The Life Aguatic

We got a letter from one of our readers this week pointing out a seismic series near Agua volcano and Ciudad de Antigua in Guatemala. “I’ve been living in Guatemala for a while, staying in Antigua. On April 27, the area around, and on, Agua volcano started to shake. We felt at least 8 quakes…

On the importance of Deep Quacks

Back in early 2011 I was sitting down for a late light evening read of “Lower-crustal earthquakes caused by magma movement beneath Askja volcano on the north Icelandic rift” by Soosalu et al. As I read angels started to sing a glorious hymn as I had an epiphany and my view on how volcanoes operate…

The most erect of volcanoes?

Have you ever wondered about which is the tallest active volcano on the planet? It sounds like a fairly straightforward question. But, as with all simple questions it quickly turns into a quagmire of definitions. The first of the definitions starts out in linguistics, and that is what is the definition of “active”. It turns…

Science and pseudoscience

Our modern world is one of scepticism. Trust is scarce. In the UK, politicians tell the voters not to believe experts, at least those experts that the politicians do not agree with. Of course they assume a certain level of trust in politicians. Facts are disputed, and the contradictory era of false facts has arrived.…

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 rise and fall of Anak Krakatau

It was the largest volcanic eruption since the start of the world-wide web. The invention of telegraphy in the 1850’s had made long distance connections instantaneous. It changed the world. Newspapers were the most obvious beneficiaries, being able to bring gossip news from far away places. And in this landscape, Krakatau exploded. 36,000 people died…

‘Oumuamua: a visitor from the stars

It is easy to forget the size of the Universe. For all its divisions and separations, Earth is not a good model for space: it is just too small. Nowadays, a seasoned traveler may have seen much of our world. Most of it can be reached within a day or two of travel. Of course,…

Volcanic Organs and Gandalf’s Pipe

Back when I was a kid, I had two interests in life, physics and playing music. In music my favourite instrument was the church organ. Over the following years those two interests merged into one as I got interested in how soundwaves form, and onwards into what I usually call waveform theory. Waveform theory is…

Hekla – Small things and stars in the night

I was asked to write a small weekend piece while we wait for Albert to finish the second part about Grimsvötn. My original idea was to write about people eating volcanoes, but thankfully Iceland saved us from that. As many of you have noticed Grimsvötn has thrown some big ones since my part of the…

Living Dangerously – Grimsvötn Forecasted

In August of 2017 Albert and I stuck our necks out on a limb and made a forecast each of what the future pattern of Grimsvötn was most likely to be. Or in other words, when would it erupt next. As I reread our two separate forecasts, I am struck by how different methodologies we…