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) A repost from 2018 with minor updates 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…

The collapse of Anak Krakatau

The parent is famous. The shock waves of the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 reverberated around the world – in the atmosphere, in the sea and in the news media. This was the first large eruption in the era of instant communication. The eruption itself was luckily on an island at some distance from human…

Iceland’s subglacial Skaftar-sized events

Due to the ongoing Reykjanes activity, I’ve grown interested in subglacial Icelandic lava flows. When lava is erupted under an ice cap, it tends to pile up rather than flow away. It makes a conical or ridge-like mound of pillow lavas known as a tindar. When lava reaches the surface of the glacier, it starts…

The New Lagoon and Iceland’s Thor adventure park

This of course was our annual April-1 breaking news. We hope you enjoyed it! This was a communal effort from the VC admins. The ideas came from a brainstorming session, the all-important images were sourced by Lughduniense and Gaz who had infiltrated ITO with a side order from AI and the text was filled in…

The story of Sydney

It is a spectacular city. The harbour bridge and the opera house are instantly recognizable, but scratch only the surface. Once those have been seen, it is time to explore the real city with its dense flocks of boats parked everywhere along the shore, the busy centre with the Queen Victoria shopping centre, the cliff…

Mountain of the Night: the lost Mars volcano

It should be easy to recognize a volcano. They stand high above the surrounding land, a singular cone which couldn’t really be anything else. Of course, they may not stay that way. Erosion may destroy the shape. A big explosion may replace the cone with a crater. Or there may never have been a cone,…

Grimsvötn – The Saksunarvatn Tephras

A repost on the past of Grimsvotn, as it seems to be nearing its next eruption, albeit not on the same scale as the one described here! It is sometimes hard to understand the size of the Icelandic volcanic systems. We often read statistical things like “Half of all the ash in Europe” and “One…

Volcanic Poker

I’ve never played poker but I already know that I’d be terrible at it. I’m good at reading people but terrible at keeping my mouth shut when I am excited. I’m the type of guy to scream “I’ve got a royal flush!” if I were to get one. A royal flush, consisting of a King,…

M stands for magma: the Socorro cover-up

The mountain got its name in 1911 when students of the local university, named New Mexico School of Mines, climbed up the hill and painted a 50 meter tall letter ‘M’ near the summit. Other Mines schools had their letter, so why not Socorro? And of course it had to be bigger than the other…