Ever since the the Villa dei Papiri and its cache of at least 800 papyrus scrolls was discovered in Herculaneum in 1752, this potential treasure trove of information and insight into the classical world has fascinated scholars with what it could possibly contain. The difficulty has been in how to read them without destroying them. As John Seabrook describes for The New Yorker: "One scroll was peeled apart into many fragments; the other dried up and then, like a disaster in slow motion, split apart into more than three hundred pieces." Now, thanks to new imaging techniques, the contents of the scrolls could—slowly—be revealed.
Bárðarbunga, an Icelandic volcano named after a Norse viking, is maybe going to erupt soon. Webcams are standing by.
Almost nine minutes of video of Etna volcano erupting this week in Italy, including a pyroclastic flow. [more inside]
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]
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)
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]
Cool video of an undersea volcano erupting off Tonga. Spectacular clouds began spewing out of the sea on Monday about 10km from the southwest coast off the main island of Tongatapu, where up to 36 undersea volcanoes are clustered. More on these volcanism blogs.
Stop me if you've heard this one. An Icelandic sea captain, an Alaskan reporter, and a bunch of Russian amateur radio enthusiasts try to get to a remote island in the Aleutians to set up a ham-radio outpost as part of a DXpedition (wiki). From the preliminary report, it sounds uninteresting. They landed on the island, and the resident volcano, Mount Cleveland (wiki), erupted. Solution? Bring on the vodka and big bags of croutons. (WMV or RealAudio)
Six days ago, the Chaitén volcano in Chile began a surprise eruption. So far, more than 8000 people have been evacuated, and NASA has tracked the results from space. Even more stunning however, are the images that occurred when a thunderstorm collided with the volcanic plume.
The volcano Piton de la Fournaise on the island of Réunion has erupted. Réunion, 800km from Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, is technically part of the EU as an overseas département of France. The latest eruption (BBC video, requires Realplayer) of Piton de la Fournaise has resulted in some beautiful photos Top right - Voir le diaporama.
A yacht crew witnessed the birth of a new island and other strange consequences of volcanic activity in Tonga, and here are pictures they took.
Oops! A mud eruption probably triggered by oil exploration has been making thousands of Indonesians' lives miserable since May.
This is a very odd way to find out about a volcanic eruption. Shame it is sunset, and the webcam isn't showing much.