One of the volcanoes the most famous of science fictionMount Destiny of Lord of the Ringsor Mount Ruapehu which is on the North Island of New Zealand, was photographed by an astronaut from the International Space Station, on September 23, 2021. The incredible photograph was posted online on the site of INASA Earth Observatory almost a year later, on September 18, 2022. This generally black, basalt-colored mountain was, last September, completely covered in a layer of snow. Result, seen from space: an impression of seeing a dark painting on which one would have applied, with a brush, an icy and cracked white touch. In the middle, we can observe a less white circle, representing its lake.
The crater lake, hot and acidic
Mount Ruapehu, which culminates at 2,797 meters, is the largest active volcano in New Zealand, located in the heart of Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. He had served in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s trilogy, to illustrate the evil kingdom of Mordor. Its particularity is that near its summit, is the “Crater Lake” (also called “Te Wai ā-moe”), a lake which is heated by a magma chamber located in the depths of the volcano. This body of water normally remains warm all year round, the water temperature oscillating between 15 and 45 ° C, underlines the NASA site.
Water temperature monitored to alert of any new eruption
Geologists watch like oil on the fire any change in temperature of this lake, because a warming of the water announces a rise in volcanic magma, and therefore a potential new eruption. The lake is extremely acidic, with a pH below 1, due to volcanic gases that emanate from the crater and eventually dissolve in water, the Earth Observatory points out. It is not known which astronaut took this photograph taken when the ISS passed over the volcano. According to NASA, he belonged to the “Expedition 65” crew made up of seven astronauts, including Thomas Pesquet.