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The World is Rumbling -- Volcanic activity is spiking, but why?

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Volcanic eruptions are making headline news around the world.

The world is rumbling with volcanoes erupting and earthquakes caused by their activity. But why? 

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Vulcan de Fuego.

Vulcan de Fuego.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
6/6/2018 (3 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Volcano, activity, Earth, eruption, vulcan de fuego, Kilauea

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Volcanoes are in the news around the world as fifty-six eruptions are reported ongoing at this moment. 

The most notable eruption is taking place in Guatemala where Vulcan de Fuego (Mountain of Fire) is producing violent pyroclastic flows which have killed hundreds of people to date. 

At least 69 people have been reported killed, officially, but authorities think the death toll is much higher. Several villages have been destroyed by the eruptive flows of gas, mud, rocks, and lava, forever entombing many of the dead under the new slopes of the stratovolcano. 

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the slower eruption of Kilauea has destroyed over 300 homes but claimed no lives. That eruption has been ongoing since 1983, but the most recent burst of activity began on May 3. The present eruption shows no signs of stopping, but such events are notoriously unpredictable, and it could intensify, or end within a matter of hours. 

Around the world, volcanic activity seems to be spiking, with 56 eruptions happening at this very moment, and seismic activity occurring at many other sites. Why is this happening? 

There is speculation that a slight and normal slowdown of Earth's rotation has caused such activity to increase, but there is no evidence to prove this. 

Vulcanologists have an explanation of their own, but it's unsatisfying. Vulcanologists explain that the activity is at an average level and nothing unusual is happening. According to the statistics, there are about 50-60 eruptions each year. Sometimes that number can even dip into the 40s or surge into the 70s, but the average seems to be 50-60 eruptions per year. 

A map from the Volcano Discovery website reveals how much activity is taking place around the world at this moment.

A map from the Volcano Discovery website reveals how much activity is taking place around the world at this moment.

Instead of some massive event happening, what we are observing is an effect of the modern news cycle. When volcanoes erupt near populated areas, the footage ends up on the news, causing people to assume activity is increasing. In fact, nothing unusual is going on. 

Of course, the truth is, nobody knows for sure. There is no way to predict when a volcano will go from dormant to active, or just how powerful an eruption will be. Scientists can make educated guesses, often hours and sometimes days in advance, but there is hardly any certainty. On more than one occasion volcanoes have shown every sign of imminent eruption, then simply quit. Conversely, some volcanoes have become immediately active, with virtually no warning. 

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Humanity enjoys a love/hate relationship with volcanoes. While volcanoes are destructive and deadly, they are also beautiful and their eruptions provide rich, fertile soil for growing crops. Coffee is popularly grown on the slopes of many volcanoes. 

It cannot be helped but to wonder if disasters like these are also warnings of things to come. Most scientists would disagree, but people who see the world through a religious lens would argue differently. Natural disasters are warning signs. 

Perhaps the best advice that all can agree upon is that we should always be ready for what could happen. Every place on the planet is subject to some kind of disaster. Given this, we should be prepared, both physically and spiritually for we know not the hour. 



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