The Great Whin Sill

We are delighted to present a guest post by Clive: A letter from Hadrian’s Wall Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus, The Emperor of Rome, inherited a largely developed Empire. There is no need to write a biography. Others have already done that. Suffice it to say he was a man who consolidated, set defences, and established…

The Edinburgh volcano

Edinburgh – home of the Scottish Parliament, Military Tattoo, Princes Street and gardens, Scott memorial, Murrayfield, Valvona and Crolla’s food emporium, sundry pubs (!), the fringe, volcanoes … eh, volcanoes? Surprising as it may be to some people, Edinburgh plays host to a great variety of igneous rocks. The most obvious, and in our case…

Vesuvius in paintings

A re-post (edited) from Dec 6, 2014, by Schteve Vesuvio in Southern Italy (and alarmingly close to the huge conurbation of Naples) has been dormant since 1944. It was not always so quiet; as well as numerous and sometimes hugely devastating eruptions documented since 79 AD, the last 285 years have seen significant eruptions in:…

A wide-angle shot of the Laacher See caldera during a thunderstorm. © Gijs de Reijke

Unrest at Laacher See: is it us or the volcano?’

[Guest article by Gijs de Reijke.] Well, the big word is out. The results of a study (‘Deep low-frequency earthquakes reveal ongoing magmatic recharge beneath Laacher See Volcano (Eifel, Germany)’, Hensch et al.) have been published on the 7th of January, pointing out the presence of magmatic movement beneath the East Eifel Volcanic Field, Germany.…

The Kazbek disaster: a cryoclastic debris flow

What makes a volcano dangerous? Clearly, the severity of any eruption plays a role. So does the presence of people nearby. But it is not always the best known volcanoes that are the most dangerous. Tseax is hardly world-renowned, but it caused a major volcanic disaster in Canada. And sometimes a volcano can be dangerous…

Europe’s tallest volcano: Mount Elbrus

How can you hide a volcano? Apparently, making it the highest mountain on the continent is a good start. Mount Elbrus is both Europe’s tallest mountain and Europe’s highest working volcano. The first fact is commonly recognized, and can be readily found on-line and off-line, but the second fact is harder to locate. While Mont…

Vesuvius in retrospect

Is this the most famous volcano in the world? The shape is instantly recognisable: the twin peaks give the appearance of an unintended gap where something has been removed. Naples of course has the reputation that anything that is not securely fixed down can quickly and involuntarily change owner, so perhaps a missing bit of…

An Iceland Enigma – The Thórsmörk Ignimbrite

Today we welcome a guest post by volcanologist Dave McGarvie. Dave is a senior lecturer at the Open University and studies volcanoes in Iceland and Chile. He can be found on Twitter under the username @subglacial. One of the wonderful aspects of working as a volcanologist is Iceland is that fascinating new puzzles and their…

Ischia in motion

This is based on an old post by Carl, The World’s most ill begotten piece of real estate – Part III, which has been slightly reworked. The Chinese have a saying, “May you live in interesting times”. And it is in no way a friendly thing to say; on the contrary it is a rather…

The 1342 St Mary Magdalene flood

Living near a river had its advantages. Transport was easy: you were well connected to other cities on (navigable) water ways, and trade was a reliable way to wealth. In the Middle Ages, the Hanze cities formed a powerful trading alliance, linked by water transport. If you also were on a land trading route and…