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We donít know about you, but when we think about Antarctica we donít think about volcanoes. Apparently, we need to think outside the ice box.
Found on Antarctica, Mt. Erebus is the Earthís southernmost active volcano. Make that a stratovolcano . A stratovolcano is composed of varying types of volcanic debris and has steeply sloping sides and a sharp summit. Need a better picture? Think of Mt. Fuji in Japan.
Because of the remoteness of the volcano, the extreme environment, the brief field season (<6 weeks per year) and its non- threatening nature (tell that to the penguinsÖ), relatively little is known about Mt. Erebus. What we do know is that the face of Erebus is a harsh place to visit.
Here we see the inside of a fumarole on Mt. Erebus. Derived from the Latin word for smoke, fumus, a fumarole is an ice tube formed around a volcanic steam vent. Volcanic gases and smoke escape into the atmosphere through these subterranean pipelines.
Photo by Aaron Spitzer/RPSC (1990) NSF/USAP