Volcanic eruptions keep Planet Earth healthy, says this piece
The devastating volcanic eruptions on Hawaii's Big Islands might have made several flee their homes and also destroyed houses as the lava continued to devour more land but according to this opinion piece in Fox News, volcanic eruptions are "critically important to the health of our planet" and "to our own wellbeing".
The author, Michael Guillen, says in the piece titled 'Volcanic eruptions like the one in Hawaii, are not natural disasters -- without them the Earth would explode': "Think about a time when you vented on your friends. It was an unpleasant experience for them, I bet. But for you, it felt good to get pent-up grievances off your chest. With any luck, it also made your relationships stronger and healthier."
The article said volcanoes are the planet's way of oozing out the excess heat that gathers deep below the surface. It said the heat is a combination of energy released by radioactivity in rocks, along with leftover energy generated when Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago.
The author also said that volcanoes not only conveyed the message that the planet is doing well, they also help human beings remain "humble".
"The constant flow of heat seeking to escape from our planet's interior amounts to roughly 47 terawatts of power. By comparison, the world's total power consumption is about 18 terawatts," it said to explain the power of the Earth's internal energy.
"Slowly, relentlessly, the subterranean rivers of molten rock - magma - bully their way through the Earth's mantle and crust, seeking an escape route. When a large one breaks through the surface, we call it a volcano. The planet, in effect, breathes a huge sigh of relief," it added.
To explain why volcanoes should teach people to be humbled, the author of the piece said: "In 1980 Mt. St. Helens - an explosive-type volcano - began waking up after a long slumber, prompting police to evacuate the area."
"One man, Harry R. Truman, refused to go, boasting that: "This area is heavily timbered, Spirit Lake is in between me and the mountain, and the mountain is a mile away, the mountain ain't gonna hurt me." Regrettably, when the volcano erupted Truman paid for his hubris with his life."
"Years later, I had the chance to actually helicopter into the mouth of Mt. St. Helens. As I walked around and gawked at the surreal landscape, feeling the heat through the soles of my shoes, I felt as though I were somehow walking on sacred ground. I knew I was in the presence of something mightier than I could possibly imagine, and that sense of overwhelming humility has never abandoned me."
Meanwhile, reports said hazardous smokes were still spewing on the Big Island on Monday, May 7, four days after the Kilauea Volcano erupted. Thirty-five structures, including 26 houses, were destroyed in the eruptions, CNN cited Hawaii Civil Defense as saying.
The authorities also appealed to the tourists the avoid Leilani Estates neighbourhood where lava and fumes wreaked havoc.
All residents of Leilani Estates and the nearby Lanipuna Gardens - numbering around 1,700 -- were asked to evacuate. There was no sign of the lava flow slowing down, as per the latest reports.