The Kazbek disaster: a cryoclastic debris flow

What makes a volcano dangerous? Clearly, the severity of any eruption plays a role. So does the presence of people nearby. But it is not always the best known volcanoes that are the most dangerous. Tseax is hardly world-renowned, but it caused a major volcanic disaster in Canada. And sometimes a volcano can be dangerous…

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…

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…

The Apennine fault

Rome is an ancient wonder. It feels strange, walking along a street next to the heart of the world city, but surrounded by old ruins. Here the old survives next to the new. There was extensive damage done by the Vandals, the people who overran Italy in the 5th century. They cut off the water…

Volcanoes of Europe

Europe has few volcanoes. It lacks the volcanic magnificence of Indonesia, the grandeur of the Andes, the destructiveness of a St Helens or the beauty of a Fuji. But it can hold its own. This small continent, so small it had to borrow its plate from Asia, has volcanoes with history, volcanoes to be proud…