Why is my favourite volcano broken?

One of the most impressive images I know. Photograph by Einar Gudmann.

Volcanology is filled with moments when you look at your favourite volcano doing something interesting, and you hope that it will erupt. There is no shame to admit it, we are secretly cheering our favourites on towards the inevitable eruption.

Time and time again we are though let down by our volcanoes, and if you are like me, you will start to ponder if they are broken somehow. And, knowing you my dear readers, I know that you are quite like me in this regard.

So, let us use 3 volcanoes in Iceland as examples to study for the most common reason of our disappointment, water. I should though say that this is also a common fault in other volcanoes around the world.


Volcanologists at the fault

Since I could not find an image of volcanic fluids, I chose the other volcanic fluid as a representation of the various states it can take. I also find it rather calming to look at beer images.

First, let me start with taking a bit of the blame for this. I and many others tend to use the rather generic term of “volcanic fluids” a tad to often. Like all generic terms it is just either used by someone who is incredibly lazy, or when you are not have an inkling about what is happening, and you do not want to admit it.

So, what are volcanic fluids then? Well, it is most often water, but it can also be gasses in fluid form, or anything else that is floating. Problem is that unless we take a good look we do not know if it is root beer or magma.

So, when a volcanologist uses the term volcanic fluids, you can be almost certain that there will not be an eruption in the near future.

If you instead see your favourite volcanologist use highly specific terminology, like for instance “rapidly propagating dyke formation”, it is time to be exited. Because trust me, that is what your favourite volcanologist is.

Volcanic fluids are used when writing a stale report on something rather mundane that needs explaining for the general population. And writing water expansion is not as scientific sounding as “intrusion of volcanic fluids”.

Problem is compounded by the not so small part that volcanologists firmly believe that every Billy-Joe Bob know that they are mostly talking about water when using the term volcanic fluids. Most readers here do though know the difference, and since many volcanologists read what is written in the comments, they get positive feedback loops in their usage of generic terms. Rinse and repeat.

And then comes The Hysterati*, they do not understand it at all. All fluids are magma according to them, and all magma will immediately erupt, and all volcanoes are Hypercanoes™.

Let me just say that it has been giggle worthy reading what The Hysterati has been writing in the last few weeks in regards of three of my favourite Icelandic volcanoes.

So, let us at a leisurely pace go through what Askja, Grimsvötn and Katla have been up to, look at the signs given, and most importantly let us looks at the signs not given. After that it will be clear why they are broken down and not erupting their magmatic hearts out.


Supercritical Fluid

Supercritical Fluid inside a very sturdy container. It has a tendency to want to destroy things if it comes out. Nasty stuff. Photograph by Flachzange1337.

First, I need to introduce a very specific term. A supercritical fluid is when something is neither a gas, nor a fluid, and at the same time.

Let us ponder tap water. As you pour it into your tea kettle and set it to boil it will emit steam. Both water and steam (water vapour) are just two different states of the old H2O, same goes with ice.

These three states are the ones we encounter in our daily lives. But there is a fourth one that we rarely if ever encounter unlike you are like me, it is called a supercritical state. And trust me on this, you do not want to wake up with a few cubic metres of that knocking on your door, it is waters psychopathic cousin.

We all know that steam forms at about 100C at sea level. It can minutely vary depending on extraneous mineral content and local gravimetric anomalies. If you instead boil your water in a pressure cooker, you can achieve higher steam temperatures since increased pressure requires higher temperature to create steam.

So, what happens to water that comes into close contact with magma at let us say 3km depth? If it meets lava at the surface it would convert into steam that is 100C, and then convert back into water.

Problem is that at 3 000 meters depth the pressure is 810 Bar (that is probably something in US imperials, but I am to lazy to convert it into non-metric values, Google is your friend). The temperature of the water will most often be well above 270C or more.

At that point it will want to be steam, but is too squeezed to become steam, so the water turns itself into a supercritical fluid.

Problem is that 1kg of water has the density of 1, whereas supercritical water has the density of 0.326 kg per 1 cubic decimetre of volume. In other words, the water will expand as it is converted by a factor of roughly three.

Anything expanding in fairly solid bedrock will cause all sorts of interesting phenomena, so let us dig a bit deeper into this.



In this picture you see that Askja is a nested caldera. Photograph by Mike Ryan, USGS.

During the last year Askja has inflated with more than 40 centimetres locally inside the caldera. This has led many people to state that an eruption is close. I seriously doubt that it is the case due to what is missing in the picture.

It can be summed up in a single question. Where are the earthquakes? After all, Icelandic volcanoes are famously noisy prior to eruption with two glaring exceptions to the rule, Grimsvötn and Hekla. But they are very special exceptions caused by an open constant feeder mechanism from the mantle that is held open due to them frequently erupting and that they have a steady supply of fresh magma slowly entering the system.

Askja on the other hand is as far as known more episodic, with large intrusions happening, and after that follows diminishing eruptions of ever more stale magma due to lack of influx. Other such volcanoes are quite noisy prior to eruption.

There is also a lack of deep earthquakes and no clearcut deep feeder that is visible on the earthquake data from the MOHO up to the magma reservoir.

What has been detected is though a deep accumulation of magma below the crust trying to find its way upwards, this was especially evident in 2013 prior to the eruption at Holuhraun. This caused a broad and widespread movement upwards of the entire volcanic system of Askja.

Instead, we have a highly localized spot that is inflating quietly at a depth of 2.5 to 3 kilometres depth.

Let us now look at the caldera inside the caldera rim. We know that it has suffered from at least 3 major calderification events, ranging from a mid-sized VEI-5 up to a good sized VEI-6. These eruptions did not directly cause the formation of the caldera due to massive explosive eruptions, or technically it is calderas in plural.

Instead, the void created by profuse effusive eruptions caused the roof to crack and fall into the magma reservoir in the form of blocks of rock. Unlike Bardarbunga that is acting like a piston due to the depth of the magma reservoir, it is easier for Askja to just drop down piece by piece.

This has created a complete mess down to the shallow magma reservoir of crushed up rocks, and crushed rocks are fairly aseismic. It has also created a good ground for water to percolate down through.

We also know that there is a lot of ground water at Askja, we know this from the two caldera lakes inside the volcano. We also know that Askja is hydrothermally active.

So, let us now toy with the thought that water has slowly percolated down through the jumble of rocks until it came near the magma reservoir. Here the rocks are more stable and can create a non-permeable lid.

Under that local lid the water would happily expand as it converts into supercritical fluid and lift the lid upwards. Water that is not under the lid will just move upwards as ordinary geothermal water and heat up the area at the surface, something that we know has happened at the lake.

The lake used to freeze over, now not so much. So, we know there is an increase in hydrothermal water circulation.

This is how you get a mysterious quiet large uplift without any trace evidence of fresh magma intruding into the magma reservoir.

Potentially in the end we might end up with a Maar formation, and those can indeed be spectacular in their own right, but we will need quite a bit more inflation before that happens.



Tranquil Grimsvötn in 1972 before the latest round of eruptions started.
Back then the ice was much healthier and the lake colder.

In the last few weeks there has been much activity among The Hysterati due to new hydrothermal openings being discovered in the ice above the caldera lake. It has been well known that the hydrothermal output into the lake has increased significantly after the last eruption in 2011.

We can see that from the steaming ground on the Southern caldera wall, and in a small part of the lake being held open by upwelling warmer water.

Nobody as far as I know have remeasured the thickness of the ice on top of the lake, but it is a fair assumption that the thickness has decreased in the last 11 years.

During the last eruption a portion of the caldera roof was significantly damaged, so it is now far more permeable for water to seep down and get near the magma, but here it has caused a rapid circulation of large amounts of hot water that is slowly increasing the temperature of the lake, and that in turn is melting the ice in interesting ways.

Grimsvötn will obviously erupt sooner or later anyway, but the increased hydrothermal activity is a result of the last eruption and not a sign of the upcoming eruption. Causation is important after all.



In this photograph by Chris 73 you can see the side of the glacier on top of Katla volcano. It is that ice that is providing the water.

No volcano in Iceland is causing so much feverish activity among The Hysterati as Katla. And, for once they sort of have backing from the scientific community.

It is a well-known big hitter when it erupts. A track record containing several VEI-6 eruptions and numerous VEI-5 eruptions is hard to argue with. Even harder to argue with is the Eldgjá eruption.

So, let us look at what signs there are. We do have a record of deep earthquakes leading all the way from the mantle to the magma reservoir. We do have earthquakes around the magma reservoir indicating increasing pressure in the system, we also have a broad long-term indication of steadily ongoing inflation.

In other words, we have all that we want to see a volcano doing prior to erupting. We know that prior to onset of eruption we will see large earthquakes lasting for days, if not weeks, and we know that what we will see will be very noisy indeed. An upcoming eruption will start with earthquakes at M4, or even larger.

If we then see M4 earthquakes it is easy to rejoice that our not so little volcano is about to erupt again. And since repose time often equate to size of the eruption, we would naturally expect something impressive, so we go and buy more popcorn and sit down to wait.

And then nothing… is our volcano truly broken somehow. Sadness sets in, or even perhaps a little bit of anger over our impotent volcano.

But alas, the fault is ours once more. This time around we forgot that not all earthquakes are equal. And once more we forgot the adage of every successful shopkeeper in history. “Location, location, location…”

We also forgot our nemesis, water.

Katla has a relatively shallow and very large hydrothermal system created by the same processes as in other large-scale calderas like Askja and Grimsvötn. All those large eruptions have created a roof above the magma reservoir that is constituted by severely mulched up rock.

Water is easily percolating down through cracks, and then it does the same expansion as at Askja, but this time the orientation is different. Here dykes of rapidly expanding water are cracking the rock sideways as pressure increases.

And when the pressure is high enough a very shallow earthquake will happen, typically at depths of around 100 to 500 metres. After the earthquake a new fumarole forms and the water is vented out over time.

Instead, look for a swarm of earthquakes starting between 3 to 5km that are progressing upwards in a steady manner. That would be magma moving upwards.


How do we fix our volcanoes?

Perhaps these tools can fix the volcano? The tools have rested for centuries on the ocean floor inside the sailing ship Mary Rose.
Picture by the Mary Rose Trust.

Well, it is easier to fix ourselves. Instead of jumping every time it is far better to be relaxed and check if the signs are indeed produced by magma, or if it is just pesky water.

There is though hope, most volcanoes will erupt again, and these 3 volcanoes are certainly going to erupt again.

For Askja and Katla we can even state that we will see a lot of earthquakes and other activity that we can interpret well enough to make a forecast in time before they erupt.

Grimsvötn is not so easy, it is teetering on the brink as things stand now. It can erupt after just a brief runup tomorrow, or in years to come.

There is after all a general rule that the longer repose a volcano has had, the more impressive the signs will be. Grimsvötn has erupted too much lately to give off a lot of signs prior to an eruption.

I will leave you with this thought. Here we have 3 volcanoes in the same country, erupting similar base magma, and still water is producing three distinctly different false positives. The lesson here is that you need to know your volcano very well before you can say what is what, and that a sure-fire thing at one volcano can be completely misleading at the next volcano over on the same chain of volcanoes.


*=The Hysterati is my own colloquialism for a certain type of YouTube producers who have found out that they can live handsomely by screaming loudly that a volcano is going to destroy the Universe, and that intentionally misinterprets any volcanic news to draw in punters. There is a certain space reserved in Purgatory for them.

187 thoughts on “Why is my favourite volcano broken?

  1. So, volcanoes on planets without water will behave differently?

    • Obviously water would not be a driving force of making volcanologists batty.
      Also, water is one of the main volatiles driving explosive eruptions, so the eruptions would tend towards effusive at a larger degree.

  2. Thanks! A lively read.
    I was doing my own bit of hysteratii, and looking at drumplots for the area south of Herðubreið’s Tuya. I see the quakes have adopted a softer P start. I wonder what is happening down there?

    • It is a nice little dyking event going on there on the Herdubreid fissure swarm.
      I like that volcano, I just hope it will not be completely destroyed as and when it erupts.
      In many aspects it would be nice if it erupted outside of the Edifice itself, it is such a beauty.

      • If the quakes track where intrusions are then the eruption probably isnt going to go through the mountain, looks more on the west side, and more southwards from there. No magma chamber so this could be alot like at Fagradalsfjall with a slow style fissure that could become a shield, there are many shields in this area probably more than anywhere else in Iceland 🙂

        • Actually, we do not know if there is magma reservoir there or not.
          All we know is that there has been a minor eruption after deglaciation on the top of Herdubreid.
          We also know that there have been intermittent intrusive activity there for more than a decade, but for all we know it can have run for hundreds of years.
          This means that somewhere blow there is a reservoir at depth.
          We can see earthquakes running from 14km and upwards, but below that there is very little activity, and the crust is more than 30 km thick.
          Personally I think that there is a deep reservoir, and that there is an extensive dyke and sill system above.

          • I thought the top part was just because Herdubreid would have been a shield, so formed one when it breached the glacier, not a Holocene eruption afterwards? Geological maps also dont put that summit lava as Holocene either, although it probably isnt that much older based on morphology.

            I dont know really, theres lots of examples of fissures that dont erupt through hills but go on either side, Laki most obviously but there are lots of them in Hawaii that are very easy to see. So just on that it seems at least more likely than not that an eruption would begin at the bottom of the mountain than at the top, its not an open conduit volcano like a stratovolcano where that does happen. Will be interesting to find out.

          • Actually it has not been dated due to no volcanologist galumphing up taking a look and collecting a sample.
            I will rectify that next year when I go with a chopper across the region.
            But, it is quite evidently not the same material as the late stage glacial edifice. So, I stick to it being a later more evolved lava until I have my sample.

          • The Elon Musk approach, no one has done it but there is no reason why you cant do it, so it can be done. Has worked out very well for him and the world so far (well except maybe Twitter, not everyone is American or believes in the religion of absolute freedom), hopefully there are others like him to take up other areas that he has not, the world moves too fast and with too much at stake to trudge along anymore.

            I am a little surprised that no one has gone up there at all though, its not exactly a nice place to be but people drive out into the middle of Vatnajokull so it seems at least easier than that… I have read a paper that Askja has erupted a lot more in the past 1000 years than was assumed, probably at least 15 times, but because recorded history there doesnt begin until the 1870s it was assumed not much had happened for a long time before then. Probably a lot of the flows on the northern rift of Bardarbunga are historical too but unobserved or poorly located. Last one might be as recent as 1902. So I guess we shouldnt be surprised at this, except for the location it is business as usual.

          • People have been up, a few have even climbed it.
            But to the best of my knowledge nobody took a sample and analysed it.

          • I never saw a picture of the crater lake. It was impressive.
            Seems to be some residual geothermal activity even today.

    • GeologyHub has normally been reliable. But this time I can’t find any information on elevated tremor or inflation relating to Semeru in the past days.

      • Did the same thing, too, based of the supposed sources but can’t find anything on these guys. I even left a comment where he got the sources from and will be waiting for his response. (you’ll see me as Zachary Trent on there, I know, a little risky, but a VPN might work).

        • But, I will have to say: if you want reliable sources on the volcanoes of Hawaii, the Hawai’i PODD is basically very reliable. (sadly, no other channel has that kind of level like them when it comes to other volcanoes. 🙁 )

          • Been watching them since 2018, definitely the best channel in terms of production quality and actual realistic analysis. They only cover Hawaii though, for Iceland my go to are the Reykjavik Grapevine and Just Icelandic. Im not actually aware of any other such channels about other volcanoes, maybe that is why there are always long discussions on Hawaii and Iceland here but other volcanoes only get talked about if they are in significant eruption. Even at that, Hawaii is mostly me and Hector, and to a lesser extent Jesper and Albert.

          • I often feel that the discussion about Hawaii is at a level where I can add nothing.
            So, I prowl more forgotten volcanoes and my beloved Icelandic volcanoes.

          • I just feel like, though, VolcanoCafe is one of the most reliable site ever when it comes to volcanoes, most of the time (though, Volcano Smithsonian is a little more reliable, but there is no such thing as totally reliable.)

          • Even Smithsonian had an alternative period.
            I know why, and they in the end rectified it.
            I often use them as a starting point when spelunking at volcanoes that are new to me.

            In the end every good platform will get things wrong, but as long as the intent is to provide factual info I am happy.
            And here the readers are just to knowledgeable, so if we get something wrong you guys will set us straight. 🙂

        • Crapper Joez, there are volcanoes in Ethiopia to talk about! Besides, no one knows much about each individual volcano, but it is quite equally as interesting as Iceland if you dig deep enough.

          • I was mildly surprised when I was hauled in as an expert on geothermal at volcanoes during the last eruption.
            The weird part was that both sides of the discussion wanted me to talk.

          • Yup, I am everywhere and as active as Etna with long periods of dormancy!

    • GeologyHub has changed from fairly reliable into foaming at the mouth when they noticed the stacks of cash that they could make by spreading doomy clickbait.

      • I have seen worse. GeologyHub is tapping into some terrible magic, I think, but there are worse ones out there. (hint: if the title that is exaggerated and includes the word “Terrible” and has some sort of channel name or “symbol” somewhat relating to the US military and you got the true Siths of this genera. Hell, even one (RE Files) got verified, which would be very bad.)

        • Oh there are always worse, up until you arrive at Dutchincense…
          The King of the Garbage Pile. Nothing surpasses him at lowest wrung of the information ladder.

          • Oh man, the Palpatine! Oh no! Luckily, I might’ve not known about him until you mentioned that guy!

          • If you really want to have your head blown apart by dung, google…

      • Same with the Horse addicted ”Just Icelandic” 😆

        He gone from a good channel into just gloom doom boom … : )

        • But thats right

          Dutchincense.. beats everything 😆 hahah insanity acually and he does that only earn cash.

          Luckly his Fb pages have been put down again by Facebook 🙂

          Just Icelandic have also gone little towards that way: Once the money gets flowing in .. They turn into gloom doom boom To attract more youtube subscribers.

          Dutchstink remains very active on Youtube

        • I like Just Icelandic, I think his channel is fone as long as not taken as a point of authority, it is convenient to get the basic information that especially for those of us not able to understand much Icelandic (really,nearly everyone here probably) is maybe not so easy to find. He got popular because of the volcano, most of his viewers are probably smart enough to do their own research if they are sceptical, and he has said the channel is not specifucally about volcanoes but the whole island, of which the volcanoes are just a small part. Same for GeologyHub, summarizing the reports in a way it can be understood by everyone. Neither are anywhere even close to conspiratorial the way those other channels are, lumping them is unfair on the above two and gives Dutchsinse way too much credit…

      • Right nothing else beats Dutchincense in sheer production of elephant dung
        And More astonishing is that he just keeps production.. for years after years 🙂

        Just about cash I guess

        And the more Michael Janitch keeps doing that .. the more he will belive in his ideas I guess … he is gaining quite alot of followers

  3. I cannot be bothered to go back to the data but there may be more than one definition of ‘supercritical’. The papers/discussions I came across defined supercritical as when the latent heat of evaporation is negative. That is to say the ‘liquid’ phase holds more internal energy than the ‘gas’ phase. That is compression cools the water bulk, which means that when allowed to expand the water bulk HEATS up rather than cooling as with ‘normal’ steam/water.
    Now, speaking from memory again, the pressures where this happens was HUGE. Ten(s) of km of hydrostatic pressure so I don’t think you would get this from water percolating from above (although clearly you can form very hot water able to flash into steam/water vapours). However water can be pushed down, for example a wet subducting slab can go very deep and very hot and this water will be supercritical. Get a volume of wet hot magma coming from depth and its to be expected that once the lid is unable to withstand the pressure, the result would be the mother of all phreatic eruptions with an unusually large amount of water holding unreasonably large amounts of energy.
    Or (as is likely) this is too far from physically plausible temp/pressure.

    • Subducted water reaching the surface again is what 99% of arc volcanoes are 🙂

    • It is a function of temperature vs pressure.
      But, you do definitely not need tens of km.

      Let us toy with supercritical fluid of water at 373 degrees Celsius.
      That requires a pressure of 220 Bar.
      What now is bar in depth? If in water it is 2200 metres give or take a salmon.
      But rock is heavier, let us for the sake of argument use the standard value of crustal rock at 2.7kg per cubic decimetre.
      Then we end up with 814.8 metres of rock weight pressure.
      Higher temperature and you need higher pressure.
      Wrangling for supercritical fluids is my daytime job…

      The part of the gaining temperature when transitioning to steam phase (extreme simplification here) is why we in the power production industry love it, it is also why it is so blastedly dangerous to deal with, if you ponder it some more you will also realise this is why it is so incredibly corrosive.


      Edit: I simplified the pressure bit. The equation would assume a perfect tensile strength of the rock, you would obviously need to calculate the tensile strength of the reservoir to get an exact answer and to do that you nead the shear-modulus to be known. In other words you need to drill before you have a clue. 🙂

      • Interesting.

        I always considered supercritical water to be a single phase (like CO2), however when reading an engineering article (who dealt with same) they clearly stated that this was wrong and that there was a less dense and more dense phase. Now I am less sure from a different set of hits. In the end it doesn’t matter though
        One thing we are agreed on, though, is that it’s packed full of energy.
        As you say, with broken H-bonds it will be rather reactive and a very good solvent indeed and with interesting corrosive powers.

        • Supposedly, supercritical H2O is able to set organic compounds on fire. This is real fire too, at incandescence, it is called a hydrothermal flame. it is unfortunately very hard to find any pictures or videos on it though, even Wikipedia hasnt got a page…

          Not really sure how the reaction works, the oxygen is still reduced, so the reaction must be something to do with the high temperature of the ambient environment and the much more ionized nature of the fluid compared to normal H2O. It does have excellent solvent properties for O2, so that could be it, the reaction is evidently very exothermic as incandescence is observed. I imagine SC-H2O is rather violently reactive with iron given it is water at 500 C and with potentially more dissolved oxygen in it than is found in the same volume of air, like steel wool in a jar of oxygen… Al, Mg or Ti might react explosively if the oxide layer is scratched off and the fluid is allowed to come into contact with the bare metal.

          I guess it is used industrially on large scales so maybe it is not this reactive, but finding out SC-H2O is able to set things on fire has made me think.

          • The only commercial use is in the power industry, and it is being piped around in very sturdy stainless steel pipes. And the security and documentation work is ginormous.

          • Bear in mind that anything above hydrogen in the electrochemical table can be oxidised by water (producing hydrogen). I suspect even the stainless used is a special grade for use with supercritical steam, after all solubility of oxide films in this solvent may be unexpectedly high unless carefully formulated.
            As to organics, water gas
            H2O + C → H2 + CO (ΔH = +131 kJ/mol)
            is endothermic and also with 1 gas molecule going to two should be increasingly so at higher pressures. You might have to pick your organics carefully for steam to be an effective oxidiser.

          • I had a look, supercritical oxidation is using oxygen or hydrogen peroxide in supercritical water, so not the water itself as an oxidant. Solubility of oxygen is much higher in supercritical water, as are hydrocarbons. Supercritical water is probably a fire hazard on account of its temperature still.

            The standard electrode table is at room temperature, at high temperature many more metals will react with water to make hydrogen that wont at room temperature. Fe and Cr are among them. Actually the standard electrode table doesnt really work at all at high temperatures. Sodium is a much more powerful reducing agent than aluminium or iron, but heating dry NaOH with Al powder will produce metallic Na, as a gas, along with an equal amount of H2. I have done this in real life, the reaction is not violent but is very exothermic. Magnesium and NaOH is much more violent.

            Fluorine can be created using the following reaction
            2K2MnF6 + 4SbF5 = 4KSbF6 + 2MnF3 + F2

            More notably, it is also possible to evolve elemental F2 from HF using barium perxenate BaXeO4, which doesnt contain fluorine itself. BaXeO4 contains a noble gas in a +8 oxidation state 🙂

          • @Farmer, it is definitely very carefully selected stainless steel types that we need to use. I will though not write any SS codes for it in the open. It is sort of a trade secret for us.

            @Chad, interesting stuff. Had never thought about self electrolysing with aluminium powder…

  4. IMO “Today, at 14:56 a M2.7 earthquake was detected in Bárðarbunga. One minute later a M4.2 earthquake was detected also in Bárðarbunga. A few aftershocks have followed.

    At 15:00 a M3.2 earthquake was detected north of Herðubreið.
    Written by a specialist at 31 Oct 15:33 GMT*
    is this “timing” a pure coincidence?

    • Definitely a pure coincidence, they are two different unconnected systems.
      And both of the systems do these earthquake sizes on a regular basis.

      Iceland is good at giving these unconnected stuff that seems erily connected.

  5. “But there is a fourth one that we rarely if ever encounter unlike you are like me, it is called a supercritical state.”

    Rarely encounter? It sounds like many people prior to their first cup of coffee in morning.

  6. There we have it. Thank you for the contribution. I mean, I’ve been hyped a lot these days by these volcanoes and the online volcano affines. As a child I wanted to be a volcanologist, but unfortunately life got in the way. During Corona I rediscovered this old love and have been studying diligently since then, but such – probably obvious – information was missing in my interpretation of the volcanic activity. Grimsvötn, Askja and Katla are my absolute favorites, along with Etna and Vesuvius, where I practically spent my childhood. Every time I see a star on the IMO earthquake map (like Bárðarbunga just now), I get excited like the little boy who stands with his grandfather on the crater rim of Vesuvius for the first time. This post brought me (a little) back to earth.

    • You are very welcome! First-time comments are always held back by the system for approval. (Sadly necessary.) I think we are all excited about possible eruptions. We also know that most precursor activity does not lead to an eruption, and often the activity is not precursive. Yellowstone, for instance, is a case where all activity is hydrothermal and an eruption there is nigh on impossible. Taal is one we are concerned about. And often, volcanoes erupt unexpectedly, as Hunga Tonga did. Volcanoes – you’ll love, you’ll hate it, but you’ll never get bored.

    • Those Bardarbunga earthquakes are actually really interesting, we do not really understand how they form, or what is the driving force of them.
      They do not displace volume, so non-volumetric. And there is no decoupling…
      And the wave form is also completely wonked out.
      So, we needed a completely new term for these earthquakes happening at one severely wonky volcano.
      And thusly the “Non-volumetric-non-double-couple Earthquake” was born.

      The best explanation is that it is entirely magmatic as warm magma is going up at extreme speed replacing cold magma going down at the same ludicrous speed. Note, this is currently the best fit theory.
      Volcanoes, some do things that should not be possible.



      And there the WOWZER effect of volcanoes was resoundingly restored. 🙂

      Edit: Okay, I probably here should freely admit that I get excited by things that most people would find rather boring…

      • I should probably explain this better.
        We are talking about the magma reservoir overturning in one huge arsed “woosh”.
        It happens surprisingly often, before Holuhraun it happened about once every two to five years as M5+ earthquakes, now it happens a couple of times per year as M4+ earthquakes.
        The lowering of energy content and increase in pace is probably due to the magma reservoir decreasing in size during the 2014 eruption.

        • You don’t need the funky magma overturn between chambers to explain the non volumetric part. The only thing the non volumetric moniker means is that the moment tensor has a zero isotropic component. For a planar fault, the moment tensor is pure double couple. It has no volumetric component. But what about a ring fault?

          To model the curved surface of a ring fault, one can split it up into many small planar faults. Each planar fault has a double couple moment tensor. To get the full moment tensor you sum up the parts. Every DC moment tensor in the sum has a zero isotropic component. Since the isotropic component of a moment tensor is given by the trace of the matrix representing the tensor, it is obvious that the isotropic component of the total moment tensor, since the trace of a sum of matrices is equal to the sum of the traces.

          Here’s a nice, recent article about moment tensors of ring faults:

          • Last part should of course read “it is obvious that the isotropic component of the total moment tensor is zero”

            The mechanism of faulting along a ring fault was quite obvious during the Holuhraun eruption, when these large earthquakes were directly linked to subsidence measured by the GPS on top of the ice. Those quakes also had zero isotropic components.

          • The difference being that the earthquakes during the eruption had proven volumetric change.

            Do not kill the messenger. 🙂
            I just mentioned that the magma overturn was the prefered theory right now, there are several others, among them the one you pointed too.
            I do though see a problem with any theory requiring a multitude of planar faults, especially when there only one circular fault.
            My personal opinion is that no theory checks out completely, there are either to many unexplained parts, not fitting reality, or just a tad to mind-boggling.

            Anyway, my point was mainly that this is one of the bigger unsolved questions around Bardarbungas daily activities. In other words, that volcanoes always come with marvels, but not always the marvel we wish for. 🙂

          • Don’t think of individual planar faults. Think of a Riemann sum. Make the individual planes small enough and together they make up the curved surface.

            Checking the global centroid moment tensor catalogue gives that the volumetric component was zero for these quakes as well (I checked at least a handful). The first three elements of the moment tensor are the diagonal elements of the moment tensor. Sum them and you have the isotropic = volumetric part.


          • I know the theory quite well…
            But, I am reminded of the old joke:
            I have a Riemann rug in my Minkowski room.

          • You’re hinting that the time dimension is missing? Literally different moments in time.

          • Ding!

            Edit: I would really like to have a Minkowsky Room with a Riemann Rug in it as an office. I am though aware of the problems involved with actually using said room. One must have dreams in life, dreams are important.

            Edit 2: I think this is the moment Albert gave up all hope about me…

  7. About of Io.
    How does a lava lake exposed to the vacuum of space behave?

    • Good question. It depends how quickly it overturns. The layer exposed to vacuum should solidify quickly

      • I thought it would cool slowly as the only way to lose heat would be through radiation? I watched a video of a ball bearing that was heated and put under vacuum and it stayed red hot for much longer than it would have otherwise.

        This might explain some of the extreme heat signatures of Io. Loki has more thermal output than all of our volcanoes put together. Given it doesnt appear to overflow the actual input of new lava into the lake seems low, it would not be more than an order of magnitude more than Kilauea I imagine which is by far the highest consistent emission here, and a lot less than some other Ionian volcanoes that overflow at hundreds of m3/s for decades. But if the lake overturning routinely exposes many tens of km2 of incandescent surface at 1200 C that takes many minutes to even hours to cool below incandescence then that could explain some things… I guess we will find out in a few years.

        • It will be hot. But a liquid will evaporate into vacuum and that will cool the surface layer. I don’t know how long it will take but expect a thin solid surface to form rather quickly. Underneath that veneer it will remain hot and the veneer itself will be hot

        • Ionian lavas flow freely over the surface… and you have Big fire fountains from fissure eruptions and fast lava flows like Pillan Patera and other of numerous ”outbursts” that IO had over the years.

          There is even a Ionian lava channel carved into the crust https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/pia02598-lava-channel-at-ios-emakong-patera

          Perhaps lava is not very much affected by the vaccum at all ..


          Tawhaki Vallis Is IO s longest lava channel its 100 s of km long and it must have formed trough an insane eruption … 🙂 .. althrough its a rather old feature

      • Exactly as Chad says .. Space does not really feel cold or chill in the same way as Arctic winter does on Earth … that lava is just radiating away its energy and there is No convective cooling

        Ionian pahoehoe may behave a little diffrently without convective cooling, but it should still form that ropey surface .. Althrough a surface skinn woud take longer to form and the skinn woud be thinner, Ionian lavas woud radiate alot of energy towards you.. and be uncomfortable to stand close to

        And open lava channels woud be glowing for kilometers before forming a dark skinn on top

        But as Albert also says you always gets some crust in the end

      • Ionian lava fountains and lava flows woud have alot more glowing surface compared to Earth without the atmosphere convective cooling and only radiation to shed the heat

        A future visitor near Ionian vents woud have huge problems with the heat radiating from the lava If not the Jupiter radiation gets him first … If the inbuilt magnetic field in the suit does not work .. he is then dead in minutes

      • IO is my favorite place in the solar system

        The technology for radiation shielding already exist today
        Juno Spacecraft is well shielded and Hopes we gets alot of good Photos in 2024.

        I wants an IO orbiter .. with super high resolution
        Hopes Nasa can get intrested more in IO

      • To Answer AL

        Not alot diffrently from Earth .. just that surface cooling is much slower and the release of volcanic gases from the lava itself is much more violent

        Pele Patera on IO seems To have a constant non stop gigantic lava fountain in its lake where the conduit is .. and explains why you have a constant sulfur plume and dark pyroclastic sillicate deposition close to Pele

        It woud be a magnificent sight upclose

      • Hmmm plenty of geothermal energy, there is sulfurious compounds to eat, possible geothermal fluids in the crust, and perhaps magmatic water from the mantle in crustal pores.
        Also sheilded from the surface radiation

        We must never think that IO is really stone dead .. coud be an enviroment very friendly for life in the crust.

        But its probaly boiled dry from water by tidal heating and most mantle water been lost through the volcanoes

        Europa with a volcanic ocean and volcanic seafloor is almost certainly to have life

        • In visible light .. huge Ionian fountain probaly looks like a monster night version of Calbuco 2015 just its mafic

          Probaly looks like this upclose althrough 50 km high for IO, IO s volcanoes are stuff of doom really ..


          • It will look different though, there is no air to convect so all eruptions will look like fountains. Plinian eruptions in the way we see them on Earth probably cant really happen. If the lava cools slowly too then even some of the fine tephra might land as a liquid and flow. The Pillan Patera eruptions probably would have been much more explosive on a planet with an atmosphere, but on Io the eruptions were still lava fountains just really huge ones. I imagine eruptions of normal scale we can observe here on Earth are abundant on Io just hard to observe, the surfaces of the lava lakes probably spatter like ours do, the more solid surfaced lakes probably are covered by hornitos. If you went to the edge of tge Prometheus flow it probably looks exactly like the flows in Hawaii, small pahoehoe toes, advabcing slowly over the area.

      • In 2024 we will get New fresh Photos from IO s lava flows and lava lakes from Juno Probe guess who is excited ? 🙂

        • IO is indeed a very intriguing world.
          On the one hand Jupiter, on the other the moons Europa, Callisto and Ganymede with their tidal forces continually “knead” the interior of IO heating it and producing those enormous eruptions.
          Every volcanologist’s paradise.
          On IO instead of a White Christmas we would see a Yellow Christmas, since the sulfur that covers the moon sublimates during the day and falls in the form of “snow” during the night.
          In fact, the lava exposed to space does not release much heat in the absence of an atmosphere, but I have seen that, for example, liquids such as water boil over, releasing gases, and then freeze.
          A similar phenomenon also occurs on Europe, with the difference that the volcanic phenomena are on the bottom of an ocean 30 kilometers deep and the crust of ice.
          Callisto and Ganymede on the other hand are subject to this type of tidal activity and have too weak activity to be noticed.
          I would be curious if Enceladus, small as he is, manages to develop some kind of volcanism inside it, or if he limited himself to a simple geothermal activity on the seabed, given the “geysers” on its surface due to the tidal effects of Saturn.

        • The thrill of seeing an Ionian fire fountain

          Some Ionian lava fountains been 10 s of km high and been resolved at visible light from orbit

    • Some Ionian pahoehoe flows in action
      The Prometheous lava field, lots of fresh dark breakouts, and older basalt gets covered by sulfur snow. The lack of air convective cooling on IO means that lava can flow further than on Earth as well for similar eruption output. Many Ionian flows seems to be pahoehoe. These hot sillicate flows are flowing over sulfur snow and vaporizing it.

      IO is a very hot and primitive composition, the main lava is proven to be sillicate rock in composition ( basalt ) Galileo Probe have spotted temperatures as high as 1500 C and minerals of ortopyroxene. But its also possible that Ionian magmas are a sillicate rock that unique to IO and does not exist on Earth as a sillicate composition. Ionian mafic sillicate magmas also seems extraodinary rich in sulfur, one may imagine to find alot of pyrite crystals in Ionian lava flow crusts. It coud be a So2 rich Komatite But most views are something similar to Basalt.

      Ionian lavas also seems to have very low viscosity … lower than most lava flows on Earth

      Ionian mantle have been melted and re- melted many times during its history so its strange it have not produced any evolved magmas like Venus and Mars have in isolated areras. Perhaps IO is a mafic sillicate ultramafic sillicate composition thats little difftent than on Earth and it does follow the Bowen Reaction seriers like it does here on Earth. Its also possible that magma supply and melting is so high that you dont get any evolved crust. The Ionian mantle should be chemicaly depleted of some elements knowing that melting is so extensive in IO s mantle because of Tidal heating.

      I really Hopes we gets more probes to IO soon as the technology and radiation shielding for that exist too today

      • I wonder if those bright deposits are density currents of sulphur dioxide. They seem to issue from the edges of the lava flow field where hot basalt is vaporizing frozen sulphur dioxide. The bright material, presumably sulphur dioxide ice/snow, seems to be deposited preferentially on the the side of the dunes that face towards the lava flows, similar to how wind forms dunes in the desert. Currents could be growing these dunes and transporting sulphur dioxide from the flow edges. Perhaps not all the sulphur dioxide is vaporized into the atmosphere, some of it might be blown away, almost as if it was some sort of ash, and then drifted as density currents.

        I also find interesting that the 28-km wide lava lake of Prometheus probably grew as a hole in an old sulphur mesa, which then probably breached through the left side sending flows downslope. The earlier flows of Prometheus might be buried under the sulphur dioxide snow. And the lava is most reminiscent of Earth’s tube-fed pahoehoe.

        • Made a mistake there, if they are dunes the most likely the sulphur dioxide ice will be deposited in the sheltered side of the dune, the one that faces away from the flow. Which would also make sense considering that the bright bands are mostly narrower than the dark bands, and the slip face of the dune, the sheltered side, is steeper.

        • The ground around the lava flows is also darkened over large areas. I suppose that could be black silicate ash from lava-ice explosive interaction?

      • : D Anakin Skywalker ”gets” burned in Pillan Patera lava rovers …

        ”Its over Anakin!!! I have the high ground! ”

        IO is the real Mustafar just without atmosphere: probaly was George Lucas inspiration for the film setting

        • Lava rivers for correction

          Yes this is like a real Star Wars world

        • Would be a tad warm standing there I think.
          No silvery heat shielding but that might make the action a but laborious.

    • Nice view of an overturning Ionian lava lake, the whole pit have molten lava under it. Tupan Patera. The black spots are newly overturned crust on the lava lake revealing hot sillicate basalt. Older crust is covered by sulfur snow. The smaller black spots are places where the crust is overturning as well, revealing a hot dark basalt surface. The dark hot areas gradualy spreads until the whole lava lake is resurfaced with fresh hot crust. Its huge … 80 kilometers wide and the walls are 3 km high. It dwarf any volcano on Earth as a single vent
      Galileo Spacecraft photo

      • It looks a lot like Kilaueas lake, where the edges are very active (or at least they were until the intrusion in September) but the middle is more solid. The fact it is covered in sulfur snow means it is probably not really much hotter than ambient there.

        I think watching this lava lake at Kilauea and how it evolves will teach us a huge amount about volcanism on other planets, where plate tectonics are not important or just dont exist at all in any way.

        • I was talking to Jesper the other day, in facebook, that the black string visible in the image, which encircles the greenish with black spots area of the patera floor, I believe could be the levees of a now crusted overturning lava lake. The levee would probably be a massive wall of broken-up plates of lava drifted across the lava lake surface and piled up at the edges. The green colour is thought to be pyrite from the alteration of iron-rich silicate lavas by sulphur. So lava flows go from black, to green, and finally to various tones of red/white/yellow as they age. The area within the levees would be younger and resurfaced more recently than the center of the caldera which seems to be buried under reddish elemental sulphur being actively degassed by the volcano.

          I also think some pateras have features similar to the black ledge of Kilauea that was formed after the draining of the lava lake in 1823. Chaac and Tvasthar have dark platforms of lava which make a narrow ledge inside the patera along the edges and are more elevated than the rest of the floor. If there were higher resolution images of the paterae there would surely be many interesting landforms.

        • The “black ledge” of Tvasthar resembles that of Kilauea, which formed due to the outer parts of the lava lake freezing against the walls of the caldera, and then remaining molten part partly draining away in 1823, leaving the elevated ledge. So it is interesting that the patera of Tvasthar may have at some point partly emptied its lava lake, how and where is an interesting question.

          • I did notice when the intrusion happened in September that there is probably a ledge forming in Halemaumau now, it is where the outermost ring of cracks is. The spatter cones above the vent seem to sit right on it. It will be quite a show when all of the middle caves in one day to leave a massive glowing chasm. Assuming the caldera itself doesnt actually collapse in these events there will also probably be a raging pond of lava within the conduit, like there often was at Mauna Ulu and Pu’u O’o.

            I wonder if something similar to that has happened at Pele on Io, a lake that drained and exposed the conduit, allowing more powerful fountaining to occur. It might be refilling.
            I guess most Ionian calderas probably form from intrusions, there are not so many big a’a flows, not big enough to explain calderas of that size.

          • A massive lava lake drainage is certainly something I would love to see on camera.

          • I think there is a high chance we will get to see it drain in the next year. It already tried a month and a half ago. In the past few weeks nearly all of the GPS stations on Kilauea are showing subsidence and a sharply increased southward motion, I think a south flank slip is happening. This will temporarily reduce the supply of magma that reaches Halemaumau, maybe completely if it lasts long enough, but probably greatly increases the potential of a flank eruption. I used to think the lake would overflow the caldera at some point around 2030 but now I dont think it will get anywhere near that. If it even gets more than 900 meters elevation to the downdropped block I will be a bit surprised.
            There is also the known cases that Kilaueas lava lake dropped when Mauna Loa erupted, probably because of induced south flank movement. Mauna Loa is much less active now, it is probably not able to push Kilauea out of the way like it did in 1868, but all is needed is a week point to form to the southwest and the dam will burst.

            One thing I have thought about, most spattering in lava lakes is when the lava drains down, the gas bubbles out and escapes there. This is basically that but on a massive scale, the conduit might start fountaing a lot while the lake drains out as the gas escapes. This might have happened in 1868:


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


      • Tupan is 100 s of times bigger than any earthly lava lake as well. This is a lava lake about as large as Oahu is. Ionian lava lakes are also over – turning rather Than circulating I think, you already haves the heat to keep it molten from below and it sheds that heat by crustal overturns, the yellow cold crust have probaly not overturned in weeks months when that photo was taken.

        I wonder If Tupans basalt also spatters along the lakes edge as it probaly should releasing sulfur gas

        Tupan was resurfacing when this photo was taken

        • The lake would have to be circulating to stay liquid, it doesnt look like it has overflowed in a long time so there would be net equal eruption and drainage. Convecting lakes like we see in Hawaii and at Nyiragongo probably do exist on Io but something 100-1000 m wide wouldnt resolve that well, Galileo was not designed for that level of observation.

      • That coud be correct as well
        But a circulating lava lake woud not develop a cold crust. But yes Ionian lakes coud be circulating and cold crust dragged along the current …

        But overturns works too in releasing heat .. but yes the magma column should circulate. Ionian lakes coud simply be so enormously large that they dont need to circulate, and overturns are enough

        There are No doubt many smaller lava lakes on IO that may have a more Earthly behaviour

      • Black crusts are always signs of hot recent basalt ..
        the numerous black spots in that photo to the right are overturn spots

        But the freshly exposed Basalt To the left are either overturning and consuming the cold yellow frozen crust or it coud be circulating with the right is overturning

      • Woud be fantastic to see a recent Ionian basalt flow covered by Pyrite frost … like greenish frost I guess

        Now I wants more probes to IO .. the radiation sheilding already exist for that. Hopes Juno gets some good shots in 2024

    • I found this sentence and had to invent a new swearword:
      “It’s very rare for an inactive or extinct volcano like Mt. Edgecumbe to become active again.”
      It is very common for inactive volcanoes to become active again. And no volcano that has been dormant for that short a period should be considered extinct.

      It is though a fairly good clip of deformation, so it is fairly likely that it will erupt in a not to distant future if it continues. But, we are likely to be talking about years to decades into the future. One minor swarm does not really cut it in my book for such a long dormant volcano.

      Edit: I am going through a phase in life where I find joy in inventing new swearwords. It will probably pass as fast as my sports car period. Give me a week or two.

    • There is very little in this article that is factually correct..it is a good example of what we are trying to avoid. No, a volcano does not spell disaster for a town 15 km away unless that town is rather unlucky, the local volcano observatory unusually unobservant, and/or the population reluctant to evacuate. No, a volcano does not trigger massive earthquakes. (A flank collapse would be the nearest event. No, it is no unusual for a dormant volcano to wake up after 800 years (didn’t we have one just a year and a half ago doing just that?), and no, such an eruption is not automatically going to be major. And most intrusions (which I assume is what we see here) do not lead to eruptions.

      • In light of this article we should probably check if they used the words “magmatic intrusion” (or similar), or if they used the words Volcanic Fluids… 🙂
        Would be hilarious if it was the latter.

        • 5-10 km is too deep for water, so likely a small intrusion me thinks. That is not unusual for volcanoes!

          • Kola Superdeep Borehole called and had opinions, it is coming over together with KTB to discuss your ideas about deep water. 😉

          • Kolahole holla?
            Moist holes are wet?

            Water well and truly end up in mysterious places.
            Something that I am very happy about.

            Edit: Often a volcano is dry near the magma reservoir if they are from a mantleplume or MORB derived, for a subduction volcano it is far from unknown of extruded water near the reservoir.

          • The rocks can be moist and contain water. But at depth, the water is incorporated in the rock (or magma). It shouldn’t flow. The maximum depth of ‘liquid’ water is perhaps some 5 km. In California it exists down to 4.5 km depth. By definition groundwater can be up to 7 km deep but I am not aware of any being known there. So when you ‘moving fluid’, if deeper than 5 km that fluid seems unlikely to be water. But do correct me!

          • Both at Kola Superdeep and the KTB water was found below 7km.
            It is a weird world down there.

          • I had to go back to the original papers on this. Fluid inclusions were found to a depth of 11km. These were partly inside crystals and partly in pores. Interesting. But it is not clear whether the contained water is mobile at those pressures.

          • At the KTB they found that water injected into a porous layer at the depth of 9km remained in free floating state in the porous ground.
            If memory serves they spent a year squirting and withdrawing water.

          • But that was said in one paper to be caused by the well itself. The loss of pressure next to the well caused the rock to fracture and release the water. That was in one paper and I have not seen it mentioned elsewhere. The water was definitely there but it was mobilized by the well. Another paper claimed it was meteoric water. I wasn’t sure about that.

          • I find the idea of no water below 5km improbable.
            Happy to accept it for percolating ground water, but a subducting slab will contain water, and possibly large amounts from the subducted sediments. These go far far below 5km. I accept much will become hydrated minerals or very heavily saturated but many of these reactions will be reversible as pressure drops as the semi-molten slab starts to rise.

          • Top down forming faults often carry water to depth, as they close on top the water remains, give that a few decamillions of years and it resides very deep in the ground with free water.
            Same principle as dyking, but going from the top down. Naturelly really hates empty spaces, and proceeds to rapidly fill them up with something.

            For instance, ponder large faults filling with water, and later both a 4.5km sandstone and lime layer forming above? The water is still there at 9km depth.

          • No empty spaces below some 5 kilometers of depth. To go caving down there would be a terminal activity. You need something with high pressure to prize the rock apart. Water percolating down would become very very slow at these depths. It seems more plausible that happened before these layers were buried so deeply and the water has been there ever since.

            The water layers in the Kola well were reported to be mainly associated with two horizontal fault zones where the rock was broken. I don’t think the total amount of water was different in these zones, but more had managed to escape from the rock.

          • Albert, now you are arguing with nature and a process that we are seeing daily across the globe.
            Large earthquake forms a crack in the ground leading downwards, water falls in, top get covered up with the water inside. Sediments come on top (or lava), and over the next few million years that waterfilled crack slowly becomes deeper and deeper in the ground.
            Obviously it will not be free range water after even a fairly short time, but it will still be there trapped in the faultline.

        • With higher pressures water can be liquid at many 100 s of degrees C …

          • But above the critical point, there is no effective difference between liquid or gaseous water. Drop the pressure below the critical point and it will rectify the ambiguity quickly. (hello maar)

          • Note that even within the critical zone the negative latent heat means reducing pressure results in a modest increase in volume (its NOT incompressible) so it expands which GENERATES free energy. So it gets hotter. Its really like a huge spring under immense pressure, hence its rather dangerous stuff to play with as it sits in a positive feedback situation. Positive feedback loves to explode …

          • As Farmeroz noted, this is explosiveness of it is why all power production people love it.
            Self-expanding things let us use multi-stage power generation increasing efficiency overall at a plant quite significantly.

            But, it is like running liquid corrosive dynamite through a powerplant…

      • magma chambers also relase water when they cool… the magmatic water
        Granitic magmas often contains alot of water,and relase that as fluids… souch magmatic water from pegmatite dykes when the mineral rich fluids prescipitate as they cool

      • Metamorphism of minerals in Subduction Slabs also requires fluids for the recrystalization.. without fluids hydrus content minerals are stable

  8. Interesting and informative article, Carl. Thank you. I found the description of what may be happening at Katla particularly useful.

    Naive question: would there be a signature to the tremors associated with the eqs in our broken volcanoes (esp Askja) that would indicate that the fluid moving is water rather than magma? Or, more pointedly, would IMO have Askja at yellow if they thought that the expansion did not indicate the possibility of an eruption? But probably I have misunderstood… Cheers.

    • In some instances, and with high enough data granularity it would be possible.

      In regards of IMO and Yellow status. It is spot on.
      It does not really matter if there is an ashy eruption, or if their is a hydrothermal explosion lofting a cubic kilometre of rock into the air as a Maar forms. It will still do rather nasty things to anyone around. Quite often the latter alternative is more unexpected and deadly.

      • Askja forming a maar – that would be something not to be near! Cheers.

  9. Carl, you managed to talk a lot about supercritical fluids and hydrothermal systems without once mentioning the important s-word, that play a big role in interpretation in NZ: sealing. What seals can form, under what circumstances, and with what effects?

    • You little you 😉
      You caught me redhanded on that one.
      The simple answer is that I avoided it on purpose to not end up with an article that is waaaay to long by even our lengthy standards. I did though allude to it a tad.

      Mike, to be honest this is more your forte, care to write an article about sealing?

  10. Hi Carl so Grimsvötns roof is damaged?
    Coud that thing collapse inwards like Krakatau during a very large eruption?

    Well if we gets a Leilani drainout from the South caldera things good get very steamy indeed if it collapses.. and not like Bardarbunga that was a piston collapse

    • I think it was fairly close to doing that during the 2011 eruption. It definitely cracked enough to increase the hydrothermal flow ratio a couple of notches.

      I would not be surprised if it caved in during a large enough intra-caldera or rift eruption. And with a lake on top that would be fairly spectacular.

  11. Quite a lot of quakes at Herdubreid are under 3 km, nearly 100 are under 1 km. Last time I checked a few days ago there were few under 2 km.


    That being said 1 km is very shallow if this is magma, I would have expected an eruption to begin by now. Its hard to find anything on this really besides watching these quakes. But this does at least outwardly look a lot like what has been observed at Fagradalsfjall. I think an eruption will be very similar.

    • In the olden days, when lurker had lots of spare time, we would be given 3-d rotatable timelapses on all these ‘might be getting close to erupting’ systems.

      Sadly nowadays everyone is too busy.

      • I would as well, but I lost all my scripts for conveniently grabbing and handling data off the earthquake lists (there is an online database with weekly lists of manually checked earthquakes in text format residing in the older parts of the vedur homepage). Now I would have to either manually compile the data, or rewrite the scripts. Sadly, I don’t have the time to do it right now.

    • Yeah, you are way more knowledgeable about these things than I am but it was exactly the parallel with Fagradalsfjall that was in my mind when I raised this in the other thread. But I am so grateful for VC and for the opportunity to learn from those who are learned about these things and have the time to offer informed analyses and opinions.

  12. Working on my next Volcanocafe Article it will be about a historical Eruption from eyewittness in Shiplogs…

        • That would be interesting. Don’t know much about the Galapagos other than it’s fairly productive

          • Best way to put ut, all if them are basically deflaciated Bardarbungas… Probably the biggest volcanoes on the planet outside of Hawaii.

            Sierra Negra had an eruption as big as Holuhraun in 1979, over 1 km3 of lava erupted in about a month, and judging from the flow field most of it was probably in a few days. It was basically an effusive eruption with the intensity of a VEI 5 Fernandina did the same thing out in the ocean in 1968. Volcanism here is seriously enormous.

            Sierra Negra in 2018

            Wolf in 2022

            Not sure of long term productivity, it is less than Hawaii, but that is not saying much and it is not a distant second either. Sierra Negra has erupted 6 times since 1950, for probably close to 2 km3 total. Eruptions there happen less often than Hawaii, but more often than in Iceland… 🙂

  13. This is not anything to do with volcanoes at all, I can move it to the bar if need be. But I think a lot of us may find something interesting in this field.


    The days of range anxiety in electric cars are now long gone. Realistically that time ended several years ago, all Teslas and now a growing list of Chinese EVs are in high volume production with a real world range of over 500 km, which is longer than 99% of people will ever drive without wanting to stop for at least an hour anyway, and can charge half of that range in 10 minutes.
    But this is quite a leap. There are lots of claimed big leaps in the battery world, most are still in the lab, but this one has at leadt been real world proven if not yet mass produced. Model S fitted with a Gemini battery drove 1000 km at highway speed. This is not an aluminium or magnesium air battery either which have long been known to give range like this but are single use and low power, it is a rechargable Li-ion. ‘Anode free’ is a process in manufacturing where the anode is just the current collector foil and charging the battery the first time creates the anode, so no excess anode material that is never used and acts as dead weight.

    I expect at some point One.ai will be acquired, probably by Tesla, but whatever happens if this is scalable it will be a total game changer.

    • I tested a Chinese EV… The XPeng P7.
      Good battery range, but atrocious charging at 80KW maximum.
      It is the same for all new Chinese cars.
      China has maxed legal charging speed to 80KW to not blow up their grid.
      For some reason they export the cars with the same joke standard.

      What non-EV drivers focus on is battery range, but what is important is total charge cycle time between 10 and 80/90 percent. A few Korean and European cars can do this between 20-30 minutes. A P7 and you are stuck for a whopping 80 minutes.

      Let us take the ID Buzz as an example, it has 77KW usable and a range real world between 350 and 400km. That does not sound exiting… but reality is that you are almost stressed out to have time to grab a sausage, coffee and pee in the 20 minutes that the optimum charge cycle takes. At least I need a leg stretcher, coffee and pee every 350km.
      Why? It only charges at 190KW…
      Well, here comes the charging curve, no other carve charges as fast at high percentages, and here is where other cars loose a lot of time. At 80 percent it is still whacking in more than the P7 does optimaly.

      Chinese EVs have a really long time to go.
      Over to home charging. European/US/Korean cars routinely does 11KW with a wall-charger at home. XPeng P7 struggles with 6-7KW.

      Anyway, the P7 is a nice car, way to much dings and weird noises, but still a very good car as such. It is the cream of the Chinese crop. I still would not want one because I do not want to watch a movie while charging.
      One chinese car manufacturer named Ora put in a cinema screen in their Ora Cat… First I thought it was a gimmick, but then I learned about the charging speed.

      Sooner or later a car manufacturer will build a 1600 volt system and we get charge times of less than 10 minutes. I am honestly not looking forward to that.

      In regards of gigantic longrange batteries. My car does 500-550km on a full battery at 120km/h. It charges upp back to full while I have dinner and I can go the same distance again. 1000km is more than 99.9 percent will ever drive.

      • I actually agree with all those points, no one in their right mind is going to drive that much without stopping unless they are forced. But for some reason the average person in the US, and even more so in Australia, have been lead to believe unless their car can drive across the continent it is trash… Unfortunately in both those places the best selling vehicles are also utes and pickup trucks, which are typically huge and have the aerodynamics of a brick. The Cybertruck is the only such vehicle that has an acceptible drag coefficient, even then it is a brick compared to any EV sedan. EVs also lose range towing, a lot, even though most people will never put more than their weekly shopping bag in the truck 🙂 it is their piece of mind they think they cant do it which puts them off.

        Personally I just hope Aus takes this seriously, the cheepest EV here is a standard Model 3, which is a great vehicle but for $65 AUD new is still too expensive for most of us, we want them but are on our own to get them. 🙁

        • The Cybertruck is still vapourware…
          The Rivian truck has fairly decent values for being a brick. Same goes for the Brick WV ID Buzz.

          The losing a lot of range when towing, people forget that you lose a lot of range towing with an Exploding Engine Car (EEC) too…

          The biggest problem with EVs right now is the price, but that will come down as competition in the market grows. Right now the car companies are making a lot of cash on them since they are right now on par with the EECs in production cost.
          Next year EVs will be cheaper to produce compared to similar EECs.

          The exception is the Mercedes EQS, it is cheaper compared to the EEC equivalent the S-Class, and it is specked out better than the S-Class. Still an eyewateringly expensive car of course, but it is the best car ever produced, full stop.

          Give it two years and the prices will be much nicer.

          • Let me wax a bit on the EQS.
            When Mercedes became a Swedish company they went all in on EVs, yes they still produce EECs until 2025, but all development is in the EV-part of the company.
            It is so eyewateringly good that it just jogged past the competition internally in Mercedes, and externally.
            It mates the best of worlds, the Swedish gungho drive towards green, and the design ethos around it, and mated seemlessly with teutonic precission and engineering.

            It is a weird car to drive, you get into it and you are instantly moved into a space where you are somehow steering a floofy delux Viking Dragonship to distant shores for some raiding.
            It is also surprisingly nippy for being a gigaton Dictatormobile.

            Obviously you can spank it down Autobahn in Germany, but since it is an EV you will not do that, EVs are about a more sedate improved state of living free of care and stress.
            Instead you find yourself floofing down the autobahn in 140km/h in perfect silence enjoying your back massage and breathing the filtered air, perhaps with a bit of aroma-therapy on top.
            It is to date the only car that floofs your soul while moving you about. I love it.

            Floof = The feeling of being suspended in air cocooned in goose down while being mentally a born again 12-year old eating cotton candy.

          • Cybetruck is not quite vaporware, there are real trucks, but I do see your point. The drag numbers are based on physical tests of models though, it is a brick compared to any sensibly sized car but it is still the most aerodynamic brick ever made 🙂
            Rivian I hope for, Tesla nearly didnt make it at production ramp in 2016-17 and now Rivian is starting up in an industry of competition that was not there 6 years ago. Many have failed here before. Amazon being an investor should help a bit too. If they get access to use the Tesla charger network that will help greatly, a lot of problems are about availability to charge away from home.

            I fear it will be quite a bit more than 2 years for price parity in Australia 🙁
            The spokesperson for Tesla Australia has made a proposal to our federal government, and well recieved, to set up local manufacturing of their vehicles, that will be a game changer for us.

          • Rivian started out with a working plant that they bought in Normal.
            And they so far have met the production targets on time, both for the R1T, the R1S and the Delivery Van. The only delay was caused by the pandemic.
            To the best of my knowledge Rivian has so far never met a production target ontime.

            Australia might have other rules and regulations, I was mainly talking about Europe in my price estimate. Sorry for being Eurocentric.

            Also a bit Eurocentric, the cybertruck will not be roadlegal in Europe if they do not rebuild it massively. It is a death sentence for any pedestrians and do follow Euro-NCAP regulations.

          • Far as I know not long after the unveiling Elon said the Cybertruck wasnt going to go on sale outside North America, not in the form shown. It does still have the iconic shape but it is more polished and not so sharp, personally ai like the look it is going for brutal simplicity and engineering furst principals. A smaller version (about Toyota HiLux size) will be sold overseas, same form factor, but not until kinks have been ironed out and mass production stable. Australia is the biggest market outside North America, if a factory is made here I wouldnt be surprised to see cybertrucks. To be honest I think all the EV pickup trucks will sell poorly in Europe regardless so probably no big deal there, better to focus on 3 and Y, and the new smaller car. Cybertruck really was a thing aimed at the US, the design is a love it or hate it but the actual vehicle itself is phenomenal, claimed performance was enough to get everyone else in the game. Even if Cybertruck is a fail (which I think is unlikely to say the least) electric pickups and big vehicles are in hot demand, the goal of Tesla was to transition the world to sustainable energy and to make electric car perception go from golf cart to hypercar. Goal complete I say. If only the same could be said of Toyota… how the mighty have fallen.

          • The reason the Cybertruck is not coming to Europe is that it was immediately banned for safety reasons, so a complete rebuild would be needed.

            There is a surprising order list for the R1T here in Europe, many companies have ordered them as work vehicles. Only reason trucks are not common here is the fuel prices.

          • I thought most European city roads were just too small for trucks, people who buy one are going to end up driving it in the city.

            When cybertruck was unveiled Musk did say if it fails (at the time unknown) making something else was in consideration. Europe will get its Tesla pickup if the demand is so there,. Better them than the probable battery fire disaster that is a GM Hummer EV, 4 tons and 0-100 in 3 seconds, with 250 kWh of fragile and flammable NMC pouch cells… what the hell were they thinking… that thing is going to be a disaster if someone crashes it. Cybertruck is pointy but danger is nothing compared to that… lesson in how not to build a good EV for mass market.

            Personally, if I have to buy a vehicle with a bed, I would like it to be way smaller. I actually do want a Cybertruck but it is way too big. Same with Rivian, and I’m not going to touch the F150 Lightning, all way too big for anything in my opinion. If you are familiar with Holden, and their sports ute, that is size I would consider. Basically a sedan with the back missing. But just me 🙂

      • Not much bothered by cars, we will be using fossil fuel for many many decades somewhere or another. Batteries for solar cells are quite another matter, these are currently unavailable (pretty much) since china seems to be consuming the manufacturing internally.

        • We wont be using the vast quantities of fossil fuels we do now though for much longer. Renewabpes and storage are just cheaper, its not a factor of being green but capitalism at its finest. What Russia has done this year is going to very rapidly kill off the fossil grid much faster than was on track before. It will increase in the short term but that is out of necessity to avoid a catastrophy, that it is also the root cause of said catastrophy is very evident now.

          The thing about disruptive technology is that it is a silent killer of whatecer it is disrupting. EVs are not new, but they were not ready before. But we are starting the steep part of the S, in only a few years it goes from under 10% up to near 90%. We are just beginning 🙂

          • Here EVs just got to the 60% mark on new car sales. The increase is currently at 10 percent per 4 months, steep part indeed. 🙂

          • I doubt even the UK will be free from using fossil fuel JUST FOR ELECTRICITY in 20 years time. It definitely won’t be without significant storage and that’s best done in the home. If you can buy the gear that is.A battery system runs circa 80% efficient, better to use it for home electrical needs when there is surplus (literally free) electricity than in a car when diesel cars are so efficient compared to fossil electricity generation.
            I have no idea why people believe our energy needs can go fossil-free when looking at the data its clear its going to take decades.
            People forget the imported energy in steel, cars, cement, plastics etc etc, let alone the 70% of energy that is not electrical. Britain would requite the entire north sea of windpower and massive battery backup.
            Even the USA/spain/greece with vast PV potential will take decades to switch over. The task is absolutely huge, yet people just gloss it over.

          • We have to start somewhere. You are not saying that it can’t be done, but that we need to be realistic. The predictions from peak-oil were that supply would decrease around 4-5% per year after the peak, with a massive price increase starting just prior to the peak. It turned out to be a bit less predictable than that, with huge price instability from minor supply variations well before nominal peak oil. That prices would go this high was known. When it would happen was not. We need to reduce fossil fuel usage by that 4-5% per year. That requires a combination of energy efficiency and renewables.

          • Farmeroz CO2 emissionsa re not why diesels are bad, it us their other emissions, the particulates and the NOx. Those are already a significant cause of health problems, carcinogenic and cause acidic rain. Aecditally, I see a lot of diesels with thick blaxk smoke driving around the place… Also the fact that the better efficiency of diesel is used as an excuse to make massive vehicles that defeat the point and have terrible fuel economy, that is just offset by hiding as much fuel tank as possible (also the same approach Ford and GM have to EVs unfortunately…)
            Diesel engines used in transmissions are also no better than petrol, because they are not run at constant RPM and transmissions are very heavy which is a lot of momentum to get going and also a lot of parasitic friction. Actually, in some cases a diesel engine+transmission is heavier than a battery pack and motor drivetrain, again it gets hidden by big tanks but in todays world of high prices that is a handicap not a beefit. That is especially the case in trucks, the much criticized and delayed Tesla Semi is in official delivery to commercial fleets in a month, and drive 800 km with a full maxed load. There are already electric commercial vehicles in use widely at shorter range. Diesel is an archaic technology that keeps us stuck to the fossil fuel companies who by and large are at fault to why we are even having this discussion, it is not the answer to the problem it is literally what is causing it… The whole point of EVs and storage is to delocalise energy generation so we dont get another Russia situation, Europe is learning this the hard way, I think they will be done with fossil fuel within the 2020s.

            Carl I knew Norway was high majority percent EVs, good to know it is not alone at the top of the world. My 1/32 Swedish side is proud 🙂 Interesting about Mercedes. I cabt see them ever being able to compete for the massmarket against Tesla or the Chinese, but that isnt really their brand anyway, at least not where I am. Sounds like they found a good niche that will see them through the transition well.

          • Norway used to be the world leader for roughly a decade on EVs. It is just recently that we have chased them down. 🙂

            Mercedes cars are far more common here in Europe than one might think.
            The EQS is the luxury version, but the EQE (E Class) is upper mid market and the coming real EQC (the current is a revamped EEC) will be lower mid-market.

            We can also see the same movement from other European car manufacturers with VW-Group bopping out EVs left and right now.

            Europe is though driven onwards by the EU that has banned sales of EECs from 2035. It was a much needed kick in the arse for the car industry.

            Solving the electricity problem will obviously take time, but it is definitely doable until 2050.
            Just our goal is to online 99.8TWe in electricity production before 2050. And we are just one company out of many.

          • Mercedes is an expensive brand in Australia. Not exotic, there are a lot of them around, but most people cant afford one. I believe one if their EVs is available but very expensive.

            One thing that the European EVs are not so good at is optimised engineering. That isnt to say anything about build quality or individual experience but it does affect manufactoring cost a lot which is important if you dont want to go bankrupt. Im sure you have seen the massive die case injection molds Tesla uses to make their whole cars in only 3 parts. Something like that is what needs to happen to get to such high volume, simplicity at its finest.

          • ALbert.
            It absolutely can be done buy we need energy to do it. For a while a significant part of the mix will be fossil fuel as there is no alternative. Its pointless demonising it, it should be used as part of a plan to decarbonise. The faster we make PV, wind and batteries the faster we will go carbon neutral. Using gas/oil simply allows us to speed the process. We need to accept that the process is inevitably a gradual one and in the mean time for our society to function we need a reliable source of fossil fuel. Otherwise what little we have will not be making more wind and solar, but just keeping us alive.

          • @Chad
            It is obviously a neat feature, but there are reasons not to do those large pieces. Using 10 instead of 3 large chunks saves on logistics so the efficiency is not that much different. It also make model changes cost prohibitive.

            I would also like to point out that Volkswagen are churning out far more cars than Tesla.
            This is why Tesla in the end will fail, they have had a free ride for a decade, but they are rapidly losing market position against the legacy car makers and Rivian on the EV side.
            A lot of it has to do with not keeping up with new models and changing the looks of their cars.
            I may though be wrong in the end.

          • I will respectfully disagree with your opinion on Tesla Carl, you greatly underestimate the power of an autistic man with a passion and a (couple hundred) billion dollars 🙂

            Tesla is losing market share is not the same as them failing, it means they are not the only ones actually making EVs, which was one of their goals. They plan for 20 million a year in 2030, but that is still only maybe a quarter of the required number, they cant do it alone. Tesla also puts their tech where it isny obvious, like their batteries and simplifying the electronics to reduce weight and cost without compromising performance and safety, most of the EVs made by legacy companies are a clustertruck of wires and pumps on the inside, they need a bigger battery as a result, which drives up cost. Eg, VW Buzz, 82 kWh battery and a Model 3 or Y is closer to 60 kWh, if you make 5 of each the Tesla gets another battery and car free (not literally 🙂 )You might be interested in watching Munro Live if you like engineering.

          • Well, let me just remind you that Elon was fired from the CEO chair of Tesla a couple of years ago, and is now mostly sitting over at Twitter being a bore.

            I readily give it to Testa that it paved the way, but I at the same time see Tesla starting to be overrun by the competition.
            The main reason is that unlike all other car manufacturers on the planet (well, perhaps not the North Korean ones) have competition in their DNA. All that didn’t have that was killed on the road so to speak.
            Tesla does not, and that is the drawback of pretty much being alone on a market for 10 years.
            And the Tesla fanboys are not helping out, instead they are solidifying the stale pudding into concrete. That is one of the reasons how those car manufacturers of yon olden days turned into dust on the roadside. Cort anyone?

            This has led to my statement that Tesla’s are good EVs, but they are in no form or shape good cars. There is a difference.
            Just that stubborn refusal of having the speedometer at the location that has been proven over 100 years to be the safest location? It has gone from a quirk into an annoyance by now.
            Same with the iPad controls, it was new and cool over a decade ago, today it is for most buyers felt like passé and irritating. Going into four under-menues to turn down the volume instead of a knob? (this is not true for the volume, but you catch my drift)

            And then we come to the ride quality… Having a car that massages your kidneys because the suspension is irritatingly hard and bouncy?

            All of this would have been changed by now by any other manufacturer, it is after all not like Tesla is not being told by their punters.
            So, a few hundred thousand Tesla fanboys will carry the company for quite some time, but it is not pulling in many new EV buyers.

            The new EV buyer of today is trading in his tried and tested EEC, that person really wants something that seems familiar, but comes with all the EV perks.
            And your middle aged travelling salesperson does not fancy inter-european kidney massages.
            That person does not want to switch into reading glasses while driving down a busy highway to go through sub-menues to turn off the weirdly hot heated car-seat…
            That person wants the odometer at the place god intended it to be, at a quick downwards flick of the eyes, and not half a meter to the side and half a meter down while losing any eyecontact with the road.

            Tesla today is fancar, not a massmarket car. And that is problematic for an overvaluated car manufacturer with a massive debt to pay off, and that is on a market that is starting to be price pressured.

            What might save Tesla is that Elon has been fired.
            As the evaluation inevitably start to drop (it has always been to high and was based on Tesla taking over the entire industry), the value will become lower than the debt, and then the banks will start to demand changes to be made.
            The board will by then issue new shares, and a completely new management will take over. Someone from the legacy car manufacturers will call the shots.
            At that point the fanboys will leave, and the ship will sink.
            Or, the new EV buyers will go, “look Tesla has started to build cars, and we know the EV-shit is good, perhaps I should get one…”

            Another option is that Tesla becomes Magna on steroids, and instead of producing cars produce the EV architecture for dozens of other car manufacturers, this is where Teslas strength is, and where their profitability lies.
            This is how I would save Tesla as a company. By spinning of the car building part, keep the EV and Battery part and open that one up for any interested car manufacturer.

            Anyway, I do not think Tesla will exist in ten years for the above reasons. I do not see Elon as a benefit.
            I would though be happy if I was wrong, after all Tesla brought my beloved EVs into the forefront and made them mainstream. 🙂

          • Again I will respectfully disagree. In the end Tesla being around now is a benefit, if they do get outcompeted it wont be by EEC/ICE, and if 80% of the cars around are Teslas then the end result is still at least that many EVs anyway, in my view neither will happen but the number of EVs will still be at 99+% sales in 2030. All these outcomes are fantastic in my view, as I am sure in yours too. 🙂

            Seeing you gave input on your local situation, I would like to input mine, as we live in different areas with very different environment. Where I live, the types of EVs that are selling well in Europe are not going to convince people here, or sell well. Volkswagen group doesnt sell any of theirs here at all. Mercedes does but they are a ‘budget luxury’ brand locally, most cant afford them and those that do and want an EV will usually get a Tesla, not making the rules just saying it as it is. The only EVs I see are Teslas which were the most popular sensibly sized car in the country in September (below two pickup trucks) about 1/10 as many of the Ioniq 5 that are deliberately limited on sales to a very low number, and the occasional Leaf which Nissan has discontinued this year and never sold in huge numbers. Australians are not convinced if it doesnt drive a long way and have a lot of power. If it isnt one of those things then needs to be dirt cheap and near indestructible, and best of all if you find something that is all of these things. The US as far as I can tell is much the same on nearly all of these points, I dont like it personally and the argument is not logical as we both agree, but it will not really change so quickly as the rate of adoption.
            I also am going into machining and engineering. Where I work makes injection molded parts, to me the manufacturing process of Tesla is genius, and the only way to realistically keep up with the S curve and the demand the world now has. Tesla didnt make profits until they began removing parts like this in 2019 and now has grown to be the highest margin automotive company, and to date no legacy company makes a profit on their EVs, which is a problem. On a more personal level I much prefer the minimalist look, and streamlined production of Tesla to the luxurious but expensive. It may not appeal to you and that is fine and you justified your reason but it does appeal to a great number of people who will be going into the market in the coming decade and probably dont want a car that they will associate with being more than a decade old, whether true or not. Tesla in Australia will get a lot of conquest sales from Toyota, from those who longed for and will never see a Toyota EV which actually lives up to their reputation. Rivian will get most of the pickups if they can reach volumes in the next years, although the Cybertruck might be a big wildcard, hard to predict that one until it is available and comparable. Given the next generation is grown on the internet they will not want buttons either (I am quite serious on this, they will be better off with a screen trust me…), the decision to not include them on a lot of new cars is not born out of madness just thinking for the future market. In the end local preference will always dominate.

            This has been a very interesting discussion 🙂

          • Actually ignore the first paragraph, I misread and saw too late you already agree on that point 🙂

          • I will freely admit that the only thing I know about the Australian car market are utes and that everything is badged Holden or Ford.
            There endeth mine knowledge 🙂

            Let me just state a small thing here. Cars in Europe vary wildly from place to place, and between Urban and non-urban parts.
            In Italy and France they like small, oddly shaped, and bizarrily coloured cars.
            In Germany it has to be fast, and then even faster, due to… Autobahn and free speed.
            Sweden is the roomy part with long distances and people that love to haul stuff around for long distances. 10 million people in a country where you would have to drive 2000km from one end to the other.
            2/3 of the country has 1 million people, that is from where I come from. 90 percent of that million live in a thin strip along the coast.
            This leaves 10 percent of 10 percent of the population living on 60 percent of Swedens surface.
            So, basically ginormous distances and nothing in between.
            200km for a pizza, or buying milk, is the norm. Want a beer? 700km drive there and back.
            Think of it like a mosquito riddled frozen tree-covered outbacks with reindeers instead of sheep and you have it.
            Now add the propensity of hauling around equipment on trailers or in the back.
            Welcome to the European Ute part. Everyone here wants a huge arsed Murican truck, but the fuel prices are just to high, so homebuilt utes it has been.

            Guess why the entire region is salivating and breathing heavily over images of Rivians and Ford F-150 Lightnings? 🙂
            The reason is that even if they are comparatively thirsty bricks, that part of Sweden have among the worlds lowest electricity prices. So, give us huge arse trucks and we will turn into Americans in the fifties when gazoline was 1 cent per gallon.
            Even my normally sensible 88 year old mother wants a Rivian…

            I wish you guys down under would get a bit of a better selection of EVs, I feel for you.

            In regards of the screen in a Tesla. My car has a ginormous hyperscreen, I love it. And I do enjoy flipping through sub-menues like a 15-year old on an iPhone binge. But, when driving the car on a bad road they are near useless, something that even the iPhone generation freely admits.
            Trying to hit a touch screen when your arm flails like a wet spaghetti is no fun at all.
            And, driving a model S, Y, X, 3 on a bad road is way to bouncy for my back (even though Tesla have really nice seats). I wish they fixed the suspension, it is surprising that an American car manufacturer have the hardest supension outside of a Supercar or Hypercar.

            Anyhoos, it was an interesting discussion and I learned quite a bit about the car market down under. I am just surprised that Teslas are not Holden badged, but I am confident that there soon will be Holden Model 3s galumphing about 😉

          • I think if Teslas were Holden badged it would both massively increase demand down under (well, even more) and also piss off the purists, maybe on both sides. But out of all the cars available as an alternative to a Commodore in production today, the Model 3 is actually very close, they even look sort of similar. Except a 3 is about twice the power and doesnt sound like a raging trombone 🙂

            Enjoyed this discussion very much, was fun to learn some new things 🙂

          • I also think if I had to pick a place in the world to live that wasnt Australia or New Zealand, Sweden sounds very nice 🙂 Will definitely go see it some day.

        • @Farmeroz
          Let me introduce you to the world leader of battery storage solutions.
          You are welcome to give them a call, if you want to I can make an introduction since I know the CEO.
          It is part of the same conglomerate as Northvolt.


          • I have asked for a quote. I do not expect a reply.
            “I am looking for 10-15 kWh of storage for a 6.6kW solar array. I am told you have such items in stock.”

          • You do understand that manufacturers do not sell to private citizens?
            They sell to regional distributors, that sell to local dealerships, that in turn will be happy to sell you a unit.

            Since I did not know that you wished for such a small storage I think you would be better advised to buy up a used car-battery and the converter/inverter unit from the car, or if you do not wish to cobble it together yourself go online and buy something suitable.

            I took the farm part to seriously I think, normally farms are into the 250KW range.

            It took me roughly ten seconds to find a more suitable supplier in the UK, there are obviously an abundance of them in that range.


            Question: Are you going to offgrid, or is this to save money on electricity during the spring/summer/autumn? Offgriding usually takes quite a bit more if you want all of the creature comforts to remain. My experience is that 150KW is a tad little for offgriding a house, but then I am running a lot of electricity in a day… Ideally I should have 250KW, but that would require more solar.

          • That’s why I do not expect a reply.
            Domestic battery supplies are essentially non existent, I could buy from china direct (ali baba or whatever) but the chance of expensive fraud is rather high.
            There are plenty of UK suppliers, I speak to many frequently, none have stocks of suitable batteries (lead is available).Delivery next year, and they are already sold.

          • Currently I am consuming approx 14kWh/day, heating is oil, hot water is gas. 6.3kWp will supply all my needs for 6 months and part of my needs for the other six at my location. I may install a small wind turbine for winter.

            No, not off grid, except when the grid goes off.

          • Have you considered getting a heat pump farmeroz? Much better than any sort of direct energy heating, even better than electric resistance heating which is 100% efficient. They can get equivalent of 300% efficiency because they move energy from somewhere else into your home without generating it themselves. So unless your electricity price is absurdely high and you have access to renewable oil for low or no cost it is almost certain to be better than a boiler.

            To get your 7 kW boiler equivalent, you would only need 3 kWh of batteries, 2.1 really but better to have a safety net. And probably a lot less dont need it to be like a sauna in winter 🙂
            Obviously 3 kWh of batteries does cost more than the same kWh equivalent of diesel (about 1/3 liter in a typical boiler, or about 50 cents) but you can have access to the energy instantly at any time, and not need to physically go and get fuel, with your solar it is basically free. That 15 kWh would be able to give you all the heat you could ever want and then some. That diesel will last a day and you need to get more. The batteries might cost a few $100 to set up, but after 2 years the diesel will cost more, not to mention the necessity to actually go and get the fuel as opposed to a 1 time installation and many more years of life, so that 2 years is likely to in reality be only a few months depending on your vehicle and where fuel is available. There are a lot of factors of life that the average person never considers but which really cost a lot long term, its a variation on the sunken cost fallacy except you dont know you are doing it until later… LiFePO4 batteries are cheap and not flammable, and much more energy dense than lead acid 🙂

        • Well… if it was not apparent from above. EQS.
          (And yes, my wallet is still screaming)

          I have tested most of them.
          Ionic/EV6 are good.
          I adore the VW ID Buzz…
          What the world needs still is a low priced towncar.

          I am not especially fond of Tesla’s offering. I find them to be over-priced for what you get in creature comforts, and the ride is to bumpy. But, that is a personal style thing and not a judgement of the range etcetera of them. Technically they are good.

  14. Finally ready and in time for a relevant post 🙂
    All of the historical vents and eruptions from volcanoes in the south part of Iceland. Well, except for Katla, I only put Eldgja and the 1918 vent there because I couldn’t find any information on where other eruptions happened, I guess just somewhere in that green circle, probably following the ring fault somewhat.

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