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Science and the Environment
Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Flying South to Study the Heat in a Very Cold Spot

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Submitted photo by Mickus
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Cold and sunburned, Missouri State geology professor Dr. Kevin Mickus trudged with his fellow scientists through the snow and ice to study Mount Erebus, the southernmost active volcano in the world. He is here to share about his experience in Antarctica.

“This is one of maybe three or four volcanoes in the whole world that when you go up to the crater you can see lava. This one you get to the top and you look down, and yep, there’s a lava lake down there – you can see it bubbling,” Mickus said. “Recently, the floor of the crater has risen 90 feet and there has been stuff shooting out of the volcano.”

Mount Erebus is classified as active due to its frequent Strombolian eruptions – an eruption of light, magma and rocks that happens after bubbles are formed due to a buildup of gas – but it has infrequent ash eruptions and historically rare lava flows. Actually, the lava flow for decades has been confined to the inner crater. Mickus noted that it’s thrilling work, but he hasn’t really been concerned about a destructive eruption.

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