Réunion Island

This is a rerun of a post that appeared in December, 2013: the date explains the unseasonal greeting at the start. It was written by Fran. Reunion sits near the head of a chain of volcanic islands in the Indian Ocean, ending (or beginning) at the Deccan traps. Hot spot volcano candy at its best.)…

Lava rocks!

What’s in a name. Would lava by any other name smell as sweet? Perhaps that is not the right question: lava is many things, but sweet-smelling it is not. It smells like a rose bush that was doused in some evil sulphurous pesticide and then put on fire. This rose also constantly explodes with a…

Puna in numbers

Journalism is about impressions; science is about numbers. VC is standing in between these. We appreciate the immensity and power of volcanoes (and also appreciate that relatively speaking, these are manageable disasters. The human impact is awful for people concerned, but is not on the scale of major earthquakes or tsunamis. On balance, volcanoes create…

When Pele comes to Puna

A Kilauea/Puna update has been appended at the end of the post Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Volcanoes are best loved from far away. The excitement of live lava is best viewed on a screen and not through the window. Of course, actual distance is good, but distance in time is also often deemed…

Kilauea: the lower Puna eruption of 1955

In Hawaiian folklore, Pele is vengeful and unpredictable. Her habitation is well known: Kilauea leaves little doubt about where Pele lives. But you never know where she may appear next. She shares this habit with Kilauea. It has a clear summit and all the action stems from there. But where the action will be next…

The other Hawaii: observing Haleakala

For a Kilauea update, see the bottom of the post Astronomy is a dangerous science. It is not just the fact that astronomers love to blow things up. Exploding stars are their bread and butter. For a bit of adventure, they collide black holes. And who else would start the history of everything with a…

Puna 2018

Update May 8 No major changes. The lava pond in Kilauea is now reported as 220 meters down, and may still be dropping. The most recent images suggest it is still going down. Below 400 meters there would be a risk of ground water getting into the hole with phreatic consequences, but so far there…

Puna 2018

Volcanoes spring predictable surprises. Ever since Puʻu ʻŌʻō began to inflate it was clear that a new break-out was brewing. The 61-G flow had been in decline for many months: the spectacular ocean entry had ceased some time ago, and the flows had withdrawn to within a few miles of the origin. That is typical…

Ancient foundations: the earth of the bible. Part II: Volcanics in the fertile crescent

In Part I, the five main faults in the region around the Levant were discussed: the Red Sea spreading ridge and its associated triple point, the Dead Sea transform fault, the Zagros suture, the Anatolian strike-slip fault (actually two near parallel faults), and the Aegean subduction zone. Every type of fault that is known occurs…

Ancient foundations: the earth of the bible. Part I: Tectonics

Humanity has a long history of living on this Earth. During the days and years, our world continuously changed. We grew up in the shadows of the approaching ice ages. We left Africa when the changing sea opened up a road to Asia, and followed an ever-changing coast line to the far East. And throughout…