Kilauea II: Roots of the Hawaiian Islands

In my previous article, here, I discussed how Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes are connected to each other through the Pahala Swarm. Now I have to deal with a confrontation of theories that is inevitable. There is a classical model of how Hawaii works. It is all about the mantle plume. The classical view establishes…

Kilauea I: Magma waves from the phantom rift

Each volcano is an expression of a magma architectural construction, a great sculpture of chambers, pipes and sills, as intricate as an ant colony, or rather like the roots of a plant. This is all hidden away from our view, under kilometres or tens of kilometres of rock that makes it impossible for us to…

Magma sponge

There is one question that has been bugging me lately. Why are there two types of eruptions in the Reykjanes Peninsula? Slow and fast. I have talked about this before, in here. Basically eruptions can be classified into two broad categories depending on how fast the maximum eruption rate is, which clusters into two end-members,…

Vanished Vikings of the West: Demise of the Western Settlement

In Part I, we looked at the Viking colonization of Greenland, and the failure of their settlement in America. In Part II we saw the fall of the Eastern Settlement. Now we will look at an even more mysterious disappearance, that of the Western Settlement. Of the two Viking settlements, the Western Settlement was both…

Vanished Vikings of the West: the Eastern Settlement

In part I, we have discussed how the Greenland Vikings lived. After the initial settlement around 1000 AD, there was a century of expansion as they made their homes and explored – and used – the North American coast. Walrus ivory brought them a valuable export product. But Greenland was always marginal for their way…

Vanished Vikings of the West: the fall of Greenland

Colonization is recreation. It features on board and computer games, from Simcity to Civilization, and from Settlers of Catan to Musk at Mars (ok, that one is apparently not a game). The games invite us to imagine a fresh start in a place where the past does not matter and where everything is a new…

Goma: how to live with Nyiragongo

Few people would have heard of Mount Nyiragongo before its current eruption. There are some cities that we know live in the shadow of a volcano. Naples and Vesuvius, Catania and Etna, Seattle and Rainier (although the city itself is unlikely be affected by an eruption), Fuji and Tokyo (with the same proviso). But Nyiragongo…

The case for an African VAAC 

Welcome to the “Rant Edition of Volcanocafé”, tonights special: Carl Erupts.  For a decade I have talked about the need for increased monitoring of African volcanoes. It is if nothing else, rather ridiculous that the volcanoes in Antarctica are far better monitored than African volcanoes bordered by large cities.  Yesterday this came very close to causing a large disaster with international…

The ballad of Ballareldar: twister in the snow

Volcanoes are nature at its most impressive – and most damaging. The fire and the lava are a deadly alluring combination. Once the flow gets going, it is unstoppable. It may be deflectable: people are currently trying hard to save their road by building a wall. We were wondering, will the wall work? It would…