Mount Erebus

Mount Erebus is an active volcano that can be found on Ross Island in Antarctica. It is the second largest volcano in Antarctica, reaching a height of 12,448 feet. Sir James Clark Ross discovered it in 1841 in mid-eruption and named it and another volcano Mount Erebus and Mount Terror, after two of his ships. The first people to climb the volcano and reach its summit were part of Sir Ernest Shackleton‘s party, including Professor Edgeworth David, Jameson Adams, and Dr. Eric Marshall.

Mount Erebus is the most active volcano in Antarctica and it contains one of the five existing phonolitic lava lakes in the world. Eruptions typically occur in this lake or from nearby subsidiary vents located in the volcano’s crater. This volcano is unique because it gives scientists the chance to study Strombolian eruptive systems over long periods. It is a polygenetic stratovolcano, with a shield like bottom and stracone top. Currently, it is primarily releasing phonolite and anorthoclase-porphyritic tephritic phonolite material.

Scientists have studied the inside of Mount Erebus by setting off small explosions around the volcano that register on seismometers as waves. By studying the patterns of these waves, a map that looks similar to a CT scan was created of the inner volcano. In 1992, a robotic explorer called Dante I was deployed into its crater in order to gather chemical and temperature information. This tethered robot explored much of the crater before its fiber optic cables began to malfunction and although the robot proved to be efficient in gathering and analyzing data, nothing significant was recorded.

Image Caption: Mount Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica. Credit: Richard Waitt, U.S. Geological Survey/Wikipedia