PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Volcanic rock analysis. Technician placing a sample of basalt rock from Ferdinandea into a transmission electron microscope. Ferdinandea is a volcanic sea mount some 30 kilometres south of Sicily, Italy. Occasionally its eruptions produce enough material to make it rise above the surface. This last happened in 1831, and the new island became the subject of a sovereignty dispute between the UK, France, Sicily and Spain. Wave action eroded the small island before the dispute led to war. Studying the composition of rock samples from the island can improve understanding of its activity, and help to predict when or if it will rise again.
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