Thursday, May 6, 2010


From Eruptions, I followed a link to the Volcano Picture of the Week, or VPOW. That acronym is pretty much what it will do to your mind. Below is a reduced version of a picture that I found mesmerizing:That's Oldoinyo Lengai Volcano, in Tanzania, and it's the only volcano in the world that is known to have erupted carbonatite lava in historic times. These bizarre melts are dominated by carbonate liquid phases, unlike "normal" melts, which are almost entirely dominated by silicates. As a result of this unusual chemistry, the lava above is unusually cool (500 to 600 C), and unusually fluid. I think the way the picture captured those last two qualities with a dull but ethereal glow is very appealing.

As a side note, I went through the entire collection (18 images presently) in one sitting. That doesn't really do justice to the quality of the photos: I was pretty numb by the end. I suggest starting at the archive, and just looking at a few at a time. These deserve to be savored, not flipped through.

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