Little Bits of History

Big Bangs

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 1, 2010

Mayon Volcano erupting

February 1, 1814: The Mayon Volcano on Luzon, Philippines erupts and kills more than 1,300 people. Lava flows and mudslides buried the town of Cagsawa, leaving only the bell tower of the town church above the devastation. Since 1616, when records start, the volcano has erupted 49 times and this date’s eruption has proved to be the most lethal so far. The last time the volcano erupted was on July 14, 2008. It was intensified by Typhoon Durian’s massive rains, causing an increase in the lahar, or mudflow/landslides following an eruption.

Scientists have researched volcanic activity covering the past 10,000 years and determined that there are 1,511 active volcanoes worldwide. Eruptions vary in many factors and are difficult to predict. There are approximately 35-40 volcanic eruptions per year. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed by lava and ash flows, mudslides, resultant tsunamis, and damaging fallout which causes disease and starvation.

Volcanoes appear as a result of plate tectonics. Pressure builds under ground and an eruption through a vent on the surface allows magma and molten rock, to flow out from the interior. Volcanoes can be classified as active, having erupted in historic times (500 years). Carbon dating is sometimes used as is oral histories in areas with a written record. Or they can be  Potentially Active, having erupted more than 10,000 years ago. Extinct volcanoes are those not expected to erupt again. Dormant volcanoes haven’t erupted in known times, but just might have a chance to once again become active.

Earth is not the only planet with volcanoes. The Moon, Venus, Mars, and several of the gas giants’ moons also erupt. The Moon has no currently active volcanoes, but it is thought the core is still partially molten. Venus appears to have once been highly active, but is probably far less so today. Mars has several extinct volcanoes and they are far larger than those on Earth. Jupiter’s moon Io is the most volcanically active object in our solar system. Not only are there fairly constant eruptions due to gravitational pull from the planet, but the lavas are the hottest known anywhere, with temperatures exceeding 1,800 Kelvin or 2700° F.

“He who sees the calamity of other people finds his own calamity light.” – Arabian Proverb

“Living things have been doing just that for a long, long time. Through every kind of disaster and setback and catastrophe. We are survivors.” – Robert Fulghum

“Volcano: A mountain with hiccups.” – unknown

“If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?” – Kahlil Gibran

Also on this day, in 1920 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began service.

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  1. […] on this day: Big Bangs – In 1814, the Mayon Volcano erupted. RCMP – In 1920, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began […]


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