The Sicilian Affair

This of course was our April 1 story, bringing volcanoes up-to-date with the modern world of ‘alternative facts’. We hope you enjoyed it and that it brought a smile to your face. Any resemblance to any person anywhere in the world is purely intentional. Tune in next year when we will be revealing the volcano…

Birds on volcanic islands: a study in social isolation

It was on a hike to Mauna Ulu, many years ago. The path from the Pu’u Huluhulu trail head had been easy to follow – at first. It quickly left the shrubby vegetation near the road behind, and the scenery became one of total devastation. The markings of the path became fewer and fewer. Once,…

Ball’s Pyramid

A Clive special from 2015, re-published because it is worth re-reading. Ever since I saw my first pictures of Ball’s Pyramid, I wanted to know more about this isolated and amazing structure. The pyramid is named after Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, who discovered it in 1788. On the same voyage, Ball also discovered Lord Howe…

Tambora, the lost summer and the hobby horse

Morn came and went – and came, and brought no day Lord Byron, Darkness, 1816 The world has changed. It is not something we normally notice – change is slow and memory surprisingly selective. Nothing has altered but everything’s changed, as the song says, paraphrasing Jean-Paul Sartre. We have little idea of how our parents…

Volcano Companion

Volcano companion When I go with you into the world It comes alive in colour and mirth With you I find Vesuvius to travel with you is salubrious In distant past I went alone And found a world in monochrome With you volcanoes come alight The lava flows are burning bright To go with you…

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…

Once in a blue moon

On the night of Jan 31th, 2018, do go out and take a look at the moon. It will be full and will seem either to be a bit brighter than usual, or very faint and red. In either case, it will be a blue moon. Confused? Let me help you. This is an updated…