Easter Island statue comes to Manchester – beautiful basalt!

Last Friday, we were delighted to welcome an Easter Island statue to Manchester Museum as part of our Making Monuments on Rapa Nui exhibition which opens on the 1st of April. The statue is on loan from the British Museum.

It’s a giant piece of beautiful basalt. Here’s Bryan Sitch, our Curator of Archaeology talking about its arrival:


Quarrying volcanoes in Iceland

Alpine Clubmoss and the Museum’s fossil tree

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8000 year old lava flow!

Eyjafjallajokull ash settles at the museum

I’m delighted to say we now have a sample of the ash that caused so many problems in 2010. Do you remember the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland thatcaused so many planes to be grounded?

Eyjafjallajokull ash collected a week after the eruption in March 2010

The ash looks remarkably innocent doesn’t it? It is a sort of ash called Trachyandesite.

Many thanks go to Dr Hugh Tuffen, Royal Society University Research Fellow, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, who donated the ash when he gave a talk at Manchester Science Festival last week.

…and in case you are wondering here’s how you pronounce it!

Jonathan Barnes Vesuvius photos

I’ve recently come across some hidden gems again, in our lantern slide collection here at the museum.

Most of the photos are of the Vesuvius eruption in 1906. I particularly like the ones of the people in the aftermath of the eruption. Enjoy!

Volcanic ash disrupts flights over UK

The surprising news that volcanic ash is causing chaos at airports across much of the UK is dominating headlines today.

It is reported that the rock, glass and sand in the ash could clog up plane engines and potentially bring down flights. The eruption in the Eyjafjallajoekull area is the second to occur in a month and is unusual because it has thrown ash much higher into the atmosphere. the ash has since drifted over the UK and is heading south.

This eruption will obviously cause lots of disruption, but volcanoes have been causing problems particularly for the Earth’s climate for millions of years. For example when the volcano Tambora erupted in 1815 the world experienced a ‘year without a summer’ because the ash reflected much of the Sun’s rays back out into space.

Massive volcanic eruption are associated with the end Permian mass extinction 250 million years ago and the Cretaceous/Tertiary mass extinction 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs and many other plants and animals became extinct.

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