Friday, 1 December 2017

Unlikely places

Volcanic Ice Caves - You Couldn't Make It Up!

Atop Mount Rainier in Washington State there are glaciers. There are also fumaroles. The fumaroles have excavated (or melted) several kilometres of tunnels which are being used as analogues for Jupiter's moon Europa.

This article describes the work being undertaken to understand the caves and their use to develop rovers to travel across rugged icy terrain. 

The bit that intrigued me was the news that litter left by the relatively few people who get to the top of Mount Rainier, takes ten to fifteen years to travel through the ice and fall into the caves!

Collecting soil samples for microbial analysis in an ice cave near the summit of Mount Rainier

My picture of Mount Rainier, taken at the end of May 2016

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