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We All Nearly Missed The Largest Underwater Volcano Eruption Ever Recorded
She was flying home from a holiday in Samoa when she saw it through the airplane window: a “peculiar large mass” floating on the ocean, hundreds of kilometres off the north coast of New Zealand. The Kiwi passenger emailed photos of the strange ocean slick to scientists, who realised what it was – a raft of floating rock spewed from an underwater volcano, produced in the largest eruption of its kind ever recorded.
“We knew it was a large-scale eruption, approximately equivalent to the biggest eruption we’ve seen on land in the 20th Century,” says volcanologist Rebecca Carey from the University of Tasmania, who’s co-led the first close-up investigation of the historic 2012 eruption.
The incident, produced by a submarine volcano called the Havre Seamount, initially went unnoticed by scientists, but the floating rock platform it generated was…
Madagascar cyclone death toll rises to 51, with thousands displaced
he death toll from a cyclone that hit Madagascar about 10 days ago has risen to 51, with another 22 people reported missing, authorities said on Sunday. Tropical Cyclone Ava passed through Madagascar on Jan. 5-6, hitting mostly the eastern coast of the island with wind speeds of between 140-190 kph (87-119 mph).
The death toll had been put at about 29 people a week ago.
The National Office of Risk and Disaster Management said in a statement on Sunday more 54,000 people were displaced by the cyclone.
In March 2017, Cyclone Enawo killed at least 78 people on Madagascar’s vanilla-producing northeastern coast…
50 years since Sicily’s earthquake, an urban disaster of a different kind
Fifty years ago, the ground began to shake in Poggioreale, an ancient village in the Belìce Valley of south-west Sicily.
Calogero Petralia was eating spaghetti with his family, just as he did every Sunday lunch. By the time the initial earthquake and the aftershocks that night had quietened, the house where Petralia was born and raised was gone. It was 15 January 1968 and he was 18 years old. “My heart remained in that room,” he says.
Measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, the earthquake was one of the most powerful to strike Italy, killing 231 people in the valley, injuring more than 1,000 and leaving as many as 100,000 homeless. Four towns were razed entirely; Poggioreale was one of them.
Instead of rebuilding the houses in their original location, however, the Italian government tried something new. It hired well-known architects such as Franco Purini to design and build entirely new cities, from scratch, on different sites…