What is it with us and our morbid fascinations for things that can literally kill us in one move? Well, for some of us it’s fascination. For professionals, we’re more inclined to say that they’re trying to prevent them from doing so. This is precisely why we have people studying earthquakes, levels of the sea, the weather, and the general wellbeing of your local friendly neighborhood volcano. These flaming mountains are dormant most of the time, but when they do awaken from their slumber, they have the capacity to make Pompeii repeat again. We don’t intend to scare you off, so here are some really cool facts about volcanoes to balance it out.
#1 Wah Wah Springs
A place with a name like this certainly doesn’t demand any quivering from us, but it definitely should, as it was the home of one of the most devastating eruptions in history. The devastating event took place roughly 30 million years ago, around the area of today’s Nevada. It’s difficult to try and reproduce in words just how disastrous the eruption was, but just think of the fact that it rained magma over a surface of 12,000 square miles.
#2 Destruction Prowess
Fun facts about volcanoes – they’re real force of nature. What most of us instantly think of when a volcano is brought into the picture is lava. Believe it or not, that’s not the worse you can expect out of an eruption. When a volcano goes rampant, it propels gases, rock fragments, and magma into the air. As a result, those unfortunate enough to get caught amid the chaos have to deal with lava flows, hot ash, mudslides, and even steaming falling ash and floods.
#3 Three Types
As if these facts about volcanoes weren’t already treading the “disturbing ways they can kill you” territory enough, here’s more fuel to that fire: there are three different types of volcanic eruptions. A magmatic eruption involves decompression of gas within magma. A phreatic eruption involves the heat inside of the magma, which creative super-hot steam. Phreatomagmatic eruptions are the most paradoxical of all, as they involve friction between water and magma.
#4 Volcanoes in Space
Yes, volcanoes in space! Earth isn’t the only planet in our Solar System that fosters volcanoes on its surface. Jupiter’s moon Io has been known to host an active volcano since the mid 70’s. Recent discoveries have unveiled the fact that Mars and Venus are in a similar situation. The big difference is that Mars’ volcanoes seem dormant or extinct.
#5 Acid Water Volcano Sharks
This almost sounds like an alternative title for Sharknado. If it had volcanoes instead of tornadoes. We bet that out of all the facts about volcanoes you were expecting, to hear that there are actual sharks joyfully swimming around the underwater inside of a volcano was at the bottom of your list. But it’s true. Despite the fact that the water is really acidic and riddled with ash and gas, sharks are still hanging around the underwater volcano near Solomon Islands.
#6 American Volcanoes
As big as the US is (and given historical circumstances), it’s bound to have its fair share of volcanoes. Unfortunately, a large chunk of them are actually active and risk going ablaze one fateful day. Active volcanoes can be found in Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, and even incredibly popular areas such as California and Washington. Out of all them, Hawaii and Alaska are under the biggest threat.
#7 Deadly Volcanoes
The fact that volcanoes are mass destruction weapons is one of the most overly-saturated facts about volcanoes out there, but it’s better to present this with evidence. Krakatoa might just be one of the most dangerous blazing mountains out there, especially after its last eruption in the 19th century which triggered a tsunami that swiped the lives of 36,000 people. Of course, there’s also the infamous eruption of the Vesuvius, which completely buried Herculaneum and Pompeii.
Geological measurements make the difference between your average volcano and a supervolcano. The Volcano Explosivity Index determines on a scale from 1 to 8 just how much material can be projected during an eruption, calculating how destructive a volcano can be. For comparative purpose, Mount St. Helens was graded with a 5 after releasing a cubic kilometer of material. On the opposite end, an 8 was awarded to Toba after a mega-explosive eruption that was worth 1,000 cubic kilometers of material.
Toba’s eruption took place around 73,000 years ago and was so destructive that it plunged the world into a temporary ice age.