The most erect of volcanoes?

Have you ever wondered about which is the tallest active volcano on the planet? It sounds like a fairly straightforward question. But, as with all simple questions it quickly turns into a quagmire of definitions. The first of the definitions starts out in linguistics, and that is what is the definition of “active”. It turns…

536: apocalypse

The legend of the horsemen of the apocalypse goes back to the first century AD. It is a gripping image, which has transcended cultures. The best-known of the horsemen is Death, riding an ashen-coloured horse. This is the only one given a name in the original. One horseman, riding a black horse, brings famine, making…

Michio Kaku and the stale dough

Flat earthers believe that the earth is flat, but the rest of us have good reasons to think that we know that it is round. The difference is that they trust in their belief in something, and that we trust the scientific process and the data and theories that it yields. A flat earther stubbornly…

Darwin’s frog: a story of two volcanoes

In our modern world, no animal has gone extinct because of a volcanic eruption – as far as we know! That should not come as a big surprise. Volcanoes tend to affect fairly small areas around them, at least regions that are much smaller than the typical areas where species live. One animal particularly at…

Volcanic Winter. Hypothesis and Candidates

A guest post by Tallis Rockwell No one in the Byzantine empire knew why the sun didn’t shine in 536, why the weather was so cruel. Some thought that this was the day of judgment and angels would descend soon. That year it had snowed heavily in the southern dynasty in China which is the…

Time for komatiite

People mellow with age. At least, most of us do. The emotions of youth become less all-important and less demanding of our attention. Young people feel that every perceived slight needs addressing. The heat goes to the head and mistakes are made. The Earth, too, went through that phase, before it settled down in middle-age…

Rungwe

Africa was a true terra incognito. Even as late as the 19th century, much of the interior remained unknown. It is strange how we could have forgotten our ancient roots. It had become the ‘dark continent’, a name that could only have been invented by someone who had never been there. They missed out on…

Portents of Doom

A guest post by Tallis Rockwell If you go to Daily Mail or some other tabloid magazine, you will see the next apocalyptic event popular within the media, whether it is Yellowstone, World war 3, or an asteroid that is getting a little close. Not a lot of people take global catastrophe seriously and it…

Science and pseudoscience

Our modern world is one of scepticism. Trust is scarce. In the UK, politicians tell the voters not to believe experts, at least those experts that the politicians do not agree with. Of course they assume a certain level of trust in politicians. Facts are disputed, and the contradictory era of false facts has arrived.…

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.…