Friday, August 10, 2012

Extremely cool...

Vast volcanic 'raft' found in Pacific, near New Zealand

"A vast 'raft' of volcanic rocks covering 10,000 sq miles (26,000 sq km) of ocean has been spotted by a New Zealand military aircraft." - from BBC article linked above.

The floating rocks are pumice, a type of volcanic rock that's lighter than water due to gases trapped inside it.  It's hard, but it looks like a stone sponge.

To put that in perspective, the island of Hawaii is only about 4,028 sq miles (10,430 sq km.)  So it's more than twice the size of the island of Hawaii.


  1. Replies
    1. Well, one thing it means is that there's a volcanic eruption going on underneath the water just outside of New Zealand.

      For another, it means that many scientists are going to be excited. Many scientists now think that the "primordial soup" or "primordial ocean" model of the beginnings life isn't quite right - that you need lots of little chemical experiments and high quantities of things like magnesium, phosphate and carbon.

      These scientists think that life originated on floating pumice islands like this one.

      For me, I also just really love this kind of thing. Science shows that world is really upside-down sometimes - rocks that float and ice that burns.

      (For ice that burns, it's methane clathrate: )