Researchers may have found the oldest human depiction of a volcano

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Researchers May Have Found The Oldest Human Depiction Of A Volcano


Volcanic eruptions are among Earth's most dramatic events, and it appears humans have been chronicling the fiery blasts for much longer than thought.

Researchers examining the prehistoric drawings in the famed Chauvet-Pont D'Arc cave believe they have found evidence of the oldest known depiction of an angry mountain.

The imagery in question has confounded experts for decades, as it is quite abstracted, showing simply conical shapes capped with light, outward curving lines.

Further, the enigmatic forms are situated amidst a plethora of animal depictions, and in some cases partially concealed by them.

Support for the theory they depict volcanic eruptions comes partly by way of a geological study of area rocks. Analysis showed the roughly 37,000-year-old drawings coincide with a period of volcanic activity observable from the cave region.

Outside of this discovery, the oldest known depictions of such blasts exist in Turkey's Çatalhöyük ruins and date back to about 7500 BC.

Related: See photos of Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes on Earth:

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Researchers may have found the oldest human depiction of a volcano
In this Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 filer, Mt. Etna volcano spews lava during an eruption near the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy. Ash fallout from Mount Etna's latest spectacular eruption has forced the closure of Catania's airport in eastern Sicily.The airport said it would remain closed at least until Monday evening. Several flight departures and arrivals were canceled, and at least two flights were diverted to Palermo's airport in the western part of the Mediterranean island. Etna is Europe's most active volcano. Its latest series of eruptions has lasted for weeks now, occasionally causing a change in flight routes. The eruption hasn't forced evacuation of the villages on the mountain's slopes. Its last major eruption occurred in 1992. (AP Photo/Salvatore Allegra, File)
Smoke billows from the Mount Etna, Europe's tallest active volcano, Sicily, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi)
Smoke billows from the Mount Etna, Europe's tallest active volcano, Sicily, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi)
Smoke billows during an eruption of Mount Etna volcano as seen from the village of Viagrande, near the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, has erupted, sending up a towering plume of ash visible in much of eastern Sicily. Etna's eruptions are not infrequent, although the last major one occurred in 1992. Catania airport said the eruption Saturday forced closure of nearby air space before dawn, but authorities lifted the closure in early morning. Several inhabited villages dot the mountain's slopes, but evacuations weren't necessary despite the lava flow. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi)
Lava spurts from Mount Etna, Nicosia, Italy, Tuesday night, July 31, 2001. Europe's largest and most active volcano has been spewing lava and ash from fractures on its southern slope for about two weeks, constantly feeding a molten flow threatening the Rifugio Sapienza. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
In this photo made available Friday, April 13, 2012, the snowcapped mount Etna erupts not far from Zafferana Etnea village, in Italy, Thursday, April 12, 2012. The south-eastern crater, âbornâ in 1971, has been the most active in the last few years. In the recent past lava flows have mainly damaged properties, but due to its slow speed lava has not killed human beings. So far Italian authorities have not issued any warning of dangers for houses and people. (AP Photo/Salvatore Allegra)
Mount Etna Volcano spews lava and ash, in Linguaglossa, near Catania, Sicily, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2002. Mount Etna, Europe's biggest and most active volcano, came to life again on Sunday, with a river of lava coming out of its mouth and a series of small quakes damaging buildings on its slopes, officials said. (AP Photo/Fabrizio Villa)
The lights of Catania are seen in background as lava pours from the sides of Mount Etna, late Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2001. Etna, which towers 10,860 feet above Sicily, has been gushing lava from fractures on its southern slope for about two weeks. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
SICILY, ITALY - MAY 16: A stream of molten lava flows from Mount Etna on May 16, 2015 in Sicily, Italy. PHOTOGRAPH BY Marco Restivo / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Marco Restivo / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
SICILY, ITALY - MAY 16: A stream of molten lava flows from Mount Etna on May 16, 2015 in Sicily, Italy. PHOTOGRAPH BY Marco Restivo / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Marco Restivo / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
SICILY, ITALY - MAY 16: A stream of molten lava flows from Mount Etna on May 16, 2015 in Sicily, Italy. PHOTOGRAPH BY Simone Genovese / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Simone Genovese / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
SICILY, ITALY - MAY 12: Molten lava flows from Mount Etna during the volcano eruption on May 12, 2015 in Sicily, Italy. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. PHOTOGRAPH BY Marco Restivo / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Marco Restivo / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Lava flows from the Mount Etna volcano on the southern Italian island of Sicily near Catania on August 14, 2014. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
Lava flows from the Mount Etna volcano on the southern Italian island of Sicily near Catania on August 13, 2014. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
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