The Snake river

Every child likes rivers. The constantly changing surface, the movement, and of course the water are irresistible. From floating sticks to building dams, they offer entertainment and learning. But rivers are also important to geology. Rivers feel the lay of the land, accurately showing the tilt. They cut away the surface and reveal the rocks…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…