Unrest at Laacher See: is it us or the volcano?’

[Guest article by Gijs de Reijke.]

Well, the big word is out. The results of a study (‘Deep low-frequency earthquakes reveal ongoing magmatic recharge beneath Laacher See Volcano (Eifel, Germany)’, Hensch et al.) have been published on the 7th of January, pointing out the presence of magmatic movement beneath the East Eifel Volcanic Field, Germany. Many people are oblivious to the fact there are volcanoes in this part of Europe. Geoscientists are now telling them there is evidence for the volcanism in the area to be ‘alive’. Time for real estate prices to plummet and for the area’s inhabitants to run and scream? Hardly.

[Video credits: Marc Szeglat]

Before I get to what the new findings are all about, I want to provide you all with some background information on the Eifel Volcanic Fields. Volcanism has been occurring in Germany for tens of millions of years. Tertiary volcanism have been taking place in volcanic centers like the Kaiserstuhl, Hegau, Rhön, Vogelsberg and even Eifel. The volcanic fields of the East and West Eifel are of Quaternary age, however, so that is what I’ll be focusing on for this article.

Tertiary and Quaternary volcanism of Germany. © Hans-Ulrich Schmincke

Tertiary and Quaternary volcanism of Germany. © Hans-Ulrich Schmincke

The West Eifel Volcanic Field

For an estimated 700,000 years the West Eifel Volcanic Field (from here on ‘WEVF’) has been volcanically active, producing some 270 scoria cones and maars with a fairly modest total volume of about 3 cubic kilometers, quite common for this type of volcanic field. The mostly small, monogenetic (one eruptive episode per volcano) vents produced very primitive magmas (e.g. variations of leucitite, nephelinite, melilite etc.) and a few volcanoes produced more evolved, intermediate phonolite coming from polygenetic (several eruptive episodes per volcano) complexes. The WEFV is the type location for the Maar volcano type: the word ‘maar’, which stems from the Eifel dialect, means as much as ‘lake’.

The most recent eruption in the WEVF took place as little as ~11,000 years ago, when the formation of Ulmener Maar took place, also making it the most recent eruption in Germany.

The West Eifel and East Eifel Volcanic Fields. © Hans-Ulrich Schmincke

The East Eifel Volcanic Field

The other volcanic field is that of the East Eifel (from here on ‘EEVF’). Since about ~650,000 years this area has been volcanically active, with the formation of monogenetic scoria cones and a maar or two, totaling about 100 volcanic vents. The average size of the volcanoes is somewhat larger than that of the cones and maars of the WEVF, which could be the result of larger faults allowing for more magma to rise from the top of a plume or plume-like anomaly in the Mantle (Ritter et al., 2001). The most significant differences between the EEFV and WEVF volcanoes do not lie within the sizes of the scoria cones, but in the composition of the volcanic rocks and the types of volcanoes that are to be found in these fields. Where the volcanoes of the western field seem to lack magma chambers, being fuelled by magma coming straight from a region of partial melt at the base of the Earth’s crust, the volcanoes of the eastern field do have, in some cases, significantly sized magma chambers, allowing for long-term storage of magma and therefore more evolved magmas (various types of phonolites and trachytes). The evolution happens mainly due to processes that fall under the term of ‘magmatic differentiation’, which basically means that magmatic compositions is being influenced by factors such as cooling, absorbing materials from the Earth’s crust (assimilation) and replenishment by younger magma. In most of the EEVF, basanitic lavas are produced by the scoria cones, but in some cases the aforementioned phonolites and trachytes leave much larger scars in the landscape. At least two calderas are to be found in this volcanic field, one of them being the caldera of Wehrer Kessel, which is approximately 2 kilometers wide and was formed by explosive eruptions (trachyte) some 215,000 and 150,000 years ago, of which the first event was the largest (‘Hüttenberg Tephra’), possibly having been a VEI5-sized eruption: ~2 km³ DRE (Schmincke). There is still debate about the larger and older (450,000 – 350,000 years BP) Rieden complex being an actual caldera and not being composed of overlapping, smaller craters and erosive features. Most of the literature still points towards this volcanic complex to have undergone (several phases?) of caldera formation, possibly initiated by multiple events that could have been fueled by up to ~1 km³ of erupting magma (DRE) each.

Dispersal of the Laacher See tephra over Europe. © Hans-Ulrich Schmincke.

Dispersal of the Laacher See tephra over Europe. © Hans-Ulrich Schmincke.

The Big One

The second of the calderas, at least of those of which are certainly present in the EEVF, is one that makes the others almost look insignificant. After having undergone an estimated ~20,000 years of magma emplacement and magmatic differentiation (Schmitt et al., 2011) , the violent eruption of the Laacher See volcano took place, an estimated 12,900 years BP. Some 6.3 km³ (DRE) of zoned, phonolitic magma (evolved from basanite) was erupted out of the volcano in the form of mostly ash and pumice, after which an 8-shaped caldera (two overlapping vents) formed. The brunt of the eruption is assumed to have lasted eight to ten days, with three distinctive phases being recognized in the voluminous deposits: the Lower Laacher See Tuff (partially phreatomagmatic, vent-breaching phase), the Middle Laacher See Tuff (the main, ultra-Plinian phase) and the Upper Laacher See Tuff (weaker, Vulcanian explosions being fuelled by increasingly mafic phonolite). During the main event, ash columns might have reached altitudes of up to 40 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, dispersing large quantities of ash over large parts of Europe. Traces can still be found in Sweden, Italy and France. Large ignimbrite sheets now fill up the valleys surrounding the caldera, sometimes being many tens of meters thick. The nearby, narrow valley of the Rhine river was blocked for a while, forming a natural lake in the plain of Neuwied (Neuwieder Becken), which may have reached a depth of up to 20 meters. After a while, the weak, natural dams composed of pyroclastic deposits gave way to the pressure of the water behind them and unleashed a destructive flash flood into the lower parts of the Rhine. The SO2-traces of this event, which are significant in volume, can still be found in ice cores from Greenland. It is assumed that the Laacher See eruption was a weather-changing event, possibly making the already cold, last phase of the most recent ice age even colder, limiting the size at which vegetation grow, which can be seen in the narrower rings of trees from that time.

An eruption of this size and with such impact was new to the Eifel. The largest eruption from Wehrer Kessel is not to be underestimated (probably significantly larger than the infamous 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens), but is dwarfed by the Laacher See event. The estimated bulk volume of the erupted materials lies between 16 km³ and 25 km³ (VEI6), making the eruption larger than the one from Pinatubo (1991, Philippines) and possibly about the same size as the one produced by Novarupta/Mount Katmai (Alaska, 1912), maybe even getting fairly close to Krakatau (Indonesia, 1883). If an event comparable to the 12,900 year BP eruption were to take place now, or even something of a size comparable to what Wehrer Kessel or the Rieden volcano produced, the consequences for the Eifel area and the German and European economy would be devastating.

 wide-angle shot of the Laacher See caldera during a thunderstorm. © Gijs de Reijke

A wide-angle shot of the Laacher See caldera during a thunderstorm. © Gijs de Reijke

 

The current situation

So what is the new publication concerning Laacher See’s magma all about? Is something happening that should have us worried? The answer is actually both yes and no, but to make one thing clear: what is going on beneath the volcano is ‘business as usual’. For a long time it has been known that the Eifel contains young volcanoes. So young, in fact, that we should consider the volcanism in the area dormant rather than extinct. Add to that the fact one of the youngest volcanoes there also happens to be the most violent and destructive we’ve seen on this side of the European mainland, north of the Alps for millions of years and there is plenty of reason to at least ‘keep an eye on things’. The study by Hensch et al. came after several geoscientists within the volcanological community, including German volcanologist Hans-Ulrich Schmincke, emphasized the fact that the Eifel volcanoes were not properly monitored. They still aren’t, but since 2013 there have been some important changes, now allowing for just enough insight in the seismic processes taking place below the EEVF to be able to tell what is and what isn’t seismicity caused by tectonic processes. The findings: swarms of tiny earthquakes, often too deep to be tectonic in nature, occur on a regular basis below the volcano. The conclusion: magma is on the move, likely to slowly recharge the magma chamber of Laacher See that can be found between 5 and 8 kilometers below the volcano. And that is all there is to it. It is what we should consider business as usual. Reason for a healthy amount of concern, but it lies well within the possibilities that this process has been steadily going on since the cataclysmic eruption of 12,900 years ago and will do so for thousands if not tens of thousands of years to come. Yes, it is true that Laacher See has also been producing CO2 emissions longer than any records have been kept, but magma chambers tend to degas at any stage of their life cycle, including dormancy and even during their slow decay into definite extinction. It may well be the case the tiny, rising bits of magma will never be able to contribute to another eruption of Laacher See, because they might cool down too much on their way up or simply aren’t large enough to have a serious influence on the ~50 km³ of viscous, crystal mush that is now the magma ‘chamber’.

Then again, what do we know? We can’t look back into what happened at depth since the only eruption Laacher See has produced so far without the right data, nor can we foresee the subterraneous behavior in great detail. Maybe a large intrusion of magma will occur. Maybe several. Maybe large quantities of magma have been emplaced slowly, not causing too much disturbance or any at all for us humans.

The seismic swarms that have occurred below the Laacher See area since 2013. © Jens Skapski.

The seismic swarms that have occurred below the Laacher See area since 2013. © Jens Skapski.

There are two very important things we’ve learned. The first concerns Laacher See and other volcanoes that are fueled by strongly evolved magmas. Magma evolution takes a long time. A few thousand years is short, tens of thousands of years is common, longer is well possible. We know this slow process has been the case for the thus far only Laacher See eruption (Schmitt et al., 2011). Slow cooling of the magma body, solidifying the mafic minerals and keeping the more felsic minerals to remain in a fairly liquid state, enabling the formation of potentially eruptive and explosive magma in the center of the chamber, seems to be the main factor in magmatic differentiation below Laacher See and many other volcanoes. This can change when the old magma is abruptly replenished by younger magma making its way up in vast quantities, but as already stated: such events have not yet been observed, nor do we know if this intrusive behavior will occur at any time in the future.

To conclude the first important point: what has now been observed for the first time, is an ongoing process of magma being in motion. Not in a way that points toward an eruption any time soon, but more toward one, simple conclusion: we now have solid evidence of the East Eifel Volcanic Field, and in particular the Laacher See volcano, being in a dormant and not an extinct state.

The second matter of importance is that of monitoring. The monitoring of processes that might lead to an eruption, at any time in the future. To quote directly from the publication by Hensch et al.:

“So far, no direct observations could be made indicating ongoing recharge in the magmatic plumbing system beneath the LSV. The location of magmatic feeding channels and active crustal magma reservoirs is unknown. However, although the volcanic hazard in the Eifel is assumed to be low, the risk in case of an eruption would be high due to the dense population and high damage potential of this region in Central Europe (Leder et al. 2017). Thus, volcano-related seismic activity requires thorough monitoring and analysis.”

More specific examples are given when it comes to much-needed research concerning Laacher See’s ongoing magmatic processes.

“Ultimately, the present volcanic hazard posed by the LSV cannot be assessed solely based on the findings of our study. But bearing in mind that the LSV already experienced an explosive eruption 12.9 kyr ago, a deeper analysis of the magmatic/volcanic activity in the region and the resulting hazard is recommended. Despite of the close seismic monitoring, high resolution seismic and geophysical experiments are required to image potential shallow and deep crustal magma reservoirs. For example, large S-wave residuals on single stations close to the LSV (e.g. station DEP02 for the Glees 2 cluster) might reflect low velocity zones, possibly linked to shallow crustal fluid batches, which can only be resolved by a shallow seismic tomography. Further, geodetic measurements would help to constrain potential shallow volume changes, either during DLF sequences or during episodes like the Glees clusters. Continuous geochemical measurements would be another valuable enhancement to better understand CO2 emissions and potential changes in gas flux during episodes of seismic unrest.”

At this moment, Laacher See is an ideal destination for recreational purposes. The crater itself looks magnificent, with a lake covering the majority of the crater’s bottom and the walls being covered by a lush beech forest. The old monastery of Maria Laach can be found at the southwestern shore of the lake and camp sites and hotels dot the area. Whenever the weather is good, hundreds, if not thousands of people will walk and cycle their way through the area. At the eastern shore of the lake, the volcanic CO2 emissions can be seen in the form of bubbles rising through the water, which is both fun and of great educational value. Just south of the crater, the impressive deposits of the Laacher See eruption can be seen in a quarry known as ‘Wingertsberg’. Hopefully this will remain the case for a long time to come, but the geology of the Eifel should still be taken seriously, if only to know nothing unusual is going on. That goes for the WEVF just as well, where the presence of very primitive magmas indicates the warning time for an eruption might be very limited (hours to days) anyway; these magmas can only be present at the surface when there hasn’t been sufficient time for any sort of significant magmatic differentiation.

I think it is a safe bet to say the Eifel will have eruptions again in the future. When that will be, or if any will occur at all, no one knows. It might be a small, cone-forming eruption from a monogenetic vent. It might be the formation of a maar through a phreatomagmatic event. Maybe a phonolitic lava dome will form. Maybe a large, caldera-forming eruption will occur. Immediate fear for any of these events, especially in a time that points out the area is showing perfectly normal behavior considering the volcanism is dormant, only does more harm than good. But as a society it can never hurt to be awake before a volcano will be, meaning we should know what is going on, to the best of our capabilities.

 

Gijs de Reijke, January 2019

 

Literature:

Hensch, M., Dahm, T., Ritter, J., Heimann, S., Schmidt, B., Stange, S., Lehmann, K. (2019). Deep low-frequency earthquakes reveal ongoing magmatic recharge beneath Laacher See Volcano (Eifel, Germany), Geophysical Journal International, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggy532

Schmincke, Hans-Ulrich (2007) The Quaternary volcanic fields of the East and West Eifel (Germany). In: Mantle plumes – a multidisciplinary approach. , ed. by Ritter, R. and Christensen, U.. Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 241-322.

Schmincke, H.-U., 2006. Environmental impacts of the Lateglacial eruption of the Laacher See Volcano, 12.900 cal BP. In: von Koenigswald, W., Litt, T. (Eds.), 150 years of Neanderthal Discoveries. Terra Nostra, Bonn, pp. 149- 153.

Ritter, J.R.R., Jordan, M., Christensen, U.R., Achauer, U., 2001. Mantle plume below the Eifel volcanic fields, Germany. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 186, 7–14.

Schmincke, Hans-Ulrich (2009). Vulkane der Eifel – Aufbau, Entstehung und heutige Bedeutung, Spektrum-Akademischer Verlag 2009, ISBN 978-3-8274-2366-5.

Meyer, W. Geologie der Eifel, Schweitzerbart, Stuttgart, 4th edition (2013).

 

317 thoughts on “Unrest at Laacher See: is it us or the volcano?’

  1. An excellent read. I knew of this volcanic zone only by name; now you’ve filled in the blanks. It surprises me that the Laacher See was a) so violent, and b) so recent. Many thanks for this.
    PS did any of you see the recent photos of Vesuvius with snow on the cone?

  2. There are so many volcanic fields that are deceptively recent but are considered extinct and have large population centres on them. Eiffel is maybe one of the scariest on account of how big it can go, and being a repeat offender but maybe the most unexpected one would be a reactivation of the newer volcanics of southern Victoria Australia, my first and so far only real volcano I have seen. Eruptions there occur every few thousand years, there have been at least 3 and maybe as many as 7 Holocene eruptions, some of the volcanoes are probably polygenetic, it is entirely inhabited with some of it under Melbourne, and no one thinks it’s active anymore except those with interest and some who want to use it for tourism. There is a very high chance of an eruption in the next 1000 years, just like Eiffel it is very much alive and will certainly erupt again, and just the sheer unexpectedness of it is a dangerous situation.

    By the way, those numbers are my own, I did research into it after seeing it myself and the 10,000 years between eruptions is based on the old value of discovered vents and age of the field, eruptions have been much more frequent than that in the late Pleistocene to Holocene and at least 20 cones and maars are thought to be younger than human habitation, about 60,000 years in that area. The biggest eruptions there are comparable to big eruptions in Hawaii and Iceland, several volcanoes have lava flows well over 50 km long, and mt eccles looks unnervingly like fissure 8. At least a few of the bigger volcanoes were likely polygenetic too, tower hill has a Holocene pyroclastic cone inside its crater, which is late Pleistocene, and mt eccles and napier are compound structures with multiple flows.

    This sounds very similar to Eiffel, a large but almost invisible volcano that is in a place you just don’t expect volcanoes to be.

    • Tower hill is a Maar (just make that clear to everyone), The road along side, you can see the layers as well. Mt Gambia was the last eruption 5000years ago and has recently been given dormant status rather than extinct.
      It is believed there is a hotspot involved , the center of which, is now in the Bass Strait.

      • The hotspot was under bass strait when the eruptions happened too, it isn’t like the hotspot was under the volcanoes for 4 million years and then suddenly moved 500 km in a few thousand to end up where it is now. The conditions now are identical to when all of the volcanoes that I mentioned were formed, and the field is behaving exactly as expected. An eruption can happen now, or in 1000 years, but probably by 2000 years in the future something would have happened.

        At the moment mt gambier, schank and the red cones are confirmed Holocene, and mt napier and eccles, and tower hill, and probably mt leura, are less than 30,000 years old. The time gap between mt napier (19,000 years old), mt eccles (15,000 years old), tower hill (25,000 years old), red cones (9000 years old) and mt gambier (~5000 years old) eruptions seems to be fairly consistent 5000 years, so one should expect a new eruption some time pretty soon, it isn’t overdue, but it is not a 0 threat situation and an eruption is likely within the near future. The danger is more economic though, with tephra being an air hazard, unless a maar forms under an inhabited area, but if anything does happen we aren’t going to know about it until about a week out so nothing to show right now.

        • Gambier is estimated to have been a VEI 4. It is probably the largest known event in the new volcanics region.

          • Yes, it was the biggest explosive eruption that has a number to it, but I think all the maars were probably something like that sort of size, tower hill might have been even bigger, and the effusive eruptions were much bigger again. Mt napier is very similar in size to pu’u o’o (its eruption was the other way around though, effusive then strombolian), so its eruption probably lasted years if not decades and involved multiple km3 of lava, you can still see the lava flows in the landscape, even the texture of the a’a surface which apparently is perfect habitat for tiger snakes…

          • Perhaps. Certainly the volcanoes have made Victoria a beautifully green and fertile land! But Tower Hill is assumed to have formed in multiple explosions, enlarging the maar that way. It is unlikely that Gambier was the largest overall but most eruptions were considerably smaller.

          • I have seen all of these volcanoes and they are all pretty different (mt rouse is not young though it is 300,000 years old the others are 30,000 years or less) Now I just have to go to hawaii and see the 30 year old version of this 🙂 Maybe with any luck pu’u o’o will be opened up to be more accessible now that it is over, extend the chain of craters road to go up to it.

          • I grew up in Hamilton, and visited all of these volcanoes in the area, and was always fascinated by them, hence my interest in this site. I recall stories of local farmers having livestock just disappear, one theory was that they were falling into lava tubes around Mount Napier and Mount Eccles, apparently you could drop a stone into the openings, and never hear it hit the bottom.

          • I went there 2 years ago, I don’t entirely buy the monogenetic nature of these volcanoes anymore, especially when you see how big some of the volcanoes are. Mt schank and blue lake volcano formed in an eruptive series but probably far enough apart that whichever one happened second would have been unexpected, probably about 10 to 50 years apart. It is pretty plausible that most of the larger volcanoes are the result of this happening at the same vent area and maybe with more than 2 events. Mt rouse is old but apparently contains magma from 3 different sources so it is complicated and probably polygenetic though now extinct. Mt eccles has charcoal from the earliest holocene near it as well as other charcoal about 50,000 years old, so something happened here too. As said also earlier up, tower hill apparently has a Holocene cone inside it, even though the maar is 25,000 years old, there is no official sources giving this that I could find but the visitor center gives a lot if that information as well as a lot of other info that is current, so tower hill could have been a very long lived complex or a particular weak spot which might reactivate. The Corangamite area is also entirely volcanic, and at least one volcano there is Holocene. 99% of the volcanoes are undated to, the obvious ones are but the 400 vents is likely a minimum that is far less than the true number, so there is probably a much greater potential for a new eruption than once every 10,000 years.

            There is also mcbride volcano in Queensland, better known as undara, the last eruptions there happened 7000 years ago and the area will also erupt again, in fact a detailed study revealed that the volcano is not only active but has erupted about every 10,000 years for the past million years or more, and has a very robust if slow magma supply, I’m of the opinion that this will become a central shield volcano over the next million years it so, and the field likely already has a magma chamber. The end result will be a 3-5 km tall monster, technically a shield but more like a flat stratovolcano, much like the ancestral mt warning volcano.

          • Apparently the Undara Flow of the McBride volcano produced about 23 km³ of basalt (almost as much as the Thorsja flow), it is 190000 years old but the Toomba flow of the nearby Nulla volcano is also gigantic and just 13000 years old, not as big but close. These volcanoes do not seem to be very active or productive but when they erupt they really go all out. I am not sure if there are any other active subaerial volcanoes that can match such a big single effusive volume outside Iceland, maybe Kilauea if it goes continuous output for centuries, quite impressive.

          • Yes mcbride volcano is a forgotten big hitter, I think every eruption that has happened there has been over 1 km3, and because undara buried over half of the flat north side of the shield there were probably more vents there that we can’t see. Some of the vents made large pyroclastic ones but most seem to be entirely effusive so these could have easily been completely buried. I would not be surprised if the 23 km3 value is also a significant underestimate, this flow is enormous, the surface area is way over 1000 km2 and the flow is tens of meters thick at the vent.
            Toomba is part of a different volcano, nulla/sturgeon volcano, this one only seems to erupt every 50,000 years or so so I don’t think we will be seeing much of it any time soon. Still, it is a compound flow, so these vents could have been generally active for centuries, and that means several generations of people there could have lived their entire lives with there always being an erupting volcano there :> the recent dates have toomba being 25,000 years old though, as opposed to 13,000, but this is not too important.

            The last volcano to erupt there was kinrara volcano, only 7000 years ago, it was probably similar to holuhraun or fissure 8, maybe somewhat bigger, it is still black on google earth like toomba. This eruption was a much more powerful one than the other flows, it probably lasted less than a year but involved a lot more high fountaining. Given that it was the last event, maybe this is what the next eruption is more likely to be like, and could be a sign of the volcanic field very slowly getting more active on its way to becoming a central volcano.

          • I just did some research on these volcanoes. The Undara flow covers about 1550 km², it is the largest surface extension of a Quaternary flow that I am aware of, more even than the Thorsja flow. It could basically have covered whole Etna volcano in one go, and more… The 23 km³ volume seems to be from a publication in 1975 and uses a mean thickness of 15 m, I have seen thicknesses of 20 m more than once for these kind of flows which would give a volume of 31 km³. The 23 km³ value could in my opinion be an underestimation but it seems to be the official number for now.

            Yes, the age I used for the Toomba flow was wrong, the radiocarbon age was 13 ky BP but it is thought to be contaminated, the 40Ar/39Ar age is of 21 ky BP.

            Kinrara judging from its areal extension could have perfectly been 3 Holuhrauns. Undara, Toomba, Kinrara and in general the eruptive style of the McBrige and Nulla volcanoes is of long lasting (years or decades) eruptions, that does’t mean they cannot be dangerous. The Kinrara eruption, most likely its onset phase, was partly explosive (or intense high fountains) and oral tradition shows that Aboriginal Australians died during it due to either tephra or gases.

          • Undara would have also been very voluminous for a lava tube flow, flows from pu’u o’o probably would have made it a maximum of 30 km at the rate it was going, while undara flows went about 5 times further, so the flow rates could have been on the scale of large a’a flow eruptions but the area is so flat the lava just spreads out and once the fountaining stops you just get a very voluminous pahoehoe flow. Fissure 8 made a lot of pahoehoe, though the end turned to a’a, but even the gentle slopes on kilauea are a lot steeper than the undara shield, the shield is 60 km wide but barely 100 meters high above the area surrounding it, it is so flat that most of the lava tubes didnt even drain out. The actual lava pile is probably thicker locally but this volcano doesnt seem to want to build a cone, maybe if more evolved stuff erupts that will change but we will never know.

            The thickness of the undara flows is probably even more than 30 meters at the vent. I would even put a number of as much as 50 km3, it is likely less than that but with the flows being so extensive the eruption rates would have had to be pretty high. I have seen numbers of 10 m3/s, but that is barely higher than pu’u o’o which was nowhere near this size so that is obviously a problem. Same as for the really long pahoehoe flows in Iceland I think these were the result of a high volume eruption which was prevented from turning to a’a by a nearly level surface. Either that or the undara basalt was unusually fluid or hot and so could cool more without becoming more viscous.

          • Observations made on historic eruptions indicate that lava tubes form at low rates ~10 m³/s while wide perched channels feeding massive aa lobes form at higher rates (~100 m³/s for fissure 8), I don’t know of any observed exceptions to this rule. The explanation for this behaviour would be that above a certain rate feeding a flow the channel can’t evolve into a tube, obviously a 400 m wide channel is unable to transform into one. Channels are bad insulators and lava crusts and cools down, if it flows fast enough and the lava was fluid to begin with then the upper section of the channel can still carry fresh and poorly crusted lava which results in a perched channel that will usually overflow pahoehoe into its flanks. But there is a point in every channel where lava cools enough to be unable to form pahoehoe and turns into a blocky flow. When fast rates are emplaced on nearly flat terrain the perched channels will just turn into lava ponds and when it gets to an area with a steeper slope it just empties into blocky aa channels, that is at least what seems to happen at Alayta, in Afar.

            The longest Quaternary lava flows of the world are in descending order: Pampas Onduladas (Payún Matrú volcano, Argentina), Los Carrizales (Payún Matrú), Undara, Thjórsá (After realising I wrote that wrong earlier, I had the feeling I would mess up at least one name) and Toomba, if anyone knows of any other Quaternary flow in excess of 100 km long I would really like to know. I would say that all of them were the lava tube kind though I only know enough about Pampas Onduladas, Undara and Toomba to say that at least those three had indeed lava tube systems. It appears that a well insulating lava tube is even more effective than a high rate eruption in reaching farther distances, many of the biggest flows on Earth may have been emplaced slower than what most people think.

          • Observed exceptions, piton de la fournaise 2007, eruption rate of similar to fissure 8 at several points but most of the lava was flowing in tubes, sometimes even all of it even during 200 meter fountains.

            There has also never been observed an eruption like undara, the volcano is so flat that the lava must have been extremely fluid to not build even any sort of real structure, the lava might have been very hot, or has some concentration of certain metals that act as a fluxing agent and lower the viscosity?
            Such a large volume of lava erupted on a surface where the entire area is less than 1 degree, the angle of slope would suggest that any eruptions there are likely to not experience enough sheering to form a’a, except during the initial eruption stage, kinrara is probably what all the volcanoes looked like, except it stopped at that point and was probably bigger than most fountaining vents. Undara went on for decades beyond that, probably centuries, and all but buried its cone. i struggle to see how the lava could flow so far without being at a decent volume, maybe not 100 m3/s, or even 50, but surely more than 10. Pu’u o’o struggled to send flows more than 20 km, and erta ale seems to be stuck at 17 now, that is like a baby step for undara…

            Mt warning (tweed volcano) has large scale infrequent basaltic eruptions as its first stage, the flows also exceeding 100 km long. The next stage was rhyolite and trachyte at the summit, then more basalt and some rhyolite again over a 2 million year peak, before slowly dying. I think mcbride is still in this first stage but the transition might have already started as it is likely a large magma chamber exists after undara and would be pretty evolved by now, getting recharged by a big basalt intrusion every few millennia or so, or possibly more likely in a very slowly in continuous feed which is basically aseismic, this area is not monitored at all and the source is noted as being very stable and robust so this cant be ruled out (the source has nothing to do with the hotspot track ending at newer volcanics either, undara is entirely its own thing, a bit like etna). If this is the case then Australia does in fact have a ‘proper’ central volcano, something that might one day become like a mountain, even if it erupts as infrequently as the better known volcanic field far south, and not in recent time.

          • “The third eruptive event of 2007 began on 2 April at 10h00 (all times are local: GMT14) from a point just 300 m from the southern edge of the Enclos Fouque caldera at 590 masl. Lava began to enter the ocean (3 km from the vent) 11.5 h after the beginning of the eruption, with channel-fed flows of ’a’a developing which cut the island belt road (the RN2, 2 km from thevent) at 15h15. Eruption intensity reached a maximum on 6 April when lava fountains reached 200 m in height, effusion rates peaked at 200 m3/s, and a channel-fed lava flow extended to the ocean”

            That was an extract from here:
            (PDF) A comparison of cooling and volume limited flow systems: Examples from channels in the Piton de la Fournaise April 2007 lava flow field: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318603632_A_comparison_of_cooling-_and_volume-limited_flow_systems_Examples_from_channels_in_the_Piton_de_la_Fournaise_April_2007_lava_flow_field

            The first lava tube didn’t form until April 14 when rates had substantially lowered. Two overflows from the skylight of the channel are estimated to have been feeded at rates of 7.5 m³/s and 10.5 m³/s so around the expected maximum rates for lava tubes.

            Payún Matrú seems to have had a similar developement to Mt Warning, the first activity of the volcano started as massive basaltic eruptions of pahoehoe lavas, it formed Los Carrizales field about 1 My to 0.4 My ago, some eruptions may have had volumes in excess of 10 km³ and fglow lenghts of more than 100 km. One of the last eruptions of this stage was the Pampas Onduladas lava flow, 181 km long (the longest known Quaternary flow of the planet), it has an estimated volume of about 7 km³. Activity then shifted to a central volcano where it built 2 stratocones, Payun Liso about 300 ky BP and the bigger and more long lived Payún Matrú stratovolcano which was of trachytic composition (at the same time “small” basaltic eruptions took place) and about 100 ky ago it went VEI 6 or VEI 7 collapsing into an 8 km wide caldera. Eruptions from the central volcano have continued first as trachyandesite domes/flows and more recently trachytes. The E-W rift system has erupted basalts, some of probably historic age in the form of fissure fed aa flows that are relatively big, most likely 0.1-1 km³ but much smaller than the initial eruptions of Los Carrizales. The eruptive history of Mt. Warning and Payún Matrú seems kind of similar, and the initial stages resemble the activity at McBride and Nulla. Though the setting of Payún Matrú appears to be different, in a back-arc basin with multiple older central volcanoes and basaltic fields close-by, you also mentioned rhyolite for Mt. Warning while the lavas of Payún are alkaline sourced at a depth of more than 60 km. It would be good to know if there are more volcanoes that have followed a similar evolution from massive pahoehoe eruptions to a central felsic edifice and smaller basaltic eruptions. The initial activity of gigantic basalt flows in a continental setting makes me wonder if there is some kind of conection to flood basalts.

          • Mt warning was less alkaline because it was formed above a hotspot, mcbride is now apparently, so if all this is true the evolved rocks will probably be trachyte. I think there is also little evidence of mt warning volcano ever being explosive either, all its silicic eruptions were mostly effusive, probably like puyehue cordon caulle in 2011, or like newberry volcano.

            I also see the similarities between these flows and flood basalts, mainly the great size and low inclination of the lava flow, which suggests a very high effusion rate, but it is also tube fed, suggesting a lower rate. Given that at least some flood basalts were known to be high rate eruptions (Deccan traps), I didn’t make the initial comparison, but it can’t really be ignored.

        • @turtlebirdman I should have said it has moved further east under the Bass, there was an article somewhere that suggested the next eruption could be west of Melbourne between Geelong and Colac.

          @Mattie I have pictures of those lava tubes and many others of Tower Hill and Napier.

          sssh I have a piece of Napier at home!

          • I saw that, but I think it is too early to call an eruption. Statistically the field is younger further west, the volcanoes near Melbourne and Geelong are very old and the ones under Ballarat are younger but still much older than recent vents. The area active in the Holocene is very wide though, red cones is next to lake Corangamite but blue lake volcano is over the state border to the west, so pretty much everywhere between there is very plausible, but I wouldn’t expect anything east of there. The geologic layout of the area at the start of the Holocene was identical to now, the hotspot plume head is under bass strait, but the volcanoes are not strongly tied to that.

          • Colac to Geelong area is much further south and East than Ballarat and isn’t Blue lake actually Mt Gambier (yes in SA).
            I don’t doubt the NVP area is not dead yet but the crust is 30km with high silica content, making it very hard for the small amounts of magma to get through, which is why I think if anything happens, it will be elsewhere nearby.
            Interesting as well that North of Napier/Camperdown/Colac, you find the Gold fields found in Devonian rock.

          • The area that has been active leading up to and going into the holocene is the west half, it isn’t impossible but an eruption east of there would be unlikely, I think that while the hotspot head itself might be under bass strait, the actual magma generation is further out and west of there, meaning there might not be any volcanoes in Tasmania for a few more million years even when the hotspot ends up under there (which is a bit disappointing because I wont live that long… 🙁 ).

    • Seems to be a common reoccuring theme with volcanic fields with very infrequent eruptions. Relatively poorly studied and often labeled as extinct even if there may be evidence for holocene activity.

      • The Auckland field in NZ is one to consider; undoubtedly live (latest activity in the 14th C or thereabouts) and much of it directly underneath metropolitan Auckland

          • Remember that disaster-movie of a few years back, ‘Volcano’? If the industry moguls had set it in Auckland rather than (I believe) Los Angeles it would have been -marginally- less scientifically ridiculous

      • Auckland might be going into central volcano mode, rangitoto has erupted more than once starting about 6000 years ago with the biggest and most recent eruption some time ending just over 500 years ago, this suggests that other eruptions might be likely to happen in this area and could be pretty big and long lived, similar to pu’u o’o. Rangitoto is as voluminous as all the other volcanoes put together, but is 1/40 of the total age, a common theme among volcanoes going to a central vent. This does lessen the chance of the eruption being the feared phreatomagmatic base surge though, but as seen from kilauea throughout pu’u o’o a long lived effusive eruption is dangerous to be around long term for health reasons.

        • Rangitoto is a small volcano, there is no way it has ever done anything close to the scale of Pu’u’o’o. That tiny island comprises almost the totality of its flows they don’t spread far away underwater.

          • Its more the eruption style, slow lava lake overflows. This wasn’t always the case and some bigger eruptions happened there too, but overall the eruption seems to have been central vent overflows similar to nishinoshima except hawaiian-type basalt instead of hot andesite. Rangitoto is much smaller than the 8 km3 total for pu’u o’o but still about 3 km3 in volume with underwater added, it is also more an inference that if/when another vent opens on it then that eruption might be pretty big and long lived, expanding the volcano more and building a central vent.

  3. Very intresting. Thanks you.
    Regarding the volcanic fields in Spain (girona) and France (Massif central), is there anything (data) like that?
    dormant, alive or extinct-lol

    • Girona and Calatrava of continental Spain and Massif Central in France are all considered to be active as they have erupted during Holocene. Massif Central has long history of millions of yrs including the massive stratovolcanoes of Cantal and Monts Dore, so that one is surely not dead. Eruptions of these volcanoes are extremely unfrequent though.

      • Calatrava has also had historical fumarolic activity, clear evidence of volcanic activity still taking place there

  4. Fascinating !!

    I remember driving past several of those picturesque ‘Sees’, and getting a shiver that they were volcanic ‘Maars’…

    IIRC, the Australian equivalents near Melbourne are affected both by Australia’s thick, old craton(s), and the way the plate is heading NNE. The responsible plume / hot-spot may now be under the Bass Straight after leaving an erratic trail all the way South from Queensland…

    I’ve seen conjecture that this activity beneath the East Coast has long contributed to keeping the Australian plate high and dry, even during global inter-glacial high-stands. YMMV…

    ( OT, I’ve shamelessly used their Eifel region as the MacGuffin to raze an alternate, Bronze Age Alt-Tech civilisation. They really, really should not have over-fracked the thermal tap… 😉

    • The hotspot did not move 500 km in 5000 years, it was almost exactly where it is now when all the recent volcanoes formed, and more will definitely form in the future, see my post above.

  5. Thanks for the article- wife’s German side came from that area (Hannover) She said when she visited the area that the various lakes reminded her of a minature “Crater lakes”like Nik said-the were Maar type features..

  6. Thank you Gijs!
    Very nice article, good to see some nice science coming out about Laacher to offset the idiot Daily Fail Articles.

  7. What effects could the repeated glaciation periods during the last half million years have on the volcanic activity? I guess the EVF was just south of the massive ice sheets where the crust was pressed down by the ice..

    • And when the ice melted, the crust of the Rhenish Shield buckled up. Causing decompressional melting of the mantle just below the crust of the Vulkan Eifel.

      • I don’t think the glacier extended as far as this in the most recent ice age. So no decompression melt as there was no change in compression.

        • Thinking more in a longer time perspectice were repeated glaciation/depression of crust and intdrglacials with melt/crust rebound could act and weaken maybe even more in the border zones…

          • Since the last Ice Age the crust of both Scandinavia and Canada have been uplifting by Post-glacial rebound. Is there also magma being generated below these two areas by decompressional melting? If that’s true, volcanoes could erupt in Sweden, Finland and Canada.

          • That would be true if those areas weren’t mostly cratons, Eiffel is on old crust but it is much thinner. Some of Norway is over thinner crust with magma rapidly being generated though, possibly the most likely place on earth for the next massive scale flood basalt and maybe only a million or so years off of erupting. This is more due to tectonics than the ice age but it is probably going to be a global event when it happens (not soon though, it is far from immediately imminent).
            Carl made a great post on it last year, bringing this to light.

  8. Eruption of Gunung Agung reported. Darwin VAAC reports ash to FL180 (5500m). Eruption not visible on webcams due to clouds.

        • Aye, i think you are correct about that glow Tomas but Vona is reporting an ash cloud so a genuine event.

          I’ve had a trawl for web cams.

          The excellent bukit asah cam is still active as there is footage for it from earlier today but no live feed at the moment.

          The web cam at the shrine is also active https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDNMr1wCYdr5010_2DxTe4g/live but someone needs to get up there and remove the cobwebs.

    • Good spot Tomas. Going by the web cam date stamp, event started 19.57 local time.

      Time for the sand miners to pack up again and as always, it looks like it is pouring down with rain in Bali.

      PS – good read Gijs

      • If you read my last comment I think the glow was simply the moon… 😉

        Looking at the seismogram it seems to have started at 19:55 local time. It was quite short lived, but there was a similar event a few days ago. Since that event, there has also been a slight increase in the number of volcanic quakes, increased number of “blowing tremors” (venting) and a number of new hotspots visible inside the crater on infrared satellite images.

        There was a similar increase of unrest in the end of June. That ended with a bang in the big strombolian blast that started some wildfires in the beginning of July. There could be something similar coming up this time, although the level of unrest is not quite as high as it was in June.

    • Looks like Anak’s vent may soon build clear of Surtsey-style submarine eruptions, then back-fill the surrounds…

      Here’s hoping it ‘Plays Nice’ !!

    • Did i reach my comment limit?

      /Edit Lugh: No, but you upset our three-headed spamwatch dog Akismet with a comment with too many links. It’s very hard to unlearn things to dogs like Akismet…

  9. Don’t feel bad about being ‘tricked’ into miss reading the moon glow affecting an observation….. did so this morning thinking the sky was unusually bright (for Alaska’s dark winter mornings) but it’s very dark now so must have been moon set…. i COULD look up the sun/moon rise/set charts but why bother….. it would only cut into my coffee making time….. kinda fun when the ‘animal brain’ cuts into the reasoning part anyway, and the resulting “OOOOO” of our survival drive goes “What’s THAT?” 😉 Best! from motsfo going to minus tonight.

    • The moon is shortly after new moon, so faint and only visible in the evening.

      • Thanks, Albert! so now wondering what did make the glow this morning over the inlet….(over a warm cupofcoffee) cause we know motsfo is doing NOTHING without her coffee.

        • Hm. Calm, cold weather with highish humidity, clearing skies and temperature dropping after sunrise (I got this from the weather map). No aurora to speak off. I don’t know which direction you were looking, but brighter skies are usually reflected surface lights, from towns or villages. With those weather conditions you may have had low clouds over a city.

  10. Catastrophe
    I personally believe a global volcanic catastrophe is likely to happen in the next 20-30 years due to several factors which I will explain later. I would love to hear your personal candidates for a catastrophe so please reply down below. I came up with own scale for volcanic disasters which I will be using, My VOLCA scale, tell me what you think of it down below.
    My VOLCA scale is my attempt to give off a more detailed measurement of a volcanoes impact, VEI scale is better for science purposes but as you know it has it’s issues for comparing actual disasters, like Laki and Pinatubo, despite being ranked lower in VEI, Laki was a much worse disaster then Pinatubo. The pelee eruptions and Nevado del ruiz are ranked lower in explosivity as well but were deadlier then Pinatubo.
    There is a local catastrophe like the Pelee eruption, A regional catastrophe like Nevado del ruiz or St Helens, and finally a global catastrophe like the Samalas. My scale implements all of the potential impacts, Tsunamis, Lahars, ashfall, Pyroclastic flow, volcanic winter, and for effusive eruptions, gas.

    VOLCA 1
    Strong local impacts, small regional impacts, and no global impacts
    Example 1991 Eruption of Unzen
    VOLCA 2
    Severe to Exreme local impacts, moderate to strong regional impacts, and no impacts or limited global impacts
    Examples 1982 eruption of El chichon, 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens. Armero tragedy
    VOLCA 3
    Extreme local impacts, severe regional impacts, moderate to strong global impacts
    Examples 1991 eruption of Pinatubo, 1477 eruption of Bardarbunga, 1883 eruption of Krakatoa
    VOLCA 4
    Extreme local impacts, extreme regional impacts, and severe global impacts.
    Examples 1815 eruption of Mt Tambora. 1783 eruption of Laki. Thera eruption
    VOLCA 5
    Extreme local impacts, extreme regional impacts and, extreme global impacts
    1257 eruption of Mt Samalas, Mystery eruption of 535 AD, Mystery eruption for 1465 AD.

    I think a higher end VOLCA 3 to VOLCA 5 is possible in the next 20-30 years because of coming grand solar minimum and pole reversal. Neither of these are a apocalyptic event but both on their own would lead to more cosmic rays impacting Earth which could lead to a heightened period of volcanism. There is weak scientific link between the solar minimum and massive eruptions but there is a statistical large connection.

      • There is absolutely nothing to suggest this is anything other than pseudoscience. GSM is another conspiracy theorist fantasy.

        • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027737911630381X
          openjournals.gela.org.ge/index.php/GGS/article/viewFile/1886/pdf
          https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-017-3948-7

          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310786797_Climate_variability_and_lake_ecosystem_responses_in_western_Scandinavia_Norway_during_the_last_Millennium

          I was certainly wrong about clear lake as a threat but something like this has support within the scientific community. Just because ridiculous things are being said about certain events doesn’t invalidate their potential effects, This a climate change article which is a real scientifically supported issue. https://io9.gizmodo.com/earth-will-turn-into-a-venus-like-hell-earlier-than-pre-961194748.

          There is a limit to the number of links our deamon will accept, and this was well above that.. Back in the dungeon. A double (and not relevant) link was removed – admin.

          • As has been said before, there is nothing “grand” about this minimum, and there is most certainly no effect on volcanism which is the relevant point here.

          • In all liklihood, what is being seen is a restoration to more normal solar condition’s.

            “The last five solar cycles were very intensive corresponding to the unusual very active state of solar activity, or to a Grand maximum (Solanki et al. 2004; Usoskin 2008)”

            … [Current activity] is fully consistent with the features observed during the period of moderate solar activity in the 19-th century.

            http://www2.mps.mpg.de/dokumente/publikationen/solanki/c240.pdf

        • What studies invalidate the potential effects of a grand solar minimum? While it may not be a confirmed science why should it so quickly dismissed as an influence especially when there are real scientific studies that support the idea of it affecting climate? It may not be a repeat of the little ice age or anything of that sort but should it not be studied and taken seriously for it’s potential?
          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1342937X10001966
          https://principia-scientific.org/do-cosmic-rays-trigger-earthquakes-volcanic-eruptions/
          Cosmic rays according to these studies could have a significant impact on volcanism which is what i based my comment on.

          • This is one of the most unconvincing scientific papers I have ever read.

          • I am not scientist. i am just a person who loves to read scientific papers on volcanoes. What makes it unconvincing? I wouldn’t be surprised if these papers were full of it.

          • Albert I wouldn’t be surprised if these studies were full of it. I am not a scientist, i am just a person who loves to read scientific papers.

          • Leaving the cosmic rays versus volcanoes aside for the moment (which is not convincing for multiple reasons), the evidence for a relation between solar minima and climate came from the coincidence between the Maunder minimum and the little ice age. This was seen quite some time ago. But as more data became available the little ice age became longer and longer. At first it lasted a century or so, but now we think it started around 1250 and lasted until 1850. Indications for more solar minima were found, albeit indirect ones. and some correlation still exists, bit when I went through the numbers I was not fully convinced. The coincidence may well just have been that – a coincidence. So people looked for possible mechanisms and came up with mainly blanks. The variation in solar output from normal sun to the Maunder minimum is too small to have much effect. Cosmic rays were suggested: a quiet sun has a weaker solar wind, and this lets in more cosmic rays. The effect is not that large (~10%) and it is unclear how these rays can have much effect. The idea was raised that they form clouds, similar to trails in cloud cambers. That might happen a bit at high altitudes. That idea is still alive but controversial. And it does on explain climate as clouds do not have that much effect on surface temperature (they cool the days but warm the nights).

            And that is where we stand. The study of the relation between solar minima such as Maunder and climate is an area of scientific research. Predicting such minima is still beyond us. Concluding that we are heading for an ice age because of an impending quiet sun is pseudo science.

            There is a real question on what made the little ice age stop. The Milankovich cycles predict a cooling climate and the little ice age may wel have been part of that. What made the climate warm up? https://www.volcanocafe.org/ice-age/

            The volcano cosmic ray connection above is an extreme form of this hypothesis is completely implausible. Not only is the variation in intensity much larger on a day to day basis, and this will swamp any long-term effect, but cosmic rays penetrate no more than say 10 meters, and it is hard to initiate a major volcanic eruption at that depth.

          • I’d read somewhere that the Little Ice Age may have been the beginning of the real thing (well, technically, of a stadial) that was forestalled because we humans started burning coal in large quantities, and then oil.

        • GSM is a scientific fact if someone ignores such things as minima of solar activity like Maunder’s, Dalton’s and present Edie’s, we have nothing to talk about.

    • With respect, we already have a scary Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI), with historical and pre-historical eruptions meticulously graded…

      I’m not qualified to comment beyond ‘amateur’ on the volcanic aspects, but any Tambora-class event, with its ensuing ‘Year Without A Summer’, would be globally dire.

      FWIW, the solar cycle modelling predicts minimum between 2025 ~ 2045 will be a ‘Dalton Dip’ per 1880~1910 rather than a full-on ‘Maunder Minimum’…

      IMHO, the magnetic turbulence has a long, long way to go before the ‘South Atlantic Anomaly’ becomes a genuine ‘multi-pole’. And, even then, such may revert rather than reverse.
      YMMV.

      • I understand, my scale is just for personal use and not something I want to be implemented like the VEI scale. I do stuff like this to challenge myself and my thought process. I am an amateur as well and would love to hear from actual scientist about my thoughts.

      • From my own reading as a fellow amateur, the VEI scale may not be entirely the best indicator on what the environmental impact of an eruption may be. There have been large eruption venting relatively little SO2 into the atmosphere as well as compareatively moderate eruptions venting disproportionately large amounts of SO2 into the atmosphere like El Chichón for example

        • The VEI scale is known to have a lot of problems… but it really depends on the sort of ranking you are trying to make from one volcano to the next.

          Large basalt eruptions can easily surpass stratovolcanoes if you look at the total heat energy released. Interestingly, these do not have much of an impact on stratospheric SO2 loading unless they inject it there during the opening phases. This keeps most of their SO2 load in the troposphere where it coverts to sulfate and sediments out more rapidly. As noted by the increased mortality rates in Europe, Laki did not have to loft to the stratosphere to have an adverse effect on the environment. The SO2 caused respiratory injury of the otherwise healthy and killed plants.

          • Do you think the media will somehow say that my personal scale, that i have created to challenge myself, is somehow a new creation from actual volcanologists? The reason i found this site was because of the media’s reaction to the NDVP.

          • Always posdible, Lord knows they have a large population of idiots who are not only flat out stupid, but are too lazy to check anything.

        • VEI is flawed because it assumes explosive eruptions are always bigger, this is completely wrong, and that they have the most effect on earths climate, which is also wrong. Leilani + holuhraun was bigger than every other eruption since 1991 put together, but their combined VEI is a big fat 1… Ontake in 2014, which didn’t erupt any new magma at all and is only on that Wikipedia list because it got on the news, rates as a VEI 3, which infers it is the far bigger eruption than holuhraun or leilani. We know better, but someone with no idea would assume a bigger number means bigger eruption, that is the problem.

          It also places the mass extinction causing, 10,000 km3 lava flows in the Deccan traps as something on the same scale as familiar volcanism, in reality such a flow looks at the entire VEI scale and laughs, no explosive eruption will ever come close to that big, eruptions like that have VEI 7 basaltic plinian eruptions as initial introductions, then that is followed by the other 99% of the magma…

          • The Fujita, Saffir Simpson, and Richter scales don’t have that problem but then again if a large scale effusive eruption like Laki or even a flood basalt takes place nowadays then where it ranks on a scale would be the last thought in people’s heads. After all when a mile wide scary looking tornado is heading towards you, you’re not going to be thinking about where it ranks.

          • Well, my only concern regarding the tornado was the potential for knob and tube wiring in the house I was in. Frantically I killed the main breakers before taking shelter. No, not a mile wide tornado, but we did have trees from 7 miles away land on the property.

            *Likely seven miles. We were counting holes and trees and came up with more trees than holes. At the nearby church (seven miles away) they had more holes than trees.

          • No outbreak, just normal. Looking at the charts after the fact, I saw that a glob of high CAPE air wafted into south-central Mississippi and spawned a cluster of thunderstorms. The funky bit? No front involved as far as I could tell.
            (1994 time frame)

    • Well there is some research indicating a possible Grand Minimum but I’m not buying sudden pole reversal.

      https://arxiv.org/abs/1705.04482

      Reinforcing the double dynamo model with solar-terrestrial
      activity in the past three millennia
      arXiv:1705.04482v2 [astro-ph.SR] 26 May 2017
      Valentina V. Zharkova
      Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering, University of
      Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 8ST, UK
      Simon J. Shepherd
      School of Engineering, University of Bradford, Bradford, BD7 1DP, UK
      Elena Popova
      M.V.Lomonosov Moscow State University, Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics,
      Moscow 119991, Russia
      Sergei I. Zharkov
      Department of Physics and Mathematics, University of Hull, Kingston upon Tyne, HU6
      7RS, UK


      We confirm the occurrence of upcoming Modern grand minimum in 2020-2053,
      which will have a shorter duration (3 cycles) and, thus, higher solar activity
      compared to MM

      Fig. 4.— The butterfly diagram of the toroidal magnetic field simulated for the period of
      1200 to 3200 years (top plot) and for the upcoming Modern grand minimum in 2020-2055
      (bottom plot) using the double layer dynamo model (Zharkova et al. 2015) in the two cells
      of the solar interior reported by HMI/SDO observations (Zhao et al. 2013). The right panel
      in the top plot shows the colour scheme for marking a toroidal field magnitude in both plots.
      The parameters of magnetic field and meridional circulation in the both cells are the same
      as in the previous simulations of temporal variations of the toroidal field (Fig.6 in Zharkova
      et al. (Zharkova et al. 2015)).

      ===
      Plausible or another bad paper?

      • Questionable. Usoskin is probably one of the top of his field in this and he remains unconvinced.

        Not meaning to beat a dead horse, but you always have to be suspect of models. It’s going to take more than a return to moderate activity to convince me that the Sun is going into a Grande minima.

        …but, look on the bright side, at least this provides an empirical test of their theory.

        Note: In the above linked Usoskin et al paper, they make a pretty decent argument for Grande minima to come in two types, shorter than 100 years and 150+ years

        This is a 10,000 yr reconstruction of Solar activity as presented in Grand minima and maxima of solar activity: New observational constraints. Usoskin, Solanki and Kovaltsov. Astronomy & Astrophysics manuscript no. 7704 June 2, 2007.

        • Yes Zharkova has said the good thing is if they are wrong we’ll find out soon enough!

          Zharkova does also have opinions on how this might interact with climate but she has no particular qualifications in the field of climate science and so I don’t give much weight to that especially as weather models have been run assuming a grand minimum and warming still wins out. I’m curious especially about Albert’s opinion on the solar physics though.

          • I should add that the best weather simulations do predict regional weather variations – especially for Europe – as the polar vortex weakens and allows colder air to break out. But overall planet-wide warming wins.

            That is possibly the worst scenario as it will be harder to convince people of global warming if the winter is colder – until the end of the minimum – by which time it will be too late to stop catastrophic warming related changes if nothings is done.

            Caveat accepted that models can be wrong.

          • There are indications that during the little ice age, cloud cover in western europe was higher than before or after. That comes from paintings, which in this period often show cloudy skies. That would also affect the reported number of sun spots. Going back further, there are no sunspot observations and other proxies are used, but these are not as well understood. So you have to be careful not to overinterpret the numbers.

          • Yes, the 10kyr reconstruction is based off of cosmogenic isotopes.

      • This is what Ilya Usoskin (head of the Finnish Cosmic Ray Centre) had to day about this work, as presented in another paper by Popova:

        The paper by Popova et al. presents an oversimplified mathematical model of solar activity with a claim of predicting/postdicting it for several millennia ahead/backwards. The work contains several flaws devaluating the results: (1) the method is unreliable from the point of view of signal processing (it is impossible to make harmonic predictions for thousands of years based on only 35 years of data) and lacks quality control; (2) the result of post-diction apparently contradicts the observational data. (3) theoretical speculations make little sense. To summarize, a multi-harmonic mathematical model, hardly related to full solar dynamo theory, is presented, which is not applicable to realistic solar conditions because of the significant chaotic/stochastic intrinsic component and strong non-stationarity of solar activity. The obtained result is apparently inconsistent with the data in the past and thus cannot be trusted for the future predictions.

        It is safe to say that this solar cycle fitting is controversial. And from the point of modeling time series, I fully agree. You can’t extrapolate hundreds of years based on the three decades of data, let alone millennia. To do that you need a physical model. not a mathematical fit.

        • Thanks Albert,

          They do address Usoskin’s criticisms in the current paper and they provide a possible model but I can’t exactly quote the entire paper.. Beyond my pay grade though 🙂

          However, the prediction of solar activity for the two millennia reported in the recent
          paper for dipole sources only (Zharkova et al. 2015) has been challenged by Usoskin and
          Kovalev (Usoskin & Kovaltsov 2015), who claim the solar activity to be a stochastic
          process. They claim that the solar magnetic field parameters cannot be derived correctly
          from direct magnetic field measurements captured for the past three solar cycles but it can
          be only reconstructed by a stochastic transport method (Usoskin et al. 2002) expanding
          the solar magnetic field back in time using a linear regression analysis (Solanki et al. 2000).
          Here we prove that this suggestion and the method are simply not applicable to a strongly
          oscillating function of solar activity over centuries and millennia because their distributions
          deviate from normal (Gaussian) distribution required for application of a linear regression analysis.
          In the current paper we show that the application of the appropriate statistical method
          used to reproducing the highly oscillating function of solar activity (Zharkova et al. 2015)
          by a set of periodic cosins functions (see the section 2.1) allows us to extrapolate the solar
          magnetic field rather accurately backward three thousand years. We also highlight the
          essential differences of the solar activity curve reconstructed by us in the current paper
          from the recent long-term reconstruction of solar activity based on the terrestrial carbon
          14 and berillium 10 isotope dating with a cosequent use of a linear regression method for
          their extrapolation (Usoskin et al. 2002, 2004; Solanki & Krivova 2011). Moreover, we show
          below that Sporer minimum derived by this reconstruction is likely to be an artefact of the
          terrestrial and Galactic activity caused by supernovae and not associated with the solar
          activity.

          • This is a long standing disagreement which will continue. But I know something about curve extrapolation and it is completely true that without a physical theory, you cannot extrapolate far beyond your data set. To extrapolate 2000 years from 30 years of data is silly. The uncertainty principle applies here: you can’t measure the length of the cycle precisely from a short data set, and even a small error in the length quickly adds up to a full cycle over time, by which time all predictive power is gone.

          • Well they do claim a “very well maintained periodicity” and they do claim to fit with historical reconstruction (Sporer minimum excepted).

            …we have very good reasons to reinforce our previous findings (Zharkova et al. 2015) that the basic solar activity is produced by the two magnetic waves, called principal components, caused by double solar dynamo effect. These waves are shown to be generated by the dipole magnetic sources located in two (inner and outer) layers of the solar interior. This finding also emphasizes the fact that the solar activity has a very well-maintained periodicity of their principal dynamo waves produced by dipole magnetic sources which is maintained over three millennia reflecting a very stable dynamo-health of the Sun. We need to emphasize that the real solar activity can be a superposition of a larger number of waves generated not only by dipole but also by quadruple (Popova et al. 2017), sextuple or other magnetic sources that will be a scope for forthcoming studies.

            I’m sure as you say disagreements will continue. I’m just observing from a distance…

          • May I make a loose analogy with tide prediction ?

            IIRC, despite using an increasingly accurate series of observations, still took a long, lonnng time to tie down enough of the 30+ astronomical orbital parameters plus ‘local influences’. Much Iterative residuals attribution, a bit like Doppler exo-planet hunting in the temperate zone..

            Gradually, very gradually, prediction moved from semi-qualitative to quantitative, culminating in wondrous analogue ‘tidal computers’, only recently replaced by software algorithms…

            That with two tides per day, Sun & Moon in plain sight etc etc.

            Solar cycles run orders of magnitude slower. As I understand it, a lot of historical & pre-historical solar activity data must be drawn from many proxies, over which much argument continues, their precise detail and
            nfluence bitterly disputed…

            This time around, we’ve AGW / CO2 in the mix. At least the onset of the dip may be soon, allowing for prompt falsification / improved iteration…


            Apologies for terse prose, I’ve two of our Spotty Tabbies helping me type.
            { Browse Folder }

  11. So, my other hobby besides obsessing over volcanocafe posts is FPV quadcopter racing. One of my favourite ‘fpv-personalities’ is Lexie, who recently traveled to and flew over hawaii, including this trip to kilauea! Check out her video
    https://youtu.be/8XUaBwCFkto

  12. Albert I did not mean to link to one of those sites. I wouldn’t be surprised if these studies were full of it. I am not a scientist just someone who likes to read scientific papers.

  13. Let me tell you the story of a little boy, this little boy thought he was the nicest boy in the village, he thought was the most responsible child you would ever see but most of all he thought he was the most loved boy of all time. He thought the man he was with most of the time loved him the most. He did found it strange people would fearfully whisper when ever he passed them, Everyone looked at him with fear but he thought it was admiration. They kept feeding to his incorrect perception so that he would stay and eat more spam but he was no boy, he was a demon. He thought he was helping the man but in reality he was eating all of his words,

  14. A general comment: if you are a first-time commenter, your comment will need approval before it will appear. That takes time, between minutes and hours, depending who is available. Please be patient. Another limitation is that the system will only allow a few links in your comment: more than 2 or 3 and will be put it in the dungeon. It is best to avoid numerous links.

  15. Smalll continetal monogentic and polygentic volcanic centers like these
    Often are highly alkaline.
    Basanites, Phonolites, Trachytes, and Nephelinites often are present.
    Low degrees of partial melting deep down

    • Fantastic. And now we know what happened to the trees. That looks very much like the aftereffects of pyroclastic, perhaps without the ‘pyro’ bit. And some may still be alive.

        • Also meant to say

          Albert, this for me was one of the best articles all time, what a great read and made me look even deeper into the topic

          • My apologies to Gijs, I did notice it was a guest author, but yes the praise is very much warranted. Considering how many consistently fantastic articles have been published on this site, this one ranks right up there with the best all time.

          • “Consistently fantastic?” I beg to differ, I have always found this site as better grounded in reality than most. In fact, one of our greatest concerns is to be taken out of context and touted as an authoritative statement about something we were only musing about.

  16. OT i think James Reynolds used to post on Eric’s board under Typhoonery or something similar. Been reading him for years! His work is great. so many little earthquakes now;;;; i’m either feeling them or dreaming about them…… not sleeping well; Good thing i don’t have to function much. 😉 And good thing there’s this great board with facinating conversations around the globe at all hours…. Best!from motsfo wandering off to find coffee and check the view(not the tv show; the view out the back window of Redoubt and Cook Inlet… (no glow; by the way.)

    • and up date of the 7’s aftermath….seems like i did suffer some stuff: cracks in the walls along the sheetrock and nailheads popping thu. and my gas oven went wacky. Some wires shorted out on the electric egniter and the thing was turning it’s self on without human intervention…. didn’t trust it so cooking (haha… i can hear the snickers now) on small hot plate, toaster oven and microwave until the new one gets here in 3 more weeks. Could have gotten one immediately but Darling Daughter thought another model safer. too chatty today… sorry… motsfo

      • another reason to live on the nice solid and stable Canadian Shield (just have to put up with the freezing winters and summer black flies)

          • I got Franciscan formation and an active slip strike fault under my feet.
            Here on the left coast at this time of year we keep the granite under the snow.
            At least we are getting rain.

          • I live on 10,000 feet of eastern Virginia coastal plain sediment. Currently, seems to be subsiding @ 3mm/year.

          • Mississippi embayment and ancient transform faults from the opening of the Gulf of Mexico. Makes for karst topology over near Defuniak Springs and Panama City.

            THe whole region is made up of the Citronelle Formation, and the most interesting rock is Limonite, which is difficult to discern from some random car part left rusting in the woods.

          • I’m stuck with Mt. St. Helens 30 miles from my doorstep and my workplace is smack in the middle of the Boring (note the capital B) Lava. Not to mention the threat of a Cascadia slip…

        • Shaken to life. You can expect perhaps a few more M4 quakes this month, and regular M3 quakes. In another month they should become notably fewer. But there is a fair chance (50%) of another M5 aftershock.

        • “The Stove was becoming self-aware.”

          You haven’t had fun until you watch a salad bar chase a guy across the mess-decks down to supply central. (The legs snapped loose from their welds during high seas.)

          He got away (by falling down the hatch to supply) but it was hilarious. Fortunately he had minimal injuries. It would have been worse if the salad bar had gotten to him first. It came to stop at the combing for the hatch and angrily barfed a bit of lettuce and carrots at him when it stopped.

          • ROFL !
            Long after that department closed, the tale was told of an industrial-grade centrifuge which up-rooted its plinth’s mounting bolts, snapped its power line and went ‘walk about’. Think ‘tap-dancing panel van’…

            It chased the much-disliked supervisor into a corner, trapped him there. He was un-marked bar a few, um, ‘organic’ stains, but was stuck until the frustrated beast finally, finally spun down and our site’s biggest fork-lift truck could be fetched…

            After a week of sick-leave, the supervisor requested and got a prompt transfer…

  17. Running in here again… Totally agree: Gijs’ article is spot on and interesting…. been there and wish i’d known what i was looking at the time. Thanks, Gijs’!

  18. Uncut and HD version of the drone-footage of James Reynolds (mentioned above). Also shows the damage done by the tsunami on Sertung

    • This is awesome… I wonder why sertung looks so devastated….the dead trees shown are all on sertung, none on anak krakatau.

  19. I just rescued a bunch of comments from Akismet’s Spam Folder, all from commenters who tried to post comments with more than 3 links. Our three-headed watch dog does not take that lightly, Akismet can only deal with 3 links at the time, she has been trained to devour all that contains more than 3 links. Once he catches you, it takes a long time for her to unlearn (as with all dogs…).

    So: be nice to Akismet and don’t post more than 3 links. Please understand that it can take some time before your comments go through normally again after you accidentally tried to post more links, or accidentally ended up in spam.

  20. And the story of the week is the rapid movement of the magnetic pole towards Siberia: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00007-1 The magnetic model needs updating a year earlier than had been expected. But now this update has apparently been postponed because of the shutdown of the US government! Not only have all US volcanoes de-activated, now the magnetic pole has hit the wall as well.

    https://www.volcanocafe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/pole_shift.jpeg

    (The location of the pole has been wandering a lot over time, and it has been in the current area before.)

    • Aren’t there two North nodes? The sum of which constitute current North? (One in Canadia and the other in Siberistan?)

      • Well, thats interesting. The south pole has two nodes as well, apparently the one south of Australia is the southern pole for the node in North Canada… and the Southern Atlantic anomaly is the southern pole for the node in Siberia. With reports of the SAA getting more pronounced, that may correlate with the node in Siberia growing stronger resulting in a greater shift in the combined Magnetic North position.

    • Is it because of the currents and flow of the liquid iron?
      As earths spinns all the millions of cubic kilometers of liquid iron must spinn too.
      Att 4700 to 5200 C the outer core is a low viscosity fluid.
      Mouch denser than water but as liquid as water it is beacuse of the heat

    • a white hot fluid it is
      Its like liquid sunlight if our eyes coud see it
      The bottom of the outer core is like liquid sunlight, terrfyingly hot and dense fluid
      cuts through an arm like a hot knife through butter.

      Molten metals are scary stuff, even liquid lead is pretty painful to get on the hand.

      • Mercury and gallium arent scary when molten :>
        Mercury is only scary in closed rooms if you know what it is, and gallium is basically harmless.

        • Mercury liquid is ‘mostly harmless’, but the vapour is an accumulative toxin, and the bio-active organic compounds are real-nasty neuro-toxins. Minimata stuff.

          ( I could track a broken thermometer to its lab sink by smell from across the room. Even after a ‘fair’ clean-up by the perp, I usually had to safety-garb, fetch a bucket and empty the u-bend’s trap to get the very, very last speckles… )

          IIRC, gallium, too, is ‘mostly harmless’, but may accumulate and interfere unpredictably. The ‘organics’ are best avoided…

  21. A very rough generalisation of the level of tilt deformation on kilauea this month. As can be seen, the summit is slightly dropping, maybe not unexpected as the caldera is probably still not fully stable, but pu’u o’o is rising a lot faster than the drop at the summit, so assuming all related to magma movement, the supply is still ongoing.

    The summit angle is -5 degrees, but the east rift angle is 13 degrees. 13-5 is 8, so the overall number is about +8 degrees. This is +2 microradians total.

    • 2 microradians of tilt inflation in a month is not much, but the GPS shows about 3 cm (30 micro) of inflation slightly further away, so the number for pu’u o’o could be a bit less because of the crater being so deep and probably unstable still. Either way this number shows that the magma supply to kilauea is still ongoing and refilling.

      https://www.facebook.com/john.stallman.9/videos/1422639801204866/
      There is mention here of deep rift magma seeping up into the gap, but I think this is unlikely. I am really not in a real position to argue with a volcanologist with 50 years of experience, but given that we are all equal on the internet, it seems weird that the magma body would exist only within the upper layers of the volcano, as though it formed only after kilauea was already the shape it is now. It sounds much more logical that the entire rift has abundant magma in it all the way down to the base of the volcano, and that the main feeder to the actual magma chamber is also about as wide as the magma chamber, the deep rift and feeder are just the buried shallow rift of older kilauea, and the top has more actual magma but not all of it. The deflation of 2018 was also very strong at the summit and between mauna ulu and heiheiahulu, but the diagonal gap between there didn’t move nearly as much, and so it is unlikely either of these areas has a connection at a depth above the main magma chamber (source 2, about 3-6 km deep). The point where my idea actually differs from Don’s though is that I think the deep rift is not separated from the part where eruptions start from, or from the feeder, and probably connects to the main system all the time, sitting about 7 km deep in the middle but being deeper (maybe over 10 km) nearer to the summit. 1959 was fed out of the point where the deep rift starts, and 1960 was fed mostly through the deep rift as a fountain of that height would need a lot of run up to blow that high (though being near the ocean probably helped a bit too). This might also solve the weird shape of the rift near mauna ulu, and why koae is non-eruptive despite being an obvious extension of the east rift, the old rift zone went further north than mauna ulu and only really matched the modern rift in the LERZ, so the deep rift still feeds to the LERZ as shown by the usually very large size of eruptions there, and often primitive magma composition (last year being a perfect example of both). The deep rift might go under the area near kilauea iki, where aila’au erupted from, and be non eruptive until about where heiheiahulu is, and possibly connects at locations before that but at a weird angle that is off from vertical and exists through residual magma pockets from dikes formed when that part of now buried rift was active.
      Koae might be a recent (less than 2000 years) western extension of the east rift to join it to the southwest rift by bypassing the summit and have more direct southward sliding, and this rifting has yet to properly reach the magma feeder, so magma can superficially intrude at shallow depths from the east rift but cant erupt there forcefully from lack of pressure (as per DustDevil’s idea of consistent rift angles) but doesn’t move up from depth and so eruptions there are not really a thing yet. As the rifting at koae continues and gets deeper this will probably connect to the magma system eventually and magma will start using koae as a point to bypass the summit, maybe leading to dormancy of the existing summit as eruptions focus to the easier rout, and maybe even total relocation over a geological blink of an eye. Initial eruptions there could be intense too because a lack of magma chambers in the way now means a dike going up through koae from depth wouldn’t degas or mix with much older magma and it would take a while for a real magma chamber to form, so this could be a temporary major break of character for kilauea with many repeated high fountaining episodes a bit like a more fluid version of mt etnas paroxysms or a much bigger 1980s pu’u o’o. All speculation, but such an event would quickly start expanding kilauea to the south, which is being left behind, and nature hates things that are not at the lowest common denominator and will aim to make things as simple as possible. Kilauea is not an oval right now so something has to give eventually.

      • John doesn’t really specify the reasons why Don Swanson thinks magma is coming up from the deep rift to fill the MERZ rather than having the magma come from the summit, it seems to have convinced John but it would have been better to give some actual reasons to think it is one and not the other, or of how does Don explain the deflation at the summit.

        I still think it is more likely that the summit and the UERZ are directly feeding the inflation at the MERZ and that is why deflation continues. John by the way doesn’t seem to know much about the 1840 eruption, that was most likely magma from the deep rift being erupted. Also, if the theory of Don Swanson is correct then same thing should have happened back in 1975, if a 6.9 quake can through descompression mobilize magma from the deep rift into the shallower levels then the 1975 7.4 Kalapana earthquake should have had the same effect and more dramatically, but there is no evidence of having happened. The 1977 MERZ eruption didn’t erupt any weird compositions and the olivine phenocrist content was minimal as would not have been the case for a deep rift sourced magma, the magma as usual seems to have been sourced from the summit reservoirs. I don’t know, maybe John is just underexplaining the idea but it certainly doesn’t seem very convincing the way he puts it.

        • I have no idea why it isn’t assumed the ERZ is full of magma from its base to shallow depths anyway, at one point the deep rift was the shallow rift, and at some point in the future the shallow rift will become the new deep rift, and so it seems pretty pointless to think the rift is all solid until recently a d that magma somehow opened a dike in the shallow part but is able to seep down from that, that is not how liquids work…
          Eruptions anywhere on kilauea are usually aseismic to a point it makes the dead zone jealous, the only eruptions that are noticeable beforehand are in the LERZ and if of a large magnitude, the sensitive equipment picks up micro quakes and plots out intrusions but you would not feel those quakes at all or know anything happened unless it went really shallow. Kilaueas ERZ is like the ultimate seismic dead zone, it is therefor most likely the rift is full of magma down to as far as highway 130. Sequential flank sliding would only further this, opening even more space.

          • Another possible and in my opinion more likely view is that the deep rift does have magma but that it is not eruptable, it could just be a mush of dense mafic crystals sitting down there. Only under very rare circumstances can it reach the surface, for example a massive violent intrusion like 1840. Rift zones do show as positive gravity anomalies which is usually interpreted as there being something denser in the core of the rift.

            There have been some attempts to find magma reservoirs in the ERZ, through analisys of seismic wave propagation or of deformation, some claim to have found localized small storage (like the Napau reservoir) others that there are no major magma chambers in the ERZ. Right now there is no evidence of the existence of a largely molten deep rift and that is why that line of thinking seems to not be very popular.

          • I guess the problem is where the deep rift actually is. I have used numbers between 10 and 6 km, and 6-0 km as the shallow rift. However others have used 6 km as the deep rift, I don’t think there is actually a consensus on the location, if deep is 3 km then all eruptions on the east rift start in the deep rift, if it is 10 km then probably only LERZ eruptions and maybe very large shields like pu’u o’o do. This years eruption was initially through the shallow rift, involving reactivation of old magma and then pu’u o’o lava erupting, but as the eruption evolved it probably started involving both the shallow and deep rift, the eruption rate, temperature and composition of the lava erupting out of fissure 8 is unlike anything erupting at pu’u o’o, even 1840 was eclipsed in those regards. Fissure 8 even manages to best holuhraun in volume x duration, the biggest lava flow observed in the modern world. Olivine crystals as big as 1 cm were found inside fissure 8 lava, these are probably the mafic crystal mush you mentioned, as I think the temperature of the lava was too high to allow olivine to form like that in situ. Similar things happened in 1959 and 1960, but not 1955, so 1955 was maybe not fed from such a deep source. Likely only the upper 1955 vents were actually connected to the summit, the lower vents died out before the summit responded and were probably 1924 magma, this stage is similar to fissure 17, which is only a few hundred meters south.
            In 2018 and 1960 the summit responded within 4 days, 1955 took over a week. 1840 took only 2 days.
            It would be interesting to see if fissure 22 cone has lots of olivine too, the main fissure 22 lava on May 20-25 was pu’u o’o lava, but if 8 was fed out of a new massive intrusion then it could have seeped out of other vents too, and 22 was the only other vent to be active into July.

            Also, google earth is updating over lower puna and the fissure 22 lava river is visible. Fissure 17 is also almost visible.

          • The main reason against the idea of magma fill is that the rift zone does not stand out that much above the landscape. That means no large hot magma reservoirs below, at leats not on the scale of Kilauea. There may some but nothing that indicates a deep continuous supply from below.

            I noticed the tilt change which is in the direction of Pu’u’O’o, with a slight decline perpendicular to it. This tilt meter is away from Pu’u’O’o itself. The tilt meter closest to the summit shows no change. I am not sure whether magma is to blame. There was some rebound on the GPS over the past months, presumably just that: after the collapse, the summit region was left underpressured and crust material moves a bit inward to the mountain in response, squeezing the region. The tilt change could be the same effect: adjustment of the region to the new stress regime.

            I am not going to predict what will happen next! But I am keeping an eye on Mauna Loa – and Öræfajökul. And others.

          • Albert that idea only really applies in Iceland not really on kilauea because Icelandic rifts are fed by the mantle too. Kilauea is mostly flat because the entire surface of the volcano is new, and the effects of long term crustal movement are minimal compared to the fast and frequent covering by lava flows, kilauea has almost resurfaced itself entirely since the eruption of eldgja, and erupted anywhere between 50 and 200 km3 of lava mostly as long duarion shield eruptions at the summit. Also, there are in fact several prominent areas on the east rift which stick up about 100 meters, and we know at least the one that stopped last year had a magma reservoir of sorts. Makaopuhi crater is bordering on being large enough to qualify as a caldera by USGS definition, it’s draining would have been big enough to create an eruption of 0.2 km3 all on its own without the summit even getting involved, I think there must have been a magma chamber involved in that somehow, and it is also right next to one of those other high areas… There are many similarities between Hawaii and Iceland, but also and major differences, and most of those major differences are to do with kilauea, and directly comparing them is likely to lead to a result which doesn’t really fit the observations.

          • This also might imply that large pit craters could form near pu’u o’o in the future too, possibly just uprift of it, or the crater continuing to collapse. Pu’u o’os current crater is actually bigger than most of the chain of craters already.

            My idea also isn’t that the rift is filled with molten magma as a single large mass that stops around highway 130, because then seismic activity would only happen at the eruption center, and several eruptions are more than that, but the interior of the east rift is undoubtedly filled with magma pockets, and if the LERZ can erupt andesite it means these pockets stay molten for a very long time. The closer to the summit, the more magma there is, so the upper rifts are likely almost molten inside, but not as a single chamber, at least not until recently because pu’u o’o and mauna ulu definitely created underground large volume storage. Large volume storage, magma chambers, likely also exist under napau and makaopuhi, maybe somewhere beyond pu’u o’o, and at kilauea iki and all have had voluminous eruptions in the past 1000 years and will likely do so again. Confirmed chambers are in the south caldera and main source 2.
            Maybe at one point the rift was the site of only quite brief eruptions and long activity was at the summit, but starting with kane nui o hamo and going on to the several large shields of this eruptive episode, the east rift is evidently able to do much bigger eruptions now too, which probably means what has been happening recently is not the end of all that. When it is all over the east rift might be some 50-100 meters higher than it was before, and with a huge amount of stored magma, at this point eruptions might start slowly going up into the koae faults, and if a connection can be made to the southwest rift then interesting things could start happening. Maybe the next large volume effusive summit eruption will be south of the existing caldera within the koae faults and not in the existing caldera like expected, and lava flows over the southern slope. Just speculating but this is all going to happen eventually at some point, and pu’u o’o has shown it doesn’t always take thousands of years to build up 80 meters of the east rift. We live in a very interesting point of kilaueas evolution, both its transition to major shield building and a summit-rift detachment are happening now, and here geological time is only slightly longer than human time.

  22. In the last month we had 5 stratospheric intrusions, 2 x Krakatau 2 x Manam and 1 x Sheweluch

    Released from holding que. First time comments tend to wind up there. Further comments should appear normally.

    • Opinion; Krakatau is a non starter if you are referring to the tsunami based events. Much of that was likely low in ash and SO2 and driven mainly by water as it lofted up to just shy of 17km. Essentially a non moving thunderstorm in character.

    • Hopefully, Little Nea hasn’t decided to record a duet with Anak…
      “Anything you can do, I can do better.”
      “I can do anything better than you…”
      🙁

      • Although the quakes are near the Kameni line, a tectonic lineament in SW-NE direction which has been the preferred location for magma ascent (i.e. formation of volcanic vents) in the volcano’s past few 100,000 years of history, there is currently no indication that the earthquakes are volcanic in origin. It is much more likely that they represent a normal tectonic event.
        From Volcano discovery.

        I am leaning towards tectonic as well but if it is volcanic then this could large intrusion whether it would erupt is a different story.

    • Out of curiosity, if/when we see another eruption at Santorini what type of activity would/should we see? Has it been long enough since the last major eruption for there to be another one?

      • It is very unlikely that a Thera scale or even a Pinatubo scale eruption will happen with Santorini. While volcanoes have a major eruption whenever they feel like it, it has had effusive eruptions in the past which shows that the system may not be ready for a large scale explosive eruption.
        I am not a volcanologist so take it with a grain with a salt but i would be worried about a potential landslide or collapse like with .

        • I definitely wasnt expecting a Thera or even Pinitubo scale one. I was thinking more of a St Helens size at most.

          • Well even that doesn’t seem to be on the cards, maybe it is the meteorologist in me but i do have strict personal terms on what a major eruption is.

      • No, it won’t go as big as the Minoan eruption, it will probably take at least 10,000 years to do that again. Probably anything over VEI 4 is unlikely. The island also isn’t big enough to fall down with any real big impact yet either.

        The Minoan eruption would have been like the violent combination of the most dangerous parts of krakatoa and tambora, probably one of the scariest eruptions you can do, a large scale VEI 7 in the ocean… Maybe it is fortunate that most VEI 8 eruptions happen in mountain ranges far from the ocean, one of those underwater would be… interesting… ._.
        Im not going to go anywhere near flood basalts in shallow water because that is a whole different level of apocalyptic.

      • Been a while, but yachties etc used to anchor over the Thera caldera’s ‘hot springs’, so the rising sulphuretted water would gently ‘de-foul’ their hulls…

        Then Nea popped up.

  23. Sleepy Sunday Morning here….. and one “5” down….. Funny cause the local checker just asked me last night about when the earthquakes would stop and i told him “my official smart guy in a volcano blog” said we’d have a couple more 5’s but that should about be it for this series…. and now he’ll think we can predict earthquakes….. oh, well. Best!for the rest of the day, motsfo

  24. Deep quakes are common at Greip/Unknownabunga, but are they usually this large? I have to go back and check the lists, but I think they are usually smaller.

    Monday
    14.01.2019 03:20:16 64.588 -17.150 18.9 km 0.5 99.0 18.9 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Monday
    14.01.2019 03:18:32 64.589 -17.177 19.1 km 2.1 99.0 17.6 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Monday
    14.01.2019 03:18:07 64.590 -17.165 19.2 km 2.0 99.0 18.2 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Monday
    14.01.2019 03:17:21 64.587 -17.135 17.0 km 0.9 99.0 19.6 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Monday
    14.01.2019 03:16:55 64.590 -17.146 1.1 km 0.6 99.0 19.1 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Monday
    14.01.2019 03:15:25 64.596 -17.179 16.0 km 1.8 99.0 17.3 km ESE of Bárðarbunga

  25. Thomas its the Balrogs thats stirring inside Badarbunga.
    Fiery Icelandic demons from the ancient world

    • They are throwing a nice little party that is clearly visible on the DJK drumplot. The party is a bit outside the Bárdarbunga caldera, but often swarms like this are followed a few days later by swarms at Bárdarbunga.

  26. Woow Looks like Surtur, Morgoth and The Balrogs are forming an alliance inside Bardarbunga now

    • This is Durin’s Bane-but Gandolf had a little discussion with him..

  27. Cluster of Pahala quakes

    1.8 10km ENE of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-14 14:03:34 (UTC) 31.2 km

    1.8 7km E of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-14 12:44:23 (UTC) 33.0 km

    1.8 13km SSE of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-14 11:23:04 (UTC) 40.4 km

    2.0 5km ESE of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-14 11:21:55 (UTC) 51.8 km

    1.7 8km ESE of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-14 05:27:45 (UTC) 34.5 km

    2.2 14km NNE of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-14 01:33:58 (UTC) 10.6 km

    1.9 2km SSE of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-14 00:44:22 (UTC) 31.5 km

    • 2.9 4km WSW of Pahala, Hawai 2019-01-16 10:47:27 (UTC) 35.0 km
      1.9 2km WSW of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-16 09:15:58 (UTC) 35.0 km
      1.8 10km ENE of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-16 01:10:17 (UTC) 31.7 km
      2.9 9km ENE of Pahala, Hawaii 2019-01-15 21:04:25 (UTC) 30.1 km

  28. Long term Moscow Neutron monitor

    Just to give a rough idea as to where we are. Does it have any actual meaning for us planet-bound residents? Good question!

      • Yes, I’d seen that chart. Pity Concorde isn’t still flying!

        All the Concorde fleet were fitted with radiation monitoring equipment from the start and in the event of an extreme solar flare (or local supernova) would immediately descend although I don’t think that ever happened.

        • During a major flare, flight routes close to the north pole would be changed. It is not so much for the passengers, as the dosage is still small, but to limit cumulative exposure for the crew. But a more significant risk is the loss of radio communication to the plane.

          • And unlike Concorde precautionary diversions of these flights have actually happened.

            There was a solar event in February 1956 which was on the Concorde designers and politicians minds at the time as that event caused the submarine HMS Acheron to miss a radio check-in due to communications disruption. Had that occurred during a Concorde flight it would have definitely triggered a descent.

            http://www.solarstorms.org/SRefStorms.html

            The aurora was held responsible for the cause of a full-scale Naval alarm for a British submarine which was thought to have disappeared. The Acheron had been expected to report her position at 5:05 EST while on Arctic patrol. When it failed to do so, emergency rescue preparations were begun and both ships and rescue planes began searching the waters between Iceland and Greenland. The ‘missing’ submarine turned up four hours later when its transmissions were again picked up.

            Hansard – 12 February 1968 → Commons Sitting → TECHNOLOGY

            34. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

            asked the Minister of Technology what effect solar flares will have on Concorde when flying at a great height.

            §
            Mr. Benn

            They will have no significant effect either on the aircraft or its occupants. On the very rare occasions when a solar flare occurs that is of sufficient severity to justify the precaution, the aircraft will descend to an altitude lower than that at which it would normally cruise.

  29. Nephelinite is an intresting super rare magma composition.

    Ultrabasic superalkaline and superlow in sillica.
    This is the magma Nyiragongo erupts.
    High in temperature and superlow in sillica makes it extremely fluid. Nephelinites are formed from very deep and high pressure low degrees of partial melting in the mantle. Its almost ultramafic in a way.
    Iron and magnesium contents in Nephelintes are often very high. Nephelintes are the hottest alive magmas today. In 2002 Nyiragongo did 1370 to 1375 C at upper slopes and it flowed like water almost.
    Sillica contents are around 29 to 35% crazy low.
    Nephelinites are formed at Continental volcanic fields, and in Continental Rifts plume enviroments
    and some hotspots locations.
    Its the very highest in alkalinity and lowest in sillica for any natural sillicate magma.

  30. http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/134886/9/134886.pdf

    Full PDF of the recent study on young volcanism in northern Australia. The most significant bit I read on there is that the majority of young volcanoes are undated, so this area might be much more active than previously assumed. The existing dates would give an eruption around once every 10,000 years, but with less than half the vents dated well the eruption frequency is probably much less than that, maybe there have actually been several holocene eruptions, and a decent chance of an eruption in the near future. Not all of their study was on mcbride in particular but I think it is pretty likely that mcbride is a developing central volcano after reading this, and this area might actually be the more likely option for the next Australian eruption, though I dont think it will be quite as well observed as if it happened in the newer volcanics province.

  31. The plutonic coarse grained version of Nephelinite is called Ijolites
    Ijolites are perhaps the rarest plutonic rocks after the carbonatites.
    Ijolites is every igenous rock maniac or volcanologist favorite in the rock collection.

    • FeOOH is iron ore, which is found everywhere… And if any iron compound was toxic we would know about it because of how much we use it in everything.

      No Fe(OH)3 is not toxic.

  32. Eifel volcanic field is feed by the ultraslow spreading Rhine rift and some very weak local hotspot
    Productivitywise Eifel is a weakling

    But some individual eruptions can get into km3 range with thousands of years of hiatus behind

    • Things *may* change due dynamics of African plate’s ongoing collision torquing Western Europe skew, or Atlantic subduction at the Gibraltar Arc…

      Given the real-slow convergence at the Western end of the Med, these are likely to be long term.
      I hope.

  33. Sudden Stratospheric Warming impacts.

    The propagation downwards to the lower troposphere now coming solidly into view of the GFS. The following chart shows what was seen on the UK Met Office GloSea 5 long range chart I posted previously from a Met Office screenshot.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_oscillation

    The Arctic oscillation (AO) or Northern Annular Mode/Northern Hemisphere Annular Mode (NAM) is a weather phenomenon at the Arctic and Antarctic poles north (or south) of 20 degrees latitude.

    …The AO is believed by climatologists to be causally related to (and thus partially predictive of) global weather patterns. NASA climatologist Dr. James E. Hansen explained the mechanism by which the AO affects weather at points so distant from the Arctic, as follows:

    The degree to which Arctic air penetrates into middle latitudes is related to the AO index, which is defined by surface atmospheric pressure patterns. When the AO index is positive, surface pressure is low in the polar region. This helps the middle latitude jet stream to blow strongly and consistently from west to east, thus keeping cold Arctic air locked in the polar region. When the AO index is negative, there tends to be high pressure in the polar region, weaker zonal winds, and greater movement of frigid polar air into middle latitudes.”

    • I’m watching with some interest. it could turn our weather from mild grey to cold grey.

      I’m still waiting for winter here in grey Surrey (UK). I opened the patio door to let in some fresh air and had to shut it against the flies buzzing in. So much for a frost killing them off.

      I don’t think I need to worry about solar radiation here. More like seasonal affective disorder.

      • Might be cold and white…

        Latest ECMWF (Euro) run – estimated snow depth at end of run (240 hours)

        Now snow depth charts are not very good especially at that range but the ECMWF currently has the cold locked in for the UK at least for the next 10 days starting tomorrow evening. That could change of course.

        One of the warmest starts to January on record was January 1947 – then it started to snow about the 23rd January and continued across most of the UK for the next six weeks. Now nobody is expecting that to repeat but it just shows you can’t assume a mild start to January means the rest of the winter will be mild.

        If January 1947 were to repeat now I’d suggest emigrating immediately as the UK no longer has hundreds of thousands of troops to dig things out and the natural gas supply probably wouldn’t hold out which would screw the electrical grid as well. Last year the UK almost ran out of LNG storage during the “Beast from the East”. Unlike sane countries the UK has decommissioned its long term natural gas storage.

          • I know that its controversial, to link solar minima to periods of cold weather. (and I am firmly convinced of manmade global warming)

            It’s interesting to notice that in the last solar cycle, the solar minimum was in 2008 and 2009 (more than 200 days without sunspots). And we find that the winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 were particularly cold in Europe (perhaps the coldest in the period 2000 to now). The 2008-2009 was also a bit cold despite a mild start.

            It looks like 2018 and 2019 will be the solar minimum. If the pattern holds, the winters of 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 will be very cold, and this winter may already be colder than average (perhaps again with a late start). The forecasts seem to show that February will be feature a cold wave in Europe.

          • The UK and most of Europe will be about 3C colder than average, with most rain in south Europe. This is the typical strong cold wave.

        • Amongst climate scientists I don’t think it is particularly controversial any more as the best models (which are attempting to perform the atmospheric physics and yes they do take solar input) have been showing this for over a decade now. Overall global warming continues to progress but the drop in (especially) regional winter temperatures during Grand Minima is always apparent. UV drops much more than total solar input and that’s the key.

          There are much more recent simulations but here’s an early one.

          https://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/7122/chilly-temperatures-during-the-maunder-minimum

          Chilly Temperatures During the Maunder Minimum

          When the model started with the decreased solar energy and returned temperatures that matched the paleoclimate record, Shindell and his colleagues knew that the model was showing how the Maunder Minimum could have caused the extreme drop in temperatures. The model showed that the drop in temperature was related to ozone in the stratosphere, the layer of the atmosphere that is between 10 and 50 kilometers from the Earth’s surface. Ozone is created when high-energy ultraviolet light from the Sun interacts with oxygen. During the Maunder Minimum, the Sun emitted less strong ultraviolet light, and so less ozone formed. The decrease in ozone affected planetary waves, the giant wiggles in the jet stream that we are used to seeing on television weather reports.

          The change to the planetary waves kicked the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)—the balance between a permanent low-pressure system near Greenland and a permanent high-pressure system to its south—into a negative phase.

          The most recent model runs, simulating an upcoming minimum similar to Zharkova et. al. , suggest that by about 2060 global warming will be the same as if a Grand Minimum had not occurred. Try telling that to people hit by hard winters during the intervening period though.

          • That report is more than a decade old. In the mean time, our confidence in predicting solar cycles even a decade ahead has not improved. And the predicted impact of deep minima is low: current models get no more than about 0.1C cooling, which is less than one decade of global warming.

            With one exception: a stronger effect in Western Europe, as described as follows;

            “a statistically significant stronger stratospheric polar night jet which
            propagates poleward and downward during winter from December
            through January (Fig. 10) and significantly affects the troposphere with a positive AO-like signal developing in late winter, i.e., January and February”

            But this does not impact the rest of the world.

            https://www.geosci-model-dev.net/10/2247/2017/gmd-10-2247-2017.pdf

          • Yes I know it’s old but I didn’t have the charts I was looking for handy. I completely agree that the latest models do not suggest anything other than a slight slow down in warming but now we have the ongoing CO2 increase. During the Maunder Minimum there was no such forcing and current climate models still show cooling during that period to the best of my knowledge.

            Possible climate impacts of a future Grand Solar Minimum

            Solar physicists have suggested the Sun may evolve into a period of very low activity this century; such a ‘Grand Solar Minimum’ was last observed in the 1600s and coincided with cold winters in Europe. Our work shows that a recurrence of these solar conditions would not offset the expected rise in global mean surface temperature this century due to human activities. However, we find a larger cooling effect from low solar activity on regional climates, particularly over Europe in winter. Here, the cooling effect of the solar minimum amounts to around one third of the difference between a medium and high-end emissions scenario for future greenhouse gases.

            Why are these findings important?

            The computer simulations used to inform policy makers and governments about future climate change do not account for our lack of knowledge about how the Sun’s activity might change this century. Our work shows that plausible future changes in the Sun could have considerable impacts on regional climate in the Northern hemisphere, and these effects should therefore be factored into scenarios for possible future climate change.

            http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/aaa124/meta

            Ultraviolet Flux Decrease Under a Grand Minimum from IUE Short-wavelength Observation of Solar Analogs

            Published 2017 December 27 • © 2017. The American Astronomical Society

            Over a solar cycle and certainly in response to a future grand minimum, irradiance variability at middle ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths that drive oxygen photolysis and ozone chemistry is much larger that that of the TSI. Resulting changes to stratospheric ozone abundance alter the stratosphere–troposphere temperature gradient and feed back to tropospheric planetary wave refraction, further altering climatically relevant circulation patterns (Maycock et al. 2015). With this realization that both direct radiative and indirect stratospheric influences affect terrestrial climate under a solar grand minimum, it is important to understand how UV irradiance would respond to such a large and prolonged change in solar magnetic activity.

            There’s still a very recent projection I’m looking for. I’m starting to wonder if someone emailed me it and it hasn’t been published yet. I’ll hunt some more when I have time.

          • And I should emphasize again that I realise we are mainly talking about a redistribution of heat but it is principally the potential regional winter cooling in areas where a lot of people live that I am concerned about because of the public perception of “How can there be global warming when there’s 3 feet of snow outside?” even if the planet-wide change was only 0.1 or 0.2C or whatever in the case of the MM.

          • Very true. But even with 1 degree of warming, there can still be snowy winters.

          • Yes I saw that Reading one but their Fig 4 does show a slight drop due to solar related drop and they do say

            Overall, it is likely that the effect of Volcanic eruptions was the largest influence, followed by the drop in solar activity and changes in land use.

            Still not what I’m trying to find though. I can remember some specific details and there was a monthly regional deviations chart and some observed feedback but I’m not going to post from my memory especially when I can’t remember where it came from.

          • And they also re-affirm the interesting point

            That is not to say that there are no significant climate implications of solar activity, particularly at the regional level or when individual seasons are considered. We note there is considerable observational and modelling evidence for an increased frequency of relatively cold European winters during low solar activity

          • Yes, they do say that. But it is qualified in the abstract: ‘A reduction in total solar irradiance likely
            contributed to the LIA at a level comparable to changing land use.’ In other words, minor. A local impact in Western Europe’s winters is possible, but wider-scale climate impact is rather small, from this work. The Little Ice Age was not caused by sun spots. Mind you, I don’t particularly buy the volcanic eruptions either. Their impact does not last long-enough. A decade of very cold weather is possible. A century is much harder to explain.

            The indications for increased cloud cover in western Europe in the 1600’s is more plausibly related to the sun spots, perhaps.

  34. Well….OK about the (UK) forecasts but I have my own view on the next 12 days. By Sunday here in the UK we will be seeing a mid Atlantic high pressure building over the Atlantic (as opposed to the Indian Ocean) and the northerly winds will abate to be replaced by westerlies. By Saturday the UK will largely have lost the 528 air thickness and be moving into a warmer air mass.

    As the High tracks slowly through Spain and into Europe, the air on its northern side will give the UK mild westerlies. I don’t believe we are in for anything other than a couple of days of chilly weather before the jet stream slips south and starts running through the UK / Iceland gap. Thereby busting the newfangled faddish model of Stratospheric Warming.

    However, there is (I grudgingly admit) the chance of a European-centred blocking high forming over Denmark… As for Solar Minimum, I don’t think there is enough of a Solar effect to make any difference to the weather. (Controversial, but I will stick with it.)

    Off now to the Betting Office to lose cash….!

    • Here’s the world’s second best computer model the GFS Parallel FV3 (due to replace the old GFS next week as the actual GFS if US government shutdown doesn’t delay it) showing snow depth at the same time as the ECMWF above.

      • Just to add on an easterly for the UK snow depths are normally underestimated by the global models. The high res models are much better but we don’t have high resolution output at that distance yet.

    • Btw,

      If you watched the BBC weather forecasts tonight they showed the discrepancy between the old GFS and ECWMF using outdated model runs (1 to 2 behind). The government funded BBC dropped the Met Office (also government funded) and went with a private company last year because it was cheaper. Since then the BBC forecasters (Met Office employees who were forced to leave the Met Office if they wanted to stay on screen) have been working without the best Met Office input. The BBC tv forecast skill has dropped considerably.

      The BBC did not show the new GFS nor did they show the Met Office model because they can’t.

      Similarly the government handed control of the UK’s energy policy to the private sector who broke the storage system due to lack of maintenance then decided that as the UK hadn’t needed the Rough gas long term storage field recently (since the last solar minimum) it would not be needed again – overriding two of the government’s own expert committees.

      Last year the UK invoked a European emergency rule that says that EU has to help member states in gas supply crisis even if it puts other member states at risk and the import pipeline from Belgium started flowing again, just hours before rolling electricity blackouts were due to start, as Belgium’s own gas storage dropped towards zero. After the UK leaves that won’t happen again. I think it is madness but some don’t agree.

      • Oh and the ECMWF is run in the UK by the UK Met Office. It has already been decided that will transfer out of the UK thanks to Brexit. Or Breaks-It as I call it.

        • Just re-reading, I’m not sure how I managed to get “by the Met Office” in there – it is run in the UK and and the Met Office are very involved but of course it is run by the “European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts” of which the Met Office is a founder member. The data centre will be moving to Italy.

  35. I’m not happy with the BBC’s on-going dumbing down of the weather service (throw in their news services on that one, too). That they chose to let go the Met Office still leaves me shaking my head in despair.

    I know the models usually agree, or disagree in part. As a complete amateur I just have a hunch the current hypotheses from the models over the Stratospheric Warming may not play out the way they have proposed.

    Anyhow. We’ll sit back, open the popcorn and watch. I expect I’ll be proven wrong! Certainly for the next couple of days we’re going to have a chilly period. Meanwhile I’ll turn my attention to monitoring the resurgent magma dome of the Borrowdale Volcanics (I am joking BTW…)

    • It is definitely true that the models are all over the place even more than usual in mid term output. As the head of the US National Weather Service said last week – they are trying to find the right solution out of an infinite number of possible ones. I find it annoying that the full output from the ECMWF is pay-walled and we also can’t see the perturbed ensembles for the GFS FV3 just to give an idea of how strong various signals are. It has also been claimed by US NWS employees currently on enforced leave that the skill of the GFS is reduced at the moment due to the government shutdown and data issues but management have denied this.

      As an island the UK could also find itself in Atlantic weather from a persistent high pressure even if most of the rest of Europe is in the freezer.

      As you say we just have to sit back and watch.

    • This from Marco Petagna – Media Advisor & Senior Operational Meteorologist with UK Met Office.

      https://twitter.com/Petagna/status/1085563324564148225

      …enough said!…

      ” rel=”nofollow”>

      @Hampweather
      2 hours ago

      Replying to @Petagna

      What are your thoughts on the rest of winter?

      marco petagna
      @Petagna
      2 hours ago

      …It ends meteorologically feb 28th!…no seriously all ingredients there for notable colder and perhaps wintry spells…and like recent yrs could linger into March in my opinion

  36. Undersea eruption may have started off Mayotte. Strong sulfur smell and dead fish reported by fishing boats. Earthquake activity increasing.

  37. “The Donner Party, or Donner–Reed Party, was a group of American pioneers that set out for California in a wagon train in May 1846. Departing from Independence, Missouri, they were delayed by a series of mishaps and mistakes, and spent the winter of 1846–47 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada. The party has come to popular attention due to some of the pioneers resorting to cannibalism to survive.”

    “Donner Pass” is located near Truckee California.

    This appears to be slated to hit that area.

    Currently, the Interstate through the pass is open.

    This live cam can be found here: http://dot.ca.gov/d3/cameras.html

    • Thanks GL but the link just takes me to a map of US roads and red blobs for “District 3”. Can’t even see I-80. The cam looks good for snow-viewing – something we will be getting very little of in the UK.

      • If you watched the BBC forecast tonight they were using an old ECMWF chart yet again – admittedly both the GFS and the ECMWF are flip-flopping across their assembly members but there are some shock horror charts coming out from time to time. Japanese Met chart trying to recreate 1947. Snow reports coming in from across North Scotland tonight even down to sea level.

        Latest High Res UK Met Office snow depth output 48 hours.

        The BBC can’t show that output any more and insist on using old charts even for the ones they do use.

      • I blame CalTrans.

        The above still is from the cam next to Donner Lake on I-80, North-West of Lake Tahoe. Digging direct links out of Java code is a bit troublesome. It can be done, but I’m not a fan of Java.

    • Just checking in from Independence, MO. I never thought I would see my home town pop up here. Not relevant in any way to the discussion, but we got slammed with 10″ of heavy wet snow last weekend and will likely get another blast by Saturday.

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