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14 July 2022
To put the largest eruption in Alaska’s written history in context, Robert Griggs pondered what might have happened if the volcano that erupted in summer of 1912 was located on Manhattan Island rather than the Alaska Peninsula. “In such a catastrophe all of Greater New York would be buried under ten to fifteen feet of ash and subjected to unknown horrors from hot gases….”
27 August 2020
Early in his career, on a wet, windy, foggy night, Guy Tytgat checked into the loneliest hotel in the Aleutians. His room was four feet wide and five feet tall, made of fiberglass, and perched on the lip of a volcanic crater.
19 December 2019
Geo Models: The GIF shows the results of about 15 minutes of deformation with fresh sealant straight out of the tube. The summit of the cone collapses into a graben, and the flanks of the cone spread outward, creating compression that generates thrust faults and folds.
13 December 2019
On December 15, 1989, a pilot who had flown a 747 passenger jet all the way from Amsterdam was looking forward to landing in Anchorage. There, he would take a short break before continuing to Tokyo.
19 November 2019
A different take on the model volcano, the “most cliché science experiment” you can do (at least that’s what the internet says)
While eruptive demonstrations will always be cool, I think the gravity-driven structural evolution of large volcanoes is equally interesting and consequential and subject to illustration with models.
7 October 2019
More than 100 volcanoes pimple the adolescent skin of Alaska, spreading from ear to ear. Some are loud, flamboyant and obnoxious. Others are sneaky and quiet, escaping notice until a pilot sees a gray plume that wasn’t there yesterday.
20 September 2019
Recently, as chronicled in Scientific American, I was involved with amending the eruptive record at California’s Mount Shasta to remove an eruption that was supposedly seen by a French mapping expedition in 1786. USGS researchers had already been puzzling over it for years – evidence was slim, since the area was already prone to forest fires and there was nothing in the geologic record to suggest that it happened. William …
18 September 2019
Ancient, distinct, continent-sized regions of rocks, isolated since before the collision that created the Moon 4.5 billion years ago, exist hundreds of miles below the Earth’s crust, offering a window into the building blocks of our planet, according to new research.
5 August 2019
Hundreds of volcanoes pockmark the surface of Io, the third largest of Jupiter’s 78 known moons, and the only body in our solar system other than Earth where widespread volcanism can be observed. A new study finds Io’s most powerful, persistent volcano, Loki Patera, brightens on a similar timescale to slight perturbations in Io’s orbit caused by Jupiter’s other moons, which repeat on an approximately 500-Earth-day cycle.
Major volcanic eruptions spew ash particles into the atmosphere, which reflect some of the Sun’s radiation back into space and cool the planet. But could this effect be intentionally recreated to fight climate change? A new paper in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters investigates.
4 March 2019
One of the big projects I’ve been working on for the past couple of years has been assisting my SIC (Scientist-In-Charge) at the California Volcano Observatory in writing a report about California’s exposure to volcanic hazards. And (not) coincidentally, that’s the title of a new report that the USGS just released last week!
18 January 2019
It’s been 27 days since I, my colleagues and 800,000 or so others were informed that our leaders were okay with using us as political pawns. 27 days since 380,000 of us were told we weren’t allowed work at all. 27 days since 420,000 of us were told that we had to work without pay.
4 April 2018
High-resolution recordings of the powerful infrasound waves generated by an eruption at Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano have given scientists a rare view inside the activity at the volcano’s mouth. The acoustic waves generated by the July 2013 eruption were one of the most powerful volcanic infrasound recordings ever captured. The low-frequency infrasound waves from the eruption are too low for human ears to hear but were as powerful as waves one meter (three feet) away from a jet engine.
19 March 2018
I have the pleasure of attending an AGU Chapman Conference this week in Puerto de la Cruz, a small town on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The Canaries are a small group of volcanic islands just off the coast of Morocco governed by Spain. They’re essentially the Atlantic Ocean’s version of Hawaii.
17 January 2018
Scientists have shown for the first time that volcanoes emit distinctive pulses of gas a few hours before erupting, which could lead to real-time forecasting of dangerous volcanic eruptions that are difficult to predict, according to the researchers.
7 August 2017
Berastagi, a city in northern Sumatra, is a great place for volcanoes, because it has two active ones: Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung. Active takes on a different context here; to the locals, Sinabung is active, and dangerous, while Sibayak, which hasn’t erupted in living memory, is not.
16 June 2017
Visiting one of the largest volcanic lakes (and calderas) in the world in northern Sumatra: Toba Caldera
27 April 2017
Researchers have developed a method to measure one of the most striking and difficult to measure volcanic features – volcanic lightning – using the tiny glass spheres formed by hot volcanic ash.
7 April 2017
Nine years after it erupted, Kasatochi Island is just beginning to resemble its neighbors.
Kasatochi is a speck in the middle of the Aleutian chain between Dutch Harbor and Adak, about 75 miles east of the latter. The volcanic island had no modern history of erupting until August 2008. In a few days that summer, the island changed from the lush green home of a quarter million seabirds to a gray pile of ash.
9 January 2017
Remember a couple of months ago when Google Earth Timelapse got updated? I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at it back then, but I’ve taken it for a spin since then and – being a volcanologist – decided to look at volcanoes. And it turned out to be a lot of fun.