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Piton de la Fournaise or “Peak of the Furnace” on Reunion Island is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, shown erupting in August 2015. AAP/NewZulu/Vincent Dunogué

Explainer: why volcanoes erupt

What happens beneath the surface before a volcano erupts? Can we predict when one will blow? And how can typhoons and melting glaciers contribute to big eruptions?
Is this image of destruction after Cyclone Pam a sign of things to come? Sgt Neil Bryden RAF, British Ministry of Defence/AAP

Explainer: are natural disasters on the rise?

Natural disasters are becoming more frequent, with more people with less money exposed to a greater number of hazards.
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…

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