Wondrous Crossings: Mount Erebus in Antarctica, a Frozen Hell
As a completely different planet, Mount Erebus is one of the most promising places in unknown Antarctica.
Mount Erebus is the most active volcano in the southern hemisphere of the planet. Its formation began over 1.3 million years ago, and it now rises to an imposing height of 3,794 metres over sea-level in Antarctica. Its sides are covered with ice and snow, glaciers, cracks and the occasional molten lava river, but its most spectacular aspect is by far the steam that rises from its summit and its numerous escape valves, which defy the heat that lies below.
Erebus is a type of frozen hell, white on the outside, scorching on the inside. Its constant eruptions have left the most magnificent sculptures in the shape of caves, towers and the landscape behind. Its skirts are covered in giant ice spikes, many of them formed by fumaroles. These are formed when gasses and heat escape through the volcano’s sides, melting the snow above and forming caves. The steam that escapes the caves is then frozen on its way out and builds beautiful chimneys capable of reaching eighteen metres in height.
Mount Erebus was discovered in 1841 during an expedition led by Sir James Clark Ross, which named it after one of his ships, H.M.S Erebus, which in turn had been named after the Greek God of primal darkness. However, nobody reached its impressive and elusive summit until 1908.
While its fame is due to its pristine and vaporous beauty, Mount Erebus is also known for being the place where Air New Zealand’s airplane crashed November 28th 1979. The remainders of the wreckage can still be seen from above. This is an incredible destination both for professional hikers, and for those who wish to admire it from an airplane and watch is smoke from above.
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