Mount Erebus



The 3794 -meter-high Erebus in Antarctica is the southernmost active volcano on Earth.

Erebus is the largest and historically most active of the three stratovolcanoes, which together form the Ross Island in the west of the Ross Sea.

Discovery history

The area covered by glacial ice mountain was discovered in 1841 by Sir James Clark Ross, who named him after the HMS Erebus, the flagship of its existing fleet of two ships expedition. As the Ross expedition arrived at the island, they witnessed an eruption of Mount Erebus. This impressive event and its description in the reports coined for a long time the idea of the people of Antarctica as a place between fire and ice.

The mountain was first climbed in 1908 by a group of users of the British Nimrod Expedition led by Ernest Shackleton. Among the climbers, the famous Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson and Edgeworth David were (see also first ascent of Mount Erebus ).

Geology of Erebus

Erebus is continuously active since 1974 and is monitored by a research station. In its crater itself is one of only six active lava lakes of the earth. The long periods of uniform activity are interrupted by moderate, so-called strombolian eruptions that promote volcanic slag and lava.

The type of volcanism of Mount Erebus and the other volcanoes in the Ross Island is called intraplate volcanism. The cause of this form of volcanism is a Manteldiapir, a mushroom-shaped bulge of the hot mantle, which presents itself in the form of hot spots in the Earth's crust and leads to the formation of volcanoes and volcanic islands. The shape of the volcano summit was designed by several outbreaks and thereby forming bowl-shaped craters, calderas.

The funded Erebus lava crystallizes to phonolite, a rock that is rich in anorthoclase ( alkali feldspar ). The chemistry of lava -funded, however, has changed over time. Thus the oldest igneous rocks are ( volcanics ) of undifferentiated basanischer composition and therefore significantly thinner than the later promoted lava. This explains why the base of Erebus is designed as a broad, flat plate inclined platform.

The more viscous to the ratio and therefore less fluid conveying products joyous ofphonolite the recent past and the present shaped and shape the top of the volcano and give her a steeper slope and a curved shape.

There is a plateau, which carries the new top of the volcanic cone, consisting of the edge of the youngest caldera at about 3200 meters above sea level. Inside is the elliptical, an area of 500 by 600 meters and 100 meters deep spreading outer crater. In its interior, there is another crater, the diameter of 250 meters and its depth is about 100 meters. From the contained lava lake walk daily from several smaller outbreaks.

At the southwestern edge of the island, at the foot of Erebus, the Erebus Glacier tongue-shaped towers 11 to 12 Kilometer into the Erebus Bay.

Plane crash on Erebus

On 28 November 1979, at the Erebus a plane crash, whose cause is controversial to this day occurred. Flight 901, an Antarctic sightseeing flight of Air New Zealand with 257 people on board, crashed into the lower northern slope of the mountain. The aircraft was completely destroyed by the inmates, no one survived the accident.