On 10 April 1815, Tambora produced the largest eruption known on the planet during the past 10,000 years. As described in Gillen D'Arcy Wood's new book, the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora's destructive power. In terms of its enduring presence in folklore, as well as its status in the scientific literature, 1816’s cold summer was the most significant meteorological event of the nineteenth century. After the tsunami and famine came cholera, opium, and failed Arctic expeditions. [more inside]
The Timeline of the Far Future is a Wikipedia article which serves as a gateway to a ton of fascinating scientific topics on the far edge of human understanding: ~50,000 years from now the Earth will enter a new Glacial period; ~100,000 years from now the Earth will likely have experienced a supervolcanic eruption; ~10,000,000 years from now the East African Rift divides the continent of Africa in to two land masses; ~20,000,000,000 years from now the Universe effectively dies due to The Big Rip.
After nearly 200 years of rest, Mount Tambora is rumbling again and spewing ash. The last eruption of Mount Tambora was in 1815 and at the time was the largest eruption in the world since 180 AD. The massive amount of volcanic ash kicked into the stratosphere (around 160 cubic kilometers of ejecta were released) cooled Earth's temperature by over a degree Fahrenheit and caused "The year without a summer". In comparison, the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens released around 1 cubic kilometer of ejecta.
In the last two weeks, [NYT] more than 100 mostly tiny earthquakes a day, on average, have rattled a remote area of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, putting scientists who monitor the park’s strange and volatile geology on alert. The quake zone, about 10 miles northwest of the Old Faithful geyser, has shown little indication of building toward a larger event, like a volcanic eruption of the type that last ravaged the Yellowstone region tens of thousands of years ago. Don't rest too easily, though: new studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. For more info, check out this exhaustive site that tracks Yellowstone tectonic activity and details a possible supervolcano event. [previously]
How will civilization end? With a bang, a crunch(last link is PDF), a splash? Are we no longer more likely to kill ourselves than being killed by "Mother Nature"? (more inside)