Monday, 28 June 2010

Icelandic volcanoes

I'm keeping the Icelandic Volcano reports going for the moment because people keep hitting this blog for information, and yes, well, I have a dilettante's interest in the subject. FYI, if you want reasonably reliable reports on what unpronounceable Icelandic mountain might or might not blow it's top and disrupt your transatlantic travel plans, the Icelandic Met Office have a useful map here.

Bárdarbunga is about due for its once a century biggie, but that means nothing in geologic terms. Although there's been a fair few seismic rumblings to indicate possible activity.

Askja has a lot of underground grumbling, and if you believe some sources, may be sizing up for a blow, but then again, low level tremor activity on it's own means little. There are a number of other factors involved. The seismic activity has to come closer to the surface and there's generally ground deformation up to and including formation of a Lava dome. Even then the eruptive process can seem to stall for years before any anything dramatic and newsworthy happens.

My own screen grab above has the names of the relevant major volcanic vent systems pasted in for reference, and I can't help but wish for Theistareykjarbunga to blow its stack, simply for the perverse pleasure of listening to pompous TV reporters cocking it up live on air and forever after on Youtube. Not that this is likely as that particular basaltic shield volcano hasn't had a serious eruption for 3000-2700 years.

Despite recent advances in predictive technology, watching volcanoes seems to me like waiting for a kettle to boil. You know it's going to happen some time, but as for the when and where, it happens when it happens. So there you go.

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