The Mountains of the Moon

Have you seen the Mountains of the Moon? There are several ways to answer this question. The most common answer will be, yes, and I loved the movie. Less common would be, yes, I just got my new telescope and it was the first thing I looked at. And the least common response would be,…

The Missing Piece Part 1

Big intrusions = Big bangs? With mafic systems hogging all the attention, as a felsic guy, I feel compelled to represent my magma type. Large felsic systems are a slow burn, they spend plenty of time accumulating magma and give frequent small eruptions before releasing huge amounts of material in one eruption. These systems usually…

Batholiths and flare-ups

An eruption that ejects more than 1000 km3 of material (ash, pumice, rock…) is considered a super-eruption, a VEI-8. These represent the greatest volcanic events that have taken place during human existence. Such apocalyptic phenomena attract a lot of attention, from scientists, volcanoholics and doomsayers. The term supervolcano has become increasingly popular but also increasingly…

The Gentle Giant of Africa

Unless you are more interested in volcanoes than is technically healthy, it is likely that you have missed out a lot on the classic Monty Python skit ‘The twin peaks of Kilimanjaro’. Most people laugh at it since they believe that there is only one peak, but for us with an un-checked interest in volcanoes,…

The Rumble in the Jungle

Africa in general is a place that is easy to fall in love with, in particular Tanzania is easy to become deeply enamoured with. Sometimes I think that there is a deep DNA-memory remnant in all of us that is telling us that this is our ancestral home. When most people think about Tanzania, they…

End of times and volcanic fertilizer

As I was flying over Ol Doinyo Lengai I contemplated that it is the largest fertilizer factory on the planet. It is the prime cause of the massive herds of herbivores trekking across the inner parts of Africa. The ash from the volcano super-charges the grass with nutrients and makes it the best animal-feed on…

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…

Volcanic Organs and Gandalf’s Pipe

Back when I was a kid, I had two interests in life, physics and playing music. In music my favourite instrument was the church organ. Over the following years those two interests merged into one as I got interested in how soundwaves form, and onwards into what I usually call waveform theory. Waveform theory is…

Réunion Island

This is a rerun of a post that appeared in December, 2013: the date explains the unseasonal greeting at the start. It was written by Fran. Reunion sits near the head of a chain of volcanic islands in the Indian Ocean, ending (or beginning) at the Deccan traps. Hot spot volcano candy at its best.)…