Volcano Club

Volcano Club only offers one type of membership - and that's lifetime. To become a member send some volcanic themed work to the HQ (volcanoclubhq@gmail.com) and you might get a codename or some other cool shit.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Being volcano-mad was madder than being picture mad

I've just started reading The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag which is perfect for me as it combines my two great loves- volcanoes and feminism (I'm also gonna talk about plants so this will be shit hot). I've only read a bit of it but it seems to be about a mad old British Ambassador who loves volcanoes, paintings and collecting things and lives by Vesuvius and I imagine that his marriage will suffer due to his obsession. I think that I may find it hard to understand as I find volcano obsession completely normal- I think that being volcano-picture-mad must be the height of madness.

When Pliny described the 79AD eruption of Vesuvius he described the smoke plume as being like an umbrella pine, from this description we get today's term of Plinian eruption.
It was not clear at that distance from which mountain the cloud was rising (it was afterwards known to be Vesuvius); its general appearance can best be expressed as being like an umbrella pine, for it rose to a great height on a sort of trunk and then split off into branches, I imagine because it was thrust upwards by the first blast and then left unsupported as the pressure subsided, or else it was borne down by its own weight so that it spread out and gradually dispersed. Sometimes it looked white, sometimes blotched and dirty, according to the amount of soil and ashes it carried with it. 
It is also mentioned in The Volcano Club when the Ambassador sees an eruption of Vesuvius which has exactly the same umbrella pine appearance. Which you can imagine is a perfect description of a large eruption.

When I've read more of The Volcano Lover I'll write something more comprehensive about it. 

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