On today’s show, our guest is Alexandra Witze, co-author of Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Covered a Continent in Darkness (Pegasus, January 2015), with her husband Jeff Kanipe. The book traces the history of the 1783 eruption of the Laki volcano on Iceland. Beyond its immediate effects on Iceland and continental Europe, the eruption changed the way humans observed and related to natural disasters. Later in the hour, Mark Hay talks about another natural disaster: gigantic sinkholes popping up across Siberia.

Music this hour: