And, now that I’m jotting things down, here’s something cool that I’ve been meaning to share: a collection of photographs of volcanoes, taken from the international space station, over at Wired. I like geology and maps, so satellite photography gives me the chance to enjoy both. I love how you can read the stories in the earth of continents crashing, subducting, orogenies in process. McGee was right, there is something voluptuous about the language of geology. As I was browsing, this image caught my eye:
Image: Courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center / Taken October 23, 2010.
I thought how beautiful it was, and then in the next moment wondered if it was New Zealand volcanoes. It was. I have a soft spot for NZ after spending six months there about ten years ago. I can’t claim that it was my familiarity with the NZ landscape that triggered the recognition though – more likely it was the moment in the theater when my Kiwi friend Ellie exclaimed, “But that’s Mount Taranaki! And they were just at the Fjords [ed. note: on the south end of the South Island, whereas Mt. Taranaki is in the middle of the North Island]– you couldn’t make the trip in an afternoon!” And my disbelief in the landscape of The Hobbit was no longer suspended, and the image of Mount Taranaki, which is fairly similar to Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro (pictured above), stuck in my mind ever since.
The Wired article also introduced me to the Global Volcanism Program, an attempt at a comprehensive listing of volcanoes and their current and historical eruptions. There’s so much cool there – I can hardly wait to check out the dynamic interactive map! So go, check it out, and don’t say I never did anything nice for you.