volcanic deposits

The moon might be flowing with much more water than we thought, thanks to ancient volcanic deposits, a new study shows.

Using satellite data, scientists from Brown University studied layers of rock on the moon that likely formed from large volcanic eruptions, called lunar pyroclastic deposits. The magma created by these eruptions has been carried to the moon’s surface from very deep within its interior, the study showed.

A New Study Shows The Moon’s Interior Could Contain Water

Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

The Machinery of Evil: Angband

In comparison to the more ragtag, disorganized orc led armies of the later Ages, Angband is an impressively effective force that is strong enough to withstand centuries of near isolation and self-sufficiency under constant siege. This suggests to me an extremely organized and structured system acting as its backbone.

I don’t think there were the modern kind of taxes or wages because I doubt there was a free market economy that needed those things to drive it. Angband is essentially a state built to fuel an army and I doubt that dark lords care much about the desire of their minions for luxury goods. So I think the most likely system was a command economy, where central planning makes all the economic decisions about how to use and distribute resources. For example, your orc will never have to worry about the cost of his helmet, because the dark lords arrange the production and delivery of all his equipment in exchange for labor at mining, farming, soldiering etc. as a specialist. Higher ranking orcs or beings probably get a bigger share of the resources and better stuff as an incentive to move up the ranks as much a possible. So there’s still a definite status system and ‘wealthier’ orcs.

Of course this opens up a host of problems too. This system takes an incredible amount of knowledge and planning to carry out, and if you don’t get the right number of helmets or chickens you need, you may end up executing rioters or having poorly equipped soldiers who lose battles. Not to mention you have to police the system rigorously for graft, theft, cheating, corruption, misreporting surplus, plain incompetence etc. Having a command economy also requires the creation of an enormous entrenched bureaucracy to organize and implement decisions made at the top.

Naturally this means that no currency is necessary, eliminating the cost in wasted metals and labor. I think that they might have created a currency later on for the sole purpose of trade with the Evil Men of the East, but I find it equally likely that Angband adopted one of their Eastern allies’ currency as long as the standard was valuable metal weights. Their chief trade goods were probably knowledge and high quality processed goods rather than raw materials anyway. This eliminates the problem of inflation internally, but not of scarcity.

Now, if you’re an orc and want a bit more than your regular rations or a nice present for your mother’s birthday, you’re going to have to barter for it.  Your options for getting trade goods are limited. You can steal a little extra from what you produce as a farmer, smith, miner etc. but this might get your head chopped off. You can save some of your rations and trade that, but this can be dangerous if you don’t have enough left for yourself or trade away vital items like armor, underwear etc. You can trade services for goods like ‘I’ll sharpen your knives if you give me your shiny stone.’ But your best option for getting trade-able items is loot taken from enemies. Angband didn’t have taxes, but you probably had to tithe a portion of your plunder to the dark lords and possibly your commander. I’m thinking that a footsoldier got to keep one-tenth, a general one-third or some kind of system like that was in place but there was probably a lot of fighting over the best items between individual orcs too.

How do you keep a vast underground army supplied with food and materials? I think Angband’s production and food problems are solvable with a truly ridiculous amount of forethought and planning, pinpoint precise control of workers and a healthy amount of magic. The dark lords would need a huge amount of food, far more than could be gained through raiding; somehow crops had to be grown to feed armies, and animals had to be raised for meat and goods. Angband must have had enormous underground farms for surface plants created through the laborious process of building plant beds, bringing in soil, and creating light and air shafts. But they also might have cultivated fungi, mushrooms, moss, roots and other edible plants that naturally grow in or near caves. Pre-siege they might have had some small scale agriculture on mountain terraces and foothills and pastured sheep or goats on the side of mountains.

Post siege they had to rely on animals that could be raised underground. Orcs probably ate little meat. Those animals would have been far more valuable for the other products they could provide, like hides, fat, or horn. Eggs or milk would be more likely, depending on availability. Bats, bugs, worms, larva, spiders, proteus salamanders, and cave crabs are natural cave creatures that might be deliberately raised as food. Fish in underground lakes would yield the double benefit of food and vital water reservoirs. Their primary meat animal would probably be pigs because they eat anything and can be intensively farmed. Dogs are also scavengers so they might also be eaten for food or raised for fur. Chickens can be cage-raised in battery farms, and they also eat almost anything, so they seem likely. Sheep and goats come from wild mountain dwelling ancestors, and would have been valuable for wool and hair and milk, but I’m doubtful they could be fed enough from Angband’s resources to be worthwhile to keep. Cows are a definite no; they just are too big for underground living and not efficient enough to be regular food animals. Horses are valuable as riding animals and it is seems likely a small number were kept for commanders, messengers and scouts.

Outbreaks of disease and contamination have an easy answer: never ever ever keep all of your animals/crops/drinking water in one place/field/reservoir. If you loose one herd to disease you can isolate it and save the rest; the more separate herds you have the smaller the loss. Potential disease vectors, like corpses, have to be disposed of immediately. Genetic bottleneck is no problem if you carefully manage your herds; scientists estimate the entire population of founding taurine (non-humped) cattle was around eighty for example; low genetic variation does not necessarily mean low fitness. If stores dropped catastrophically low, trade with Evil Men or raiding could have filled the shortfall until production could be restored.

Waste management and containment would have been vital for the health of Angband’s occupants and the viability of its economy. Mines and farms are kept running though forced labor by prisoners; no one lives who does not work. Everything has to be recycled - food and metals especially. Even the corpses of prisoners and orcs are eaten. Water supplies may not have been easy to find and would have to be kept clean and uncontaminated by mineral leeching. They would have to find ways to get rid of toxic trash that couldn’t be recycled. Environmental contamination would have been a real problem, given the volcanic atmosphere and the amount of volatile metals around. Some types of environmental contamination could have been avoided through good, ruthlessly enforced waste containment measures as well.  Magic may also be a good option here.

Were Angband’s ore deposits rich enough to support centuries of war? I’m honestly a little fuzzy on the geologic requirements for the creation of metals, but I’m going to handwave this one. If Melkor can make entire mountain ranges, then I’m going to guess he can guarantee an ample supply of minerals and metals for Angband’s forges. (Plus volcanic soils are incredibly fertile which helps with the food problem. The Polynesian islands are capable of supporting agriculture only because of soils made of volcanic ash deposited by wind, fun fact.)

My general explanation for the ability of Melkor’s war machine to support itself actually relies on a bit of headcanon. Sauron managed to escape the ruin of Utumno because of an extensive underground tunnel system that existed underneath it. I like to think that this is something Melkor and Sauron continued and expanded in their next stronghold once they saw how useful it was. However tall the mountains towered above the plain, below them Angband lay many times greater and deeper. Perhaps not just the entire plain, but whole mountain ranges were honeycombed with tunnels that stretched their fingers all the way back to Utumno’s vaults.

They may be evil, but Melkor and Sauron must have been terrifyingly competent.

New evidence of water in the Moon’s interior

A new study of satellite data finds that numerous volcanic deposits distributed across the surface of the Moon contain unusually high amounts of trapped water compared with surrounding terrains. The finding of water in these ancient deposits, which are believed to consist of glass beads formed by the explosive eruption of magma coming from the deep lunar interior, bolsters the idea that the lunar mantle is surprisingly water-rich.

Scientists had assumed for years that the interior of the Moon had been largely depleted of water and other volatile compounds. That began to change in 2008, when a research team including Brown University geologist Alberto Saal detected trace amounts of water in some of the volcanic glass beads brought back to Earth from the Apollo 15 and 17 missions to the Moon. In 2011, further study of tiny crystalline formations within those beads revealed that they actually contain similar amounts of water as some basalts on Earth. That suggests that the Moon’s mantle – parts of it, at least – contain as much water as Earth’s.

Keep reading

Creepypasta #1014: I Lost Contact With Our Arctic Research Team

Length: Super long

I’m sharing details of a confidential exploration of the southern ice cap. I was the radio point of contact back on the mainland, I can’t disclose which country our contact point was in because it might give enough clue to identify which group this was linked to and trace this back to me.

Let me start at the beginning. Our organization’s goal was to research the effects of global warming and global climate change on the southern ice cap. We mostly focused on satellite images, tracking the shrinking of glaciers on the outermost edges. We used these to document the speed of changes, predict time lines and compare with the temperature averages globally. Generally, pretty boring stuff.

While going over the satellite data we found an anomalous glacier, it was a strange color, darker than most, almost ashy. This glacier was also shrinking more rapidly than ones along the same latitude. The most likely explanation was that it must be located near some sort of volcanic activity, but the area was not one where one would expect to find volcanic activity. There were no fault lines around it, no seismic activity reported in the region.

A few months went by and this drifted around a bit until it went up the command chain to the head of operations who managed to get grant money approved to send an expedition to the glacier to harvest samples.

A research crew was sent out and returned with samples of the dark ice and some interesting pictures. Sure enough, the ice was ashy grey. It was as if there was a heavy sediment embedded in the ice, but the ice on the surface had to be very old, frozen for a very long time.

Cores were collected at regular intervals from the southern most tip of the glacier all the way to the point where it reached the ocean.

Upon looking into the contents of the ice we were quite shocked. We expected to find volcanic mineral deposits, rich in sulfur and hydrogen sulfide but instead what we found seemed more like organic matter. It looked like frozen cells, but not plant cells like a plankton or algae. There was no cell wall on these, they were very unusual.

It was decided that a more extensive investigation including a remote submarine should be sent to further explore the area and take cores from below the surface, as well as see if any kind of ecosystem exists in the water.

It was almost a year before enough grant money could be gathered to launch this extremely expensive expedition. During this time the glacier continued to erode away at an unnatural rate.

When our expedition team arrived they reported a darkening of the water in the immediate vicinity of the glacier. It was a cloudy grey, much like one would expect from volcanic activity near the surface, but the bottom should be deep enough that any normal volcanic sediment would have dispersed at this point. There shouldn’t be enough sediment to cover that large an area with such a heavy film.

Water samples were collected, and early on-site examination found more of the cell-like structures within the water.

The boat was anchored onto a nearby icy plane that was receding much slower than dark ice and a base camp was established. They still wanted to launch the remote submersible, but there was worry that the visibility would be too poor to allow for much visual data collection, they would have to use sonar to navigate beneath the glacier and collect samples carefully.

During the first few nights the crew reported on some fascinating noises coming from the dark glacier in the distance. They said it sounded sort of like normal sounds of fracturing or moving ice, but somehow different.

The first three days were spent scouting the surface of the glacier with surface penetrating radar to identify where the shallowest sections of ice were in order to send the submersible to the center-most region that could be reached.

During these three days they reported the noises continued to get louder and more frequent, but they couldn’t explain why, the temperature had not shifted significantly in the past six months, so there shouldn’t be any unusual amount of melting occurring.

The surface penetrating radar was capable of determining the depth of the ice, but not how deep the water below the ice was. It had to be assumed that the shallowest of areas were channels and waterways beneath the ice and not simply raised land geometry or sand bars due to the assumed depth of this location.

There were some promising channels leading roughly just shy of the center point of the glacier, which was promising enough for the team. They began preparations and test runs of the submersible in the surrounding waters to prepare for its launch beneath the glacier.

Since their arrival the glacier had seen considerably more melting along its northern boundary. They still had no theories for the rapid melting occurring in this specific region despite stable, low temperatures, but assumed there was an answer in the smokey waters around the ice shelf.

The day came for the submersible mission, the goal was to take it slow and steady to conserve energy and carefully navigate through the widest channel. While it wasn’t the deepest, it had the lowest chance of the underwater unit becoming trapped beneath the ice, a 1.3 million dollar piece of equipment lost. It would surely cost us our funding if such a thing were to happen.

Upon lowering it into the water, it was clear the visibility remained poor throughout, so we could rule out sediment that had simply risen to the surface. It seemed to be suspended throughout the water, whether it was dispersed through the melting of the glacier, or coming from some underwater vent beneath it was what intrigued us.

Keep reading

Circa 1900 shot of a Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio train moving through Paisano Pass out near Marfa and Valentine, Texas. Per the Texas State Historical Handbook:

“PAISANO PASS. Paisano Pass is a gap (at 30°17’ N, 103°49’ W) between Twin Mountains and Paisano Peak, twelve miles east of Marfa in northeastern Presidio County. The pass, at an elevation of 5,074 feet above sea level, rises 228 feet above the nearby prairie. The surrounding terrain is desert mountain canyon land of volcanic deposits and alluvial washes of sands and gravels. The local soils are light reddish-brown to brown sands and clay loam; vegetation includes sparse grasses, cacti, and desert shrubs. The pass has long figured prominently in local transportation. When the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio built its tracks through the area in 1882, Paisano Pass was reportedly the highest point on the line between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Portland, Oregon. In 1929, the Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railway contracted to use the existing tracks from Alpine to Paisano Pass and then construct its own extension southwest along the old Chihuahua Trail to Presidio. Work on the extension began on August 26, 1929, and was completed the following year. Construction of U.S. Highway 90, which connects Marfa and Alpine via Paisano Pass, began in March 1932.”

A pickup truck flees from the pyroclastic flows spewing from the Mount Pinatubo volcano on the island Luzon, Philippines, on June 17, 1991. This was the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. Photo by Alberto Garcia.

Successful predictions at the onset of the climactic eruption led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding areas, saving many lives, but the surrounding areas were severely damaged by pyroclastic flows, ash deposits, and subsequently, by the lahars caused by rainwaters re-mobilizing earlier volcanic deposits causing extensive destruction to infrastructure and changing the river systems months to years after the eruption.

The effects of the eruption were felt worldwide. It ejected roughly 10,000,000,000 tonnes of magma, and 20,000,000 tonnes SO 2, bringing vast quantities of minerals and metals to the surface environment. It injected more particulate into the stratosphere than any eruption since Krakatoa in 1883. Over the following months, the aerosols formed a global layer of sulfuric acid haze. Global temperatures dropped by about 0.5 °C (0.9 °F) in the years 1991-93, and ozone depletion temporarily increased substantially.


Mount Pinatubo (Filipino: Bundok Pinatubo/Bulkang Pinatubo) is an activestratovolcano in the Cabusilan Mountainson the island of Luzon, near the tripoint of the Philippine provinces of Zambales, Tarlac and Pampanga. Its eruptive history was unknown to most before the volcanic activities of 1991. Pinatubo was heavily eroded, inconspicuous, and obscured from view. It was covered with dense forest which supported a population of several thousand indigenous Aetas people.

The volcano’s Plinian / Ultra-Plinianeruption on June 15, 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta in the Alaska Peninsula.Complicating the eruption was the arrival of Typhoon Yunya (Diding), bringing a lethal mix of ash and rain to areas surrounding the volcano. Predictions at the onset of the climactic eruption led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding areas, saving many lives. Surrounding areas were severely damaged by pyroclastic flows, ash deposits, and, subsequently, by the lahars caused by rainwaters re-mobilizing earlier volcanic deposits. This caused extensive destruction to infrastructure and changed river systems for years after the eruption.

The effects of the eruption were felt worldwide. It ejected roughly 10,000,000,000 tonnes (1.1×1010 short tons) or 10 km3 (2.4 cu mi) of magma, and 20,000,000 tonnes (22,000,000 short tons) SO
2, bringing vast quantities of minerals and metals to the surface environment. It injected more particulate into the stratosphere than any eruption since Krakatoa in 1883. Over the following months, the aerosols formed a global layer of sulfuric acid haze. Global temperatures dropped by about 0.5 °C (0.9 °F) in the years 1991-93,and ozone depletion temporarily increased substantially.

Mt. Pinatubo was an unremarkable and heavily eroded mountain. It was covered in dense forest which supported a population of several thousand indigenous people, the Aeta. They were a hunter-gatherer people who were extremely successful in surviving in the dense jungles.

Petrified dragonfly

Ever since I read a book on fieldwork in Ethiopia’s volcanic regions that described insects turning into stone before the geologist’s eyes demonstrating a sort of instant fossilisation in a silica rich volcanic hot spring, I have been searching for a decent photo of the phenomenon to share this cool story with you.

Keep reading

Watch on the-earth-story.com

I don’t know the person in this, but she does a marvelous job in capturing Yellowstone highlights for a 6 second clip.Mammoth Hot springs, Elk near the north gate, the landscape created by erosion of volcanic deposits, etc.

ask-the-herald-archived  asked:

Something's fishy

They weren’t kidding when they called the sky in Zaun the Zaun grey. The smog choked her, and the only respite she would get was ducking underwater. Even then, the spilled oil and tainted waters made it hard for her to breathe, and was nothing compared to her domain back home.

She pushed forth, picking up bits of volcanic deposits and dead coral, holding them in her slim hands. She should leave soon before she was tainted by whatever pollutants they’d dumped in the waters.

Just as she turned to leave the beach, the strong current and high waves pushed her backwards. Her tail caught the current and she was swept ashore. The tide left her, leaving her gasping, her fins fluttering and gills flaring. She turned to the sound of feet on sand and tried to move back to the water but to no avail. “Help me,” she gasped at whoever was near.


Tenorite with Chrysocolla

CuO  -  04.AB.10 (Strunz)
(from Sagasca Mine, Chile)

Here we have a Zebra specimen, black Tenorite in a cyan Chrysocolla matrix. Tenorite is a copper oxide mineral, also known as black copper. Has a earthy luster and sometimes has a steel gray color. This two minerals intergrown together, This happens only in hydrothermal deposits with volcanic sublimate. This is a Copper Pitch Ore like a mixture of Chrysocolla, Goethite, Malachite, Tenorite, Wad, but this has mean Chrysocolla and Tenorite.

Cascading dunes in a martian crater

A new mosaic from ESA’s Mars Express shows a swirling field of dark dunes cascading into sunken pits within a large impact crater.

The mosaic was created from two images taken on 7 December 2005 and 9 January 2014, and focuses on the 108 km-wide Rabe crater. The region is 320 km to the west of the large Hellas impact basin, about halfway between the planet’s equator and south pole.

Wind-sculpted dunes and impact craters are common features on Mars but here we can see them combined, creating a stunning vista.

Rabe crater has an interesting topography: its flat floor has a number of smaller craters and large sunken pits within it. The bulk of the dune material sits atop the flat remnant of the original crater floor, but then some of it spills dramatically down into the pits below.

The dunes stand some 150-200 m tall and their swirling patterns indicate the prevailing direction of the winds that have whipped across the crater over time. 

The dunes are made of basaltic material, a common volcanic rock that was deposited widely across Mars in the past. In the region shown here, it was subsequently covered over by other layers of material, uncovered by erosion within the crater itself.

Image credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin


Fieldwork along Tabacundo-Guayllabamba Road, North of Quito. This is an activity for the Introduction to Field Methods course.

Exposures along the road show interesting deformations of recent (Cenozoic) sedimentary structures belonging to lacustrine depositional environment. Up to the north, volcanic deposits expose being part of an unit associated to Mojanda volcanic complex.