Thursday, June 14, 2012

Casting a Volcanic Shadow Over History

There are strong links between the human race and volcanic eruptions. About 75,000 B.C. an eruption of  Toba volcano, Sumatra, which resulted in a decade long volcanic winter, is linked to a bottleneck in human evolution and the formation of trade connections.

Around 43,000 B.C., a cold snap due to the eruptions of  Campi Flageri in the Naples area volcano is linked to the extinction of Neanderthals. Modern humans also have a gene mutation that increases the time for neural wiring--making us more intelligent.

In about 1600 B.C., the massive eruption of Santorini on Thera and subsequent tidal wave brings down the Bronze Age superpower located on Crete. It also engenders the tale of Atlantis. A cluster of volcanic activity including Hekla on Iceland ends the Bronze Age, throwing civilization into a dark age.

Around 400 A.D., a flurry of volcanic activity, including the eruption of Krakatoa, freezes the Rhine, spreading famine and bringing about the end of the Roman Empire.

Volcanic activity in Iceland in 1783, caused the cold winter that froze over ports as far south as New Orleans and drove the French people to the Revolution.

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