24 comments on “Recent Volcanic Activity in SW Utah

  1. Brilliant article again Agimarc!! I must have missed your article in October about the same region, so just catching up on that.
    Meanwhile there are some good photos of Kardovar on the local government’s facebook page:


  2. Brilliant article and thank you! I never knew just how active that area had been in the past. I remember visiting the Grand Canyon by helicopter and being surprised at the volcanics around the area as we flew from Las Vegas to the canyon. I’ll be interested to see if anything does turn up in the Black Rock Desert area. Thanks!


  3. recent report from Australian Broadcasting Corp. The activity on Bam appears to be normal submarine geothermal activity.
    If the islands are connected to one system, that is kind of worrying as it suggests there is some hidden caldera lying between the two and these volcanos just markt the rim of it. I guess that is a possibility but at this stage it looks like Kardovar is having its own distinct eruptive phase. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Will it be either extrusive dome growth (it may have even started this phase) and continued island building or the onset of more explosive activity?


  4. Didn’t I know it – 2 days off twitter and I miss something important… this time it’s Mayon!

    Lava flow from #Mayon volcano’s eruption towards Miisi and Bonga gullies as of 8:51 pm on 15 January 2018 – Source: Joey Sarte Salceda’s FB Post thru Gezer Villanueva’s photo pic.twitter.com/mIfW5OIAjd


  5. Quite a lot happening already this year! Here’s my half-arsed take on things so far:
    1. Agung – existing lava lake/dome/pancake/cowpat (take your pick) is cooling and crystallising effectively capping the vent, like Shinmoedake did a couple of years ago. Gas emission is low but still sufficiently high for largish bubbles to coalesce under the cap and erupt in short vulcanian bursts. These might get more infrequent but also more violent as the cap continues to harden. Whether fresh gas-rich magma reaches the surface like in 1964 or not is still open but looking less likely by the day.
    2. Mayon – seems to be doing what it always does. Kind of like Kluichevskoi – a young large edifice still in the phase of rapid building.
    3. Bezymianny – rebuilding after losing its roof in a sector collapse – here too the dome is capping gas build-up resulting in the occasional gas burst/vulcanian eruption. (same holds true for Shiveluch).
    4. Kardovar – this one interests me most of all. It is on a volcanic arc noted for massive eruptions (Long Island is not too far away). The last eruption appears to have been in the 18th C when two islands were erupting concurrently. Now we have significant discolouration in the water around Bam, which even if not an eruption per se and possibly is standard activity, perks my curiosity. Why would two neighbouring volcanos show activity concurrently and then twice..in a couple of hundred years – if these are indeed the same islands that erupted in the 18C. . which I haven’t had yet checked. I also haven’t found any decent bathymetric charts to see if there is a caldera between the two. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is one.. On the other hand, there are no reports of seismic activity or uplift, which one would expect if something bigger were on the way.
    Be that as it may. We do have current activity on Kadovar and it appears to have entered an effusive phase already after the initial ashy eruptions. So we have a similar situation as Agung.. will juvenile ash-rich magma reach the surface or will the volcano enter into an effusive phase (dome-building) and then go back to sleep. I am not too perturbed about the presence of water creating a Krakatoa-type phreatic eruption. In the meantime we have seen so many domes erupted up through water that I have come to believe it is the gas content in the magma and not the phreatic nature that is the main driver of large catastrophic eruptions, even in the case of Krakatoa. Like a chemical explosion, you need the right relationship of inputs to get a phreatic eruption, in this case a sufficient interface between water / hot magma to flash to steam. too much water and you just quench the magma.Likewise, non-fragmented magma probably doesn’t give you enough physical interface to turn the requisite volume of water to steam..
    The outside chance is that the caldera (if there is even one) is rejuvenating and these vent eruptions are just the first sign of something bigger.. but that is absolutely wild conjecture at this stage.


    • I think the main problems here are the lack of everything… of historic reports, of monitoring in the last decades and of research in general. I have also been looking for seafloor maps, there just seem to be none. I have read the passus from Dampier’s journey in “Fire Mountains of the Islands”, it’s inconclusive. But I have read witnesses saying they have seen a new lava dome growing on Kadovar. RVO says, the islands have separate magma systems…

      “KADOVAR volcano in East Sepik has erupted and is acting in an unusual way, reports the volcanic observatory.
      ‘There is no likelihood of related and regenerating volcanic activities from nearby volcanic islands since the eruption of Kadovar. We have confirmation from Biem that no volcanic activity has occurred. The volcanoes are fed by their own magma systems, which are not linked in any way. The eruption of one will not cause activity of another,’ Mr Saunders said.”

      I would dearly like to know where RVO publish their reports.


    • And just perfect for your musings about magma & H2O:
      A new paper on Etna with a provocative twist: “Mount Etna volcano (Italy). Just a giant hot spring!” by Carmelo Ferlito, an associate professor of volcanology at the University of Catania. It’s an examination of Etna, “one that’s somewhat designed to highlight how little we understand about how it works”. It supposedly says that Etna’s magma consists to ~70% of water and therefore behaves more like a hydrothermal system, so the view at some magma systems might need to be reviewed. I have yet to read it but sure it’ll be something to ponder.

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012825217302301 (DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.10.004)


  6. Wisconsin has volcanic field copies and there are a lot in Clark County , WI and Marathon county WI and Black River Falls! Black River Falls has a hill that is a copy of Volcanic Mountain in Alaska, the Yukon!Not to get anyone frightened and we have a few volcanic vents with blue green Algae one in lake mead and Rock Dam area!
    A movie I watched a bout 30-40 years ago said Wisconsin is “Yellow stones closest copy” or very similar with everything , but in different areas and the only one in Wisconsin!our worst problem is the Kawannee..lake Superior and the great lakes!!
    We have “down hill slump” by some of those pits….and looks like liquidfication …or something?… activity as what they say before a volcanic big activity…. maybe due to the “magma” underground Bath-o-lith area where the earthquake happened a few times near Rosholt WI…meaning it is a volcanic magma event and it could be party to New yonks underground magma activity , Oklahoma (?) I feel..and oh my gosh Mt. Rainier (The state of Washington!) over by yellow stone has a few holes with smoking, lava cinders thrown on the snow …. and holes near that are getting bigger more opening on every map search looking form the top on the left side going towards the east! I think we should get the geology team out in Wisconsin and start mapping every eras that is volcanic or suspicious of that! what i think is prophecy is slowly happening!
    But don’t ask me it’s just what i see of what i have read!the geology or earthquakes division department would be the one to really ask !M Just my own opinion!


    • Howdy Diane –

      Thank you for the pointer. Interesting science project. There was volcanism in WI, but it was very old (over a billion years) and the best I can tell, no longer active, though activity can be traced back at least a couple billion years (> 2 Ga). Interesting thing about the region, is that there is a failed rift – the Midcontinent Rift System – that stretches from KS, around WI under Lake Superior, down thru MI, ending in OH. It was driven by mantle plume active around 1.1 Ga. A lot of the magma was erupted. A lot of it ended up as batholiths and other large igneous / metamorphic structures under WI either side of the rift. Two links provided for further investigation. Thanks again for the interesting question. Cheers –

      Click to access Mead-Booklet.pdf



  7. I was wondering what anyone thinks about the misty looking venting Smokey areas (Not clouds or jet mists?) in different places some more pronounced images on the Wisconsin map!
    Open the Canada map and then put it on satellite…over Wisconsin now bring the picture up so it is closer to the ground view…does the misty looing lines through the middle portion of Wisconsin look like venting ( Maybe due form tectonic plate activity? and not from fires and then there is just under Eau Claire , WI
    Not sure when that happened but, maybe was when the cracking booming sounds were being reported like in Menominee, and going north a few years back! but you look at the whole USA Canada map and this looks like all goes around Canada and James Bay! But like you said I think it’s the Mid Continental Rift it’s a penny toss I think it’s California and Alaska’s volcanology I was just wondering!
    I have always liked meteorite impacts and it’s interesting how their land forms mimic volcanoes/caldera like land forms, but only the great meteor man /NASA would know the difference!



    • Howdy again, Diane. Would need a picture of the smokey areas you are referring to to look into it.

      Craters are interesting, especially those ones which have been erased over time by erosion and other natural processes. There was a paper a couple decades ago that attempted to make a case that hot spots are antipodal (on the other side of the world) from large impact events. The interior of the earth focuses the impact shock waves on the opposite side of the ball, which in turn stirs things up. There are also a group busily working thru the possibility of a major series of comet impact events on and over North America some 11 ka. Highly controversial. They keep suggesting stuff and keep getting slapped down, just like actual science is supposed to work. And the data store continues to grow as the argument extends. Fun mystery.

      Stay warm. Cheers –


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