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Sumatra volcano Sinabung has been releasing hot ash and gravel in the past week. EPA/DEDY SAHPUTRA

Under the volcano: predicting eruptions and coping with ash rain

Living alongside active volcanoes in places like Japan, the Philippines and especially Indonesia can be uncomfortable. Around half a billion people in the world live near high-risk volcanic eruption areas…
Phreatic eruption: Mount Ontake. EPA/Ministry of Land, Infrastructure

Why Japan’s deadly Ontake eruption could not be predicted

Mount Ontake, Japan’s second-highest volcano, erupted killing at least 31 people on September 27. Since then, there has been feverish speculation about why tourists were on an active volcano and why the…
Some think it’s the time of the year. EPA

Could there really be such a thing as volcano season?

The Earth seems to have been smoking a lot recently. Volcanoes are currently erupting in Iceland, Hawaii, Indonesia and Mexico. Others, in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, erupted recently but seem…
Subglacial Gjalp eruption in 1996. Páll Stefánsson, Iceland Geological Survey

Is Iceland’s next volcanic eruption about to happen?

The Iceland Meteorological Office has increased the risk of an eruption at Bárðarbunga (or Bardarbunga) volcano, after hundreds of earthquakes were reported over the weekend. The risk level has been set…
Nailing down the sites of ancient volcanic eruptions could help identify mineral deposits. Ásgeir Kröyer/Flickr

Tracing the Earth’s hottest volcanoes from core to ore

Volcanic eruptions are as old as the planet itself. They inspire awe, curiosity and fear and demonstrate the dynamic internal activity of the Earth. However, the impact of modern volcanoes pales in comparison…
Mount Erebus is Antarctica’s obvious volcano, but there is more below the ice. Josh Landis/USAP

Volcanic rift valley under Antarctica hotter than expected

The Thwaites glacier is one of the most rapidly changing in Antarctica. It’s been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks, after scientists suggested that this sector of the huge West Antarctic…
The Grand Canyon of Mars – Valles Marineris. NASA,Viking Project,USGS

Lava, not water, formed canyons on Mars

The canyon-like scars which line Mars' crust are seen by many as evidence for liquid water. But a study now suggests that a different kind of fluid – one much less hospitable to life – may actually have…
The explosive eruption of Sarychev Volcano, on Russia’s Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan, seen from the International Space Station. Flickr/NASA Goddard

Crater creator uses explosions to find the secrets of volcanoes

You can learn a lot about volcanoes by studying explosions. The more we can learn about their explosive behaviour, the more chance we have of saving lives when they suddenly erupt. There are many volcanoes…
Volcanoes can help life survive in the cold. Flickr/august allen

Antarctic volcanoes help preserve life in the freezer

Antarctica was once covered in lush, subtropical forests, inhabited by diverse plants and animals including large dinosaurs. That’s going back many millions of years. These days, Antarctica is 99.7% covered…

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