The Ring Nebula

Ring Nebula, JWST

Sometimes a project becomes remarkable. Some years ago we started thinking about what to do with the James Webb Space Telescope, whenever it would become available. An idea was developed and we worked out what kind of data would be needed. It turned out to be feasible, so we proposed it.

That is harder than it sounds. JWST has ‘proposal deadlines’: about once a year people can send in their proposals. They have to be complete with a strong science case saying what would be learned from it and why that is important to current science. A detailed explanation is needed of what has been done before, what are the open questions, and how your observations will address those. The science case alone can be many pages. The observations need to be fully defined: which targets, which instruments, which filters or gratings, how long each, and of course why each of these. You calculate the overheads (how long will the telescope take to slew and acquire the target, how long does it take to change filters, what kind of calibration is needed, etc. A team is formed who can carry out the analysis. Hit the ‘submit’ button and wait.

JWST will get 10 times as many requests as it can accommodate. Panels of scientists read and judge the applications and pick the 5-10% best ones. After some months, the announcements arrive, with 90% or more of the applicants left disappointed.

We were lucky. The panels liked our idea and it would not take too much time to carry out – that means, typically 10-20 hours although some observations are shorter or longer. We did further preparations, submitted the final observational setups and waited again. Now JWST was launched and moved out to its location beyond the moon, far from Earth. It took 6 months before everything was working, all problems sorted out, and the ‘features’ of the instruments were understood. Science observations began in July 2022. It so turned out that our observations were among the very first to be scheduled. That was pure luck as at any time the telescope can only look at a part of the sky. If your target is not in there, you will have to wait until the Earth and Sun have moved out of the way. There was nothing for to do: the observations were set from the control centres by qualified people after extensive checking. We were not allowed anywhere near the telescope. After, the data us checked for quality and any mishaps, and if ok passed on to the proposers. For us, some of the data was taken in the first week of July, and a second set later in August.

The unfolding of JWST

The data turned out to be spectacular. But understanding all the idiosyncrasies took a long time. The Space Telescope institute developed software to calibrate the data and remove all problems. That took time. By January we were happy with the data and started work. It got busy. If you are wondering why so few posts here recently, I was (still am) a JWST captive.

The target of our observations was the Ring Nebula.It is a small object in the northern sky, discovered in the 18th century by Charles Messier and a few weeks later by Antoine Darquier, possibly because Messier told him. Darquier wrote about it and is therefore often credited with the discovery, but it has a number in the Messier catalogue (M57, to be precise). Neither was interested in it: they were hunting comets and it so happened one was near this little nebula. Darquier compared to a ‘fading planet’. The name stuck, and we still call it a ‘planetary nebula’

We now know some 3000 planetary nebulae in our Milky Way galaxy. They range in size from pinpricks looking like stars to nebulae appearing as large as the Moon. The collage below was made by David Frew, Ivan Bojicic and Quentin Parker at the University of Hong Kong. It shows the variety of shapes and sizes, scaled to their proper physical size in space. The range of structures is amazing. Messier and Darquier knew nothing about this. All they saw through their small telescope was a small cloud. The ring shape is though recognizable through even a small telescope. Using a telescope the size of JWST is definitely overkill.

So what are they? Clearly planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets. It turns out, they are stars just after their death. The nebulae almost always have a faint star dead centre. That star is the cause of the nebula. The star is dead. It is still hot (very hot) and luminous, but that is from recent days. It has used up all its hydrogen and even helium and can generate no more energy. At the very end, in a moment of madness, sorry in a well-defined process of physics, it ejected its remaining envelope with all of its left-over fuel. Now it is sitting there, half the star it used to be, and is beginning a phase of cooling and fading that will last for the rest of the life of the Universe. Why so hot? That is because you are looking at the core of the star, a Fukushima without the shell. Why still luminous? That is because stars at the very end become very bright. Our Sun will become 6000 times brighter than it is now. Why so faint? That is because it is hot. All the energy is coming out in the far ultraviolet which we can’t see. But the energy it is radiating away cannot be replaced. It is on its final journey to nowhere.

We are studying those shells, the nebulae that the star ejected. Where do all those amazing structures come from? Stars are round, so why these nebulae? The solar wind does not look like that. How does the material in the nebulae change? We see different colours throughout – why? And finally, how and why does the star eject so much mass? They only ever do it at the very end.

The images of the Ring Nebulae are fantastic. They have higher resolution than the Hubble Space telescope (at least some of the images we have do) and show very different aspects.

This is the Hubble image of the Ring Nebula. It shows the vibrant colours, but also details of the structure. The colours come from different elements. The nebula is ionized by the star and becomes a plasma. (Think the inside of lightning.) The hottest gas is closest to the star and is bright in oxygen which shines blue-green. Further out the gas is a bit cooler and there it shines mainly in nitrogen and hydrogen, which looks red. Of course we can make the images any colour we want, but we often (not always) try to stay close to the natural colours.

Around the ring you can see several fainter, broken rings, forming a halo. In the main ring you can see a few dark clumps, dense enough that they absorb light from behind them. And in the centre one can see that dying star.

The JWST images show the nebula differently, different from how we have ever seen it before.

JWST NIRcam image. Credit: Roger Wesson et al

So what do we see? Can’t tell you. We have more images that are not yet public. But some details are obvious. The ring is very broken here. (It isn’t really a ring but a torus that we see almost pole-on.) Clumps are everywhere. I counted 25,000 clumps. We used a software program designed to find clumps – it counted 17,000. I think my number is better. We estimate that half of the gas in the ring is in those clumps. We have ideas on how the clumps formed. They are so dense that the gas inside is shielded from the hot star and has started to form molecules. Some have started to form short tails, becoming like planet-sized comets. The halo shows a wealth of structure. One of these is a series of hundred of spikes or rays, pointing directly away from the star. They seem illuminated by light coming through holes in the shell. But we don’t see the holes.

What does it mean for us? Well, it is good entertainment, I guess. But there is a point of personal interest. Some of the gas in the shell becomes cool enough to condense. About 1% consists of condensable materials, such as silicon and iron. They form small dust grains. Those dust grains travel with the gas and in some 10,000 years will become part of interstellar space. And perhaps a few hundred million years later, they find themselves, much changed but still with a core that came from the planetary nebula, in a region where new stars form. Now they have an important role to play. For while the gas forms the star, the dust clumps together and grows bigger. And bigger. Eventually, it forms planets. Our Earth formed in this way. And there is more. The material ejected by the star contained products of its nuclear burning. When helium fuses, it produces carbon. Much of the carbon in space comes from here, from stars like the one forming the Ring Nebula. The Earth managed to capture a thin cover of carbon. Add some water and you get hydrocarbons. Add nitrogen, and you get the building blocks of life. Eventually, you get us, complete with a nice planet to live on and a nice star right next door to keep us warm.

This is the process we are studying, an ever richer cycle of matter in space where stars form, die and new stars form enriched by the debris, now with a consortium of planets. One day they too will die and add their ashes to the Universe, renewing the cycle. It has been called (thanks, Xander) a galactic ecology.

And this is what we are studying. That dead star in the Ring Nebula is leaving us a legacy. And by studying the Ring Nebula perhaps we can understand this ecology a little better. I am only a part of a team (and everything was awesome). Other people did much of the work and deserve the credit. But it has been a rewarding experience.

Albert, August 2023

A proposal to build another JWST out of lego.

309 thoughts on “The Ring Nebula

  1. Wow!! 4 light years!!. 24 trillion earth years to cross that big one. Where are you Zefram Cochrane? When do we begin?

    Good job, Albert.

  2. Nice article indeed! always impressive how huge these nebulae are, and how low density the gas must be. And here is new information on how cool the equator was during the last glacial maximum of the Ice Age

    Equator was also cooler as well due to the low atmospheric cO2, today its avarge 31 c During LGM it coud have been only 25 / 24 c, so about as warm as a typical summer in UK, quite cool.
    Kailua Kona must have been much cooler as well right? perhaps Hawaii was barely tropical durning LGM… tropics where indeed much cooler back then

    I can just imagine how hot the Equator was durning the cretaceous thermal maximum or Paleocene- Eocene thermal maximum .. 45 c ?

    • It was also much drier ( Australia woud be mostly deserts back then ) yet not as warm as it is today because of the lower cO2

  3. A genuine surprise, but a good one for me. Thanks for sharing, Albert. I appreciate this.

  4. Each of the gas blobs in the ring nebula Maybe the size of our solar system

      • Makes a small eruption here on earth seem a bit insignificant.

        Thanks for the article and well done getting some time on the telescope!

  5. Albert, is this you?

    It indicates that you were part of “The JWST Ring Nebula Team” or “JWST Ring Nebula Imaging Project”

    There is a lot released on the internet today, including Forbes Magazine.

    But alas, I seem unable to pull up members of this imaging project.

    p.s. I am impressed.

  6. I really had to dig this out, the current splash of information today on the internet on the Ring Nebula shows over 207,000 hits (on Google search engine) but it took some time to unearth the factual information.

    Albert is way too modest.


    Congratulations, Albert!!!

    • RE: “Albert is way too modest.” “Congratulations, Albert!!!”

      A good thing is worth repeating!

  7. So the ring nebula is about as wide as from the Sun to Alpha Centauri. Albert what is the average distance between stars in our part of the Milky Way? I dont mean binary stars either but collective star systems. It is apparently very hard to find this number… But 4.5 lightyears seems possibly on the further end considering how close some stars have gotten to the Sun even in the past million years, and how Proxima Centauri is a fraction of a lightyear from Alpha and is possibly not bound to it.

    • Orange dwarf Star Gliese 710 c will pass as close as 8000 AU to the sun in in around one million years, that coud send millions of comets towards the inner solar system. Astronomers says it will be the biggest disturbition since the late heavy bombardment not soure If Earth will be hit by the comet storm

      But in the 900 million years since complex life began, I guess that have happened many times without any problems for Earth as well

      Well the most dense galaxy is this one: insane star density

      • No worries. It is 20 times closer than the alpha centauri system but that is still very far away. It is also staying well away from the orbital plane of the planets. And we will have had quite a few such encounters in the past.

      • They say it will disturb the ort cloud at 10 000 AU

    • It is more like 1 light year. There is one other star inside the nebula but it does not seem to have any effect on it

  8. Great article, I suppose a really really big volcano…. star-shattering in fact.
    To me the rays look like the track of clumps from an earlier ejection that left trails behind due interaction with interstellar environment. They seem to terminate in an area with faint clumps on an outer shell.
    I always assumed this was a view perpendicular to the axis rather than looking straight down through both poles. Don’t know why, perhaps because the ellipsoidal shape suggests the major axis is the equator.
    Very cool, do you have the infra-red spectrum is bands too, and what temperatures or major components do they show?
    On red giants.
    I have also been a bit puzzled by descriptions of red giants (since we are on the subject). On engioneering grounds I find I imagine them as a very small exceedingly hot dense core burning through elements>He. Outside that is a low density ‘atmosphere’ of H and He (plasma) stratified with a depth-temperatire ~in equilibrium well below ignition conditions.
    What am I missing?

    • The view is around 20 (+/- 10) degrees from pole-on. The equatorial plane is almost in the plane of the sky. The slight tilt causes the ring to appear a bit oval. There are no clumps at the end of the stripes. It does appear to be in part an illumination effect, like lighthouse beams.

      Red giants funny. As usual you are missing nothing. If a red giant would be the size of your room, the core (with half the mass) would measure something like 1 millimeter across. The core is very dense, the rest very much less. The core is not burning: it has finished its fuel and consists of ashes. The nuclear burning takes place on the surface of the core, with the ashes dropping on the core. The rest of the envelope is indeed not taking part, although it does receive some of the ashes as well which are occasionally brought to the surface by the vigorous convection. The convection starts just at the outside of the nuclear burning shell.

      • OK, I have missed something. I assumed that the red giant phase commences ~~when hydrogen ran out in the (original) stellar core. This resulted in a collapse (may be slow) until the core burned helium to, hmm boron won’t work it will absorb neutrons, Nitrogen/oxygen (as most stable), then carbon. For some reason I have it in mind that after carbon the energy gain from fusion is so low that the transfer to iron is ‘rapid’.
        You seem to suggest that its perhaps a layer of helium on the surface that is left to ‘burn’ with the interior being heavier elements.
        Of course its likely heavily dependent on the size of the star. Presumably bigger starts get to ‘burn’ heavier elements whilst smaller ones stop earlier. Really big ones run out and become neutron starts or BH.

        • Red giants form twice. The first is after hydrogen in the core is exhausted. As you say, the core contracts. This heats up the region just outside the core which now ignites. You get shell burning around a helium core. At this time the star becomes a red giant.

          100 million years later (with a very large range) the core becomes so hot that helium ignites. So the core restarts nuclear burning. This extinguishes the shell and the star contracts again. But helium produces 10 times less energy per kilogram, and it doesn’t last long. So the whole process repeats, now with a double shell (one burning hydrogen, one burning helium) around a carbon core. It becomes a red giant for the second time. 90% of stars call it quits after this. The throw out their envelope and ‘fade away’. 10% of stars are massive enough that eventually carbon also ignites. They are on the path to producing iron and eventually collapsing.

          Why carbon? Helium fusion has a problem. There are no stable nuclei with atomic number of 5 or 8, so neither He+H not He+He is possible. Instead, He+He+He–>C happens but this is much more difficult. That is one reason why helium ignition takes so long to get going.

          • @Albert, this was a very interesting article, thanks! I’m curious what you think about the recent study that argued that Betelgeuse may be near the end of its carbon-burning stage, which would suggest that a supernova is imminent, possibly even within a (currently living) human lifetime?

          • OK. Makes more sense now.
            Initially only the core is dense enough and hot enough to support fusion.
            Eventually the core is poisoned by excessive helium and fails to produce a high enough energy density to support the core mass. This thus collapses (bringing the outer layers rich in hydrogen) until the surface is dense and not enough to support fusion. Red Giant phase #1. Red giant phase #2 happens when the shell can no longer produce enough energy to resist collapse and a second collapse happens until the triple fusion of heliu to carbon happens. This starts a slow motion (millions of years) collapse of the core as it works increasingly rapidly through the metals until only iron is left at which point (depending on mass) either a white dwarf, neutron star or black hole remains.
            Various wild and wondrous instabilities ( probably also mass dependent) may result in erratic energy release causing outer layers to vacate the area due (presumably) shock or thermal waves passing through the stars outer envelope (really a hot atmosphere).
            PS What is the mass density of the outer layer, presumably its about the escape velocity of hydrogen and/or helium at circa 1000k given the gravitational field there? Hmm, it will be dependent on the star mass and the heat flux so there are two conditions which may well not be the same. The star has to be in rough thermal equilibrium, radiating out (temp, radius) the same amount as is being produced, but also the surface should be roughly gravitationally bound given gravitational field and surface temperature.
            What is the thermal time constant between the core and the surface of a red giant? I suspect this may be ~10^5 yrs, or even noore.

          • The density at the surface of a red giant is not far from that of our atmosphere. The surface pressure is 10 times higher because of the higher temperature. But the stars are quite fuzzy, and it is not trivial to define the surface. The binding energy of the outer layers is close to zero but that counts not only the thermal energy but also the chemical energy and radiation pressure. The thermal time from the core is indeed that long but is not relevant because the envelope is convective. The convective time scale (energy transport) is decades and the sound crossing time (pressure) a year. In high mass stars a whole series of shells can act simultaneously, each layer and the core burning its own fuel. Low mass stars don’t do that.

            A red giant forms when the energy is generated in a shell and not in the core. Whenever energy is generated in the core, the star is more compact.

          • I think we have got to the point when further explanation requires some moderate maths and a small booklet. Anyway, I think I understand better whats going on. More would be inappropriate here (sadly).

      • Are there any cases of stars that went on to fuse heavier elements but failed before iron, so didnt go supernova but also got to a point a lot further than a typical white dwarf? Perhaps hot A or B type stars, 6-8 solar masses, maybe even some of the 9-10s that may have evolved unusually and never got a massive enough core.

        I guess such stars would leave behind white dwarfs but made of magnesium or silicon, and well over 1 solar mass, close to the limit. Maybe there are even white dwarfs that exceed the Chandarsekar limit and are supported by rapid rotation for a while. It is always just stated stars of 8+ solar masses go supernova and anything less doesnt, but nothing is ever that clear cut

        • Once carbon ignites, a supernova becomes almost inevitable. There is a small range of masses where it is possible that some carbon is burned to neon with the star still ending up as white dwarf. Anything more and a supernova is inevitable.

          • So the ~8 solar masses range is the kind of mass needed to actually ignite carbon. Or at least to create a core more massive than the upper limit for white dwarfs.

            The other part is still unclear though. Stars have a lot of very variable characteristics, and especially at the larger masses or very low masses are not really much like the sun at all. 8 solar masses is the average but is it possible for a star maybe slightly under to still make it? Or, is it possible for a supergiant to fail to go supernova? Wolf Rayet stars in a lot of ways resemble planetary nebulae, only the stars are much larger. The descriptions of them being stripped of their hydrogen by their own radiant energy makes it sound like they are a giant analogue of a white dwarf, but which has initiated fusion of heavier stuff.

            Sometimes I wonder how much of astronomy is missed because we try to find ways to separate things, and dont see how similar seemingly different parts of space are. A neutron star is almost like a gigantic atom, a protoplanetary disk is like a tiny galaxy. Seems we like to apply the rules a bit differently when talking about single objects like planets or stars. Maybe it is a subconscious effort to find somewhere like our home.

          • Out of curiosity … how would both stars and geology be affected by a small change in the fine structure constant? I expect there might be differences in what crystal structures are stable at which temperatures, and in the correspondence between star mass and energy production, among other things. The nuclear resonance that allows CNO fusion would probably break down if it changed by very much at all, and much less carbon would be generated by stars, so the “window” of values for this parameter that allows a universe to have carbon-based life might be quite tiny.

      • The outer edge of a Red Giant is much much less than one bar! its basically the same as Earths lower thermosphere.. so a Red Hot Vaccum

        Red Giants and Red Supergiants , Hypergiants have incredibley low avarge density because they are so bloated .. a tiny superdense core in a gigantic low density envelope

  9. At this moment the eruption of the Litli-Hrútur is severely waning. Since this eruption has been waning, I see much more steam and smoke coming from the volcano, than during the active phase with an active lava lake inside its crater. Why is this volcano ejecting so much steam and smoke when the eruption is ending?

    Screenshot from the livestream at “Reykjanes – Norður”:

    • There is still an open conduit where degassing takes place. And because the temperature is now lower, the water turns to steam. Perhaps the sulfur is attracted to the water droplets – I don’t know about that!

      • I suppose, technically, it’s the other way around. Pure steam is completely transparent, but the now lower temperature allows the steam to transition into its liquid phase and form water vapour, which makes up the white puffy clouds we commonly refer to as steam.

        • I’d guess that it’s true: Water steam condenses and creates vapor clouds. Gas and dust particles can facilitate the condensation of water gas.

          The eruption appears to be in a transitional phreato-strombolian (vapor with lava bombs) mode, which later is going to shift towards pure hydrothermal activity and end of the magmatic eruption.

        • At the risk of being overly pedantic, technically “water vapor” *is* the invisible gaseous phase, which is called “steam” when it is above the boiling point, but in both cases is still a gas. Well, I guess “steam” also refers colloquially to the cloud of liquid drops formed as well, so it’s a bit imprecise. Anyway, It’s condensing to liquid, as you say, but forming tiny droplets around condensation nuclei, which is exactly what clouds are.

          • The words “Steam” and “Vapor” can both apply for water gas (>100°C in classical circumstances) and a solution of tiny waterdrops in air. The solution of water in air can better be described as mist, damp, haze or just a water cloud.

          • @Volcanophil. Yes, I should say that I’m coming from an atmospheric science perspective where “vapor” always means gas.

          • Wish I could edit posts here but as a quick follow up water vapor (gas) doesn’t need > 100 deg C. In the range of temperatures we encounter on Earth at least, there’s always at least some amount of gas phase that is in equilibrium with liquid water surfaces (I.e. 100% relative humidity). That gives an upper bound of sorts for a given ambient temperature beyond which condensation would occur given suitable condensation nuclei, and below which evaporation would occur.

          • Thanks Dan, how silly of me 🙈

            So, I just learned that vapour means a gaseous substance at a temperature where it can exist as both a gas and a liquid, i.e. below its critical temperature. I probably should’ve known that.

          • @Tomas Andersson: I don’t consider it silly at all. If anything, I’ve learned (not for the first time) that people in different fields often have different shades of meaning for the same words and it’s good to clarify these different meanings when discussing them!

            Another good example. Some years ago when conversing with a vulcanologist on Twitter, I discovered to my surprise that vulcanologists have distinct meanings for the words “prediction” and “forecast”. The former refers to a specific prediction that, say, a volcano will erupt on a certain date (or maybe range of dates), while the latter means a more general statement about the likelihood of an eruption. In meteorology, in contrast, the words “prediction” and “forecast” are (at least in practice, and for better or for worse) relatively close synonyms with a meaning much more akin to that of “forecast” in vulcanology.

      • As magma recedes in the dikes low pressure releases more sulfur dioxide which finds its way to the open vents in great clouds. A big fumarole in effect. Not so good smelling downwind.

    • Even If its stops that pile will take a long long time to cool down .. decades at least the deep interior

      Puu Oo will take a even longer to loose its heat

    • shows the decreasing harmonic tremor as the cone winds down

    • While less than a week ago. Its still a very active eruption generating plenty of lava and gasses. It also likes to build huge walls and roof itself over which only the smoke gets through.

      So just becouse we dont see much on the webcams, does not mean its not there.

  10. Astronomy has a lot of mathematics, so we’re glad that you focused on a topic that doesn’t need complicated mathematical functions to understand it.

    Does there still remain a White Dwarf in the core of the Nebula? Does the gravity of the lost star still remain in the Nebula?
    Concerning the origin of earth: Shouldn’t there be witnesses of old Nebulas around our Solar System where the mass of Earth (and Mars, Jupiter, Sun, …) originated? The Supernova that produced the Period 7 elements on earth (f.e. Uranium) must have been very large and should leave something behind until now.

    • You make an unwarranted assumption there: “the supernova”. Who said it was one supernova?

      As for old nebulosity around the solar system? Absolutely not. The sun is billions of years old. Any old nebuolosity would have been gone by 4 Ga or so. The sun at that point was about the age of the Hyades cluster as I recall and there is pretty much no nebulosity remaining there. Similarly tracing any supernova remnants from that time will essentially be impossible. Too much time has passed for any associations to be present that are strong enough to detect.

      Finally yes there is a white dwarf in the centre of the nebula. A white dwarf is simply the core of a red giant after the expulsion of the outer layers. The mass will be reduced but its gravity will naturally still be affecting things.

    • We know that there was a supernova at around the time the sun formed. That is because of radioactive elements that were n the solar system at the time an which have quite a short decay time (say a million years). Those elements are long gone but their decay products were left. But 5 billion years is a very long time. All stars from those days are now all over the galaxy. The sun is also no longer near the place where it was born.

      • I was thinking more in terms that there seemed to be an assumption of only one progenitor supernova for the matter of the solar system. In reality there were many such events to create the oxygen and neon and germanium etc.

        Don’t know if it’s been kept right up to date with the latest research but Wikipedia does have a fairly useful chart showing the nucleosynthesis origins of each element. We’re talking big bang fusion, red giant layer expulsion, fission caused by cosmic rays, type 2 supernovae (big stars exploding), type 1a supernovae (accretion white dwarfs reaching their mass limit and exploding), merging neutron stars and humans. What’s interesting to me is how much of periods 5 and 6 of the periodic table (periods being rows) is from neutron star mergers.

        Regarding that supernova fairly near to solar formation are you referring to one proximate both temporally and physically? If I recall my stellar formation theory correctly a proximate supernova would be one thing which could give a kick to suitable molecular clouds and start them on the route to collapse and stellar formation.

        BTW please don’t assume I’m trying to insult your intelligence by defining what the types of supernovae are. That’s for general readers of the comment rather than you Albert.

        • In a way, this is like asking which rain shower caused pollution in the ocean! Directly underneath a rain storm you can still see the new water separate from the old. A day later everything is thoroughly mixed. We can only see the effect of an individual supernova if it happened very close to (space and time) to the formation of the sun. Otherwise, the elements came from the mix of events throughout the history of the Milky Way.

  11. “It turns out, they are stars just after their death.”

    Hmm. Seems curious that one particular VolcanoCafe poster hasn’t weighed in here yet.

  12. Does the Star which ones disappeared in a Supernova and created the Earth’s elements still exist somewhere as kind of a Dwarf? It should be possible to estimate where the mass of the present Solar system came from. The gravity force of the Dwarf should still be strong enough to influence the path of light by curvature of space.

  13. Voyager 2 apparently heard the S Band up-link and successfully re-aligned the High Gain Antenna with Earth. Normal downlink telemetry back on X band!

    UPDATE, Aug. 4, 2023: NASA has reestablished full communications with Voyager 2.

    The agency’s Deep Space Network facility in Canberra, Australia, sent the equivalent of an interstellar “shout” more than 12.5 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometers) to Voyager 2, instructing the spacecraft to reorient itself and turn its antenna back to Earth. With a one-way light time of 18.5 hours for the command to reach Voyager, it took 37 hours for mission controllers to learn whether the command worked. At 12:29 a.m. EDT on Aug. 4, the spacecraft began returning science and telemetry data, indicating it is operating normally and that it remains on its expected trajectory.

    • Excellent. Voyager is in the the southern sky so Canberra (Tidbinbilla) was the best choice. Did Voyager tell NASA off or put in a complaint?

      • It is also possible Canberra is the only one with enough up-link power as I recall it was upgraded to 75 kW (I think). Not sure if either Madrid or Goldstone were upgraded later.

        Voyager just seems pleased to have someone to talk to again.

        NASA Voyager @NASAVoyager
        Can you hear me now? 📡

        Last night, I reestablished full communications with Earth thanks to some quick thinking and a lot of collaboration. I’m operating normally and remain on my expected trajectory. So glad I can finally phone home.

        • Canberra is actually the only one that can see Voyager 2. Voyager 1 is visible from other Deep Space Network antennas, but Voyager 2 is too far south for the others and is below the horizon. That means there is a single point failure in the system: if this antenna is out of operation for any reason, Voyager 2 will be on its own. That is already a good reason to have a regular scheduled where Voyager tries to contact Earth itself. It is amazing the little thing still works, after 40 years in such a harsh environment and with a declining energy supply. I don’t think we have any working electronics in our house that is that old

          • I had it in mind that it was still just above the horizon in Goldstone but yes about 4 degrees below horizon is the best it gets it seems now that I’ve actually checked.

            I have quite a few electronic items still working over 40 years old including a ZX81, a tv, several radios and a Betamax video recorder. Although I can’t really count it as electronic my oldest fully functional and still used bit of equipment is a late 1950s model Bell and Howell 8mm (Standard 8) film projector – these things were built like tanks!

      • As an aerospace engineer, this incident is very very embarrassing. I am sure that steps will be taken so that this doesn’t happen in the future. It is to the credit of some forward thinking engineers that they put in a self-aligning procedure in Voyager (just in case.. which turned out to be the case, but fortunately it heard the signal.

        • Certainly bad but the miss-point was said to be 2 degrees which would not have been a problem for S Band uplink during the primary mission and was still within current tolerance (obviously with upgraded transmit power – as it worked). I wonder if that was by luck or whatever went wrong was restricted by something to stay within last good uplink S Band tolerance?

          I’m sure we will hear more in time.

          • what bothers me, is that I am a retired aerospace engineer, and someone(s) should have reviewed these uplink commands, before giving the final go-ahead to transmit. whenever geodetic or astrometric information is given it MUST be carefully checked. I am a bit surprised here honestly. I worked for a very well known company, but we were very careful to not make blunders of this magnitude

          • Yes I agree but the number of active NASA people currently still employed that know the system inside out must be low. Also we know there is a long standing receiver issue with frequency lock. Possibly some bits got corrupted in a way that got through error checking?

            At least it all seems to have been resolved quickly whatever combination of chance or design got them there.

            But also even the best of people with the supposedly best checks make mistakes. Boeing recently made a plane that would crash itself unless the pilots over-rode it then additionally disabled the switch on earlier models to over-ride the auto-crash pilot. Without telling the pilots!

  14. Perseverance visited Ingenuity.

    Andrea Luck @andrealuck

    Hey! Just a cool reminder that there’s currently a helicopter flying around on Mars.

    Full size animation and more info:

    Target: #Ingenuity
    NASA’s Mars #Perseverance Rover
    Left and Right Mastcam
    Aug. 2, 2023 Sol 871

    #Mars #Space #Spacetodon #Astrodon #Solarocks #Astronomy #Mars2020 #marshelicopter

  15. Thank you Albert for all that you contribute…not only this blog, but to Science in general.
    I have one question perhaps you can answer:
    Is part of your investigation to measure/analyze the gravity well around the nebula? Is this even possible?
    Hypothetically, if I had a “gravity camera” that could resolve the “density” of spacetime (aking to gravitational lensing), and took two pictures before and after the supernova, would I see (from Earth’s distance) any change in the “overall” gravity well of the nebula/star remnants?
    For instance, again hypothetically, if our sun were to suddenly collapse into a black hole, Earth would not experience any change in it’s gravitational attraction to the Sun/BH (our orbit would remain the same, gravitationally speaking)…and I wonder if the inverse would be possible? Over time, the gravity in any one locale within the nebula would shift as matter and gravity continues to disperse, but would the overall distortion of the fabric of spacetime really change as viewed from Earth?

    • It’s having another paroxysm, presumably similar to Etna. This is its most explosive eruptive period since 1999, more ash and less lava effusion compared to 2019-20. Unfortunately we are very unlikely to get any videos.

  16. SHISHALDIN (VNUM #311360)
    54°45’19” N 163°58’16” W, Summit Elevation 9373 ft (2857 m)
    Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
    Current Aviation Color Code: RED

    Two episodes of elevated eruptive activity occurred at Shishaldin Volcano over the past week on August 2, and August 3-4. The Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level was raised to RED/WARNING for this second event which is ongoing. Low-level eruption of lava confined to the summit crater as well as a short duration pause in the eruption occurred between these events.

    On August 2, an ash plume was observed by pilots north of Shishaldin from the ground surface to 9000 ft (2.7 km) above sea level. Overall seismic activity was low at this time, however, small explosive events consistent with low level strombolian activity were detected.

    On August 3 at about 9:00 am AKDT (18:00 UTC), seismic activity began to increase in intensity. Cloudy conditions obscured satellite and web camera observations. There was a steady increase in seismicity throughout the day and the Alaska Volcano Observatory issued a Volcanic Activity Notice announcing the lead up to explosive activity at 5:36 pm AKDT (01:36 UTC August 4). Seismic activity continued to increase through the night with strongly elevated surface temperatures observed through cloud cover suggesting lava was active at the surface. Satellite images indicated low-level ash emissions by 5:20 am (13:20 UTC) as cloud cover cleared. Ash emission gradually increased and the Alaska Volcano Observatory issued a second Volcanic Activity Notice while remaining at Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level ORANGE/WATCH at 9:04 am AKDT (17:04 UTC). Over the next hour, the height of the plume increased to 30,000 ft above sea level with the plume extending over 100 km (62 miles) to the northeast. At 10:17 am AKDT (18:17 UTC), the Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level/Alert Level was raised to RED/WARNING where it currently remains. Trace to minor tephra fallout is expected to the northeast of Shishaldin.

    Prior to each of these events during the week, seismic activity had remained above background. Elevated surface temperatures were observed most days throughout the week consistent with low-level eruption or recent cooling deposits.

    Shishaldin has now had six periods of elevated eruptive activity resulting in significant ash emissions during the current eruption which started on July 12. It is unknown how long this eruption will last, but previous eruptions of Shishaldin Volcano have lasted weeks to months with repeated cycles of activity similar to those seen in the last three weeks. Before the current activity, the 2019–2020 eruption of Shishaldin was the first to result in lava flows outside of the crater area since 1976. Minor eruptions in 2004 and 2014 erupted lava confined to the summit crater. Eruptions from Shishaldin have produced ash clouds in the past like those seen during the current eruption, most recently in January 2020. Satellite, seismic, and infrasound data is routinely monitored for signs of explosions that might produce ash clouds. In addition, ashfall forecast models are kept up to date on the public activity page (

    Shishaldin Volcano is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, web cameras, and a telemetered geodetic network. In addition to the local monitoring network, AVO uses nearby geophysical networks, regional infrasound and lighting data, and satellite images to detect eruptions.

  17. In case anyone is still interested, the Litli-Hrutur eruption has revived somewhat. The south end of the cone is again spitting out tephra irregularly, and the lava front to the southeast of the cone is showing some incandescence,

  18. It’s hard to tell, since the RÚV camera is both out of focus and set to a rather low exposure right now, but it seems to have become a doornail.

    Why is it that despite having more magma in the dike it has done significantly less than in 2021?

    • Because the volume in the dike is irrelevant if there isnt more coming in…

    • Not the same dike, perhaps. The new intrusion was near the old one but may have broken its own path. This put pressure on the old dike which managed to break out. The new magma has not erupted. Perhaps half of all intrusions never get to the surface.

  19. Does anyone have any thoughts on the earthquake swarm in Iceland near Langjokull?

    It’s been going for a couple of weeks, and while they are all quite small earthquakes it’s regular and they seems to average about 5km deep which is consistent with the Fagradalsfjall depth. While I don’t suggest the volcanos are connected when you look at the Iceland earthquake map on IMO today the Reykjanes peninsular earthquakes line up in a way that could be imagines to point at this swarm and seem to kind of be travelling to join up.

    Could this be the MAR rifting a bit and causing more displacement and hence small intrusions across the whole of its length in South West Iceland and the magma moves to fill the gaps? Could the periodic activity on the Reykjanes peninsula be related to this, but also extend further afield as the magma finds any weak points to fill?

    Would this be a reasonable theory to say that you could get a big eruption anywhere during these episodes if a significant weak point connects to the surface and a lot of magma can then erupt because the whole MAR is stretching and allowing more to reach the surface?

    Ultimately, could this swarm near Langjokull become another eruption if it started propagating to the surface?

    • It’s along the plate boundary in an area that saw intense fissure eruption activity during the Ice Ages, there are a few large tindar ridges from subglacial fires. It again had an episode of fissure eruptions about 3600 years ago that were similar to Brennisteinsfjöll. So I guess it wouldn’t be surprising to see magma moving in that area as we’ve seen under Thorbjörn multiple times.

      • What’s the likelihood over different repeat periods for fires across different parts of the MAR syncing up? Could we in for a period where a huge long line of fires could keep flaring up for several hundred years? Anything is possible I guess, just unlikely. But any indications this could be starting or am I getting over enthusiastic?

        • It has happened at least twice already, 1000 and 2000 years ago, that many eruptions occurred across the Reykjanes Peninsula affecting multiple systems.

          The last Reykjanes Fires were immediately preceded by giant fissure eruptions of Katla and Bardarbunga (Eldja and Vatnaöldur), and a 9 km3 Langjokull shield (Hallmundarhraun), all of them around 900 AD, with the Langjökull shield probably lasting several decades. While the proper Reykjanes Fires lasted 1000-1240 AD, involving three/four systems within the peninsula, and at least Eldey offshore.

          But less and less seems to be known about older Reykjanes events. In any case, there is some indication it would be cyclical. So I think we are in for a show. We have already seen two systems repeatedly activating, Thörbjorn/Svarsengi and Fagradalsfjall. And the last eruption of Fagradalsfjall involved a very interesting sequence, a day before the dike started, there was a brief but intense swarm at the center of past inflation events west of Thorbjörn, then there was the start of the dike intrusion at Fagradalsfjall, and then a little into this intrusion a second dike started under Eldey, which died out quickly after failing to erupt. So there is definitely a coordinated behaviour of three systems that we’ve seen so far, we will see if more join in. Eldey is one to watch, since as demonstrated by Krafla and Fagradalsfjall, when you get one dike more follow.

          • There seems to have been a broadly similar cycle about 3000 years ago too. Lots of the lava at Svartsengi and Krysuvik is about 3000 years old, Brennisteinsfjoll apparently was not really involved in that cycle but that could be because Hengill had a major rift, erupting about 1 km3 of lava. There was also the Thjovahraun eruption on the northeast side of Þingvellir, perhaps not completely related as it seems to be a little older.

            Going back before that is very hard to tell though. Brennisteinsfjoll seems to have been quite active, Hengill not so much. But Krysuvik and Svartsengi/Reykjanes appear to have been erupting repeatedly from the same rifts since the early Holocene, seemingly doing so after a phase of shield construction after deglaciation.

            Fagradalsfjall might be best seen as a time capsule from that era, probably as this current rifting event continues and more magma accumulates in the crust it will have faster eruptions. The last 3 eruptions have already seen exponential increases, from 8 m3/s, to 24 m3/s, up to almost 100 m3/s just recently, even though the steady state has been similar. If this follows trajectory we will get an eruption at 1000 m3/s 🙂 next year… probably not, the next couple years will likely have more of the short eruptions we have just seen, but 1000 m3/s is certainly a possibility if the rift can hold no more magma, the immediate orders of magnitude increase in the eruption size at Krafla in mid 1980 when the rift could no longer accomodate another dike shows how we should expect this to go.

            What is pretty obvious in the older flows though, there is no sequence, the eruptions are pretty random. It seems to be a coincidence that systems activated from the east and moving west in the middle ages.

          • Thanks Hector. I hadn’t realised Langjokull was involved in the previous Reykjanes peninsular fires. So we should be keeping and eye on that seemingly small Langjokull swarm and any others!

            It is going to be interesting. There should be lots of fun forecasting questions about where it’s going to erupt next.

          • My money would be on … Fagradalsfjall. Because the last three in a row were there.

  20. It is above all very beautiful – thank you for sharing. Must be exciting to be a part of this – congrats. concerning rings (these of a different kind): Finally my poor dog – if you remember – died after all in the hospital of Imperia of the consequences of a gastric torsion. We called his successor Cassini, the astronomer being born there, French town at the time. The Cassini mission lasted very long, so be it a good omen.

  21. Im sure most of you have seen this by now.

    Apparently, there is actually a case for this to be a thing, as in models show it to be possible. Relates to copper atoms substituting the lead atoms in the crystal.

    I wont be surprised to find that it is not a real superconductor, or that only certain structures in the bulk material are and the bulk solid doesnt exibit the desired properties (like graphene) but then all of the common things we have today were once exotic curiosities that the consensus looked down upon. It also proposes a mechanism that could be explored in other materials too.

    Mostly though I think this will be used in fancy toys and other things like that, not in large scale operation. Just the fact it has lead in it will make it expensive to work with. Although given how readily accessible lead already is in many places maybe not…

    Even if it isnt at 25 C too, a supercondutor that works at over -50 C will be basically as good, given that temperatures in that range are readily accessible to anyone that can buy dry ice. Or to those of you in cold places, by going outside on a windy day 🙂

    • People are trying to replicate their result. So far without success. There is significant scepticism. There is no peer review of the paper. The evidence that they claim for superconductivity can occur in other cases and does not require the material to be superconducting. The institute of the first author appears unknown and may not be a physical entity. It is not looking good.

      • A quick search gives mixed results, but even literally typing LK99 into google goves plenty of claims of success, or at least it did before the mainstream media and their usual ambiguous and mostly useless articles started taking up the front pages.

        Like I said the chances are high that this stuff isnt a room temperature superconductor, the most recent thing I have seen is that it is a semiconductor with extraordinary levels of diamagnetism, but not a true superconductor. But with so much new research it has greatly increased the chance of actually finding a RTSC, especially given that is is physically a pretty standard ceramic with a potential new mechanism.

        • The news today is that superconductivity in this material is disproven. The second one to bite the dust, after the paper on room-temperature superconductor at very high pressure was withdrawn.

          • Strongly diamagnetic material is still an interesting thing, even if just a novelty.

            And putting this much research into the phenomenon will probably reveal potential that was not known before.

            One thing I have wondered, One of the only things I have seen that does actually use superconducting material in large quantities is the Large Hadron Collider (if there are more I would like to know 🙂 ) LHC needed a lot of superconducting wire, why did CERN not just use YBCO? It used either niobium tin or niobium titanium, which needs single kelvin temperatures and liquid helium to superconduct, YBCO was literally developed to get away from this but is not used in any applications apart from being easy to demonstrate the affect without special equipment. Fusion reactors are similar, single kelvin temperatures.

            I would understand if it was because making YBCO ceramic wire is hard but data I can find says NbSn is also very brittle and hard to make into wire, despite being a metal still. YBCO is also make out of cheap ingredients, there are videos of people making it in basic lab settings, if you can legally buy barium nitrate and have a pottery kiln it should even be possible in an ameteur setting for maybe a couple hundred dollars to make kilos of the stuff.

            No doubt I am missing something here but it seems like a pretty strange idea to use an expensive hard to make intermetallic that needs to be cooled with equally expensive and hard to make liquid helium when you can use what is basically a standard ceramic and liquid nitrogen, which are almost household chemicals at this point, certainly available to CERN.

            Wikipedia says it is because Nb3Sn can sustain large currents to power extreme magnetic fields, but wouldnt a superconductor be able to do this by default, given there is 0 resistance a high current would not reult in heat losses?

      • I heard 1 successful duplication. I think the idea is sound, creating a quantum well by stressing the crystal structure and forcing a hole in the Fermi surface. (so why didn’t I think of that?)

        • The diamagnetism can be duplicated but does not require superconductivity

  22. Litli-Hrutur eruption has finally come to a stop, tremor down to background, aviation colour code dropped to yellow. Doesn’t seem likely to resume, another 11 month wait ahead?

    • Maybe….
      My attention has gone back to Askja and Grims again.

      I thought a while ago that G. finally had begun the count down, but it has returned to its sleepy state.
      Unreliable piece of magma! 😕

    • For a death eruption it sure still spits out some lava.

    • 23:40 pm and there definitely is a hot spot visible in 3 cameras. You’re probably right, another long wait.. but I really want to see the inSar pictures.

    • If the tremor is down to background a glowing spot means nothing, it will be weeks before all visible glow is gone.

      This eruption is over, set the clock to June 7 2024 for round 4 🙂

      • This wasnt just some kind of afterglow but just a bit of new lava making it to the surface.

        I guess the tremor charts just arent capable of picking up on volcanic activity on this small evel.
        But all it means in the end is that the eruption stopped a day later than the officialy announced date of 5 august.

        Vocanology is hardly an exact science.

    • Very pity that the Litli-Hrútur volcano has stopped erupting. But why did Surtsey in stead manage to erupt almost constantly for 3.5 years and these three volcanoes at Reykjanes Peninsula only for a few weeks and in the case of Fagradalsfjall 2021 only for a few months? I would like to have one of these three volcanoes at Fagradalsfjall erupting for several years and building a large shield volcano.

      • RE:” I would like to have one of these three volcanoes at Fagradalsfjall erupting for several years and building a large shield volcano.” Not in the best interests of Iceland or its people.

        • I would disagree I think they would very much welcome it as long as it is maybe in Natthagi where the north highway and Grindavik are safe. Would be a boom for tourism 🙂

          Well, I guess we can still get this, 3 in a row is good odds for there to be a connect 4, or 8, or 10. Although probably Grimsvotn will show up and break the streak before we get to 10 🙂

          • I do not have the enthusiasm for volcanic events being a boon for tourism, location notwithstanding. Unlike the officials at HVNP, who set limits and enforce them, Iceland officials were quick to declare locations hazardous and forbid entry with the caveat that those who disregard such restrictions do so at their own risk. It was clear from monitoring the news outlets on a daily basis that the days did not pass without incident to these tourists. The more inaccessible the location, desirable for the insulation of the native citizenry and infrastructure as you outlined, the riskier the attempts on the part of violators to access them will be, and to render aid or rescue to as well.


    Kama’ehuakanaloa (Loihi) apparently is quite active, erupting about once every 30 years or so, which makes it interesting that deep seismicity has been common there in recent years.

    Still shows that the majority of the lava is going to Kilauea though and that unlike Mauna Loa which has some sort of interaction, that doesnt appear to be the case for Kama’ehuakanaloa, which is pretty significant given that it and Kilauea are closer in age than either is to Mauna Lia, by a large margin.

    • Interesting, I didn’t know you could date submarine lavas with that much precision. Note though that they have looked only at part of the summit platform, and haven’t really looked into the rifts, so it is impossible to establish an eruption frequency from that. Mapping a submarine volcano is going to be very difficult. The most interesting thing of the article is how eruptions before 1500 years ago are alkalic basalts, and eruptions in the last 1500 years are tholeiitic basalts with also an apparent increase in frequency, although that could be an artefact.

      • If it is like Kilauea then it probably has alternation between summit and rift, 1996 apparently was a summit eruption and rift intrusion with collapse, not all that unlike the 1924 Kilauea activity although smaller scale.

        If it is like Mauna Loa is today though then eruptions might be widely separated and rift the entire volcano, so alternation is not necessarily there. But the fact it has a caldera which has seen a collapse recently and has cones around the rim suggests it is more like Kilauea, with active ring faults, rather than Mauna Loa which is today basically just a single gigantic fissure, where Mokuaweoweo os today basically just a piece of topography not an active part of the machine.

        Very interesting that the change to tholeiite lava us so recent, maybe this coincides with the formation of its caldera.

    • If we take the past eruptions of Mauna Loa that were on the NERZ location of 2022, the next eruption should happen in the year 2026 3.5 to 4 years later. This was the case 1903 and 1940. Both eruptions were summit eruptions. Mauna Loa has since 1949 done no summit eruption. It’s realistic to assume that the next eruption will return there. A summit eruption would be a “tourist eruption” related to Mauna Loa’s variety of eruptions.

      Kama[…]loa is still in preshield alkali stage? Does this mean that eruptions happen very quick without long warning time?

      • The summit eruptions of Mauna Loa all happened when the caldera was an actual pit, which was finally filled to overflowing in 1949. Every eruption since has left the summit, even in 1975 which is still considered a ‘summit’ eruption but very different to 1949. I dont think this is going to change unless the caldera can collapse again, which didnt happen last year so it is unlikely the next eruption will stay at the summit.

        Kama’ehuakanaloa is transitioning from the preshield to shield stage, it takes a while. Although the way Hector said it sounds like possibly the change has mostly or entirely completed very recently.

        • Mauna Loa’s 1975 eruption only lasted Hours and was too short to really migrate somewhere else. It was more like an episode of Krafla’s fires eruptions that end after some hours. Real summit eruptions of Mauna Loa stay on a vent on the summit over many weeks. They often have smaller rates than Rift zone eruptions, but last longer time.
          F.e. the summit eruption in October 1903 lasted 63 days with a volume of 0.07 km³, while the SWRZ flank eruption lasted only 22 days with a volume of 0.38 km³

          • 1975 lasted a week, the eruption lasted a day but magma flowed further down the NERZ than it did in 2022, but failed to erupt. That was after decades of dormancy, which we just saw repeated again, and in fact every eruption since 1950 has been basically a mirror repeat save for the final elevation of the lowest vent, which largely controls the volume. And 1950 was the same sort of eruption, just larger and way more intense, and that the dike didnt start within Mokuaweoweo but close to it nonetheless.

            Slow summit eruptions would need an open hole. To get that I think actually requires a low pressure environment. High supply gives repeated fiolent fissure eruptions unless an established open hole is already there. At least this applies for summit eruptions. Kilauea could break this trend in 2008 because Pu’u O’o drained out the summit, keeping the pressure low. Pu’u O’o itself started because of rifting above magma stored in Kilaueas ERZ, which was connected to the summit, so it all went the easiest way.

            Mauna Loa though only has storage at its summit, not in the rifts, at least not today, and its eruptions historically have almost always been started by overpressure. The only time it has ever exhibited true open conduit type behavior historically was in the decade after 1868 which was a caldera collapse. Or when the supply was particularly high, usually when Kilauea was quiet, as in the 1940s. And then adding that from 1877 to 1949 there was still a depression at Mokuaweoweo.

            Basically my expectation is the next eruption will be basically the same as last year with minor variability. Second option is a 1950 type event. The eruption will likely start within Momuaweoweo but not stay there.

      • Call me cynical, but I see no reason to believe that the next ML eruption won’t occur 35-40 years from now. Happy to be wrong, but I’ve seen two in my lifetime which means I’m playing with house money as far as I’m concerned.

        • Very plausible, Kilauea is still very active so seems to be getting the main supply. But the inflation Mauna Loa has seen in the past year is signigicantly more than was seen after 1984, and not unlike that after 1975, so another eruption in the next 10-15 years is equally plausible.

          It is somewhat of a weird situation that Kilauea is getting an enormous supply rate, probably even more than it was getting during the Pu’u O’o era, but Mauna Loa also had a very high supply for a while.

        • I’d suppose that the extreme long break since 1984 was an exception and that the current pause must be shorter. But even a break of 4-5 years is long for humans. Maybe we get a period when both Mauna Loa and Kilauea are moderately active and do eruptions at the same time.

  24. Thanks for the eye candy, sometimes forget that you’re an astrophysicist!

  25. I believe it is really wonderful of Albert to explain how these processes work before you even have results:

    “JWST has ‘proposal deadlines’: about once a year people can send in their proposals. They have to be complete with a strong science case saying what would be learned from it and why that is important to current science. A detailed explanation is needed of what has been done before, what are the open questions, and how your observations will address those. The science case alone can be many pages. The observations need to be fully defined: which targets, which instruments, which filters or gratings, how long each, and of course why each of these. You calculate the overheads (how long will the telescope take to slew and acquire the target, how long does it take to change filters, what kind of calibration is needed, etc.”

    This seems uttely interesting to me, even more so as I became involved with the physicists around 100 years ago, Oppenheimer, Fermi, von Neumann, Chadwick, Bohr, Heisenberg, Einstein, Szilard and not to forget Goudsmit, to just name a few. Contrary to school back then I am discovering a fascinating science field which borders all other fields esp. philosophy and mathematics. And also death: “And now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”, J.R. Oppenheimer, very aware of the pitfalls of science. And birth. Birth of stars. Amazing.
    Very generous of Albert to allow us a glimpse.

    • It shows that the details of the process of submitting a proposal for any space telescope is just about prohibitive for non-astronomers who are isolated outside the beehive of academia. It takes dedicated cooperation from specialists to get anything to a practical specific state.

      It is not the case that one of us can suggest an educationally but not scientifically useful demonstration of some counterintuitive feature of special relativity for the Hubble telescope, being that its regular orbit of Earth is better suited for such simple purpose.

    • The field 100 years ago can show very clearly that these things need to stay with the most brillant academics who are no idiots of their own field, but have (at least had) a broad education in other fields including the humanities. Those scientist then were polymaths, many of them were also polyglott. Oppenheimer was able to read the original Sanskrit and, after three months in Leiden, held a lecture in fluent Dutch,
      Nonetheless they couldn’t stop the Truman-Government from demonstrating the bomb over two densely inhabited cities, chosen from a list of several. Kyoto was not on the list for the simple reason that one of the officials, possibly the Sec of State, had spent his honeymoon there. The whole project shows quite clearly one of the most important ingredients of good science: Humanity and responsability which led to the Einstein-Russell-Manifesto. So far, there was no second demonstration, just sabre-rattling from the Russian side.
      Also Albert can cover different scientific fields as visible in this blog and seems very human to me in the sense of ethics.
      I followed a good deal of ethical discussions around Jennifer Doudna and CRISPR.
      Science can be abused.

      • Had the bombs not gone off and mainland Japan been invaded, the death and destruction on both sides would have been utterly, utterly appalling. Were tens (more likely many hundreds) of thousand of lives saved by the bombs? Almost certainly definitively YES. Was the destruction of many towns and cities avoided? Almost certainly yes. Overall a huge benefit.
        Its a common function of thinking processes in our times to always see the bad outcomes but never the good that come from it. This is HUGELY prevalent where global warming, and the REQUIRED steps to reduce it is concerned. Everyone wants to stop global warming BUT ONLY IF DOING SO DOESN’T AFFECT THEM.
        Whole populations in usa and europe do not want the cost of doing so.
        In Britain its widespread,
        More eco-electric but no nuclear or power lines or bigger bills.
        No sewage in rivers but no sewage works near me.
        No exporting rubbish but to incinerator near me.
        The poor are obese but also underfed.
        High quality housing but as cheap as chips.
        Cheap housing but not cheap-to-build.
        Reduce fuel on roads, but swap my 100hp diesel for a 400hp electric (as my green neighbours have).
        Complain about illegal immigration but prevent repatriation.
        Quite glad I’l be dead in a decade -+ 10 years….
        [End of rant]

        • You forget one thing with this – rather known – point of thinking: It would have been soldiers, and there can only be an estimate how long and how many. Russia was attacking Japan from the North, so it might not have taken too long.
          The way it was done it hit civilians.
          There was a long discussion about just demonstrating the bomb over an uninhabited area.
          This discussion is fruitless. The main mistake on the Japanese side was Pearl Harbour.
          It is just very tragic and didn’t happen again, maybe because of that. I am more focussed on the scientists who became unwillingly co-guilty.

          • War is always tragic, always wasteful and always benefits nobody.
            Its a pity so many useful inventions were generated by war, in fact its depressing.
            As to civilians, its a mistake to think all the japanese population would have resisted (see many island battles) and its a mistake to think conventional warfare would have made japan surrender, its really not in their character at all.
            We are all guilty of everything our country or civilisation does during our lifetime, to greater or lesser degree. We are not guilty of the sins of our fathers or children.

        • The ‘NIMBY’s’ are not a new phenomenon within the ranks of progressive socioeconomic and political engineers. You can add ‘drug treatment and rehabilitation centers’ to that list of yours.

    • From an opposite direction you can also think about some religious-philosophical views of world history:
      The Logos of Greek philosophy
      The Tao of Taoism
      The mystical Wisdom/Torah of Jews
      The Logos of Hellenistic Judaism and Christianity
      All three words apply to kind of a “theory of everything” which assumes that there is a metaphysical law that rules the physical world. It is comparable to a Computer Code that rules a digital reality with physical laws.

      • Exactly.
        Yesterday I read somebody (scientist) who said that the empty space when is gone be about the same as the space full of bodies and heat, That was too complex for me to understand. I don’t even know whether it is true. I do not like imagining gone, anyway.

  26. Congrats on the article Albert!
    Regarding the ebbing eruption, it looks like it’s building a dome in a dome in a dome.

    • There is a lot of shaping going on. The time when we described these objects as spheres of uniform density is long gone.

    • Its more than Maggie Thatcher predicted when she kicked off the global warning worry.
      However many previously undeveloped parts of the world are now developing at amazing speed.
      Despite attempts to bury our heads in the sand, serious global warming is completely inevitable.
      How bad it gets and how much we can mitigate it is up for debate.
      It may likely end when world populations drop to under a billion, hopefully not under a million. With no people, we will reduce our carbon footpring considerably. This will not be pretty.

      • It does seem strange that governments (I am thinking UK now but it is by no means unique) are willing to tell people that they have to make sacrifices in order to save the economy (i.e. interest rates) but are far less comfortable doing it to save the world. Thatcher strangely came out of this rather well, as she did take climate and ozone destruction seriously. The best time to push for action is when people are well off. It is hard to demand action when people are already suffering in their incomes. We should have done much more and will need to do much more in the next 5 years. Time is getting very short. I am hoping that the current strange climate is due to Hunga Tonga. If we have this for a few more years, food supply will really suffer. But we will have this kind of climate eventually. Sea level rise will become devastating this century. The UK will have to worry about what to do with London. What is the cost of inaction? And why not go for the easy savings? LED bulbs to become mandatory. Only allow heat-pump driers to be sold. So much energy is wasted.

        • It does seem strange that governments are willing to tell people that they have to make sacrifices in order to save the economy (i.e. interest rates) but are far less comfortable doing it to save the world.

          That tells you which one rich people think is important.

          I just wonder where they think they’ll be able to spend all their money after the end of the world. Or what they think they’ll have to eat.

          • I doubt that there is much difference between the rich and the poor. Both have a mix of people of different character. There are many charitable rich people, and there are some willing to do anything to make more money, there are givers and narcissists. Politicians too come in the same varieties, and I doubt that political flavour makes much difference on this. A group culture can encourage one over the other and that does differ between groups, but it doesn’t eliminate: there are good people even in objectionable groups. I have met some people who I had nothing in common with and whose opinions were far from mine but who I was happy to admire. And there were some whose opinions I shared but who I’d rather not associate with. But poor people have additional problems. Saving the world is a bit academic if you don’t have enough food for your children.

          • RE: “It does seem strange that governments are willing to tell people that they have to make sacrifices…” That’s because the phrase ‘governments are instituted among Men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed’, has become just so much airy persiflage. The entity known as ‘the government’, an administrative structure which was established to serve the governed, does not. It acts independently, it’s purpose being to control the governed in order to serve itself.

          • …in order to serve itselfthe super-rich.

            You’re welcome.

        • Its because the majority of people dont think about 100 years in the future seriously, but are still aware of it and just hope someone else will do something inbetween. And so people a century ago decided we need to base the world economy on a resource that is inherently not possible to use more than once, they just didnt think we could run out of it… It is in a large part due to WW1, vehicles were a novelty before that and most were electric, most people used animals or maybe walked, and the requirement for huge amounts of energy was not really there the way we know it. But war brings innovation so we got small engines that were powerful (well, relatively) and better than the alternative of using a horse. Really that is kind of ultimately where the problem is, cars are inefficient ways of moving people no matter what makes them move, a heavy fast moving object designed to carry maybe 4 people but rarely with more than 1, yet now everyone needs one, so urban planning is entirely designed with that in mind. Really, what would be the best solution is fleets of electric busses, and trains for long distances and large numbers, neither of which have emissions locally or at all in many cases. Planes should only service long haul and trans-oceanic travel. Would also have the added bonus of enormously improving the air quality in cities. I have been told by family in the UK that vehicles with a combustion engine are prohibited in inner London, if this is true that is great, will do wonders to the lungs of millions.

          Perhaps the hardest thing to get away from oil is shipping, aviation and spacecraft. But combined these only make up maybe 10% of all emissions, if that is all that is left then we got our reduction of 90%. The deforestation and agriculture segments are each as big as all of transport, but are linked, stopping one removes the other. But unlike transport the CO2 emissions from industry are hidden, most dont really know anything about it. However industry also moves with profits, and it is getting ever cheaper to use renewables. China is basically the worlds factory, with a reputation for being a polluted place, but 1/2 of its energy today is renewable, and that sector is growing faster. Africa will mostly industrialize with renewables, not everywhere, some are already major oil exporters, but most nations arent and have no benefit from going through tbe whole ladder of generation, they got to watch us do that and can skip that step now. Why would they when you can spend 100 million on solar panels and batteries and power a city basically for free, put the solar panels on roofs and it doesnt even take up any extra space.

          • Everyone misses the point. Ita all to do with cheap energy. Energy so cheap that even the poor buy green beans grown on the other side of the world. Will everyone give up air travel, or even travel for 100’s of miles on holiday? Maybe the very poor do not, but vast numbers of the working population do. As someone brought up in the 50’s and early 60’s I know what a high-cost energy world is like. Travel to europe might be a once or twice in a lifetime extravaganza (even if done with the cheapest accimmodation. Cars that only the wealthiest 10% could afford to buy, and even running one was ruinously expensive. When you hired a very basic TV set and never turned the heating on. That’s the world of the low energy 1950’s europe. No politician would dare to suggest returning there.

            So its platitudes all round and silly, non-joined-up decisions that are made to placate one pressure group or another. I gave up a car for a PV system, not many do that these days.


          • Electricity prices (corrected for inflation) were cheapest around 2000. They are actually high at the moment, even historical. (I am not sure how well the listed values were corrected for inflation.) The reason we feel it is cheaper is that (1) we are much richer, (2) our appliances use much less.

          • But renewables present a much better scenario for clean AND cheap energy. Fossil fuels are crazy expensive, you are literally moving stuff all around the world by burning more of it, something like half of all oil is used before it is ever actually sold to anyone. Then each gallon of gasoline needs 7-12 kwh of energy to refine, and contains 33 kwh, so almost 1/3 of that just to make it again. And then kf the remainder only about 1/3 of that ever does useful work, and never more than half, unless the useful work is to make heat but usually other stuff is used for that. Diesel might be even worse, the engines are more efficient but the petroleum fraction is higher boiling and refined more, so takes more energy (my assumption, I might be wrong)

            Of course making batteries is also energy intensive but after using them 50 times they reach neutrality, and are rated to thousands if cycles these days. And aluminium is often made in renewable rich grids because they are… reluable… and cheap… 🙂

            It can be done 🙂

          • You have no idea how poor african countries and their populations are. Many have plenty of coal and cheap labour and are making plans to use it. Whyever wouldn’t they?
            Also its well to remember that most countries are independent and do what they like with their populations and resources and care not one jot (pretty much) what the west says.
            Its well to look at their populations over the last 30 years and ask yourself how sustainable that is, and if there is much sign of a significant reduction.

          • What they need is that mantra of ‘education, education, education’. It has worked elsewhere but Africa is the hardest one. So rich and yet so poor.

          • It would be nice if we could have a civil discussion on this topic without you immediately assuming I dont know what I am talking about Farmeroz, I am here because I find volcanism fascinating but I am equally passionate about technology and its evolution. Most of the west has been far to complacent and reliant on the US for decades. For a currently very hot topic, take electric cars, the best ones are made by Tesla, and the Chinese, that is to say an agressive startup and a country with decades of experience being the worlds factory. At a customer level perhaps they are not as luxurious or comfortable but the vast majority of EVs made by European and American manufacturers are engineering nightmares hidden under a lot of pretty panels, and be honest so are their ICE cars… seriously the West should be thanking the lord that Tesla is an American company. But enough about that.

            Africa today is 18% renewable, the rest is fossil. But falf of Africa doesnt even have electricity, and the places with the fastest growing economies are generally significantly renewable. Rwanda is 48% renewable, but most of the rest is from wood fired stations, so there is not actually much fossil fuel use. Ethiopia is planning to be over 100%, and export, although building the Nile dam to do this is controversial. Over 80% of planned new power generation in Africa in 2030 is expected to come from renewable sources.


            Africa is an immensely wealthy continent in terms of resources but has been kept crippled by centuries of conflict both internal and external, but they are far from out of the loop on the world stage.

  27. Here is an example of hawaiian pahoehoe and how fluid these can be, I guess its ”blue glassy pahoehoe” that lost its gas and appears more fluid and dense than normal ones, the same effect is seem by man made lava in ”syracuse universitys lava pour projects” where degassed basalt forms supprisingly thin smooth sheets as well

    Confirms that gas makes lava look frothy and clumpy as often seen up at vents, the same degassed smooth look can be seen in littoral lava bubble bursts at ocean entries

  28. 7:21 am Monday and something stirring around at the north end of the fissure chain, but not sure yet.

    • 7:59 am flare up at northern end more vapor emitted needs watching

    • 8:06 am and new smoke from an area to the left.. looks like on untouched ground from previous fissure eruption. Yes, double checked.. on virgin ground. Someone needs to get some drones in here and take a close look

    • cone and area to north seem to be heating up. new emissions from a spot 1/2 between cone and northmost complex. 08:21 am.

        • new area to the left of the left spot on fresh ground now is starting to smoke 08:30 am again.. we need drones to take a look at this

          Sorry everyone.. I have been watching this for about 70 mins now and the north end seems to be heating up.

          • 08:57 things have calmed down a bit on the north end. not so much vapors being emitted

    • Now the volcano francaise is the only volcano in the world which erupts fluid Tholeiitic basalt lava flows. It only lacks some media coverage.

      • Here is a current french article about Piton de la Fournaise:
        With Google’s help you can translate to English or whatever prefered language.

        Piton appears to continue at a low level, but with long breath. This shows the difference between a Hot Spot volcano and the Reykjanes rift volcanoes.

      • Well Iceland is a thoelitic Hotspot too, and Reykjanes rift is strongly under hotspot influense too, reykjanes lavas are far more thoelitic than even piton as well

        • On Reykjanes the rift dominates over the Hotspot, while Reunion is a pure Hotspot. Weaker than Hawaii but still one of the strong Hotspots.

          Strong Hotspots: Hawaii (extraordinary), Iceland, Reunion, Galapagos, Afar
          Medium Hotspots: Azores, Canary Islands, Yellowstone, Cameroon, maybe Jan Mayen?
          Weak Hotspots: Tristan, St. Helena, Eifel, Raton hotspot (Jemez Lineament), Sahara hotspots (Tibesti and Hoggar)

          • Yellowstone probably should be considered a strong hotspot, dont let the infrequent activity fool you the area is probably comparable to Iceland or Reunion. Of coyrse there is the absurd number of mega calderas but also the forgotten and even more voluminous basaltic activity that follows. Craters of the Moon is a monster, a 90 km long rifting fissure volcano, and it is almost entirely Holocene age rocks. Eruptions begin at very high intensity, there are a’a flows over 30 km long on flat ground, twice as far as Holuhraun was able to flow. Not to mention the even larger shield building phase of the eruption that follows.

            I wish I had the time to write a properly researched and sourced article on it, the area is not done justice.

          • You mean mantle plumes? Hotspots in CT and mantle plumes are something different.
            Iceland: Very little proof. One good piece of research by a Danish geophysicist. If Iceland yes, Jan Mayen belongs to this group.

            Cameroon: No trail, so improbable. Should be on the continent, therefore hard to prove.

            Yellowstone: Not proven, in discussion. Too shallow.

            Canary Islands: No trail with fitting age progression, no proof.

            Rest okay. Mantle Plumes in research are work in progress and makes local settings nicely difficult to understand.

          • Deep plumes show higher concentrations of 3He, which is not made by other sources so was traped in the mantle when the earth formed. Hawaii, Galapagos, Iceland and Yellowstone all have strong 3He signatures, so are deep structures. The Azores also has this, it is a weak plume now but seems to have been stronger once.

            Canary, Cape Verde, Cameroon, those are all different structures though, given no age progression. The Canaries and Cape Verde might be related to crustal dilation in Africa, which is probably also responsible for the Tibesi volcanism. The Cameroon line is apparently related to an old Jurassic rift that failed during the breakup of Gondwana and has been tectonically active repeatedly since. So all weird variations on continental margin volcanism, I guess. It is pretty notable that Cameroon and Teide are both really enormous volcanoes, but also not shield volcanoes, unlike the Pacific islands that are pretty much entirely shield volcanoes. I guess it is a combination of robust and long lived magma supply and very slow plate speed, they just keep growing for millions of years. If there was a strong hotspot at either location we might have a flood basalt province form there.

          • I don’t buy into plumes at all, and one day I will talk about it, but age progression is real, and Cape Verde, the Cameroon Line, and the Canary Islands all of them have it.

            The Canary Islands probably formed in order with plate motion, and most of their activity happened early. on. Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, and Concepción may have formed about the same time, but from Fuerteventura onwards the age progression is clear. True that Canary Island volcanoes become active again, and have voluminous post-erosional volcanism, but this is always very minor compared to the main shield stage. Tenerife, for example, seems strange that it is still active, but there is a ~12 million year old shield that outcrops in places near the rim of the summit caldera, so post-erosional volcanism is a small layer on top of the shield stage. Even more true for Lanzarote or Fuerteventura where post-erosional volcanism is negligible compared to the shield volcanism.

            Cape Verde divided in two and created two age progressive chains, and activity is centred near the leading edge of these two chains, Sao Antao and Fogo respective, as well as the small submarine youngest volcanoes west of each Fogo and Sao Anatao, which have an unknown level of activity.

            Cameroon Line has three age progressive chains simultaneously active, following the same path. One which reaches from the Benue Through to St. Helena and beyond, the leading volcanoes are probably very small submarine edifices, this chain is nearly dead. The second formed the three offshore islands of Principe, Sao Tome, and Annobon, in order with plate motion, and is nearly dead too, with very minor volcanism. And then there is the third more powerful chain. It came from continental crust leaving a trail of massive silicic systems, pyroclastic-felsic lava shields, including Oku, Bambouto and Manengouba. Then it transitioned to oceanic crust, where it formed the massive Mount Rata, now extinct, followed by Mount Cameroon and the volcanoes of Bioko Island, which are vigorously active shields.

        • If you don’t believe in plumes, how do you explain the elevated 3He at sites like Hawaii?

          • This seems quite old. The evidence they quote is also far from convincing. A mix of high and low 3He/4He is seen in the most buoyant hot spots. Low buoyancy only show low 3He/4He. This is taken as evidence that the high 3He/4He component is from a denser material. That suggests below the phase transitions which separate the upper and lower mantle.

    • 08:06 quake underneath Keilir and definitely some harmonic tremor at 08:48-08:49 am.

      • Sorry to be nitpicking again, but the term harmonic tremor is so commonly misused I just have to say something. The word harmonic means that the signal has distinct spectral lines that are multiples of some fundamental frequency. Volcanic tremor is often harmonic in nature, but it doesn’t have to be.

        There’s tons of noise sources (weather, human activity, etc) that show up in the drumplots and tremor plots that have nothing to do with harmonic tremor. The thing I like to point out is that there’s nothing in the publicly available plots from icelandic seismometers that allow us to distinguish between harmonic tremor and other noise sources. For that, we need either access to raw data that we can run spectral analysis on, or spectrograms where someone has already done the spectral analysis for us. All we can do, is see if the amplitude is high or low. There’s not enough detail in the drumplots and there’s just three coarse spectral regions in the tremor filter bank.

        So, unless we actually do have a spectral analysis of the data, it just doesn’t make sense to talk about harmonic tremor. Again, sorry about the rant.

        • I don’t post here often but really really appreciate your ‘nitpicking’ comments. Maybe they’re even worthy a small blog post?

          • Thanks! I’m happy to hear that. I just don’t wanna be ‘that guy’, if you know what I mean, and I don’t want anyone to feel offended by anything I write.

            Writing a blog post would be fun, but I really don’t have the time to do it. I’m not a geologist, but a signal processing guy. Extracting useful information out of noisy data is my game. The geology part is something I have picked up along the way. If I, in some magical way, can find a few extra hours to write, that would be the perspective of the post. How to read the signs of a volcano using the available data.

        • Hmm, yes and no.
          It depends if the predominant frequency is of low enough frequency and high enough amplitude to show as an oscillation on the drumplots.I’m pretty sure I have seen some that look surprisingly like a sinusoidal burp.
          However generally you are right.

        • If you are to write an article then someone needs to get you some actual real-time data. Then quick plug into your software and the job’s a goodun.
          Surely someone here can get you a bunch of numericals?

        • Tomas:

          Would volcanic tremor be correct? I don’t have access to that particular data, but I do believe that it contains some harmonic tremor. Do I assume that we’re safe using volcanic tremor, unless we have access to the actual data, run the dft and then see the harmonic frequencies, then we can say harmonic tremor?

          Thanks for pointing this out.

          • In this case it’s just human activity. You can see that it started again today at about the same time. Generally, I would indeed just say volcanic tremor when it’s of volcanic nature, unless I know for sure there is a harmonic component. Currently, there has been no volcanic tremor since it ended on August 5th.

  29. Dust devil on the Driffels cam at 10:41. Unfortunately they seem to have greatly reduced the camera’s framerate, though I suppose we should be grateful they haven’t just packed it up and taken it home already.

  30. Looking at the drumplots, there’s definitely stuff moving around in the intrusion. We might yet see a resumption of the (whatever it’s called) eruption.
    By the way, has anyone got a link to the old FAF high and low pass charts? Mine have gone grey and dead. Thanks.

    • Since the stuff that’s moving around seems to be doing so during daytime and evenings, but not during the night, I think that the stuff is human activity on and above ground, rather than magma below ground. Seismometers are sensitive and pick up any vibrations. During the eruption the human activity was drowned in the eruption noises, but now we can see it again.

      FAF was permanently removed and relocated, since it was in the path of the lava flow. It’s now called HRV (Hraunssels-Vatnsfell).

      • This is random Tomas, but how is ‘hraun’ pronounced? What would be the right way to say Holuhraun for example?


        • To me, with no background in Scandinavian pronunciation, it sounds like hroon, but where the h has a hard start and the r is slightly rolled, but not really trilled. The h in Icelandic sounds like it has a silent k on front.

          So I guess it is like khrroon, but reading that doesnt look right still… 🙂

          But it probably sounds quite different to trained ears.

          • For what it’s worth, I deliberately listened for the pronunciation of ‘hraun’ while watching a geologist giving video interview posted on VISIR and it sounded to my ear like ‘hrrun’. YMMV!

          • It is one of those words that really doesnt have an exact equivalent in English. Although it also isnt actually hard to hear once you know. Actually that is what I find with a lot of Icelandic, it is basically impossible to read but if you hear it spoken first it is suddenly quite straightforward, at least regarding place names and the like

            It is kind of the opposite of Spanish, which is pretty easy to read but sounds like a machine gun when spoken 🙂

          • It’s a hard one to explain. Also, I’m Swedish, so maybe I don’t get it 100% correct either. Let’s try to dissect it.


            The hr sound is made by letting out a small amount of air through the mouth while briefly rolling the r at the very tip of the tongue. There’s no k-sound here.

            The au-sound is a diphthong. The first half is an ö-sound, like the vowel sound in english burn or learn. The second half is a bit like the y-sound in yellow or happy. In Swedish I would write the au-sound as öy.

            Land on the n and you’re done. Good luck!

          • I think it is between “r” and “chr”. Not Chrome, not Rome, but somewhere between the words. But it shouldn’t be a big mistake to say “r”. “Hraun” may historically/lingustically be related to the mountains of “Rhön” (border triangle between Hesse, Bavaria, Thuringia) that are pronounced with “r” and are a Miocene volcanic province.
            The “u” in “Hraun” is supposedly spelled like French “u” in the word “tu” (=you), as it’s typical for skandinavian languages, comparable to German/Turkish ü.

          • The problem with English is that vowels never use accents, so explaining the sound is hard. Also that depending on the accent one sound can be a different letter than it is otherwise.

            Probably the best example, the alveolar tap is almost universally an r, or an l, and often a precursor to a rolled r, but in American and Australian english it is used to refer to a t that isnt in the middle of a word and follows a vowel, and is pronounced like a short d… Basically, saying ‘better’ but it sounds like ‘bedder’. There is literally no way to describe that without hearing it though… 🙂

            I kind if imagine hraun is something like that, where you cant explain how it sounds in English but hearing it spoken is pretty obvious.

        • probably this will not help you, but the au in hraun sounds very similar to the german umlaut ö…

        • Icelandic is impossible to understand for any Swedish, Finish, Danish or Norweigan person

          Icelandic is more like pure old Norse while we others are much more germanic ( and Finland is not a Scandinavian german speech at all )

          • Icelandic is a Germanic language too. But it seems it is indeed like old English, which is basically unreadable to modern speakers, must be the 1000 years of separation.

            I guess it could be like trying to read Latin as a native Spanish speaker with no prior study of Latin, might be possible but probably wouldnt make much sense.

            Finnish/Suomi is a Uralic language, so completely unrelated. But you do know one word, sauna 🙂

          • Of all the germanic languages, Icelandic is the only one in an active volcanic region. So no need to learn any of the others!

            This is true even for Faroese, Afrikaans (South Africa and Zimbabwe), and is almost true for Yiddish, all of which are germanic languages. There is some Yiddish spoken in California but I believe only in the major cities which amazingly are not in the region of the volcanoes.

          • I should have discussed english here, of course, but in my mind I considered the heartland for the language and excluded the colonies..

          • With knowledge of Swedish/Norwegian/Danish you can understand single Icelandic words and names, but not the meaning of a sentence.

            The “jökull” of Vatnajökull is f.e. similar to Hardangerjøkull. “Fagradalsfjall” sounds similar to “farge” (color).

          • The components that make up the name Fagradalsfjall make total sense in Swedish. Fager = beautiful (although a bit archaic), dal = valley (identical to Icelandic), fjäll = mountain (add an umlaut and pronounce a bit differently).

      • Well Iceland is a Nordic Country and not a Scandinavian one, but is often included in the Scandinavian sphere and indeed the lifestyle is identical in Iceland and same cultural pratctises 🙂

        Iceland by sheer Isolation have a speech thats very diffrent from its Nordic neighburs, they been isolated for so long so is very diffrent from the other Scandinavian speeches. And Finland is not a Scandinavian speech at all really …

        I can understand Danish and Norweigan .. But Impossible for me to understand Finish or Icelandic Thats have varied themselves alot from the modern speech on the mainland, well Icelandic is closer to old Norse of course

        • Iceland is the only place I wants to be in now and Im basicaly is Citizen Thanks to the Nordic agreement

          But not soure what to work with in a country Thats so well educated that everyone seems to have a PHD

          So looking for a job skill ..

          I also like the cheap and free energy 🙂

        • Icelandic preserved the “Viking” language very purely, while Danish, Swedish and Norwegian were much influenced by Hanseatic Lower German. Added to this Iceland rejects modern “English” loanwords and prefered to use native Icelandic expressions for those modern things.

        • I heard a great saying about the Scandinavian languages once and how they are related. I’ve probably got all the languages mixed up here so forgive me (or correct it).

          But is it true that Danes and Norwegians can read each other’s languages but speak differently. Norwegians and Swedes can understand each other but write differently. Swedish and Danish are similar but both written and spoken differ enough to be confusing.

          How accurate is that?

          • That’s very true. Danish and Norwegian have nearly the same written language, but speak it differently. Norwegian sounds close to Swedish, but is written differently. Often when Norwegians write “e”, the Swedish use “ä” for the same pronounced vocal. F.e. the expression for “You are” is “Du er” in Danish/Norwegian, but “Du är” in Swedish.

            Added to this the Norwegians have the luxury of a second language which is based on several oral dialects in the western and northern parts (where the fjells and fjords are). This second written Norwegian is called “New Norwegian” (Nynorsk) and is more difficult for Swedish and Danish people to understand.

          • De er, Du är, You are, all very similar 🙂
            I dont know if this is true, but apparently Norwegian is the easiest language for a native English speaker to learn. Same goes for the other two too, reading is probably almost trivial although speaking and sounding understandable is another matter. Probably exactly the same in reverse I imagine 🙂

            One thing though, any native speakers of Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, is Icelandic in any way naturally understandable? Or it it the same as modern English compared to Old English. I had assumed it to be something of that sort but have never actually asked anyone 🙂

          • It sounds like the Scandinavian languages are similar to Scots and English. That is to say, when it is written, Scots looks like misspelled English, or maybe English that is spelled phonetically to a thick Scottish accent, and is pretty obvious but spoken fast it can be hard to understand. Although thick English accents worldwide are similar.

            Australian English is simply a facade, fluent Australians are the ones who can substitute as many words in a sentence with a swear word and still have it be understandable.

          • Swede here. I agree that people from Sweden and Norway understand each other well, while it’s difficult to speak with people from Denmark. Written, the languages are very similar and easy to understand, but Danish pronunciation (and some Norwegian dialects) make it difficult simply to hear what they are saying.

            Icelandic is different in many ways and without training it’s not easily understood by people from the other nordic countries. That said, there are a lot of similarities. Many words are the same or very similar, but they still use a lot of grammar that’s long forgotten in the other countries. Once you get a hang of the pronounciations and start to get familiar with the differences in grammar, it is quite understandable. With a little help from Google translate it gets really easy. You know enough to smoke out any errors in the translations.

          • English itself got some Scandinavian loan words: to cast, to call, cake, fell and the “are” of you/we/they are. Otherwise it would still have used the Anglosaxon original words which are more related to Dutch, Frisian and Lower Saxon.

      • Its also supprising how mild most of the Scandinavian Countries are in weather all year around for their very high latitudes, the warmth of the Gulf Stream and westerly winds

        south parts of Scandinavia Denmark, south Sweden, south Norway and south Finland are well above latitude 50 s often close to 57 – 61 and souch areas in other places have either extreme winter and summer temperatures in Siberia or being almost totaly frozen in same latitudes in Antartica ocean, yet are very mild in winter often sit above freezing.

        The whole Norway coast even up to latitude 70 s are very mild and green. South Scandinavia 55 to 60 is very similar to the coolest parts of New Zealand in winter and Norway coast have that mildness almost all way up to the high Arctic, winter in Copenhagen, Bergen, Malmö, Stavanger and Trondheim and Vik in Iceland are usualy not much colder than invercargill in New Zealand despite they are almost at the Antartica coast If they where in latitudes South, so Scandinavia and Nordics have some very mild climates for their latitudes, its also very green with Temperate Rainforests being possible in same latitudes as the Siberian Tundra, Norway and more rough parts of South Sweden is very similar to New Zealand too in apparence:) althrough we have an even more glacial history even If South NZ been very icey at LGM.

        Unlike what most
        ” sometimes poorly informed tourists” often think its Not very cold in winter in most densely populated of scandinavia, althrough winters are grey and rainy and gloomy and miserable and coud explain the high suicide rate in this countries, terribley grey and gloom and wetness in winter

        Northen Scandinavia where most of my parents relatives live does get a real winter, its much much more like what most tourists expect, with deep snow and bright short days, and many here prefers that alot more than the rainy gloom of the South

      • Still despite the mild climate in South Scandinavia the weather is not ideal, the summers maybe pleasant 24 c and sometimes much more, but the weather is extremely unpredictable and constant storms and low pressures, rarely is sunny its a constant gloom But its also why its so green the rainfall is much higher than the Siberian taiga.. and I dont think that South Scandinavia is really a ”normal taiga” anyway beacuse mild winters and humidity.

        Lapland where most of my relatives live, does have a much more true taiga – subarctic conditions with cold dry winters in the North, does the Norway Mountains keep out the Gulf Stream there?

        Iceland is even worse beacuse it dont have our warm summers at the coasts , but selfoss and the north does get quite warm summers sometimes due to the föhn effect, still I wants to live in Iceland and nowherelse now and enjoy the volcanoes and geology.
        I also wants free energy

        • Get yourself a second hand or leased tesla in Iceland and drive around powered by volcanism 🙂

      • Plans to do so after found a job skill .. : ) althrough is slow with injured limb

        Still Iceland is defentivly a low quality weather 😂 its like South Georgia or Falklands Islands in the atlantic miserable wet and cool all year around

        But due to volcanoes giving geothermal energy, living in Iceland is very warm indeed inside, been at a Hotel there and was like a sauna inside 🙂 24 to 26 c is probaly a common living room temperature so its very warm homes and swimming pools are heated to almost 40. Still rest of Scandinavia have quite warm homes too at least compared to UK

        But its not a place for those with seasonal affective disorder, but I Myself can happly live in Iceland even If it was at latitude 71 .. as I dont struggle that much with darkness

        But winters are still miserable in Reykjavik and Gothenburg rainy and gloomy.. at least Iceland have insane nature

        • If you get a tesla with autopilot then you only need 1 limb to touch the wheel and it does the rest 🙂

          Iceland has speed limits of 90 km/hr, so the listed EPA ranges for electric cars should be accurate or even underestimates. Winter is in theory lower but I doubt anyone is going to be racing on the ring road at 90 in the dead of winter, so if anything the range might even be more due to slow driving.

          • Given the conversation, this headline should be of interest. From today’s mbl.i. I leave it to your good offices to search it for the reading. The shortage recognized therein, if not resolved, might go to suppressing the extent of one’s joy of Tesla.
            Domestic | The morning newspaper | 10.8.2023 | 6:51 a.m
            “Electricity in the country almost sold out”

        • Very mild in Iceland in winter at least around the coasts so drivable all year around

          • Much one can glean from reading the local papers. This year’s ‘event’ gave me the opportunity to do so. The concerns about their level of cocaine abuse, among other social issues, were surprising.

      • Much of Icelands weather problems woud be solved If it coud be dragged down where the Azores are

        But yes I still wants to do it
        The geology is insane really and Iceland does have an incredibley high fantasy look to these volcanic glacial landscapes, but also alot of the stark beauty is man made too, the vikings removed the forests and the soil washed away, leaving barren stark beauty where only short grass and moss can grow that contrasty strongly with the black basalt sand and gloomy skies

        Woud Iceland look as mysterious of all the forests coud be grown back? In earlier warmer times Iceland have even supported reedwood forests and tall pine and spruce was common in early Pleistocene and Eemian era warmth may have had tall coniferious forests as well. Viking settlements had SubArtic birch forest

        Still Iceland with a rather Alaskan shroud woud be cool too

      • One of the biggest problems with South Scandinavia is the high humidity, means it feels much colder and much warmer than the thermometer says.

        A winter in Gothenburg or Reykjavik thats 2 c will feel absoutley freezing If its windy and the humidity up up 90% goes through bone really

        While a summer thats 26 c with 80% humidity will feel like a sauna in the sun ..

        The high atlantic humidity is the worst weather enemy in north west Europe and makes it pretty uncomfortable here, up in Lapland is much drier and a Lapland winter does not feel extremely cold ..althrough too little summer

        Iceland is worst in terms of cold humidity But I wants To live there anyway

  31. Things are ramping up quickly, already at a background of 60 quakes a day. The deformation graphs are having connection problems though.

    Last eruption took about 2 months from the first quake spikes. It is hard to tell going back though because the Pahala quakes surge at times too and elevate the number outside of Kilauea.but I think it is a safe bet for an eruption in the next 2 months. Likely that pattern will continue until the pressure can make a rift intrusion, so maybe short fast summit eruptions a couple times a year for the next few years.

    The degree to which all of the caldera is already lit up is concerning, the ring faults must be very mobile now, future eruptions might happen in unexpected areas.

    • Deformation observation is lost since August 4th.

      The last quakes were both deep and shallow. Nearly no medium deep (10-20km) quakes. Maybe the magma transport works without noise because it uses established ways. On shallow level the earthquakes accumulate in Halema’uma’u ans upper SWRZ. Maybe we get a curtain of fires somewhere there?

    • I noticed just now, but for the first time in 2 years the ERZ connector is visible, and there was just a sizable quake adjacent to Kilauea Iki. The GPS data for Pu’u O’o also might show that contraction of the ERZ there has ended although it has fooled us before.

      The Iki quake also produced a notable positive displacement on the tiltmeter, from across the caldera. Seems like it may have been a ring fault quake, which is significant as it occurred on the greater caldera fault that was formed in 1500. If that is active then tge scale of activity is much larger than I thought.

  32. Hi all,

    I’ve finished processing my drone video from my trip to Iceland last week. I created an edited version set to music. While I’m not going to win any awards for either my drone piloting or video editing skills, I hope you enjoy it anyway!

    • Since I have made videos before, I know the work that goes into this. I really love your music. The music is perhaps the most defining compelling part of the video and makes or breaks it. I give you 5 gold stars… (goose bumps on my arm as I watch and listen)


      • Thank you for the kind words! The music is actually from the royalty-free YouTube Music Library. I spent some time going through and finding those that I thought fit the mood of the video well enough, so I’m pleased others thought so, too!

    • Dan, enjoyed the video of our Volcanic friend!,Music was spot on and enjoyed the overall view of the eruption site – which helped me to have an better overall picture of the scene!Glad you made it to see it!

  33. CCN is at again, roughly 6000 quakes in the last 2 days and I don’t know if this is a continuation of the previous swarm or a new swarm entirely. I’ve completed my analysis of the past 10 years and preparing an article on the volcano. Unless the volcano actually erupts, this will be my last article but I’d invite others to make articles on this volcano.

    • Don’t say last Tallis! I look forward to these updates so much. If it goes another couple years you’ll have to do an article then informing of updates in that timeframe.

      • Unless we get a major development, this would be the last article I’d need to write. I won’t spoil it but the article I am writing now will explain some of the future swarms as we get closer to critical point!

  34. Talking of rings, turns out you can also take pictures of Uranus with the JWST.

    Andrea Luck @andrealuck
    Rings everywhere! My version of Uranus from JWST!

    Full size image:

    NASA/ESA JWST Webb Space Telescope
    Instrument: NIRCAM
    Target: Uranus
    Time: 2023-02-06
    Filters: F140, F300
    Product IDs:
    Proposal PI: Pontoppidan, Klaus M.
    Proposal ID: 2739

    #Space #Spacetodon #Astrodon #Solarocks #Astronomy #Uranus #IceGiants #JWST
    Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI/AndreaLuck

  35. Uh, guys? My Youtube tab just navigated by itself, while it wasn’t even the focused tab, and started blaring loudly at a rather early hour of the morning … and I can’t seem to navigate it back to the Driffels cam to keep one eye on that northern bit of fissure that might or might not reactivate.

    Rather poor behavior on Youtube’s part. I don’t want software, including web pages I have open, to have a mind of its own and take initiative; I want it to just sit there doing whatever I told it to do (or nothing, depending) until I give it new instructions.

    Anyone have any ideas what to do to tame this unruly beast and wrest it back under control? I’ve closed the misbehaving tab for now, but if that northern fissure twitches again I want eyes on it.

    • Two things spring to my mind. The Driffels cam feed stopped or finished, and YouTube’s Autoplay feature chose the next video – perhaps a noisy one. Or you’ve got a redirect malware.
      I’m sure experts will have a better answer for you! But that first one has caught me out enough times!

  36. Strange brief swarm next to Hengill just a few hours ago. There was something in this area last year or in 2021 too I believe, is this at the power plant? Wonder if it has something to do with the new hot spring that formed under the road nearby the other month, maybe a leaky well.

    Or maybe it is magma, but probably not 🙂

    • Isn’t that near where the Western Volcanic Zone meets the SISZ?

      Most likely tectonic but may enable magma to ascend.

  37. What woud Hawaii look like If it was at latitude 40 North? woud Mauna Loa and Kea have enormous icecaps?

    And how cold was Big Island during the LGM the equator was about 5 c colder than today so curious on Hawaii.. remebering Chad saying it was mostly Ice and snow because Big Island is tall above sealevel, if I even remebers correct it may have even been some historical snow at Halema’uma’u and some of John Tarsons ( Epic Lavas owner ) photos apparently show night frost at volcano, during the glacials it was probaly even colder with low cO2

    I still expect the coasts to have been quite warm, as LGM Sea surface temperatures only was a few C cooler than today ( still Equatorial Seas may have only reached 26 c back then ) compared to 31 today

    So LGM Hawaii woud be massive snow capped peaks with a lower green belt I guess, But hard to say, the dry sides woud be even drier than today I guess … still hard to say of course

    Iceland was a mini Antartica back then 🙂


    Long-term surface impact of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai-like stratospheric water vapor injection
    Martin Jucker,a Chris Lucas,(b) and Deepashree Dutta (a)
    a) Climate Change Research Centre and Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, University of New South Wales,Sydney, Australia
    b) Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia

    This is a preprint and has not been peer reviewed. Data may be preliminary.

    SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Volcanic eruptions typically cool the Earth’s surface by releasing aerosols which reflect sunlight. However, a recent eruption released a significant amount of water vapor-a strong greenhouse gas-into the stratosphere with unknown consequences. This study examines the aftermath of the eruption and reveals that surface temperatures across large regions of the world increase by over 1.5°C for several years, although some areas experience cooling close to 1°C. Additionally, the research suggests a potential connection between the eruption and sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific , which warrants further investigation.

      • Arctic sea ice extent (greater than 15% concentration) is currently 11th lowest in the satellite record and Arctic sea ice area is 6th lowest in the satellite record so I’m not sure why that’s especially positive news. I suppose if you compare it to the Antarctic it isn’t as terrible. Antarctic sea ice extent is at record low territory for time of year by a very long way.

        • Rapidly melting arctic ice absorbs the effects of global warming to a greater (2-4X) extent than the mean which for now is not bad. The ice is afloat so it doesn’t raise sea levels as it melts. Best of all it opens up shipping lanes across the Arctic Ocean for exploration now and later on for commerce. For myself, I used to imagine sailing the NW passage but I wouldn’t do it anymore.

          The melting of land-based glaciers on Greenland and elsewhere and the loss of groundwater everywhere to the sea due to human use is the major problem.

          The Antarctic ice is more complex. While the continent as a whole has been actually trending colder, the panhandle of Antarctic Peninsula is in a fast meltdown. I think the chart above reflects mainly this disastrous looking peninsula. The rest of the Icecap there is a mystery to me.

          • The floating ice shelves are freshwater glacial ice, so do raise sea levels by melting. They also provide a barrier to the ocean reaching the glacier feeding it, most of which haveva bed that is below sea level. Basically all of west Antarctica is bedded below sea level, which is why the risk of it breaking up even in the next century is so real, it would take centuries to melt in situ even in a hothohse but if it disintegrated then the whole ocean would be involved, it would melt much faster.

            Still a low probability for this to begin in the 21st century, and it would still take decades at least, it isnt like half of Antarctica just goes rogue one year and we get Noah’s Flood… But, this will happen, even if we immediately halt all activity, it is past the point of no return unless we start capturing more CO2 than is released.

          • When it comes to raising sea levels, 1.1 mm/year comes from agriculture use (number is from roughly 10 years a go, probably higher today), taking river, lake and ground water which is moved to the oceans via evaporation and falling as rain/snow. This is 1/3 of the yearly sea level increase.

            People don’t want to discuss the fact that agriculture (due to may too many humans on earth) is a huge problem, not only due to caron dioxide release. Solving the problem with too many humans is (of course) not possible and definitely not taxable.

          • 1.1 mm/yr (assuming old value) = 11 mm/10 yr or 110 mm/century, which equals 4.3 inches per century. not sure this is anything to write home about.

            Global warming and sea level rise might be a significant issue, but I doubt agriculture is a significant contributor. Maybe the reason for the other 2/3’s should be addressed first.

          • I think we are sort of mediating our own popilation, acvidently. Developed nations usually have aging populations, some like Japan have negative growth. As Africa becomes much more developed the number will stabilize. It is unlikely the total population will get to 10 billion, a lot of the younger generations are not going to have kids, either by choice given what they may have to deal with, or because it is too expensive to raise a family for many.

            There is enough resources to sustain 10 billion. Enough unused space to give everyone unlimitrd free solar, enough lithium to give everyone a car, enough land to grow food for a lifetime. There are more people who are overweight than malnourished. What needs to be done is to distribute better. To be honest, food as a whole should be completely separated from the concept of money.

      • And the interior of Antartica icesheet is pure frozen hell they had – 95 c a while ago thats – 140 f in winter, even If summer it rarely goes much above – 30 c. This is as Unearthly as any place can be on Earth really, and as Chad say very much like surface of Mars just with a thicker atmosphere, and I guess Antartica feels colder to than Mars because the atmosphere is much thicker and robs you by convective heating faster. Vostok Station is unlivabley really without technology is Antartica Icesheet and I guess Mount Erebus is the worlds coldest erupting volcano I guess 🙂 its summit being almost as bad as Vostok Station even If its at the coast well with – 26 / – 30 in summer, working up at the crater with screwdriver you looose fingers in seconds when taking off a glove

        On Mars – 120 c may only feel like – 23 c on Earth because the thinner atmosphere

        On Titan with even more air pressure than Earth 1,5 bar and – 180 c will bleed you of heat very fast indeed! 🧊🥶

        Industrial cO2 levels is indeed rising like mad.. I wonder If it will make things less cold in the Antartica icesheet

        • If I had to guess, Antarctica will probably not warm at all in terms of air temperature averages, but the ice will melt and overall warm up. Just like how most of the global warming has been to the oceans and not necessarily resulting in actually warmer environmental conditions.

          • Antarctica is a continent. There will be variation. The ice cap also comes in two parts and only one part is grounded below sea level. Good for us – we may only get 10 meters of sea level rise..

          • albert: just because ice it is above sea level doesn’t mean it cannot slide off, at least in many locations. I have said before that I think feedback effects are likely to result in a much faster warming than expected. Large albedo changes and methane hydrate decay are just two of several feedback mechanisms. Sadly global warming is a global problem and most of the world is taking no measures to alleviate it in any meaningful way. Indeed rather the opposite (in general).
            With luck a collapse (which will return the west to the middle ages) may reduce human populations to the point a recovery is possible. Otherise it could be grim.

          • Yes, it is the part grounded below sea level which puts us most at risk. Once it lifts off, the damage is done. But the other major ice cap of antarctica is much more stable. Sure, sea level rise is being ignored worldwide and will cause major problems, and not just in removing Florida from the map.

        • During the PETM the Antartica had babobab trees and bean trees and possible coconuts growing at the coasts 🙂 and yet was almost the same latitude as today

          But Thats What many many 1000 s of PPM of cO2 can do scary enough, we humans coud reach souch levels quite soon in a few 100 years

          • We probably wont reach into the thousands of ppm, that would require us to both accelerate our burning of fossil fuel and do absolutely nothing about it for the rest of the century. As cynical as many here are that should be considered as one of the least likely options, just based on economics alone not withstanding that energy independance for everyone is impossible in a fossil economy, something extremely relevant in Europe right now.

            The most likely option out to 2040 is increasing degrees of carbon capture through whatever means necessary (including industry, carbon is in everything) alongside rapid scaling of rendwables, and probably also nuclear in some situations. The last sectors to use fossil fuels will probably be shipping and aviation, and possibly spacecraft, although the long term goal of Starship is to run it off of methane produced by the Sabatier process from atmospheric CO2. Shipping can possibly be run on ammonia or methanol, as well as battery electric or hybrid. Aircraft likewise, probably hybrid electric. Ground transport will be almost exclusively electric.

            The big wildcard is that permafrost defrosting and releasing the methane hydrate, if that happens then the ppm of CO2 wont matter because 1 ppm of CH4 is equivalebt to 30 ppm of CO2 in global warming potential, so only need about 150 ppm of CH4 today to get the equivalent warming as 1000 ppm CO2 when combined with todays CO2 values let alone in 30 years time. But there is no certainty of that yet, and

      • The Arctic Ocean will get a very different climate without ice. If the sun can shine 24/7 during summer, the Arctic ocean may become warmer than the surrounding seas. The whole temperature difference between the North Pole and southern latitudes may disappear which drives the west wind zone and weather.

        • What effect would that have on the SPV (stratospheric polar vortex), North Atlantic & Arctic Oscillations? Seems like that would cause pretty massive changes to how those pressure systems function.

        • exactly.
          “There may be a change in ecosystem”….
          Areas bordering may warm unexpectedly fast….
          Methyl hydrates in the tundra….
          Less snow in the tundra = lower albedo = more warming …
          Already too late.

          • In Sibirian permafrost they have “frozen swamp” with bacteria from older warm periods. All of this is now melting and going to release more Methane and fuel climate change even more. This also shows that climate warming can bring a lot of life to the Arctic circle which still may get cold weather in winter but wet subtropical weather in summer (like New Orleans, Florida). This may be suitable for species which now are thousands kilometer away.

            Real winter is already going to become a matter of the two big northern continents: Kanada and Sibiria. There the fall cools first when nights get longer. In future winter will always begin there and try to expand, but with difficulties.

    • This effect of heating is very important. My concern is that the heating will be used as evidence to support an agenda.

      • Given your concerns about evidence being used to support an agenda, this has been making the rounds…

        Link removed for legal reasons – admin

        • ZZDoc..yes this has been rather unfortunate as it has muddied the waters somewhat but in the grand scheme of things only serves to entrench established views as, thanks to social media, everyone can have an opinion never mind their understanding. Think Dunner–Kruger effect.

          Chad..I cannot reply directly to your comment but ‘floating ice shelves’ cannot raise sea levels directly by melting..Archimedes and all that. The concern is that by removing shelf ice, essentially its like removing a ‘plug’ that can allow the grounded glacier behind to potentially slide into the sea thus somewhat catastrophically raising sea levels. This could be quite fast, (years, decades) and is one of the concerns re The Thwaites Glacier etc..

          • I think chad refers to the slight density difference between fresh water and sea water. But it does not change the point that melting floating ice does not change sea level directly. Indirect effects can be serious, though, and of course adding a lot of fresh water to the Arctic has a significant effect on the gulf stream (or rather then general ocean currents). British summer has been rather poor this year and I would rather keep a bit of warm water coming here!

        • The referenced article overstates the lack of media reporting and the effect of the Hunga Tonga water vapor. There was plenty of media coverage of the eruption and of the large amount of water vapor injected into the stratosphere. And this article dated 16 Mar, 2023, has some interesting calculations:

          The calculations, based on modeling the effects of the excess water vapor, show an increase in global warming of up to 0.035 deg C over the next 5 years. This is a tiny increase, and it is temporary, hardly anything to be concerned about.

        • Chad, ask yourself why multimillion dollar investment projects to build on elevations close to sea level are continuing as if nothing is going to happen? Do these investment managers know something we don’t?

  39. I wrote to a reporter at RUV and asked about the man whose borehole was overflowing and running 40 deg C water 1 day before the eruption started on July 10th. He finally wrote back and gave me the phone number on this man.

    So is there anyone in Iceland willing to make a local call to the Auðnir on Vatnsleysuströnd area, to a man named Ísleifur Árnason and ask him what’s happened since July 9th? I hate to post his phone number in this group, because then it become public knowledge and I don’t think that Ísleifur will appreciate that.

    How can this be done? Or perhaps not at all?


    • I await Talis’ update!

      The most interesting aspect of this system is the extreme prior dormancy, to all of a sudden rumbling back from the grave. That is so inherently interesting.

      Just like how Fagradalsfjall was quiet for so long, the added unknown of what the system will ultimately produce over the next couple decades is far more fascinating (IMO of course) than the reactivation of a well accounted for, shorter period system.

  40. Volcanism on Hawaii is often linked to major (destructive) earthquakes: 2018 during first days of Puna eruption. November 1983 five months before Mauna Loa’s eruption. 1975 five months after Mauna Loa’s eruption. 1951 one year after the giant SWRZ eruption of Mauna Loa 1950. Not to forget the apokalyptic earthquake 1868 with landslides and tusnami, which was linked to small eruptions of both Kilauea and Mauna Loa.

    How often do we have to expect destructive earthquakes like this on Big Island? Do they have more preceding signals than plate-border earthquakes? Can the next eruptive period on Kilauea be linked to one of those earthquake?
    Mauna Loa 2022 was without destructive earthquakes. The strongest was a 5.0 earthquake close to Pahala at 9km depth, but weaker than the major historical quakes.

    • They are caused by the south flank of the Big Island sliding. Pretty much all of the island from Kapoho to South Point, and going inland to the rift zones of Mauna Loa and Kilauea, all of that is a mobile zone. The 1868 quake was all of it moving at once, other quakes have been partial segments of it. The bit that seems to move the most is between Apua Point and Kaimu, which was where the 1975 and 2018 quakes happened, and which the most intense volcanism on Kilaueas ERZ has happened recently.

      The quakes usually happen before rifting, and probably allow it to happen. It isnt a rule though, in 1951 there was no eruption, though that quake was not a south flank quake either. In 1975 there wasnt an eruption either but there was a massive deep intrusion, and Pu’u O’o eventually formed above where this occurred. 2018 was very similar and probably also set off a huge deep intrusion, the difference being that a dike had been created and had started erupting at low altitude already. Without that quake 2018 probably would have been possibly similar to the second stage of the 1955 eruption, fairly low eruption rate with variable intensity.

      The quakes happen decades apart though. An eruption on the LERZ now, even a major eruption, wouldnt induce a quake, probably. An eruption on the SWRZ could though, the Hilina pali segment has been quiet since 1975 (or even earlier), maybe not a 7+ but something over a 6. And an eruption on the SWRZ of Mauna Loa would most likely set off a major quake at least in the high 6 range. Something as big as 1868 is probably extremely rare though, maybe millennia apart judging by how often Mauna Loa erupts at such a low altitude.

      • Can the current intrusions since 2019 cause large earthquakes? There were many deep swarm quakes around Pahala that indicated upward movement of magma into Kilauea and Mauna Loa. This accumulation must have a pressure on the ground, on rifts, cracks and faults. Now we see a lot of inflation on Kilauea’s summit system. There may only a strong quake be needed to open the bottle for magma.

        • That strong quake was in 2018, I think. It would surprise me if we vet something bigger than a 6 in the next decade. The first quake bigger than a 6 on Kilaueas south flank after 1975 was well after Pu’u O’o was full swing, in 1990 I think. 1955 was set off by a mag 6.1 a year earlier, 1960 had no associated quake, and was the second biggest single eruption from Kilauea before 2018 (>0.25 km3). The quakes set off intrusions but intrusions dont seem to necessarily set off the big quakes, 2018 probably was just at the right time to set off a quake that would have happened in the next couple years anyway.

  41. I am honestly surprised that despite the huge number of earthquakes and their shallow depth the Chiles-Cerro Negro volcanic system shows no signs of activity.
    About 8,100 earthquakes were recorded between August 5 and 7 alone, corresponding to an average of between 50 and 250 earthquakes per hour.
    What does it need to erupt?
    Even Chaiten volcano, in 2008, in Chile, took much less to trigger an eruption despite being a volcano that hadn’t erupted in a long time.

      • Most of the earthquakes are at depths between 2.5 and 5 km from its summit, 4700 m altitude. Some earthquakes have been located at a depth of 8 km.

    • We can’t really know if there really was such a long dormancy at CCN since it is very much understudied. Chaiten was similar, but recent studies after the suprising 2008 Eruption found Evidence for an Eruption around 1640.

      This ist just speculation, but to me Cerro Negro does not look eroded enough for a proposed pleistocene volcano.

    • Part of why I dont think it is going to do anything apocalyptic, if there is an eruption it is probably going to be effusive forming a lava dome and maybe evolving into stratovolcano formation,lime the two existing cones are. The start might be plinian but I would be surprised if it is anything more than a VEI 4.

      Doing my own research has kind of really thrown the traditional view of how volcanism behaves out the window. Chaiten and Puyehue-Cordon Caulle were major rhyolitic eruptions, but both also mostly effusive. The two biggest volume completely explosive eruptions in the 20th century, were both mafic and driven by fluid lava and an unknown degree of water interaction. The most violent non-caldera eruptions are the crystal rich lava domes at so called ‘andesitic’ arc stratovolcanoes, which are really rhyolite with mafic crystals, not actual andesite melt which is only slightly more viscous than basalt.
      Melt composition also seems to be completely irrelevant for calderas, the only thing there is how big the hole is… most calderas have fluid magma because the crystals can settle out in such a big chamber

      CCN has the characteristics of being a system that makes viscohs stratovolcanoes at wide intervals. It is probably a dangerous volcano to live close to when active, but it isnt the next Tambora. I do think it will erupt soonish though, its hard to see this just stopping now, its wedging its way up little by little.

      • It shouldn’t be long now. I’m not worried about a possible Tambora, even if I don’t exclude a major Kelud-style eruption, however being a volcanic system that has kept us on our toes since 2013, impatience is now making us clatter.
        I’ve been a volcano enthusiast since the age of 8, so for me these phenomena are my daily bread.


        • I also read that study which found evidence of recent eruptions of Chaiten Volcano in 1640, instead of 8000 years.
          Scientific studies when there is funding bring unexpected results: when the Sinabung volcano woke up in 2010 it was believed that it had not erupted for 400 years, however further research has found that it had not had an eruption for at least 1400 years.
          Even Oraefajokull after signs of revival in recent years, further research found that the 1728 eruption was larger than previously expected.
          It honestly seems to me that the shape of Chiles Volcano shows an ancient collapse of part of the mountain, similar but not identical to that of Saint Helens Volcano.
          Most likely the beginning will be explosive given the enormous pressure build-up, but then we will have an eruption of a few months very similar to that of Merapi in 2010.
          Lava dome growth-collapse with strong explosions-pyroclastic flows

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