Volcanic Winter. Hypothesis and Candidates

A guest post by Tallis Rockwell No one in the Byzantine empire knew why the sun didn’t shine in 536, why the weather was so cruel. Some thought that this was the day of judgment and angels would descend soon. That year it had snowed heavily in the southern dynasty in China which is the…

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…

Eldgja: Eruption dating

The previous post described what we think we know about the Eldgja eruption. Our knowledge about one of the largest eruptions in Iceland is somewhat limited, surprisingly so given that Iceland was already well populated. One of the few things which seems secure is the date. Eldgja is believed to date to 934 AD, continuing…

1809: The missing volcano

Large eruptions are well known. Mention Pinatubo, Mount St Helens, Krakatoa, Thera, and everyone knows something about it. The Tambora eruption of 1815 is the largest of this set: it caused the “year without summer”, left tell-tale marks in the ice sheets, and remains a terrifying example of the destructive power of volcanoes. But the…