VolcanoCafe delicacies

We live in a time of volcano famine. Eruptions are hard to come by, and many scheduled events have been postponed until after covid. And the travel restrictions pose insurmountable problems for volcano watchers. By the time we have flown to the imminent eruption, spend two weeks in quarantine in the VC dungeons isolation ward…

Seas of Hawaiʻi

Hawai’i is an amazing place. And not just for volcanologists. This is a world-on-an-island, with (apart from the most accessible eruptions in the world) Mars-sized mountains, pristine beaches, coral reefs, a world class city for shopaholics and night owls, rain forest with world-class mosquitos, desert, archaeology, astronomy, volcanoes, agriculture, flying fish and diving birds. It…

Future calderas

Volcanoes erupt all the time. It may seem a quiet time to us but that is because most eruptions are small and low impact, and stay below the radar. An excellent daily overview can be found on http://lechaudrondevulcain.com/blog-spotlight-two-column/ As I write this, it lists on-going eruptions at Sinabung, Etna, Stromboli, and Sabancaya. Volcanodiscovery also lists…

The Heimaey story

Heimaey is famous. It is the only place in Iceland known to have first been settled by non-Vikings: the first inhabitants were escaped Irish slaves, before 900 AD, who didn’t last long. Much later it suffered a devastating slave raid. And of course, it has an elephant. But all that history pales in comparison to…

The Penitentes of Mount Rainier

Of all the volcanoes of the Cascades, Mount Rainier is the tallest. It towers over the surrounding mountains and dominates the horizon even in distant Seattle. But being tall in an oceanic climate can have unwanted consequences. When it rains in Seattle, here it snows, and the snow does not melt easily. Mount Rainier has…

Okmok versus the Roman republic

Okmok is a known hazard. The volcano occupies its own half of Umnak, an isolated part of the Aleutian islands. Okmok is possibly the most active of the 40-odd Aleutian volcanoes. Over the past 8600 years it has produced over 50 ash layers from separate explosions, and minor eruptions happen every other decade. AVO has…

Volcano ecology

Space is a precious resource. We hoard it and guard it. Together with air, water, warmth and tomato ketchup, it is one of the essential ingredients for life. We are happy to share empathy, food, and money, but letting someone else invade our personal space is a big step well beyond that. Social distancing is…

Terra Incognito: the Verkhoyansk mountains

The Eurasian continent has been thoroughly explored. From Ireland to Kamchatka, there seems little left to discover. Wherever you go, someone has gone before, and left a comment on tripadvisor. People are everywhere, and all geological features are known. We present and explain, but do not discover. But there are still mysteries. For there are…

Bagana: child volcano

It is hard being a child of a famous parent. It means living under a cloud of expectation. Society expects children to be like the parents. Parents expect children to become a better version of themselves. Parental pressure can be particularly strong on the oldest child. Younger children may have more freedom to do what…

Laki: the making of a fire

Laki was one of the defining events of Iceland’s history. Its impact went well beyond the nation, covering much of the northern hemisphere. It seems amazing that something that caused so much suffering was seen by so few people. This it shares with Eldgja, which was even larger and must have devastated Iceland, but of…