Photo Friday: Spotlight on Heard Island and Big Ben Volcano

Big Ben, a volcano on the remote sub-Antarctic Heard Island, has erupted three times in the past 15 years, but scientists have just recently been able to capture live images, reports CNET. Researchers were excited to observe lava spilling down the volcano’s Mawson Peak, down over the glacier that is situated there. Because of how remote the island is, humans haven’t been around to witness an eruption until now.

According to the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment, Australia Antarctic Division: “The Heard and McDonald Islands (HIMI) is a subantarctic island group located in the Southern Ocean, about 4,000 kilometers south west of mainland Australia.”

Because of its isolation, human activity on and around Heard Island is limited to short terrestrial and marine research expeditions. But there are a number of different birds and marine wildlife known to frequent the island and its icy waters.

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