Weekend Ash to Pottery Competition

Rauðibotn. Image from Icelandic Mag.

A couple of weeks ago we got an email from one of our readers who is currently studying how to make ceramics and porcelain in Iceland. She was wondering about what ashes might give the best colours.

I am not the best geologist around, and instead concentrate on the squiggly stuff on seismometers and bouncing dots from GPS-stations, I thought it might be a fun weekend challenge for our esteemed readers to help her out.

I have edited the emails and put them below. So, hope that you all will have fun!


A bowl of ash

Seyðishólar, picture taken by the person asking the questions.

In my work I examine local raw material not from a scientific point of view but more from aesthetic. I use them to colour ceramic objects.

For my diploma project I was interested in working with basaltic volcanic ashes as I suppose they are rich in iron (which gives me a colour).

As I know basically nothing or almost nothing about geology, I have problems with telling which material is which and where to find the material I could work with.

This is where I would need some help.

This weekend I went to Seyðishólar. I picked up some red pumice rocks, but the problem is that even if I grind it very well, I´m not able to get super fine powder.

This is when I stumbled upon your article and found the pictures of volcanic ash layers (which is called tephra I guess, from the article I read on your website).

I tried to find this kind of layer near Seyðishólar but the ground was frozen so I could pick anything up.


My questions

What I see in the picture below (the quarry in Seyðishólar) is not tephra right, or is it? If not, are those different lava rocks?

If I would like to find tephra layers, would you recommend looking for some open earth profile (possibly in Seyðishólar) or just try to dig a hole somewhere in this area? (Editor’s question: Or are there other better areas?)

And one more question about the method of recognizing the layers (just by curiosity). Are layers of tephra recognized by the order of volcanic eruptions and then also colours? Are there any other factors involved?


Points for answers

The absurd crater called Apple Crater. Sometimes nature uses Verner Panton as a colour consultant.

I will award points for good answers, good suggestions, and Editor’s Choice Award points for answers that are “out there, but helpful”. I will declare a winner at the end of the next article we publish.

Carl Rehnberg

416 thoughts on “Weekend Ash to Pottery Competition

  1. It’s past the weekend, but it just occurred to me that ceramic glaze is very glass-like, so why not use obsidian as a base for the glaze? I don’t know if there are any obsidian-rich volcanoes in Iceland, but I do seem to remember Geldingadalir / Fagradalsfjall producing some Pele’s Tears when it was in its fountaining stage, so there must be some around. If proper safety measures were taken I would think that obsidian could be ground into a powder relatively easily.

    • The glassy glaze on porcelain is made by firing the cheramics until they begin to melt I think

    • Maybe there is obsidian at Torfajokull, lots of rhyolite and mostly effusive in recent millennia.

    • Obsidian is just created based on the cooling rate. Plain old garden variety basalt (depending on whose garden, of course) melts at a relatively low temperature and would be decent for glazes. Higher silica obsidians and glasses like fulgerites and tectites will not work well – they melt at such high temperatures that traditional ceramic processing furnaces can’t hack it (and the ceramic piece might not either).

      Either way, the silicate network just provides the shiny matrix for the colorful ions to swim around in. Despite their beautiful effects, the transition metals or rare-earth elements that end up providing color represent only a tiny fraction of the total – from 0.1 to 5 mass%.

  2. OT…a bit..
    A new published report that’s making the rounds is California and much of the western half of the U.S. is now in the worst drought in the last 1,200yrs. ( https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/western-megadrought-is-the-worst-in-1-200-years/ )
    Although here in Northern California we’ve had several (well 2 actually) very wet years since 2002 when the drought started, the overall deficit is now threatening to turn our “Mediterranean” climate into an extension of the great SW desert.
    At present, my place in the Sacramento Valley just south of Mt. Shasta and west of Mt. Lassen, “averages” 26-27 inches of rain per rainyear (Oct.-Sept.).
    However, this year only 9.00″ have fallen despite our rainy season is now 2/3 over…with little hope that a miracle Spring will save us from another super-dry (and flammable) Summer.
    Last year, which was the driest on record in many places of NorCal since the last great minimum in 1975-77, I received 11.06″…and it is entirely possible we may not even get that much come our Summer bake-out.
    The only thing that can save us is a “Black Swan” type of pattern…i.e. a once in 50-100 yr setup…and with things so convoluted, there just isn’t much reason for hope of this happening.
    In many ways, this drought is worse than covid since virtually every aspect of daily living is getting affected…from higher food prices, no water for growing more food for the rest of the world, eco-systems in collapse, business geared to the travel industry going under, major health issues for those of us forced to breath more smoke and pollution than in China, and the list goes on and on.

      • The grab of water by SoCal and the SW in general is enormous…and much comes from the northern part of the State (via aqueducts) and dwindling aquifers.
        It would take a full post to detail all the related “issues” regarding water use and regulations in California, but regrettably the drought makes all this rather moot.
        If there ain’t no water falling from the sky, there’s nothing left to regulate.

    • Put in a call to Hawaii, tell them to book you on the Pineapple Express!

    • Yes, the whole western world is sleepwalking to disaster.
      Its good being green and eco, and done rationally and holistically, much can be done.
      Sadly its actually just politics where money is wasted on things that have little effect (like electric cars) whilst things of importance go undone (like upgraded sewage works in the UK). Where good farming land is ‘rewilded’ in the UK without the realisation that the food is now produced on the amazon where yields, infrastructure and pollution are all worse.
      The Californian drought has been well signalled for decades, I read scientific american…

      • I would not call a 7 percent reduction of CO2 (plus all of the other pollutants) gas into the atmosphere a small thing (electric cars).
        It is on the same level as moving the entire steel industry to hydrogen reduction cycle.
        Wind power generation is removing another 14 percent in the next two decades.
        I could make this list longer.

        What irks me is that politicians seem to go out of their way to hinder this revolution.
        Instead they are satisfying themselves (in a sexual way) with ponderously declaring that Nuclear power is the way to go, not even understanding the scale of what is needed.
        So, instead they are planning to install nuclear power to a cost of 10 000 billion dollars to get rid of 1 percent of the CO2 emissions… And the first of these nuclear power plants will start in two decades at best.

        • WE will have to disagree on electric cars, certainly in most of europe where the extra electricity required is generated from gas (UK) or lignit (germany) eyc.
          Pollution from modern diesels is insignificant.
          Anyway, china, india, s.america and most of asia will carry on with increasing use of fossil fuels regardless for decades.

          • Modern diesels are not more efficient than an electric car, even on the dirtiest of coals.
            The solution is not to continue to run Exploding Engine cars, but instead to produce more sustainable electricity.
            Something that we know how to do, but is hindered by politicians and other australopithecines grunting their way through life.

            Best is obviously electric trains and electric busses.

          • Diesel is the most poluting of all of the hydrocarbon fuels. Even accounting that it is more efficient than gasoline it emits more CO2 per distance, and not only CO2 but much more particulate matter too, millions die every year because of exhaust fumes and their (lack of) regulations. While I understand you are a well meaning individual and this is in no way personal, it does baffle me that you would choose a diesel vehicle over an electric vehicle in the guise of environmentalism…

            EV and ICE cars are about the same degree of emissions to manufacture, and ICE vehicles use significant quantities of all of the ‘battery elements too (nickel, cobalt, lithium)’ but only one of them inherently has further emissions as a requirement. One thing that is of note is that electricity generation is more energy efficient than the transmission of a car, mechanical systems have enormous friction that can be half of the total power.
            Better to put that diesel in a generator and have that power the wheels with electric motors. generators are tweeked to run with maximum efficiency, can get up to 50%, about the limit of a heat engine. But cars of current design will never get close to that, unless you basically make an electric car with a built in generator instead of a charging port, so that the driving is handled electrically and the ICE is purely an electric generator, basically an energy source.
            Even at that, I think an engine block powerful enough to give the required electric output to run the car would actually be heavier than a battery pack…

            I also trust you are aware of the Volkswagen dieselgate scandle. I dont think any diesel emissions numbers can really be trusted after that.

          • Electric cars with sustainable electricity = tick. Absolutely.
            Electric cars powered by lignite and gas miles away and needing many lossy energy conversions = bad. bad bad.

            Sadly we are not at the former and diesel is cleaner than lignite powered electric cars. (much), gas is only a slight advantage (as Albert pointed out, less carbon in gas).

        • Thing that irks me is all the African child slave labour mining the Coltan and other rare earth metals 8n the Congo and other places around the world so the West can sit back and say how good we are for reducing CO2 levels by building electric cars. Those reductions are achieved on the backs of children who die daily digging with their bare hands in pits which collapse on them with distressing regularity.

      • The UK also has a lot of marginal land where farming may cause more damage than the food is worth. The solution to much of our food problem has to come from cattle. Or rather, fewer cattle. I am not a vegetarian and have no intention to become one, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat meat every day.

        Global warming will turn some parts of the world into unsuitable for agriculture, and in those places livestock may well be the only option for farmers. But on good land, cattle is a luxury, and on poor land it can be destructive. In Greenland, the Vikings quickly got rid of pigs (too destructive) but kept the sheep and goats. They also kept cattle but primarily on the best farms. Choices.

        • I agree with Albert here.
          And I can’t be vegan due to a pesky genetic variance hindering me from breaking down bean-proteins without helper proteins in meat. But, I have cut my meat intake in half.

          If everyone cut their animal products in half we would be able to produce 30 percent more food. If we stopped producing buckets of cats and dogs we would increase that number a further and limited ourselves to 8 cats instead of the per usual 20 (joke, I mean have half as many dogs and cats), we would save another 10 percent.

          • Agree with the meat. Cut down on consommation is the key. For this though vegetables would have to be less expensive. In most European countries chicken and minced meat is cheaper than tomatoes. Good tomatoes are extraordinarily expensive nowadays.

            With dogs and cats I don’t agree. They are good for children growing up and help older people not to feel so alone. Are great against depression – horses and dolphins are used for therapy. Are basically nicer than we are, altogether.
            I see a part though which could be helpful. Pay castrations for poor people in some countries. In countries like Portugal they used to collect all cats without owners and then kill them. Terrible.
            My dog is an omnivore. He loves olives, apples and tomatoes, and few people know that dogs can live with less meat. The dinosaurs were omnivores as well when they were not pure plant eaters.

          • Do note that I did not say that we should not have pets. I said that it would be good if we had one or two instead of the average cat-owner that has between 45 and 500 (joke, but there is a core of truth here).

            Personally I do like dogs. My crazy travelling stops me from having one now. I grew up with huge arsed boxers, and I can attest to the therapeutic value of having a snoring and farting dog around. 🙂

          • Then Carl, there are also people who can’t have children or don’t want children. No reason why they shouldn’t have dogs, birds or cats.
            Before all, there should be more communication about sensible ways to live not things like “We’ll forbid”, maybe a bit of nudging, but not much, as people don’t like to be pampered.
            I will never live without a dog, until I die. He’s my most endeared company when nobody is here. And one thing is great about dogs: They don’t talk. They are peaceful if well treated. They have a deep thankfulness that the human being often has forgotten. They are a culture too. And a contact medium, very easy to get in touch with a dog owner outside.

          • “a dog”
            This was my point the entire time.
            You have one dog. Not many of them.
            I was talking about limiting the number of them per person, not banning them.

        • Albert. Give me an example where marginal land is used for farming and causing damage. Much marginal land is actually maintained by grazing. Those short grassy swards don’t happen by accident.
          Cattle and sheep are best used on land that cannot be sensibly used for arable. Sheep tend to be better for soils.
          Whether we should reforest the western UK moors (globally a rare ecosystem) is moot. Of course their amazing scenery would be lost if we did, and the ecosystem that currently pertains.

          • Sheep and heather don’t go together. You may prefer the gras, of course, but we don’t want all of the uplands to change. (It is a bit ironic that the grouse shooting farms have the most natural land.) It is a matter of balance, but the density of sheep that is possible to keep in the uplands is not economically viable.

          • Sheep and heather are fine. Where did you hear otherwise. Dartmoor and areas of the peak district etc have historically been grazed by sheep. Needs controlled burns periodically (results in a much more complex ecosystem) but heather is fine for sheep if not overmature.
            Yes, the stocking density is low, its thin arid soil with low plant productivity either too wet or too dry for much of the year.
            Most sports estates have the most interesting and native ecology, not least because they keep people out!

          • Ah, Albert, please do not confuse things. Yes, probably high sheep,populations will remove heather, it will not be able to withstand heavy defoliation, mind you the acid-loving grasses that take over are probably even less productive. As your paper shows, its simply a matter of appropriately adjusting the stocking rate, the sheep are not bad, the management is.
            I have a friend with a (predominantly) upland welsh farm (heather on the tops) and when he took it over (complete with one worker) the man said that if you try and overstock then your sheep will not thrive (euphemism for die or be infertile), or as he said “The hills will soon tell you you are doing it wrong”.
            I guess that is one of the problems with comments on agriculture to a population that doesn’t understand at all, its easier for urban myths to come to the fore because knowledge is not required (true of all urban myths come to that).

          • I am happy to be corrected. The basic problem remains that there is a conflict between what the land can bear and what is profitable. And that makes the land marginal. I am not saying that all upland grassland should revert to heather, but neither should we force the land to be grassed so we can justify sheep. We need balance. Of course, at the moment that type of land is more valuable for carbon credits than for farming, so it is bought up for tree planting. I am not sure about that either.

            I have family who farm sheep but they do so on suitable land. I have learned from them that every sheep (singular) is different.

          • Ah, farming profitably is something different. Generally (as the shepherd said) overstocking is never profitabe, ultimately there is insufficient for growth and production becomes zero (at high stocking rates) usually followed by high mortality as a natural correction.
            The problem is much of our upland is not profitable and the residents are leaving. Unfarmed upland tends to trees, which is actually rather a restricted ecosystem, or overmature heather which eventually burns uncontrolled on some hot summer day.

          • Yes, either way the land needs managing. Nature has a drastic way of land management that does not sit well with our requirements, so we need to step in with controlled burning, culling, coppicing, dredging, etc. Rewilding sounds nice but actually is a lot of work. Forests are also controlled by deer, of course, and deer can get out of control just as much as sheep can, for lack of a large predator.

          • Woods are though a good thing if you wish to build wooden houses… 🙂

          • Albert, you are right.
            Wilding done properly requires management and money.
            Sadly, in the UK, the reports from people doing it seems to be st leave the farm unfarmed, unmanaged and untended.
            Whilst this initially has splendid results, you will end up with solid woodland and a sparse ecology.

        • Dogs are also creating their own pollution the poop
          Million ton of dog poop ends up in Swedens nature every year. This is why local nature maybe oversaturated with phospor, as well as rise in intestinal worms as the eggs are spread everywhere in society. It is estimated that around 30,000 dogs live in Stockholm. Every year there is a blue whale’s weight of dog manure that is not picked up.

          Agiculture creates the most pollution and large scale overfertilization in Sweden

          But Dogs, Horses, and of course animals in the lifestock industry produce alot of waste that ends up in nature

          In personal pets I think the Horse is the most polluting large phospurus machines

          • Dog poop can be collected and most people do it. It is not any worse than what we produce. Intestinal worms don’t come from dogs as the dog is the worm carrier. If dogs have no cures against worms (bet the Swedish are meticulous with that) the human being can get echinococcus in the liver which is extremely rare.
            Intestinal worms of humans came from untreated and uninspected meat and also untreated salad and is more or less a thing of the past when meat is well enough inspected.
            Your attitude towards animals is about the opposite of your love for extinct dinosaurs and altogether unacceptable for animal lovers who are mostly happy persons with fewer issues that animal haters.

          • With horses you are just as wrong. Horses are plant eaters and what they leave behind makes the most beautiful roses and is often asked for. Horse manure is useful, consistent. Even Johannes Tauler, born 1300 in Strasbourg, knew this.

          • Most dogs are harmless pets. The owners should be aware that birds will leave immediately once dogs are around. Dogs need to be strictly controlled in nature. The same applies of course on farmland where they go after the livestock. There are people who keep large dogs in apartments that are too small for them, and some breeds of dogs are too dangerous to be kept as pets. We see in our local area that dogs have become a status symbol among some people, and that can go badly wrong. Cats are a different problem. They are the main reason there are no ground nesting birds left in towns and cities. We have FAR too many of them. I am not pointing at any particular individual (well, apart from Schrodinger) but the sum is too many. I am completely in favour of culling the excess…

          • The other thing is that you cannot see what Stockholm people do with their dogs’ s**t. I guess they collect it like everybody else in cities in Europe.

            This is desolate. You talked already of roasted meat, don’t like human beings too much, neither animals and tell wrong stories about animals.
            You complain about your eyes instead of taking to the doctors and find out what it is.

            You seem to live in a dream world with volcanoes. You should drink a glass of carrot juice every day for Viatamin A (good for the retina), consult an ophthalmologist and think some things over, for sure.

            If not I tend to think you might be a robot. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. Seriously, you will get stuck like this. Sorry for saying this, but your misantropy which includes landscapes and animals might be a bit of a burden for yourself. Think it over, please.

          • Schrödinger’s Wife Conundrum:
            Is there 1 or 500 cats in the box…

          • Well, Albert there are nice cats that can be kept inside. I never see a Maine Coon run around. I think the problem is that people with everyday cats don’t sterilize them. The same people are flabberghasted when they have to pay for a dog’s opreration. There could certainly be laws that cats who are not for breeding have to be sterilized.
            Look at the Maine Coon in case you don’t know it. The Ragdoll isn’t bad either. It is an amazing cat from America. I would have one if I didn’t also lave my furniture.

          • Why do the swedes overfertilise, that causes all sorts of problems that reduces profitability considerably?
            Further there are rather heavy EC restrictions limiting fertilise usage in nitrate vulnerable zones.
            Or are you talking about animal manures?
            That’s another ball game, so poorly understood (although obvious once explained) that EC and government regulations often force farmers to spread under less than ideal conditions to protect something that is not in danger whilst exposing things in danger to a worse threat.

          • Problem is not Sweden, we have restricted our fertilizing and it is within EU limits.
            Problem are all of the rivers ending up in the Baltic Sea from countries that do not give a rats arse about limits…

          • Carl, on fertilising that sounds much more plausible.
            Frankly its not economic to waste fertiliser or pesticides, however its quite easy to be very careless, particularly with human sewage which is high in both phosphate (soluble) and nitrogen. Either on its own, not too bad, both together is a catastrophe.
            Pollution of rivers and streams cleaned up in the 1960’s and 70’s in the UK is now common from sewage works. They cannot get planning permission (very unpopular with voters) to expand to treat the increasing amounts of rural housing (ie non-city) and are pretty happy with that as its a brilliant (and true) excuse.
            Incinerators similarly…
            So from time to time (and increasingly often) they pollute watercourses.

        • I like Animals too..
          Its the humans that are the problematic animal .. and the cause of the holocene mass extinction and We are well resposible for the Pleistocene Extinction

          Last time Europe have Any natural unspoiled fauna was in the Early or Middle Pleistocene, after that it went downhill with the evolving human hunters

          • You love animals. Good. That wasn’t so clear. Good for you too.
            Most people in northern Europe are decent with animals and also clean up after them.
            The problem is southern Europe, esp. Spain and Portugal. There needs to be a sterilization initiative. They kill them when too many. This is no solution.

            In Dartmoor, stupid humans just dropped their old horses, just some, few stupid people. When the Dartmoor Pony started to disappear, they sterilized all migrant horses. That’s how they saved the Dartmood Pony.

            Iceland doesn’t allow the import of horses to start with. Wise decision.

      • Droughts in California are certainly nothing new…but it’s the root cause for the pattern stagnation that’s so worrisome.
        Droughts of the past were a result of “natural” forcing, thus there was a finite lifetime to the droughts until the atmosphere reached a breaking/tipping point and rains resumed.
        But now, there is no element of “natural forcing” that can explain the depth and longevity of this drought which is now reaching epic proportions…and as of now, looks to continue for the foreseeable future.

        • I hope that you guys get more rain in the near future.
          Otherwise it will not be pretty.

          • Long range models are not cooperating.
            Though conditions in the Arctic and over the continents play a huge role in our annual weather patterns, primarily, it’s the ENSO (El Nino/La NIna) state that’s putting the lid on our precip as well as triggering off-the-charts events observed elsewhere in the world.
            As of just yesterday, the latest progs were showing close to a 75% chance that La NIna or at best neutral SSTA will persist perhaps for the rest of the calendar year…which if verified could portend an even worse Winter (as in no precip) than what I’m seeing now.

          • I thought global warming was supposed to encourage El nino’s, which I admit have been rare of late. Once I would check on the status regularly, but it got boring.

    • Ask Israel, maybe?:
      “Imagine a vast expanse of moonscape rock and sand that has been a desolate hothouse since pre-history. Here at the lowest point on Earth, 1,200 feet below sea level, with an average of 355 sunny days and barely an inch of rain each year, where daytime temperatures often exceed 120 degrees F. and nights can fall below freezing, is the Negev Desert, the southern two-thirds of Israel. And that’s where Kalman Eisenmann makes a nice living growing tomatoes, peppers, and melons.”

      California same latitude as Libya Desert and Israel.
      “A Flourishing Desert Ecosystem”

      There’s a lot more. It was a desert when they moved there.

      Instead of waiting for rain this might be an option. But Israel doesn’t have anything like LA. Cities with more than a few million inhabitants seem unhealthy to me.

      Then Libya:

      There are things going on in Jordan as well.
      The Californian government from far has seemd incapable for years. Sorry, if this is the wrong impression.

      • Derives from ages of being obliged to create a silk purse from a sow’s ear in order to survive. Think desalination. The irony being that ultimately, all of humanity benefits….even the oppressors.

    • The other thing which is ridiculous is a worldwide habit to take a shower before and after taking to the pool. That’s wasted water imho. If I had a pool I wouldn’t take a shower each time and certainly not in the morning, just a fast one in the evening. But what I keep seeing is coming out of my hotel room, freshly showered and having to take the next shower before I use the pool although the pool has chloride. This grows the illusion that we can be sterile. We can’t and what for? We always have germs on our skin.
      A pool can save water, but not if people take showers going in and coming out of a pool.
      And where the real germs sit like Escherischia Coli the shower doesn’t get. Bidets are said to help, but not around pools.
      There’s a lot that can be done about water. Big shots have to get rid of 90% of their well mawed lawns surrounding their properties. There should be a limit to the size of lawns. There are enough plants which don’t need much water. From far, nobody sees any effort to save water in California. What we see is whining (I don’t mean you, you seem to be a very reasonable person). Smaller lawns and more stone gardens might also prevent that fires take everything down.
      Than nobody can safely explain why water and climate has been watched for 1.200 years in California, when modern Californians have just been there for about 250 years. And nobody is able to understand that population growth isn’t taken into account. Therefore it seems to be more a Californian problem than a climate problem.
      Then when there is no water, why was the Tesla factory in California at all? It’s a big country. Why not build it in Montana in the first place?
      I read an article about LA’s mud slides and how they deal with them about a year ago. Absolutely antique.

      • I take it that you have not been to Montana? 🙂

        The answer is ports.
        Tesla, or any other large industry requires ports for logistical reasons.
        Trucking everything in is both bad for the environment and the economy of production. Not even electrified railways are cheap enough on the scale they are producing. Not that there are any electrified railways in the US (as far as I know).

        The problem in California is mainly farming. One of the things we need to stop doing is farming in desert countries and instead ship in food. It is far better for the environment in the long run.

        • Deserts are good places to farm if you have water. Typically pests and diseases are easy to control with minimal use of pesticides and the main energy source is reliably available day after day and year after year.
          Ideally water would be recycled using immense chimneys …

        • A different perspective. Trucking bad for environment? Not with Tesla’s trucks. But okay, let’s then change it to Washington State or Oregon or Maine for that matter. US is big enough to not squeeze everything into California.
          Farming and tourism goes together, building/overpopulation and tourism does not. As I said, the country is large and the world too, tourists can go elsewhere. They have the choice.
          Biggest polluter: Building industry.

          • If electrified rail is not good enough, then even electrified trucks are not good enough. Logistics is a bitch, whatever field of a production company you work with logistics will be a huge part of your life.

            Building industry is not even remotely the biggest polluter.
            73.2 percent of all pollution come from electricity and heat production on a global scale. This why it is so important, and why I am dedicating the rest of my life to this.
            We must have clean energy, or we will die.
            Obviously the remaining 26.8 percent is important, but not as much as people believe.


          • You could argue that all our energy production involves either heat or electricity. It is the conversion between the two that causes problems!

          • It’s mainly concrete I heard, Carl. It could be avoided.

          • I agree on the concrete part being a problem.
            There must be a better way of roasting lyme, or at least capturing the CO2 at source.
            But, that is probably gonna be solved by a chemist in a similar way to the hydrogen reduction cycle in steel production.

          • Carl, thank you for that link.
            It amuses me (in a bad way) that the carbon cycle is so badly misunderstood by nearly everyone, except those that do it deliberately.
            For example, a decade ago I did a net energy balance on a notional farm like mine. 1000ac, with 300 in oilseed rape and 700 in wheat (that’s not the raio we used, but a good illustration). 300ac of oilseed rape will produce ~460T of seed which delivers 200T (200,000L) of oil. That’s 200 L/ac (say 500L/Ha) over the whole farm. The total energy cost (including net Nitrogen), allowing for fertiliser, making machinery, fuelling machinery, making the sprays etc etc is under 150/ac (350/Ha). So the farm runs net carbon neutral JUST WITH MOST OF THE RAPE PRODUCTION. On top of that you can expect 2800T of wheat and >1000T of straws (which could and should be used for energy).
            So how can arable farming be a net source of carbon dioxide?
            The sink isn’t the agriculture, its the people eating the food.
            AND before anyone witters on about carbon in the soil remember soil is a balance between organic carbon entering the soil and microbes that eat that carbon. The amount added (roots, senescent leaves chaffs etc) is often considered to be equal to that removed (inclu roots) so a high yielding crop delivering 19T DM/Ha will have higher organic matter than a low one at 5. If the soil is warm and well aerated soil carbon is rapidly degraded and concentrations low (tropical forest soil essentially has none), if its cold an anaerobic thete is no decay, carbon accumulates and you get peats. So the carmon in the soil depends on management.

          • Carl.
            A lot of transport is involved in construction. All the wood, bricks, soil, cement, plasterboard etc etc etc.
            We build using egyptian methods that are expensive in time and labour and energy. One lump of stone on another.
            We should be building timber framed houses, with excellent insulation and low cost construction processes (eg cheap steel roofs) that are available today.
            Better, cheaper and ecologically helpful.
            Sadly people do not agree because they like brick.

          • On the building part:

            I have lamented about the importance of logistics in a reply to Denali.
            People always forget the logistics part.

            Generally I agree on timberframed houses that are section-built prior to delivery. We do that a lot here in Sweden, we are after all a rather woody nation. 🙂

            There’s though a big drawback to wooden houses, and that is that you run into problems in inherently wet countries. You get a lot more mold and fungus growth in timber framed compared to brick and mortar.
            With good central heating and good ventilation this is obviously less of a problem.
            I do not think wooden houses is a solution for the UK though. You guys tend to be very wet, you do not believe in central heating, and ventilation is according to what I have noticed not important.

          • In England, Carl, they had it right once, to be seen in the South, esp. Cornwall and Devon: Slate outside for protection. They just didn’t do insulation back then.
            The problems are obvious in my country: You can do a lot, but nobody has the money, and the rental prices climb faster than helium-filled balloons.

            So basically I think we would get somewhere if speed were taken out for the sake of constant amelioration. It is nonsense that school-children are told they will die this century. There is a bit of time, and slower things are mostly better solutions as more reflected. Don’t you think?

            So, we have to give it more time and also think about a mix, energy mix i.e. China might go with us, if we weren’t so absolute, and China is a fifth of the world pop. India is another sixth or fifth.

            I believe we shouldn’t have wind turbines everywhere, only where it makes sense, solar where it makes sense, geothermal the same. And invest in research of modern atomic power.

          • Carl.
            Yes good old fashioned (modern) timber buildings built to modern specifications are not damp, or cold, or a fire risk. You can handle heat exchangers for ventilation (or a dehumidifier in routinely used rooms) but the main key is good insulation (150-200mm) and vapour barriers.
            Much cheaper, ecologically better (at least a temporary carbon sink, 100 years perhaps).

          • Carl,
            properly designed and built (and using proper preservatives mostly against insects preferably chlorine/heavy metal based and very persistent (you do want a carbon sink for 100+ years don’t you) mould and rot should NEVER EVER be a problem with a modern wooden structure.
            Lifted 600mm off the ground (above and drip line) with UPVC outer cladding and with proper vapour barriers (to stop condensation from humans) it should have a very long life.

          • Farmeroz, I still note that you are not speaking about central heating that is on 24 hours a day (well, summer is not needed).
            That is a must in wooden houses, also you need the ventilation.
            Otherwise it does not matter even if you wrap the house in copper to prevent rot.

            And since you guys think that a sweater and a hot water bottle and a kettle of tea is central heating, you will only be in for a world of pain with wooden houses.

          • Ventilation is rarely a problem in English houses, in my experience. You can close all windows and doors and the wind still blows through. There is a reason the English nail down the carpets

          • Albert, I stand corrected.
            I had forgotten about that part. I fixed it immediately I moved in, and then I installed central heating and ventilation. I had to bring in a finnish company to do the work.
            And then all my tennants moved out of the house. I had to find Scandinavians to rent the downstairs apartments.

          • Carl,
            what sort of wooden houses do you think I am talking about?
            With 150-200mm foam/fibreglass insulation its as good as any house available. Brick is a very bad insulator.
            I am absolutely NOT talking about a shack in the woods.
            I am talking about one meeting full modern building specs.

          • I fully assumed that you where talking about a fully speced modern house all along that comes in modular design direct from the factory.
            But, you still need central heating and ventilation (where it is supposed to be).

            I have owned a few wooden houses, and I know well how good they can be, and how long they can last, as long as you know how to treat them well. I also know very well how fast they will go downhill as soon as the central heating is turned off.

        • Couldn’t go to Montana, Carl 😉
          A f***ing cook shot me down on Red Octobre.

          Must be beautiful. Would like to see Glacier National Park.

          • I am sorry that you got shot by a cook in the US.
            Getting shot is quite a health hazard there. I am happy that you survived and hope you did not get any longterm problems from it.

          • Maybe he survived too. I loved the book and film and his dream of Montana.

          • Ah, so you fired back at the cook?
            I did not know that you had gunslinger ambitions.

      • The California aquaduct is quite a sight. It is in effect a man-made river. I did wonder why they build it directly on the San Andreas, though. Perhaps to ensure that after the quake, the fires are immediately put out by the water.

        • Just saying (ot here): I am utterly fascinated by Venus, more than Mars, without knowing why. I believe I feel sorry for Venus. Fan Club, sort of. Plus a faible for history of course. Venus is the mystery planet.

        • The main aqueduct does not cross the San Andreas per se that I am aware of.
          It does cross other faults though…such as the Hayward/Calaveras.
          Note that the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct that brings water down from near Yosemite to San Francisco crosses several faults before terminating at the San Andreas/Crystal Springs reservoirs…which are located in a valley created by the San Andreas Fault as it snakes along the SF Peninsula.

          • That is correct, I think. Where I visited it it is on the slope of the Antelope Valley, but that slope is actually the rise along the San Andreas fault. It cannot possibly survive when the fault gives way. Which may not be for a long time

          • This is why I store water in 5 gallon (20L roughly) containers in my house. If we get a very large earthquake in the wrong place, the water supply to Los Angeles could be disrupted for weeks.

            The Tehachapi mountains would be an example of the wrong place.

        • Wasnt there a bond movie where they used water to lubricate the San Andreas to cause the destruction of silicon valley?

          • At some point that stretch of the San Andreas that goes right along the backbone of the peninsula that is Silicon Valley, it will break and there will be a large, damaging earthquake affecting Google, Apple, IBM, Uber and a whole bunch of other companies.

            It is a matter of time. 1906 was really bad.

            As for Los Angeles and water rights: LA shouldn’t be where it is, there’s not enough water for 20 million people, even if they do a lot of water recycling in Southern California.

            Las Vegas and Phoenix should be as big as they are, located where they are, for the same reason.

            Also, most of the big water wasters are in the agricultural sector. California has incentives for using drought-resistant gardening.

          • Water wouldn’t do that much. The fault south of Silicon Valley is mostly a creep zone with little in the way of stored energy. One of the reasons is the fault is “lubricated” with a talcum-like powder, which can only hold about an M6 worth of stress before it let’s loose.

        • Well, the water comes from the Sierras and is sent to Los Angeles.
          The San Andreas is in between the two.
          So no matter where you put the aquaduct, it will need to cross the San Andreas.

          I’m not sure exactly where the crossing is located. It may be more than one place. Here’s a good resource on California water management:


          It’s also worth noting that California’s population is much larger than that of Israel. More like Iraq or Afghanistan or Argentina.

      • There are several misconceptions in your comment (all understandable).
        First, Tesla was based in northern California, and in practice was a non-factor in water policy or usage other than to pour millions of tax-dollars into the septic tank of California’s delusional dreamers. Being near the world’s leading technology center (Silicon Valley) plus access to world-class universities like Stanford and UCB as well as an educated work force made the location ideal.
        Too bad California freakin’ pulled the rug out from under Musk…so he took his profits (and jobs) elsewhere said “bye bye’. But that’s a different story.
        But as far as the water waste issues go, note that the big-AG demands dwarf that of the private citizens…not surprising since the “breadbasket of the world” and the world’s 6th largest economy needs to drink (a lot) to sustain itself.
        But as I’m saying, when you only get a fraction of the precip and snow as needed, waste and usage become even more important….but when money (i.e. profits…i.e. unbridled capitalism) gets involved, it’s the dollar that rules the roost.

    • So, Craig, imho there are people in California and not to few who
      1. Have lawns that are too large
      2. Use water profusely while the commoners and farmers don’t have enough of it
      3. Are masters in paying no taxes by becoming “philantropists” and saving on taxes and being specialized on tax reduction.
      4. Have their companies there instead of moving them to another state with fewer problems (Silicon Valley and Hollywood)
      5. Going everywhere on their Gulfstreams and Cessnas while preaching others to not fly anymore. This also concerns the Markle couple, same mindset (Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi). Bovi for cows. You are the cows tolerating it.
      Throwing those companies out and turning it into a country for oranges, other fruits and vegetables and for tourism, profitable enough, might help. The same big shots have houses and apartments all over America, Hawai’i and the world, and if things run bad they are off.
      That’s the way it is. Nobody in Europe who can think has the impression that California is a great state.

      • We (Californians) are aware of the misconceptions of people from afar….and frankly we don’t really care. Please don’t take this the wrong way…but at the heart of California’s success (and failures) is due (in large part) to philosophies and practices unlike anywhere else in the world. We go our own way, come hell or high (or low) water. Most everyone sees LA and SoCal as the model for all of California, and there’s no mistaking the concrete jungle has continued to expand way beyond what the ecosystem can sustain…but California is a huge State, and for the most part is still very much wild and rural.
        I have had the privilege to travel throughout the US and from Asia to Europe, and frankly there is no place I have ever been that comes close to rivalling California for it’s beauty, cultural diversity and business opportunities. We have our problems fer sure, but overall, California in so many ways continues to lead the world in innovation and developing new methods of sustainability.

      • While I normally enjoy your posts, Denaliwatch, and particularly marvel at your ability to find fascinating things on the internet to include in these discussions, in this case I find you are a bit dark in your assessment of California.

        The water crisis extends across many western states. There are some people in all of them that could do better with water management. There are people in all 50 states that excel at minimizing their taxes; a former president bragged about his skill in this area. Furthermore, the entertainment and IT industries probably aren’t major contributors to the water crisis. What would be the point of relocating them? In any case, they are already free to go anywhere they want, and while some do, most stay in California. That’s because despite some problems, California is a pretty spectacular place. For anyone interested in volcanos, where Craig lives — close to Lassen, Shasta, and many others — might be heaven on earth.

        • Thank you for the compliment. Maybe I’m wrong about California. At the end I don’t live there. But one thing is not wrong: It is on the latitude of the Libyan desert.

          • That one thing IS nearly completely wrong and is enormously misleading. The southernmost point in California is pretty near equivalent to the northernmost point in Libya. Libya runs from 19 to 32.9 on the coast of the Mediterranean. California runs from 32.8 to 42. Aside from that pesky 0.1 degree, you’re entirely wrong.

            Saying “California is on the latitude of the Gobi desert” (true) is equivalent to “California is on the latitude of the Korean Peninsula” (also true), and both are nearly useless. The Aneroid Desert and Gold Beach in Oregon are on the same latitude – are they the same climate?

          • Let’s say it is roughly between Tripolis and Naples which is not much better.
            Anyway: What about the aquifer under the Mojave desert, I once read about it in the Wash.post? Yet, lack of rain is a problem.

    • It is consistently at 10mm per month, which is a low value for Camping Flagrant.
      Remember that we are talking about a volcano that can do meters per year without erupting.
      For instance, in 1970 Pozzuolis historic part Rione Terra was evacuated after uplift of 170 centimeters happened in 3 months.

      What is missed in the doom and gloom videos on Youtube is that the current uplift and the usual cause of all historic uplifts are increase of geothermal fluids and only little intruding magma.
      A small amount of magma has intruded causing heating of the fluids, but it is not enough to currently cause an eruption.
      The only data pointing towards a future eruption is increased CO2, but the increase is not large for a volcano of this scale.

      In the end Camping Flagrant will obviously erupt, but a small eruption is the most likely outcome. Personally I am more worried about Ischia than Camping Flagrant. If Ischia blew it would be a pain in the hip (grabbing my coat).

      I suggest turning to INGV for real data instead of going for a Youtube movie.

      • Right. A flank eruption of Epomeo would take down the side where they have their baths and main tourism and most locals living and cause a tsunami in the Bay of Naples. At the moment though there is no reason to worry much, but the island has its history:
        “Up and down she goes”
        “On the island of Stromboli(!), geologists found a prominent light-colored stratigraphic layer that represents a distal tephra deposit from an eruption of Ischia between 40 and 60 ka ago. When the magma reservoir was emptied so far as not to support its ceiling any longer, the latter caved in and sank into the void, forming a caldera.
        At that time the sea level was about 150-200 meters lower than today, so this pre-Ischia caldera was then on land. When the sea level rose again, the caldera “bowl” was flooded and consequently filled with sediments and tephra from later eruptions. The rocks, which should later form the island of Ischia, were now at the bottom of the sea.”

        So, yes, it has once formed a caldera. It looks totally inconspicuous, but seems to be the Mount Pinatubo of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

        Nice piece about Ischia:
        and also, of course, by Carl and Albert:

  3. Another theory on glass and ceramics. Ceramics and Chinese culture go hand in hand. Exquisite is hardly the word for some of their creations. However, there was little or no attention given to glass. The great advancements in the west, especially in the various sciences, owe their genesis to the application of glass. It might be said that China was left behind, at that point.

    • I would make a bit of a case that ceramics had a greater impact on science then glass did.

      Let me introduce you to the utterly bizarre porcelain grade feldspar-mine named Ytterby in Sweden.
      It is point central for the birth of analytical chemistry and a record breaking 9 elements on the periodic table was discovered in samples from this mine.


      • Allow me to differ. Telescopes, microscopes, prisms, largely inert vessels for chemistry, spectacles,
        the camera. A more exhaustive list if you wish. The discoveries peripheral to using glass for research are inestimable. As for your elements, how many were boiled, fried, satueed, bombarded in a glass flask to get the pure substance? Even Galileo with his blurry telescope, could see that something was odd about the reappearance of Jupiter’s moons after one revolution. Hence the speed of light was demystified. And where would we be now without E=MC2 ? I know I should get out more, but the glass always says “Stormy” in these parts.

        • That wasn’t Galileo. It was spotted by Ole Roemer, and the speed of light was calculated from it by Christiaan Huygens.

          • I stand corrected. Roemer, as a lad among heathens, I imagine he escaped the wrath of the Church.

        • Invention is like a ladder, every step is built on top of all the steps that came before.

          Also, similarly to a ladder, which step is the most important one? The one you’re standing on 🙂

          • If you want to get down from your ladder, the steps below are also quite important..

  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWKu1zDwkUI

    Apparently there is widespread deep magma intrusion under Fagradalsfjall and Grindavik, so it is not only a conduit at Keilir, but the whole depth of the crust activating, magma building up 12-16 km deep. There will definitely be many more eruptions in the near future, there is 800 years of magma build up in the mantle under Reykjanes that has now tasted freedom. The melt generation rate might be low overall but that wont matter if it can accumulate and erupt all at once, the volcanoes here will have massive supply for the next few centuries, frequent eruptions, some probably quite bigger than what we saw last year.

    I wonder if the fact this cycle started in the middle of the peninsula will do anything. Last cycle it began at Brenisteinsfjoll and Krysuvik, the one before that it started even further east at Hengill, and the cycle before that there was a fissure way up north of Thingvellir. But now it has gone way west but with activity at every volcano, maybe it will just be completely random, or even multiple at the same time. Fun times…

    Would also be quite insane if the activity here jostles the SISZ enough to wake up Hekla or Vatnafjoll. Probably not, but then maybe not totally implausible, faults can be dynamic and complex.

      • I know, but that was because there seemed to be a fairly direct westward progression. Now the activity began right in the middle, and all of the systems show some activity, thye might all be active at the same time or at least a few together. Seems right now Svartsengi is also active at the same time as Fagradalsfjall, just it hasnt erupted yet. That is a worry, it is a lava flood volcano, Grindavik is doomed if it goes in the wrong place.

        • The earthquake swarms had an east – west progression from Krýsuvík to Reykjaneshryggur from December 2019 onwards.

    • I think we can quite fairly assume that Hekla and Vatnafjöll can be rambunctious on their own without any aid from two systems away…

      • Of course. Hekla has after all erupted many times in the last 800 years. Vatnafjoll though I think there is no accurate data of its eruptions, so maybe there is periodicity there. If that is in any way related to Reykjanes or a coincidence though will need some budding young volcanologists to discover 🙂

        I think Vatnafjoll as a tectonic structure basically represents the propagating end of the rift zone of Veidivotn, beyond the influence of Bardarbunga. Magma chamber of Torfajokull perhaps acts as a barrier to Bardarbunga magma going further. Vatnaoldur rift though did go right across Torfajokull, it is chemically of Bardarbunga affinity but there were also minor basalt vents on the southwest side next to Laufell, on the other side of Torfajokull.
        Veudivotn used to rift once every 200-300 years up to 870 AD but then after Eldgja it is much less active, and Vatnafjoll is quiet, seems to have taken the strain away from that area and distributed it over the whole zone, perhaps allowing for Skaftareldar to occur too.

        • If you had to take an educated guess, where will the next rift / flood eruption occur on Iceland? What system will be the progenitor, and will it be on the larger or smaller end?

  5. Carl, also Albert,
    let’s talk about windows. I had most of my old windows taken out and replaced. The radiator went down like on a slope. My walls are brick, double brick. It’s not always the walls, here it was the windows. They need to be as good as possible, but have to go with the walls. If they are too thick a house would mold. I basically also need a new entrance door. We heat more when there is either moisture or a draft. Without both we don’t even need to heat that much.
    My electricity bill went down too. My tumbler broke, and I didn’t replace it.
    In a small apartment without a balcony though a tumbler is useful.
    I won’t buy a new tumbler. The towels are sort of hard in winter. We got used to it. I started a new form of cooking turning the oven off earlier and let spaghetti, rice and potatoes in the hot water longer. It takes longer, but works. Tell that restaurants or kitchens in hospitals and firms. It won’t work there.
    We can change some things, everybody.
    Industry doesn’t want to change though, otherwise they would start to produce our old sturdy machines again which you can use for ten, twenty years. Death Date is not good for the climate, only for the stock market.
    I also have everything repaired by now, even if it is more expensive than a new product. I also started sewing clothes or bringing them to the tailor’s.
    We threw e.th. away before having to start some thinking. It was a desastre basically. Some of it swims in the Pacific Ocean and the other oceans now. A complete desastre.

    The oceans are a chapter of its own. The puffin doesn’t die out because some people eat it in Iceland, but because there it overfishing, and there are not as many puffins any more. And then killing our prime relatives in marine environments, dolphins. Seals were seen without fins, I can’t believe it. Honestly, it is a catastrophe. But electric cars don’t help against it. We don’t need fish in cans, so simple. And we don’t need to eat baby lobster. It’s degenerated. And many people are overweight which isn’t necessary either.

    • I agree on all of it, well except the electric car part.

      Windows are incredibly important, I have triple glass, and the one in the middle is double with argon in between. So, sort of quadruple glass. The outermost glass is an inch thick. My walls are half a metre thick with 30cm of insulation.
      To that I have ventilation working on the over-pressurization method with a particle filter on the in air (HEPA).
      With full floor-heating I am using exceedingly little energy to heat up the house, I get all my heating via a heatpump run by solar electricity from the solar roof.

      I use about 10 percent of a normal 100sqm house to heat my 300sqm.

    • Interesting…
      Some years ago I bought a set of lightwaverf computer controlled rad valves but never fitted them. This autumn I did, and discovered my heating was now available as a graph, very interesting. My heating costs plummeted but my house was warmer.
      This house is 1960’s and the 50mm cavity was been filled with insulation in the 1980’s, so not great but could be worse. Of course the reason for cavity walls was that external rain, and internal condensation all happened at outer leaf, leaving the internal wall dry.
      Then I got some wifi power switches, which output the power levels, also very interesting, then proper whole supply (graphical) monitoring. I find tumble drier (heat pump type) not expensive, washing machine modestly expensive, diswasher quite expensive and cooking VERY expensive. Also costly is stuff on all the time, computer setup and towel rail in unheated bathroom. Heating is off all upstairs, always.
      I have just rewired my light switches to PIR, because leaving a few LED lights on is surprisingly good at raising base load.
      Of course I cannot compete with Carl, but I am considering solar power even if its not able to supply all my needs.

      • One thing I invested in long ago has paid for itself many times over; a wattmeter. It tests any plug-in item to see what its power usage is. Mine is very simple (vastly easier to use for this than my multimeter); just plug it into an outlet, and plug the device to be tested into it.

        Some devices use power while “off”. The problem is, it varies. For example, one TV I tested (and took back as a result) used 20 watts while off. Another used 3. That’s a huge difference.

        Likewise, garage door openers. A lot of people making a big deal about the horsepower, and how a 1/2 horsepower motor is more efficient. I say ignore them, they know nowt of what they speak. What matters is how they do the job, and net total power use – not merely while running. Here’s why; a lower horsepower motor is often slower, so it’s running longer. It will also wear out faster in most cases. As for power use, it’s most likely to use most of its power while off (it spends far more time off than running, so it adds up). They don’t seem to bother putting power usage while off on the box (or in the manual!) and the units vary a lot. So, an “efficient” unit may well use more power per day than a higher horsepower one. It’s best to check. It’d also IMHO be very useful to require manufacturers to list both power usage while running (which they do) as well as power usage while off, which they do not.

        A further glaring example was a coffee grinder. One unit had a touch-button power switch (and thus required its low voltage transformer to be always running, using 8 watts) while they other had a push-button physical switch so used zero. They were both burr-mill grinders (and thus did the same thing), but the zero-watts one was considerably cheaper. I’ll never understand why the manufacturer didn’t at least mention the fact that their unit uses no power while off. 8 watts is trivial, but most people have a lot of similar draws on their power (wall-wart transformers being an example) and they add up. There’s also the issue of fire risk; the more of a devices’s circuitry that’s always energized, the more the fire risk. It’s a tiny risk per unit, of course, but why run that risk at all?

        This isn’t such an issue in the UK, where most wall outlets have on/off switches (I love that – I’ve built on-/off switches into a lot of my own outlets – such switching outlets are hard to find in the US for standard-form plates without lowing an outlet), but it is an issue in areas like at least some part of the EU and all of the US, where they don’t, and people rely on the device’s on/off switch.

        • I tend to install ‘universal’ sockets these days. They have switched dual multinational outputs and usb power ports. Guests love them. There will be a usb inverter drain though. Eg

          • Interesting! I’ve not seen those, though it’s been 2 years since I was in the UK. And why 3 USB? (I can’t quite make out the wording over them, so I don’t know what it says). Okay, just looked it up, and it appears it says IoS and Android. I assume those are for smartphones, but if they are USB standard, that’s 5v, so why different USB outlets for them?

            I love the multinational capability, though that’d be tricky here – it’s a lot easier to lower voltage than raise it. You’d need to use 3-phase wiring to get 240v here, plus change the hz from 60 to 50 for most things.

            Looks to me like the only thing that outlet plate needs is a beer tap. 🙂 .

          • Ahhh USB standard has become less standard.
            The usual output is 5V 500mA
            Then USB 3.0 5V 900mA
            Then USB 3.2 5V 1.5A (but note many devices will pull off 3+A if they can)
            Then USB type C (connector) smart charger (ie charger & device agree on charge characteristics) up tp 5S 48V (!!!)
            The supply in the wallplate is almost certainly only able to deliver 3.15A, and probably dumbly and ONLY if it has the full spec USB 3 extra pins.
            Most USB 3 cables and hubs etc, claim to be USB 3 but do not have the extra pins. So they run slow data and lower power. I now check all mine using crystal diskmark and a usb 3.2 adapter with a sata ssd.

            There, all you never wanted to know about usb power!

        • At least when it comes to personal safety, I have never been relying on any form of switches in my life. I plug the experiment off, physically.

          Anyways, the less intelligent one’s appliances is the lesser the standby risk tends to be, for less auxiliary power will be necessary and thus it’s more likely that the entire appliance can be just switched off by a single master switch.

          • Good points, Microwave, but I’ve found it’s not a universal rule. An issue is the type of power switch; the touch-pad type usually require low voltage (It controls mains power via a relay), so thus require a transformer to be running at all times. A physical click switch, on the other hand, does not – it physically interrupts the mains power, so when it’s off, it’s really off.

            Caveat: I haven’t tested anything but “dumb” appliances and devices, as I don’t buy any of “smart” kind. I very much suspect you’re right on the latter; they’d use even more power via parasitic draw while “off”.

          • Modern low power switched mode power supplies are very efficient and would use very little for small devices. I have installed pir lightswitches in my house that work without a neutral, they must just use the leakage through the (led) lamp for minimal power with the circuit using low power mosfets.
            I suspect that newer devices would have very low standby, TV (with internet capability and long boot times) are probably equivalent to a small laptop on standby.

          • I had to look up PIR switches, Farmeroz, as I’d not heard of them – which is rather embarrassing, because once I saw what they are (Passive infrared motion/occupancy sensors) I realized that I have been installing them and using them for over 20 years (I put the first one in my bathroom in my parents’ home when I was 15), in every home I’ve ever lived in (and extensively in my current home). Mine did require a neutral, though. I just call them motion-sensor switches. I have them in all my bathrooms, plus a few other areas of my house. I love them in hallways and staircases especially.

            I do use switching (load-sensing) transformers for some applications. However, even for those, I prefer simply setting things up so the power switch is on mains power, not downstream from the transformer, so the transformer is all the way off. (I do all my own electrical wiring, so this is easy and cheap for me).

    • So…you don’t go for the English approach? Throw open the windows and let an icy draught blow through the house, and just pull on some warm clothes? Nothing like fresh air!
      The only downside is the rest of the family complain…

    • Speaking of heating and cooling, one thing that is often overlooked (In the USA, anyway) is plumbing and duct runs in houses with soffit attic venting – especially multistory homes. Very often, the ductwork and plumbing runs are boxed in, with a lot of empty space inside the box. These long runs often connect between soffit-vented attic space and the internal wall cavities of the home.

      They essentially make a very large hole in your home’s insulation envelope when not properly done (as is quite common), because there is no insulation or air barrier in them, or between them and the uninsulated internal void spaces inside the home. A huge clue as to whether you have this problem is wait for a windy day, then take off the cover plate of an electric switch or outlet on several internal walls. If you feel a very strong draft, you likely have a problem.

      My aunt’s home was one of these. It has a large box duct on the garage roof running from a side attic (with soffit vents) across the garage ceiling to the home, where it connects to an interior hallway run on a dropped ceiling on the ground floor. When I opened up the garage ceiling (I was doing wiring runs for new garage lighting) I felt a strong breeze. That ducting box was about 2/3 empty space, and connected directly with a similar lateral run inside the home’s insulated space. This made it a pathway for both heat and cold, every bit as bad as leaving a window open all the time. So, I stuffed some insulation batting into it, to block it off (I had that part of the garage ceiling open anyway). Not the whole length, just a segment of a few feet where the duct box joined the side attack space.

      The result on the energy bill was far more than I’d thought; her winter heating bill is half what it was, and her summer cooling bill is 1/3 less. This issue is far from uncommon, so IMHO one to be aware of, because fixing it can make a huge difference.

  6. Carl,
    Borrowed from Volcanodiscovery, you can take it out here. Just wondering whether you saw this and what you might think of it:

    • Hope all Carl’s friends and relatives out there are safe. & everyone else.

    • It was a very deep earthquake, so it caused very limited damage.
      That size happens a couple of times per year in Guatemala.

  7. Davidof I believe is still throwing a few quakes. Anyone have any insight or thoughts about this volcano? I see the ACC is still yellow, and I find it fascinating considering I believe the volcano was thought to be extinct or very long dormant.

    Even if this is a magmatic intrusion and not purely tectonic, I know most intrusions don’t result in an eruption. I know the chances of anything interesting here are quite low.

    But I can’t help finding this system very interesting with its explosive proclivities and signs of an ancient caldera.

    Any general knowledge / thoughts / comments about this system would be much appreciated. Unfortunately I just can’t find much info about it, even historically.

    • Don’t know much but it is the right hand side of a collapsed volcano, the caldera is about 2-3km wide.
      It’s not seismically monitored, so I doubt the earthquakes are that accurate or necessarily indicative of magmatic intrusion. The USGS statement basically says this, that there’s a swarm in the vicinity but it could be magmatic, tectonic or both.

      It’s placed at an interesting point of the Aleutian arc, where the Bowers ridge intersects, so there’s probably a bit of contaminated crustal block amongst the magma it erupts. Nearby Semisopochnoi erupts mainly Basalt but it’s biggies are crystal-poor Andesitic/Dacitic, so I imagine there’s the capability to produce a fairly shallow large chamber.

      Doubt it’ll do anything big medium-term as it is wave-eroded and hasn’t rebuilt a large edifice yet, but like the rest of the Aleutians one to keep an eye on.

  8. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338636257_Emplacement_of_unusual_rhyolitic_to_basaltic_ignimbrites_during_collapse_of_a_basalt-dominated_caldera_The_Halaraudur_eruption_Krafla_Iceland
    Pretty much heard about this from someone on an other article comment section (credit to the person who found this article), but this eruption is weird, as quoted by the same person who discovered this oddity. Like, it went from rhyolite to basalt in a single eruption, perhaps, according to the article, a rapid ascension of magma towards a magma chamber with very old magma.
    Looking at the pictures of the deposits, if they mixed into a ceramic, it wouldn’t be colorful, but, if I was a ceramic pot maker, I would tell the story of how a single eruption went, easy, by going white bottom to gray to black to red. I couldn’t really imagine anyone else that thought about it to be honest. (I could be wrong).

    • More likely was a rapid caldera collapse that completely evacuated a magma chamber down to the mafic base. So basically began as a rhyolitic eruption but when the caldera was able to collapse it went to total completion. Must have been a very substantial mountain above, or it was associated with a massive rift eruption out in the ocean far north of Krafla. Either way total collapse, which possibly even to this day has not recovered.

      I imagine the basalt stage as pretty much a gigantic laterally directed lava fountain. Krafla lava is pretty gas poor and is almost as fluid as olive oil, I doubt that stage was at all explosive, just so fast the lava flows were not really able to flow away in time so it was pretty much blown sideways. The effect is very similar to a pyroclastic flow but there is no phoenix cloud, just the flow itself.
      I think really there needs to be a post on this one day. It sort of combines every caldera mechanism into one eruption…

      • Yeah, like the only other volcano that is similar to this (according to the researchers in the article) is Gran Canaria in the Canaries (even though, I have never seen a single article on the explosive eruptions themselves, but all I know is that they happened about 13 to 14 million years ago), like I had to think that the Canaries are really unique volcanically in their own way, oddly enough.

        • Like, I was thinking that the particular way that a volcano like Krafla did it only occurred at a rift zone that slowly spreads but also has a massive magma input rate. What I could be thinking is that Krafla went dormant for a really long time (the tectonic activity was at a standstill, where the fresher magma was going somewhere else) until some sort of event opened up a rapid opportunity for a lot of basaltic magma to all the sudden rush into the older, rhyolitic chamber and made it go boom boom until, essentially, the magma chamber is mostly destroyed but replaced with straight basalt.
          I was, oddly enough, thinking that these kinds of events might’ve also happened in Africa and the thought of that made me think that the Corbette caldera could, hopefully in the distant future, could erupt that way (or that I am a very imaginative person with an overboard of thoughts, like holy).

    • The age of the eruption puts it in the previous interglacial. I would guess that melting of the ice age ice will be involved, either with decompression melting or purely taking the lid off a building eruption. Decompression melt of a stratified, partially solidified magma chamber might fit the bill

      • Not on a basaltic island, only way would be through slow magma evolution. I think this is why the silicic magma that does form on oceanic islands like this tends to behave different to continentals stuff, seems much less inclined to explode enormously. Compare the andesite of Kilauea fissure 17 or Hekla, to a stratovolcano like Merapi. Hekla of course does explode but only immediately, most of its eruption is effusive and its lava is not that viscous, continental andesite volcanoes are rather violent.
        Torfajokull is maybe the best example, it is a VEI 7 sized rhyolitic caldera but all of its eruptions in who knows how long have been fairly small and pretty much entirely effusive, I dont know if the caldera is even accurately associated with a big eruption as opposed to being a stagnant magma chamber that is slowly being stretched by rifting and its roof subsiding over time.

        • Really even on a basaltic island the ground is probably full of stale old magma that partly turned rhyolitic over time. We know in Iceland the rift is taking a lot of the magma supply away from the volcanos – it doesn´t all stay basaltic necessarily. And there are quite a few known rhyolitic eruptions/centers in Iceland.

          • I know I mean if you are melting the crust it will make more basalt not rhyolite as a continental setting would. I also suspect rhyolite is only able to form nearer to the surface, so maybe not that many active locations, on the rifts only Torfajokull, with infrequent and sporadic events at a few other central volcanoes. I think Torfajokull could have formed the same way proposed for supervolcanoes, it is basically dead but refused to die completely because of repeated magma injection both from below and from the side. Maybe mostly from the side.

            Explosive rhyolitic eruptions above VEI 5 are seemingly a very rare occurence in Iceland. Biggest in Holocene might be Vedde ash from Katla, followed by Oraefajokull, though one of the Hekla eruptions might be between them, all high VEI 5 to low 6. But true caldera forming rhyolitic eruptions are once in a blue moon, and I cant think of any examples of it being the event that actually made the caldera as opposed to being just a partial event.

        • I think the main difference between intermediate magmas such as the fissure 17 vs typical arc andesites is the volatile and crystal content. The fissure 17 magma if I recall, was crystal poor, relatively hot, and was quite dry, containing only something like 1% weight water. Many arc andesites by contrast are very crystal rich, sometimes containing up to 50% volume phenocrysts. These types of andesites can have melt compositions that are rhyolitic even if the whole rock composition is that of an andesite. Also, the rhyolitic melt making up the groundmass of these andesites can contain over 5% weight water. I suspect that an effusive eruption of the fissure 17 magma would probably produce a somewhat thicker and more blocky lava flow then is typical, while a very crystal rich arc andesite with a rhyolitic melt or groundmass could be viscous enough to produce a spiny steep sided pelean style dome surrounded by talus slopes. An explosive eruption of the fissure 17 magma might be strombolian in style while the arc andesite produce plinian, or more likely vulcanian eruptive style.

    • Mean peak output was 83 lightnings a second, across the entire plume.
      Of course chaotic distribution both temporally and spatially, but that “storm” was rather alive… 😮

      Is there any good videos about the 1/15 main event where sky would merely look like a gigantic party flasher?
      Or was it too distributed to be impressive?
      And do you know videos on the strikes of the main island during the main event?

      • Think if you were close enough to video the lightning storm, you might have had other priorities.

      • So far I have been surprised at how little lighting was visible after the sky got dark on the main island of Tonga. In the videos that I have seen during this period only the odd visible flash, usually a horizontal “anvil crawler” (as described by storm chasers)….a cloud to cloud (CC) event mostly below the base of the anvil. None of this lighting looked cloud to ground (CG) to me.

        Earlier, while the tsunami was hitting the beachfront in Nukualofa (around 5:30 local time), and before the sky grew too dark, I noticed a remarkable amount of cloud to ground lighting (CG) in one small area off in the distance to the NW (probably near the volcano). None of it was close, but there was a lot of it, at one point perhaps 6 or 7 strokes in 2 seconds. This frequent CG lighting did not seem to flicker with multiple pulses using the same ionized channel. Instead, each stroke lit once and went out fast, with each event occurring in a slightly different location and using a completely new ionized channel. It reminded me of positive or reverse polarity CG+ lighting often seen in the Great Plains of the US but was way more frequent than anything I have ever seen, especially for positive lightning.

        I do not know how what to think about the relative lack of visible lighting later. Perhaps most of the lighting was inside the anvil and was not really visible due to the anvil being very thick and opaque ? I am skeptical about the classification scheme used to classify the lighting as CG or CC.

        • So just a short question here, if I get you right, you have been able to dig through enough footage to analyze the entire evening and the sky in that case?
          Or did you find one video to rule them all?
          Just wondering 🙂

          • Surely I have not seen the whole evening. I may have seen perhaps 1 hour of footage, including a lot taken during the first hour of darkness, which was when the detected lighting was at its max. I still expected to see a lot more lighting than I did during the footage taken during the hour or so after it got dark.

        • And by the way, thank you for your thoughts on the matter.

        • @Glenn
          During my many years of storm chasing, I have seen three instances of lightning concentrations in the middle of the Cb that resemble a sustained plasma… where lighting (a plasma in it’s own right) does not visibly fully extinguish for minutes (to an hour or longer) at a time. This is not ball lightning, but rather a steady discharge of small, individual bolts all originating from a common and highly concentrated location. From the ground, it looks like a fireworks “flasher” from the dozens/hundreds of flashes per minute keeping the sky constantly illuminated.
          Also interesting, is there was no thunder per-se…but rather just a low-frequency droning noise.
          Pretty cool to see…and quite rare.

          • I have my own theory regarding this, namely that supercells tend to do that. The highly concentrated spot might then be right where the meso cyclone sits.
            In storms where you have been able to locate a meso, do you think your experiences match with my theory?
            I don’t believe that ordinary storms could do an effect looking such organized…

          • What actually “is” ball lightning? I’ve read all about it and seen the few supposed images that are said to have captured it, and I’m still no closer to actually wrapping my mind around it – especially after hearing about several of the tales where people are said to have witnessed it.

            What allows it to sustain itself?

            For regular lightning:

            “In order for an electrostatic discharge to occur, two preconditions are necessary: first, a sufficiently high potential difference between two regions of space must exist, and second, a high-resistance medium must obstruct the free, unimpeded equalization of the opposite charges. The atmosphere provides the electrical insulation, or barrier, that prevents free equalization between charged regions of opposite polarity.

            It is well understood that during a thunderstorm there is charge separation and aggregation in certain regions of the cloud; however, the exact processes by which this occurs are not fully understood.”

            I’m just having trouble comprehending the conditions required for ball lightning to exist and sustain. It seems almost supernatural. Even phenomena like sprites and ELVES are extremely brief in the manner that regular lightning is.

          • Yes indeed I know what you mean. I expected to see something like what you described….extreme amounts of “zit lighting” or small intracloud discharges, perhaps with a detectable constant droning noise akin to squadrons of aircraft flying overhead. So far I have not seen that in any of the footage. After it got dark in Nukualofa the only lighting I have seen so far was a few infrequent large horizontal flashes across the sky underneath the anvil, without obvious CG or cloud to ground events connected to the horizontal flash.

        • Positive lightning is often what causes sprites to form above a storm. Given this plume was maybe the only such case where a natural ground event has reached the mesosphere in over a century it could be related, forming an easier path. I imagine there were probably abundant sprites above such a plume, but hard to see as their usual immense vertical extent would be contracted.
          Also the plume was made of ocean water, it would be highly ionized and conductive, unlike a regular meteoric cloud, so a charge potential might not form as easily in the initial plume.

          I think the most fascinating lightning though are the jets. Sprites flow downwards and are associated with normal lightning in a storm, and they are not really plasma more an airglow phenomenon. Blue jets actually do go up, and they are hot, as hot as regular lightning. Gigantic jets are like both of them combined, a sprite that turns hot above the cloud, it is probably the most powerful of all lightning too going into hundreds of millions of volts.

          • Yes, it sure would be interesting to know what the lighting behaviour was like in that cloud. The cloud was sort of like a giant thunderstorm having a cold cloud top area as large as the greatest mesoscale convective complex, but with only one giant central updraft. The largest mesoscale convective systems by contrast are fed by many individual thunderstorm updrafts. My impression is that sprites tend to occur above large mesoscale convective systems rather than single storms, even large supercells. As for those blue jets I am not sure. It would be interesting to know if the Tonga cloud was more like a single giant thunderstorm or more like a large multicell cluster in lighting behaviour.

            So far the only CG (cloud to ground) lightning I have seen in the Jan 15 Tonga plume was around 5:30 pm when the tsunami arrived in Nukualofa. It seemed to come out of the base of the anvil, close to the updraft in one small area but still off to the side a bit. It seemed to flash only once and go out very fast (no flickering), but the frequency of individual events was amazing….at one point perhaps 6 or 7 of them in just 2 seconds. That they were as visible as they were at such a distance, perhaps 50-60 km and in light conditions that were not yet too dark might indicate that they were energetic high amperage events, perhaps having peak currents substantially higher than the ~30 kilo-amp ? global average for CG’s, but this is speculation.

            By comparison, during a film taken from a boat by the Tonga Geological Service of the Jan 14 eruption the day before, there were a few CG events that connected directly to the top of black Surtseyan style jets of wet tephra. I could not see high enough in the sky to be sure if the tops of the Jan 14 CG’s issued from the anvil near the updraft, or directly out of the upper part of the updraft itself. The Jan 14 CG’s seemed rather infrequent, perhaps one per minute ? a dramatic contrast to the Jan 15 frequency.

  9. @ Ryan,
    Ball lightning is not well understood as you’ve correctly mentioned…but regardless… most likely we’re talking about a constrained plasma that has a core of ions surrounded by a sheath of low-energy electrons.
    In thunderstorms, magnetic fields are created as the space charge between ground and cloud grows (think a giant capacitor).
    It’s my opinion that under precise atmospheric conditions and sufficient electrostatic acceleration, the magnetic field lines that are created from this charge potential are what helps confine the plasma…thus as long as a sufficiently high cloud-ground potential exists, the plasma ball can sustain itself.
    While St, Elmo’s fire is often mentioned, that is a different phenomena in as much as it essentially “crawls” along a grounded surface.
    Lastly, there are the many reports of free-floating plasma balls in association with faults within zones high in crystals (quartz?).
    Perhaps the old trick of cracking a wintergreen lifesaver candy with your teeth to create a shower of “spark” is a good example of this phenomenon.

  10. I’ve noticed the following article on the Hunga Tonga eruption in Google Scholar:


    The article uses seismic waves to estimate the erupted mass by the eruption. This is an unconventional way to do it but nonetheless could give an idea of the eruption size before bathymetry data arrives.

    They give an ejected material of 1.3*10^13 Kg. Using the density of andesite (the composition was probably a high-Si basaltic-andesite like other previous eruptions of Hunga Tonga) which is 2771 kg/m3, I get a DRE volume of 4.69 km3. Because the eruption was submarine, it is difficult to compare it to subaerial events. If the eruption had been on dry ground it would have been similar to the 2000 BP ignimbrite of Okmok, given the similarity in composition and eruption style. Assuming similar pyroclast characteristics the bulk volume would have been roughly 8 km3, a high end VEI5. In the article they give VEI 5.8.
    The eruption is, probably, slightly smaller than Pinatubo, which erupted 5.4 km3 DRE in 1991. However Hunga Tonga is bigger than Hudson in terms of DRE, Hudson did 2.7 km3 DRE in 1991. Hudson was a much weaker eruption too, it erupted almost continuously for 3 days and maintaining similar eruption rate. The eruption of Hunga Tonga was more intense, most of the volume was probably produced during the first hour, 4:10-5:10 UTC, in an ultra-explosive style reminiscent of the final part of the Krakatau eruption in 1883. I think that all large ignimbrite eruptions are like this given that they make similar deposits.

    In mafic ignimbrite eruptions the almost total amount of the volume goes into pyroclastic density currents. Like the 2000 BP eruption of Okmok, or the 1000 BP eruption of Tofua. The past ignimbrites of Llaima and Villarica might be good comparisons too. This contrasts with eruptions like Hudson 1991 or Quizapu in 1932 which although large in size do not involve that much pyroclastic density current activity and instead the volume goes almost entirely into airfall tephra.

    It is also different from the eruptions I talked about in big basalt blasts which tend to be protracted, with multiple episodes, involve alternating phreatic and magmatic phases. The magmatic phases make mostly airfall tephra while the phreatic phases make wet pyroclastic density currents. This includes the eruption of Askja in 1875, past explosive events of Masaya and Kilauea, the 2000 eruption of Miyakejima, the 1754 eruption of Taal, and perhaps some past explosions of Tenerife.

    My speculation is that this Hunga Tonga eruption involved a ring dike. The caldera was already collapsing before the big eruption and a ring dike had already formed and was rapidly widening as the caldera deepened. The massive explosion would have started from a mature ring dike that could transport magma at rates superior to those of more typical volcanic conduits. Most of the magma chamber blew up during the first hour, although the effusion kept going for some hours. Eruptions like Hudson in 1991 would be fed from normal dikes so even if the available volume is great the eruption rate is limited. Eruptions like Miyakejima in 2000 are triggered by a lateral intrusion or eruption which drains the magma chamber, initiates caldera collapse and eventually might initiate ring dike growth. However because the magma chamber is being drained laterally pressure is lacking to fully open the ring dike and empty upwards so eruptions are rather weak compared to Krakatau style eruptions, save a few exceptions like the Masaya Tuff.

    • Don’t dismiss the alternate methodology so fast. I used the average tephra particle size compared to the original dome at Kelud to estimate the size of the eruption using a milling formula and got within less than an order of magnitude to the official VEI that was later released.

      Alternate methods may not be perfect, but if the logic behind them is sound… the results are probably “in the ballpark.”

      NOTE: This is not self aggrandizement. I freely admit that I don’t know what I am doing and have NO geological background and training. (Other than reading my ass off on various papers and books on the matter) I was just looking for an estimate before the actual data had been researched just to get an idea of how big it was. BY LUCK, I just happened to get it right.

      • When in doubt… make do with what data you have.

        AS LONG AS you caveat your results with the non-standard methodology used.

        That’s called “being honest.” That way an actual researcher or journalist can see that the information MAY be flawed. If you get it right, fantastic. If wrong, you have already acknowledged the potential for error.

        To claim otherwise, makes you an unreliable moon-bat.

        There is nothing wrong with moon-bat ideas… as long as you acknowledge that they can be moon-bat ideas.

        Several months ago, I wrote an article called “The moon and the Moonie” ORIGINALLY, I was trying to find evidence that there was actually a sun-moon connection to seismic and possibly volcanic events. This was motivated by an article from USC Berkley claiming a possible connection with Sun-Moon on seismic events on the San Andreas. What I did was take about 30 years of USGS quake data and compared it to Sun-Earth-Moon positions. The spreadsheet came out to several Megs. I learned binning in that endeavor. But could not find a correlation signal greater than about one Sigma. As “Jack@Finland pointed out.. that was no where near enough to claim a connections. Sure, there was “something” there… but it didn’t amount for squat. So, in my article, I offered my spreadsheet up for download so that someone could prove me wrong. That data has long been deleted and is no longer availible… but if you have the testicular fortitude to try and replicate it, I am more than willing to offer advice in how to do it. My conclusion? No, not much of a connection at all. The alignments MAY cause an event to occur a few minutes/seconds early or later… but the “event” was going to occur ANYWAY.

        Logically, just compare the energy behind the event with the local gravitational effect. It is laughable.

        • I tend to look at the issue differently.
          Think of a wind storm blowing on a large, weakened tree.
          Gust after gust hits the tree, and nothing happens…just like it has 100,000x before.
          …until suddenly over it goes with a thunderous crash.
          If you track the number of gusts vs.the (a) tree biting the big one, then mathematically the probability that the tree would fall with any given gust would be miniscule…but in the end, the wind blew down the tree.
          The trick is to find the weakened tree.

          • I’m not sure that’s a good analogy. In practice most trees are naturally felled only by wind. The procedure is that a tree only puts enough energy into think strong trunks as it needs, there are actually electrical signals caused by wood bending (like bones) that generate growth. That’s why the trees on the outside of a wood are thicker, and if there is a storm and they blow down then those in the inside go down like dominoes. Eventually there is a significantly higher storm than usual, and many unlucky trees go over because the concentrated too much on height/seeds and not quite enough on sturdiness.Its why trees given strong support will just fall over if the support is removed. It wasn’t the cumulative effect of wind that blew them over, it was a really big storm and it probably didn’t much matter if it was 85mph or 86 mph.

    • So biggest eruption this century in all comparisons then. I guess maybe the volume of lava erupted by Kilauea since Jan 1st 2000 could be over 4.3 km3 too but rather uncomparable otherwise, 18 years vs a few hours…

      Quite the event we have just witnessed that is for sure, it is still new barely a month old but this will be something that is still going to be remembered in 50 years, something for the history books. Good thing it was not closer to Tongatapu, or in a densely populated area. If Ioto is prone to erupting like this then maybe its place on the top of the old NVDP series is not a bad decision.

    • Great to see an article like this. A couple of thoughts that I have about the mass and volume estimate…

      -The mass is inversely proportional to the velocity they used in there calculation. They used the lowest velocity of the range at 200 m/s. If the velocity was greater the mass needed would have been less. I wish they displayed a bit more detail about their velocity estimate.

      -With the mass given 1.3 * 10^13 kg and a tephra density of 1000 kg/s I get a VEI of 6.1, not 5.7. Why is that ?

      -The mass that they used would have applied to a very short period of time, not the 40 minutes or so of high intensity that lasted from ~5:00 PM – 5:40 PM. Also, there was more activity after that, lasting intermittently for as long as 4-5 hours.

      • Dunno, but the sharp cracks sounded like sonic booms to me, suggesting something was going more than 300m/s. In fact quite a lot of something.

    • Hector mentions the ring dike and extreme eruption rate. This often seems to be the case where an eruption transitions from a single vent plinian eruption to a multiple vent eruption fed from a ring dike at the onset of caldera collapse. Field studies of the pyroclastic deposits of these eruptions often suggest a dramatic, possibly sudden increase in eruption rate at the onset of the ring-vent phase. One has to wonder if Holocene eruptions such as Kikai and Taupo may have also produced extremely powerful shock and pressure waves at the onset of their super high intensity 10^10 – 10^11 kg/s ? ignimbrite forming phases. If those extremely high eruption rates featured impulsive onsets or spikes could they have produced global pressure and shock waves ?

      Is it possible that caldera collapse and vent dynamics at Honga Tonga explain the huge blast, rather then external water ? Could extreme eruption rates caused by caldera collapse have caused the enormous blast ?

      • I have investigated into these questions a lot. There are some interesting facts that I have compiled over time:

        – Ancient fossil ring dikes have been studied in eroded volcanoes. They are impressive intrusions with characteristics that contrast strongly with the more typical intrusions like dikes, sills or cone sheets. In particular they make almost complete rings along the edge of an ancient caldera. They exhibit thicknesses that sometimes exceed 1 km. This makes them the thickest type of intrusion after magma chambers. Magma chambers do not reach the surface, but ring dikes do. Potentially ring dikes could allow eruption rates superior to any other intrusion given their great thickness.

        – Ring dikes seem related to caldera collapses. Some of them have been observed to follow ring faults of collapsed calderas. The fossil ring dike of Loch Ba, for example. One historical case of a ring dike is the eruption of Miyakejima in 2000. This event started with a lateral intrusion that reduced pressure in the magma chamber and started caldera collapse. The collapse lasted a few months if I remember well. Explosive activity was very little at first. However the end of the caldera collapse featured a VEI 3 subplinian eruption and phreatomagmatic explosions along a fissure following the ring fault. This was a weak ring dike eruption, probably because the dike opening was minimal. Thus ring dike intrusions can be a consequence of caldera collapse. With Miyakejima it was forced by lateral draining. In proper explosive collapses the mechanism is probably different but related.

        – At Kilauea I suspect that ring dikes are capable of boosting extremely the explosivity of the volcano. Kilauea due to its carbon and water poor magmas, and with high fluidity, eruptions are tame and effusive. They produce little tephra and feature fountains that rarely surpass 200 meters in height. Surprisingly, in prehistoric times, it has featured powerful explosive eruptions. 1000 years ago there was one magmatic eruption which sent an estimated 26 km high plume. A more recent eruption in 1500 is particularly interesting. It was a VEI 3 event with high fountains that produced abundant pumice, far more energetic than historical eruptions. The dispersal shows multiple erupting vents along the northern ring fault of the caldera where normally eruptions do not occur, being outside the dike swarms. Kilauea eruptions show characteristics reminiscent of ring dike intrusions, particularly the 1500 event, and despite being gas poor, display surprisingly high explosivity. Thus I suspect that they are similar to the 2000 eruption of Miyakejima, ring dikes that are just barely opened and occur as a consequence of a collapsing caldera.

        In conclusion, I do think that ring dikes are very important, and that they drive the most violent erutive styles, often making ignimbrites. The main factor being the great width of the intrusion, allowing the acceleration of magma to otherwise difficult to achieve speeds.

      • I think that factor might depend on the eventual conformed eruption volume. if it is large then it could have been magmatic on its own but if the magma volume is small it would probably require water, a VEI 4 isnt typically going to produce a natural Tsar Bomba…

        Other thing is if the magma was fluid or not. This volcano is not felsic, being basaltic andesite to andesite, so the magma was probably not so viscous as to inhibit degassing and if it was on land would probably be effusive. So the eruption rate would have to be something almost unimaginable to let it decompress explosively at the intensity we saw. Kikai and Taupo probably didnt have such issues being rhyolitic and not so hot, but to get basaltic or andesitic ignimbrite eruptions the collapse would need to be extremely fast, true basaltic ignimbrites must be some of the most violent of all eruptions.

    • Of course I am very happy with these numbers. We calculated 4km3 DRE and 9km3 VEI-equivalent immediately after the eruption. How could we disagree now?

      • Several different approaches seem to be coming up with similar results for volume….

        -The one you mention above
        -The seismic inversion paper
        -My look at the rate of umbrella cloud growth.

        If it was that large it is hard to imagine that there wasn’t caldera collapse. It looks as if renewed caldera collapse on Jan 15 may have taken much of the old NE rim Honga Tonga island, and it also looks like there is a big bite out of the SE corner of the old NW rim Honga Haapai island. It would be interesting to see if the shallow in the S part of the caldera that hosted the 1988 submarine eruption is gone too. The original caldera outline seemed to be sort of oval, elongated N-S and measuring perhaps just under 3.5 km by 5.0 km. Perhaps the whole thing collapsed by several hundred meters on Jan 15. I can hardly wait to see a new bathymetric survey.

    • I was browsing through the earthquake catalogs and stumbled upon this:


      It’s a moment tensor solution for a quake that happened at the time of the big explosion. It completely lacks an isotropic component (Mrr+Mpp+Mtt=0), so I don’t think it’s the explosion itself. Instead it has a strong CLVD component, very much like the collapse quakes at Bárðarbunga or Kilauea, but with reversed polarity. This indicates that something happened along a ring fault. What exactly is hard to tell. It depends on if the ring fault is outward or inward dipping as well as the direction of the motion.

      • Cool. I have for a very long time suspected that some caldera collapse events feature outward dipping faults, even if they are transitory. Outward dipping faults would open wider during caldera subsidence, promoting enormous flow rates of magma. In some cases these outward dipping faults might be superseded by inward dipping faults that pinch them back shut again as collapse progresses. I have wondered for a very long time if this mechanism could have caused the immense eruption rates that might have fed the huge explosions at Krakatoa. The balance between inward and outward dipping faults might depend, upon other things the aspect ratio of roof thickness vs diameter of the caldera. Perhaps thicker roofs or smaller diameters lead to more inward dipping or chaotic faulting that does not cause huge eruption rates. This later situation might have been the case at Pinatubo. Does anyone here know about structural geology enough to comment on this ?

        • Hector actually has written an article on ring dikes about this, you are quite spot on to the idea. Ring dikes even allow effusive volcanoes to go big, Kilauea in 1790 had a hydromagmatic explosion but most of the eruption was magmatic in the form of massive subplinian lava fountains along its southern caldera fault, with this possibly continuing for months or even years afterwards as the probably multiple km3 of magma in the ring dike degassed, there were no massive lava flows at the summit just Etna-style mile high fountains. The lava flows of that eruption were out in the ocean far away to the east. If this can happen at a fluid effusive volcano like this then you can imagine what happens if you do it where magma is viscous and cant get out of the way of the gas in time…

          Ring faults are also very likely responsible for the insane event that was the Hatepe eruption of Taupo.

      • Thanks, interesting observation. I’m aware that Hunga Tonga Hunga Haapai did a vertical-T CLVD earthquake back in 1993. This type of earthquake is generated by the caldera floor rising up. I also suspect it may have generated other such earthquakes but which are not in focal mechanism catalogue due to being too small ~M 4.9. There are few volcanoes that make these. Normally a volcano that generates vertical-T CLVD does so recurrently and always with roughly the same magnitude. They are located underwater or in islands and are perhaps imminent calderas. Although it is hard to know if all calderas do CLVD earthquakes before collapsing, or if all calderas that do them will collapse.

        The volcanoes that have been sources of vertical-T CLVD earthquakes in the past 3-4 decades have been the following: Rabaul, Volcano F (an unnamed volcano to the north of Hunga Tonga), Hunga Tonga Hunga Haapai, Volcano 2 (an unnamed volcano south of Hunga Tonga), Curtis Island, North Iwo Jima (the volcano to the north of Ioto), Smith Caldera (Sumisujima), Sierra Negra, Zavodovski, and Bardarbunga. I might have left out 1 or 2 that I don’t know about or are not in earthquake catalogs.

        • Interesting. That might provide a glimmer of hope that some volcanoes at risk of caldera collapse/formation may be distinguished from the many others that are not. In hind-site it might already have been noteworthy that Honga Tonga erupted rather evolved magma (andesite) from multiple vents some 3 km apart during the years and decades leading up to this. Eruptions of the andesite occurred at vents in the south of the caldera in 1988, the west side at Honga Hapai in 2009 and the north between Honga Hapai and Honga Tonga in 2015….at widely distributed vents. If these eruptions produced the same nearly petrologically identical andesite, and if eruptions as large as that in 2015 failed to trend to more mafic compositions during their course, perhaps there were already warnings that this volcano could be a caldera threat.

          On top of this we have a history of caldera forming eruptions, scraps of related old preserved ignimbrites, and then the CLVD event. If the volcano had been better known and monitored perhaps it could have been more on the radar as a potential caldera forming candidate ? One can only hope.

          • Something curious is that Hunga Tonga doesn’t have big ignimbrite deposits. Only the eastern flank of the mountain has a few small dunes indicative of PDCs. Most volcanoes in the Tonga Arc have much more impressive ignimbrite deposits, so that they have underwent bigger/more numerous caldera-forming eruptions. Therefore Hunga Tonga must be relatively new to caldera collapsing, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just its second caldera event.

            However Hunga Tonga did have the trademarks of a caldera system. The obvious caldera rim and also the volcanic vents along the southern rim of the summit platform, where they follow fissures concentric to the caldera, a sign of cone sheet intrusions like those around the calderas of Galapagos volcanoes, and a common intrusion shape exhibited by caldera systems. With the exception of those with rift zones like Okataina, or Kilauea, which do long linear fissures instead.

            As you mention there were probably geochemical signs as well that could have identified had the volcano been better studied. However the composition is rather unevolved. The amount of silica ranges up to 58 wt%. This I checked in georoc website that allows to find data on specific volcanoes. The composition is similar to neighboring Tofua caldera which does fluidal looking lava flows and has exhibited persistent lava ponds at times. It is not as primitive as say Hawaii however for a subduction zone I think can be considered primitive. Unless it has abundant crystals like you mentioned above, but I don’t think that is the case here.

          • Most Tonga-Kermadec volcanoes are pyroclastic shields surrounded by vast ignimbrite fields. The concentric dunes where deposited during these violent caldera-forming events. In comparison Hunga Tonga is more like a normal stratovolcano, although this is of courson shown to be an incomplete assesment when you see the small summit caldera atop Hunga Tonga, possibly formed 1000 years ago.

            Comparison of Hunga Tonga stratovolcano like, with pyroclastic shield like Macauley:

          • There is a large ignimbrite to the west of Hunga Tonga but which is quite old and is exposed only in the elevated flanks of a volcano and buried elsewhere. The undulations of the ignimbrite are marked in orange. It shows there once was a powerful caldera system in the area of Hunga Tonga.

            Then Hunga Tonga stratovolcano was built. Shown in green. It probably would have looked something like Stromboli, I guess. Now it is caldera collapsing again. The collapse 1000 years ago must have been minor though since it didn’t leave visible ignimbrite deposits except maybe in the eastern side.

      • If I am to assume the moment was the opposite of collapse, I wonder what that could be ….
        Also remember Carl pointed out you can explain all the oddities of this eruption if large quantities of supercritical water was present.
        Supercritical water is hot and highly compressed and has a very high energy density because although at any temp/pressure there are still two states (high density and low density) the high density state gets HOTTER as is decompresses (has a negative heat of fusion) because squeezing the water molecules together requires energy.

          • There isn’t a reliable map that far back. It is very hard to know exactly what collided with what. Rodinia is hard enough, and that is only half as old

          • That is the problem. It’s very hard to imagine what it looked like. The earliest map in my books is in Blakey’s “Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau” from 1.750 Ma and shows a small America/Canada riding on the equator. So, Africa was probably a lot smaller as well.

  11. Stupid time.

    A “Black Swan” according to Nicolas Taleb. (Author of “The Black Swan” has THREE requirements.
    1) Statistically unlikely, so much that it is ASSUMED to be zero.
    2) PROFOUND in its effects when it does occur.
    3) Explained away after the fact. “If only we had more data” etc….

    Now.. According to Carl, our website leader. BLACK SWANS are much more likely to occur than is assumed by most people. Generally, the probability curve that illustrates the probability, is a “continuous’ function. Stepping away from calculus, that means that there are no breaks or discontinuities in the curve described by the function. The typical probability curve used in such matters is the Gaussian curve. As such, as it approaches “zero”… there is a LOT more space under the curve as it runs out to higher and higher standard deviations. As such… the ACTUAL likelihood of encountering an event several standard deviations from the norm (mean) are MUCH higher than humans intuit when looking at the data.

    • And as such… the fascination of VC with the “Black Swan”.

      NOTE. Taleb has described the media mouth pieces claiming “Black Swan” events in the future as “Intelligent yet Idiots” when they show up on media yammering about financial shit. (AntiFragile” by Taleb). My focus is on looking at probabilities of geologial stuff. Different feild, but equally as prone to “IYI.” My point… don’t get into a rant about “overdue” or any such bullshit, You’ll be proven wrong nearly EVERY TIME.

      The odds of being wrong are much more higher than the Black Swan that you may be shouting about.

      Side Note. The Fukushima Daini power plant disaster was indirectly predicted by Kiyoo Mogi . Mogi had warned of a significant seismic event that could affect nuke plants along the coast. He didn’t directly predict Fukishima, but he was really into studying the seismic potential energy release along the coast and was vocal in letting the powers that be know his opinion. ULTIMATELY… the tsunami that hit Fukishima were well in exess of the 85% probability range… and at one time I was aghast that that had been ignored… but the designers of the Fukishima plant has allowed for the LARGEST tsunami that had been observed in the Pacific basin. What they got was larger than that.

      {Thank you Albert!!}

      I’m gonna shut up now. It’s late on a Friday night, a a free form dragon with shit to say doesn’t help the Blog.


    I am a long time resident of Volcano Cafe.
    In fact, I am one of the Moderators of the chat. I have contributed a few articles here and there, but your principle writers are Carl and Albert. Both PhD credentialed entities. Me, Im just a dude in Florida (a bonifide “Florida Man” who plots stuff and occasionally has unconventional thinking that hits the “mark” and is potentially plausible.)

    Any missives by me may or may not be able to be backed up by actual science. If Albert or Carl chimes in… pay attention to it. They have a more rigorous background than I do. As I have said in the past “I just plot stuff.” (In reality, I am more “Moon-bat” than the other moderators and will actually entertain the odd.) But will defer to the actual science behind it all.

    WARNING… there is a lot of Tequila behind this post.

    In vino veritas applies.


  13. I see a couple of interresting subjects have been focused upon in the comments as of lately.

    On the matter of CO2/EV’s I’ve since long noticed that the real data on consumption (Kwh/10 km) have been scewed by car manufactorers just like for traditional cars. Even worse, because no standards have been in place.

    An EV has a loss in acsessible energy vs energyinput when measures. For a popular model like the Tesla M3 LR this loss is (wo. other factors like time at standstill, warmup before use aso.) apx. 25%. In actual use over say 50.000 km the number can easily be over 30%. (See Björn Nyland, secondlast vedeo of M3P in youtube).

    Basically the EV’s report usage and not Kwh charged (payed for) reported as wh/km or Kwh/km. Why is this important? Well, that is a no-brainer. Costs for one. But more important full life-cycle Co2-budget. If the co2-energymix is apx. 400 g/kwh. the car is said to consume 187 wh/km but instead consumes 246 wh/km in real life (the Björn Nyland ex.) that changes the co2-output from 748 g/ 10 km to 984 g/ 10 km. Just for the usage. And then you have to add net total extra outputs from the production vs a ICE or a self-charging Hybrid. Add recharge infrastructure at home and “everywhere” and I really think this adds up to a bad idea on a grand scale. For polluted city-areas? Yes. For everywhere else, no.

    Added to this there is the question of consumption when electricity is needed at the most. It is basically +30% over the whole spectre of cars at T’s 0 to -10 C. (Motor mag. Norway wintertests). And that is not if your preferred cabintemp at winter is 23-25 C. No @ 20 C. In total it is fair to assume that only 60% of the energy added is available for use at cold conditions. Remember. Batteries get cold and needs heat (from aut. onboard systems), the drain is higher at standstill, the consumption is higher and energy needed to heat cabin rises steeply. Adding millions of EV’s in Europe while the production of energy is shifted towards much less stabile sources of energy will potentially come at a terrible cost. Add the current nat.gas/Russia issue and I think it is fair to say that Germany is waking up from a 20+ yrs “green bubble” called Energiewende while smelling the coal-fired substitutes for Nuclear shut-downs and periods of failing wind/solar. As other countries in Europe does. Now.

    Another aspect that worried me since I like most others never buy new cars – deappreciation is money I prefer to save/spend otherwise is this; the average sold used car in Norway is apx. 8 yrs old and costs apx. 10.000 Euro. I would guess this number is probably between 6-12 yrs counting all of Europe and what could a potential buyer expect now and apx 8 yrs from now in terms of range and reliability? Rangewise a 2014/15 leaf is probably good for 85% of usable energy compared to as new. That would number 24 Kwh x 0,8(rec. charge) x 0,85= Apx. 100-120 km btw. charges. Could be squezed to 150-170 under good conditions. Assuming recieved energy equals useable energy. Which it doesn’t. So in practical terms expect 80-120 km in safe terms (winter/summer/elbilforum, Norway). This has improved vastly since then. I know. And for many users this is quite good – and enough – in daily use. But you still have to expect the same to happen in therms of reduced range for a brand new car of 2022 going 8 yrs forward. And following commodities markets probably even more so. Because. We have seen a steep rise in raw material prices for the many metals needed for the production of EV’s. Lithium 531 (!) % y/y. Also high double digit rises for Alu, copper, cobalt, nickel in the 1-2 last yrs. This either will affect the price of the final product, the quality (batterycomp.) of the product or both. What we are seeing out of China (a.o. Tesla) points to less good batteries. Eps. in terms of winter capasity.

    So what is wrong here? 1. It happens too fast. 2. The approach is only good for rich countries/customers. 3. The complete picture of all aspects of the production from mining to final assembled EV is lacking factors. Add infrastructure factors as g/co2/km aso. 4. Only minor damage to undercarriage easily causes condemnation for the vehicle. 5. Reliability-issues. I have a freind who looked for a 2014 Tesla 85S last year. I told him to make contact on 20 random cars for sale to ask if battery had been replaced. 12 had… (co2-aspect? ???) Failing batteries or internals is becoming a big issue. 2018 Tesla S came third last of ALL cars in Tüv’s first EV-report recently. Only two Dacia (romanian brand) were worse.

    So. do I hate them? EV’s? Absolutely not. I just see it as premature as of now. And in the aspect of utilizing resources and reducing pollution we use too much resourses to have way too small an effect. Wo. any new infrastructure needed self-charging hybrids reduce output of CO2 and Nox (which is the bad here) with at least 1/3 as to conventioanal ICE-cars. With no to small extra cost (in purchase) as to an ICE. Boring right? So why in global scale/sense? Because one EV battery of 60-110 Kwh @ 400v to 800v. which has become normal gives (way less) than one 100% reduction in pollutants given production and co2-mix of recieved energy and also needs a whole lot of new grid, transformer-stations, energyproduction and charging infrastructure while a self-charging hybrid needs nothing of that and achieves a FULL 100% reduction for every three cars with 4,2 (1,4 Kwh a car) Kwh batteries @ 212V. That is a huge difference. Also in resources needed. With 7-900 km of practical range. Everywhere. No matter country, infrastructure, grid or energyproduction. At 70 Kwh battery/EV avg going forward the factor vs hybrid is even difficult to estimate correctly. But at least a 15-20 times better utilization reaching vastly broader on a global scale. Clearly under adoption in many countries around the world.

    For us – absolutely conserned over resources, general western-world consumption, energy use aso. – it is a no-brainer. Wednesday we are set to drive from Chios, Greece and back to Norway. An 7 year old EV would be useless to us most of the way. Even here. Not even counting all the wait needed. And a dangerous endavour mid-winter through Europe. It is premature. EV’s. Good for some purposes, but far. far from all.The 7 yr. old hybrid (w. 287.000 km) however is suited fine. Avg. CO2 based on consumption is apx. 1150 g/10 km. @ 100-120 km/h avg/GPs. Impossible to achive with same size EV charging through Europe. And impossible to achive by plane ( two pers.). And in use here the electricity needed would come from a 1998 multi-fuel powerplant. (oh yes, intentially completed pre-EURO1,2,3,,,,).

    Everytime we drive it is mind-boggeling to see a the “consumer-shit” going from south to north. The volumes of trucks on the roads is immense. From ports in Turkey. Aaall the way up. (Cheaper transport that way nowadays you know). Want to do your part? Buy LESS! Buy used if you can. Save some of that hard earned money. Stop competing the your neighbour or whoever. It is a stupid game of “the latest new gadget or shitty product”.

    In the end it is up to Stjupin whether or now there will be a real energy-crisis in Europe now or at a later time. If Germany were to accept (and finalize technical inspection) Nordstream II they will be in the mercy of Russia on most foreign-policy matters. Including NATO-expansion eastwards. If they don’t, well there might be nat-gas supply issues in early spring. And a bat-shit crisis for next winter. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. At least Olaf woke up before they finalized Nordstream II. All of Europe sees this. Greece was supposed to open three floating LNF-factories (for electricity) here on the three Greek islands of Samos, Chios and lesvos shortly. Postponed. Emergency-session in parliament overon nat-gas supply on last wednesday. Opened a closed coal-fired plant (and mine) last december. Prospecting other re-openings (coal, multi-fuel). Talks with Quatar. And this is a pan-european issue now. Where nat-gas supplies from USA only puts a too small bandaid on the situation.

    Europe went too “green” too fast. You can not substitute reliable energy with unreliable enery. And forget about “energy-storage” in a meaningful needed scale. No country in the world could afford it. And for Germany to have baseload reserves (storage) in winter it would take 50 yrs of the total 2019-mining production of raw materials needed. To be renewed every 10-15 yrs because of unfavorable charging. Forget it. Think small scale nuclear, thorium, geothermal. Battery is a sidetrack with current tech.

    I see this in data. Facts. Not feelings (beeing “green” or “black”). Data folks. 99,51% of global transportation is still fossile based (2020). Try to grasp min needed baseload (NOT yr. production) to put that number meaningful lower. And ban wood-burning in Europe btw. at the same time as discussed now. It does not add up.

    • Agreed. Much too fast and therefore unrealistic altogether.

      • I would put the alternative point of view. The automotive industry is very reluctant to change. They are happy to add luxuries to cars and to fiddle with the looks, but working on the engine costs money and does not increase sales, so they don’t. Fundamental improvements in cars have always come from regulations, from seat belts to engine efficiency. The EU is the reason why cars nowadays to 45 miles to the (UK) gallon rather than 30. The companies knew perfectly well how to do it, but were adamant it could not be done – no one wanted to be first. So the EU put its foot down. And even so, the companies tried to get around it by cheating: it is that kind of industry. (And they all did it..) We now have the same with electric cars. The change is driven by regulation, and the technical developments will follow. We are not there yet and at the moment electric cars are mainly for city use. But with a deadline to drive it, we will get there. I live in an area where air quality has gotten notably worse over the past 10 years, as car density increased. The change to electric cars will at the very least increase quality of life for those outside the cars. And finally, I would not buy a Tesla. I am not impressed by the reliability figures for that particular brand. But that is beside the point.

        • I totally agree as to regulations Albert. This we know from modern automotive history. I also want to apologize for not spell-checking the post better. Hope everything was understood.

          When it comes to EV-adaption I think the dates given for several European countries are premature too. First of all you would need to steeply improve energy density in batteries too achieve the object. Esp. when it comes to trucks/trailors/lorries.

          Also, the investments needed for a substantial (fast) increase in EV’s (Europe) is not happening. In terms of needed pace in grid-investments, new energy supply and baseload-growth. Even in Norway – with the highest adoption-rate ww. of apx. 15% EV’s on the roads – the main regulator have had to warn people NOT to charge EV’s at certain times at two occations already. 15% in. And GB is what 2? 4? % in. Germany apx. the same? GB is set to regulate allowance to charge – at home – by law. For a “crisis”.

          And people starts to ask; what will be my net savings if electricity stays at 20-40 cent/pennies Kwh. Double that at a chargingstation. or even increases more.

          Speaking of air-quality. In Oslo SO2-levels have been measured since 1958. Seen at up to 1.000 ppm in the start. Usually seen at 1 to 2 ppm today. I would think this is also true for many UK cities. The 1950’s smog-incidents were terrible. So what are we actually measuring against? And how much more dangerous can fine dust particles have become (main focus today) since then? Spikes in wintertires are basically unwanted/banned in Norwegian cities. Asthma and allergies is still soaring. Cars ar mainly Euro5 or newer or EV’s (25-40% Bergen/Oslo). Catalysts have been in cars since 1987. Old fireplaces banned. Buses all EV or hybrid. Asthma and allergies still soaring. In small children, grown-ups, old…

          Cities in countries which have not adopted to the “redecorate-your-house-every-year”-style of living are not seeing this. Even though they stuggle with old buses, lorries, aso. Steel-spikes in winter. Take your pick; Russia, Romania, Bulgaria. Studies comparing (among other things) asthma and allergies in the population. Me: we need to seriously adress all chemicals we surround ourselves with.

          My main point is that air quality in major European cities have not been as good as today for, well, basically “forever” in a modern perspective. There are exceptions, but in general. And all trends point to further improvements. Seeing this, some countries (like Germany) actually intend to lower the limits for several pullutants . With extremely low scientific confindence in further effects on the general population from it.

          I just don’t see how urgent this is, not to adopt “down the road” and in a balanced manor with regards to utiliation for raw materials. Unless of course one would suffer from “CO2-mania”. Sorry.

          I asked norwegian professors in physics, applied math., biology and chemistry to “debunk” the following below linked to published paper. I even offered them 1.000 Euro in doing so. From my own pocket. Not rich. Not “sponsored”. Just extremely curious. Because everythink has been quiet on this paper since a wrong math. calculation in the paper was fixed by author Blair D. Macdonald. No replies. Nada. Four months and counting. Paper conclusion; IR spectroscopy should never ever had been applied on Climate-models in the first place. A terrible case of the wrong technology applied. Read the paper and consider if we only had Raman lidar measurements. Would the Bern-model even have existed? No. Will I be mocked in an un-scientifically way for this? Probably. Do I even care? No.

          To me this is about science. Not opinions or consensus. Consensus would stop the world from developing if taken seriously enough. Which clearly seems to be the issue presently within the field of Climate science based on consensus (please send me coordinates on where to have the best yields for corn and wheat this and next season. And the next 25-50 yrs. Please forward 2032-hurricanes. 2041-fisheries. Best ski-resorts to visit in 2038. ENSO for 2063? Positive? Negative? How about NAO in 2024? 2027 Monsoon?). The whole thing is human arrogance. And money. This is actually a huge hinder to free open scientific approach. We know just some of the pieces to the climate-puzzle. That is a fact.


          • Here is the absorption spectrum of the Earth’s atmosphere

            The Earth emits its radiation at wavelengths from 5 to 20 micron (that is because of its temperature of 300 Kelvin). So absorption at those wavelengths (5-20 micron) cause the greenhouse effect. That is mainly water and CO2. O3 also has a bit of effect, but because it is stratospheric it heats that part of the atmosphere which indeed is warmer than the top of the troposphere. N2 and O2 have very little effect in the infrared: their absorption bands are narrow (because of the symmetry of the molecules) and at shorter wavelengths. Water is the main greenhouse gas. CO2 adds to this. N2 doesn’t.

          • Now about the cars. The electricity network will certainly need more capacity. That will take a major investment. As for pollution, the air has improved dramatically since the pollution of the 1950’s. But that does not mean there are no problems. It is no longer sulphur, as it was before (although it is still a big issue in China and in many developing nations). But UK cities have a nitrogenoxide problem, and it is bad around busy city streets. It is now a recognized cause of death in the UK. Wood fires are also causing a pollution problem, but around here it is mainly the increase in traffic.

          • For info

            Diesel Euro-1 1993 Euro-6 2014
            CO – 2.7 – 0.50 g/km
            HC+ NOx -0.97 – 0.17 g/km
            NOx – 0.08 g/km
            PM – 0.14 0.005 g/km
            PM – 6.0×10 ^11/km

          • Read the paper Albert. Quoting IR-findings is missing the point completely. And to emphasize; this is not new research. Simply a brilliant summary of known facts.


            One of greenhouse theory’s key premises – N2 and O2 are not greenhouse gases
            as they do not emit and absorb infrared radiation – presents a paradox; it
            contradicts both quantum mechanics and thermodynamics – where all matter
            above absolute zeroKelvin radiates IR photons. It was hypothesised: these gases
            do radiate IR photons at quantum mechanics predicted spectra, and these
            spectra are observed by IR spectroscopy’s complement instrument, Raman
            Spectroscopy; and N2 spectra can be demonstrated to absorb IR radiation by
            experiment and application of the N2-CO2 laser. It was found the gases do
            possess quantum predicted emission spectra at 2338cm-1 and 1556cm-1
            respectively, both within the IR range of the EMS, and these are only observed –
            and their respective temperatures and concentrations accurately measured – by
            Raman laser Spectrometers. It was concluded Raman spectrometers make IR
            spectroscopy redundant: they measure, more accurately the Keeling curve, and
            have application with meteorological Lidars and planetary atmospheric analysis.
            The N2-CO2 Laser showed – contrary to current greenhouse theory – N2 absorbs
            electrons and/or (IR) photons by its – metastable ‘long lasting’ – said spectra
            mode. It was argued atmospheric CO2 is heated by the same mechanism as the
            N2-CO2 laser, as by physical law. N2 and the entire atmosphere absorbs IR
            radiation directly from the Sun and other matter. With these findings,
            greenhouse theory as it stands is misconceived – all gases are greenhouse gases
            – and the theory is in need of review.”

            Have read it in full several times. Everybody else with knowledge should.

          • I stand by my judgement. And I do know quantum physics and greenhouse physics and am qualified to come to my conclusion. But if you don’t believe me, why don’t you take the text. Take two greenhouses, in one add more CO2 and in the other add more N2 and see what happens

          • On cars… Latest reports says european nat.gas storage supplies stood at 4,7% on 17.02.22. And one STILL wants more EV’s? How would that even add up given the current extremely dire energy situation i Europe? And the want to ban burning wood too? ??? What is the secret powersource for all this?


            European suicide by (lack of) electricity? I am simply baffled by what is going on right now in Europe…

          • Albert; you need to think different effects for the different gases at different T and P in the rising column of the Atm. That is in the findings from Raman Lidar measurements too. Not on the ground. or in a greenhouse on the ground at apx 1.000 hPa. Where studies has shown that levels of 400ppm or 1.000 ppm respectively in a greenhouse does next to nada with T. Levels of 800 – 1.600 ppm has been used in greenhouses for decades to enhance growth. Wo. grilling neither workers nor plants.

            Observed modern change in T is ~90% explained by change in global cloudcover. And what is that change? Highly modelled for sure. Raw data from ~60.000 stations on ground on the planet put it at 13.86 deg. C. (12 months) right now. We need a tight grid of ground measurements to cover the intire planet for at least 100 yrs. to avoid extremely high “infill” of data. Esp. retrospect.

            The whole thing becomes a complete joke when the “leading star” Germany together with other countries phases out nuclear before coal and fires Coal-plant after Coal-plant to scew imploding nat.gas supply from Russia. Exchanging nuclear with nat.gas is not excactly what one would to if the Climate-crisis was dire either. While business as usual rules throughout Russia and large populated regions of Asia and central Americas.

            And wouldn’t we logically first ban wars, drills, the military industry and war-preparations as a no-brainer? Instead of personal mobility, wood-burning, “fossile”-cars aso.? Eletrical kick-bikes that catches on fire killing residents in houses? Really?

            It is always about $$$

          • The physics is all in the IPCC reports. But if you accept neither physics nor data, then there is not much point in this discussion. Global heating is well established, has been understood since the 1890’s, and is progressing as predicted. We can discuss how to address it, but not whether to deny the basic laws of thermodynamics.

          • You will find the physics very well covered from p. 30-35 in the paper.

            It is a long read, but it opened my eyes to new ideas. Based on known facts of physics. And Raman-Lidar observations (not to be mixed up with the Raman scattering effect).

    • Gosh.
      I have mentioned some of this, but you put together actual figures, which is amazing.
      The problem with solar (domestic) is that it absolutely needs LiI batteries (lead has too short a life to be remotely economic) that care currently guaranteed for 10 years or more, which looks suspicious to me.

Comments are closed.