Mt. Etna in Sicily is putting on a brilliant show today, which you can watch here. (You’ll need to refresh the page every five minutes or so.) See Eruptions for commentary. (Scroll down to the later comments.)

Update: The show’s over for now. According to Boris Behncke, a vulcanologist in Sicily, “This has been a typical lava fountain from the Southeast Crater (that is, the vent on its east flank which seems to have completely taken over the job from the old vent at its top), with jets rising 300-500 m – maybe a bit more – and lasting for little more than one hour.”

Everything you ever wanted to know about Mt. Etna: here, here and here.

Update II: For those who missed the show, here’s a video:

Java dawn

Gunung Merapi in Indonesia is beginning an eruption, and there are indications that it could be major — bad news in that densely populated region. I’ve been keeping an eye on the webcam (you will need to refresh the image every 30 seconds or so), ((Link removed — some creeps hacked the website.)) and I grabbed a few screencaps of the mountain in the early morning light. See the comments at Eruptions for discussion of the activity.

Update: Merapi did indeed erupt. There’s much discussion and many links here and here.

Update II: The eruption is turning out to be every bit as bad as feared. The best source of information remains the Eruptions weblog. Reuters pictures of Merapi, and also of Anak Krakatau (Krakatoa, Jr.), can be viewed here.

Update III: Here’s a regularly-refreshed link to the Merapi webcam. The camera has a good, close view of the mountain, which means that the image is frequently obscured by ash on the lens.

Update IV: Some very good pictures here.

Continue reading “Java dawn”


People who are fascinated by volcanoes (Erik?) will be interested to know that the Réunion mountain Piton de la Fournaise has begun its anticipated eruption (Google translation). It’s located on the opposite side of the planet — i.e., it’s night there when it’s day here — but the glow is clearly visible in the webcams. Piton is known for Hawaiian-style eruptions, with lots of nice, photogenic lava (scroll down a bit).

Incidentally, you can keep tabs on Hawaii’s Kilauea here. The best viewing time is just before dawn on the big island (around 11 a.m. here in Kansas). Check Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions weblog for breaking news and much more information about vulcanism around the world.

Update: Grrr. Now that it’s daylight in Réunion, it looks like the cameras are all on the wrong sides of the mountain. There are some photos here and here.
Update II: Here’s a video.

Welcome to Mordor

Here’s where this was shot. As far as I can tell, this is for real, though the people probably look closer to the hot stuff than they actually are because telephoto lenses compress distances.

The New Zealand mountains Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe were Peter Jackson’s stand-ins for Mt. Doom, but the video above is closer to my mental image of Tolkien’s volcano. (Tolkien is said to have modeled Mordor on the perpetually erupting Stromboli.)

Explosive action

Nothing worth watching on television? Eyjafjallajökull not doing much these days on the rare occasions when it’s not hidden by clouds? Take a look through the Sakura-jima webcam. When the weather is clear, you probably won’t need to wait long to see a nice column of ash burst out of the crater. Sakura-jima has been almost continuously active since 1955.

You can control the camera, by the way. Click on the box with crosshairs at the bottom right of the viewer and wait for the countdown to end. The bar to the right of the picture controls the zoom, and the little box under the picture controls where the camera points.


A different sort of video: Arthur C. Clarke, Benoit Mandelbrot and the Mandelbrot set, with a soundtrack by David Gilmour. (Via Steven Riddle.)