Sunday, 28 September 2014

Capricious Volcanoes

Whose fault was the Japanese volcanic disaster? We do like apportioning blame these days, so could it have been avoided and who can we sue?

Although the science of vulcanology is much more advanced these days, the very recent disaster in Japan shows that we are still a long way from fully understanding when and how volcanoes will erupt.

We are rarely caught out by the location of volcanic eruptions, but the magnitude and nature if the eruption is dependent upon so many factors that we cannot accurately predict the when and how?

Ash covered Mount Ontake

This eruption was sudden and a huge volume of dense toxic ash was spewed out from the stratovolcano. Within minutes there was a thick layer of ash on the ground and there were probably plumes of gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide which can suffocate in minutes. There would have been little time for the tourists near to the summit to escape.

Japan has one of the most advanced seismic monitoring systems in the world and yet even this could not predict the size and speed of this eruption.

Read the article:

See the pictures: 

Why do people live near volcanoes? 
Mount Ontake ( is a popular beauty spot and is visited by many tourists.

Tourists need accommodation and other services so ironically the volcano has lured the people around it and towards there demise: more of a 'honey trap' than a 'honeypot'? 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A Weird Map

Take a look at this map and see if you can work out quickly what is wrong ..