Geology

Check out the “dirty thunderstorm” raging inside the mouth of erupting Mount Sakurajima

Mount Sakurajima, a 3,665-foot high volcano in Japan, erupted this week sending a plume of smoke more than 3 miles into the air. Even better, all the flying ash and rock created a static electricity storm inside the mouth of the volcano. A photographer captured a picture of the storm which raged within the Showa crater on the southeastern side of the volcano. Storms such as this are called “dirty thunderstorms”. They are rare in general but fairly common at Mount Sakurajima. So far Mount Sakurajima has seen 50 eruptions this year.
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Geology

This is what Niagara Falls looks like when all the water is shut off

Would you believe the millions of gallons of water that rush over Niagara Falls can be turned off? It’s happened before and is about to happen again. All the water from the American side of Niagara Falls (the American Falls) will be rerouted in order to allow repairs to infrastructure. When that happens, we’ll see the bone-dry cliff where the water previously roared. The last time the falls were shutoff was 1969 (see photo above and pictorial gallery below). The Army Corps of Engineers stopped the flow in order to see how the rushing water was eroding the falls. To do this, the 60,000 gallon-per second flow was diverted to Horseshoe Falls and the Robert Moses generating plant upriver. Now the parks department once again wants to…
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Geology

World’s largest canyon discovered under Antarctic ice sheet – dwarfs Grand Canyon in size

We know little about lies beneath the vast expanse of ice in Antarctica but researchers this week announced two new findings that boggle the mind – analysis of satellite imagery reveals that underneath Princess Elizabeth Land in East Antarctica, lies a hidden world  containing a canyon as deep and twice as long as the Grand Canyon and a massive subglacial lake estimated to be about 775 square miles in area. Scientists first spotted signs of the canyon using satellite imagery. They then used radio-echo waves sent through the ice to confirm that a canyon did indeed exist, unseen, several miles beneath the ice. The canyon is believed to be over 600 miles long and in places, more than half-a-mile deep.   Researchers think the landscape underneath the ice sheet was…
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Geology

Diamond encrusted rock discovered in Russian mine contains an estimated 30,000 diamonds!

Miners in Russia’s Udachnaya diamond mine received a nice little Christmas surprise when they pulled a highly unusual and very rare diamond encrusted rock from the ground a few weeks back. The rock is about the size of a ping-pong ball and contains an estimated (hold on to your seat!) – 30,000 diamonds! Unfortunately, the diamonds' small size makes them only useful for mouse jewelry so the miners graciously donated the rock to science. Editor note: Reeko said to tell the lab rats to stop groaning and get back in their cages. Although the miners were sad that the diamonds were not bigger and the lab rats were sad because they will have no opportunity to sparkle, the scientists are very happy because, well, the…
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Geology

Incredible footage of Papua New Guinea volcanic explosion and subsequent shockwave

This incredible footage shows the August 29, 2014 eruption of the Mount Tavurvur volcano in Papua New Guinea and the powerful shockwave that rippled through the clouds above the volcano. The film was shot by a tourist on a boat off the coast of Papua. Thankfully, the brave tourist held steady and captured this amazing video which has already helped scientists better understand not only volcanic eruptions but the phenomenal properties of the tremendous shockwave that resulted from the explosion. The video below captures Mount Tavurvur belching out a thick tower of ash thousands of feet into the skies above the island of New Britain. The ash from the volcano reached 60,000 feet into the air!   Analysis of August 29, 2014 Papua New Guinea volcanic…
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Geology

Hot-air tornado spewing from Iceland’s erupting Bardarbunga volcano is very cool

Whether it’s the result of a natural rupture of the Earth’s crust or too much Chinese food, the Earth is belching volcanic debris all over the planet this week. As Hawaiians flee dangerous volcanic lava flowing towards their homes, Icelanders are on the lookout for a different kind of volcanic threat – hot-air tornadoes! The picture above, which features a 1-kilometer high tornado of gas, was captured by an infrared camera that was designed to let pilots see through volcanic ash clouds. The hot-air tornado was kicking up dust around Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano on September 3, 2014. Scientists believe the tornado funnel, a vertically-oriented rotating column of air caused by the updraft of heated air from the volcano, is most likely filled with sulphur dioxide, gas,…
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Geology

What causes the breathtaking bluish turquoise color of the Rio Celeste river?

The Rio Celeste is one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular rivers. Its breathtaking light bluish turquoise color is wonderfully unique making it a favorite visiting place for tourists and locals alike. Locals will playfully explain the origin of its beautiful color like this: “When God finished painting the sky, he washed his brushes in the Rio Celeste”. How the Rio Celeste gets its unique color is a phenomenon caused by an unusual chemical reaction made possible by its proximity to a volcano and natural hot springs. The Rio Celeste is found in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, a 32,000 acre park that is home to a large number of Costa Rica’s natural wildlife (most of Costa Rica’s feline species can be found here including jaguars, cougars, ocelots, and margays).…
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