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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Chasing Volcanoes

volcanos remain dramatically beautiful and still mysterious

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, March 13, 2013/Categories: natural history, photography

Volcanoes are impressive. I thought of this when a good friend of Riled Up, James Balog, the photographer who gained international fame for his graphic time-lapse studies of climate change in the film  Chasing Ice , wrote to say he was on vacation in Hawaii  "chasing volcanoes".

NASA has just released an image of Japan's Sakurajima volcano that erupted in January. Magma shoots away from the crater's surface from deep below. The photograph is notable for the lightning bolts generated near the summit. Why this occurs just like with common thunderstorms remains a research topic and a mystery.

Sakurajima Volcano with Lightning  (credit: NASA/Martin Rietze)

Years earlier, I was traveling in Central America and invited to view Pacaya volcano in Guatemala that happened to be erupting. I thought we would drive to a 'scenic overlook' and observe the eruption from a safe distance but after driving several hours in the middle of the night we reached the summit with the lava flowing below us. This was probably not the smartest thing I have ever done but I will never forget the experience.

It will be exciting to see the visual results of James Balog's "chasing volcanos" investigations even if they don't relate to climate change.


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