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5 March 2010

Watch your step: Field work on lava domes

I suppose I’ve left you all hanging long enough, so now it’s time to show off the first batch of photos from Guatemala. The trip started out in Guatemala City, where we loaded up our rental car and drove to Quetzaltenango (known as Xela or Xelaju to most people). From Xela we drove to a finca, or farm/plantation, and then spent three hours hiking through jungle, over landslide scars and …


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27 March 2009

Santiaguito lava dome complex

If seeing this first thing in the morning doesn’t both make you want to jump up and down in excitement AND say, “Oh, shit, I just spent the entire night unconscious and three klicks away from an erupting volcano,” you are either clinically dead or an alien. A composite of Santiaguito, gently steaming in the 6AM sunlight. This is both a fascinating and depressing time – fascinating because I could …


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18 January 2009

Predictions, Forecasting and Eruptions

A half-joking query that I’m sure every volcanologist has encountered in their career is: “When will the volcano erupt? When’s the ‘big one’ coming?” A major misconception of the public is that volcanologists can predict eruptions. Volcanologists, on the other hand, prefer to say that they can sometimes forecast eruptions – but not all the time, and often only in rough terms. This is a situation where semantics can cause …


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25 March 2008

Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u Crater producing ash plume

I’m finally on top of things! As of yesterday, the gas plume emanating from the explosion site in Halema’uma’u Crater on the summit of Kilauea has started to carry ash as well. They’ve put up a webcam on the roof of the Jagger Observatory, and it’s a pretty cool view. (I am very jealous of the person currently visible in the lower right of the image.) Here’s the USGS press …


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20 March 2008

New developments and a little history from Kilauea

Boy, have I been sleeping on the job. Halema’uma’u Crater, in the caldera of Kilauea, experienced its first explosive eruption since 1924. Ron and Geotripper have both covered the event in their posts, and the Hawaii Volcano Observatory has some great photos of the explosion crater and the debris that was scattered by the explosion. Since I don’t want to repeat their efforts, I’ll take a look at the 1924 …


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10 January 2008

Why yes, I do have goals

G. K. Gilbert, in his account of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906: It is the natural and legitimate ambition of a properly constituted geologist to see a glacier, witness an eruption and feel an earthquake. The glacier is always ready, awaiting his visit; the eruption has a course to run, and alacrity is always needed to catch its more important phases; but the earthquake, unheralded and brief, may elude …


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