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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Plants

The Skeleton Flower magically transforms into glassy, crystal-clear blossoms when it rains

The Diphylleia grayi or Skeleton Flower, grows in the moist, wooded areas of Japan and China and in the eastern United States. It’s large, fuzzy green, umbrella-shaped leaves are topped with small clusters of beautiful pearly white flowers that bloom from mid-spring to early summer. In late summer, the stalks of flowers are replaced with eye-catching cobalt blue fruit.  Oddly, as the petals of the flowers are soaked with water, they lose their white pigmentation and turn into magnificent crystal-clear flowers. Once they dry out, the pale coloring slowly returns and the flowers turn powdery white again. Check out pictures of the Skeleton Flower in the pictorial below (click picture for expanded view).
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