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…

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.…

The rise and fall of Anak Krakatau

It was the largest volcanic eruption since the start of the world-wide web. The invention of telegraphy in the 1850’s had made long distance connections instantaneous. It changed the world. Newspapers were the most obvious beneficiaries, being able to bring gossip news from far away places. And in this landscape, Krakatau exploded. 36,000 people died…

‘Oumuamua: a visitor from the stars

It is easy to forget the size of the Universe. For all its divisions and separations, Earth is not a good model for space: it is just too small. Nowadays, a seasoned traveler may have seen much of our world. Most of it can be reached within a day or two of travel. Of course,…

Volcanic Organs and Gandalf’s Pipe

Back when I was a kid, I had two interests in life, physics and playing music. In music my favourite instrument was the church organ. Over the following years those two interests merged into one as I got interested in how soundwaves form, and onwards into what I usually call waveform theory. Waveform theory is…

Hekla – Small things and stars in the night

I was asked to write a small weekend piece while we wait for Albert to finish the second part about Grimsvötn. My original idea was to write about people eating volcanoes, but thankfully Iceland saved us from that. As many of you have noticed Grimsvötn has thrown some big ones since my part of the…

Living Dangerously – Grimsvötn Forecasted

In August of 2017 Albert and I stuck our necks out on a limb and made a forecast each of what the future pattern of Grimsvötn was most likely to be. Or in other words, when would it erupt next. As I reread our two separate forecasts, I am struck by how different methodologies we…

Activity at Hekla and The Dead Zone

While we are waiting for Öraefajökull to drop a Christmas present and Grimsvötn to hatch an Easter egg, we instead might get a gift from Hekla. And at the horizon suddenly, a far darker bird looms. So, once more we must ask and answer the age-old volcanic question; what gives in Iceland? Hekla Many people…

Sun storm: the Carrington event

Lights of the North! As in eons ago, Not in vain from your home do ye over us glow! William Ross Wallace (1819–1881) Jan 25, 880 AD, was a remarkable night. The Arabian historian Ibn Abi Zar wrote about it more than 400 years later, from the ancient city of Fez, northeast of the Atlas…