Just before sunset on April 5, 1815, a massive explosion shook the volcanic island of Sumbawa in the Indonesian archipelago. This destroyed the village of Tambora, erasing the unique culture, and changed world history (previously, more). Among the impacts, a small group of authors and creative types holed up in the Villa Diodati in June of 1816 and wrote two iconic "monster" stories that set up the next two centuries of story telling. You can read the inspiration and subsequent works of Lord Byron, Mary Godwin, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John William Polidori and Claire Clairmont below the break. [more inside]
An older man (Barack Obama, POTUS) provides a promising younger man (NBA MVP Steph Curry) some life lessons (YouTube). President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. This lighthearted promotion encourages participation in the program. Perhaps Obama's influence will persuade Steph to set aside distractions and complete his college degree.
Anyone reading pundits and politicians pontificating profusely about climate or environmental science will, at some point, have come across the “volcano gambit”. During the discussion they will make a claim that volcanoes (or even a single volcano) produce many times more pollutant emissions than human activities. Often the factor is extremely precise to help give an illusion of science-iness and, remarkably, almost any pollutant can be referenced. This “volcano gambit” is an infallible sign that indicates the author is clueless about climate science.
The Seattle Natural Hazard Explorer lets you explore where different parts of the city of Seattle, Washington are most vulnerable to potentially catastrophic geological events like earthquakes (previously) and volcanoes. It is one of many visualizations or choropleths that connect ever-changing data with explorable geographic locations, such as an Atlas for a Changing Planet and Syria: Epicenter of a Deepening Refugee Crisis
Cloudy, with a chance of cryovolcanoes - unraveling the secrets of the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres, including the mysterious bright spots.
This Italian giant is nestled in the sprawling metropolitan area of Naples, population 3.1 million. We’re not talking “nearby” like Rainier is to Seattle or Popocatépetl to Mexico City. We’re talking a volcano smack in the middle of the city. It is merely ~12 km (~7.5 miles) from the summit craters at Vesuvius to downtown Naples. For your average pyroclastic flow from a volcano like Vesuvius, that is a trip that would take only about two and a half minutes.The World’s Most Dangerous Volcano May Kill Another City
In 1963, a new volcanic island called Surtsey (previously) was born south of Iceland. In the summer of 1969, botanist Ágúst Bjarnason, who had been monitoring the progress of plant growth on the new island, made a discovery that he has kept secret until now.
"Once when I was in Reykjavík I received the message from Surtsey that a mysterious plant had been discovered in the lava. Those who discovered the plant, three or four foreign nature scientists and one Icelandic botanist, weren’t able to identify it..."
In December last year, the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai began to erupt again. By January, an island had begun to form. Now three men have visited the island and taken the first pictures of the new island. More photos, including before/after aerial views showing the new fish-shaped island with its central lake of green. However, scientists warn the formation is unstable - the volcano may not have finished erupting.
On 27 June 2014, Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater of the Kīlauea Volcano in Hawaii started a new lava flow, beheading a previous flow. The flow headed northeast through the Puna district towards Pāhoa, passing right by the Kahoe Homesteads subdivision. At the moment the flow is stalled short of Apa`a Street in Pāhoa, but it could resume and ultimately cut the town in half. What to do? [more inside]
The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times. "It was 10:02 AM local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It was heard 1,300 miles away in the Andaman and Nicobar islands ('extraordinary sounds were heard, as of guns firing'); 2,000 miles away in New Guinea and Western Australia ('a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery in a north-westerly direction'); and even 3,000 miles away in the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, near Maldives ('coming from the eastward, like the distant roar of heavy guns.'1) In all, it was heard by people in over 50 different geographical locations, together spanning an area covering a thirteenth of the globe."
Bárðarbunga, an Icelandic volcano named after a Norse viking, is maybe going to erupt soon. Webcams are standing by.
A team of geologists and geophysicists have imaged the path of a Pacific Northwest volcano's molten rock, from the subducting slab to the upper crust. [more inside]
The Vestmannaeyjar Archipelago, off the south coast of Iceland, was first settled in 874 AD. Heimaey, the only populated island, was home to both a center of the Icelandic fishing industry, and a volcano which had never erupted during nearly a millennium of continuous human settlement. Then, in 1973, all hell broke loose. [more inside]
Inside, please find a list of forty-three movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Werner Herzog, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. One or two of the films are in German without subtitles; this is noted in the description. [more inside]
On 10 April 1815, Tambora produced the largest eruption known on the planet during the past 10,000 years. As described in Gillen D'Arcy Wood's new book, the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora's destructive power. In terms of its enduring presence in folklore, as well as its status in the scientific literature, 1816’s cold summer was the most significant meteorological event of the nineteenth century. After the tsunami and famine came cholera, opium, and failed Arctic expeditions. [more inside]
Vulcan Point in the Philippines is the world's largest island within a lake (Main Crater Lake) that is situated on an island (Volcano Island, aka Taal Island) located in a lake (Lake Taal) within an island (Luzon). It also happens to be one of the cones of the active Taal Volcano, so Vulcan Point is also the world’s largest volcano in a lake (Main Crater Lake) on a volcano (Taal Volcano). And Main Crater Lake also happens to be the largest lake on an island (Volcano Island) in a lake (Lake Taal) on an island (Luzon). Got that? If not, here's a series of images that provides a handy guide to the location of the nested parts of this complex volcano, which is a beautiful place, but still very much active.
Scientists make volcanic lightning in a laboratory "A team of researchers at Germany’s Ludwig Maximilian University led by Corrado Cimarelli built an experiment that allowed them to study the conditions that trigger lightning at the base of the eruption plume."
In 1831, the Mediterranean south of Sicily began to boil and bubble, and before long a volcanic island appeared, in full eruption. The English were the first to lay claim to the new island, naming it Graham Island, for James Graham, First Lord of the Admiralty. Then the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies laid claim to the island, removing the Union Jack and naming the island Ferdinandea, after King Ferdinand II. The next nation to claim the island was France, though initial French interest was in the geology of the newly emerged island (Google translation of French text, much from geologist Constant Prévost). France's choice of names was practical, Île Julia, as the island was formed in July. Spain also tried to lay claim to the newly formed island, setting the stage for a grand four-way dispute over its sovereignty, but before a single shot could be fired over its possession, geology rapidly had the last word on the matter. Graham Island/ Ferdinandea/ Île Julia crumbled in on itself and all but disappeared by the end of the year. [more inside]
Tolbachik is a volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. Andrew and Luda are two Kyrgyzstan-based photographers who wanted to take some video inside an active volcano. Tolbachik was happy to oblige. (SLYT)
"A Scottish version of Storm’s End, impregnable, unbreakable." Freelance travel blogger Mike Sowden is waxing quite eloquent about Scotland in a series of on-going posts. His most recent entry takes on not only Edinburgh Castle (even comparing it to a certain magically-defended castle in Westeros), but the long-long-ago violent geology that birthed its base, as well as that of Arthur's Seat nearby.
Four separate but nearby volcanoes are erupting simultaneously on the Russian peninsula. A Moscow film crew has produced an awe-inspiring 360-degree video of the natural fireworks.
Nicaragua's Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Central America. While it has a kind of stark beauty, since this record (and bone)-breaking stunt, most tourists go there for a different reason.
Ever played Monopoly? Then you've played a board game that was designed by a woman (it was, under its original title, "The Landlord's Game," the creation of Elizabeth Magie). Want to play more board games designed by women? Let's go! [more inside]
Two photographers risked their lives to become the first people to capture the explosive moment fiery lava crashes into the sea. [more inside]
"After a hair raising 400 metre descent myself and Bradley Ambrose become the first people ever to get this close. Climbing down to within 30 metres of the lava it was so hot (1150 degrees) that without protection we could stand the heat for 6 seconds before retreating..." Photographer Geoff Mackley visits the Ambrym volcano, located in the archipelago of Vanuatu. [more inside]
A Magazine article on when to take off a wedding ring after a marriage fails generated a large response from readers. The feature asked when it was appropriate to remove the band, and explored the symbolism of doing so. Here, readers share their stories about the dilemma of what to do with a symbol of marriage once the relationship has broken down.
106-degree temperatures in Richmond, VA aren't even the worst of it. A weatherman for the local CBS affiliate delivers the last forecast Richmonders will need. (slyt)
Almost nine minutes of video of Etna volcano erupting this week in Italy, including a pyroclastic flow. [more inside]
Pythagasaurus is the fabled Tyrannosaurus practiced in the skills of trigonometry and long division. Apparently he knows all eight numbers. [Via]
We've seen some gorgeous images (and some videos) of aurora borealis on the blue, but have you seen aurora borealis with a full moon? "The aurora has to be bright and strong to be visible on the blue sky created by the moon. This does not happen so very often, which makes pictures like these extremely rare." [more inside]
After nearly 200 years of rest, Mount Tambora is rumbling again and spewing ash. The last eruption of Mount Tambora was in 1815 and at the time was the largest eruption in the world since 180 AD. The massive amount of volcanic ash kicked into the stratosphere (around 160 cubic kilometers of ejecta were released) cooled Earth's temperature by over a degree Fahrenheit and caused "The year without a summer". In comparison, the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens released around 1 cubic kilometer of ejecta.
The Sierra Network - later the ImagiNation Network - was a gaming and chat service for PCs started by Sierra On-Line in 1991 and shut down by AOL in 1998. [more inside]
New electrical conductivity measurements show the subterranean extent of the Yellowstone supervolcano to be a lot larger than previously known.
Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the world's largest active volcanoes. The Boston Globe presents photographer Oliver Grunewald's amazing photo essay of a June 2010 expedition to the lava lake sheltered inside the crater. [more inside]
One of the most dangerous places on Earth, Lake Nyos in northwestern Cameroon sits atop a volcanic source. Early evening Aug. 21, 1986, a cloud of deadly CO2 erupted from the lake surface, killing an estimated 1,700 people and 3,000 cattle.. Now people are trying to tame it (Via NucleophilicAttack via Metachat)
Oh cool, a thermal video of a Hawaiian volcano. More cool, but non thermal, video of another volcano in Hawaii. Another awesome geographical happening in you know where. Wow, the place is a hotspot for shield volcanoes, even has its own observatory.
On May 18th, 1980, thirty years ago today, at 8:32 a.m., the ground shook beneath Mount St. Helens in Washington state as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck, setting off one of the largest landslides in recorded history - the entire north slope of the volcano slid away. As the land moved, it exposed the superheated core of the volcano setting off gigantic explosions and eruptions of steam, ash and rock debris. The blast was heard hundreds of miles away, the pressure wave flattened entire forests, the heat melted glaciers and set off destructive mudflows, and 57 people lost their lives. A photo-essay.
Sean Stiegemeier decided that he had seen enough terrible pictures of the eruption of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, that he flew to see it on his own. [more inside]
How does an ecosystem rebound from catastrophe? Thirty years after the blast, Mount St. Helens is reborn again. Interactive Graphic: Blast Zone. Also see National Geographic's feature article from 1981, chronicling that year's eruption. Previously on MeFi [more inside]
Shocking photos of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 and more volcano pictures from Marco Fulle taken on April 14th, 16th, and 17th.
In the last two weeks, [NYT] more than 100 mostly tiny earthquakes a day, on average, have rattled a remote area of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, putting scientists who monitor the park’s strange and volatile geology on alert. The quake zone, about 10 miles northwest of the Old Faithful geyser, has shown little indication of building toward a larger event, like a volcanic eruption of the type that last ravaged the Yellowstone region tens of thousands of years ago. Don't rest too easily, though: new studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. For more info, check out this exhaustive site that tracks Yellowstone tectonic activity and details a possible supervolcano event. [previously]
"A jaw-dropping feat of architecture has risen in the Italian city of Nola, just a stone’s throw away from the cataclysmic Mt. Vesuvius. Designed by Renzo Piano, Vulcano Buono is an epic cone-shaped commercial center crowned with a gorgeous sloping green roof. Piano’s 'good volcano' contributes a vital new space to the southern edge of the Nola commercial district, which is the most most important freight terminal complex in southern and central Italy."
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