The piggyback volcano

The expression became famous because of Isaac Newton. Never one to ignore praise, in typical English fashion he expressed his self-assured superiority in a self-effacing way: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants“. This was written in a letter to Robert Hooke, himself both an intellectual giant and…

The Missing Piece: Part 2

Complexes and Super complexes This is a world where only the best dominate, where the unskilled are left behind, and where the average scorn. Volcanoes are no different, the best volcanoes last the longest and produce the strongest eruptions. So what makes a volcano strong? Can we find our missing piece to our Wah Wah…

The Snowdon volcano

One from the archives (from 2013, with small additions). Karen Z on Snowdonia The British Isles have an extreme diversity of geology. Travel 20 miles from just about anywhere, and you’ll find a region with a very different history. Almost every geological division of time left a mark somewhere here. I live on ice age…

The Missing Piece Part 1

Big intrusions = Big bangs? With mafic systems hogging all the attention, as a felsic guy, I feel compelled to represent my magma type. Large felsic systems are a slow burn, they spend plenty of time accumulating magma and give frequent small eruptions before releasing huge amounts of material in one eruption. These systems usually…

Volcano stories: BA 9, Mount Galunggung, and the penguins of Mount Terror

We all have our favourite stories. We like reading about volcanoes that erupt frequently, with impressive videos and preferably little damage. Stories of major and destructive eruptions are also liked, as long as they happened a long time ago and not within living memory. My personal favourite is Krakatau (the parent, not the child) –…

Kilauea eruption – lavabergs, fountains and drainbacks

Kilauea is back erupting since December 20! The eruption style is typical of Kilauea, yet it’s been decades since it last showed it and many aspects have not been explained properly. The most important unanswered question being the difference between a rootless lava lake (this eruption) and a “true” lava lake. The eruption came as…

Ghosts of Christmas past

The Jurassic Coast and the Exeter traps Our ammonite was dead, to begin with. It hadn’t always been. It was a funny place. In typical English fashion, The Old Vicarage B&B was a mix of comfort and obsolescence. The old manor house had large rooms, and was beautifully decorated. It felt like stepping centuries back…

The Kilauea 2020 eruption – reading tea leaves

This is a strange end to a strange year. Kilauea erupting without even HVO noticing it until the lava was flowing, Etna exploding into life, and even New Zealand trying to get in on the action. And we were complaining that nothing was happening and we had to live off the glories of Christmas past…

The Kilauea 2020 eruption

As we speak, an eruption has started within Kilaueau. HVO reported: “Shortly after approximately 9:30 p.m. HST (7:30 am GMT, 2 hours ago) , the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) detected glow within Halemaʻumaʻu crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. An eruption has commenced within Kīlauea’s summit caldera. The situation is rapidly evolving and…

Ten volcanoes with super-eruption potential: Part III

Here comes the conclusion to the series, the 3 volcanoes that I considered the likeliest to produce a VEI-8 eruption. 3. Calabozos and neighbours (Chile) This volcano is located in Chile. It forms part of a little known, little studied, silicic flare-up of the Southern Andes Volcanic Zone. Steepening of the subducting Payenia Slab gave…