Golden volcanoes

After the post on Mount Fuji, there was a discussion on which was the most beautiful volcano. Beauty can be a rather vague term, and people can disagree with each other as to the best volcanic beauty. Who is the judge in the Volcano World beauty contest? Or can we solve the question here, and define beauty in a way that leaves one clear winner? Our definitive i-cone-oclast?

The volcanoes that were proposed in the previous discussion have things in common. Like Mount Fuji, they tend to be fairly steep cones, isolated with a clear contrast to the rest of the landscape, and symmetric. Does this give a way to define what a perfect volcano should look like?

Beauty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the expression says. This of course is very much true. A new-born baby is the most beautiful thing on earth – if you are the parent. But a new baby does not live up to any standard of beauty. In fact, dare I say it, they can at first be quite ugly. Patience: they quickly beautify over the first months of life, and keep improving until puberty hits and life begins for real. Old paintings show how our perception of beauty has changed. What was a beautiful face for a renaissance painter would not pass muster in the age of Hollywood. Both use standards, but the standards have changed. Some things remain: symmetry and skin suppleness survive while the ideal shape changes. Leonardo da Vinci described beauty as a combination of symmetry and proportion. Nowadays, plastic surgery uses a set of linear and angular parameters to beautify a face. But a universal description of the shape of a perfect face does not exist: it varies with time, race and culture.

So it is with a landscape. A perfect Japanese landscape differs from a German one (the former has space, the latter probably has a forest in it somewhere). But these are variations in a theme. Both themes strive for proportion, a degree of symmetry, and for harmony. There should also be an element of surprise. Like a perfect and unblemished face looks artificial and made up, a perfect landscape looks boring. There is nothing happening. A landscape can be shown from many different points of view. In some of the images of Hokusai’s 36 Views of Fuji, the mountain itself is the focus, always showing a different but domineering aspect. In others the focus is elsewhere, with Fuji in the background to give meaning to a human land. The Big Wave falls in that category. Just a landscape is not enough. It needs context.

Beauty rubs off. Studies have shown that people have more favourable impressions of people who have attractive partners – even if those persons themselves do not satisfy typical definitions of beauty. A beautiful partner is more than a trophy: it is an asset which adds value. (Of course, for the partner it can be a curse to be seen as a trophy and asset, rather than being admired for talent!) This transfer of beauty applies to both people and volcanoes – any landscape looks better with a stratovolcano in it, just like that volcano looks better with its surroundings.

There are other aspects of beauty. Colour is one: lava is ugly in the light of day (really!) but it becomes a wonder at night when the lava turns into a light show worthy of Christmas. Music is another: it can leave a lasting impression of beauty and harmony. But beauty can be bland and appreciation does not need beauty. Much of the music each of us enjoys cannot be called ‘beautiful’. Paintings can have great visual impact without beauty (Picasso’s Guernica comes to mind). But those pieces are much more affected by personal preferences. Different people enjoy very different music, but we can agree that the waving melody of Greensleeves and the lightfootedness of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik have beauty.

The previous post mentioned that at close view, Fuji is far from perfect. But in fact, that can add to the beauty. It adds character to symmetry – as long as the deviations do not dominate. Pure beauty can seem lifeless. An average human face has beauty but has lost all character, perhaps because it lacks those minor, surprising asymmetries.

The golden ratio

Skin tone and texture is relevant in people’s perception of beauty. So are proportions. The volcanoes we like are all fairly steep mountains. Does that mean anything?

Originally this was called the divine ratio. It is a weird number that was discovered already by the ancient Greeks. Take a line, and divide it into two unequal lengths. If the ratio of the two lengths is the same as the ratio of the larger length to the total, that is the golden ratio. It is commonly denoted with the greek letter φ.

Source: wikipedia

The definition above in mathematics can be written as follows:

If we now make the choice to take b=1, then automatically a=φ. The equation now becomes

Rearranging this gives the equation

The ancient Greeks were fascinated by this equation. It has a funny solution which they couldn’t quite figure out. It could not be written as a ratio between two whole numbers, say n/m. They were even able to proof this. No such number had been found before. Nowadays we call this an irrational number. To the Greeks this was as strange as imaginary numbers are to us. We can phrase the solution as an equation, but not as a precise number. The solution is in fact

If you had written the original ratio the wrong way around, with +φ rather than -φ, you would have calculated 1/φ rather than φ. It turns out, that gives exactly the same number with the first ‘1’ replaced by ‘0’: it gives 0.61803.. That was funny. Later it was found that the golden ratio is related to the Fibonacci numbers. If you don’t quite remember what this is, don’t worry – most people just pretend that they know. The Fibonacci numbers start with 0 and 1 (now you already know more than most), and then make more numbers by adding the previous two together. So the next number in the sequence is 1 (from 0+1), the following one is 2 (1+1) and now it gets harder: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21, .. The numbers quickly become larger.

(Actually, you could argue that starting with 0 is wrong. 0 is not really a number in mathematics. It doesn’t exist. For instance, you would instantly see the difference between 10 elephants and 10 apples. But how about 0 elephants and 0 apples? You know you can add apples together, and you could add elephants together if you had enough of them. But adding apples and elephants makes no sense: 2 apples plus 4 apples makes 6 apples, but 2 apples plus 4 elephants just makes a mess. Could you add 2 apples plus 0 elephants? Mathematics has no real answer to this, except to say that zero doesn’t really exist. So there is an other series which is like the Fibonacci numbers but begins with 1,2 rather than 0,1. It is called the Lucas sequence, designed by a mathematician who did not believe in zero.)

Back to the original topic. If you take the ratio of the last two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence above, 21 and 13, you can calculate the ratio. (Just pop it into the google search bar. You might even get some refreshing adverts later, when google figures out your new-found love of mathematics.) That ratio is 1.615, very close to the golden ratio. In fact when we continue the sequence, the next two numbers (34 and 55) have a ratio even closer to 1.618. The same is true for the Lucas series. If you continue them long enough, the ratio between your last two numbers becomes equal to the golden ratio. The 16th Fibonacci number is 2207: we can now immediately say that the next one must be 3571, just by multiplying 2207 by the golden ratio. But we can never get to the exact value of the golden ratio in this way. That is because it is an irrational number which cannot be written as a fraction of two whole numbers. But you can get very close.

(If you want to impress your friends: the higher Lucas numbers are almost exactly the golden ratio to that power. The golden ratio to the power 20, for instance, will give you the 20th Lucas number.) (It is 1.6180339920, or 15127, by the way.)

So far this is of interest to mathematicians, not volcanoholics. You eyes may be glazing over and you are already hoping that the next post will be a bit more explosive, or at least involve more latin (lava, from the latin lavare) and less greek. I would have agreed with you. Except, this number began popping up in strange and unexpected places. It kind of erupted everywhere.

It describes the pentagon (the shape, not the US military) and the dodecahedron (the shape, not the dead bird). It came up in nature: the distribution of leaves on a plant follow the golden ratio.

Where mathematics and nature lead, people follow. There has been a lot of discussion on whether the golden ratio appears in our creations. People have found it in old buildings, in paintings and in writing. But it is hard to prove these things. We don’t have written evidence from the architect of the pyramids that he (presumably) used the golden ratio. (This is claimed by some but is more than a little unlikely as the ratio was not known at that time, and wasn’t considered as important outside of mathematics until the late middle ages.) Some of the lines in cathedrals have the golden ratio. Was that by design? Or just because it is easy to scale things up by adding lines together, a bit like making a Fibonacci sequence out of planks? If a building design includes lines drawn as a pentagon, the golden ratio automatically appears even though it was never included in the design.

The first claims that the golden ratio appears in art date to the time of Leonardo da Vinci. In fact, these claims were applied to his work while the master was still working. We don’t have a statement from the artist himself, so this has remained controversial. It has appeared in more recent, famously in the geometrical designs of Mondrian and in the Sacrament of the Last Supper of Salvador Dali.

The Sacrament of the Last Supper by Salvador Dali. The size of the canvas and the docahedron show the golden (or divine) ratio. Source: wikipedia

Technology may use the golden ratio. The computer screen I am working on has a wide screen with dimensions 16:10. This is, within the accuracy, the golden ratio. But it is not deliberate design. It is just a size that is comfortable to work on.

And that is the bottom line about the golden ratio. Mathematically, it is a marvel. In nature, it is sometimes the optimum design, eventually favoured by natural selection. In the human world, it is a comfortable, pleasing ratio. The golden ratio became a measure of beauty. Is that because it happens to be present in nature? Or because of our own faces? The ratio of the length to the width of a face is approximately the golden ratio. It is the first shape a baby sees – and that is worth a smile. You can find calculators on-line which will take a photo of a face, calculate various parameters such as the facial index defined above, distances between eyes, etc, all compared to the golden ratio, and look at the symmetry of the face. It will now give you a score which indicates how beautiful the face is. It is of course artificial: these calculators try to make believe that one size fits all. Faces vary and people (and races) have different shapes. Face recognition software measures many of the same parameters, but without assigning a beauty index. (I think!)

So the golden ratio (or at least numbers not too far from it) are seen as an aesthetic indicator. It is something pleasing to look at. But how does this apply to volcanoes? Volcanoes don’t look like faces – at least being told you have a face like a volcano is not seen as as compliment.

Mount Fuji

Fuji has the reputation of being a beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful volcano on Earth. Why would that be?

Here is a classic view of Fuji. In Japanese tradition, it is framed by cherry blossom with one corner left open, creating space on one side. The lake and snow create a layered composition with the white bringing the summit into sharp focus. Sadly the reflection is disturbed by the waves on the lake, otherwise this would be the perfect Fuji composition.

Let’s look at this white summit. I have drawn a triangle which fits the upper slopes and show where the peak would have been without the central crater. Each half of the triangle (left and right) have horizontal and vertical lengths which have a ratio of about 1.6 – the golden ratio. In fact, if you were to combine the two halves to make one rectangle, that rectangle would be a so-called golden rectangle – with about the same aspect ratio as my computer screen.

(The triangles are not golden triangles. A golden triangle is defined differently, and in my opinion wrongly.)

So the summit of Mount Fuji can be approximated by the golden ratio. Fuji is a golden volcano! But only the summit peak: the lower, shallower slopes become part of the landscape instead.

In case you wondered, the angle of the slope in the triangle is about 31 degrees. Steep, but not mountaineering level. 30 degrees is typical for the upper slopes of a stratovolcano. Cinder cones are steeper, and shield volcanoes are shallower. So now it is official: stratovolcanoes are the most beautiful. They will score highest on the beauty algorithms. Hollywood, look no further.

But there are many stratovolcanoes in the world. Is there anything that makes Fuji stand out, and grades it as a 10 rather than a 9? The image shows an obvious one: the white summit forms a sharp contrast with the dark lower slopes, and delineates the ‘golden area’ very nicely. Of course, this is only during the right season, but picking the right time is one sign of a brilliant photographer.

The other thing about Fuji is that the foreground perfectly frames the mountain. The next picture shows the same triangles, but now I have made them larger – in fact the dashed lines are 1.6 times longer (where have I seen this number before!) than the solid lines. Amazingly, this traces the edge of the lake, and the cherry blossom approximately borders this new triangle. This is again a sign of brilliant photography: the cherry blossoms mirror the shape of the golden mountain.

So the beauty of Mount Fuji is a combination of the shape, the contrast and the environment. Maybe it is the perfect volcano, at least if you are at the right place at the right time with the right camera. The 36 Views of Mount Fuji of Hokusai show how this mountain can dominate, in a brooding way, even when it is just a distant background as it is in the famous Big Wave where the mountain and the people seem swamped by the storm at sea. But the mountain, small and distant, still dominates the scene. Older versions of this work, without the mountain, lack that focus.

So what makes the beauty of Mount Fuji? It it a combination of the shape, the symmetry, the youthful regularity and the surroundings. It is not perfect: the shape in particular has distortions and the snow is only seasonal. But that just adds character to the beauty. And beauty plus character makes impact.

Contest

Is it the most beautiful volcano in the world? Below are some other candidates for this which have been suggested in the comments on the previous post. I will invite people to make their case in support of their favourite Volcano World beauty contest entry! Write your nomination in the comments and I will add the text to the post. Glory awaits the winner.

El Teide

Klyuchevsky

Mayon

Shishaldin

Villarica

The following have been added from the comments

Mount Thielsen

“I guess my aesthetics run in a different direction, and there’s the question of what counts as a volcano for this purpose, but I’d take a gothic plug like Shiprock or a dramatically eroded summit like Mt. Thielsen over a symmetrical cone any day.” (Jackson Frishman)

Kronotsky Volcano

“Kronotsky definitely deserves a shoutout here. Highly symmetrical, quite pointy, yet it doesn’t have historical eruptions that people are aware of. It’s a bit more eroded than others here as a result, yet still maintains the perfect conical profile in a beautiful region.” (cbus20122)

Mount Rainier

“I’ll always have soft spot for Rainier as well. Anybody who has been to the Seattle / Tacoma region on a clear day knows how impressive and almost otherworldly Rainier is in the skyline. It’s just as beautiful up close too despite not being a perfect conical volcano.” (cbus20122)

Atitlan

“For the whole package, the view from Panajachel to Lake Atitlán with its 3 volcanoes is my personal favorite” (Virtual)

Diamond Head

“Since others have put forth ancient volcanic edifices, I nominate Diamond Head on O’ahu, HI, USA as a beautiful & welcome sight for sailors returning to Pearl Harbor from the Western Pacific.” (Mike Steussy)

Over to you!

Albert, September 2022, at the end of the second Elizabethan age. The first Elizabethan age ended soon after the devastating Huaynaputina. The second one lasted until just after Hunga Tonga, the loudest volcano since Krakatau. They were worthy endings.

Beauty of another order. Was this the most beautiful eruption in the world?

242 thoughts on “Golden volcanoes

  1. Beauty of volcanoes is one aspect but are there volcanoes which would erupt useful or even valuable lavas? Gold laced with diamonds would be best but even a volcano erupting a nice flow of molten copper would be pretty cool.

    Volcanoes erupting useful ores seem to be pretty much non-existent. Is there a good reason for this?

    • Metals are often very reactive and dont exist in pure form in nature and most of them are too heavy to ever be bouyant

    • There is a volcano in Kamchatka that erupts enough Rhenium Disulfide to be worth recovering. Of course Sulfur is mined at a number of volcanoes. And Kimberlite pipes provide most of our diamonds. So on rare occasions there’s money in them there volcanic eruptions.

    • Probably not on a rocky planet, the metals would be too dense. But some big metallic asteroids might have metal lava. I know that was proposed for 16 Psyche but ai dont know if it is anything other than theory. Maybe metal planets ould have metal volcanoes in their early history as evetything is separating out and the light stuff is trying to get to the surface.

      It might also be possible for lava that is very rich in iron to disproportionate, where three Fe2+ ions oes to a free Fe atom and two Fe3+ ions. But I dont know if this is a thing just something I thought about. That is also the only option, all the other common metals in lava are extremely reactive with oxygen and cant exist naturally.

  2. Kilauea had a hickup yesterday, with a temporary failure of the conduit. HVO writes:

    “Approximately 50 earthquakes were detected beneath Kīlauea summit between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. today. Most earthquakes in this swarm occurred approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) beneath Halemaʻumaʻu. The largest recorded earthquake was a magnitude 2.9, with the majority of the earthquakes being less than magnitude 2.

    A rapid inflation of Kīlauea summit began around 4:20 p.m., coincident with a drop of 23-feet (7-meters) in the lava lake level. The crater floor surrounding the lava lake also subsided by several yards (several meters). New surface breakouts of lava occurred on the west and north margins of the crater floor. Approximately 12 microradians of inflationary ground tilt was measured at the UWE instrument over the following hour. Only minor ground deformation has been recorded at Kīlauea summit since approximately 5:30 p.m.; earthquake activity has returned to near background levels as of 6 p.m. ”

    “This activity likely represented a temporary blockage in the eruption of lava at Halemaʻumaʻu, causing pressurization below the surface. This resulted in the earthquakes and ground inflation. Once the blockage was cleared, eruption of lava resumed with new breakouts occurring on Halemaʻumaʻu crater floor. ”

    Note the depth of the earthquakes. There is some fragility in this eruption

    • Of course it does something on the one day I decide not to check the webcam 🙁

      It is actually quite visible that the crater floor as a whole subsided, not a lot but enough to see, and it didnt go back up when the breakouts happened. It looks more like a small intrusion happened somewhere but didnt go anywhere. The tilt going up rapidly and staying there is also indicative of an intrusion. The quakes are all within the caldera at 0.1 miles depth, above sea level, and younger quakes are further south near Keanakako’i.

      Not a big event but it shows pressure in the system and that means intrusions are more likely in the near future. Some of those could erupt in new places.

      • This comes as a surprise to me. I guess intrusions can happen even without precursory pressurization in the connector conduits. I suppose that if the summit is inflating, even if the ERZ is not, there can still be a summit intrusion.

        I’m guessing this was Halema’uma’u dike intrusion which pushed the Uwekahuna tiltmeter north and up, producing a rapid change of 10 microradians. The change is similar to the one produced in the Uwekahuna tiltmeter by the December 2 dike of 2020.

        If this really was a dike then we might have been very close of a major SWRZ intrusion and catastrophic emptying of the lava lake. This event shows that the lava lake can empty down the flanks of the volcano at any time really, and with no precursor. Presumably pressure was not enough for it to push far down the southwest rift this time.

        We will know more when USGS releases an interferogram, which hopefully they will, or as the GPS start to update.

        • I guess it also means there is an obstruction in the ERZ conduit, given there has been no activity there for a year now and stations dont mirror summit signals anymore.

          It would not exactly be a surprise if the SWRZ is a spot of action soon, like in my other comment although speculative it does look more active at present. Also that there was a signigicant intrusion last year, and many times in the 2000s, and rifting in the 1970s up to when Pu’u O’o formed. The only thing left if to erupt, maybe that is the next step.

          It also looks like the draining of the lake will be spectacular, even a drop of a couple meters broke up the crust enough to spill lava over a large area. A full drain would probably see a total resurface. There might also be some strong fountaining as it drains down the conduit and degasses, like probably happened in 1868. And at least the SWRZ is uninhabited and easy to see so a big lava flood is not going to be the disaster it would be in Puna.

          • The ERZ conduit is open I think. The reason is that the Middle East Rift Zone is still deflating ever since the start of the present eruption. Likely to feed the growing lava lake.

            As I have commented below I think this was a rootless/lava lake-fed dike. Like the dike of Nyiragongo in 2021 that we talked about in some earlier articles. That is probably why there was no pressurization in the ERZ or SWRZ conduits leading up to this intrusion. Because the mechanism driving the eruption was elsewhere, in the growing lava lake.

          • It also shows why Nyiragongo is so damn dangerous. Even when being one of the world’s best monitored volcanoes this intrusion at Kilauea, which had the lava lake level been higher could have culminated in a flank eruption, gave no precursory signs of pressurization. Doesn’t matter how many instruments you put on Nyiragongo you will never see it coming until the intrusion itself has already started, and then it is probably less than an hour before lava breaks out from the flanks. Lava lakes can generate intrusions in a completely unpredictable way.

          • The lava lake is the precursory signs of pressurization for this type of event. How much pressure would the bottom of the wall of a tank of water that size be under? Then multiply by several, since rock is considerably denser than water …

          • I drew the point on the SWRZ that corresponds to the current elevation of the lava lake, it is about the same elevation as Mauna Iki. So to get an eruption on the flank the dike would need to be at least 10 km long to intersect the surface at that elevation, probably longer in reality.

            So actually, given the evidence the lake might not get deeper, there might not be a rapid drainout. Rather, I think lava will be intruded more gradually, at least for a while, and this will probably create many flank vents. Maybe as this space is filled in that will allow the lake to rise further, and then drain out. But now I am thinking that a repeat of 1823 is not likely in the immediate term.

        • I’m looking at the earthquake progression in IRIS and the seismicity started under the southwest corner of Halema’uma’u, along the dike swarm that runs from Kilauea Iki, through Halema’uma’u, towards Mauna Iki. Earthquakes then spread to the north and to the south, I think as segments of Kilauea’s ring fault were activated by the deformation generated from the growing dike.

          http://ds.iris.edu/ieb/index.html?format=text&nodata=404&starttime=2022-09-21&endtime=2025-01-01&orderby=time-desc&src=usgs&limit=1000&maxlat=19.48913548&minlat=19.32334105&maxlon=-155.16864168&minlon=-155.36639559&sbl=1&zm=12&mt=ter

          I should note that the distribution of earthquakes of the recent intrusion is very similar to that of the October 30 2021 intrusion that gave rise to the ongoing eruption. In both cases most earthquakes are concentrated south of the deepest point in Halema’uma’u along the caldera rim, probably activating a particularly seismogenic portion of the 2018 caldera ring fault. Both intrusions have clusters to the north of Halema’uma’u. The difference between the two is it the initial location of earthquakes.

          http://ds.iris.edu/ieb/index.html?format=text&nodata=404&starttime=2021-09-29&endtime=2021-10-01&orderby=time-desc&src=usgs&limit=1000&maxlat=19.48913548&minlat=19.32334105&maxlon=-155.16864168&minlon=-155.36639559&sbl=1&zm=13&mt=ter

          The October 30 2021 intrusion produced the first earthquakes under the centre of the downdropped block, this is the location of maximum uplift/subsidence of Kilauea and 10 km deep long period earthquakes. So it is presumably the centre of Kilauea and where Halema’uma’u dikes usually start. Instead, today’s/yesterday’s intrusion came from the southwest corner of Halema’uma’u where it produced an earthquake cluster, and I think it may have been a “rootless dike” or surface-fed dike from the lava lake itself, this location is expected to break more easily given the history of Kilauea, so the lava lake is expected to push into the southwest rift though the southwest corner of the crater, like the 1919 surface-fed dike that fed the Mauna Iki eruption.

          • Interesting possibility is if this keeps going downhill slowly for a few weeks and then suddenly starts gushing out of the ground somewhere on the flank, like what happened to create Mauna Iki. The lake might not be high enough to do a lava flood but if this intrusion happened at all it is evidently high enough to push into the surrounding rock already. Realistically it is probably only a couple days of magma supply before the pressure is back to what it was before so this intrusion might well still be active.

            Mauna Iki began on November 28 1919 but lava didnt actually break out on the surface until December 21 of that year, almost a month later. Not exactly a comparable situation but still comparable I think.

          • HVO interprets it as a blockage rather than an intrusion. The magma piled up behind the block until something gave away again.

          • There is clearly an intrusion though. A 12 microradian inflation in such a short notice can only be associated to an intrusion, and it has many times before. At normal supply Kilauea only inflates somewhere between 4-10 microradians per month. Here it happened within a few hours. Such massive deformation and associated earthquake activity must be related to a large volume of magma intruding and rapidly displacing rock.

            Plus the sudden drop of the whole lava lake several meters also implies a substantial volume removed from the lava lake and into an intrusion. There is no doubt about it. It is a big mistake for HVO not to recognize an intrusion right away, they should should issue an statement correcting this.

          • RE:” It is a big mistake for HVO not to recognize an intrusion right away, they should should issue an statement correcting this.” Prior conversations in such matters have spoken to their tendency to wait until just around the time the fountaining is expected.

          • Without commenting on intrusion versus blockage: the lake level can also change if pressure from below is removed. The lava level in the cone of Fagradalsfjall rose and fell with changing pressure from below. An overpressured magma source from below could have held up the lake and the blockage removed this. That can give a rapid change in level

          • If the ~10 meter drop measured by laser rangefinder corresponds more or less to the average drop of the lake surface, then given the area of the lake there is a total volume missing of 12 million cubic meters, enough to drive a VEI 3 eruption, and in the same order of magnitude as small Upper East Rift Zone dikes. More than half the volume was intruded within the first 1.5 hours judging from the Uwekahuna tiltmeter. This means the lava lake was draining at rates of over 1000 m3/second during the early part of the event. To put the event into scale.

          • “An overpressured magma source from below could have held up the lake and the blockage removed this. That can give a rapid change in level.”

            There is no reason why a blockage would change the volume of the lake however. A blockage would means no more lava enters or exits the lake, in other words no change in level. And that still wouldn’t explain the huge inflationary signal recorded by the Uwekahuna tiltmeter in the caldera rim.

          • Sorry that I got a little angry at HVO. They should know better, and if they gave that nonsensical explanation just to be conservative about the situation I don’t think that excuses them anyway. But still no reason to get angry.

            “Interesting possibility is if this keeps going downhill slowly for a few weeks and then suddenly starts gushing out of the ground somewhere on the flank, like what happened to create Mauna Iki.”

            It seems like the intrusion is over for now (lava lake is no longer falling). But it could restart at some point or a new one happen in the future that finishes what this one did. Certainly the situation is getting busy sooner than thought. It will probably take the lava lake multiple weeks to refill from this drainage though, so I don’t think more immediate intrusions are likely but who knows.

            One interesting thing is that the Keaiwa intrusion/eruption sequence may have been very complicated and occurring in multiple steps. This is a fragment from Ellis account where an inhabitant of Kapapala talks about the Great Crack:

            “He told us that the two large chasms were formed about eleven moons ago; that nothing else had been visible till nearly two moons back, when a slight earthquake was experienced at Kapapala, and the next time he came by, the ground had fallen in, forming the hollow that we saw, which also appeared full of fissures. About three weeks ago, as he was going to his plantation, he said, he saw a small flame issuing from the apertures, and a quantity of smoking lava all around; the branches of the trees that stood near were also broken and burnt, and several of them still smoking.”

            From a different people, a group of fishers from Kealakomo that had lost some canoes in the eruption, he got that the lava outbreak from the Great Crack was 5 moons before his visit.

            So the activity of the Great Crack may have been very complicated with multiple intrusions and/or outbreaks. Hard to know for sure, but it seems likely the initial intrusion predated the large lava outbreak witnessed by the people of Kealakomo by six months or so.

          • For those who do not know the Great Crack is a large fissure, or more like a partially collapsed subterranean chasm, in the Southwest Rift Zone of Kilauea, which erupted in 1823, and drained a lava lake filling the summit caldera of Kilauea at the time. We could find a similar situation playing out in Kilauea in the future.

          • More my idea being that this new intrusion could take away the lava that is resupplied. That is instead of the lake refilling it goes into extending the intrusion. Mauna Iki was silent, moving underground slowly until someone saw smoke in the general area. The dike that fed to Kupaianaha also was silent, the first part of that episode stopped and HVO thought it was over in a day like the other episodes just breaking out the side of Pu’u O’o instead of being a fountain, until lava welled out of the ground a few km east. The Alae dike in 1969, maybe the most similar to the one now, drained out fast but then slowed, and the dike moved east slowly and erupted almost a week later. Far as I know these slow intrusions were aseismic, basically lava flowing into cracks and following them. So will be very interesting to see.

            Probably also means if the above scenario isnt the case then we can expect a repeat when the supply is recovered. Might take a month but that isnt really all that long. And if a rootless dike has begun to push through the wall presumably it is still there, inactive but not closed back up.
            I think there is very little chance of the lava lake overflowing anything else, it reached its limit, its only a matter of waiting until it fills back again.

            This could also mean the intrusions are not related to volume but rather to the depth of the lake, 370 meters deep would be like being over 1 km underwater, a lot of pressure to be putting on a recently collapsed and fractured caldera wall at high temperature.

          • Chad makes sense .. also knowing How very fluid this lava is as well .. lavas like that can exploit the most tiny spaces

          • Will be interesting to see the volume change officially measured. The laser range finder I think is pointing at the actual liquid surface so probably fell more than the average, but still it is clear a sizable volume was lost.

            Now to see how far the dike might have gone. Will remain to be seen where it began, but if it is rootless then it began at the surface basically, and is within the upper km of the surface most likely in its entirety. Width is an unknown but the Great Crack is about 10 meters wide, the Alae rootless dike in 1969 made a graben that was a similar width, so they might get pretty big in this context. For the volume estimate above the dike is a little over 1 km long and 1 km high. The height is probably rather less than that so a length of a few km is pretty plausible. 3 km would get it to be close to where Cone Peak is, assuming it follows the cracks that are trending that way whic his not certain.

            Of course the intrusion could also be a vertical ring fault intrusion and not connected directly to the lake at all, in which case no new lava flows anywhere for a while, although it might mean more vents will appear at the summit as the lake gets higher and these circumferential dikes are able to actually erupt. That did happen in 1832, 1868 and 1877, and maybe also in 1881 and 1879. I guess the ring fault formed in 2018 bounding the downdropped block could also act as a new zone of weakness and erupt too.

        • Would be interesting to know how much magma is actually needed to make a dike that goes down as far as the one in 1823. The Great Crack is pretty wide, so these sorts of dikes fed by huge magma flow rate might be a lot wider than typical dikes. I guess if the intrusion is all above sea level and begins near the bottom of the lake then maybe 500 meters height is plausible, so 500×10 meters, and times by 30 to get to the Great Crack. That is 150 million m3. The actual eruption of 1823 probably was at least 100 million m3.

          So perhaps there needs to be 0.25 km3 of magma at least to do another eruption like 1823. 1840 was likely significantly more, the dike is 40 km long and it began at the rift conduit so is also probably a lot deeper than 500 meters, 1-2 km on average is reasonable I think. Not to mention there may have actually been two parallel dikes. All up the eruption itself was 200 million m3. So assuming similar parameters to 1823 that is at least 0.6 km3 of magma drained, maybe with another 0.1 in other dikes which were not so productive, and that is being conservative using the 1 km depth and assumption only the dike feeding the primary fissure was 10 meters, it could well be as much as 1 km3 before the eruption. Another unknown point is vertical height, a fresh dike would probably go almost entirely up under buoyancy but as the 2021 eruption at Nyiragongo shows degassed magma from a shallow intrusion can go down relative to its origin too. So really these Kilauea intrusions could be a lot more than 500m-1km deep.

          So actually, given how deep todays lake would need to get to have this volume an eruption like 1840 might be impossible. If this intrusion means anything it is that the lake now is at breaking point and maximum depth at ‘only’ 150 million m3. An eruption like 1823 could be possible with this volume still but maybe not big. On the flip side it does mean intrusions into the SWRZ are now very likely and if a lot of magma is intruded here it could negate the need for a singular big intrusion. An eruption like Mauna Iki is a likely possibility. Changes in the stress fields in that direction might also increase the chances of deeper intrusions that create more powerful vents and cones. Would be nice to get a good webcam of the Kau desert, the only one that shows it well now is the Mauna Loa strip road cam which is far off.

      • Lava is a great insulator
        How thick is the crust that covers the rising lava dam in Halema’uma’u ?

        I heard from Chad that it Maybe around 10 meters thick?

        Indeed it will be a total overturn and collapse when the dam drains, I dont understand why the lake have not overturned yet like the Ionian lava lakes do when the crust gets too thick. Or perhaps the lake is too small and the crust is too anchored around the edges for Ionian episodic overturns

        Ionian lakes are much much much bigger than this lava dam ( thats already enormous )

        • The thickness of the crust probably varies, the centre is probably over 10 meters thick. The sides are probably less thick, perhaps tens of centimetres in some very young portions of the lake. The big lava berg could be helping the the crust float through its own buoyancy, or maybe the density of the crust and the lava is not too different and that’s why the crust doesn’t sink. Don’t know though.

        • Ionian lava lake s can be as large as the Big Island I guess in the middle of souch large lava sea No crust can be bouyant, Ionian lava crust only cool by radiation as well without an atmosphere and thats a very slow process

          Ionian lakes like Loki Patera only overturns every 2 th Earth years

          But the heat influx must be mindblowingly crazy insane as well for the Ionian Mega volcanoes

        • I wonder actually, if Io has such massive lava flows at least in part because of its lack of atmosphere. Lava would probably cool a lot slower on Io. Maybe a lava lake that big couldnt exist on Earth.

      • Hopes Kilaūea or Mauna Loa goes off Ionian soon… I wants the whole Island to happly overflow with superfluid lava

        Hawaii is also the closest we can get to Ionian volcanoes at current in size and so On

        Althrough Ionian volcanoes are yet even more Monsteriously insane

        • Jesper’s penchant for monumental natural disasters overwhelming populated areas is curiously confusing.

          • Not so unusual, though. An entire genre of Hollywood films is marketed at the Jesper segment of the audience. There’s even a director, Roland Emmerich, who seems to have specialized in them.

          • RE: “Not so unusual, though.” Escapist flights of fancy on the silver screen don’t come close to the reality of Jesper’s sitting on tenterhooks awaiting Madam Pele’s busting a gut and getting ‘messy’ all over the Big Island much to his great delight!

        • Im drooling for a New Central Atlantic Magmatic Province… hhhmmhhähähä
          As mean and scary as it can get

          Mauna Loa will be the next really large basaltic show I guess and hell of alot faster than Holuhraun or Leilani

      • But on Earth Hawaii does winn the heat content in magma influx and heat loss and magma supply

        I guess Mauna Loa and Kilaūea is the closest we gets on Earth to IO

        https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/summit-webcams

        The crust on the rising lava dam in Halema’uma’u also seems very porus and sponge like .. lava flows that flow out on it seems to get sucked in after a while.. perhaps the crust have very low density

  3. There was a small swarm of around 27 under the Salton Buttes/Red Island volcano where the obsidian lava domes are.

    Not much of a swarm comared to previous events in that area but still much higher than on average.

  4. Little off track.

    Mexico earthquake triggers waves 1,500 miles away in Devils Hole at Death Valley National Park.
    “A 7.6 magnitude earthquake that rattled Mexico on Monday sent shockwaves that triggered a “desert tsunami” in a cave system 1,500 miles away in Death Valley National Park in Nevada, officials said.”

    “Officials described the “surprising quirk of geology” as a “desert tsunami,” but said it is properly known as a “seiche.” A seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed body of water.”

    https://www.foxnews.com/science/earthquake-mexico-creates-desert-tsunami-1500-miles-away-death-valley-national-park

  5. Albert, just found. In case you havent’d heatd it:

    collegue of yours missing at La Silla Obs., Chile:
    “Thomas Marsh, 61, was last seen six days ago near the La Silla observatory
    The astrophysicist is understood to have been working at the remote astronomical observatory near Atacama Desert when he went missing”

  6. Mauna Loa is playing up. Shallow earthquake swarm after a month of mild inflation

    • Interesting, earthquakes have clearly picked up in the past ~6 hours. Something is going on. Earthquakes are happening around the summit magma chamber and upper southwest rift zone conduit. This distribution is normal for periods of inflation, but the frequency of earthquakes is far above average. There was already an small intrusion on August 3 that shows the rock around Mauna Loa’s shallow plumbing was already nearing its breaking point back then, and pressurization has continued since August.

      As far as I can tell there is no evidence yet of deformation that would signal an ongoing intrusion, but the way earthquake rate has picked up so much is suspicious. Best keeping an eye on Mauna Loa.

      • Perhaps a small intrusion is starting but has not grown enough yet to show in the MOK tiltmeter. Unfortunately there only one other tiltmeter on Mauna Loa, is far from the summit, and not working.

        Or maybe it is just a small pulse in supply into the magma chamber. But in any case I highly doubt this is tectonic.

      • That was my feeling. There was no obvious tremor, just rock cracking, and this is still a minor event. So far.

      • Interesting that this happened so close to Kilauea doing something. Might well be entirely coincidental but there is often activity spikes at the same time if Kilaues has a lava lake.

        Mauna Loa eruptions from 1840-1880 in many cases were also dates when Kilauea erupted. I guess Kilauea was alwas erupting from the beginning of its record up until the 1890s but notable pulses were often at the same time Mauna Loa erupted. 1868 is probably the vest and most obvious example. Inflation at Mauna Loa before its 1975 eruption is also proposed as a reason why the 1974 summit eruptions didnt go down the SWRZ like the otherwise near identical eruptions in 1971 did. That scenario may well be the same now actually, maybe dikes cant open on the SWRZ until Mauna Loa has lost pressure, and Kilauea will overfill until then. So the next eruption might well be a dual event.

        Definitely not long before Mauna Loa erupts though, 20 years of slow inflation is going to give eventually.

      • Looking at the tiltmeter today, it does seem like Mauna Loa is inflating rapidly. Note the blue line, which is the radial tilt of Mauna Loa’s summit, the tilt away from the central crater of Mokuaweoweo, going up means inflation. There are strong daily fluctuations which make the data difficult to read. But there seems to be a strong inflation in the past several hours.

        I don’t think this is an intrusion, because it didn’t show a spatio-temporal migration in earthquake activity. Rather the whole shallow plumbing system flared-up at once. An intrusion would first make earthquakes in the nearest seismogenic location to where the intrusion starts, and then the earthquakes would spread as the intrusion grows. So this is clearly not an intrusion yet. Looking back at August 3, that event doesn’t look like an intrusion either because it also flared the whole shallow plumbing. Plus, I expect the earthquake activity of a Mauna Loa intrusion would be much more dramatic than what we are seeing.

        As such I think the current swarm and the August 3 event are sudden pulses of magma reaching the shallow plumbing of Mauna Loa, Mauna Loa hasn’t done this before as far as I know. This may not be it, it may calm down again to more normal levels of supply, and the eruption still be months/years away.

        There is always a possibility however that this is the final push needed to burst open Mokuaweoweo. The last two eruptions of Kilauea did come after periods of somewhat increased supply, and featured precursory swarms in the connector conduits that were somewhat similar to the one happening at Mauna Loa now.

        • Which will break first… Both are inflating, while at Kilauea the lava lake is not rising anymore so this past few days might have compromised the conduit.

          • It is not entirely impossible that the change in pressure in Kilauea from the changes to the conduit triggered to events in Mauna Loa. Ther eis no magma connection, but they are affected by stress

          • Well, Kilauea was expected to rebound from the DI event. So the inflation of this past two days is probably the inflation phase of the DI.

          • Kilauea is a bigger volcano beneath the surface, with a bigger magma system. If magma pressure is doing any pushing it is going to be Kilauea pushing Mauna Loa rather than the other way. But more likely is that the flank slides seaward for both. Far as I know too the mobile south flank of Mauna Loa doesnt actually push towards Kilauea proper, only its SWRZ, but the caldera is not directly in the way.

          • The scale is still small, but it looks convincing that there really is a signal at Mauna Loa now. Kilauea also vusually looks less active despite showing inflation, so it could well do something again.

            At Mauna Loa the really rapid inflation began shortly before the eruption. Will be interesting to see on the GPS, as that has a long term signal. I expect HVO to upgrade Mauna Loa to orange in the next couple days.

  7. Been thinking about the interaction of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Generally speaking, it is proposed that the two alternate in activity on a ~100 year timescale. This could be correct but I think in reality this explaination is too simple by a huge degree.

    Mauna Loa as far as I know has almost never had true lava lakes in historical time. There may have been one in the 1870s, but that more likely was a rootless lake that filled in a collapse created in 1868, a lot like the current lake in Halemaumau, and as soon as the lake drained out in 1877 it seems to have disappeared as no mention of it is given during observation of the beginning of the eruption of 1880 that began in Mokuaweoweo. There are cases of long lived vents, lasting over a year in several instances, but these never became open conduits but rather stayed as rather narrow structures, why I dont know. Nothing like the Overlook lake, or Pu’u O’o, existed during the 1840-1950 period at Mauna Loa, despite its high magma supply and frequent summit eruptions.

    Kilauea by contrast maintained a lava lake nearly the entire time, and before 1868 it was very large even bigger than the one today. Filling rates declined after 1840 but it would not seem the actual heat flux declined, only how much lava was able to surface. For being supposedly ‘less active’ in this time period it is unusual that Kilauea was able to keep its massive lava lake while Mauna Loa never got one long term. Kilauea only lost its lake when it had a major ERZ eruption in 1924 that drained out the whole conduit and maybe even some of the deeper plumbing, a drain of magma that was maybe only exceeded in volume by the 2018 eruption in the time since.

    Kilauea I think doesnt really vary much in supply, maybe with surges or luls of only a decade or two, but otherwise pretty steady and more or less the same as the plume melt rate ~0.2 km3 a year. What controls its activity level is probably how much its south flank moves, and how much magma is lost to keep pressure in the rifts. From 1790-1823 there seems to have been little movement so magma eruption rates were basically total and eruptions were frequent. 1823-1840 the south flank began to move so intrusions and eruptions on the ERZ were frequent but not continuous. After 1840 and especially 1868 the south flank was moving more than the magma could fill, so the great rootless lake of the prior decades subsided and was replaced by a smaller lake that built a shield – Halemaumau – and there were no real flank eruptions. The 1920s may have seen a temporary decline in the south flank movement so that eruptiosn could again happen along the ERZ, only briefly though before 1924, where the whole thing rifted from all the way far east beyond the island and erupted underwater. This probably completely destroyed all the shallow conduit as well as creating a lot of space to fill, putting Kilauea to sleep for a while.
    Mauna Loa I think really is episodic, its magma supply is continuosu but varies in rate by an order of magnitude. This cycle though I dont think is caused by Kilauea but rather is a product of its age and the depth of the magma system compared to Kilauea, Mauna Loa gets its magma from over 40 km down where Kilauea bottoms out at only 13. Moreso, the crust should rise upwards in that direction so that basically all of the plume is deflected towards Kilauea and Kama’ehuakanaloa. The Pahala quakes actually show this, being slightly shallower further north and east than they are under the island. There also could be a wide accumualtion of magma within the lower crust sitting above the plume, the top of which is where Kilaueas LP quakes are, and this could act as a buffer to supply Kilauea, Mauna Loa may not benefit from this given its great height and length of its magma system as a result.

    The apparent alternation of activity in the early historical period I think was caused by Mauna Loa waking up at the same time as Kilauea had just begun a rifting sequence, perhaps entirely by coincidence although Kilauea was definitely secondarily affected by the 1868 activity. The lack of flank eruptions at Kilauea may have also been in part due to degassing of the magma by decades of open lava lakes so that it was not buoyant relative to the surroundings, where its more recent rifting from 1955 onwards was a bit more direct with fresh magma, hence why some eruptions of that era had very tall fountains. Mauna Loa was actually most active from 1852-1881, and eruptions after that were somewhat less frequent and all short lived fast eruptions driven by pressure or gravity rather than directly by long term supply, showing a level of reduction in magma flow. Kilauea was also generally very active in this interval, and it was only in the 1890s that Kilauea saw what might have been an actual reduction in supply at depth, which lasted less than 20 years with premanent lava lake activity resuming in the early 1900s. Mauna Loa was not any more active in the 1880-1910 era than before, while its biggest eruption of the time was in 1919 the same year Kilauea was erupting at high rate.

    That brings us to today… Mauna Loa has been building for a long time to erupt, and has far exceeded the point that caused the 1984 eruption. It might well be preparing for another eruptive series. But Kilauea is still very active, and seems to be as powerful as it was during the Pu’u O’o era. There is a distinct possibility that both volcanoes will be hyperactive in tandem this time around… Maybe not the most likely option but far from unreasonable, and not unsupported by evidence.

    I would have made this into an article but it was sort of spontaneous, hence poorly structured and without sources. Just something to contemplate… 🙂

    • It is good to have a different view in a while, but don’t you think you may be wishing for both volcanoes to be hyperactive at the same time rather than considering the data more objectively.

      I myself need to refresh some of the stuff about Kilauea’s historical activity, particularly that of the 19th century. But from what I remember, following the lava lake draining of 1840, the lava lake rose back, and the central block of the crust (which was much higher that the surrounding lake) was already overlooking the black ledge, the caldera floor around the 1840 crater, by 1850. In a decade the caldera floor had risen to more or less the same height it had before the 2018 collapse. From there to 1868 I don’t think there was practically any volume added to the caldera, nor were there any known intrusions in the rifts. Despite the spectacular activity in the caldera, with the lava lake at Halema’uma’u and the frequent lava breakouts in the moat that surrounded the central block, there was very little volume addition, and thus very little supply from what we can tell. I think that a conduit had formed in the early 19th century which could not close easily, and just kept circulating magma with the plumbing system below. The decline of Kilauea activity in the late 1840s coincides with the emergence of Mauna Loa, the 1849 eruption of Mauna Loa was the first in the series of closely spaced eruptions that ended with the 1950 eruption. And 1950, in turn, marks the start of Kilauea’s recent period of activity, that broke a prolonged 1934-1950 complete quiescence. As you may remember there was the ERZ dike intrusion in 1950, the summit eruptions of 1952 and 1954, the ERZ eruption of 1955, the summit eruption of 1959, and the ERZ eruption of 1960, which were then followed by a consistently high East Rift activity since 1960.

      • Possibly, although having actually been there (stayed <1 km from fissure 8) and met people I do not want there to be any eruption east of Pu'u O'o in the near future, contrary to what many here may be lead to be believe 🙂

        I more want to bring light to the idea that both volcanoes probably are active more erratically than this general cycle. Mauna Loa of course has still erupted since 1950 despite Kilauea being dominant in totality, and Kilauea has had a number of very active times before 1950, like in 1918-1921 where Halemaumau overflowed vigorously and spawned a flank vent (Mauna Iki), the magma flow rate in those years seems to have been similar to today and maybe stayed that high until 1924. 1868 onwards was also very active at Kilauea, even before the quake, the lava lake was mostly overflowed, and it filled in slowly but continuously afterwards.

        Today it also looks like Mauna Loa is building up to more than just one eruption, spending 20 years inflating, and with now more magma than erupted in 1984 being supplied. Kilauea still is not in any decline from before 2018, if anything it might be even more, the filling rate is 0.12 km3 in a year. The ERZ might be adding to that, per your hypothesis, but then the south flank is also moving, so I wouldnt expect there to be that much backflow really, its definitely not a significant fraction of the total so as to hide a noticeable decline. Or if it is, there is also general inflation of the summit, so overall the supply seems to be more or less what is erupted anyway.

    • : D

      Will I get my 30 km long curtains of fire? : D

      Mauna Loa is pretty much the most scary basaltic volcano on the planet at any moment and a huge favorite for me

      • Well, if it does anotther 1950 then maybe… 🙂

        But 1950 was the extreme of extremes, there isnt anything else liek it exposed on the surface of either volcano. Most eruptions of that magnitude seem to be caldera collapses from short fissures or single vents that are at low elevation, like happened in 2018. The fact 1950 wasnt is actually very interesting. I guess there must not have been a shallow magma chamber ready to collapse. 1984 was very similar actually, nearly the whole dike erupted, not just the far end or the part in Mokuaweoweo as happened in most eruptions.

        In terms of curtains of fire though, you should look at some of the first images of Wolf erupting in January.

      • These whole fountains are too small .. for me to get satisfyed

        I wants a curtain of fire kilometers long where each fountain is as large as Puu Oo a highest fountains 🙂

        But that woud probaly be Impossible for that type of eruptions right

        Still Hawaii Maybe able to pull it off souch a dyke .. being Earths most vigorous volcanoes

        • Lava fountains are from gas rich magma erupting under high pressure. Fissure eruptions dont allow high pressure, not along the whole length. LIP eruptions probably would have looked like lava breakout floods on a larger scale with fountains not being that important except maybe right at the start.

  8. Looked again. They are searching Thomas Marsh with drones. Not many dangerous animals there. Heavy rains in June:
    SANTIAGO, Aug 24 (Reuters) – The arid plains of northern Chile are likely to once again be painted a rainbow of colors with blooming flowers after this year’s winter rains set the stage for the so-called flowering desert in the Atacama Desert.
    https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/chiles-flowering-desert-may-bloom-again-after-heavy-rains-2022-08-25/

    Possibilty of kidnapping?
    Mysterious.
    Poor family.

    • Are there sort of crevasses?
      Looks very uninviting around there.

      Never seen anything so uninviting with the exception of Venus and Mars.

      • It is a beautiful desert. Little growth, just very rocky foothills (definitely not plains) of the high Andes (foothill: La Silla is some 2.5 kilometers high, but it feels much smaller compared to the mountains behind it which are twice the size). Few animals, and none dangerously poisonous. You get some foxes and some tarantulas. No water, and the rocks can be quite loose because of the earthquakes but I have not seen a rockfall there. It is wonderful for walking except for a total lack of paths. The police are using aircraft with heat cameras and drones but most has to be done on foot. No one lives in the area: when you visit the observatory you stay there for the entire period as there is no where else to go. The last report I saw was that some belongings have been found but there were no details.

      • Not sure about that, some parts of Mars look more habitable than living in the Atacama… No breathable atmosphere but its temperature is probably more comfortable and some parts of Mars have more water which I think is actually pretty crazy when you think about it.

      • Mars is much much much colder with that thin atmosphere pressure

        But perhaps because Mars atmosphere is so thin .. it does suck away warmth as convective cooling on Mars is minimal

        In other words – 30 C on Mars feels like – 1 C on Earth

        Earth probaly feels much much colder because its atmosphere is much denser

        Titan Saturns Moon must be scary with thicker atmosphere than Earth and below – 180 C

        • I think 1 C is more survivable than 50 C, being fully realistic.

          Mars is without a doubt less habitable than Earth, obviously. But there are probably a lot of places on Earth that are less habitable than the nicer parts of Mars. The Equator of Mars is not exactly cold constantly (though as you say a thin atmosphere would not give this impression), and alot of deserts are pretty hostile. The middle of Antarctica is downright hellish, and just as cold as Mars, -90 C and just ice which will suck heat out even faster. Things that die in Antatctica are freeze dried to totality, same as would happen in space…

          The main problem of Mars colonisation is actually getting there and building a colony capable of independance., not necessarily the conditions on the planet itself. The SpaceX Starship program and its ambitions are actually pretty good. I think Elon is too ambitious thinking there will be a million Martians in 2050 but it will happen at some point so long as momentum stays.

          I have seen an idea that involves adding SF6 to the Martian atmosphere, to increase the greenhouse effect and add enough pressure to keep liquid water. SF6 also doesnt decompose in UV, and is not toxic although this would not be a breathable atmosphere still.
          Only problem is this would require mining on Mars to get the required elements which is not a tier 1 process, or massive increased production here on Earth, and making so much of such a potent greenhouse gas is probably not a good idea, it is 24000x as potent as CO2.

    • Mars is much much much colder with that thin atmosphere pressure

      But perhaps because Mars atmosphere is so thin .. it does not suck away warmth as convective cooling on Mars is minimal

      In other words – 30 C on Mars feels like – 1 C on Earth

      Earth probaly feels much much colder because its atmosphere is much denser

      Titan Saturns Moon must be scary with thicker atmosphere than Earth and below – 180 C

      Correction

    • Earth feels colder than Mars too as well .. because our atmosphere is much denser

      Antartica center is probaly more hostile.. only scores higher with its higher air pressure

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