Hell’s inferno on Hawaii’s Big Island

IN 1964 I came across a copy of the journal ‘Scientific American’ which contained an inspiring article by Canadian geophysicist Tuzo Wilson. Wilson transformed scientific knowledge and understanding of volcanoes, ocean trenches, fold-mountains, and earthquakes by viewing Earth as a... more »

The last but by no means lost continent

MY interest in Antarctica stemmed from newspaper articles and BBC TV news programmes on the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1955 to 1958 to coincide with the International Geophysical Year of 1957. This joint expedition was led by Sir Vivian Fuchs... more »

‘Pretty Flamingo’

SOME of us may well remember the catchy pop song ‘Pretty Flamingo’, sung by Manfred Mann and his group in 1966. For many a year I have taken a brief late summer’s holiday in Provence, Southern France, especially famed for... more »

The lure of mountains and high places

IN most faiths, mountains are revered as the home of deities and thus should be respected. Atheists also respect mountain summits for various reasons. Whatever one’s belief, when reaching the summit of a mountain and catching one’s breath, there is... more »


THE above word defeated me in a recent newspaper crossword until I saw the answer in the next day’s edition. This is a rarely used word derived from the Latin ‘grallator’ meaning a stilt-walker. Today it refers to a group... more »

The decline of wild brown trout

ANGLERS always look over bridges into streams. Less than 50 years ago, it was normal on any stream in the United Kingdom to startle dozens of small trout darting for cover. These days, we commonly see nothing. Younger friends accuse... more »

Ravenous raptors

IN 1823, the word raptor was given to an order of birds, Raptores, which includes buzzards, eagles, hawks, kites and owls, which all seize their prey and transport them away. On minute these birds may be seen circling overhead and... more »

The jewels in Borneo’s crown

ORANGUTANS are featured as Borneo’s symbolic image in tourist brochures worldwide for itineraries to Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, Kalimantan and Sumatra. I just wonder how much longer these apes, the most intelligent of all primates, will be allowed to live, undisturbed,... more »
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