That's the best looking thing I've seen in a long time, including my recently aquired US visa. If it wasn't for the White Mountains I'd seriously be wondering what I was doing on your east coast. Glad they opened it up again, but for how long?
Good question. That's one reason I was so excited about doing it when I did - no telling when they'll be closing it down again. Sorry you're stuck on the east coast - the "real" mountains are out west! -Bob
It was an awesome sight. But actually it's not smoke. It is instead more like dust or ash. The brand new rock that was just formed by molten material being cooled has just been thrust from the earth in a tall column. When the column reaches high enough above the cone below, it is not strong enough to continue to hold together, so it collapses onto the top of the cone. The cone itself is extremely unstable, so it occasionally sends loose material plunging down its sides. You can see one of those rockfalls occuring in the photo. The plume is caused by the dust generated from that action. We watched it repeatedly, and each rockfall event sounded close and dangerous, as though the slopes below us were crumbling and collapsing. It was an awesome spectacle, watching the formation of a mountain right before our eyes. :-)