Satellite radar image from the TerraSAR-X sensor of the summit of Cleveland Volcano showing the summit crater and growth of the lava dome. The summit crater is about 200 meters across. Note that satellite radar images have some inherent topographic distortion due to the manner in which they are collected. Picture Date: August 29, 2011. Credit: Dave Schneider, Zhong Lu, AVO/USGS. (via AVO)
This was the view out the International Space Station’s cupola on Jan. 1, 2013, around 09:37 UTC, looking nearly straight down the gullet of Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Just a little more than 1,900 years ago, it blew its top in the most famous volcanic eruption in recorded history. About 16,000 people lost their lives that day due to pyroclastic flow—searing hot ash blasting outward from the stratovolcano’s maw.
The volcano has erupted many times since then, including in the 20th century. Got that? It’s still active. Now take another look at that photo, and let the volcano’s surroundings settle in to your mind. It sits just a few kilometers from Naples, and more than half a million people live in the volcano’s red zone—where destruction from a big eruption would be swift and brutal.
That’s why volcanologists consider it the world’s most dangerous volcano. Given all we’ve learned about volcanoes in the past few decades, I hope scientists would be able to give people a few days’ warning about an eruption. Science, after all, saves lives. (via Bad Astronomy)
The East African Rift is one of the great tectonic features of Africa, caused by fracturing of the Earth’s crust. This astronaut photograph of the Eastern Branch of the Rift (near Kenya’s southern border) highlights the classical geologic structures associated with a tectonic rift valley. (via Nasa Earth Observatory)
Tinakula is a small, volcanic island in the South Pacific, located about 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) northeast of Brisbane, Australia. This natural-color satellite image (top) shows a plume of volcanic gas, possibly mixed with a bit of ash, rising above the island’s summit. (via NASA Earth Observatory)
Jules Verne - A Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Hamburg, 1863. Professor Lidenbrock discovers and extinguishes an old script which was written by Arne Saknussemm. It tells the story about an extinct volcano “Sneffels” which is the entrance to the centre of the earth on a certain time of the year. Since Prof. Lidenbrock is very excited about what he is reading, he starts an expedition to Iceland, where he hopes to find named Sneffels and head off for a journey that will make him famous.
The story is told by Professor Lidenbrock’s nephew, Axel, who’s about 16 years old and lives with his uncle. In the beginning he is always trying to stop his uncle from going because he’s afraid and he does not want to leave Hamburg, really. Because in Hamburg there’s this one girl, Gräuben, who he loves. Besides his aching heart, he’s apprehensive of never seeing the surface of the earth again.
Their lead, Hans, comes in handy whenever there’s a situation that Axel and is uncle would not know how to cope with. The three men make up an amazing team, so that there is a gripping story to be told.
You should not ignore this book if you are interested in geology or geography. Professor Lidenbrock speaks several languages, Axel refers to the cultural differences between Germany and Iceland, that he notices. Furthermore, Jules Verne was one of the first authors to write science fiction. So, get this book and make a little journey back in time and straight to the centre of the earth. Enjoy!
The Hawaiian Islands were formed as the Pacific Plate moved westward over a geologic hot spot. The most populous Hawaiian Island, Oahu, is dominated by two large shield volcanoes that range in age from two to four million years old. However, a fair number of smaller and much younger volcanic craters are also present on Oahu, such as Diamond Head Crater pictured above. These younger eruptions were also much smaller in lava output, and much more explosive in nature than the older shield lavas. The younger volcanic craters are all less than 500,000 years old. They formed after Oahu had moved well off the hot spot and the main shield volcanoes had gone dormant for at least two million years. For example, Oahu is now over 200 mi (320 km) from the still-active Kilauea, on the Big Island, consistent with the modern rate of plate motion of four inches (about 10 cm) a year. What caused these younger eruptions of the Honolulu Volcanic Series so long after the island had moved off the hot spot, their precise ages of eruption, and whether they will erupt again, are current points of research and debate among geoscientists. Photo taken on June 12, 2008. Credit: Charles W. Carrigan. (via EPOD)