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…

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…

Ball’s Pyramid

A Clive special from 2015, re-published because it is worth re-reading. Ever since I saw my first pictures of Ball’s Pyramid, I wanted to know more about this isolated and amazing structure. The pyramid is named after Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, who discovered it in 1788. On the same voyage, Ball also discovered Lord Howe…

Nothing Fancy → Ulawun

  Long time no sea. 😀 Actually, I haven’t gone anywhere and I apologize for the sailor joke. What I really mean is that I haven’t done much other than lurk in and around the comments section. My last actual post was a rehash of an ancient topic that I had covered some time ago…

The Wandering Earth: when rocks flow

The wonder of water The tell-tale sign of the suspension of the laws of physics is someone seen walking on water. The suspension is always temporary – as soon as a second person tries to follow, the laws of physics are re-instated and the person looking for the ‘me too’ experience instead encounters full immersion.…

Eruptions of Basalt and Rhyolite

Guest post from Tallis Some of the most beautiful of sights on the planet are the remnants of the most violent of scenes; The amazing Yellowstone National park is in place of the world’s most notorious “Super volcano”. As a rational conspiracy theorist, I have to constantly put up with the claims of Yellowstone’s imminent…

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.…

Fossils of Mount Everest

The summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth, is a sea floor. That may come as a surprise; after all, a sea should be at sea level. In practice, there is some flexibility on this. Three seas are below sea level: the Dead Sea, the Salton Sea and the Caspian Sea. All are…

Lava rocks!

What’s in a name. Would lava by any other name smell as sweet? Perhaps that is not the right question: lava is many things, but sweet-smelling it is not. It smells like a rose bush that was doused in some evil sulphurous pesticide and then put on fire. This rose also constantly explodes with a…