Why does it always rain (ash) on me?

Why does it always rain (ash) on me?

On May 1st, 1812, a remarkable weather system reached Barbados. ‘At half-past twelve AM a heavy dark cloud obscured the heavens completely. [..]  at half past one a sandy grit began to fall in small quantities‘. Through the night there was the sound of explosions and thunder, and by late afternoon, Barbados had been blanketed in several centimetres depth of ash. The origin of the ̵ ...[Read More]

The great eruption of Tambora, April 1815

April 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the great eruption of Tambora, on Sumbawa island, Indonesia. This eruption is the largest known explosive eruption for at least the past 500 years, and the most destructive in terms of lives lost, even though the precise scale of the eruption remains uncertain. The Tambora eruption is also one of the largest known natural perturbations to the climate syste ...[Read More]

Volcano Top Trumps: the Online Game

After some months of testing and refining, a free-t0-use online version of Volcanoes Top Trumps has been launched by Winning Moves. This should greatly extend the reach of Volcanoes Top Trumps – which is a fun and educational game about volcanoes that has spun off from the NERC – ESRC funded project ‘STREVA‘ – Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas. Why not play t ...[Read More]

A volcanic retrospective: eruptions of the Soufrière, St Vincent

A volcanic retrospective: eruptions of the Soufrière, St Vincent

The records, reports and testimonies of past volcanic eruptions and their consequences contain a wealth of information from which we can learn valuable lessons. This, in a nutshell, is the starting point of one strand of the STREVA project, ‘Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas‘, which is a large programme funded by two British funding agencies (NERC and ESRC) and directed from t ...[Read More]

The Botanic Gardens of St Vincent and the Grenadines

The Botanic Gardens of St Vincent and the Grenadines

The oldest Botanical Gardens in the western hemisphere lie on the outskirts of Kingstown, St Vincent, in the Windward isles of the West Indies – and what a gem they are. As the ironwork above the entrance declares, the gardens were founded in 1765. The original ambition of Robert Melville, the then Governor in Chief of the Windward Isles, was to establish a horticultural research station for ...[Read More]

Remote sensing of volcanoes and volcanic processes

A major goal of volcanological science is understand the processes that underlie volcanic activity, and to use this understanding to help to reduce volcanic risk. Advances in instruments and techniques mean that scientists can now measure many different aspects of the behaviour of  restless or active volcanoes, including seismicity (to detect magma movement at depth, for example); deformation (oft ...[Read More]

Friday Field Photo – Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat in 1998

View of the steaming dome of the Soufrière Hills Volcano (SHV), Montserrat, in February 1998, just at the beginning of the first pause in the eruption which began in 1995. Since that time, the volcano has gone through another 4 cycles of slow lava extrusion,along with a number of major episodes of dome collapse. The volcano remains active, and closely monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observator ...[Read More]

A Portmanteau of Natural Hazards

Last week, the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) launched an over-arching programme in Natural Hazards, a network called PURE (Probability, Uncertainty and Risk in the Environment). This post is a very short attempt to navigate the maze of acronyms of projects that are either linked to PURE, or to other related initiatives in Natural Hazards in the UK. PURE itself is a network ...[Read More]

Montserrat: Open for Business

One of the great privileges of working on volcanoes is that you get the chance to visit some amazing places, and to meet some extraordinary people. Recently, I got the chance to return to Montserrat, a small volcanic island in the Caribbean which has been the site of a dome-forming eruption since July 1995. I had first visited Montserrat in early 1998, when I had a short tour as one of the staff s ...[Read More]