Sunday, March 30, 2008

Eruptions


Halema'uma'u Crater March 29, 2008

Halema'uma'u crater has been erupting since March 19. On March 24 the fumes were joined by ash and molten particles. Halema'uma'u is located on the floor of Kilauea caldera--for years we children ould safely walk to the edge. Ash has been reported as far away as South Point (southernmost spot in the 50 states). Part of Chain of Craters Road is closed because of the hazard. The vent at Pu'u O'o has been erupting for years. Change is inevitable, even in the speed of light. Without Earth's internal heat our islands and continents would not have formed.

Cassini's close encounter with Enceladus was marred by a faulty sensor. Nevertheless, scientists have found traces of organic molecules in Enceladus' vapour plume. They have also found higher temperatures than were found before. The thermal view below of the South Pole shows heat emanating from the tiger stripe features. The interior likely has temperatures suitable for liquid water and life. For life to evolve so far from the Sun, internal heat would have to be maintained over billions of years. This is a good place to search for a Black Hole.

We have found organic molecules and possible internal heat on Titan, also considered a possible home of life. We grew up learning that life depends on a Sun. Inner heat of worlds may be more important to life than previously thought. Someday we may find that Black Holes and life are connected.

Check out the new Carnival of Space!

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24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at a party in Volcano National Park at the weekend, luckily for us the plume of vog and ash is being blown towards Kona.

Obviously not as lucky for the residents of Kona.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black Holes have nothing to do with life.
Their neighbors on the other hand, Pink Holes, have much to do with lifes creation...

-Steve

10:36 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Louise; I've been getting an urge to work out the thermodynamics of a black hole inside a body. That is, what is the relationship between pressure and density, how much heat does it generate, etc.

For example, it's well known that a spherically symmetric hollow body has no net gravitational force inside the hollow region. This made me think that the black hole wouldn't be bound.

However, that is only to first order. If the black hole drifts toward one side, the heat will eat away at that side and make it thinner. The result will be a slight gravitational force that will tend to attract the black hole back towards the other side.

So all this stuff will operate in equilibrium. I'd like to know the natural period of oscillation. Have you already worked out these sorts of things or should I go ahead and type up a blog post on the subject?

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hundreds of organic molecules (like amino acids) have been found in space by spectroscopy. But they are "dead" molecules, life needs much more: enzymes, RNA and proteins, and first of all, "spirit or soul" in the tissues formed from living cells.
The lines in spectra of such complicated structures cannot be solved. So, we must find at least a living cell to prove the existence of life in exoplanets. But how does this happen? A space ship or a visit by aliens?

7:58 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

For Sam: I miss the Big Island, vog and all.

For carl: Go ahead, results for drifting to the side have not been worked out. We have some rough estimates of power output, which leads to an equilibrium with the gravitational attraction. There is a lot of misconception, even among physicists, that tiny Black Holes would suck up the Earth..

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