Signs and portents of Iceland – Revisited

When I planned to write this article about the current states of Iceland I only wanted to write about Katla and Öraefajökull. But, as things turned out a third volcano got my attention. In the end this article will be about how hard it can be for a layman to see what is important and…

The fall of Surtsey

In the previous post, we read about the birth of Surtsey. It was a famous eruption, which taught us how quickly and unexpectedly new land can form. We have since seen similar eruptions elsewhere as well. Nishinoshima is a small and isolated Japanese island, 1000 kilometers south of Tokyo. An eruption started just off its…

Surtsey – The Birth of the Modern World

(A repost, originally written by Carl, November 13, 2013. The post has been expanded from the original.) Tomorrow, the fourteenth of November, will be the official birthday of Surtsey. In a way it was a triple birth. First of all it was the birth of the Island of Surtsey, it was also the birth of…

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…

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…

Dissecting Hekla

Hekla is the most mysterious of Iceland’s many volcanoes. Its brooding summit overlooks the broken plains 800 meter below as if it were an English Lord (or perhaps Lady) of the Manor. The fiefdom looks bare and uninviting, but that is not purely Hekla’s fault: once this was dense forest, but it was cut down…

Sheet dyking at Skjalfandi

We rarely, if ever write articles about earthquake swarms at the Tjörnes Fracture Zone. The reason for that is glaringly obvious, those swarms are incredibly common. Pretty much, a day without fairly intense activity is a rare beast indeed. So, this is a bit outside of the ordinary programming. The area is one of the…

Bárðarbunga… A restless giant

I got the honour and privilege to be the author of the first blog post of 2018. So let me take this opportunity to wish all our readers, visitors and the managing team a very happy and healthy new year.   The Bardarbunga eruption in 2014 was impressive in many ways. It was a rifting event,…

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…

The Woolly Mammoth Guide to Icelandic Volcanism 2018 – Chapter 1

Reykjanes Ridge and Eldey-Geirfuglasker Volcanic Belt A year and a half ago I wrote what I thought would be the end of writing about Icelandic volcanoes for quite some time. Reality obviously caught up with me, and I had to write quite a few more articles. The Woolly Mammoth was not intended to be left…