Volcano on the rocks

People need mementoes. They are small things (normally) with little intrinsic value (often), but which carries a memory which is far more valuable to the owner than the item is in itself. It can be a bit of jewelry, a cup, or a chair, or even a pebble. Or it can be one of many…

The changing faces of Fagradalsfjall: fizz, bubbles and slugs

We have had quite a ride. The eruption began unseen, on March 19. The new fissure opened on April 5, after the initial double cone had begun to wane. The new fissures sprouted a series of cones, mostly twinned. By May, all twins had exterminated one of the siblings, and the survivors had battled for…

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 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…

The ballad of Ballareldar: the boom and the bust

The eruption continues. There is so much hiding behind such an easy sentence. It continues – but always changes. It is not life as we know or understand it is the second most memorable phrase (at least in the paraphrased version) from Star Trek. This eruption is like that. You forget that this is actually…

The ballad of Ballareldar: the dike, the fissure and the fault

This is quite an eruption, with surprises with every new turn of events. It is an unusually tourist-friendly eruption: conveniently located, small, non-damaging (except to the owner of the land) and spectacular. It does appear that not all tourists are as friendly to the virtual tourists, judging from the antics going on in front of…

The Basel earthquakes

Late in 2020, an M6.4 earthquake struck the town of Petrinja in Croatia. It caused extensive damage in the town and in nearby villages, and 7 people died. Even so, the impact was more limited than it might have been because houses here tend to be well build. It came as a surprise: powerful earthquakes…