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…

Europe’s tallest volcano: Mount Elbrus

How can you hide a volcano? Apparently, making it the highest mountain on the continent is a good start. Mount Elbrus is both Europe’s tallest mountain and Europe’s highest working volcano. The first fact is commonly recognized, and can be readily found on-line and off-line, but the second fact is harder to locate. While Mont…

The Drakensberg and the storm that ended Gondwana

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo Setshaba sa, South Afrika Imagine. Around you is a sea of sand, stretching out far beyond the horizon. Mirages reflect the cloudless sky, and suggest water where only sand rules. But strangely, a mile ahead a river pushes through the mirages, flowing slowly, a blue ribbon amidst…

Iceland seismicity – monthly review (July 2017 edition)

Ever since I began plotting earthquake data for Iceland and generally for the world (where data is available), I was planning to do a monthly review of the seismicity in Iceland, so we can keep track of it on a monthly basis. Of course, if there is any stronger activity or something unusual happens, usually…

Volcanic unrest in Iceland

Iceland suffers from eruptions on average every 3 to 7 years. And in between we tend to look at other volcanoes with interest. And as time goes by we forget that Iceland at any time can have larger and faster eruptions than pretty much any other spot on earth. During this phase of volcanic unrest…

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…

Fingered by the Plume

In the last few years new data about the Icelandic mantleplume has emerged that forever has changed how we look at it, and how it affects Iceland. In yon olden days, it was perceived through the eyes of the original plume model that was devised to explain the Emperor Seamount Chain and Hawaii. That means…

Deep magmatic roots of Katla…

For every person that is interested in volcanoes and complex geology, Iceland is probably something special. A unique place where the MAR intersects a mantle plume, or vice-versa. A beautiful island filled with powerful volcanoes and other complex volcanic and hydrothermal features. All in one nice little spot. Of the entire Icelandic volcanic lot, the most…

Questions and Answers – A 1947 commemorative article series

I had planned the third part be an extension of how the sinusoidal 3D-wedge model influenced eruptions over time and how it explains distal eruptions along the fissure swarm. But, there has been a wealth of questions and comments that I felt needed to be answered that do not belong to the article series itself,…

Form follows function – A 1947 commemorative article series

In physics, there is a famous tenement that reads as, ‘cause and effect’. But, for Hekla I find that the founding principle of the Bauhaus school of modernist architecture is far better suited to express what I will be trying to model and express here. It states that the form of a building will at…