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…

ruiz

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…

Photographer unknown, rights belonging to photographer – A child carrying a baby-lamb, Grimsvötn eruption 2011.

Biology, Sheep, and Human Survival

This is a reposted article from November 21, 2011 As a biologist I feel I really must reply to the Blog on behalf of the sheep. I don’t know how many biologists read these Volcanic blogs and I wonder if geologists and physicists have a true concept of the science of Biology. I decided to…

Strombolian eruption of Kluychevskoy September 10, 2013 (Kvert webcam capture)

An Overview of Eruption Types

From time to time when we discuss our beloved volcanoes, we get a mild-mannered enquiry – ”Excuse me, but what’s effusive? And that cryptodome you are all speaking of, what is that?” I thought I’d take the time to jot down a few notes trying to explain what is meant by the various types and…

villarrica

The Weekly Update #11 (22/04/16)

Welcome to a fairly quiet Weekly Update. Following the excitement of Sakurajima, Popocatepetl and Zhupanovski over the past couple of weeks, I guess the Volcano Gods are taking a break. We start as ever with the quiet zones, London, Toulouse,Anchorage, Montreal and Wellington all have no reports in their respective VAAC areas of operation.   Washington VAAC Colima A quiet…

Kilimanjaro

Volcano coffee

Volcanoes can be costly. The Kilauea eruption of Feb 28, 1955 destroyed 21 houses, 10km of road, 4000 acres of sugar plantations and one coffee plantation: the damage was a staggering 2 billion dollar. The cost of Mount St Helens was 1 billion dollar. Both events were eclipsed by Eyjafjallajokull: its price tag of 5…