Disclaimer: this blog has nothing to do with Spencer Manning Mysteries… except that it also uses the art of placing one word in close proximity to another with some sense of meaning.
You all have seen video and photos of Kilauea erupting. It’s beautiful, and mesmerizing, and destructive, and… ironic. I’ll get to the irony, which is really the point of this piece. Most of us have lists of things we know we shouldn’t do because of the common sense factor, such as “don’t touch a hot stove.” There are, of course, exceptions among us. As a geologist, my number one rule is “don’t live next to a volcano.” Fault lines come in a close second. I would think you wouldn’t need a degree in Geology to realize that, but it seems not to be the case. And there are reasons why people choose to fly in the face of common sense.
The American Indians didn’t have permanent settlements on the coastlines. Volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes… seem like good places not to build big cities. But the views are great! And commerce beckons. Still, cities on the coastlines are disasters waiting to happen. Mt. Ranier is a sleeping giant, as are all of the other gorgeous mountains in the Cascade Range along the west coast.
A disaster in Seattle (and all of the other cities that lie on the Ring of Fire) is just a matter of time. I do realize that cities were built before the danger was known. But living in Seattle involves a risk. The risk may be negligible… the odds of it erupting in any given lifetime are small, but living next to a volcano, active or dormant, involves a roll of the dice. Seattle will be gone someday.
The island of Hawaii is a paradise. But living there is hard to understand. It sits over the hot spot (source of magma that the plate is moving over) that has created all of the islands in the Emperor seamount chain, including the Hawaiian islands. And it is, and has been for many years, active. Choosing to live there involves a huge risk. The volcanoes that created the other islands are extinct. They have moved off of the hot spot and are wonderful places to live! Hawaii will be one day also as the future island of Loihi, a seamount now forming on the floor of the ocean off of Hawaii’s southern shore, becomes the active island volcano. [Read more…]