Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant (détail)
© Christian Baraja/Musée Marmottand Monet, Paris
LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) – Ten years ago this week, Mount St. Helens awoke from an 18-year geological slumber.
The news media and volcano-watchers flocked to Johnston Ridge, the closest road with a crater view. Steam and ash eruptions shot thousands of feet into the air, and for several weeks, the area near the volcano was closed because of safety concerns.
Over the next three years, a second lava dome slowly appeared in the crater, eventually rising 1,076 feet above the crater floor. By the time the eruption ended in 2008, climbers had already been allowed back to the summit and media attention faded.
Though the mountain isn’t getting as much publicity these days, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey are marking the anniversary to highlight new eruption warning technology they’ve installed around the volcano since then and to remind people that Mount St. Helens will continue to rebuilt itself.
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American Indian lore contains numerous legends to explain the eruptions of Mount St. Helens and other Cascade volcanoes. The most famous of these is the Bridge of the Gods legend told by the Klickitat people. In their tale, the chief of all the gods and his two sons, Pahto (also called Klickitat) and Wy’east, traveled down theColumbia River from the Far North in search for a suitable area to settle.
They came upon an area that is now called The Dalles and thought they had never seen a land so beautiful. The sons quarreled over the land, so to solve the dispute their father shot two arrows from his mighty bow — one to the north and the other to the south. Pahto followed the arrow to the north and settled there while Wy’east did the same for the arrow to the south. The chief of the gods then built the Bridge of the Gods, so his family could meet periodically.
When the two sons of the chief of the gods fell in love with a beautiful maiden named Loowit, she could not choose between them. The two young chiefs fought over her, burying villages and forests in the process. The area was devastated and the earth shook so violently that the huge bridge fell into the river, creating the cascades of the Columbia River Gorge.
For punishment, the chief of the gods struck down each of the lovers and transformed them into great mountains where they fell. Wy’east, with his head lifted in pride, became the volcano known today as Mount Hood. Pahto, with his head bent toward his fallen love, was turned into Mount Adams. The fair Loowit became Mount St. Helens, known to the Klickitats as Louwala-Clough, which means “smoking or fire mountain” in their language (the Sahaptin called the mountain Loowit).
The mountain is also of sacred importance to the Cowlitz and Yakama tribes that also historically lived in the area. They find the area above its tree line to be of exceptional spiritual significance, and the mountain (which they call “Lawetlat’la”, roughly translated as “the smoker”) features prominently in their creation myth, and in some of their songs and rituals. In recognition of this cultural significance, over 12,000 acres (4,900 ha) of the mountain (roughly bounded by the Loowit Trail) have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This video features two model runs. One looks at a moderate coronal mass ejection (CME) from 2006. The second run examines the consequences of a large coronal mass ejection, such as The Carrington-Class CME of 1859. These model runs allow us to estimate consequences of a large event hitting Earth, so we can better protect power grids and satellites.
In an effort to understand and predict the impact of space weather events on Earth, the Community-Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, routinely runs computer models of the many historical events. These model runs are then compared to actual data to determine ways to improve the model, and therefore forecasts of future space weather events.
Sometimes we need an actual event to have data for comparison. Extreme space weather events are one example where researchers must test models with a rather limited set of data.
The vertical lines on the left represent magnetic field lines from the sun.
This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11660
On September 1–2, 1859, one of the largest recorded geomagnetic storms (as recorded by ground-based magnetometers) occurred. Aurorae were seen around the world, those in the northern hemisphere even as far south as the Caribbean; those over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. People who happened to be awake in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by the aurora’s light.
The aurora was visible as far from the poles as Cuba and Hawaii. Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases giving telegraph operators electric shocks. On Saturday, September 3, 1859, the Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser reported, “Those who happened to be out late on Thursday night had an opportunity of witnessing another magnificent display of the auroral lights.
The phenomenon was very similar to the display on Sunday night, though at times the light was, if possible, more brilliant, and the prismatic hues more varied and gorgeous. The light appeared to cover the whole firmament, apparently like a luminous cloud, through which the stars of the larger magnitude indistinctly shone. The light was greater than that of the moon at its full, but had an indescribable softness and delicacy that seemed to envelop everything upon which it rested.
Between 12 and 1 o’clock, when the display was at its full brilliancy, the quiet streets of the city resting under this strange light, presented a beautiful as well as singular appearance.” In 1859, the world was far less reliant on electricity and certainly of satellite communications. In June 2013, a joint venture from researchers at Lloyd’s of London and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) in the United States used data from the Carrington Event to estimate the current cost of a similar event to the US alone at $0.6–2.6 trillion.
Astonishing images of the huge floating cities that have sprung up to service China’s £25billion fish farming industry have emerged.
The pictures – taken in Luoyuan Bay, in south-eastern China’s Fujian province – show a mass of ramshackle wooden homes and huts floating far out into the sea covering almost the entire bay.
Beneath them are a network of lines, cages and nets containing everything from crabs and lobster to scallops and carp and even seaweed.
A ‘beautiful and poignant’ still life painted by Vincent Van Gogh just weeks before his suicide is expected to fetch up to £30million when it goes on auction this autumn.
‘Still life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies’ has been described as the most important painting of its kind to go on the market in two decades.
It was produced by the Dutch artist in 1890 at the house of his close friend Dr. Gachet in Auvers-sur-Oise, Paris – not long before he shot himself in the chest with a revolver, aged 37.
Van Gogh painted just a few hundred works in his career, the majority of which are now displayed in museums.
The painting will be sold by auction house Sotheby’s in New York on November 4.
Simon Shaw, co-head of Impressionist and modern art at Sotheby’s, described the work as ‘beautiful’ and ‘vibrant’, capturing ‘the intensity of the artist at the height of his mania, only weeks before his tragic end.’
He said the Dutch artist’s early death meant his works were in ‘radically diminished supply’.
He added: ‘Unlike Monet and Picasso, who were very productive artists with long, prolific careers, Van Gogh only painted for a very short time.’
The artist is believed to have suffered from bipolar disorder, where manic episodes of high energy and creativity succumbed to spells of depression.
Korean photographer Kwon O Chul
There are two types of auroras – Aurora Borealis, or ‘Northern Lights,’ and Aurora Australis, known as ‘Southern Lights.’
Auroras occur when highly charged electrons from the solar wind collide with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen in the earth’s atmosphere at altitudes from 20 to 200 miles above the planet’s surface. The interactions between the charged particles give off light.
Auroral displays appear in many colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
The color of the aurora depends on which atom is struck, and the altitude of the meeting. The common green hue is caused by colliding oxygen molecules at altitudes of up to 150 miles.
The sun is thought to be 4.5 billion years old, but water on Earth may have formed before then as tiny crystals of ice floating around deep space.
Professor Tim Harries, from the University of Exeter, said: ‘We know that water is vital for the evolution of life on Earth, but it was possible that the Earth’s water originated in the specific conditions of the early solar system, and that those circumstances might occur infrequently elsewhere.
‘By identifying the ancient heritage of Earth’s water, we can see that the way in which our solar system was formed will not be unique, and that exoplanets will form in environments with abundant water.
‘It raises the possibility that some exoplanets could house the right conditions, and water resources, for life to evolve.’
The international team of scientists studied ancient ices preserved in comets and asteroids since the early days of the solar system.