What the Heck Is This?

This is a hot one today. And yes, that's a clue.

Can you guess what you're looking at here? No more hints — other than one: Scientists are very interested in this thing, but they have not been able to get near it for further study.

See the full image below and an explanation …

A dense plume of ash, gas and water vapor has been erupting from the Nabro volcano in the East African nation of Eritrea since June 12, 2011.  The eruption killed seven people, according to the Eritrean government.

This photo was taken June 29, and it shows lava flowing from the summit (right) and running down the mountain's slope. The infrared image shows the lava more clearly than a visible light image could. Because of the volcano's remote location, satellite images and data have provided most of the information about this eruption, NASA said.

Lately the volcano has been less explosive, but continues to ooze lava.

The Nabro volcano had not erupted in recorded human history, NASA scientists say, "but lava flows near the volcano are relatively recent geologically. Nabro is part of the very active East African Rift, where three tectonic plates are pulling away from each other. As the Earth’s crust thins in the region, volcanoes rise in weak spots."

Located in the East African nation of Eritrea, Nabro began its eruption explosively on June 12, 2011. The powerful eruption sent plumes of ash streaming over North Africa and the Middle East, and pumped vast quantities of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere.
Located in the East African nation of Eritrea, Nabro began its eruption explosively on June 12, 2011. The powerful eruption sent plumes of ash streaming over North Africa and the Middle East, and pumped vast quantities of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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