Looking Glass Geology

January 20, 2008


Provided by: Amanda Hintz, University of South Florida
Summary Author: Amanda Hintz, Stu Witmer

"Volcanologists Through the Looking Glass." In this case, the looking glass is a 20x hand lens (click on image for a larger view). The people seen through the lens are part of a workshop at Black Point volcano near Mono Lake in California, studying Surtseyan eruptions and their deposits. This type of eruption takes its name from the Icelandic island of Surtsey, which was created by a submarine volcano in 1963 and named after the mythological Icelandic fire god Surtur. The finely bedded deposits found at Black Point are basaltic tuffs. When the Black Point volcano erupted 12,000 years ago, it was about 100 meters below the surface of the lake. Surtseyan eruptions can occur in oceans, lakes and even just groundwater. When magma encounters water, a wide variety of deposits may result. Photo taken on October 6, 2007.