Volcano Club

Volcano Club only offers one type of membership - and that's lifetime. To become a member send some volcanic themed work to the HQ (volcanoclubhq@gmail.com) and you might get a codename or some other cool shit.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Volcano of the Week #13 - Erta Ale

As some people would rather do work than play Ghettopoly (which is a ghetto version of monopoly) my evening's entertainment consisted of asking my housemate Spam/Lewis to choose the volcano of the week from my volcano book. The result was Ethiopia's most active volcano Erta Ale which is a 613m height shield volcano on the border with Eritrea. Erta Ale means smoking mountain- I really wish people would name volcanoes more imaginatively, it would certainly make volcano or nocano more fun. Although one pit of Erta Ale is known as the gateway to hell, which is nicer. Erta Ale is located in the Afar Depression which contains the lowest point in Africa- 155 meters below sea level, the land surrounding the volcano is all below sea level.

 Looks a bit like Piton de la Fournaise

The most remarkable feature of Erta Ale is probably its lava lake which at 90 years is thought to be the oldest (and one of the only) in the world. One of the only other volcanoes with lava lakes is last "weeks" volcano- Mount Erebus which must be truly stunning in the frozen landscape. A lava lake is pretty much what it sounds; a crater filled with hot bubbling lava covered by a thin black crust so kinda like cooking porridge, polenta or old soup. It is when cracks in this skin appear that we see the volcanoes beauty when lava spurts and fissures form. Erta Ale's tends to have fairly non-explosive eruptions, VEI around 2- but it is none the less a beautiful spectacle. The lava lake the cover image for Earth on Fire and has some of the books best images- which is why is this weeks volcano of the week and I believe it's my first Africano. 
Best book ever!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Volcanoes erupt all the time

Seeing as I'm ill in bed, I thought I'd write a list of every volcano that is erupting this week and put together a poorly constructed map. This is mainly for my own amusement, but if it's popular (doubtful) then I could make a new feature of it,  because I am very good at keeping up weekly features.

1. Etna- a very popular volcano, it's Strombolian at the moment
2. Fuego- it's in Guatemala, close to the capital Antigua and erupts all the time. Fuego means fire, a pretty unimaginative name for a volcano
3. Kirishima- in Kyushu, Japan, think this is the same eruption as Shinmoe-Dake, which I've already written about so if you're actually interested read that.
4. Santa Maria- also in Guatemala, my dreadful map is getting very confused especially as my Central American geography is dreadful. Another really original volcano name.
5. Stromboli- another massively popular Italian volcano, I still really need to see that film.

If you are beginning to think that the order of these volcanoes is a bit odd, then you'd be right, but it's the order on the Global Volcanism Program website. Those five volcanoes are new eruptions, these next lot have been going on ages.

6. Bulusan. Luzon, Philippines, quite a large eruption on 21st Feb which caused around 2,000 to be evacuated.
7. Dukuno, A very active Indonesian volcano on one of its not so active islands Halmahera.
8. Karymsky, One of my favcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, the place with the most active volcanoes in the world aka shitloads
9. Kilauea, Hawaii, USA. It's probably very shallow of me but I do think Hawaiian volcanoes are pretty boring. Although Hawaii really is in the middle of nowhere
10. Kizimen, another Kamchatka Peninsula one, as I said shitloads of volcanoes there. This volcano is similar to Mount St Helens
11. Planchon-Peteroa. on the Chile-Argentine border, not a very explosive eruption
12. Sakura-Jima, Kyushu again, a very active volcano
13. Sheveluch, Kamchatka- one of the largest and most active volcanoes in the region (luckily for me the last one there erupting otherwise my map would look truly awful)
14. Soufriere Hills, Montserrat. Which is a British Overseas Territory near Antigua and Barbuda. There was an interview in the guardian with a guy from there and I thought that it couldn't be a real country because I didn't know it's flag. But anyway there's a volcano there.
15. Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java. Alert level 3 (whatever that means)

There's a list of all erupting volcanoes (although there may be some more rubbish ones in Hawaii or somewhere)

A dreadful map, you can tell I did it on paint because its got a stupid border round it (and its shit) 
Sorry about the quality of the post but I am ill.
I'd also once again like to state my love for the Global Volcanism Project website http://www.volcano.si.edu

Sunday, 20 February 2011


As one of my newest hobbies is origami it seemed like it was only a matter of time before I combined my love of folding paper with my love of volcanoes. 

This volcanorigami is actually quite good, if not that hard to make.

These two are supposed to be pre and post eruption, and use more complicated origami from the book Unit Origami: Multidimensional Transformations by Tomoko Fuse. They don't quite work but if I have some time on my hands (I clearly have lot) then I will try to make an impressive 3D volcano. I know the thought is very exciting! 

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Volcano of the Week #12 - Mount Erebus

This volcano was an answer on University Challenge this week (an episode I am yet to watch) which according to my muumy is a good enough reason to for it to be volcano of the week.

Being in Antarctica, Erebus is the most southerly active volcano, it has been constantly active since 1972 and was also active on discovery in 1841 by Henry Peake. The volcano was named after Peake's ship which is named after the Greek God, who represented all darkness and shadow (the child of chaos and darkness).  It wasn't until 1908 that its peak was climbed by Ernest Shackleton, I'm sure avid google logo fans will know it was his birthday a few days ago. The volcano is similar to Etna in some respects as they are both stratovolcanoes with stratocones and eruptions tend to be strombolian. The volcano is 3,794 m high, its phonolitic lava lake is among the longest lasting on Earth and Erebus crystals can be found on its slopes. 

 Penguin and a volcano!

Once again we find a link between volcanoes and air disasters however this time not due to pyroclastic debris in the air (or natures sandblaster). On a sightseeing flight from New Zealand over Antarctica a plane crashed into the volcano and all 257 people on the plane were killed. The crash was due to the coordinates of the flight being changed and the crew not being told (or something similar). The recovery and identification of the bodies was a particularly distressing ordeal. 

Volcano of the week always ends being quite a sad feature I would try and rectify it but it is really the nature of volcanoes. 

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Lava Soap and Volcano Puns

I have just been informed of lava soap which is from the makers of WD40, enough of an endorsement for anything. Anyway I got told about this amazing soap and given some amazing puns by Mary Gray. Here are the puns and pictures of the soap which is pretty cool and I really want some. 

Valentine, You Kick Ash!
I Pumice to be Your Valentine!
Valentine, You Rock!
Valentine, I'll Never Take You for Granite!
It's True Lava for Us, Valentine!
Valentine, You Set My World on Fire!
My Heart is on Fire for You, Valentine!
Valentine, You are Really Gneiss!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Volcano of the Week #11 - Poas

Costa Rica is a country full of beautiful and powerful volcanoes due to the 'crumple zone' caused by the meeting of the North American Plate and the South American Plate. It is also a country that I've been to, well San Jose airport (which counts) and while trying to avoid weird Americans on missions, I do remember that it was very beautiful and surrounded by large hills. According to googlemaps Poas is 43 mins away from San Jose by car, apparently you can't walk there, this stratovolcano is 2,708m high and pretty active; it erupted in December. The volcanoes proximity to the epicentre of the 2009 earthquake caused new fractures to open up in the volcano and an increase in fumarole (gas) activity. In January 2010 the increase in geothermal activity saw a Phreatic eruption occur, which is basically a steam explosion and occurred in one of Poas crater lakes. The largest is the aptly named Laguna Caliente where vents reach up to 800 degrees Celsius. The warm water (50 degrees) and the stunning views may make you think that this is lake is an ideal place for a bath, however your skin would probably fall off because this lake is extremely acidic with a pH close to zero. Sadly a side effect of this is that there is a lot of acid rain in the region which can damage ecosystems. The other lake is located in an inactive crater and surrounded by a could forest so maybe a better place for a swim. 

The picture that made me want to write about Poas.          Laguna Caliente
(both from Earth on Fire, my fave book in the world apart from War and Peace and Comet in Moominland)

Right I'm going to bathe in acid and eat a creme egg and maybe do some origami.
p.s sorry for lack of volcanic activity but have just started a new job.