Iceland is a fabulous showcase for volcanoes. The easily accessible locations to view explosions of fiery lava and ash provide unusual opportunities for volcano-appreciators of all types, giving them ringside seats for the action. In the past few decades, there have been several spectacular volcanic performances. Attempting to control volcanoes is a major challenge, although people have tried, and even achieved success.
When an M8.2 earthquake struck offshore of the Alaska Peninsula on July 28, the eerie sound of sirens warning of a possible tsunami sent people along the coast scrambling for higher ground. Authorities lifted the warning within a few hours, and damage from ground shaking was limited. Viewed from a broad perspective, this event was only a minor distraction, but many earthquakes that are this powerful result in major disasters.
The volcano recently erupting in Africa–Mount Nyiragongo–is one of the most active on our planet. Eruptions in 1977, 2002 and now beginning in May 2021, have resulted in a significant number of fatalities and extensive damage in the nearby and densely populated city of Goma. If scientists were calling the shots, they would relocate Goma and designate the region beneath this active volcano as a national park.
The deep and steep-walled Rio Grande gorge in northern New Mexico is remarkable. This large gash is developing because the Earth’s crust is pulling apart, creating a linear depression, or rift, that provides a convenient location for a large river to develop. On a recent trip I admired the river -- and desert bighorn sheep.