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…

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…

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…

Questions and Answers – A 1947 commemorative article series

I had planned the third part be an extension of how the sinusoidal 3D-wedge model influenced eruptions over time and how it explains distal eruptions along the fissure swarm. But, there has been a wealth of questions and comments that I felt needed to be answered that do not belong to the article series itself,…

Form follows function – A 1947 commemorative article series

In physics, there is a famous tenement that reads as, ‘cause and effect’. But, for Hekla I find that the founding principle of the Bauhaus school of modernist architecture is far better suited to express what I will be trying to model and express here. It states that the form of a building will at…

Remodelling Hekla – A 1947 commemorative article series

The point of this series of articles is to propose an alternative model of dynamics, driving forces and magma fractionation at Hekla. It is thus not utilizing the standard volcanological model of how a mantleplume stratovolcano function. 5 years ago, I started to have grave misgivings about how we interpret and model Hekla, as such…

The dangers of volcano tourism

I think that everyone with a bit of knowledge about volcanoes and volcanism will agree with me that volcanoes are inherently dangerous and can be detrimental to human health in a myriad of ways. At the same time they are a fascinating expression of nature’s raw power and can be incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring to…

Seismic unrest and the future of volcanism at Herðubreið

I had intended to write either an angry op-ed, or a piece about Guatemalan volcanism. But, as usual Iceland had to butt in and grab the attention, so here we go (again). Seismic unrest at Herðubreið Before I write about what has happened in the last few days and about what is going to happen…