Attenborough’s Volcanoes

Mount Fuji

I am no expert on volcanoes in the slightest, but an interest sprung up, whilst watching ‘The Lord of Nature’, Sir David Attenborough in ‘A Perfect Planet’. I didn’t know that there were 1,500 active volcanoes and that the most active are in Hawaii.

Kilauea Volcano, Pixabay
Kilauea Volcano, Pixabay

I knew Mt Etna was still active and having seen it for myself on a trip to Sicily, I however wouldn’t fancy living underneath it. The first carbon dioxide was from volcanoes and this gas is the ‘foundation of life’, as Attenborough puts it, and rightly so.

David Attenborough Credit Africa Press
David Attenborough. Credit Africa Press

Nor did I know that Volcanic islands make up 5% of the planet’s land, but are home to nearly 20% of the planet’s species and on top of that, a single ash cloud can carry billions of tonnes of minerals.

I went to Pompei and could see for myself that land around the volcanoes are some of the most fertile, it was an experience to go there and see Mt Vesuvius peering at you in the distance. 

Pompei with Versuvius in the background. Pixabay
Pompei with Versuvius in the background. Pixabay

So far in 2022, there have been five big volcano eruptions (at time of writing in August). Those include, Mount Bulusan in the Philippines in June where an ash plume rose up 500 meters covering local communities. Then in January there’s Hunga Tonga, a submarine volcano in the Tongan archipelago which is one of the largest eruptions ever recorded and the largest in the 21st century.

Mount Bulusan in the Philippines

The Hunga Tonga eruption rose more than 30 miles above the earths surface creating atmospheric shock waves that reached 720 miles per hour. The fastest speeds ever recorded in our atmosphere! It not only created a tsunami thousands of miles away killing people in Peru, but Nasa has found that the effects also reached into space creating unusual electric currents and strong winds up to 450mph.  

Hunga Tonga

Then in March there was Mount Merapi at 2968 meters high on Java, one of the most active out of more than 120 volcanoes in Indonesia where lava avalanches and hot clouds reached up to 5km, but luckily there were no casualties. 

Mount Merapi and Mount Seremu. Pixabay
Mount Merapi and Mount Seremu. Pixabay

The greenhouse properties of Co2 have kept our planets atmosphere stable and warm but now, humans release 100 times more carbon than all of earths volcanoes combined.

The quote which I want to leave in your minds is one from Sir Attenborough himself “humanity itself has become a new kind of supervolcano”.

Some food for thought. 

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