying Newton, but the new expression altered the actual velocities (using the observed observed redshifts) of the rotation curves (measured via doppler) so they then became Newtonian.

          We do NOT know dark matter or dark energy exist. We have never detected it and its only required to ‘correct’ galaxy rotation curves. Its entirely a proposal with no actual evidence to back it up. Its no better than saying “invisible angels are keeping the galaxies together”. Each galaxy needs tweaking in dark matter density distribution and temperature to get workable results, which at least MOND does not.

          • MOND has a free parameter, which is the acceleration below which it adjust newton’s laws. That parameter is obtained by fitting rotation curves. The problem is that if you fit two different galaxies, you do not find the same value. There is a bit of an argument going on, but at the moment rotation curves agree better with cold dark matter than with MOND. MOND also has a problem with fitting velocities of galaxies in clusters, where even MOND models seem to need some dark matter as well. The discussion is far from over but MOND is on the defensive at the moment.


          • The Wheelan interpretation of the Feynman interpretation of the double-slit actually has a couple of clues.
            Ie, Strong Feynman interpretation.
            Wheelan posited that there is actually only a single electron travelling all possible paths. Feynman found his notion to be rather ludicrous, and Wheelan after a while abandoned his idea. Feynman did though never come up with an answer to why it had to be wrong.

            In every day life this has no effect at all on the Universe as we perceive it, but it starts to have a few very odd effects out at the boundaries if you trace those effects all the way. For instance, the classical model, the weak Feynman interpretation and the strong Feynman interpretation yield different theoretical temperatures for the Universe (ever so minutely so), with the best fit being the strong interpretation.

            The strong interpretation obviously makes our concept and observation of time into a ludicrous concept. But the time is instead working as a function of Fredkin-time.
            In this case it means that with the classical model and the regular weak Feynman interpretation the Universe would be moving at (roughly) the same time for an observer both inside and outside the Universe, but with the strong intepretation the Universe time for the outside observer would move so slowly that it would seem static. This obviously solves the size problem of the Universal computer concept to a T…

            And now Albert is shaking his head and thinking that I am off the rockers, I blame Fredkin as usual.

            Was Wheelan correct? Who knows, but QED connects slightly better to macro-physics when it is applied.

          • Reply to Albert. That’s the best non-fitted curve I have seen in ages from astrological results that typically have rather large errors (more than 1 sigma) and as pointed out there are other effects like inclination of the rotation axes. Now try and repeat that with ONE free dark matter term: you can’t.

          • Response to Carl:
            The easiest way which is in its simplest form compatible with results of experiment is to say the electron is a 4-D wave and is dispersed all over its wavefunction (spatially and temporarly). QED is thus (when normalised) the expression of this but ‘cut up’ into infinitesimal sections to allow calculations to be made using existing mathematical methods. Basically a 4-D version of integrating to get areas under the graph. This doesn’t mean an infinity of electrons travelling an infinity of paths, but one electron as a wave doing so (the normalisation is the clue here). A notable thing about waves is that they span spacetime so can be many places at once simultaneously, so this is unremarkable.

            Electrons are thus not points (obviously: a particle at a point would be infinitely small and have infinite energy). This is not a shock to those involved in solid state physics where electron wavefunctions span entire crystals in some cases (eg conduction band electrons in metals) and valence electrons often span whole molecules (eg benzine).

            Explaining other things is more involved and less simplistic, not unexpected or it would be explained this way already.

          • Uhm, Farmeroz, that was not what I really was talking about, but thank you for explaining the first day lesson of QED that I used to hold at the University.

            That being said, even though I have post-graduate degree in theoretical physics, in this instance it is Albert that is the big gun. I just made a humorous comment to him to make him shake his head over his morning coffee. In all things related to astrophysics I dodge the hell out of the discussion leaving it to Albert, who is the Kahouna in the field.

    • As in shaken, challenged…. not stirred, into a defensive emotion reaction … I suppose.

      • As I said the main problem is that it takes 20 years to become proficient in a small area of cutting edge theoretical physics. Bear in mind that this will only be in a tiny subset even of that area. Expecting anyone, with a team of graduates and postdocs with wives and children to feed, to change direction and examine a completely different area that will probably NOT be successful is asking a lot.

        So they defend the increasingly undefendable.

        They are human.

        But its not efficient.

    • I hope no one was swimming in it at the time.

      It seems a resonance. Buildings are designed to have their resonance frequencies at values which do not coincide with earthquakes. The pond must have been overlooked.

  12. The VC webcam links Spike Page added is not working anymore 🙁

    • My avatar looks crazy! what happened?
      Thats not my icon I used to have!

      Aaaaaaa here the orginal one pops up again

        • The tomte activity happens to people who fidget to much with things instead of sit on their hands and wait 🙂

  13. Macusn noted a tremor the other day presumably from the Pahala source. A few hours ago another one happened, but I don’t know the location, as it appears in many seismos. Looking at the time of arrival, it looks closest to Pahala. Interesting?

    • BillG, I did see this tremor. When I looked at this there were two accompanying earthquakes reported in the area of the deep quakes near Pahala (note you show Hawaii local times this list is UTC)..

      2019-04-22 10:51:58 2.2 35.9
      2019-04-22 10:45:23 2.8 45.1

      Most of these tremor occurrences will usually show through out the island, some more muted by the material that the waves traverse. So It appears what you posted and Squonk posted below are the same tremor. If you look at the PPLD station south of Pahala you will also see this tremor, but notice that you see very of the other quakes on the island. This is also true for POLD, it shows some of the quakes but many of the recent quakes at Kilauea dont show here, but the tremor does. Now I am not claiming that I have proved anything…..but when we have the tremor on the plots, and the deep quakes near Pahala, I always go to PPLD and if it shows there (quakes located in the time of the tremor) I am guessing that it is the deep tremor. If you wait a week and go to the USGS latest earthquakes and click on the quake they might have changed the type of quake to other.

      I think it might have to do with the type of sensor they have installed at PPLD and POLD, not sure why they see this but very few of the other quakes on the island (maybe because of the environment below them??)


      • With the quakes we have had next to Hualalai I have started looking at the instruments on top of that volcano. Just as an FYI, I usually only look at a handful of instruments since you have to get used to what is “normal” for each of them. So while I have been watching I thought I found some tremor near Hulalai. I was very excited, but did not post anything, and I am glad I did not.

        This is a 48 hour plot of HUAD on top of the volcano (the GPS up there also works ). I circled what I had thought was some tremor. You can also see the daily human activity recurring daily, and the tremor from near Pahala is still visible on this instrument.

        I decided to make sure there was nothing else that could have caused this so I went back to the earthquake map and found a quake at Kilauea around the same time. I pulled the RIMD (one of the ones I watch) 48 hour plot and I believe that this quake (circled) is the one that caused the image that I thought was tremor. It is much cleaner on RIMD since it is close and does not have to go through all of the rock or partially melted rock under Mauna Loa, before it is recorded. You can also see the deep tremor here also.

        Keep digging!

    • The deep pahala quakes are interesting, and there must be a huge amount of energy released by them. It is often remarked how few earthquakes occur in the dead zone but the crush under kilauea is at least 3 times hotter than that but yet there are still earthquakes. Not only that but they are detected all over the island and sometimes even felt. It also looks like every time there is a break in the amount of quakes a big tremor happens.

      It might not seem significant but the fact enough magma is flowing through this area to cause felt earthquakes in the mantle at 1500 C is incredible, even in iceland this doesnt happen that much. All this does is highlight the considerable amount of magma flowing to the volcanoes. It was always remarked on how slow kilaueas lava flows were, that compared to iceland where you get fast lava flows like holuhraun, but nearly every year puu oo was active it erupted enough magma to be equivalent to 0.7 km3 DRE, which is larger than most of the ‘major’ explosive eruptions we have observed since 2000, meaning that most years it was erupting puu oo was the biggest eruption on earth by volume. Then of course it did a holuhraun all of its own last year.
      Those with the opinion kilauea will go dormant for a long time are dreaming…

    • BillG
      I just check one of the quakes for this episode, and the usgs has changed this to an “other” event.
      2019-04-22 10:45:23 2.4 44.3

      Although there are lots of other events listed in the usgs catalog, they have been using other to id tremor and or eruptions (the collapse events during the eruption)

      M 2.4 Other Event – 14km S of Pahala, Hawaii
      2019-04-22 10:45:23 (UTC)19.074°N 155.484°W44.3 km depth


    • Squonk
      See my reply to Billg above. I think the tremor from 10:35 – 10:50 is deep tremor from the Pahala area. The othe,r I am guessing, starting around 7:15 is from human endeavors??


      • Dunno, but my blueberries are putting on this year. Been waiting for them to start fruiting.

        • No.. not really a hill. But this part of the neighborhood is on the highest bit of land in the area so I do get occasional broad flows in my backyard since I am not directly at the crest of the local psuedo hill. After I get finished with my obligations this week, I plan on doing a bit of clean up around them so that they have less competition from invading unwanted vegetation. (aka weeds). I’m quite happy they decided to finally play the fruiting game. That means I don’t have to go rummage around a local U-pick it blueberry patch looking for them. The cool bit is that I have my own reractive brixmeter and can check them for ripeness before I pick.

    • Yep Nick Zentner is the best I’ve ever seen that whole Central Washingto U series is great…No one thinks about the average Cascade snow and ash cone is only 2-2.5mil years in its entire life cycle..
      His lecture on the Cascadia fault is sobering…

  14. Just like I did for kilauea, I have made a few maps of lava flows in iceland to show scale of eruptions as well as compare them in size.

    I have also finally been able to find out how big the 1477 eruptions from veidivotn were, at least the effusive part. It is actually a lot smaller than I thought, 47 km2, spread out over 6 separate flows over a length of 55 km. None of these flows are very big on their own, if they are similar statistics to the krafla fires flows then they are probably about 8 meters thick on average, which gives a volume of 0.38 km3, which is rather small compared to the often claimed 12 km3 of this eruption. Even if the DRE that turned to tephra is 10 times higher than the amount that stayed as lava it is still only about 4 km3 total for the whole eruption, and I would doubt it was a lot higher than that. The volume of the dike though is very substantial. If it even has a depth of only 3 km and width of 5 meters (probably a low estimate) the dike is 100 km long from bardarbunga caldera so the volume is 1.5 km3 alone, and likely it is much larger than 3 km, at 10 km deep it is 5 km3. If you add this it reaches a total volume of 9-10 km3 of magma removed from bardarbunga.

    In contrast holuhraun has a volume of 1.3 km3 of erupted lava, the dike is 45 km along its obvious axis, and apparently the dike is as deep as 15 km underground, which probably makes it one of the deepest crustal dikes observed. At the edge of vatnajokull there was rifting and small eruptions happened under the ice, so the dike was basically within a km or two of the surface along the whole length. With this total volume of the dike is probably in the area of 3 km3, which doesnt include any of the sort of unknown connections between bardarbunga caldera and the holuhraun dike, which could be very large. Holuhraun therefor has a total volume of material that left bardarbunga as about 4.5 km3, which is about half of what happened in 1477 but was of basically the same proportion. This suggests the same mechanism as the cause.

    If you compare this to laki, which erupted 14 km3 of lava out of a dike that was 1/3 smaller than the 1477 dike at the largest, this along with the height of the lava fountains suggests the mechanism behind its formation is not at all the same as for holuhraun.

      • I made no attempt to guess the ash volume so I’ll accept the margin of error.

        Since making that map I have also made one of the previous big rifting event from the grimsvotn system, which was also very big and probably on the same scale as 1783 but much of it was buried by it so it is hard to tell (and I probably didnt trace it all that accurately).

        Undoubtedly you know more about this eruption than I do but this lava flow is apparently called nuparhaun, and the cones along it are called raudholar (though a lot of other cones around the country seem to share that name).
        On your old laki series you mention a small vent called eldgigur that is in a gap in vatnajokull, and it lines up very well with this eruption and would be expected to have similar composition as 1783 coming from basically the same source. this is where I found this info.

        • Waiting for the next VEI 6 flood basalt……
          Madely impressive kilometer tall yellow hot fountains rise along the rift
          Be happy I cannot controll earths volcanoes
          In my 25 birthday… I wants 100 million km3 in 12 hours but its an impossibility
          Thats like a huge impact event and all volcanic gases turns earth into venus 2.0
          🙂 🙂

          Eeee just another Iceland Holhuraun woud be fun.. so I can visit
          Tired of waiting.
          Im so addicted to volcanoes .. lol its almost an disease.
          I will visit stromboli this summer

        • In summer its Stromboli for me Turtlebirdman
          It will be fun to spend a night up there

        • The African Superplume does have a supprise for us humans later 😉
          When the border between Tanaznia and Keyna cratons really gives way
          It becomes huge.

          The universe and Planet Earth always trys to wipe us out in the long term
          Trying and failing… but our luck wont last forever …But its likley humans destroy itself first.

          Still the future Africa flood basalt will become quite juciey I think.
          The largest mantle plume on earth is trying to breach east african cratons.
          Africa is the place thats ripe for large flood basalts at moment in “near” future.
          Its an odd tought of some day lions, leopards and elephants and zebras running away from a 50 meters high glowing Aa wall that advances at good walking speed
          And Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya becomes islands.. in a glowing lowland sea of fast moving lava… Kenyan peaks transformed into safe Islands in a glowing hellsea that slowly advances towards the easten sea coast.
          And sheet after sheet flows out ultimately burying the African peaks
          The crust depresses too under the enromous load.

        • I did not write about the ash in 1477, that was the hraun volume. The ash volume just barely scraped into the 10km3 range.

          Problem with Éldgigur is that it has a rather complex petrochemical history not in line with a mantle origin. Closest semblance in it’s bimodal progress would be Thingmuli (See Ian Carmichael’s seminal work).

          And any vent that has had more than one eruption (3) and has a proven magma chamber it would be counted as a central volcano. Without a central volcano you will not have that evolvement pattern. Only possible parent volcano except itself would be Hágöngur, but that is not in line with the rift, nor are the naughty Geirvörtur’s, or Thordarhyrna. I am quite confident with dubbing it a small central volcano at the end of the main bottom reservoir of the swarm.

          Over to the Raudholar Fires (or however to name them separate from the other gazillion Raudholar), it was probably between 5 and 10km3 plus possible ash.
          Compared to Skaftár Fires (Laki) 15km lava flows + 10km3 ash.

          There is though a third lavaflood event that you have not talked about, and that is the original Lakí eruption that created the Lakí Mountain. Conservatively 10km3 for that one. There is a reason that one should call 1783 Skaftár Fires.

          • Is there any evidence for _small_ eruptions in the dead zone?

          • I dont know
            The Arera was recently glaciated
            And it seems to only be a place for large VEI 6 volume fissure basalt events. We haves Veidivötn 1477,Laki, Eldgja, Thjorsahraun and Turtles nuparhaun.
            There is long lines of pillow mounds too there from subglacial fissure eruptions.
            Zombie Zone seems to a place for larg infrequent eruptions

          • If veidivotnhraun is 5 km3 then the lava flows would be like 100 meters thick, and given that the lava is basalt that is probably nearly identical to holuhraun, and are also not topographically prominent at all, I think this is unlikely… The lava flow area of the entire eruption is half the size of holuhraun, and doesnt look like it was ever a very intense eruption, it is nowhere near as big as skaftar fires flows. I would like to see the source of the flows being that big. Really none of the 3 historical veidivotn eruptions actually looks very big, vatnaoldur is explosive but the ash is equivalent to 1/3 of that volume in lava, and apart from that there is two tiny vents, a rhyolite flow in torfajokull, and maybe a small basalt flow on the hekla side of torfajokull. These eruptions are on a very long fissure but the individual eruptions are not huge, and all of them combined (870, 1477, 1862) combined dont even reach the size of holuhraun let alone skaftar fires or eldgja. Many of the older veidivotn flows are big but not the historical ones.

            I also cant find any lava flow or eruption at all with the name ‘laki’, the laki mountain is not a volcano on that map I found, it is older crust that was there before any of the modern holocene volcanism started. The only lava in the area is the raudholar fires flows (which apparently happened in about 1100 BCE) and 1783, and eldgja further southwest. I actually dont know how big the furthest downrift part of that eruption is at all, only that there is a vent there and it erupted a lot of lava but I think nearly all of it is buried under flood deposits and also lava from eldgja and skaftar fires. There is a fissure that is slightly northwest of the 1783 fissures but it is much smaller and whatever it made was completely buried.

            I guess maybe eldgigur cone could have formed in the raudholar fires events but was above a magma chamber so it was a more derived volcano than just being primtive mantle magma like the rest of it.

          • The theory is that 1477 started very explosive and ejected much of its volume in ash ( groundwater )
            But I agree with Turtle.. 5km3 is way too big
            the groundwater in the arera woud evaporate very quickly and a huge lava flow woud flow out.

            No huge lava flows from 1477 is known
            Only some basalt and ryholite in torfa is known from that event

          • Turtle, you can have your particular discussion with IMO and Thorarinson. But to give an edifying answer, the topography is filled with valleys, or more to the point, valleys and lakes that disappeared completely in the eruption.
            Secondly, I think you have confused Veidivötn with a smaller eruption called Öldugigar/Vatnaölduhraun.

            If you wish to come up with erroneous figures for eruption sizes that are amply well known, please feel free. But I will advice people to take those figures with a large pinch of salt.

          • @Albert: Yes, there is evidence of small eruptions in the dead zone.
            Well, depending on what you call small, Holuhraunsized yes, smaller no.

        • Jesper, there is no such thing as a VEI-6 flood basalt. I am happy that there is no such thing. A strato-plinian fire fountain is not possible.

          So, could you curb thy lava-enthusiasms a tad into the realm of the real and possible.

        • Laki and Holhuraun and Leilani are all impressive
          But they are not in monster flood basalt category
          I wonder if Laki is even thick enough to form these massive columnar joints.

          Im always supprised just how thick some really large flood basalt flow units are.
          Some Deccan and Faroe and Siberian Traps flows are 60 meters thick and columnar jointed all through. Flows thats almost like Kilauea iki in depth.
          Weird fluid basalts made soo thick flows.
          The main theory its massive Aa and their immense ponded channel sheet lakes explaining the sheer thickness of some LIP flows despite their fluidity

        • Laki coud be called a mini flood basalt Carl
          Its was rather fast and large.. with huge fountains and fast moving rivers
          And large basaltic Aa flows emplaced quite quickly.
          A flood basalt is a large impressive basalt flow
          Still Laki is peanuts compared to flows of Opening Of Atlantic and Siberian Traps

          Laki is middle beetween Holhuraun, Fissure 8 and the much much much much larger ancient flood basalts in size.

          Flood Basalt is a fuzzy term ( but used for very large to extremely large basalt flows )

        • We say if Grimsvötn decides to do 20 km3 Laki like event in same timespann
          Humans woud flock to the site.

          Im pretty soure geologists and and volcano knowledgable persons woud call that a flood basalt ( small one )
          Husavik Traps is another example of a “small” flood basalt
          Westfjords Traps is another arera that looks like a rather small flood basalt

          Husavik and Westfjords haves these thick uniform and large lava sheets ( but not massive columnar jointed flows of much larger LIPs
          Its also hard to know how husavik traps behaved and how fast it vent

        • Laki is middle sized…. beetween Holhuraun and the much much larger ancient flood basalts in size

      • Then an enormous ash production must behind to expain the lack of a large 5km3
        lava field from 1477.
        But where is the enromous ammounts of groundwater thats needed to make ash of 5 holuhraun volumes?

        Or the Veidivötn 1477 basaltic magma was simply too gas rich and blew itself up into ash.
        Fluid basaltic lavas in Iceland often lets gases escape
        The gas content must be EXtremely high for a liquid basalt to become explosive ashclouds

        Otherwise 1477 woud make mammoth lava fountains and and a large flow field.

        it all blew up into ash it seems… but the gas content must have been extremely high for that to happen

        • Jesper, do not trust the figures given by Turtle about Iceland (or Hawaii apparently).

          1477 10km3 tephra and 5.6km3 of lava.

          Now over to other figures that is wrongly stated quite often.
          8km3 per 100 years is the average eruptive rate of Iceland. 3.6 of those cubic kilometers are erupted by Grimsvötn, with Bardarbunga, Katla and Hekla at 15% each.
          And here is a nice link for other data related to Iceland so that there will be no need to invent figures (I got my figures from this paper).

          Now over to stomping on figures given that does not have any merit about Hawaii. Average output of the entirety of Hawaii per century is 3.6km3, Ie, Grimsvötn alone is producing as much erupta as all of Hawaii. The peak volume known is 4.1km3 in a century, but that is not the same as average.
          Source: “However, it is still significantly higher than the output rate of Hawaiian volcanoes, which is estimated at ∼3.6 km3 (range, 2.1-4.3 km3) per Century “(e.g. Swanson, 1972; Dvorak and Dzurisin, 1993).

          • I fixed it with the correct links to the pdfs.
            They are juicy and savoury for everyone suffering from acute Icelanditis.

          • Those estimations for Hawaii seem outdated or wrong, based on recent publications the output is much higher. According to HVO the volume of the Pu’u’o’o eruption alone is of 4.4 km³ (, if Leilani is considered as part of the eruption then it goes up to ~5.4 km³. Klein and Wright (2014) consider that the volume erupted from Kilauea between 1823 and 2000 is of 11 km³ (9 km³ DRE) ( , page 213) giving a rate of 6.2 km³/century, seemingly more than Grimsvötn. For the same time period Lockwood and Litman (1987) estimate a total of 4.1 km³ erupted from Mauna Loa giving a rate of 2.3 km³ per century (

            As a total the eruptive rate of Hawaii seems according to the most recent figures of about 8.5 km³/century, a number that is very close but above the estimate you cite for Iceland, given that estimations have errors it seems to me that considering how close the two values are then it is a bit pointless to declare which of them erupts more.

          • Perhaps it could be suggested that 1477 was similar to Tarawera but an order-of-magnitude larger?

          • Given that you have spent a lot of time in the area itself and know more about iceland than me I will agree to disagree.
            I will suggest though that there is a –possibility– that number is including an older flow or flows in the volume, my map has the 1477 flows in total being about 50 km2 in area, which is rather a lot smaller than holuhraun, and the biggest single flow is 15 km2, and none of the flows make it more than a few km from the vents.

            I will however very strongly disagree with the comparison between hawaii and iceland. Icelabd gets a lot more, because it is able to obtain magma along its whole length, but this is a double edged sword because it also means nearly none of the magma erupts. In hawaii it is well established the rate of feed from the hotspot is between 0.2 and 0.3 km3 per year. That is the minimum to make the islands in their ages. Currently kilauea takes about 90% of this and a lot more magma erupts proportional to the source than in iceland, during puu oo the south flank movement was minimal so basically puu oo was fed by the supply rate which shows how prolific it is today. South flank movement is higher after the quake a year ago so now more magma is filling spaces rather than causing inflation but I expect this to not last nearly as long as after 1975.
            Basically in the past 1500 years kilauea has conservatively received about 300 km3 of magma, 1/3 of that went into the deep rift and cant really erupt, but most of the rest of that erupted, and nearly all of it was subaerial too the puna ridge is mostly quite old.

            In the last 1500 years mauna loa has had two periods of enhanced activity, in the 1400s and 1840-1950, each of these probably lasted about a century and reflect when mauna loa took the hotspot from kilauea. I strongly suspect a lot of mauna loas eruptions are very underestimated in volume, especially the southwest rift eruptions like 1950 which had large sustained open lava rivers flowing into the ocean at speeds of 70 km/hour at times.
            Puu oo is also underestimated due to loss from the ocean, more than half the time the active tube was just open to the sea sending all the lava there without much surface flows, I tried to guess 70% extra volume to the eruption which was met with mixed results but puu oo is at minimum 4.5 km3 and at maximum 8 km3, and adding last year is +1 km3 more, maybe even more than that because the final volume has yet to be determined.

            I dont know what your sources for hawaii are but unless they are under 10 years old I would ignore them, icelabd has 1000 years of writren observation hawaii has not even 230 and only properly 110, and many of the things kilauea can do we have not historically observed yet, last year was not the only eruption of that magnitude in lower puna, and lava fountains and summit eruptions far bigger than 1959 have occurred in the past.

          • Yes, Thordarson is the one I use as well. It is very thorough. Of course in Iceland, the magma production far exceeds the lava production because of the need to fill the rift. In Hawai’i the magma fills the space left by the sliding of the south side into the sea, but this requires much less magma, leaving more to reach the surface.

          • In this paper it says that the 22 to 35km3 Thjorsahraun flow was erupted in only 5 months!
            Then it woud be hell of an impressive event with kilometeers high lava fountains and massive open channels and vent cones
            When Thjorsahraun was advanced in eruption the vents woud be huge lakes with dome fountains feeding open channels down to the atlantic

          • It is also worth noting that until well into the 20th century kilauea was regarded as a satellite of msuna loa and largely ignored, and its eruptive history is surprisingly poorly known. Even in 1868 when hawaii was well contacted with the outside world there is uncertainty regarding an eruption on kilaueas east rift during the earthquake, same again in the period between 1790 abd 1823 when many places along kilaueas coast had been buried by lava within living memory but which there is no record of.

            Recorded history basically saw the final act of a long lived period of activity at kilauea, a relatively unusual period where mauna loa took the hotspot, abd now the start of a new period of activity at kilauea that has only been going for 70 years and could last centuries. If the native hawaiians had a writing system then hawaiis history would be the best part of 2000 years but it is much harder to interpret oral tradition so a lot of things are probably a lot more theoretical than would be ideal, though i would bet the pele-hiiaka chant describes something much more like last year than what HVO attributes it to now.

            I also saw the dates you listed as source material, one of them predates puu oo by a decade and that is a very important detail today… HVO is brilliant, where they do study it is extremely thorough, but their obvious lack of study on the east rift is a massive big hole in the ideas they put forward, especially regarding their idea on how kilauea behaves. They claim kilauea is explosive and has very low supply half the time but their base for that is on ash layers in the rock, but kilaueas current summit is ash, and no lava has overflowed the caldera since the 1500s, their idea of kilauea being effusive today compared to explosive in 1790 is nearly entirely based on historical observation but a caldera that fills 90% and collapses again removes all that evidence and has to start over and so appears always empty. Meanwhile basically the entire east rift has been overflowed since the 1500s multiple times but dates are only roughly accurate to a few decades so it is really hard to draw conclusions.
            Their claim is also that ash eruptions are low volume because they are actually small, but most of the ‘ash’ is actually fountain fallout tephra (reticulite), meaning something like 1959, and only 5% of the erupted volume of 1959 was tephra outside of kilauea iki so on those terms probably these eruptions were similar. Many of these are far larger than the 1959 tephra, from 2 to maybe even 10 times the volume, on the scale of 0.1-0.5 km3 which at tge upper end would be enough to fill the 2018 caldera 3/4 full with a lava lake in one go. The 1790 eruption was one of these that went through a lake (the only time it is known a crater lake actually existed on kilauea) and did the krakatoa thing… Similar eruptions of even larger scale happened about 1300 years ago, VEI 5 plinian eruptions with wide scale pyroclastic flows.

            I will get into all this much more if I get the time to write an article or two on kilauea, im really going all out on those, minimum of 2 in a series.

          • Basically what I am saying is that while Carl obviously knows more about iceland volcanism than I do the effect is probably mirrored regarding hawaii, particularly kilauea. One can easily go on HVO website but that doesnt tell you everything up front.

          • Looking forward to your posts. Ash I think will l always be a minor part of Kilauea’s and Mauna Loa’s output. The effusive lava is the main output. Pu’u’o’o was impressive, as was leilani. There is a limit though to the allowed lava flows on the east rift. Make it too high and the east rift grows too high. The past century has not been average, I expect. The devastation along the south coast also indicates that. You have found indications of other flows in the past, but it is always best to be cautious with estimates. People have a tendency to overestimate, because most estimations along your lines are done during or after a major flow when interest is high..

          • Probably some of my numbers are overestimated yes, but that is because I have to make assumptions, which is because the real numbers dont exist or are not known. This again highlights why the east rift needs to be studied, besides the point that we dont want a repeat of last year next time an eruption happens in lower puna.
            It also technically isnt overestimating if there isnt a number to compare to either.

            The issue now though is that the most active part of the east rift is between napau crater and kalalua cone, and that is exactly where puu oo is, probably not by coincidence, and not only that but the entire slope to the ocean there is now buried too, so a large part of the previous eruptive episode is now gone, and most of the remainder will likely follow in the next few decades with the way things are going. It might already be too late to get good data.

    • And since I did the field work on Laki you should probably revisit my Laki series, but essentially you are right, most of the magma there was bottom fed according to the petrology data.

    • Iceland is the worlds largest purely volcanic Island
      Being a small slow LIP
      The Vatnajökull icesheet is about the same size as Big Islands land arera
      To see Iceland you needs a good rental car to drive around

    • Krafla 1984 was 250 million cubic meters
      About same as Mauna Loa 1984
      In other words rather small compared Holuhraun

        • it was impressive
          Started with curtians of fire… kilometers long rips through the ground
          But there been many smaller rifting lava flows before 1984 in Krafla rifting episodes

  15. Nice article. For a guy in radio communications, one thing immediately comes to mind. The shape of the quake count vs lunar phase plot looks very similar to the Doppler spectrum of a Rayleigh fading radio channel. The derivation is actually a bit similar to what you did here. Scatterers are distributed uniformly around a circle (not an ellipse). Angle of arrival is translated to a relative speed difference between receiver and scatterer, which determines the doppler shift of each scatterer. The number of observations at the extreme ends are higher for the same reason as the longer “dwell time” of the extreme lunar phases.

  16. Hmm – thinking about tidal effects from the moon
    the earthquake would have to happen at local high tide on the date of the full moon to happen at the time of the maximum effect – so you would have to be trying to match that pattern (I think)

    if it happened at mid/low tide on a day – then the effect of the moon would have been higher on the previous high tides (the previous day would not be ‘lined up’ with the full moon)

    • forgot to say ‘because the planet is turning (once around every day!) under the stretching power of the tides (once around every month)’

      • For all. The plots in the post were constructed under the assumption that if ANYTHING was present it the data, it would stand out on its own merit, no matter the cause. The argument was “the moon causes something”. The plots were “Okay, let’s see.”

        The problem with assumptions, it that you tend to make an ASS out of U and ME… but I gave the multiple theories the benefit of doubt and plotted them to see if ANYTHING stood out.

        The conclusion? Not much of anything. If you see something, feel free to jom all over it… but I don’t see it in the data. Hell, I even broke it out by longitude and latude. THis was more for looking at the possiblilty that some random plate geometry would be more responsive to an exta-terrestrial influence than the world as a whole.

        To be honest, In actuality, I WANTED something to be there, and gave it every chance I could think of for it to to show up… but it didn’t. At least nothing that could pass a rigid statistical analysis as I could envision it. It doesn’t rule it out, I will be the fist to admit that my my stats are not competent at the scientific level. But I don’t see it.

        Your mileage may vary. and you are invited to try it out… but for the sake of argument and my sanity, please show your work and the significance of what you find.

        If it’s sound, I will jump on your bandwagon and hoot an holler about to to every one I discuss such matters with, so you have a ready made fanbois if you can convince me.

        Fair warning; I rely quite a bit on Albert’s opinion in such matters, You will probably have to pass muster with him first. If he gives you a pass, then your math might stand up to scrutiny.

        Failing that, then I have no more interst than in the latest local who did something so mind numblingly stupid as to elicit interest in local law enforcement… and as such, becomes one more example of my Homo Stultus theory.

        I’ve mentioned it before, but here is a synopsis. “Homo Sapiens” (aka; ‘Thinking man’) by my train of thought, is flat out, EXTINCT. The extant species of hominid, is more correctly described as ” Homo Stultus” (aka; Stupid man).

        Supporting this, is the fact that Hominid brain case volume peaked at Home Neanderthalis and Cro Magnon man at around 1500 cc. Modern Homi nids average 1250 cc. SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS claim that we “do more with less” because of our greater efficiency. My view is that is simply a Ethnocentric point of view and that we are in fact, more stupid than our ancestors.

        Side example. Neanderthal were perfectly capable of making an adhesive from birch-bark that requires heating the bark in an oxygen depleted environment to achieve the adhesive used in attaching some of their spear points. Though the steps are relatively easy to accomplish if you you know what your are doing. It is pretty advanced chemistry when you get right down to it.

        And yes, trial and error can lead to this discovery. But it’s use points to a de facto enhancement to materials processing/science.

        ALSO, I’m not sure of the name, but there is a Greek island with ample Neanderthal artifacts that can NOT be reached on foot even at the height of the last ice age. This means that a breeding population had to be able to migrate to the island in BOATS… something that Neanderthal were originally thought to be incapable of.

        My other smidgen of evidence comes from this parody image I made…

        Collected out of humor… a Cleveland Odhio man was arrested for what effectively was ‘carnal knowledge of a picnic table

        And, a few years ago, two Hillsborough county criminals conducted a Home invasion and held the occupant at knife and gun-point and stole an EGGBEATER. (≈$15.74 USD at Walmart).
        Since they had a fire-arm at the crime, they made themselves eligible for Florida’s 10-20-Life law. I be they had fun explaining their situation to theri newfound friends in the State Prison. Elsewhere, a South Florida criminal managed to successfully evade Law Enforcement by hiding in a bayou. The gator was not impressed.

        Is my evaluation of human intellect a bit pessimistic? Well, yeah. But I think of it a more pragmatic than anything else. We are a world of flay out idiots.

        The spooky bit? Both YOU and I are member of the new species of Homo Stultus. It is our legacy.

        To paraphrase Shadoe Stevens from the Cinimax flick “Shadoe Vision” We’ve got a door, YOU’VE got to close it, and if you don’t YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!”

        And to coin a phrase from that hard to find video.

        "This is NOT mind control"
        "Think about it"

        Though unintentional, I think Shadoe Vision is a full scale indictment of commercial media.

        Fair warning the humor is a bit obtuse. Shadoe Stevens, writer and star got his start as “Fred Rated for Federated” stores. Where he did a series of strange commercials for Southern California based consumer electronic chain. *Same era as Bess Motta and the “20 minute workout” series. (quite popular onboard the USS Ramsey as we played Hearts or Spades after lunch down in the Ops berthing area. (Bess Motta later played a bit part in the Terminator movie as the room-mate of Sarah Conner) Common thought among us was the went off the air because the cameramen starte focusing on key aspects of their body-parts. Making it into more of a titillating program rather than work-out focused. (Ass Sailors, we didn’t complain)

        Now, as a Sailor from that era, I think that Bess had a good thing going. She promoted fitness among a large contingent of SoCal women. Her series was quite popular at least among my cohorts and she was a highlight of our day. Anything that makes you enjoy work is a good thing. ThHough not lewd in my opinion… she was what is known at “Eye Candy”. Bess is the brunette.

        As for the sexist aspect… A sailor gets his motivation where he can. If it makes him happy in getting the job done, GOOD. In theory, Bess may have contributed to marital happiness among my fellow squids when they got home.

        Our other options for entertainment underway, was “Dog Brain” and “Fish Heads” between movies. {Which if you paid attention, featured ‘Sissy Spacek’ in the bar scene}
        On a later ship, E.G. Daily singing “Some People” was our inspiration. (also the voice of the Green Power Puff Girl)

        Yeah, I’m being obtuse, but this is part of the inspiration that dives sailors to do their job every day. Basically, it boils down to what get’s you though the day until you can get back to home port.

        “Yeah, I’m out here drilling holes in the water but eventualy, I’ll get home.”

        Note: “Drilling holes in the water” – Patrolling an assigned box on a nautical chart. The brunt of my Naval experience involved patrolling a box. Adriatic, Red Sea, CNOPs etc… No different, same job. Watch and record what you see. In some cases, you get bored and someone comes along and gives you a medal for what you did to get through the boredom. Per Albert’s comment in the back channel from a few months ago, it was likely what was in the spreadsheet rather than the spreadsheet that elicited the award. All I know is that I was desperate to keep my mind intact. The quake-lunar spreadsheet just expanded on that learned skill-set, so technically, you can thank NATO-OTAN for providing the “training” that allowed me to accomplish it.

        • OTAN is the French version of NATO. Same meaning, different language.

          “Organització del Tractat de l’Atlàntic Nord”

          • And since one of my day jobs is to supply the free world with assorted nuts I would then be the Arch-nut 🙂

            I find it compelling to my sense of humour to do nuts for part of the day, and then go and look at plans of how to drill big holes into supervolcanoes.

            I do not do well doing one thing, I get bored and meander off into the toilet to study things that should not be studied. Or build something in the kitchen that involves a fusion reactor.

            As Gaz once said, you are one volcanic lair from being a super-villain out of a Bond movie. I sent him a picture of my wives house.

            The real difference is though that I hold the relevant permits for what I do, a villain does not.

            Anyways, I have lately perfected a coated wasabi nut shaped like ravioli. It goes very well with beer. I think that might be the only thing I have done that was a real improvement of quality of life on this planet.

          • ‘wives’ ? how many do you have? And all in the same house!

          • I have only one wife, but apparently I need to brush up on the plural/singular side of grammar.

            The number of simultaneous spouses is like Newtons law in reverse.
            1 spouse = 1 problem
            2 spouses = 4 problems
            3 spouses = 16 problems
            4 spouses = 64 problems

            Now, it is my wife who has the house inside the supervolcano, I could thusly make a case that she would be the supervillain, but since she putters around all days stitching up children (and homo stultus) in an ER I think she would be a bad bet for being one.

          • Pretty much describes most Naval sailors from around the world. I should know, been one for 41 years.

      • I’m not suggesting there is a correlation – just saying that I think trying to find the ‘tiny last little nudge factor’ would need to compare the number of quakes over time vs those quakes which happened at local high tide on a full moon – not just compared to quakes on a full moon

  17. Carl what is going on with Greip?
    Its always quakes there on that spot

    Gaz and others thinks its a formative magma chamber
    You are expert in this.. why is Greip always quaky in same small spot?

    • Greíp will make an appearance on Saturday at 13,04 CET +-5 minutes.
      Beföre that I will not discuss it, nor will Gaz.

      (Sounds of hammer blows and sweaty toil emanating from the Dungeons as Dragons Ancient and Wise forge a Tale most Mysterious)

      • …types some notes whilst listening to ‘Sounds of Blacksmiths Vol 2’…

      • “a tale most mysterious” A Greiping Yarn, perhaps?

        (I’ll get my coat…)

  18. Aiee!!

    (Channeling my inner Coon-ass)

    My “low country boil” is now more gumbo than frogmore stew. 😀 😀 😀 .

    And the strange bit… my wife actually likes my version of it, so it gets requested quite a bit. She’s a sea-food fanatic in part. Craving Shrimp when we were in Jersey, and craving Lobster when we are on the Gulf coast. I offered to take her to a new Sea-food restaurant that just opened, but she opted for my Low Country Boil… witch technically is a Carolinas dish instead. To be honest, my Low Country boil is almost a gumbo the way I make it. I don’t use mudbugs (crawdads), I stick with shrimp.

    Technically, Crawdads are almost just a tiny freshwater lobster. I don’t like em.

    Typically I use about 1 to 2 pounds of shrimp and 1 pound of sliced smoked sausage in my boil. No “heat” from peppers in my batch since my wife has an issue with peppers. I add cayenne to taste in my bowl afterwards.

    The bad part about it is that I make about three boils a week when she doesn’t want to cook. And yeah, it does make a decent breakfast in my book when I wake up hungry.

    A cheater shrimp burrito – Several boiled shrimp in a tortilla topped with a Jalapeño/Olive/Pimentos salad steeped in olive oil.

    Close in flavor to the seafood Po-Boy I had in a dinner south of Chicago topped with “Green Dragon” sauce. Note: My level of “heat” perception is skewed in relation to most people. Warning: Some stuff I consider bland or mild will drive some people to the refuge of cold milk. I am not a testosterone driven hot food monger. My opinion is that if you cannot taste the underlying food, you are wasting your time and just a poseur. There is a such thing as too hot. If you can’t taste the food, it’s too hot.

    Hot sauce should augment, not obliterate the flavor. If heat is your only goal, you’re just a testosterone junkie and your opinion of flavor is completely invalid.

    I make two varieties of Chipotle powder for my cousins. One is habanaro based, the other is Jalapeño based. Both smoked in pure Hickory unless requested otherwise (No Mesquite, I refuse to use it). I always advise them to mix them to suit the flavor they are seeking with fair warning about the intensity of the Habanero. A little bit goes a long way.

    And yeah, I have made venison sausage for my stepson, but it’s a disgusting process so I just gave him my meat grinder instead. I don’t have to deal with offal and he thinks I’m quite nice for giving him my grinder.

    • Enjoy your food posts. I’m similar, like hot stuff, Momma not quite so much (kids do, so at least they got something from their dad).

      I grow habaneros to use, about as hot as I will go. But I have grown Carolina Reapers and Trinidad Scorpions, more as ornamental peppers than to actually eat. But I did bet one of my kids $20 to bite just the tip off of one (ok, child abuse). He did and I paid him the $20. I think I got the better end of the deal.

  19. I don’t know if I read it here or somewhere else but I believe somewhere someone said that the center of mass of the earth moon system was inside the earth, is that how the correlation began? Between the moon and earthquakes or as we say earth quacks

    • The barycenter of the earth moon system is I think about 3/4 to the earths surface under where the moon is. If it was outside the earth then the moon would also be a planet and the system a binary planet.

      This doesnt really have a lot to do with earthquakes though because the barycenter is deep in the mantle.

      • That reminds me of a science book I read (what seems a thousand years ago now) that stated the barycenter is what causes our mantle to be hot and plastic.

        But given the modern knowledge of the interior of the earth, is this hypothesis even viable any more?

        One for an expert here! (I could Google it, but it feels better to witness Volcano Cafe contributors in action).

        • Preferred option today is isotope decay and tidal forces, plasticity is a quite contended subject.
          Some see the interior (mantle) as plastic, and some see them as rigid, some as gravel, others as treacle. Plasticity is given by gravity, and in a way that also creates heat as friction.
          The implications of this last part is manifold and has enormous bearing on materials science, but the jury is still out. Is it fluid, or a solid, or is it a fluid solid. 🙂

          • The heat inside the earth comes from earths formation all asterorids that slammed togther and radiactive decay
            Earth became a molten ball hotter than suns surface!
            Hadean Earth glowed like a star… with an atmopshere of rock vapour….
            days After the theia impact… it more than bliding hot…
            Radiactive decay also heats up earths interior.
            This is where volcanoes come from in the first place

            Earth is the largest terestrial planet in this star system
            Earths size means it can hold on to its primodial heat
            it cools slowly and is still hot inside and volcanoes are still happy

          • The Hadean Earth… must have been an impressive sight!
            This near white hot ball peppered with white hot flashes as all asteorids hits it … and more than white hot after major protoplanets impacts it
            seas of liquid rock and iron and refactory materials slosh around
            Dantes Inferno and Mordor is child play in comparison to earths birth
            A large asteorid impact can raise temps to 22 000 C and that happened all the time in Hadean objects 100 s of km across crashed into the earth monthly when it was at most intense

          • Heat from formation and radioactive decay
            Hadeans impact bombardment made the young earth into an inferno of volcanoey dreams
            The most intense part of formation lasted just a few million years
            But large impacts happened then and then until late Hadean.

            Just imagine… how earth looked like Days after the Theia Impact
            This white hot… object sitting in darkness of space so bright you coud not look at it. The newly formed moon was much closer
            This enromous glowing furnace in the skies after it formed

        • No. The location of the barycentre is irrelevant to how the Earth responds to tides. There is tidal heating, and it accounts for a fraction of the heat produced by the earth. but tides act mainly on the oceans, and tidal heating is therefore mainly heating the water. There is very little effect further down: the tidal force decreases going into the Earth, and the material does nor respond much. Io is different:it has an elliptical orbit and is constantly squashed by Jupiter’s gravity, as if in a bread maker. The gravity of the moon is not like the gravity of Jupiter.

          • I forgot to write that the little friction caused by the ever so gentle massaging of the interior is miniscule compared to other forces heating or little blue marble.
            But as usual Albert beat me to it.

            Just as a curious sidenote that Albert is also aware of, but that many find mindbending.

            If Earth was a ball of water, and you managed to somehow dive to the center of Water Earth, then there would be no gravity effect and you would be weightless.
            There would be gravity, but it would come from all directions at the same time cancelling out leaving you hovering there in the center. You would though most likely be quite crushed unless your diving suit is made out of unobtainium.

            Why did I now mention this?
            Well, it explains why gravity has less effect and causes less friction inside the planet, compared to our surfacecentric worldview, and it in large portions explains why the barycenter is slightly unimportant.

          • I’m not sure what the thermal decay time of the earth is, but its worth remembering that the moon was once MUCH closer to the earth and probably in a rather elliptical orbit. That’s what I am talking about although


            suggests movement in the crust due to lunar tides is in fact up to 500mm, which is not insignificant, acting on a very large volume of material for ‘quite a long time’.

            Actually that wiki article is worth a read, nothing like some actual figures. Its more than I would have expected, much more.

            Venus is almost identical to earth in size (6.0 vs 6.4) and similar in mass (5 vs 6) and may well have had a similar impact with a sub-moon (see axis and rotation) but is believed to have less vulcanism and no plate tectonics (although that view may change).

            Io is tiny, only 1/3 of earths and its mass is less than 1/50th so to have enough tidal heating

          • Thank you Albert (and Carl). It was an old hypothesis that has burbled away in my subconscious ever since I read that book back in the 1960s.

            The comparison to Io is useful, too.

          • *this is a question relating to Carls’ comment re gravitational forces at the centre of planets and presumably stars ie spherical-ish*

            I wonder what occurs near the centre of the earth, when gravitational forces, towards the centre, reduce (as per Carls comment that at the centre forces due to gravity will be uniformly outwards) yet presumably pressure is high, does that set up some form of eddy current? In other words, whereabouts near the centre is the pressure highest?
            Also, generally, what is the mechanism by which heat is transferred, radiative or convective.

            The physics seems a bit mind bending to a simple surface dweller

          • The pressure is highest at the centre. Gravity indeed is zero there because all the forces from the various bits of Earth cancel each other out. Pressure actually does the same thing: yes, you are being subject to enormous pressure, but it pushes from al directions equally hard so there is no net force making you move. Not that you could go anywhere anyway since the inner core of the Earth is solid.

          • And the solid part is where I start to have a problem, because it can blob off. It has happened at least twice that I know of, 1.8 billion years ago a blob meandered upwards and ended up blowtorching itself up into the current city of Kiruna.
            The second time the blob ended up in the Norilsk-Talnakh Massif causing a happy little Siberian Trap. That time around the nickel came up, but most of the iron stayed inside the crust.

            I have a huge problem with solid things. They never seem to be as solid as solid, just more or less treacly.

          • 1.8 billion years ago the core was still almost entirely liquid. The solid inner core is a fairly recent change. The core at the mantle interface has always been liquid. I am not convinced by the convecting up of iron, as the stuff is far heavier than the mantle and therefore would lack buoyancy. It is easier to make these deposits it from iron already in the upper mantle and crust.

          • Big blobs of magma? Ah! I see you mean mantle superplumes, creator of supersized flood basalts!

            However, I would imagine such huge plumes could’ve occurred more often than just twice within the last 2-3 billion years, because the core was hotter than today during the distant past (can you say komatiites?*).

            *I do not know if such rocks have been known to have erupted from the Siberian Traps or that event in northern Scandinavia you just mentioned. It’s just that I know the planet’s core would have to have been hotter than today’s, given the fairly extensive deposits in places like the Canadian Shield or other Archean-era cratons.

          • I am calling them coreplumes instead of mantleplumes, even superplumes are tracing their origins to the mantle core boundary, completely different compared to having a 70+ percent iron blob hammering into a craton like a blowtorch.
            70+ percent is the current content at Kiruna mine, drill samples is going into 80+ percent. It was also incredibly hot and metamorphosed the host rock quite a bit. Interesting to stand 1365 meters below ground picking samples and checking for heat stress.

            Since Russia hates me personally I have though not been able to verify similar data at Norilsk-Talnakh.

          • @Albert:
            Problem is that no other source of iron on Earth is of the same volume, purity and high grade. Also the emplacement temperature is higher than any other known find.
            If there was not so much bedrock above most of it the Australian mining industry would be dead as a doorknob. The known volume is enough to cover humanities current usage for a quarter of a million years. And that is only from mineralisations above the 2km depth curve.
            As such, iron might be the only commodity that we will not run out of.

            I’ve been looking for another source for about 8 years now, without coming up with any other explanation. That being said, it would have taken quite something to knock a large iron-nickel blob all the way to the surface. And only alternative I can come up with there is in your realm of expertise.

            Oh, another thing in the sake of clarity, I only have second hand information in regards of the Norilsk-Talnakh Massif, so I am quite open for me being wrong on that.

          • Carl the molten iron inside the Earth cannot rise to the surface its too heavy for that
            The coreplumes.. like Hawaii drive iron rich magnesium sillicates to the surface … forming highly mafic magmas

            Its likley that Kiruna was komatites when it erupted
            Lasts gasps of archean magmas that dominantes way before Kiruna event

          • Jesper, the problem is that the evidence is there. We can argue how it ended up there, but we can’t argue what it is. They dig up enough evidence to cover 8 percent of the world consumption of iron each year.
            There is no known other explanation producing ore at those purity levels.
            Hypothetically there might be something stellar that could explain it, like a core fragment asteroid hitting the planet, but we do know that did not happen at that location.

            And it is not a komatite, far more iron, and not even remotely close to the magnesium content of a comatite.
            For those who are not familiar with the greenstone belt mineral of komatitie:

          • If there was an Asteorid that large..
            The impact woud have vaporized the Asteorid and formed a very large crater… no deposits .. all vaporized during large high speed impacts
            The Chixlulub became a expanding 26 000 C hell just after crater formed rock vapour plume

          • Black holes.

            As a thought experiment, the “ball of water earth” is cool, never seen that before. Assuming you could dive to the center of the earth, you couldn’t get back out again (well, you could, but that’s another conversation).

            However, if you survived long enough and dived (dove, diven?) with the proper equipment, you could communicate with people on the surface (such as it exists on a big ball of water) and let them know what it is like.

            As I’m sure you know (and everyone else here), the gravitational force in (around?) a black hole is strong enough that even light can’t escape.

            The reason I make this comment is that I learned something recently regarding the Schwarzschild radius. According to Wikipedia (can be a dubious source, but good on general info), “Any object whose radius is smaller than its Schwarzschild radius is called a black hole.”

            So how many people knew that the Schwarzschild radius if a McDonald’s Big Mac is 3.19×10−28 m?

            (sorry, stupid physics trivia I just learned in the last week or so).

          • Dang, tried to keep it in the same thread, but didn’t know how long it was. Hope it makes a little sense being way removed from what I was commenting on (was still meant to be just a science comment with a bit of humor).

          • You threw a hamburger into the mix, that makes it okay. 😀

          • We are always fond of the Big Mac-energy unit. Not so much as a hamburger though.

  20. I was wondered what the HVO scientists thought about the deep tremors we’ve seen near Pahala, so I asked them and this was the response:

    (sent by
    4:47 PM (13 hours ago)
    to me

    On 04/22 starting at 10:33 UTC (12:33 am HST), there was a burst of deep tremor in the deep Pahala area of the lower southwest rift. As is normal with such tremor episodes, it produced several discrete tremor events within the sequence, some of which were located and posted to the website.

    This is the same sort of event we’ve seen in other episodes this year, such as January 23, March 27-30, and April 2. Some people noticed events posted on the USGS Earthquakes website labeled as “Other Event” rather than “Earthquake.” They are deep volcanic tremor events and are common in the deep (> 25 km) area near Pahala, Hawaii. This is where we think the mantle plume comes up, which ultimately supplies magma to the volcanoes. It’s an area long-known for this type of seismicity. For example, see Wech and Thelen (2015, or Aki and Koyanagi (1981,

    The reason these events show up as “Other Event” on the USGS Earthquakes website is due to a database schema limitation. The QuakeML standard doesn’t currently include “tremor” or “volcanic tremor” options, so when HVO submits events with those labels, these get transposed into “other event.” The USGS Earthquakes website is not controlled by HVO.

    There is no known correction between the deep seismic activity under/offshore Pahala and surface activity at the volcanoes. It’s unclear what, if any, direct connection there may be between what causes this type of seismicity and magma pathways.
    U.S.Geological Survey
    Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

    • Thanks for the effort to get some clarification from HVO. It seems like they say: “It’s been happening.” and “It’s a deep tremor- mantle plume related and “We don’t have a correlation between the tremors and volcanic activity.” Now, what I’d like to know is there any information about the way the quakes occur? Are they related to the decollement, the slumping? I’m more concerned about landslides than volcanic eruptions. So, I’d like to see some info about any pattern or lineation to those deep tremors, but I don’t know how to access that info from what HVO offers.

      Embedded response so I don’t mess up the comment chain.

      I’ve put quite a bit of effort into trying to find pending scarp face faulting along Hilina Pali with no success. I usually get distracted by something else. I am pretty certain there are associated quakes there, but I just can’t quite filter them out from the background.

      For those of you playing the home game, you will need to set a reference point and boundaries around the area of interest and toss out everything else in order to get anywhere close to doing it. Every time I try I get tripped up by other stuff I’ve tried and start re-thinking it. This method is prone to selection bias so you have to be really careful in doing it. One way around it is to only look for quakes with the right focal plane solution, but not everything gets a beach-ball if it’s too small.

      I tried something similar with the El Hierro “crisis” but got frustrated when I ran into issues with their “guy” that seemed to be more focused on throwing out unfounded hacking allegations rather than actually seeing what was going on. As for the allegations, unless there was at least a minimal attempt to secure the data, most charges like that will not stick in any court of law. So, if “dude” winds up getting someone killed with his “advice” it’s on him. I want no part of it. Morally or ethically. That is why I refuse to process El Heirro data anymore. If any one wishes to know the “nut-and-bolts” of how those systems work I recommend anything on the topic by Caracedo. HE knows his stuff, not the other “guy” (whose name is not worth mentioning.)

      Yeah, this is me trying to be nice about it… and in my opinion, Caracedo is top rate.


      • Pahala earthquakes are deep (30-50 km), they are thought to be related to a magma conduit, movement of fluids generate tremors while changes in pressure may activate nearby faults and cause brittle quakes, you can distinguish them from decollement earthquakes easily since the later occur at a depht of 6-8 km and in a diferent location, along a band parallel to Kilauea’s ERZ to the south. Mauna Loa also has decollement earthquakes but currently in much less frequency, some of these have been ocurring lately just southeast of Mauna Loa’s summit, in the Kaoiki area.

        Regarding landslides and slumps, the interaction between the decollement and the Hilina Slump is very very controversial. Everyone talks about the south flank falling down but this is not how it works, first one thing to keep in mind is that the Hilina Slump doesn’t comprise the entire south flank but a series of smaller sunken/detached blocks along the south coast of the island, these are bounded by cliffs or pali that are the scarps of the detachment faults. The controversial part is if the Hilina Slump is currently active or not, here each scientific publication may give a diferent point of view. The decollement fault plane is nearly horizontal, it dips slightly towards north, being at a depth of about 8 km (beneath sea level) at the summit of Kilauea to a depth of 5 km when it reaches the ocean floor to the south, the decollement earthquakes relieve strain built up in the south flank by magma intruded into the ERZ of Kilauea, this is confirmed through observations. The question is if a gravity driven Hilina Slump is ongoing at the same time and interacting with the decollement, my personal opinion is that no, it is not, that there is no evidence that any of these detached blocks are currently slumping slowly but others opinions might differ.

  21. For information BBC TV channel 4 @ 10.00pm local time “The wonderful Mr Feynman”.

    Obviously you will read this too late or will not be able to access via iplayer for various reasons but hey.

  22. Geo, I’m wondering how it is down your way. It’s that time of year & I’ve been hearing reports of lives lost with tornadoes in Texas, Louisiana & Mississippi.

    • That batch is working it’s way here now. Hoping to not jinx myself, but Pensacola itself has a strange phenomenon of stuff seeming to go around us. No explanation as to why… but I’ve seen weather do that here since 1982.

      The closest funnel cloud that caused damage near here was several years ago, and if the local typology is the deciding factor, there is now a high dollar apartment complex built along that path.

      (Note: That’s one of my unsound pet theories.)

    • News is saying Louisiana had an EF5… the strongest cell is currently tracking towards Perdido Key/Orange beach area. That one could spell trouble for the Warrington and NAS area since its directly in that path.

      The cool bit is that I’m not a weather person. My opinion means nothing.

      For anyone there that reads this. Refer to NWS and do not rely on what I have to say. {THEY get paid to study it, I’m just some guy with a computer}

    • Thing has a good curl to it, and the Doppler mode doesn’t look good at all. I’m well North of the projected track. No real threat to me, though I will probably unplug my computer due to the lightning threat and go check my chainsaw.

      EDIT: That link was removed since the storm has passed us by. I went back and pulled the appropriate imagery and trimmed it down to just the curl I was talking about.

      Nothing on local news indicates that anything came about from it. For anyone “into” weather, this is mesoscale rotation and a prime indicator that it could drop a tornado. I was out looking for Blueberry Yogurt while this thing was bopping by and had the perverse thought that it could be considered a “naked” hurricane core, but that is actually very incorrect. A low has to develop sustained closed circulation in order to get into that category of storm. Though enticing, it actually more closely resembles a “cold core” low in structure. In other words, it’s strength is derived from the differences in the characteristics of two competing air masses.

      … and I never found the Blueberry yogurt that was not bundled with strawberry. Wife has an allergy to strawberries. So I grabbed Peach.

      • Thanks, a naked hurricane core. 🙂 Ok. Nice catch . South of where my nephew lives. He lives in Gulf Port. My sister did live in Ocean Springs, but she passed away last July with lung cancer.

        • Sorry to hear that.

          They got my cancer out in time. Purportedly I am cancer free now and on six month follow ups… though primary care doc scared the crap out of me with his persistent search for the elevated monocyte count I had back in October. The Oncologist said nothing in any of the tests he did gave him concern. As for the primary care Doc, he was being hyper cautious, and in reality that’s good.

          (I still think that the monocyte thing was related to a fairly mean infection I had earlier in the year.) I had grown oh so angry with getting stuck with needles every time I turned around. When they had a Corpsman on each arm pulling 10cc each I was LIVID at the student Corpsmen gathered around to watch me be a training aid. One of the @#$@ was starting to doze off. I’m former instructor, and am pretty good at guageing the attentiveness of a class. I kept my mouth shut, (I didn’t want to prolong it) but brought it up later after they had stuck me in a room.

  23. In fact, if you go find the Pensacola Beach webcams, you might even be able to see this thing go by.

    • Main squall line is passed here. Nothing funky.

      Heard the first bit of thunder after it was gone. Just rain now. Never got heavy.

    • In reference to that reported EF5 in Louisiana, other “news” twits are reporting as EF3.

      Looks like it seriously trashed some stuff whatever it was. The picture I saw was of some angry looking building siding wrapped around an I-beam. I’ve seen trees like that after a tornado with bits and pieces of chicken coop roofing tangled up in the branches… so its not out of the ordinary, just pretty vicious.

    • I’ll keep the cams in mind for next time. We had a tornado warning in my county this evening. Doesn’t sound like anyone was hurt though. Lots of rural areas here. I wasn’t home then. My husband and I are in the process of moving.

  24. I have a question, is there a general word limit to posts and if there is what is it?

    I have been writing a draft of my kilauea articles and the first one is already over 2000 words and 4 pages on Word and not even close to finished…. That isnt including sources (which I will have to find and that will takes ages) or pictures which many are my own pictures. I am also still going to go even more in depth with as many things as I can, it might be a 3 or even 4 part series as opposed to 2 like I planned earlier.

    • Dunno of a hard limit. The general rule around here is to make it readable and something that won’t fatigue a reader… so try to stay away from the Wall of Text sort of post. Once you have a draft, it will probably get kicked around in the back channel until most of us are happy with it’s readability. BTW, the dragons reserve the right to clean up the post to make it fit the “Be Nice” rule. So, if it’s already nice, few edits occur. Note: I have even been tripped up by by that “Be Nice” requirement. I tend towards the fictional “Rorschach” character brand of moral absolutism. Yeah, it’s a personality defect, but it can be fun 😀 .

      Personally, I am prone to WoT posts, this one being a good example. I tend to bore people with minutia.

      • I think all of the Dragons have been tripping over the Be nice Rule…

        I think the longest article we have posted was 7000 words. After that Humdinger we tend to make two or more out of the really long ones.

        • Seems like it might be a bona fide series then…

          The writing for part one is actually pretty much done, but I do need to find sources and make or find a bunch of pictures. Currently it sits around 2500 words, i’ll set 3000 as a maximum but aim under.

          Part 2 will cover historical time starting in 1823 up to 1975, centering on the complex relationship between kilauea and mauna loa, the observation of kilaueas east rift reawakening, and anything else that is relevant.

          Part 3 is a ways off right now, it will be about pu’u o’o, last year, and some more controversial future stuff. Essentially what all my many many recent comments are about but intended as the most detailed and formulated and up to date way possible with what we know now, something to keep in mind for whenever kilauea erupts again whether it is in 3 months or 3 years or longer. Hopefully HVO completes their analysis of the 2018 eruption soon so I can include it, if they are taking this long it is going to be one of their long and very in depth studies.

          • Well, you’re doing better than I am. My Yelperstone post is still waiting on me to put more time into it.

            BTW Carl… I have a line on a couple of bonafide Ghost Pepper plants that I should be able to pick up tomorrow… 😀

            My Chipotle made from them should be STELLAR. I just have to wait out a season to pick them.

            (I typically smoke them for 18+ hours with Hickory)
            {After which, I grind them with an espresso grinder used specifically for peppers} → Usually shipped to my cousins who appreciate the insanely hot powder in their cooking. One of them took 10 years before she would talk to me after I accidentally tricked her groom into eating a habanero the day of her wedding. Her dad (my uncle) thought it was one of the funniest things ever. (yes, it was an actual accident, I had no way to know he would scoop up a pepper off the table and take a bite of it. All I had said was “Miniature sweet Bells” when he asked what they were. At the time I was showing them off to my mom since we had an informal competition going on about who could grow the hottest pepper. My batch of Thai peppers had croaked and I had gotten a Habanero to take root and produce. Note: The much vaunted Carolina Reaper is just a specialized cultivar of Habanero.

            I don’t plan on doing it, but purportedly, you need to stress the plant a bit in order for it to reach the insane levels of heat. I might just grow some Pombanos near them to see if the heat crosses over. Poblanos typically only make about 1 in 10 hot pepper pods. As for the Thai peppers, my point of contact in Phuket was killed in a scooter accident about 2 years after the tsunami wiped out his computer shop. {R.I.P. Conrad. You’re missed.}

    • 1500-2000 words is a typical length but I have gone way over on my posts. My longest was well over 5000 words. Not that I recommend that.

      • Well all up this series might be over 10,000 words, but that is for everything and I have only written part one that will be no longer than 3000 and is currently about 2600. Still in the process of making pictures though, which is harder than it sounds as most of the things Im getting into detail with in part one do not have the relevant information anywhere.

        Part 3 is probably going to be the longest by far, part 2 will likely be under 2000 words as it is basically a summary of already available information with some nice pictures.

  25. Glad to hear You are still on the planet, Lurk! Was wondering how You were fairing with all the storms. Best!from a busy motsfo

  26. Geolurking, I am in awe of your pepper growing and your story just above made me chuckle. I have two very ordinary chilli plants growing (now moved to the greenhouse post-winter) and I have no idea what species (but think they may be Frutescens). They generally produce one-inch red chillies that are fairly fiery but not too much (I ate one in small doses and it was bearable).

    Do keep us posted on your world of seriously hot chillies please!

    • Scotch Bonnets, Reapers, and Ghost Peppers are all Habanero species {Capsicum chinense}, they are really just different cultivars. Personally, I am far from an expert and in all seriousness don’t really go for the ultra hot. My opinion is that if you can’t taste the food it is on, it too hot and you’re just playing testosterone games at that point. One neat trick I pulled a few years ago, I recanned some kosher dill pickles with a sliver of habanero in each jar. (Actual canning jars, don’t reuse the store jars). I only got a small sample of what I made, my stepson absconded the rest of them for his lunches. In my opinion they were quite good. I’m not sure if he was that enamored with them or if he and his coworkers just sat around lunch daring each other to eat a pickle.

      Word of advice for anyone slicing any variety of Habanero… Definitely use gloves. If you don’t, even after several hand washings, you will know it if you touch a sensitive area. For the sanity of your wife, if she hears you screaming and hopping around in the restroom, she may become overly concerned and stressed out. I personally made the mistake of putting in my contacts the next day after working with Habaneros and fully regretted it. And I am a stickler with cleanliness when working with my contacts.

      Woot! And my three new Ghost pepper plants are here!

    • oh and there are more interesting graphics further down the paper too – I wonder how this affects the odds of a barbeque for Carl’s hat 🙂

    • Well, to be honest, I did a plot years ago that showed a rather ub-nerving power distribution along the SISZ. The sort of pattern that you only generally see in harmonic distributions. Both Carl and I were flummoxed by it. If I can find it, I’ll repost it, but replicating the plot set-up might take some time. Essentially, it plotted the raw power expenditure in quakes along a rectangle oriented between Hekla and Hengill in relation to longitude.

      Not entirely sure, but I think this is it… or at least related to it.

      • And no, I still have no explanation for it. Maybe some sort of elastic phenomena where a form of seismic energy sets up some bizare resonance pattern in the quakes or something on a really low frequency scale. It’s a bit beyond what I can comfortably envision. It is even possible that the expression of the sprungar (cracks) at the surface are related, but I haven’t looked into it.

        I do know that in accordance with most literature on them, the sprungar are manifestations of Riedel shear structures and as you go deeper, the alignment rotates towards the dominant sheer of the formative transform fault of the SISZ.

        Purpotedly, Walker Lane in Nevada-California has similar structures as the Lane accomdates about 10 to 15% of the relative motion between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. The San Andreas accommodates the rest. One line of thinking says that eventually Walker Lane will become the dominant plate interface.

        Purple are the sprungar.

    • Heading towards Big Freeze
      Cosmic Ice Age is comming

    • Actually it is a bit more than that, iron at that temperature reacts with water the same way sodium does, so there is a chemical reaction too, making a lot of hydrogen when there is that much metal involved. This reaction is not really exothermic, unlike sodium, but that doesnt matter at 1700 C.

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