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THE ISLAND OF SURTSEY

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Author Topic: THE ISLAND OF SURTSEY  (Read 803 times)
Bianca
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« on: May 15, 2009, 08:40:53 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Surtsey


 
on: April 14, 2007, 06:04:52 pm Quote 

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From Bianca's topic, "the Restless Ocean Floor:




Quote



"If a great empire once extended over a large, now submerged area, it would be
logical to expect that some vestiges of it would remain on the Atlantic floor and
could be identified by exploring the bottom in a deep-dive submersible.  On the other hand, it would be even more convincing if parts of the drowned lands could reappear at sea level, temporarily or pemanently visible in the light of day. 

A very curious example of this possibility occurred in March 1882.  Unlike many alleg-
ed sightings of Atlantean ruins before that time, it was well reported in a ship's log and also in the press.  It concerned the encounter of a steamship with an uncharted island in heavily traveled sea lanes and the unusual material that was
found there by the ship's captain and his crew.

The vessel was named the S.S. JESMOND, a British merchant ship of 1495 tons,
bound for New Orleans with a cargo of dried fruits from its last port of call in Messina
Sicily.  The Jesmond was captained by David Robson, holder of master's certificate 27911 in the Queens' Merchant Marine. 

The Jesmond passed through the Straits of Gibraltar (the ancient Pillars of Hercules)
on March 1, 1882, and sailed into the open sea.  When the ship reached the posit-
ion 31degree 25'N, 28degree 40'W, about 200 miles west of Madeira and about the
same distance south of the Azores, it was noted that the ocean had become unus-
ually muddy and that the vessel was passing through enormous shoals of dead fish, as if some sudden disease or underwater explosion had killed them by the
millions.  Just before evening on the first day of encountering the fish banks, Captain Robson noticed smoke on the horizon which he presumed came from another ship."






This storys is not quite as incredible as it sounds. 

The island of Surtsey emerged from the Atlantic Ocean in exactly the same way (up to the shoals of dead fish).  The difference between them is that, this time, film cameras were there to document it.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 08:47:18 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2009, 08:41:21 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #1 on: April 14, 2007, 06:09:29 pm Quote 

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Surtsey



Surtsey (Icelandic: "Surtur's island") is a volcanic island off the southern coast of Iceland. At 63.30 N 20.62 W it is also the southernmost point of Iceland. It was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres below sea level, and reached the surface on 14 November 1963. The eruption may have started a few days earlier and lasted until 5 June 1967, when the island reached its maximum size of 2.7 km. Since then, wind and wave erosion has seen the island steadily diminish in size: as of 2002 it is only 1.4 km in size.

The new island was named after the fire giant Surtr from Norse mythology, and was intensively studied by volcanologists during its creation and, since the end of the eruption, has been of great interest to botanists and biologists as life has gradually colonised the originally barren island. The undersea vents that produced Surtsey are part of the Vestmannaeyjar (Westmann Isles) submarine volcanic system, part of the fissure of the sea floor called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Vestmannaeyjar also produced the famous eruption of Eldfell on the island of Heimaey in 1973. The eruption that created Surtsey also created a few other small islands along this volcanic chain, such as Jolnir and other unnamed peaks.

Most of these eroded away fairly quickly.



Note

the emergence, flourishing of life, and then gradual weathering away of the life and territory of Surtsey. 

One day, it shall be gone, in much the same way Atlantis was (though Atlantis was said to be much bigger.
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2009, 08:48:44 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #2 on: April 14, 2007, 06:12:01 pm Quote 

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Surtsey in southwest Iceland



At 07:15 UTC+0 on 14 November 1963, the cook of sleifur II, a trawler sailing off the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago south of Iceland, spotted something south-west of the boat, which turned out to be a rising column of dark smoke. The vessel went to investigate the smoke, the captain thinking it might be a boat on fire, but instead they encountered explosive eruptions giving off black columns of ash, indicating that a volcanic eruption had begun beneath the sea.

Although the eruption was unexpected, there had been some indications before it began that volcanic activity was imminent. A week beforehand, a seismograph in Reykjavk recorded weak tremors, but their location was not determined. Two days before the eruption began, a marine research vessel noted that the sea in the area was somewhat warmer than normal, and at the same time, people in the coastal town of Vk on the mainland 80 km away had noticed a smell of hydrogen sulphide.

It is likely that the eruption had begun some days before 14 November. The sea floor is 130 metres below sea level, and at this depth explosive eruptions would be quenched by the water pressure. As the eruption built up a volcano approaching sea level, the explosions could no longer be quenched, and the eruption broke the surface.
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2009, 08:49:49 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #3 on: April 14, 2007, 06:14:40 pm Quote 

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Surtsey's ash column rises over the newly forming island







Early days
 


By 11:00 on 14 November 1963, the eruption column had reached several kilometres in height. At first the eruptions took place at three separate vents along a north-east by south-west trending fissure, but by the afternoon the separate eruption columns had merged into one along the erupting fissure. Over the next week, explosions were continuous, and after just a few days the new island, formed mainly of scoria, measured over 500 metres in length and had reached a height of 45 metres. The new island was named after the fire giant Surtr from Norse mythology. As the eruptions continued, they became concentrated at one vent along the fissure and began to build the island into a more circular shape. By 24 November, the island measured about 900 metres by 650 metres. The violent explosions caused by the meeting of lava and sea water meant that the island consisted of a loose pile of volcanic rock (scoria), which was eroded rapidly by north Atlantic storms during the winter. However, eruptions more than kept pace with wave erosion, and by February 1964, the island had a maximum diameter of over 1300 metres.

One interesting event early in the island's life was the landing of three French journalists representing the magazine Paris Match on 6 December 1963. They stayed for about 15 minutes before violent explosions encouraged them to leave. The journalists jokingly claimed French sovereignty over the island, but Iceland quickly asserted that the new island belonged to it, having appeared in Icelandic territorial waters. Ferdinandea, near Sicily, is another island created by volcanic eruptions which has been subject to disputes over sovereignty.
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2009, 08:56:08 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #4 on: April 14, 2007, 06:17:30 pm Quote 

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Surtsey as seen from above






Permanent island
 


The explosive phreatomagmatic eruptions caused by the easy access of water
to the erupting vents threw rocks up to a kilometre away from the island, and sent ash clouds as high as 10 km up into the atmosphere. The loose pile of unconsolidated tephra would quickly have been washed away had the supply of fresh magma dwindled, and large clouds of dust were often seen blowing away from the island during this stage of the eruption.

By early 1964, though, the continuing eruptions had built the island to such a size that sea water could no longer easily reach the vents, and the volcanic activity became much less explosive. Instead, lava fountains and flows became the main form of activity. These resulted in a hard cap of extremely erosion-resistant rock being laid down on top of much of the loose volcanic pile, which prevented the island being washed away rapidly. Effusive eruptions continued until 1965, by which time the island had a surface area of 2.5 km.

28 December 1963 saw the onset of submarine activity 2.5 km to the north-east of Surtsey, which formed a ridge 100 m high on the sea floor. This seamount was named Surtla, but never reached sea level. Eruptions at Surtla ended on 6 January 1964, and it has since been eroded from its minimum depth of 23 m to 47 m below sea level.
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2009, 08:58:05 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #5 on: April 14, 2007, 06:19:08 pm Quote 

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The eruption vents today






The eruption gradually dies down
 


In 1965 the activity on the main island diminished, but at the end of May that year an eruption began at a vent 0.6 km off the northern shore. By 28 May an island had appeared, and was named Syrtlingur. Eruptions at Syrtlingur continued until the beginning of October 1965, by which time the islet had an area of 0.15 km, but it was rapidly eroded away once the eruptions had ceased, disappearing beneath the waves on 24 October.

During December 1965, more submarine activity occurred 0.9 km south-west of Surtsey, and another island was formed. It was named Jlnir, and over the following eight months it grew to 70 m in height, covering 0.3 km. Like Syrtlingur, though, after activity ceased on 8 August 1966, it was rapidly eroded, and dropped below sea level during October 1966.

19 August 1966 saw the return of effusive eruptions on the main island, giving it further resistance to erosion. The eruption rate diminished steadily though, and on 5 June 1967, the eruption ended. The volcano has been dormant ever since. The total volume of lava emitted during the three-and-a-half-year eruption was about one cubic kilometre, and the island's highest point was 174 metres above sea level.

Since the end of the eruption, erosion has seen the island diminish in size. A large area on the south-east side has been eroded away completely, while a sand spit called Norurtangi (north point) has grown on the north side of the island. It is estimated that about 0.024 km of material has been lost due to erosion this represents about a quarter of the original above sea level volume of the island.
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2009, 09:01:17 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #6 on: April 14, 2007, 06:21:35 pm Quote 

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The settlement of life



A classic site for the study of biocolonisation from founder populations that arrive from outside (allochthonous), Surtsey was declared a nature reserve in 1965 while the eruption was still in active progress. Today only a small number of scientists are permitted to land on Surtsey; the only way anyone else can see it closely is with a small plane.






Plant life



Life began to settle on the island. The first life to appear was moss and lichen, which began to appear on the island as early as 1965. Mosses and lichens now cover much of the island. During the island's first 20 years, 20 species of plants were observed at one time or another, but only 10 became established in the nutrient-poor sandy soil.

As birds began nesting on the island, soil conditions improved, and more advanced species of plants were able to survive. In 1998, the first bush was found on the island a Salix phylicifolia bush, which can grow to heights of up to 4 metres. In total at least 60 species of plant have been found on Surtsey, of which about 30 have become established. More species continue to arrive, at a typical rate of roughly 25 new species per year.





The first puffin nests were found on Surtsey in 2004






Birds



The expansion of bird life on the island has both relied on and helped to advance the spread of plant life. Birds use plants for nesting material, but also assist in the spreading of seeds, and fertilise the soil with their guano. Birds began nesting on Surtsey three years after the eruptions ended, with fulmar and guillemot the first species to set up home. Eight species are now regularly found on the island.

A gull colony has been present since 1986, although gulls were seen briefly on the shores of the new island only weeks after it first appeared. The gull colony has been particularly important in developing the plant life on Surtsey, and the gulls have had much more of an impact on plant colonisation than other breeding species due to their abundance. An expedition in 2004 found the first evidence of Atlantic Puffins nesting on the island. Puffins are extremely common in the rest of the archipelago.

As well as providing a home for some species of birds, Surtsey has also been used as a stopping-off point for migrating birds, particularly those en route between the British Isles and Iceland. Species that have been seen briefly on the island include whooper swans, various species of goose, and ravens. Although Surtsey lies to the east of the main migration routes to Iceland, it has become a more common stopping point as its vegetation has improved.






Marine life



Soon after the island's formation, seals were seen around the island. They soon began basking there, particularly on the northern spit, which grew as the waves eroded the island. Seals were found to be breeding on the island in 1983, and a group of up to 70 made the island their breeding spot. Grey seals are more common on the island than common seals, but both are now well established. The presence of seals attracts killer whales, which are frequently seen in the waters around the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago and now frequent the waters around Surtsey.

On the submarine portion of the island, many marine species are found. Starfish are abundant, as are sea urchins and limpets. The rocks are covered in algae, and seaweed covers much of the submarine slopes of the volcano, with its densest cover between 10 and 20 metres below sea level.






Other life



Insects arrived on Surtsey soon after its formation, and were first detected in 1964. The original arrivals were flying insects, carried to the island by winds and their own power. Some were believed to have been blown across from as far away as mainland Europe. Later insect life arrived on floating driftwood, and both live animals and corpses washed up on the island. When a large, grass-covered tussock was washed ashore in 1974, scientists took half of it for analysis and discovered 663 land invertebrates, mostly mites and springtails, the great majority of which had survived the crossing.

The establishment of insect life provided some food for birds, and birds in turn helped many species to become established on the island. The bodies of dead birds provide sustenance for carnivorous insects, while the fertilisation of the soil and resulting promotion of plant life provides a viable habitat for herbivorous insects.

Some higher forms of land life are now colonising the soil of Surtsey. The first earthworm was found in a soil sample in 1993, probably carried over from Heimaey by a bird. Slugs were found in 1998, and appeared to be similar to varieties found in the southern Icelandic mainland. Spiders and beetles have also become established.
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2009, 09:05:12 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #7 on: April 14, 2007, 06:26:49 pm Quote 

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The island of Surtsey in 1999






The future of Surtsey
 


Following the end of the eruption, scientists established a grid of benchmarks against which they measured the change in the shape of the island. In the 20 years following the end of the eruption, measurements revealed that the island was steadily slumping vertically and had lost about a metre in height. The rate of slumping was initially about 20 cm per year but slowed to 12 cm a year by the 1990s. It had several causes: settling of the loose tephra forming the bulk of the volcano, compaction of sea floor sediments underlying the island, and downward warping of the lithosphere due to the weight of the volcano.

The typical pattern of volcanism in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago is for each eruption site to see just a single eruption, and so the island is unlikely to be enlarged in the future by further eruptions. The heavy seas around the island have been eroding it ever since the island appeared, and since the end of the eruption almost half its original area has been lost. The island currently loses about 10,000 square metres of its surface area each year.




 

Other islands in the archipelago show the effects of centuries of erosion

However, the island is unlikely to disappear entirely in the near future.

The eroded area consisted mostly of loose tephra, easily washed away by wind and waves. Most of the remaining area is capped by hard lava flows, which are much more resistant to erosion. In addition, complex chemical reactions within the loose tephra within the island have gradually formed highly erosion resistant tuff material, in a process known as palagonitization. On Surtsey this process has happened quite rapidly, due to high temperatures not far below the surface.

While the island will undoubtedly get smaller yet, it will nonetheless probably persist for many centuries before being eroded away completely. An idea of what it will look like in the future is given by the other small islands in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago, which formed in the same way as Surtsey several thousand years ago, and have eroded away substantially since they were formed.[9] In 2001, the Icelandic government submitted the island to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2009, 09:07:46 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #8 on: April 14, 2007, 06:34:01 pm Quote 

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Continuing from the Restless Ocean Floor:


Quote




On the following day, the fish shoals were even thicker and the smoke on the horizon seemed to be coming from mountains on an island directly to the west,
where, according to the charts, there was no land for thousands of miles.  As
the Jesmon approached the vicinity of the island, Captain Robson threw out an
anchor at about twelve miles offshore to find out whether or not this unchartered island was surrounded by reefs.  Even though the charts indicated an area depth
of several thousand fathoms, the anchor hit bottom at only seven fathoms.

When Robson went ashore with a landing party, they found themselves to be on
a large island with no vegetation, no trees, no sandy beaches, bare of all life as if
it had just risen from the ocean.  The shore they landed on was covered with
volcanic debris.  As there were no trees, the party could clearly see a plateau be-
ginning several miles away and smoking mountains beyond that."



So, the physical appearance of the island matches the appearance of Surtsey. 

The question is (if the Jesmond island actually existed), what happened to it? It has been over forty years since Surtsey appeared.

Now what we need is an incident of a whole island being submerged, if not, in a single day or night, at least, rather quickly.
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2009, 09:09:14 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #9 on: April 14, 2007, 08:55:59 pm Quote 

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Another island that resulted from the Surtsey explosion was Jolnir, it has since sumberged.



Here is Jolnir:






Jolnir (or Jlnir) was formerly a volcanic island south of Iceland. It emerged from the ocean as a result of tectonic activity in July, 1966. Oceanic erosion cyclically wore down the new land as it formed, and the island sank below the surface several times.

It was named for Jolnir, a Norse god (usually identified as a second name for Odin).

Jolnir's formation is closely linked to that of neighboring volcanic island, Surtsey, which emerged in 1963. Volcanic eruptions occurred in much of the surrounding water, but newly formed land was subject to oceanic erosion and many small islands washed away. By 1966, Jolnir had broken the surface, and changing composition of the emerging material resulted in hardier rock forms resistant to erosion. The volcanic cone reached 70 meters above sea level, but even this landmass eventually gave way to the eroding ocean waves.

After activity ceased on 8 August 1966, it was rapidly eroded, and dropped below sea level during October 1966.
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2009, 09:14:11 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #10 on: April 14, 2007, 09:01:29 pm Quote 

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Jolnir is a perfect example of an acting out of Robson's island story. 

It pushed above sea level in 1966 and lasted, at best, a few months before being submerged again. 

The story of ancient artifacts found aside, the story is quite plausible.
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2009, 09:15:36 pm »

Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #11 on: April 14, 2007, 09:08:40 pm Quote 

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Surtsey, Iceland
Location: 63.4N, 20.3W
Elevation: 174 m
Last Updated: 16 April 2001



The Island of Surtsey. Photo by B. Edwards.



Location of Surtsey. Map courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.




Location of the vents associated with the eruption of Surtsey. Surtla, Syrtlingur, and Jolnir are satellite vents that were active early in the eruption. Syrtlingur and Jolnir formed islands that were eroded away. Surtla grew close to but never above sea level (Kokelaar and Durant, 1983). From Moore (1985).

Surtsey is a volcanic island and part of the Vestmannaeyjar submarine volcanic system. Vestmannaeyjar also produced the famous eruption of Heimaey (Eldfell). Surtsey is about 1.5 km in diameter and has an area of 2.8 square km. Surtsey is 33 km south of the main island of Iceland and 20 km southwest of Heimaey. The island is named for Surtur, a giant of fire in Icelandic mythology.



Simplified geologic map of Surtsey. Dashed line shows 1991 shoreline. Simplified from Moore and others (1992).



East-west cross-section to the two tuff cones of Surtsey. Simplified from Moore (1985). No vertical exaggeration.

Surtsey is a classic example of the growth of a new volcanic island. Episodic eruptions began on November 8, 1963 and ended on June 5, 1967. The volcano grew from the sea floor, at a depth of 130 m, to sea level by November 15. During the first few days, eruptions were not explosive and probably consisted of gentle effusion of pillow lava. As the volcano grew towards sea level the water pressure decreased and activity became explosive.



Surtsey's crater. Photo by B. Edwards.

The early phases of the eruption were phreatomagmatic, caused by the interaction of magma and water. Explosions were closely spaced or steady jets, producing dark clouds of ash and steam shooting tens or a few hundred meters above the vent. At times, a column of ash and steam was carried 10 km above the growing island. A tuff ring was constructed by glassy tephra that was deposited by base surges and by fallout. This new island was unstable because it was made of unconsolidated tephra. On January 31, 1964, activity shifted 400 m to the northwest and phreatic eruptions continued at a new vent.

As the eruption progressed, a new tuff ring developed that protected the vent from sea water. On April 4, 1964, this caused the activity to change from phreatomagmatic explosions to lava fountaining and the gentle effusion of lava flows. Lava flows extended the island to the south and protected the underlying tephra from wave erosion. This phase of the eruption ended on May 17, 1965. Surtsey was quiet for more than a year.

On August 19, 1966, activity resumed at new vents at the older tuff ring on the east side of the island. More lava flows moved to the south partially overlapping the older flows. The eruption stopped on June 5, 1967. It had lasted a total of 3.5 years. About 1 cubic km of ash and lava had been produced with only 9% of it above sea level. The average temperature of the lava was 1140 C. Surtsey is made of alkali olivine basalt.

Between 1967 and 1991, Surtsey has subsided about 1.1 m (Moore and others, 1992). The subsidence is probably the result of compaction of the volcanic material that makes the volcano, compaction of the sea-floor sediments under the volcano, and possibly downwarping of the lithosphere due to the weight of the volcano.





Wohletz and McQueen (1984) used experiments to model explosive eruptions caused by magma that interacts with water. They used thermite and varied the contact geometry, water-melt ratios, and confining pressure. They produced Strombolian eruptions (lava fountains), Surtseyan eruptions (wet and dry vapor explosions), and passive chilling of flows (to make pillow lava like submarine eruptions). The sharp rise in the curve marks the onset of dynamic mixing between water and magma and superheating of the water by the magma. Surtseyan blasts esult when the mass rations of water to magma are near 0.3. From Wohletz and McQueen (1984).
Chapter 2 of Decker and Decker's Volcanoes (1989) provides a good narrative of the Surtsey eruption and includes several spectacular photos.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sources of Information:
Bardarson, H., 1971, Ice and Fire: Reykjavik, H.R. Bardarson, 171 p.

Decker, R., and Decker, B., 1989, Volcanoes: W.H. Freeman, New York, 285 p.

Jakobsson, S.P., 1992, Earth Science Bibliography of the Surtsey (1963-1967) and Heimaey (1973) eruptions, and their eruptive products: Surtsey Research Report X, p. 93-105. Contains 288 references on the geology of Surtsey and 135 references on the geology of Heimaey.

Jakobsson, S., and Moore, J.G., 1986, Hydrothermal minerals and alteration rates of Surtsey volcano, Iceland: Geol. Soc. America Bull., v. 97, p. 648-659.

Jakobsson, S., and Moore, J.G., 1980, Through Surtsey, unique hole shows how volcano grew: Geotimes, v. 25, p. 14-16.

Kokelaar, B.P.,, 1987, Discussion of 'Structure and eruptive mechanism at Surtsey Volcano, Iceland' by J.G. Moore: Geol. Mag., v. 124, p. 79-86.

Kokelaar, B.P., 1983, The mechanism of Surtseyan volcanism: Journal of the Geological Society of London, v. 140, p. 939-944.

Kokelaar, B.P., and Durant, G.P., 1983, The submarine eruption and erosion of Surtla (Surtsey), Iceland: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 19, p. 239-246.

Moore, J., 1967, Base surge in recent volcanic eruptions: Bulletin Volcanologique, v. 30, p. 337-363.

Moore, J.G., 1985, Structure and eruptive mechanism at Surtsey Volcano, Iceland: Geol. Mag., v. 122, p. 649-661.

Moore, J.G., Jakobsson, S., and Holmjarn, J., 1992, Subsidence of Surtsey volcano, 1967-1991: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 55, p. 17-24.

Thorarinsson, S., 1964, Surtsey, the new island in the North Atlantic: New York, Viking Press, 47 p.

Thorarinsson, S., Einarsson, Th., Sigvaldason, G., and Elisson, G., 1964, The submarine eruption off the Vestmann Islands 1963-64: Bull. Volcanol., v. 27, p. 1-11.

Wohletz, K.H., and McQueen, R.G., 1984, Experimental studies of hydromagmatic volcanism, in Explosive Volcanism: Inception, Evolution, and hazards (ed. F.R. Boyd and others), National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., p. 158-169.



http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/europe_west_asia/surtsey.html
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2009, 09:17:03 pm »



Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland 
Sea cliffs
 


Vestmannaeyjar (English: The Westman Islands) is a small archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. Only the largest, Heimaey, is inhabited.

The islands are named after the Irish who were captured into slavery by the Norse Gaels. The Old Norse word Vestmenn, literally "Westmen", was applied to the Irish, and retained in Icelandic even though Ireland is more easterly than Iceland. Not long after Inglfur Arnarson arrived in Iceland, his brother Hjrleifur was murdered by the slaves he had brought with him. Ingolfur tracked them down to Vestmannaeyjar and killed them all in retribution.

In the year 1627 the islands were attacked by a fleet of pirates from the Barbary Coast (modern Algeria), who killed many, enslaved much of the population and took them to Algeria where most of them spent the rest of their lives in bondage.

The area is very volcanically active, like the rest of Iceland. There were two major eruptions in the 20th century: the Eldfell eruption of January 1973 which created a 700-foot-high mountain where a meadow had been, and caused the island's 5000 inhabitants to be temporarily evacuated to the mainland, and an eruption in 1963 created the new island of Surtsey.

From 1998 to 2003 the islands were home to Keiko the killer whale, star of Free Willy.

The islands are famed in Iceland for their yearly festival, "jht", which attracts a large portion of the nation's youth. The festival was originally held because of the islanders' inability to participate in the festivities for the 1000th anniversary of the inhabitation of Iceland, and decided to hold their own festival. The word "jht" means "national festival". For the first seventy years or so it was a large family-oriented festival, but has in the last century become a rite of passage for teenagers, and involves much consumption of alcohol.

Current Mayor of Vestmannaeyjar is Ellii Vignisson.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 09:18:07 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2009, 09:19:24 pm »



Off the southwest coast of Iceland





Adam Hawthorne
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    Re: Surtsey
Reply #14 on: April 14, 2007, 09:13:41 pm Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Location of Vestmannaeyjar in Iceland (lower left)



County Vestmannaeyjar

Constituency South

Area 13 km ( 8,1mi)

Population

Total (2003)

Density
4349
334/km
 
Postal codes IS-900

Latitude
Longitude
 6325′N, 2017′W
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 09:22:11 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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