Unexplored volcano at the ends of the Earth holds something truly rare at the top: a lake of fire

Satellite imagery capturing a mysterious thermal anomaly on top of an unexplored volcano at the ends of the Earth sparked excitement among scientists in 2018. Due to the island’s remote location and extreme conditions, no one had ever been able to reach the top to investigate, until now.

Experts believed that anomaly was a lava lake, a rare scientific reaction where magma is able to survive above the Earth’s surface.


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Dr. Emma Nicholson, volcanologist and National Geographic Explorer, has researched volcanoes in far off jungles and remote mountains. She’s no fan of boats, but was still compelled to study the anomaly, even though the journey involved a long and dangerous sea voyage to a chain of uninhabited volcanic islands in the South Atlantic Ocean.

“South Sandwich Islands really are about as remote from anywhere as you can get,” Nicholson said, “That remoteness adds an element of risk there. If anything goes wrong, nobody is coming to get you. You have to solve your own problems.”

lava lakes in Nat Geo’s November issue.

National Geographic’s latest special, “Explorer: Lake of Fire,” is streaming now on Disney+.

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