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Christoph Keller: Rauchringe, 2004

Christoph Keller: Rauchringe, 2004

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Lambda-Color, 3 prints
65 x 95 cm each
Edition of 5 + 1 AP (#1/5)
(CK 115)

Characteristic of his interdisciplinary, science-oriented practice, this three-part work by Christoph Keller consists of pictures of a natural phenomenon. Produced in cooperation with his father, who is a volcanologist, the photographs document the near-perfect circles emitted by the Etna in 2000. A similar phenomenon has taken place at the Italian volcano again in March 2024.

In June 2000, the Etna produced the steam rings shown in the photograph by rhythmically ejecting steam from the Bocca Nova of Cratere Centrale. The photo was taken at an altitude of about 3000m on the crater rim. The volcanic gases, mainly water vapor, were ejected at great speed every few minutes, forming the violently rotating rings directly above the crater opening.

In very fine weather and with a deep blue sky, the rings could be followed for a long time and, surprisingly, they did not dissipate up to a very high altitude. The photos were taken on June 17, 2000.

Active volcanic craters emit large quantities of steam and gases. The degassing can take place in a continuous gas flow or rhythmically. In the case of a continuous gas flow, plumes or columns of steam are produced, which often rise to a height of several kilometers. In the case of rhythmic successive steam explosions, cauliflower-like vortex masses, sometimes rotating steam balls or sometimes real steam balls are ejected. The rather rare phenomenon of the formation of beautiful and very regularly formed steam or smoke rings has been described again and again. Examples of volcanic smoke rings can be found in the early literature from Stromboli, Vesuvius and Etna (for example, summarized in Karl Sapper's VULKANKUNDE from 1927). Smoke rings are also mentioned from other places, such as the volcano Akutan on the Aleutian Island of the same name, which in 1892 emitted "a large smoke ring every 20 minutes" (Sapper 1927). More recent volcanology texts, however, pay less attention to this phenomenon, which is particularly fascinating due to its aesthetics

Please note that this edition is only available for pick-up at our gallery in Berlin. In case of any questions, please contact

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