Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Biggest and Weirdest Maars on Earth

The Devil Mountain Lakes, the largest maar on Earth, are in Alaska's Seward Peninsula.


In Alaska, where the winter runs colder, the sun shines longer and the mountains rise taller than any other state, the Land of the Midnight Sun can claim another superlative: The biggest and strangest maars ever found on Earth.

Maars are craters left behind after violent volcanic steam explosions, sparked when rising magma runs into groundwater, which then blows up like a bomb.

"When water turns to steam, it expands its volume by 1,000 times," said James Beget, a volcanologist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

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