What We Loved This Week, Dec. 13 – 19

Volcano Lightning

A thunderstorm complete with volcanic lightning rages over Mount Etna in Catania, Italy. Image Source: The Atlantic

2015’s Most Astounding Volcanic Eruptions Around The World

Volcano Red Clouds

Due to a massive smoke column over 12 miles high, the eruption of Chile’s Calbuco volcano caused widespread evacuation in the surrounding area. Image Source: The Atlantic

About 50 of the world’s 1,500 or so active volcanoes erupt each year. While 2015 may not have seen more eruptions than usual, many of those eruptions sure seemed especially astonishing. In August, Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea erupted while a 3.8 magnitude earthquake occurred underneath the volcano. In December, Sicily’s Mount Etna erupted twice in one month, spewing lava and ash more than a mile into the air. And there’s plenty more where that came from…

Volcano Red Glow

The Villarrica Volcano of Pucon, Chile, is among the most active in South America. Image Source: The Atlantic

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Mount Nyiragongo And Its Bubbling Hot Lava Lake

Crater of Mount Nyiragongo

Source: GCSE Wiki

Few volcanoes are as spectacular as Mount Nyiragongo. Known for its active lava lake and (relatively) frequent eruptions, this incredible volcano has the potential for widespread disaster. Unfortunately, political unrest prevents the scientific community from studying the dangerous volcano in depth. But as seen in these breathtaking images, scientists and photographers have still been able to capture the bubbling, fiery lava that churns within the mountain’s lava lake.

Lava Up Close

Source: Boston.com

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Iceland’s Breathtaking Volcanic Rivers

When it comes to size, Iceland is roughly the size of Ohio, but within that relatively humble space are hundreds of volcanoes; so many that in the last 500 years, Iceland alone has been responsible for 30 percent of the world’s lava flow. Pair this with glaciers that also populate the landscape, and you have the perfect storm of natural occurrences that make stunning aerial photographs like these possible.

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Kawah Ijen’s Mesmerizing Blue Fire

Kawah Ijen Light Trails

Source: Blogspot

If you gaze upon the Indonesian Kawah Ijen volcano at night, you’ll encounter a dangerous mix of beauty and toxicity. Pure molten sulfur that, upon making contact with air, combusts and smolders, creating a glow reminiscent of blue fire and spills down the sides of the 8,660 feet tall volcano. The substance is not lava, as some assume.It’s easy to make that mistake, though, seeing how the sulfur seeps from the mountains cracks and turns to liquid as it continues to flow. The event’s combustible nature (the gases are a forbidding 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit) and noxious gases can create flame bursts up to sixteen feet high.

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