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The Ice Tower of Mt. Erebus, Antarctica

Mount erebus. by : flixya.com
Mount erebus. by : flixya.com

Mount Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica is the most active volcanoes in the southern hemisphere. In Greek mythology, Erebus is the name of the son of Lord Chaos and his mother was Gaia (Earth). In Greek mythology, Erebus filled the whole world with darkness. The mountain that has 3794 meters height was first recognized in 1841 by James Ross. It was first climbed in 1908 by members of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition. Scientific research on Mt. Erebus, which is sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has started since the early 1970s included basic volcano petrological and geophysical studies, the history of the eruption, lava lake activity and behavior, and the overall impact of volcano in Antarctica and global environment. Mount Erebus is one of the few mountains on this earth that has a long-lived lake of lava with the temperatures at about 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.


The characteristics of Mount Erebus activity are the explosion consisted of strombolian explosions from the lava lake or from one of the holes in the crater of the volcano. Mount Erebus is classified as a polygenetic stratovolcano (high volcanic mountains and the cone consisting of lava and volcanic ash that hardened), the half part of the base of this volcano is a shield and the peak is a stratocone.

One of the things which make Mount Erebus become significant – and why it is used as a place of Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory, or “MEVO” is because Mount Erebus is one of the few volcanoes in the world who consistently active. Unlike the others volcanoes which usually passive and suddenly exploded within hundreds times, Mount Erebus is always in active state, removing the gases and volcanic bombs thrown into the air that then exploded on landing. For researchers, Mount Erebus is a dream place for them to do their research.

The temperature in the inside of Mount Erebus is really hot; while on the outside has a very extreme cold temperature. On the side of Mount Erebus which covered by ice layer there is an ice cave formed from volcanic gas that came out of Mount Erebus. Because of the volcanic gases, the temperature of this ice caves is consistent at 32 degrees.

Besides the ice caves, in one part of Mt. Erebus there is an ice tower. The ice tower is a high ice sculpture formed above fumaroles. Fumaroles are holes in the earth’s crust which is often found around volcanoes, which emit steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen sulfide. Gas and water vapor out of the soil are met with a very cold air above the soil surface, and then the water vapor cools and solidifies that eventually formed a tower of ice. The tower will be growing in height and its thickness can reach 20 feet.

As in many places, the weather on Mt. Erebus can change unexpectedly. When the weather is calm, working out can feel like an autumn day in New Mexico. When the weather is bad, you don’t want to go out at all. The storm is blowing in 75 miles per hour, the temperature is less than minus 25 Fahrenheit and visibility capability is less than 10 meters. So, do you interested in visiting this incredible volcano?

Mount Erebus map

Erebus map. by : sciencebuzz.org
Erebus map. by : sciencebuzz.org


 

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