Volcanoes

A NASA Earth Observatory satellite captured an image of the eruption on September 14. The greener, discolored water near the eruption site likely contains particulate matter, rock fragments and sulfur from the volcano. 

Volcanic Eruption Creates a New Island in the South Pacific

The growing land mass is larger than 8 acres and visible from space

Female Figure

Who Were the Painters of Pompeii?

A new exhibition explores the ancient Roman "pictores," who created beautiful frescoes preserved in ash from Mount Vesuvius' eruption

The lava lake that sits atop Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the largest in the world. 

How a Volcanic Eruption Caught Seismologists by Surprise

Scientists reveal why Africa's Mount Nyiragongo erupted without any perceived warning signs in May last year

Mount Kilimanjaro is the largest free-standing mountain in the world.

Wi-Fi Comes to Mount Kilimanjaro

Access to high-speed internet should make Africa's tallest mountain safer for adventurers and guides

Lava rises from the volcano eruption in Iceland's Meradalir valley late on August 6.

Why Hikers Are Clamoring to Photograph a Volcanic Eruption in Iceland, Despite Risks

Toxic gas, hypothermia and fragile terrain are among the site’s dangers

A small accent table found in a Pompeii bedroom

Cool Finds

Excavations Shed Light on the Everyday Life of Pompeii's Middle Class

An ornate courtyard found in an otherwise humble home may have reflected the owners' aspirational vision of the future

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano releases gas on December 24, 2021, before the eruption on January 14.

Tonga Volcanic Eruption Blasted an Enormous Plume of Water Vapor Into the Atmosphere

NASA scientists say the intrusion could warm the Earth's surface

Waves at Pōhue Bay

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Is Expanding by 16,000 Acres

The National Park Service is taking over stewardship of Pōhue Bay, an area full of cultural sites and endangered animals

The crater of Mount Vesuvius 

American Tourist Rescued After Falling Into Mount Vesuvius Crater

Using a long rope, volcano guides pulled the man to safety

China first sent giant pandas as a gift to the U.S. 50 years ago. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, who arrived in 2000, are on loan until the end of 2023. 

The Wide World of Smithsonian Scientific Research

With astonishing new discoveries in the cosmos and pivotal research much closer to home, Smithsonian science proves indispensable

Researchers have long tried—and failed—to sequence the complete genome of someone who died in Pompeii. 

This Man Was Encased in Volcanic Ash in Pompeii. Here’s What His DNA Reveals

The adult man’s genome is the first to be fully sequenced from remains found in the ancient city

A 2015 expedition found two species of sharks living in the hot, acidic water near Kavachi, thus earning it the nickname "Sharkcano."

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NASA Snaps Photos of Underwater 'Sharkcano' Erupting

Kavachi, a submarine volcano in the southwest Pacific Ocean, is home to several species of sharks and fish that can withstand the extreme environment

Spot can reach speeds up to 3mph, has 360 degree vision that helps it avoid obstacles and is protected from dust and rain, per its creator, Boston Dynamics. 

Meet Spot, the Dog-Like Robot Roaming the Ruins of Pompeii

The bot, built by Boston Dynamics, can navigate difficult terrains that humans can't access safely

“[T]his study show[s] how the owner of the house stimulated the visitor’s senses to convey a message about its power and wealth,” says co-author Danilo M. Campanaro in a statement.

Why Archaeologists Virtually Reconstructed an Ancient House in Pompeii

The team hopes to simulate how visitors would have experienced the space and gain a stronger understanding of the motivation behind Roman designs

Pluto's icy volcanic region, with possible past eruptions marked in blue.

Pluto's Hidden Ice Volcanoes Hint at the Possibility of Life

The discovery suggests the dwarf planet may be harboring a subsurface liquid ocean

The oil slick in the ocean extended an area of over 320 football fields and has dirtied waters and beaches, resulting in many dead birds and seals washing up onshore.
 

Tsunami-Triggered Oil Spill Devastates Marine Wildlife on Peru's Coast After Volcanic Eruption in Tonga

The country declared a 90-day environmental emergency after 264,000 gallons of crude oil contaminated a biodiverse swath of its coastal ecosystems

The recent explosion was so powerful that it obliterated parts of the volcanic island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, splitting it in two.

NASA Says Tonga Eruption Was More Powerful Than an Atomic Bomb

The recent blast was the equivalent of 4 to 18 megatons of TNT, according to scientists

The explosion was likely the biggest volcanic eruption recorded anywhere on the planet in more than 30 years.

Why the Eruption in Tonga Was a 'Once-in-a-Millennium' Event for the Volcano

The blast, which sent tsunami waves across the Pacific, left thousands of Tongans without access to water and power

Researchers found the remains of a man in his mid-40s at Herculaneum, a Roman town near Pompeii.

Vesuvius Victim Died Just Steps From the Safety of the Sea, Skeleton Shows

The middle-aged man's remains are the first of their kind found at Herculaneum in 25 years

Climate change led Ancestral Puebloans to relocate, forming denser communities and building grand structures like the great kivas in Chaco Canyon.

How Volcanic Eruptions Helped the Ancestral Puebloan Culture Flourish

Drastic changes in climate in the sixth century C.E. led the ancient Native American civilization to adopt new technologies

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