Mercurious

It is a strange one. Metals are shiny, and this one certainly is, in a dark-grey, silvery way. It is so shiny that it can even be used as a telescope mirror. Metals tend to be hard, but this one certainly is not. It isn’t even a solid. Mercury is one of only two elements…

Power of the past: 25 super eruptions – continued

The VC list of 25 super eruptions – continued In our quest for major eruptions, we are continuing our journey around the world, moving north from Indonesia. Kyushu, Japan Japan’s southernmost main island is volcanically highly active. Past explosions have left large calderas, separated into two groups. In the centre of Kyushu is Aso, and…

Power of the past: a compilation of 25 super eruptions

The battle of Stalingrad was among the bloodiest and most horrific of the second world war. During the cold winter of December 1942, the Commissar of Stalingrad organised open-air party meetings for local artists and musicians to encourage the exhausted and hungry soldiers. One of those musicians was the violinist Mikhail Goldstein. On New Year’s…

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 Ruminarian, again

By GeoLurking, January 8, 2014 (republished) Curmudgeon “an ill-tempered person full of stubborn ideas or opinions” Well, if the shoe fits, I guess I’ll wear it. But… I don’t come about it lightly. To me, stuff has to make sense. One thing I abhor is mindless ranting that is specifically intended to scare people. What…

Super interested in supervolcanoes?

A few days ago, I wrote that we are currently living in a volcanic low period. The last significant eruption happened on the 8th of August in 1991 and the culprit was Cerro Hudson. It was a medium sized VEI-5 eruption expelling roughly 4.5 cubic kilometres of ejecta. After that there has been a 26-year…

All Calderas are not Calderas

Sometimes our readers send in questions to us that literally sends the writers into a frenzy of volcanic exploration. This week’s question was about if the area between Fort Rock and Chemult in Oregon is indeed a large caldera. The area is situated south of the eastward Cascade volcanic range south of Newberry (Paulina Peak),…

Super-eruptions and Hyper-eruptions

Living on a constantly changing and evolving planet, unravelling the past is not an easy task as resurfacing, erosion and continental drift continuously eradicates what has gone before. Even after the last remaining “White Areas” on our maps of the Earth’s land masses had been filled in about a century ago, great discoveries that would…

The Toba Supereruption

Lake Toba is a beautiful place. The largest and deepest lake in Southeast Asia, it contains an island (Samosir) almost the size of Singapore – the fifth largest lake island in the world, and the largest island-within-an-island. Samosir contains two smaller lakes, Lake Sidihoni and Lake Aek Natonang – the former even contains its own…