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.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Volcano of the Week #15 - Vesuvius

As stated before I will try and cover all the volcanoes you can vote for. Amazingly although I have written about Vesuvius before it has never been volcano of the week so I though I would rectify that. Vesuvius has also been on my mind this week as I have received a copy of the exhibition catalogue for the Volcano exhibition that I went to at Compton Verney last year in which Vesuvius was the most widely featured volcano. The catalogue was very kindly sent to me by the exhibition's curator for which I am very thankful.
Andy Warhol- Vesuvius

Vesuvius is such a well documented volcano that it is quite hard to write about, The chapter in the exhibition catalogue is called 'The Romance of Vesuvius' which is very apt and shows how the volcano (the 79AD eruption anyway) is swathed in stories and such a common reference. I'd say about 80% of references to volcanoes are to Vesuvius and the destructive event of 79AD is probably the one that most people of think of when they hear the word volcano. And it's hard to say why as many eruptions, Krakatoa, Laki, have been more powerful and others have been just as dramatic, Santorini which produced the same utter destruction to a civilisation as Vesuvius. It was thought that absolutely no life survived on the island of Krakatoa after the 1883 eruption. I suppose it's partly due to Italy being an important centre for artists which firstly gave it a reputation and the volcanoes popularity has grown. Which is why you find it in paintings by Warhol and in songs by Flaming Lips and Sufjan Stevens (I should probably make a volcano compilation CD) and in novels by Susan Sontang and Robert Harris. I think that for me Vesuvius is almost an embodiment of everything I love about volcanoes, the amount of myth and legend relating to it, the references in popular culture and art, and the geological features of the eruption. I do however think that the fascination with Vesuvius is a very Western thing, as Mount Fuji is an equally well documented and referenced, although doesn't have the same destructive history.

Some people hanging out by Vesuvius 

What I should probably say about Vesuvius is that in 79AD it produced a Plinian eruption (the term Plinian comes from Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger who died in and witnessed the eruption retrospectively) and buried the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii which were discovered in 1599. The eruption preserved the towns remarkably well has given the town a ghostly and eerie feeling.
Modern Vesuvius

This has been quite a strange Volcano of the Week for which I apologise. In other volcano news I have done lots for the new zine and there will be a volcano round at my pub quiz on Tuesday, I'll let you know how it goes. 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Volcano of the Week #14- Eyjafjallajoekull

While creating a page for the new volcano club zine- 'Love, Lust and Lava' (I'm allowed to plug myself, it's my website) about the volcanoes in the favourite volcano poll (again allowed to plug), I realised that I hadn't featured all of the five volcanoes as volcanoes of the week. As that sentence was ridiculously long it seems to appropriate to write about a volcano with a ridiculously long name- Eyjafjallajoekull. As I'm sure most people know it's Icelandic and therefore amazing. I have been complaining about the bad names of volcanoes recently and I'm slightly disappointed to find out that Eyjafjallajoekull means island-mountain glacier, at least it's accurate. There were fairly large eruptions in 1821 (which was the same year that Napoleon died) but it's probably the 2010 that  is better researched/ more written about on wikipedia.

There was air disruption in Europe during this period and it saw the biggest disruption to air travel since WWII. The eruption created a massive ash cloud that made visibility very low. Volcanic ash clouds also contain small, abrasive fragments of glass; caused by the rapid cooling of particles, which when moving at hight velocity, as ash was moving directly into a jet stream can cause massive problems to plane windscreens. Which is why to some people ash clouds are known as nature's sandblaster (to find this amusing you need to have a knowledge of both volcanoes and glass, so the joke is niche at best). If you do want to read up on this subject more the best place is probably the first volcano club issue- to which there is a link to on the right hand side of the page.

The eruption of Eyjafjallajoekull is often followed by the eruption of a larger and more powerful volcano- Katla, however this hasn't happened yet...

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Have been thinking a lot about lava lakes and dormant volcanoes recently, which is I think what inspired this painting.
And Happy Birthday Isaac!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Some people see Jesus in their toast...

A very strange thing happened to me yesterday when I walked through my bedroom door and was confronted with this sight; no it wasn't that a bomb had gone off or someone accidentally let a bull in or anything else hilarious alluding to my tidiness (tidiness is the word I mean)

But what I did find there was that the random bits of blue tac, foam and other stuff in my bed (where else would you keep it) had assembled itself into the shape of a volcano. How did it get there? What does it mean? Was it created by human hand? Is a sign from the earth that volcanology is my true calling in life? Or just a beautiful coincidence? Do I have borrowers living in my room? Is it a law of chaos theory that if somewhere is so messy, something will eventually arrange itself into the shape of a volcano? One thing I am sure of is that Isaac definitely didn't make it...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Hawaii, I'm Sorry!

I feel that after all my slagging off Hawaiian volcanoes there is some lava karma going on. Kilauea has been erupting since 1983 and the latest stage is pretty spectacular as one of the craters collapses creating a new fissure. It's pretty beautiful and I particularly love the lava spewing into and from the new features created by the volcanoes reminding you of the forgotten layers of the earth's surface. Looking at these images reminds me of how ancient the world is and it's very easy to see how people came up with the idea of hell and the underworld, which comes up time and time again with volcanoes and how people used to make sense of the unexplained. Regeneration and rebirth from something violent and destructive is also partly shown by this eruption. This is what my friend Luke loves about Hawaiian volcanoes; how they can create and hold new and diverse life which is very beautiful (see comments on Erta Ale post).

The area and national park have been closed but there is no threat to humans, which is another lovely thing about Hawaiian volcanoes. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website is where I stole this beautiful pictures from and also this lovely graph showing the collapse of the crater. Here's a link to the website which has more up to date and correct information. http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/

Diamond Head, Halekala, Hanauma Bay Craters, Hualalai, Kahoolawe, Kilauea, Koko Craters, Koko Head Crater, Koolau, Loihi Seamount, Mahukona, Maui, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Waianae are all fucking great, no more criticism of Hawaii and its volcanoes will occur on this blog. 

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Pretty Vesuvius

As most people know Vesuvius is by far most documented volcano. I am going to do some volcano paintings so here are some lovely Vesuvius pictures to inspire. 

 Joseph Rebell-Eruption-of-Vesuvius-at-Night
Night view of Vesuvius erupting, plate II from Sir William Hamilton's 'Campi Phlegraeiae'

So basically volcanoes look good when erupting at night. This is good because I'm currently painting a dormant volcano in the day...

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Video sent to me by Luke, he lives in Sweden and likes Hawaiian volcanoes. I've stolen his room and will soon steal his life.
Anyway this song is good, it's about lava. Lots about lava this week, next issue of magazine is set to be called Love, Lust and Lava. So will maybe have a special feature on lava types or a quiz.