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Iceland’s New Lava Center Will Overlook Three Active Volcanoes

The volcanoes of Iceland are famous for shaping the island’s landscape, fueling its hot springs, and causing mass flight delays. Now, the nation is getting its own museum dedicated to its volatile underbelly. As The Guardian reports, the new volcano and earthquake center will provide views of three active volcanoes when it opens June 1.

The Lava Center is situated in the town of Hvolsvöllur in south Iceland. Surrounding it are some of the most active volcanoes in the country. Katla, Hekla, and Eyjafjallajökull have each erupted several times over the past century. Most recently, Eyjafjallajökull made headlines in 2010 when it coughed up enough ash and debris to halt flights across Europe.

Visitors can see all three of the explosive behemoths from the center’s 360-degree viewing platform. Other attractions at the museum include a timeline of volcanic eruptions, an artificial “ash corridor,” and a 30-foot-tall recreation of a lava stream beneath the Earth’s surface. The space also features a movie theater where guests can watch real-life footage of volcanoes and earthquakes.

When it launches next month, the Lava Center will be just one way to experience Iceland’s geological wonders. The destination is also home to lava fields, visible tectonic plates, and dormant volcanoes that are accessible to the public.

Lava Center in Iceland.

Lava Center in Iceland.

Lava Center in Iceland.

[h/t The Guardian]

All images courtesy of Lava Center.

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A New Roller Coaster is Whizzing Through Colorado's Rocky Mountains
iStock
iStock

There are plenty of ways to explore the majestic Rocky Mountains, but few offer the adrenaline rush of the Rocky Mountain Coaster, a brand-new roller coaster that sends riders soaring along the range’s natural twists and turns.

As Urban Daddy reports, the Rocky Mountain Coaster recently opened at Copper Mountain, a mountain and ski resort that’s located near the tiny town of Frisco, about 75 miles west of Denver. Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the vacation spot is ideal for hikers, skiers, and mountain bikers. Now, visitors looking to enjoy the surrounding scenery without breaking a sweat can cruise for roughly a mile down to the resort’s high alpine Center Village.

The ride’s raised track “runs along the natural curvature of the mountain, with zigs, zags, dips, and 360-degree turns for guaranteed thrills,” according to a press release. Each personal car is equipped with manual hand brakes to control the ride’s pace, but the coaster does feature a 430-foot drop, so be careful with your phones while Instagramming the view.

The Rocky Mountain Coaster is open-year round, though it will initially mostly only be open on weekends. Solo rides cost $25, and a two-ride pass can be purchased for $35. (Resort guests get an exclusive discount.)

[h/t Urban Daddy]

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Eco-Friendly Cruise Ship Design Includes Vertical Farms, Solar Sails, and a "Plant Kingdom"
Oliver Design
Oliver Design

If you want to reduce the environmental impact of your next vacation, you could do better than boarding a cruise ship. Luxury liners consume tons of fuel and produce even more sewage that is often dumped directly into the ocean. But cruises don’t have to be disastrous for the Earth by design: As inhabitat reports, the newly-designed Ecoship aims to be the most eco-friendly cruise ship on the seas.

The futuristic vessel was envisioned by the firm Oliver Design for the Japanese humanitarian organization Peace Boat. For decades, Peace Boat has been spreading its message of global social change through “peace voyages” that sail around the world. The Ecoship will embody this mission by being kinder to the environment than conventional cruise ships. Ten photovoltaic solar sails extend from the deck like giant fins, collecting clean energy to supplement the hybrid engine. Retractable wind generators harvest energy as well.

According to Oliver Design, the Ecoship will produce 30 percent less carbon dioxide than modern cruise ships. The vessel’s electrical system has also been updated with both the solar sails and kinetic floors onboard providing power. The biggest change comes in the sewage operations: Both the waste and water will be fed through a closed loop, which means that whatever’s produced is filtered and recycled again and again.

As these features are working behind the scenes, passengers will get to see some Earth-friendly amenities up close. A “plant kingdom” that covers five decks will consume surplus waste, water, and carbon dioxide produced by the ship, while vertical farms will be used to grow vegetables for meals.

When the Ecoship sets sail in 2020, it will continue to spread awareness of the changing climate that inspired its design. Oliver Design writes on its webpage, “The organization [Peace Boat] wants the Ecoship to be a turning point for the shipping industry and a flagship for raising awareness on climate change. As well as hosting Peace Boat’s voyages throughout the world, the ship will be used to stage exhibitions on green technology at the 100 ports where it is expected to dock each year.” You can check out the concept art for the project in the video below.

[h/t inhabitat]

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