Batholiths and flare-ups

An eruption that ejects more than 1000 km3 of material (ash, pumice, rock…) is considered a super-eruption, a VEI-8. These represent the greatest volcanic events that have taken place during human existence. Such apocalyptic phenomena attract a lot of attention, from scientists, volcanoholics and doomsayers. The term supervolcano has become increasingly popular but also increasingly…

The Penitentes of Mount Rainier

Of all the volcanoes of the Cascades, Mount Rainier is the tallest. It towers over the surrounding mountains and dominates the horizon even in distant Seattle. But being tall in an oceanic climate can have unwanted consequences. When it rains in Seattle, here it snows, and the snow does not melt easily. Mount Rainier has…

Wrangellia: How the west was won

The Wrangell Mountains are Alaska’s most secretive volcanoes. We have looked at what they are (post I) and how they may have formed (post II). This area of Alaska has suffered the brunt of the most recent continental collision on Earth, and the Wrangell Mountains are an immense scar from this monumental accident. But there…

Building the Wrangell Mountains

The Wrangell Mountains are an unexpected treasure in a land of riches. Here are shield volcanoes higher than Mauna Loa, which have grown up over the past 5 million years. It stands alone amidst the crowd. From the Wrangell Mountains, other mountains ranges can be seen in every direction, but none of those are currently…

Wrangell Mountains

Alaska is a wonderland. The harsh winters make the land difficult to live in, and in consequence much of the wilderness seems hardly touched by human hand. No need for rewilding here – it is wild enough to begin with! Amidst the wilderness are the most majestic mountains of North America, and some of its…

The Anchorage earthquake of 2018

Where there are volcanoes, there are earthquakes. Both are a sign of a broken earth. Volcanoes require vertical movement and earthquakes (by and large) are horizontal: the two are not identical, but to get a volcano you need a vertical path, and to get that you need to move crust sideways. Enter the earthquakes. A…

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…

The Bogoslof update

A year ago there were frequent eruptions of Bogoslof volcano. But over the months, it dropped out of the news, as the eruption quieted down and finally ceased. This brief post is a recoup of what came before, and what the state of the island is now. Bogoslof is one (and sometimes two or three)…

Lurking in the swamp: the Florida volcano

Florida is known for many things. It is home to VC’s stalwart, Geolurking. It has beach life, of the teenage variety. It has Disneyland, of the toddler-of-any-age variety. It has launched space missions to the outermost planets and put men (but not women) on the Moon. It attracts retirees from all over the US and…

Sands of time: walking the Grand Canyon

The Earth is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. A long time ago, the local council put in new sewage pipes in the town where I grew up. The smell was overwhelming. Normally, a smell of coffee would permeate the town whenever the wind went northwest: the main…