Volcano stories: BA 9, Mount Galunggung, and the penguins of Mount Terror

We all have our favourite stories. We like reading about volcanoes that erupt frequently, with impressive videos and preferably little damage. Stories of major and destructive eruptions are also liked, as long as they happened a long time ago and not within living memory. My personal favourite is Krakatau (the parent, not the child) – it is far enough behind us that we can visualize the spectacle but forget about the disaster.

Stories can be told in different ways. Stories give colour to the world; the writer picks the colour we should see. It may be told in primary, emotive colours, or it may show the world in mixed, imperfect shades. Our reading is coloured by the story writer. The clarity of black and white is a rarity.

And not everyone reads the story in the same way. We bring our own colours to the stories. In particular, the people who lived those stories may view them very differently from those who only read them. They may never want to see that captivating volcano again. The afterimage is a negative of the original; the best and the worst are two sides of the same coin.

The best volcanoes stories involve real, colourful but imperfect people in a world that threatens to overwhelm them. Here are two of those stories.

Mount Galunggung

Mount Galunggung in Indonesia always was a dangerous volcano. The 2 km tall mountain has a horseshoe caldera, showing clear evidence for a destructive flank collapse. The 16-km3 debris flow, perhaps 20,000 years old and covering 170 km2, is still obvious in the landscape. It has shaped  an area now known as the ‘thousand hills’. (In fact this is an underestimate as there are over 3500 hills.) The volcano erupts intermittently, with decades-long dormancy periods. The long dormancy adds to the danger as it encourages people to move back to the danger area. Several million people now live on the slopes and the remains of the debris flow. An eruption in 1822 reached VEI 5; the pyroclastic flows and lahars killed some 4000 people. But the 1982 eruption (VEI 4; April 1982-April 1983) is best remembered. It killed many fewer people (between 4 and 68, depending on which report to accept), partly because of it being a smaller eruption and partly (perhaps) due to improved risk management. However, it introduced a new danger to the world: that of people overhead.

Located about 170 km southeast of Jakarta, Mount Galunggung lies directly underneath one of the major flight paths to Australia. That wasn’t considered a problem. Aircraft carry radar, and this should detect any dangerous conditions ahead. This theory was about to be tested – and found wanting.

The date was June 24, 1982 and the airplane was flight BA9, on a multi-leg journey from Heathrow to Auckland. The plane had changed crew in Kuala Lumpur and was now on the way to Perth. It was night, and it promised to be a peaceful flight.

The following story is from an article by Jack Diamond, and is based on recollections by the captain of that flight, Eric Moody. The article begins with a profound remark by Moody:

We are the first generation of pilots who may go through a whole career without having a genuine emergency.

Isn’t that true in many areas of our world? We did not know how little resilience there was left in our hospitals until the epidemic hit. But in this case, the crew pulled through with flying colours.

All indications pointed at a quiet flight. The weather was fine, the night was dark, there were no warnings, and the on-board weather radar did not indicate any problems. It turned out, even radar can miss the invisible. Ahead, Mount Galunggung had suffered a significant explosion which had raised ash up to the stratosphere. Weather radar is sensitive to moisture – but this ash was dry and therefore did not return the radar signal. Satellite images could detect the dust, but not at night. They would not see the cloud until the next day. Unknown to the crew, the plane was heading directly towards an invisible, dense cloud of ash. Their preparedness for emergencies was about to be tested.

The captain was downstairs talking to the purser, when he was suddenly called back to the flight deck. This was the first hint of trouble:

As he [Eric Moody] climbed the stairs back, he noted puffs of smoke billowing from the vents at floor level and a smell which he described as acrid, or ionized electrical. He entered the flight deck to find the windscreens ablaze with the most intense display of St Elmo’s fire he had ever experienced.

That was just the start. Roger Greaves, the co-pilot, directed the captain’s attention to the engines:

The engine intakes […] were glowing as if lit from within. […] At the same time the St. Elmo’s fire on the windscreen had given way to a display of what looked like tracer bullets.

Immediately after this, engine number four cut out. The crew shut it down, as they were trained to do in case of an engine fire although there was no sign of a fire. But now things became worse, as engine number 2, 3 and 1 also went out in quick succession. The Boeing 747 was left with no working engine. As Moody later recalled, with perhaps a hint of understatement: ‘This seemed unusual. He had trained with the flight simulator for complete engine failure, but this test had assumed it was part of a complete electrical outage. But here, the lights and many of the instruments were still working. Importantly, there was still power for the autopilot to work. It was a mystery why the engines had failed. The plane started to slow down and went into a slow, gliding descent.

The crew turned the plane back towards Jakarta and send out a mayday call. Moody later said it had been clear that they could not have reached Jakarta and would have had to make a water landing, with very little chance of survival. The co-pilot’s air mask was not working, and to avoid anoxia they went into a steeper dive, down to 20,000 feet. While gliding down, the crew continuously and frantically tried to restart the engines. The injected fuel ignited behind the engines giving the impression of fire hoses behind the engines. It must have been quite a sight for the startled passengers. But the engines stubbornly refused to restart. Now, at 14,000 feet, the air masks came down in the passenger cabin. It seemed high time to inform the passengers what was going on.

The announcement became legendary. Of course the passengers were already well aware that all was not well (far from it), long before the captain spoke:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.

Whether this was a British understatement or a sign of the extreme stress of the crew is up to the reader to decide. It was now 14 minutes after the engines had failed, and the plane had already descended 8 kilometers. And still the crew had no idea what had caused the problem; they assumed it was something they themselves had done. In fact, the problem was that volcanic ash had fused itself to the hot engine, but none of the instruments could have told them that. As Moody recalled, the fact that the auto pilot and some instruments were still working was a great help, as it gave the crew some time to think and discuss what to do. They decided to keep trying to restart, even engine 4 with the suspected fire.

As they descended, the stationary hot engines cooled. The cooling made the fused ash brittle, and it began to break off. Suddenly, engine 4 (the first one to fail) restarted. This allowed the crew to maintain altitude. It was followed in the next two minutes by the other three engines.

The crew decided that the priority was to regain altitude. However, when reaching 5 km altitude the St Elmo’s fire returned, and engine 2 began to fail and had to be turned off. Clearly, altitude was best avoided. The plane limped back to Jakarta at the lower altitude.

The emergency landing showed up a different problem: on the ground the landing lights of the plane seemed very faint, and from the plane the runway lights ahead were invisible. They had a hard time even locating the runway. It appeared that the front of the aircraft had been damaged, and the wind screen had become opaque. (Flying at 700 km/hr through sand paper does that, but the crew did not know this was what they had done.) The manual, blind landing was perhaps the hardest aspect of the emergency! It involved two crew members calling out the altitude and distance while the captain peered through a slit on the far left of the front window where the lights on one side of the runway were just about visible. Amazingly, in this way they manage a soft landing. But the subsequent taxiing proved too much: the glare through the opaque front window was blinding and removed all visibility. They had to stop and park the plane before reaching the parking area.

The passengers had aged by about a decade during the 15 minute gliding flight, I expect. The captain and his crew had saved them in the first, and hopefully only, genuine emergency in their flying careers. During the event they did not know what had caused it. It was only after the landing that they noticed the black, volcanic ash on their clothes which gave a clue to the cause of the emergency. The plane had lost the paint at the front, and the abrasion of the window (and the covers of the landing light) had made the glas opaque. They had unintentionally, and without warning, flown at high speed through a storm of abrasive ash.

BA 9 with one of the crew, during the investigation on the next day

And it would happen again. On July 13 of that year, a Singapore Airline flight lost 3 of its 4 engines in the ash over Mount Galunggung. Only after that was the airspace above Mount Galunggung finally closed to all flights.

And if you ever wondered why a small Icelandic eruption closed the North Atlantic airspace for weeks, this is why.

The story can be read on Moody’s personal website. http://www.ericmoody.com

Mount Terror

Mount Erebus (left) and Mount Terror (right). The small peak in the centre is called Terra Nova.

Mount Terror is the poorly known sister to its illustrious sibling Mount Erebus. The names induce fear: Erebus is named after the Greek god of darkness, whilst terror speaks for itself. Erebus is perpetually active with a lava lake, but Mount Terror is believed to be extinct. The two volcanoes live on Ross Island, along the McMurdo Sound, gateway to Antarctica. Both Scott and Shackleton started their expeditions here.

In 1911, Scott was wintering at Cape Evans, below Erebus, preparing for a dash to the south pole. Three members of his party, Edward Wilson, Henry Robertson Bowers and Apsley Cherry-Garrard, decided to go on a mid-winter trek to Cape Crozier, on the far side of Mount Terror and the most distant part of the island, in the name of science. The goal was to collect one or more early eggs from the emperor penguins. At the time penguins (as non-flying birds) were thought to be the most primitive birds, and therefore their embryos might show what animals birds had evolved from. (Nowadays, of course, we know that penguins are indeed an ancient family, but hardly primitive.) The 200-km journey took the science explorers more than a month, in which they traveled through the harshest, coldest and stormiest weather the continent could throw at them, manually pulling their two very heavy sledges through impossible terrain.

I have met with amusement people who say, “Oh, we had minus fifty temperatures in Canada; they didn’t worry me,” or “I’ve been down to minus sixty something in Siberia.” And then you find that they had nice dry clothing, a nice night’s sleep in a nice aired bed, and had just walked out after lunch for a few minutes from a nice warm hut or an overheated train. And they look back upon it as an experience to be remembered. Well! of course as an experience of cold this can only be compared to eating a vanilla ice with hot chocolate cream after an excellent dinner at Claridge’s. But in our present state we began to look upon minus fifties as a luxury which we did not often get.

It was hard. They lived in frozen clothes, which in the tent would melt and become soaking wet – without any chance of drying. In the morning the wet sleeping bags, but also the clothes would instantly freeze again, leaving them unbendable. It was important to pick the right composure before this happened, as that body shape would be very hard to undo until the next melt.

It was a little later on when we were among crevasses, with Terror above us, but invisible, somewhere on our left, and the Barrier pressure on our right. We were quite lost in the darkness, and only knew that we were running downhill, the sledge almost catching our heels. There had been no light all day, clouds obscured the moon, we had not seen her since yesterday. And quite suddenly a little patch of clear sky drifted, as it were, over her face, and she showed us three paces ahead a great crevasse with just a shining icy lid not much thicker than glass. We should all have walked into it, and the sledge would certainly have followed us down. After that I felt we had a chance of pulling through: God could not be so cruel as to have saved us just to prolong our agony.


The view from eight hundred feet up the mountain was magnificent and I got my spectacles out and cleared the ice away time after time to look. To the east a great field of pressure ridges below, looking in the moonlight as if giants had been ploughing with ploughs which made furrows fifty or sixty feet deep: these ran right up to the Barrier edge, and beyond was the frozen Ross Sea, lying flat, white and peaceful as though such things as blizzards were unknown. To the north and north-east the Knoll. Behind us Mount Terror on which we stood, and over all the grey limitless Barrier seemed to cast a spell of cold immensity, vague, ponderous, a breeding-place of wind and drift and darkness. God! What a place!

After weeks in which they often did just a few miles a day, they arrived at Cape Crozier. The three men managed to find the penguin colony, and saw the antics of the penguins as the birds fought each other for the eggs – or for any rock with an egg shape. They were planning to spend some time here. On the journey the team had been sleeping in their tent, but now they build a partial igloo out of rocks and snow and covered it with their spare canvas. The tent was put up beside, to cover all their supplies. The camp was set up in the protective lee of a rocky ridge of Mount Terror.

That turned out to have been a bad idea. Just after they had collected the first precious eggs, the weather got the better of them. Overnight, a force-12 hurricane hit. What had seemed like shelter now became a trap. The wind came over the ridge and pulled a near-vacuum behind it, right above them. The camp became subject to a giant vacuum cleaner trying to remove this unwanted human debris.

“Bill, Bill, the tent has gone,” was the next I remember—from Bowers shouting at us again and again through the door. It is always these early morning shocks which hit one hardest: our slow minds suggested that this might mean a peculiarly lingering form of death. Journey after journey Birdie and I fought our way across the few yards which had separated the tent from the igloo door. I have never understood why so much of our gear which was in the tent remained, even in the lee of the igloo. The place where the tent had been was littered with gear, and when we came to reckon up afterwards we had everything except the bottom piece of the cooker, and the top of the outer cooker. We never saw these again. The most wonderful thing of all was that our finnesko [fur boots made from reindeer hide] were lying where they were left, which happened to be on the ground in the part of the tent which was under the lee of the igloo. Also Birdie’s bag of personal gear was there, and a tin of sweets.

Later that night, the canvas on their igloo went as well, completely disintegrating in the wind. It left them with no cover against the elements other than their frozen sleeping bags:

The top of the door opened in little slits and that green Willesden canvas flapped into hundreds of little fragments in fewer seconds than it takes to read this. The uproar of it all was indescribable. Even above the savage thunder of that great wind on the mountain came the lash of the canvas as it was whipped to little tiny strips. The highest rocks which we had built into our walls fell upon us, and a sheet of drift came in.

Birdie dived for his sleeping-bag and eventually got in, together with a terrible lot of drift. Bill also—but he was better off: I was already half into mine and all right, so I turned to help Bill. “Get into your own,” he shouted, and when I continued to try and help him, he leaned over until his mouth was against my ear. “Please, Cherry,” he said, and his voice was terribly anxious. I know he felt responsible: feared it was he who had brought us to this ghastly end.

The next I knew was Bowers’ head across Bill’s body. “We’re all right,” he yelled, and we answered in the affirmative. Despite the fact that we knew we only said so because we knew we were all wrong, this statement was helpful. Then we turned our bags over as far as possible, so that the bottom of the bag was uppermost and the flaps were more or less beneath us. And we lay and thought, and sometimes we sang.

there seemed not one chance in a million that we should ever see our tent again. We were 900 feet up on the mountain side, and the wind blew about as hard as a wind can blow straight out to sea. First there was a steep slope, so hard that a pick made little impression upon it, so slippery that if you started down in finnesko you never could stop: this ended in a great ice-cliff some hundreds of feet high, and then came miles of pressure ridges, crevassed and tumbled, in which you might as well look for a daisy as a tent: and after that the open sea. The chances, however, were that the tent had just been taken up into the air and dropped somewhere in this sea well on the way to New Zealand. Obviously the tent was gone.

Bowers, Wilson and Cherry-Garrard

Two days later they were still lying in their bags waiting for the wind to drop. The hurricane had brought in warmer air, perhaps only -10C, and this helped them to survive. Now it became calm enough to get up and out and start looking for the tent, first in vain in the dark. When it got brighter they tried again:

It was still dark and we lay down in our bags again, but soon a little glow of light began to come up, and we turned out to have a further search for the tent. Birdie went off before Bill and me. Clumsily I dragged my eider-down out of my bag on my feet, all sopping wet: it was impossible to get it back and I let it freeze: it was soon just like a rock. The sky to the south was as black and sinister as it could possibly be. It looked as though the blizzard would be on us again at any moment.

I followed Bill down the slope. We could find nothing. But, as we searched, we heard a shout somewhere below and to the right. We got on a slope, slipped, and went sliding down quite unable to stop ourselves, and came upon Birdie with the tent, the outer lining still on the bamboos. Our lives had been taken away and given back to us.

We were so thankful we said nothing.

The tent must have been gripped up into the air, shutting as it rose. The bamboos, with the inner lining lashed to them, had entangled the outer cover, and the whole went up together like a shut umbrella. This was our salvation. If it had opened in the air nothing could have prevented its destruction. As it was, with all the accumulated ice upon it, it must have weighed the best part of 100 lbs. It had been dropped about half a mile away, at the bottom of a steep slope: and it fell in a hollow, still shut up. The main force of the wind had passed over it, and there it was, with the bamboos and fastenings wrenched and strained, and the ends of two of the poles broken, but the silk untorn.

And so they started back, carrying a precious cargo of three eggs, pulling a sledge with a broken tent, very little oil for the small heater, and a supply of biscuits and sweets, while already weakened from the ordeal.

The horrors of that return journey are blurred to my memory and I know they were blurred to my body at the time. I think this applies to all of us, for we were much weakened and callous. The day we got down to the penguins I had not cared whether I fell into a crevasse or not. We had been through a great deal since then. I know that we slept on the march; for I woke up when I bumped against Birdie, and Birdie woke when he bumped against me. I think Bill steering out in front managed to keep awake. I know we fell asleep if we waited in the comparatively warm tent when the primus was alight—with our pannikins or the primus in our hands. I know that our sleeping-bags were so full of ice that we did not worry if we spilt water or hoosh over them as they lay on the floor-cloth, when we cooked on them with our maimed cooker. They were so bad that we never rolled them up in the usual way when we got out of them in the morning: we opened their mouths as much as possible before they froze, and hoisted them more or less flat on to the sledge. All three of us helped to raise each bag, which looked rather like a squashed coffin and was probably a good deal harder. I know that if it was only -40° when we camped for the night we considered quite seriously that we were going to have a warm one, and that when we got up in the morning if the temperature was in the minus sixties we did not enquire what it was. The day’s march was bliss compared to the night’s rest, and both were awful. We were about as bad as men can be and do good travelling: but I never heard a word of complaint, nor, I believe, an oath, and I saw self-sacrifice standing every test.

And they made it back, against all odds, a week earlier than had been expected on departure. Was it worth it? The eggs disproved a perhaps already disproven theory. Failure is an essential part of scientific progress. But sacrifice in the name of failure does not show up in the list of scientific successes.

A few months later the Scott expedition left for the pole. Cherry-Garrard came with but was not in the final party that made the last push. He went back to base camp, while the others struggled, came second, and failed to return. Cherry-Garrard would later find the frozen bodies of his two companions when he discovered the remains of the expedition. His book about Scott’s Antarctica expedition is called The worst journey in the world. The excerpts above are from that book. But the title does not refer to the disastrous push for the pole. It refers to the journey to an extinct volcano in the hunt for eggs. Read it (you want Chapter 7): the writing has the colour of bleak optimism, and the terror of Mount Terror.

The three emperor penguin eggs collected from Mount Terror


Volcanoes provide the perfect canvas for story telling, and for showing human responses to the uncaring and dangerous environments that volcanoes create. They yield us the best of times and the worst of times. There is no black and white here: the human colour is that of the significant insignificance of people against volcanoes. A small step for a volcano is a giant leap for us.

What are your favourite volcano stories?

Albert, January 2021


113 thoughts on “Volcano stories: BA 9, Mount Galunggung, and the penguins of Mount Terror

  1. Hi, thank you very much for writing this. Until now, I had never heard of the Singapore-Airlines flight on which 3 out of 4 engines lost power. Is there more information available ?
    Btw., I have seen it quite a few times that the ash from eruptions in Indonesia is up at aviation heights before an alert is generated and passed on – even today.

  2. I still regret my beloved wife’s mobility and health failed before we could visit Santorini / Thera and ‘Minoan’ Crete. Most of her relatives ‘did’ Pompeii, were duly scandalised by the lewd frescos etc.

    Other than driving, awed, through Glencoe, or getting to Ardnamurchan’s vast, not-a-caldera ringy-thingy with only time for a snack before turning back, I’ve not had much to do with volcanism.

    Back in the ’70s, drive/camping to Greece, my parents detoured via an ancient spa. Although fascinated, I was a lab-chemist by training. That spring’s stench of sulphur repelled me. I stayed well up-wind while the rest of our party explored. Their subsequent pounding headaches may have been due to the sulphuretted fumes, or simply the surfeit of local retsina they drank at near-by taverna to try to flush the stink from their sinuses…
    ( It was very, very nice retsina but, as our designated driver-du-jour, I only had a sip…)

    Please excuse choppy prose: one of our tabby cats has fetched in a fat mouse, and is playing with it around desk. Better than the big brown rats, which are her preferred prey…..

    • Burned muffin : ) that you left in oven for two days 😂😂😂😂

  3. New maps of the eruption. The tilt has gone into another decline, not clear why. There are no obvious changes in the eruption

    • The change is still pretty tiny, its only dramatic because the scale on the tiltmeter is so small. If I was to guess it is a DI event, the eruption has probably lasted long enough that everything is at equilibrium and the eruption rate is the same as the deep supply, so DI events should resume. It isnt clear what the DI events are exactly but they didnt happen much before the mid 2000s, before 2003 Pu’u O’o was erupting more than the supply rate, but after 2003 or 2004 the supply overtook the eruption. DI events happened much more after the overlook crater turned into a lava lake, in 2011, and were associated with gas pistoning, so that is most likely the main cause of these signals.

      There were also two deep quakes, 23 km down, just near Kilauea Iki. There was also a cluster of quakes at the same depth a bit further south in December, so maybe we will see a change in the eruption in a few weeks.

      • A DI event seems most plausible at the moment. It started with an upward excursion and this was often seen in DI events. let’s see how it develops.

      • HVO now calls it ‘similar to the beginning of a possible deflation-inflation (DI) event’

        • Seems to be the case, the dome fountain has stopped so the eruption rate is probably a bit lower, which is to be expected in the deflation stage, it will probably increase again.

    • You needs an Eldgja.. perhaps even Thjorshahraun from the lower ERZ rift… to put Kilauea to sleep for more than a decade. Puna Ridge may had enromous fissures from summit earlier in holocene.
      But Kilauea is souch a large system.. that there is many chambers and storage in the rift that can erupt.

      • There have been eruptions as big as that, and even the massive supply rate isnt enough to recover from something like that, it would take several centuries for Hawaii to produce 30 km3, although Mauna Loa would still erupt.
        It is though possible the magmatic system would collapse so completely that there is no storage at all so eruptions would resume immediately and be summit restricted and small in scale, but we wont know because Kilauea cant erupt like that today, maybe in a few thousand years but by that point only a few features on the surface today will still be there, like Pu’u O’o and a few LERZ cones. I think this year will perhaps show a much smaller version of this process though, if the conduit is hydraulically open down to highway 130 then it wouldnt take much to drain the lake out of a sudden fissure eruption there, not dissimilar to what happened in 1960 though further uprift.

  4. So been watching a program on the Smithsonian Channel about Iceland. The language is so hard to grasp. One of the men said Eyjafjallajokull. I heard it phonetically as Eyefanayocal though he said it very fast. Am I close?

  5. By the way.. Great article Albert! Enjoyed It! As always. You should write books. You are good! But then we would miss you here!

  6. I wasn’t even close and wouldn’t be able to repeat it! So funny! By the way she’s cute!!

    • I expect she would prefer to be complimented on her presentation skills rather than cuteness.

  7. I will compliment her on her presentation skills on her YouTube channel which are exemplary. And I will also compliment her on her looks. I’m sure she will be flattered by it. I might be older but could use a compliment every once in a while as anyone else. Please don’t tell me she’s your daughter.

        • Sorry if I got out of hand. I appreciate this blog and have been following for many years. Perhaps a little too many when i wrote it.

          • As in to many drinks. I started following this blog when El Hierro was rumbling so please excuse my insensitivity. I want to keep this as one of my daily reads.

    • The lava dome muffin keeps growing.. Its Big its beautyful and probaly smells like dog fart
      It looks like a very severely burned watermelon for now. The lava dome is growing a few meters everyday

      • Very Funny. I’m sure it does!! Nothing worse than a dog fart! Last I heard it looked like a burnt Christmas pudding. Still one to watch! Seems like very viscous pudding so look out for the dog fart!

        • Dogs loves everything that stinks… poop, rotten fish and compost and dead birds like pigeons

          My neighburs miniatyre pinscher totaly dives into our warm compost and enjoys the putrid smells.

        • In the summer warm compost… the little canine dude goes into an almost trance like state… rolls around and eats the yellow extremely bad smelling sludge.. lol
          He almost do Michael Jackson moves when we opens the compost… : )

          Dogs are sooo weird.. when he is done.. we hose him down so he dont smell inside the house. Dogs are soooo funny

          A lava dome.. woud be a smelly treat

  8. Almost a triple star in Reykjanes. One was just below an M3.

  9. It is amazing people could sacrifice so much for so little. Yes they became legends of history but the incredible hardships they endured is beyond mine and most peoples imagination in this day and age.

  10. Incredible stories which you tell very well.

    Regarding favorite volcano stories, though not in in any way comparable:

    My favorite story was the birth of the Paricutín Volcano.
    As I remembered it from a children’s book it was like a farmer went to his field, saw smoke coming out of the ground and went back to his village to tell that he had a volcano in his backyard.
    They did not believe him so he had to show them when it was already several meters high.
    And later the church still standing was a miracle of god. (Of course everything else was destroyed)

    It did not happen exactly like that but I like it that way, it captured my imagination.

    Paricutín was also the first volcano I ever visited outside of Europe and it was memorable.
    After exiting the bus on a beautiful sunny day I had a long trek to make to the summit.
    I don’t remember having a map, but the summit was easily visible so I did not worry about that and soon I found a rudimentary trail.
    The terrain though was quite rough, all big and sharp lava rocks. Not an easy hike.
    Eventually I met another hiker and we reached the ashy summit. Nothing really spectacular but still great to see.
    I was surprised to see some steam coming out of the ground.
    And then it started to hail. And not a little bit neither.
    First it was actually beautiful, the white icy balls bouncing off the black volcanic ash.
    But soon it became uncomfortable and a long rainy, cold trek back followed.
    I wore a leather belt with a hidden compartment to store cash. That was completely soaked.
    The leather stained all the paper money brown. I had to wash that out again.
    (Since then I always wrap it in plastic first)

    • Upside, IIRC, Paricutin is ‘monogenetic’, so unlikely to do an encore.
      Downside, how long before the next appears ??

      Also, thinking long-term, WHY is that area monogenetic ? A non-homogenous, ‘lumpy’ subduction ??

      After watching recent news, there are several places where I reckon even a small monogenetic eruption would be salutary…

      Less hilariously, is that cold mud-pot just South of Salton Sea still migrating ??

    • You may have read the same children’s book I read. I was about 8 or 9, and was already starting to have an interest in volcanoes when I saw the book VOLCANO! in the school library. It followed a young man who acted as a tour guide for visiting scientists coming to see Paricutin. Story started with the smoke in the field and ran to everyone evacuating the nearby town.

  11. The myths and legends surrounding Mt. Shasta are many…and it would take a full post to articulate on them all. For me, being somewhat “in tune”, Mt. Shasta is a center of hidden power and intrigue….and has been since man first came to these fertile grounds.
    From Wiki: “The indigenous humans, (Klamath people) believe it (Mt. Shasta) is inhabited by the spirit god Skell who descended from heaven to the mountain’s summit. Skell fought with Spirit of the Below-World, Llao, who resided at Mount Mazama, by throwing hot rocks and lava, probably representing the volcanic eruptions at both mountains”.
    Another story that I always find amusing, is the claim that there is a hidden city deep with Shasta (called Telos), that is home to a race of advanced beings from the lost continent of Lemuria. Strange lights and other optical phenomena continue to fuel this “probable” myth, with many claiming the lights are flying craft moving to and from their home base at Telos.

    • About the same legend is told in the Warm Springs region, OR. Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood. On the east slopes of Mt. Jeffeson are several places where the thrown stones mentioned are present, socalled thundereggs thrown by fighting thundergods. The smooth and round stones can be more than 1 meter diameter and the larger were used in ancient times by natives to mark graves.

      Here is a 30 cm. large from the reservation collected by a native. The thunderegg (or lithophysa as the official name is) is Oregons state rock. Lithophysae are radial cristallized Siliciumoxide and Feldspar fibers formed in cooling Rhyolite flows. They are hollow and after forming filled with agate, jasper or other mineral cristallization.

      The smooth outside.
      And cut faced with some dark agate and quartz crystals.

  12. That is an amazing story. From a smoke trail in the middle of a farmers field to the cinder cone as we no it now and the lava fields around it. From it’s birth to now> The most perfect example we have of the monogenetic volcanoes of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt.

    • Yes, 20 meters tall, its actually getting taller as it melts due to its low density, the lava in the lake is heavy and degassed. Even after several weeks though the lake is still very fluid as overflows develope standing waves as they flow down the perched edge, at least in the only video I have seen recorded showing that process.

      I dont think the island will disappear though, the eruption rate isnt high enough to keep the entire lake molten indefinitely, so it will cool in from the edge as it slowly rises, eventually the island will stick to the side I think.

      • Speaking of the lake cooling, it seems to have done just that now, the surface on the other side of the island has stopped foundering continuously. The eruption is ongoing but seems to have subsided a bit, perhaps it will evolve into more of a shield, or return to higher eruption rates and remelt the surface.

        • It is still in the ‘D’ of the DI. Let’s see what happens when it comes out.

          Note that melting of the island would decrease, not increase, the height, unless you preferentially melt off the highest density material only. Raising comes from thickening of the island, either on top (spatter) or below (a keel), from decreasing density of the island (not clear how that would happen), or from increasing density of the lava lake (degassing or cooling). HVO suggests fluctuations in the gas content of the lava plays a role.

          • That is what I thought too, but the entire island is probably made of vesicular material, and the lake is probably getting denser over time as it loses gas, though it doesnt look to be actually cooling down. The rise is still very small though a few meters in a week, and if the old water lake is any guide it is at maximum about 50 meters tall and up to 30 meters below the surface, so it probably cant get that much taller without tipping over. The outer layers indeed could be lowest density too, given the likely course of formation.

  13. The highly fluid surface of kilaueas new lava lake. Like a big vat of liquid aluminium

    Image updated to one with lower resolution. admin

    • Beat me to it !!

      Some of the mayhem seems due to ruptured utility and gas lines. IIRC, hospital said collapse broke their big oxygen line. The pictures I’ve seen don’t suggest erosion due utility or sewer leak, you’d see such water-falling briskly.

      Beyond the truth that if you put a spade into Neapolitan ground you hit Roman and/or Renaissance, Etruscan at a pinch, this geology looks like layers of weakly-consolidated ash. IIRC, they have as many sink-holes forming as the ‘At Risk’ areas of Florida. There, generally the fresh/saline line rising and falling due tides, storms and ground-water rain dissolving the soft lime-stone. Naples area, probably ground water dissolving the bindings of that semi-concreted ash…

  14. Something I have been wondering about the situation in Hawaii, this eruption started with basically no sure warning. In hindsight it is easy to see the progression but for me I first noticed a post on FB Hawaii Tracker that said another swarm was happening, then I saw glow on the webcam, and an eruption on the thermal camera, this was before lava had even entered the water lake yet. Another report is of people at Halemaumau seeing some steam and then a bright glow, with no other warning whatsoever. I check the HVO site many times a day and have done for years and I was still caught by surprise. HVO was going to update the alert on the 21st and was taken by surprise…

    Leading from this, what is the realistic chance that we will get any noticeable advanced warning of an eruption on the rift, if the conduit is open down to the highway then theoretically an eruption there could gravity drain the summit while also erupting from the local chamber with very little in the way of intrusion, such an event could be rather catastrophic if it is a sudden fast lava flood eruption, that could send lava to inhabited areas in hours and even USGS is currently not expecting such an event.

    One also has to look at Mauna Loa, 1984 was entirely completed in a day from the first lava to the dike reaching the full length of the rift, the rest of the eruption after that day was just draining out the summit until it stopped. 1950 was very similar, but with even more lava and the other direction, in both cases there was no immediate build up or indication of what would happen it went 0 to 100 in under a day. Even the 2018 eruption began slow and allowed escape, if the next eruption at Mauna Loa is in Ocean View or nearby to it, it would be like fissure 8 going full strength from day one on a steep slope.

    • I’ve been wondering something similar. There has been ‘talk’ about the current-recent vents back flowing. Where they would backflow to no one knows? Gravity was a large part of the puna eruption. Stuff rolls down hill.

      • The drainback was minor this time, and it looks like the pressure has reached equilibrium as the main tiltmeter is flat, the scale is really small so tiny changes show on it now.

        The problem is this eruption has shown one thing that is not clear by comparing to post 1924 events, its size. At 30 million m3 in volume and counting this lava lake is one of Kilaueas largest summit eruptions since 1868, only 1952 and 1967 were bigger but did so by lasting months. What is more this vent will probably be sustained and thus we get the full supply rate filling in the caldera, somewhere in the range if at least 0.15 km3 possibly as high as double that.

        There is also geological evidence of eruptions 10x the volume of the current lake in the early 19th century erupted in high fountain fissure eruptions, so as the deep pit fills in and the stress field becomes more dispersed we might see similar big fissure eruptions in the greater caldera or just to its south. Its going to be exiting to see, Kilaueas summit is like putting all of Iceland inside a 5×5 box, Pu’u O’o has taken over in recent decades, but now it is coming back to life 🙂

        • It came back to life much sooner than I thought it would after the east rift event and with much volume. I hear what you are saying about equilibrium of pressures as long as they sustain. Your historical references make this even more interesting.

          • I thought it would erupt again after it had recovered the difference in volume between the caldera collapse and lava volume. The lava volume was 0.4 km3 more than the caldera, the actual collapse is permanent but the extra can recover passively. Before Pu’u O’o stopped the supply was 0.15 km3 lava a year, so doing that for 2 years 8 months gets us to the volume.

            December 2020 was after 2 years 3 months so not too far off, but I expected an eruption in 2021 so it was a bit early 🙂

            Hawaii erupts very often, the longest time between confirmed eruptions was between 1942 and 1949, both Mauna Loa. But this was in war time and Mokuaweoweo is very remote, there were reports of glow during the 1940s, eruptions in Hawaii are on average a yearly occurence.

  15. Google Earth shows there are literal dozens of very similar systems to Galunggung all across Indonesia – many are known but some are unnamed!
    There’s an edifice with a massive summit caldera near to Galunggung north of Taliskmalaya City, anyone know it’s name?
    Some volcanic looking structures north east of Banjar City…
    Something that looks like a ring fracture near Bobotsari…

    Going off what i’m looking at it looks like at least 20 have had Bromo size eruptions or collapses.
    One day something’s going to go off in Java and take out a million people and it’ll have been totally unmonitored

    • Oh an Ijen has an acid lake. Who would live next to these places honestly?

      • Not many people do live next to Ijen, many people have jobs collecting sulfur there and know of the danger, Indonesia is just one of those places that has a very large population, some people have to live in dangerous areas, some also will accept the risk for the more fertile land it offers.

        Indonesia also has a very extensive monitoring system, it isnt like Alaska or the high Andes, if something like that was on the horizon it would be known. It would be a different matter to actually do something about it though. Tambora was a colossal mountain before 1815, it was over 4 km tall one of the tallest volcanoes in the world base to summit. Rinjani today is 3700 meters tall and was a satellite vent of Salamas volcano, which was probably at least a similar height to Tambora if not taller. Many volcanoes in the area are very tall but none are 4 km base to summit, that might be a cut off point. The situation might be different in other areas with thicker crust though.

  16. I hear the Caribbean is starting to wake up- anyone else seeing new activity?

    • Lots of mild grumblings & rumblings, could go back to sleep, or ‘go large’ and make the news.
      I’ve heard a suggestion that *some* of the activity is hydrothermal due to extremely high ground-water following the spate of 2020 storms…

      Due care, please ??

  17. The tilt at Kilauea has reversed again with a sharp upward jump. This shows that it was DI event, still combined with a gradual decrease. It will be interesting to see whether this will reinvigorate the lava lake. It was getting a bit sluggish and had stopped rising.

    • It is interesting it stopped rising but the vent didnt stop erupting, maybe one of the drowned vents became a drain with the pressure now at an equilibrium, probably the one that was on the submerged ledge below the current west vent.

      Probably the part of the lake that is between the big island and the west vent will stay active and resurfaced while things are stable, the rest will crust over, though it will be a very long time before it is actually solid enough to resist foundering if there is still an active vent, it will still rise.

  18. Once again a M4 plus in the Reykjanes peninsula:

    Sunday 10.01.2021 03:15:33 63.890 -22.431 5.2 km 4.1 99.0 5.7 km N of Grindavík
    Source IMO

    • (As a dumbo, not an expert) glancing at the GRV station, it looks like something gave under pressure, rather than a fault slip. The big one had a lot of little ‘poppers’ after it. Interestingly, a couple of tornillos show later.
      I wonder how long before this manifests itself on the surface in the peninsula?

      Thank your for your latest article, Albert. Fascinating!

      • The “flattened” signals occur mainly at daytime 8 to 18 or so. There is a road nearby the station, so these are traffic related, I think.

  19. I think the eruption has increased again slightly at Kilauea, the lake is still mostly stagnant but the spatter cone is actively erupting lava out of its top now which wasnt happening before. Must be a response to the recent DI event, probably this sequence will be a repeating one in the near future.

  20. Erebus and Terror are named after ships that explored Antarctica named HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Michael Palin has written a book about them called Erebus. Fantastic read.

    • And Dan Simmons wrote the famous “The Terror” 🙂 The TV show was great, for those who can take the dark gruesomeness.

      Opposite dynamic compared to the book, in the sense that the book starts reeeeeally slow and ends with a jaw-dropping bang. Incredible time machine this book, from the furniture to the people’s attitudes.

      The TV show is great until the end, which is both very different from the book (Good!) but really cheesy (not so good…).

      Pity Dan Simmons indulged in a few writings that ruined a bit his reputation, ideologically speaking.

      Sorry, that’s not really moving rocks-related.

      • I had to read that article again, it is just so nice.

        It seems the aftershocks on the line NNE – SSW. But I am not expert + only big aftershocks are shown. Perpendicular to the rift tho?

    • That USGS map is *horribly* misleading due latitude distortions, Google Earth (globe) gives a much better perspective…

      That aside, WTF is going on at Lake Baikal ? Is certainly rifting, per ‘African Great’ set, but minus volcanoes / hot-spot. At least that I know of…

      Am I correct in thinking Baikal began before Indian impact ? Which could make Baikal the remaining leg of a triple-point over-run by the Himalayan crush ? Almost an aulacogen, albeit revived by collision’s torsion…

      Is Baikal old enough to be the opposite way around ? Legacy of ‘UpLift / Doming / Nascent Triple’ from as-yet unproven Permian hot-spot which later migrated across polar region, SE across Canada and Greenland, spawned Iceland when it met the Atlantic ??

      ( And whence came hot-spot *before* that excursion ??)

      Snag is any evidence for hypothetical other legs would be buried deep, deep beneath Siberian Trapps…

      • And whence came hot-spot *before* that excursion ??


        * Repeated studies have shown a periodicity to mass extinction, of about 35 million years.
        * Astronomical data indicates that the solar system “bobs” up and down through the galactic plane, passing through it with the same frequency and completing a full cycle (reaching it from the same direction) every 70.
        * There is some (weaker) evidence for the same periodicity in cratering frequency.
        * On the other hand, there is a very strong association between extinctions and LIP emplacement.
        * There are multiple craters of age close to 65 million years, not just Chicxulub; one is strictly larger and is just off the west coast of India. Lava from the Deccan Traps has partly filled it.
        * There are still questions about how hotspots begin.

        All of this combined is enough to suggest an hypothesis: hotspots begin when there is a sufficiently large impact as to punch through the crust and deposit a very large amount of energy in the upper mantle as heat. If landslides, lava, or other things in the immediate aftermath obstruct the heat from easily and gently escaping through the impact site itself, the heat causes doming and uplift, eventually rifting the crust in the area. An angled impact may be especially prone to this, if the bulk of the heat gets deposited diagonally down and some distance laterally from the surface crater, perhaps under thicker crust (e.g. under western India, after punching through adjacent seabed).

        The rifting leads to decompression melting and LIP emplacement at the site (again, perhaps laterally displaced some ways from the impact scar), and the decompression foments further decompression of material deeper beneath the LIP site. Hotter, deeper mantle material rises up toward the site, and a plume is born, growing from the head down. The plume may subsequently persist a very long time.

        The impacts, especially combined with LIP emplacements, cause the extinctions. The paradox of huge LIPs with weak lingering plumes (e.g. Deccan Traps vs. the weak Réunion hotspot) is explained: the initial LIP phase of activity is fueled by the heat deposited by a very large (bigger than Chicxulub) impactor, which rapidly uses that energy; once ordinary mantle heat is all that remains, the hotspot reduces in strength enormously to its long term level. If the plume can get itself rooted on the core/mantle boundary it can get pretty strong again (Iceland, Hawaii) because the core is very hot.

        As for what causes the impacts, I’d submit that our recent observation of two interstellar objects passing through the solar system, ʻOumuamua and 2I/Borisov. Both objects originated from the galactic plane, and the former at least was initially very close to the local standard of rest, i.e. essentially stationary with respect to the local part of the galaxy. That we found two such objects within a few decades of having the technology to detect and characterize them suggests that they are very abundant, and actually right on the galactic plane, presumably even more so. Thus, the whole solar system passes through a shooting gallery every 35 million years, even if it doesn’t get sideswiped by a red dwarf or something, and if it does …

        Oh, and it’s beginning to pass through that shooting gallery again. ʻOumuamua and 2I/Borisov were only the beginning. It’ll be like popcorn: a few isolated pops at first, and then a rapidly swelling chorus of them. Give it a million years or so and our sky will be full of comets, most of them interstellar, and there’s a good chance we’ll get walloped, though we came through the last passage, in the late Eocene, comparatively unscathed (the Cenozoic didn’t end, at least).

        They may destroy life, but it’s a good bet that without them there wouldn’t have been life here for them to destroy. That Earth developed life almost instantly, geologically speaking, after it developed stable bodies of surface water, means it was almost certainly being constantly bombarded by spores of some kind, and the moment the environment allowed any of them to germinate and thrive, one did so. The obvious source of such spores would be objects like ʻOumuamua — Earth passed through a thin wisp of outgassed material from it, which could well have delivered bacterial spores to the upper atmosphere gently enough for them to survive. You couldn’t ask for a better life-seeding thing than an object like that that has close encounters with one sun after another and sprays spores around like a crop-duster each time. As for how it got “infected” in the first place, when Earth gets a storm of these things, if one impacts and ejects bits of Earth material into space this Earth-dust cloud trailing along Earth’s orbit is quite likely to meet another such object that is passing through, and potentially emplace spores on its surface, where they’ll be dislodged by outgassing the next time that object passes close to a star. Bad news for Earth life at the time, but good news for newborn planets at that other star.

        As for how the objects themselves form to begin with, one expects that star-forming regions eject all kinds of debris gravitationally, including a lot of proto-comets, the most abundant objects of all. The visible stars dispersing from sites of recent star formation are the visible tip of a very large iceberg. Outer Oort objects are also quite loosely bound, and could easily get picked up and dropped off sometimes due to interaction with other stars’ gravity, as well as jumping ship to another star. Once cut loose such an object might not encounter a star again for a long time. That ʻOumuamua was at the local standard of rest points to it having had no such encounters for literal eons — long enough for its angular momentum to have thermalized with the galaxy’s through distant gravitational interactions alone. On the other hand, 2I/Borisov came at us with a high enough speed that it had likely been accelerated by a relatively recent prior encounter. It was already in the sort of state that ʻOumuamua probably is in now after its close encounter with Sol.

        • The evidence for the Shiva crater in India is very slim. I think not many people would accept it as convincing.

        • Mass extinctions are very complicated, there have been 5 and probably will be a 6th looking back at today in the future, they have all been caused by different things and to try and point the blame on a single factor is going to fall short. Today of course is caused by life itself, the evolution of a creature that can manipulate the planet itself and do so with purpose. K-Pg was an impact which also coincided with volcanism, T-J and P-T were volcanism with possibly an impact at the latter as well.
          Devonian was possibly also volcanism but this isnt as well understood, life was mostly marine back then so anything that can cause an anoxic ocean event is a viable candidate. Ordovician was probably multiple factors including a supernova in close proximity to the solar system as well as an ice age that was likely unrelated, much the same as the Devonian most of the fossilised life was marine and found in shallow water, a vulnerable habitat.

          It is also possible that life just cant exist at peak diversity for a long time, when things get specialised they are vulnerable, and a tiny change can tip the balance. Most of the ice age megafauna declined during interglacials, in this time they were vulnerable to extinction, and the appearence of a new predator worldwide was enough to do them in. Climate change did most of the work, but we finished the job, a job we apparently want to go to completion…

      • I downloaded Google Earth and looks to me the line is pretty accurate on USGS.

        But they also show the fault line going abrupt South on southern tip of Baykal, not even reaching Khovsgol.

        Albert nicely describes this area in

  21. news from La Soufriere!

    UWI-SRC Geologist, Prof. Richard Robertson answers some of the recent questions we received from the public about the current effusive eruption at La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

  22. The eruption rate at Kilauea has gone up significantly, the cone is now breached and there is a strong lava fountain and open channel like there was back in December. The tilt is also showing inflation alongside this, more than would be expected for a DI event.

    Somethings going to give if this keeps up…

    • Grimsvötn 1998,2004 and 2011 woud all look like huge Hawaiian fountains if it was ice free. The 2011 event coud perhaps be much many times taller than Iki and tephra laden with large dark curtains of tephra and an intensely orange central part. Massive fast smooth channels with standing waves of Aa crash into the caldera feeding an ..kind of Aa lake that glitters like burning coal in the dark.

      Sierra Negra eruptions are basicaly de – glaciated Grimsvötn eruptions ( what it woud look like )

      • 2004 would have been similar to Kilauea Iki, 1998 probably smaller. Grimsvotn eruption volumes are for the tephra, not the DRE, 2011 eruption was maybe a bit over 0.2 km3 DRE, because phreatomagmatic tephra is very low density. Sierra Negra has much bigger eruptions than Grimsvotn, its 1979 eruption was in the same calibre as fissure 8, 2005 and 2018 were both also big eruptions, though not as big as 1979.

        Kilauea has also had eruptions like that, back in the early 19th century. The golden pumice was erupted by a fountain about 800 meters high with maybe 0.2 km3 of lava ponding in the caldera, 6x the volume of todays lake. The basal reticulite from about 1500 AD was larger still, anywhere from 8 to 12 million m3, which corresponds to an eruption of maybe up to 1 km3 of lava that pooled in the caldera, makes the current lake look like a pond…

        • I’ve been thinking about the 1500 reticulite and I see now that it was probably a Ticuantepe Lapilli-like phase, but more sedate, during the first major collapse of the modern caldera (the first of three so far, 1500, 1650, 1790). One of the oddities of the basal reticulite, that it erupted from multiple vents across the north caldera rim is easily explained by taking place in the context of the caldera collapse, a collapse event could have pushed magma up the ring fault. It also explains why the eruption had such a violent fountaining, far more than Kilauea Iki. Units A, B (the reticulite) and C of the Keanakako’i Ash all erupted through the north caldera rim and are probably phases of the caldera collapse, meanwhile fire fountains would have towered above Puu Kaliu.

          Some (probably) caldera collapse related eruptions of Masaya are really a mess, alternating fountain-plinian and explosion-surge stages of various sizes and with pauses. Major caldera collapses of Kilauea have probably had similarly complex sequences, for example it could be conceived that the Golden and Eastern Pumices were late stages of the 1790 eruption.

          • This does make more sense, 1 km3 of lava in the caldera would have filled it a long way, but after that eruptions show water interaction which means the caldera was deep, and 1 km3 of lava is a lot of magma to drain passively without any of it erupting somewhere. I do still like the image of a lava ocean like that though 🙂
            I think for the post-1790 deposits though it is more likely at least a lot of the layers are separate eruptions to what happened in 1790, and some are thought to post-date the Ellis expedition as well.
            The only thing that HVO actually says with certaintly is that the high fountain deposits, outside of 1959, all happened before 1868. The last fountains could have been during the collapses in 1832 and 1840. If that is the case then a sudden draining of the current lake, especially if it is allowed to rise for most of this year, could see a similar violent eruption.

            I read the Pele-Hi’iaka story, it mentions that an eruption was seen from Oahu, which has been interpreted as the north flank of Kilauea set ablaze by the Aila’au flow. Problem is that you cant see this area at all from Oahu, which rules this out, and pahoehoe flows are not strongly incandescent, as well as the time frame being measured in years for such a flow, not days. A lava fountain on the other hand…

    • https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/increased-surface-activity-halema-uma-u-1

      We have a picture. The vent is about 20 meters above the lake, with the fountain and cone being another 20 meters tall from that. The channel is about 4 meters wide, and it looks like there is a small skylight showing that the tube is also still active.
      The eruption rate has not been given but it looks to be well over double what it was before, comparable to the values in December, this seems a very exaggerated response to a tilt change of a few microradians…

  23. Hekla has entered the swarm of eq yesterday. The competition is on. Who erupt first?

    • If there is a swarm then it is more likely that an eruption is a basaltic eruption on the fissure swarm, something like 1913. Most eruptions there are small, but it is an eruption nonetheless, and a nice safe one 🙂

    • Hekla is 20 miles to the east of that fracture. I would not place bets yet…! But something has to give somewhere in Iceland, for there has been a great deal of shaking recently.

      • Is there a map.

        If it is west of Hekla then probably not volcanic at all but it might induce something if a big enough quake happens. I did read that big south flank quakes at Kilauea have caused eruptions by shaking up the magma. This happened a bit in 1975 but descriptions of 1868 describe full blown fire fountains during the 10 minutes of shaking, where before was passive lake activity and then a collapse afterwards, was like a lava geyser.
        I dont know if this sort of thing happens elsewhere but a big and otherwise non-volcanic quake in south Iceland might trigger a Hekla eruption through this manner.

        • I wasn’t aware there had been fire fountains in 1868. I don’t know if shaking could have done it, but it could also have been due to depressurization, if pressure falls then bubbles form in the magma and it can turn into a fountain, this happens at Etna and Vesuvius sometimes. The earthquake in 1868 caused the rift of Kilauea to snap immediately due to the spreading it induced, the start of the intrusion and deflation might have have turned some of the narrower active conduits of 1868 (there were 8 vents if I remember right back then) into foam.

          • It was mentioned in a volcano watch article in 2018, comparing that years collapse with the one in 1868. There was an eyewitness at Kilauea during the actual main quake itself and they described lava ejected to a great height, though it was only during the shaking. I doubt that is anything other than a fountain.

            I do remember reading somewhere that the 1823 eruption was possibly caused by an earthquake, one centered further over to the southwest, and that is why the eruption was able to rift such a long fissure so far from the caldera and a lot wider than normal. The caldera floor before 1823 was probably a similar look to 1868, if there was a lake then maybe it also turned to a lava geyser in the quake and while the eruption drained out. Maybe that is the source of some of that young pumice the Ellis expedition saw.

          • “According to Kaina, a Hawaiian resident of the summit area, Kīlauea Crater had been very active from late January to late March with eight overflowing lava lakes. The lake activity increased greatly and, on March 27 when the first strong earthquakes (possible foreshocks of the M7.9 earthquake to follow) started, the crater floor was covered with lava lake overflows.

            On April 2 at a few minutes past 4 p.m., the above-mentioned M7.9 earthquake occurred “which caused the ground around Kilauea to rock like a ship at sea. At that moment, there commenced fearful detonations in the crater, large quantities of lava were thrown up to a great height; portions of the wall tumbled in. This extraordinary commotion, accompanied with unearthly noise and ceaseless swaying of the ground, continued” for three more days as the lava receded. By April 5, there was no lava to be seen in the crater—Pele had left Kīlauea”

            From November 5 2018 Volcano Watch.

      • As I wrote in the VC bar, this is one of the places where it is expected that the next M6-7 can happen. The location is very close to the fault line of the M7 that happened in 1912. It is not directly connected to Hekla, but then again, Hekla is close enough that large changes in strain could possibly have an effect on the volcano.

        • As said further up there was a fissure eruption near Hekla in 1913 after the 1912 quake. Since the 1846 eruption the average interval between eruptions has been 19 years, with the longest being 39 years between 1847 and 1886. So we are in the range of an eruption now. It is also likely the next eruption will be quite big if jt is at Hekla itself, probably bigger than all of the eruptions from 1970-2000. If it is a basaltic eruption I have no idea, they seem to be rather randomly sized.

          I guess that is quite a long tangent, but in any case this is the place that I am exited for. It will be a big effusive eruption but quite different to Hawaii or Holuhraun, much more strombolian with gigantic lava fountains.

  24. Semeru went boom. Looks like pyroclastic flows in some areas.

    • That was a decent sized burp. The pyroclastic flows only travelled about about 3/4 mile but it just shows how devastating it is. The semi-continuous eruptions since 2014 are classed as VEI3 so far but there’s some serious scarps and instability on it’s southern flank, not to mention the magma-linkage to bromo/tengger. One to watch.

    • What puzzles me is the shallowness of the earthquakes in the Katla caldera. A lot of them are reported with depth 0,1 km. Is this magma/ice interaction?

      • Katla is known for its hydrothermal activity, (melt)water is heated by magma in the shallow magma chamber. Water starts to boil, flashes to steam and causes explosions.
        Katla’s hydrothermal activity is increasing occasionally and produces shallow quakes, even a M3 now and then.

        There is a relation ‘high activity’ with the summer season when more melltingwater is under the glacier.

        The blue sections in the graph. Source IMO.

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