Can we predict the next supervolcano eruption?

Beneath the calm waters of Lake Toba on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a massive supervolcano is lurking. This geological monster is one of only a handful of volcanoes capable of producing a super-eruption that could catastrophically change the global climate system for decades. So how can we predict the next supervolcano eruption? An international … Continue reading Can we predict the next supervolcano eruption?

How will climate change influence volcanoes?

UK researchers have begun to unravel the complex relationship between volcanic eruptions and climate change, showing that the temperature of the atmosphere affects how ash and gas spread. One of the most massive volcanoes eruptions of the 20th century was that of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. When it blew its top in 1991, it … Continue reading How will climate change influence volcanoes?

Sea level rise reduces volcanic eruptions

Sea levels have affected volcanic eruptions on the Greek island of Santorini over the past 360,000 years, according to research published in Nature Geoscience. The research finds that lower sea levels, which happen during ice ages, were linked to higher rates of eruption. The researchers believe this result likely holds true for other island volcanoes. … Continue reading Sea level rise reduces volcanic eruptions

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What does a robot think? Talking to yourself isn’t just for humans – it’s for robots, too. Alexa, Google and Siri often hear us incorrectly, so Italian researchers designed a robot that ‘thinks’ to learn why other robots are getting so confused. ‘Pepper’ the robot processes instructions out loud, so the user can see where … Continue reading You may have missed…

Forecasting volcano eruption style

Scientists studying the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea volcano in Hawai’i have discovered a way to predict the violence of future eruptions. They use the viscosity of magma for forecasting. Magma is the molten rock that builds up within a volcano and eventually spews out to become lava. But not all magma is created equal. Below … Continue reading Forecasting volcano eruption style

Our favourite Iceland volcano shots

After more than 40,000 earthquakes on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland over the past four weeks, lava began to burst through a fissure in Mount Fagradalsfjall volcano on March 19, its glow apparently visible from Reykjavik, 32 kilometres away. This is the first time the peninsula has seen an eruption from any volcano in 781 … Continue reading Our favourite Iceland volcano shots

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Bonobo adoptees It’s always nice to see animal altruism. A paper published in Scientific Reports has described the adoption of two bonobo infants by mothers outside their social groups. The researchers spent a year observing bonobo populations in the Wamba forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They noted two separate instances of adult … Continue reading You may have missed…

Pompeii of prehistoric plants

Nearly 300 million years ago, a volcanic eruption in northern China smothered a nearby swamp under half a metre of ash. Though cataclysmic for the plants living there, it was a boon for palaeontologists, who uncovered the exquisitely preserved specimens millions of years later in 2006. Now, new analysis of these spectacular fossils has yielded … Continue reading Pompeii of prehistoric plants

Sierra Negra: Eruption 13 years in the making

Scientists have tracked the behaviour of one of the world’s most active volcanoes over 13 years, revealing the first-ever detailed description of the lead-up to its eruption. The volcano – Sierra Negra in the Galápagos archipelago – erupted in 2018, triggered by an earthquake that raised the ground two metres in an instant. The event … Continue reading Sierra Negra: Eruption 13 years in the making

Secret of Australia’s volcanoes revealed

Australia used to be quite a hotbed of volcanic activity. The east coast is littered with the remnants of hundreds of eruptions, the most recent just a few thousand years old. Many were one-off events. Some are now notable structures such as Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, the Organ Pipes in Victoria, or the Undara Lava … Continue reading Secret of Australia’s volcanoes revealed

Can crystals tell us about volcanoes?

Tiny crystals could provide new insights into past volcanic eruptions and help predict future ones, according to a new study from Stanford University in the US. In this case, the millimetre-size crystals were of the mineral olivine formed during a violent eruption of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii in 1959, and they were used to … Continue reading Can crystals tell us about volcanoes?

Volcano link to end of Triassic extinction

An Australian-led team of scientists has shed new light on the timing of one of the most catastrophic mass extinctions in history, which set the stage for dinosaurs to dominate Earth. Two hundred million years ago, the Triassic period was brought to a devastating end by extensive volcanic eruptions from the Central Atlantic magmatic province … Continue reading Volcano link to end of Triassic extinction