Volcanology basics

Eruptions

Category archives for Volcanology basics

The fissure vent eruption near Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland. Image by Þorsteinn Gunnarsson, March 22, 2010. It has been hard to keep up with the flood of news from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland. Eruptions readers have done a good job with getting new images, videos and info up as they happen, so you might want…

Did I mention its a busy week? The lava lake at Erta’Ale in 2008. Image courtesy of Stromboli Online. Our Icelandic saga continues, with more earthquakes and more speculation/information on the parts of Eruptions readers. Keep up the discussion – I’ll be fascinated to see who turns out to get closest to what actually happens,…

We’ve been discussing calderas recently on Eruptions (I wonder why) and the Laacher See in Germany came up. I’ve actually been to the Laacher See on a field trip lead by one of the world’s experts on the caldera, Dr. Gerhard Worner. So, I thought I’d post some pictures and talk a little about this…

With all the talk of the current Yellowstone earthquake swarm, I thought it would worth it to write a post on the the structure and caldera – and why we get earthquake swarms that are structurally rather than magmatically-related. First off, lets think about why calderas formed. This is relatively simple – at least superficially.…

Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park. A few thoughts about faulting, earthquakes and eruptions: The earthquakes at Yellowstone have been universally attributed to fault movement rather than magmatic activity by the USGS and the researchers at the University of Utah. This is likely based on the moment solutions for the earthquakes (i.e., the sense…

A pile of news for the new week! The glow of new lava flows from Nyamuragira in the Congo, taken from the Virunga Park Headquarters, January 2, 2010. Mayon PHIVOLCS may lower the alert status at Mayon to Level 2 after almost a week of lower seismicity and no ash explosions since December 29th. Schools…

It’s the last week of classes and it’s also AGU (which I will be missing for the first time in 5 years). If you happen to be at the big meeting in SF and hear something you think we’d like to hear, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment so we…

My favorite volcano books

I’ve gotten a number of questions about volcano books as of late, so I thought I’d write a little post detailing my favorite volcano-related tomes, mostly pitched towards people without a geology-background, but some technical books for those of you who want the gory details (and be sure, they can be very, very gory). Pumice…

Eruptions Mailbag for June 2009

Chaiten in Chile erupting in January 2009. Even after over a year of activity, Eruptions readers are still captivated by the volcano. Thanks for sending me your questions about volcanoes and volcanism. I’ll try to tackle some hear – but as always, keep the questions coming! Send them to For those of you who have…

The clock is ticking for the new dome growing at Redoubt to collapse. What will happen if/when it does collapse? Good question! The new dome at Redoubt. Image courtesy of AVO/USGS, taken by Game McGimsey, April 30, 2009. Most likely, the following will occur: First, extrusion of lava will cause the dome to over-steepen, precipitating…