General Information

Welcome to the Mt. Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO) homepage. This site provides access to ongoing integrated Geological, Geochemical, and Geophysical research on the volcano. It is our goal to provide as much information as possible about all things Erebus. However, this site is also designed not to be overwhelmingly technical, and thus to be useful and interesting to both the general public and to the scientific community.

Name:
  Mt. Erebus
Discovered:
  1841 by James Ross and crew
First Ascent:
  1908 (to crater rim), by members of Ernest Shackleton's expedition
Geographic Location:
  Ross Island, Antarctica
Summit Latitude/Longitude:
  77°32'S, 167°10'E
Elevation:
  3794 meters
Average winter temperature:
  approx. -50° Celsius
Average summer temperature:
  approx. -20° Celsius
Type:
  Stratovolcano
Age:
  Active from ~1.3 million years ago to present
Petrology:
  Basanite to trachyte to phonolite
Eruptive style (prehistoric):
  Large volume lava flows
Eruptive style (historic):
  Frequent Strombolian eruptions.
Infrequent ash eruptions.
Rare lava flows confined to inner crater.
Notable features:
  Persistent convecting phonolite lava lake.
Persistent low-level eruptive activity.
One of Earth's few long-lived lava lakes.
Most active volcano in Antarctica.
Lavas and bombs contain large (<10 cm) phenocrysts (crystals) of anorthoclase feldspar.
Ross Island, Antarctica
Mt. Erebus is centrally located on Ross Island, Antarctica.

Mt. Erebus (77°32'S, 167°10'E), Ross Island, Antarctica is the world's southernmost active volcano. Discovered in 1841 by James Ross, it is one of only a very few volcanoes in the world with a long-lived (decades or more) lava lake. Scientific research, sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) since began the early 1970s had included basic study of the petrology and geophysics of the volcano, the eruptive history, activity and degassing behavior of the lava lake, and the overall impact of the volcano on the Antarctica and global environment.

Research on Mt. Erebus has been primarily conducted by scientists in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science and the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Each austral summer, a group of scientists and students ascend the volcano to live and work for several weeks (early December to early January). Current research consists of 1) continued monitoring of the SO2 flux from the lava lake, 2) measuring the CO2 emissions from the lava lake and summit, 3) geochronology of the summit and flank lava flows, 4) continued monitoring and interpretation of seismic and seismoacoustic activity volcano through the use of a network of highly-sensitive broad-band seismometers, 5) establishing a GPS base network to monitor the short- and long-term deformation of the volcano.

 

Map of Mt. Erebus
Mount Erebus is located on Ross Island in the Ross Sea. Ross Island is composed of of Mt. Erebus and three other extinct major volcanic centers: Mt. Bird to the north, Mt. Terror to the east, and Hut Point Peninsula to the south (the far southern point of Hut Point Peninsula is the location of McMurdo Station - the main US base in Antarctica - and Scott Base - the main New Zealand base in Antarctica.