Volcano World Cup 2018: the Intro

For those of you who follow Football, as you are aware it’s that time again when the FIFA World Cup takes place every 4 years. This time the 2018 World Cup is being hosted in Russia and here are the following countries who are competing: Russia, Belgium, England, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, France, Serbia, Switzerland, Poland, Croatia, Germany, Australia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina. You can find more information about the real World Cup in this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_FIFA_World_Cup 

Just for fun I thought I’d stage a Volcano World Cup for the Volcanocafe community based on the 2018 World Cup only that it would be about volcanoes and not Football. Erik Klemetti staged his own Volcano World Cup 4 years ago for his blog, so basically I hijacked the idea off him (sorry Erik it had to be done, haha!).

World Cup 2018 logo. IMAGE: FIFA/Getty Images.

How it works

The format will run exactly how the 2018 FIFA World Cup does, and the countries will be in their groupings exactly like they are in the real World Cup.

During the group stage you will get a chance to vote for 2 countries in each group who you want to qualify for the knockout stage based on the volcanoes they have.

Then when we get to the knockout stage what I will do for each game is pick a volcano to represent a country and you will vote for whichever country you want to qualify for the next round (much like what Erik Klemetti done 4 years ago).

Oh, and overseas territories will count for a country.

Watch this space in the coming days.



177 thoughts on “Volcano World Cup 2018: the Intro

  1. out of theme.
    a question for Tam.
    I thought Iceland didn’t belong to EU.
    (not a problem for me I live in Europe, but not in EU). lol 🙂
    So why volcanocafe has to comply whith the gdbr?

    • As a blog who really doesn’t store or deal with much personal data, we probably wouldn’t be under too much scrutiny from anyone regarding our compliance. but as most of our authors, admin team and server locations are all in the EU, I felt it was best to address it.

    • VC is registered in Sweden. But in any case, we are responsible for any personal data that we store for at least our European readers, and they have a right to know what we know.

    • The legislation requires that any organisation in any country holding personal data about EU citizens must conform to GDPR. As Tam points out, this blog probably falls below the threshold of GDPR, but having names and email addresses on their server *could* be considered personal data if someone wanted to make a legal case out of it.

      I would also expect Iceland to be bringing in domestic legislation that complies closely with GDPR as part of the EFTA / EU legal alignment.

      Now back to the subject in hand – I hope the volcano world cup won’t require volcanoes from each nation because England’s current volcanoes suck nearly as much as our footballers.

  2. How do you pick the winner – biggest bang for your volcano? This got me thinking – some countries that don’t seem all that volcanic are actually in the running – Spain has the Canaries and France the French West Indies. Fortunately for the other contenders, Indonesia is not involved in the World Cup.

    • And they’ve got Reunion too…

      Held for approval as is normal for first comment. Further comments should appear instantly on submission – admin

    • And Spain also has the continental volcanic fields of Olot and Campo de Calatrava active with their last eruptions during the Holocene. We must not forget about the massive volcanoes of Iran and Argentina either. But even if Argentina has the longest Quaternary known lava flow it wont stand a chance against Iceland.

    • Glad You caught that! i’m up late because of clear skies (a rarity here) been staying up until 2am everynight to see if noctalucent clouds form. They haven’t. 🙁 really like seeing them. Quite the flow! Wonder where it will go…. Guy with the rooster is in US visiting family. Best!motsfo

  3. I am surprised that Chile didn’t qualify, they are a pretty good team. If they did then that would be my first choice. But as they didn’t, then I will have to go with Iceland or Japan.

    Apparently Indonesia was disqualified before the season started…

  4. Italy is not qualified 🙁 (for the first time in my life…)
    We could play to win with our famous volcanoes…

  5. I’m assuming that England will be able.to claim the whole of the UK’s overseas territories?

    We’ve got a cracking team, and some great Volcanoes in the South Atlantic and Caribbean.

    I’m filled with confidence 😉 honestly.

  6. Found a video from one of the tour boats that take you to the ocean entry. About 21 seconds in you can see a flash of lightning in the LAZE.

    • That sort of fits the idea of glass shards being in the laze. They are really good at separating charges and generating a potential difference.

    • Likely that Brazil will make the round of 16 given that they actually got volcanoes and that Serbia and Switzerland don’t stand a chance

      • The only volcano that Brazil has is an island that is listed as ‘uncertain: probably holocene’, I wouldn’t pick Brazil for this one either.

        Weird that Brazil covers half of South America but none of the 100+ volcanoes, you would think they would be interested in at least having a bit of the Andes in their border.

  7. Can we bring in Volcanos in former colonies?

    Otherwise the only Belgian volcanic feature will be some hot (warm) springs.

    Chaudfontaine might be known.

  8. Somewhat confused right now. We have thunderstorms and that makes the Pekingese try to crawl up my arse to hide from it.

    • The aggravating bit is that I am a poor defense against thunder. Not a thing I can do if lightning comes little buddy.

    • I understand the fear, you’ve got dog level hearing and whatever it is sounds huge…. and you’re small.

  9. NL doesn’t compete this time… :/ But our southern neighbours have my full support!
    You may use our Zuidwal volcano! It is buried a bit, but I am sure the Red Devils can find a way using it to roast other teams!

  10. other than in soccer my team hardly can win this contest. Too, sleepy our volcanoes. Am german …. 😉

  11. The SO2 levels from the eruption on the east rift have reportedly almost doubled over the last day, which HVO has said could be associated with a higher eruption rate. If the eruption rate has also doubled then this eruption is now in the same size range as the 1840 event and far higher than any other eruption on the last 70 years.
    The only other time I have seen a flow rate even close to 6 million m3/day from any other eruption on Kilauea was for some of the drain back events in 1959… Despite the low fountain this eruption has managed to outdo all of its high fountaining counterparts by a very significant amount.
    It doesn’t look like the flow has doubled on the webcam though but it has gotten higher as evidenced by the channel overflows recently. If the SO2 was coming from somewhere other than fissure 8 then really there isn’t much else to do except watch and wait for the next breakout, fissure Z over the highway is not an impossibility with how things have been going there.

    If someone told me this year kilauea would have its biggest lava flow in almost 200 years I would have probably said that is basically impossible because there are already two open vents… I remember there was discussion about mauna loa possibly building to an imminent eruption and that kilauea was going to slowly die out like it did in the 1920s. This is kilauea showing its real identity, no more of this ‘safe volcano’ title.
    Let’s hope we don’t have to see it when it gets violent, you might as well drop a nuke into it at that point…

    • Maybe the high fountains haven’t showed up because the intrusion is not pressurized enough, instead of a forcefull intrusion into the rifts this eruption may have some characteristics to share with the Pu’u’o’o event because after all the plumbing system still is in a similar situation and the existing conduit is allowing magma to flow from the summit to the LERZ in a stable way for now. I think the eruption could still go on for some time because of this and as the summit deflation keeps going at steady rate (at least in my opinion) and the middle and upper ERZ still have the potential to deflate further and maybe go trough some pit crater collapses. I am not talking about a new Pu’u’o’o or Mauna Ulu as the vent is too low in the rift and probably wont last longer than a year. Large eruptions are common in the LERZ: 1790 flows covered at least 35 km2 just 50 years before the 1840 eruption and it was probably bigger in volume.

      • The bit after pu’u was forcefully intruded, it is what set off the big quake. But in that case it probably isn’t as pressurized now as it would have been. I think the height of fountain doesnt have a massive part to do with the amount of lava erupted. Obviously a lot of other eruptions have had higher maximum effusion rates than this one, but fissure 8 has been remarkable in producing 80-110 m3/s of lava continuously for two weeks now, while other eruptions were less steady. Neither mauna ulu or pu’u o’o were as big as this eruption is now at the same age. This eruption is actually already approaching 1/3 the size of the entire mauna ulu eruption, in a bit over a month… I had a theory that the lack of high fountaining is a result of there being several vents inside the crater, going to about 70-80 meters high. If there was one vent then the pressure would be higher and make the lava fountain probably a fair bit taller, not 500 meters but probably well over 150. This happened during one of the eruptions at pu’u o’o in 1983, it opened a fissure on both sides of the cone and maybe that will happen towards the end of fissure 8 as the eruption fluctuates and some vents get blocked, that happened in 1960 as the eruption rate waned the fountains became more violent and jet-like, and increased the height of the cone quite a bit despite the lower eruption rate, and then it just stopped pretty much.
        Also I looked at the 1960 tilt record, and it was measured at 1500 microradians, and 1955 was about 1000, only a bit less than the current inflation (1.7 meters is 1700 microradians). In addition, there was a total of about 1 meter of inflation since pu’u o’o started, so this eruption hasn’t even drained out kilauea to the point that it was at when 1955 and 1960 ended yet. This could both mean that the ongoing eruption could either be way bigger still or that it might stop soon and kilauea is still above background level. Both involve a lot more lava in the near future.
        The record is on here:

        I agree with you though that this eruption is very unlikely to be the next long term center. This eruption is happening in an area where eruptions are going to be big and fast, the elevation difference between halemaumau and pu’u o’o is about 300 meters, while the difference between pu’u o’o and fissure 8 is about 400 meters and the difference between pu’u o’o and the 1960 eruption is 700 meters, so that might indicate that more lava is erupted closer to the summit area overall and probably in more prolonged eruptions lasting several years or decades (like mauna ulu, pu’u o’o and kane nui o hamo) rather than in rapid lava flood eruptions like the one now.

  12. I would not bet a cent for the Swiss football team.

    I am not sure about the efficiency of Gdpr.

    I think IT security depends on computer hosting and telecommunication companies. Do they spend enough money on this security?

    To find out how my websites got hacked last year (2017), read this article:
    94 .ch & .li domain names hijacked and used for drive-by
    https://securityblog.switch.ch/2017/07/07/94-ch-li-domain-names-hijacked-and-used-for- drive-by /

    in addition, februar 2018 : 800,000 Swisscom customers are victims of data theft …

    Surfing the internet is like climbing the Hekla, there is always a very small risk (lol) 🙂
    Every internet reader should know that!

    • Good advice that I suspect is often not followed:

      We also strongly encourage you to inform your customers of this situation so that they may take whatever action they deem necessary to protect their devices and data as well.

  13. Baekdu is in North Korea. Does South Korea have any volcanoes of interest?
    Too bad Greece, Italy, US, Cameroon and Indonesia didn’t make the cut.

    • Mt halla on jeju island is a very big volcano, although it hasn’t erupted since 1006 so probably not a good choice.
      There is also a volcanic field that consists of several very large (Icelandic flood basalt sized) lava flows that were erupted in the first half of the Holocene and a bit before and probably in the future at some point. It also crosses the demilitarised zone so an eruption there would be…interesting…
      Again not a likely place for an eruption but still.

      I don’t know what actually gives these volcanoes their magma but they are all big and at least one has done a very big eruption, so it must be a robust source. Maybe it is distant back-arc rifting behind the Japan trench?

  14. In theory it is possible that if the newer volcanics province wakes up there could be some very big eruptions. It would also make you a millionaire for voting Australia 😉. The problem is that we won’t know about it at all until a week or less before it happens, and big explosive eruptions will only happen near water.
    That being said things could really go big if it happens. Lake purrumbete is one of the biggest maars on earth, I don’t know how big its eruption was but the crater is about 30% bigger than laacher see, which was formed by a VEI 5+ eruption, so the explosions that formed lake purrumbete could have been on the scale of a VEI 6, even if it lacks the volume. Basically krakatoa on land…
    Tower hill is maybe even bigger but might partly be a collapse caldera and could have formed in several different eruptions so I’m not sure, it isn’t just a simple maar crater like Wikipedia says though.
    Blue lake (the most recent one) is well studied and at least a VEI 4 based on isopach data.

    The chance of this happening is really low (about 1 in 500,000 for a given year) but it is also really random so there really isn’t any way to know until it actually happens… The average is about 10000 years between eruptions if you include everything, but that is a maximum as older vents might be buried or not recognised so there could be way more. The average for the last 100,000 years is probably more like every 5000 years so we might be right about due for another one quite soon.
    If something does happen though I will definitely go there so it won’t go unnoticed 😉

    • You’d be talking about the Volcano Cup.

      In this case, this is the Volcano World Cup which is running parallel with the actual World Cup in Russia.

  15. https://www.flickr.com/photos/141970887@N04/40915983350/

    The lava near the vent is really flowing now. I dont know if it is flowing more than before but it looks faster. It looks like a river in flood more than anything else, almost like this picture:

    I think the fountain is lower because there are still 3 or 4 different vents open inside the cone which are all fountaining to about 50-70 meters, so the fountain would probably be a lot higher if there was only one vent. Maybe towards the end of the eruption there will only be one vent and the pressure will cause it to fountain really high for a few days before stopping, a bit like a geyser. From the looks of thing that might not be for a little while though.

    • Its a bit hard to tell but further from the vent the surface appears to be stationary. Somewhere between there and the vent presumably a lava tube has formed. Hopefully this will end up as an ocean entry causing no more in the way of inundation (if there is anywhere left).

      • There is already an ocean entry, and no lava tubes will form on a lava flow this fast, it is like expecting solid ice to form on the surface of rapids on a big river, it really doesn’t happen unless it gets really cold. Lava is also a really viscous and very dense liquid so it would probably just break the crust, much more than water will. If you look at the webcam at any point at night (like right now) you can see it is definitely not crusted over in the manner of a lava tube.

        There are pictures on that same page showing the lava channel being visibly incandescent during the day all the way from the vent to where the edge of kapoho was. In a day or two the lava channel will reach the ocean directly and a glowing lava river will flow directly into the sea… This flow is almost 13 km long if measured along the middle of the channel too so the fact it can stay open that far is pretty much showing that lava tubes aren’t going to form in it the way it is now.

        • could it have a tube or diike somewhere nobody is aware of, Lava is just pouring out of it maybe direct feed from the hotspot, just a gut feeling like the universe is showing up us mere mortals, solar wind is very low, no sun spots to speak of, all the planets lining up next month on one side of the sun, looks like there is a lot of pressure on the planets core now from all that

          • No, the origin is fissure 8. The other points – Beware of pseudoscience.

          • The sun has nothing to do with volcanoes. The radiation from the sun, if it actually gets through the atmosphere, will go about 1 mm below the surface in extreme cases. The earth emits much more heat than it receives from the sun, it is just not as noticeable because it doesn’t really conduct to the atmosphere as well as sunlight does.
            The only way a star would cause volcanism is if the planet was really close to it (there are lots of examples) or if the planet had a elliptical orbit or a resonance with a more distant planet and the star, like Io but bigger. If anyone says the sun has anything to do with this eruption then stop listening to them…

            The planets also have almost no gravitational influence on each other. At all. Full stop…
            In a lot of other solar systems (like trappist 1 for example) there might be some interaction, but our solar system is one of the most extensive that we know of, most others are composed of multiple very large planets within the distance of Mercury’s orbit, and the inner planets are relatively smaller than a lot of known terrestrial exoplanets so really all of that stuff about planetary alignment is just as BS as the other theory.

            Also there is no separate feeding system, this eruption is bigger than some of the past eruptions because there was a lot of magma stored in the upper east rift compared to 1960, which is why pu’u o’o was so long lived. The summit has deflated because there was space that needed to be filled but as far as I know there is no evidence of summit-derived magma actually erupting yet. This isn’t like in Iceland where the rifts go into the mantle, Hawaii is just a very big example of an otherwise normal cluster of shield volcanoes, and all the rift activity is in the upper crust within the body of the volcanoes.

          • Interesting question: can a star / sun cause volcanism? The answer is yes, but not by light or radiation. That heats the surface and to get volcanism you need to make the interior hotter than the outside. Outside radiation can’t do that. Tidal forces can. Jupiter’s tides are powering the volcanoes on Io. I expect that the Sun similarly caused volcanism on Mercury, although not anymore as the rotation is now locked to the orbit. Typically, a smaller body close to a bigger one is the victim.

          • In addition to Albert’s comment, our inner planet Mercury is much, much closer to the sun and it has no ‘solar-generated’ volcanism, nor any planetary volcanism, either.

            I think this evidence is the ultimate nail in the coffin for sun / volcano psuedoscience.

          • That was a major solar flare which if it repeated now could do significant damage to our electronics, cause wonderful auroral displays, and form quite a bit of 14-C in our atmosphere. But it would have no effect below the surface. Only gravity can do that and its tidal forces are not strong enough to affect the earth. It is strong enough to slow down the rotation of the earth a bit but over geological time scales, far too slow to affect volcanic activity. Still, I would prefer if the Carrington event did not repeat!

          • The radiation from the sun does nothing to the earth to heat it up. If the sun was a 200 solar mass wolf rayet star then maybe it would, but if it was one of those then the earth would be inside it and it would have gone supernova before the solar system really formed.
            The answer to everything that links solar effects to volcanism is no.

            There are a number of exoplanets that are dense enough to be terrestrial and which orbit close to their stars, and they are believed to be somewhat like a cross between Venus and Io, worlds with extensive volcanism and high surface temperature. They orbit red dwarfs too so the tidal effects will be relatively much higher than for a larger star due to the extreme density of such stars (they have surface gravity of 100s of g’s).

            There is aslo an extreme planet that orbits a star called KELT-9. That planet isnt a terrestrial planet, it is about twice the size of jupiter, but it has a surface temperature of 4300 C… The star is also the most massive and luminous star confirmed to have a planet, with a temperature of 10,000 C and about 50 times brighter than the sun. I know that isn’t really volcanism at all but it shows how extreme things can get.

            Another way to put it. If the earth was heated enough by the sun to cause volcanism, then it would not be a habitable planet, the so-called ‘habitable zone’ is just the point where the radiation from the star heats the planet enough to have liquid water be stable on its surface (anywhere from 0 to 100 C by solar heating). That directly opposes the sun having anything to do with volcanism by its exact definition as the habitable zone. Even Mercury is far outside the point where the suns radiation would melt its surface. To get to that point you need to be about 0.05 AU or something like that.

            Seriously the sun has NOTHING to do with volcanoes, end of story.

  16. Could the rules be stretched to include Denmark under Iceland during this volcano world cup? 😉

  17. We have just had a news flash here. The Australian government has just heard about the volcano cup and have decided to annex, New Zealand, Papua new guinea and any south west pacific island with a volcano on it.

    From now on they are to be considered independent territories of Australia for the purpose of allowing
    Australia to win the volcano cup. 😀

    Rescued from the spam dungeon – Admin

    • We have big ben though, which is making up for the inactivity of mainland volcanoes by erupting continuously every time it is observed 😉

      Statistically there will be an eruption at both the newer volcanics province and the mcbride lava field within the next 5000 years too, so if this contest still exists at that time then we can finally win…

  18. Off topic for the volcano world cup, but the question has been bugging me for days. Given the limited monitoring a Fuego, what are the odds that Popocatepetl could suddenly turn explosive with little warning? I can’t help but notice Popocatepetl has been show a similar level of rumbling for decades like Fuego and they both have been subjected to some big tectonic quakes in the past year. Is the no good zone around Popocatepetl large enough to protect people from a similar sized eruption? Popocatepetl is better instrumented than Fuego, right? They would have more warning, right?

    • i’m not coming if we have those………….. can’t understand people not shoving those down throats when blown.

        • Do not worry, Motsfo. I feel the same way about the gentleman gardener next door and his petrol leaf blower. Three times a week, for over an hour each time. The fumes blow over our fence. I feel exactly the same way about this machine as you do about Vuvuzelas. Except the leaf blower may cause larger injuries when shoved (not necessarily down the throat)…..
          Very impolite but it sort of needs to be said!

  19. One the subject of solar wind and volcanoes


    Explosive volcanic eruptions triggered by cosmic rays: Volcano as a bubble chamber

    Toshikazu Ebisuzaki (a) Hiroko Miyahara (b) Ryuho Kataoka (a) Tatsuhiko Sato (c) Yasuhiro Ishimine (d)

    RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan

    Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, The University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8582, Japan

    Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Tokai, Naka, Ibaraki 319-1195, Japan

    RIKEN Computational Science Research Program, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan


    Volcanoes with silica-rich and highly viscous magma tend to produce violent explosive eruptions that result in disasters in local communities and that strongly affect the global environment. We examined the timing of 11 eruptive events that produced silica-rich magma from four volcanoes in Japan (Mt. Fuji, Mt. Usu, Myojin-sho, and Satsuma-Iwo-jima) over the past 306 years (from AD 1700 to AD 2005). Nine of the 11 events occurred during inactive phases of solar magnetic activity (solar minimum), which is well indexed by the group sunspot number. This strong association between eruption timing and the solar minimum is statistically significant to a confidence level of 96.7%. This relationship is not observed for eruptions from volcanoes with relatively silica-poor magma, such as Izu-Ohshima. It is well known that the cosmic-ray flux is negatively correlated with solar magnetic activity, as the strong magnetic field in the solar wind repels charged particles such as galactic cosmic rays that originate from outside of the solar system. The strong negative correlation observed between the timing of silica-rich eruptions and solar activity can be explained by variations in cosmic-ray flux arising from solar modulation. Because silica-rich magma has relatively high surface tension (~ 0.1 Nm−1), the homogeneous nucleation rate is so low that such magma exists in a highly supersaturated state without considerable exsolution, even when located relatively close to the surface, within the penetration range of cosmic-ray muons (1–10 GeV). These muons can contribute to nucleation in supersaturated magma, as documented by many authors studying a bubble chamber, via ionization loss. This radiation-induced nucleation can lead to the pre-eruptive exsolution of H2O in the silica-rich magma. We note the possibility that the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption was triggered by the same mechanism: an increase in cosmic-ray flux triggered by Typhoon Yunya, as a decrease in atmospheric pressure results in an increase in cosmic-ray flux. We also speculate that the snowball Earth event was triggered by successive large-scale volcanic eruptions triggered by increased cosmic-ray flux due to nearby supernova explosions.
    Graphical abstract

    An anti-correlation of silica-rich magma eruptions and solar magnetic activity is found: Eight out of eleven eruptions took place in the period when the sun is not active. This anti-correlation suggests that silica-rich magma eruptions are triggered by bubble nucleation in magma, induced by cosmic-ray muons. Violent destruction of magma dome in a conduit is triggered when production rate, Jrad, of the possible nucleation site exceeds the quenching rate, Qmax.

      • Tell that to the authors not me! 🙂 They do appear to be genuine.

        What do you think of their theory? I haven’t read the full paper.

      • “an increase in cosmic-ray flux triggered by Typhoon Yunya, as a decrease in atmospheric pressure results in an increase in cosmic-ray flux.” !!!!

        I checked, its not published on April 1st.

        I think squonk is a troll, we have had them before, best to ignore him.

        • I for me, would be very careful to put a label on someone based on referring to peer-rewieved sientific papers on the subject.

          I follow this site almost daily, and i find it extremely helpful in learning about volcanoes. Thus, from why they become more or less active has not been properly covered in my time reading the blog. One piece (Carl I think) was about the probabilities of random occourance vs. non-random, without stating any particular scientific cause to higher or lower activity (global) under any particular time.

          I also raised the “theory” of higher global volcanic activity during (prolonged) solar minimums, but was very soon told that there is no such context. I was even told that the theory of higher cosmic radiation during solar minimum was dead wrong.

          Well. Someone might need to enlighten themselves; during solar minimum cosmic radiation increases. Because the strength of our planets magnetic field weakens.

          Having read the theories of Svensmark (and others) regarding the energies that might be in play here, and how extremely few of these we know anything about, it is certainly an area worth exploring further.(CERN states there are millions of particles, muons, aso. unexplored). What’s to say cosmic radiation doesn’t have energies that easily penetrates the ground we walk and has the potential to (slightly) heat magma that is already almost ready?

          NASA has already revised the time a human can stay in space several times due to cosmic rays increasing more and faster than prior thought due to the healh-hazard.

          Please understand me correct; I am NOT saying there is a connection, just that there might be one. Even explaining the earth-dynamo better too.

          There are many more papers on the low solar/higher volcanic activity-connection. And. The connection does not have to be 10/10 to be worth looking further into or to be statistical significant. 😉


          So then? Are we seeing an increase on our road towards this next solar minimum? It seems so. But I don’t have any numbers to support the notion.

          GL Edit, found and released from the spam que. I have no idea why it was there, the only link was to a pdf and not some oddball site.

          • I agree about Carl’s look at random vs non-random. It was quite intriguing.

            I am in the minority, but I think there was something to CERN’s “CLOUD” experiment, but I am far from qualified to know what I’m talking about. (yeah, I know I said that)

            As noted later in this thread of comments, the greatest issue with trying to correlate to some characteristic in the Solar Cycles, is that as technology advances, the greater number of discrete quake detection goes up. (something I call techno skew) It get problematic to remove this artifact from what is seen in the record. If I remember correctly, there was also a problem noted with the various observers in their recording of the sunspot numbers. (each official observer would come up with a different count) To correct this, the Sunspot Working Group had to refer to the archive data and re-do the counts from the observers notes and sketches. This introduces another potential source for error in any analysis of correlation data, though much less so than the techno skew. Personally, I think the effort to find some sort of correlation is a wash… but, I can always be wrong. Like I always point out, this is not my field of training at all.

            Personally, I think the working groups efforts are phenomenal and it will go a long way towards understanding solar dynamics. The original record was quite shoddy. At least now it agrees with itself.

            And for anyone thinking that the re-evaluation of the record was just an attempt to paint away grand minima and maxima. I.G. Usoskin, lead author on “Grand minima and maxima of solar activity: New observational constraint” was a member of that working group.

            This is where a visible problem was seen in the archive data, and a group of scientists sat down to figure out how to make the data set into something usable.

            “…our road towards this next solar minimum?” I don’t have any supporting evidence either. But, as with volcanoes… it’s just a matter of time. In 10 million years, we probably won’t care.

        • Oh thanks a lot.

          It seems to be a peer reviewed paper in a respected journal by highly published authors at impeccable institutions. Now you can laugh at it, debunk it or whatever but it is real as far as I can see.

          Was NASA’s Richard B Stothers trolling as well or has later analysis showed the weak correlation to not actually be there?

        • https://quarknet.org/sites/default/files/Cosmic ray muon flux%2C CCURI conference poster%2C David Buitrago 20171127.pdf

          Cosmic ray muon flux measurements correlated to atmospheric pressure fluctuations and solar flare activity

          David Buitrago, Prof. Raul Armendariz, Prof. Chantale Damas
          Department of Physics, Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York


          As atmospheric pressure changes muon flux changes, they are
          inversely correlated and large fluctuations are evident. Large
          drops in flux were also measured after several solar flares in
          September 2017.

      • Cosmic rays and volcanoes. Yes, it is a paper in a peer-reviewed journal. No it says absolutely nothing apart from proposing a hypothesis (with very limited evidence, and producing a statistical correlation close to the level of background noise, given the tiny number (4) of volcanoes studied).
        The real science starts when other scientists can prove (or disprove) the hypothesis with evidence based research.
        Sadly, science and pseudo-science (and the Daily Mail) are rampant with people who seize on hypotheses, but don’t understand that the hypothesis is a scientist’s *opening* argument initiating a process to examine the hypothesis and either prove it works, or discard it for another hypothesis.
        I am sorry, Squonk, while the research is interesting (and thank you for bringing it to our attention), I feel it needs to be considered in the wider field and to be honest it stands up as much as my bean poles on a typical English wet and windy day. As I watch them topple over, all I can think is: “those blooming cosmic rays have done for my beans again.”

        • I pretty much agree with every word you say there and I can assure you I am not a Daily Mail reader!

          I do tend to pay attention to little oddities though, most of which I can dismiss quite easily, but I find some more intriguing than others and thought I’d throw this one in giving earlier debate up-thread.

          Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go off and finish building my neutrino detector in the basement because muons are just too easy!

          The $100 muon detector

          🙂 🙂

    • There’s also this older paper


      Stothers 1989

      Stothers, R.B., 1989: Volcanic eruptions and solar activity. J. Geophys. Res., 94, 17371-17381, doi:10.1029/JB094iB12p17371.

      The historical record of large volcanic eruptions from 1500 to 1980, as contained in two recent catalogs, is subjected to detailed time series analysis. Two weak, but probably statistically significant, periodicities of ∼11 and ∼80 years are detected. Both cycles appear to correlate with well-known cycles of solar activity; the phasing is such that the frequency of volcanic eruptions increases (decreases) slightly around the times of solar minimum (maximum). The weak quasi-biennial solar cycle is not obviously seen in the eruption data, nor are the two slow lunar tidal cycles of 8.85 and 18.6 years. Time series analysis of the volcanogenic acidities in a deep ice core from Greenland, covering the years 553-1972, reveals several very long periods ranging from ∼80 to ∼350 years and are similar to the very slow solar cycles previously detected in auroral and carbon 14 records.

  20. since Japan suffers drastically from earthquakes, You can’t blame them for trying any odd little circumstance to shed more light on the subject. Weren’t they the ones who invented the marble in the frog mouth early seismograph?? and i think 8 out of 11 deserves some consideration…. perhaps looking at additional information would help narrow the call. We will probably never be able to pinpoint with total accuracy but maybe a ‘watch closer during September’ would help save people. Anyway… more coffee needed. Best!motsfo

    • Oh, talking about VOLCANOES not earthquakes……. in my best rosanna danna voice… nevermind… 😉 see………………………… much more coffee…………………………….

      • I think you mean Emily Litella voice.

        And I think the marble in the frog mouth early seismograph was Chinese.

    • when there are a lot of Auroras there is also with it a lot of vibration mentioned in the ground. There is a lot of electricity on earth, when you are near a substation you can hear the vibrations, volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes etc have lightening, movement has currents, the earth has slowed down, only a small amount, important it is,

  21. As Albert pointed out, the data is statistically insignificant. I’ve looked in depth at sun-earth-moon positional effects on seismic activity, there is just not enough gravitational force there to have an effect that readily stands out. I couldn’t even find a measurable signal at 2 SD that was different from noise. If you can’t even do that, yer chasing gopher flatulence.

    • I haven’t read of any statistically significant correlation with solar cycle and earthquakes although there have been some papers on the subject they haven’t stood the test of time as far as I know

      However I am not aware of anyone negating the Stothers volcanoes paper but perhaps they have.

      Unfortunately I can’t read the full Japanese research as it is paywalled so all we have is a possibly misleading abstract. The authors appear to be extremely highly qualified and you’d think they would know if they were making such a basic error – as would the reviewers.

      • Appearances can be deceiving.

        Interesting item for you. Scientists don’t concider evidence for a new particle as being valid unless the signal exceeds about 5 SD above background noise.

        For example, the evidence for sterile neutrinos is somewhere above 4 SD, but not 5 SD. Sure, it makes for an interesting argument, but is far from proven.

          • Although some of these will be duplicates where they are co-authors. I just did a quick publication search on each.

          • The authors do not claim that it is significant. They give the actual percentage likelihood and it is below the threshold used on science. But a very simple calculation can show this: the uncertainty on a number is the square root of the number. In the case of 11, that is a bit over 3. The average of 11 is 5.5. 8 falls within the uncertainty from the average. Now there is nothing wrong with looking for such correlations, although you have to be very careful. If you look at 100 different correlations, you will always find one that is ‘interesting’. The standard one is the correlation between e birth rate in Germany and the number of storks.

            The cosmic ray flux was first suggested to explain the correlation between the little ice age and the Maunder minimum, as there was no obvious physics effect that could explain it. Since that time, cosmic rays have become a bit of a magic item: it is used for everything. But the original correlation between cold weather and solar minimum has gone away.

            In this case there is no model and no significant deviation. So in spite of the authors’ reputation, I am skeptical to the extreme. This is at best an invitation for further study.

          • Thanks for the reply Albert.

            There is, as far as I am aware, still current research linking especially regional temperature drops during solar minimums related to UV, ozone, the NAO and jet stream (maybe with sudden stratospheric warmings thrown in). Overall of course global warming CO2 forcing swamps the trend but say, the UK, might be in for more periods of the “beast from the east” (as the media called it) as weather feeding in from the continent instead of the atlantic dominates.

            IIRC, recent simulations have been run adding in exceptional solar minimums far greater than seen in the past and global warming still wins out in the end. I think they even added in a few massive volcanic eruptions in some of the runs but I’d have to go back and dig it up.

            I was fully aware the Japanese study could be criticised for the low sample size but I really wondered what people thought of the actual physics which seems plausible at least to me.

          • I have looked into the correlation between periods of low solar activity and temperatures and decided it was not a convincing relation. At one point the little ice age and the Maunder minimum were roughly coincident. But once we found out that the little ice age lasted not 50 but 500 years, the relation was gone. I have the case noted down as weak. You can add to this the lack of a physical mechanism: the energy change associated with the minima are much too small to have an effect on earth. Cosmic rays were suggested, as they can penetrate a little further into the solar system when the sun is quiet, but that is still a very small effect, and cosmic rays have not notable effect on earth either – the claim that they aid cloud formation could do with some evidence. So no, I came away convinced that this effect does not exist.

            Regarding the volcanic activity, the claim is that cosmic rays affect nucleation of gas inside magma chamber. This has several issues, including that the rays only penetrate a few tens of meters (according to the paper), and that the variation in flux is very small. People have argued that when a volcano is fully primed, a small perturbation can set it off. That is plausible, but here you would need to keep the volcano primed for years waiting for a few percent extra cosmic rays, during which anything else (a minor earthquake, especially) could set it off. I do not buy it.

          • My understanding iof the claim is the drop in UV (proportionally much greater than the overall drop) causes reduced ozone production which in turn has multiple knock on effects. You could say it doesn’t affect climate so much as weather.

            There’s a NASA Goddard paper on the subject from about a decade ago and much more recent research (within the last year) which ran detailed forward simulations.

            Anyway it isn’t really the subject matter for here so I’ll drop it.

          • I did notice on muon penetration depth the following in the $100 detector


            Conrad and Axani have taken the detector down into the Boston subway, using the changes in the muon count to calculate the depth of the train tunnels. They’ve also brought it into the caverns of Fermilab’s neutrino experiments to measure the muon flux more than 300 feet underground.

            Maybe you can persuade HVO to let me go try to lower one down into fissure 8 🙂

  22. turtlebirdman
    11/06/2018 at 08:57

    “The sun has nothing to do with volcanoes……”

    This attitude is religious, not scientific. Scientism is not science. Having certainty about what is unknown is religion.

    • I agree that sceptism has no place in the scientific community as it is a biased postion. Though neither has statistics without a proper argument why the statistics are this way.

      While a statistical relation might exist between volcanos and the sun. No scientist has ever explained how the sun exactly triggers a eruption in a volcano and why this eruption would not have happened duing less favorable solar activity. Solar cycles are very long and drawnout events. Often as long as the cycle of some volcanoes. If a volcano wants to go, the lack of solar activity is not going to stop it.

      Assuming the statistics are correct, a far more likely explaination is that during a solar minimum the weather could be slightly worse which could lead to volcanic activity being hidden by cloudcover or bad weather. With less than 100 eruptions each years and most of them minor. Missing even a few could result in a noticable drop compared to the maximum.

      • I disagree about sceptism. It is fully needed in science. If an idea or theory can not stand up to it, then it is invalid. In a longer version of this video, Feynman goes on to shred Psychology. If you can’t come up with an empirical test, then it’s not science.

        • Not when it results in throwing out entire theories just becouse they dont fit in a current scientific mindset.

          Only by being open minded science can progress. Open to new ideas and open to the idea that one is wrong.

        • Hello GeoLurking, in this case to say “the sun has nothing to do with volcanoes” is only an idea, that hasn’t proofs, because we simply don’t know, and if we don’t know we have to say “we don’t know”. If science can’t say “we don’t know” then it will be religion.
          Unknown doesn’t mean that something can’t exist, and to say that something doesn’t exist because we don’t know is a big mistake epistemologically. We have only to investigate, and if we don’t investigate unknown we will never know.
          Then, about sceptism, the right position epistemologically in front of the unknown is agnosticism, and not sceptism that is an idea, there is difference between to have an idea and not to have it, to have an idea of unknown is again religion.
          (i don’t know if i’ve written correct, because google translator doesn’t translate some italian words, and my english is not the best).

          • The key point here is that attempting to prove a negative is not a sound methodology.

            Feynman alludes to this in the video. If a definite test can not be fabricated for a theory, with testable outcomes, then it is probably not even science.

            If the observation does not match the theory, then the theory is wrong.

          • ok Geolurking, i answer here (i don’t find replay button), i didn’t speak about that video, i didn’t see that video, i don’t understand english spoken enough, i’d need subtitles. Anyway, it seems that you haven’t understood that also to say “The sun has nothing to do with volcanoes……” is a theory, without proofs. And it’s also a position incorrect methodologically, because we can’t prove a negative.
            It’s ok to consider not scientific an unproven theory, but it’s not ok to consider an idea based on negative as scientific.
            I’d like to chat for hours and hours about science and epistemology, and pseudoscience or obsolete sciences or future new sciences, but i don’t know if this is the appropriate place.

          • A few years ago, UC Berkley researchers were cited by an alarmist magazine article as having evidence that San Andrea quakes were possibly connected with lunar motion. Many people were waving their arms about touting this article as proof that the moon causes quakes. Intrigued, I took it at face value and tried to come up with a way to see if I could locate this correlation signal. I pulled 30 years worth of global quake data down into a spreadsheet from the USGS portal. I then wrote a script to pull the Sun-Moon positional data from Alcyone Ephemeris for each and every quake time-stamp. I wrote up my results in an article on the old VC website titles “The Moon and the Moonie.” Since I had little to no correlation, I invited anyone who wished to demonstrate otherwise, to pull down my spreadsheet and prove me incorrect. I had no takers. (Only the newer releases of MS Excel could handle the size of the spreadsheet which was several MB in size.)

            Now, for the record, I never stated that the Sun or Moon has no effect on Volcanoes, just that there is little to no correlation with Earthquakes.

            There is a small signal there, but as Jack@Finnland pointed out then, it was not really large enough to justify further looking.

            I am unable to access the old VC site, and have since deleted that space-hogging spreadsheet. But, I have told how to re-create it anyone wishes to make a stab at it.

            I reiterate, there is a tiny signal there, but when you back off the angular dwell time of the moon’s orbital position, it goes away.

            I found the article, this is one of MY graphics from it. I hereby grant permission to myself to use it.

    • I hate to do it, but from the Wicki-peek-at-ya article

      “Starting in the 2010s, some journals began questioning whether significance testing, and particularly using a threshold of α=5%, was being relied on too heavily as the primary measure of validity of a hypothesis.”

      Note: 5% would be the 2SD level.


      Opinion: Some online articles have hyped the sterile neutrino thing as a proof of “dark matter.” I think this is full-on bullshit. By definition, dark matter doesn’t interact in a way in a way that we can detect it. If ‘sterile neutrinos’ are real, then they are just one additional state that neutrinos osculate into. The other 3 known states interact, though very weakly and would be detectable in some way, shape or form. If the states have equal persistence times, only 1/4 of the time would they be fully ‘dark’ and this does not seem to provide enough mass to account for the claimed amount of dark matter needed to satisfy the theories that call for it’s existence.

      Caveat: Not my field… at all.

      • The 2DS level is ok as a first indicator. The problem is that when only positive results get published you lose the negatives. I know of quite a few papers that have been published as significant when many identical (and sometimes done by the same authors) were not significant but as a result were never published. I also know of quite a few papers with multiple sections (say 50) where only one or two met the 5% significance level.

        As a consequence one needs to be very careful of small trials with limited significance.

      • For all, while this line of conversation may seem a bit obtuse, I find it very entertaining and illuminating. This is some of the core thinking around the whole “Black Swan” idea. The big issue with the swan, is that events that constitute the likelihood of a swan are improperly estimated to have so low a probability that people tend to think of them as being effectively zero and do not allow for them occurring. Nassim Nicholas Taleb attributes this to the over-reliance on the Gaussian curve, which is a central tool used in determining probability. Standard Deviation is a common metric derived from and used in the construction of the appropriate Gaussian curve. (aka; Normal distribution).

        And staying true to Taleb’s Black Swan idea, three things make up a Swan.

        1) A probability of occurrence that is so low, that is is erroneously assumed to be zero.
        2) Astoundingly profound in it’s occurrence. (catastrophic on some level)
        3) It is logically explained away after the event. (“If only we had known about [whatever]“)

        Failing that, an event can’t really be called a Black Swan event.

        Remember the tsunami driven Fukishima event? At first I thought it was a Black Swan, but I was wrong. Albert noted that rather than calculate the size of potential tsunami events, what they had done was just pick the largest known tsunami in the Pacific basin and built their infrastructure to deal with that. What they got was significantly larger.

        Also, the lower Puna eruption is not a Black Swan either. Maybe on a personal level to some people, but overall the threat was well known. Insurance companies knew this and had backed out of providing insurance for homes in the area until the State Legislature forced them to. I don’t fault the insurance companies for wanting to back out, risk estimation is their bread and butter.

        And in a perverse synchronicity… remember the 2008 financial crisis? The “Gaussian Cupola” written by David X. Li, was derived from the math behind a ‘survival function.’ Something directly from working with actuarial tables. Asset managers began using it as their sole method of estimating risk. The failure of that action is sort of what drove Taleb to write his book.

        You can’t really fault David X. Li for the 2008 event. He had warned against using the formula. The actual fault lies more with the asset managers who were ALL using it. It was the ‘go-to’ metric to determine risk.

        farmeroz notes; “As a consequence one needs to be very careful of small trials with limited significance.”

        From the wired article; “As a result of the scarcity of historical data, the errors there are likely to be much greater.”

        Different wording, but identical meaning.

        • Where the problem arises, is that as long as there is some finite probability, no matter how small, the law of large numbers says that with enough tests for the condition or event, eventually you will find it.

          Related to this is the gamblers fallacy. The issue there is that the resources needed to play an infinite number of games is generally outside that available to the gambler. LLN requires an infinite sample space.

    • The better thing I could have said is ‘the Suns radiation doesn’t cause volcanoes’. Of course it has some gravitational tidal effects on the earth, but it is negligible compared to everything else.
      I have an actual solid argument to why I wasn’t wrong on my last comment, the one about the ‘habitable zone’, you should read it before saying I am ‘being religious’. To put it simply, if the Suns radiation was able to effect the subsurface layers of the earth, then we wouldn’t be here and the earth would be a glowing incandescent ball of magma. That might happen on a planet that orbits its star in 2 days or less, but not here…

      Also on a related note to some other discussion further up, cosmic rays don’t come from the sun, they come from material ejected by supernovas or things that passed through the ergosphere of a black hole. Even the biggest stars aren’t powerful enough to create particles with that much energy. There is radiation from normal stars that is lumped into the name, but there is a difference between light and electrons (from normal stars) and a heavy atomic nucleus (what a supernova would eject). Some cosmic rays have enough energy that it is comparable to the impact of dropping a basketball 1 meter, to put that much energy into one atom is something that still isn’t completely understood.

      • sorry I never thought of radiation from the sun caused.EA or volcanoes do their thing, I used the wrong expression, Gravitational waves (energy) is largely un-explainend, when you think of it, they even now know that EA have waves which can be detected around the globe, so why not in our solar system ? rotation of the planets among each other would have some kind energy field to keep things in place, otherwise the planets would bump into each other all the time,
        ripple effect of stone in pond, just thinking.

        • “Gravitational waves (energy) is largely un-explainend,”

          And there you show that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Gravitational waves were predicted by General Relativity, which is a 103-year old theory. Observations have since confirmed those predictions.

          Gravity is distortions in four-dimensional space-time caused by the mass of an object. The observed paths that objects follow are simply the manifestation of the principle of least action when space-time is warped by the mass of those objects. Mass curves space-time and objects follow those curves in space-time to produce orbits.

          Now MASS on the other hand is a much more difficult thing to explain. That gets into the Higgs Field and particle physics.

          Please go and study some science before launching into discussions about it.

          • Can I remind people of our ‘be nice’ rule? We are a science blog but know that not all readers are equally versed in it. Questions are always welcome and readers try to answer them to the best of our ability. As for gravitational waves, very few of our readers will know the equations that describe them, and we do not require a degree in general relativity. The explanation give here is not particularly halpful. It would better to explain the magnitude of the effect: a gravitation wave moves the surface of the earth by a distance less than the size of an atom. It is far below anything on the Richter scale. If small earthquakes do not cause volcanoes, gravitational waves would certainly be unable to do so. The only gravitational force that is able to do so is the tidal force, and it is strong enough for volcanic activity only in a few places in the solar system. Io is a case where it works. On Earth, tidal forces are too small althpugh there has been some claim that the tides can trigger a earthquake that was already ‘primed’.

          • Guess I barked a bit too much there. Apologies for that.

            What gets me riled up is when people launch into talking about a topic when the Dunning-Kruger effect is in play. I do have a fairly considerable scientific background by education, but I certainly wouldn’t claim to understand the field equations of general relativity in detailed mathematical terms! However I do have a fairly good grasp of the principles and implications of the theory and I have gone to the mathematical level with special relativity and indeed quantum mechanics.

            What my background and also my character mean is that I generally do considerable research and reading on a topic to at least get a decently educated layman’s understanding of it before even attempting to comment on it. For example I wouldn’t presume to try and sound knowledgeable about literature or fine art. Neither subject particularly interests me and so I haven’t taken the time to really study them. However if necessary I could do extensive background reading on them.

            It’s the people who don’t bother to even attempt to do any real research that make my blood boil. For example one of the reporters on a Kilauea conference call consistently referred to the Kilauea “earthquake” and the Mauna Loa “earthquake” and the Katmai “earthquake” and launched into an incoherent ramble which made it clear he hadn’t really bothered to get any background information on the situation at all. It took him about two minutes to ask a simple question! Similarly with the Oroville dam situation there are reporters who obsess about the green spot on the dam as if it’s a catastrophic, near and present danger. It’s Daily Fail levels of journalism. It’s a certain person on Youtube with a username which references a flat country in Europe levels of knowledge and competence.

      • If that were so, it would be logical for there to also be an effect observable in quake activity.

        Again, me ripping myself off. I grant permission to myself (again) to use my graph from that article.

        NOTE: This plot makes no assumptions at all about what sort of forces (EM or gravitational) that may or may not be in play. All it looks at are events as related to the apparent position of the Sun.

        Notice it is thicker towards the ends. This is an artifact of Earth’s orbit and how close we are to aphelion. At perihelion (closest approach), we are moving at our highest angular velocity and there is less correlation with quakes.

      • Excuse me turtlebirdman, i didn’t mean that you are religious, only that specific phrase. If i have to think about possible relationships between sun activity and volcanism i’d think about EM interactions or other kind of waves interactions, i would not think of simple thermodynamics.
        About cosmic rays flux, sure it’s come from outer space, but it’s closely related to solar activity, because solar maximum acts as a shield, so during solar minimum cosmic ray flux is much higher. On this way some researchers are investigating about the past geological activity in relation to solar minimums, to understand if there are some evidence of relationship between cosmic ray flux and earthquakes and volcanism. This doesn’t mean that all eruptions or earthquakes are triggered by these variables, but perhaps there could be some relations in some cases.
        Anyway we can’t have a deep knowledge about all kind of waves and particles interactions without an unified physic theory, classical physic model is inadequate to explain all cosmic dynamics. Human science is still young, we have to discover everything.


        there is an experiment that can be reproduced in the laboratory on how elf waves can trigger an earthquake; a wave with the right frequency could be like the lever of Archimedes

        • Note: “elf” as used by ScienzaObsoleta, refers to “Extremely Low Frequency” waves. 3 to 30 Hz. Not the mythical critter. Though I imagine with the right equipment, you could probably get them to oscillate.


          I still maintain that if there was an effect, it would be readily apparent in the positioning of the celestial bodies and the effect they are alleged to cause.

          Possible artifacts that would impact this correlation – angular velocity of the celestial bodies and technological skew. Tech skew shows up as a higher number of detected quakes as the equipment gets more sensitive and better at detecting them. This can easily be seen in the number of quakes detected in Iceland, and I do know it impacted a research paper in Italy, the author directly addressed it and tried to compensate for it in his data. Any attempt to look at quake data over the period of a solar hale cycle will be vulnerable to this. And that leads right back to something pointed out earlier; farmeroz notes; “As a consequence one needs to be very careful of small trials with limited significance.”

          • Please don’t feed the trolls.

            Their views are not evidence based.

            Their knowledge is too shallow to understand your arguments.

          • My interest in this came from me looking at it as something worth looking at, which I did and came away unconvinced. There’s just too many things that derail the idea. Looking at it let me exercise data wrangling on a level above what I was accustomed to. At the time it was fun.

      • The correlation is thought to be that cosmic radiation increases during solar minimum (a fact) because the earths magnetic shield is weakened at solar minimum. So the sun “plays the role” of letting more cosmic radiation in, but does of course not create cosmic rays itself.

        Since the descent towards SC25 is the least active since Dalton Minimum (so far) it is already causing trouble for human space travel. NASA has revised down the max. time for a human in space


        Following the increase from time to time the level now is around that of peak at last minimum, and there still is some time before minimum this time.

        Here from Finland with data since 1964: https://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/

        The groundbreaking work that CERN is doing will give lots of new knowledge in terms of different rays and radiation, what energies that are in play and how deep under ground level they reach. In time when we know more a solid theory might or might not form. But there is a lot of work ahead

        “The first data from CALET concern a measurement of the inclusive electron and positron spectrum in the energy range from 10 GeV to 3 TeV, based on about 0.7 million candidates (1.3 million in full acceptance). Above an energy of 30 GeV the spectrum can be fitted with a single power law with a spectral index of –3.152±0.016. A possible structure observed above 100 GeV requires further investigation with increased statistics and refined data analysis. Beyond 1 TeV, where a roll-off of the spectrum is expected and low statistics is an issue, electron data are now being carefully analysed to extend the measurement. CALET has been designed to measure electrons up to around 20 TeV and hadrons up to an energy of 1 PeV.”


        In all of this the sun plays a role. But only through reducing the strength of our magnetic shield during (every) solar minimum , thus increasing radiation of cosmic origin at ground level. Some studies even states higher mortality from heart-related diseases during this period (Sao Paulo, Brazil f.i.)

        If it affects volcanoes? Who knows.

    • Well, PGV was poking around in lower Puna… and periodically The Geysers in California injects water into their wells… as does Iceland at Hengill.

      In the long run, fracking doesn’t really so much as cause earthquakes as it does releasing ambient stress on what would eventually have been a much larger earthquake. Increasing the pore pressure does not set up the large scale stress fields that actually cause the quakes. It actually allows a more measured release of the prevailing stress.

      Causing an eruption? If the magma pocket/chamber was not already under enough pressure to erupt, it’s doubtful that drilling into it can initiate one.

      • Here is an idea.

        After the lower Puna eruption is over, it might be a good field of study to determine if the extraction of geothermal energy had any mitigating effects on the movement of magma through the rift system. It seems to me that the PGV facility was bypassed by the dikes surface manifestation a bit. Perhaps the extraction of thermal energy made that portion of the rift less prone to reactivation.

        • was wondering on that, could it have something to do with the betonite mud they pumped in to stabilize the wells, I know betonite is volcanic in origin, but maybe lacking in something to atrat ortell the lava to buzz off, not an expert

        • Dunno… but [food grade] bentonite is an excellent clarifier for summer wine or hard apple cider. Spent yeast sticks to the bentonite and sediments out to the bottom of the container leaving a really clear product which is then decanted off.

          As for it’s effect in a well… it adds density to the drilling fluid and raises the hydraulic head at depth. My main idea was that the cooling at depth from the energy extraction may have made later heating by the dike to take longer as it passed the geothermal plant and caused the fissures to open up rift and down rift rather than directly at the plant. Fissure 8s magma river eliminated any benefit of this later.

          My hope is to throw a nugget of an idea out there that some aspiring geosciences student might take up as a research project. For now, it’s just the mental meanderings of some nameless twit on the internet. (me)

  23. The ongoing Pahala area deep quakes

    7km ESE of Pahala, Hawaii
    2018-06-11 20:56:10 (UTC)
    33.6 km

    7km E of Pahala, Hawaii
    2018-06-11 13:00:22 (UTC)
    36.0 km

    3km SW of Pahala, Hawaii
    2018-06-11 06:27:32 (UTC)
    30.2 km

    5km E of Pahala, Hawaii
    2018-06-11 05:35:54 (UTC)
    32.9 km

    • I think this data is pretty much shouting at us that kilauea isn’t going into dormancy any time soon. Something notable that did happen in 1924 was that the deep source experienced deflation. The 1924 deep source was apparently east of the caldera and a bit north, so very different to now, and from the rate of eruption at that time it probably was mostly drained out, but still this is significant.
      I also looked at the tilt after 1960 again and apparently it was a drop of 1500 microradians, not much less than now, and way more than the 300 that I saw in another source. Deflation of between 1 and 2 meters seems to be quite normal at kilauea during lower rift eruptions, so what is happening there now isn’t really doing anything unusual. The rather larger size of this eruption so far might be because it also has the upper part of the rift as a magma source too.

      It should be expected that new eruptions will happen very quickly after the leilani eruption ends. It took about a year after 1960 for another eruption to happen, so it might take as little as 6 months now as the supply is about twice that of 1960. At that rate the next eruption will be somewhere between December 2018 and March 2019.

    • I found something interesting that might have something to do with this swarm in a report of volcanic activity at Big Island from 1953:

      //September. The volcanoes continued to be seismically restless during September. A large number of very small earthquakes was recorded. Many of them apparently originated on or near the zone just south of the island from which the great number of quakes originated during March and April, 1952, preceding the eruption of Kilauea.//

      An eruption happened in June 1954. The 1952 eruption happened in June-July so it was much more inmediate to the earthquakes. Since the Pahala swarm connects at depth with other swarms offshore to the south maybe has something to do but one problem is that the exact location of the 1952 and 1953 swarms are not specified there.

      The 1952 eruption was a relatively big summit caldera eruption (Only when compared to other caldera eruptions) the eruption that followed in 1954 was smaller and happened in both Halemaumau and caldera. I dont know if the 1955 intrusion to Puna was somehow related to the earthquakes but I think there is a high posibility that it had started already as the ERZ ans SWRZ were already very active before the south of the island earthquakes.

      • I have read that the 1954 eruption was probably almost accidental as a result of the rapid inflation after 1952. It also could have opened the conduit up to allow the 1959 eruption to happen where it did. The 1955 eruption is the flank eruption that followed the 1952 summit eruption. I have also read (and I think said several times in comments before) that the deep quakes before the 1950s eruptions seem to come from north of kilauea, between Volcano and Hilo, so the current deep source might be new as of this century.

        This is an interesting paper too:

        • I have read part of that already. About the earthquakes at least according to the 1953 activity report originated south of Kilauea not north and also the first earthquakes of the Pahala swarm (2015) happened offshore to the south and southwest of Pahala so that could fit with the description of the 1952 and 1953 events. The other time when Pahala has been active recently was in 1996 at the same time the Loihi swarm took place, that time earthquakes were shallower and less numerous but given that all the ones recorded are 3-4 in magnitude then smaller earthquakes would have happened unnoticed. The 1996 was brief and shallower but I think it is related as it coincides perfectly with the area affected by the 2015-2018 Pahala swarm (They both cover a elongated area that begins at Pahala then goes south offshore and bends southwest until it stops nest to South Point).

          • Earthquakes between Volcano and Hilo between 1950 and 1959 are shown in this paper:

            Page 72

            It is possible that the source to the southwest was active too at this time but the unusual magma composition of 1959 argues that there was a second source that bypassed the main magma chamber. Most of the lava erupted in 1959 was normal tholeiite basalt that was the same as what erupted in 1954 but some of it was very primitive magma that was borderline ultramafic, with a SiO2 content of 46% and a very high percentage of olivine (high Mg and Fe).
            It was also the hottest lava observed at any point in an eruption anywhere on earth at that time, with a temperature of over 1200 C.
            This happened during the 3rd or 4th high fountain, I think.

            Kilauea iki also collapsed during the 1959 eruption, the lava lake hid the collapse entirely but drilling found the lake to be about 30 meters deeper than where it should have been, so the volume of the 1959 eruption might have been somewhat higher than the usual figures. I do remember reading something about it once that between two of the phases the vent apparently relocated about 20 meters uphill and the lake rose accordingly, but I think that was probably when the collapse happened and the lake fell rather than the vent changing.

          • It looks very interesting. I have only taken a short look but I think it only preceeded the 1959 eruption the other summit eruptions before were probably related to the south of the island swarm. I wonder if the earthquakes north of Kilauea belong to the old source of it as the system has been proposed to be moving southward and the plumbing system maybe did the same.

          • I think it is more likely that kilaueas magma source is just really wide and that it moves around over an area that is roughly a circle extending up to as far as 40 km from the summit. It would also overlap with mauna loa and loihi, and possibly explain why mauna loa is relatively inactive while kilauea is erupting, and vice versa. Mauna loa probably has a similarly large source area, maybe a bit bigger but largely the same (their average supply rates are similar when seasonal data is removed). Loihi probably isn’t big enough to be significantly involved in this yet but one day that will change.

            I also saw a deformation graph that showed the tilt records from 1956 to 2008, and if you add about 0.6 meters of inflation (+600 microradians) to the end of that graph you get the level it would be at before the current deflation started (the total amount of inflation in the last 10 years is about that much).
            That would put the tilt now at somewhere a bit above the bottom of the 1960 drop, so it actually isn’t really all that low in total terms, certainly not anywhere near actually collapsing entirely. It also indicates that the majority of the visible collapse is probably from the conduit to the former summit vent collapsing in and subsequent slumping of the walls, as opposed to a piston-like drop of the entire caldera floor like what happened at bardarbunga in 2014. Had there been an active lava lake in 1960 the result likely would have been much the same as what is happening now.

            The more superficial cause of the summit collapse also probably would mean the main magma system is still intact underneath and thus new eruptions might happen quite suddenly with little warning time (this happened with many post-1960 summit eruptions).

            I drew this picture to show what I mean.

            (magma = red, fault lines = brown, rubble = purple)

            Theory 1 is probably what happened at bardarbunga, while theory 2 is probably what is happening now on kilauea. Theory 2 would also be supported by the presence of juvenile material in the summit explosions, which would still likely be present at shallow depths in the second scenario, while magma would actually have to be pushed up in the first scenario, which isn’t likely when the volcano is deflating. The explosions themselves would also be an indication, as the piston model wouldn’t be as likely to leave huge amounts of rubble on its own while the other obviously would.

            (if the picture is really big, could someone with editing powers please fix it to a more manageable size? thanks)

          • I think that this being just the conduit collapse must be true. I dont have a clear picture of how the summit reservoir structure really is but as far as I know the shallow reservoir is at the same depth as the shallow conduit of the ERZ so the that the moment the real reservoir begins to collapse the connection through the upper ERZ should be cut off and maybe see some pit crater collapses. It is strange that after Kane Nui o Hamo which was 750? years BP, more or less, an aproximate number of at least 12 pit crater collapses have taken place but none of them after 1790. I am not considering Pu’u’o’o as one of these as it is appart from the Kane Nui o Hamo summit (also not counted) the only one related to the shallow conduit or reservoir of a large shield or sustained vent in the ERZ. If the major pit craters are really formed how it is thought to happen and if a Lower Puna eruption is the inmediate cause then we may see it happening very soon. How the big summit caldera formation events take place I dont know but I dont think there is a very good date for the last caldera so it is difficult to correlate it to any volcanic event.

            The reason why I think the main deep source of Kilauea is to the south is because the low seismic wave velocity anomalies seem to extend south from the summit at 30-40 km deep and that agrees with the 1952, 1953 and recent Pahala swarms.

          • There might be quite a lot of pit craters forming on kilauea in the near future, I can agree that the possibility is high for more to form in the chain of craters area, but some could form on the part of the caldera floor between kilauea iki and the still collapsing summit crater, and another one near keanakako’i crater is plausible, as are some forming on the upper part of the southwest rift up to near mauna iki. None of the one near the summit will probably be really big though, maybe 100-400 meters wide. There is a fairly high chance of a pit forming in the area between makaopuhi and mauna ulu, a bit north of where the former alae crater was, and another possible location might be between pu’u o’o and napau. This might not happen just yet though as the 1840 eruption went through all these areas too and didn’t do much, and this current eruption is still smaller than 1840. If the summit deflation stops while the eruption keeps going, then the chance of new pits forming is way higher as the magma would be coming from the rift and with nothing to replenish them the chambers would drain quickly. Drained chambers = pits forming, eventually.

            That might also close the rift for a while, as a new intrusion would have to force the rift open again after something like that, which will happen eventually but probably not in the next 10 years.
            That would cause all eruptions to happen in the summit area for a while and form a lava shield in the new deep crater, overflow that crater and the caldera rim, and eventually a situation like the aila’au eruption could present itself, though that would not take an absolute minimum of 20 years due to recent changes to the size of the summit crater. Lava could also drain rapidly through the southwest rift at shallow depths with little warning as it did in 1823 and 1919, resulting in a large but superficial drop in lava level at the summit as well as a big and fast lava flow that is short lived but extremely intense. None of this is likely to affect inhabited areas for a long time though, at least not until a new eruption on the lower east rift is likely again, so for many people it will be a change that is much appreciated.

          • Maybe the reason 1840 didnt cause any pit crater collapse is because it wasnt feeding on the ERZ reservoirs. It happened in a weird place and it had a picritic composition (If it was from reservoirs you would expect at least normal basalt to be erupted or since the ERZ had been very inactive before more evolved lavas). The more we go back in time the more difficult it is to know exactly how the plumbing system behaved and there are different ways the 1840 intrusion could have happened.

          • I brought up 1840 because only the lowest vents had picritic composition. The vents on the middle east rift were normal basalt and would have appeared as a rather standard small eruption. It is likely that the eruption was connected to the upper levels of the east rift because of that, even if the lowest vents were fed from a deeper source.
            It is interesting that I cant find any mention of a deeper pit in makaopuhi crater at that time, and the 1840 fissure apparently was on the downrift side of the crater. This might suggest that the deeper part was formed in that eruption, although it will be hard to tell as the crater is gone now.

            I would like to see an actual number for how deep the current dike is being fed from, as this eruption has already outdone almost every other eruption on kilauea in recorded history and an eruption of any kind on the lower east rift would be expected to come from a deeper source. I have seen a paper that suggests the 1960 eruption was fed from a deeper level than most other eruptions too, not as deep as 1840 but deeper than the supposed dike feeding the eruption now. Maybe the eruption now is fed from a somewhat deeper source than is assumed too?

    • Even if it does not get formed, the NHC warns of very intense rainfall that could cause flash-floods and mudslides … the perfect fuel to start a lahar.

      • Fairly odd place for the “Bermuda High” to be hanging out… the trend from this will push it into Central America.

          • The Bermuda High Finger can stay where it is. A true Bermuda High pumps tons of humidity into the mid-Atlantic states. Right now, the temperature and humidity are perfect. Over the next few days the temperature is supposed to climb into the mid 80s, but the humidity is supposed to stay under 70%. I love it. I’ll take it for as long as it lasts.

    • Basalt is high in Fe, moving conductors can invoke an electric field when passing through a magnetic field. Moving electrons generate a magnetic field. Personal opinion, this is how the Laschamp event occured. Coincidental to it Campi Flegri occurred.

      • What should happen, is that as the magma cools below the currie point for the crystals containing iron, they should lock-in whatever the prevailing magnetic field is. That is how they identified the age of the different volcanic vents in at El Heirro.

    • going out on a limb here (move over Lucy) but i think i’m smart enough to keep my money in my pocket and not pay the paper to tell me why i’m dumber than before…… and the half complement of ” perhaps we can’t measure the ‘new intelligence’ due to electronics” eh?? i can tell You why we aren’t as smart…. because we bought into the idea of telling kids they can have what they need and what they want without working for it….. we stopped demanding kids to produce, to be held responsible, and also stopped being present in our kids lives. Best! to the next generation… but will there even be one? People of the ‘me’ generation perhaps won’t choose to have kids…. Will we even have a “Thee” generation???? Too late for motsfo…. Good Night

      • Valid thoughts. My only defense of that generation is that they are by no means homogenous. I’ve got one under my roof that took a shine towards hard gritty work. Now he’s nearing completion of his welding certifications.

      • Even among those who I expect to stand out on top of the majority, only a few are not making me disappointed. (thinking on our PhD students and postdocs..:-(

  24. Some calculations I have done on the amount of lava that has erupted so far from kilauea.

    Fissure 8: Formed on May 4, reactivated on May 28, dominant vent from May 29 onwards.
    Assuming the eruption rate has remained stable, at the average of 6.5 million m3/day it has erupted about 98 million m3 of lava. This is only the lava erupted from fissure 8 in the last 2 weeks, and it has already reached a level comparable to the 1955 and 1960 eruptions.
    Fissures before #8: Major eruptions between May 17 and May 30.
    The amount of lava erupted over the course of the 13 days between when new magma arrived and when fissure 8 reactivated would be an additional 84 million m3 of lava assuming the same eruption rate. In reality the eruption rate might have been even higher if it was able to supply all those active fissures at high levels simultaneously. HVO mentioned a number of 12 million m3/day at one point during that time…
    The amount of lava erupted before May 17 would probably amount to 8 million m3, maybe a bit higher.

    The total volume is therefore calculated to be somewhere around 190 million m3. Still not as big as 1840 but significantly bigger than 1955 or 1960, and also bigger than any other eruption since 1840 for the volume it has erupted in the length of time this eruption has been going for.
    So far it is:
    ~40% the size of mauna ulu (~500 million m3)
    85% the size of 1840 (225 million m3)
    170% the size of 1960 (113 million m3)
    211% the size of 1955 (90 million m3)?

    It is still only 10% the size of holuhraun, and >5% the size of pu’u o’o (and 0.1% the size of skaftar fires…), but none of those are really comparable fairly and probably should be considered exceptions rather than the rule.

    Considering there is nothing otherwise unusual about the circumstances of this eruption (no separate feed bypassing the summit chamber like 1840, no unusual lava chemistry, no massive surge of magma into the volcano before, the deflation is not even an exceptional number), this eruption is very big. The only real explanation is that there was a lot of magma stored in the rift up to pu’u o’o, and this is all draining out.

    • Also finally there is a gif of the webcam at HVO showing the collapse of halemaumau. It might be even bigger than I thought, it looks like it could be up to 2 km across on its longest axis. Note the deflation without actual collapse that is happening to the left of the gif.

    • I added to my picture, I drew a green line around the area which is falling but without a visible crater edge. The red is the former overlook crater, orange is the overlook crater now, yellow is the edge of the actual collapse, purple lines are other historical vents.

    • Anyone have a link to a geochemical report on lower Puna magma? It might be possible to do an estimate of SO2 mass ratio with the FeO and TiO2 values.

      • It should be the same as the pu’u o’o magma as of May 17. Any point after the 2011 kamoamoa eruption should work as the magma composition from that point should be the same for all the flows.

        This lava is probably very primitive compared to a lot of other magmas at kilauea because the conduit to pu’u o’o was open and so the magma erupted now is probably not much older than a few months and possibly only a few weeks since it was in the deep feeder system (which experiences negligible cooling from mantle temperatures and is close to 100% molten and much hotter than the eruption temperature). The lava from fissure 17 was andesite, but everything else is tholeite basalt and maybe some basaltic andesite, and all of the lava in the last few weeks is tholeite basalt. Usually that has a composition of 48-50% SiO2, 7-15% MgO, 5-12% FeO, and not much Na2O or K2O. I dont know how much TiO2 there is.

        The SO2 levels are as high as all the sensors will go though so it must be way higher than anything else seen recently.

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