28-Fire: Does a planet need life for fire to burn?

Think about what types of things burn: wood, grasses, fossil fuels… mostly things that were formed by life. Fire also requires oxygen, which is largely produced by life. Did Earth have fire before life evolved? Could any other planets have fire? If there were an exoplanet with fires burning, would we have any way to detect that?

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27-Fire: Mixing (volcanic) fire and water

When the Halema‘uma‘u crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano began filling with water in 2019 it wasn’t unprecedented, volcanic crater lakes aren’t uncommon; but, it was surprising for active volcano that hadn’t seen any water at the summit in at least 200 years. 

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9-Extinctions: Not your science fair volcano

For many of us, the word “extinctions” conjures up images of dinosaurs, asteroids, and (maybe?) volcanos. And while that last point did likely play a role in the demise of the dinosaurs, volcanos in their own right can go extinct. In this episode, we chatted with volcanologist Janine Krippner, Honorary Research Associate at the University of…

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Staff Picks: Parking Lot Lava

In a parking lot behind the Comstock Art Facility at Syracuse University, geologist Jeff Karson and sculptor Bob Wysocki cook up something almost unimaginable – homemade lava. Using a gas furnace the size of a small truck, the two professors melt gravel typically used for roadbeds into hot molten rock that they pour onto sand to recreate natural lava flows seen in places like Hawaii, Iceland and Italy.

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Escape from Thera

About 3,600 years ago, a colossal volcanic eruption blew apart the Greek island Thera, now the popular tourist destination known as Santorini. Falling volcanic rock and dust buried the Bronze Age settlement Akrotiri, on the south side of the island, preserving multi-story buildings, frescoes, tools, furniture and food, until archaeological excavations uncovered them in the last century, much like the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE famously buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. But unlike the Roman cities, Akrotiri has a notable lack of bodies.

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Mt. St. Helens: 40 Years Later

On May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens erupted in Washington state, capping off a series of volcanic events that began on March 27th of that year. The May 18th explosions is credited with causing 57 deaths, >$1 billion in property damage, and forever changed the surrounding landscape.

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Et tu, Etna?

In 44 BCE, a momentous event occurred. Somewhere on Earth, a volcano erupted—one of the largest of last 2,500 years terms of climate impact. Traces of the eruption can be found in ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, in signs of cold weather in the growth rings of trees around the world, and records of famine and agricultural disaster from Egypt to China. The eruption caused global climate effects lasting several years.

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Centennial E10 – Volcano Disaster Prepping

Many people have emergency kits packed to flee or survive forces of nature like floods, hurricanes, or wildfire. But what do you throw in your bag when you expect to rush toward a natural hazard? Geologist John Ewert has his go-kit packed with portable seismometers and gas-monitoring equipment, ready to mobilize when a volcano starts to rumble.

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