About Natural Disasters: Campi Flegrei, the Phlegrean Fields

I dug up this 2013 post as background for this past week’s excellent blog post by volcanologist Erik Klemetti on Campi Flegrei in Italy–it may warming up again (but there is nothing to indicate an eruption is likely in our lifetimes, let alone imminent). In the midst of life we are in death … An

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NASA’s InSight Landing on Mars

This is scheduled to happen on Monday: Another one of those “7-minutes-of-terror” events. Hope it works! Here is NASA’s “watch online” page for it. And here is InSight’s launch, back in May–two days after lava had started spurting out of the ground in a residential neighborhood in Hawaii on the flanks of Kilauea Volcano. Addendum:

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Meanwhile, at Kilauea . . .

Update, November 24, 2018, 7:26 a.m., Pacific: Per the volcanologists, who kindly replied by email, this cloud coming out of the caldera, captured on the cam shot (below), was: Volcanic gases — visibility of plume is more pronounced in early mornings and evenings when warm gases condense as they are released into cooler air temperatures.

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Book Preview: Cat fanciers face ethical questions that never arose for early dog breeders

Is it right to build a breed on genetic disorders? No? Well, that’s exactly what we did with the dachshund. Centuries ago, hunters made a breed out of this canine dwarf mutation because they needed a badger dog and there was no concept of animal welfare to stop them. Everybody accepts dachshunds today. Dog fanciers

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Popocatepetl Crater Overflight This Morning

This is also in the Popocatepetl updates (see link at top of page), but it’s awesome enough to share in a separate post, too. The volcanologists say the dome is 250 meters (roughly 820 feet) by 30 meters (98 feet) and has a volume of 1.5 million cubic meters/530 million cubic feet. Extrusion rate is

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Meanwhile, in Alaska . . .

Update, November 22, 2018, 12:51 p.m., Pacific: Happy Thanksgiving! Also, AVO has decreased the alert level back to Orange, as Veniaminof’s ash emissions have decreased in intensity, though they continue (along with the flowing red lava. Original post: AVO Veniaminof RED/WARNING – Increased continuous ash emissions to 15,000 ft and extending over 150 miles to

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Popocatepetl is Putting on a Show

If we once realize all this earth as it is, we should find ourselves in a land of miracles: we shall discover a new planet at the moment that we discover our own. — G. K. Chesterton, in “In Defence of Planets” Starting on the afternoon of the 20th, this volcano–around which some 25 million

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Guest Videos: Galactic Fountains and Cosmic Serpents

No, seriously it’s a galactic fountain. With gas, not water. And a massive black hole . . . Has anyone seen Christopher Nolan lately? We might want to look for Michael Bay, too. Astronomers just reported finding something beautiful in the Milky Way Galaxy–beautiful, but incredibly violent . . . Reportedly, the thing doesn’t seem

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