Hekla at predawn on April 14th, 2012. (Mila webcam capture)

Hekla Ready to Erupt?

According to an article published today by journalist Kristján Kristjánsson on the Icelandic Internet news outlet Pressan, “Hekla is ready to erupt” and “tension is very high in the mountain”. The article, which is in Icelandic, goes on to quote (Professor) Páll Einarsson, the man who rightly won international acclaim in 2000 when he read…

Radar image of Mauna Loa taken from space shuttle Endeavour in 1994. Colour indicates surface roughness, where red is smooth  (pahoehoe lava) and white is rough (a'a lava).  source: JPL

Trouble in Paradise: awakening Mauna Loa

Mauna Loa keeps paradise interesting. It has erupted 33 times since 1843, with large eruptions happening on average once every 8 years. Over that time it has covered its slopes with 4 km3 of new lava. But those are just the most recent stirrings. Its older lava flows cover over half of the island of…

The 1944 eruption of Vesuvius

Volcanoes of Europe

Europe has few volcanoes. It lacks the volcanic magnificence of Indonesia, the grandeur of the Andes, the destructiveness of a St Helens or the beauty of a Fuji. But it can hold its own. This small continent, so small it had to borrow its plate from Asia, has volcanoes with history, volcanoes to be proud…

Ansel Adams: The Tetons and the Snake River (1942)

The Snake river

Every child likes rivers. The constantly changing surface, the movement, and of course the water are irresistible. From floating sticks to building dams, they offer entertainment and learning. But rivers are also important to geology. Rivers feel the lay of the land, accurately showing the tilt. They cut away the surface and reveal the rocks…

The pillars of Pozzuoli: the frontipiece of Charles Lyell Principles of Geology (1831)

The dancing Earth: continental drift

In hindsight, continental drift should have been obvious. That the Earth moves up and down had been known for centuries, shown by the layered beaches of Sweden, the seashells of the Himalayas, or the sinking harbours of the Med. The drowned and resurfaced Pillars of Pozzuoli became famous as the frontipiece of Charles Lyell’s opus…

The Holuhraun eruption of Bárðarbunga volcano. Wikimedia Commons, photograph by Peter Hartree.

Who ordered a Bárðarbunga?

After writing the Woolly Mammoth Guide to Icelandic Volcanism I vowed to not write about Iceland for a while. That comment bit me in the posterior rather quickly. Since the cessation of the Holuhraun eruption the central volcano Bárðarbunga has been highly seismically active. Many people have fervently believed that this has been due to…

Lisbon seen from the east during the earthquake. Exaggerated fires and damage effects.(Copper engraving, Netherlands, 1756). National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering image library

The Lisbon Earthquake

At one time, Portugal ruled the world. Its explorers discovered the Cape of Good Hope, created colonies around the Indian Ocean, reached China and Japan, founded the city of Nagasaki, and claimed much of South America. The glory days of the Portuguese empire lasted from 1415 to 1750, and left a rich heritage in Portugal.…

Satellite image: NASA/JPL. Released under US Gov Common

Mount Erebus, Ross Island and the Age of Exploration

This is a reposted article from December 3, 2011. I have always had a love of the beauty of the Antarctic. When I discovered that a cousin of my grandfather had joined Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic expeditionof 1914 to 1917 as the official photographer, this love morphed into an enduring interest in the early explorations of the…

Herdubreid may be the most perfectly shaped and dramatic volcano on the planet. If it erupts it would be at least partially destroyed. Photograph by Thrainn Vigfusson.

The Woolly Mammoth Guide to Icelandic Volcanism

It is a bit surprising that I have never gotten around to writing a complete guide of Icelandic volcanoes in view of how much I have written about them. Obviously this can’t be a complete write up for all of the volcanoes; instead it will be a list of the volcanoes with a short part…

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The Weekly Update (29/04/16)

Welcome to The Weekly Update! This week’s roundup follows last week’s fairly quiet period with another fairly quiet period with only 12 or so volcanoes producing enough of an ash cloud to be considered worthy of a VAAC report.  Due to work commitments this week, the report runs from the 21st of April to the…