A wide-angle shot of the Laacher See caldera during a thunderstorm. © Gijs de Reijke

Unrest at Laacher See: is it us or the volcano?’

[Guest article by Gijs de Reijke.] Well, the big word is out. The results of a study (‘Deep low-frequency earthquakes reveal ongoing magmatic recharge beneath Laacher See Volcano (Eifel, Germany)’, Hensch et al.) have been published on the 7th of January, pointing out the presence of magmatic movement beneath the East Eifel Volcanic Field, Germany.…

The rise and fall of Anak Krakatau

It was the largest volcanic eruption since the start of the world-wide web. The invention of telegraphy in the 1850’s had made long distance connections instantaneous. It changed the world. Newspapers were the most obvious beneficiaries, being able to bring gossip news from far away places. And in this landscape, Krakatau exploded. 36,000 people died…

‘Oumuamua: a visitor from the stars

It is easy to forget the size of the Universe. For all its divisions and separations, Earth is not a good model for space: it is just too small. Nowadays, a seasoned traveler may have seen much of our world. Most of it can be reached within a day or two of travel. Of course,…

A Christmas eruption

Kilauea has become a different volcano. For 30 years, the summit was a passive participant in the seemingly ever-lasting Pu’u’O’o eruption. But nothing volcanic lasts forever, and 2018 was the year that proved this. A blockage near (or in) Pu’u’O’o caused the pressure in the rift to increase, the east rift gave way, and magma…

Eruptions to come

Let’s start with a question. Which country do you think has the most frequent volcanic eruptions? Before you read on (or peek below for the answer), take a minute to think about it. You can probably guess that Australia is not a front runner. In fact, only two or three countries readily come to mind.…

A volcano year

This is the time of the year when people like to look back. What was the year like? Good or bad – or, as is almost always the case, a bit of a mix? And if looking back is not your thing, newspapers run columns where specialists (of varying level of expertise) are given a…

Volcanic Organs and Gandalf’s Pipe

Back when I was a kid, I had two interests in life, physics and playing music. In music my favourite instrument was the church organ. Over the following years those two interests merged into one as I got interested in how soundwaves form, and onwards into what I usually call waveform theory. Waveform theory is…

The Anchorage earthquake of 2018

Where there are volcanoes, there are earthquakes. Both are a sign of a broken earth. Volcanoes require vertical movement and earthquakes (by and large) are horizontal: the two are not identical, but to get a volcano you need a vertical path, and to get that you need to move crust sideways. Enter the earthquakes. A…

Living dangerously: another Grimsvotn prediction

  Grimsvötn is heading for an eruption. There can be no doubt about that. Of course, it is always heading for an eruption. This volcano has ADHD. For Grimsvötn, more than a decade of brooding is unusual: normally it just throws it out. A misplaced snow flake can set it off. And it produces not…

Hekla – Small things and stars in the night

I was asked to write a small weekend piece while we wait for Albert to finish the second part about Grimsvötn. My original idea was to write about people eating volcanoes, but thankfully Iceland saved us from that. As many of you have noticed Grimsvötn has thrown some big ones since my part of the…