There are few phenomenon on Earth as terrifying, devastating, and interesting as volcanic eruptions. Massive amounts of rock and ash soar high into the atmosphere as the Earth’s crust opens and the great forces present within the mantle are released. Volcanic eruptions are one of the most energetic events on the planet. Earlier today, Earth was witness to one of these epic events.

Papua New Guinea's Tavurvur volcano began spewing its deadly concoction of smoke and ash into the air this morning (August 29, 2014), sending a plume of ash some 60,000 feet into the air. Individuals located in nearby towns and villages were immediately evacuated. Those farther out were advised to remain indoors, by Australia’s Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, in order to avoid contact with toxic ash. A host of flights were also disrupted, as the volcanic ash could interfere with an airplane's delicate systems. Fortunately, there have been no reported deaths or injuries as a result of this eruption. Indeed, the events that unfolded earlier today gave locals an amazing view of the great power housed within our planet.

Volcanic eruption image via Kate Dela Cruz

The volcano is rather active, and has erupted on several occasions over the course of recent years. Tavurvur's most recent eruption occurred just last year, causing no deaths; however, in 1994 it was responsible for the destruction of the town of Rabaul (this 1994 eruption occurred alongside the eruption of the nearby Mount Vulcan).

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