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The Daily Volcano Quote: volcanoes the safety valves of the globe 24 June 2011

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We regard the existence of volcanoes as evidential of divine benevolence … we refer now to active and not extinct volcanoes. And these, we are aware, are almost universally regarded as exhibitions of the displeasure of God, rather than of his benevolence. It is indeed true, that they are often terrific exhibitions of his power; and when he employs them as penal inflictions, they signally manifest the sterner features of the divine character. Yet we maintain that the design of volcanoes is to preserve and not to destroy. They have been denominated ‘the safety valves of our globe;’ and this quaint expression conveys a forcible idea of what we mean by the benevolent design of this mighty agency. If it be indeed true, as most geologists now admit, that even at this day the earth contains extensive accumulations of intensely heated matter, embracing perhaps all its central parts, then may it be literally true that volcanoes are the safety valves of the globe. For if such molten reservoirs do not occasionally have vent, the vapour and gases generated within them, would burst the globe asunder. The phenomena of earthquakes admonish us of the consequences of closing these valves; for they are produced by the struggles of these vapours and gases to escape; and until they do escape through volcanic vents, they heave and fissure the solid strata over whole continents; and in past days they have been far more destructive to property and life than volcanoes. But so soon as the force is sufficient to lift the safety valve, that is, to uncap the volcano, the earthquake ceases. Let the valve be heavy enough, and the earth would ere long be blown to atoms. To prevent such a catastrophe, God has scattered more than two hundred of these safety valves over its surface.

‘The divine benevolence: illustrated by facts drawn from geology’, The Scottish Christian Herald, vol. 1, no. 23 (6 August 1836), p. 358.

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1. Carolina Liechtenstein - 24 June 2011

Indeed is the venting of volcanos important for the release of all the residual energy still locked up in our earth – that from the formation of the solar system! And earthquakes also reflect that, moving ground as the massive convective currents move – those believed to be miles under our feet. I once conversed with a very old retired research scientist that was rather mad in his advanced age, and in conversation, he claimed to know how to predict and prevent earthquakes! That whole preventive stance is dangerously wanting to play God. I’m all for researching and finding a good warning system for earthquakes, and do believe there are EM and seismic precursors that can be tapped if we develop the right tech and programming. But the idea of preventing nature from doing her work is plain crazy. Anyways, I did have lively fun talking to this colorful fellow! I bought him a beer.

2. Safety Girl - 25 June 2011

Volcanoes as a global safety mechanism, interesting take I never really thought of volcanoes that way before.

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