Big basalt blasts I. The trigger

Rhyolite has more silica, this makes it more viscous, more explosive and in turn more dangerous. Basalt is the opposite, fluid, well-behaved, safe. This could be a phrase out of any geology textbook, I can almost feel some readers getting ahead of me and thinking what I am obliged to say. But there are exceptions!…

Seas of Hawaiʻi

Hawai’i is an amazing place. And not just for volcanologists. This is a world-on-an-island, with (apart from the most accessible eruptions in the world) Mars-sized mountains, pristine beaches, coral reefs, a world class city for shopaholics and night owls, rain forest with world-class mosquitos, desert, archaeology, astronomy, volcanoes, agriculture, flying fish and diving birds. It…

A Green Hawaiian Interlude

A little article while we happily wait for the USGS to confirm that Kilauea is about to sprout a green caldera lake, or not. I normally do not write a lot about Kilauea, the reason for this is that it rarely does anything interesting. But, in 2018 it did quite a lot of interesting things,…

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…

Hell and its angels at Kilauea

There has been a lot of discussion on what will happen next at Kilauea. For 30 years it overflowed through Pu’u’O’o, leaving the summit safely under-pressured. That had been changing slowly as Pu’u’O’o declined, and the summit had become restless. A lava lake made its appearance and slowly enlarged itself. But this mode, with pressure…

Hawaii and the story of the Pacific Ocean

The expanse of water seems to go on forever. The Pacific ocean covers a third of the Earth surface, more than all the continents combined. The east-west width between Indonesia and Colombia is almost 20,000 km. There is 700 million cubic kilometer of water down there! 45 different countries own part of it. The averaged…

Kilauea eruptions

Two VC readers, mjf and Turtlebirdman, contributed lists of historical and slightly pre-historical eruptions of Kilauea. They are worth putting into a post and that is what we have done. We assumed that the second list made use of the first, and used that. It is worth pointing out that an eruption is a failed…

Pele’s gift

  A paradise waiting, the advert had said Tropical living, to buy or to let Secluded large houses with colour galore The gardens are landscaped; enjoy the outdoor Grand are the trees and fertile the soil Anything grows, no effort or toil Wake up in the morning; admire the view The living is perfect for…

Puna in numbers

Journalism is about impressions; science is about numbers. VC is standing in between these. We appreciate the immensity and power of volcanoes (and also appreciate that relatively speaking, these are manageable disasters. The human impact is awful for people concerned, but is not on the scale of major earthquakes or tsunamis. On balance, volcanoes create…

When Pele comes to Puna

A Kilauea/Puna update has been appended at the end of the post Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Volcanoes are best loved from far away. The excitement of live lava is best viewed on a screen and not through the window. Of course, actual distance is good, but distance in time is also often deemed…