The Sciences

Introducing the Volcano World Cup

Rocky Planet iconRocky PlanetBy Erik KlemettiJun 17, 2014 6:22 PM


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I love the World Cup. I have no shame in that and even though the United States may never understand "the game" (remember, this is the nation that decided that football was a game to play with your hands), my Colombian roots mean that I get wrapped up in the Cup every four years. During the matches this year, I've been tweeting some volcano facts about the nation's taking part, so I thought that I should host the Volcano World Cup here on Eruptions. What is the Volcano World Cup? I'm going to take each of the participating countries in the real World Cup and have all of you vote on which are the most volcanically excellent. It will be set up exactly the same as the World Cup - group stage, round of 16, quarter-, semi- and finals - except it will be your votes that more nations forward. The group stage will start today and you'll get to vote for which two nations will move into the round of 16. The top 2 vote getters for each group will advance - seeded #1 and 2 according to the final tally. Over the next few weeks, we'll discover with country (that qualified for the 2014 World Cup) should be handed the Volcano World Cup! So let's start started with Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia and Mexico. Brazil: This year's host nation might be the world powerhouse for football, but it clearly isn't the world's volcanic one. Considering how much of South America the nation covers, it really only has one "potentially active" volcano: Trindade in the Atlantic Ocean. And this small island (see the International Space Station image below) can barely be considered active as we aren't even sure when it last erupted. The volcanic Pele it is not.

Trindade in the Atlanic Ocean, seen from the International Space Station on March 17, 2003. NASA Cameroon: This African nation has a swath of volcanoes named after it: the Cameroon Line. This feature is related to the rifting that opened the Atlantic Ocean over 110 million years ago and today that rifting is manifested on the African continent by a line of volcanoes including Mt. Cameroon (see below) and Lake Nyos. Mt. Cameroon is a massive feature, reaching over 4,000 meters (13,200 feet) above sea level and the last confirmed eruption was in 2000, although unconfirmed explosions may have occurred as recently as 2012.

Mt. Cameroon, seen from the International Space Station on December 14, 2010. NASA Croatia: Not surprisingly, there aren't any volcanoes that could be considered "active" in this nation nestled against the Adriatic Sea. However, there are some vestiges of past volcanism, like the spire of Jabuka Island (see below) that is made from Cretaceous Age lavas.

The volcanic island of Jabuka, off the western coast of Croatia. Fbundalo / Wikimedia Commons Mexico: If you had to pick a favorite in this Group, it would be Mexico. Much of the central part of the country is covered by the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, a group of volcanoes that have been very active over the past few thousand years. These volcanoes include the famous Popocatépetl (see below) near Mexico City along with the ever-active Colima on the western coast. Those are just a taste of the full variety of volcanoes found in the North America nation.

The crater and flanks of Popocatepetl in Mexico, seen from the International Space Station on February 7, 2009. NASA Select the two nations you think should move onto the Round of 16 in the Volcano World Cup. Voting will be open until June 26 at noon eastern time:

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