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,…

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…

Nishinoshima – The Seminal Eruption

Nishinoshima is in many ways the perfect volcano, it is constantly doing firsts, and spectacular and unusual things. Normally volcanologists would gather nearby and play lip-banjo at its antics. But since it is far out into the ocean and is so inaccessible most miss this beauty of a beast. In November and December of 2013,…

Okmok versus the Roman republic

Okmok is a known hazard. The volcano occupies its own half of Umnak, an isolated part of the Aleutian islands. Okmok is possibly the most active of the 40-odd Aleutian volcanoes. Over the past 8600 years it has produced over 50 ash layers from separate explosions, and minor eruptions happen every other decade. AVO has…

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…

Terra Incognito: the Verkhoyansk mountains

The Eurasian continent has been thoroughly explored. From Ireland to Kamchatka, there seems little left to discover. Wherever you go, someone has gone before, and left a comment on tripadvisor. People are everywhere, and all geological features are known. We present and explain, but do not discover. But there are still mysteries. For there are…

Bagana: child volcano

It is hard being a child of a famous parent. It means living under a cloud of expectation. Society expects children to be like the parents. Parents expect children to become a better version of themselves. Parental pressure can be particularly strong on the oldest child. Younger children may have more freedom to do what…

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…