posted on Apr, 11 2011 @ 05:41 AM
Into the Abyss
During the first ever scientific expedition into a volcanic magma chamber, climber Einar Stefánsson rappels into Iceland's dormant Thrihnukagigur
volcano in October. Magma chambers supply the molten rock that oozes or bursts onto Earth's surface during an eruption. Thrihnukagigur, which last
erupted about 3,000 years ago, contains only ancient magma—though the volcano could come back to life at anytime, experts
Climber Björn Ólafsson descends into the 45-story magma chamber inside Iceland's Thrihnukagigur volcano in fall 2010.
Sigurdsson (left) examines rock from inside Thrihnukagigur volcano's magma chamber with team member Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a volcanologist at the
University of Iceland.
"Thrihnukagigur is unique. … It's like somebody came and pulled the plug and all the magma ran down out of it," said volcanologist
Haraldur Sigurdsson. Thrihnukagigur is located about a hundred miles (160 kilometers) from Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which blew last April
and grounded airplanes for several days with its ash clouds. While people have ventured inside the relatively shallow volcanic craters located close
to Earth's surface, the 2010 expedition was the first to explore a volcano's deeper chambers.
"Everywhere inside the chamber, you had a plastering of magma on the walls," Sigurdsson said. "It looked like a
beautiful plaster of Paris, and, in places that peeled off, you could see the geological makeup of the volcano underneath."
"We knew from geophysical tools what the plumbing system inside of a volcano looked like, but we only knew it in the crudest way,"
James Quick, a volcanologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas
A magma shaft—an offshoot of the much larger magma chamber—inside Iceland's Thrihnukagigur volcano in autumn 2010.
The magma chamber itself is bottle shaped, Sigurdsson said. The bottom half is about a hundred feet (30 meters) across, while the "neck" that
connects to the surface is only about 10 feet (3 meters) wide. The entire chamber is about 450 feet (137 meters), from top to bottom. Branching off
from the main "bottle" are various veinlike vertical chutes and horizontal channels where magma once flowed.
All part of something like this at one time, and maybe again
I mean, COME ON!!!! How much better does it get-in that field of study-to be doing this?
Absoultely fascinating stuff. Look at the walls. I think they tell so much.. but I just don't know what exactly. I never studied Lava and anything
related. Those folks had a field day for sure.
I love the pic of the Lave Tube. And, as noted, that is just an off-shoot of the main one... which, now I'll have to watch the special episode to see
if they put a picture/video of the main one up. I couldn't find a related video for this particular story so....
Anyway, I think they could turn this event into a nice tourist destination/park etc. I would pay to go there and do that. You?
If you liked the last pic, you might want to check out this thread of mine that is the first one that got me going on Volcanos. I promise you, you
won't be disappointed:
**Volcano Lightning Electrifies Japan Eruption
I hope you enjoy this as much as I.
edit on 4/11/2011 by anon72 because: (no reason given)