Sunday, December 03, 2006

the extinct volcano

Volcanoes have always fascinated me. In fact, I am watching a documentary on one right now, which is the inspiration for this post. The eruption of volcanoes brings about much fear for the civilization that has settled itself at the base of the mountain. While the vibrant red magma is so visually attractive & mesmerizing, houses are destroyed as it makes its way through the streets. The air is rendered unbreathable as tiny particles of ash & sulfur infiltrate the lower atmosphere.

But in some cases, a volcanic eruption is not the end of a civilization but rather the birth of it. Bermuda is one such example - the birth of an island resulting from a series of eruptions from an undersea volcano. Scientific theory has it that the volcano erupted about a 100 million years ago & blew itself into extinction about 70 million years ago. The extinction of the volcano, the hardening of lava & the creation of limestone caps all brought about the islands of Bermuda - all 140 of them. Most of these islands are connected through a series of bridges & causeways built in the last century. There are a couple of areas in Bermuda where the ocean depth plummets to unknown stats & this has given rise to the theory that it may be the crater of the volcano. But others dispute this theory. Volcanic rock, however, can still be found on the island.

I have to say that before we moved to Bermuda, the thought of this tiny island in the middle of the vast ocean did scare me. You start to wonder how on earth does Bermuda manage to prop itself. After indulging in some research, I came across a drawing depicting how
Bermuda is supported by the extinct volcano that actually arises deep from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. And now that I am on this island all that water around us doesn't seem so daunting. On the contrary, it's hues are so soothing & welcoming. I would have loved to attach that picture to give you an idea of what the volcano looks like under water but now I can't seem to find it. I have looked time & time again but it's disappeared. I'd gladly reproduce the drawing but heaven knows I am no artist.

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