Tag Archive for: volcano


A series of massive volcanic eruptions between eight and 12 million years ago in what is now Idaho may have been larger than colossal events known to have taken place in Yellowstone.


Looking at Mount St. Helens in hindsight, and trying to assess the unknown danger of a volcano blast.


Government officials had plenty of time to ensure that everyone was safely evacuated from the area around Mount St. Helens, the Washington State volcano that erupted on May 18, 1980. The mountain had been showing signs that it might blow for months before that fatal Sunday. But logging interests, which owned most of the land around the volcano, were at odds with geologists over how big the danger zone should be. And no one anticipated the strength of the eruption, which spewed 540 million tons of ash into the air and killed 57 people. [Find out why Mount St. Helens is still dangerous.]


While the risk of the Yellowstone Supervolcano erupting remains unchanged, researchers have found that its got another larger magma chamber. Read more!


Yellowstone’s underground plumbing is becoming more clear.



Future volcanologists rejoice! You don’t have to hop a flight to Hawaii to witness firsthand the exciting geology of volcanoes and the power they have, and have had in the past, to shape the land we live on.



It was a perfect fall weekend, with sunny skies and the prospect of colorful autumn foliage. Hundreds of people flocked to Mt. Ontake in central Japan, planning to hike to its volcanic summit.


Japan’s Mount Ontake Erupted Suddenly Over the Weekend

Over the weekend, the Mount Ontake volcano—a popular hiking spot in Japan—erupted without warningkilling at least 36 people. The eruption sent billowing clouds of hot gas and ash streaming down the hillside; some scientists are speculating that this was a “phreatic eruption,” triggered when water and magma mix deep underground.


A great read about Tara Bowen’s unique experience in the Mount St. Helens 1980 eruption. Check it out!


On the bright morning of May 18, 1980, 11-year-old Tara Bowen got out of bed just before 9 a.m. with one thing on her mind: the rebroadcast of Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” radio countdown.



I the massive supervolcano underneath Yellowstone National Park ever erupted, it could spew ash over most of the United States. Of course, the Yellowstone Caldera (as it is formally known) hasn’t erupted in about 70,000 years — and it only seems to erupt around every 700,000 years — so it seems unlikely that it will happen again anytime soon. All the same, researchers constantly study the underground volcano looking to understand its behavior. You know, just in case.


Check out this interesting read and video short on the strange lava of Ol Doinyo Lengai, a volcano in Tanzania!


If you had to pick the most unique volcano on Earth, you’d be hard pressed to find a better candidate than Tanzania’s Ol Doinyo Lengai. Not only does it look like a volcano designed by HR Giger (below), but it is the only place on the planet that is currently erupting carbonatite lava, some of the strangest stuff you will ever see (see the excellent video above). These lavas are like no other lava, chock full of calcium, sodium and carbon dioxide, leading to some of the odd properties of these eruptions. However, the ultimate source of these carbonatite lavas is still hotly debated — and to make it more complicated, Ol Doinyo Lengai doesn’t even erupt the usual carbonatite (if you can call any carbonatite “usual”) lava. Not only that, but carbonatites might be a good source for mining rare earth elements, so understanding how they form is going to become increasingly important.


Lecture from the U.S. Geological Survey
by Jake Lowenstern, Scientist-in-Charge, Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

  • What’s all the buzz about — is the Yellowstone area really dangerous?
  • Learn about Yellowstone’s amazing geological history
  • What’s happening now with earthquakes, hot springs, and steam explosions?
  • Hear how scientists monitor Yellowstone and other volcanoes to forecast future eruptions

The presentation starts at about 5:30, so jump ahead if you please!

Supervolcanoes are becoming a Super-topic! Here’s some more information on the latest discovered calderas in Utah and Nevada.


Supervolcanoes are giant volcanoes that blast out more than 1,000 cubic km of volcanic material when they erupt. They are different from the more familiar straddle volcanoes because they aren’t as obvious to the naked eye and affect enormous areas.