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Blow-Up

Richard Fortey, 2 October 1997

Volcanoes: Crucibles of Change 
by Richard Fisher, Grant Heiken and Jeffrey Hulen.
Princeton, 344 pp., £25, July 1997, 9780691012131
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... On 21 August 1986, Hadari, a peasant farmer in the highlands of the Cameroon, was woken by a rumbling sound. Startled, he observed vapours pour from the edge of the nearby volcanic Lake Nyos, to form a miasmic cloud which silently spilled over the edge of the lake and sought lower ground, like a heavy morning mist. By the following day seventeen hundred people lay dead in the valley villages of Subum, Cha and Nyos ...

Awfully Present

Thomas Jones: The Tambora Eruption, 5 February 2015

Tambora: The Eruption that Changed the World 
by Gillen D’Arcy Wood.
Princeton, 293 pp., £19.95, April 2014, 978 0 691 15054 3
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... as not especially consequential. In Volcanoes: Crucibles of Change (1997), Richard Fisher, Grant Heiken and Jeffrey Hulen devote only half a sentence to it: ‘The dust cloud … lasted less than two years, and its effects upon the environment, though harmful to people, were short-lived.’ But Wood, who intends no hyperbole in his subtitle, makes ...

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