Toasty: 11 Curious Facts About Volcanoes

Volcanoes from time to time appear in the news, either disrupting the circulation of airplanes or evacuating entire cities that are close to them. But did you know that there is a volcano in Indonesia that has blue flames?

We've put together 11 curious facts about the huge lava-spewing mounds for you to check out:

1 - The origin of the word "volcano"

The Roman fire god Vulcan, son of Jupiter and Juno, was the inspiration to baptize the volcanoes. It was he who, according to mythology, also controlled the lava spewed from the hills.

Nothing more appropriate, even if the mythology is not so cool with the entity: Vulcan was despised by parents for being very ugly and often betrayed by his wife.

2 - Mama mia! How much volcano!

Etna volcano erupting in 2011

Italy is the country with the largest number of volcanoes in Europe: 14 in total. This is because the italic peninsula lies over the fissure of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates.

Three volcanoes, however, are the best known: Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius - the only active in the continental part of Europe and famous for the destruction of Pompeii thousands of years ago.

3 - Lie eruption


The residents of the city of Sitka, Alaska, woke up one fine day in 1974 and had an unpleasant surprise: black smoke was rising from the top of Mount Edgecumbe, a volcano that had been dormant for 400 years.

Local authorities were inundated with desperate citizen calls about what might happen. Then the coast guard was called in to see if there was actually activity on the hill.

Arriving there, however, the surprise was another: the black smoke was from several tires being burned - and, beside them, spray-painted in the snow, the following words: APRIL FOOL - or April 1, for us Brazilians. The funny guy responsible for the play was named Porky Bickar and was known for pranks - the eruption, however, was the most ingenious of all.

4 - "I'll ... explode"

What a lot of people don't know is that a lot of eruptions happen every day: between 10-20 volcanoes come into operation somewhere in the world every day - the total spends over 1, 500 around the planet, plus those that are deep in the oceans.

An important detail is that if they all resolved to explode at the same time, we would have a much, much worse result than a "nuclear winter". Better to be alone with 10 a day.

5 - A volcano. In Antarctica. Why not?

An icy volcano

Mount Erebo is a somewhat peculiar volcano: it is located in Antarctica and is the southernmost in activity. It is one of the few in the world that allows research facilities to be set up near the eruption area for the "quieter" feature of lava emission.

From time to time, however, he decides to spit out what experts call "lava bombs, " made up mostly of crystals and lava.

6 - The Blue Flames of Kawah Ijen

It's not magic, it's science - more specifically, sulfur on fire!

Kawah Ijen is a volcano located in Indonesia that became well known on the internet after some (beautiful) images recorded by photographer Oliver Grunewald showed huge bands of blue fire that descended around the hill.

Many thought it was lava, but in fact the color is the result of the combustion of sulfur by the lava. The molten rocks that are expelled by the volcano come out at such high temperatures (up to 600 degrees Celsius) that they cause the substance to burn and give the fire a bluish color.

7 - Eruption in Peru = famine in Russia

In the 17th century, the Huaynaputina volcano in Peru erupted. This type of situation generates several disturbances in the locations around the hill, but in this case the impact was a little higher.

Peruvian volcano activity - the largest in western history - has substantially altered the climate around the world, making winters much harsher than usual. The low temperatures, in turn, damaged crops in Russia.

The result of all this was the estimated death of 2 million Russians from the famine that ravaged the country for two years - a period known as the "time of trouble."

8 - Please don't throw yourself on the volcano.

Mount Mihara

Japan has some volcanoes as well, with Mount Fuji being the best known of them. However, it is Mount Mihara that draws attention: because it has extremely easy access to the "mouth" of the volcano, in the 1920s and 30s several people went there to commit suicide. It is estimated that over 600 Japanese threw themselves to their deaths in 1936.

The government then erected a fence around the base of the volcano to try to prevent people from getting there - which alleviated the problem but did not eliminate it completely.

9 - Deadly Lake

Nyos Lake

Several volcanoes also have a volcanic lake nearby, and it was one of those that killed over 1, 700 people in Africa.

The Nyos, also called "the bad lake, " is located in northwestern Cameroon and carried a number of legends about it, including one that there was a spirit coming out of the waters and killing the people around it. place.

This legend, however, had a real scientific background: Nyos was formed in a volcanic crater and contains very high levels of CO 2 due to the activity going on below it. The problem is that, unlike most, the lake functioned as a container that stored the gas under pressure.

One day, for an unknown reason - which could have been a small landslide, an eruption or something - the lake exploded and spewed a column of water almost 100 meters high. The problem, however, was that the massive amount of CO 2 within the lake was also released, killing several people and animals that were strangling in the village from suffocation in a matter of minutes.

10 - Planted corn, born volcano

Paricutin: the volcano that was born in the middle of a cornfield (and destroyed everything around it)

Paricutín is the youngest known volcano in the world and is located in Mexico. The circumstances of his "birth", however, are really curious: he appeared in the middle of a cornfield in 1943, and within a week he was about five stories tall.

The premature volcano continued to grow and, after an eruption in 1952, two cities were covered with lava and ceased to exist. He is currently considered inactive.

11 - Eternal in painting

The red sky in Edvard Munch's "The Scream"

One of the best-known paintings in the world, Edvard Munch's The Scream, may have been heavily influenced by a volcano. In 1883, a volcano called Krakatoa exploded in Indonesia - and this explosion was so strong that, due to the large amounts of sulfur dioxide released into the stratosphere, the world's temperature dropped by an average of 16 degrees Celsius.

Another consequence of the explosion was that for a long time, and also due to the amount of the substance, the sunset in various regions often had a very reddish tint - even in Norway, Munchland.

As can be seen from the 1893 painting - so 10 years after the Krakatoa eruption - the red color of the sky can be a picture of how the situation was at the time, ie a direct influence of the volcano on the arts.

* Posted on 31/07/2015