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Thursday, May 19, 2005


As the 25th Anniversary of the last eruption of Mt. St. Helens arrived, we were all reminded again of the awsome power within the Earth. When I saw before and after photos of the area that had been the beautiful cone-shaped mountain, I wept. I wept because I was so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the destruction. I wept because so many good people lost their lives. I wept for the loss of forest and beauty that had been. Now the sleeping giant is awakening again. Tourists flock to the area to see the start of something BIG. I wouldn't get within 50 miles of the site!! Here in Costa Rica, we have a number of active volcanoes such as Volcan Arenal, in the northern part of the country. Tourists seem to think this is a must see" on their list. Many Ticos (Costa Ricans) enjoy the Tabacon Hot Springs nearby. From my house I have a great view of Volcan Baru in Panama. San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, and the area surrounding it (known as the "Area Metropolitana") lies in a high plateau surrounded by beautiful mountains and, you guessed it, volcanoes.
Many vulcanologists have warned that this area, containing most of Costa Rica's population, WILL experience a very large volcanic eruption that will put that huge population and the center of the country's infrastructure and government at grave risk. When? No one knows.

For more information on Volcanism and US volcanoes check out a publication by the United States Geological Service.

Plans are now in place in the U.S. to more carefully monitor potentially dangerous volcanic sites.

There seems to be an interest in the possibility of an enormous eruption in Yellowstone Nat'l. Park on the part of the public. From everything I've read a supervolcano does not appear to be in the making there any time in the near future. Still, with our knowledge of geology still somewhat limited, monitoring this site along with others is a very good idea.

The problem comes with the "what if" scenario. What if there is a supervolcanic eruption in the next few years? How will this affect global climate, agriculture, human and animal populations, etc.? Does anyone really know? There are many theories - most of them very scary.

But, HEY! Take the looong view. The Earth won't survive the expansion phase of the dying sun in just a few billion years, so we can all relax and just enjoy whatever time we have left. Knowing that humans (as we know them) won't last forever is both good and bad. Nobody likes to face the possibility of a final "never after." But it is just possible that in the time remaining we may yet evolve into something worthy of survival. Then we may find a way to transfer life to another star system. OR it may be that there are already planets inhabited by living things and that they are far superior to us or will be when they have evolved, so there won't be much of a loss after all. I mean, in the BIG scheme of things, what's so important about us? Or maybe there IS a heaven, Virginia. (But if W and his cronies go there, I don't want to join them!)

Which is another whole subject to discuss another time!

1 comment:

The Noon said...

Interesting and very well-written! I didn't know many of the facts you've so entertainingly pointed out, thanks!

I've gone through and looked @ the recent postings, I love the photos of the lizards!

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I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

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