A flurry of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions wreaked havoc around the globe in the past week and reignited widespread interest in the natural time bombs beneath humanity’s feet.
A volcanic eruption near Mexico City on Monday and an earthquake in Ecuador on Saturday followed a pair of earthquakes that rocked Japan last week. In short, Mother Nature dealt millions of victims five days terror that involved collapsed buildings, soot-filled streets, tsunami warnings and emergency workers searching through rubble.
Filerma Rayo, 33, told Reuters she spent five hours trapped under debris in Pedernales, Ecuador, after Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Nearly 300 people and at least 2,000 were injured. Hundreds of corpses were consolidated at a nearby stadium to be identified.
“I was yelling and yelling and then, at the end, I started to think I would die there,” Rayo said Monday. “It was my siblings who saved us. The rescue teams hadn’t arrived yet.”
Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano, meanwhile, unleashed glowing rock and ash that covered the city of Puebla. No one died, but the city’s airport was forced to close. Particles from the eruption also pose a health risk to the 25 million people who live within 60 miles of the volcano.
Popocatepetl has geologically grumbled since April, although its last significant eruption was in 2000.
As is the case whenever volcanic activity captures global headlines, American media outlets discussed the possibility of Yellowstone National Park’s super-volcano erupting over Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. While the fallout from such an event could be devastating – scientists believe there is enough plume trapped underneath the area to fill the Grand Canyon multiple times over – an eruption has not occurred in 640,000 years.
“Scientists believe [an] eruption will have global consequences as large amounts of ash and pulverized rock will be thrust into the atmosphere and fall back to earth. Volcanic ash and material will linger in the atmosphere, blocking out the sun, causing global temperatures to lower,” WNCT-9 reported Monday.
Finally, Japan continues to dig itself out from earthquakes last Thursday and Saturday near the city of Kumamoto. At least 41 people died in connection with the quakes, hundreds were injured, and 300,000 people were left without power, BBC reported.
Scientists told Asian Review on Monday that it was odd to have a cluster of earthquakes with the intensity of Thursday’s 6.4 magnitude quake and Saturday’s 7.3 magnitude quake.
“I don’t quite understand what is happening with the recent earthquakes, because it’s an unfamiliar phenomenon,” said Yoshihisa Iio, a professor at Kyoto University’s Research Center for Earthquake Prediction, told the website.
Electronics giant Sony, which has an image sensor plant on the island of Kyushu, said it will shutter the facility while experts conduct a damage assessment. The same factory also produces components for Apple’s iPhone.
“We are not expecting any immediate supply disruption as we have some inventories right now,” a company spokesman told Reuters on Saturday.