To be given by Professor Bob White FRS
Professor of Geophysics, Bullard Laboratories, Cambridge
Joint lecture with the Geology Section
Volcanic eruptions in Iceland have fascinated writers for centuries. In 1775 Benjamin Franklin correctly identified the cause of the terrible weather that summer in Europe as caused by an eruption in Iceland, which turned out to be the biggest known historic eruption. In 1864 Jules Verne based his ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ on a presumed volcanic conduit beneath the Icelandic volcano Hekla. In 2014 we were fortunate to capture the largest eruption in Iceland since 1775, this time with modern instrumentation. We were able to track the molten rock as it travelled sideways underground for 50 km before erupting in central Iceland, using the 50,000 tiny earthquakes it generated as it cracked its way forwards. I will describe our work in one of the remotest areas on earth tracking the molten rock, with videos of the eruption and advancing lava flows taken from within touching distance of the molten rock.
To be held at the New Walk Museum: