April 10, 2013. On this date – a year ago today – a towering wall of dirt and rocks gave way and crashed down the side of Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah. The landslide was to be one of the largest non-volcanic landslides in the history of North America. Researchers later reported that the landslide – which moved at an average of almost 70 mph and reached estimated speeds of at least 100 mph – left a deposit so large it would cover New York’s Central Park with about 20 meters (66 feet) of debris.
April 10, 1815. Mount Tambora began a large volcanic eruption on this date. This volcano – on Sumbawa Island, east of Java in what is today Indonesia – ultimately dumped an estimated 160 cubic kilometers (38 cubic miles) of melted rock and ash onto the surrounding countryside and into the air. By some estimates, it was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history.
Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile today (April 9, 2014) released this image of the planetary nebula PN A66 33 — usually known as Abell 33 – located roughly 2,500 light-years from Earth. What you see here is the planetary nebula in a chance alignment with a foreground star.
The giant red blob in this image is a huge, unusual mass of warm water that currently spans the tropical Pacific Ocean. As it moves eastward – propelled by anomalous trade winds – it’s also getting closer to the ocean’s surface. Once the warm water hits the sea surface, it will begin to interact with the atmosphere. The warm water is expected to boost temperatures and change weather patterns … and possibly bring on a monster El Nino in 2014. There are signs this is already beginning to happen.
The bright red waterfall – dubbed Blood Falls by geologists who discovered it in 1911 – is the work of microbes trapped beneath ice for nearly 2 million years.
Here’s a unique perspective, from cameras mounted on the upper stage of the Soyuz rocket that sent Europe’s Sentinel-1A satellite into space last week.
In recent weeks, there’s been a flurry of news about the volcanic system that lies beneath Yellowstone National Park. March 2014 saw swarms of earthquakes there, with 332 earthquakes striking Yellowstone in March. The largest event was a 4.8-magnitude quake on March 30. The U.S. Geological Survey has now commented, saying:
With the latest swarms, earthquakes are elevated, but are not unusual for Yellowstone.
Alexander Semenov photographed 222 different worm species, which are now in the process of being studied and documented by scientists. See photos.
Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador erupted powerfully and explosively on Friday (April 4, 2014), sending a 6-mile (10-km) column of ash skyward. AP reports that the initial five-minute explosion shot hot gas and rock onto the volcano’s northern and northwestern flanks.
For the second time in two days, a powerful earthquake has struck off the west coast of northern Chile. Today’s quake was 7.6 magnitude. It’s considered an aftershock of the 8.2-magnitude quake on April 1.