By any other name: the story of the word ‘volcano’

“I remember this mountain. Shaped like a cone, smoke coming out from the top and molten rock flowing down the side. Can’t think of the name – v-something – hold on – no, lost it.” This sounds implausible. Names of uncommon things can easily be forgotten; we have all done it. But not volcano! Most…

An Iceland Enigma – The Thórsmörk Ignimbrite

Today we welcome a guest post by volcanologist Dave McGarvie. Dave is a senior lecturer at the Open University and studies volcanoes in Iceland and Chile. He can be found on Twitter under the username @subglacial. One of the wonderful aspects of working as a volcanologist is Iceland is that fascinating new puzzles and their…

Reventador and Sumaco: two jungle volcanoes on the Amazon slope

I’ve been fascinated with the scenario of an active volcano poking above the jungle. Back in 2009, I experienced it when I visited Costa Rica and watched Volcan Arenal for 4 nights at the Arenal Observatory Lodge observing incandescent lava rocks tumbling down the flanks before stopping at it’s jungle base. We are going to…

Iceland seismicity – monthly review (July 2017 edition)

Ever since I began plotting earthquake data for Iceland and generally for the world (where data is available), I was planning to do a monthly review of the seismicity in Iceland, so we can keep track of it on a monthly basis. Of course, if there is any stronger activity or something unusual happens, usually…

Volcano forecasts and Campi Flegrei

There are a few volcanoes that I do not feel comfortable writing about, and those are volcanoes that are far too close to large human settlements. The reason is obvious, it is far too likely that I will write about an event that will kill a lot of people. There are two ways to increase…

Images of Mount Fuji

In this land of many volcanoes, one mountain stands out. Few people will have heard of Ontake or Sakurajima – but everyone knows about Mount Fuji. It is the tallest of Japan’s volcanoes, 3776 meters high, with a summit crater which is 500 meter across. The smooth cone shows how young the surface is: this…

Greip, Gjálp’s Mysterious Sister

In this article, we move away from the usual suspects in Icelandic volcanism and turn our attention to a feature many of us have noticed over the years. This feature has only been revealed from seismicity, but here I try to unravel the past and future activity as well as give this feature a sense…

The winter of Huaynaputina

The mountain isn’t there. In its place, an explorer will find a double crater in the ground, several kilometers across, with thick ash on one side and an open side into a majestic river valley on the other. The debris is evidence of a violent past but it gives little hint of what was there…

Is that a volcano?

Someone once said that Iceland is one big volcano. Obviously, this is not true. In fact, it is not even one big volcanic system. Parts of Iceland are mainly powered by the Icelandic mantleplume, with just a bit of power coming from the spreading of the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR). Then there is a group…

Theistareykjarbunga – Iceland’s Slumbering Giant

Carl / Originally published December 2011 This is a re-post of an article by Carl, written long before (in impatient volcaholic time-scales) fellow giant Bárðarbunga’s eruption. The Five Large Volcanoes of Iceland Iceland holds five volcanoes that in historical time have had eruptions transcending the 10 cubic kilometer mark during post-glacial times. The most obvious are of…