Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Revealed: "Guess the volcano"

Well there's been a fine frenzy of activity! We had some interesting suggestions, and now its time to reveal this volcano's identity. Yes its Cotopaxi in Ecuador. Thanks everybody for having a guess and well done John Hopkin for guessing correctly. You win a gold star...


John Hopkin said...

It's a very nice gold star - thanks - but I just can't accept it. You see, I sort of cheated and looked at the filename of the picture, which is cotopaxi.jpg. Until then, I'd never even heard of Cotopaxi, but Google confirmed it and placed it in Ecuador.

I feel all sordid now, but in my defence I'd always intended to reveal my dastardly secret. I'm just surprised that no-one else picked up on it.

Thanks, Janine - your tenureship has lent an interesting twist to the blog, and "learn more about geology" is on my to-do list right under "pay the gas bill". And vulcanology is about the coolest way to start, isn't it?

On that note, could you (or anyone else) please recommend a book that would be a good introduction to geology for the lay community?

Malacoda said...

John, you might want to try The Map That Changed The World by Simon Winchester. It is an autobiography of one of geology's founding fathers. Bit light on the volcanoes though, but very readable. I would also recommend The Floating Egg by Roger Osborne. Still not good for volcanoes, but then I'm not a volcanologist.

Janine said...

Well John I think you can keep your star, for ingenuity if nothing else!

As well as the books mentioned above you could also try "The control of nature" by John McPhee (or any of his many books to be honest). There's a nice section on the Icelandic people's struggle to deal with the Mid Atlantic Ridge erupting lava all over their island.

...and yes I agree volcanology is pretty cool :)

John Hopkin said...

Thanks to both of you. I was more interested in the current state of geological knowledge than the history of its discovery, but I've ordered "The Floating Egg" anyway, partly because you've recommended it and partly because I live in the north-east of England, so there's a local-interest aspect.

I couldn't find anything on the McPhee book, Janine - are you sure that's the title? Even a broad Google search turns up nothing relevant.

As for the gold star, I shall keep it and treasure it and polish it every day. Not that you need to with gold, but still ...

Oh, and one last question: I say "vulcanologist", you say "volcanologist" (let's call the whole thing off). You're both bound to be right, of course, but has their been a change in the accepted term?

Janine Kavanagh said...

You can find the McPhee book by using the search option at (I just had a look and there are some copies available).

If you prefer, "The map that changed the world" by Simon Winchester would give a good introduction to Geology, or if you'd like to be a bit more thorough and scientific (but in an easygoing way) you could try "The Dynamic Earth" by Skinner and Porter which is a book we recommend to our undergraduate students.

By the way "vulcanologist" is, as far as I'm aware, an Americanism. I prefer to use the British version "volcanologist" (it also avoids any unneccessay Star Trek associations)!

Thanks for your comments!

John Hopkin said...

Oops - yes, Amazon do indeed have the McPhee book listed. I must have missed the links to subsequent pages. Thanks - I've ordered a copy; I'll leave buying the Winchester until I've read the Osborne and McPhee books.

Live long and prosper (I think that's what Spock says ...).