Volcanoes

volcanoes

Kilauea's Explosive Past - and Future

The explosive history of Kilauea is not well known. Today, it’s renowned for lobes of slow-moving, calm lava, which ooze out of cracks in the flanks of the volcano, pour downslope and eventually flow into the sea, where the lava cools and gradually enlarges the island. But in the past, Kilauea has erupted violently — more often and for much longer periods than was previously thought. Now, researchers have learned that over the past 2,500 years, violent eruptive periods lasting centuries have alternated with periods of quiet flows. Once an explosive period has begun, conditions on the Big Island will be very different from those on which the past hazard assessment was based.

17 May 2012

Down to Earth With: Volcanologist Stephen Sparks

From the Caribbean to Iceland to the Andes, volcanologist Stephen Sparks has spent a lifetime studying volcanoes. As a professor of geology at the University of Bristol in England for more than 20 years, Sparks has devoted much of his time to figuring out where the next eruption will occur and how to respond to it. His latest effort is a project that will connect experts and technology in a global network to improve volcanic risk assessment.

13 Apr 2012

Danger in paradise: The hidden hazards of volcano geotourism

In November 2000, rangers at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park made a gruesome discovery. The bodies of a man and a woman, in an advanced state of decomposition, were found near the site where lava from the Kilauea eruption flows into the sea, sending up plumes of scalding white steam. The area, aptly named the Eruption Site, is littered with chunks of tephra, a glassy volcanic rock, which are formed and ejected violently into the air when the 2,000-degree-Celsius lava is quenched by seawater.

19 Mar 2012

AAG: Eruption of El Salvador's Ilopango explains A.D. 536 cooling

El Salvador’s Lake Ilopango, near the capital city of San Salvador, is known for boating, diving and the rugged, scenic beauty of its 100 meter-tall cliffs --- the lip of the caldera that holds the lake. However, 1,500 years ago, it may have been the site of one of the most horrific natural disasters in the world. It may also be the long-sought cause of the extreme climate cooling and crop failures of A.D. 535-536, reported Robert A.

25 Feb 2012

Down to Earth With: Pat Pringle

After finishing a master’s degree in geology at the University of Akron in 1982, Pat Pringle left the relative flatlands of Ohio’s Allegheny Plateau and went west to pursue his passion. More specifically, he went northwest, to the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Cascades Volcano Observatory, lured by the steaming vents and layered debris flows of the recently awakened giant, Mount St. Helens. He was smitten.

 
12 Dec 2011

Travels in Geology: Climbing Mount Shasta

As we neared the top of the West Face of Mount Shasta, my calf muscles felt like they were pulling apart, stretching to the breaking point. My crampons merely dinted the shimmering snow, leaving dainty bird-like tracks. Roped behind our guides, our group of three climbers switchbacked slowly up the 35-degree-angle slopes. Approaching nearly 4,000 meters in elevation, my lungs grasped for air.

24 Jun 2011

Travels in Geology: Lassen Volcanic National Park: A volcanic wonderland

For breathtaking volcanic scenery, few places have the variety found in Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Cascade Range of Northern California. The park boasts five varieties of volcanoes: plug domes, cinder cones, lava cones, shield volcanoes and a stratovolcano called Brokeoff volcano (or Tehama volcano). Bubbling hot springs, boiling mud pots and fumaroles in six geothermal fields in the southern part of the park complete the picture.

24 Jun 2011

Tracking Yellowstone's Activity

New technologies track the feverish supervolcano in real time

This story has been modified since it was originally published in EARTH.
12 Apr 2011

Blogging on EARTH: Second dispatches from EGU

EARTH’s Carolyn Gramling is in Vienna, Austria, at the European Geophysical Union meeting this week. Here are a few more sessions that she has found interesting (for more from the meeting, see her first “Dispatches”).

07 Apr 2011

Merapi continues to erupt

Indonesia's Mount Merapi sent another powerful blast of searing ash and rock into the sky again on Wednesday, marking the volcano's most powerful eruptions since it began erupting again on Oct. 26.

03 Nov 2010

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