36 comments on “Recent Volcanic Activity in Nevada, USA – Part 1

  1. I’ve not had the time to read the whole article yet, but it seems very promising. 4th gold producer in the world ! did not know that.

    Meanwhile I’ve done an update on the earthquakes in Hawaii and I have simplified the views, now there is ‘only’ a top view, the view from the south and finally rotation of all events.

    Big accumulation of quakes in the top caldera zone in the last view days, I think I’ll do a zoom on that zone. There are now more than 5100 events since 28/4 (all magnitudes). So maybe I’ll try to do some plots on a narrower time frame.


    • Great work again, thanks dfm! I personally think, the more the merrier – I mean, as the earthquakes come more dense the picture of the whole process becomes more complete. I usually look once at the surface view to see the distribution and three times at the views from below to contemplate what is happening why and how. Could you still reduce the intervalls for more quakes? – One suggestion for viewing comfort: After the end, if possible, leave the still image there for two or three seconds. I find it’s always a harsh shock when I intensely look at the little dots and abruptly YT’s next videos jump into my eyes.


    • Do I understand right that each bigger red dot represents the quakes of one hour? And does it then produce all the quakes of one hour in the total view, or is a big red dot then just one coloured small dot?


      • Hi Granyia

        I do not understand exactly what you mean when you ask to reduce the intervals for more quakes.

        To explain further how this is done :

        The big red dots are all the quake in the current hour (you can see the hour in the title). There may be only one event or several. This part has taken some time to implement with a nested while loop.

        All the other smaller dots are the previous quakes since the 28th. Older are blue, most recent go up to red color.

        I could do day by day or minutes by minute, but the latter would amount nearly to my earlier system of plotting one picture for each event. This would take very long to make (>5000 events 2 times plus 720 pictures in the final rotation) which is why I switched to the hour by hour system. Also the hour by hour gives some information on the varying frequency of the events.

        What the program does is go over every event in the catalog. If the event’s hour is the same than the previous event, the event is added to a subcatalog
        If it is different it means there was only one event during the hour. A figure is then created with the big red dot(s) and the all previous events.

        I keep in mind what you said about the still image at the end of the sequence. I had made it in the former matlab/octave versions. I will implement it for next time with Python.


        • Oh sorry, my fault. No, I did not ask to reduce the current intervals; I was thinking about whether the video could accomodate more future EQs without getting much longer (i.e. the intervals between eqs must necessarily be shorter). But I didn’t know if that’s technically possible.

          The still “breather” frame I thought would be nice at the end, before YT takes over abruptly.

          Gosh, that sounds like a lot of work, do you have to do that each time from the beginning or can you just add the new ones to the old file? But the outcome is nice. It’s not often seen on the internet, I guess there are not very many plotters of eqs about 🙂


          • OK, I get it. I can choose the length, because when all the figures are created, only then make I the video file. So I can choose the number of images per second and hence the length of the video.
            I have to redo the whole lot of figures, mainly because I change things in the code (for instance adding the still sequence is only generating a number of additionnal figures (by making another loop) at the end of the loop going over all the events. Usually the computer runs during the night. I have not yet searched how to optimize the code


  2. Great post, agimarc, thanks! I looked up the Steamboat springs and found that I had confused them with the Steamboat Geyser in YS NP. The latter had been in the news quite often this year, it erupted seven times so far since March 2018. Last time before that was once in 2014 and 2013 each and before that in 2005.


    • CONRED had given out an eruption warning hours before, adding that there is no need for evacuation. The usual, nothing to see here, move along… (… we don’t want a panic, no matter if a few die in the process)


      Seven dead, 296 injured, 1 million affected was the last numbers I read. This looks horrifying indeed… watch to the end!:


    • I have dreamt last night of this message with the red underlining and it’s still upsetting me. Millions have been spent worldwide on research and education about the behaviour of volcanoes. Very poor countries spent probably more than they could afford on monitoring and risk mitigation, or used donations. Every possible volcanic danger is well known to anyone who wants to know.

      How on earth can a government agency issue such a statement, ‘volcano erupting with high plume and pyroclastic flows’ and be as smug as to actually tell people not to evacuate??? That is criminal! If they had at least kept their mouth shut, some people might have evacuated on their own.

      So, all the hard work of the volcanologists, all that money for monitoring and risk management is wasted and people are not warned and die anyway.


      • Really, really sad.

        With a government (or any bureaucracy), there is a certain momentum in conclusions and recommendations, meaning that if nothing nasty has happened in recent years (whatever that event may be – earthquake, hurricane, tornado, tsunami, blizzard, dam collapse, flood, etc), the going in assumption is that it will not happen this time around or the next time either. If (and when) they screw up (early warning, later warning, no warning), the people in charge get fired. Privately held entities in the same business are not quite so constrained and end up being a bit more agile, though depending on where you live, the marketplace or the government will put them out of business for screwing up.

        Bureaucracies do this all the time. Our only defense as consumers of their services / products is to get as smart about our surroundings and how they work as humanly possible and make our own interpretations and decisions. Official warnings are usually late. What do we do when the warnings are early and the event never takes place?

        Sadly, it appears they don’t know Fuego as well as they think they do or want to. OTOH, every time something awful like this or Lelani Estates happens, everyone gets a bit smarter. Terrible way to get there, but it is one of the ways we humans learn. We will keep them and their families in our prayers.

        Old Cold War story: Air to air refueling was necessary for the intercontinental nuclear bomber mission. Here in the US, it was developed in the late 1950s. As I understand the numbers, there were around 57 killed during testing. Yet it is something everyone in the flying business (US side) does on a regular basis today. Learning is hard. Sometimes it is deadly. And when it is that hard, it is always sad.

        Regards –


        • Oh, I think they DO know their volcano well, at least the volcanologists of the observatory do. And the latter DID give their warning of PFs, and CONRED passed it on to a (volcanically) uneducated public. Together with that unfortunate additional recommendation to stay put instead of calling evacuations immediately. That was when the first smaller PFs HAD ALREADY happened! Guatemalan authorities have plenty of experience with volcanoes and PFs, they don’t need to learn from those events (and never will, I suppose). It is rather a question of being honest to the public, calling a danger just what it is – before it claims lives. It works in other countries like Iceland.

          Educating people about the risks seems to be badly neglected there… it costs money. If you listen to the videos and news from yesterday, they all called everything that comes out of the volcano “lava” – PFs, mudflows, all. Spanish tweeting people asked “Wtf was this?” on seeing the video of a pyroclastic flow crossing a road. People stayed on to film that very PF on the road instead of run. They all don’t know the difference.


  3. So what happened to Fuego? The photos from “after” suggest some significant morphological changes at the top. I looks as if part of the crater wall collapsed and took down with it a big chunk of the upper flank. If it wasn’t a lateral blast in the first place. I look forward to the evaluation of this eruption by volcanologists.


    • That’s neat again, thank you! Yes, there seems to be not much rift widening at present. But a number of eqs all over the S part, the island must be creaking from the deflation.


    • No, it didn’t. It injected two orders of magnitude LESS than 1974.

      And there are no absolute amounts mentioned, and no correllations with other factors that would affect the overall picture.

      The conclusion “…may induce some short-term global cooling” is Anthony Watts own conjecture, not a result of research, as it seems. The whole article is just a long description of the events unfolding, you find no explanation or link to anyone who said anything about cooling.


      • I gotta read these things closer. Thanks for the correction.

        There has been a running battle on volcanic aerosols causing cooling for a number of years on the site with one of the contributors, Willis Eschenback leading the charge in opposition. I tend to agree with his arguments and data. Interesting reading. I even learn a bit from time to time. Cheers –


        • Oh yes, eruptions do have an impact on climate… under certain conditions. One of them is that a big enough amount of SO2 is injected into the stratosphere. Agung did that in 1963, Pinatubo, and of course El Chichon. But look at what the changes are:

          the tiny drop in solar radiation for Agung in this graph (probably!) caused a subsequent drop of 0.3°C in average temperatures – in the northern hemisphere only. The drop at the 1974 Fuego eruption was even much smaller than Agung’s. And the new Fuego eruption sent an amount even 2 magnitudes smaller than the one in 1974 up there (I don’t know if “amount” refers to the total or only to the part that arrived in the stratosphere, think it’s the total).

          What makes me really angry is that some people have an agenda, and for that end they have no qualms creating a headline like this and omitting part of the original information. Underneath that they have a looong winding pamphlet that has nothing to do with the title. While people read on, all the many facts underneath, they forget to ask where the hell did he get that headline from? That they forget – but not that they “have heard somewhere that a volcanic eruption causes a considerable cooling to the earth’s climate”. Grrr!


  4. This is OT – but hair-raising: Colombia’s largest hydroelectric dam, Hidroituango, still in the construction phase, is at risk of collapse. They feverishly try to complete the construction of the crest of the dam, which would then allow the use of the spillways to control the flow. Many villages have already been evacuated.

    Dave Petley follows the development closely in his landslide blog, this was his first post on it, I believe:

    What would happen if the dam breaks? Researchers are trying to evaluate the potential damage to towns located downstream:

    Background: Hidroituango Dam Overview: https://nga.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=ad3b28dea02f4360bc71048c9335df9b


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