Large landslide in a valley in north Iceland

A large landslide did fall last Friday in a valley called Eyjafjarðarsveit. This is the largest landslide in this area for 17 years, when a smaller landslide did fall from a different mountain in this area. This landslide was large enough to block a small river that is in this area. Next farm to this landslide is about 7 km away from it. They do not tell what direction (north or south) the farm that is closest to this landslide is. The mountain that this landslide did come from is called Torfufell.

New from Rúv about this landslide.

Stór skriða féll í Eyjafjarðarsveit (Rú, Icelandic, Pictures)

Update 1: Here is a new news about this landslide. It says that the area is going to be up to 30 years to recover in terms of flora and plants in the area that is just mud at the moment. The main rock in this area is Rhyolite. It is now also believed that two landslides took place in this area. But when it came down. It did travel 1.5 km down the valley. It also did create a lake (I have no idea if it is permanent new lake or not) where the landslide did block the river.

Landslagið gjörbreytt eftir skriðuföll (Rú, Icelandic, Picture)
Fréttir: Gerbreytt landslag eftir skriðuföll (Rú, Icelandic, Video, Flash)

Note: Next blog post about the eruption in El Hierro is going to be tomorrow. It seems that not a lot has been happening in the eruption of El Hierro today and yesterday.

Blog post updated on 20 October, 2011 at 22:16 UTC.

168 Replies to “Large landslide in a valley in north Iceland”

  1. The world is wonderfull!
    All the crazies over at those sites that we do not speak of, go and wait for a landslide in the Canaries that is not going to happen. We wait for an eruption in Iceland, and instead we get a landslide.
    No wonder I love to live so much, life always surprises us, whatever we think will happen, it will always be something unexpected instead.
    Thanks Jón for this news.

    1. Two and a half thumbs up on this one.

      The half thumb only because I want people to ponder the concept of a half of a thumb.

      1. I instantly got an image of what you might have meant with your half thumb. But, erm, it’s a little “grose” and I hope for you that if “it” has a name, it’s rather “Jumbo” than “half thumb.
        Autch once again on this one… 🙂

      2. Hmmm… “grose” sounds a bit like “gross”… but that would be 144… half thumbs. Equivilant in mass to about 72 whole thumbs, give or take a pinky.

      3. A “thumb” was a former linear measurement in the Netherlands (and other places), similar to an English ‘inch’. Each city or region had its own ‘thumb’, hence size. 2,61 in the area around Leiden and the Amsterdamse duim, ‘Amsterdam thumb’ is 2,57393636 cm (11 Amsterdam thumbs is 1 Amsterdams foot, as a pecularity). Half a thumb then would be roughly around 1,3 cm, and 2,5 thumb would be around 6,5 cm.

    2. Hehehe.
      And in El Hierro instead of a megatsunami we got a megajacuzzi. At least for a while.

      1. If it were crustal adjustment, it’d cause sporadic quakes now and then. This is likely something different, as crustal adjustment does not typically cause swarms that are this strong. I know something about this as I do live in a region that’s still adjusting due to the last Ice Age. I suppose this is related to new injection of fresh magma from deep within. And the authorities do not want to scare rich tourists off the islands by giving hints of higher activity in the future.

      2. Also, these adjustment quakes do not line up into anything that clearly resembling a line (or tube).

      3. This is (part of) the statement by USGS:
        «Over the past 25 years, the north flank of Mauna Kea has experienced 10 earthquakes greater than magnitude 4.0, including today’s event, at depths of 10–40 km (6–25 mi). Deep earthquakes in this region are most likely caused by structural adjustments within the Earth’s crust due to the heavy load of Mauna Kea.
        Adjustments beneath Mauna Kea during past similar events, such as in March 2010, have produced a flurry of earthquakes, with many small aftershocks occurring for days after the main quake. Given this history, it is possible that additional small earthquakes may be recorded in the coming days.»

        The full text is here (with some links):

      4. @Jack

        They may not have said anything, but I will, they form a loose plane dipping off to the NW.

        If you like I can munge together a rotating plot of this set.

    3. I agree Carl. Life has taught me to make plans but to expect the unexpected. I am just thankful that nobody was hurt and no farmers have suffered loss apart from some rough grazing land.

  2. I posted the message below on previous forum, answer i got was no harmonic tremmor, now i was referring to the small quakes, can someone please take the time to explain an answer, us although i am new, i am interested and trying to learn. I feel like i have asked a stupid question, but everyone on here was learning once.
    question was ..
    I have little knowledge of volcanos so be gentle with me.
    My question is, could the shallow small quakes around Katla, be the underneath of the glasier melting from increase in heat from possible magma underneath it trying to push upwards. Just seems to be periods of small shallow quakes and some moderate quakes at depth too. That would make sense to me but i have only ability to guess as i am learning off the more knowlegable on here.

    1. The current guesstimate from the experts seem to be that Katla has a thermal field that is re-heating. And that seems to be causing some of those shallow quakes. There was also a suspected mini-eruption that caused a Jökulhlaup a while ago. IMO has stated that this was a real mini-eruption. But, it was so small that many have a problem in believing it still.
      Anyhoo, the re-heating of the hydrothermal field is believed to be caused by magmatic movement closer to the surface.
      So, I guess yes would be the answer to your question. I am sorry that I misunderstood your previous question. I hope this helped a bit.

    2. Well… I’m not sure of the question either, but then I’ve only read this one and not the previous, been driving all day.

      FIRST, Carl used the acronym “IMO.” This is the Icelandic Meteorological Office, not “In My Opinion.” Which is an alternate meaning which can get lost in the context of the statement.

      Shallower quakes under the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap are always a bit of a problem to specifically identify. A large chunk of ice snapping and dropping several feet can yield signals that are almost indistinguishable from the smaller quakes. Add to that the problem of the terrain being quite chaotic under the ice with lots of reflectors to bounce the signal around and it gets even harder to puzzle out.

      Seasonally, you can see an increase/decrease in the smaller shallow quakes.

      Can a higher geothermal output cause more icequakes? Yes it can. Once the quakes are below about 1 km you can safely rule out them being ice originated. (IMO – in my opinion)

      Jon can give you a better call on that since it’s his backyard.

      1. I believe I’ve read some time ago on this blog (I think it was Jón who gave that answer) that they start to count earthquakes from the bottom of the ice. So even a MW 0,4 is not in the ice part, but below it.
        Or have I misunderstood Jón?

        Henk Weijerstrass

      2. Well, Mw is a magnitude measurement. I’m pretty sure you meant depth.

        My only point is that once you get above 1 km, the possibility of it being ice related goes up.

      3. I meant of course: “Even a quake at 0,4 km (400 meters deep) is below the icepart”.

  3. Thanks Carl, yes thats a great help, and it looks like my understanding is slowly growing then.
    Thanks again for taking the time to help a novice.
    Thanks to all that contribute on here to help us learn esp Jon

    1. Some additional data for you to ruminate on.

      Water, that is in a system that is fully open to the surface, through cracks, fissures, porous sand/sediment etc… follows a pretty generic hydrostatic curve in what pressure is at for various depths.

      At a depth of about 2.5 to 2.75 km, the pressure of water in this sort of system crosses the supercritical point and will not flash to steam no matter what temperature you heat it to. In other words, water/steam are indistinguishable at and below this level.

      If you take a look at the depth charts for many geothermaly active areas you will note an increase in the number of quakes that occur at about this depth. That’s because water shifting/flashing to steam at this level tends to augment the normal seismic activity.

      This is most noticeable in plots I have done of Yellowstone, but the phenomena does affect other systems as well.

      1. Oh Lurking, thank you for that . I sort of knew this but you have made it so much more clear, 🙂
        Pyrotech never be afraid to ask questions. It is the only way to learn and discover. The basis of all science is questioning. Nobody knows everything……. except the sheep.
        If you stay here long enough you will get to know the Icelandic sheep. You wont see them on the Icelandic webcams until next spring as they are all safe in their low pastures or inside their sheep sheds for the winter.
        (Humans can also be sheep if they blindly follow ideas without questions)

    1. I am actually missin those old link-libraries. Because the search engines of today cannot any longer keap up and thusly drown in the more odder Blogs and stuff.
      And also google nowadays profile the crap out of your searches. So almost whatever I search for today produces Jóns Blog ontop. It is rather odd to look for the best price on an airline and still see ontop of the search list.
      What I am trying to say is that nowadays often when you search for things it is downlisted so hard that you never will be able to find it. Therefore authoritative link-libraries is starting to become a good idea again.

  4. Poking around following Jon’s news links I came across a very good online relief map of Vatnajokull and eastern Iceland. Most of the time I can’t find any of those Icelandic place-names on maps. It might be worth bookmarking if things continue to ‘heat up’

    1. Oh yes why not one more off topic post: Katla pure sugar.

      Be sure to click the lil speaker Icon for a sweet non-native-Icelandish speaker treat. Music to my flatlander ears.

      1. This is also an excellent interactive Map. Often the SILs or earthquake epicentres are recorded from a very small hill or remote area. If you copy and paste the name of the place you seek, the map will highlight it in yellow. You must however search with Icelandic script… make sure you copy and paste accurately.

  5. Totally agree, giggle is full of crap. Found ways around it by using also other “steam-engines” . When search topic, try different wording, change to singular, plural etc. What frustrates most is they decide on total number of hits you get to see, should give possibility of ALL. Nope, they dont. Gnirr… (Now capcha is near unreadable…)

    1. One tactic that I use when Google invariably want to show me something totally unrelated to what I searched for…. use the -option.

      -shoes -football -midgitracing -food -sale -price etc..

    2. While searching inside a specific site, use the option “+site:domain”. And, if you know the file type (e.g. you want only PDF files), use option “+filetype:pdf”.

  6. Off topic, but what the hell is going on in Hawaii? The Big Island just got hit by a dozen earthquakes near Mauna Kea!

      1. Looking at it with respect to the surface contour, I don’t think wasting is related.

        Profile view WEST with surface contour and sea levels.

        (my normal plots are east, this one is west, that’s why I capitalized it… as opposed to capitolizing it, which would be like… sticking it in someones capitol)

      2. wonder if its bad enough that they will have to spend some time realigning their telescopes (to rotational north)

      3. I ain’t saying it is, and I’m not saying it ain’t.

        (Take that grammar nazi)

        But about 12 days prior to this, was a pretty deep mag 2 (roughly) at just over 30 km deep and a few km East.

        If you look at the USGS list for Hawaii it hasn’t rolled off yet. In about a day it will disappear.

      4. This seems to me like a rootfilling episode.
        2000 b.c. is pretty recent, still it would be very special.

  7. I meant of course: “even a quake at 0,4 km (400 meters deep) is below the ice part”

    1. The more you read here about Icelandic Volcanoes the more you understand that this explanation is pretty accurate. Iceland has so many volcanoes each with their own “personality”.
      The problem at the moment is that there is little accurate data for most historical eruptions . Now however it is possible to monitor minutely and accurately from the first grumble. In the future with one or two eruptions well documented only then can an accurate prediction be possible….ish.
      The problem is some volcanoes are slow to recharge, maybe 100’s of years and more. Other Volcanoes like Hekla just refuse to play along and enjoys a game of cat and Mouse!
      We are many years away still from accurate prediction world wide. Look at El Hierro 🙂

    1. Thank you, You just answered my question below. If Google translated right and I understood it correctly, then they say that this was due to rainfall not quakes.
      However, it’s a fair question which I was wondering about too.

      1. Earthquakes can be a triggering factor, of course, but it’s no “need”. The slope there is simply too steep for the geotechnical caracteristics of the material, so sooner or later it will come down, bit by bit, until you reach “equilibrium”. Saturate such terrains with water and it’s a matter of time/chance/hazard that something like that happens.
        In the case of big, permanent slides (e.g. tens of millions of cubic meters creeping down a slope during thousands of years), you know what happens where and what effects it can have. But with spontaneous landslides like the one in Jon’s post, you know that the slope can produce them, you can figure out scenarii about the volume, but it’s nearly impossible to say when and where exactly they will occur.
        Just don’t build houses on or beneath such slopes… 🙂

  8. Not sure I located it right, but is this landslide near Akureyri in the north of Iceland, at the fjord that opens up towards the Tjörnes fracture zone?

  9. @ Lurking 4 El Hierro
    “El primer escenario posible es que el proceso tiende a terminar”, aseguró ayer Joan Martí, investigador del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), casi 48 horas después de que, de forma sorpresiva y rápida, la señal de sismicidad haya disminuido considerablemente y la deformación se haya estabilizado. ”
    The last part of the sentence says : “the end may be in sight … since the deformation has been stabilized”. True ?
    Your plot yesterday showed still uplifting near La Restinga

      1. From El Mundo “Experts believe the eruptive phenomenon is weakening El Hierro”

        The activity of the underwater volcanic eruption on the island of El Hierro has declined and although experts are wise have asserted that it appears that the eruption process is “losing steam” .

        Carmen Lopez, the National Geographic Institute and Joan Martí, the National Research Council, explained at a press conference that it is likely that this eruptive phase is concluded and pointed out that parameters such as demonstrated by the tremor signal, which decreases Gradually, as seismicity , while the deformation of the island has stabilized and in some areas has decreased.

        Lopez explained that even so it will continue to monitor the situation until it becomes normal values ​​recorded in July before the start of earthquakes that preceded the underwater volcanic eruption.

        While you will be erupting tremor signal, said Lopez, who has insisted that surveillance will be maintained if there is a recovery.

        Joan Martí said that although it is not ruled out that it is a phased eruption this time there is no evidence that would be and insisted that it is an underwater volcanic eruption “like many that has been and will be in the Canary Islands” .

        CSIC researcher explained that they have collected samples of basalt , which shows that there was a rash, which was a first outing in about 1,000 feet deep and 200 yards later, at which time the effects have been as bubbling and the presence of lava.

        The eruption has been little lasting a few days, weeks or it could be a few months, and urged caution because it may continue for a few days.

        Carmen Lopez stressed that sobering data that the process loses strength but can not set a time limit , and Joan Martin commented that it seems that the trend is to end, yet they insisted on the need for continued vigilance .

        Joan Marti pointed out that the follow-up of this process has been shown to be in a position to be able to have control over any changes with respect to volcanic activity.

        As for marine recovery Carmen Lopez should be noted that biologists who speak of it, but stressed that the magma will be on the seafloor , while the stain that the eruption caused the sea will dissolve.

        Joan Martin has indicated that biologists who will explain the process of recovery, but is optimistic because although the negative impact has been immediate and long-term is positive, since the sea is recovering much faster than the earth.

      2. Well you know Karen, the Spanish press is constantly asking these people … what next ? They start being the philosophers. In fact they say the same thing as we ware saying here. They do not know it for sure. 14 quakes last night is the highest number since October 10. So it may be over but the balloon may be pressurizing again 🙂
        3 quakes so far today ?

      3. The (Giggle?) translation of the Spanish title seems to be misunderstandable. As far as I understand it, the cited experts don’t say that the island is weakened or destabilized, but that the force of the eruption is diminishing.

      4. I think these GPS stations report distance betweem them, according to the heading on the page, not uplift. Uplift data was from Nagoya.

      5. Yes, I think the same. This just tells you that FRON-HI01 and FRON-HI02 are basically stuck together at a certain distance, while HI03 and HI04 are slowly but constantly moving away from FRON. I am not sure though if they measure the distance in 2D space (movement in x,y plane only) or if they measure it in 3D space (and so that would implicitely add change in elevation, although it would not explain if this is up or down, just further away).

      6. And on the other hand, FRON seems to be moving closer to stations on all other islands.

      7. you centroid of locations ? or perhaps absolute individual distance moved since readings started .. any ideas ?? I emailed IGN and asked for more info, the email was forwarded on further up the feeding chain there, no response back yet ;-(

      8. Sorry, I’ve no idea about details – this is just what I can conclude from graphs at the IGN page.

      9. You are correct it is horizontal displacement not vertical. Sorry – not enough coffee or failed to completely engage brain!

    1. That’s interesting! I’ve always been wondering if the ‘supervolcano’ area in the Andes was still active somehow.

    2. Most interesting. It backs up my post earlier. We have so little data at present that accurate prediction is as yet a dream. However we are slowly getting closer.
      (As a biologist I would love to go hunting in their volcanic desert… there MUST be some life there! However I do understand how life does muck up geological evidence!)

      1. I should qualify that statement..Remains of life is sometimes crucial to providing geological evidence but the living organisms can alter the physical evidence.
        My particular interest is in succession. How and why pioneer plants can arrive, settle and eventually colonise areas such as sand dunes, volcanic islands and other extreme and inhospitable environments.
        You see this in action even on city streets and landfill sites!!

    3. Extremely interesting even. The big question is how much magma that has accumulated over time. But as they say then they need to figure out for how long it has been inflating.

      A figure I found very intriguing was that magma is injecting at a staggering 27 cu ft (1m3) per second. That alone warrants a “holy hell” comment. 🙂

    4. Inflation during the last 20 years equals roughly to 0,5 – 1,0 km3 already…

      1. Yes and given that it has dormacy periods of 300.000 years or so I bet that refilling has been going on for a lot more than 20 years. 😉

      2. “Uturuncu, the highest peak of SW Bolivia, displays fumarolic activity, and postglacial lava flows were noted by Kussmaul et al. (1977). Inspection of satellite images of the 6008-m-high peak, located SE of Quetana, did not show evidence for postglacial activity (de Silva and Francis, 1991).

        So… if there is no post glacial activity, that means that any indications of lithospheric rebound have not been interfered with by new ash/magma, and only the ultra slow erosion (static?) of the high Andes would mess with the record.

        While thinking about lithospheric rebound following glaciation, the article said this:

        “Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago”

        That would mean that about three glaciations have happened since it last erupted.

  10. Interesting Jon. Thank you.

    Was this landslide caused by the recent EQ activity and / or heavy rainfall?

  11. Hi guys!
    Yet another wonder…
    Checking the GPS recordings I’ve notice that since the beginning of this volcanic event the HIxx stations stopped somehow to inflate while all the others stopped to deflate…
    Then I remembered that the “newest” magma pipe is Lomo Negro vent and then I start to consider the following scenario:
    The area of La Palma and La Gomera islands where on some down shift due to the fact that African plate is running out of them foots toward east. Then this is an opportunity to magma intrusion, which goes up to the easiest way. Which is to be along the path of hot spot progresion, toward west.
    That’s the general story for latest thousands of years , therefore El Hierro tend to go upward,
    Then 2-3 month ago in one big fractured bedrock area (I suppose that El Golfo scar does really help and Lomo Negro location proves that) starts magma intrusion, therefore that seismic story of July to September. Then one valve is opened in
    La Resigna area (front of hot spot progression).
    But after a pressure release (pillow lava formation or fumaroles, whatever) this new pipe is clogged .
    Then regarding that GPS readings…
    Is possible that this magma movement leave place for a new hot spot big swallow and therefore those to islands start to “stay” not to deflate as main source for the El Hierro.
    That’s means pressure toward El Hierro pathway, more seismic events in El Golfo area, and then THE real volcanic event will take place, not that jacuzzi which as precursor event could be only a test sample of lava type.
    Of course at the end I’ll quote Jon:
    “How long it is going to last is a good question that currently nobody has a answer to at the moment.”

    I didn’t succede to point out the sheep factor ! Bleah! 😛

    1. How are you deriving inflation data from the IGN stations? All the data I’ve seen show variations in lateral distance from FRON to the other sites with no vertical signal to be seen.

      I’ve toyed with extracting the Latitude Longitude variations, but I haven’t been able to come up with at deflection model/method for calculating the vertical component.

    1. I for one hadn’t. Absolubtely brilliant!! Brings a whole new meaning to the skills of shepherding 🙂

    2. Jesus!!! at 2:22 about it was the volcanic activityyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!
      So they are an very important factor 😀
      Now, I start to consider the dog factor.
      Hmmmm, on second thought I maybe not…my bichon at eq event of 4.7 showed only a flat snooooring line. No tremor at all although I put under her nose some juicy meat.

    3. Superb! Do you realise what this means to the Icelandic Tourist industry?
      They will be able to put on an eruptive display on the slopes of Hekla as the tourist buses pass by on the Golden circle route 🙂
      I am sure all the Icelandic craft knitters can incorporate orange,red and yellow LED lights into their sheep Wool jumpers 🙂

  12. Hawaii
    Have you guys any other trace of another magma chamber below Mauna Kea ?
    Shallowest was at 14.3 km , but i haven’t seen the number of quakes below M 1 – so the actual number may be far bigger than 38 in 10 hours.
    Looks like a new intriguing story.

  13. Landslides in this part of Iceland happen due to loose soil and a lot of rain. Not because of earthquakes or volcano activity. As in this are there is no volcano activity and almost no earthquakes.

  14. Doubled the activity of the Puyehue volcano
    The quakes that occur increased from 5 to 11, according to the last part of the Meteorological Service of Chile; they restart not leave or do with chinstrap; again to close the international step..

  15. Most of the Quakes on Hierro today are in the “Golfo” Region:
    1106537 20/10/2011 11:49:10 27.7696 -18.0474 23 1.8 mbLg NW FRONTERA.IHI
    1106544 20/10/2011 11:46:34 27.7806 -18.0809 23 1.7 mbLg NW FRONTERA.IHI
    1106549 20/10/2011 11:40:15 27.7986 -18.0671 22 1.6 mbLg NW FRONTERA.IHI

    1. Some more since:
      1106569 20/10/2011 15:16:35 27.7558 -18.0493 22 1.6 W FRONTERA.IHI
      1106568 20/10/2011 14:45:22 27.7437 -18.0737 27 1.6 W FRONTERA.IHI
      1106566 20/10/2011 14:16:32 27.6537 -18.1143 22 1.6 SW EL PINAR.IHI
      1106563 20/10/2011 13:37:10 27.6643 -18.0698 18 2.0 SW EL PINAR.IHI

      And the spectrogram looks a little stronger:

      1. Not that much lively, it is about the same as before.
        I guess we will not see much of a change for a couple of day. But I think the current earthquakes are significant that I think that is new magma moving up.
        I am with Jón on this one, we are just waiting for Bob to clog up so the pressure becomes big enough for an onland eruption.

  16. Well, there is one of my earlier rotating plots of Hawaiian seismic activity from 2000 to 2010.

    If you keep an eye on the area North and West of Kilauea, you will note a rather diffuse cluster at about 10 km. This seems to be about standard for the rest of the active areas around the plume head.

    As noted elsewhere, these quake really aren’t out of the ordinary for this area.

    Until there is more activity pointing at rising magma, this is more like a settling event. As the crust moves to the NW across the hotspot, the area begins to cool and contract. This induces stress and causes fractures. Eventually the islands subside, riding this cooling and contracting crust. At times, parts of them fall off in mass wasting events. (Tuscaloosa seamount up next to Oahu, part of the Nuuanu slide). From the depth and orientation of these quakes, this doesn’t seem to be that either. Maybe in a few million years, but not anytime soon.

    1. This was in response to Armand Vervaeck (October 20, 2011 at 10:37) but got post smacked to the end of the thread.

  17. Review of Helicorder data at Mauna Loa indicates about 7 hrs of what appears to be near steady state, low amplitude tremor preceeded the main shock under Mauna Kea. No idea if this observation is related, since were talking about two distinctly different volcanoes, but worth noting anyway. Too bad HVO doesn’t have any front-line data for Mauna Kea?

    1. That is (most likely) tectonic seismicity. Yes, there is a volcano there, but it is not active right now. There is no harmonic tremoring component active for the area, so it is very likely that it is tectonic seismicity only. This is after all a place with frequent seismcity.

  18. @ Carl
    re EfÞÞBob floaters
    My Lord (!) I thought that bauxite was the result of high humidity subaerial weathering ie laterisation 0f high alumina basic igneous material, may I ask of your eminence of the genesis of primary bauxite of these floaters? (ok cheeky B…I am!)
    Thanks Carl

    1. Problem we had today with it is that you are supposed to be correct. γ-AlO(OH) is induced through weathering, but it is chemically closest to what we have in the sample. In reallity it is felsic lava with a very high component of aluminium oxide very close to bauxite, with either coating of more ironrich substance, or layered in-mixing.
      I am waiting for the chemical result of it. But they stink 🙂 Literally.

      1. Only thing I know right now is that they are definitly of volcanic origin. High heat-rapid cooling leaves a chrystalline structure that is quite unique. I am having a bit of a lurning curve here.
        I am not after all a geologist 🙂
        And the one I have around is not that good at explaining really…

      2. Pure speculation, could these be the ‘slag’ accumulated on top of the true melt and are just being vented before the true full works? The blast furnace slag we test in our lab stinks – indescribable really, bit like a bituminous sulphury burning iron -(try overheated brakes)

      3. Thank you for the very interesting article about olivines porphyry lavas of the mariana arc. We have some samples of lavas from Iceland that is surprisingly close to it, complete with volcanic glass in it.
        But the samples from El Hierro is very brittle. Think of a dried sponge. It is like the mineral have been blown like glass as myriads of miniture gas-bubbles expanded as the outside pressure disapeared. It is a very weird material in many aspects. So polishing it would be rather hard… And slicing, well it would just turn into powder.
        Now I am going a bit un-scientific in my description here. It is like it was powdery leighteight asbestos, it falls down into rather small grains of very abrasive “stuff”. From a metallurgical standpoint (in my un-geologist way) I would call it expanded alumina with ferro-crap around, or layered into it.
        If there is a lot of it, and it had been onland, it would have been worth a fortune.
        It would have been easy to grind up, magneto-lift away the ferro-gunk, and then reduce away the O from the alumina since the ferro-gunk is the silicic component and the aluminium component is low-cilicic. So it would be cheaper to make aluminium out of in the end.
        But something tells me that this is a rare mineral, and that all there ever was, has floaten to the surface, and that if it had erupted onland it would have been intermingled with the basalt in a rather unmineable variant.
        It is more fun, than anything else.

      4. Well, we do not have a clue either really.
        What comforts me is that my highly paid mining geologist don’t have clue (judging frum the aheming) really either 🙂

  19. All quiet? No news from icelands volcanos? Nothing of El Hierro? And Etna is also waiting?
    I have holidays, catched a cold and nothing to do…
    Something to think about?

    1. Everything will start tomorrow evening, don’t worry. 🙂 Friday is volcano party day.

      1. Ah indeed Ursula you are soooo right. …..I have a video link that I used before… but I will post again for people to pass the time tonight in anticipation of the Iceland Friday night sheep’s fest 🙂 (Spot the Hekla Dalek and especially for Carl the red high heel wellington boots!)

    2. The amount of earthquakes at El Hierro seems to be slowly increasing again. 13 recorded today, not a massive amount but a slowly increasing rate from the large drop on the 9/10th of this month. Sorry I have no idea what they signify but they are deeper.

  20. In the Netherlands we say: stilte voor de storm, meaning: silence before the storm breaks out…..

      1. Really interesting, in English we say, calm (or still) before the storm. Easy to see English is a mix of the launguages of the many races who conquered these Isles.

  21. Very OT
    Icelandic horses will play a big part in The Hobbit, the upcoming film directed by Peter Jackson, based on the eponymous story by J.R.R. Tolkien. Shooting is currently taking place in New Zealand.

    Icelandic horses. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

    “The look of the Icelandic horse, which grows a thick fur in the winter months, was one of the aspects filmmakers took notice of,” said Cali Madincea at New Line Cinema, the film’s production company, according to Fréttabladid.

    “Another important quality of the Icelandic horse is its endurance and strength; it can carry people weighing up to 120 kilos,” Madincea explained, adding that the tölt had also charmed them.

    “This soft gait guarantees a quick progress, which helps actors wearing full armor in keeping up with Gandalf who rides a large horse,” Madincea concluded.

    The film, which follows up on the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is scheduled to premiere in December 2012
    What a thought, Liv Tyler on Icelandic pony…………aaahhhh (sigh)

      1. I think Alan_C meant the borehole strainmeter plot scale has been changed somehow, but I do not understand what exactly he is talking about since it looks the same as it usually does when there hasn’t been a transient.

  22. Interesting earthquakes deep under Fimmvorduhals:

    20.10.2011 21:10:37 63.625 -19.451 22.5 km 0.5 31.77 6.0 km SSE of Básar
    20.10.2011 01:43:12 63.628 -19.457 21.3 km -0.2 44.26 5.6 km SSE of Básar
    19.10.2011 15:57:09 63.627 -19.442 19.3 km 0.6 70.41 5.9 km SSE of Básar

    I know they are really tiny in size but could they signal new inflow of magma under Eyja? What do people think is the likelyhood of a new eruption in Eyja? Is it realistic considering that there were several non-eruptive interludes during the 1821-1823 eruptions? And what signs would we need now that the channels have been opened so recently? Would magma accumulate to give inflation before an eruption or would it be able to resurface through the 2010 vents without prior accumulation or earthquakes for that matter?

    1. My guess is that one of the magma tubes in the warren Eyjafjallajökull has instead of a proper magma-reservoir is cooling down, and that the mountain is softly creaking as it shrinks a bit.

      1. I do not really believe in such a conduit. I even have a problem of “seeing” conduit between E and Fimmvörduhals… But there supposedly is one. And some even say there is one between E and Godabunga.
        Personally I think G and F was connected…
        But, here I am speculating like hork.

  23. According to the fluid principle to go to the easiest path, of course that huge scars on El Hierro just sliced eons ago the volcanic cone. My bet is that the real volcanic event will be along the biggest one which is El Golfo with it’s the proven weakness Lomo Negro vent. Yes, I new that LM is on some fracture rim but the sponge beneath got the influx of magma from NE therefore is the first path and the easiest one.
    Waiting …. or as Jon says the land spot he already described.
    I am not linked to the geo/eq/volcanology field but how knows???
    Meanwhile I’ll go to count sheeps…, of course that loveliest one with led coat 😀

      1. It works for me. I use Google DNS, but also my down DNS forwarder.

        I do not know it is not working for you. But it should however work for you.

      2. I think saying that it will take 30 years for plant life to recover is being a bit pessimistic, unless trees were taken out by the landslip. I have seen smaller plant life recover within less than 10 years after rockfalls in the Alps.

        But the lake could be a problem, if the blockage is only temporary.

      3. I can’t get the video either. Maybe RUV is doing some work on their servers at the moment. I’ll try again tomorrow.

  24. This is strange. It works for me without a issue. I cannot copy it, as this is java player with flash player build in (or something like that).

    But I am looking into copying this off Rúv website this and placing it on youtube.

  25. It seems that Rúv has blocked anyone from viewing news if they are outside Iceland. I do not know why they do this. But it is stupid and blocks Icelanders and others from knowing what is going on in Iceland.

    1. Yes, it was in Husavik befor. Very interesting! But I think he has now also a human phallus (and one “elfish” for Liv).

  26. FYI – I do not count sheep, Icelandic or otherwise. I count Norwegian Forest Cats. Actually just the one I have (Rocky). Plus one Maine Coon and two barn cats. It’s hard to tell them apart in the dark. Just saying.

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