Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Some activity has probably resumed (or continued) at the remote volcano. The latest MODVOLC images show a significant hot spot at the summit crater. ... [more]
Friday, Jan 10, 2014
This trip is truly unique: it is an opportunity to participate in a major expedition to an extraordinary remote subantarctic island in the Southern Ocean, searching for unknown life forms–new species, organisms capable of going into suspended animation, and life supported by the heat and emissions from the live volcano. [more]
Heard volcanoHeard Island is the top of an active stratovolcano on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean, about 4000 km southwest of Western Australia. Part of Australian territory, along with McDonald Island to the west, Heard is one of Australia's two currently active volcanoes.
The volcano is frequently active, and occasional reports of eruptions date back to 1881. Since about 1980, remote sensing mostly via satellites has been able to detect more and frequent activity at the volcano.
The 368 sq km island with its highest point Mawson Peak at 2745 m forms the highest point of Australian territory outside Antarctica.
The uninhabited island was discovered by and named after Captain John Heard in 1853. Its remote location and typically extremely adverse weather and wind conditions make it difficult to access and only few expeditions have reached it. An Australian navy base existed on the island at Atlas Cove on the western side of Big Ben between December 1947 and March 1955.
Background:Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon volcano lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben volcano because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's 2745-m high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported in historical time at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.
Smithsonian / GVP volcano information
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