Volcanoes

World Travel Blog

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Kilauea, Hawaii

I have always been fascinated by volcanoes. I remember being so impressed when, as a kid,  I read that story of a farmer in Mexico who in 1943 saw some steam coming out of his corn field through large cracks that opened in the Earth... He and his family witnessed the birth of a new volcano! The Paricutin now stands 424m tall over its surroundings. Just imagine having a volcano pop up in your backyard... This volcano has now been dormant since 1952.


Later on, spectacular images of volcanic activity in Iceland (birth of the Island of Surtsey), Hawaii (lava flows reaching the ocean) or Reunion had such an impact on me that I wanted to go and see with my own eyes these manifestations of the living Earth.

My first trip on a volcano was in Sicily on Mt Etna, as a student.

Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador
We were there with a Swiss scientist working at the USGS, specialised in the seismic signal associated with the movement of the upwelling magma through the Earth's crust. The only activity that we saw on that trip were fumaroles, but I was able to return later on the volcano to see a small eruption that took place in the "Valle del Bove".

Shortly after this first visit to Etna, I was going to study a volcano in Colombia, the Galeras, next to Pasto in the Narino province. Unfortunately for me (or should I say fortunately...) there was a change in plans and the Colombian Geological Survey INGEOMINAS decided that a Colombian student who was already familiar with that volcano would be doing that research project. I was very disappointed when I heard this, however it made sense.
One of Mt Etna's craters, Sicily
..  I ended up working on a different project, also in Colombia, so did get an opportunity to see this volcano.


A few years later the Galeras was the scene of a tragic accident that struck the scientific community. In January 1993, an international volcanology symposium was held in Pasto. During a field trip on the volcano, with no obvious signs of warning, it erupted and six scientists plus three tourists were killed! The volcanologist I had climbed Galeras with was one of them! It was a terrible tragedy. Had I been the one doing that research project, I most probably would have been present on the volcano on that day...

After these events there was a big controversy regarding whether or not such a catastrophe could have been prevented. Two books that I know of have been written on the subject:  "Surviving Galeras" by Stanley Williams who led the excursion on the volcano, and "No apparent danger" by Victoria Bruce.

The crater of Galeras, where a lake had formed, Colombia


Climbing volcanoes should not be taken lightly...

 

 

 

 


The volcanoes (active or dormant) that I have climbed in South America:

Colombia
        - Purace (4650m)
        - Galeras (4276m) a road goes up to the top of Galeras, but then it is a steep descent along fixed ropes down the caldera, followed by a climb to the crater

Ecuador
        - Cotopaxi (5895m)
        - lliniza (5126m)
        - Tungurahua (5023m)
        - Carihuayrazo (5018m)
        - Chiles (4761m) along the border with Colombia
        - Rucu Pichincha (4627m)

Other volcanoes that I have been to:

        - Parinacota (6348m) in Chile
        - Chimborazo (6268m) in Ecuador
        - Kilauea (1247m) in Hawaii (watching the lava reach the ocean on Kilauea was just awesome!)
        - Arenal  (1657m) in Costa Rica (because of the heavy rains I did not get a chance to see the summit and the lava flows)
        - Santorini in Greece
        - Massif Central in France.

Galeras caldera and craters
.. long "extinct"
        - ...

In this blog I've put together my favorite photographs of these turbulent giants.

WorldXplorer says:
Thank you :)
Posted on: Nov 29, 2014
mmeymey says:
great blog :)
Posted on: Nov 29, 2014
xander_van_hoof says:
You have been on a lot of vulcanos. Reminds me to make a list myself.
Tip: I just went IN a vulcano on Iceland, that was also amazing. Hope to visit Erta Ale soon.
Posted on: Jun 23, 2014
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Kilauea, Hawaii
Kilauea, Hawaii
Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador
Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador
One of Mt Etnas craters, Sicily
One of Mt Etna's craters, Sicily
The crater of Galeras, where a lak…
The crater of Galeras, where a la…
Galeras caldera and craters
Galeras caldera and craters
Etna
Etna
Lava flow on Etna
Lava flow on Etna
Galeras
Galeras
Galeras
Galeras
Galeras
Galeras
Measuring gas temperature on Galer…
Measuring gas temperature on Gale…
Me on the Galeras
Me on the Galeras
The Purace Volcano next to Popayan…
The Purace Volcano next to Popaya…
Hot springs close to the Azucar
Hot springs close to the Azucar
The Azucar Volcano in Colombia
The Azucar Volcano in Colombia
Lava flow reaching the ocean on Ki…
Lava flow reaching the ocean on K…
Kilauea, Hawaii
Kilauea, Hawaii
The summit of Cotopaxi
The summit of Cotopaxi
The way up to the crater
The way up to the crater
The refuge on Cotopaxi
The refuge on Cotopaxi
The Cotopaxi crater
The Cotopaxi crater
On the top!
On the top!
On the way down
On the way down
The amazing view on the way down
The amazing view on the way down
The Chimborazo Volcano, Ecuador
The Chimborazo Volcano, Ecuador
Mt Chimborazo
Mt Chimborazo
Sangay Volcano, Ecuador
Sangay Volcano, Ecuador
The Illiniza South, Ecuador
The Illiniza South, Ecuador
The refuge on the Illiniza
The refuge on the Illiniza
On the way up Illiniza North
On the way up Illiniza North
Going down the ridge of Illiniza N…
Going down the ridge of Illiniza …
Climbing Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuad…
Climbing Tungurahua Volcano, Ecua…
Laguna Cuicocha in Ecuador, with d…
Laguna Cuicocha in Ecuador, with …
The Payachatas with Parinacota Vol…
The Payachatas with Parinacota Vo…
Parinacota seen from Lauca Nationa…
Parinacota seen from Lauca Nation…
The Parinacota Volcano
The Parinacota Volcano
Geysers El Tatio, Chile
Geysers El Tatio, Chile
Geysers El Tatio, Chile
Geysers El Tatio, Chile
Geysers El Tatio, Chile
Geysers El Tatio, Chile
Volcanic activity next to Rotorua …
Volcanic activity next to Rotorua…
Volcanic activity next to Rotorua …
Volcanic activity next to Rotorua…
Geyser next to Rotorua in New Zeal…
Geyser next to Rotorua in New Zea…
Mt Batur Volcano in Bali
Mt Batur Volcano in Bali
Lava flows along the coast in Samoa
Lava flows along the coast in Samoa
Santorini, Greece
Santorini, Greece
Santorini, Greece
Santorini, Greece
Fumaroles escaping from the crater…
Fumaroles escaping from the crate…
Lava flow in Valle del Bove, Etna …
Lava flow in Valle del Bove, Etna…
Lava flow
Lava flow
Close-up on the lava
Close-up on the lava
Measuring seismic tremor on Mt Etna
Measuring seismic tremor on Mt Etna
Mt Etna, Italy
Mt Etna, Italy
Mt Etna
Mt Etna
Mt Etna
Mt Etna
The crater at Mt Etna
The crater at Mt Etna
Life always takes over on top of t…
Life always takes over on top of …
Dykes in the Valle del Bove
Dykes in the Valle del Bove
Volcano Arenal remained hidden in …
Volcano Arenal remained hidden in…
Basalt columns at the Giants Caus…
Basalt columns at the Giant's Cau…
6,267 km (3,894 miles) traveled
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