Wrath of the Gods: Historic Eco-Armageddons | Ancient Origins Members Site


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Mount Vesuvius: a volcanic eruption at the foot of the mount by Pietro Fabris, (1776). (Wellcome Images)

Wrath of the Gods: Historic Eco-Armageddons

Today human cultures suffer nuclear power station meltdowns, rivers of plastics destroying natural environments and petrol fumes clogging cities’ airways and human arteries, but ancient history is full of catastrophes which had natural origins. Those who lived in ancient days were void of early warning systems and international aid was non-existent. When super volcanoes blew, earthquakes cracked and tsunamis rolled in, it often meant the destruction of entire villages, towns, cities and sometimes civilizations. Mega ecological events leave a residue of archaeological evidence on islands and at abandoned farming settlements archaeologists find fragments of human remains which offer insights into how volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis destroyed past worlds.

Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 meter (11,380 feet) in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift inside Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40 percent of Africa's historical volcanic eruptions. (Cai Tjeenk Willink/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 meter (11,380 feet) in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift inside Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40 percent of Africa's historical volcanic eruptions. (Cai Tjeenk Willink/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

Super Volcanoes

History has seen some truly monstrous volcanic eruptions such as June 15, 1991’s Mount Pinatubo event, the second-largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century, after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta in Alaska. The power of volcanic eruptions is measured using the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI), a classification system developed in the 1980’s ranging from one to eight, and each succeeding VEI is 10 times greater than the last. The following graphic explains the mechanics of these beastly earth levelers:


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