Mount Stromboli is one of the busiest volcanoes on the planet. It’s been erupting off and on for thousands of years, and almost continuously since the early 1930s. So, it’s no surprise that ESA’s orbiting Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission caught its latest eruption in the act. It used infrared-sensitive instruments to chart the flow and follow its course to the sea.Continue reading “Satellite View of Stromboli’s New Eruption in Italy. You Can See a River of Lava Flowing to the Ocean”
According to the most widely accepted theories, the Moon formed about 4.5 billion years ago after a Mars-sized object (Theia) collided with Earth. After the resulting debris accreted to create the Earth-Moon system, the Moon spent many eons cooling down. This meant that a few billion years ago, lakes of lava were flowing across the surface of the Moon, which eventually hardened to form the vast dark patches (lunar maria) that are still there today.
Thanks to the samples of lunar rock brought back to Earth by China’s Chang’e 5 mission, scientists are learning more about how the Moon formed and evolved. According to a recent study led by the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (CGAS), an international team examined these samples to investigate when volcanism on the Moon ended. Their results are not only filling in the gaps of the Moon’s geological history but also of other bodies in the Solar System.Continue reading “Volcanism on the Moon Ended About 2 Billion Years ago”
Earth is a geologically active planet, which means it has plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions that have not ceased. This activity extends all the way to the core, where action between a liquid outer core and a solid inner core generates a planetary magnetic field. In comparison, Mars is an almost perfect example of a “stagnant lid” planet, where geological activity billions of years ago and the surface has remained stagnant ever since.
But as indicated by the many mountains on Mars, which includes the tallest in the Solar System (Olympus Mons), the planet was once a hotbed of volcanic activity. And according to a recent NASA-supported study, there is evidence that thousands of “super-eruptions” happened in the Arabia Terra region in northern Mars 4 billion years ago. These eruptions occurred over the course of 500-million years and had a drastic effect on the Martian climate.Continue reading “Although it’s Quiet Today, Mars Once had Thousands of Volcanic Eruptions on its Surface”
You’ve probably seen stunning images of the night side of the Earth from space. Most people have seen the veritable constellations of city lights scattered familiarly across the continents, separated by wide oceans of darkness. You very well may have seen some stunning videos from the ISS showing the dynamic and mesmerizing ribbons of the polar aurorae and the even more frenetic flashes of nighttime lightning storms. If you’re a frequent reader of this site, you’ve likely even seen the effects of rolling blackouts during the catastrophic winter storms of February 2021 in Houston, as seen from space. Add another explosively extraordinary phenomenon to the list of nighttime space views; the March 2021 volcanic eruption in Iceland!.Continue reading “Seen From Space, Iceland’s new Volcano Lights up the Island at Night”
At a fundamental level, Mars is a volcanic planet. Its surface is home to the Solar System’s largest extinct volcano, Olympus Mons, and another trio of well-known volcanoes at Tharsis Montes. And those are just the highlights: there are many other volcanoes on the surface. Though that volcanic activity ceased long ago, the planet’s surface tells the tale of a world disrupted and shaped by powerful volcanic eruptions.Continue reading “You Can See the Spot Where Lava Broke Through the Wall of a Martian Crater and Began Filling it Up”
Venus’ surface is no stranger to volcanoes. Radar images show more than 1,000 volcanic structures on the planet. But for the most part, they appear to be ancient and inactive.
Now a new study says that Venus is still volcanically active, and has identified 37 volcanic structures that were recently active. If true, there’s more going on inside Venus than thought.Continue reading “It Looks Like There are Still Active Volcanoes on Venus”
One day, my Grade Nine science class got way more interesting.
Suddenly, volcanoes weren’t just something in textbooks. Though I was in neighbouring British Columbia when Mt. St. Helens erupted, there was still a layer of ash on our cars and everything else. For a teenager with a burgeoning interest in science, it was awesome.Continue reading “40 Years Ago, Mount St. Helens Blew its Top Off”
In between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra lies the Sunda Strait. And in the Sunda Strait lies the much smaller island of Anak Krakatau, one of Earth’s active volcanoes. It’s erupted more than 50 times in the past 2,000 years, and now it’s doing it again.Continue reading “Anak Krakatau Erupted a Few Days Ago. Here’s What it Looked Like From Space”
200 million years ago, a mass extinction event wiped out about 76% of all species on Earth—both terrestrial and marine. That event was called the end-Triassic extinction, or the Jurassic-Triassic (J-T) extinction event. At that time, the world experienced many of the same things as Earth is facing now, including a warming climate and the acidification of the oceans.
A new paper shows that pulses of volcanic eruptions were responsible, and that those pulses released the same amount of CO2 as humans are releasing today.Continue reading “During Mass Extinction Events, Volcanoes Were Releasing About the Same Amount of CO2 as We Are Today”
Despite the similarities our world has with Venus, there is still much don’t know about Earth’s “Sister planet” and how it came to be. Thanks to its super-dense and hazy atmosphere, there are still unresolved questions about the planet’s geological history. For example, despite the fact that Venus’ surface is dominated by volcanic features, scientists have remained uncertain whether or not the planet is still volcanically active today.
While the planet is known to have been volcanically active as recent as 2.5 million years ago, no concrete evidence has been found that there are still volcanic eruptions on Venus’ surface. However, new research led by the USRA’s Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) has shown that Venus may still have active volcanoes, making it the only other planet in the Solar System (other than Earth) that is still volcanically active today.Continue reading “The Surprising Possibility That There are Still Active Volcanoes on Venus”