Tag Archives: Eruptions

Extreme volcanic eruptions could explain mysterious rock formation on Mars

Extreme volcanic eruptions could explain mysterious rock formation on MarsCould a volcanic eruption be the key to unlocking the mysterious geological history of Mars? Back in the 1960s, NASA's Mariner spacecraft discovered an extremely large and unusually soft rock formation. The makeup of the mass, now known as the Medusa Fossae formation, stumped researchers for decades because they were never able to determine how it got there.  SEE ALSO: Tiny NASA satellite bound for Mars snaps photo of Earth from thousands of miles away But now, new research seems to answer that question — and maybe many others.  More than 3 billion years ago, extreme volcanic eruptions on Mars dropped the huge deposit near the Martian equator, according to the new study published in the
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. A 13-kilometer (8-mile) diameter crater being infilled by the Medusae Fossae Formation.Image: High Resolution Stereo Camera/European Space AgencyThe Medusa Fossae is about one fifth the size of the United States.  “This is a massive deposit, not only on a Martian scale, but also in terms of the solar system, because we do not know of any other deposit that is like this,” planetary scientist Lujendra Ojha, the lead author of the new study, said in a statement. Ojha and his colleagues used gravity data from spacecraft orbiting Mars to measure the formation density. Through this, they were able to determine that the rock was unusually porous, allowing them to rule out other potential compositions like ice.  On a basic level, the formation is a bunch of hills and mounds of sedimentary rock but because much of Mars’s history is shrouded in mystery, a finding like this is huge.  An isolated hill in the Medusae Fossae Formation. The effect of wind erosion on this hill is evident by its streamlined shape.Image: High Resolution Stereo Camera/European Space Agency.Eruptions of the magnitude suggested by the study would also have an enormous impact on the planet's climate as well. A considerable amount of “climate-altering” gases like hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide accompany most volcanic eruptions and would have spit out enough water to cover the red planet in a global ocean, the study says.  These findings paint a better picture of what habitability on Mars would look like, as well as the usefulness of gravity surveys.  “Future gravity surveys could help distinguish between ice, sediments and igneous rocks in the upper crust of the planet,” co-author and planetary scientist Kevin Lewis explained.   WATCH: NASA is attempting to fly a helicopter on Mars for the first time



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In case you missed it: Ash-covered Guatemala reels after deadly volcano eruptions; Fires char southwestern US

In case you missed it: Ash-covered Guatemala reels after deadly volcano eruptions; Fires char southwestern USRescue efforts continue after one of the most active volcanoes in Central America erupted this week, showering the region with feet of ash.



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The deadliest volcanic eruptions of the past 25 years

The deadliest volcanic eruptions of the past 25 yearsAfter Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted on Sunday killing at least 69 people, here is a list of the most deadly volcanic eruptions over the last quarter century. The sudden eruption of Mount Ontake kills more than 60 people in Japan’s worst volcanic disaster in nearly 90 years. Also in Japan, the Unzen volcano kills 43 people when it erupts in 1991.



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Hawaii volcanic eruptions cause more destruction

Hawaii volcanic eruptions cause more destructionThree weeks after Kilauea first exploded, the situation appears to be getting worse with new explosions destroying more neighborhoods.



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PHOTOS: More eruptions and lava flows as blue flames burn at Kīlauea Volcano

PHOTOS: More eruptions and lava flows as blue flames burn at Kīlauea VolcanoKīlauea continues to disrupt life on Hawaii's Big Island as a third lava flow reaches the ocean and methane gas causes flames to burn blue.



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Kīlauea volcano: Lava flow encroaches on geothermal plant as explosive eruptions persist

Kīlauea volcano: Lava flow encroaches on geothermal plant as explosive eruptions persistAs the eruption at Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano continues to evolve, the multitude of dangerous threats to residents are showing no signs of subsiding.



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'Ballistic blocks' shot from Hawaii volcano could mark onset of explosive eruptions

'Ballistic blocks' shot from Hawaii volcano could mark onset of explosive eruptionsBy Terray Sylvester PAHOA, Hawaii (Reuters) – “Ballistic blocks” the size of microwave ovens shot from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on Wednesday in what may be the start of explosive eruptions that could spew huge ash plumes and hurl smaller rocks for miles (km), the U.S. Geological Survey said. Such eruptions, last seen nearly a century ago, have been a looming threat since Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted nearly two weeks ago. The explosive, steam-driven eruptions could drive a 20,000-foot (6,100-meter) ash plume out of the crater, hurl boulders the size of small cars up to half a mile (800 meters) and scatter smaller rocks over 12 miles (19 km), the USGS has warned.



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New concerns over more eruptions at Hawaii volcano

New concerns over more eruptions at Hawaii volcanoAs officials race to remove hazardous underground gas stored at a geothermal plant, the largest of all the explosions seems imminent.



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Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could see explosive eruptions: U.S. agency

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could see explosive eruptions: U.S. agency(Reuters) – There is a growing chance of explosive eruptions of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano in coming weeks that could shoot rocks for miles and cause ashfall for dozens of miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Wednesday. Kilauea, Hawaii’s most active volcano, erupted on Thursday and lava flows from fissures have destroyed at least 36 structures and caused the evacuation of about 2,000 residents. Explosive eruptions could occur if the lava lake in Kilauea’s crater continues to fall to the level of groundwater, causing an influx of water to create steam-driven explosions, the USGS said in a statement.



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New eruptions on Hawaii's Big Island spew lava, toxic gas; Mandatory evacuations issued

New eruptions on Hawaii's Big Island spew lava, toxic gas; Mandatory evacuations issuedThe eruption of Hawaii's Kīlauea Volcano has destroyed dozens of homes, forced hundreds of mandatory evacuations and it has dispersed dangerous sulfur dioxide gas.



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