Geology And Geophysics

Life near an Active Volcano

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"Life near an Active Volcano"
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Life Goes On?

Imagine a world with thick grey clouds that block out the sunlight. Think of freezing temperatures that persist for months, and imagine being hungry constantly. Could you survive in a world like that?

Three thousand generations ago those circumstances faced our ancestors, and left them fighting for their lives. With no time to adapt to nature, people needed to find a new way of life.

The largest volcanic eruption in the world happened during a time beyond most peoples thoughts. The shock of the material driven from the volcano would have been felt everywhere in the world.

During an archaeological dig in India, 25-foot thick ash deposits were found. Scientists believe that clouds of ash had been pushed from the Toba volcano. The clouds spread from the Indian Ocean as far as the Middle East.

Thick clouds of ash blocked out he sun, leaving temperatures to drop 12oC (22oF). This caused cooler and drier climates, and ash being like cement upon entering the lungs would've made it impossible to breath.

On the Indonesian Island of Sumatra the largest crater lake in the world can be found. Seven thousand miles from the crater lake is Greenland where ash, sulfur, and calcium were found in ice and rock samples.

The rock and ice samples helped scientists to determine the time of the eruption and how long it lasted. The eruption tormented mankind for two weeks. What was to follow the eruption brought the true test of whether human life would continue or be brought to their knees forever.

The rock and ice samples also revealed a six-year plague rocked the Earth. More lives were lost during that plague than that of the volcanic eruption. That plague was a volcanic winter.

The volcanic winter left many of the northern hemisphere's plants weak, dying, and tasteless. With no plants to eat animals fell to their deaths.

This cause and effect left our ancestors to starve, and made it hard to reproduce, a hard reality to their survival.

With lack of food, water, and the appalling conditions nature offered the world's population shrunk. Geneticists (someone who studies heredity), found that there are not many differences in our DNA. This left the geneticists to follow our ancestral line.

Geneticists discovered that at one time the world's population was 10,000 people or less. They also discovered that roughly 500 females would've been reproducing at the time.

How did the people of those times survive? Their survival was thanks to three tropical areas with high rainfall and a large population capacity. Evidence of this population growth was found in Africa.

Was it luck, or was it smarts that helped our ancestors survive that disaster? I'm afraid that answer died with our ancestors thousands of years ago.

More about this author: Lesley Banks

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