Fire and Fury in Iceland
Tuesday 26 January 2021, 7.00pm to 8.00pm GMT
Join Cambridge’s Professor Robert (Bob) White as he explains how the geologically youthful Iceland has grown above the plate tectonic rift between North America and Europe in the centre of the Atlantic Ocean by successive paroxysms of often violent, and always spectacular volcanic eruptions.
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 eruption in historic times. In 2014 he and his team were fortunate to capture the largest eruption in Iceland since the 1775 eruption, this time with modern instrumentation. They were able to track the molten rock as it travelled laterally for 50 km underground at a depth of 6 km before erupting in central Iceland, using the 50,000 tiny earthquakes it generated as it cracked its way forwards.
Professor White will describe his 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. The resultant barren, yet beautiful volcanic landscape forms a spectacular backdrop to many of nature’s marvels: immense flocks of birds, geysers, thermal pools, waterfalls, volcanic peaks and glaciers. And of course the midnight sun in summer and Aurora Borealis in winter.
To find out more about Professor White's research, watch this fascinating video.
7.00pm - Welcome from Claire Baxter and Kate Suares, Cambridge and Oxford Alumni Offices and Alice Burns, Temple World
7.10pm - Talk from Professor White
7.40pm - Q&A with Professor White, facilitated by Alice Burns
8.00pm - Finish
Please note, this event will be recorded.
Booking for this event is now closed.