Iceland’s eruptions since 1900

In 1900, Iceland was a very different country. It wasn’t a country, for one thing. Although Iceland had been granted self-rule, it was still a part of Denmark and the local leaders were largely Danish-educated. There was still a Danish governor. The position (not the governor) was terminated in 1904. On Dec 1, 1918 the…

The Heimaey story

Heimaey is famous. It is the only place in Iceland known to have first been settled by non-Vikings: the first inhabitants were escaped Irish slaves, before 900 AD, who didn’t last long. Much later it suffered a devastating slave raid. And of course, it has an elephant. But all that history pales in comparison to…

The Hotness of Grimsvötn

As far as volcanoes go, we like to think of them as immutable giants that rarely if ever change. We like to see Grimsvötn as a glacier covered giant of a volcano, that almost always produce moderate ashy eruptions, that are relatively speaking short-lived. Yes, once upon a blue moon it will do something big,…

Volcano ecology

Space is a precious resource. We hoard it and guard it. Together with air, water, warmth and tomato ketchup, it is one of the essential ingredients for life. We are happy to share empathy, food, and money, but letting someone else invade our personal space is a big step well beyond that. Social distancing is…

Laki: the making of a fire

Laki was one of the defining events of Iceland’s history. Its impact went well beyond the nation, covering much of the northern hemisphere. It seems amazing that something that caused so much suffering was seen by so few people. This it shares with Eldgja, which was even larger and must have devastated Iceland, but of…

Laki deconstructed V. Ashes to Ashes and Sulphates to Sulphates

For those who have missed the previous 3 parts and the prequel. Here are the links. Laki deconstructed: I. prequel Laki deconstructed II. Anatomy of an Eruption Laki deconstructed III. Grimsvötn and Beyond Laki deconstructed IV. A Timeline for Destruction The nuclear background To be able to understand large eruptions you need to understand a…

Laki deconstructed IV. A Timeline for Destruction

Before I start I would like to point towards the previous 3 parts. It might be a good read for those who missed them when I first published them. Prequel Laki deconstructed: I. prequel Part 2 Laki deconstructed II. Anatomy of an Eruption Part 3 Laki deconstructed III. Grimsvötn and Beyond The pre Skaftár Fires…

Laki deconstructed III. Grimsvötn and Beyond

Lakí deconstructed – Grimsvötn and Beyond We now continue our Laki series, first published in 2013. If you haven’t read the previous Laki instalments, I suggest that you do so first. Prequel – Laki deconstructed: I. prequel Part 1 – Laki deconstructed II. Anatomy of an Eruption Grimsvötn Fissure System The Grimsvötn fissure system is…

Laki deconstructed II. Anatomy of an Eruption

We continue Carl’s story of Laki. I highly recommend anyone who has not read ‘Central volcanoes of Vatnajökull’ to do so carefully, otherwise you will most likely be lost fairly quickly, see it as the prequel to this multi-part article. Previous Lakí research Up until 1993 research into the Skaftár Fires was based upon a…

Laki deconstructed: I. prequel

Central volcanoes of Vatnajökull With all volcanic activity seemingly on hold during the shut-down, here is a re-post from the dungeons, originally published May 29, 2013, and written by Carl. It leads into a post on Laki which we hope to put on in the next few days. After that, who knows. Perhaps something on…