Yes, Lockdowns Were a Waste (And a Volcano Erupts)

 

A friend of mine is retired from the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA. He is still the world’s expert in predicting volcanic eruptions. His seminal work was published in Nature in 1996. He now says that he’s disappointed that Nature publishes so much that is not real science. As a result, I’m a bit reticent posting this. However, it seems to me very solid.

Lockdowns accomplished nothing in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Read it for yourself.

________

I worked with my friend for a couple of years on a bio of his remarkable life. We had a literary agent, but it ended up going nowhere. For your edification, here is the opening of this true story:

________

Redoubt Volcano, Alaska—January 2, 1990

This world…ever was, and is, and shall be, ever-living Fire, in measures being kindled and in measures going out.  —Heraclitus On the Universe

***

“It’s going to blow, and it’s going to blow big. If they don’t evacuate that terminal soon, it’s going to be a disaster.”

Tom Miller, the Scientist in Charge at the Alaska Volcano Observatory, listened intently. He knew deep in his gut that this man, sitting thousands of miles away in an office of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California—this man, whom he had known for only 19 days—was speaking the truth.

“Alright. I don’t have the authority to tell them to evacuate. But I’ll explain the data and give them our conclusions.”

“Let’s hope they listen.”

Tom hung up the phone and stared out his office window at the distant Chugach Mountains. It was only mid-afternoon in Anchorage, but in Alaska in January, mid-afternoon was getting close to twilight time. There was not much daylight left for an evacuation. Tom turned his gaze to that day’s RSAM data lying on his desk. That scientist in Menlo Park had opened his eyes to what this data indicated.

Redoubt was a cone-shaped, ice-mantled stratovolcano located on the west side of the Cook Inlet, 120 miles southwest of Anchorage, a radius that encompassed over half of Alaska’s population. Tom had studied Redoubt’s history. Rising over 10,000 feet in Lake Clark National Park, Redoubt had erupted six times since 1778 when Captain James Cook had observed it “emitting white smoke but no fire.” More smoking had occurred in 1819, 1902, and 1933. Then in 1966, Redoubt had a major eruption, though not a life-threatening one. During the last eruption in 1968, instruments had recorded several explosions of ash clouds that had lasted only minutes or even seconds. Then for the next 21 years Redoubt had slumbered quietly.

That had changed seven weeks earlier on November 20th. A pilot flying a private plane reported seeing wisps of steam emitting from the crater. On December 8th a steam plume, visible from Anchorage, poured out of the crater for almost six hours. But no seismic activity was detected, so the AVO team thought that the plume merely reflected a renewal of geothermal activity. Then five days later, on December 13th, the real show began. Redoubt began generating 23 straight hours of vigorous steaming and an intensifying seismic swarm.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory was a shoestring operation established by the USGS just over a year before. Until then, Tom was the only volcanologist in Alaska. When he was appointed Scientist in Charge of AVO, his team consisted of one assistant volcanologist in Anchorage, and a few seismologists and faculty members at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Redoubt was one of over 40 active volcanoes forming the “Aleutian volcanic arc,” and with three to five of those volcanoes erupting every year, Tom and his team had plenty of activity to focus on. Nevertheless, Redoubt was an active volcano surrounded by populated areas, and it merited serious attention. Even though the AVO staff was small, they did manage to install a seismic net of five instruments on Redoubt the previous October. Fortunately.

The seismic swarm had begun at 10:30 that December morning. As the activity increased into the afternoon, Tom had realized that he had to give out some official notifications. He had called the Alaska Division of Emergency Services, the weather service, the local news media, and the FAA. Not knowing that he already had hard data demonstrating that an eruption was likely within 24 hours, Tom had simply explained that the seismic activity at Redoubt was intensifying in ways that could possibly and eventually result in an eruption.

Tom and his staff had stayed up all that night watching the increasing seismic activity. By 5:00 a.m., December 14th, the seismic swarm had coalesced into high-amplitude tremor. Then at 9:47 a.m., Redoubt erupted.

Within 30 minutes of the eruption, Tom received a call from the USGS in Menlo Park. A volcano seismologist named Bernard Chouet was on the phone introducing himself. Tom explained that he didn’t have much time to talk; he had an erupting volcano on his hands.

“Redoubt?” asked Bernard.

“That’s right.”

“Yeah, last night I could see that it was going to erupt.”

Tom paused. Whoa, he thought. I’m the Scientist in Charge. Why isn’t this information getting back to me?

“Look, Bernard, I can’t talk to you now, but I do want to talk to you. Give me your phone number.”

Bernard gave him both work and home numbers. Tom didn’t realize then how this man would radically transform his ability to interpret apparently inconsequential data.

Redoubt began ejecting thousands of tons of tephra, volcanic particles ranging in size from extremely fine ash with the consistency of confectioner’s sugar, to large chunks several feet in diameter. On that first morning, the lava dome that had formed in the crater in 1968 exploded, sending a volcanic ash plume over 30,000 feet into the air. That evening, Tom’s staff measured strong volcanic tremor for over three hours. On the morning of the second day, December 15th, Redoubt erupted three times, at 1:52 a.m., 3:38 a.m., and 10:13 a.m. It was that third eruption that had demonstrated Redoubt’s deadly potential.

That morning, a Boeing 747-400 jetliner from Amsterdam was flying at 28,000 feet inbound to Anchorage, following the path taken by another 747 only 20 minutes before. KLM flight 867 carried 231 passengers and a flight crew of 14. The pilots had been notified of Redoubt’s third eruption 90 minutes earlier, which had sent a volcanic ash plume over 35,000 feet into the air. The prevailing winds had carried the ash cloud over 180 miles northeast of Redoubt where it encountered the KLM jetliner.

Tom reflected on how often people thought that lava is the most dangerous part of a volcanic eruption, in part because of film and television. In reality, volcanic ash is far more dangerous. A volcanic ash cloud is often indistinguishable from ordinary clouds, both visually and on radar. But the KLM pilots recognized the brown ash cloud for what it was, and they received permission from Anchorage to begin climbing above the cloud. Unfortunately, not fully realizing the dangers involved, the pilots plotted their climb through the ash. Upon entering the cloud, the four turbojet engines began sucking in the fine particles, and the silicon in the ash began melting, forming a ceramic-like coating around the hot turbine components.

A modern turbojet engine has three parts: the compressor, the combustors, and the turbine. As air enters the front of the engine, the rotating series of compressor blades raise the incoming air to high pressures. The compressed air then enters the combustors, where it mixes with jet fuel, ignites, and is forced across the turbine blades. The turbine and compressor are connected, and both are forced to turn by the exhaust, thus maintaining airflow through the engine.

The melting ash began forming glassy deposits on the turbine blades, quickly choking the airflow and causing a buildup of pressure in the compressors. In seconds, the compressors in all four engines stalled and the engines functionally shut down.

Nobody on the jetliner understood exactly what had happened, though the pilots quickly realized they had made a wrong choice. As the engines failed, the jetliner began a steep glide down towards the Talkeetna Mountains. For eight harrowing minutes flight 867 fell, dropping over two miles and coming within 6000 feet of the Talkeetnas. The pilots repeatedly tried to restart the engines. Eventually their efforts had combined with the cold Alaskan air to partially break up the glass deposits. They managed to restart two engines, and five minutes after that, all four were back in operation. In 25 minutes the 747 landed safely in Anchorage. The estimated repairs: $80 million, which included replacing all four engines, the electrical and avionics systems, and a sandblasted cockpit windshield.

Within days of the initial eruption, Tom had called Bernard to find out how credibly he had predicted Redoubt’s eruption. Bernard explained his work in modeling LPs, long period events. He walked Tom through the data and explained how on the afternoon before the eruption, some of his coworkers in Menlo Park, who knew little of Bernard’s work, had called him in to examine the data. Bernard took a methodical look and asked them if it had erupted yet. They were nonplussed and understandably skeptical.

It didn’t take Tom long to see that Bernard knew what he was talking about. He understood the caution that Bernard’s coworkers had exhibited. How could they know on such short notice that Bernard had a well-supported empirical model underlying his prediction? The next morning, Bernard had gone back to his coworkers and asked if Redoubt had erupted yet. Rather than calling Alaska themselves, they urged Bernard to call. After all, he was the one who was interpreting the data. Bernard called Alaska. By then of course, Redoubt had erupted.

Bernard had flown up to Anchorage that December and both he and Tom had spent time together circling Redoubt in a helicopter, observing the formation of a new lava dome. After Bernard had returned to Menlo Park, they stayed in occasional contact. By January 2nd, today, they had been speaking to each other several times a day. Tom had begun appreciating more fully what a volcano seismologist could do.

Tom enjoyed the fact that Bernard confidently interpreted data. He often mused at how difficult it seemed at times to get seismologists to give him interpretations, even when he assured them that he would take full responsibility for any final decisions. Bernard was different. He loved his work and passionately gave his opinions, and Tom respected him for that. They were like souls.

When they had flown around Redoubt, Bernard pointed out that the winter snowpack and glaciers around the volcano were likely to generate more lahars, highly dangerous and fast-moving slurries of water, mud, rock, and sand that result when hot volcanic debris melts snow and ice. It was a lahar that killed over 22,000 people in Armero, Colombia, in 1985 when Nevado del Ruiz erupted. Tom already understood the danger Redoubt posed because the first eruption had caused lahars to cover a portion of the upper Drift River valley that extended northeast of Redoubt. The new lava dome concerned them because it could plug the underlying magma and gases, begin pressurizing, and eventually explode catastrophically. Such an eruption would cause a huge lahar to inundate the lower Drift River valley, and more critically, the Drift River Oil Terminal at the mouth of the Drift River about 21 miles downstream. The oil terminal had already experienced a minor lahar during the initial eruptions.

The Drift River Oil Terminal was built in 1967 by the Cook Inlet Pipeline Company to collect and store oil from offshore platforms through a 40-mile-long pipeline. The oil was then pumped to tankers waiting at a loading platform. Over two dozen oil workers at any one time spent their days and nights at the facility on a rotating schedule. The facility contained seven storage tanks that held almost as much oil as the Exxon Valdez, which had experienced its well-publicized disaster the previous March and was still very much on everyone’s mind. The terminal also had its own small airport and heliport. Cook Inlet executives had spent time flying around Redoubt, keeping tabs on its activity. Closing the terminal would be extremely costly, even for a few days, so they would only consider such a step when they had clear evidence of danger. They saw the lava dome forming, but they saw little activity otherwise and assumed the main activity had already passed.

But Tom and Bernard knew differently. Tom had flown over the lava dome every day for the last ten days. He observed the steady deformation and over-steepening of the north side of the dome. Instinctively, he knew it would fail catastrophically.

Seismic data began building up on December 30. The five Real-time Seismic Amplitude Monitors (RSAM) on Redoubt showed a series of LPs, a cyclic pattern of harmonic resonances caused by increasingly pressurized magmatic gases. On the morning of January 2nd, Tom, Bernard, and Dr. John Davies, a seismologist at the Geophysical Institute, all agreed that a moderate eruption was likely. AVO issued an eruption alert predicting a moderate eruption within 24 hours. But by that afternoon, the buildup of LPs had gone from linear to exponential. Tom had called Bernard and both had concluded that the LPs meant a much more spectacular eruption, one that would come sooner than later, resulting in potentially disastrous lahars. The Drift River Oil Terminal had to be evacuated.

Tom was 52 years old. He grew up collecting rocks along the shores of Lake Superior. He loved the outdoors, and his exposure to course work in college fueled his interest in every phase of geology. For over 30 years his paid work had also been his favorite hobby. His passion for science still, on occasion, kept him up nights thinking about a breakthrough he had made during the day on some volcanological problem.

Now he faced the mother of all volcanological problems: Convincing people that the time to get out was now.

Staring at the RSAM data on his desk, he picked up the phone and dialed the main office of the Cook Inlet Pipeline Company in Anchorage. The secretary connected him to an executive he had spoken to several times before.

“So what’s the word on our volcano?”

“Bad news. I told you this morning that our seismic data was building up. Well, today’s data shows it increasing exponentially. I’m about to call Emergency Services and the media, but I thought I better call you first in case you want to consider moving your people out of the Drift River Terminal.”

“Well, thanks for the heads up, Tom, but I gotta tell you, we flew over the crater today and we didn’t see any changes in the dome. There’s no fresh lava. It doesn’t look that bad.”

“That’s understandable. What we have here is data indicating that the dome is pressurizing. There’s gas pressure building up under that dome. I just got off the phone with my volcano seismologist in California. He’s looking at the same data and we both agree that Redoubt is going to go and go big. He says it will happen in hours.”

“This is really a huge decision, Tom. If we shut down that facility, think of the cost. The oil in the pipeline will freeze. Starting up again would take weeks. You would have to be absolutely right about this. You were calling for a moderate eruption this morning, one that wouldn’t affect us. Now you’re saying otherwise. How can you be so certain? How do you know?”

Tom tried not to let his frustration show. He couldn’t order an evacuation. How could he convince them? Just then his wife, Shirla, walked into his office. Tom had an idea.

“Tell you what. I’ll fax over this data so you can see for yourself. I don’t care if you understand what the units are, but you have to see the dramatic increase in the seismic parameter, and regardless of what it is, this is what we’re basing our interpretation on.”

Maybe that would get their attention. Tom handed the RSAM plot and the executive’s fax number to his wife and waited. Somehow seeing data with your own eyes carried greater impact. He didn’t have to wait long.

“Jesus.”

“Yeah. I hope it doesn’t take long to close up shop.”

“Yes . . . right. Well, I think we both have calls to make.”

Tom hung up and looked at the clock. It was 1:45 p.m.

By 3:50 p.m. the pumps were shut down, the facilities secured, and the last of the oil terminal employees evacuated by helicopter.

Two hours later at 5:48 p.m., Redoubt exploded.

A pilot flying 35 miles south of the volcano reported seeing an orange flame shoot straight up from the summit like a cannon.

At 7:27 p.m. a massive second explosion rocked the volcano, destroying 80 percent of the lava dome. A pyroclastic flow of hot ash and avalanches of hot lava blocks roared down the north flank, across the Drift Glacier and up the other side of the valley at almost 100 miles per hour.

The hot volcanic ash and 25-foot blocks from the lava dome scoured the glacier, melting ice and snow, uprooting trees three feet in diameter, and creating a lahar that began to fill the Drift River Valley and flow down toward the east.

Picking up momentum and mass as it moved, this monstrous, mud-filled, debris-laden, 1.5-mile-wide wall of volcanic debris thundered down toward the Drift River Oil Terminal.

Published in Science & Technology
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 28 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    And onto it?

    • #1
  2. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    That story is absolutely fantastic!  Shows what you can do with good data, a good model and a good data scientist.  

    • #2
  3. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Drift River Oil Terminal

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drift_River_Terminal_Facility

    • #3
  4. Captain French Moderator
    Captain French
    @AlFrench

    Fascinating. Too bad you couldn’t get it published.

    I lived in the northwest during the Mt St Helens eruptions. Did your friend have anything to do with that?

    • #4
  5. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Captain French (View Comment):

    Fascinating. Too bad you couldn’t get it published.

    I lived in the northwest during the Mt St Helens eruptions. Did your friend have anything to do with that?

    Yes. He placed the monitors around the crater after the eruption, and it was that data which led him to discover LPs. 

    • #5
  6. Russ Schnitzer Member
    Russ Schnitzer
    @RussSchnitzer

    Where is part 2?

     

    • #6
  7. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Russ Schnitzer (View Comment):

    Where is part 2?

    That was the setup for Chapter 1. The Book Proposal included this, the first three completed chapters, and an outline for the rest. No matter how much more I post, it would all end in a cliffhanger…

    of course, you can read more about that volcano here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Redoubt

    • #7
  8. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    I will give you all the book outline. Oh how I would have loved writing this. But it’s completely off the table now.

    Part 1 of 5

    _______________

    FIRE AND ICE

    Real-Life Adventures of a Volcanologist

    Prologue: Redoubt Volcano, Alaska—January 2, 1990

    Teaser: Third-person. Partial recounting of the eruption of Redoubt, and how Bernard helped to save lives.

    Chapter One: Lava Bombs on Mt. Etna

    1969. 23-year-old Bernard teaches sailing in exotic Club Med and becomes a volcano tour guide. He’s caught between lava flows that results in smoking socks and spends a visceral night alone on Etna, watching its fireworks. After watching the moon landing, he dreams of being an astronaut, and decides to accept a paid graduate position at MIT in the NASA-supported Man-Vehicle Lab.

    Chapter Two: From MIT to Photobalistics on Stromboli

    1971-73. At MIT Bernard works 100 hrs/week with both Prof. Larry Young, Director of Man-Vehicle Lab, and Prof. Albert Hopkins, developer of Apollo computers. His Master thesis is on an attitude control system for astronauts working in Zero-G. Bernard discovers Earth and Planetary Sciences and meets Tom McGetchin, a geologist who loves volcanoes. They plan a trip to Stromboli, a volcanic island off the coast of Italy, for a photobalistics experiment. 1000-ft. fire jets at night. They get to within100 feet from the main vent with a high-speed Hulcher camera that shoots 10 fps (originally used in atomic bomb tests). Falling bombs of exploding molten lava.

    The next year Bernard must choose between NASA and volcanoes. NASA chooses for him by closing down manned flights after Apollo. Bernard moves to Planetary and Earth Sciences and writes his second Masters thesis—a classic paper on photobalistics. Bernard, Tom, and others go to Guatemala and Chile to climb several volcanoes.

    Chapter Three: Snowblind on Mt. Baker

    1974-75, Bernard meets Prof. Keiiti Aki, a world-renowned seismologist from Japan, who becomes his new advisor. But Aki thinks there’s no hope of making sense of volcanic data and gets Bernard into seismology. Bernard begins Ph.D. work, and goes with three others to climb Mt. Baker in Washington state. They climb to the crater. After two days of clear skies, two guys offer to take extra equipment down, leaving Bernard and another man with only a tent and personal gear. Soon they are caught in a near-deadly 56-hour blizzard. Bernard keeps them alive, although they come close to dying.

    • #8
  9. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Part 2

    _________

    Chapter Four: Adventures with K. Aki

    1976-77. La Soufrière erupts. 70,000 evacuated. Bernard flown to Guadeloupe by Claude Allègre, director of the Institute of Physics of the Globe (IPG) in Paris. He arrives for a State dinner at the Governor’s mansion. Best food, beautiful women. A socio-political event, not a volcano problem. Bernard wants to work, but the helicopter fly-by of the volcano is a joy ride with officials. Bernard gets an inside look at power. No one has any real volcanic data. On his return to MIT he reports to Frank Press, Chairman of Earth Sciences, later Science Advisor to President Carter. Bernard finishes his Ph. D. and plots to get Aki out to the Cascades (California, Oregon, Washington) hoping he’ll fall in love with volcanoes. The plan works, and Aki converts completely to volcano studies. Bernard and Aki travel to Hawaii for magma chamber experiments.

    Chapter Five: Rivers, Slides, and Catastrophe Man

    1978-79. Bernard teams with Swiss friend, Michel to climb Mt. McKinley with Ray Genet, a famous Everest climber. 26 days on the mountain, 30 people, blizzards. They reach summit. Bernard and Michel take six expedition members down other side. The six include a chiropractor, a heart surgeon, a teenage boy, and Catastrophe Man, who falls in crevasses time and again and takes pictures while the others try rescuing him. As they cross glacial lakes, the heart surgeon loses it, says he must get home, takes off with the stove. Freeze-dried food becomes useless. While crossing rivers with chest-high glacier water, Bernard nearly drowns, while two others are washed downstream. All body fat is gone. They walk 60 miles, last several miles without shoes, and arrive at a gravel road where they are picked up by a Park Service bus and taken to Park Headquarters and Village. Bearded, scruffy, they are treated like heroes.

    Bernard and Michel open an expedition business and try again next year with experienced climbers. The new group is a motley crew who leave behind important food and items to lighten load. Bernard and three others on a rope fall down a ¼-mile ice slide toward a crevasse.

    • #9
  10. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Part 3

    _________

    Chapter Six: The First LPs on Mt. St. Helens

    1980-81. In 1980, Bernard attends a conference in Tokyo, Japan, travels to Sakurajima, Aso, other volcanoes. He becomes friends with the husband and wife team of Maurice and Katia Kraft, the famous daredevil volcanologists who later died while filming a pyroclastic flow at Unzen volcano in Japan in 1991. Mt. St Helens erupts in 1980. Bernard visits the volcano the next year. He enters the crater and places an instrument next to the lava dome. Beautiful Long Period events (LPs) are recorded. Breakthrough in volcanic prediction. The pattern reminds him of his studies at the Federal Polytechnic in Lausanne, Switzerland, concerning hydroelectric power plants. The harmonic “Water Hammer” effect creates an acoustic resonance that builds, causing plants to blow up when attempting to shut down water flow. First paper published five years later.

    Chapter Seven: From Mt. Huascarán to Mt. Etna

    1981-83. Bernard, Michel, and others go to Peru, visit Lake Titicaca, climb El Misti and have a failed attempt on Huascarán. Bernard and Paula (his future wife) meet at a party in Nyon, Switzerland. He introduces her to his world with a trip to Etna. She’s extremely fearful, because in 1979 Etna had erupted and killed many people. They stay in Antonio’s new home built on side of Etna. (Destroyed later in the year by a lava flow.) Incredible view of volcanic fireworks and the ocean. They visit Stromboli and Vesuvius. Bernard lands a job with USGS in Menlo Park, CA.

    Chapter Eight: Lahar on Mt. Ruiz

    1983-87. Bernard starts work at USGS and becomes friends with Herb Shaw, brilliant author of Craters, Cosmos, and Chronicles. They go to the Puu Oo vent of Kilauea in Hawaii. In South America, Ruiz erupts in 1985, killing 22,000 with a lahar. Volcano Crisis Assistant Team (VCAT) goes. Bernard doesn’t go until the following year where he meets volcanologist-seismologist Fernando Gil Cruz. Fernando shows him piles of paper records with beautiful LPs. The system is now stable, but Bernard shows them that whenever there is long-term LP seismicity, there is a potential for an eruption and they may have to evacuate people. Fernando and his team are delighted. The next year, Ruiz generates LPs, they evacuate, it erupts, and everyone is very happy.

    • #10
  11. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Part 4

    __________

    Chapter Nine: Pele Rising

    1986-88. Bernard and Aki plan an experiment on Puu Oo, which sets the stage for a grand 1988 experiment with 90 seismic stations. Paula arrives late in the experiment. She is initially fearful of approaching the vent, but Bernard crawls carefully to the edge staring into golden lava lake, churning like a giant washing machine, foundering, crust breaks, big doming bubbles. Gas piston events. Increasing activity of doming bubbles, increasing until all coalesces, covering surface, becomes a firestorm. Incandescent gas shoots 1000 feet into the air. Droplets of liquid magma fall, burning micro-holes in his clothes. Spectacle too intense to pull away. An hour later, Paula stares over the edge and is so taken by it that he has to hold her by the belt. Time stops. Six hours later they hear the helicopter. As they move away, Bernard reflects that the lava pond is getting higher. Expensive equipment may get swallowed by an eruption.

    They fly back to HVO, and volcanologist Bob Koyanagi says, “You’re lucky because Pele’s showing off for you.” Pele is the legendary goddess of Kilauea. Story of intense rain drowning experiment, and how a cylindrical hole opens to allow experiment. Bernard’s colleague calls it “spooky.” Also covered: Aki’s experience with the famous Dog of Pele, and how scientists give gifts to Pele.

    Chapter Ten: Redoubt and Galeras—Lives Saved and Lives Lost

    1988-93 Expansion of Prologue regarding Redoubt but from Bernard’s viewpoint. Bernard travels several times to Redoubt. Recounting of Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines while Bernard is in Alaska. A lava dome appears in the Galeras crater in Columbia. Bernard flies down and explains how LP activity indicates a periodic releasing of pressure. He writes a report explaining what to look for prior to an eruption. He gives copies to local authorities and the USGS. A volcano workshop is held in Pasto near Galeras in January 1993. Because of drug cartels, the State Dept. does not grant Bernard and his colleagues from the USGS permission to attend. A field trip of scientists and tourists led by Stanley Williams enters the crater. Galeras erupts, killing nine people. Later that year, Bernard is approached by NATURE magazine to do a review article on LPs.

    Chapter Eleven: Through the Eastern Gate

    1992-95. Bernard conducts experiments on Stromboli in 1992, and participates in an experiment on Vesuvius in 1994. In 1995 he spends three months in Japan. Incredible trips all around Japan, to volcanoes, to Kobe (which experienced a devastating earthquake), and special trips to a Kyoto temple closed for 400 years, but opened just while Bernard is there.

    • #11
  12. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Part 5

    ____________

    Chapter Twelve: Magma Force

    1995-2002: Small-aperture antenna and broadband experiments on Kilauea. Huge breakthrough. Now able to pinpoint sources for tremor and magma activity though a “transparent” view of the internal structure of a volcano. Bernard set to conduct final grand experiment in 2002 that gives a full 3-D color image of the interior of Kilauea (much like the latest 3-D color bio-scans now available in hospitals). Bernard also travels to Mexico and conducts a broadband experiment on Popocatépetl, which has recently erupted. Then he travels again to Etna, which has erupted, destroying some of the locations that first drew Bernard’s interest in volcanoes.

    Epilogue: Geneva, Switzerland – Winter 1961 (Optional)

    Wraparound close: Third-person. A 16-year-old teen enters a film house in Geneva and watches a French documentary, Rendez-vous du Diable (Meeting with the Devil), about French volcanologist Haroun Tazieff. He watches as Tazieff and a young Sicilian, Antonio Nicolosi, go to the Belgian Congo, Africa, enter the crater of Nyiragongo, and film the active lava lake. Riveted in his seat, the teen falls unexpectedly and deeply in love with volcanoes. He leaves the theater excited, wondering if he could ever have such adventures. But the cold Genevan air reminds him that he lives in conservative Switzerland, and such adventures seem so far away, hardly within reach. He goes home and, for weeks after, dreams about being on that volcano. The memory fades and the excitement shrinks down into a forgotten, hard-shelled seed, waiting to germinate, years later, on a living volcano…

    • #12
  13. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    I once asked Bernard which volcano in North America is the most dangerous and most likely to blow in our lifetime.

    “Oh, that would be Mt. Rainier. When it blows, it’s possible half of Seattle will go with it.”

    • #13
  14. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    I like “Fire and Ice” title, but it the story needs more romance and maybe a vampire.

    • #14
  15. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    You should write the book and self publish it.  A remarkable story. 

    • #15
  16. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    You should write the book and self publish it. A remarkable story.

    Unfortunately, I would need his agreement, and he’s retired in Switzerland with all the many hours of interview tapes I recorded. 

    Also, I already have my own series of self-published books I’m working on.

    https://markandrealexander.com/books/

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Outstanding tale. It’s wonderful how you could save lives!

    • #17
  18. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    There is at least one major study showing the same thing for masks.  Zero effect.

    But Nature will not publish that one.

    I will be interested to see how these places react when the evidence becomes so overwhelming as to be undeniable.  Will they still ignore it?  Will they issue a series of mea culpa -type articles?  Or will they simply pretend that they never bought into the hysteria in the first place.

    Given the behavior of Fauci, the CDC, et. al., I predict that they will ignore it and continue to push junk studies claiming to be science.

    • #18
  19. MISTER BITCOIN Inactive
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    There is at least one major study showing the same thing for masks. Zero effect.

    But Nature will not publish that one.

    I will be interested to see how these places react when the evidence becomes so overwhelming as to be undeniable. Will they still ignore it? Will they issue a series of mea culpa -type articles? Or will they simply pretend that they never bought into the hysteria in the first place.

    Given the behavior of Fauci, the CDC, et. al., I predict that they will ignore it and continue to push junk studies claiming to be science.

    They need to be sued for lots of money 

    • #19
  20. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    There is at least one major study showing the same thing for masks. Zero effect.

    But Nature will not publish that one.

    I will be interested to see how these places react when the evidence becomes so overwhelming as to be undeniable. Will they still ignore it? Will they issue a series of mea culpa -type articles? Or will they simply pretend that they never bought into the hysteria in the first place.

    Given the behavior of Fauci, the CDC, et. al., I predict that they will ignore it and continue to push junk studies claiming to be science.

    They need to be sued for lots of money

    This is a long read, but a good one.  What we’re seeing right now in the “scientific community” is every bit as bad as the historical suppression of non-mainstream views (everyone talks about the Church suppressing Galileo, but the Church had nothing on our MSM and woke academia).  The big difference is that it is happening in the United States, and that should be terrifying.

    https://www.aier.org/article/the-brutal-attack-on-scientific-dissent/

    • #20
  21. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    This is a long read, but a good one. What we’re seeing right now in the “scientific community” is every bit as bad as the historical suppression of non-mainstream views (everyone talks about the Church suppressing Galileo, but the Church had nothing on our MSM and woke academia). The big difference is that it is happening in the United States, and that should be terrifying.

    https://www.aier.org/article/the-brutal-attack-on-scientific-dissent/

    [Sigh.]

    Civilization is doomed, isn’t it?

    • #21
  22. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    This is a long read, but a good one. What we’re seeing right now in the “scientific community” is every bit as bad as the historical suppression of non-mainstream views (everyone talks about the Church suppressing Galileo, but the Church had nothing on our MSM and woke academia). The big difference is that it is happening in the United States, and that should be terrifying.

    https://www.aier.org/article/the-brutal-attack-on-scientific-dissent/

    [Sigh.]

    Civilization is doomed, isn’t it?

    Again? I’ve lived through upwards to a dozen since the 1960s…

    • #22
  23. MISTER BITCOIN Inactive
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    This is a long read, but a good one. What we’re seeing right now in the “scientific community” is every bit as bad as the historical suppression of non-mainstream views (everyone talks about the Church suppressing Galileo, but the Church had nothing on our MSM and woke academia). The big difference is that it is happening in the United States, and that should be terrifying.

    https://www.aier.org/article/the-brutal-attack-on-scientific-dissent/

    [Sigh.]

    Civilization is doomed, isn’t it?

    Again? I’ve lived through upwards to a dozen since the 1960s…

    once a decade a ‘miracle’ happens that slows down the insanity

    1981

    1995

    2017

     

    • #23
  24. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    This is a long read, but a good one. What we’re seeing right now in the “scientific community” is every bit as bad as the historical suppression of non-mainstream views (everyone talks about the Church suppressing Galileo, but the Church had nothing on our MSM and woke academia). The big difference is that it is happening in the United States, and that should be terrifying.

    https://www.aier.org/article/the-brutal-attack-on-scientific-dissent/

    [Sigh.]

    Civilization is doomed, isn’t it?

    Again? I’ve lived through upwards to a dozen since the 1960s…

    once a decade a ‘miracle’ happens that slows down the insanity

    1981

    1995

    2017

     

    2024

    • #24
  25. MISTER BITCOIN Inactive
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    This is a long read, but a good one. What we’re seeing right now in the “scientific community” is every bit as bad as the historical suppression of non-mainstream views (everyone talks about the Church suppressing Galileo, but the Church had nothing on our MSM and woke academia). The big difference is that it is happening in the United States, and that should be terrifying.

    https://www.aier.org/article/the-brutal-attack-on-scientific-dissent/

    [Sigh.]

    Civilization is doomed, isn’t it?

    Again? I’ve lived through upwards to a dozen since the 1960s…

    once a decade a ‘miracle’ happens that slows down the insanity

    1981

    1995

    2017

     

    2024

    or 2022?

     

    • #25
  26. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    I enjoy the nice little edits Ricochet editors make when they promote a post to the Main Feed.

    • #26
  27. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    This is a long read, but a good one. What we’re seeing right now in the “scientific community” is every bit as bad as the historical suppression of non-mainstream views (everyone talks about the Church suppressing Galileo, but the Church had nothing on our MSM and woke academia). The big difference is that it is happening in the United States, and that should be terrifying.

    https://www.aier.org/article/the-brutal-attack-on-scientific-dissent/

    [Sigh.]

    Civilization is doomed, isn’t it?

    Again? I’ve lived through upwards to a dozen since the 1960s…

    Funny thing about that.  I’m always doing the same thing, trying to put things in perspective.  I say stuff like that to my parents all the time (also lived through the 60’s).  Both of them say, “this time is much different,” and I’m inclined to agree.  What is happening in my state right now (WA) is the virtual elimination of individual liberty, the rule of law, and separation of powers.  At the time when these restrictions were issued, reasons were given.  Those reasons have all disappeared.  So how does our government respond?  By doubling down on these rules.  The rules are taking on frankly insane form.  I’ve been dealing with little league (my boys are huge into baseball) because the rules are downright draconian.  Masks on kids at all times, dugouts are banned, so kids have to sit in bleachers 6 feet apart, 2 spectators per player, spread out all around the field, registration for contact tracing …  all this to play baseball, outside, with kids who are not in any danger at all, and at a time when covid has essentially disappeared from my state.

    Why?  Because Washington State has decided that it is no longer a democratic republic, and we no longer have freedoms that aren’t explicitly granted to us by some bureaucrat, if and when he sees fit.

    Yes, the 60’s sucked.  Yes, we’ve had crazy times in our democracy, but basic liberties have all generally been preserved.  Today’s crisis is different, because it entails the actual loss of liberty, and it has not resulted in massive backlash from the population.  That is something we have never experienced before, and it is something I never thought was possible – but I see even “conservatives” (they are, by definition, not conservatives anymore) defending and supporting this.  If it is not reversed, we are well and truly doomed.

    • #27
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Masks on kids at all times, dugouts are banned, so kids have to sit in bleachers 6 feet apart, 2 spectators per player, spread out all around the field, registration for contact tracing … all this to play baseball, outside, with kids who are not in any danger at all, and at a time when covid has essentially disappeared from my state.

    [Sigh.]

    The virus that kids rarely transmit, that harms kids less than flu, that almost never transmits outdoors, and that sunlight kills.

    Why? Because Washington State has decided that it is no longer a democratic republic, and we no longer have freedoms that aren’t explicitly granted to us by some bureaucrat, if and when he sees fit.

    [Sigh.]  It’s bad.

    Yes, the 60’s sucked. Yes, we’ve had crazy times in our democracy, but basic liberties have all generally been preserved. Today’s crisis is different, because it entails the actual loss of liberty, and it has not resulted in massive backlash from the population. That is something we have never experienced before, and it is something I never thought was possible – but I see even “conservatives” (they are, by definition, not conservatives anymore) defending and supporting this. If it is not reversed, we are well and truly doomed.

    [Sigh.]

    Psalm 2, everyone. Stick with that, ok?

    • #28