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 November 2011

Being volcano-mad was madder than being picture mad

I've just started reading The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag which is perfect for me as it combines my two great loves- volcanoes and feminism (I'm also gonna talk about plants so this will be shit hot). I've only read a bit of it but it seems to be about a mad old British Ambassador who loves volcanoes, paintings and collecting things and lives by Vesuvius and I imagine that his marriage will suffer due to his obsession. I think that I may find it hard to understand as I find volcano obsession completely normal- I think that being volcano-picture-mad must be the height of madness.

When Pliny described the 79AD eruption of Vesuvius he described the smoke plume as being like an umbrella pine, from this description we get today's term of Plinian eruption.
It was not clear at that distance from which mountain the cloud was rising (it was afterwards known to be Vesuvius); its general appearance can best be expressed as being like an umbrella pine, for it rose to a great height on a sort of trunk and then split off into branches, I imagine because it was thrust upwards by the first blast and then left unsupported as the pressure subsided, or else it was borne down by its own weight so that it spread out and gradually dispersed. Sometimes it looked white, sometimes blotched and dirty, according to the amount of soil and ashes it carried with it. 
It is also mentioned in The Volcano Club when the Ambassador sees an eruption of Vesuvius which has exactly the same umbrella pine appearance. Which you can imagine is a perfect description of a large eruption.

When I've read more of The Volcano Lover I'll write something more comprehensive about it. 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Oh Em Gee

Nyamuragira is erupting which I did hear about the other day, its in the Democratic Republic of Congo and along with Nyiragongo it makes up for 40% of the eruptions in Africa. The eruption which is its biggest in a century has doubled tourism in Democratic Republic of Congo which is a fairly unwelcoming country. It's seems to be a fairly beautiful eruption with lava fountains of up to 300m. Nyamuragira is part of National Park with Mountain Gorillas, elephants and lowland forests so what's not to love maybe the 12 year civil war and the fact that the DRC is one of the worst places to be a woman. Maybe I'll write this in more depth when I can be bothered.

But this photo gallery is pretty, is what inspired the title of this post "Oh Em Gee".

Here's a picture if you're too lazy to click on the link. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Decade Volcanoes- Part Two, with added quiz!

Here's the second half of the decade volcanoes post, there may or may not a quiz at the end depending on how I feel (obviously I won't be able to edit this when I've decided). Anyway - less rambling, more volcanoes, that's going to be the title of my autobiography.

9. Sakurajima, Kagoshima, Japan. This volcano erupted violently in 1914 which dramatically changed the islands and the lava flows connected several smaller islands together. It has been erupting pretty consistently since the 50s and is part of a national park which is known for growing a large radish, volcanic soils tend to be for growing stuff in, you can tell I'm a Plant Scientist.

10. Santa Maria, Guatemala. I barely know anything about this volcano yet it was responsible for one of the largest eruptions in the 20th Century, maybe I don't know because it doesn't have a big Wikipedia article. This massive eruption with a VEI of 6 killed around 5,000 and was detected in San Francisco, the volcano is currently erupting. I think that this will have to be my next volcano of the week.

11. Santorini, Greece. Responsible for the decline of the Minoan civilisation, origin of Atlantis, great wine and agriculture, it's a personal favourite.

12. Taal, Luzon, Philippines. There was a massive eruption in 1911 which caused the volcanic island to sink and merged the various lakes of different colours into one large crater lake, which is a shame but it's still pretty.

13. Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands. I've written about this volcano before so read that if you really want to. The Canary Islands were formed by volcanic activity, like many islands (due to microclimates and speciation) the flora and fauna is unusual and diverse, here there are also volcanic soils so it's really great.

14. Ulawun, New Britain, Papua New Guinea. OMG, this volcano has the shortest Wikipedia entry ever I will have to compensate by writing more about this volcano than any other but I refuse to use any other sources. In the last few years the volcano has been almost constantly active and issues passive steaming which may be part of the reason that volcanoic activity in PNG is one of the largest sources of sulphur dioxide in the world, Ulawun contributes to 2%, obviously using only Wikipedia I can't check this fact out further, but it sounds dubious. The volcano is part of the Bismarck Archipelago, I don't know whether it was discovered by THE Bismarck or is named after the state capital of North Dakota. William Dampier recorded the first eruption in 1700 and lots of people live near the volcano. SEE WIKIPEDIA, IT'S NOT HARD, LOOK AT ALL THAT INFORMATION.

15. Mount Unzen, Kyushu, Japan. Unzen is responsible for Japan's worst ever volcano related disaster when the 1792 collapse of a lava dome created a megatsunami which killed around 15,000 people. In its latest eruptive period 1991-1996 there was large eruption that killed 43.

16. Vesuvius, Italy. Because there's so much say on Vesuvius I won't really bother now especially as I felt the last zine was a bit Vesuvius centric. Oh but in other Vesuvius related news, I did buy Susan Sontag's 'The Volcano Lover' which I'm really excited about reading.

Due to the fact that I'm quite bored and to the lasts post overwhelming response (when I say overwhelming response I mean absolutely no response, I don't do this for the good of my health) I have decided that I will again feature the fun quiz.

So match these pictures of volcanoes to the descriptions above, answers in the comments.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Decade Volcanoes - Part One, with added quiz!

The Decade Volcanoes are 16 volcanoes that are carefully monitored due to their potential for destructive eruptions especially in light of the closeness to civilisation. I have written about them before; a few have been volcano of the week, think I also did a feature in the zine but I can't remember all the crap I put in there. The volcanoes are Avachinsky- Koryaksky, Colima, Mount Etna, Galeras, Mauna Loa, Mount Merapi, Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Rainier, Sakurajima, Santa Maria, Santorini, Taal, Teide, Ulawun, Mount Unzen and Vesuvius. Here is a map, you will have to coordinate which is which from the list below alternatively don't bother. I do think it's interesting that the volcanoes are so well spread out which I suppose reflects the fact that they also have to be of significant menace to humanity. This is probably why Mount Erebus isn't included, that's funny cos it's in Antarctica and I've just remembered that it was on Frozen Planet, they filmed from inside it but I can't really remember as I fell asleep so it could have all been a dream. Now back to the decade volcanoes, pay attention there will be a quiz at the end.

1. Avachinsy- Koryaksky, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, These are actually two volcanoes in Siberia which has the highest concentration of volcanoes of anywhere in the world, I always go on about how amazing I think that is so I will resist the temptation to do so now. But they are very pretty volcanoes and erupt quite a lot, an eruption was recorded by John Ledyard on Captain Cooks last voyage.

2. Colima, Jalisco and Colima, Mexico. It's quite neat Guadalajara and has a set of of parasitic domes on the  northeast flank, but I wonder how they can be parasitic because surely they are still part of the volcano I'm not sure if geological features can or should be classed as separate entities but I'm sure it is actually an accepted term (it was on wikipedia after all). It has erupted this year and eruptions often result in the evacuation of homes.

3. Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy. I'm sure everyone knows about Etna you're not idiots.

4. Galeras, Colombia. It's located near Pasto and is Colombia's most active volcano. In 1993 during a volcano conference in Pasto 6 scientists and 3 tourists were killed by an eruption following after an impromptu expedition. Luckily and partly due to this tragedy our skills at predicting eruptions are now much better, although Katla (that Icelandic one) still hasn't erupted or I totally missed it.

5. Mauna Loa, Hawaii, USA. It's the worlds biggest volcano, which if that's not exciting I don't know what is, Hawaii's big island is entirely made up of volcanoes. An ascent of Mauna Loa was attempted by John Ledyard and Captain Cook (they got around) on his third voyage, which was the same one where he got killed by Hawaiians; they had a fight over the harvest festival, I think.

6. Mount Merapi, Java, Indonesia. Merapi had a fairly large eruption (VEI = 4), the death toll was 353, which puts it as the centuries worst eruption, the casualties included the spiritual gatekeeper of the volcano.

7. Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nyiragongo is on the border with Rwanda and it is currently erupting which has led to the formation of a great lava lake.

8. Mount Rainier, Washington, USA. As it is an icy volcano its eruption would lead to lahars and flooding of the Puyallup River valley however it has not erupted for over 100 years. It has the worlds largest volcanic glacier cave network with 2 miles of tunnels if you want to have a look the easiest ascent is by Disappointment Cleaver.

I have decided that this post is long enough already and even I'm getting bored so I will continue with the rest of the decade volcanoes tomorrow (my definition of tomorrow is loose) but I will still do the quiz otherwise it's just not fair. What you have to do is match the pictures of the volcanoes to the volcano, I'll put the answers in the comments (so it looks like someone has commented and read this).


Thursday, 3 November 2011


Here are the little volcano watercolours that I just got framed, my father will be interested to see they have been mounted. You can also see them in their beautiful surroundings.

Sorry about quality, think I really really need a camera.