Mount Erebus breaks through the clouds • Earth.com

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the summit crater of Mount Erebus peeking through the clouds. Erebus is the southernmost active volcano on Earth and the second-highest volcano in Antarctica.

Mount Erebus is situated on Ross Island in the Ross Sea. It was discovered in 1841 by the British explorer Sir James Clark Ross, who named it after his ship, the Erebus.

It stands at an elevation of about 3,794 meters (12,448 feet). It’s a stratovolcano, characterized by a conical shape and layers of hardened lava, tephra, and volcanic ash.

Mount Erebus is known for its persistent lava lake, which is visible in the image. “The lake has been active since at least 1972 and is one of only a few long-lived lava lakes on Earth. It constantly churns and occasionally spews bombs of molten rock in Strombolian eruptions,” said NASA.

“Geologists want to learn why an active lava lake has persisted here for so long. Recent research suggests one reason could be the magma’s low water content, which makes it less volatile as it approaches the surface.”

Due to its unique features, Mount Erebus is an important site for scientific research. Researchers study its geology, unique gas emissions, and microbial life in its extreme environment.

However, the harsh Antarctic climate and its remote location make it a challenging environment for research. Additionally, its volcanic activity poses risks.

The image was captured on November 25,2023 by the OLI-2 (Operational Land Imager-2) on Landsat 9.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

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