Cornish tin mines, 19th century
Cornish tin mines, 19th-century artwork. These mines are in the parish of St Just in Penwith, Cornwall, UK. 19th-century tin mines in this area date back to 1721. The workings extended out under the sea for nearly a kilometre, and some of the tunnels were only a few metres below the seabed. The mines employed hundreds of men and reached a depth of 400 metres. Thousands of tons of tin and copper were produced, but most of the mines had closed by the early 20th century. Artwork from the 13th volume (first period of 1894) of the French popular science weekly 'La Science Illustree'.
© SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Launch of Vostok 1 spacecraft, 1961
Launch of Vostok 1 spacecraft. Close-up of the exhaust flames of the rocket launching Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968) into orbit from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 12 April 1961. During this historic spaceflight, Gagarin became the first human in space. He circled the Earth once in a flight that lasted 1 hour and 48 minutes. The Vostok 1 capsule (not seen) was located on top of this rocket, the Vostok-K, the booster stage of which is seen here. This initial booster stage used four engines that burnt a mixture of rocket fuel and liquid oxygen for 118 seconds before later stages took over and completed the process of boosting Vostok 1 and Gagarin into orbit.
© DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lava entering the sea at night
Lava entering the sea at night. Night-time glow and clouds of steam produced by lava entering the sea on the coast of a volcanic island. Lava is molten rock that rises from beneath the Earth's surface. It is hot enough to glow red and vaporise water, turning it instantly to steam. Eventually, the sea water will cool the lava, and new volcanic rock will form. If the rate of eruption of lava is greater than the rate of erosion by the sea, then the island will grow in size. This lava flow is from the Kilauea volcano on the Pacific island of Hawaii. The Hawaiian islands are volcanic in origin, composed of the rock produced by successive volcanic eruptions.
© Dr Juerg Alean/Science Photo Library