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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Happy Birthday, America!

By Phil Plait

My fellow Americans: I canât think of a better way to honor our nationâs birthday than to watch natural fireworks erupting from our newest state. Turn up the volume, make this full screen, and watch Hawaiiâs volcanoes celebrate the Fourth of July.

The photographer, QT Luong, has details about the video on the Vimeo page. You should also check out his web page, Terra Galleria, which has thousands of stunning photographs. These are seriously beautiful.

I just returned from a vacation in Oregon where I was surrounded by volcanoes, and it was truly amazing. When we left, and started our drive, for hoursâonce we were tuned to itâwe could see the landscape sculpted by ancient and recent eruptions. Layers of lava swept over the land for hundreds of kilometers, and created eastern Oregon as we know it today.

Volcanoes are a powerful and majestic force that shaped a vast amount of Americaâs geography. Thatâs something worth knowing, on this day when we celebrate our country.

Tip o' the caldera to Joe Hanson at It's OK to Be Smart.

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