Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Lava -- isn't that a bar soap?

Mt. St. Helens has formed a new lava dome.

I remember how, back in 1980 when the mountain erupted last time, my classmates and I watched the news footage (our teacher wheeled in a TV for the event), and we were disappointed that there was just a lot of steam and eventually what looked like a pile of rubble that was the "lava dome". Well, when you're a kid, you think of a volcano erupting and you picture hellish scenes of white-hot liquid rock blasting into the air in great gouts and then flowing down the sides of the mountain. You don't think of steam and ash. It was slightly disappointing, in a way -- until May 18, that is, when the mountain showed just how destructive steam and ash could be.

(BTW, in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, Ernst Stavro Blofeld sets up camp inside an extinct volcano. But at the end of the movie, when Bond blows up the SPECTRE base, the film has long shots of lava flowing from the mountaintop! Ugh!)

(Also BTW, why doesn't Irish Spring bar soap still have commercials on TV? Those ads always had the most beautiful Irish red-headed women.)

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