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Active volcano shocks scientists with $6000 gold eruptions in the biting cold of Antarctica

The freezing temperatures of Antarctica are seeing a consistent dose of gold erupting from Mount Erebus, estimated to be worth $6000.

Active volcano shocks scientists with $6000 gold eruptions in the biting cold of Antarctica
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Yaroslav Shuraev

Often perceived as destructive, volcanoes typically offer little beyond chaos. However, Antarctica's Mount Erebus defies expectations by spewing significant quantities of gold. According to Express, Mount Erebus, remarkably active despite Antarctica's extreme cold, reportedly erupts gold valued at $6000. The gold has been seeping out during volcanic eruptions in the form of crystallized bits along with other emitters like gas, rock and more. Particles of gold, along with other matter, were found 621 miles away from the mountain, marking the eruption as one of the most active ones.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Shotbyrain
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Spencer

Standing as the tallest volcano in Antarctica, the particles of gold erupt in a jittering -50 degrees Celsius and remain in the freezing weather. The discovery was made back in 1991 and ever since, the mountain has seen consistent eruptions of gold, per Interesting Engineering. The scientists discovered that there has been an estimated 2.8 ounces of gold exiting Mount Erebus daily since 1991. The mountain located on Ross Island, was named after Captain Sir James Clark Ross, who had initially discovered the same in the 1980s. Philip Kyle, from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, shared the idea that gold deposits may be found in volcanic rock, which somewhat explains the glittering eruptions.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Richard Kumtanom
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Richard Kumtanom

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observatory revealed to Live Science, “It regularly emits plumes of gas and steam and occasionally spits out rock (bombs).” Conor Bacon of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University added more about the history of the mountain and its eruptions. He said that volcanic activity had been seen in Mount Erebus since 1972. Attending the much-questioned reality as to how a volcano can be so active in a region and temperature like Antarctica, Bacon said, “One of its most interesting features is the persistent lava lake that occupies one of [its] summit craters, where molten material is present at the surface. These are quite rare as it requires some very specific conditions to be met to ensure the surface never freezes over.”

The activity of Mount Erebus, also known as the “southernmost active volcano,” has also sparked considerable excitement among scientists. They are constantly at work to understand the nature of the eruptions and depict when the next volcanic activity is likely to take place. Nonetheless, the severe conditions make it extremely risky for anyone attempting to collect the substantial amounts of gold being erupted. Bacon added that the study and nature of this volcano are far more serious and challenging than that of others.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Luis Ruiz
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Luis Ruiz

He said, “From time to time, researchers will deploy more extensive networks of instruments to conduct specific studies, but this naturally comes with a huge number of logistical challenges when compared to the many, far more accessible, volcanoes elsewhere in the world.” He added, “In addition to logistical challenges, the permanent installations need to be rugged enough to survive the harsh conditions and long polar nights.”

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