The Late Movies: Erupting Volcanoes

On this date 6 years ago, Alaska's Fourpeaked Mountain erupted (at left), its first eruption in at least 10,000 years. Fourpeaked had been dormant for so long that many geologists believed it to be extinct. To mark the anniversary of Fourpeaked Mountain's re-entry into the active volcano category, tonight we present a variety of videos showing the eruptions of volcanoes around the world.


Marum Volcano (Ambrym Island)

Geoff Mackley, a high-risk photographer/filmmaker, and his team rappelled 500 meters down into the volcano, to the edge of a lake of boiling lava

United States

K?lauea (Hawaii)

Lava from K?lauea flows into the Pacific Ocean

Mount St. Helens (Washington)

Mount St. Helens (Washington)

NASA Landsat images of the scale of the eruption and the beginning of reclamation in the Mt. St. Helens blast zone from 1979 through 2011. (More information available from NASA.)

The Samoas

West Mata Volcano

Captured on video by NOAA and presented by Discovery News


Sarychev Volcano

Viewed from the International Space Station


Mount Etna

Includes an ash eruption and a small "twister" at the South East Crater, strombolian activity at the South East Crater, the fracture and hornito in 2800 m altitude, and the lava flow into Valle del Bove on the west flank


Mt. Kerapi

Shot from a hotel window in Yogjakarta, Java

Anak Krakatau

Filmed from a boat approximately one mile from the volcano





Shot from 25 meters away, standing on a mount of semi-cooled lava


Filmed May 1-2, 2010, after the lightning and lava of the first eruption

Bonus Video: "Eyjafjallajökull - You're doing it wrong!"


Have you ever seen a volcano eruption in person? Let us know in the comments!

Kathrin Weiland
Cow Manure and Elephant Dung Could Be Used to Make the Paper of the Future
Kathrin Weiland
Kathrin Weiland

The average dairy cow produces 82 pounds of manure daily. For elephants, that number is up to 300 pounds. According to researchers at the University of Vienna, all that dung represents an untapped resource that has the potential to change the way we make paper.

The team of scientists presented their findings at a meeting of the American Chemical Society on March 21. Waste from cows and elephants, they say, is rich in the same cellulose that's required to make paper products. What's more, the cellulose in manure has been broken down by digestion, making it easier for paper manufacturers to process.

"Animals eat low-grade biomass containing cellulose, chew it and expose it to enzymes and acid in their stomach, and then produce manure," researcher Alexander Bismarck said in a statement. "Depending on the animal, up to 40 percent of that manure is cellulose, which is then easily accessible."

Bismarck first got the idea to make paper from manure after seeing goats graze on dry grass in a small village in Crete. As he watched the plant matter go in, he wondered if that same matter wouldn't be suitable for making paper once it came out the other end. Today most paper is made by grinding down raw wood into nanocellulose, a process that takes a lot of power. The cellulose in dung has already been chewed and worn down by acid and enzymes in the animal's digestive system, cutting out the need for all that grinding.

Following Bismarck's goat manure–inspired revelation, he and his team began working with waste from horses, cows, and now elephants. Thanks to cattle farms and elephant parks around the world, this material is an abundant sustainable resource. The dung they collect is treated with a sodium hydroxide solution to remove lignin, the glue that holds cellulose fibers together (and can also be used as fuel). From there, they filter out other impurities like proteins and dead cells and bleach whatever's left with sodium hypochlorite to create a pure, white pulp that's ready to be made into paper.

The research team is currently exploring potential applications for the material. For now, they say it could be used as reinforcement for polymer composites or as filters for wastewater. It can also be made into paper for writing, though it may be a while until you see notebooks made from elephant dung at your local office supply store.

Palm Trees in Canada? It Could Happen, Thanks to Climate Change

Human-caused global warming has the potential to transform coastlines, weather patterns, and entire populations. According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, the creep of palm trees into higher latitudes could be another sign that our planet is changing. If our climate continues to warm, the tropical flora could soon be spotted as far north as Canada.

In the new study, reported by Earther, researchers from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and two Canadian institutions looked at the temperature tolerances of palm species best suited for chillier weather. Many varieties don't need a year-round tropical climate to thrive: As long as the average temperature for the coldest month of the year for the region is above 36°F, some palms can grow in northern latitudes. This is why you can see palm trees in Greenville, North Carolina, where average temperatures for January fall above 36°F, but not Washington D.C., where average January temperatures tend to dip below that number.

But that could soon change. As is the case with most northern states, average temperatures in D.C. are rising and winters are getting milder, which means it's shaping up to be an inviting habitat for palm trees. Not all palm species tolerate the same climatic conditions, and the effects of the species' competition with native and non-native plants in more northerly regions remains to be seen. But if the palms do migrate that far north in the coming years, the Northeast, Northwest, and even parts of Canada could be next.

A future of palm trees in Canada isn't as far-fetched as it may sound. Winters in these areas are already warm enough for people to plant palm trees in their gardens. In a controlled environment, these trees can flower and spread fruit, but average temperatures will need to climb a little higher before palm seedlings can survive in the wild.

[h/t Earther]


More from mental floss studios