I feel all warm inside.
The attention on Bárðarbunga has prompted a discussion of the relationship between volcanoes, melting glaciers, and climate change. Carolyn Kormann writes:
“[Iceland]’s volcanoes sit directly over a hot spot on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and have been depositing new layers of rock for millions of years. Scientists who have analyzed these layers have found that, beginning about ten thousand years ago, after the last ice age’s glaciers began to melt, Iceland’s volcanoes started erupting as much as fifty times more frequently. Lava flowed freely and ash fell abundantly for the next two thousand years.”
Above: Lava near Bárðarbunga on September 1st. Photograph by Eggert Johannesson/AP
Scientists Find Evidence for Tectonic Plates on Jupiter’s Moon Europa
Scientists have found evidence of plate tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa. This indicates the first sign of this type of surface-shifting geological activity on a world other than Earth.
Researchers have clear visual evidence of Europa’s icy crust expanding. However, they could not find areas where the old crust was destroyed to make room for the new. While examining Europa images taken by NASA’s Galileo orbiter in the early 2000s, planetary geologists Simon Kattenhorn, of the University of Idaho, Moscow, and Louise Prockter, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, discovered some unusual geological boundaries.
"We have been puzzled for years as to how all this new terrain could be formed, but we couldn’t figure out how it was accommodated," said Prockter. "We finally think we’ve found the answer."
Plate tectonics is the scientific theory that Earth’s outer layer is made up of plates or blocks that move, which accounts for why mountain and volcanoes form and earthquakes happen…
(read more: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Scotland  - Isle of Skye & Eilean Donan Castle
- Sgurr Nan Gillean/Sligachan, Eilean Donan Castle, The Quiraing, Uig, Kilt Rock, Glen Brittle, Fairy Pools/Glen Brittle, Eilean Donan Castle, Sligachan Bridge, Eilean Donan
One of my all time favorite episodes.
NGC 5195, The Dot Under the Question Mark
"Dwarf galaxy NGC 5195 is best known as the smaller companion of spiral M51, the Whirlpool galaxy. Seen together they seem to trace the curve and dot of a cosmic question mark, recorded in Lord Rosse’s 19th century drawings as one of the original spiral nebulae. Dwarfed by enormous M51 (aka NGC 5194), NGC 5195 spans about 20,000 light-years. A close encounter with M51 has likely triggered star formation and enhanced that galaxy’s prominent spiral arms. Processed from image data available in the Hubble Legacy Archive, this majestic close-up of NGC 5195 makes it clear that the dwarf galaxy now lies behind M51. A tidal bridge of dark dust clouds and young blue star clusters stretches from the outskirts of M51 on the right, appearing in silhouette against the dwarf galaxy’s yellowish glow. The famous pair of interacting galaxies lie some 30 million light-years away, toward the handle of the Big Dipper, and the constellation of the Hunting Dogs"