The Hunga Tonga eruption of 2022

Volcanoes can be quite predictable, in a general sort of way. We know that Grimsvotn will erupt – just not when, although it is fairly likely to be within the next two years. Similarly, Mount Rainier will erupt some day, although this could be centuries or millennia off. Six years ago, we predicted that Mauna…

Hunting the supernova of 1181

One of my fondest memories of South Africa (apart from being shot at by police) is the bird of paradise. Not a bird: the birds of this name live in a different continent and a very different habitat. In South Africa, birds of paradise are plants with banana-like leaves growing a meter or more tall.…

The 2023 Kilauea eruption

After a runup of 4 months, or 10 hours, or 1.5 hours (depending on how you look at it), Kilauea sprung back to life, in its continuing quest to recreate the summit-wide lava lake of a century ago. There is still some way to go, but comparing this morning’s glowing lake to the Halemaumau lava…

The green, green lands of Australia

When a nanny descends from the sky hanging from an umbrella, you know Mary Poppins has arrived. It may be the second best movie to watch at Christmas. (The most popular one remains the Muppet Christmas Carol.) Mary Poppins comes to take care of the children but ends up changing the grown-ups more. Even the…

Lassen Peak

There is something about the west coast of the contiguous US. The region combines a wonderful climate with a high standard of living where the land is big, diverse and beautiful. It is a magnet for people, on par with Florida. But it has something which Florida lacks. Whilst Florida is a subtropical Caribbean paradise,…

The Mauna Loa eruption of 2022

It is a narrow but passable road, or at least it used to be. It begins at the Saddle Road which crosses Hawai’i between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Both mountains have observatories at or near the summit, but while Mauna Kea is busy day and night, the Mauna Loa observatory is a much quieter…

Trouble in Paradise: awakening Mauna Loa

An eruption has started at the summit of Mauna Loa. It has been a long wait! The inflation over the past month was notable, though not exceptional, but it was the drip that made the volcanic bucket overflow. We now need to see what happens. Commonly, eruptions migrate down the rift zone, in this case…

Korean volcanics: the magic of Jeju island

Some nations seem decidedly unvolcanic. They lack the geology and the temperament for eruptions. Take Norway – a no-nonsense nation which prefers a bit of solitude and does not go for attention grabbing. A search for Norwegian volcanoes does come up with some good examples, but these are distant islands which Norway acquired accidentally. Of…

Bawean Island

And then there was a volcano no one has ever heard off. It is on an island that is far off-grid and which takes a 9-hour ferry to get there. (There is a small plane, if you are happy to travel without luggage.) The volcano has long gone extinct. All that remains is this island,…