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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.

Vanuatu

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

Japan

Sarychev Volcano

Viewed from the International Space Station

Italy

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

Indonesia

Mt. Kerapi

Shot from a hotel window in Yogjakarta, Java

Anak Krakatau

Filmed from a boat approximately one mile from the volcano

Iceland

Grimsvotn

Fimmvörðuháls

Eyjafjallajökull

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

Eyjafjallajökull

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

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

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

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Ocean Waves Are Powerful Enough to Toss Enormous Boulders Onto Land, Study Finds
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During the winter of 2013-2014, the UK and Ireland were buffeted by a number of unusually powerful storms, causing widespread floods, landslides, and coastal evacuations. But the impact of the storm season stretched far beyond its effect on urban areas, as a new study in Earth-Science Reviews details. As we spotted on Boing Boing, geoscientists from Williams College in Massachusetts found that the storms had an enormous influence on the remote, uninhabited coast of western Ireland—one that shows the sheer power of ocean waves in a whole new light.

The rugged terrain of Ireland’s western coast includes gigantic ocean boulders located just off a coastline protected by high, steep cliffs. These massive rocks can weigh hundreds of tons, but a strong-enough wave can dislodge them, hurling them out of the ocean entirely. In some cases, these boulders are now located more than 950 feet inland. Though previous research has hypothesized that it often takes tsunami-strength waves to move such heavy rocks onto land, this study finds that the severe storms of the 2013-2014 season were more than capable.

Studying boulder deposits in Ireland’s County Mayo and County Clare, the Williams College team recorded two massive boulders—one weighing around 680 tons and one weighing about 520 tons—moving significantly during that winter, shifting more than 11 and 13 feet, respectively. That may not sound like a significant distance at first glance, but for some perspective, consider that a blue whale weighs about 150 tons. The larger of these two boulders weighs more than four blue whales.

Smaller boulders (relatively speaking) traveled much farther. The biggest boulder movement they observed was more than 310 feet—for a boulder that weighed more than 44 tons.

These boulder deposits "represent the inland transfer of extraordinary wave energies," the researchers write. "[Because they] record the highest energy coastal processes, they are key elements in trying to model and forecast interactions between waves and coasts." Those models are becoming more important as climate change increases the frequency and severity of storms.

[h/t Boing Boing]

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A Man-Made Mountain in Finland Serves as an 11,000-Tree Time Capsule
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In 1982, the conceptual artist Agnes Denes set out to make a mountain. After a decade of work, she made it happen. In 1992, the Finnish government announced that it would sponsor Denes’s Tree Mountain—a 125-foot-tall manmade mountain built on top of a former gravel pit, designed to serve as part time capsule, part ecological recovery project.

Tree Mountain — A Living Time Capsule was constructed on the site of a former gravel pit near Ylöjärvi, Finland between 1992 and 1996. The artificially constructed landmass stands 125 feet tall, almost 1400 feet long, and more than 885 feet wide. (The top image of the triptych above shows the mountain in 1992 and the bottom image in 2013.) The forest planted on it forms a precise mathematical pattern Agnes designed based on the golden ratio-derived spirals of sunflowers and pineapples. From above, the oval mountain looks like a giant fingerprint made up of whorls of trees.

The project was never intended to just be aesthetically pleasing. Envisioned as a way to rehab land destroyed by mining, the trees are meant to develop undisturbed for 400 years, creating what will eventually be an Old Growth forest that can reduce erosion, provide wildlife habitats, and boost oxygen production.

And it was a communal effort. The roughly 11,000 pine trees were planted by different individuals who then became the custodians of those trees. Each received a certificate declaring their ownership for the project’s full term of 400 years. They can pass along this ownership to their descendants or to others for as many as 20 generations. These custodians (which include former UK prime minister John Major and former Icelandic president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir) are even allowed to be buried under their trees. But the trees can never be moved, and the mountain itself can’t be owned or sold off for those 400 years.

A triptych of images of Tree Mountain
Tree Mountain - A Living Time Capsule - 11,000 Trees, 11,000 People, 400 Years (Triptych) 1992-1996, 1992/2013
Copyright Agnes Denes, courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

“Tree Mountain is the largest monument on earth that is international in scope, unparalleled in duration, and not dedicated to the human ego, but to benefit future generations with a meaningful legacy,” Denes writes. It “affirms humanity's commitment to the future well being of ecological, social and cultural life on the planet.”

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