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12 April 2013
A previously unknown underground cavity might help trigger the timely eruptions of the famous Yellowstone geyser Old Faithful, a new study shows. The researchers who uncovered new evidence of a chamber suspect that it stores the pressurized near-boiling water, steam, and other gases that propel Old Faithful’s eruptions.
7 April 2013
Future trends in natural hazard losses – the Powerpoint file from my Geographical Association 2013 conference talk
A talk from the Geographical Association annual conference on future losses from natural hazards, focusing on storms, floods, earthquakes and volcanoes
25 February 2013
James Reynolds has collected a remarkable video of rockfall activity on Paluweh volcano in Indonesia as seismic events shake the lava dome
6 December 2012
The Laguna del Maule volcanic field in the Chilean Andes Mountains lies in the heart of volcano country. The region is a well-known subduction zone, where the friction of one crustal plate sliding under another heats rock to form magma. But for the last 2,000 years, Laguna del Maule has been a quiet water-filled caldera. Now, scientists are recording rapid deformation of the land around the caldera, suggesting that a magma reservoir is inflating below the surface.
5 December 2012
Swarms of tiny, repeating earthquakes often precede volcanic unrest, as they did prior to the 1989 eruption of Alaska’s Mount Redoubt. New research at Mount Rainier in Washington state finds that glaciers produce similar low magnitude seismic shocks that are not predictive of volcanic activity, and that could be interfering with efforts to predict when a dangerous eruption is imminent.
4 December 2012
Volcanic eruptions conjure up images of huge fiery explosions, searing hot magma and charred, decimated landscapes. But some eruptions also create something very different: ice crystals. In a poster presented at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting Monday, atmospheric physicist Arthur Few of Rice University in Houston tied these ice crystals to volcanic lightning, and figured out how they form
2 November 2012
The latest installment of the landslides in art series, featuring the work of photographer Dan Holdsworth
12 October 2012
Diamonds may not be forever, but they do last an incredibly long time. The forces in the Earth’s interior that shape these famously durable gems have long been mysterious. A new study looks at teensy chunks of an inner zone of the planet that can get caught within diamonds’ crystal structures. It presents new evidence that diamonds often take a long ride in the planet’s fluidly moving gut before rising to the surface.
15 June 2012
Massive volcanic eruptions that spew sulfur-rich particles into the atmosphere can disrupt climate around the globe, leading to cooler temperatures worldwide. Researchers can track the impacts by looking at ice cores or tree rings that record summer growth, but a different approach involves scouring through historical records to see what kind of an impact these volcanic explosions had on everyday life.
Three years ago, icebergs floated at the base of this glacier, in the milky water of a glacial lagoon. But in May 2010, Eyjafjallajökull erupted forcefully beneath Gígjökull, causing torrents of melted water called jökulhlaups to surge down the valley and into the lagoon, carrying with them enough boulders and debris fill it up, displacing all the water.
A neat video of the collapse of the west rim of the Halema’uma’u volcanic vent
14 June 2012
Scientists are working to understand how explosive volcanic eruptions – and potential geoengineering efforts – would affect rain worldwide. And climate models might be underestimating how much precipitation decreases after eruptions.
13 June 2012
Þingvellir, Iceland – There aren’t many places in the world where you can walk along a “mid-ocean ridge” and still keep your feet dry. But here the separation of two vast slabs of Earth’s crust—a slow-moving drama usually hidden far below the ocean waves at the bottom of the sea—takes place in plain view.
12 June 2012
When Iceland’s Grímsvötn volcano erupted in May 2011, ejecting 0.7 cubic kilometers (0.2 cubic miles) of ash far up into the atmosphere, most of the material headed north to the pole. Computer models predicted the path of the plume, satellites beamed back images, but one researcher turned to a low-tech and inexpensive method of tracking the ash fall – cellophane sticky tape.
The awesome sight of explosive volcanic eruptions occasionally includes a light show as well. But why lightning happens during some eruptions, and not in others, is still a question – one that a couple of curious volcanologists have recently been linking to characteristics of the ash itself.
11 June 2012
Iceland is undertaking Europe’s largest reclamation project to replant birch and willows, especially in volcanically active areas, to help reduce erosion and improve the island’s ecological health.
A modern recurrence of an extraordinary type of volcanic eruption in Iceland could inject large quantities of hazardous gases into North Atlantic and European flight corridors, potentially for months at a time, a new study suggests. Using computer simulations, researchers are investigating the likely atmospheric effects if a “flood lava” eruption took place in Iceland today.
5 June 2012
Dr. Sue Smrekar is the deputy project scientist for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory she helps coordinate the efforts of researchers working on the mission’s scientific investigations. Besides Mars, one of her principal topics of research has been the volcanism on Venus, based on data from NASA’s Magellan mission.
28 March 2012
Italy’s Mount Etna has had a busy year doing what volcanoes do best — erupting and providing volcanologists and sightseers alike with a fiery show. Armed with a new technique to determine lava volumes, researchers can now add up the amount of material that made up the impressive volcanic displays last year.
9 December 2011
Some volcanoes erupt in violent explosions – think Mount St. Helens or Vesuvius – while others ooze more gradually, spewing out lava for weeks or months at a time. The lava has the potential to engulf homes and farm fields in its path, so scientists are interested in measuring the direction, speed and distance of flows.