19 comments on “The kicking Jenny – or is she?

  1. Yet another interesting article from a part of the world of which I am totally ignorant, thank you! Do you know anything about the history of the weird name(s) of the volcano(es) here ?


    • Hi Tom, you’re welcome! This question must have been asked a million times today, as the news of the new activity goes round through the newspapers 😀 The University of the West Indies Seismic research Center has it on first place in their FAQ but even they are not sure of the origin of the name!: “We are not certain of the exact origins of the name ‘Kick ’em Jenny’, but it seems to relate to the fact that the waters in this region are sometimes extremely rough. It may be a corruption of the French: cay que gêne, ‘the turbulent cay (shoal)’, or it may be a reference to a kicking donkey ‘Jenny’.” – This and more answers here:


    • Hmm… I have searched very hard, and everywhere else they were saying eruption is possible within a day or two. Could it be that in fact there was a small eruption already, but they decided not to wake the sleeping dogs just yet? There was something itching at the back of my mind when I read the “within 24 hours” statement – that is too narrow a timespan, not the way volcanologists express themselves normally. But the alert level does not need to be red, even if there was a small eruption, it depends on how dangerous they expect it to become. (See for how long Sinabung and Raung in Indonesia have been on Orange; Raung still is, and Sinabung only recently was raised to Red).

      Anyway, the official version is this (sorry, I lost the link, it was in a newspaper):
      The situation of the submarine volcano Kick’em Jenny has not changed. “Its activity is still quite high,” explains Jean-Marie Saurel, technical director of the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Martinique. The island is in orange vigilance since Thursday (July 23) . “It means that there has been a significant upsurge in volcanic activity, with earthquakes, fumaroles, degassing. It suggests that an eruption could occur in the days to come,” believes Jean-Marie Saurel. There is no reason to fear a tidal wave for the moment according to the Observatory of Morne Cadet. “A tsunami is generated once the volcano has an eruption. If there is one, it can occur months or weeks after the onset of activity.”


  2. Nice post once again, Madam. The bubbling from the deeps has been postulated as one of the mechanisms that the Bermuda Triangle drags its targets / victims from the surface of the Atlantic to the bottom. There is a small amount of truth to that scaremongering as the Triangle is littered with cones on the surface of the ocean indicating methane leaks to the surface. Once the gas is bubbling into the water, its density decreases sometimes to the point where buoyancy goes away for surface craft.

    Second observation is that air bubbling out of sinking ships does the same thing to people who jumped off and are furiously swimming away from the point of sinking. This is referred to as being sucked down by the ship.

    I think Bob was doing similar things several years ago though nothing entered the region of decreased buoyancy. Cheers –


    • Interesting hypothesis – I read somewhere that mass release/melting of methane clathrate deposits also could create such effects in this area. I guess this could be triggered by volcanic degassing and/or hydrothermal activity too.


    • Hi Cbus, the first and biggest recorded eruption was that in 1939 (funny that it happened exactly the same day, 23 July), which was described as very similar to those of Surtsey or Kavachi. Up to 300 m high fountains of mud and seawater, but no ash mentioned. The volcano was only discovered that year, so previous visible eruptions must have been before living memory. (see http://www.uwiseismic.com/General.aspx?id=26)


    • I am still pondering your question… is it possible at all for a submarine volcano to create an ash plume (as opposed to a mud fountain) before it almost reaches the water surface? How would the ash stay dry enough to be dispersed by wind for over 8 km; if it has travelled 180 m through water it surely would come out as mud and act rather like lapilli or bombs? What made you ask?


  3. Turns out, my feeling was right – there seem to have been two small eruptions in Kick ‘em Jenny already. The first before they raised the alert level (as it was mentioned in the report) and the second a night after.
    Another one of the zillions of newspaper reports on Friday said:
    “ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — The Seismic Research Centre (SRC) at the University of the West Indies recorded a second small eruption during the night of Thursday at the Kick ‘em Jenny submarine volcano… The alert level was increased to Orange on Thursday, which remains in effect, and therefore means that all ships must strictly observe the five kilometer exclusion zone of Kick ‘em Jenny.”


  4. A few thoughts, mostly from looking at the GVP page. First; the 1988 eruption, which produced minor surface activity (SRU) or none at all (GVP) apparently involved the violent destruction of a fairly substantial summit dome. Given the demonstrated suppressive effect of about 190m of water, this suggests that for the 1939 eruption to generate a 300m plume it must have been a real lulu of an explosive event, no?

    Second, re the name. Both interpretations relate to the unusually rough and turbulent water noted by old sailing-ship crews in the area. Is it, perhaps, possible that buoyancy-reducing eruptions or vigorous degassing from the then-unsuspected submarine volcano might have been a contributory factor?

    On a more frivolous note, Georges Boudon of the Pelee Observatory heard the submarine explosion signals in 1988 …while scuba-diving off Martinique. Volcanology has its compensations.


  5. Today’s Picture of the Day on NASA’s Earth Observatory website is the “Nighttime View of Raung Volcanic Plume” – seen with CAT’s eyes…

    “When it comes to seeing what’s going on in the atmosphere after dark, CATS has an advantage. From a perch on the outside of the International Space Station, the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) recently observed part of a plume streaming from Raung Volcano, even though the plume was not apparent in imagery from other spaceborne instruments.” Continue reading: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=86286


  6. Substantial earthquake here in Anchorage some 0+15 ago. About 110 km NW town at a depth of 130 km. Preliminary magnitude of 5. I expect it to be revised upward. The initial shaking was somewhat muted. Surface wave was a pretty good jolt that kept going for a while as it tailed off. No loss of power, utilities, or damage. Nothing fell off shelves. That area of Alaska has had a number of similarly sized and located quakes for the last couple months. Might ask AVO if anything is going on next week. Closest volcano is Hayes which has been quiet for around 500 years. Last series of major eruptions out of it was some 4,000 years ago. Cheers –




    • Isn’t that too deep for anything volcano-related? How deep were the others before this, similar?


      • Depths have been similar. Not active volcano related, but I worry about precursor events – magma on the move thru recently opened fault lines into inactive chambers slowly crystallizing. Cheers –


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