Google+

Diamonds Aren’t that Rare After All

new study suggests there may be 1,000 times more diamonds in the Earth's interior than previously...
 new study suggests there may be 1,000 times more diamonds in the Earth’s interior than previously believed(Credit: kelpfish/Depositphotos)

In case you weren’t already sure that diamonds aren’t as unique or valuable as advertisers want us to believe, the next blow to Big Diamond might have just arrived. Using sound waves, geologists have discovered a gigantic stash of the so-called precious stones deep in the Earth’s interior, possibly to the tune of a quadrillion tons. read more

Volcano Lightning

A lightning volcano… Mother Nature at her most awesome

Streaks of crimson lava soar hundreds of feet  into the air as an erupting volcano puts on the most spectacular of light  shows.

But Mother Nature isn’t quite finished yet.

She throws in blinding flashes of forked  lightning, which crack the red-hot sky and show just the sort of fireworks she  has at her command.

Light show: Lightning emerges from lava erupting from the Sakurajima Volcano in the Kaghoshima area of South Japan in this picture taken by German photographer Martin Rietze
Lightning emerges from lava erupting from  the Sakurajima Volcano in the Kaghoshima area of South Japan in this picture  taken by German photographer Martin Rietze
Rare: Lightning only ever strikes a volcanic eruption during heavy 'vulcanian' or 'plinian' explosions when the amount of red lava is very low
 Lightning only ever strikes a volcanic eruption  during heavy ‘vulcanian’ or ‘plinian’ explosions when the amount of red lava is  very low

This awesome display of natural power  was  captured by German photographer Martin Rietze, who waits patiently  for days in  remote locations for exactly the right explosive moment.

Scientists can’t quite explain how the phenomenon of volcano lightning occurs. They believe  electrically-charged  particles of ash disgorged during the eruption  somehow react with the  atmosphere to create the forks of clear white  light.

Mr Rietze, 45, spends his life in the  world’s volcano hotspots – travelling from Costa Rica to Italy – to  capture  the grandeur of an erupting firestorm.

This stunning photo of volcanic  lightning  striking an erupting crater was taken last month at the  Sakurajima volcano near  the southern tip of Japan.

Waiting game: Patient Mr Rietze waited days before finally capturing the lightstorm images on February 25, 2013, at around 4.50am
Patient Mr Rietze waited days before  finally capturing the lightstorm images on February 25, 2013, at around  4.50am

‘You have very few chances to catch  lightning close to an erupting volcano because it involves being very patient and waiting for many days,’ Mr Rietze said.

‘I waited around four days for Sakurajima.  Knowing that very few people have ever experienced something so beautiful gives  a very special feeling. I will never ever forget those moments surrounded by  poisonous gas, feeling the heat of the  flowing and bubbling lava and hearing noises louder than a plane taking  off.  Sometimes your body can feel the  shockwaves and the ground is  shaking.’

He shrugs off the dangers of being so  close to molten lava. ‘It’s great fun, and so unique. I have had fewer mishaps chasing eruptions than when mountain climbing,’ he said.

Drama: Volcanoes are an opening or vent in the Earth's crust. When gas and magma builds up under the surface it eventually erupts above the surface through this gap, spewing rocks, lava and ash
 Volcanoes are an opening or vent in the Earth’s  crust. When gas and magma builds up under the surface it eventually erupts above  the surface through this gap, spewing rocks, lava and ash

 

Danger: The lava can reach 1,250C and burn everything in its path. These flows are currents of hot gas and rock that reach temperatures of 1,000C and travel up to 500mph
 The lava can reach 1,250C and burn everything in  its path. These flows are currents of hot gas and rock that reach temperatures  of 1,000C and travel up to 500mph

 

Equipment: Mr Rietze shot the magnificent photos on a highly sensitive full format DSLR with a shorter (90-200mm) but very bright tele-lens
 Mr Rietze shot the magnificent photos on a  highly sensitive full format DSLR with a shorter (90-200mm) but very bright  tele-lens

A volcano is essentially an opening or vent  in the Earth’s crust. When gas and magma – the hot fluid under the surface – build up they erupt through this gap, spewing hot rocks, ash  and lava reaching  1,200C (2,192F).

But when lightning follows, it is a  different type from that seen in thunderstorms. Dr Sue Loughlin, head of volcanology at British Geological Survey, explained volcanic lightning  is  still a natural mystery.

‘Lightning typically forms as ash  particles  are charged through friction during eruption and dispersion in the atmosphere,’ she said. ‘Ice particles in the atmosphere are also  involved. But scientists  are unclear about the exact mechanisms.’

Attribution: Nick Mcdermott, Mail Online