‘Signs of the times’? Simultaneous volcanic activity is normal, scientists say

14-Jan-2020 Intellasia | PhilStar | 12:53 AM Print This Post

The blog Volcano Discovery published two articles between January 8 and 12 on eruptions that took place around the world, one of which included the Taal Volcano’s phreatic (steam-driven) eruption on Sunday afternoon.

The said articles mapped together the volcanoes currently erupting or exhibiting minor activity in different countries. Both respectively displayed 26 eruptions in progress and 13 other instances of volcanic activity.

However, since being reposted hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter, reaching over 100,000 users collectively, the context of the articles and their volcanic eruption maps have changed.

Social media users have interpreted the eruption count as a “sign of the times,” a precursor of a doomsday event or the end of the world as we know it.

The blog Volcano Discovery published two articles between January 8 and 12 on eruptions that took place around the world, one of which included the Taal Volcano’s phreatic (steam-driven) eruption on Sunday afternoon. (PhilStar)

The blog Volcano Discovery published two articles between January 8 and 12 on eruptions that took place around the world, one of which included the Taal Volcano’s phreatic (steam-driven) eruption on Sunday afternoon. (PhilStar)

The January 8 article, for example, was shared to a Facebook group with a caption that reads: “AYAN PO OH NAGKASABAY SABAY NA ANG MGA BULKAN (Look, the volcanoes are all going off at once),” with praying emojis.

The Facebook page “Coalition Against Darkness and DictatorshipCADD” also reposted the January 12 article with the caption: “Mukhang kailangan na talagang magdasal sa Panginoon Diyos ano (It looks like we better start praying to our dear God)?”

However, there is no need to worry since the “many” simultaneous volcanic eruptions globally are normal as pointed out repeatedly by scientists in the past.

Robin Andrews, a doctor of experimental volcanology, previously allayed fears that the numerous eruptions are connected or part of some alarming trend.

“Earth is a geologically active world because it contains two sources of internal heat: decaying radioactive elements, and the primordial embers retained from the planet’s frankly violent birth 4.5 billion years ago. This thermal energy is gradually escaping from the depths of the world and into space,” Andrews wrote in a 2018 Forbes article.

“Eruptions are a pretty neat way for the planet to cool down, which is why they are always taking place. That’s really all there is to it it’s just our pale, blue dot attempting to chill.”

The Global Volcanism Programme of the United States Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution, for instance, documents volcanic activity constantly taking place around the world and maintains a database of active volcanoes and their eruptions.

“Although detailed statistics are not kept on daily activity, generally there are around 20 volcanoes actively erupting at any particular time,” according to the programme’s website.

Andrews reiterated that volcanic eruptions occurring at the same time “are nothing more than coincidences.”

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/01/13/1984500/signs-times-simultaneous-volcanic-activity-normal-scientists-say

 


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