Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in Fimmvörðuháls.
Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in Fimmvörðuháls.

Cosmic Queries – Volcanoes

Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in Fimmvörðuháls. Image Credit: Boaworm / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice are answering fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about volcanoes with volcanologist Janine Krippner, PhD. 

How many active volcanoes are in the world right now? Janine tells us about the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program which keeps tabs on all the active volcanoes in the world. Find out how the Ice Age wiped the volcanic record clean. You’ll learn the difference between magma and lava. Janine tells us what’s really going on with the super volcano underneath Yellowstone National Park. You’ll find out why Janine isn’t a fan of the term “super volcano.”

We take it back to the basics: why do volcanoes explode? We explore why eruptions are important, and, why volcanoes play an important role in our ecosystems. We discuss how volcanoes contribute to climate change – and how they pale in comparison to human activity. 

Discover more about the different types of eruptions. We ponder whether proximity to geological activity enhances people’s desire to study it. Janine shares why robots won’t be taking the jobs of volcanologists any time soon. You’ll hear about lava – if it moves so slowly, how is it so destructive? You’ll also learn about “pyroclastic flow.”

Lastly, we investigate how many dormant volcanoes have the potential to cause mass devastation on Earth. Janine shares why there’s uncertainty around predicting eruptions. Is society ready for a massive eruption? All that, plus, Janine tells us what volcanoes can teach us about the inside of our planet. 

Thanks to our Patrons Joel Cherrico, Joseph L Bell, Christopher Sexton, Troy Nines, Natalia Lalicata, Dale LeMaster, Justin Adamson, and Johnathan Butcher for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:

“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.

In This Episode

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