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Just got out of a meeting with all the main scientists dealing with this little crisis.
- Not sure when it began. Earthquake swarm subsided, replaced with gradual tremor onset. Gradual onset much like the Fimmvorduhals eruption.
- Currently tremor is increasing. There are highs and lows in activity but the general trend is up.
- GPS stations in the area shows a subsidence on Friday following the end of Fimmvorduhals, then a sudden increase on Monday preceeding this eruption. At least one showed a sudden subsidence again immediately before or during the very early part of the new eruption.
- Tephra fall is currently around 5mm depth near to the volcano, and is ongoing and quite heavy now. The plume is blowing east and tephra fall is confined to quite a narrow zone.
- Late afternoon yesterday, the plume was seen to begin to contain darker patches. Darkened very rapidly at around 6-7pm, indicating the onset of full phreatomagmatic activity.
- Tephra fall was initially very dark, either basaltic or basaltic-andesitic although it has not been analysed yet. Reports this morning of a gradual change to lighter colours, grey-brown. Maybe more evolved magmas are making it to the surface? Again, no actual analysis done yet. The university don't even have tephra samples in hand yet due to transport issues.
- Tephra is (was?) very fine-grained and so there are some worries about the fluorine content (smaller particles, larger surface area, more fluorine on surface...).
- 'Best guess' is that the eruption rate is 10x that of the Fimmvorduhals eruption, based on fissure length and the rate of ice melting, but this really is a total guess.
Posted by: James | April 15, 2010 10:07 AM
The Laki Volcano eruption in Iceland can also be said to have contributed significantly to the French Revolution. After several years of extreme weather in Europe caused by the Laki eruption, the ensuing destruction of crops and livestock brought famine and poverty that built up in France, triggering the Revolution which began in 1789.