The Wandering Earth: mantle in motion

It is nice to live on the crust. It gives a degree of stability which the rest of the Earth lacks. It is not perfect: the quiet can be punctuated by earthquakes or volcanoes, and lacking those there is still the off-chance of a landslip or flood. The atmosphere may also interfere with our lives.…

A Christmas eruption

Kilauea has become a different volcano. For 30 years, the summit was a passive participant in the seemingly ever-lasting Pu’u’O’o eruption. But nothing volcanic lasts forever, and 2018 was the year that proved this. A blockage near (or in) Pu’u’O’o caused the pressure in the rift to increase, the east rift gave way, and magma…

Eruptions to come

Let’s start with a question. Which country do you think has the most frequent volcanic eruptions? Before you read on (or peek below for the answer), take a minute to think about it. You can probably guess that Australia is not a front runner. In fact, only two or three countries readily come to mind.…

A volcano year

This is the time of the year when people like to look back. What was the year like? Good or bad – or, as is almost always the case, a bit of a mix? And if looking back is not your thing, newspapers run columns where specialists (of varying level of expertise) are given a…

The air we breath: the sulfur smell of volcanoes

“The sun became dark and its darkness lasted for one and a half years… Each day it shone for about four hours and still this light was only a feeble shadow… the fruits did not ripen and the wine tasted like sour grapes.” Michael the Syrian, about a 6th century eruption It smells. Sulfur is…

Hawaii and the story of the Pacific Ocean

The expanse of water seems to go on forever. The Pacific ocean covers a third of the Earth surface, more than all the continents combined. The east-west width between Indonesia and Colombia is almost 20,000 km. There is 700 million cubic kilometer of water down there! 45 different countries own part of it. The averaged…

Puna in numbers

Journalism is about impressions; science is about numbers. VC is standing in between these. We appreciate the immensity and power of volcanoes (and also appreciate that relatively speaking, these are manageable disasters. The human impact is awful for people concerned, but is not on the scale of major earthquakes or tsunamis. On balance, volcanoes create…

Kilauea: the lower Puna eruption of 1955

In Hawaiian folklore, Pele is vengeful and unpredictable. Her habitation is well known: Kilauea leaves little doubt about where Pele lives. But you never know where she may appear next. She shares this habit with Kilauea. It has a clear summit and all the action stems from there. But where the action will be next…

Kilauea – Slump or Slide?

As I have perused the internet in the last few days I have noticed that the “gargantuan landslide causing a mega-tsunami” meme is in full swing again, now in relation to Kilauea. Therefore, I think it is time to write a more laidback article about what is happening in that regard with Kilauea. But before…

The other Hawaii: observing Haleakala

For a Kilauea update, see the bottom of the post Astronomy is a dangerous science. It is not just the fact that astronomers love to blow things up. Exploding stars are their bread and butter. For a bit of adventure, they collide black holes. And who else would start the history of everything with a…