Mar 12, 2013

Picture of the Day: Forces of Nature

 

FORCES OF NATURE

 

forces-of-nature

 

This incredible photograph by Martin Rietze was NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for March 11, 2013. In it we see the Sakurajima Volcano erupting with lightning (check out this vid for another example). According to NASA, it is not fully understood what causes volcanic lightning. Although lightning in general occurs somewhere on Earth roughly 40 times per second!

This photograph was taken between February 21-26, you can see a complete gallery of the event here. Sakurajima is an active composite volcano (stratovolcano) and a former island in Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyūshū, Japan. The lava flows of the 1914 eruption (Japan’s most powerful eruption in the 20th century) caused the former island to be connected with the Osumi Peninsula. Its summit is split into three peaks, Kita-dake (northern peak), Naka-dake (central peak) and Minami-dake (southern peak) which is active now.

The volcano has been erupting almost constantly since 1955. Thousands of small explosions occur each year, throwing ash to heights of up to a few kilometers above the mountain. The city of Kagoshima (680,000 residents) is just a few kilometers from the volcano. [Source]

Photographer Martin Rietze has an incredible collection of pictures on his website mrietze.com. Not only has he published several books, but he has documented an incredible amount of natural phenomena, all viewable on his website.

 

 

 

 

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