Well, I completed the pitch for “6 Supervolcanoes We Accidentally Built Important Stuff Near.” Not the greatest title in the world, but in their guidelines, Cracked says not to worry about that – they’ll work up something terrific.
When I was first thinking of writing for Cracked, I suggested a supervolcanoes article because a good Cracked writer could do it well. It never occurred to me then that I might be that writer (and there’s no guarantee I will be – I only posted the pitch; the workshop moderator has to check it out and then move it to Editorial, after which it may or may not be considered, let alone accepted; same process as with the Boston earthquake pitch, which they’re thinking about. I didn’t check that today – too tired after doing the SV pitch).
Well, here is an image of one of the supervolcanoes I wrote about – it’s the lake, not the smudge of “smoke”:
Lake Atitlan fills the caldera of a supervolcano that had a VEI 7 eruption most recently tens of thousands of years ago.
I was in fact researching that today on Google when I saw news that a “Volcano of Fire” had erupted in Guatemala. It was confusing at first – there are 324 volcanic vents in that country and presumably any of them would be a fire volcano during eruption. The headline writers translated the Spanish instead of using the volcano’s actual name: Fuego.
It’s ash from that eruption that you see southwest of Lake Atitlan in the above image. The Guatemalan volcanologists have an even more stunning (Erik Klemetti’s quite appropriate word for it) image captured by their Fuego webcam as a pyroclastic flow passed nearby during this afternoon’s eruption. The billowing clouds are called “phoenix clouds.”
You wouldn’t want to be this close to a pyroclastic flow, but it’s terrific that the webcam was:
Guatemala’s National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH) is online here, if you’re interested. It’s in Spanish.