A volcano for PROFIT!

Posted: April 10, 2011 in Numbers & Statistics, Random facts and WTFs, Rants

I was watching a documentary on Channel 7TWO yesterday. It was about Vesuvius, the volcano near Naples, Italy , which destroyed the city of Pompeii in 79 AD.

The program was quite interesting and informative. They were talking about geological aspects of this volcano, how often it erupts, the history of its activity, what are the worst possible case scenario if it becomes hyperactive in modern day Italy, how the government designs strategies for evacuation, etc. Very interesting stuff.

But, I didn’t like one aspect of it. Throughout the entire running time, the authors were implying that people who build cities near Vesuvius and live there are just a bunch of ignorant idiots who put themselves in purposeless danger and don’t even think about their future.

Now, let’s just try to understand why people come to these regions in the first place. It would seem quite irrational to ignore the fact that you’re living next to a bad-ass volcano, which ejaculates titanic amounts of deadly ashes once every 1.5 generations, burning everything in the 5 km radius. So, is there a rational reason for people to endanger themselves by inhabiting these ares? Yes, there is.

Once a volcano erupts, the ashes that contain all kinds of interesting chemical elements and compounds, mix with the soil and turn the region into one of the most fruitful grounds on the planet for generations ahead. Agricultural business thrives in seismo-active regions. Just in 5-10 years of collecting the reach harvest, people make more money than needed to recover from a disaster. Economy is booming because of that.

I believe that people should always use the potential of their surroundings at a maximum rate, for the sake of Civilization development (in a way that doesn’t permanently damage the ecosystem, of course).

Taking an advantage of dangerous conditions is a good skill to have, and I respect people of Naples for that.


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