History of Öræfajökull

Iceland has ice. Glaciers cover 10% of its landscape, including its highest volcanoes. Of its frequent eruptors, only Hekla is (almost) ice free. Katla, Bardarbunga, and Grimsvötn, which together account for the large majority of eruptions, are all hidden underneath ice sheets, which gives problems studying the volcanoes themselves. But a more serious issue is…

Krakatoa: a blast from the past

Note: For a blog post on Mount Agung, see http://big-volcanic.com/agung-volcano-nearing-an-eruption-here-is-what-to-expect-from-the-bali-volcano/ This is a repost, originally written in 2015. Small edits have been made, and some new (old) images added. It is one of the most famous volcanic eruptions in history. The loudest explosions ever recorded, dust spreading worldwide affecting sunsets for years, and it occured…

In the eye of the storm

We live in scary times. As I write this, one hurricane has left destruction in the Caribbean and is bearing down on Florida. A second hurricane is scheduled to clean up what the first one left standing for some of the worst affected islands. Paradise can come to a devastating halt – and was it…

The winter of Huaynaputina

The mountain isn’t there. In its place, an explorer will find a double crater in the ground, several kilometers across, with thick ash on one side and an open side into a majestic river valley on the other. The debris is evidence of a violent past but it gives little hint of what was there…

Life’s end: mass extinctions

Volcanoes affect life. That is as true for volcanoholics as it is for other life forms. As Bjarki pointed out, the puffins on Bogoslof are not going to be impressed, when returning to their nesting holes to find them all gone, blown up to bits or filled with ash and lava. They will be affected…

Volcanohistology: when eruptions make a difference

Volcanoes are frightening. They can dramatically alter the local landscape, and change people’s live – normally for the worse. The best place to be is far away. But large eruptions can have wider impacts. The ash can cover regions a continent away, and sulphate aerosols can spread at high altitude around the world. The sulphate…

Ruminarian X Musings on the Cascadia SZ

Who’s there? Those are the first spoken words of Hamlet, or more correctly, “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” as written by William Shakespeare.  In modern English, that’s 13 letters, including punctuation.  Under the “infinite monkey theorem” a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will…

A Wedge of Worry – Aso Caldera (NDVP #4)

Japan is a major economic power in the modern world. Currently, its economy is the third largest in the entire world and exceeded only by those of the USA and The Peoples Republic of China. But as well as being one of the most economically and technologically advanced countries, Japan is also among the most…

Perfect Symmetry – The New Decade Volcano Program #9

For sheer beauty, few volcanoes can match the symmetrical cone of Mayon as it rises almost directly out of the Gulf of Albay, not even mount Fuji itself. Indeed, the cone is considered the world’s most perfectly formed volcano for its symmetry ( David Lee, 2008). Added to that, a beautiful tropical setting, tranquil blue…