When volcanoes erupt, people are usually advised to evacuate the perimeter of the angry-fire-breathing mountains and head to safety. Volcanic eruptions normally trigger anxiety and fear over anticipated loss of lives and damage to property. But these days, people draw near erupting volcanoes to watch its pyro displays.
The dangers perhaps make the scenery more exciting and captivating, in that, tourists’ videos and photos of erupting volcanoes often make it to the headlines, making their mark in the audience’s minds for several days, weeks, months even. The sheer peril of eruption has suddenly turned into something remarkable, profitable even.
The world is dotted with volcanoes in all shapes, sizes and types. Some are dormant, sleeping or dead, and may not awaken again, but others are as aggressive and as alive as fast-multiplying bacteria, so eager to evoke destruction to its surroundings and likewise appreciation from spectators.
If there is something that’s obviously both wicked and good, it should be fire. Fire has proved useful and indispensable for human survival – for keeping one warm, for cooking food and for purifying objects. But fire has also proved destructive – it burns, it kills, it destroys.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about fire is that it is always attractive to look at. The glowing colors of heat – red, orange, yellow, blue, white – they all seem to lure people’s attention as in the case of a fireworks display. And there is nothing grander than a volcanic display of lava spitting.
The blinding, thick smoke and ash buildup is in itself a spectacle like that of a jet plane exhibition, only that a volcanic eruption is apparently more encompassing and more overwhelming. Eruptions normally cripple air and land transportation, and potentially pose damage and health risks to affected plants and animals, as well as humans.
So while others bask in the glory of witnessing an actual volcanic eruption or taking a noteworthy video or photograph of it (at their own risks, of course), several others are risking their very existence and survival all because of a hot, angry volcano trying to cool itself down.
Photos by: Bruce McAdam, U.S. Geological Survey, Walter Lim, peterhartree