The Usual Suspects

Gunung Agung in the sunset with the sulphur tinge creating an almost magic red colour. Photograph by PVMBG.

This week there are three volcanoes worthy of attention. So, I thought I would write a brief update on them since we have covered them either recently, or in detail. Without further ramblings let us go on to Gunung Agung.

And as I came to my final and third volcano life coughed up a fourth volcano doing something unexpected and I had to rewrite the end, but more about that below.

Gunung Agung

Since I last wrote about Agung the plug has cracked and highly viscous lava have started to extrude out of the vent. Around it we can see steam coming out, but there is by now far less tephra, even though there are intermittent blasts of it.

Current Image showing the extruding lava inside the caldera.

Seismicity remains high, but at a lower level than prior to the onset of eruption. The tremor and types of earthquakes are typical for a volcano that is charging for an eruption, and it is almost certain that a more powerful phase will come in the end.

So far, the eruption of Gunung Agung is following the historical pattern from 1963. If that patterns hold true we should be seeing a more intense phase in the latter half of December. But, it could in all fairness happen at any time.

A collage of tasteless selfies by various tourists. Meme by unknown.

What amazes me is that such a large number of tourists are taking very complicated selfies of themselves close to the volcano. They are posting detailed pictures of them doing anything from yoga, to dancing tango, in front of Agung.

Some of them also make rude remarks about the locals fleeing the volcano, writing things like “it is only puffing” and some such. Well, if the locals are evacuating it is due to the not so small fact that the local scientists and authorities darned well know what they are doing.

So far, the monitoring and mitigation have been done in a beautiful style, and there is no reason to assume that it will not be done so in the future. So, if you are a tourist in the area, recognize that this is a potentially deadly event and that the volcano can indeed kill you if you do not follow instructions.


Photograph of the developing cauldron at Öraefajökull. This angle is showing the glacial outflow area. Image from

It is easy to become overly excited when you read that the volcano of Öraefajökull has had its largest recorded number of earthquakes, or that a magmatic intrusion has occurred at a depth of 6 kilometres, or that hydrothermal vents have started to melt a large cauldron in the glacier covering the caldera.

To put this into perspective we must though remember that Icelandic volcanoes typically suffers up to ten thousand earthquakes prior to an eruption, or even more. So, on the earthquake count this is not much more than a “hello, I am alive” call.

The same goes for the intrusion. This one is small by Icelandic standards, for instance it is far smaller than the final Eyjafjallajökull intrusion (there was at least three intrusions). Currently to little magma has risen to be able to cause an eruption on the scale that we do know that Öraefajökull most often suffers.

And in regards of the hydrothermal melting of the glacier. So far a round disk a few hundred meters across has melted down to a depth of between 25 to 30 meters. This should be put into perspective that the caldera is a bit more than 4 kilometres across and that it is about 500 meters deep.

What is though new in the news is that the cauldron is still growing, and that it has taken on a more drop like shape extending towards the glacial outflow area. This is quite natural since the ice would become less viscous as it heats up, and that it would be starting to flow more easily out of the caldera. This causes a bit of a risk for those who are close to the glacial outflow area. It also means that there is a slightly larger risk that a jökulhlaup will occur.

Even though Öraefajökull is still a bit of a chill pill, I am quite convinced that it will erupt within the next decade or so. That assumption is based both on known historic behaviour prior to onset of previous eruptions, and also on the slowly escalating signals that the volcano is putting forth. As with any volcano in Iceland, activity can ramp up quickly. But, it is not until you start seeing that tell-tale large earthquake swarm that an eruption is around the corner.

But, when it erupts I full on expect to see a Red bull-sponsored video of someone paragliding into the towering ash column, never to be seen again.


The steaming top of Hekla. Photograph by Borkur Sigurbjörnsson.

Hekla has a reputation of being the ultimate Viking volcano. It wakes up, have a mead breakfast, and go full on berserker while barfing all over the place. According to instrumental records from the last few eruptions this indeed seems to be the case. You have a brief minor earthquake swarm lasting between 32 to 90 minutes and off she goes.

It has though been my opinion that Hekla has the same precursor activity as other volcanoes, just that they are quite quieter than your average run of the mill volcano.

Hekla Summit Multigas plot from Heklacafé for the last 90 days. Image from Icelandic Met Office.

During the last 6 years the Icelandic Met Office have diligently been upgrading the network around Hekla. They have replaced old seismometers with brand new ones, and they have also expanded the network substantially.

Image 1/4 timeline of activity. Image by Icelandic Met Office.

There is even a dedicated seismometer called Fedgar and a GPS called Heklukriki that are so close to the volcano that it is unlikely that they will survive onset of an eruption. Fedgar together with the new Mjoaskard seismometer are there to hunt these elusive precursors that might be coming out of Hekla. The third new station is called Hestaalda.

Image timeline 2/4. Image by Icelandic Met Office.

All of these improvements, extensions and closer placed seismometers has created a network that is more than ten thousand times more sensitive than the network during the year 2000 eruption.

Image timeline 3/4. Image by the Icelandic Met Office.

And then the long waiting started as Hekla showed nothing suspicious. Until three days ago when Hekla had a small swarm of earthquakes. None of the earthquakes was out of the ordinary. It is what happened that was so small that it was not possible to locate them as discrete earthquakes that is exciting.

Image timeline 4/4, the big ones are Skjaldbreidur. Image by Icelandic Met Office.

All of sudden there was small signals detected that looks quite like what we see prior to an eruption at volcanoes all around the world. We see them at Öraefajökull, and we see them in far off Gunung Agung. And now we have seen them at Hekla.

Are these signs of an eruption coming closer? Well, thing is that we do not know for sure. We just simply do not have a record of anything similar at Hekla. It will most likely be only in hindsight after the next eruption that we can pinpoint what are the precursors of Hekla, or not.

What we do know and can compare is the number of earthquakes above M0.8 with what happened prior to the 2000 eruption. And we can see a pattern where these larger earthquakes have increased a lot over the last few years. And that we do know was also the case in the last few years of the previous millennium.


Panorama over the crater. David is looking down from the side. The crater is much bigger than it looks, David and his car are only 100 or so meters apart, standing on the north side. Photograph by our commentator Boaworm.

Skjaldbreiður is Iceland’s largest shield volcano. It erupted about 9 000 years ago in an eruption that took about 100 years. During that eruption roughly 50 cubic kilometres of lava was erupted. The lava flows reach all the way down to Thingvellir.

Quake stack produced with some boonfangled new toy that the whizards of VC has made all of a sudden while I looked away. Image made by Beardy Gaz.

The volcano is believed to be a part of the Prestahnúkur volcano. But that is not ascertained since Prestahnúkur is a rhyolitic volcano and Skjaldbreiður was a pure basalt eruption.

Skjaldbreiður lies across the Western Rift Zone in Iceland and has been torn and twisted due to seismic forces during the last 9 000 years. But, as with any other volcanic feature in Iceland it is often hard to see if an earthquake swarm is volcanic or tectonic.

In this case it seems to have started off as a tectonic swarm. But the location is where there presumably would be a residual magma reservoir after the large eruption. The earthquake swarm is also directly below the main crater.

One possibility would be that this is neither a tectonic, nor a volcanic, earthquake swarm. It could also be induced by crustal deformation stress caused by the weight of Skjaldbreiður pressing down the continental crust.

Another explanation could be that this is caused by old magma that is shrinking due to heat loss, perhaps in combination with crustal deformation.

It is though good to remember that magma is never far off in Iceland, and large tectonic swarms tend to turn into dyke intrusions over time. If that happened it would though not be a sign of an impending eruption, it would just be Iceland doing what Iceland is all about. And that is transporting magma into the crustal layer.

Drumplot for Skjaldbreidur. Image by Icelandic Met Office.

An if not, we would still need to wait for that ten thousand earthquake rich swarm before an eruption would indeed happen, and we are not even remotely close to that yet.




200 thoughts on “The Usual Suspects

  1. So should it be considered as an independent system if it’s not a “flank” feature of Prestahnukur?

    • It is highly debatable. Normally systems in Iceland just simply does not erupt wildly different lavas in the same epoch.
      Also, Prestahnúkur has a small magma chamber, and Skjaldbreidur is anything but small. I think it is more likely that it was either a distal eruption of the large system Hengill, or a bottoms up eruption on its own.

  2. Could you elaborate on this in the Hekla part?

    “It is what happened that was so small that it was not possible to locate them as discrete earthquakes that is exciting.”

    • I mean those micro-seisms that are not possible to accurately locate due to them being to minute. Those are small “popcorn”, the same that are visible on the drumplot for Gunung Agung in the article.
      I hope that this made it more clear.

  3. “expect to see a Red bull-sponsored video”.
    As all know “Red” is a camera, ask NZealander film-er “flood that did not happen”, but “bull” in Iceland is international jibberish. I sometimes see such, also in norm svenska. Capital Bull is another thing. Only done by big filmmakers (Winesteen-one). 53 and counting. Expect (9)9.947 more. But nut is just 45 min drive away. No rush needed. Web Camera already on it! (Mila Live – Thingvellir)

      • I think he maybe reffering to the wingsuit flying into Jump-plane (Red Bull sponsored) Spanish-registered Pilatus Porter. FYI, I did lot of jumpers flying on C-206s but never want go inside erupion colum, not even RB sponsored

        • Well I’m a NZer, I shoot on a RED camera, and I shot a documentary during the Holuhraun eruption. What’s not generally known is that ‘the flood that didn’t happen’ featured largely in the documentary, and what almost no-one knows is that I (very very unusually for me) did a piece to camera in my silver suit during that filming… for Red Bull (although it was never used, thank goodness; there’s a reason I almost never come out from behind the camera! 😀 )

          The rest was incomprehensible.

      • I understood that post but then again, I’m used to that style of thought.

  4. Just looking at the Bukit Asah camera for Gunung Agung, I realise I am probably just seeing cloud formation, but could I be seeing the start of lava overtopping the crater wall

    • That would be in keeping with Agungs past performance. It’s about the only thing that has been missing so far.

  5. This may be slightly gross, but perhaps volcanoes are akin to human acne?

    The worst pimples are always the ones that you partially pop, with goop left within. Another 2-3 days later, after the crevass refills with discharge, you are guaranteed an eruption of epic + bloody proportions.

    Perhaps this is projecting, but the phreatic eruptions + magma filling the crater lead me to believe that Agung is one hell of a zit at the moment, and when it blows, it will do so rather spectacularly.

  6. Thank you for updating, the Hekla part is very interesting. I think, us, readers must learn to deal with the much larger sensivity of the stations.
    I have seen more smaller activity past months in Iceland, most of all around/on Vatnajökull too, might be the increasing sensivity of the network?

  7. Another ash emission just started in Bali at 7:04 local time (seen on tower cam #1)

    • This was proceeded by an earthquake at about 7:03:30 on the plot.

  8. better update your graph, 7 more eq at Skjaldbreið all but one over 1 in mag and a 2.2 at 2.9km


    • We will update the graphs when the IMO is done with the recalculations.
      We will also try to find any other useful information from the earthquakes with our more detailed graphs, but that will be done tomorrow sometimes.

    • To my eye, there seems to be substantially more energy in these burps. They look to be ascending much more quickly.

      • I think that came with the change from ash to steam. Before, the signal was that of explosions at or just below the surface. At the moment it is more degassing, big burps like in the Yellowstone mudpools. At least it stops pressure from building up. Steam is good.

        And at 9:40 the conveyor belt started up. What evacuation?

          • The sand mining with its characteristic signal, which runs for a few hours in the morning and in the afternoon. It restarted a couple of days ago, in spite of being inside the evacuation zone.

          • To the best of knowledge there is a full evacuation there. But, I will check with Igan if there is any activity there illegally, or if dispensation has been given.

          • Frances (if i recall the poster correctly) posted that the military/police had instructed the mining operation to stop. Frances if you, see this, do you have a link to that story?

            Pyter posted a link to a story explaining how authorities may be downplaying Agung in part due to the IMF meeting that the island is meant to be hosting this spring. The story alleges that a lot of infrastructure being built for the meeting requires material from the sand mine so there are some very vested interests in the mine staying open.

          • I have sent out requests for information to both the PVMBG and some locals I know.
            We will see what the reality of this is. As soon as I hear about things like secrecy and so on I full on expect to find tinfoil. 🙂

          • Hi Carl, I did not have the impression from the previous posts i’d referred to that it is a clandestine operation, more a case of a business flouting official advice and maybe having enough backing in high places to believe that they’ll get away with it. Where there is very good money to be made, laws tend to get bent.

            Would be good to have the local take on this. I’d hope that my initial view of it being maintenance is near the mark. The work may be justified to some extent and done with relevant precautions, mines and quarries don’t tend to stay in pristine shape for long when left to the hands of mother nature.

          • Yes they are still mining there and yes it IS illegal but them may have a get-out clause in the usual warning.

            Communities around G. Agung and climbers / visitors / tourists not to be on, not climbing and not doing any activity in the Hazard Zone Zone within the area of ​​G. Agung crater and in all areas within 8 km of G. Agung crater and plus the sectoral extension to the North-East and Southeast-South-Southwest as far as 10 km from the crater of G. Agung. Estimated Zone Dangers are dynamic and continually evaluated and can be changed at any time following the most recent / recent G. Supreme observational data.

            Note it says, Communities, climbers / visitors / tourists.
            The woman owner of the mine continuing these activities has gone on record stating that it is ‘for the good of Bail’ that the mining is continuing. Although they have been warned by the military to ‘Stop their dangerous activities!’ the authorities appear to be turning a blind eye to it. Most likely as usual, ‘money talks’.

  9. With all the developments we’ve had in Iceland over the last 18 months or so, maybe the Woolly guide could do with some updates?

  10. It looks from the camera like the rains have come back. This will be a chance to see whether the big signal is rain-induced. Nothing yet though.

    • And a little later the big signal indeed arrived. So it is caused by rain, in one form or another.

      • Lahar or stream passing close to the seismometer. Just as we thought before.

        • However today 11th has also been torrential rain and many lahars have been sighted but as yet no over-scale tremors. I think the jury is still out on this one.

  11. The bad part about being me, is that sometimes I scare myself. In a nutshell, I’ll just state that IF Agung goes big… it ain’t gonna be pretty. There will also be no doubt about what you’re seeing on the webcam.

    • At the moment we are seeing constant puffs. There was another one 5 minutes ago, as soon as the clouds lifted a bit really. At least, that may make it less likely that it is going to blow its top soon, as it seems able to release some of the pressure,

      • Based on current energy release, I am wigged out. The saving grace is that I could very easily be incorrect. I can barely comprehend that much power.

  12. Skjaldbreidur seems to have evolved a magma of its own. It has had earthquakes right below the shield volcano over the past few years, but this swarm is something new. Its quite exciting stuff

    According to geological history, this shield volcano erupted for a period of 100 years (something similar to Hawaii) and formed this massive shield volcano, one of top 3 largest in Iceland.

    Regarding Oraefajokull; I have the same opinion as Carl, that it will erupt in the next decade or so. It will probably be something between a large VEI4 and a small VEI6, just the last two historical eruptions. Most likely short-lived and violent eruptions. The first one in 1362 was the largest explosive eruption in Iceland in 1000 years, so this volcano is capable of big stuff too.

    • “According to geological history, this shield volcano erupted for a period of 100 years (something similar to Hawaii) and formed this massive shield volcano, one of top 3 largest in Iceland.”

      What are the other two that are bigger?

  13. Sunday
    10.12.2017 08:48:34 64.411 -20.719 5.5 km 3.8 99.0 1.6 km ENE of Skjaldbreið

  14. Looks like it’s doing that dual plume thing again..
    Local time 17.31

  15. well i’m just the lady with the popcorn, but in my experience, when a volcano goes…. it goes! It punches right straight up with volume and power. No local wind will have any effect on it…. after it gains some height, it might be more influenced by wind sheer but it will be long gone out of the camera shot by then. If You can see a curve in the plume then it’s just gassey. ok… back to the popcorn. 🙂 motsfo

    • That’s what I was figuring… When it goes properly, the fluffy stuff will be shoved unceremoniously aside, and the plume will go to the top of the screen in under 3 seconds…Or faster.
      Shock wave.

  16. Volcanoes are the true dragons. Best survival tactic? Don’t be there.

    “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and good with catsup. “

  17. Someone mentioned that it was snowing yesterday…

    Well it has been snowing here in Norway too!

    This is what we woke up to this morning:

    Have a nice day everyone 🙂

    • Maybe a dragon can fix the link or embed the picture for me? 😀 (It still works if you click the “question mark” though)

    • It didn’t want to cooperate, so I took other measures.

    • Lovely windows and view!! here in Alaska we have quite the turnaround. It’s 42F / 5C? and all our snow is melting away leaving thick horrible ice to deal with… and my old bones can’t take a fall. Little slippery even with my ice cleats. What animals can You see from there? Best!motsfo

  18. In relation to the precipitation on Bali, this link may be usefull

    It is part of the Indonesian Weatherservice BMKG website and presents current rain radar images. The readings are given in decibel Z reflection factor, please scroll down the site for translation to mm/h.

  19. Two observations…

    There definitely seems to be a ‘glow’ reflecting in the clouds around the summit of Gunung Agung now, presumably this is from lava in the crater.

    There’s a fairly vigorous thunderstorm popping off at the moment with some spectacular flashes.

  20. In regards to Agung’s crater filling up with lava – Are there any examples of stratovolcanoes where this has happened and the eruption then stops when the lave has fully filled the crater? I.e i’m thinking of a classical cone that ends up with a dead flat summit, no crater so to speak. I’d imaging there are examples of shield volcanoes that show this and there are also tuyas but i’m thinking specifically of large strato ones.

  21. And here is the entire suite of pictures. It is indeed a lake of very viscous lava. It is definitely not a dome, plug, or spine. On the other end we see steam from fumaroles, and on the second image we see the vent that is indeed filled with unconsolidated stuff. And on the third picture we see a belch of tephra from the vent a few seconds after it happened.
    Mystery solved.

    • Excellent shots but the photographer is clearly more than a sandwich short of a picnic. The last shot looks to have a digit of some sort in shot, i guess that was the point to photographer grabbed the camera having suddenly been overcome by a pang of common sense/self preservation.

    • So, a sort of spongy, perforated plug then?
      Like a massive coffee filter… Absorbing some of the force of the sneezes, but allowing them to pass through?

      • More like a lava lake with a tuff filled vent. And there is very little lava. I expected more since reports said that it was filled to between 1/3 and 2/3. This is more like 1/10.

    • I can only imagine being there, starring at this frozen lava lake, a few seconds before the big eruption!

  22. And the gravel pit is indeed open.
    Apparantly the authorities have judged that currently the risk is low enough to allow it since they have a gravel shortage for construction.
    But, they are in constant contact with PVMBG who can order them out on a very short notice. Otherwise the evacuation zone is maintaned. With the obvious exception of tourists meandering up the mountain to take photographs, never to be seen again.

    • Thanks Carl, good to hear that they are working with PVMBG and will hopefully follow any evac orders.
      Bali is not short of Volcanoes so i’m surprised that they are short of pumice/tephra, unless deposit differs from that found on the rest of the island.

      • I think it has more to do with access to roads and the not so small fact that the equipment is already there. Shlepping around heavy equipment is a bit of a nuisance really 🙂

  23. One can only hope they get at least a very short notice. If a blast lofts that lava over the rim notice will be irrelevant. On another note, gravel? I assume they are mining pumice or old lahar deposits to use as filler in the concrete. I wouldn’t think you would find much gravel on the slope of an active volcano.
    (I’m used to the lovely glacial gravel Wisconsin is buried in.)

    rescued from the dungeon where first comments are placed, any further comments should post without issue.

    • Pozzolanic ash? Makes great cement.

      From WickerPeekAtYa;

      “The major pozzolanically active component of volcanic pumices and ashes is a highly porous glass. The easily alterable, or highly reactive, nature of these ashes and pumices limits their occurrence largely to recently active volcanic areas.”

  24. A vivid glow and flames from Agung crater now. Defenitely a step up!

  25. Short event. Not obviously linke to anything on the drumplot. Anyway. It shows that there is potential for much more…

    • I’m not sure that was a lava fountain as much as it was exposed incandescent lava reflecting off the steam plume. But could be….

      • You may be right. Whatever it was, a short event with something looking like splashes or flames much higher than before..

  26. Thanks for the info on all the latest equipment with Hekla. They know how temperamental she is. Like others on here I love all things volcano, but there’s just something about Icelandic volcanoes. 🙂

    • You can also see parts of it glowing inside as it goes down the left hand side of the crater.

      • I can’t see anything obvious, but haven’t been watching it closely. I find it unlikely to flow down the southern flank before the northern flank where the crater wall is lower.

        • Have a look from 05:27 Bali time look left from the centre of the crater.

          • I can’t see any evidence of incandescent glow in that area if I rewind before that time.

          • At 05:26:32 there are glows in the dark matter going over the crater edge to the left.

          • I think that’s the early dawn’s light reflecting off the lighter coloured rock (or cloud seeding rock pinnacles) in that and the central area. You can see these clearly when daylight arrives.

        • The plume was at the same time as the activity at approx 05:50 on the seismogram.

  27. Wondering what the consensus is regarding Agung going VEI 5+ with the recent activity.. Fade away or growing pressure ?

    • Not VEI-5+, probably mid-VEI-4, pressuring slowly growing, if it’s gonna go, likely within the next month.

    • Russell,
      I can see what you are looking at and it could be a dome in the middle of the lava. I also looked at the first picture again and it looks like there is some fresh lava in the bottom left of the edge. Just under the right lower side of the camera?


        • Never blow up a live volcano…you’d make page 3 of the Sun. I am not sure that this is glowing lava: it seems not bright enough. But the fill is clearly fairly fresh stuff, just extremely viscous. It is filling up from below. The frequent explosions are when the fresh stuff breaks the top layer. When the activity declines, the top layer will get stiffer and the explosions less frequent but more powerful.

          So far it is closely following the 1963 eruption, except that the initial amount of lava was larger at that time. The crater overflowed within a day or so of the first eruption.

          • I will be a published expert! Lol

            Thanks for everything all, specifically those that know more than I do (which could be a lot of you).


          • Do we know how deep the crater was in 63? If it was a shallower rim then it could have been a comparable amount of lava but able to escape much earlier?

          • No, we don’t. But it created a 7-km long lava flow, and the current lava lake does not give the impression of having enough volume for something like that.

      • It is a fluid dome. In my thaughts.
        Harder on the outside. Soft and runny in the middle.
        If it bursts out of the flank.
        It would be quick.

  28. Interesting comments. Agung is not producing lava over the crater. The stuff is a sticky puddle deep inside the crater, around a quarter to a third up. In the last “Darwin Award” crater photo, you can see it is an ashy, cindery kind of gloop, so it is not runny. I believe we’d see a lot of volcanic action before anything over-runs the crater.

    Some nice pops occurred early in the dawn (try 5:50am Bali time). Looks like gas and water are busting out in small phreatic explosions from time to time. I suppose in the dark we could see cinders and rocks thrown up. But I’ve not witnessed that.

    Without doubt, Agung is not dozing, and I doubt it is dozing off. But we will have to wait and see what happens. I suspect we’ll know when she’s going to blow!

  29. Small pyroclastic flow near the summit,pretty clear at 18.14 local time.

  30. And another at about 18:50 and another at about 18:59. Dark plumes. They coincide with signals on the seismogram.

  31. And for those wondering about the lava in the crater of Agung.
    I got a message from Igan at PVMBG about it.
    It is according to official sources a lava lake, PVMBG is vehement that it is not a lava dome, nor a plug.
    The reason that they wish people to state the correct fact is that a plug or a dome implies that the release of gases is plugged up. Which it is not. Also, the shape of the lake is lake shaped, not shaped as either a dome, nor a plug.
    If someone wishes to argue the point further I recommend trying to tell Igan and the rest of PVMBG that they are wrong… and good luck with that endeavour. 🙂

    • And here is the official verdict…
      Kawah Gunung Agung menjadi danau lava, dan ini yang memancarkan api abadi (glowing lavas) pada malam hari di kawahnya. Tiga kemungkinan yang bisa terjadi: erupsi berhenti karena kehabisan gas (tidak eksplosif lagi), lava didorong sampai permukaan dengan dengan energi yang dipunyai, atau lava membeku menjadi sumbat dan mengumpulkan lagi energi gas.

      • Pretty clear. Thanks Carl.
        To me, it has the appearance of freshly poured concrete… The way concrete would look when poured to make a floor, just before being tamped down.

    • Thanks for the Info, Carl!
      Didn’t look like any form of a dome or plug to me either judging by the latest fotographs.
      Did you get any information about deformation? The official reports and status updates never mention any data about inflation oder deflation.

      • Sorry, strike “never”; it’s just that the last information about deformation that I can find is 2 weeks old and refers to inflation before the onset of eruption.

      • I quote from myself above: “The stuff is a sticky puddle deep inside the crater, around a quarter to a third up. In the last “Darwin Award” crater photo, you can see it is an ashy, cindery kind of gloop, so it is not runny.”

        I guess as gas squeezes through the dry-ish Scottish Oats Porridge in the crater, we get these phreatic pops we see from time to time.

          • …. In the classic “original”, and now in al-new “SO2” flavours ! 😀

      • I will ask him for the info on that.
        It may though be a while before he has the time to answer. Sitting in the hotseat takes all his time pretty much.

    • I would guess that confusion comes from the fact that the lava goes underneath the top layer, pushing it up but not overflowing it. That gives the pockmarked appearance and can indeed cause some doming. The concentric rings are caused by this too, I expect.

      • I believe you Albert. This is not really a lava dome nor a “spine” a’la Mt. St. Helens et alia. Just steam explosions bringing incandescent lava up to light up the crater.

    • If the vent’s are open as PVMBG mentions, is the volcano still inflating?
      I had been under the impression this is what’s been going on?
      Or, is it just the gas/steam that’s being released with magma still accumulating/pressurizing at depth?

      • My personal belief is that the pulse of fresh magma happened in oct/nov and that we’re just experiencing the consequences of this intrusion. And this is what I’m hoping for the poor peasants who haven’t yet been evacuated. I really don’t think Gunung Agung is gonna go explosive on us.

  32. Looking at my half full ashtray and wondering if the dry appearance of that lava lake would be a layer of tephra from the last eruption sitting on top of the lava?

    • It is still puffing up bursts of ash and tephra. That is also giving it the grey boring surface.

  33. Just an Fyi since we are watching Agung and Iceland 24/7
    Mauna Loa summit area has gone almost a month with out any activity near the summit. Kilauea is just humming along like normal.

  34. Unfortunately, the images of the crater are not adequately dated, leaving the dynamic details of the eruptive history of lava sitting in the crater unclear. The lava had to have started shallow and by now can now only be deeper.

    From youtube streaming, currently ejected clouds do not seem to carry much ash, being mostly steam. Night time eruptions of this steam with whatever lava appear to disturb the dark surface of a resident lava lake which then creates a transient glow of five to fifteen minutes. This would support the PVMBG position statement.

    By now, I would expect accumulated lava up to about half the depth of the crater. At least two active vents can easily be spotted from camera 01 streams at Buki Asah. The bursts originate on the left and the right of the crater rim.

    • i need more information…. what kind of donut? Sprinkles?? Cause they can be really hard to get out from between the keys…. 🙂

      • Sticky frui jelly – goes great with espresso. A shot from the blaster would only smear it under the other keys. What should I do? – desperae

        • Haha, take the keys off but remember to replace them in the right order.
          😉 🙂 🙂

  35. Agung very photogenic in the morning light at around 0600 local time:

    (Screen capture from youtube webcam)

  36. Another pulse at 7:35 WITA. If you watch for 5 or 6 minutes, you’ll see the initial ashy cloud becomes steam white. That certainly seems to confirm the hypothesis that these are phreatic type events. The pressure pushes up through the viscous surface lava resulting in the grey cloud. Then once the “hole” is punched, the steam becomes clearer (white).

    • Someone’s going to have to give me instructions on how to post images. Mine always show up as links. 🙁

      • If you save the image to a hosing site such as tinypic, you can paste the image link (be careful that you just get the image and not the page it’s on) and WP will automatically render it in the post if it has an image related delimiter. The problem with tinypic is sometimes they give the wrong image in an effort to get you to use their paid service. I think they gave me a picture of a shoe once.

        Once you have uploaded an image to them, on the final page they give showing the image, right click it and “view image.” What the browser then has in it’s address line is the actual link to the image. That’s the one you want.

        OT; One of the stranger office Christmas tress that I’ve seen. Yes, that’s camo netting.

    • After you upload an image to a site or want to post a picture from another site, go to the page the image is on (like the one you just linked to), right click on the image and select “copy image address”, then paste the link in your comment and that should make it show up. That way you’re linking directly to the image instead of the webpage. 🙂

    • “possibly larger than surtsey”
      That sounds pretty significant actually. How much lava was erupted at surtsey?

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