Tsunamis are often called tidal waves, although they have nothing to do with tides. They start out as barely noticeable deep-water ripples caused by underwater earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.
Only one continent has no active volcanoes ... Australia. Curious, isn’t it? Being so close to the Indonesian popping pot.
In 1783 the Laki volcano in Iceland erupted, killing one in five of the island’s inhabitants and covering Europe with a pall of dust that took months to disperse. One of the world’s largest volcanic eruptions, the blast opened up a fissure 18 miles long, from which lava spread over an area of 221 square miles. Laki belched out dust and poisonous gas in vast quantities, causing disease and famine that killed more than 10,500 people and three-quarters of Iceland’s livestock.
The earliest recorded scientific account of a volcanic eruption was given in A.D. 79 by the Roman writer Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius and the resulting destruction of the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
On January 21, 1951, an Australian airliner was flying over Mount Lamington in Papua New Guinea. Unknown to scientists, the mountain was a dormant volcano. It suddenly erupted, spouting ash and pumice 36,000 feet into the air. Bits of pumice stone pounded against the airliner’s wings and fuselage, but the pilot kept control and flew the aircraft out of the danger zone.
The largest volcano known is on Mars. Olympus Mons, 370 miles wide and 79,000 fee high, is nearly three times higher than Mount Everest, and the 40-mile-wide crater at its summit is large enough to swallow the state of Rhode Island.
Lava, the melted rock that shoots out of volcanoes, can flow at temperatures of thousands of degrees Fahrenheit.
Did you know...
Healthiest babies are born to women who gain at least 35 pounds during pregnancy. [National Academy of Sciences]