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Lava junkies, victims and volcanologists have varying perspectives on volcanic power. In Hawaiian culture, volcanoes are viewed as both a destructive force and a renewing force. Volcanoes are essentially a cooling vent for the earth. Plate Tectonics Theory is explained and made a huge impact on geoscience. Hawaii's Kilauea, the world's most active volcano, attracts scientists who wish to study lava flows. A resident of the Hawaiian town of Kalapana recalls its destruction. "Lave junkies" consist of people ranging from Mark Twain to photographers. The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. destroyed the city of Pompeii, Italy.
Scientifically monitoring "sleeping giants" helps to better understand as well as predict future eruptions. Belonging to what is referred to as the Ring of Fire, New Zealand's Wairakei, is studied for its fumaroles (steam vents), as well as its emissions of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide (the rotten egg gas). The animal and human death toll of the Mt. Saint ...