Beneath a Boiling Sun: Mercury Rising

All volcanoes are the same. You start with liquid rock some distance below the surface. It tries to rise because molten rock is less dense than the solid rock that surrounds it. Once it reaches the surface it is called a volcano. There are many variations, of course. The liquid may pour out and form…

The young volcanologist guide to Lanzarote

Through channels most convolute and mysterious a request came into my hands for a guide to the volcanism of Lanzarote for a young man called Luke. Feel the volcanic force, young Luke! The Canary Islands As Africa and South America broke apart and the South Atlantic started to form 106 million years ago there was…

The 1342 St Mary Magdalene flood

Living near a river had its advantages. Transport was easy: you were well connected to other cities on (navigable) water ways, and trade was a reliable way to wealth. In the Middle Ages, the Hanze cities formed a powerful trading alliance, linked by water transport. If you also were on a land trading route and…

his wonderful image of a thermal field in Reykjanes was honestly stolen from Snorri Gunnarssons page www.iceland-phototours.com

Reykjanes Volcanic Field

A re-post of a Carl-special. With current reports of increasing activity on the Reykjanes peninsula, after 800 years of quiet, this is a post well worth recalling. And remember that in the few hundred years before the current calm, roughly 900-1300, every major volcano on the peninsula erupted. These were amazing years which also included…

Failure

The signs were unequivocal. It started with earthquake swarms. A phreatic eruption followed, and than the ground began to swell. Magma was approaching the surface. An eruption was on the cards and evacuation plans were put in place. An exclusion zone kept people safe but not their possessions – and as always some people could…

olcano? Erm... I don't see a volcano? Toba caldera wall seen from Samosir Island, a resurgent dome near the middle of the caldera. (Photo, Sebastian Hubarat, Tobaexplorer)

When Is a Caldera a Caldera?

Léon Prunelle / Originally published September 30, 2014 This is a re-post of an article by Henrik, written during the Bardarbunga eruption when the caldera had started its collapse. It does not take long for a newcomer to volcano-watching, if we are to call our hobby that, to come across the term “caldera”, cauldron. The term is…

Fingered by the Plume

In the last few years new data about the Icelandic mantleplume has emerged that forever has changed how we look at it, and how it affects Iceland. In yon olden days, it was perceived through the eyes of the original plume model that was devised to explain the Emperor Seamount Chain and Hawaii. That means…

Iceland in motion

Imagine an Atlantic island affected by a deep and complex rift, with half the country pulled east, towards Europe, and half pulled west, leaning towards America, but the northern part actually feeling closer to Scandinavia whilst the southern half doesn’t know where it is going. The rifting causes frequent eruptions with significant financial consequences. Its…

The Dead Zone 2: The Sound of Silence

Although I’m more of an unseen hand (Volcanonati?) behind the scenes at VolcanoCafe and the VC Facebook group, I wanted to step out the shadows and give the Dead Zone article some new light. It’s an area I’ve always been fascinated with and it was this very area, along with its fissure eruptions, that first…

Deep magmatic roots of Katla…

For every person that is interested in volcanoes and complex geology, Iceland is probably something special. A unique place where the MAR intersects a mantle plume, or vice-versa. A beautiful island filled with powerful volcanoes and other complex volcanic and hydrothermal features. All in one nice little spot. Of the entire Icelandic volcanic lot, the most…