Etna Vortex Rings

Etna Vortex Rings One of the planet’s most famous and active volcanos sits on the island of Sicily, where the African and Eurasian Plates converge. Mt. Etna currently rises 11,014 feet (3,357 meters) above the Ionian Sea. It gains this altitude in under 12 miles from the water! The word “currently” must reside in the […]

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Pico de Orizaba – Mexico’s High Point

Pico de Orizaba – Mexico’s High Point Mexico does not often garner the reputation of a nation with a lot of mountainous splendor. The sandy biomes – deserts and beaches – yes. Soaring peaks – not so much. As we learned when Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston visited the Sierra Madre, however, perhaps that non-mountainous stature

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Mauna Loa

Mauna Loa For approximately 28 million years, the Hawaiian hotspot has belched out islands and atolls. The hotspot sits in the same position, spewing upward from the mantle, while the Pacific Plate moves above it. This combination created the string we know as the Hawaiian Islands. Eight major isles comprise the archipelago. Each was once

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Mount Edgecumbe

Mount Edgecumbe Just over 100 miles south of Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park resides a stratovolcano known to the Tlingit as L’ux. The name means “to flash” or “blinking,” a fascinating moniker for a volcano, ostensibly because the Tlingit first encountered the mountain while it produced smoke or erupted. In an interesting etymological confluence, lux is

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Mount Rainier – Washington’s High Point

Mount Rainier – Washington’s High Point   Mount Rainier is one of the most famous, striking, and prominent peaks in the United States.  This beast of a crag racks up an impressive list of superlatives.  At 14,417 feet above sea level, the mountain is the High Point of Washington, as well as the eponymous National Park in which she

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The Decade Volcanoes

The Decade Volcanoes   On 22 December 1989, the United Nations General Assembly designated the oncoming decade – the 1990s – as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.  The gist was to reduce the loss of life and property due to tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, storms, droughts, landslides, and volcanoes. The resolution intended to identify and study

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The Loudest Sound

The Loudest Sound   On 27 August 1883, reverberations from the northwest disturbed the morning serenity of sheep ranchers outside Alice Springs, Australia. The men later described the sound as “a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery.” No war raged in central Australia in 1883; no military exercises took place. Were these ranchers under

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Frankenstein’s Monster Volcano

Frankenstein’s Monster Volcano Mary Shelley might not be the first name encountered when considering women in science and nature, but she led an extraordinary life and has an intriguing connection to one of the largest events in geologic history. Additionally, many literary critics dubbed one of her novels as the first science-fiction piece ever written. Her

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