HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Every Living Creature - t...

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 03:41 PM

Every Living Creature - the Soufriere Hills Volcano and the island's creatures

https://medium.com/truly-adventurous/every-living-creature-580687e8545d?src=longreads&mc_cid=acd031e093&mc_eid=dcfd7485b3
<snip>
The quaking built to a low thrum in the early morning of June 25, 1997. Then it quieted. A few hours later, an ash cloud plumed into the sky with the force of a fired smokestack. Winds carried it west. And that should have been that, if history were any guide.

The Soufriere Hills Volcano had been threatening the small Caribbean island of Montserrat for two years. This volcano was not like volcanoes portrayed in movies. Instead of exploding violently and calming itself back to a long slumber, the Soufriere Hills volcano had come to life over weeks, which turned to months, which turned to years. Layers of lava, too thick to flow, formed domes on top of its vent. From time to time, a dome became unstable and collapsed, sending ash and rock and gas coursing down its slopes in destructive avalanches known as pyroclastic flows.

On that June day, the volcano’s thundering was, to many ears, the complaint of a titanic Chicken Little.

Not for long. Quaking resumed shortly before 1 p.m. An ash cloud rose vertically and reached 30,000 feet in a matter of minutes. Coursing rock and gas, hot as a fired kiln, shattered, smothered or lifted away anything in its path. The danger arrived unannounced. Low-lying clouds obscured the volcano, making the flows difficult to see as they approached. Equally sinister, the flows were noiseless. Victims realized their peril only after being plunged into darkness or hearing nearby buildings explode or “roads boiling,” as recounted in one geological study, “Eyewitness Accounts of 25 June 1997.” One survivor described hearing a sharp crack and thundering and feeling “hot, hot, hot, like I was in an oven. The whole place turn black for about 20 minutes, heavy ash falling … black, like black cloth.” Then the fire came. “It travelled faster than a car. No car could escape … I think it must be the end of the world.”


In Bethel, on the east coast of the island, a man was on the roof of his house when a flow came hurtling toward him. He gathered his wife and daughter and ran inside, where they thought they’d be safe. The daughter, Mary, was in the hallway as the flow burst through. The lava singed her. The family fled out of the back of the house, taking a green path untouched by the lava to safety. Mary had to be flown to Guadeloupe for medical care. When they finally returned home, they found the desiccated hides of their dogs in the front yard, tied where they had left them in the rush to flee the flames. The heat had sucked away their body fluids.

In mere minutes, the volcano dropped some five million cubic meters of ash. The ash covered an area of four-square kilometers, rendering green hillsides and fields a gray moonscape. Its human toll was grim. Recovered bodies showed arms drawn up tight against chests, a common position of burn victims. By the following day, rescuers ascertained the volcano had claimed the lives of 19 people ranging in age from three months to 73-years-old.
---------------------------
We went there in 2006 - it was still hard to process

4 replies, 298 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply Every Living Creature - the Soufriere Hills Volcano and the island's creatures (Original post)
malaise Mar 29 OP
greatauntoftriplets Mar 29 #1
malaise Mar 29 #2
greatauntoftriplets Mar 29 #3
malaise Mar 29 #4

Response to malaise (Original post)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 03:52 PM

1. I've been to Montserrat a number of times, all before the volcano.

In fact, I've stood on the edge of that volcano, briefly only, because of the godawful sulphur smell. Such a beautiful, friendly island. It's sort of paradise lost.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to greatauntoftriplets (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 03:56 PM

2. It is a beautiful island

but so many people will never return including many citizens.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malaise (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 04:00 PM

3. And that's the saddest part.

The sense of community, it seemed that everyone knew everyone one, can never be recreated with the population so scattered.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to greatauntoftriplets (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 04:03 PM

4. Indeed

That sense of community is gone

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread