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The Daily Volcano Quote: oceans of lava 17 June 2011

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From the record of the eruptions of Vesuvius it is evident that the volcanic energy has been increasing in intensity from the time of Pliny down to the present day. During the last two hundred and thirty-eight years more eruptions have been recorded than during the whole of the preceding eighteen centuries. The same increase of energy is also visible in Etna and the Lipari Isles. A study of the table of the frequency of eruption in these three volcanic centres points to a reciprocity in their action that proves them to be outlets to one and the same great reservoir of heated matter. … The attraction of the sun and moon … exercises the same kind of influence on the subterranean lava surface as the water of the ocean. But since the tidal influence only produces appreciable effect on large sheets of water, the observed effects on the lava imply a large molten surface beneath the earth, in which the lava tides originate. And when the superior mobility of particles of water over those of lava is taken into account, we are driven to the conclusion that the lava ocean under Vesuvius must be enormous, and comparable in size to the Atlantic or the Pacific.

‘Vesuvius’, The Pall Mall Gazette, 10 March 1869, p. 12. From a review of John Phillips, Vesuvius (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1869).

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