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The Daily Volcano Quote: uses of a lava flow 22 June 2011

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The large crater of San Salvador volcano contained a crater lake in the early 20th century. However, in June 1917, the lake boiled away in the same week that an earthquake did considerable damage to cities on all sides of the volcano, and lava began to flow from the volcano’s north side … The lava flows destroyed highly productive coffee farms. The black basaltic lava covered about 16km2, which is still devoid of vegetation other than some lichens and occasional grasses. The principal use of the lava flow today is to filter rainwater that supplies San Salvador. A grim use of the area developed in the civil war from 1979 through 1992 as paramilitary squads used the lava flow as their favoured place to dispose of bodies.

Payson Sheets, ‘People and volcanoes in the Zapotitan Valley, El Salvador’, in John Grattan & Robin Torrence (eds.), Living under the Shadow: The Cultural Impacts of Volcanic Eruptions (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2010), p. 83.

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