Hell’s Gate from the Erupting Crater

Photo Curio: Underworld portal

Science and religion have come full circle, with scientists discovering a body-lined portal to the inferno. Well, maybe not quite, but this image sure has our imaginations running wild! Taken in Hawaii in 1996 by Laszlo Kestay, the photo shows a scientist smiling over a dark mass of intertwined shapes that eerily resemble human corpses. At the bottom of the pit is an ominous red opening.

Turns out, the “bodies” are actually hardened lava formations, and the fiery hole is known as the West Kamokuna lava skylight. The skylight formed when thinner sections of the crusty formations broke up, revealing free-flowing molten lava below. These days, the man responsible for taking this image continues to explore fascinating volcanic activities as director of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Rock on, Kestay… and don’t get too close to those skylights!

Image credit: Laszlo Kestay, USGS

But the best thing after the volcano erupts, is the green moss that grows all over the face

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