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.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Hawaiian volcanoes, Hawaiian eruptions and Hawaii big island.

In Hawaii there is currently a volcano related disaster. This is the slow moving trail of lava from the volcano Kilauea which is located on Hawaii's biggest island, called Hawaii big island. The volcano has been erupting for a really long time (since before I was even born) in a not very violent eruption this type of eruption is called Hawaiian (volcano terminology can be very easy). The reason it is such a disaster is that the lava is travelling towards a town, however as the lava is so slow moving and the eruption has been going on so long people say that this was inevitable. The videos are pretty cool and scary but also make Hawaii look lovely, the video of lava reaching the ocean is just incredible.

Kilauea is thought to be the body of Pele so my theory is that he's still really fucking angry about the state of Brazilian football (hahaha). On a more serious note, the nature of Hawaiian eruptions means that damage is relatively low which obviously isn't much of a comfort if your home and land is being destroyed.

I will try and write a longer post but I working full time which is leaving me fucking knackered. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014


It's that fucking time of year again when the impossible task of Halloween costumes is upon us. Obviously you don't want to wear one of those costumes that involves as few items of clothing as possible but you don't to want to wear a costume where no one knows who the fuck you are, the perfect example of this dilemma can be seen in mean girls. My personal examples of misjudged halloween costumes are Maggie Thatch and Pussy Riot member. However if you want a nice scary costume that is easy to do then why not dress up as a volcano? The best and easiest way to do this is have massive orange hair, then you can wear some kinda grey capey thing and you're an instant fucking volcano. The bonus is that any erratic or volatile behaviour can just be part of your volcanic act. Here are two of my fave singers who have got the eruptive hair thing down.

I've written about my love for both Cyndi Lauper and Bjork lots and lots before so I won't do it any more but all I will say is that Cyndi is massively underrated. Anyway happy Halloween especially if you're a volcano. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

I've got a new a computer and it's really fucking exciting

As the title may suggest - I've got a new computer because I have been led to believe that the point of having one of those job things is that you can get money to buy cool shit like computers- which is pretty much what I've done. So far since having the computer all I've done is watch football and I'm really gonna try to not just use it as a TV and radio hence this post. This post is based on cool shit from the internet, which I can now see through the beauty of my lovely computer. First is this, which is basically really great photos and everyone loves a good volcano picture. I think this Etna one is my fave.

I've also been looking at this website which I have seen before but it has loads of volcano holidays which I want to go on. This is especially relevant as me and my family are semi-seriously talking about going on a holiday, obviously this has massive potential to be fucking horrendous and in my vast experience the way to make something not fucking horrendous is to involve shit loads of volcanoes. As my parents are some of the few people who actually read this I think that we should all go on a round the world volcano tour which coasts under €9000, basically a bargain. Any volcanic holiday would obviously be good but a round the world one would be my first preference. Now I'm pretty sure I've got some episodes of the archers and pointless to catch up on. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Eruption update

Sinabung was one of the first volcanoes of the week, way back in September 2010, (amazing that this format of VC has been going for so long) and has since been erupting sporadically (trying to up my clueless references). Before this the volcano had been dormant for 400 years. The volcano is in North Sumatra which is one of Indonesia's biggest islands and has been severely deforested (but that's a topic for later). In general the eruptions haven't been particularly plinian or explosive (VEI = 2) but they have been really fucking ashy. This is really shit because it means that communities have to be evacuated and relocated with crops being destroyed. Constant raining ash must just be so depressing, just seeing endless grey skies and having to protect your homes and families. There was a more violent phase to the eruption in January and February this year which killed 17 people. At the moment the eruption is continuing and the alert level has been raised this week.

See really grey ash

To me it seems that volcanic activity has been increasing lately, but whether this is true or not is in doubt. Obviously no one really knows if it is and there are loads of conflicting theories and I haven't read them, but it is actually really interesting and if I can be bothered I will research it. To summarise possible theories are it's part of climate change/ general planet in crisis shit or that its do to with globalisation/ access to information shit. Which is all very interesting. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Death Reporting

Since the Ontake eruption the death toll has been rising (to over 50) with more and more tragic stories of those who didn't make it down from the volcano. What has made this even more eerie is that many of these reports have come directly from the victims through phone photos etc. This is one of the many consequences of new technology and probably not a good one as it allows people to obsess, which obviously you would do given the chance. Receiving messages from the dead seems new and like a massive drawback of modern technology, but is it actually so new and just that the methods have changed? I know that Pliny the Younger did survive the Vesuvius eruption (he is dead now) but it is his accounts that have been useful for volcanologists and is often considered the first recording of an eruption. And maybe that's a comforting way to look at things that actually the videos and photos are probably really useful for studying eruptions. Probably when people die in such tragic circumstances then everything would make it worse, knowing what they were doing just before they died but so would not knowing what they were doing.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Easter hotspot

A dear friend of the volcano club asked me the write about Chilean volcanoes and after some brief research I'm decided to focus on Easter Island. Which being not being mainland Chile may not be want was wanted but fuck it, it's my blog (aforementioned dear friend is a fan of VCs 'insane amount of swearing'). I didn't really know much about Easter Island apart from the obvious 'blah blah blah shit loads of massive heads blah blah blah how the fuck did they get there blah blah', but there is actually way more interesting stuff than all that bollocks. Such as the island is volcanic and has really interesting vegetation, I suppose that this is quite obvious it being in the middle of the Pacific. The map of the island is very pleasing because it's a nice triangle shape and the three corners have volcanoes in, presumably how the island was formed. All the volcanoes on the island are extinct, the largest is Terevaka, top of the map and is under 4000,000 years old and according to wikipedia easy to walk up, which sounds like a laugh. The island (and volcanic activity) is the result of being between the Nazcar and Pacific plates creating the Easter hotspot, which it's what I'm going to call the VC Easter weekend event.

As I'm sure everyone is aware Easter Island is in the middle of fucking nowhere, the closest inhabited island is Pitcairn which is also in the middle of fucking nowhere. Around 6,000 people live on the island, the island was probably populated around 1000CE with people travelling by canoe from around 2,000 miles away (most probably because they were absolutely mental). After settling the island went through a period of habitat degradation and deforestation (where was REDD when you needed it, little forestry joke for you there), this was caused by clearing and the introduction of the Polynesian rat. Many of the indigenous trees are now completely extinct or extinct in the wild like the toromiro tree which they are trying to reintroduce to the island. Birdman or Tangata Manu cults existed on the island, where members of each clan had to collect the first tern egg of the season from the 3.9 hectare island Moto Nui (bottom left on the map) and swim back to Rapa Nui (Polynesian name for easter island), the winner got to do loads of cool shit for the next year. To get back to the island the contestants had to climb the Orongo volcano and then lead a procession to a beach on the west or to another volcano on the east of the island. The practised was stopped by Christians in the 1860s, then the islanders went through a really shit time with Peruvian slave raiders and small pox. The indigenuous population decreased by 97% in 10 years. There were over 800 statues or Moai found on the island which are made from volcanic ash or tuff (which is easy to work with).  Islanders didn't get Chilean citizenship until 1966. 

Toromiro tree (above) and Rano Raraku (below)

So that's some shit about Easter Island which is pretty cool, there is more interesting stuff about the island like the indigenous rights movement and its the only place they've ever found Polynesian script. But I can't be fucked to write about that now. I might write about more Chilean volcanoes as they do look interesting or more Pacific islands soon.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Encyclopaedia Plates

These plates were taken from an old set of national encyclopaedias which are full of amazing pictures. Obviously the main reason for keeping encyclopaedias is for the pictures, I have 14 volumes with all the text taken out (cos who can be bothered reading) as well as all the plates from a children's encyclopaedia including shit loads of colour ones. I really want to make something with them but it's quite hard to think of stuff to make where paper is the best material to use, I did make a wallet but predictably it fell apart. But I will try and preserve these ones for scientific interest, I use the term scientific very loosely.

I really like the bottom left picture here, it looks like some kinda sci-film set. As you may be able to tell from other recent posts, I'm really into geological profiles at the moment. 

 I really hope that railway still exists.

 This is my favourite page, I particularly like the bay of naples.

Really like the paths of lava shown here but 'Dykes of Slaggy Lava' - way harsh, Tai. 

It's really nice seeing little things like this which remind me why I like volcanoes so much and make me want to write blog posts and stuff which I've been neglecting a lot recently. That's the great thing about volcanoes that are linked to pretty much everything so I'm always seeing interesting things like this. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Forests and Volcanoes

As any volcano club fans will know- the reason I like volcanoes is that they are linked to pretty much everything. The main reason I am giving for the recent absence of the volcano club is that I have been writing my masters thesis and generally studying and I can't really be expected to write more than one thing at once. For those who don't know I have been studying forestry and one of the main reasons I like forests is that they are also linked to pretty much everything, there are other reasons such as I actually like ecology, trees and all that crap. As volcanoes are linked to everything and so are forests then they are obviously linked to each other - but not in a vague tenuous shit way. You could say that the reason I like forests and volcanoes is because I don't actually them and what I really like is all the other stuff but you'd would be wrong. Anyway I thought that combining volcanoes and forests would be the perfect way to relaunch the VC blog, which is what this is, a fucking relaunch. The new picture at the top = relaunch, there was even a relaunch party with wine in plastic cups, bombay mix and volcanic experts, I might have made the relaunch party up but it sounds fun, I should do it for real. Anyway back to the forests and the volcanoes the basis is that the areas surrounding volcanoes tend to have rich soils which can lead to interesting plant life, here are three examples.

For no real reason I've linked songs to the three forests below, they are all great songs and connected to the forests in my mind at least, also I'm working on a volcano compilation so send me any suggestions.

1. Aokigahara 
I've written about this forests lots before, basically it's at the base of Mount Fuji (my favourite volcano), is one of the mostly densely vegetated places in the world and a suicide hotspot. The forest is quite small and so dense and dark that there are very few animals there, obviously it's haunted too. It is also known as the sea of trees which sounds quite pretty and reminds me of the linked song, because thinking of a suicide forest wasn't depressing enough.
Do not do a google image search for Aokigahara unless you want to see dead bodies in a forest. 

All of Java is volcanic and has great forests and it's a place with volcanoes that I have actually been to! While I have been to West and Central Java and I did see some forests (because I was there on a forestry field trip) I didn't get the volcanic vibe. But in East Java I went to both forests and volcanoes, yes it was fucking great. Volcanic soils tend to be good due to the breakdown of nutrients and large amounts of trace elements (which can be limiting to plants) when you go to areas with volcanoes you can really see this. Ijen is probably the best volcano to use as an example, because I went there twice and is surrounded by a lovely forest, where I saw monkeys. It is the volcano where they do sulphur mining, which is job that does not pay well especially when considering the health hazards, I did have a great conversation about Wayne Rooney with one of the sulphur miners though. 

Anyway back to my point, amazingly I do actually have one, which is that you can actually see effect the volcanicity has on the soil. Quite soon before I climbed the volcano there had been heat flare things (technical term) meaning that most of the vegetation at the top of the volcano had been killed. This meant you could really see the rocks and soil which were all really amazing colours and small plants were springing up everywhere as you can see in the above pictures. You have to climb the volcano at night (otherwise it's too hot) so the first time I really saw the area surrounding the volcano was when climbing down. Which was a really weird experience as you started at this strange barren crater and walked down into this amazingly lush forest and you could really see the zonation and were also aware of how special the conditions were. So it was quite a nice illustration of what a field trip is actually for; that when you actually see something even for a really short period time it makes so much more sense than any reading or anything else you can do (even though we weren't really studying any of the shit I've just said). 

3. Pacific Northwest
I don't really know much about this, not so surprising I know but I live a state of fear where someone will tell me everything I've written on my blog is crap, so this is just a little disclaimer, please don't use this to write essays or anything. But here are two facts that I know to be true- this area has shitloads of volcanic activity and this area has shit hot forests. So I think that probably all the volcanic activity had some kinda long term positive effect on soil quality on the growth of plants in this area, which is home to the most productive temperate rainforest in the world, but I can't find much info on it (it's not on Wikipedia). You learn shitloads about these trees when studying forestry as lots of the trees such as Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce as really fast growing and are used in European forestry. There was also a lot of interesting forestry techniques that was pioneered here, the main volcanoes are the cascade range which contains Mount St. Helens. It's also the bit of USA and Canada that looks amazingly great and people keep going there and I really want to go.

Loads of volcanoes

A volcano and a forest! (Mount Bachelor to be precise, which is just south of Mount Hood)

That's a little bit about some volcanic forests, hopefully marking the beginning of period of high VC activity. 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Volcano of the Week #26 - Mount Ontake

It's been a while since I've done one of these and it's a bit of a sad one. I've been planning stuff for the blog all week but considering the nature of volcanoes, it is fitting that my plan was disrupted by yesterdays eruption. It's quite big news so I imagine people know quite a lot about it (probably more than me). Mount Ontake is Japan's second biggest volcano, after Fuji, both volcanoes are in the mountainous Chubu region which is just south and west of Tokyo. Its quite hard to find out exactly when the volcano last erupted but there hasn't been a major eruption in modern times. So far over 30 people have died in the eruption, the volcano is a popular hiking spot particularly at this time of year and it's pretty beautiful, it also has religious significance and there are temples and shrines in the area.

There were hundreds of people who did manage to evacuate the volcano and the eruption had little warning. Obviously (lying on a fault line) volcanic activity in Japan is quite high and there was a bit of seismic activity but not enough to suggest the volcano was about to erupt so soon. I'm no volcanologist but what I do know is that predicting eruptions is difficult and not exactly accurate all the time. Climbing volcanoes is a risk but so are most worthwhile things (also mundane ones like crossing the road). So hopefully there will be no more fatalities and the rescue efforts go smoothly. There are loads of awesome (in the true sense of the word) pictures and videos of the eruption and here is a more scientific blog if people are interested.
Really scary video. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Volcano Top Trumps

One of the things I said I would write about is Volcano Top Trumps which are pretty amazing and my only volcano related Christmas present and therefore the best (thanks Paul!). As you may know/have guessed/deduced I am a massive top trump lover. Football top trumps were previously my favourite because of the great stats, I think I have 7 packs; Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, World Stars, European Stars and Legends (if you're interested). I actually have a top trump card where 2014 Ballon D'or winner Christiano Ronaldo (to use his full title) has no Utd goals or int. caps, probably a great collectors item that's now worth a lot of fucking money. What is really fun with the football top trumps is you can combine packs so either have a really really massive game or people start with different teams which is a bit like a football match, if football was judged purely on facts like height and the year of birth. Lord of the Rings Top Trumps are also great, the main object here was obviously to keep Aragorn for as long as possible/ get all 3 Aragorn cards from all 3 films (and say "they have a cave-troll" as much as possible). I also used to collect the pop trumps cards on the back of Smash Hits which were really good as they were top trump cards with lyrics on the back, amazing I know (also probably now collectors items). The take home message from this paragraph is basically I LIKE TOP TRUMPS and I am incredibly cool. I like top trump so much and am so cool that once I made my friend a pack of Nigella chocolate cake top trumps, obviously there are enough recipes for 30 cards.
This is the card, someone has actually put it on ebay, no bids yet amazingly.

I also like volcanoes, so something that combines the two such as volcano top trumps is fucking heaven. I've only actually had one game with them so far, which was a large game with about 6 people. I think I was the first person out (which has nothing to do with my volcano knowledge) but it was very exciting. I'm sure I'll win all the other games I play, there will be lots. I'm not sure what my favourite volcano top trump card is, some famous volcanoes like Eyjafjallaj√∂kull are shit cards so that also sways your opinion. Also I haven't got the pack with me so it's hard to say but Vesuvius is always a goodun.  The project is made by STREVA with actual volcanologists from the University of East Anglia and the University of Plymouth. The website is pretty great and informative too, you can see that the selecting of categories was taken very seriously which is something we applaud here at volcano club. The categories are height, unpredictability, wow! factor, deadliness (best one), explosivity and devastation potential. I know wow! factor seems like an unscientific, vague category but you're wrong it's very scientific. It was done using paired comparisons (you see science) but all this is on the website where you can also order a pack of volcano top trumps. I'll let you know how my future games go.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Issue # Six - Part Two. Dormancy

Some of the pages join up so sorry if they don't make sense individually. Let me know if ya want a copy.  

Issue # Six - Part One. Eruption

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Volcanic New Year Resolutions

SHIT. I just realised I haven't done a post since fucking April, that's literally ages ago. And I have done stuff since then but nothing big enough to stop me from volcano clubbing (I hate using blog as a verb so think I will use club from now on, which has loads of great connotations). I think it's like when you mean to contact a friend and then don't and then it becomes embarrassing that you haven't done it for so long so you never do, I'm sure I have many friends in various stages of this pattern. So sorry lads. But my second new year rezzy is to do all the shit I say I'm gonna do, which involves ticking EVERYTHING off my to do lists and not saying I'm gonna do shit I'm obviously not gonna do. My other resolutions are to 1. appear more enthusiastic (I'm generally quite inwardly enthusiastic) 3. feel less guilty about spending money/having fun (but still the same amount of money but definitely have more fun) 4. spend more time at the ocean. Guess the one I made when I was drunk?! I'm pleased with them all hence posting them. The really good thing is that not having clubbed (much better) for so long I've got loads of great shit to write about, mainly because I made a new zine, went to Indonesia and everybody else is really into volcanoes now (not sure how I feel about that).

there are gonna be more pictures like this which I actually took at actual volcanoes

So anyway instead of doing a proper post I'm just gonna write a list of things I will club about in the near future. I'm doing this because then I have to do them because you can't break resolutions in January and also hopefully the list will be so exciting that everyone will be well into Volcano Club.  
1. New Zine (actually 2 zines - eruption and dormancy)
2. Volcano Top Trumps (made by actual Top Trumps not me)
3. Climbing Mount Ijen (twice)
4. Climbing Mount Bromo
5. Indonesia in General
6. Indonesian forestry and volcanoes (the most exciting obviously)
7. Emma Stibbon
I think that's it, obviously I don't want to overexert myself. There will be probably be more stuff that comes up and obviously volcanoes do actually keep erupting, so there is always new volcanic stuff. Setting myself a time limit would come under the saying I'm gonna do shit I'm not gonna part of my resolution so I won't do that. All I will say is that the new zine will be on the blog by the end of the week which is pretty easy so I'm setting myself a low bar (potential flaw in my resolution). Basically I'm gonna do lots of clubbing this year (hopefully in all three senses of the word) and it's gonna be great. It's because I've gotta write my thesis and I thought what better to accompany sitting around for long periods writing shit no one care about really important scientific work than to sit around writing more shit no one cares about really important scientific work (resolution #1). The good thing about this blog is that I can just make stuff up so which I obviously can't do in my thesis so that will be a nice change. 
Also if anyone is reading and has any suggestions of stuff I can club about, if you haven't realised yet the link to volcanoes can be tenuous, then let me know.