The changing faces of Fagradalsfjall: fizz, bubbles and slugs

We have had quite a ride. The eruption began unseen, on March 19. The new fissure opened on April 5, after the initial double cone had begun to wane. The new fissures sprouted a series of cones, mostly twinned. By May, all twins had exterminated one of the siblings, and the survivors had battled for…

Goma: how to live with Nyiragongo

Few people would have heard of Mount Nyiragongo before its current eruption. There are some cities that we know live in the shadow of a volcano. Naples and Vesuvius, Catania and Etna, Seattle and Rainier (although the city itself is unlikely be affected by an eruption), Fuji and Tokyo (with the same proviso). But Nyiragongo…

The case for an African VAAC 

Welcome to the “Rant Edition of Volcanocafé”, tonights special: Carl Erupts.  For a decade I have talked about the need for increased monitoring of African volcanoes. It is if nothing else, rather ridiculous that the volcanoes in Antarctica are far better monitored than African volcanoes bordered by large cities.  Yesterday this came very close to causing a large disaster with international…

The ballad of Ballareldar: twister in the snow

Volcanoes are nature at its most impressive – and most damaging. The fire and the lava are a deadly alluring combination. Once the flow gets going, it is unstoppable. It may be deflectable: people are currently trying hard to save their road by building a wall. We were wondering, will the wall work? It would…

The ballad of Ballareldar: the boom and the bust

The eruption continues. There is so much hiding behind such an easy sentence. It continues – but always changes. It is not life as we know or understand it is the second most memorable phrase (at least in the paraphrased version) from Star Trek. This eruption is like that. You forget that this is actually…

The ballad of Ballareldar: the dike, the fissure and the fault

This is quite an eruption, with surprises with every new turn of events. It is an unusually tourist-friendly eruption: conveniently located, small, non-damaging (except to the owner of the land) and spectacular. It does appear that not all tourists are as friendly to the virtual tourists, judging from the antics going on in front of…

The Plume of Ballareldar?

To me the part of a volcano that is visibly erupting is the least exciting part. Perhaps a better way of stating it is, that it is only the effect of the cause. This is obviously not true to most people on the planet, so I think I owe everyone an explanation. And that explanation is especially important since we need to look deep into the volcano, to understand its future.   Like most people I can obviously spend hours looking at lava bombs being hurled, and lava slowly filling valleys. But, getting…

Reykjanes surprise

The eruption in Geldingadalir seemed to be waning. The flows from the two cones were notably weaker this morning. The cracks in the back of the cones which has been emitting steam had stopped doing so. The raised lava pool in front of the cones was emptying, and earthquake activity was almost absent. Activity has…

Reykjanes forever ?

The eruption is now some 10 days old. In some ways it has progressed as expected. The row of cones has focussed on one spot, although surprisingly it produced a twin (after exterminating the minor third). The lava is filling the valley but has not found an escape so remains well confined. The Icelanders are…

The Reykjanes eruption: a look underground

The best action in the past day has not been at Reykjanes, but at Etna. The spectacular paroxysms produce fountains 100 times higher than those in that small volcano with the strange name in Iceland. But Iceland, a land of ice, fire and utterly open communication, captures attention in a way that Sicily does not.…