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Archive | Volcanoes: a danger that has always been feared

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Feb27,2024

Archives | Volcanoes: a danger we fear

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Vesuvius is one of the most famous volcanoes in the world which threatens the inhabitants of the bay of Naples since time immemorial.


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The volcanic eruptions of late 2023 and early 2024 that took place near the Icelandic town of Grindavík confirm the extent to which these geological phenomena strike the imagination. Reports in our archives explain the complex and dangerous nature of volcanoes.

From the air, the eruption of a volcano offers a magnificent spectacle. But for those who live nearby, the situation can be terrifying.

A quote from Gilles Gougeon

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Host Gilles Gougeon explains what a volcano is.

November 17, 2007 , the host of 5 sur 5,Gilles Gougeon, recalled that volcanoes are omnipresent on planet Earth and that they are potentially dangerous for the populations who inhabit it.

The majority of volcanoes are buried in the oceans.

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But approximately 1,500 volcanoes exist on dry land.

When they become angry, they threaten approximately 10% of the world's population.

In 2007 alone, there were 65 volcanic eruptions; 140 volcanoes were closely monitored.

In 2023, according to the very reliable Smithsonian Institution, there have been 72 volcanic eruptions across the planet.

While science can sometimes predict an eruption, this is not the case for its intensity or duration.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Journalist Paul-Émile Tremblay interviews volcanologist Haroun Tazieff on the mechanics of volcanoes.

These characteristics are defined by a set of complex variables, as Haroun Tazieff confirms to us.

The famous Franco-Belgian volcanologist speaks during an interview he gives to journalist Paul-Émile Tremblay, broadcast on the show At the frontiers of the known,September 23, 1979.

The scientist shows us the great variety in the types of volcanoes and in the nature of gases and lavas which compose them.

It is these variables which determine the intensity of the violence of the eruptions as well as their duration.

Certain volcanic eruptions have remained in the collective memory, because they were either spectacular or very deadly.

In May 1902, for example, the Mount Pelée volcano completely destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre, located on the island of Martinique, killing more than 30,000 people.

On May 18, 1980, the eyes of the world turned to the west coast of the United States.

Mount Saint Helens, after weeks of low volcanic activity, has suddenly just entered into an eruption of rare violence.

Report by host Donald Dodier on the eruption of Mount Saint Helens

The host of the show Science-reality,Donald Dodier, underlines in a report broadcast on October 10, 1980 that the eruption which takes place at Mount Saint Helens is the second most imposing of the 20th century.

The volcano spewed the equivalent of 500 bombs with a power comparable to that launched on Hiroshima.

The explosion shortens Mount Saint Helens by 425 meters. The forest is completely destroyed within a radius of 10 kilometers and there are 57 deaths.

Interviewed by Donald Dodier, volcanologists Stéphane Mercure, Goetz Buchbinder and Haroun Tazieff explain why the eruption of Mount Saint Helens was both so spectacular and so devastating.

Scientists also explain why at the time we could not exactly predict the eruption even though we suspected that there would be would have one before the end of the 20th century.

Volcanologists also issue a warning.

Mount Saint Helen is part of a geological alignment which, in this part of the western coast of North America, causes great seismic and volcanological activity.

On October 31, 2023, a post on X from the United States Geological Survey caused some concern that there were signs of increased activity at Mount Saint Helens. -sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV”>If there is no risk of imminent cataclysm, we must nevertheless monitor the giant who seems asleep.

The warning is also valid for various regions of the world where other volcanoes lie dormant which we know will one day wake up.

Among these extremely dangerous areas is the Naples region in Italy where Mount Vesuvius peaks.

The authorities, Haroun Tazieff laments to Donald Dodier, have let people resettle on the slopes of Vesuvius after three centuries of activity and eruption occurred in 1944.

The nonchalance that seems to reign in Naples also outrages Flavio Dobran.

Report by journalist Michel Rochon and director Francine Charron on the dangers posed by Vesuvius to the Bay of Naples region in Italy.

In this report by journalist Michel Rochon and director Francine Charron presented on the show Decouverte on December 7, 1997, the Italian volcanologist issues a serious warning.

Vesuvius threatens the 18 cities surrounding the Bay of Naples.

A city evacuation plan exists.

But it would however be unrealistic in terms of the time available in the event of an eruption and does not take enough into account the weakness of transport infrastructure which exist in Naples.

Italian scientific authorities seem to minimize the danger anticipated by Flavio Dobran and some other colleagues because they believe that the Vesuvius is predictable enough to have time to implement a contingency plan.

Who's right?

The answer could become a question of life and death for the population who live near the slopes of Vesuvius.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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