Earth’s inhabitants live in menacing shadow of volcanic dangers

August 21, 2012 – AFRICA – Planet Earth is riddled with unmonitored volcanoes. Many could erupt with scant notice to the world, causing anything from minor inconveniences to famines or catastrophic death and destruction. Yet when they blow up, these little-known volcanoes don’t usually make headlines for two reasons: 1) The people affected by the eruptions are poor, few in number and tend to be ignored by the world at large, and 2) the remote locations of the volcanoes and lack of monitoring equipment make details of eruptions scarce. One very unusual example of such a volcano is Ol Doinyo Lengai of Tanzania. The name means “Mountain of God.” After spending the previous four decades in relative rest, the mountain erupted violently in late 2007 and continued erupting through early 2008 with the coldest lava on Earth. Still, it’s lava and it made life pretty difficult when the ash and rocks rained down on nearby Masai villages like Naiyobi, seen in this image. The villages were evacuated for a while. When people returned they found their water fouled and many grazing lands unusable — a hard blow for people who depend on their cattle for their living.

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