I spent years not giving volcanoes enough credit. Living in a country in the middle of a tectonic plate, they’re just not relevant beyond primary school science projects. Australia hasn’t seen a volcanic eruption since before the Europeans first decided to settle here.
It took a family holiday to New Zealand, where they do have active volcanoes, for me to really understand what people were talking about.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but here are three reasons to be worried about volcanoes, especially if you don’t live in Australia.
A little volcanic activity can be a good thing, sort of. Volcanic soil is some of the most fertile dirt the world, which is probably why we keep building cities on top of smoking death mountains. But as they say, everything in moderation.
Unfortunately, where there’s one disaster, there’s a good chance of two more. Though we’re not sure exactly why, volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis often happen in close succession.
The Ring Of Fire
I’m not talking about the Johnny Cash song, or what happens when you eat too much cheap Mexican food. I’m talking about the big ring of active volcanoes surrounding the Pacific Ocean.
Long story short, it’s a miracle San Fransisco still exists.
I’m not the only one who hasn’t given volcanoes enough credit. After all, even after seeing the damage they can do, we keep building cities on top of them.
The eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD is probably the most famous of all time, and for good reason. The citizens of nearby Pompeii were baked alive, killed instantly by a sudden rise in temperature to 300 degrees Celcius, and then preserved for millennia in volcanic ash. Pliny the Younger described the scene so well that the devastating eruption type was named after him, something he may or may not have appreciated.
It’s also worth noting that Mt Vesuvius is still active. Its last eruption was in 1944, and it’s about due to go again. Pompeii may be long gone, but Naples’ and its population of almost one million are well within Vesuvius’ potential range.
Sources (in order of appearance)
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