In The Public Domain Review, John Glassie reviews one of Athanasius Kircher's greatest works, Mundus Subterraneus (Underground World),
…intended to lay outbefore the eyes of the curious reader all that is rare, exotic, and portentous contained in the fecund womb of Nature.
You're probably most familiar with the phenomenon when it appears like this (well until that wizard starts showing off) but did you know that vortex rings can also be created by dolphins? [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]
After months of pre-eruptive activity, Alaska's Mount Redoubt has erupted 6 times since Sunday night. Telegraphing its eruption with massive shallow earthquake activity in the range of 26 earthquakes every 10 minutes, the volcano, located around 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, spewed an ash column 10km high, and is expected to continue erupting for weeks or months. The last time this massive volcano erupted in 1989 a commercial airliner was caught in the ash column, causing the engines to seize and the plane to lose two miles of altitude before the engines were restarted. That eruption, which lasted for 5 months, produced this spectacular photo. Follow this amazing event at the Alaska Volcano Observatory. [more inside]
An erupting stratovolcano poses numerous hazards for nearby habitation, but none nearly so terrifying and deadly as the pyroclastic flow. Pyroclastic flows, comprised of tons of superheated sulfuric gases, particulate rock materials and ash, can reach temperatures of 1,830 °F and travel at alarming speeds up to 450mph. Convection of materials within the clouds causes them to become a suspension, fluidizing and thundering noxiously across the surrounding landscape for miles, in some cases even uphill or across open water. Wherever these clouds come in contact with humans the result is catastrophe, as the residents of Herculaneum and St. Pierre, Martinique learned within minutes of the eruptions of Vesuvius in 79AD and Pelee in 1902-- both towns were overwhelmed by pyroclastic clouds, igniting all flammable materials and incinerating and suffocating the inhabitants. None survived Herculaneum, while just two of St. Pierre's 26,000 survived, one of whom was a prisoner condemned to death and awaiting his execution in a dungeon cell. Despite their incredible capacity for violence, pyroclastic flows are also capable of producing mesmerizing, awe-inspiring beauty.
Messenger has just made another flyover of Mercury, revealing hidden features. Watch the animation to see the blue volcanoes.
To celebrate Tom Cruise's wedding, ABC News reprints the 1992 Ted Koppel interview with Cruise's best man, and spiritual leader, Religious Technology Center chairman David Miscavige. It was his first and last significant interview, and you can see why.
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.
Volcanoes are so cool. Click previous sentence for more information.
Yesterday marked the 25 anniversary of the Mt. St. Helens eruption. NewsDesigner posted a great wrap-up of the front pages of major papers on that very day. Poking around the USGS site, I found a shot of Mt. St. Helens from the day before the blast, and a couple days after. The fallout was extensive and the images unforgettable.
Don't steal gas during a volcano. Bad things will happen.