NASA’s Earth Observatory Captures Image of Remote Island
There is perhaps no better place to get away from it all than Norway’s Bouvet Island. Located in the South Atlantic Ocean between Africa, South America, and Antarctica, this uninhabited, 49-sq-km (19-sq-mi) shield volcano is one of the most remote islands in the world. The nearest large land mass is the Princess Astrid Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica—1,700 km (1,100 mi) to the south. The nearest inhabited place is Tristan da Cunha, a remote island 2,260 km (1,400 mi) to the northwest that is home to a few hundred people.
On May 26, 2013, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this natural-color image of Bouvet Island. Thick ice covers more than 90 percent of the island year round. Christensen glacier drains the north side; Posadowsky glacier drains the south side. A ring of volcanic black sand beaches encircles most of the island. (Download the large image to see them). In many areas, the thick layer of ice stops abruptly at the island’s edge, forming steep ice cliffs that plunge to the beaches and oceans below…
Gallery: The Incredible Eruption of Mount St. Helens
The May 18 eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington State, USA, sent volcanic ash, steam, water, and debris to a height of 60,000 feet, while the mountain lost 1,300 feet of altitude. Fifty-seven people were killed or are still missing. USGS Photograph taken on May 18, 1980, by Robert Krimmel…
Big Pic: An Overactive Russian Volcano Covers Kamchatka In Ash
Russia’s Klyuchevskaya volcano, one of the most active in the world, has been erupting since mid-August. Last month, it became even more intense, spewing ash from its summit (16,000 feet above sea level) in a plume that reached 32,000 feet above the Earth, along with fountains of lava. NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite grabbed a shot of Klyuchevskaya, located on Russia’s volcano-denseKamchatka peninsula, in late October after its most explosive activity had calmed down.
This false-color image shows snow and ice as blue-green, ash, clouds and steam as gray, and lava as red…
MONSTER EARTH VOLCANO ONE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM’S BIGGEST
The largest volcano on Earth is not in Hawaii, but hidden beneath the western Pacific Ocean and covers an area the size of New Mexico, announced scientists on Thursday. The vast lump of lava is called the Tamu Massif and lies about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) east of Japan and is comparable, though somewhat less voluminous, than the enormous volcano Olympus Mons on Mars.
This white sponge (in the family Euplectellidae) is anchored to the seafloor with very long spicules. These spicules create microhabitat for very small crustaceans and worms. It is fastened to angular pillow-lava talus near the bottom of the steep talus slope flanking the cone of Axial Seamount. The amount of sediment that has accumulated suggests the cone is fairly old, and the presence of a large, long-lived, sessile organisms such as this sponge suggests the talus slope is stable.
Read about what researchers on the WesternFlyer are learning about volcanic eruptions at the deep sea Axial Seamount:
… a volcano found in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lava lakes, which can form in three different ways, are large volumes of molten lava, usually basaltic, contained in a volcanic vent, crater, or broad depression. Persistent lava lakes such as the one at Nyiragongo, which is the largest to appear in recent times, are rare.
Local and Global Impacts of the 1783-84 Laki Eruption in Iceland
by Erik Klemetti
Saturday marks the 230th anniversary of the famed Laki (or Skaftár Fires) eruption in Iceland — one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. It wasn’t a enormous explosion like many people associate with giant eruptions, nothing like Tambora or Krakatau.
However, it did have a profound impact on people living around the entire Northern Hemisphere for years afterwards, although the direct impact the eruption had on the Earth’s climate is still a widely debated and researched topic. In honor of this anniversary, I thought I’d try to give a brief primer on the eruption and why it is such an important eruption, both in terms of Icelandic volcanism and its global impact…
… at 8:32 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake shook Mount St. Helens. The bulge and surrounding area slid away in a gigantic rockslide and debris avalanche, releasing pressure, and triggering a major pumice and ash eruption of the volcano. Thirteen-hundred feet (400 m) of the peak collapsed or blew outwards.
As a result, 24 square miles (62 sq km) of valley was filled by a debris avalanche, 250 square miles (650 sq km) of recreation, timber, and private lands were damaged by a lateral blast, and an estimated 200 million cubic yards (150 million cu m) of material was deposited directly by lahars (volcanic mudflows) into the river channels.
Sixty-one people were killed or are still missing. USGS Photograph taken on May 18, 1980, by Austin Post.
This five-frame sequence of New Horizons images captures the giant plume from Io’s Tvashtar volcano. Snapped by the probe’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) as the spacecraft flew past Jupiter earlier this year, this first-ever “movie” of an Io plume clearly shows motion in the cloud of volcanic debris, which extends 330 kilometers (200 mi) above the moon’s surface. Only the upper part of the plume is visible from this vantage point — the plume’s source is 130 kilometers (80 mi) below the edge of Io’s disk, on the far side of the moon…
Serendipitously, marine biogeochemist Eric Achterberg at the University of Southampton in England and his colleagues were taking part in a series of research cruises in the Iceland Basin region of the North Atlantic Ocean both during and after the eruption. These three cruises allowed the researchers to measure iron concentrations at the ocean’s surface before, during and after the eruption in areas directly influenced by the plume of iron-rich ash…
Photographer Martin Rietze recently traveled to Japan where he had the incredible opportunity (or near grave misfortune?) of photographing the Sakurajima Valcano in southern Kyushu as it spewed forth smoke, fire, and lava bombs.
If that wasn’t enough the hellish volcano also caused a lightning show that lasted over 20 seconds giving the photographer ample time to flee for his life take these stunning photographs. You can see many more images from the series right here. Of note, the photographer’s grit and fearlessness landed the top photo a feature on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day earlier this week.
Even Modest Volcanic Eruptions May Mask Global Warming Effects
by Megan Gannon
Volcanic eruptions, even small and moderate ones, might counter some of the effects of global warming, new research suggests.
The planet didn’t heat up as much as scientists expected it to from 2000 to 2010 (though it was still the warmest decade on record), and a new study finds that chemical compounds spewed during modest eruptions around the globe could be behind the trend.
When sulfur dioxide emitted by a volcano rises up to the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, it undergoes chemical reactions, forming particles that reflect sunlight back into space instead of letting it get to the surface of the planet. This has a cooling effect on Earth that can help mitigate the impacts of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses…