Friday, July 05, 2019

The far side of nowhere...

A lava lake was just discovered, one of only eight on the planet that we know of. The reason it was just discovered is because it's on Saunders Island in the South Sandwich Islands.

Saunders Island is a frigid volcano poking up out of the south Atlantic. It's hundreds of miles from anyplace you'd call "inhabited", and calling South Georgia Island "inhabited" rates air quotes because nobody actually lives there permanently, other than Shackleton's corpse; there's just a seasonally fluctuating crew of scientists, meteorologists, and government officials keeping an eye on the Patagonian toothfish harvest. (There's also the ruins of a whaling station that'd make a killer first-person shooter map, and actually was the location of a multiplayer first-person shooter between Argentinians and Royal Marines.)

Anyway, the nearest thing you'd call an airfield to Saunders Island is clean off in the Falklands, so it's not like you could just ask a passing plane to look into the summit of the 3k'+ volcano, and discovery of the lava lake needed to be done by satellite.