Nyiragongo and its ultra alkaline magma – Part II

Nyiragongo history of activity and nature of its eruptive activity (See here for Part I) Nyiragongo’s beautiful steep cone, encased in its unsettling night glow, towers over the densely populated Kivu region that is home to millions of people. The volcanic edifice itself measures around 13 kilometers wide and rises to 3470 meters above lake…

Nyiragongo and its ultra alkaline magma – Part I

Introduction Nyiragongo is one of my favourite volcanoes and one of the most peculiar and most unusual of all active volcanoes on this planet. It’s also a very problematic volcano, close to a huge population center that is rapidly growing, and there is a lot of risks associated with its volcanism as well as with…

The living Earth: Rocks, plumes and hot spots. Part I

The Earth is alive. Well, not really. At least it is not life as we know it. Appropriately, the origin of this expression – slightly rephrased from the original Star Trek series – is from the second-most-famous non-human in existence, Spock, referring to a living rock. It is only a small step for humankind to…

Askja for Beginners

I love large caldera volcanoes. The first reason is that they are always very beautiful, especially if they have lakes in them. The second reason is that most of them are of a class of volcanoes that leave their pointier cousins far behind. Size matters after all. At one end of the beauty spectrum, you…

Icelandic Chicken Race

Geological time is interesting, because even the geological now is decades long, if not centuries. The current geological episode at Reykjanes didn’t start with Fagrafjall (it is no longer a valley, so let us drop the “dal” out of Fagradalsfjall shall we). Nor did it start with the large and very noisy intrusion over at…

Volcano who ?

Today, May 22, 2022, it is five years ago. On May 23 2017, we woke up to the dramatic news of a suicide bomber in our home town. It killed 22 people including children. The target was an Ariane Grande concert. The artist later came back for a free concert, in memory of those killed.…