Ancient foundations: the earth of the bible. Part I: Tectonics

Humanity has a long history of living on this Earth. During the days and years, our world continuously changed. We grew up in the shadows of the approaching ice ages. We left Africa when the changing sea opened up a road to Asia, and followed an ever-changing coast line to the far East. And throughout…

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…

A volcano is born unto us

A bit about the importance of data-plots It is now many years since I did any heavy scientific lifting. But, the fun part of writing for Volcanocafé is that I get to do quite a bit of work in the field of volcanology in a relaxed popular science setting. It is a rather well-known secret…

Volcano at fault: Neenach and the art of moving mountains

The San Andreas fault makes a great bend around the city. It leaves its citizens well separated from the real America. On the rim of the Pacific, Los Angeles has become the ultimate laid-back city. The beach-and-body life, the Pasadena coffee culture, the dancing on the highways (ok, that was only in that movie, I…

Gunung Agung and the potential future

Most people have by now noticed that Gunung Agung has stopped erupting. And to understand why that has happened, and what will happen soon, we need to look at what happened during the eruption. We also need to look at what is currently happening. When a volcano is showing no visible signs of activity, we…

Öraefajökull – A challenge for volcanology

A couple of years ago I was asked on a radio show which volcano in Iceland I wanted least to erupt. I quickly answered Öraefajökull. It confused everyone, and I got bogged down in explaining why an unknown (to the layman) volcano would be that bad. It is though true, if there is a single…

Unrest at Fagradalsfjall

The pleistocene volcano of Fagradalsfjall has started a phase of uncertainty due to a medium sized tectonic swarm associated with the volcano. At the time of writing there have been around 400 earthquakes ranging up to M4.0 in size. Fagradalsfjall last erupted during the last glacial period in Iceland. The earthquake swarm is fairly intense…

Volcano forecasts and Campi Flegrei

There are a few volcanoes that I do not feel comfortable writing about, and those are volcanoes that are far too close to large human settlements. The reason is obvious, it is far too likely that I will write about an event that will kill a lot of people. There are two ways to increase…

Failure

The signs were unequivocal. It started with earthquake swarms. A phreatic eruption followed, and than the ground began to swell. Magma was approaching the surface. An eruption was on the cards and evacuation plans were put in place. An exclusion zone kept people safe but not their possessions – and as always some people could…

Iceland in motion

Imagine an Atlantic island affected by a deep and complex rift, with half the country pulled east, towards Europe, and half pulled west, leaning towards America, but the northern part actually feeling closer to Scandinavia whilst the southern half doesn’t know where it is going. The rifting causes frequent eruptions with significant financial consequences. Its…