The VC Bar

Welcome to the Volcano Café bar, a place for all things on or off topic and inane ramblings. There has been a need of late to find a place better suited to various theories, long comments and enthusiasm. This page will be less moderated than the main article pages and cleared out every month (this may change depending on use).

Have fun and don’t forget to tip the barman 😉

4,753 thoughts on “The VC Bar

    • By now in 2021 the lava lake is many 100 s of meters higher and may drain soon?

    • Terrfying for anyone to be on the cone slope when the lava lake drains.. cannot outrun this

  1. Our local coffeeshop has brought in some coffee beans from the Lake Toba region. Delicious. Best coffee I’ve had in several years.

    Volcanoes seem to be necessary to produce good coffee. Big volcano, good coffee.

  2. Where there ever any theories about the possibility of an super volcano/caldera in area of the whole Tyrrhenian sea?

    North crater wall somewhere around Grosseto, NE the sleeping volcanos around Terni, in the S Etna/Stromboli in the W Corsica? Inside the caldera Phlegraean fields and Marsili? Everything some how connected?

    • IIRC, after the geologists were forbidden from deep-drilling near Naples, they resorted to a drill-ship just beyond Naples’ authority.

      Seems ‘Bay of Naples’ and ‘lido’ bay etc are volcanic, but vast ‘Gulf of Naples’ is not.

      Unless is very, very old mega-caldera, with ancient floor now deeply, deeply buried in sediment, looks like is innocently ‘sedimentary’ to considerable depth.

      Still, those big arcs and part-arcs do raise nape-hair. Especially when you consider Vesuvius / Somma & Ischia are but flank eruptions of the Phlegraean Fields complex…

    • Watch it on Vimeo

      Here is another tourist video from Nyiragongo made in 1976… just before it drained.
      Unique home video.

    • Apparently been tourism there for a very long time..
      I knows that Hawaii lava tourism started in the middle 1800 s, and Vesuvious had mass tourism already by the 1890 s.

      Nyiragongo is more remote, but appparently gotten tourists since 1960 s.
      Today over 2 million persons live in goma.

  3. Nice little swarm beneath Mt. Hood today… right below the summit, not on the faults to the South. Probably still routine, though. Magma chamber putting in an expansion…

  4. Nyiragongo sounds like an angry ocean with crashing waves togther with glass like breaking of lava rocks that shatters.
    Ultrabasic Nephelinitic lava lake bubbling around in Nyiragongo, huge gas bubbles bursts with cO2 magmatic and water steam. Nephelinite is really an amazingly rare ultrabasic rock composition. At current the sillica content for Nyiragongo is about 36 – 37% for the lava lake, with flank cones going a bit lower I think. Nyiragongo haves a very large cO2 emissions, like many alkaline magmas do. Perhaps the lowest viscosity of all sillicate magmas.

    Nephelinite thats sillicate magmas seems to have a relationship with carbonatite, at Lengai both Nephelinite and Carbonatites are erupting historicaly in holocene. The plutonic forms of these two magmas are often found togther in older rocks, I haves an outcrop of these two 200 km from my home. There plutonic Nephelinite dykes can been seen going into a Carbonatite complex.

    Nyiragongo is really ultra – active for being a superalkaline Nephelinite volcano. Amazing that it haves enough Nephelinite magma supply to host huge lava lakes. Nyiragongo is also probaly really warm for having this composition. Most Nephelinitic magmas erupts like cold strombolian eruptions.

    Nephelinite is generated by the most minute tiny ammounts of mantle melting. So most if not all other Nephelinite volcanoes are small monogentic cones and fissure flows. This is the sillicate magma thats produced in the very smallest ammounts on terestrial planets.

    The only other purely Nephelinitic polygenetic volcano is the small Stratovolcano named Visoke thats not far from Nyiragongo.

    • The small size of the lava lake spattering and crustal plates may have to do with very low visocisty…
      But Nyiragongo perhaps lacks the lava lake foam layer. Convection in Nyiragongos conduit coud be faster too, forming a more broken up surface

    • Changed at the same time as the tilt meter started its collapse. The GPS does not show uplift but does show eastward movement, as do other GPS’s in the area. The change seems to come from somewhere west of Pu’u’O’o: the upper rift, not the cone.

      • The tiltmeter is questionable, I dont know if it can be considered reliable. I have heard that the big changes are associated with rain.

        The GPS I linked to measures north-south movement, across the rift at a right angle and directly at Pu’u O’o, so whatever signal it shows is actually at Pu’u O’o not anywhere else. That doesnt mean there isnt also eastward movement of the area, but the graph in question doesnt display that. The southern station in the pair, JCUZ, is also only a km or two south of Pu’u O’o and still in the rift zone, it is above the pali so the south flank movement isnt that important, it was installed exactly to show volcanic deformation at Pu’u O’o when it was erupting.

  5. We needs a Nyiragongo lava lake webcamera … previous attempts been tryed at crater rim, but the cameras are quickly stolen by locals, broken apart and recycled and sold on goma Markets.

    The next attempt will be to place a camera station on the inner crater terraces, where locals cannot reach them.

  6. Kilaūea and Nyiragongo may have similar viscosities, cannot see any diffrence in videos on internet

    Whats the most fluid currently active normal sillicate based lava? Thats the question for a future VC Article

  7. M6.3 in central Greece, miles away from the plate boundary. Odd location.
    Also the first time i’ve ever seen a large-ish earthquake so far north – M5.0 on the Lomonosov Ridge, way above Jan Mayen where nobody has a clue what goes on with the volcanics or tectonics.

    • The Greek quake is not unusual. There was an M6 not far off in 1995, and a whole series of M6+ earthquakes around 1955, a bit south of the current event.

      • True hadn’t been aware of the ongoing extension in the area. The little Aegean sea plate gets forgotten about but it’s being squeezed southwest. Quite inactive volcanically speaking considering, Greece. Must read up on this


    Volcano watch article for today, about the beginning of the eruption. Needless to say, I think we here were pretty spot on the assumption, except that the eruption happened sooner than expected (I thought it would be in February, but for reasons I cant remember now).

    As a side note, the extension at Pu’u O’o is definitely not just an artefact now, and its actually going up at a rather rapid rate. Doesnt necessarily mean new magma in the area but pressure is definitely beginning to increase and a lot faster than the overall runup to this eruption, the effusion rate of the summit vent is not high enough to relieve it anymore. The rate things are going now in a month or two we will be at the level that set of the December eruption and there is open magma connection at least to Pu’u O’o if not even further east.

    It does worry me that the next eruption breaks out in Leilani again, or even just east of Pu’u O’o in general, only 3 years after such a huge event. All official predictions are for rift activity over 10 years off still, so no one is going to be expecting it, and yet all the signs are there. 2018 was not a terminator eruption it seems, just a normal rift eruption that got out of hand, there is more to come.

    • Nice to see that we had a point in putting the October events at the start of the new activity. But I disagree with them that the first change in surface tilt was in December. The October event coincided with a significant change, but it was in Mauna Loa, not Kilauea. It was uphill from the October quakes. Anyway, I know that wasn’t the kind of effect indicating magma migration. But to me, this started with a structural adjustment and stress release. That activated Kilauea, and as a side effect also initiated faster change at Mauna Loa.

      • If I was to put a start on this it was in June, which I repeatedly said even before the eruption. Its not ultimately a structural cause for this, Kilauea was going to erupt soon anyway, it might have been pushed ahead but the supply rate now is the highest it has ever been within the lifetime of HVO and it was only a matter of time.

        The speed of this eruption is still striking to me. The magma rose to the surface in minutes, the exact situation feared to cause an explosive interaction with the lake. We got lucky the fissure was on the side, at that scale it is almost completely random. I have become familiar with the famed short fuse of Hekla especially in 2000, but that is nothing compared to this, and there is a plausible timeline where the end result of both eruptions looks much the same…

    • The tilt measurements at Pu’u’O’o continue a steep decline now approaching -50 microrad (where HVO comments that an increase wold indicate magma intrusion!). The GPS measurements in the area all show either constant height or subsidence. The increase in distance between NPOC and JCUZ since february (0.5 cm) seems to be due to a slight difference in easterly motion of the two. On 25 Feb the POC tilt changed by +2 microrad. But that is close to what you would expect from the onset of DI deflation (DI) at Kilauea on that day. (I calculated that that changed the tilt at Pu’u’O’o by +1.5 microrad). I see no indication of anything brewing at Pu’u’O’o other than a bit of collapse in the crater.

      • The tilt signal is rain, or rain effected. I didnt get that from HVO but from other sources that the area has been torrential, that particular tiltmeter is on the tephra part of Pu’u O’o, basically a pile of sand next to a massive hole and probably now mostly at ambient temperature – so now wet sand. HVO has not commented on the tiltmeter at all in a long time despite it having tens of microradians of drop in the last few months, so they might not trust it anymore. What they are saying now is that the area has stabilised and isnt showing deflation, which they already said for the rest of the rift but now say at Pu’u O’o too.

        Eruption st Pu’u O’o isnt imminent right now, just that with the rate of change ongoing it easily could be erupting within this year, or a vent anywhere else on the east rift. 3 months ago we were looking at a water lake now it is a lava lake 220 meters deep, and thats only a quarter of the way in so far.
        Look at 1960 too, major LERZ eruption and Kilaueas second most voluminous eruption in recorded history (or 3rd if 2018 is considered its own) then summit activity as expected a year later, but then a big intrusion in the ERZ after only 7 months that erupts almost down in the LERZ again, and then that dike erupting 6 times more in the next 10 years, a ‘napau fires’ if you will followed by Mauna Ulu. Broadly the same thing is probable for this decade too I think. We are in that stage in 1961, though everything is scaled up.

          • Rate of change for all of Kilauea, not just Pu’u O’o. HVO are saying the area has stabilised following deflation after the eruption began, presumably that means they consider this signal to mean something else.

          • Then you shouldn’t infer an eruption at Pu’u’O’o. The POO tilt meter appears to have fallen over on March 1, by the way.

          • Rain was my best guess for the cause of the signal, if it fell over that also explains it, more the point was the signal wasnt trustworthy to the observed deformation otherwise.

            An eruption at Pu’u O’o isnt to infer a resumption of its shield building either, just that the crater is very deep so would be more likely to see an eruption. Its more or less another addition to the Chain of Craters now, its actually bigger than most of them in fact, and that area is very active anyway.

  9. Fissure 8 has finally been named, it is now officially called Ahu’aila’au.

    This is the first time this has been done properly in modern history. Pu’u O’o was named because it formed at fissure O in 1983, and on the standard map for the time fissure O was also inside the letter O in ‘lava flow of 1965’, so Pu’u O o…

    • It’s good that they finally decided, but I really hate that name. Holcomb (a volcanologist who did a lot of work on Kilauea) said that Aila’au may not have been a “real” hawaiian deity, but actually an invention or result of western culture interfering. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I do have read some of the earliest accounts from the 19th century, back then it was ALL Pele, she was behind the eruptions and earthquakes and was feared as a harbinger of destruction, no single mention to Aila’au, the forest eater. But when the 2018 eruption happened, just because things got rough compared to Pu’u’o’o, it seems that he, Aila’au, has to be behind it. So to name the most important eruption of Kilauea in 200 years after the forest eater feels like a betrayal to the ancestral cult to Pele, I mean she doomed the army of Keoua to death by ash and she chased Kahawali across Lower Puna burning villages and burying people under lava, according to legend of course. She is not supposed to be a nice goddess…

      • Maybe Holcomb was right, but this naming was done in conjunction with many people from Puna with strong cultural ties to the area, who made the final decision and also suggested this name too among several others. Maybe if you go back 500 years someone would be mighty pissed off at this decision 🙂 but things are as they are and the situation has evolved.

        I am happy this was done appropriately, HVO has not always had a good relationship with the Hawaiian culture, some of the things Jagger did were rather questionable, unfortunately.

    • I don’t know where you got that info regarding Pu’u O’o from.

      Pu’u O’o was named for the O’o bird, which is unfortunately now extinct. Pu’u is Hawai’ian for “hill”, so Pu’u O’o is “Hill of the O’o bird”.

      • That is one of several different interpretations if its name, the most common one but probably not the most correct. Pu’u O’o wasnt named in a ceremony, the O’o bird story was secondary to give it a meaning most people wouldnt look into, but I have heard a lot of evidence that the name of Pu’u O’o is rather unrelated to that.

        • ‘hear evidence’ is something judges do. In science we ‘have evidence’. Or not.

          • Theres nothing scientific about naming these vents anyway, its the same whether we call it fissure 8 or Ahu’aila’au, the naming is a cultural thing.

            Pu’u O’o was not named Pu’u O’o originally, it was named Pu’u O by HVO when it was becoming a cone back in 1983, and it was only named Pu’u O’o afterwards. You can read the old reports on GVP for Kilauea, it actually lists both cases where the fissure was alphabetically the O fissure, the 15th one to open, and that on their map it was inside the O of ‘flow from 1965’.

          • Interestingly, we do allow the expression ‘seen evidence’, while frowning upon ‘heard evidence’. I think that goes back to the idea that it isn’t evidence until it is published in a refereed paper. It still sounds less than fully inclusive, though

    • Regraded to M3.2. Very shallow (2 km below the peak) and in the centre of the caldera. That must be the conduit reacting.

    • Chad thats not happens with most structure fires right?

      This one seems extraodinary hot
      That brick building looks like a lava tube interior

      • Maybe, but most structures also dont survive a fire pf this intensity. It was an amunitions bunker so the fuel could be a lot more energetic than wood. Stuff like nitrocelullulose or metal powder, or phosphorus like they hypothesise, those all burn at temperatures that make lava look cold and that isnt an exaggeration…

  10. Nyiragongo is an insanely Scary volcano when it erupts.. ultrabasic lava and Very high eruptive rates. The 2002 vents just north of Goma ( now buried and demolished by human activities ) apparently erupted at 6000 cubic a second during their opening. I remeber blurry news footage in 2002 with foiditic Aa lava moving at jogging speed through Goma streets.. 120 000 structures where demolished by the Nephelinitic flows. The eruption lasted just a few days, insane at start but then slow. There are many cinder cones in Goma.. so mayhem can happen.
    On the upper slopes 100 persons I think where burned in the Nephelinite.

    Goma is growing fast and soon they will probaly have to deal with Nyiragongo again

    • Some of these foiditic Aa flows where so thin.. that If your home haves a Big lower rock base or concrete base with the door meters higher up at staircase .. then you coud ride out the Nyiragongo terror in your home sourrounded by moving lava. Safe house in Saurons bath.

      Still most of these thinly built steel and wood – concrete where destroyed and knocked over..
      I know reports of one family hiding inside theirs and they became toast

      Nyiragongo with soon 3 million in its shadow is not a good place to build a city

    • In 1977 the most famous Nyiragongo fatalities happened
      The Elephant Herd, they all became coated by Nephelinite and toasted. They left behind excellent elephant molds with the trunk, tail.. feet texture everything visible in the lava. Some left cavities in the lava that coud have been filled by plaster.

      Maurice and Katita Krafft arrived 2 days after the eruption and photographed the mayhem. Very unusual lava eruption.

      Perhaps 200 persons also died in the lava floods

      • Surreal eruption.. of terror in Some very old Krafft videos I acually seen remains of human hand poking above the lava from the 1977 eruption and another Nephelinite lava cast that looked like a large dog.. Some figures points to 380 persons drowed in the lava.

        Mauna Loa and Hualalai may produce similar deadly results and dangers If They go fissure 8 and larger on their steepest slope areras

        • The same thing could have also easily happened in Leilani too, the flow from fissure 8 at the end of May nearly did bury someone and certainly would have taken lives if the first eruption was like that. People also got surrounded by the flows from fissure 22, and had to be airlifted out. I also have heard of someone who was never seen leaving Kapoho, there was one fatality.

          The magma chamber under highway 130 was fully refreshed after 2018, no more sticky magma, the next eruption might begin at full power…

      • Chad There is little diffrence in viscosity between Kilaūea and Nyiragongo? But I knows that Some tree molds and casts on Nyiragongo are extremely thin splash skinns on it seen in this photo. But that coud also be the high eruptive rates.

        But as you say .. temperature is important too, Kilaūea is very hot, and that breaks down the sillica polymers. 1250 C is hotter than Nyiragongo.

        But its true that Nyiragongo haves one of the lowest ( perhaps ) the lowest viscosity ever measured for any sillicate magma. Kilaūea Iki coud have similar viscosity to a hot Nephelinite?

        • If the lava at Kilaueas summit can erupt at 1250 C it will be a total liquid, as I said some of the lava at Kilauea Iki was almost ultramafic and probably the hottest lava we have observed. The difference is Kilauea has voluminous magma storage that is not as hot, so the deep source stuff rarely gets a chance to erupt, and not in a large volume. Nyiragongo probably has no voluminous magma chamber at shallow depth or it would collapse, so its lava lake might be directly deep sourced, not unlike Etna but with more heat. But the low degree of partial melting shows that right now there isnt as much heat as in Hawaii or Iceland.

          Really what you are asking is equivalent to comparing the viscosity of olive oil and mineral oil, different chemicals but physically theres very little difference.

        • The lava lake have now risen above platform 2 in Nyiragongos crater

          Insanely Scary having a large magma column 3 km above sealevel

          • Is platform 2 the floor from 1995 or from 1977. It passed the former 1995 floor last year but if it is passed the 1977 floor now then that is a scary situation.


          Nyiragongos shallow resovairs.. apparently haves stacked resovairs too. Small resovairs ( 1 to km3 ) close under the edifice, connected by the main lava lake conduit pipe.

          The largest resovair sits as deep as 30 km I think. Absoutley
          the largest Nephelinite resovairs on the planet.

          • Probably not much above 1 km3, if it is that shallow such a chamber within the actual mountain probably would be unstable, its more likely a lot of individually smaller chambers or a wider conduit than what is in the picture.
            Kilauea has nearly 10 km3 magma storage at its summit, and there are also magma chambers in the east rift which are up to 1 km3 in volume too with at least 5 known to be active now. The ones higher up have collapsed but theres also one under or near Pu’u O’o, and under Heiheiahulu which is just above highway 130, basically anywhere there is a shield volcano or a pit crater there is a magma chamber. That one down near highway 130 might be the center of ERZ activity in the near future, maybe we get a second Pu’u O’o or maybe the summit overflows in a few years, any way we get long lived lava is good for me 🙂

        • Another one showing a small intra – edifice resovair in Nyiragongo thats connected with the lava lake pipe.

          Even simple lava lake plumbing systems, can be quite complicated

    • Nyiragongo is certainly the most impressive Nephelinite volcano on the planet.. I wonder How Nyiragongo is able to produce so much ultrabasic foiditic rocks, with so little partial melting

    • Africa’s population in general is exploding. Better access to modern technology and medicines means in what is generally quite a hand-to-mouth peasant like society. As harsh as this may read, it means that less children are dying before they reach adulthood, but still the cultural practices of their relatively impoverished societies mean that the birth rates are still the same. Illnesses that were fatal even 20 years ago, are now no longer.

      Just in a 6 year time span I spent visiting Mbale in Uganda, the expansion is quite remarkable. This is storing up massive problems for the future.

      If Nyiragongo goes up soon, depending on the VEI, this could cause problems far beyond the immediate locality. Especially if volcanic winters take hold in a land where food production isn’t as efficient as what it could be.

      • IMHO, there’s another ghastly factor: ‘Fundamentalists’ dead-set against education for girls & women. Also, excepting ‘revolutionary cadre’, against education for boys beyond rote scripture…
        {Weep… }

        • It seems that birth rates are most closely related to the level of education of women. Education of men seems to make little difference.

  11. Platform 2 is from 1995 high stand when I was born : ) Still a bit to go before 1977 mark with stacking many lava lake overflows. The overflows are so thin .. less than half knee height .. perhaps less than a foot, so it takes alot of time.

    Most of the fillings been done by the spatter cone east of the lava lake. But the lava lake is rising too slowly, been many razor thin lake overflows in 2021

      • Not sure what’s more dangerous, an unannounced flank eruption from Nyiragongo or a Limnic overturn from Lake Kivu. Having said that, they did well to mitigate the casualties in 2002 with very little of a monitoring network and the local politics.

        I believe Nyiragongo had phreato-magmatic eruptions and pyroclastic deposits < 1000 years ago and if you look there are more typical stratovolcano-like older volcanoes to it's east whilst Nyamuragira is more shield-like forming dikes as it sits in the graben.

        Nyiragongo might be presently ultramafic but there is a dike that extends well into Lake Kivu and I believe it's capable of more explosive eruptions, not that the super-speed effusive flows aren't equally as dangerous.

        Not an advisable place to live.

  12. M5.2 in Gabon at 10km depth followed by a 4.4 aftershock.
    There have been quakes in the region between Sao Tome and Libreville before related to the Sao Tome/Cameroon fault line, which also lines up with a rift in what was the Bahia/Congo cratonic ‘bridge’.
    Before someone says it THIS IS NOT A HOTSPOT

    • I am not sure that ‘mammoth’ is a good unit for volcano fountaining. They were only about 3m tall…

  13. The POO tilt machine has stabilized. It has a large sudden change of 30 microrad a few days ago, which came after the slow collapse. Quite amazing that it has fixed itself.

    • That drop I think was probably someone fixing it. HVO had an overflight of Pu’u O’o 4 days ago and I think this is when someone put it in a more sturdy location. When the line is completely strait it is when connection is lost.

      I think you can also tell something was off because the day-night variation was less distinct until after the drop, and the scale of the drop being way bigger than anything else going on.

      • I was wondering about intervention and it may be true. But the change was not instantaneous: it was over an hour or more and it was smooth.

        • Yes when the line is perfectly straight that is when there is no signal, so when it comes back online it draws a line to the next dot which can sometimes, as it is now, be quite offset. Moving the tiltmeter and equipment could have taken an hour, they probably moved it away from the crater.

  14. Most recent VC posts seem focused on Reykjanes, but I read little new on VC about Sinabung, erupting impressively with substantial ash falls & pyroclastic flows. From V. Discovery, a 2 March report; “…this morning’s event far surpassed anything observed at the volcano in recent years…”

    Sinabung strikes me as the real deal. Not all that far from Toba. Does anyone here think this activity might presage a very large eruption in near future? // jms

      The links aren’t yet definitive but the theory is that they are interconnected at depth. Sinabung popped up not long after the last large eruption from Toba and many calderas host surrounding stratovolcanoes. The implication for the size and range of Toba’s reach is frightening though.

      • Like Vesuvius / Somma & Ischia are but flank eruptions of the Phlegraean Fields complex ??

        Given the size of Toba’s caldera, I must wonder if the strait in which Krakatoa sits is also a big caldera. With K as flank eruption, the strait formed by vast caldera collapse…

        Okay, a tad apocalyptic, but I’ve spent all afternoon wrangling a bizarre CGI render problem, am feeling a bit grim…

        Upside, I *won*: My remote renders now execute x10 faster, ½ hr instead of 5½ hrs…

        • I sometimes go ‘caldera hunting’ on google maps, once you have in your mind the shape it’s easy to mistake landforms for such.

          As for Ischia, there are several Phlegraean-size eruptive centres to the west in the direction of Ischia, it looks like the activity spread east, possibly in line with the plate motion.

          In terms of strato-hanger-ons around calderas, the Amatitlan caldera has to take the prize.


    They are extraodinary rare
    One seemingly normal female body..
    But then its two heads. Two persons stuck on the same torso. Wow two heads.. each head controlls each side of the body.
    Incredible they can drive a car. Joined for life they are 🤪. Never knew souch things coud happen yet .. not much problems for them. Curious biology can be… 4 eyes at you

    Today ”they” works as teachers I think

    • Did they star in a ‘D&D’ / fantasy movie ?? From all accounts, that pair had wild fun…

  16. M5.1 on the Orcadas Rise near to South Georgia rise.
    No historical records of an earthquake there – it’s an aseismic plateau.

    Love a mystery.

    • Looking at all of the historical earthquake data at once on the USGS website gives a nice outline of the tectonic plates.
      Some things that stand out are:

      Lack of seismicity surrounding Hawaii. You’d expect the Molokai fracture zone to be more seismic, but there is little data. Of course this could be down to lack of seismometers, but Hawaii does give off the impression of a mantle plume more so than anywhere.

      Earthquakes on Severnaya Zemlya!
      Davis Strait earthquakes, apparently this was the path the original MAR followed, an aulacogen.
      Clustered quakes north of Prince Patrick Island (Canada), Arctic Ocean
      Possible evidence of a Bering Sea plate.
      China and the ‘Stan’ countries getting absolutely battered by Himalayan orogeny.
      Complexity of the Australian/Pacific/Antarctic triple junction, some microplate activity going on
      Aegean Sea Plate high seismicity (but lacks large quakes).

      • “Davis Strait” Ah, that pinged a memory. Yes, the tip of aulacogen left when Atlantic opening split off Greenland, then ‘hung a right’ via what became Iceland. Didn’t that coincide with the ‘hot-spot-ish’ track that had wended SE from High Arctic reaching Eastern leg of triple-point ?? Looks like it could not get through the ‘Greenland’ craton but, once clear of that…

        Have wondered how ‘Alt-Atlantic’ would look had, instead, Labrador + Davis Straights continued to spread. Greenland close to Europe so no Storegga Slides ? An Alt-Iceland between Greenland & Canada ?? The NY Pallisades etc on the coast ??

    • It is on the edge of the Falkland plateau, and ancient bit of escaped Gondwana. I would guess the earthquake is in a fragment of continental crust.

    • A general reminder. First-time comments normally end in a ‘for approval queue’. It will take some time to appear, depending how busy the dragons are. We are happy to approve comments, of course, but ‘test’ comments cause problems as we would have to approve and delete simultaneously, to no one’s benefit.

    • It is falling in towards the crater. HVO has not said deflation is happening at Pu’u O’o so I think they disregard the tiltmeters next to it now. They also released a recent picture that shows the crater from 2018 has filled in at least half way now, the edges are definitely unstable.

    • The lake rose 1 meter since that happened, even though there have been two DI events since then and still ongoing, I wonder if the overall effusion rate has doubled with the formation of this new flow. Even with the DI cycle it is still active, the last flow from this area didnt survive.

      I guess the other question is if the eruption will become more obvious when inflation restarts, with two sources now. It would seem to me the effusion rate over the last month at least has been quite low, maybe only 1 or 2 m3/s, which is probably a lot lower than the supply rate, which isnt a situation that can persist indefinitely. The GPS probably records this very well, the slow buildup of pressure.

      I also wonder if the lack of rising in the lava lake is due to levelling of the whole surface? The active lava I believe is at least 6 meters above the rest of the lake, if it is allowed to degas during DI events it might appear to sink but it is just the surface levelling out, with no overall draining.

      • There is still a very slow increase in the level of the lava lake. The solid part of the lake is also rising (at the same snail’s pace) so most of the new lava goes a couple of meters below the surface and pushes up the lot. The eruption rate is now pretty low and this can’t continue for ever. There is some indication that there is again a bit of inflation around the caldera (but not to the south where the rift is). That suggest to me that indeed there is a bit more magma going in than coming out, in other words the conduit is becoming blocked. If there is new activity (that is an if, not when), it may need a new conduit. There is no earthquake activity that shows this is happening. Mauna Loa is now rising very fast (well – fast for something its size) and perhaps the inflation around Kilauea is actually from Mauna Loa. Kilauea is sitting on its flank, after all.

        • Inflation signal at Kilauea began before the current inflation acceleration at Mauna Loa, and the signals are not very close in shape. What is also not very obvious is the scale too, since the stsrt of January Kilauea has seen 13 cm of extension across its caldera, while Mauna Loa has seen less than 2, and this is in spite of Kilauea being in active eruption at the same time,

          I dont subscribe to the idea of Mauna Loa being the driving force of almost any of the activity at Kilauea. It is one thing to move a relatively small summit area and a single magma feed, but that situation doesnt describe Kilauea. Above ground it looks small, but below ground its magma conduit is very robust and probably very wide, and there is also the deep rift structure which is very dense and going to be very hard to push. That doesnt mean impossible, it did happen in 1868, but that was a very extraordinary event, and a very different scenario to today regarding the activity of the volcanoes.

          • Mauna Loa doesn’t push Kilauea for the reason you mentioned, the deep rift. There is a system of strike slip faults belonging to the Kaoiki Seismic Zone, that ruptured in 1983 along with the flank of Mauna Loa moving southward. These faults are the eastern limit of Mauna Loa’s mobile flank and they are arranged in such a way that they sort of extend from the Northeast Rift of Mauna Loa to the start of Kilauea’s deep rift (or at least the bulk of it) at Kamakaia Hills, it shows that the dense core of Kilauea cannot be moved, not by Mauna Loa. The strike slip faults form because the mobile flank motion is deflected by the core of Kilauea.

            It is also often said that the volume of Kilauea is small because it sits on the flank of Mauna Loa, but this not entirely true, because the lava of Mauna Loa underlying the summit area, Koae, and rifts, of Kilauea, has been re-melted and intruded by sills and dykes and is now Kilauea’s intrusive complex.

            The inflation and deflation of both volcanoes do not reach each other , and that can be seen in interferograms and GPS, there is no influence on each other in that sense. The 1868 earthquake did impact both volcanoes, It might seem like Mauna Loa was responsible for the whole thing but that would not be true either, both volcanoes were pushing the south flank of the island, they are always pushing, or better said their deep rifts are. Mauna Loa just gave the final push, a huge dike intrusion down the southwest rift, which initiated a slip of the flank, then conditions were favourable for this rupture to propagate throughout the whole mobile section of the island which is being pushed and compressed by both volcanoes.

            The way the volcanoes impact each other is through their supply, they compete for the same supply provided by the Hawaii Hotspot, so one volcano is more active for some decades or centuries, getting almost the full supply, and then this goes to the other. It seems to have a lot to do with the level of rift activity, dike intrusions depressurize the summit and can trigger resupply, so that the depending on the state of rifts they might pull stronger or weaker on the supply and impact the other volcano’s magma flux.

          • I think your inflation refers to the length across the caldera? This is the distance between two of the GPS’s, UWEV and CRIM. The distance began to increase from the middle of January. CRIM is showing a southward shift, but no inflation over this period (it has shows inflation since about a week ago but it flat-lined before). UWEV has shown a northwestward shift since about mid January. It seems that the increase in length is a combination of southward slip of the southern flank, and the movement of UWEV. The latter probably is due to magma growth but the location is unclear as none of the GPS’s are picking up an inflation signal.

            As far as I know the tilt displayed on the Kilauea overview is not accessible directly from their webpages.

            The caldera length at Mauna Loa began to increase the middle of January, and accelerated a lot in the last week of January. The MLSP GPS picked up inflation at the same time. The timing agreement with Kilaueau is good. You say Kilauea started inflating before Mauna Loa. In fact the expansion of Kilauea and the inflation of Mauna Loa started at the same time in January. While the expansion of Kilauea has increased much more, Mauna Loa shows inflation outside of the caldera and Kilauea does not.

          • BYRL and UWEV, maybe CRIM too, show inflation from the centre of the caldera, from the Halema’uma’u shallow magma chambers. The Uwekahuna tiltmeter and caldera extension also agree with this. The deeper and bigger magma chamber that are centred south of the caldera do not show any change and that is why AHUP, PUHI, DEVL are flat. For various reasons the deeper and shallow magma chambers may behave differently, for example in 2015 a sill intruded southwest of the caldera and produced widespread inflation, but it locally deflated the centre of the caldera and drained the lava lake, because it drew away magma from the Halema’uma’u magma chambers. After the 2018 eruption the deep magma chambers were deflating for a long time, continuing in 2020, while the east rift and caldera inflated.

          • I wish we had more accessible GPS stations! CRIM has shown uplift in the last week or so, but this is too short a period to be sure i is real and not rain-induced. I agree with the ‘may be’. UWEV and BYRL are a bit more convincing but any uplift is small and only over the past month or so. The horizontal movement is more important. The movements of CRIM, and UWEV and BYRL, when drawn as a line, cross near the CALS GPS, 500 meter east of the lava-filled hole. The CALS plot does not show any inflation, in spite of being at the centre of the action. However it shows only a limited amount of data and it is possible that the plot filters out the change.

  17. Sunday
    14.03.2021 12:34:36 63.867 -22.283 4.6 km 5.0 99.0 3.9 km S of Fagradalsfjall

  18. The blast that shook the ionosphere
    “(Japanese) scientists also compared the magnitude of the ionospheric wave generated by the Beirut blast to similar waves following natural and anthropogenic events. They found that the wave generated by the Beirut blast was slightly larger than a wave generated by the 2004 eruption of Asama Volcano in central Japan, and comparable to ones that followed other recent eruptions on Japanese islands.”


      As you may imagine, there was a bar-brawl…

      And, yes, I’m that exasperated ‘Nik_’…
      IMHO, the sea-ice trend makes for unsettling reading. If more of E+W Greenland coast is ice-free in Winter, if parts of the North coast becomes ice-free in summer, there could be a brisk thaw.
      IIRC, there’s a vast canyon under central Greenland, opening to an ice-filled ria on the North coast. Like corresponding features in Antarctic, that’s currently ‘locked’ by grounded mega-glacier Should sea-water undermine jam, may cause a surge…

      • This is not the first indication that this part of Greenland was ice-free during one of the interstadials. It does not mean all of Greenland was. This area is fairly close to the coast. However, it does mean that any ice cap was much thinner and much of the ice had melted. It was already fairly certain that with current CO2 levels Greenland will melt. The question is, how quick. This does not answer that. We can guess that it will be a millennium or less, in which case we should be prepared for a meter of sea level rise per century. That is a bit higher than we are currently expecting.

  19. There were a couple of deep earthquakes north of Kilauea, 27 km deep. This area is where there were deep quakes in the 1950s. There was also a small quake under Keanakako’i crater area at about 12 km deep.

  20. At Kilauea, the DI event has gone rather deeper (in tilt, actually) than earlier ones. The second lava vent in the crater went out yesterday (it may well come back). The length across the caldera GPS’s has reached the level it had just before the December inflation. And POO seems to have died.

    • Its mostly flat minior tilt diffrence
      The open lava lake is tiny now.. setting the stage for overflows and lava shield formation.

      But molten lava underly the entire shelf there.

    • The second lake entry is still active it formed a lava tube but you can still see that the entry point area is coming from two sources. I think it is possible that these new breakouts are a result of the lake starting to reach the vent, the cone is taller but it looks like the lava tube inside has deeply eroded the cone and the lava probably flows directly out of the base, making the lake at about vent level. I dont think the eruption will stop when the lake can infiltrate the vent, but I do think the eruption is about to surge based on the deformation, which could raise the lake significantly in a short time.

      Really it looks like the eruption stopped back when the north vent closed, that was when high SO2 emissions and rapid deflation took place, since then there has been low emissions and strong extension and inflation, it is just that one of the vents never closed… its really not very often you see a volcano preparing to erupt while it hasnt finished the first eruption yet.

      • The GPS’s around the crater show sudden strong up movement. But they are also very noisy so I expect weather is involved. We need to wait a week before we know whether there or is not any inflation. The lava lake has risen about 20 meters higher than I thought it would but through an increasingly constrained conduit.

        • I dont know how the weather would cause a pseudo-inflation signal, and the GPS are only updated daily unlike tilt which is continuous. The noise I think comes from generally having to record stuff at a small scale, which is not going to be that accurate unless you look at stuff over months or years.

          The important part with this recent signal is that it shows on more than one station and that the other components show a change at the same time, CRIM has also stopped moving east.

          The thing is that even quite large signals at Kilauea are often included within background, which is no more evident than the activity in December last year. An intrusion and large deviation in the GPS didnt warrant any more than an upgrade to alert 2, and they didnt even consider doing that for 3 weeks, the eruption beat them to it of course.

          • The up/down is sensitive to rain, both swelling of the ground and signal delay on the wet receiver. You can see that in the sudden movements. (Snow can be ruled out at Kilauea!). You should always ignore sudden movements and look at the trend over a week or more.

          • The upward trend that shows on the CRIM station is definitely more than 1 week of observation, my best guess assuming each circle is a daily measurement is that this signal has been ongoing since the end of February, about 3 weeks. It has rained in that time but not enough to be the cause.

          • You don’t know that. Of the last five data points, three show inflation and two are at the prior level of no inflation. And there is no sequence: they scatter. That does look like moisture. And you don’t know yet which ones are the outliers: the inflated ones or the ones which dropped down to the old levels. That will become clear over time. Best to wait and not jump to premature conclusions.

            Below is an example of what can go wrong. Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō showed a sudden jump in extension (I think you mentioned that at some point?). But more recently it jumped back to its previous levels and the jump up was clearly an outlier. It takes time to establish a pattern.

          • Realistically given this is Kilauea it would probably be simplest to assume any signal on the GPS is magmatic unless there is proof otherwise. That approach isnt generally the best way at most volcanoes, but Kilauea is certainly not an average volcano, nor is Mauna Loa.

            Additionally, the 10 year GPS data for CRIM goes back far enough to cover a number of extreme weather events, including two hurricanes, yet there is no deviation associated with any of them even though Lane broke the record for the most rain in Hilo, which is one of the rainiest cities on Earth. The recent signal does show on that plot too which is much more smooth due to its size. It is true that we will need to wait a while to see if it is a trend, but it looks pretty real.


          • I think it is more realistic to assume that if 2, or 3, or 5, data points jump suddenly, up or down, it’s probably just scattering of the data and not real, as Albert has pointed out. The best way to asses inflation in the short term is through tiltmeters and earthquake rates, as long as you know well what a inflation signal looks like.

      • The lava lake in the night is

        Soooo colourful … ssssoooo beautyfulll …….
        its ouuuuuurrr..


        ( cough gollum!!! )

      • I get an estimate that the lava lake is growing a 3 m3/s, because the whole Halema’uma’u floor is actually rising at about the same speed, This is a bit less than Pu’u’o’o (4 m3/s), but not too much, I’d say the eruption is still quite healthy and that this is how a sustained eruption of Kilauea looks like.

        The inflation of the Halema’uma’u magma chamber could be a way to restore the pressure lost in the initial phase of the eruption, or perhaps because the west vents have grown in height this may have allowed some accumulation of magma underground to raise the magma column.


    Most recent HVO Volcano Watch, using the seismic signals from waves and the ocean swell as an imaging tool for magma and where it is moving. Maybe it isnt worded well but it looks like it says there was a big batch of magma that reached Kilauea in 2018 that was what ultimately pushed it over the edge. It seems this was very similar to Holuhraun in its ultimate cause, a big intrusion into a magma chamber at its limits.

    There also seems to have been magma moving downrift of Pu’u O’o for a while, going back into 2017, which was probably part of why the lava flow stopped reaching the ocean. Perhaps there was also undetected downrift magma flow in 2012 and 2013, other years the flow was relatively weak. I guess the events of 2018 were a perfect storm, Pu’u O’o was dying and likely would have been replaced by a shield further downrift by the 2020s if nothing major happened, but that major thing did happen, and the rest is history.

  22. Picked that up in one of the thousand thoughts about the thoughts on Volcanocafe:

    Volcanos are rockets upside down

    What’s about planets/moons without atmospheres? Were there ever observations made that a larger object than an comet changed its orbit around his star/planet because a volcano rocket engine blow (not only because the lost of mass into space)?

    • Comets arent volcanism though because the heat comes from a star not the comet itself. Its just evaporating.

      I remember reading that if you shot a bullet right up on Ceres it would still come back, so I think it is pretty much impossible for a volcano to exceed the escape velocity of its planet. Ceres is a very small planet, and bullets are faster than most eruptions, and plinian eruptions can probably only happen on silicate planets anyway.

      Glaring exception to this is Enceladus but I have never seen anything about its orbit changing because of the eruptions on its south pole. Enceladus also probably wouldnt be round if it was made of rock either.

    • There are some remarkably big comets, especially if making what may be their first foray in from Oort Cloud. Near-pristine, so ‘juicy’. When they start ‘gassing’ and ‘jetting’, their orbital parameters do wibble. Makes their ‘departure’ course and subsequent return less predictable. Which is unfortunate, as they’re generally big enough to be scary. Scroll waaaay down

      This tiny binary pair came within ~50 k AU about ~70k years ago. That’s well within Oort cloud overlap. Given the lack of obvious impact mega-holes of that age, seems its Oort objects missed us. But, if pass disturbed our Oort objects, they’re still inbound…

      FWIW, Space Weather’s current headline pic is streaming green aurora over billowing Geldingadalur volcano.

      I don’t bother with desktop background pics, but I was sorely, sorely tempted by this…

  23. How is it possible that magma is melting itself through the “old” lava fields up to the surface and the new tiny crater with its small lava lake does not melt or leak?

    Crystal water in the basaltic rocks of the “old” lava fields?
    It’s already too cold in the lava lake?
    The magma isn’t melting anything, it’s cracks his way up through the “old” lava fields with many small non detectable earthquakes (silence before the eruption)?

  24. Are there likely to be any potential eruptions in New Zealand relatively soon?

    I look at this map of seismic activity from New Zealand, to my untrained eye with knowledge that amounts to the back of an envelope. It looks, prima facia, very similar to the build-up to the eruption at Fagradalsfjall. The centre of the swarm seems to be submarine, so I suspect that data that would normally be available such as land deformation is lacking?

    Could this purely be aftershocks from the Magnitude 8 that happened a few weeks ago, the swarm did seem to be happening before that in any case?

  25. Im always curious about Iceland 🇮🇸
    Ever since a small child have I wanted to move to Iceland. Tired of being stuck in here Lapland a long time ago.

    Do not know which authority to ask ..
    And I know that during Covid 19, Iceland is not an easy place to live, and the housing market and the labor market have long been complicated in Iceland. However, I have a very good grasp of my English. A future in Iceland must be very well planned. As a scandinavian I benefits from the Nordic co-operation partnership.

    Questions for the Icelandic VC readers.

    What kind jobs are often in demand in Iceland?

    What education, especially qualifyed vocational training,is good to have before Iceland?

    Must I have a high academic education to get a job in Iceland?

    What does the housing market look like in Iceland at the moment?

    But we will .. see, my health is ever so declining .. doctor first

    • Just curious one haves to start somewhere… I haves to move there!
      As a Scandinavian… its probaly easier for me than an american or new zeelander..
      But job experience and some kind of skill is Important.
      A move to Iceland haves to be very well planeed indeed..already contacted persons that are useful in knowledge of Icelands job market

      • Move to Koln, front door seat for when Laacher See goes off. Actually, don’t move quite so close…

        • I’ve used the Eifel region’s potential as the ‘McGuffin’ in a bunch of scifi tales.

          Wasn’t *our* Eifel region that got over-fracked when its thermal taps’ output declined, but it certainly ‘Pulled a Chernobyl’. Then, having displaced survivors, it settled down to turn most of their Western Europe into Icelandic Barrens.

          Conditions are tolerable along the storm-washed Western coast, but ‘In-Landers’ who’d hunkered down expecting those eruptions to end ‘real soon’ have suffered…

          • Must say that I live happily near that (not so) storm wasted western coast.
            Hmm. Actually, gigglemaps just pointed out to me that I live approx. halfway the barren coast and that caldera. Never ever realized that!

          • The discovery of Eifel volcanoes, roughly 265-280 miles away from where I live, really got me into volcanism.

  26. Taal seems to be quite restless in the past few weeks – with the Reykjanes action it went a bit under radar. Hector, what do you think? Might be decompression after all the magma left the edifice with the rifting episode last year? It sure looks like a runup to me, probably a smaller eruption – but since it is Taal always a bit of a lifted eyebrow involved!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *