Feeds

Australian volcano starts to blow

Don't worry: only penguins are in danger as it's in the middle of nowhere

The next step in data security

One of Australia's two active volcanoes seems to be erupting.

We say seems because the volcano in question, on Heard Island, is located in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, 2000km north of Antarctica and closer to Africa than to Australia. That's about as close to the middle of nowhere as it is possible to be.

Heard Island and its neighbour MacDonald Island are Australian territories and are uninhabited, but each possesses an active volcano. Scientific expeditions venture there infrequently, due to conservation issues and the fact the islands have a wretched climate, are thousands of miles from anywhere nice and can only be accessed or supplied by ship.

That means little attention is paid to the islands, with the satellite images such as the one below seldom acquired.

NASA Earth Observatory image of a likely volcanic eruption on Heard Island's Mawson peak

Heard Island, with Mawson peak at left

But NASA's Earth Observatory says the image and other analysis detected heat signatures on Heard Island's 2475m Mawson Peak that suggest recent volcanic activity.

“Although not definitive, this natural-color satellite image also suggests an ongoing eruption,” NASA writes. “The dark summit crater (much darker than Mawson’s shaded southwestern face) is at least partially snow-free, and there’s a faint hint of an even darker area—perhaps a lava flow—within. Shortwave infrared data (collected along with the visible imagery) shows hot surfaces within the crater, indicating the presence of lava in, or just beneath, the crater.”

The Australian Government's official Heard and McDonald Island website, which has a nifty .aq domain, reports eruptions on McDonald Island. In 1992.

Heard Island's remote location means any eruptions are unlikely to bother anyone, as the region has no history of colossal, world-shaking, events. Penguins and expeditions that plan to visit the islands are, however, in jeopardy. Two of the latter are scheduled for the near future. In 2013 a solo adventurer plans to sail to the islands and then kayak ashore.

A scientific expedition is eyeing off a visit in 2014. El Reg would love to come along if the expedition needs a seasickness-prone-hack aboard. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.