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…

Kelimutu: the magic of colour

There is more to Flores. The island is spectacular in any case. The Portuguese explorers called it Cabo de Flores (Cape of Flowers) because of the red-flowered flame trees, dotted between the palm trees of the north coast. The landscape is varied, from low-land savannah to volcanic rain forest. It is not as wet here as…

Dawn over Ceres: the journey

There used to be a missing planet. It had long been realized that there was an empty gap in the Solar System, between Mars and Jupiter. The two were just too far apart. The distribution of the planets was described well by a relation proposed by Johann Titius and Johann Bode, and this relation predicted…

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…

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…

Kilauea: If wishes were horses!

We humans may wish for many things, but gravity is a horse we can’t wish away. And this horse drives what is happening at Kilauea. So far, the new stage of the old Kilauea eruption that started about one week ago has given us a very small subsidence caldera, a large earthquake, drained two lava…

The goop and the mudcano

On Wednesday I was asked to look into the possibility that there had been an eruption on the West Coast of Sweden. It was one of those phone calls that are really confusing and making you wonder if it is you, or the rest of the Universe, that has gone utterly bonkers. Since it was…

The lost volcanoes of Norway

What happens when an unstoppable force meats two unmovable objects? Well, in the world of geology there should be volcanism. A few weeks ago, I was asked by a person who did not believe in science this specific question. “If plate tectonics are real, why then are there no volcanoes in Norway?” It is a…

Dissecting Hekla

Hekla is the most mysterious of Iceland’s many volcanoes. Its brooding summit overlooks the broken plains 800 meter below as if it were an English Lord (or perhaps Lady) of the Manor. The fiefdom looks bare and uninviting, but that is not purely Hekla’s fault: once this was dense forest, but it was cut down…

The Sperm and The Volcano

I will this time temporarily deviate from the usual style and subject of Volcanocafé. The reason I am doing that is due to the grave importance about which I am writing. But rest assured that there will be a sideshow of volcanism, and even some geology. For those who do not wish to have their…