Volcanic Winter. Hypothesis and Candidates

A guest post by Tallis Rockwell No one in the Byzantine empire knew why the sun didn’t shine in 536, why the weather was so cruel. Some thought that this was the day of judgment and angels would descend soon. That year it had snowed heavily in the southern dynasty in China which is the…

Time for komatiite

People mellow with age. At least, most of us do. The emotions of youth become less all-important and less demanding of our attention. Young people feel that every perceived slight needs addressing. The heat goes to the head and mistakes are made. The Earth, too, went through that phase, before it settled down in middle-age…

Rungwe

Africa was a true terra incognito. Even as late as the 19th century, much of the interior remained unknown. It is strange how we could have forgotten our ancient roots. It had become the ‘dark continent’, a name that could only have been invented by someone who had never been there. They missed out on…

Portents of Doom

A guest post by Tallis Rockwell If you go to Daily Mail or some other tabloid magazine, you will see the next apocalyptic event popular within the media, whether it is Yellowstone, World war 3, or an asteroid that is getting a little close. Not a lot of people take global catastrophe seriously and it…

Science and pseudoscience

Our modern world is one of scepticism. Trust is scarce. In the UK, politicians tell the voters not to believe experts, at least those experts that the politicians do not agree with. Of course they assume a certain level of trust in politicians. Facts are disputed, and the contradictory era of false facts has arrived.…

The rise and fall of Anak Krakatau

It was the largest volcanic eruption since the start of the world-wide web. The invention of telegraphy in the 1850’s had made long distance connections instantaneous. It changed the world. Newspapers were the most obvious beneficiaries, being able to bring gossip news from far away places. And in this landscape, Krakatau exploded. 36,000 people died…

‘Oumuamua: a visitor from the stars

It is easy to forget the size of the Universe. For all its divisions and separations, Earth is not a good model for space: it is just too small. Nowadays, a seasoned traveler may have seen much of our world. Most of it can be reached within a day or two of travel. Of course,…

A Christmas eruption

Kilauea has become a different volcano. For 30 years, the summit was a passive participant in the seemingly ever-lasting Pu’u’O’o eruption. But nothing volcanic lasts forever, and 2018 was the year that proved this. A blockage near (or in) Pu’u’O’o caused the pressure in the rift to increase, the east rift gave way, and magma…

Eruptions to come

Let’s start with a question. Which country do you think has the most frequent volcanic eruptions? Before you read on (or peek below for the answer), take a minute to think about it. You can probably guess that Australia is not a front runner. In fact, only two or three countries readily come to mind.…

A volcano year

This is the time of the year when people like to look back. What was the year like? Good or bad – or, as is almost always the case, a bit of a mix? And if looking back is not your thing, newspapers run columns where specialists (of varying level of expertise) are given a…