The Terraces of Tarawera

The Haszard family at Te Wairoa. Charles Haszard was the local school teacher. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library

It was a quintessential English village, with simple houses along streets and fenced cottage gardens of precisely 100 m2 each. This is what the heart of England, the Cotswolds, looked like. Perhaps 85% of the population was local; the others were distant immigrants. The people were farmers and workers in the local flour mill. But although typical, this village would have an exceptional legacy. It was the only English village ever to be destroyed by a volcanic eruption.

The location gives a clue. For this was the England of the colonies, and the immigrants were people who had left their home in England – not always voluntary – and traveled halfway across the world to start a new life. This was about as far from England as it was possible to get. The fact that their new homeland was already occupied was not seen as a problem, in the colonial era. The local population could provide the labour for the new arrivals.

Some saw a wider responsibility, and took it on themselves to develop the local population, the Maori, by teaching them civilized ways. Te Wairoa, on the North Island of New Zealand, was designed and build as a model village which would help educate the Maori – and would help them become more English. The intention may have been good (although this is disputed), but it was misguided. A culture grows over centuries; transposing and imposing a culture from one country to another never works. English houses and factories, and English agriculture (wheat) were a poor match to the Maori way of life. Over time, conflicts grew about land use, with different Maori tribes claiming ownership. During these years Te Wairoa was abandoned, but eventually an arrangement was reached between the warring tribes and people returned. But the factory and church became abandoned and the original English colonizers, with all their good intentions, were slowly leaving. A new way of life developed, but it was very different from what either side of the divide had envisaged. Nature finally stepped in and brought the culture war to a close.

The location of Te Wairoa had been well chosen, in a fertile valley in between steep mountain sides and in between two lakes. One of those lakes, Lake Rotomohana, contained a marvellous and world-famous attraction: the Pink and White Terraces. Once the land dispute had been settled and the area became safe to visit, people came from far and wide. And the tourists kept coming. They would travel to New Zealand just to see this. Quickly, tourism became a better source of income than English agriculture. The viewing experience was well organised. A sign at the entrance to Te Wairoa listed the exact charges for guiding. Every day during the season, some 20 people would visit the Terraces on a strict itinerary: evening entertainment in the village, travel by canoe to visit the White Terraces at 11 am, lunch with boiled crayfish at one of the hot springs, afternoon bathing at the Pink Terraces, and return to Te Wairoa where there would be concerts and dancing. The guiding was largely done by women. The local Maori became well off. This also brought a new group of English with commercial interests, and they owned the local businesses and hotels. By the end, some 120 Maori and 15 Europeans lived in the village. Alcoholism had become a problem.

The end came suddenly. In the previous days, one of the Maori guides had noted an increase in hydrothermal activity at the lake. Apart from this, there was no warning. Soon after midnight on June 10, 1886, an earthquake swarm started, which increased in strength. The eruption itself began around 2am with a “roar like a tornado”. Te Wairoa found itself next to the second largest eruption to hit New Zealand since the arrival of the Maori. When morning came, the village no longer existed.

The mountain itself was hidden from view from Te Wairoa, and the main eye witness accounts are from further away. They describe the onset: “There was no sign of a storm, the wind was steady and the stars shining; but right over the eastern end of Ruawahia was a high, thin column of black smoke with a spreading top looking not unlike an immense mushroom. All this smoke cloud was blazing with lightning, which scintillated through every part of it and, shooting out from its dark edges fringed them with vivid light. The total height of this column when first seen would have been about 5000 feet; and it stood quite straight as though not subject to the action of any wind….”

(The quotation is taken from Keam 2015. Sources for the post are listed at the end.) The observer saw flames rising 500 meter high coming from the top of Tarawera mountain. And shortly after, perhaps around 3am, a large explosion was seen some 10 kilometer southwest of the mountain; the cloud, first white, then black, rolled across the landscape. It rendered the remainder of the eruption invisible.

This large explosion had happened under Lake Rotomahana, the lake southeast of Te Wairoa. The cloud that it generated was not just ash and smoke. The bottom of the lake had blown up, and the cloud brought a rain of mud, stones and cinders which lasted for 3 hours. Te Wairoa was buried under a meter of mud; other places were hit even harder. There are desperate descriptions of people trying in vain to support the roofs of their homes. Some died in the collapses, others escaped into the streets enduring the rain of mud and stones.

The school house of Te Wairoa, July 1886. The school teacher, his son and two of his daughters had died in the eruption. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library

There had been many more explosions, but they had been unobserved behind the cloud of mud. A 16-km long, straight rift had opened, running from the mountain through Lake Rotomahana and beyond. The explosions that occurred as the rising magma met the ground water thundered across the landscape. They were heard 130 km away on the North Island, and even people in Christ Church, on the South Island, noted the distant explosions. In Auckland, the explosions were first heard around 2:30am, and lasted until after 4am. At the coast the black cloud brought darkness; even ships at sea found themselves under a rain of ash.

When the eruption was over, around 6:30am and after only 4 hours, some 120 people had died. It had been the end of the tourist season and only three tourists had been staying at the local hotels. But there had been a Maori wedding that evening and guests had come for that. A few of the smaller Maori dwellings survived better than the large houses, but most of the 70 houses, the village hall, the hotels and the factory were destroyed. Survivors had been propping up the roofs against the weight of the mud. Other had fled the collapsing buildings. In the morning people started digging out the survivors. 11 inhabitants of Te Wairoa had died. But there had been several small settlements around the shore of Lake Rotomahana, and those had been completely destroyed. Here, only a single person survived.

Te Wairoa was never rebuild, although for a while it still attracted tourists who came to view the destruction. Te Wairoa is now mainly known as New Zealand’s best known archeological site.

A mountain split

Summit fissure (source: photovolcanica)

The eruption had occurred along a straight and fairly narrow rift. It started at the northeast side of the summit of Tarawera, where afterwards there were two craters. From here the rift passed southwest through the extended summit where the three domes had split completely. The summit was covered in pyroclastic ejecta which in places reached 75 meters in thickness. After a short gap, the rift continued along the southwest slope down the mountain. Beyond that there was a further rift sections and craters, which terminated at the newly formed Rotomahana crater. After another gap, there more craters further southwest for another 3 kilometers, in the Waimangu section. The penultimate one was Waimanga (Black crater).

The 1886 rift eruption

The summit rift showed 13 separate craters, and as many as 50 vents. The Rotomahana section had at least 4 craters, and the Waimangu section had a line of craters which still showed minor hydrothermal explosions years after the eruption had ended.

Echo crater (source: photovolcanica)

The Waimangu section remained hydrothermally active for even longer. Black crater surprised everyone when fourteen years after the eruption it suddenly developed a large geyser. The geyser is still listed as the largest known: at times it erupted 400 meters high. The geyser activity ended after 4 years. Nowadays it is known as Echo crater and although the geyser is gone, there is still a hot spring which erupted mud as recently as 2016.

The summit eruption was plinian and it was basaltic. That is an unusual combination. Basalt tends to erupt effusively, without large explosions, because it does not have much volatile content which can drive explosions. And whereas basaltic plinian eruptions are already rare, Tarawera is unique in doing it simultaneously along such a long rift with so many individual eruption locations. And even stranger, Tarawera is not a basaltic volcano. Previous eruptions here produced rhyolite, with only very minor basaltic components. It appears that often, the rhyolite eruptions were triggered by a small basaltic intrusion, but the eruptions came from the activated rhyolite magma chambers. But in this case, the basalt came up and bypassed any rhyolite magma that may have been present. A dike was emplaced underneath the summit (possibly two dikes of which only one reached the surface) and very rapidly progressed along the rift direction. At the lowest point along the rift, where Lake Rotomahana was located, it produced massive phreato-magmatic explosions (i.e. water-magma interaction). The Rotomahana crater left by these explosions was 2.5 kilometers across. Further down-rift the explosions were equally watery but smaller.

The rift as it was shortly after the 1886 eruption.

And the explosions at the summit should not be underestimated either. Here, no water was involved. The scoria that was ejected from the summit covered an area of 10,000 km2. The wind blew the ejecta north and northeast, towards Whakatane. The plinian eruption appears to have come from four of the 13 summit craters, with eruptions speeds of 300 m/s. The other craters erupted with less intensity, and build smaller scoria deposits within about 500 meters of the rift.

The structure and composition of the basaltic ejecta indicates that the magma had been relatively cool, at 1100C (this is the temperature in the dike underground – not the lava ejection temperature which is rarely known) and had been fairly shallow (1-2 kbar, or 2-3 km depth). The reason why there was only 1-2 hours of earthquake activity prior to the eruption was that the dike was already quite close to the surface. But there was no existing conduit, and instead the dike ripped open the entire summit. The northeast-southwest direction which the dike and rift followed is a common alignment at Tarawera. The sides of the rift show some sideways shift, perhaps caused by a combination of some extension and rotation. The stress field made it easy for the dike to push its way out and up along this path.

The ejecta at Rotomahana were different from those from the summit craters. This was the so-called Rotomahana mud. It too contained basalt, but this was only around 20% of the ejecta. The rest was pulverized ground. The soil and rock around Tarawera are from older, rhyolitic eruptions. This was taken up in the ejecta, which became a mix of fresh basalt and ancient, cold rhyolite. In fact the same mixture is seen at the summit but with a much higher percentage of basalt, of up to 85%.

Rotomahana mud

The Rotomahana mud formed a dune field, extending up to 6 kilometers from the new crater. This indicates a base surge. The fact that the distance observer saw the explosion causing first a white and then a black cloud also points at this. Base surges are common in phreato-magmatic (shallow underground) explosions. The gas vents vertically out of the crater hole, flows over the crater edge and moves out horizontally over the ground, as an expanding ring around the explosion column. The surge cloud hugs the ground while moving out at speeds of typically 50 m/s (100 miles/hour, if you prefer these units). The surge carries the ash, mud and even stones, well beyond distances to which the rocks could be thrown by the eruption. Te Wairoa was hit by such a base surge.

Te Wairoa after the eruption. The building is a part of the old flour mill. The dune field left by the base surge is clearly visible.

The deposits change from the deep mud near the lake to a volcanic ‘flour’ further away. The two have the same composition, but the water-soaked material dropped out of the surge closer to the lake, with the dry ash traveling further. This is also the cause of the change from a white (vapour) to a black (dust) cloud. Layering of the ejecta shows that the surge dried out later in the eruption, with a thin layer of flour dropped on top of the thick mud. Whether this was because the water in the lake had all been used up, or that the mud ceased to be carried as far as the eruption declined, is an open question. The dry flour consists mainly of old rhyolitic deposits, remobilized by the explosion, with some 20% fresh basalt. The temperature of the dry flour may have been as high as 150C: trees in the region were scorched, showing the base surge was hot (unlike ash fall which is cold). But it was not as hot as a pyroclastic flow would have been, and perhaps the water in the mud kept the temperature down around the lake since none of the reports of the eruption mention heat.

The eruption was very destructive. In those four hours, some 1.3 to 2 km3 of pulverized rock, scoria and lava was ejected, making this a VEI 5 eruption. The numbers are based on several different and independent measurements of the thickness and extent of the deposits. About half the volume came from the summit eruption, and half from the Rotomahana explosion. But most of the lava came from the summit: Rotomahana contained less than 1/5th of the ejected basalt. This is an indication that the power of the Rotomahana explosion came from the interaction with the lake water. The basaltic lava itself had relatively little volatiles (less than 2% water content), and the plinian summit eruption instead was driven by the straight pressure on the dike. In contrast, the lake provided volatiles and turned what would otherwise have been a smaller explosion far along the rift into a borderline VEI-5. Phreato-magmatic eruptions are far more dangerous than the amount of lava involved may suggest. At Tarawera, all of the casualties came from the lake explosion.

The region has changed in the 135 year since the eruption. The volcanic grey, impassable wilderness has greened. The craters are filled with water, and formed new lakes with new outflows. Not all of the 1886 craters are still recognizable in the landscape. Rotomahana crater too has became a lake, different in shape to lake that went before. The level of the lake is much higher than it was before the eruption: the original outflow was blocked after the eruption. New thermal fields and hot springs have developed. There are now geysers along the western side of Lake Rotomahana. As the lake level rises and falls, different geysers become active; geyser activity is seen if the exit is no more than 3 meters above the level of the lake. When the lake drops, geysers higher up may still discharge warm water but do so without steam explosions, while new geysers appear lower down.

But this hydrothermal activity cannot undo the damage of the eruption. Te Wairou lost its village – and its biggest attraction.

The Pink and White Terraces

The world-famous White Terraces, cascading down the mountain. The Pink Terraces were a separate, smaller cascade

It was know as the 8th wonder of the world. This title may be queried. The original, ancient list had contained nine world wonders, leaving no vacancy at number 8. And there is competition for the title: many things have been called the 8th wonder. The strangest one, perhaps was the suggestion by Albert Einstein of compound interest: he reportedly said “He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” Even King Kong was nominated at one time. The Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon are on the list. The Taj Mahal would qualify, as the original list was about marvels of engineering, not those of nature. But all visitors agreed that the Pink and White Terraces were a world-class marvel. Therefore, after the Rotohamana explosion, people quickly went to see the damage to them.

They could not even decide where the Terraces had been. Not enough of the landscape had survived for them to get their bearings. The Auckland Evening Star newspaper described the scene, shortly after the eruption: “.instead of a splendid sheet of water, there was opened out immediately beneath our feet, its edge not 250 yards distant, a huge crater, belching out showers of mud and stones from innumerable yawning mouths, amid dense volumes of steam and smoke, with a din and roar and rattle baffling description. Stones were being ejected high into the air from eleven separate orifices or small craters, on the side nearest to us, and the volumes of steam and smoke prevented further vision into the centre of the old lake site. A partial clearing away of the vaporous envelope, however, occasionally gave a brief glimpse into the gloomy recesses of the great crater revealing only a bed of steaming seething mud in flats and hillocks, bubbling and spouting in ceaseless ebullition. A small patch of discoloured water was dimly distinguishable in one part, but the lake was gone—not only the water, but the bottom driven out, scooping the bed to a depth of at least 250 feet below the old level…. The great crater was over a mile long and half a mile wide.

And together with the lake, the Pink and White Terraces too were gone. People have been looking for the remnants ever since. The largest explosion happened very close to the White Terraces and it is unlikely any part of it survived. But the Pink Terraces were further away: are they perhaps just buried underneath the 10 or 15 meters of mud? The ejecta covering Te Wairoa and surrounding areas included many silica fragments which resembled the material of the Terraces, but we do not know whether they come from one or both Terraces. Every now and then a report comes out that remnants of the Terraces have been located deep under the lake. But these reports have not been confirmed and the claims do not agree with each other. The lake has risen by 30 meters or more and any remnant would now be under water. But this rise came slowly after the eruption, and the early searches had a dry view of any surviving areas. Even if they had been buried by deep Rotomahana mud, part of them could easily have been uncovered as the mud was washed away. The steps between Terraces could be several meters. It therefore seems likely that the Pink Terraces too were mostly or fully destroyed. Only one of the original ancient world wonders survives, so this puts the Terraces in good company. But there is always hope and perhaps one day the remnants will be uncovered.

Volcanoes continuously redevelop the land they occupy. What they destroy may well over time reform. But so far, the famous Terraces show no sign of being recreated.

The name Lake Rotomahana means ‘warm lake’ and this is already an indication of the hydrothermal activity in the region. The White Terraces, on the northeastern shore of the lake, were fed from the Te Tarata geyser 30 meters above the lake. (The same name was also used for the Terraces themselves.) The silica-rich water descended from here to the lake, depositing the Terraces in the process with some 50 large pools and many more small ones. The Pink Terraces were smaller and on the opposite shore, and came from a spring also located 30 meters high, along a steep valley. The Pink Terraces were not pink everywhere: they were marble white at the bottom, but turned pink and rose higher up; the pool at the top was cobalt blue. The upper pools of the Pink Terraces had the best temperature for bathing.

Similar cinter terraces exist elsewhere in the world, for instance at Mammoth Springs in Yellowstone and Pamukkale in Turkey. Those at Rotomahana were larger and (reportedly) more impressive. It was also unique to have two such wonders on the same lake.

Pummakale, Turkey (image from wikipedia)

Before the eruption, the lake was bordered on its eastern side by a 50-meter high ridge. This ridge may have been the wall of an older caldera. The Te Tarata geyser was located on the slope of this ridge. The sketch below is the only map in existence of the old lake. The Terraces are the larger yellow areas near the bottom left (the Pink Terraces) and the centre (the White Terraces). The Pink Terraces were fed by a spring with a temperature of 80C, while the White Terraces came from a boiling intermittent geyser. The other yellow areas were fed by cooler springs which had deposited silica on the valley floors but which had not developed the silica basins of the Terraces. Temperature matters.

And the temperature was impressive. The geologist Hochstetter once camped on the small Puqi island in Rotomahana. He was not comfortable: “The whole ground is . . . so warm from below that I started from my couch unable to bear it any longer”. He put a thermometer into the ground. When pulling it out, hot steam came from the hole.

from Keam 2015

It is notable that the various cool springs, hot springs and geysers were some 30 meters above the lake level. That is very different from the current situation where the new geysers are found below 3 meters above the lake level (albeit with a much higher lake level.) It is clear that the water supply for those pre-1886 springs and geysers did not come from the lake, but benefitted from much higher pressure than provided by the water. The geyser water had been in contact with hot rocks, which were likely to have been at some depth. Indeed, ground water can circulate to kilometers depth. Rising to the surface, it avoided the lake. Instead the water came up through the ridge next to the lake, perhaps following an old eruption conduit.

Plausibly, that the water got its pressure from Tarawera, and came down underground from the summit, following a flow channel at some depth. This underground direction which also brought it in contact with the warm (even hot) heart of the mountain. The dike of the 1886 eruption followed the same direction. When the magma came, it found the water already along the rift, ready to power the explosions.

This water flow must have been stable over a long time. Estimates for how long it may have taken to build up the Terraces range from 1000 to 10,000 years. And this happened while the lake level fluctuated and the volcano cycled through its phases of activity. The Terraces formed in a most unlikely location. Geyser fields normally indicate a deeply dormant volcano.

Where did the silica that formed the Terraces come from? The region was covered in old rhyolitic deposits, and rhyolite has a very high percentage of silica. Silica is slow to dissolve in water, however this becomes much faster when the water is very hot: the solubility peaks at around 300C, which obviously requires high pressure. As the water reaches the surface, it rapidly cools and the silica precipitates again, covering the valley floor in silica. This happens in the Hidden Valley in nearby Taupo, as shown in this video. The colours in the video are caused by microbes. In contrast, the colour of the Pink Terraces was intrinsic to the silica. The precise origin is not known, but trace elements in the silica such as iron are likely to blame. (Even gold has been suggested, perhaps a bit optimistic!)

To turn a silica-rich water flow into the Terraces requires a largely flat area where the water can be caught behind small barriers. The ponded water itself now creates a level surface where the silica is deposited on the floor of the pool. As it flows over the barrier, it also deposited here. The barrier grows higher and eventually the standing water becomes a proper pool and a Terrace. The dripping water on the outside of the step barrier can cause stalactite-like formations, which did indeed exist on the Pink and White Terraces. Building such structures takes time. A shorter-lived flow will only cause a white surface, as in the Hidden Valley.

Photograph of the White Terraces, taken between 1880 and 1886

Heat measurements have shown that the hydrothermal system beneath the Pink Terraces still exists. The hot water now mainly exits below the lake, but there are also geysers along the western shore. Gravity anomalies suggest there may be a basaltic dike hiding here underneath the old rhyolite ridge, a remnant of the 1886 eruption. But there is no heat signature at this location of the White Terraces, and its hydrothermal system was likely fully destroyed in the explosions. If the Terraces ever do re-form, it will not be in the same location. And probably, they never will. We are left with memories of a misguided model village and a world-class attraction.

Post and future

Tarawera has a dangerous side. Over many years it build up a world wonder, only to destroy it in just a few hours. This was never a safe place to build a model English village. The land disputes were settled once and for all, once the volcano showed what it was capable of. But the Maori could have known. The 1886 eruption was the second largest eruption since the New Zealand settlement. The largest eruption had happened some 500 year earlier. This early eruption is a key moment not just in the settlement of New Zealand, but even in the peopling of the Pacific. But that is another story.

Albert, November 2021

Sources

Te Wairoa, The Buried Village: A Summary of Recent Research and Excavations. Alexy Simmons, 1991. Australian Journal of Historical Archaeology, Vol. 9 (1991), pp. 56-62

The Tarawera eruption, Lake Rotomahana, and the origin of the Pink and White Terraces. Ronald Keam, 2015, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 314, Pages 10-38

Tarawera 1886: an integrated review of volcanological and geochemical characteristics of a complex basaltic eruption. Michael C. Rowe, Rebecca J. Carey, James D. L. White, et al., 2021. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 64:2-3, 296-319,

599 thoughts on “The Terraces of Tarawera

  1. The volcano has advanced to the bronze position in comparison to all volcanoes on La Palma.
    Silver is going to be fairly hard though (80 d!!)

      • Not sure duration is the metric they should be using for that. This eruption is by far the biggest volume of any historical eruption, probably somewhere around 0.2 km3 of lava, 1949 and 1971 combined were 0.09 km3, less than half. Not sure about any other eruptions but based on the size of the flow field I doubt they are much different to the 20th century eruptions. It is a bit hard to tell because the eruptions in 1585, 1677 and 1712 sent a lot of lava into the ocean compared to now so far but the ocean off of La Palma is shallow, not an abyssal drop off like Hawaii, so submarine volume is probably almost negligible.

        This eruption is also the only eruption to reach VEI 3 among historical examples, which would tend to indicate more lava has been erupted too. In Hawaii an eruption rate of 4 m3/s gives SO2 emissions of around 2000 t/day. La Palma is probably less sulfur rich than Hawaii so the current SO2 emissions there point to a pretty high sustained flow, over 10 m3/s, which is probably why the lava turns to a’a quickly on the surface.

    • 2004 was caused by decompression of the magma water by water pressure load removal

      • They say an eruption is “possible” following the jökulhlaup, which is expected to start in a few days. As always, they are very careful how they are wording things, probably because they don’t want to disappoint people like us.

  2. Albert thank you very much for the post.
    One thing I was puzzled of is where you write that the temperature of 1100 °C is referring to the dike.
    1: How in the world are the able to figure the dike temperature but not the lava ejection temperature?

    2: Is that true with temperature figures and measurements at volcanoes around the globe?

    3: It may not be a surviving world wonder, but it has photographs proving its scientific /archeological existence.
    What other world wonders are at least scientifically/archeologically proven?
    (For example, in your excellent post about the Hanging gardens of “Babylon” you show how this wonder isn’t scientifically/archeologically proven.)

    • Magma melts at a certain temperature. But not all types of rock melt at the same temperature. Some require higher temperatures than others. When magma ends up in the dike, it has cooled a bit during the ascend, and now some of melted magma will begin to solidify. The elements with the highest melting temperature will solidify first. This is quite a slow process. The solid material forms crystals (compare to water beginning to freeze: that also forms ice crystals well before the who surfqce goes solid). When the eruption begins, the lava contains those crystals and they can be recognized even once the flowing lava becomes solid. (You can see similar crystals in granite.) Dig out the crystals and analyze which elements are in them and which are not: that will tell you what the temperature was in the dike.

      To measure the ejection temperature, you need to put a thermometer into the lava. It is not easy to get close enough to an erupting crater!

      I believe we have archaeological remnants for all ancient world wonders, apart from the hanging gardens

      • Thank you for your statements.
        I see, so the minimum temperature in the dike is indirectly visible in terms of what minerals have crystallized out.
        Smart approach 🙂
        Conversely, as the crystallization is supposed to be slow, if the time in between dike creation and eruption start happens to be too short too high a temperature may derive from that mineral analysis, since not everything supposed to crystallize at a certain temperature can manage to do so.

    • Rocks dont have a specific melting temperature, diffrent minerals melts at difftent temperatures. Lava flows are often a slurry of crystals in a glass liquid. Very few lava flows on Earth
      are crystal free glassy melts, thats perhaps only been seen at Kilaueas summit, at Nyiragongo in 2003 and Kistufell in Iceland where lava is really hot

      • I used the word ‘rock’ for ‘mineral’ as people find it easier to visualize rocks than minerals! But yes, this is correct

      • Our swedish high sillica plutonic felsic rocks are almost Impossible to melt.
        Perhaps its because of they are ”too dry”

        I been trying to melt granite in our fireplace that haves an air intake in the ash bin, You can get a ferocious suction hurricane of air supply there. I also insulated it with fire refactory plates on the inside to protect the metal fire box in the living room. Our 1990 s fireplace is almost like a crematorium, You can get ferocious heat with the air supply. And This is an old firebox from 1990.

        You fill it with wood and coal and places tiny tiny granite lumps in the center of the pile then its full blast with air supply, I managed to get up the fire core to 1280 C… yet after hour of firing the tiny fine grained granite lumps wont melt at all.

        Highly sillica rich Igenous rocks should be the easiest to melt, But perhaps I cannot melt them because They are ”too dry” ?. Felsic Plutonic Magmatic Rocks are also coarse grained, and many of their individual minerals haves very high Melting points. Felsic Plutonic Rocks turns out to be nearly Impossible to melt.
        I know that ryholitic magmas in Earths crust can be molten at temperatures as low as 600 C, But probaly because they are ”wet” But I haves failed with my own trys of remelting samples back to Ryholite lava. Very Hard to melt

        And yes our fireplace is a real beast like a blacksmith hurricane air suction function almost, always worried that the glasss window will melt .. or explode

        • An absolute ferocious beast of a fireplace and very simple But effective design: almost everything we coud burn there No matter the moisture content
          ”hurricane fire box”
          During Christmas evenings in heavy Wood firings it gets so hot that you cannot be near it .. quite scary and the whole chamber glows

          But I cannot melt granite, granidiorite or diorite.. why?? is ur because they are too dry to
          Remelt them into lava at lower temperatures When they are molten in nature?
          I know that Granite Magmas haves a relationship with water in Earths interior

        • What if you try with coal alone?
          I don’t think once you have coal brought to temperature wood will burn hotter.
          Have you ever tried to force air into the air intake, by the means of any blower or the likes?
          In addition or as an alternative you could also reduce the useless N2 by trying to replace part (or all for the brave) of the air by oxygen.

          What I was thinking too, wouldn’t the rocks instantly loose all water if there were some in them in the first place?
          After all often stones explode if you throw them in the fire…supposedly due to the water.

      • The air supply is more than ferocious.. real hurricane of suction .. and thats why that thing gets so hot.

        But highly sillica rich Plutonic rocks .. seems impossible to melt .. perhaps because their high sillica content. In geology textbooks they haves the lower melting point.. But in reality its more complicated

        • Thing is at the ‘melting point’ of rhyolite it is still not really a liquid, probably no more than wet sand is a liquid. Rhyolite at 1200 C would probably flow slowly, or maybe not so slowly depending on how alkaline it was, as alkaline felsic rocks are really very similar composition to common glass which is able to flow easily at such temperatures.

        • Perhaps on the mineral grain size too it depends on. I read that very very fine grained semi plutonic Igenous rocks are easier to melt than coarse grained pegmatites
          I have managed to melt alkaline sandstone, and mafic plutonics there

          But that fireplace is a real beast, and even more ferocious now with refactory plates to store heat. But its not at all a kiln furnace with endless ammounts of brickwork to store heat either

          • I’m just visualising you, sitting there in front of your hearth, fire roaring away, melting rocks. Love it!

          • Probably it wont melt because the crystals of quartz are basically pure SiO2, which wont melt until it is around 1700 C. Hydrated minterals really mean that mineral has got hydroxide ions in it, which form from water reacting with an oxide. In general hydroxides melt at a much lower temperature than anhydrous oxides, NaOH melts at 323 C while Na2O melts at 1120 C for example. NaOH is unusual though in that it does actually melt, in most cases the hydroxide will decompose and turn to the oxide and water before melting.

            I dont know what happens with SiO2 though, because silicates are not simple anions in reality and that is important for melting points. Maybe a big part of the solidification of lava could well be the rapid dehydration of the minerals now that they are not pressurized, granite magma is several percent water which is a lot, I doubt rhyolite rocks are as high as that, especially if formed as an ignimbrite where most of the gas would have escaped in the eruption.

      • Yes defentivly hot stuff
        I managed to melt pumice from volcano lipari, that are alkaline glass very much. The pumicestones became a black glass the day after. Very Small lumps of Diabase I been able to melt too into basalt. Alkaline sandstone worked too fusing them back into Trachyte.

        The metal firebox been insulated by since its not meant to fire it that hard. But these hard firings can also be good to the chimmeny: burning away old sludge deposits that can cause problems later. The firecore can get up to almost 1300 C
        But the flame zone goes to 1100 C, still not recommended to fire at full blast. These fire places are meant to be fired very very slowly.

  3. Looks like the SO2 emissions from Taal have gone from 12k to 1k in two days…

  4. RE:”|A useful video giving an idea of the bathymetry off the western La Palma coast:”

    An excellent consolidation which says much. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’.

  5. Kilauea lava lake is nearly crusted over again, maybe the dynamics of the lake are that effusion is directly into the deep lake and not up to the surface through the cone so much. If so the visible lava surface will die out but there will still be continued rise of the floor and lava breakouts on the edges.

  6. All this talk of hot, and boiling water, will no one think of the trout? Lake Tarawera has a reputation to maintain.

    • Interestingly, that lake seems fine. The rifts and hot water run further south through the other lakes. I did not know about the trout though

    • The most likely cause of the change of direction of the Pacific plate is a change in the subduction zones. The subduction pulls the plate, and the movement is due to the combined effect of the various subduction zones around the Pacific. One of the subduction zones may have ceased, or a new one may have started. This can happen for instance when a plate is fully subducted. Such a change would impact the stress on the Pacific plate and can cause a new break, i.e. a new mid-oceanic rift zone. But as the plate settles down, this could die out again.

      • My prime suspect: The corner of Gorda, Juan de Fuca and the American Plate, that’s where the fault that starts at the kink with a 90° angle (not the 120° angle towards Hawai’i) comes in. And that is also the former meeting point – I think after studying some maps – of Farallon and Pacific Plate plus the San Andreas Fault 50-65 Ma.
        Idea: Pacific Plate is moving North, Farallon subducting. When subduction comes to an end at the northern rim of the American Plate with also some break-offs in the east there is no subduction in the North for a while, and the Pacific Plate starts wandering WNW towards the North Asian subduction zones. Something like that, but I know it is more complicated.
        After what you wrote though a loss of Farallon subducting could lead to this phenomenon. The age might fit, and the last of Farallon when the Pacific Plate already had a considerable size was in the north-east between what’s now Northern California and Alaska.

  7. And then – if I interpret the tenor of this piece and interview rightly – this area could be one of the supects for some mystery eruption (only North though). Not enough research and difficult):

    While scientific evidence of volcanism on Jeju Island is proving difficult to confirm, one piece of historic evidence suggests that the island was active much more recently than 5,000 years ago. The “Dongguk Yeoji Seungram,” a Joseon Dynasty geography textbook (multiple volumes published between 1481 and 1530) includes this seemingly eye-witness account.
    “In June 1002 CE, a mountain arose in the middle of the sea. There were four giant holes at the top of the mountain, out of which red liquid flowed and soared, and thick smoke plumed for five days. All the red liquid hardened and became stone like roof tiles.”
    http://www.jejuweekly.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=4391
    https://img.trippose.com/thum/1067029/800/533

  8. Thanks to all who posted the effusive lava fountain.
    Absolutely impressive!

    • Just rewound it again, it comes out of nowhere! Amazing, most reminiscent of Fagradalsfjall in the early summer.

  9. Hopefully, Grimsvotn erupts soon. I hope it freezes this world to a crisp, removes the sun from the day, and fills the air with SO2. I’d also be happy with a VEI 5 too.

      • RE: “And Indeed me too .. I too wants Big Big things to happen,”

        Perhaps you can call upon the gods and make sacrifice at the base of Vesuvius. Igniting that as well as the entire Campi Fleigri ought to be quite a happening. Imagine all the ignimbrite laid down for future generations to manufacture Roman cement with.

      • A meteor never comes down in the same place. What if your action happened in Sweden?

        • Woud not mind
          Sweden is one of the most boring countries on Earth

          No active volcanoes, No beautyful landscapes, No warm weather, and our Baltic Sea is in nightmarish shape

          But we haves some Forests, to enjoy and the beautyful norrland wastes

          The most boring place on Earth is perhaps eastern europe or holland, they are just flat farmlands.

          Well Sweden is beautyful: its just that there is No active volcanoes here, thats why Im so bored.

          • Come on.
            1. Read Selma Lagerloef’s nild Holgerson (or again). She gives mystics to Sweden, birds and adventures.
            2. The Netherlands are beautiful. Flat, but beautiful. Lots of fine towns, old windmills (Kinderdijk), beautiful buildings from colonial times, the Zuiderzee (Ijsselmeer) which was seperated from the North Sea by a dam, landwinning, Marken, a peninsula in the Zuiderzee, extremely beautiful, you should go there. Wonderful. Amsterdam: Wonderful, lots of water, sort of Venice of the West, (Stockholm is Venise of the North). Good food from all sorts of countries, esp. Indonesia.

            Come on. Some is not volcanoes. Some is water. Water is very important. The Netherlands are a water country. They use it and tame it. Good crabs. Also pancakes. Very friendly people, all fluent in English or German. Beautiful beaches in Zeeland. And the home of Vincent van Gogh. He painted fire. Fire in flowers and landscapes around Arles, France. Look at him.
            Life doesn’t need to be boring. At least not with the internet.

          • Corr.: (only one Gin and Tonic): Nils. The Nils Strory explained Sweden to me. I read it four times, once as a child and three times to each of my children. It is a real jewel. She wrote it for the animals of this world. She is a jewel as well, as a Swede you must be proud of her. If she saw what happened to wild animals in the few decades after her death she would be devastated, What a grand lady. Read that. You’ll see the destruction in the small things.

  10. If you are tired of Cumbre V. you can sitch to Stromboli.
    Nice pictures these days.

  11. Thank you Angel and Luis for those impressions.
    Maybe this is the final showdown before the volcano is deleted?

    • But IIRC some geologists thought of them only as stress relieve quakes.
      So after so much stress and pressure relieve the eruption should really really end now I estimate..?

      • Even Carl said this is expected to end very very soon, and that was a week ago or something like that, so considered from today it should end very very very soon 😮

      • That’s not what i think… for me this deep quakes are related with magma recharge of the volcanic sistem and his deeper magma chamber(s)

    • Final? I dont think so….. Some here thinking the volcano can reach to Chrismast and more as the el Hierro eruption.

      • El hierro ended up being quite a long eruption (for canary standards) with all the intrusion feeding the eruption, and something similar seems to be happening here. Lets hope it stops relatively soon, else that would be very bad withthe amount of ash in those villages and damaging crops, let alone what the lava has already buried, the economic impact woud be desastrous.

  12. Christmas?? That would be truly an absolutely devastating and terrible forecast =(

  13. Meanwhile FAF is absolutely dead in the water.
    Wonder why they (re)embedded the ICELAND VOLCANO afarTV stream at first place on the acme.to website?
    This is certainly not going to show any volcanic eruption soon after all…

  14. Just watching the rtve feed from afar tv feed 2. Not sure that the existing lava tube will be able handle all of this lava.

    02:24 on the time stamp

  15. Just checked the La Palma cam-no visual glow to be seen. But the sound of either heavy ash falling or rain.No doubt more woe for the locals.

  16. https://www.youtube.com/embed/YnO6sit2RGo has been blowing (blasting?) away all night.
    Not it seems to have declined somewhat.

    Regarding the storm incoming, maybe the rain can erase the volcano?
    If it rains on the lava it cools and solidifies, and blocks the volcano ==> it is deleted for good.

  17. Even gold has been suggested, perhaps a bit optimistic!

    Many years ago I read an article which said the operators of the long-running Rotorua geothermal power station had noted that their equipment was becoming gold plated. While I couldn’t find that old article this one is also fun from a geochemical point of view.

    Million dollar Geothermal gold in Taupo (2015)

    Yep, in short thars gold beneath them there volcanoes.

  18. Friday
    26.11.2021 03:17:42 63.919 -19.664 4.4 km 3.5 99.0 0.8 km W of Vatnafjöll

    • My uneducated guess would be faulting from plate separation; that’s on or very close to the MAR. Whether or not any magma makes it to the surface there is anyone’s guess, but my money is on Katla, Grímsvötn, Bárðarbunga, or even Askja / Herðubreið. Think we are seeing the plates / crust accommodating something.

      • The would be a reasonable assumption given the eruption at Fagradalsfjall and the seemingly increasd activity from Vatnfjöll to Askja

  19. On the Kilauea summit eruption web cam there’s glow in the left part of the image now.
    It’s dark but it looks like it is above and to the left (North?) of the lava lake, possibly a new vent.

    • It is a breakout from the side of the lake crust, where the liquid lava lake erupts from the gap that forms on the side of the crater as the lake crust is pushed up. If there was a new vent there would be a seismic signal and the vent itself would be spattering a lot not just a quiet flow. The new breakout location is much better visible on the B1 cam.

      it is though likely that as the lake gets deeper vents will open further up. When the lake eventually reaches the height of the main downdropped block it could be possible for vents to form further away outside halemaumau, as happened sometimes in the pre-1924 era. I think one area of future interest will be the southwest rift, once the lake gets high enough. It is actually getting pretty close. Such an eruption might be passive like Mauna Iki but it also could be a Nyiragongan lava flood, like Keaiwa in 1823.

  20. Another nice rattle of 3.5 in the Vatnafjoll area seismic swarm.
    26.11.2021 03:17:42 63.919 -19.664 4.4 km 3.5 99.0 0.8 km W of Vatnafjöll
    And Hekla continues to be undisturbed.

    • On that, finally might have figured out the layout of lava flows on Vatnafjoll 🙂

      Not sure we should expect a Laki sized eruption, but if there is an eruption it will probably extremely fast. Last eruption on Vatnafjoll was 2250 years ago, creating Langviuhraun II. The flow field covers about 50 km2 and is all a’a, no lava channels, which indicate the eruption was very fast. There are some cones, so the vents might have stayed open a while, but lava effusion was pretty much all within the span of a day, maybe even only a few hours, to erupt probably around 1 km3 of lava… 🙂

      There are several younger eruptions, including one possible historical example in 1440, but those occurred on the northern part of the fissure swarm around the old rhyolite mountain of Raudfossafjall (which is probably part of Torfajokull), and were more long lived eruptions that built large cones instead of flood basalts. They are on the same fissure swarm as Vatnafjoll but might better be regarded as independant deep eccentric eruptions, basically the same as the Hekla basalt vents but with Vatnafjoll magma type, the two really might be better classified together as a 3rd complex. So Vatnafjoll has not erupted in over 2000 years, and now it is waking up 🙂

  21. Albert Fun question! Since you know physics

    If the Himalayas was in Antartica Mountains, How cold woud Everest summit get in winter?
    I think insanely cold, but I also knows that cold air likes to sink. Transantartic mountains are perhaps warmer in winter than the icecap itself, since cold air is dense and likes to flow downwards.

    Still an Antartica Everest woud likley be insanely cold in the Winter year, how cold I dont know. And none woud have climbed it If that was the case .. too cold

    • – 97 C is the cold record on the icesheet by satelite data: thats totaly insane really..

    • Actually, it would not be record-breaking cold at all. Not much convection going on in Antarctica. Air temperatures at the mountains in the 8-10km altitude levels would be not much lower than -70 C typically, even in Winter (which is not unusual an unusual number in many parts of the world). During storms and some other weather events there might be significant fluctuations up and down, but it would not be typical.

    • Poleward heat transport from the equator occurs in the upper levels of the atmosphere, while cold polar air drains towards the equator near the surface, hence it probably isn’t as cold as you’d think.
      Plus, Everest is ~30,000′ in elevation, which over Antarctica would be near the base of the tropopause…above which (i.e. the stratosphere) temperature starts increasing with height.
      But don’t get me wrong, it still gets mighty cold.
      Currently, temps over Antarctica at 9,000m (~ 29,500′) are ranging from the mid -60’sF to the mid -70’s F…but SH Summer is approaching, so these temps are probably near the top end of the typical seasonal range in temps.
      By comparison, the coldest temperature ever recorded on the surface of Antarctica is -139.5F.
      https://www.ventusky.com/?p=-3;-77;1&l=temperature-300hpa

    • I think Mount Everest might be warmer than it is in the current location. Because Mount Everest in Antarctica would maybe imply there is no Himalaya. Without the Himalaya the Earth probably would be a lot warmer to the extent a Mount Everest in the Antarctica, due to warmer poles might be warmer than in present location, while being less affected by monsoon winds and regional climates.

    • Still colder than Everest today
      The Ice cap itself can go down to almost – 100 C in winter, and often go down to – 70 C in winter, summers rarely go above – 30 C but the icesheet is a wast dome thats 3300 m above sealevel

      The thickest ice in the world forms part of the Antarctic Ice Sheet where it sits over a region known as the Astrolabe Subglacial Basin to the south of the Adélie Coast. Here, the ice sheet has been measured to be 4,897 metres (16,066 feet) thick!

    • The Phonolitic volcano Mount Erebus is already so cold in summer at 3794 m thats its nearly Impossible to climb it without extreme gear.

      Erebus is one hell of a beast .. one of the most prominent of all volcanoes, the volcano is ( almost ) as tall as Mauna Kea is above sealevel, Kea tops 4200 m above the sea. Most other volcanoes rarely go much Beyond 3500 meters above the sea it seems.

      Russias Klyuchevskoy Volcano go to 4754 meters above sealevel as prominece almost, another very Impressive stratovolcano.

      The enormous Mount Kenya was perhaps 7700 meters high when its stratovolcano was at its peak in its haydays. The Mount Kenya was perhaps the largest Stratovolcano in entire cenozoic when it was at its Peak earlier in the Pleistocene.

      But the tallest and largest volcanoes are stil Hawaii.. Mauna Loa is 20 km tall from its pressed down base.

      What volcano next coud grow to near Everest heights above sealevel?

        • It depends were you start and what is measured, of course. If not a mountain is measured, but a mountain chain, slowly rising from the bottom of the ocean to say 300 km inland, than Chile is the winner. So, from cone to mountain to relief. Concernig relief the Andes are highest (Richard’s Deep – 7636, Llullaillaca +6723). Altogether 14359 m: So, basically, Llullaillaca, Chile, is the highest active Volcano on earth, if relief is taken into consideration instead of steepness or singularity.
          Now, if we were like Mars or Venus, and aliens came to measure the highest volcano, they would pick Llullaillaca. Without water being here.

      • Thats the cones
        But the cones maybe sitting on already high non volcanic ground… many of these andes volcanoes woud barely reach 2000 m If they was placed on flat ground near sealevel

        Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Kilimanjaro, and Klyuchevskoy are still the most prominent of Earths volcanoes.. Etna too

        • I don’t think that metric matters much. (Alliteration!) More important is the distance from where the melt is generated. Another factor may be the size, depth and number of magma chambers. Isostatic compression, too.

      • Erebus might have hidden secrets in the deep sea, considering Llullaillaca. Nobody really knows the presise depth under Antarctica.

      • Denaliwatch nope
        Llullaillaca is absoultely tiny compared to Mauna Loa thats well over 230 km wide and 17 kilometers tall from its pressed down base.

        But its taller above sealevel yes. But Denaliwatch nope
        Llullaillacas Cone itself is not very tall at all, it just grew on an already existing high mountain range. I Measure by prominence of the volcanic edifice itself from sealevel.

        Kilimanjaro winns the contest in prominence

        But You are correct in the other way that Llullaillaca is higher above sealevel

        • In every single source Mauna Loa is estimated around 9.170 (or slightly higher) meters, measured from its base, also in my geology books and is therefore considered the highest mountain on earth including the submarine base, or the second highest if the Tamu Massif is included. Concerning relief The Andes have built up more which is very logical as the Andes have a deep sea trench in the west.

          • Basically a comparison is misleading as the Andes will grow from the subduction of the Nazca Plate whereas Hawai’i seems to be a plume situation.
            So, in case Buddha is right you’ll come back in 50 million years (you’d like to 😉 ?) and the Hawaians will show you a friendly looking hill called Mauna Loa and a higher hill called Lōʻihi and a huge volcano south-east. This under the condition that the mantle plume is still active.

            You’ll have yourself beamed down to Chile then and might see a mountain chain as high as the Himalayas.

            Totally different situation, clearly seen by Tuzo Wilson in the sixties.

        • Denaliwatch

          Its 17 000 meters since it started growing! Its base is pressed down, because its so heavy. Please read the USGS data. 17 kilometers is the true height of Mauna Loa

          • But that is cheating since it is not carrying its own weight.The water carries a third of the weight below water, and if you count below the sea floor, the rock there carries all off the weight there. The height of a mountain is limited by the strength of the rock at the bottom. If the weight gets too much, the rock there gives up and deforms sideways. That seems to limit the height of a mountain to 9 kilometers or so. You can go a bit higher if you grow faster than the rocks at the bottom can move out of the way. Erosion still gets you, and for the tallest mountains the growth rate equals the erosion rate plus the deformation rate.

          • Mauna Loa is 17 km tall in true height: read the USGS data 🙂

            And its very uneroded too being one of the worlds most active volcanoes

          • That includes a lot of mountain below the sea floor. The mpuntain is 4 km high, the sea is 6km deep, that does not add up to 17 km. The buried bit does not carry its own weight.

            Mauna Loa grows at a few cm per year, but it sinks at the same rate. Hence its height remains constant. Erosion would have been high in the ice age, but is less now. The sinking is mre significant.

          • You have three geologists and one astrophysicist (Albert) telling you know. I am the mediator for the three geologists. So you should see that you are spreading pseudoscience here, and that’s not good. Starting at about 9-10 kms height mountains start to either erode (Himalayas) or collapse, best seen in Las Cañadas I-III, Tenerife, Spain.

          • It’s strange what they are doing there. You need a reference, and the reference is normally the ocean floor. Once you start counting below the ocean floor you can do that everywhere. Wasted money.

  22. Right now it looks more like the volcano got a substantial hangover after it got wasted yesterdays 😮
    As an alternative it just caught a cold due to the ugly cool weather. 😉

  23. Red weather warning in place for the northeast UK, starting to get a bit windy at the moment. Haven’t had much severe wind up here last few years, but I remember one in 2002 which was pretty hairy.

    • Right where I live, in NE Scotland
      Yes, it is a bad storm, one of the strongest in the last 4 years, but I have seen a couple similar storms during that time period.

      But this storm is comparable to the regular winter storm in Iceland, which happened twice a week in the peak of winter, when I lived in Iceland.

      Windy yes, and not safe weather to be outdoors, if you live in the most affected areas.

      • “not safe weather to be outdoors”

        Also not safe weather for opening car doors, unless you have parked facing into the wind.

        • Lol 🙂

          I tell you a funny story about car doors.

          Once when I live Iceland, I hosted two tourists which insisted in travelling along the south coast in the middle of a serious windstorm. I advised them not to (making it very clear that it was a stupid and dangerous idea). They went anyways.

          Hours later, in the evening hours,, they knocked at my door, sharing that their rented car had suffered damaged, and their driver door had blown away. They had to pay a severe fee to the rental agency, and I had to give them emergency accommodation, in face of their circumstances. They should have listened to me!

          • And that’s why car rental is quite expensive there! I would imagine a ripped off door means a written off car.

    • Windier than it’s been for a while. Might be a bit of a noisy night. Just starting to pick up.

  24. The really bad news today was that of the new Omicron variant.
    It will make this pandemic linger for a while longer.

    If you see the rise in cases in South Africa, it looks faster than the delta variant. Sakid Javid, secretary of Estate in the UK confirms that fact. And considering the insane number of mutations in the spike protein (and other proteins), this is surely to escape vaccine immunity, for a significant lot. This variant is probably already well spread throughout Europe, and it has been confirmed in Belgium and Israel. Because of its lightning speed, I predict it will replace delta by late January or February.

    I think we are back to ground zero again. Sad to say that, but I predict that in soon (January to March), most western countries will be back to some forms of lockdown. As having a variant more infectious than delta, and more unaffected by vaccines, would be a nightmare, in terms of number of hospitalizations.

    If a new mRNA vaccine, that targets this variant, is ready by March (as Pfizer seem to indicate today), then we could return to some sense of normality by June 2022/ Then if new more wide range form of vaccines would be ready during next summer, then we could have a much calmer winter of 2022-2023. But that’s being optimistic. With this pandemic, things rarely go according to plan. In fact, unpleasant surprises seem to be the bane of covid.

    It could be well be two more very difficult winters ahead.

    The stock markers already reacted to this too, by sinking in their greatest fall since the early days of 2020.

    On a more positive light, I can tell you that two weeks ago I was exposed to a local outbreak of delta here where I live. Hundreds of people around me (including many vaccinated folk) got sick (but only a few got seriously ill). I got no symptoms. Which I link to the fact that I had covid in spring 2020 plus two vaccines (and my covid case was a serious one). Another friend of mine, which also had covid in early 2020 (and long covid afterwards), and two vaccines following, also did not contract the virus, despite sharing a house with a covid ill house mate. It seems, that for now, and for the delta variant, hybrid immunity, is probably enough.

    • I hope it won’t be this bad. We don’t know. Vaccination rates in South Africa are low, so it won’t have evolved against that and vaccination may still help. It does seem to spread quicker but we have had variants which did that but did not make people as ill. We’ll know more in a few weeks.

      • Yes, delta plus seem to be one of them. 10% more transmissible than delta, and milder symptoms.
        But this new variant seems to be quite a thing.

        • we don’t yet know what the symptoms are of the new variant. It hasn’t been known for long enough. That is why we need a few more weeks. In the worst case, yes, we will be under another lock-down. But that may be very hard to enforce: people are fed up. The UK approach recently has been to let the epidemic run its course, at a level that the health care can (just) cope with. It is risky: you need to be lucky that it doesn’t run away with you. So far the UK has been lucky. If that continues, the epidemic will wane in February. If luck runs out, the hospitals could be overwhelmed – largely by unvaccinated patients. If the new variant bypasses immunity, it all depends on whether that is only for mild disease or more serious. Lots of unknowns. I recommend the boosters.

          • Unfortunately the boosters are still only against the original variant (but efficient for delta, and probably, to a small degree, against the new variant).

            By March, Pfizer should have a booster against the new variant. As my booster is due February, I might make my own gamble. I will test for antibodies and if levels are still good, I will postpone my booster and wait an extra month, to catch the redesigned version for the new variant. And while I do that wait, I will stop socialising (which is not a problem for me). If my antibodies levels are down to zero, then I will take the booster right away.

            I was also recently exposed to covid, and did not get any symptoms, so I expect to still have a good amount of immunity. But nothing like a qualitative antibody test to give me some extra insight into it.

            Although I still play it super carefully, I am quite happy at the moment. We had a local outbreak and I avoided it (despite having had close indoors contact with a few infected people), and many of my unvaccinated friends got covid, one after the other, and they all recovered well (no trip to hospital), although a few of them got quite bad long covid afterwards. I was quite impressed with the speed of a delta outbreak. The severity seems similar to the original variant that hit me last year.

        • It seems to be very prominent in J’burg. Think Soweto. People living tightly together, probably less hygiene. I think it is difficult to deduct anything from there.
          Some specialists in the field thought that Delta was the ideal and final variant to stay, but a faster one has developped.
          It needs to be taken into consideration as well that Africa altogether might not have had the same spread as the US or Europe.

  25. Is it true that a lava stream has reached the La Palma cemetary? That would be sad. Even more so if the eruption would be over in a few weeks.

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