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Interesting Images

Swirling polar ice caps revealed on Mars

Mars is revealing itself not to be the featureless red wasteland scientists once thought it was. New images from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission have captured the delicate swirls of ice at the planet’s north pole.

The idea that Mars may be capable of harbouring life has fuelled the space industry’s obsession. There are currently eight operational missions to the Red Planet – a mix of orbital, lander and rover types.

Like Earth, both poles on Mars are permanently covered in frozen ice caps. In the winter months, the plummeting temperatures make it cold enough for 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere to freeze, adding a layer of ice onto its poles.

Mars north pole

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 25 January-31 January 2017 – Cont.

Nevado del Ruiz | Colombia : Based on analysis of satellite images, the Washington VAAC reported that on 31 January an ash plume from Nevado del Ruiz rose to an altitude of 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

Popocatepetl | Mexico : Each day during 25-31 January CENAPRED reported 2-55 steam and gas emissions from Popocatépetl and crater incandescence at night. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.

Sabancaya | Peru : Based on webcam and satellite views, and seismic data, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that sporadic gas-and-ash puffs rose from Sabancaya during 25-31 January. Weather clouds sometimes prevented visual observations. A field team from IGP’s Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur (OVS) visited Sabancaya on 26 January and observed ash plumes from explosions rising about 2 km above the crater rim.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 20-27 January lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by strong fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, ash explosions, and hot avalanches. Satellite images showed a daily thermal anomaly over the dome. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Orange.

Sinabung | Indonesia : Based on PVMBG observations, Indonesian Met Office observations, satellite images, and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 27-30 January ash plumes from Sinabung rose 3.3-4.6 km (11,000-15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW and SSE.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : Based on JMA notices and satellite-image analyses, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 26 January an ash plume from Suwanosejima rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.

Turrialba | Costa Rica : Based on webcam views, the Washington VAAC reported ongoing ash emissions at Turrialba on 27 January.