John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Ever heard of an "ice volcano"?
Good news for northerners who dabble in human sacrifice: You no longer have to fly to Hawaii to access a volcano suitable for your hapless victims. Just head to Lake Ontario, which recently developed a bizarre, yawning orifice known as a "cryovolcano."
The lopsided cone was spotted by photographer James Montanus in the vicinity of Rochester, New York. Montanus says it's the "first and only ice volcano in the northeastern U.S. that has got HOT LIQUID MAGMA flowing out from the earth's molten interior, just like a real volcano":
He's joking, of course; the internal glow came from a flash unit with an orange gel. Cryovolcanoes, a seasonal product of high waves and just-below-freezing ground temperatures, spew only sludgy, icy water. And, perhaps, the occasional snowy owl using them for a hunting perch.
It's an interesting time for Lake Ontario, whose frozen surface is growing all sorts of weird crusts and droopy formations. (Note this is probably business as usual for Great Lakes locals, who coexist with "ice boulders," "snow pancakes," and in one case a house-crushing ice tsunami.) Take a look at some of the other stuff folks have spotted this week: