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Mount Etna may not really be a ‘proper’ volcano at all

Posted on 15 Jan 2018 in Earth Science, Journalism

Mount Etna, one of the world’s most famous volcanoes, may be misunderstood. According to one geologist, the material feeding the cone is mostly water, so Etna is effectively a giant hot spring. But other geologists are unconvinced. Image: Alessandro Rossi ©

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Melted magma could warn of brewing volcanic eruptions

Posted on 16 Feb 2014 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism

Before volcanoes erupt, they must “defrost”. The magma beneath some of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes might be relatively cool and solid for more than 99 per cent of the time. That means evidence that it has warmed up and melted could be a sign of an imminent eruption. Image: dherrera_96

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AD 536: The year that winter never ended

Posted on 20 Jan 2014 in Earth Science, Environment, Featured, Journalism

In almost every region of the world, AD536 was marked with bad weather, social disorder – and death. This climatic downturn may well have profoundly altered the course of history. The trigger of this cooling has long been a mystery, but now we may finally be close to identifying the culprit – or culprits. Image: Yotam Rozin

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Volcanic lightning captured in a bottle

Posted on 20 Dec 2013 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism

It’s a “build your own volcano” kit like no other. A team of geologists in Germany has built a model volcano that crackles with lightning as it erupts. But this is no toy science kit for kids – it could offer insights into the disruption risk to aircraft in the aftermath of an eruption. Image: fmg2001

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Ancient mural may be first picture of volcanic blast

Posted on 30 Oct 2013 in Archaeology, Earth Science, Featured, Journalism

In 1963, archaeologist James Mellaart found a large mural on the wall of a house in Çatalhöyük, the largest known Stone Age town. He interpreted it as depicting a plan layout of the town’s dwellings with a twin-peaked volcano, Hasan Dag, looming behind – captured dramatically in the process of erupting. If correct, the interpretation makes the mural the earliest depiction of a geological observation. Image: Alex Schmitt

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