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Tectonic Tantrums

Over lava fields and into the depths, we profile some of the most spectacular – and spectacularly destructive – volcanoes across the globe.

Published January 10, 2016 | Featured in

Country: Costa Rica

Country: Chile

Country: Djibouti

Country: Iceland

Country: Indonesia

Country: New Zealand

Country: United States Of America

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Words and Photography by Bernhard Edmaier

Red lava flowing down a craggy rockface from tunnels with steam clouds swirling around, Kilauea, Hawai’i
Kilauea, Hawai’i

The lava of Kilauea is very fluid. It can form tunnels — underground outflow pipes — through which it flows all the way down to the sea, thermally insulated. A large section of Kilauea’s brittle and unstable coastal area breaks off and tumbles into the ocean, often cutting through these lava tunnels out of which the glowing material flows. Usually hidden by clouds of steam, this phenomenon is rarely seen.
A bright red eruption against its black stony landscape at Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica
Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

Rincón de la Vieja is one of the most closely-watched volcanoes in Costa Rica, its active crater in particular. Filled with a hot acid lake, it has a diameter of around 500 metres. Hot corrosive mudslides rush down the mountain during eruptions, endangering villages and plantations at its foot.
A aerial view of the conical Arenal Volcano wreathed in clouds with smoke emanating from its tip in Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

This 1680-metre-high giant is the youngest and most active stratovolcano in Costa Rica. Scientists have dated its activity back 7000 years, though it lay it dormant for millenia before erupting again unexpectedly in 1968.
Blobs of mud in mid air from a bursting bubble, Bledug Kuwu, Indonesia
Bledug Kuwu, Indonesia

The bubbles of this geyser shoot up 10 metres into the air before they suddenly burst, sending blobs of mud flying around and releasing a white cloud of carbon dioxide. These spectacular mud eruptions occur at short intervals after rainfalls when the mud is still very wet.
An aerial view of two craters in The Bay of Ghoubbet with coral reef formations in the azure waters around them
Goubbet Al Karab, Djibouti

The Bay of Ghoubbet lies in the centre of a highly tectonically-active region, where violent movements of the Earth’s crust cause it to split. Fissures criss-cross the surface around it and on the sea floor, from which hot magma flows out or is spewed high in the air through volcanic necks, forming small craters. Coral reefs have formed on the solidified underwater lava rock.
A blood red lake with red rivulets running down into it at Laguna Roja, Chile
Laguna Roja, Chile

It looks as if a giant has emptied a bucket of paint on this plateau in the unpopulated mountains of the Parinacota volcano region in northern Chile. The blood-red water that collects in the Laguna Roja has a temperature of 40–50 degrees Celsius. The vivid colour is due to thermophilic algae that thrive at these high temperatures.
An aerial view of the green volcanic cone of Maelifell, Iceland, with melt water streams running down to it from Myrdalsjökull in the distance
Maelifell, Iceland

Maelifell, the remnant of a proud volcanic cone, is constantly washed by melt water flowing from Myrdalsjökull. It is just 100 metres high and covered by a thick layer of green spring moss.
The rocky and striated horseshoe shaped tip of the White Island volcano projecting out of a deep blue sea, New Zealand.
White Island, New Zealand

White Island is the peak of a volcano stemming from the sea floor. This volcanic island is situated in the Bay of Plenty, 48 kilometres from the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Measured from the sea floor, the volcano is around 1000 metres high, but only 321 metres are above sea level. The crater acquired its characteristic horseshoe shape during a fierce eruption, which crushed its wall.
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