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The Sciences

Thursday Throwdown: Iceland's next eruption, building a volcano and Etna over the years

Rocky Planet iconRocky PlanetBy Erik KlemettiAugust 18, 2011 9:07 AM


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Now that my rage over losing the post yesterday afternoon has subsided, it's time for me to try to recreate it (but that lost post was most definitely the best post ever written). Things are quite busy right now as classes start in a little over a week here at Denison, so I'm up to my neck in syllabi and organization as we get ready for another academic year. I did gather some interesting volcanic tidbits from around the interwebs, so here they are:

Iceland: Last week, there was some coverage of a new study in Geology that looks at the likelihood of another flight-disrupting eruption from Iceland in the future. Swindles and others looked at 7,000 of volcanic activity in Iceland and calculated that eruptions of the scale and conditions of Eyjafjallajökull occur every 56 (+/-9) years ... so, the media has portrayed this as "unlikely". Now, as a geologist, I look at 56 year intervals and think "wow, that is often", which just goes to show that a half a century can seem like an eternity to some and a blink of an eye to others. You can also check out a couple other good posts on Iceland, including Volcan01010's posts on his field season at Grímsvötn and Jon Frimann's post about how tremor differs from background activity to eruption.

TV: Over on Magma Cum Laude,Jessica Ball reviews the recent National Geographic Channel special "How to Build a Volcano". This special involves some volcanologists (including Michael Manga and Joe Dufek, two of the nicest guys you'll meet) and a special effects wizard building an erupting volcano in a Canadian quarry. I haven't seen it yet, so I'll let Jessica fill you in on the details.

Italy: Boris Behncke pointed us towards a summary of the most recent paroxysm at Etna - and a great post on exactly what "paroxysm" means in the content of volcanism. He also posted an amazing set of images showing how the southeast crater at Etna has changed since 2006 - it illustrates just how dynamic a volcano like Etna can be when it is in full swing.

Top left: Etna erupting on August 12, 2011. Image by Boris Behncke - click here to see the original.

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