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“Gold Eruption: Mount Erebus Unveils Antarctic Treasure Trove”

According to a report in the New York Post, an active volcanic peak in Antarctica, Mount Erebus, is releasing a significant amount of gold into the atmosphere on a daily basis. This phenomenon is occurring due to the emission of gas pockets from the volcano, containing around 80 grams of crystallized gold each day. This gold is valued at nearly $6,000 (Rs 5 lakh), experts say.

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The dispersion of gold dust extends as far as 621 miles away from Mount Erebus, which stands at an elevation of 12,448 feet. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Earth Observatory notes that gold dust is just one of the various substances being expelled from the volcano.

According to NASA, Mount Erebus is situated above a thin layer of crust, facilitating the ascent of molten rock from Earth’s interior. The volcano regularly emits gas and steam, occasionally ejects rock (bombs) during strombolian eruptions, and has housed at least one lava lake within its caldera since 1972. Mount Erebus is believed to be the southernmost active volcano globally.

Conor Bacon from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York states that Erebus has been erupting continuously since at least 1972. He highlights the volcano’s renowned “lava lake” at one of its summit craters, where molten material is visibly present at the surface. Bacon explains that such lava lakes are rare, requiring specific conditions to prevent the surface from freezing over.

Despite its scientific significance, researching Mount Erebus poses challenges due to its geographic isolation. On the other hand, the Deception Island Antarctic Specially Managed Area, responsible for monitoring volcanic activity on the island, reports that Deception Island is the caldera of an active volcano that last erupted in 1970. Bacon mentions that both Mount Erebus and Deception Island have limited permanent monitoring instruments, primarily consisting of seismometers to detect volcanic unrest-related seismic activity. He notes the logistical challenges involved in deploying extensive instrument networks for specific studies due to the harsh conditions and long polar nights in Antarctica.

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