All paroxysms should be so lovely

The human body and life cycle are used regularly to define the volcano because it is all that we have to try and understand that which is larger than us. A volcano is born, sleeps, and dies. A crater has a mouth; lava traces a path with its fingers. If only the analogy could be reversed and the metaphors could come from the earth and be applied to us.

Sadly, our paroxysms tend to be far less glorious than those of Etna. Agony, burst, ebullition, fit, flare, flush, gush;  this tiny sample of synonyms for the word connote highly negative associations in the human form.

These still photos of the Nov 16-17 Etna event show that in geological form, paroxysm is magnificent. The truly sublime aspect of eruption, however, comes through more clearly in video of the same paroxysm event.

As always, Erik Klemetti's Wired Science Eruptions post on the event is a good one and also contains links at the end to some of the many webcams monitoring Etna (should you tire of the pandacam?).


photo credit: Tom Pfeiffer

photo credit: Tom Pfeiffer