Rocks that pop!

  • Discovery

In 1972, the scientists onboard the French research vessel Jean Charcot, during the “Midland” cruise made an amazing discovery: Rocks that pop! From the seafloor in the Atlantic Ocean they retrieved some basaltic glassy pebbles that exploded noisily, much like firecrackers and jumped merrily to a height of up to one meter on the ship deck. A decade later, another geologic expedition aboard the RV Akademik Boris Petrov made the same surprising discovery from a complex region of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that contains vast areas of lava flows (see previous post) as well as heavily faulted terrain with intact blocks of deep crust. These rare forms of lava rock are really interesting because of their spectacular behaviour but mostly because of their richness in gas and information they provide on the deep Earth.

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Figure 1: a) Photo of a popping rock. Volcanic glass in black and rounded vesicles. b) Photo of a thin section of popping rock (Sarda, 1990).

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From Volcanoes to Atolls: Science below a Disney/Pixar Short film

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Image 1: Disney/Pixar®

Science, Hollywood, a smiling volcano…. What do those things have in common? The Disney/Pixar short film presented with Inside Out! Science in films is not often successful or “scientific”. Just have a look at 2012, The Core, Japan sinks, Volcano, Dante’s peak, and maybe many others. Therefore it is a nice surprise to see that there can be science below this recent short film called “Lava”.

This film tells the story of a volcanic island “in the middle of the sea”, from its active state to its extinction. It’s based on Big Island (Hawaii) and its evolution. I propose you have a look at the science of “Lava” just by following the lyrics. Continue reading

Build your endless volcano!

A volcano? At home? Why not!

During the “Fête de la Science” event in Paris we showed that volcanoes can be represented in a quite easy way. We can draw their internal and external structure in a simple sketch, as high school students (along with some professors) did during the“Draw me a Volcano” workshop activity. However, their real structure is more complicated and it might seem difficult to build a 3D volcano. Just by using some scientific aspects, imagination, creativity and basic material we can build our own volcano. So… Let’s make one!Here is a small article that will give you an idea of how to build an endless volcano at home. It will fit your Zen garden perfectly! Continue reading