The Quantum Volcanologist

In view of the current tectonic activity at Katla, we offer our readers a repost. Katla has a reputation among some of the disaster crowd, and any shaking there can lead to predictions of worldwide doom. It sometimes seems like a Yellowstone on ice. Hence this story.

Two cats (one live, one dead) and a volcano.  Photo by Giorgos Katsavos

Two cats (one live, one dead) and a volcano. Photo by Giorgos Katsavos

Physiology has a dog; physics has a cat. Pavlov’s dog was a sad animal, lying in its cage with wires attached both inside and out, alive but not as we know it. I know – I once visited his lab when the place was still called Leningrad. The dog was still there, or at least a distant successor to the first one in 1902. It was a distressing sight. Pavlov’s dogs were purely animate objects used for experiments. During the siege of Leningrad, some of the experimental subjects were eaten to ward off famine, the ultimate sacrifice to science. But even where they survived, their’s was not a life worth living.

Quantum physics has Schrödinger’s cat. This is an independent animal, never seen but always present and ruling the house. Dogs have owners – cats have slaves. The quantum physicist does exactly what the cat wants but gets no useful data in return. The whole experimental set-up is only for the benefit of the cat. In the experiment, the cat is put in a place where it can’t be observed (in real life, this will be the neighbour’s house to which the cat has secretly changed allegiance). A radioactive atom is put in with the cat, in such a way that if the atom decays, the cat dies, otherwise it lives. We can tell exactly what the chance is that the atom decays: there is a 50% chance that it happens within one half time, which is a known number for each radioactive element. But we can’t tell whether this atom has actually decayed or predict when it will happen. Our certainty only applies to chance. So at any time, we can only say that there is a certain chance that the cat has died, in fact we can put an exact number on it. In quantum physics, this means that the cat is a combination of two cats, one dead and one alive (with any other animal this would be cruelty, but cats have nine lives). Only when we open the place, do we see whether the cat is or is not dead. Suddenly we have one cat instead of a combination of two. And because this is quantum physics, now there has always been just one cat. The dual cat has collapsed into one. It sounds strange, but this is in fact the way quantum physics works. If you don’t know where a photon is, it is everywhere at once. Put two slits in the way, and it will travel through both slits simultaneously – even though there is only one photon. You get interference between the two photon paths and that can be measured. But measure the position of the photon anywhere along the path, and the interference disappears. Suddenly the photon only goes through one slit.


(We don’t actually know whether Schrödinger had a cat. Or rather, whether the cat kept a quantum physicist as a food source.)

Volcanology can do even better than the quantum-physical cats. We have Kat-la. Hekla is a classical volcano: heck when it erupts you’ll know about it. It is undeniable. And with all the wires sticking out from all its instrumentation, it even looks a bit like Pavlov’s dog. Katla, in contrast, is hidden: under its icecap it lies unobserved. It may or may not have erupted. It is Schrödinger’s volcano. Katla is really two volcanoes, one erupted, one not erupted. The seismograph shows a wave function which is a combination of the two Katlas, each with a probability. This is quantum Katla. The wave function will collapse only when the ice opens up and we can see what has happened. This immediately tells us that we have things the wrong way around. It is not that the mountain collapses and this blows off the ice. Instead, the ice blowing off causes the collapse. Quantum volcanology tells us so.

To get a grip on reality, we need a probability enhancer. We need an instrument that makes eruptions more probable. Let’s call it a cat-astrophics (not to be confused with the catastro-physics which predicts the collapse of the Universe.) It takes any volcano in the world, squares the probabilities, and immediately makes it 100% likely that it will go VEI11 and destroy the world (leaving one person alive in order to observe it – any quantum theory needs an observer otherwise it doesn’t know what to do). Then the world is dog-gone, in a cat-aclysm. The goal of VC is to find those people who own one, and to see the world through their cat-astrophics.

Cat-astrophic - use with care. Oops!

Cat-astrophic – use with care. Oops!

A well-known feature of quantum volcanoes is that they do not exist. They are imaginary. That means that the cat-astrophics needs to be used with great care. When used on a real volcano, it causes it to have erupted already, cat-astrophically. When used on an imaginary volcano, it squares it. If you take the square of an imaginary number, it becomes negative. Therefore, mathematics tell us that the volcano becomes negative. That is very dangerous. You never know what a negative volcano will do, or even where it will do it. As Tolstoy wrote, every positive volcano is alike; every negative volcano is negative in its own way. Katla is real, and when it erupts it does so positively. The cat-astrophics can be used safely. But you must be careful: never use the cat-astrophics on Yellowstone. Its coming eruption is imaginary. Square it with the cat-astrophics and it becomes negative. At best, it may implode and take the careless user with it. But it may erupt in the media and remove all reason from the world. It may destructively interfere with global warming and cause global winter: snowball Earth forever. It may cause Yellowstone Traps, covering the entire world under a kilometre of lava. There is nothing a negative volcano can’t do!


The task of the quantum volcanologist is to safeguard the world against negative volcanoes. For this, he or she uses a biological weapon: a square root, also called the squarot. What the elder wand is to Dumbledore, the squarot is to the volcanologist. With this, any negative volcano can be banished and made imaginary. The square root is the neutron bomb of volcanology. It removes all negative volcanoes but leaves all positive ones. Biological warfare with roots.

The squarrot, weapon of choice of the quantum volcanologist

The squarot, weapon of choice of the quantum volcanologist

But make sure it is a square root! A cubic root won’t work. It will create the worst type of volcano: one that is imaginary and real at the same time. It will become a Vesuvius: erupting in reality, and also destroy the world.

Any volcano is a cat-astrophe in waiting. The task of the quantum volcanologist is to keep this destruction imaginary and thus to save the world. Volcanologist by day, superhero squaroteer by night, saving humanity in secret and on only slightly-non-negative funding. Only imaginary harm can come from imaginary volcanoes. That is well-known dog-ma.


/Albert, July 2023 (republished from Dec 2016)

127 thoughts on “The Quantum Volcanologist

  1. Great article.

    The problem with the Catastrophists isn’t so much that they’re shrill, annoying and pretty much wrong. It’s that they drive out more reasonable discussion of how to plan for a reasonable worst case scenario.

    As we saw with the pandemic, natural disasters can come out of left field, affect everyone, and the price for lack of being properly prepared, as we’ve discovered in the UK, is reflected in the body count.

    Sooner or later there is going to be another Laki or Tambora, in much the same way that sooner or later there’s going to be another pandemic or another Carrington event. It’s not going to destroy the world, but the effects are likely to be global, and will need to be carefully managed to reduce the economic and human damage.

    We can’t predict when it’ll happen. But we do now that it will happen. We also know that we’d be better off if we were well prepared with contingency plans for when it does happen.

    But the catastrophists have closed down the discussion. Nobody wants to seriously discuss how to prepare for a serious event for fear of being associated with the millenial end of the world disaster mongers. So when some mountain does pop big, we’re likely to be in a worse position than we otherwise would have been

    • If that is the reason why scientists and government officials don’t have serious discussion on how to prepare for such disasters then I’d say they need to grow a spine.
      “Excuse me Mr Scientist and President, why wasn’t there any preparations or productive discussion about the volcanic winter before. 1.2 billion people have died after Corbetti’s massive eruption, if you knew something like this could happen why didn’t you have a plan prepared?”
      “Well Ms. Reporter, Catastrophists talk about supervolcanoes a lot and I didn’t want to be associated with them by trying force a discussion about the global hazards of volcanic eruptions.”
      “1.2 billion people are dead…”
      “Stuff happens”
      We have an expansive geological record on large volcanic eruptions, superflares. and so much more and we also have a degree of understanding of what would happen if one of these events were to take place in the future. Not perfect but not terrible either. There is no excuse for having nothing to prepared.
      Over here in the states, we have a saying “Haters gonna hate!” No matter what you do, somebody or some group is going to strongly disagree with you regardless of how right or sensible you are.

      • We plan for some things and hope for the best on others. ‘Living memory’ is a major driver: if people remember something like it, they will take it seriously. Otherwise not. ‘National security’ is very important: people remember wars, and so we take precautions. Global heating is unprecedented, so it is much harder to get people to take it seriously: they only do so (briefly) after some major event. I often use the ozone catastrophe as an example of what is possible. The problem was discovered, scientists put out warnings and politicians acted, against the chemical companies which kept arguing that there was no evidence that their products were harmful. This could have ended much worse. (Sometimes companies are considerably worse, and push products for profit knowing full well the damage they do. Fentanyl, anyone? We all know examples. But in this case the chemical companies did cooperate, eventually.)

        How would you prepare for disaster? No company will do it by themselves – it is too expensive and has too little pay-back. It is up to governments. And those are human (really!) and so the issue of ‘living memory’ comes up again.

        • Don’t set the bar too low. For example, in the UK, public listed companies are required to have disaster management in place.

          • What plans are you referring to? The main requirement is limited to the emergency services, local authorities, and NHS bodies, according to the government. Transport and utility companies are required to ‘share information’, whatever that means.

          • Can’t comment on the public sector but in the private sector public listed companies are required to have risk management in place, which includes disaster management.

        • Scientist provided more than warning during the ozone crisis, they provided a viable and feasible solution. There are no such solutions for ACC, “Green power” is an absolute joke, lithium and other rare metals need for solar panels and electric cars are terrible for the environment along with the fact that solar power is nowhere near effective as fossil fuels. Wind power is not any better, Biofuels are garbage as well. The economic “solutions” to Climate change are laughable and were made by people who’ve never taken a social studies course in school.
          The future of human society and race is everyone’s responsibility, Scientist’s need to provide viable solutions, governments need to the provide funding and resources for the solutions, and the laymen has to implement the solutions and provide a little pressure for some progress. Plenty of people take ACC seriously, it’s just that the current solutions being pushed are garbage
          Scientists are giving warnings about volcanic eruptions but these warnings are very vague don’t answer a lot of people’s questions. I don’t see a lot of studies detailing the specifics how current infrastructure would react to a VEI 7 eruptions. We’re missing the finer details and you can’t have good plan without the finer details.

          • Please dont tell me you seriously think burning more fossil fuels is better for the environment and the safety of the world economy… Lithium and nickel mining is not great that is true but it is far cleaner than oil refining or open pit coal mining, and once dead (which takes years if not decades) batteries are highly valuble, it would be economic suicide to even consider landfilling them. Eventually in theory no mining will be required at all although that is probably a little too optimistic.

            Meanwhile to a liter of petrol contains 9 kWh of energy that takes about 2 kWh of extra energy to make from oil, in the best cases. And then it is burbed in an engine that makes 30% efficiency. Diesel engines in cars only get to 35, only the huge ship engines get to over 50 and only as generators. Petrol is lower figures in all regards… 🙂


          • Did I say that I thought mining rare metals was as bad as oil refining? I said it was terrible for the environment which it is. Having batteries does not equate to having a sustainable source energy.

          • Actually you are wrong. Its perfectly possible and although expensive, not ruinously so, to get close to carbon neutral. The biggest problem is that ‘solutions’ are driven by various green lobbies with a totally different agenda.
            Electric cars are driven by clean air activists and the motor companies, and until we are self sufficient in carbon-free electricity they solve nothing, just pretty well trade gas in power stations for diesel in cars.
            Blocking fossil fuel companies from developing new (secure) gas and oil supplies again solves nothing because supply simply follows demand so you need to cut demand if you want progress. That means accepting environmental losses associated with massive wind, solar and tidal projects, not to mention tripling electrical infrastructure. Basically this is also blocked.
            Just painting all of our roofs white would produce a useful effect as I have been saying for decades, but that seems to be unpopular with ecologists, environmentalists and planners alike.
            CONSEQUENTLY we will have warming, it will be devastating, but I will be dead by then. I have given up pointing out what is necessary and surrended to the ecofreaks.

          • So in order to stop ACC from ruining the environment, we need to switch to renewables which also ruin the environment? Here’s a newsflash but ACC isn’t the primary reason why ecosystem is suffering(dropping 40% in the last 100 years), it’s been pollution and habitat destruction. Building a completely new electronic infrastructure over the old infrastructure(For the world) is not an easy or simple solution. Political, Social, and technological issues will plague the entire process. The current shift towards renewables is moving at snail’s pace not because everyone is lazy and doesn’t care about green energy but because it’s a difficult and expensive process.
            Unless you live in Iceland or some other country with an abundance of access to favorable natural conditions the transition will be difficult, with renewables you get energy as nature allows it but with fossil fuels you can get as much as you can pump. If demand were to ever surpass supply, you’d see delirious impacts.

          • Mining of resources for a renewable economy will do damage but the damage would be done anyway if slightly differently, lithium was still mined before Li-ion batteries, nickel today is still mostly mined for steal production despite the battery boom. 1/3 of cobalt mined today is used for single use desulfurization of petroleum, the cobalt in batteries can be recovered and reused.

            It is also something very important to note that the ethylene carbonate electrolyte used in most Li-ion chemistries and all current commercial production, is made in a reaction that consumes CO2, its not globally significant but needs to be said. I believe that a Li-ion cell made today needs to be charged about 25 times to use more energy than was used to create it, on average, but they last several thousand cycles so it is an enormous net positive. My number might be off though.

            Regarding EVs, Tesla has widely reported that their cars take about 10% more CO2 to make than a comparable spec ICE car, (although a model 3 would be much less than a large ICE). But charging it even on a dirty grid powered basically by coal, which is not a thing anywhere on the planet anymore, the car will have covered its carbon debt in 7 years and in that time long overtaken the ICE car, even if it is a hybrid. Heat engines are more efficient at scale, so a coal plant can be as muc has 60%, compared to perhaps 35% in a car engine. Using a fully renewable grid, which actually do exist in real life, it would be much faster. I dont know the numbers for non Tesla EVs, but it is probably pretty similar, although generally speaking other EVs are usually less efficient than Teslas all things otherwise equal (not fanboying it is just the facts)

            So, really we dont have a choice, we are going to do damage. It is a choice of doing damage and then more damage, or doing damage and then fixing the damage after…

          • VEI 7 or – beware 8 – is so extremely rare that many specialists might think that nothing should be done to prepare for them. Some might even go further and consider a reduction of population by a natural disaster like that a good thing, also the effects on the climate. They wouldn’t say this publicly though.

            VEI 7 or 8 might not happen for generations to come. Mankind might not even exist when the next one happens.

            Max Tegmark seems to believe that the greatest danger for mankind is still the proliferation of atomic weapons and that an apocalypse might result from somebody pressing the button. I tend to agree with that heaving read how openly Russia threatened to use them. And there are worse states than Russia.

            One thing seems more than clear. When people don’t get access or don’t use birth-control and have no access to education they end up being to many and settling on the sides of monsters like Nyaragongo.
            Those states are obviously not open to reason. The best way to get those corrupt state leaders aligned to reason is to ignore them instead of feeding them. They then might learn to help themselves. But hi – they have desirable stuff there, uranium or lithium. So, the corrupt story will go on and on and on.

        • Not in my memory does long range planning come into play for potential natural disasters. Governments are instituted among men for the purpose of greasing the wheel which squeeks the loudest. Even though research funds are being invested to seek an intervention from extraterrestrial sources of extinction level events, the climate change culture is feeding a need beyond those of environmental concerns, and Floridians are at varying levels of preparation for the hurricane season, the last storm took its toll of that which was prepared for and that which could not. Tornadoes continue to tear across the nation, killing citizens, and devastating properties, yet storm cellars and re-enforced inside rooms are not built into housing codes for the most at risk areas of the nation. Florida did so after Hurricane Andrew, where roofs were concerned. The ‘preppers’ amongst us will be set for anything at anytime, even to the run up to the now overdue clearing of Yellowstone’s throat. As for the rest, including governments, I don’t think so. Not ever and, even in the attempt, far too late.

        • Obviously this hit a nerve with a variety of opinions! I can only give my opinions. Global warming (the term ‘climate change’ was invented to make it sound innocuous) was taken seriously in the early 2000’s, after science had confirmed it in the late 1990’s. The denial movement started a couple of years later, pushed by people who were worried about the impact on their wealth. There are several components to the problem. Sea level rise will become serious in a few more decades and will require major investment, not only in relocating or protecting coastal cities but also agricultural land especially in the developing world. Higher temperatures will cause tropical diseases to spread further, with for instance southern Germany expecting malaria to establish. Various areas will become much drier, especially the middle east. That is already happening, with for instance the West Bank in severe water shortage and water wars in various places. We need to mitigate impacts and reduce the amount of warming. Both are feasible, on a time scale of decades but it has been made much harder by losing 15 years by deliberate inaction.

          We need to reduce carbon emission by 90%. (I am not in favour of ‘net zero’ which is neither needed nor helpful.) That is in part renewables, and in part energy efficiency. It is possible, and for instance LED lighting is a big step as are heat pump dryers. Cars are becoming more efficient, driven mainly by the EU. Pricing is important: the spike in gas prices is a disaster (though predicted!) but helps in convincing people to get moving. A problem is that the change costs money, for instance in the UK insulating houses is a major requirement. The poorer people can’t afford that and need help. Solar panels are almost trivial – cheap to make and install. Batteries need more development but note that they can be reused: old car batteries will work perfectly well for domestic installations, once more electric cars reach the end of their lives. The government has some major roles: doing the ground work for the mitigating, and providing incentives (including grants) for energy efficiency. Another task is in the economic transition which has a lot of people losing out: coal miners as one clear example. People need help in finding new employment: training and education, and incentives for new industry to develop in the affected areas. It is possible but we need to plan for the future, not hold on to the past.

          Population management is very important. On that point we are actually doing surprisingly well. Current research indicates that female education is the best way and in most places in the world that is getting better all the time. The main problem remains Africa.

          • In the UK we need to remove the victorian (ie solid walled) housing (mostly badly built by speculative developers) and replace with Cheap To Build (no brick, timber, plasterboard and plastic wit insulated steel roof) full spec housing. But we never will.
            Old car batteries are useless, they do not hold much charge, need maintenance if old and are completely NOT designed for solar use.
            The biggest problem is the continued growth in populations, this keeps people poor, hungry and good for cheap army use (as catholics and muslims know well). Population growing by 3% GDP by 1% and the result is inevitable. Remember almost the whole world lives under a dictatorship of one kind or another.

          • I think the housing boom of the 1930’s is equally suspect! So yes, some major rebuilding will be required in the UK. Renewable energy (with nuclear as base load and gas on stand-by for emergencies) requires energy efficiency. I am not ready to give up, even if the current government is showing no interest in anything else than money.

            An electric car battery will probably be down to 70-80% at the end of its life. That is still usable for less energy intensive applications which require energy storage. You should be able to get another decade out of them.

          • Your recommendations for housing construction fly in the face of the ravages of nature. Florida’s concrete block building codes are demanded because of the hurricane threat.

          • EV batteries degrade depending on several factors. Old Nissan leaf batteries are terribly degraded often with barely over 50% remaining charge capacity (the cars still work fine though, surprisingly, just with half the range). Tesla batteries from the same age are much better, the difference is Tesla had liquid cooling. Now that is standard in basically all EVs. I found a 6 year old Model S on a local site with almost 290,000 km driven and the battery degradation is only 17% from the new. The battery new had 75 kWh so it would still have 62 kWh now, a very usable number.

            I dont know what point such a battery would be unusable for grid applications but I imagine it would have somethign more to do with the pack voltage and discharge rate than the capacity.

            But it is also true that Li-ion is not the ideal chenistry for stationary storage, it needs careful thermal management and the fire risk is greatly increased inside of a massive storage unit compared to in a car. Energy density doesnt matter much for stationary storage, so cheap and abundant materials can be used. Stuff like a magnesium or calcium anode with an iron chloride cathode. Magnesium and calcium are not very flammable compared to the alkali metals and there are literally mountains made of them so seems a good place to start. Look up AMBRI 🙂

            Also there are vanadium flow batteries, but vanadium is pretty toxic and is not exactly cheap or abundant.

          • “Higher temperatures will cause tropical diseases to spread further, with for instance southern Germany expecting malaria to establish.”

            That’s one of those crazy ideas that the German media create every single week to keep people in fear and getting clicks. Bird Flu, Swine fever, Zika, Malaria, VEI 7 from Campi Flegrei with collapsing infrastructure, whatever, are exchangeable and used as scaremongereres for an aging population and some kids while school education is getting worse.

            If you had said Camargue I wouldn’t protest. Warmth is not the problem, warmth and humidity though is brillant for their breeding:


          • Sadly it is not crazy. Malaria is used as a catch-phrase for diseases carried by tropical mosquitos, of which malaria is best known but dengue fever and zika are other examples. At the top end of climate predictions (which is the track we are at at the moment, although not the most likely one for the future), by 2050 these diseases may spread into southern Europe and by 2080 as far as Scandinavia. (See Fig. 2 of This is based purely on number of summer months with high enough temperature. There are other constraints, such as rainfall, and the presence of the mosquitos does not guarantee that the disease will also be present. Winter temperatures are less of a problem because the mosquitos can spread with the summer winds, as butterflies already do. Even the most conservative models show malaria establishing itself in Turkey. Even southern England isat risk, and in fact malaria (or a similar disease) did exist there in the early middle ages – it was associated with swamps. And do be aware that malaria was a major killer in Italy as recent as the 19th century, with an estimated 15,000 deaths per year. It rapidly decreased after 1900 but was fully eradicated (apart from imported cases) only about 50 years ago. There are other, less severe models which do not predict much spread into Europe, but they tend to rely on summer drought and/or eradication campaigns.

            (Interestingly, all models predict a decline in malaria in some parts of Africa as temperature there get too high for the mosquitos to survive. On the other hand, malaria would spread into higher regions of Africa such as the Orange river.)

            The models also predict malaria in the southern US. There have been cases in Florida this year of local transmission of malaria, so it is something to take seriously. Planning means having the means ready to eradicate the disease before it becomes established.

          • Hurricanes and timber framed buildings.
            Well, I was surprised at how many timber framed buildings seemed to be built in hurricane ally, judging by films of the damage. Then I noticed that even the brick ones had severe cracks in the walls so would have been demolished anyway. Thus supporting my bro-in-law’s comments about dissing situations you know little about. Mind youn hurricanes are unusual in the UK.

          • Malaria was controlled in India quite well by removing standing water. Given the paucity of insect like these days in the UK (despite farmer ise declining) probably has more to do with habitat removal (gentrification) than anything else. Far less grassland with lots of animals and very few corners of fields with rotting animals and rotting bales/remains of muckheaps weedy corners and wide unkempt hedges. So it will get worse, but how much of a serious problem it will be is hard to say.

          • Um, Albert, you are mixing up the *possible* range of Malaria with the actual. Almost all the US and much of Europe used to have at least some Malaria presence. The climate hasn’t really changed other than getting a bit warmer. We figured out how to fight Malaria and eliminated it from the more developed parts of its range. Like yes could Germany be warm enough for Malaria? Sure. Would we allow it? No. To choose a more southern example always suitable for Malaria, Italy where it was eliminated 50 years ago.

          • This is discussed in this comment stream, including the case of Italy. You could have given the example of Egypt where the mosquito occurs but malaria currently does not. The point is that you need to be prepared for the spread of these two tropical mosquitos and the diseases they carry. And remember that eradication was never easy. It took Italy 70 years. And there are conflicting requirements. Are wetlands to be outlawed? Do you really want to use DDT again? (This deadly substance is still authorised against malaria mosquitos! That shows how difficult this disease can be.)

    • Humans are unavoidably driven by things like feelings, purposes, and such, which are purely subjective, confusing, hard to analyze, and impossible to know when they’re right or wrong. I’ve met a couple of extreme catastrophists in the past and when I try to understand them, the thoughts that come to my head are that they feel rejected by society, so they reject society and wish for its destruction. I believe a sense of fear and hate can be mixed into catastrophism, a wish that the society that has betrayed you is destroyed by something you can foresee but that no one believes because they are dumb, and a sense of superiority that comes from the confirmation that you were right by the destruction of that which you hate. I could not bring myself to trust those catastrophists because I do not believe they have my best interests in mind.

      But that was just an extreme case. On the other hand, people who love catastrophes, myself included, and probably many commenters who come to a blog about natural phenomena widely considered to bring death and destruction, can also be the most knowledgeable about them and most capable of predicting them or avoiding them. If done with love and care for society, it can be quite positive, since you place your value on knowing when disaster will strike and how to protect others from it. You expect that someone who loves global warming, and fantazices about the terrible effects that it will bring upon, will also know the best ways to avoid those harmful consequences.

      • Bad feelings can become an addiction. Some people seek for fear as a drug, some horror, thrill, cruel things. To this category belong the disaster addicted people who seek satisfaction by tragedies of all kind.

        A different way to treat catastrophes is to look for the challenge to manage the dangerous natural events. Who ever is fascinated by volcanoes (or earthquakes), learns how to survive volcanic eruptions.

        Apart from this, great or giant natural things like Hurricanes, Plinian eruptions, impressive landscapes are fascinating natural happenings that catch human attention and help to forget every day life’s problems.

    • I don’t use the BBC manufactured term. I prefer “Large Caldera Event.”

      • But ‘mountain popping big’ does have a certain ring to it! Not a BBC ring though. Other UK ‘news’papers are more likely suspects.

  2. This helped me understand quantum physics about 10% more, now only 80% more to go 🙂
    I guess Katla is probably not going to give a huge amount of warning in advance. It will be noisy but calderas, especially mostly mafic ones like Katla, they seem to just reach a breaking point and things are going full swing a couple hours later. It seems this is true regardless of if there are months (Kilauea) or decades (Mauna Loa), or centuries (Katla now) between the large eruptions. Katla is probably on the long end, as are all of the Icelandic calderas really, but they all behave similarly.

    Katla does seem to do larger central volcano eruptions though, and engages in rift eruptions much less than the other large central volcanoes. perhaps that is why Eldgja was so big, it was the whole Holocene in the making.

    After a century I wonder if we can expect a VEI 5. Not a nuclear blast sized eruption liek St Helens or HTHH, but a 4 that lasts a few months. VEI 4 is still nothing to scoff at really, they are usually the highlight of the year.

  3. There is another fissure on Piton de la Fournaise, on the other side of the volcano. Hard to get an exact location, it is only directly visible in the Piton des Cascades webcam which is far away, but it -might- be above the south wall of the Enclos, as in just outside it or going up the side. Very interesting development. Although most likely it is within the caldera in the same area as several other recent eruptions

    The area in question is frequented with volcano watchers so we should know very soon. But having two fissures on different sides of the volcano at the same time is not a common occurence, it means two different dikes have been created.

      • The picture in that article is of the first fissure that opened, the other one opened in the early evening so was not seen on an overflight until the next day although the webcams had a good view. It looks like the lava flow front has stopped though so the eruption has probably gone into a more steady low rate state. This has happened to quite a lot of recent eruptions, making either small lava shields surrouding a fountaining closed cone, or instead forming a pahoehoe flow field.

        In a few recent eruptions too the final day or two of the eruption sees a proxysmal stage where the effusion rate goes way up and the fountains get to a few hundred meters, before it stops pretty suddenly. The 2015 eruption of Kala Pele also revived twice after dying, with low fountains but high effusion rate each time. If that happens on the current vent it could well reach the ocean.

        Or it could be like 1998 or 2005 where it intrudes again later in the eruption, and maybe erupts lower down or on the outer flank. Both of those intrusions exited the caldera although didnt erupt beyond it really, just outside the rim in 1998 and the inner wall in 2005.

        The thing I am most curious about is the complete lack of any eruptions inside the Dolemieu crater in the last decade. There were a couple eruptions in it between 2007 and 2010 but before 2007 it was often active for months at a time and many eruptions started inside it. But now it is dead quiet, while eruptions have happened as many as five times in one year and on all four flanks since 2014. Kilauea immediately went into filling its caldera and has not done anything else after 2018, but Piton has done almost the opposite.

        • The eruption has already decreased and is restricted to one site, a 500m long fissure with several spatter cones on the SE site of the caldera. The current rate is 12 m³/s.

          Piton is a weaker hotspot than Hawaii and Iceland. It has no big riftzone unlike Kilauea and Grimsvötn. The random distribution of eruptions over the caldera reminds to the random spatter cones on Hawaii’s postshield volcanoes, while the magma still is tholeiitic. Maybe the pressure of Piton’s magma is currently too weak to erupt on the altitude of the central crater (Dolemieu).

          • To be fair most of the Icelandic volcanoes would be very much liek this if they werent on a divergent bundary, Piton has a supply rate of around 0.02 km3 a year or 2 km3 a century. It is probably a little less than this really, but this number is more than all of the Icelandic volcanoes individually, except Bardarbunga and Hekla which are about the same historically.

            Hawaii is 21 km3 a century, about 2/3 of which erupts, a little biased towards Kilauea. 🙂

            It also needs to be said that the Galapagos volcanoes also dont really have rift zones, only diffuse ones that are pretty similar to those of Piton and actually only in the volcanoes that border the deep ocean. At least 3 of the Galapagos volcanoes have historically produced large to very large eruptions on a somewhat regular basis.

        • Dolomieu has produced high-fountain paroxysms and periods of continuous overflowing, it is a bit of a stratovolcano actually, the first historical eruptions seen from Piton were continuous overflows fed by lava lakes atop Dolomieu. It seems that the plumbing of Piton has matured and now prefers to erupt from the flanks of the mountain.

          • I knew about the lava lakes that were seen in the early 18th century, in 1704 I believe at the location of what is now Bory crater. But I was not aware it had done paroxysms.

            Interesting that in the 18th century there were 6 eruptions that happened outside the Enclos Forque, including two only a few years apart in 1774 and 1776. In the 19th century there were only two, in 1800 and 1823. In the 20th century there also only two, maybe 2.5 if you count the small 1998 vents that opened just above the rim but not far down the outer flank. In the 21st century there has only been one eruption that sort of left, in 2005, but the dike erupted on the inner wall of the caldera instead of outside it so technically doesnt count.

            One would expect that if the volcano has an easier time to erupt from flank vents that these outer flank eruptions would be more frequent, apparently not. Although a few recent eruptions have had extended seismic episodes that lasted well beyond the onset (the current one among them) that could involve intrusions attempting to leave.

          • “One would expect that if the volcano has an easier time to erupt from flank vents that these outer flank eruptions would be more frequent”

            Yes, that is puzzling.

            There are pyroclastic layers exposed in the wall of the caldera that originate from high fountain eruptions, presumably the reason that Dolomieu is so steep is that it is a lava-drapped giant scoria cone, or at least the Bory side.


            Piton de la Fournaise is a more varied volcano than it may seem. We are used to the frequent small eruptions, but the volcano can also develop convecting lava lakes that can overflow for extended periods of time. There is Piton du Chisny on the Plaine des Sables, which was the French version of Kilauea Iki, it had lava fountains several hundred meters tall (probably higher than Kilauea Iki) and raging flows that would have cascaded spectacularly into precipitous, forested canyons. Then there is Puys Ramond, a long lived, high.effusion rate eruption, similar to the long-lived eruptions in Mauna Loa’s SWRZ, with a wandering eruption locus, and a vast field of aa lavas over 150 meters thick at places.

            And of course, Piton de la Fournaise is all about landslides. The plumbing system is shaped like a spoon of sills that is fixated on detaching the east flank of the volcano. Most of volcanic edifice consists of a giant apron of overlapping landslide deposits, up to 3 kilometres thick and extending 100 km from the summit. With the previous slide’s scar filled in, it is only a matter of time before the flank takes a walk again.

          • Puys Ramond could be made from multiple eruptions, if you are referring to the location that google maps leads to. One of these was created in the earpy 19th century, in about 1823, it was somehow unobserved but was dated from trees that were on it or exposed to the lava. Another part seems to be closer to 2000 years old though so it seems to be a complicated area.

            Piton Chisny is one of those massive cones that traces the crest of Reunion, the eruptions that happen there are probably analogous to the postshield eruptions on Hawaii, they are rare but much bigger, similar in scale to eruptions on other large shield volcanoes compared to the small eruptions of recent time. Apparently the last such deep eccentric eruption to erupt directly was in 1998 but it was small and overshadowed by the already ongoing Kapor eruption that was of normal origin and a lot larger, so I guess not all of them are large. 2007 also had a deep intrusion involved but it was not immediately under the eruption site.

            The march 2019 eruption was also possibly deep sourced, it had huge fountains at the end. The 2020 Voulvoul eruption had even bigger fountains that showered all of Reunion in peles hair. Both also rapidly intensified at the very end. These eruptions might have also been deep eccentric eruptions.

          • Piton du Chisny had a different chemistry. I don’t remember if it was more alkaline or more magnesian, or both. Piton du Chisny formed somewhere 1450-1500 AD, or less likely around 1600 AD, judging from its radiocarbon age calibrated in OxCal:


            As far as I know, the age of Puys Ramond, is 575 BP, which calibrates to somewhere between 1300 and 1450 AD, taken from near the coastal lava delta (Brule du Baril). There could have been multiple eruptions, although personally I find the entire vent area to be very similarly preserved, so if they were multiple eruptions, it would be more likely for them to have happened in close succession. A historical eruption seems highly unlikely to me, the vent area has a very dry climate, similar to that of Enclos, yet the flows and cones are far more vegetated than anything within Enclos, much older than the 18th century Bory pahoehoe flow.field. Tree-dating doesn’t take into account that there are different climates in Reunion, and that trees take much longer to show up and grow in the upper dry zones.

    • But was it not 11 to 15 km3 a centruy for Hawaii? or are you counting all lava lost to the ocean and caldera in fillings as well ?

      • I am going of the quoted 0.21 km3/year that is for the hotspot magma production rate. That would be somethign like 21 km3 a century, and isnt really dependant on which volcano is more active because it averages out. A lot of the magma stays underground and fills the deep rifts (and also whatever is under Pahala) but a large percent does erupt, during the era of Pu’u O’o it was erupting something like 120 million m3/year, or 0.12 km3, which is more than half of the hotspot total. The current rate is a little less, since the lava returned in 2020 there has been about 0.16 km3 erupted, which is about 0.07 km3, but the inflation rate under the caldera is enormous and much higher than basically any other time in decades so it is clear what is going on. The ERZ is deflating slightly but the scale of the deformation is only about 1/10 as much as the summit, and is probably in large part just south flank movement, not magma. The rate it is inflating right now would suggest the supply is probably even higher than normal, likely somewhat short lived but still.

        Mauna Loa I have no idea. Before it erupted it was pretty low, 0.02 km3 a year from 2015 onwards, and it was pretty much nothing between 2009 and 2015 and from 1990 to 2002. But following the eruption last year it has gone up a huge amount, probably going on more than half of what Kilauea is getting. But Hector probably knows more about that.

      • Aa you mean the melt rates in the astenosphere per 100 year

  4. I’d be more concerned about Torfajokull or Oraefajokull if I was a concerned-kind-of-person.
    Honestly i’d quite happily stand on top of Katla, if you’re gonna die at some point it’s one of the better ways to go.
    Returned to nature, by being taken out by nature.

    • The last three eruptions of Torfajökull were related to Bardarbunga’s big eruptions (Veidivötn, Vatnaöldur, Hausnagigur). Holohraun was too small or too distant to wake Torfajökull.

      The most likely eruption on Katla is a VEI4 like Grimsvötn’s 2011 eruptions. Nothing to worry about, but the ring road may have to suffer damage by an impressive glacier flood. The worst but most unlikely eruption is something like Eldgjá 934, but that was preceded by a normal VEI4 eruption 920.

  5. Full of humour, thank you, nice reading.
    In reality I prefer this man’s story with dogs: “If you go to the eastern end of George Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, you’ll find a statue of Maxwell. He’s seated in a chair and holding a color wheel. There at his feet is his faithful dog Toby. (Toby’s breed wasn’t recorded; the sculptor used an Irish Terrier as a model.)”
    Or this: “When Boltzmann was a professor in Graz, he and his family lived on a farm in the countryside. Every day at noon, his pet dog, a German Shepherd, would walk from the farm into town and meet him for lunch. They’d go to a pub where Boltzmann would eat his lunch and the dog would lie at his feet.”

    Pavlov who was generally spoken not a cruel man criticizing the Soviet government on numerous occasions was cruel to dogs.
    Maybe physicists are just nicer people than physiologists 😉

    Four physicists in the link (including Einstein) must be enough proof:
    “Murray Gell-Mann (a physicist colleague) wrote about a time that he and his wife visited the Feynman house in Altadena, California: “We also met the dog (called Venus, I believe) and found that Richard was going overboard teaching her tricks… Meanwhile, he had the dog racing around the house, up and down the stairs…” “

    • That was a fine example of anecdata, one physiologist+dog vs. four physicists+dogs.

      A very cruel man whose “Christian” name started with an A loved – sort of – his dog named Blondi who died of cyanide, Vi coactus, aged four.

  6. Interesting refresh of the article. Thanks!
    It all boils down to the instrument of measurement. Human systems are too brutish to peek at the quantum world and leave it untouched.
    And the drawback with Katla is that far too many people are studying it (a very brutish intrusion). If everyone studied elsewhere, and utterly ignored Katla, it will erupt.

  7. Thanks Albert for your insights on Katla!
    Interesting that the current spate of unrest hasn’t appreciably changed in character, which continues to show a notable absence of tremor or other signs of magmatic movement other than some changes in melt water.
    Were it not that many quakes were in the M3-loM4 range, I would think (but I could be wrong) that instability of the ice (ice quakes) were to blame…but these are usually very small per past observation?
    One possibility is the caldera is flexing as overlying pressure from the ice gets relieved from a shrinking and melting ice pack?

  8. A nice article which combines science with satire!

    The quantum physics applies well to human thinking. F.e. if we look on human preferences, they are much jumping all the time up and down, and you never know what a certain human really wants most. Photons are both “waves” and particles. It’s the same with human thoughts, because they are running on neuro-elctronic ways.

    It’s true that no quantum volcano exists. But the human coverage about volcanoes can follow the quantum physics well. If we look on the “bullshit” press: when they talk about volcanoes, they at the same time don’t talk about volcanoes. When they show interest, they have no interest. That’s different to volcano scientists and volcano addicted laymen: They have found a way to be constantly somehow interested in volcanoes. They’re not shifting there and back all the time, but have got a stable relationship to volcanoes like the bond between atoms.

  9. Re:”. Mind you hurricanes are unusual in the UK…” Correct! The comment was directed to the needs of Florida. In fact, the code requirements become far more rigorous as one proceeds further southeast, and towards frrom center towards the coast. It is recognized that Force 5 storms or higher are something to be reckoned with even for the best designs materials, and efforts. There’s a plethora of information available to Floridians. such that they are knowledgeable in matters relevant to their environment. They have built, and will continue to build accordingly.

  10. More magma is comming in under the Reykjanes Penninsula in Iceland now, probaly is deep from the mantle, hard to say If there will be an eruption soon but probaly defentivly signs of a new rifting cycle in progress I guess since the Penninsula been mostly silent before 2019.

    Reykjanes is on a superslow spreading ridge imagine If Atlantic was a superfast spreading ridge like pacific .. 18 times faster! Either it woud mean even more eruptions or the spreading is so fast that perhaps most magma woud be stuck at depth

    • I’d assume that the rising magma first has to build magma chambers as base for future sustainable eruptions. If this is happening, they should observe deep low-frequency (DLF) microearthquakes somewhere between the MOHO and the new evolving plumbing system.

      • If it’s another fissure eruption, there may not be a magma chamber. Fagradalsfjall’s recent lavas were primitive.

        • Depends on which volcano, the curtains of fire that Krysuvik and Svartsengi do are way too intense to be mantle decompression directly. So these volcanoes probably have mature storage just not shallow enough to form a caldera or evolve into rhyolite like has happened at Hengill. Although Hengill in the Holocene has also only done basaltic fissure eruptions so it might not have any rhyolite left either.

          Brennisteinsfjoll, Blafjoll and Fagradalsfjall erupt slower, maybe the fact they are all mountains, as the name suggests, is not a coincidence as the 2021 eruption created a 100 meter tall lava shield, if it wasnt formed in a former valley on an existing mountain it would be a sizable landmark.
          As a side note, the Blafjoll volcano has also possibly just woken up, it is a slow system but a few of the eruptions there in the middle ages look to have possibly been as voluminous as Holuhraun, still in the same style as the 2021 eruption.

    • If the Atlantic had spread 18 times faster it would now be 90,000 km wide. Apart from the geographic size problem, all Europe, Asia and North America would be squashed into Hawaii.

    • Im just curious what the effect woud be if Iceland was on a superfast spreading ridge ( place the Hotspot in the pacific ridge ) woud there even be any land at all ?

      • It can happen. The Tuamotu Archipelago is an example of a partly subaerial oceanic plateau formed along the East Pacific Rise from about 65 to 50 million years ago. It is smaller and more elongated than Iceland. In fact, the hotspot that gave rise to Tuamotu, the hotspot of Easter Island, has given rise to 3 or 4 emerged mid-ocean ridge plateaus throughout it’s history, Tuamotu being the youngest.

        • Gambier and Mangareva between Easter and Tuamotu also interesting, being supposedly sitting on the borders of a large caldera.

      • You have to take depth into consideration. Iceland Sea sort of shallow compared with most Pacific realms.

        • Pacific Rise is ”shallow” too being a hot spreading ridge so the seafloor is swollen there by the name ”ridge”

          You think of the older Abyssal plains where its 6000 m deep like Hawaii

      • It is quite likely that Shatsky also developed at a spreading ridge also.
        Estimated volume of Shatsky is 6,900,000 km3.

          • Technically Iceland is also kind of multi-junction with the Hroggar block, and the Aegir ridge.

      • Intense swarm now. Looks like it’s going for it again. Will it reach the surface on the first try this time?

      • First star of the swarm.
        04.07.2023 22:45:34 63.911 -22.243 5.4 km 3.1 90.1 1.8 km ENE of Fagradalsfjall

      • So far, no obvious horizontal propagation of the dike. This makes it more likely for vertical propagation to happen, reaching the surface, like the last eruptive dike, and unlike the preceding non-eruptive (failed intrusion) one.

      • Certainly looking interesting at the moment with a likely 3.1 quake.
        04.07.2023 22:45:34 63.911 -22.243 5.4 km 3.1 90.1 1.8 km ENE of Fagradalsfjall

        • And now upgraded that quake to a 3.6
          04.07.2023 22:45:34 63.908 -22.240 6.4 km 3.6 99.0 1.8 km ENE of Fagradalsfjall

    • It’s very interesting how there were a few odd looking swarms in the two days leading to the present intrusion. 3 suspicious clusters of abundant microearthquakes took place in the Reykjanes, Svartsengi, and Brennisteinsfjöll.

      • Yes, and Fagradalsfjall was mostly quiet. Interestingly, the surrounding areas that saw many triggered quakes during previous intrusions have been quite noisy.

      • thats more than just a deep earthquake swarm, right? tremor going off the top of the chart…

      • I have revised the seismic sequence leading to this crisis.

        The most interesting aspect is a swarm that happens some hundred meters west of Thorbjorn, starting around 4:36 (Iceland time) on Monday, and ending around 10:56. It produced three main pulses of earthquakes separated by quiet periods of 1 hour, and then an additional period of decaying activity. At the peak of the initial, strongest pulse, it was making an earthquake about every minute on average. The location, the very tight clustering of events, and the unusual sequence make me think this was a magmatic event, and maybe the start of the crisis.

        The other swarms are more dispersed in time and space, so seem more tectonic-like. Then, at 14:10 on Tuesday, earthquakes start to increase very gently in the northern part of the Fagradalsfjall massif. And finally, at 21:40, a magma intrusion explodes in northern Fagradalsfjall, with earthquakes every minute.

        • The intrusion seems to be propagating to the northeast, it has advanced 2 km only, since about 14:10. Apparently the start of propagation traces back to the weak activity starting at 14:10, Iceland time, so it looks like the intrusion is already underway then, just very slow, and only picks up a pace much later.

        • Select earthquakes showing the propagation. Magenta is older and orange younger:

          • Eruption outside of the valley then, south of Keilir. So thus one might build a proper cone instead of drowning itself in a lake at the peak of the eruption like last time.

  11. We have another swarm of deep (probably long period) earthquakes under Mauna Loa. So far, 6 earthquakes 30-40 km deep under the southern part of the summit area of Mauna Loa. Although only one of them has been included in the USGS catalogue. There was already a flurry of deep Mauna Loa earthquakes in late April. This could be a second pulse. Together with the April events, this is the most important episode of DLP earthquakes under Mauna Loa in years:

    • So there is another surge on the way, all while Kilauea is still inflating at 1 microradian every day or so…

    • If Mauna Loa follows the timetable of past NERZ “Saddle” eruptions, the next eruption should be a summit eruption around 2026 like 1903 or 1940.

  12. The intrusion seems to be about 5 km deep right now

    It is likely to erupt in the next couple days I think, given it has gone this close to the surface in barely a few hours. Probably also means the next eruption will have quite a high effusion rate abd maybe not last as long but only a guess at this point.

    Hopefully some webcams are set up in the right places to catch the start 🙂

    • Wednesday
      05.07.2023 04:21:09 63.930 -22.192 6.5 km 4.1 99.0 1.7 km SW of Keilir

    • The last two eruptions filled the low altitudes of the Fagradalsfjall system. The next eruption must climb to higher altitude and will need more pressure to reach there. The onset may be spectacular with large fountains, also possible gas/steam explosions. This would mean a strong beginning with a high lava output rate, but a fast decline afterwards, because Fagradalsfjall has shown that it “hates” to climb.
      In sum I’d expect a short but spectacular eruption. I hope for good videos and little damage.

  13. Mag 4.1 quake at only 4 km deep immediately southwest of Keilir at the north end of the dike. Also a mag 3 at just 2 km depth directly south of Keilir. Both of these were in the past hour, I think there could be an eruption in the next day.

    The dike isnt going underneath Fagradalsfjall itself, as in the actual mountain, so all of the trails there should be safe and offer very good view of any vent that opens. Well, weather providing of course.

  14. We just had an M4 and an M5 as the swarm is approaching Keilir. Also shallowing a but still at 4 km depth or more. This seems a re-activation of the 2021 dike which stopped at about this location before erupting somewhere entirely different. The depth suggests we are not close to an eruption yet but this is looking very interesting. We have a post scheduled on Katla’s activity of last week – perhaps we should postpone that!

      • I have eyes glued to the webcam…be fun to see an eruption occurring at t=0. Another couple of M3’s in the last several minutes. The following link is to the parallel YT feed for the one that Tomas Andersson kindly provided earlier. It’s a bit clearer, with a wider view and you can go full screen.

        I checked earlier, the camera is on Mt Þorbjörn just north of Grindavik, and appears to look towards the NE. Not sure I’ve got my geography right. From Google Maps the highest feature I think is Geldingadalir and the locus of all the tremors appears to be close to there or just behind it. If we’re lucky it will be just in front!

        The number of people viewing the cam has more than tripled since I started watching earlier. Maybe they read Volcano Cafe!

        • If the webcam is on Þorbjorn then it probably wont see it, the dike is between Fagradalsfjall and Keilir so the mountain is in the way.

          • Yes but a glow should be immediately visible just about centre of the cam. And any plume of smoke. Keilir is only a couple of miles behind Geldingadalir.

          • Exactly, the glow and plume were very obvious during the last eruption (at least on the clear days). There will be no doubt when it has started, but don’t expect any spectacular images.

  15. Maybe a few seasickness cases around Reykjavik today ?
    That’s a lot of shaking.

    • I can confirm that haha. Every half hour my whole workplace screams out loud because of the quakes. In Reykjavík.

      • They should be used to it by now! This seems to happen now every year

  16. The dike is about 5 km long now, has kept propagating NE and the tip is now near Keillir. Will it reach the surface or not?

    • Will reach the surface when it cannot push through more ground I guess and is forced upwards, thats what happened in fagradalshraun

      Iceland is souch an exciting geological place, wants to move there ! : D

  17. We probably have to be patient. Last eruption the intrusion took five days before it erupted. The sign to look for is when it goes quiet. That means there’s no more rock to break and it’s heading for the surface (or failed).

    • This is one to keep an eye on

    • At the moment the swarm is focussed just southeast of Keilir but that is hard rock to break through. If it fails, the pressure may increase back to the southwest, within fagradalsfjall itself where there are more faults available. That is what happened last time.

      • That’s probably what will happen this time as well. Maybe it will shift to the Nátthagi part first and try to go south, but in the end it will probably pop up within a 500m radius from the previous eruptions.

        • The main cone from 2021 is still available. In satellite images the cone is still warmer than the surrounding lava!

        • Thats just beacuse its the thickest part the cone is monogenetic Geldingadalir is an over 100 meters deep buried rootless lava lake now do will take a human lifetime to solidify

          • It is not the lava field that shows up – you are right that it is still liquid deep below, but the surface is now cold. The warm spot is the interior of the cone.

          • Videos I have seen of the 2021 volcano in winter the hot part is the wall while the bottom of the crater was snowed over. So seems pretty dead, if it was a path the intrusion in December probably would have erupted and the August eruption been up on the mountain too not at its base.

          • I seem to remember there was a small lake in Natthagi once. Did it get overrun with lava during the August 2022 efffusion?

          • That must have been a sight – lava vs lake.

            I think I visited the eruption in June and wondered about it – but all the action at the time was further up the valley. We made two visits, and by the second visit the hill we’d first stood on had been cut off by lava!

          • I think the Nátthagi lake was more of an ephemeral or seasonal pond at a dip or low point on the valley floor. I do not recall any water being present as the lava overran that area, more like a sandy area devoid of vegetation.

  18. Checking verified quakes, using, one can note that the southern end of the current dyke begins almost right at the end of last year’s eruptive fissure. On the other end, near Keilir, quakes radiate outward perpendicular to the dyke. This means the tip is expanding in that direction and the resulting stress triggers the quakes in the perpendicular direction. Don’t be surprised if M5 quakes happen on faults around Kleifarvatn in the very near future.

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