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5. 2. 2008

http://www.squidoo.com/volcanoes#

I will also be including links to good volcano websites and books. Finally, be sure not to miss the dramatic 1960s

 

 

Volcanoes Are Hot Stuff

 
 
Rating: 1 - I can do better 2 - Jury's out 3 - Pretty darn good 4 - Splendiferous 5 - Awesometastic (by 27 people)   Your rating: 1 - I can do better 2 - Jury's out 3 - Pretty darn good 4 - Splendiferous 5 - Awesometastic
 
 
 

An Introduction to Volcanology

 

A mountain roars. Rivers of molten rock race to the sea. Towers of ash and smoke billow into the sky. Volcanoes are one of the most terrifying and magnificent wonders of our restless planet.  

Scientists have learned a great deal about volcanoes in the last century or so, but when a volcano stirs, all we can do is get out of the way.

I am neither a geologist nor a volcanologist, but I have a lifelong fascination with volcanoes. I have kept half an ear out for volcano news ever since I was lucky enough to witness the start of an eruption of Pu'u O'o in Hawaii in 1986. That vent on the flanks of Kilauea Volcano has been pouring out lava nearly nonstop for over twenty years, adding acres to the the island.

I'd like to share with you some of what I've learned. On this lens you will find information about:

I will also be including links to good volcano websites and books. Finally, be sure not to miss the dramatic 1960s Kilauea Iki video documentary following a volcanic eruption from start to finish.
 

 

 

Volcanoes Around the World 

A Volcano Music Video by Thomas Reichart

Thomas Reichart's YouTube videos combine his fabulous videos of volcanoes and live volcanic eruptions with compelling music. They're fun to watch and educational -- a rare combination!

Volcanoes around the world

Short video clips from several volcanoes I visited so far...

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Volcanoes in Mythology 

Fiery Furnaces, Infernal or Divine Dwellings

In ancient times, when we had no instruments to measure what was happening underground, people created stories of fire gods, giants and spirits to explain the awesome power of volcanoes.

The Romans believed that Vulcan, the blacksmith of the gods, was hammering out Zeus' lightning bolts on his giant forge, and the volcano was his chimney.

The Indians of the Pacific Northwest told stories about the Great Spirit's twin sons, who dwelt on opposite sides of the Columbia River and fought over a beautiful maiden by throwing rocks and fire at one another. Today we call those two "spirits" Mount Adams and Mount Hood, and the maiden is Mount St. Helens.

Hawaiians still speak fondly of their fire-goddess, Pele, whose endless quarrels with her sea-goddess sister occasionally cause her to pick up her hearth and change islands. Again, the myth is a poetic memory of what really happened.

Interesting Note: While I have occasionally found tales about wrathful volcanoes killing people, I have never found any traditions or myths about sacrificing virgins (or anyone else!) to volcanoes. I wonder where this modern Hollywood myth came from?
 

Volcano Myths on the Web 

Here's some links to other web pages sharing volcano myths -- "geomythology" -- from around the world.
CVO - Volcanoes in Historical and Popular Culture - Mythology
Fun list of volcano gods and goddesses put together by the Cascades Volcano Observatory.
The Myth of Mt. Hood, Adams, and Mt. St. Helens
My source for the Pacific Northwest myth of Mt. Hood, Adams, and St. Helens.
Volcano Mythology in the Asia Pacific Region
Volcano myths and traditions in Southeast Asia and the Pacific -- the "Ring of Fire" which is home to 90% of Earth's volcanoes.
Pele Hawaiian Goddess of the Volcano
Myths and beautiful paintings of the goddess Pele.

Books About Madame Pele 

Here's two books I own, love, and recommend about this popular figure from Hawaiian folklore.
 

The House on the Volcano

Great children's book. Kimo's grandmother tells him stories about "Madame Pele." His best friend's father, a scientist, teaches him the facts about volcanoes. What will Kimo do when an eruption threatens his grandmother's home?

Used Price: $3.60

 

Pele: Goddess of Hawaii's Volcanoes

A modern collection of Pele stories, with some famous paintings of her. Beautiful little book.

Amazon Price: $8.95 (as of 08/04/2007)
Used Price: $1.54

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The Sounds of a Living Volcano 

Amazing Video Footage, Great Audio

volcano etna

big eruption in 2001

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Different Kinds of Volcanoes 

A Field Guide to Volcano Types

 
Geologists classify volcanoes by their shape, eruption style, and mineral composition.

Their shapes and eruption styles are determined by many factors, including the pressure and amount of gas and magma (molten rock) rising to the surface, and how much water is seeping down from above and mixing with the magma and gas.

Stratovolcanoes, also called composite volcanoes, form grand, steep mountains that may remain dormant for long periods before erupting. They consist of layers of heaped-up rocky debris, ash, and pipe-like "sills" and "dikes" of lava that provide a bit of a skeleton. The lava is mostly andesite, which is cooler and more brittle than basalt (see below). The plumbing of stratovolcanoes is often blocked by "lava plugs" or domes under which the pressure builds, until, sooner or later, a portion of the mountain explodes or collapses. This is what happened to Mt. St. Helens.

Shield volcanoes are flatter and broader, created by thousands of runny lava flows that pour out from a central caldera, or out of cracks in the volcano's flanks. Lava from shield volcanoes tends to be basalt, a very fluid lava. Calderas are sunken basins, often several miles across, caused when the magma below subsides. Hawaii's islands are a good example of shield volcanoes, whose spectacular lava fountains and flows frequently cover over or add new land, but seldom claim lives.

Rhyolite caldera complexes are huge, but they don't look like normal volcanoes. They explode violently, leaving behind nothing but a vast collapsed area over gigantic magma chambers. Geologists have discovered deep layers of ash and flows spreading out from them for thousands of miles. Luckily, the last such eruption was in 93 AD. Unluckily, Yellowstone is one of these monsters.

Cinder cones sometimes grow on side vents of other volcanoes; other times they sprout on their own. They are steep hill-sized cones around a single vent. They toss up congealed lava in ribbons and cinders (gravel-sized chunks). If the gas pressure subsides, lava flows may ooze out through the base. Cinder cones sometimes change to shield volcanoes.
 

Volcano Photography on Flickr 

Here's a selection of spectacular volcano images posted by various amateur photographers on Flickr. Click on thumbnails to go to the full image with photo credits.

big Semeru eruption at dawn by hshdude 

Semeru

Gamkonora erupts in Indonesia by guano 

Gamkonora

Volcán Arenal (lado verde) by Ricardo Chaves 

Arenal

Pico Island, Azores by terragraphica 

Lava arch

New Zealand - White Island by vtveen 

New Zealand

Arenal2 by idrox 

Arenal

Maly Semyachik Crater Lake by robnunn 

Semyachik Crater

Kilauea lava flow by kai kane 

Hawaii

St. Helens by oregonianphoto 

Mt. St. Helens

Mt. Aso from above by cybernezumi 

Mt. Aso, Japan

mt. mayon by WINdang 

Mt. Mayon, Phillipines

Walking is OK by someotherbob 

Lava Humor

 

Some Current Volcanic Eruptions 

The hills are alive!

Here are some good websites covering a few of the hundreds of active volcanoes and eruptions occurring around the globe.
Hawai'i Volcanoes Observatory Website
Hawai'i's many shield volcanoes are powered by a steady flow of rising magma whose location is a little puzzling -- a "hot spot" smack dab in the middle of the Pacific plate. As the plate moves northwest, the hot spot leaves behind a chain of progressively older (and eventually extinct) volcanic islands. These are some of the most active -- and peaceful -- volcanoes on Earth. Mauna Loa would be the world's tallest mountain if it started at sea level; it rises 57,000 feet (17 km) from the ocean floor. The HVO website tracks all of Hawai'i's volcanoes with great photos, movies and daily coverage.
Cascades Volcano Observatory Mount St. Helens Website
Mount St. Helens' May 18th, 1980 eruption made history, dropping ash up to 22,000 miles away and causing massive destruction up to 19 miles away -- or farther, in places where its superheated debris flooded local rivers. But that's not the end of the story! In recent years, a new lava dome has been growing in the shattered crater. CVO's no-frills website keeps you up-to-date with the latest news, photos, and movies.
Montserrat Volcano Observatory
In 1995, tragedy struck a little Carribean island paradise called Montserrat. Its Sourfriére Hills stratovolcano began a series of Mount St. Helens style eruptions -- huge amounts of ash, mudflows, pyroclastic flows -- that slowly overwhelmed the southern half of the island, including its capital of Plymouth. Half the population had to evacuate. Now refugees are returning and helping to build a new capital in the northern, undisturbed part of the island.
Stromboli: Lighthouse of the Mediterranean
Mount Etna on nearby Sicily is quite active, but Stromboli wins first prize for endurance: this island off the coast of Italy has been erupting nearly continuously for thousands of years. This Swiss website covers Stromboli, Etna, and many other active volcanoes, and has some great videos and photos.
Yellowstone Volcano Observatory
Roaring geysers and boiling pools of hot mud betray the sleeping giant beneath: an ancient volcano that lies under nearly half of the state of Wyomoing.
VolcanoWorld's Current Eruptions page
VolcanoWorld is a great educational website on volcanoes. This page keeps you up-to-date on all major eruptions happening around the world.

Different Kinds of Lava 

"Etna 2006" Music Video

Another beautiful movie by Thomas Reichart. Note the a'a flows during the day, and pahoehoe and spatter cones during the night footage (see next section for explanation of these terms).

Etna Lava Flow

Video of the lava flows at Mount Etna during the December 2006 eruption. The flows were emitted by a fracture in 2850 m next to the South East Crater of the east flank of Mount Etna and were flowing into Valle del Bove.

Runtime: 3:46
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Types of Lava and Lava Flows 

... and other things that volcanoes throw at us.

Click on the links below to see images of each kind of lava or debris from the USGS Volcano Photo Glossary. Pahoehoe, right, from HVO gallery.

Pahoehoe (a Hawaiian word) is hot, runny lava that may skin over and form rounded pillows or fudgelike wrinkles at the leading edge. Sometimes the outer layer cools to form a naturally-insulated lava tube that carries lava long distances.

A'a (also Hawaiian) is cooler, slower-moving, and piles up in a rolling wall of clumpy lava that tumbles down the leading edge. I suspect it was named for the sound people make walking barefoot over it.

Pillow lava is created under water or ice. It grows via bulbous, interconnected lobes.

Lava fountains may spurt from a single vent or along a rift zone, creating spectacular curtains of fountains.

Spatter cones form around small vents when the gas pressure is too great or there's not enough lava to produce a bona-fide flow. Ribbons and blobs of lava pile up around it, usually more on one side due to wind.

Cinders are glassy, extremely bubbly lava rocks or gravel-sized chunks thrown out by a vent.

Lava bombs are larger, more solid blobs of semi-molten lava that congeal as they fly through the air.

Pumice is frothy lava foam solidified into spongelike rocks that are so light that they may float in water.

Lava flows are destructive, but seldom fatal. They're usually slow-moving, and scientific monitoring can detect magma moving beneath the ground hours or even days before an outbreak.
 

Scary Footage of Many Different Pyroclastic FLows 

A.k.a. "Glowing Clouds, Nubi Ardenti, Nuees Ardentes"

It looks light and fluffy, but it's several hundred degrees inside. This kind of eruption is what overwhelmed Pompeii, Herculanium, St. Pierre, many victims of Mount St. Helens, and, in 1991, a renowned volcanologist couple, Maurice and Katia Krafft. If you are downhill from a volcano that produces a lot of ash, take evacuation warnings very seriously.

Note: Despite the obvious movie dramatization near the beginning of this video, which makes one wonder about the rest, I recognize several of the clips from real volcanoes, including Montserrat. From what I can see, all the clips are footage of real volcanoes except that part with the Italian town. The clip with the fleeing Indonesian firetruck and fireman is real: luckily the cloud behind them stopped before it reached them. There's another clip of that one here.

Nubi ardenti (la faccia cattiva dei vulcani)

Runtime: 7:10
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Types of Volcanic Debris Cont'd 

More Stuff Thrown Out by Vocanoes

With stratovolcanoes, all the different layers of ash, old lava, boulders, and sometimes snow and glaciers on top create a mix of different kinds of material that slides down, melts, and/or gets flung a long way during an eruption.

Ash, or tephra, is created when old, solidified lava and rocks are pulverized to dust by a violent eruption and hurled up into the sky in huge columns resembling smoke. Ash can travel for thousands of miles or fall like snow. Not only does ash gum up machinery and air filters, but it turns into concrete-like muck if it gets wet.

Pyroclastic flows or surges are extremely dangerous. These swift-moving avalanches of superheated ash, cinders, and boulders can race downhill at up to 100km an hour, easily overtaking anyone trying to outrun them -- even in a car. They bury, shatter, or carry away anything in their path. A hot, heavy ash cloud rolls above and races ahead of the flow. Temperatures inside range from 200 to 700 degrees C. At night they sometimes glow red, hence the old name "glowing clouds."

A lahar (Indonesian word) is a volcanic mudflow made of ash and water, often following river valleys. They are a common hazard with snow-capped or glacier-capped volcanoes. These walls of boiling hot mud have the consistency of concrete and can move at the speed of a freight train, overflowing riverbanks and sweeping away roads and towns.
 

A Photo Glossary of Volcano Terms 

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words, As Usual

USGS Photo Glossary of Volcanic Terms
Did I miss a term you're curious about? Or are you having trouble visualizing something I described? This fabulous illustrated volcano dictionary created by the U.S. Geologic Survey will answer all your burning questions.

Amateur Volcano Videos on YouTube 

A lot of these are music videos, but there's some really amazing footage. Listen closely for the volcano sounds in some of them!

Eruption of Etna Volcano December 2006

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33218 views
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Volcanoes

Runtime: 2:41
13063 views
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Yasur Volcano Eruption

Runtime: 3:59
47668 views
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Kilauea Volcano Erupts - Dramatic Video

Runtime: 3:02
9647 views
9 Comments:


Kilauea: Inside an active Volcano

Runtime: 3:04
2301 views
5 Comments:


pacaya vulcano guatemala

Runtime: 2:01
28011 views
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Mud Volcanoes of Yellowstone National Park

Runtime: 4:28
3038 views
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Volcanoes

Runtime: 7:42
2976 views
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mt st helens eruption

Runtime: 2:16
71352 views
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Volcanoes in History 

Famous and Infamous Volcanic Eruptions

Santorini: Source of the Atlantis Legend?
Good article on the 1600-1500 BCE eruption of Thera/Santorini, which probably contributed to the decline of the advanced Minoan (a modern name for them) civilization. This eruption was HUGE: larger than Krakatoa.
The Destruction of Pompeii, 79 AD
A good English translation of Pliny the Younger's eyewitness account of the eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii.
History and Eruptions of Vesuvius
Volcanoes that were active in recorded history are generally still active. Vesuvius has been busy over the centuries. Here's a good page summarizing later eruptions of Vesivius. In fact, this page needs to be updated: there's been ground swelling, rising gases, and tremors for a decade or so in the Naples area, causing some long-term evacuations.
Krakatau (Krakatoa)
Try to imagine the 2004 Indonesian tsunami crossed with the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens -- then make it bigger. Krakatoa's 1883 eruption was heard up to 4600km (2850 miles) away. It was also the first worldwide news event, as stunned local accounts made their way around the globe via brand-new trans-oceanic telegraph cables.
All About Mount Pelee Volcano
In 1902, Mount Pelee on the island of Martanique utterly wiped out the city of Saint-Pierre. 2 out of the city's 28,000 inhabitants survived the glowing cloud of superheated ash that swept over the city. The aftermath of this eruption was intensely studied, and there are some haunting photographs on this website.
Mount St. Helens Past, Present and Future
Apologies for the emphasis on Mount St. Helens, but I was barely 9 during the 1980 eruption, and it left a deep impression on me. Here is another excellent website by the USGS with a detailed account and good photos.
Vic Camp - the eruption of Paricutin, Mexico
Mt. Paricutín is the famous Mexican "volcano that grew out of a cornfield" in 1944. It was a cinder cone -- but what a cone! Its unusually long eruption, until 1952, destroyed local villages and displaced a lot of people, but thankfully with minimal loss of life.
Surtsey: Iceland's Newest Neighbor
Surtsey is the newest island in the world, at least until Hawai'i's offshore seamount, Lo'ihi, breaks the surface. Here's a fine article with good photos giving an account of this fierce little island that rose from the ocean in 1963.
Pinatubo Volcano: The Sleeping Giant Awakens
Excellent website, grim topic. Pinatubo is another of those St. Helens type volcanoes that produced massive amounts of ash and pyroclastic flows. One of my visitors, Paul, noted, "Pinatubo is well documented due to its recent eruption in 1991, but what is little known is that the resulting caldera created a sulphuric lake which is now a geographically phenomenal site of extreme beauty."

Good Books on Historical Volcanoes 

Mount St. Helens: The Eruption and Recovery of a Volcano

 

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Vesuvius, A.D. 79: The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum

 

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Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 (P.S.)

 

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The Last Days of St. Pierre: The Volcanic Disaster that Claimed 30,000 Lives

 

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Volcano Cams 

Real-Time Images of Volcanoes

Don't forget the timezone; it will be night-time in some of these places. Also, volcanoes are shy beasties -- it's amazing how often they're hidden by haze or fog. It gives you added respect for those folks who managed to get the good volcano videos shown earlier on this page.


(Screencap I took of one of the New Zealand Cams -- I loved the dinosaur someone posed on a rock)

Kilauea / Pu'u O'o Lava Lake Cam
This lava lake formed in July 1986-- and I was there to see it happen! Two huge fissures opened to the left and right of the Pu'u O'o cone on the flank of Kilauea Volcano, and the lefthand one (I think?) was the one that became this lake.
Mount Saint Helens Cam
Stop by the archives, too, especially the movies from the 2004 eruption.
Mt. Erebus, Antarctica Cam
What an amazing location! Check out the "best of" movie clips on this one.
New Zealand Volcano Cams
This page has links to cams for several of New Zealand's volcanoes, plus current seismograph readings.
Santorini Volcano Cam
Santorini/Thera (fairly placid these days)
Mt. Etna Cam
Fairly distant cam.
Vesuvius Cam
Warning: often hidden by haze.
Mount Fuji, Japan Cam
Dormant. PLEASE stay dormant! Fuji-san is such a beautiful mountain; I hope it stays this shape for a long, long time.

Good Volcano Documentaries 

Volcanoes Videos on DVD

Volcanoes of the Deep Sea (IMAX) (2003)

 

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Ring of Fire - IMAX

 

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National Geographic - Forces of Nature

 

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NOVA: Volcano Under the City

 

Amazon Price: $17.99 (as of 08/07/2007)
 

 

Volcanoes on Other Planets! 

Why should Earth have all the fun? The more astronomers look, the more they find out that there are other planets and moons out there rockin' and rollin'. However, it's amazingly cold out there -- the sun is far, far away -- so what passes for "rock" and "molten rock" on these worlds would be water or gas on ours.
Io, Jupiter's Volcanic Moon
This moon of Jupiter caught everyone by surprise when the space probe Voyager passed by: it had active, erupting volcanoes! Since then, many more have been found on other moons. Be sure to click links at left for great photos and more info.
Olympus Mons, Mars
Olympus Mons on Mars is the largest volcano in the solar system. No wonder astronomers named it after the lofty home of the Greek gods.
"Ice Volcanoes Everywhere"
Brief overview of ice volcanoes, and where they've been found so far.
Methane Volcanoes on Titan
Titan, a massive moon of Saturn, long thought to have oceans of methane, turns out to have methane volcanoes!
Ice Plumes of Enceladus
Ice plumes from a moon of Saturn may be responsible for one of Saturn's rings.
Movie of Ice Geyser on Triton
From this excellent page on Triton, moon of Neptune.
Ice Volcanoes on Charon?
Could there be ice volcanoes as far out as Pluto? Astronomers are itching for a closer peep at its puzzling moon, Charon.

Kilauea Iki Documentary on YouTube 

Follow a Volcanic Eruption From Start to Finish

Kilauea Iki was another vent that broke out near the summit of Kilauea Volcano, in a crater right next to the caldera. It formed a substantial cone. Later, the eruption shifted to the town of Kapoho downhill.

This dramatic (sometimes melodramatic) 1960s documentary follows the eruption from beginning to end, with amazing footage of gigantic lava fountains, a lava lake, and the village being consumed by lava flows.

It's also a good demonstration of why, despite the great power of Kilauea, it's considered a relatively benign volcano. Ground swelling and minor quakes gave people plenty of warning and time to evacuate.

Take a little extra time to watch this later: it's half an hour, well worth seeing.

The Eruption of Kilauea 1959-1960 Chap 1

Runtime: 5:08
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The Eruption of Kilauea 1959-1960 Chap 2

Runtime: 10:08
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The Eruption of Kilauea 1959-1960 Chap 3

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The Eruption of Kilauea 1959-1960 Chap 4

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General Volcano Links 

Volcanology Around the Web

Frequently Asked Volcano Questions
Excellent "Learn About Volcanoes" FAQ by the Cascades Volcano Observatory answering questions from "How Hot Is A Volcano?" and "How Do Volcanoes Erupt?" to "Do Volcanoes Do Any Good?" and "Is Dantes Peak Real?"
Volcano World - The Web's Premier Source of Volcano Info
One of the most well-known (if not the most scientific) Volcano sites on the web. Lots of good information, very welcoming to kids.
Volcano Hazards Program: US Geological Survey
The USGS has a large volcano website with in-depth information on current eruptions, history, vocabulary, and just about anything you want to know about volcanoes.
Smithsonian Institute Volcano Headquarters
Authoritative page on volcanology by the Smithsonian. Includes eruption summaries, reports, data and references to most volcanoes that have been active over the past 11,000 years.
Volcanoes.com
A well-organized and attractive website covering volcano news and photos.
Thinkquest's Volcano website
Excellent overview of every aspect of volcanoes, with good illustrations.
Stromboli Online
This multi-lingual website actually covers many more volcanoes than Stromboli, and features some spectacular photography.
Decade Volcanoes Website
A site giving news, updates, online tours and photos for several well-known volcanoes.

General Books on Volcanoes 

Volcanoes in Human History: The Far-Reaching Effects of Major Eruptions

 

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Volcanoes (A Firefly Guide)

 

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Volcanoes

 

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Volcano Cowboys: The Rocky Evolution of a Dangerous Science

 

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Can A Volcano Erupt in Los Angeles? 

Just Because People Keep Asking

 
Hollywood physics notwithstanding, the answer is "almost certainly not." Fires, earthquakes, and the occasional El Niño flooding, yes. Volcanoes, no. Here, a geologist explains why.
 

Don't Believe Everything You Hear About Volcanoes! 

New Zealand Eruption Inspires Exaggeration

News stations try to catch their viewers 24/7 through dramatic videos. Reporters aren't usually geologists and don't have much time to sift fact from rumor. Result? The commentary accompanying volcano footage isn't always accurate.

Here a New Zealand news team has a fun look at a local eruption and how world news stations have reported or mis-reported it.

World coverage of Ruapehu Volcano Eruption

It was not only the Maori words proving difficult for overseas reporters to get right...

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Credits 

 
Photos with the "USGS" logo are public domain images from USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory.

Here's the sources I consulted to build the reference sections of this web page:
 

Guestbook for the Geologically Inclined (or even Sinclined) 

Leave Only Your Footprints, Take Only Memories

Got feedback or comments? Want to let off steam? Sign ye Guestbook. Also, remember you can Email this page to a friend!

Reg_Brittain

Killer and complete!

Posted January 29, 2008

Igneous

Very nice lens. You did a great job.

Posted January 07, 2008

elchocador

Cool lens, or should I say hot! Check out
my bass guitar site.

Posted December 31, 2007

mermadebaubles

Wow. you have put a lot of work into this lens. I didn't read all of it, but I rated and favorited so I can read later. I love the photos!! Great Job. :D

Posted December 18, 2007

Pierce_This_2

It's fasinating that Hawaii was developed totally from vocanic activity. 5 star job. How to measure a belly button ring size

Posted November 01, 2007

 
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Kilauea Iki video documentary following a volcanic eruption from start to finish.
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