Watch a Volcano Breathe

photo credit: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laborator

A “breathing” volcano sounds like something out of an ancient myth, but this animation of Mount Etna is very much the real deal.

The incredible visualization from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows how the ground surrounding the volcano pulses and morphs as a result of changes in the volume of a shallow chamber about 5 kilometers (3 miles) below sea level.

The data from the animation was picked up by radar interferometry on the European Space Agency’s ERS-1 and ERS-2 satellites. This technique is so sensitive, it can detect ground deformation within 2.8 centimeters (1.1 inches).

This is pretty amazing stuff. Check out the animation of the volcano!

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