The living Earth: Rocks, plumes and hot spots. Part I

The Earth is alive. Well, not really. At least it is not life as we know it. Appropriately, the origin of this expression – slightly rephrased from the original Star Trek series – is from the second-most-famous non-human in existence, Spock, referring to a living rock. It is only a small step for humankind to…

Hiawatha

Snow is beautiful. It turns the world white and unblemished. Children love it for play, grown-ups love it for what it hides. Soon the snow will melt again, or worse, it will age like the world ages, lose its colour and become pockmarked with dirt. The beauty is temporary, here today, gone tomorrow. What was…

Lava rocks! (republication)

While we are waiting for more information (and daylight) on the large Pacific eruption, here is a repost. It complements the previous post on igneousity (for which surely the ig-nobel prize was invented?). Enjoy. What’s in a name. Would lava by any other name smell as sweet? Perhaps that is not the right question: lava…

Iceland: Plumbing the Plume

In the last decade, science has been under increasing attacks and have lost in status among the general population. Where famous scientists a century ago could rake in some serious dosh by going on lecture tours explaining their findings, today’s scientists are increasingly unknown and scorned by the general population. Instead, we see the rise…

Igneous rock

Rock, rock, rock There are only three types of rocks. This may be surprising, seeing no two rocks are the same and geologists use a never-ending series of names for these rocks, from abelsonite to zykaite. Names are what makes geology so hard. Henrik has written about gem stones, in a highly recommended post. But…

The curious case about seemingly endless energy

How’s that for a humdinger of a clickbait headline? As clickbaity as it might seem, it is still true, but I freely admit that it comes with a couple of hippopotamus sized caveats. Firstly, I should probably state that this article is about geology, geophysics and tectonic plates, and not as such about volcanoes, I…

The Making of La Palma

After Iceland, there was La Palma. It could have been the Azores, of course. There are more than just two volcanic archipelagos and islands in our youngest ocean, the Atlantic Ocean. But it was La Palma. Could we have seen it coming? Eruptions at La Palma are about ten times less frequent than at Iceland,…

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…