Monday, April 08, 2013

Basalt flows? We Haz that

Once while working in New Mexico, a visiting medical student said she was going to drive up to Carrizozo. I asked her, puzzled: why go there? The only thing there is a lot of lava....(the area has a lot of other things to see, from Roswell to White Sandsto the local ski area/casino ).
She was annoyed: Because I've never seen lava. Oh I replied. I had forgotten: she was a city girl from the Eastern USA where they don't have domant volcanoes or lava flows.

Wired has an article reminding people that basalt flooding is not a volcanic eruption. 
I saw a headline today from Discovery News that called the Siberian Traps “The Deadliest Volcano Ever“. This is a fundamentally flawed idea — flood basalt provinces are made of thousands of fissures and vents that erupted over a wide area for upwards of millions of years. To call any of these flood basalt provinces a single event is like saying the Last Glacial Maximum (Ice Age) was a big snowstorm or the Pacific Ocean is a single dixie cup of water.

the lava flow was completely flat: No volcano in site. Because it was a vent lava flow, from several fissures, not a volcano:

Carrizozo lava flows described here:
The Carrizozo flow (Keszthelyi and Pieri, 1993) is 75 km long from the vent area to the distal margin in the Tularosa Valley (Zimbelman and Johnston, 2002). The entire flow covers ~330 km2 to an estimated thickness of 10 to 15 m, for a total erupted volume of ~4.3 km3 (Allen, 1951)....Cosmogenic (isotopic changes induced by exposure to high energy particles) studies indicate exposure ages of 4800 yrs (Anthony et al., 1998) to 5200 yrs (Dunbar, 1999) for the Carrizozo flow, well within the 1700 and 700 yr error estimates, respectively. These results make the Carrizozo flow the second youngest volcanism in New Mexico (Anthony et al., 1998)

I had seen plenty of lava, having worked in southern rural Idaho for a couple of years: The soil there was thin and volcanic: both volcanos and small rifts supposed to be the origin of that area...

We irrigated our garden by literally flooding it a couple inches deep twice a week (on schedule dictated by the city) but within a few hours, the water had gone through the top soil into the more porous volcanic soil and disappeared. But the soil tended to be grainy and it made the dust in the homes really gritty to clean.

Our soil here is similar; clay like with organic matter, but mixed on top of a volcanic soil underneath, so our dust is gritty here too.

We have an extinct volcano, Mt Arayat, which can be seen from our roof (or from ground level in the rice field areas). Presumably we are safe: It hasn't erupted for a couple thousand years.
photosource. the

It is associated with many local legends: again from WIKIPEDIA

The Mountain is said to be the home of the god/sorcerer named Sinukuan/Sinukwan or Sucu, which could mean "The end" or "he who others have surrendered to." The mountain was said to have been located in the swamp to its south but relocated because of the evil ways of those who lived there, in addition to which, the people of the swamp were made to suffer numerous misfortunes. Sinukuan is believed to be able to transform and do as he pleases at will, his only real rival being Namalyari of Mount Pinatubo. The waterfalls at Ayala in Magalang, Pampanga is said to be his bathing quarters, and it is often visited by tourists and natives alike. Sinukuan is said to live at the White rock, a Lava dome possibly formed by the last eruption, where its glimmering properties were most likely to have inspired the legend. Contrary to reality, the mountain is believed to be several mountains merging at the center including the tallest two peaks.
In other legends, Sinukuan is said to have bested Makiling of southern Luzon almost effortlessly unlike his arch rival Namalyari. Sinukuan is believed to have daughters who come down only during time of grace and are disguised as humans, Sinukuan himself can be disguised as human. The day he comes back is believed to either be when he responds to the attack of Namalyari on Mount Pinatubo's 1991 eruption or when the time to call his servants upon the end of the world has come.[citation needed]
And if you wonder why Mt. Pinatubo erputed, it was the geothermal drilling that did it..
Edward Santos, one of about 30,000 Aeta aboriginal tribesmen evacuated from the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo, says geothermal drilling on the mountain angered Apo Namalyari, the Aeta god of the volcano. Worse, the government geologists refused to sacrifice a young goat to appease the volcano god. Hence, the sky fell in.


In modern times, it is famous for hiding insurgencies from the government...Lolo's brother supposedly hid there during World War II when he was fighting the also was used by those fighting the American invasion of 1898 and later when the Huks decided to try to make the Philippines into a communist country. Right now, the main problem there is illegal logging, which can cause landslides that kill villagers downstream..., although I suspect the NPA probably hides out there when not hiding with their relatives nearby. This is a bit worrisome for hikers, but it is considered safe right now for tourism

Trivia of the day: "General" Fagan hid out on Arayat when he defected to join the locals against the yanks...

there are a lot of stories here that I wish someone would write down before the old folks die. For example, when we dug up Lolo's birth certificate to verify him for an old age pension, we found that Lolo's original name was after the brother of Rizal. But Rizal was not just anti Spanish but "anti clerical", so Lolo was given a different baptismal name, and when he got his school papers and later his passport, he used his baptismal certificate and not his birth certificate...but he did openly give his son the same name, since he was born long after the Philippines was independent and it was no longer a "taboo" name for either the church nor the now independent Philippine government.

Yabynos blog has photos of his friends and him hiking at Mt Arayat... a very pretty area which I have never visited...why? Maybe because Lolo is beyond hiking age now, and when the family goes there to picnic, I stay home with him...

You should note Pinatubo is upstream from us, but the lay of the land meant we were protected by mountains in between, and the lava flow went west of here, into Pampanga and Clark (which was still an American Airforce base at the time and had to be evacuated). So the main "side effect" of Pinatubo was a lot of refugees, some of whom ended up in our neigborhood (sleeping a block away in the town square, which has gazebos and a public restroom and lots of passerbys who would give you money to eat or a job/place to stay). Emie said when she found a couple of guys sleeping in her garden, she simply hired them to do minor chores in return for food and board...

 Most of them, however, stayed in Pampanga....The government eventually built lots of small homes for those who could not return, but for awhile they were in tents etc...LATimes 1991 story here.

and now? they are resettled, and although Clark (and Subic) are no longer US bases, the country has made them into trade zones, and Clark even has a new airport.

A lot of the economic development is from our beautiful ex president Gloria, who is from that area and still represents them in congress. She arranged lots of money to go there, and if some say it was to help her friends and family, well, the ordinary folks benefitted too...

Just like our town, the choice is sometimes between someone who is competent but we suspect is corrupt and one who is honest but incompetent.

No comments: