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This date in science: Landslide at Bingham Canyon Mine

The April 10, 2013, landslide at Bingham Canyon mine contained enough debris to bury New York City’s Central Park 66 feet deep, according to a new University of Utah study. The slide happened in the form of two rock avalanches 95 minutes apart. The first rock avalanche included grayer bedrock material seen around the margins of the lower half of the slide. The second rock avalanche is orange in color, both from bedrock and from waste rock from mining. The landslide also triggered 16 small earthquakes. Photo by Kennecott Utah Copper, via University of Utah.

The April 10, 2013, landslide at Bingham Canyon mine contained enough debris to bury New York City’s Central Park 66 feet deep, according to a new University of Utah study. The slide happened in the form of two rock avalanches 95 minutes apart. The first rock avalanche included grayer bedrock material seen around the margins of the lower half of the slide. The second rock avalanche is orange in color, both from bedrock and from waste rock from mining. The landslide also triggered 16 small earthquakes. Photo by Kennecott Utah Copper, via University of Utah.

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.

This date in science: Largest volcanic eruption in recorded history

Tambora seen from the International Space Station in 2009. Image credit: NASA

Tambora Volcano seen from the International Space Station in 2009. Image via NASA

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.

Star aligns with planetary nebula to create diamond ring

The planetary nebula Abell 33 captured using European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope.  Via ESO.

The planetary nebula Abell 33 captured using European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope. This planetary nebula is unusually round. Something usually disturbs the symmetry and causes a planetary nebula to appear roundish, but slightly irregular in shape. Via ESO.

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.

Warm water in Pacific could spark a monster El Nino in 2014

Here is a 4-month sequence showing unusually warm water, below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, in the area of Earth's equator.  Via Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

Here is a 4-month sequence showing unusually warm water, below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, in the area of Earth’s equator. Via Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology.

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.

Bright red Blood Falls, five stories high

Blood Falls pouring into Lake Bonney. A tent can be seen in the lower left for size comparison. Photo from the United States Antarctic Program Photo Library.

Blood Falls pouring into Lake Bonney. A tent can be seen in the lower left for size comparison. Photo from the United States Antarctic Program Photo Library.

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.

If you could ride a rocket to space, here’s what you’d see

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.

Earthquakes in Yellowstone: ‘Elevated but not unusual’

File photo of Norris Geyser Basin, near the epicenter of the magnitude 4.8 earthquake that rattled Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on March 30, 2014.  Photo by Jim Peaco / National Park Service / November 22, 2013.  Via LA Times.

File photo of Norris Geyser Basin, near the epicenter of the magnitude 4.8 earthquake that rattled Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on March 30, 2014. Photo by Jim Peaco / National Park Service.

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.

Astounding photos of marine worms, some previously unknown to science

Photo by Alexander Semenov

Photo by Alexander Semenov

Alexander Semenov photographed 222 different worm species, which are now in the process of being studied and documented by scientists. See photos.

Throat of Fire volcano in Ecuador erupts explosively

Ash cloud from Tungurahua volcano, by Daya Camacho, via @tweet_quake on Twitter.

Ash cloud from Tungurahua volcano, by Daya Camacho, via @tweet_quake on Twitter.

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.

Another powerful earthquake rocks northern Chile

Location of the 8.0 Earthquake on April 1, 2014. Image Credit: USGS

Location of the 7.6-magnitude earthquake in northern Chile on April 2-3, 2014. Image via USGS

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.