We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Volcano World Cup: Group B

Rocky Planet iconRocky Planet
By Erik Klemetti
Jun 18, 2014 5:54 PMNov 20, 2019 3:39 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

You've had a chance to vote for Group A (although voting for all groups will be open until June 26 at noon EDT), so now its time to move to Group B: Australia, Chile, the Netherlands and Spain. Australia: If you're looking for a continent free of most tectonic disasters -- earthquakes and volcanoes -- you could pick no better than Australia (however, to balance things out, pretty much all plants and animals are poisonous, right?) The nation itself only has a few volcanic fields that may have erupted in the last 10,000 years, including the Newer Volcanic Province in the south and the Atherton Volcanic Field in the north. To find any real active volcanism, you need to travel into the middle of the Indian Ocean, where you find Mawson Peak (see below) on Heard Island -- about as remote as you can get, but the volcano might host an occasional lava lake at the summit crater.

Mawson Peak, in Heard Island in the Indian Ocean, seen on February 28, 2009.

NASA Earth Observatory Chile: If you need to pick a favorite for the Volcano World Cup, you need look no further. Chile has at least 137 potentially active volcanoes and thousands more volcanic features that cover the slender nation tip to tip. It is hard to pick just one volcano to represent the country's plethora of volcanism, but this shot of Chaitén erupting in early 2009 captures just how powerful some of these volcanoes are.

Chaitén in Chile, producing a large ash plume during its activity in 2008-09. This false-color image shows the eruption on January 19, 2009. Note the town of Chaitén in the lower left.

NASA Earth Observatory The Netherlands: Like many European powers, the volcanoes it can claim as its own are not on the continent. Instead, the far-flung pieces of conquest are where the eruptive prowess lies. For some nations, whatever is left of their former empire is a mere shadow of what it once was. Take the Netherlands for example. Had the Volcano World Cup existed in the last 1800s, the Netherlands would dominate thanks to its domain over Indonesia. Today, the nation is left with vestiges of empire in the Lesser Antilles, including The Quill (see below) on St. Eustatius, which last erupted last recently as 400 AD.

The Quill on St. Eustasius in the Lesser Antilles, seen on January 23, 2010 from the International Space Station.

NASA Spain: The defending real World Cup champions are another nation whose volcanic prowess comes from its colonies. There is the Garrotxa Volcanic Field covered in small cinder cones, mostly dating back tens of thousands of years, on the mainland of Spain. However, if you're looking for active volcanoes, you need to head out into the Atlantic to the Canary Islands. There you'll find a multiple of volcanoes that have erupted frequently over the past century, including El Hierro (below), Teide and Cumbre Vieja on La Palma.

El Hierro in the Canary Islands, with the submarine eruption off of La Restinga on February 10, 2012.

NASA Earth Observatory 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:

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.