The Ring Nebula

Sometimes a project becomes remarkable. Some years ago we started thinking about what to do with the James Webb Space Telescope, whenever it would become available. An idea was developed and we worked out what kind of data would be needed. It turned out to be feasible, so we proposed it. That is harder than…

A smoke coming out of a volcano Description automatically generated

Fagradalsfjall, Season 3

It is hard to remember what Iceland was like three years ago. At that time, most (or all) eruptions were in the eastern volcanic zone, from Katla (and friends) to Krafla. (Ok, one can argue about the precise borders. Grimsvotn was about to erupt. The Thorbjorn swarm had happened and an eruption at Reykjanes was…

The Quantum Volcanologist

In view of the current tectonic activity at Katla, we offer our readers a repost. Katla has a reputation among some of the disaster crowd, and any shaking there can lead to predictions of worldwide doom. It sometimes seems like a Yellowstone on ice. Hence this story. Physiology has a dog; physics has a cat.…

Mayotte with its coral lagoon

The Comoro Islands

The largest eruption of the 21st century happened at sea. And it wasn’t Hunga Tonga. The Comoro islands form a forgotten archipelago, somewhere between Africa and Madagascar with about 200 kilometer of open ocean on either side. On the African side the nearest land is the northern end of Mozambique, close to the border with…

Saving the Earth with asteroids

A republication of an older post The dinosaurs would disagree. After owning the Earth, they were now in a bit of a bother. A major re-arrangement of the Earth had taken place. Pangea had split; Gondwana was broken up. The Indian ocean had formed but not in a clean way: a number of parallel rifts…

The mystery eruption of 1 Rabbit

Volcanoes can erupt invisibly. A sudden, swift explosion in an isolated location may be unobserved and still have worldwide impacts. The source of the large eruption of 1809 remains unknown. We still don’t know the culprits of the volcanic climate catastrophe of 536 and 540. The link between the year without summer of 1816 and…

The secret lives of volcanic islands

Land is precious. The saying goes ‘Buy land – they don’t make it anymore’. We need the land to live on, to grow our crops, to socialise, work, educate, and all other things that makes human life worth living. Even our touch phones won’t work under water. With a growing population, the pressure on the…

The Dinosaur Egg Hunt of the Deccan traps

Is this the strangest egg in the world? The shell contains no egg white, yoke or embryo, nor even chocolate. No bird will ever hatch from it. Instead it is filled with a stony mineral. Which creature laid it, and what was expected to emerge from it? The only thing that comes to mind is…

The mystery eruption of Tor Zawar

Lava flows come in all sizes. The Reykjanes eruption produced flows of several kilometers length. Other volcanoes can do ten times that length, although we do not have a lot of recent experience with such long flows. Flood basalts can do hundreds of kilometers, and volcanoes on Venus manage thousands of kilometers – helped by…