Volcanism – Earth’s Very Own “Big Bang”

an ecosystem with a volcano erupting at a prehistoric place
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Let’s face it, next to dinosaurs, volcanoes are among the most impressive and devastating natural forces on Earth.

I’ve always been fascinated by these manifestations of the planet’s anger, and it’s sometimes hard not to believe that the old Roman god, Vulcan, isn’t banging away far underground when eruptions occur.

When volcanoes start kicking up a fuss anywhere, people generally know it’s time to hit the road, usually with only what can be carried on the hip or back. I’m sure plenty of my ancestors scurried out of what they thought was a nice, cozy valley to the accompaniment of natural artillery.

Ever since we first crawled out of the primordial mud, we’ve been dodging magma, pyroclastic clouds and volcanic bombs. Needless to say, you’re not likely to find me pitching camp in the path of a potential lava flow, although denial has undoubtedly caused many people to do just that.

Just recently, the eruption of Mount Sinabung in Sumatra caused thousands of people to evacuate to remind us again that our planet is a restless beast that cares little for the life forms inhabiting it.

I found one of the more recent eruptions of Mt.Heimaey in Iceland to be particularly interesting – a fellow who had approached the mouth of the volcano for a closer look almost got a much closer one than he had bargained for. A sudden flow of lava caused not only a fast “About Face,” but probably a speed record for humans, too. In order to avoid becoming a crispy critter, this man outran the lava, which was travelling at 35 mph, and leapt tall boulders without problem in the best tradition of Superman.

A new Insight submitted by L.E.

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Lex Cavemen

LEX is the scientist. He is obsessed with understanding why and how the world around him works the way it does.

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