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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Space

Jaw-dropping photo of Milky Way, Northern Lights, and erupting volcano – all in one picture!

Although taken individually, the events are not all that uncommon but when they’re all captured in the same photograph, it’s mind-boggling. This photograph taken by Maciej Winiarczyk is believed to be the first time someone has photographed the Milky Way, Northern Lights, and an erupting volcano – all in the same jaw-dropping picture! Maciej Winiarczyk, from Caithness, Scotland, was at Jokulsarlon Lagoon in Iceland when he took the amazing picture of the Bardarbunga volcano erupting on October 21, 2014 (the Bardarbunga volcano is Iceland’s largest in over 200 years and it's still going today). At the same time, the angle of the photograph allowed him to squeeze the Milky Way into the picture. The addition of the glorious lights of the Aurora Borealis, which were…
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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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Science Tips

Volcanoes

You may already know that deep inside its stony crust, the Earth's core is made of hot liquid rock (magma). and there's a good reason why geologists believe magma is pretty powerful stuff. After all, it's what causes volcanoes to erupt. Magma results from the extreme heat of the earth's interior. At certain depths, the heat is so great it partly melts the rock inside the earth. When the rock melts, it produces much gas (now, who does that sound like?), which becomes mixed with the magma. Volcanoes are mountains with openings or vents that reach down in the Earth to where magma is found. Sometimes the heat at the Earth's core or center causes bubbles of carbon dioxide gas in magma to get bigger…
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Science Tips

Volcano lava

Lava is molten rock that pours out of volcanoes or from cracks in the earth. It comes from deep in the earth where the heat is great. There, it is called magma. When lava first comes to the surface it is red-hot, reaching temperatures from 7 to 12 times hotter than boiling water. Lands that were once covered with lava often become quite fertile after weathering has broken the lava into fine soil. Some lavas, such as a glassy lava called perlite, are heated in furnaces. They expand into a frothy material used to manufacture lightweight concrete. There are two kinds of lava. One kind, called aa, is viscous (sticky) and moves slowly. The other kind, called pahoehoe, is so fluid that when it first…
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Science Tips

Volcanic ash and volcanic gas

Volcanic ash is made up of fragments less than 1/5 inch ( centimeter) in diameter. Most volcanic ash falls to the surface and becomes welded together as rock called volcanic tuff. Sometimes, volcanic ash combines with water in a stream and forms a boiling mudflow. Mudflows may reach speeds of 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour and can be highly destructive. Volcanic bombs are large fragments. Most of them range from the size of a baseball to that of a basketball. The largest bombs may measure more than 4 feet ( meters) across and weigh up to 100 short tons (91 metric tons). Small volcanic bombs are generally called cinders. Gas pours out of volcanoes in large quantities during most eruptions. The gas is made…
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