I have been fascinated by volcanoes since I was a small boy living with my family in Japan. From the back yard of our home we could see Mount Fujiyama in the distance. It was then I learned about volcanoes and their propensity to go boom.
Despite the fact I could not have been much older than four or perhaps five, I somehow remember a day trip down the coast to a lighthouse. Recently my older sister sent me some scanned shots from the trip, juicing the images and reminding me of the island sitting offshore. There isn't a picture of it, so I must assume it's a valid recollection.
|The Kilauea caldera, Hawaii|
The island, roughly conical in a shape similar to a flattened Mount Fuji, rising to a low, pointed summit where smoke was billowing forth. I do recall my father's explanation -- though now I assume it was tailored to a four year old perspective -- and had a brief rush of fear that mountain would explode. The kind of fear that is mixed with a rush of excitement wishing, perhaps deep inside, that it would happen and I would be there to see it.
|Mount Etna, Sicily|
But all of them fascinate me and excite me. It's the sense that we're very much just passengers on this planet, and -- should she want -- mother nature is very capable of reminding us who is boss.
|Mount Etna's smoldering summit|
|Kilaeua. A large SUV can be seen as a dot on the highway behind|
|Standing on the lava flow, meters from the edge of the summit.|
|Utter destruction near St Helens|
|Mount Saint Helens|
|Perhaps the most famous volcano in the world, Mount Vesuvius towers over Naples|
|Vuesivius in the afternoon sun|
|Cindercone in the Mojave Desert, California|
|The lava fields in the Mojave|