Autumn? Summer continues on these islands

Europe Near Sicily

Is summer over soon? Not on these islands!

From seething mud lakes to picture-perfect fishing villages: each of the seven inhabited Aeolian Islands is unique in its own way. The archipelago near Sicily is a worthwhile holiday destination until well into autumn.

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Dhe Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, have been a Unesco World Heritage Site for 20 years. The archipelago is a worthwhile holiday destination well into autumn. Bathing is still done in November, hikers climb extinct and not extinct volcanoes or walk between vineyards and caper fields.

Each of the seven inhabited islands is unique in its own way. Salina, for example, consists of two volcanoes that are almost 1,000 meters high. Both are long extinct, but their black, mustard-yellow or bright red rocks shape the spectacular landscape.

The locals are proud of the beauty of their island, but kept it to themselves for a long time. They did not want mass tourism, and so the creation of tourist infrastructure was deliberately neglected. In the meantime, there are more visitors, but places like Malfa still seem sleepy and pleasantly provincial even in the high season, especially in Corona summer 2020.

Aeolian Islands near Sicily in Italy

Source: Infographic WELT / Jörn Baumgarten

Some consider Salina to be the most exciting of the Aeolian Islands. The neighboring islands have their own charms and invite you to go island hopping:

Vulcano: Bathing in Schammseen

Admittedly, the island smells like rotten eggs. Hot steam flows from various holes in the ground, in places Vulcano looks like a bizarre moonscape. All kinds of sulfur springs feed natural mud lakes, whose healing properties were already appreciated by the Romans and which locals and tourists serve as a health-promoting meeting point. You just have to pinch your nose there.

You can bathe more elegantly in the Therasia Resort Sea & Spa, which is considered to be one of the best wellness hotels south of Rome.

On Vulcano, tourists take a sulfur bath in the fango pool

On Vulcano, tourists take a sulfur bath in the fango pool

Source: mauritius images / Werner Otto

Lipari: The largest of the Aeolian Islands

On the largest of the Aeolian Islands there are cars, schools, a hospital, an archaeological museum and a long sandy beach with bathing establishments. There are also plenty of hotels and pensions, trattorias and cafés.

In the evening, when the day-trippers are gone, you meet at the port of the pretty fishing village of Marina Corta and have an aperitivo in peace. Then the best thing to do is to order shrimp tartare and pistachio pasta in one of the restaurants.

Coast Guard frees sperm whale from fishing net

The coast guard has freed a sperm whale from a fishing net off the coast of Italy. The ten-meter-long animal was caught in the net off the Aeolian island of Salina.

Those: WELT / Coast Guard

Stromboli: an active volcano and black beaches

When you think of Stromboli, you think of the film of the same name by Roberto Rossellini with Ingrid Bergman in the leading role. Almost 400 people live on the island in two enchanted villages at the foot of a volcano that regularly spits lava.

Sun worshipers are drawn to the black beaches of Ficogrande, where the chic hotel “La Sirenetta” with a pool and a view of the Strombolicchio rock is located. Gourmets appreciate the Ristorante “Punta Lena” with the best island cuisine and a terrace directly above the cliffs.

Stromboli is an active volcano that regularly spits lava

Stromboli is an active volcano that regularly spits lava

Those: Getty Images / Gianni Sarasso

Panarea: excursions by boat

Although the postcard-pretty island doesn’t have a single beach, it does have a large number of offshore islets and enough fishing boats that can be hired for excursions. Insiders buy lunch in the mini market and later dive into the crystal clear water around the rocks of Basiluzzo, Dattilo or Lisca Bianca.

Panarea is also suitable for people watching: If someone in the “Hotel Raya” looks like Naomi Campbell, it’s Naomi Campbell, and in the “Bar del Porto” you can see the who’s who of the Sicilian hotspot having an evening aperitif.

Aeolian Islands (Italy): On Panarea there are also hiking trails with breathtaking views

There are hiking trails on Panarea with breathtaking views

Those: Getty Images / Antonio Busiello

Filicudi: A rugged rock with beautiful grottos

The island is a roughly ten square kilometers large, rugged rock. The three volcanic cones are extinct, during their active time they gave Filicudi a number of beautiful grottos. Almost exclusively Italians holiday here with their own villa and boat, so it’s quiet.

The port village of Pecorini, which consists of a few houses, can only be reached by water. The restaurant and beach club “La Sirena” offers the only public social meeting place far and wide.

Approach by boat: one of the caves on Filicudi (Aeolian Islands, Italy)

One can get closer to the Filicudi caves by boat

Those: De Agostini via Getty Images / DEA / S. MONTANARI

Alicudi: 150 residents and a couple of donkeys

Those who find it too stressful on Filicudi can go to Alicudi. Only 150 residents and a few donkeys live there.

Aeolian Islands near Sicily (Italy): Only 150 people live on Alicudi

Quiet is really guaranteed here: only 150 people live on Alicudi

Quelle: Universal Images Group via Getty Images/Marka

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

WELT AM SONNTAG from September 6, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag


Salina near Sicily: the beauty of the island kept secret

Fif you ask any islander about his ancestors, you often hear the story of visionary entrepreneurs who emigrated to Australia or America and returned to Salina with fresh money and new ideas. From wealthy Malvasia wine merchants or at least from farmers who have grown the valuable capers in addition to grapes and almonds. And who, thanks to their wealth, were able to put a few splendid palaces on the slopes above the coast.

“Our island has always been special,” says Salina-born artist Pippo Cafarella. One volcano wasn’t enough, there had to be two. Both are long extinct, but their black, mustard-yellow or bright red rock shapes the spectacular landscape.

It is also special that the 2500-person island of Salina governs itself, in contrast to the other Aeolian Islands – the film diva Stromboli is one of them, but also Panarea, Vulcano and the rocky spots Alicudi and Filicudi, which are administered from the main island of Lipari . Salina has three independent municipalities, each with a port, a city council and its own mayor.

Salina is considered the most beautiful of the Aeolian Islands

The archipelago north of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea has been a Unesco World Heritage Site for 20 years and is a worthwhile holiday destination well into autumn. Bathing is still in November, hikers climb extinct and not extinct volcanoes or stroll between vineyards and caper fields. Each of the seven inhabited islands is unique in its own way, but Salina is considered by connoisseurs to be the most beautiful and special of all.

Source: Infographic WELT / Jörn Baumgarten

The locals kept it to themselves for a long time. They wanted to prevent Salina from becoming as glamorous as Panarea or as famous as Stromboli. The creation of tourist infrastructure was deliberately neglected, only a few hotels offered a few rooms, anyone who wanted to go on holiday on Salina needed their own house.

Then director Michael Radford came and shot “Il Postino” (“The Postman”) in 1994. The story of friendship between the poet Pablo Neruda and his postman moved many cinema viewers to tears and aroused their curiosity: Where is the village of Pollara, through which the postman cycles? Where is the lonely bay that Neruda walks along? And where is the poet’s pink house? The answer to all three questions is: Salina.

Even the Ferrari boss flashed here

With the film, the island became popular. Pippo Cafarella, who owns the picturesque film house, could have sold his property several times: actors, industrial captains, public offices and even the Belgian royal couple were interested. But he is not thinking of giving up his house with its overgrown garden.

Villa on Salina (Sicily, Italy)

There are some villas on Salina with a great view

Quelle: Getty Images/ RM

“No”, said Patrizia Lopes when the former Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo offered four million euros for her weathered villa above the port of Rinella. “Villa L’Ariana was my grandparents’ holiday home, I live here, why should I sell?”

She prefers to rent a few rooms in the peach-colored property with its terraces and the striking bust trellis on the roof to vacationers: “Some guests have been coming for 30 years, should I put them in front of the door?” And anyway: “What does Signor di Montezemolo want in Rinella? “

In fact, the place doesn’t offer much: a small supermarket, an ice cream parlor, a church and a tiny beach, which – like most on the island – consists of dark gray lava sand. But with the motorboat you are quickly in a Caribbean blue bay and with the Vespa in one of the osterias.

Salina: The village of Pollara with its boat houses carved into the rock and a bay for diving

The village of Pollara with its boat houses carved into the rock and a bay for diving

Those: Getty

For example in the “Villa Carla” in Leni. There is a handful of tables between blooming rose bushes, the view overlooks the sea, island specialties such as ravioli with caper filling and fish in a crust of breadcrumbs, mint and orange peel come from the kitchen.

The straw-yellow Malvasia from the Capofaro winery, which towers high above the sea, goes well with this. It belongs to the Sicilian noble family Tasca d’Almerita, who not only grow this wonderfully dry white wine on Salina, but also run a luxurious hotel.

The rooms and suites are located in houses overgrown with bougainvilleas between vines or in the lighthouse built in 1884 and score points with their chic, pleasantly cool island design.

Despite more holidaymakers, not full even in midsummer

From here it is only a stone’s throw to Malfa, a village with narrow streets, photogenic faded house facades, a church square with palm trees and a few cafes where large cups of almond or mulberry granita are served. On the outskirts of the village, the Scario Beach, which is surrounded by dark cliffs and valued for its crystal-clear water, is attractive, but also for the tiny “Maracaibo” bar, where you get filled foccacia, beer and colorful air mattresses.

Salina: Malfa is a village with narrow streets, a church square with palm trees and a few cafes

Malfa is a village with narrow streets, a church square with palm trees and a few cafes

Quelle: REDA&CO/Universal Images Group v

Malfa’s mayor Chiara Rametta is closely watching what is happening on her island: “We are seeing more holidaymakers than ten years ago. In the past only Italians came and they only came in August. Now the first holidaymakers arrive at Whitsun, the last come in October. And international vacationers also come. But it is still a very discreet tourism. ”It can hardly be felt anyway – Malfa looks sleepy and pleasantly provincial even in the high season, especially in the Corona summer 2020.

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Aeolian Islands (Italy): On Panarea there are also hiking trails with breathtaking views

Santa Marina is a bit more urban, simply called “la città” by the 900 residents. There are restaurants, a marina and a shopping street with lovely shops like “Le Signorine”, where Rossana and Serena Cervellera offer their own line of saline jewelry and Mediterranean home accessories.

The “Mercanti di Mare” hotel on the promenade also belongs to the elegant sisters. They inherited the beautiful building with a spacious loggia from their grandparents. Of course they could have sold it, there were enough interested parties. But that is out of the question for her: “It’s our family’s house. We don’t give it up. “

Salina: The Cervellera sisters run a hotel in Santa Maria - and they don't think about selling it

The Cervellera sisters run a hotel in Santa Maria – and don’t think about selling it

Quelle: Patricia Engelhorn

Tips and information

Getting there: Flight to Catania or Palermo, for example with Lufthansa or Easyjet. Most of the ferry connections to Salina and the other Aeolian Islands are from the port of Milazzo, e.g. with Liberty Lines ( or Siremar (, tickets from 20 euros (one way ).

Accommodation: “Hotel Mercanti di Mare”, nine rooms furnished in a pretty island style, some with a view of the Santa Marina promenade, double rooms from 100 euros, “Hotel Signum”, charming 30-room hotel in Malfa, which is spread over several renovated island houses in a garden landscape, restaurant with Michelin star, double rooms from 200 euros, “I Cinque Balconi”, ten rooms with beamed ceilings, antique floor tiles and family antiques in two historic merchant houses in Santa Marina, double rooms from 80 euros, The “Capofaro” is a magical Relais & Châteaux resort in a vineyard with a sea view, 27 minimalist, elegant rooms, spacious pool, gourmet restaurant, double rooms from 260 euros, (not until 2021).

Further information:;

Sicily: Salina Island, Malfa, Hotel Signum, pool

The “Hotel Signum” in Malfa has a pool

Source: pa / DUMONT Bildar / Sabine Lubenow

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

Source: Welt am Sonntag


Volcano active close to the Limburg border | 1Limburg

Thanks to the measurements of thousands of GPS antennas, it has been shown that the volcanic hotspot near the Limburg border is still active.

The soil under the German Eifel Mountains, the area roughly in the triangle of Aachen, Trier and Koblenz, rises by about one millimeter every year. This is what scientists say in the scientific journal Geophysical Journal International.

“Most scientists assumed that volcanic activity in the Eifel was a thing of the past,” said Corné Kreemer, professor of geodesy at the University of Nevada (Reno, USA) and lead author of the scientific paper. “But if you connect the dots, it looks like something is brewing beneath the heart of northwestern Europe.”

The data from thousands of GPS antennas in Europe was examined for the study by the University of Nevada and the University of California. This showed that the soil in and around the Eifel moves both horizontally and vertically.

“The Eifel area is the only region in the study where the ground movements are significantly greater than expected,” adds Kreemer. “A rising plume could explain the observed patterns and the speed of the ground movements.”

Most soil movement was measured roughly around Nürburg. But the movements extend to Luxembourg, East Belgium and Limburg. In South Limburg, the soil moves about 0.75 to 1 millimeter per year. In Central Limburg, this is decreasing to about 0.25 to 0.75 millimeters per year, the data shows.

According to the scientist, this does not mean that there is immediately a great risk of an eruption or earthquake. “But we do keep an eye on the area to map out possible risks.”


Bolivia: These animals deliver the most exclusive wool in the world

The highlands in Bolivia

WITHBetween the mountain ranges of the Andes running parallel is the highlands of Bolivia, the 3000 to 4000 meter high Altiplano: treeless, sprinkled with huge lagoons with fluttering pink flamingos, an endless expanse, 700 kilometers long and 200 kilometers wide, with dust-dry stone deserts, salt lakes, volcanoes, bizarre rocks, but also with green plains, on which llama herds graze.

In the north is Lake Titicaca, the largest high mountain lake on earth. This is also where the Ruta 1 trunk road begins, often straight ahead, via La Paz, at 3600 meters the world’s highest seat of government, and on to Oruro, famous for its three-day carnival – protected by UNESCO, with carved wooden masks in the form of grimaces and diablada -Dance.

On Maundy Thursday the even more colorful one takes place Anata which only indigenous people can take part in. Here you ask them Achachilas, the weather gods living in the mountains, to a good harvest. Most of the locals are farmers. Bolivia is a poor country. There are gravel roads off the main road – past villages and vegetable fields built from red Adobe bricks.

Source: Infographic The World

There is a dry season from April to November, the sky glows in an intense blue. The daytime climate takes getting used to: during the day t-shirt weather at 23 degrees Celsius, at night the temperatures suddenly drop to freezing point.

The fine wool of the vicunas

In contrast, an alpaca camel looks old: its petite relative, the wild vicuna, has even finer, denser, because slowly growing white belly wool. It is considered the most exclusive wool in the world because only a few ounces can be shaved per animal every two years.

The price after spinning starts at around 500 euros for socks and 15,000 euros for a coat. Bright shimmering yarn, rare and absolutely wrinkle-free.


Quelle: Getty Images / 500px Plus / Tadas Jucys

The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt lake in the world

Surreal like a lunar landscape made of crunching crystals, studded with salt cones. Glistening bright in the sunlight, reflecting when it rains. The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt lake in the world, 160 kilometers long, 135 meters wide, covered with a thick salt crust that even trucks carry.

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Flamingos taking off from the lake surface

Its primeval landscape, created 10,000 years ago, is at risk: the brine contains five million tons of lithium, which is used for batteries. The degradation has a negative impact on the groundwater level.

The Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia

Quelle: Getty Images/500px Prime

Commitment to the diversity of peoples

Colorful hats, geometrically patterned scarves with flowers, animals and people as a motif. In the highlands they wear natives the famous colorful fabrics, made from llama, alpaca and sheep wool, dyed naturally. you will be Aguayos called. The word comes from Quechua and means “to weave”.

The beautiful costumes vary in color from village to village. Bolivia describes itself as a plurinational state: More than 50 percent of the 11.9 million inhabitants belong to the indigenous peoples, especially Quechua and Aymara.

The constitution recognizes 37 official languages, including the almost extinct Inca language Puquina, the last remnant is sung as a secret language by the healers in the highlands.

National costumes in Bolivia

Quelle: Getty Images

The dinosaurs’ footprints

Did a herd of raptors and a brontosaurus walk here? The paleontological trail leads across the limestone quarry Cal Orcko near Sucre: 5000 dinosaur tracks over 1.5 kilometers. It is an absolute rarity.

Petrified footprints of 300 animal species were discovered in the highlands, with and without claws, bouncing, crawling, pounding. Considered the best fossil location in South America.

Traces of dinosaurs at Sucre in Bolivia

Quelle: Getty Images

Hundreds of varieties of potatoes

600 types of potatoes grow in the highlands, in Bolivia the tubers become Papas called. Not just boring yellow ones like our Linda or Sieglinde, but deep black, velvet red, also warty called witch, curved called puma claw; and all tasty.

One variety is called the daughter-in-law test and is difficult to peel because of its folds and dents. The original potato was discovered 8000 years ago on Lake Titicaca, highly revered by the Incas, who even put it in the grave as an addition.

Stones show the way when hiking

Only they show the way in the barren plateau – Apachetashow they used the Incas for orientation. If locals come by, kiss the pile of stones or pour water on the ground, for Pachamama, Mother Earth, revered as personified nature.

The cairns also urge hikers to exercise caution because of the impending altitude sickness Sorochi. For prevention, a Bolivian saying goes: “Run slowly, eat little, sleep alone.”

Apachetas in Bolivien

Quelle: Getty Images/500px Unreleased

The quote

„Buen Vivir“ (“Gutes Leben“)

Bolivia has included the “Buen Vivir” in the constitution – by no means does it mean individual happiness in the Western sense, once said Fernando Huanacuni, ex-foreign minister and ambassador of the indigenous people of the Aymara for a long time: “For us, this means ‘good life’, to live in harmony and balance, to protect Mother Earth. ”Therefore, since 2010 there has even been a Bolivian law for the protection of the earth, even if there is a lack of implementation.

Quirky, record-breaking, typical: You can find more parts of our regional customer series here.

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home regularly.

WELT AM SONNTAG from May 31, 2020



Under the Reefs Orchestra: “An imaginary disorder”

The author “At first we thought we would use a magnificent painting, the work of an American named Dan Hernandez. We gave it up because it didn’t lend itself well to album art. Finally, we worked with David Delruelle, a very talented Brussels artist. He had already made covers for friends (River Into Lake, Great Mountain Fire). We contacted him first to take care of the singles Tucuman and Sumo. We found that it corresponded so much to our music and was so punchy that, just before pressing, we changed the initial cover to use his work, slightly modified for the occasion through this collage. This image works like our songs: it tells a story intensely, but does not explain anything. It is strange, and as if suspended. An invitation to listen. For me, it’s about childhood, mystery, ritual and the full moon. This is how I feel about this album of the Under the Reefs Orchestra: at night, innocent and loaded with invisible invisible forces. “

Children “They remind me of the children of William Golding’s novel, His majesty flies. A group of survivors of a shipwreck on a desert island, without an adult. The usual rules are abolished, they play outside at night, half naked. Their situation may be dramatic, dizzying, but they live their joy with total innocence. They may be climbing the side of the extinct volcano that dominates every imaginary desert island. ”

The background “If I allow myself to imagine a symbolist interpretation: the night sky, in all its vertiginous and magical immensity, is an invitation to contemplation, with the full moon as a reminder of the hidden forces. Two column trees evoke a primitive ritual; the sprawling shade of the trees as a watchful presence. What I like about this picture is its ambivalence. It does not lean to any side, it is balanced on the edge of a ridge. But it causes trouble and summons the imagination. It seems perfect to listen to this album! ”

Patrice bardot

Under The Reefs Orchestra

Under the Reefs Orchestra (Capitane Records)


They discover the most gigantic volcano on Earth

Contrary to popular belief, most of the lava generated by the planet is released through fissures submerged in the ocean. For that reason, to find the largest volcano you have to dive or even look underground.

A group of researchers from the University of Hawaii, in Manoa, have been able to identify which is the most gigantic volcano. This are located northwest of the Hawaiian archipelago, United States.

New biometric data shows that the Puhahonu volcano is the largest and hottest on Earth, the study authors have written. From the surface the volcano does not end up being so spectacular, since you will only be able to appreciate two islets where only the seagulls land.

Its humble bearing explains that its name means “turtle emerging to breathe”, in Hawaiian.

But by diving you can see the incredible secret. Analysis has revealed that its size is almost twice that of Mauna Loa, another Hawaiian volcano.

In fact, researchers have put the volume of Pūhāhonu between 119,000 and 177,000 cubic kilometers, while Mauna Loa has 74,000. That is, Pūhāhonu can be up to twice as large as what was previously thought to be the largest volcano.

The researchers have concluded that only 30% of its volume protrudes on the ocean floor, while the rest is hidden. In fact, the volcanic mass is so enormous that it has even sunk the earth’s crust.

The magma of this volcano could be close to 1,700 ºC. The Puhahonu rises almost nine km above the ocean floor, higher than Mount Everest.


When the moon disappeared from the sky

Enzo Campetella Enzo Campetella
The night that disappeared was an enigma for science until now

The year 1110 was not characterized as a good year. In the middle ages, things did not seem to be the best. It was a year of famine. To the north, England suffered from rains that flooded the fields and spoiled crops. But things can always get worse. At least that’s what counts on one of its pages The Peterborough Chronicle, a manuscript of the time detailing the events after the Norman conquest.

In 1066 the Normans, with William The Conqueror at the helm, had won the Battle of Hastings to the Anglo-Saxons, and a new stage had begun in England. In this context, the fifth day of May 1110 was reached. The night had begun with the Moon shining on the horizon. But it was not going to be a night like any other.

Translated from Old English, The Peterborough Chronicle textually reads: “As soon as night came, it became so completely extinguished that neither the light, nor the orb, nor anything at all was seen. And so it continued almost to the day, and then it appeared shining full and bright. ” Covered in superstitions, it was never known why the Moon had disappeared that fateful night; until now.

The wrong track

The text gives some clues. It wasn’t through the clouds, because it is told in detail that the stars continued to twinkle in the sky. Only the moon had disappeared. Nor was it a lunar eclipse, because it would have become a “Blood Moon”. It took almost 1,000 years to find an answer to that puzzle.

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The place Science Alert indicates that the effect was due to a large cloud with sulfur-rich particles reaching the stratosphere, which allowed it to travel long distances from its point of emission. This cloud darkened the skies for months before falling to the surface, trapped by the laminar circulation of the stratosphere.

This is known because researchers have drilled and analyzed ice cores taken from samples obtained from deep ice sheets or glaciers that trapped these particles. Clearly the volcanic activity is behind the disappearance of the Moon that fateful night of May 1110. Scientists they had assumed that the sulfur deposit was left by a major eruption unleashed in 1104 by Iceland’s Hekla volcano, also known as ‘Puerta del Infierno’.

Finally find the answer

But no! It was not the ‘Gate of Hell’ that was responsible for the disappearance of the Moon. According to a new research led by paleoclimatologist Sébastien Guillet From the University of Geneva, Switzerland, the revised dating of the ice core used refers to a sulfate deposition that begins in late 1108 or early 1109, and persists until early 1113 in a Greenland record. It is also noted that there is evidence of the same event observed in a chronology of the Antarctic ice core, with what could be a really large eruption.

Mount Asama, in Japan, responsible for the disappearance of the Moon

The research team also searched for medieval records of strange, dark-looking lunar eclipses that may correspond to the stratospheric haze of major eruptive events. The POT, based on astronomical backcalculation, found seven observable total lunar eclipses in Europe in the first 20 years of the last millennium, between 1100 and 1120.

Crossing all the information with what is described by The Peterborough Chronicle, it was concluded that the person responsible would have been Mount Asama of Japan, which produced a month-long giant eruption in 1108, significantly larger than a subsequent eruption in 1783 that killed more than 1,400 people. The newspaper of a Japanese statesman recounted: “There was a fire on the top of the volcano, a thick layer of ash in the governor’s garden, everywhere the fields and rice fields are not suitable for cultivation. We never saw that in the country It is something very strange and rare. ” Tree rings were also analyzed, showing that 1109 was an unusually cold year. The cloud had traveled as far as from Japan.


Natural forces in Hawaii: Heavy rain triggered a volcanic eruption

One of the most active volcanoes in Hawaii is Kilauea. Its eruptions are usually not very violent – however, there was a major outbreak in 2018. A study has now reconstructed it. Scientists determine what appears to be an unusual cause.

American scientists have found evidence that the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano on the Hawaiian Big Island was triggered by heavy rainfall in the weeks before. Looking back over the past 200 years, they found that around 60 percent of Kilauea eruptions occurred in the wetter part of the year. This part is one month shorter than the dry part of the year. Falk Amelung and Jamie Farquharson from the University of Miami in Miami (Florida, USA) have published their study in the journal “Nature”.

“We knew that changes in the water content in the subsurface can trigger earthquakes and landslides. Now we know that this can also trigger volcanic eruptions,” Amelung is quoted in a statement from his university. Usually a volcano erupts when the pressure of the viscous rock in the magma chamber is high enough to break the surrounding rock. This increase in pressure usually leads to the floor bulging by several tens of centimeters. Because the bulge was only two to three centimeters on one flank of the volcano in the ten months before the eruption on May 3, 2018, the researchers began to look for an alternative explanation.

Amelung and Farquharson created several computer models of the underground at Kilauea. In their preferred model, the top 500 meters are very permeable to water, the rock below is moderately permeable. Then they entered rain measurement data and watched the pressure in the rock change. “In all modeled scenarios we observe a quasi-static build-up of pore pressure of tens of thousands of Pascals at depths of one to six kilometers below the surface immediately before the start of the flank eruption in 2018,” the researchers write.

Outbreaks more frequent in the rainy part of the year

May 12, 2018: The ash cloud from Kīlauea is drifting over the island while a large rain cloud bank penetrates the north coast.

(Foto: Taken by astronaut on board the ISS (NASA Photo ID: ISS055-E-70297)/dpa)

The researchers also modeled the pore pressure in the rock at a depth of three kilometers for the period from 1950 to 2019. They found that intrusions – the penetration of magma into solid rock – occurred almost twice as often in times of heavy rain as in dry seasons . The outbreaks also increased in the rainy part of the year when viewed since 1790. “Under the pressure of magma, wet rock breaks more easily than dry rock. It’s that simple,” says Amelung. More frequent heavy rain in the wake of climate change could possibly trigger increased volcanic activity in the future, the researchers speculate.

In a comment, also in “Nature,” Michael Manga of the University of California at Berkeley (California, USA) asks whether the hypothesis of Amelung and Farquharson is plausible. Because the pressure increases that result from the computer models are very small. “However, when rock is about to break, such changes can be enough to cause it to give way,” he writes. However, the matter is still quite uncertain. Science has only just begun to understand such interactions.

Thomas Walter from the German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam is similarly cautious. For more than 20 years there have been isolated studies that link volcanic activities with weather events. But so far the data situation and the connection have mostly not been clear enough, emphasizes Walter. That is why he sees the study as an interesting and good idea. “I’m cautious, but I take the result as a suggestion for my further work.” The study may trigger a number of other studies, some of which will support the hypothesis and some will not.