Photo by USGS.
In 1980 a major volcanic eruption occurred at Mount St. Helens, a volcano located in the state of Washington, United States. The eruption was the only significant one to occur in the contiguous 48 U.S. states since the 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California. The eruption was preceded by a two-month series of earthquakes and steam-venting episodes, caused by an injection of magma at shallow depth below the volcano that created a huge bulge and a fracture system on the mountain’s north slope. An earthquake at 8:32:17 a.m. on Sunday, May 18, 1980, caused the entire weakened north face to slide away creating the largest landslide ever recorded. This suddenly exposed the partly molten, gas- and steam-rich rock in the volcano to lower pressure. The rock responded by exploding a hot mix of lava and pulverized older rock toward Spirit Lake so fast that it overtook the avalanching north face.
An eruption column rose 80,000 feet into the atmosphere and deposited ash in 11 U.S. states. At the same time, snow, ice and several entire glaciers on the volcano melted, forming a series of large lahars (volcanic mudslides) that reached as far as the Columbia River, nearly 50 miles to the southwest. Less-severe outbursts continued into the next day, only to be followed by other large, but not as destructive, eruptions later in 1980.
Fifty-seven people were killed, including innkeeper Harry R. Truman, photographer Reid Blackburn and geologist David A. Johnston. Hundreds of square miles were reduced to wasteland causing over a billion U.S. dollars in damage, thousands of game animals were killed, and Mount St. Helens was left with a crater on its north side. At the time of the eruption, the summit of the volcano was owned by the Burlington Northern Railroad, but afterward the land passed to the United States Forest Service. The area was later preserved, as it was, in the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
According to Engadget, NASA’s New Horizons probe has just taken its first snapshots of those new satellites, something of a miracle considering it was 55 million miles away and Styx is only 4 to 13 miles across. It required 10 second exposures from the probe’s sensitive Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and copious image processing to reduce background glare, resulting in the animation above.
The photo is a sign of things to come, as New Horizons will carry on toward Pluto until it it passes within about 10,000 km (6,200 miles) of the dwarf planet around July 14th this year. At that point, it’ll map out Pluto’s surface and study its largest moon, Charon, which is actually about half the diameter of Pluto. It’ll also search for evidence of cryo-geysers that scientists think could be active on Charon. The probe will produce the highest resolution images yet of Pluto (Hubble has taken the best photos so far, above) — giving the snubbed planet a chance to finally get to strut its stuff.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s 1892 painting, In Bed: The Kiss, captures two prostitutes from a brothel in a lip-locked moment of lesbian love. After painting several female couples getting cozy in bed, Toulouse-Lautrec supposedly said, “This is better than anything else. It is the very epitome of sensual delight.”
In fact, the artist considers this painting as the epitome of pleasurable and sensual delight. The color scheme that he selected was brilliant with shades of red and yellow, which were subdued by grey, green and blue. This enchanting masterpiece expresses the tender love shared by the couple, as though they were fearful of being separated from each other.
Sandra Bullock has been beloved by audiences for decades, but only now has the 50-year-old actress been named the “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” by People magazine.
The Oscar-winning actress’s first response to the news was to laugh.
“No, really,” she told the magazine during her photo shoot for the special issue. “I just said, ‘That’s ridiculous.’ I’ve told no one.”
Bullock was recognized as “Woman of the Year” by the publication in 2010, and has been featured inside the annual “Beautiful” issue before, but this is the first time she’s landed the cover. Ironically, the honor comes one day after her 1995 romantic comedy While You Were Sleeping — which solidified her rep as America’s Sweetheart — celebrated its 20th anniversary.
We would love to see Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep on the People’s 50 Most Beautiful People – Tell us who do you want on the list?