9-Extinctions: Not your science fair volcano
For many of us, the word “extinctions” conjures up images of dinosaurs, asteroids, and (maybe?) volcanos. And while that last point did likely play a role in the demise of the dinosaurs, volcanos in their own right can go extinct. In this episode, we chatted with volcanologist Janine Krippner, Honorary Research Associate at the University of Waikato, about what exactly makes a volcano extinct, the difference between volcanic ash and smoke, and what it’s like being up close and personal with a volcano.
Oh, and the best volcano movie (spoiler: it’s not Volcano).
This episode was produced by Shane M Hanlon and mixed by Collin Warren. Cover art, editing, and production assistance by Jace Steiner.
Shane Hanlon: 00:00 Hi, Vicky.
Vicky Thompson: 00:01 Hi, Shane.
Shane Hanlon: 00:02 Do you remember, did you do science fair projects growing up?
Vicky Thompson: 00:08 I did a lot more art fairs, but I definitely did some science projects.
Shane Hanlon: 00:12 Do you remember any of them?
Vicky Thompson: 00:15 Yeah. I remember a really complicated, correct me with the science words, but a really complicated, my father and I spent a lot of time building a tower out of balsa wood?
Shane Hanlon: 00:28 Okay. Sure.
Vicky Thompson: 00:29 That was supposed to hold weight through the center.
Shane Hanlon: 00:33 Okay.
Vicky Thompson: 00:33 We put the tower on two tables.
Shane Hanlon: 00:36 Yeah.
Vicky Thompson: 00:36 And the tower would be in between, and then the weight hung in between. I did not win that, I say it’s a competition, I don’t know if it was a competition. But I did not win that.
Shane Hanlon: 00:47 That’s interesting. I had totally forgotten about this, but I did something like that too.
Vicky Thompson: 00:51 Really?
Shane Hanlon: 00:52 Ours were bridges.
Vicky Thompson: 00:53 Okay.
Shane Hanlon: 00:54 They didn’t necessarily go, they weren’t vertical towers, but same idea. We would build a bridge that was, I don’t know, like a foot long and over some sort of a crevasse.
Vicky Thompson: 01:05 Sure.
Shane Hanlon: 01:06 We would hang stuff off of them and see what they would hold up to. This is really funny. This is also reminding me. I did fine at that. I was actually going to be an engineer before I decided to be a biologist.
Vicky Thompson: 01:20 Wow.
Shane Hanlon: 01:20 I’m good with the visual stuff. But there was a, do you remember the bar Argonaut in DC?
Vicky Thompson: 01:28 Yes.
Shane Hanlon: 01:28 Have you ever heard of this bar?
Vicky Thompson: 01:29 I think so.
Shane Hanlon: 01:31 Okay. So a bar in D.C., and that’s not the important part, but they had science trivia every week. This was a few years ago now.
Vicky Thompson: 01:38 Oh.
Shane Hanlon: 01:38 And part of the trivia is obviously to remember science facts, but there was always an engineering challenge. And it’d be things like, “Drop an egg out a window and see if it will hold.” Or, “Build a bridge and see if it will hold,” some sort of a thing or whatever.
Vicky Thompson: 01:53 Wait. This was at a bar?
Shane Hanlon: 01:54 At a bar. Yeah.
Vicky Thompson: 01:56 So you were, wait.
Shane Hanlon: 01:57 We were building stuff.
Vicky Thompson: 01:58 You were building stuff at a bar and dropping eggs out of windows at a bar?
Shane Hanlon: 02:01 Yeah. They’d give us like glue and Q-tips and tongue depressors.
Vicky Thompson: 02:05 This is not a casual happy hour challenge.
Shane Hanlon: 02:07 Oh, no. This was intense.
Vicky Thompson: 02:09 Okay.
Shane Hanlon: 02:10 I’m a scientist by training. I’m fine with science, recalling stuff, but I was awesome at engineering challenges.
Vicky Thompson: 02:17 Oh, cool.
Shane Hanlon: 02:18 Yeah, so didn’t really do a lot of it growing up, but I guess I made up for it in my later years.
Vicky Thompson: 02:25 You blossomed. You were a late bloomer.
Vicky Thompson: 02:30 Yeah. I would’ve had a lot of fun at that. I’m just really competitive.
Shane Hanlon: 02:34 Yeah.
Vicky Thompson: 02:34 What I lack in skill and training I make up for in intensity.
Shane Hanlon: 02:42 Science is fascinating. But don’t just take my word for it. Join us as we hear stories from scientists for everyone. I’m Shane Hanlon.
Vicky Thompson: 02:52 And I’m Vicky Thompson.
Shane Hanlon: 02:53 And this is Third Pod from the Sun.
Shane Hanlon: 02:58 I’m a bit surprised that when either of us think of science fairs, we don’t think of what I think is the stereotypical science fair project. What do you think of when you think science fair?
Vicky Thompson: 03:14 Growing plants. Electric potatoes.
Shane Hanlon: 03:18 Oh, that’s a good one.
Vicky Thompson: 03:19 Yeah, that’s a good one.
Shane Hanlon: 03:19 Oh, Vicky, I love so much that you’re not a scientist. This works so well.
Vicky Thompson: 03:25 Oh, no.
Shane Hanlon: 03:25 No, no, no, no. That is a genuine statement.
Vicky Thompson: 03:28 Yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 03:29 When I think of science fair, I think of the volcano.
Vicky Thompson: 03:32 Okay.
Shane Hanlon: 03:35 Goodness, I don’t know. The baking soda and vinegar? I think that’s the chemical reaction?
Vicky Thompson: 03:39 That sounds right.
Shane Hanlon: 03:39 I should know this.
Vicky Thompson: 03:40 You should know this.
Shane Hanlon: 03:40 I’ve never done it though.
Vicky Thompson: 03:41 You’re a bonafide scientist.
Shane Hanlon: 03:44 Bonafide scientist. Throw that back in my face.
Vicky Thompson: 03:46 Yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 03:47 Well, along that line though, we are here today not necessarily to talk about school science fair projects or any of that. But we are talking about volcanoes.
Vicky Thompson: 03:56 Yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 03:57 But not necessarily homemade ones. Talking about ones out in the world. And so this week we have an interview with a real life volcanologist, who among other things, in keeping with our theme of extinctions, is going to talk about what exactly it means when volcanoes go extinct.
Vicky Thompson: 04:16 Oh, I can’t wait.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 04:20 Hi, I’m Dr. Janine Krippner. I am an honorary associate researcher at the University of Waikato here in New Zealand, and I am a volcanologist.
Shane Hanlon: 04:33 So volcanology’s a really broad area. What’s your specialty? What about volcanoes?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 04:41 My specialty’s kind of broad too. I’ve worked on several different kinds of eruptions. So Volcanian, like letting off kind of relatively small ash plumes, Strombolian, which we see at places like Etna, where there are these beautiful, almost firework displays. I’ve worked on pyroclastic flows, which are incredibly dangerous and deadly. I’ve used remote sensing, which is satellites, so data from space to look at eruptions as well. And that’s what I might be getting a little more into again. And on top of all of that, I’m really interested in how we can communicate about volcanoes and volcanic hazards so that people can help themselves stay safe around volcanoes.
Shane Hanlon: 05:23 So you’re kind of a Janine of all trades, essentially.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 05:28 I just love volcanoes, all of it.
Shane Hanlon: 05:36 Since you are kind of this, you have a broad knowledge base, I wanted to talk to you today about this theme we’re doing on extinctions. And I think when a lot of folks think or hear the word extinct, they think biological extinction, which is understandable, but there are other things that go extinct. And so when we use the term extinction when comes to volcanoes, what does that actually mean?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 06:03 Basically means that volcano is never going to erupt again. It’s done, it’s lived its happy volcano erupting life, and now it’s just going to sit there. If it built up a massive cone, that’s going to slowly erode away, and become part of the environment around it. So it’s reached the end of its lifestyle.
Shane Hanlon: 06:21 Now, how do we know that’s the case versus being like dormant, for example.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 06:26 It’s a good question. And that can actually be pretty tough. There are some that are more obvious. If we look at the Hawaiian volcanic chain, for example, that’s an easy one. As you go further northwest, the islands are no longer active because the tectonic plate, the Pacific plate, has been moving through time. So the source of the magma below the surface is now no longer beneath those islands. It’s now beneath the Big Island and slightly offshore. So those volcanoes have been cut off from the magma source. Not going to erupt again.
Shane Hanlon: 07:03 I have to plead ignorance on how exactly volcanoes work. The biologist in me is partial, or I have my own bias when it comes to extinctions. Is that how volcanoes go extinct? Basically it’s like a cover that’s covering over the magma source, or they’re, like, through this tectonic plate shifting? Or there are other ways in which this can happen?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 07:22 Yeah. So it’s essentially any way that the magma is no longer reaching the surface, whether that’s because the magma is no longer there, the subsurface has changed. So we have a lot of volcanoes around subduction zones, which is where you have one tectonic plate subducting below the other. If the angle of that plate changes, so if it becomes deeper, or some kind of change like that, you can move the magma source away from a volcano.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 07:52 So the volcano itself is just like the pile of stuff that comes out during eruptions. The driver of eruptions is way below the surface. So we have hot spots like Hawaii, where we have these essentially mantle plumes of hot areas where a lot of magma can melt with really high temperatures and that’s why we have those really runny lavas. But if we have a tectonic plate moving over it, eventually the location of where that, if you think of, I mean, this is of course grossly simplifying it, but if you think of a sort of pipe. It’s not a pipe, but if you think of a pipe going to the surface, if you’re moving the actual ground away from it, there’s no longer access to the magma.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 08:33 It’s definitely not a pipe though. Please no one repeat that. Visual only.
Shane Hanlon: 08:38 Just to clarify, not a pipe.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 08:41 Not a pipe.
Shane Hanlon: 08:41 Can’t say it enough.
Shane Hanlon: 08:47 So, Vicky, do you know how magma works?
Vicky Thompson: 08:50 How magma works? I guess define works. I’m thinking it’s hot. It’s gooey. It is made underground.
Shane Hanlon: 08:58 Yeah.
Vicky Thompson: 08:58 And expands.
Shane Hanlon: 08:58 And it comes up the comes up.
Vicky Thompson: 09:03 It comes up.
Shane Hanlon: 09:04 Though to quote Janine, not through a pipe. That is an imperfect, an imperfect metaphor. In all fairness, we talked about this, I’m a biologist. I didn’t take geology in school.
Vicky Thompson: 09:15 I took geology.
Shane Hanlon: 09:17 Well, it sounds like neither of us, you have a leg up on me, but neither of us are truly understanding of the internal workings of these things.
Vicky Thompson: 09:24 No.
Shane Hanlon: 09:24 So let’s go back to Janine to figure some of this out.
Vicky Thompson: 09:27 Okay.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 09:28 Yeah, you can definitely have areas where if there’s a huge, like a really thick mountain range that’s in the way, or, you know, there’s lot of granite around Washington, DC where you are. So you know granite is this incredibly hard body. What granite is, is actually a magma reservoir that never erupted. As we can see, there are huge amounts of granite and rocks like granite around the world. There’s a lot of magma that never actually erupts. The type of lava, sorry, magma. Magma below the surface, lava above the surface.
Shane Hanlon: 10:01 Important distinction.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 10:03 Also, no pipes.
Shane Hanlon: 10:03 Right.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 10:04 But so we have the magma and it’s really sticky. It’s viscous. It’s really hard to move. The stuff is, it’s not solid, but it’s not runny like the lavas we see on Hawaii either. And it’s also not just liquid magma under the surface. There’s a mixture of solid rock in it. There’s a lot of crystals that can grow in it. So it can actually be this stuff that’s super hard to get moving. And that’s generally, very generally, why we don’t see a lot of really big, really explosive, eruptions. The stuff can just get to the point where it’s just too sluggish. It’s not moving up anymore.
Shane Hanlon: 10:42 Can the eruption happen, maybe not an eruption, but can magma get through at a source that’s not what we would consider a volcano?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 10:52 If it gets through, then it is a volcano.
Shane Hanlon: 10:53 Oh, is that literally the definition?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 10:53 That’s the definition of a volcano.
Shane Hanlon: 10:57 Okay.
Vicky Thompson: 11:05 Shane, how do you not know what a volcano is?
Shane Hanlon: 11:10 We’re learning what I don’t know this episode. This is really fun. In all fairness, I never really thought of the technical definition.
Vicky Thompson: 11:19 Okay. All right. Well, let’s get back to maybe something a little easier that you can maybe handle better.
Shane Hanlon: 11:24 Okay.
Shane Hanlon: 11:26 Getting back to this idea of what makes a volcano extinct or, not or, dormant. Volcanoes can’t become un-extinct, correct, because then it’s not extinct in the first place.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 11:41 Exactly.
Shane Hanlon: 11:42 Got you. Do by chance know like what the longest period of time has been between an eruption of any volcano? Like is there a well-known case of this happening?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 11:56 Yeah, so there have definitely been volcanoes that have erupted when people didn’t know it was a volcano. I believe Pinatubo, I think. I could be wrong, but I think Pinatubo was one of these cases where it was a pretty low mountain range. It had been eroded away because it usually produces explosive volcanic deposits, which erode much faster. So there’s like little bits of volcanic ash, if you think of sand and rocks and that kind of stuff, as opposed to thick, solid lava flows. So that ended up producing the second largest eruption of the last century.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 12:32 People started feeling earthquakes and then volcanologists went in and investigated it and went, “Oh gosh, this thing really produces big eruptions when it goes.”
Shane Hanlon: 12:41 Yeah, I was going to ask, are there any examples of folks thinking a volcano was extinct and then it actually erupting?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 12:51 Yeah. Definitely. Because if you think of our human lives is so short. For a volcano to be classed as young, it erupted within the last 10, 12,000 years. So we go in, geologists, and look at what volcanos have done in the past and we can get ages. We call it dating. Not the fun kind of dating most people think of, but we can date those rocks. So get an age for that rock depending on what type of rock it is or if there’s things like tree bits that have been incorporated into the deposit. And sometimes you’re like, “Oh gosh, this thing’s like way more active than we thought it was.” And that’s, got to have the time and the resources to do it, and the technology becomes better as we go too, so sometimes we find out a volcano is way more active than we thought it was. And we should probably pay more attention to it.
Shane Hanlon: 13:48 See, I’m not the only one who doesn’t get it.
Vicky Thompson: 13:52 Okay. You can keep telling yourself that.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 13:56 When it comes to how volcanoes work, the understanding, in my experience, is very, very, low. And same goes with biology, right? Like I literally am in a human body, but if you ask me to point out most of the parts of it, I’d be like, “This general region? So it’s like one of those things where we think we know a lot about it, and then once you actually start thinking of the specifics, there’s not a lot of knowledge there.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 14:21 So one of the most widespread things that comes out of a volcano is volcanic ash. And something that is a pet peeve of mine, and all my friends know this and people make fun of me for it, is I can’t stand seeing it being called smoke. Especially when people are saying it’s spewing smoke. Like they’re just, ah, hate it. But there’s an important difference. Smoke is something that is caused by combustion and it has its own hazards, especially depending on what’s burning, but volcanic ash is pulverized rock. So it’s got glass in it. It’s got crystals in it. It’s rock. It can be extremely fine. It can be up to two millimeters in diameter, these grains. So that the hazards are very, very different. Like you don’t want to be breathing in either smoke or volcanic ash, but smoke won’t collapse your house if it accumulates. Volcanic ash can damage water supplies. If it gets in your eyes, it sucks, speaking from experience.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 15:21 So it’s just such a simple thing. It’s the most common thing we see coming out of a volcano. But the idea that it’s actually exploded rock bits is usually quite surprising to most people.
Shane Hanlon: 15:34 I’m going to say it makes sense. Just thinking about it kind of intuitively, right? Smoke rises. So smoke would go away, but at least in my experience, any sort of aftermath of volcanoes where it hasn’t been the lava of what you’re seeing, what you’re seeing is this ash that’s deposited on cars, or like you said, people’s houses. So, yeah, it’s definitely not that. I mean I understand why folks might think that way, but definitely an important distinction from not just a vernacular perspective, like literally a public safety perspective.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 16:05 Yeah. Yeah. And it’s also a pain in the butt perspective, too. I destroyed my first pair of glasses I wore in the field because if you get tiny bits of rock on your glasses and then you wipe it off with your shirt, you’ve just destroyed your lens. So cameras and all of that stuff, if you have ask on your car and you wipe it off. And you don’t want to be in an airplane in a volcanic ash plume either because that can shut down your engines. Whereas smoke generally won’t do that as far as I’m aware.
Shane Hanlon: 16:36 Yeah. That’s happened, right?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 16:38 Yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 16:39 I know that’s why the volcano in Iceland that I cannot pronounce.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 16:43 Eyjafjallajökull.
Shane Hanlon: 16:43 Thank you. I know that’s why they grounded a lot of flights when that erupted years, well, not years ago now, but, yeah, when it did.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 16:50 2010?
Shane Hanlon: 16:51 2010. I guess it is a while ago, but do you know if there have been instances where planes have like actively been caught in?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 16:59 Yes.
Shane Hanlon: 16:59 Like have had ash sucked in?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 17:01 Yeah. There have been multiple. Generally, they’ve experienced full engine failure. So planes going down. They’ve all managed to get the engines going again.
Shane Hanlon: 17:10 Oh.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 17:10 But if you can imagine the trauma you would experience from your plane suddenly plunging from the sky. That would be absolutely horrific experience in itself. So, yeah, we do not want planes going through volcanic ash.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 17:24 And the Eyjafjallajökull eruption actually spurred a lot of, okay, well how much ash does there have to be in order for it to be dangerous? Because people underneath that plume of very fine volcanic ash looking up couldn’t really see it. They might have seen something that was a bit hazy, but it’s not like a dark ash plume blocking out the sunlight. So a lot of research was then done into how much ash does it take to be dangerous?
Shane Hanlon: 17:56 Vicky. Have you ever seen a volcano erupt?
Vicky Thompson: 18:00 Yeah. Like right in the middle of DC. No, of course not. That’s dangerous. Have you ever seen one?
Shane Hanlon: 18:07 It would be concerning among other things if a volcano just like popped up in the middle of DC. Just add that to the list of problems that our country is going through.
Vicky Thompson: 18:16 Possibilities, yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 18:17 I mean, no. In person, no, I have not. Just in movies. But I did have a question about that for Janine.
Shane Hanlon: 18:24 You mentioned movies. So I think you and I have talked about this before. Dante’s Peak or Volcano?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 18:31 Dante’s Peak, 100%.
Shane Hanlon: 18:32 Why?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 18:33 The eruption is amazing. I mean, the lava flow sucks. You shouldn’t have a lava flow with that massively, massively, explosive eruption. But the explosive eruption part, where they have this pyroclastic racing down like destroying the forest and pyroclastic is that volcanic ash I spoke about, plus larger rocks, plus really hot gas, all racing down a volcano at incredibly high speeds. And this was actually based on the Mount St. Helens 1980 eruption. And they did an incredible job.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 19:05 Volcano, in Los Angeles, it’s not even a volcanic area, so.
Shane Hanlon: 19:13 Yeah, I actually, I was on a vacation in the North Cascades a few years ago now. And we stayed at this like small cottage, like right outside of North Cascades. There was like no internet, anything like that. But they had a heck of a DVD collection and we watched Dante’s Peak because it seemed quite fitting.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 19:32 Yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 19:33 And it holds up. I was actually pretty surprised.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 19:35 It does. It does. Not that since I’ve gained a lot more experience, I realized that the main character, Harry Dalton, was kind of being a jerk. He should not have been freaking out the town. They did need more data. And they kind of villainized the head of the team who’s like, “We need more data. Don’t go freaking out the townspeople.” Sit down and shut up kind of thing. But he was right. You can’t just go in there and be like, “Oh gosh, there was a few earthquakes. The volcano’s going to destroy the town.”
Dr. Janine Krip…: 20:01 The thing that I do like about the movie Volcano is that it actually shows the emergency management side of it. Like in Dante’s Peak they have the head of the team ordering a military evacuation. That doesn’t happen. That comes from someone else. So for the emergency managers out there, Dante’s Peak is not so great and Volcano is a bit better in that respect.
Shane Hanlon: 20:30 Dante’s Peak is my favorite. Have you seen Dante’s Peak?
Vicky Thompson: 20:33 I think I’ve seen Dante’s Peak, but I think I’m getting it confused with Lake Placid with the crocodile. Are they related?
Shane Hanlon: 20:46 No. They’re not related.
Vicky Thompson: 20:48 Okay.
Shane Hanlon: 20:48 I want to say no. There’s a really iconic water scene in Dante’s Peak where-
Vicky Thompson: 20:54 Okay.
Shane Hanlon: 20:54 Like the grandmother, spoiler alert, the grandmother kind of melts.
Vicky Thompson: 21:00 Oh.
Shane Hanlon: 21:00 So maybe that’s maybe that’s the imagery, like the water imagery?
Vicky Thompson: 21:05 Grandmas in water is the connection.
Shane Hanlon: 21:05 Grandma’s in water. Yeah. That might be the connection.
Vicky Thompson: 21:09 Yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 21:10 That we’re thinking about. Well, so while you and I can only talk about our favorite in movies related to volcanoes or otherwise.
Vicky Thompson: 21:20 Sure.
Shane Hanlon: 21:20 Janine actually gets to live it.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 21:22 So I’ve worked on several volcanoes. Ngauruhoe volcano in New Zealand, which is Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings.
Shane Hanlon: 21:29 Nice.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 21:29 I mean, the top of it is CGI. It’s not actively erupting like that, but that was the volcano I really fell in love with as a little girl, who would go down and visit them and I’d just stare at this thing. And I actually got to work on it. So climbing this steep volcano for the first time and then getting up and staring into the crater, which was my field site, which I’m still working on.
Shane Hanlon: 21:50 Very cool.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 21:50 Was just took my breath away. And another one would be looking at Tolbachik in Kamchatka, Russia, where there was this big lava flow that was in place two years before we were there and it was still really hot on the inside. It was like solid, but it was still really hot. So I went into this, a lot of people know of lava tubes. It’s where lava, the surface cools and forms solid rock and internally it keeps draining away so then you’re left with these big tubes within the lava flow. This was like a cavern. It was enormous. And I went down there with a colleague and it was so hot that my necklace I was wearing started burning my skin.
Shane Hanlon: 22:31 Oh my God.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 22:32 And my eyeballs started drying out. And it was just like this insane, amazing experience working on this lava flow over there. And, yeah, it’s anytime I’m on a volcano is this amazing mix of excitement and passion and feeling like, “Oh, I’m home. This is where I’m meant to be.”
Shane Hanlon: 22:52 Have you taken lava samples?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 22:53 Not active lava samples, no. Life goal though.
Shane Hanlon: 22:56 There’s this image in my mind. And I don’t know, I don’t know who it is, but like a guy going out, suit, pick, lava. How hot, or is there a number, like when you are close? I don’t know how long, like 10 feet, 20 feet, whatever. How hot on the surface is or can lava be? What kind of temperatures are we talking about?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 23:19 So if you think of when you’ve preheated an oven, if you’re like me and one of those great intelligent people who like open the oven door, don’t wait for it to cool, and like shove your face into it to grab whatever’s in. If you can think of that punch, that heat punch, that kind of like, whoa, your eyes are now like, you’re blinking and it’s really uncomfortable. Well, that’s only for a few seconds and it’s only around, I don’t know, it’s 180 degrees Celsius is usually, and I can’t remember what it is in Fahrenheit. What’s the usual temperature you’re cooking in Fahrenheit?
Shane Hanlon: 23:51 350.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 23:52 Yeah, that’s right.
Shane Hanlon: 23:52 There’s 350, 400 is Fahrenheit temperature.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 23:55 Yeah. So that’s 180 degrees Celsius.
Shane Hanlon: 23:59 Okay.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 23:59 For lava, we’re talking hundreds of degrees Celsius. When those lava flows you see at Hawaii actually erupt initially, they’re over a 1000 degrees Celsius.
Shane Hanlon: 24:10 Oh my gosh.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 24:10 So intense, intense, heat. I haven’t been near an active lava flow. I’ve been near a manmade lava flow where they put rock, lava rock, into a furnace and then produced this five meter long lava flow. And getting near that, it feels like intense sunburn. It’s really, really hot. And that was the tiniest amount of lava. So even when you’re wearing heat protective gear, you can’t stay there for very long. You’ve got to get in and out as soon as you can.
Shane Hanlon: 24:49 I personally don’t think I need to get up close and personal with a volcano.
Vicky Thompson: 24:54 No, of course. Me either, but I guess people do it, right? People that shouldn’t.
Shane Hanlon: 25:02 Yeah. Yeah. I mean, of course. And honestly, there are even safety recommendations for those who are enjoying, “enjoying volcanoes responsibly.” But those who are in areas that might have active volcanoes that could be active for hundreds or, heck, even thousands of years, they should even just know some things before going as well.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 25:24 Well, you have people who live around volcanoes. We now have, well, not so much in the last two years, but usually we have people who visit volcanoes. Like tourism, as we were just talking about, is massive. You can go to volcanoes, you can look over an active lava lake in some areas. Just always, always, keep in mind that volcanoes are inherently dangerous, even when they’re not erupting. You can have rock falls, landslides, flash floods. There are so many things that can go wrong on a volcano. Bears, wildlife, driving these crazy roads around volcanoes because it’s a really dynamic landscape. And just do a little bit of work, like who is the volcano observatory? If something happens, what do I need to think about? Most volcanic eruptions produce volcanic ash. Do you have a mask with you to protect against that? Do you know what to do? Do you know where to go to get good information?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 26:17 Because there is so much more bad information online about volcanoes than there is good information. So knowing who that source is. So it’s USGS in the United States. It’s GNS in New Zealand. Every country and sometimes regions within that country has that. And also the emergency management. Who is the emergency management agency that will be giving this information? Just before we go to a lot of areas, we check what vaccines we need. Do we need to get vaccinated against dengue fever or what is it, rabies? Just, if you’re going near an active volcano, know what to do if something happens. Just give a little bit of thought about it because there’s so many cases where volcanoes erupt and there are non-locals there and you’re so much more vulnerable if you just have no idea what to do.
Shane Hanlon: 27:17 Vicky, what’s the most unsafe thing you’ve done? Or one of the most unsafe things you’ve done in your life?
Vicky Thompson: 27:27 No, I literally have no idea. I’m trying to think.
Shane Hanlon: 27:29 I wish people could just see the look on your face. You’re like, “What? I don’t know.” You’ve lived a very safe life?
Vicky Thompson: 27:38 I have no idea. Well, I feel like I’ve lived a very safe life, but also like nothing. I feel like I’ve done a lot of things that felt very unsafe at the time, but in retrospect, I was just being soft.
Shane Hanlon: 27:54 Yeah. Yeah, and in all fairness, I mean, I wrote this question and I was thinking, “I don’t know.” I mean, I’ve broken some bones.
Vicky Thompson: 28:00 Oh.
Shane Hanlon: 28:01 I fell out with tree once because I was just being irresponsible, but yeah, I’m not actively putting myself in situations. Ooh, you got one?
Vicky Thompson: 28:09 A silly one.
Shane Hanlon: 28:09 Ooh.
Vicky Thompson: 28:11 I rode a very tiny circus bicycle with no hands and fell on my face. And obviously that’s not safe for a non-trained circus professional.
Shane Hanlon: 28:28 Well, I have to say if that’s the only thing that’s coming to mind, I think you and I are doing pretty well with ourselves.
Vicky Thompson: 28:40 Good. Okay.
Shane Hanlon: 28:40 Living quite responsible lives. And so with that, I want to thank Janine for chatting with us. This episode was produced by me, with audio engineering from Colin Warren.
Vicky Thompson: 28:49 We would love to hear your thoughts. Please rate and review this podcast. And you can find new episodes in your favorite podcasting app or at thirdpodfromthesun.com.
Shane Hanlon: 28:58 Thanks all. And we’ll see you next week.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 29:04 So yeah, it chose me, I guess. I didn’t chose volcanoes. The volcano life chose me.
Shane Hanlon: 29:12 Like when people get a dog or a cat that’s a rescue.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 29:16 Yes.
Shane Hanlon: 29:17 It’s like, “I didn’t rescue it. It rescued me.”
Dr. Janine Krip…: 29:19 “It rescued me.” Yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 29:21 Speaking as one of those people, right?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 29:23 Oh, yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 29:23 Like we didn’t rescue that dog. He’s living a fine life.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 29:28 Yes. Same goes with my two cats and my volcanoes, I guess, yeah.
Shane Hanlon: 29:34 I love the idea about thinking of like volcanoes as pets. They’re not pets.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 29:38 They’re not.
Shane Hanlon: 29:38 Just like they’re not pipes.
Dr. Janine Krip…: 29:39 You can have a pet rock.
Shane Hanlon: 29:40 Yeah. There’s no adopt of volcano program out there?
Dr. Janine Krip…: 29:45 No, there’s not currently. Maybe that’s way get us some good funding and volcano monitoring is adopt a volcano.
Shane Hanlon: 29:53 Oh, there you go. There you go.
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