the Ring of Fire
When I was a child in the 50s, one of my favorite TV
shows was Mighty Mouse. "Here I come to save the
day!" was the shout of the muscle-bound mouse who was
guardian of all that was good.
Besides being an example of doing good and helping
people, Mighty Mouse taught me things about the world,
because he was truly democratic. He saved people
It was a Mighty Mouse cartoon that taught me about the
next volcano--half a world away from Vesuvius. In 1883,
Krakatoa erupted on a small island between Java and
Sumatra in Indonesia, destroying 2/3 of the island and
killing 36,417 people.
The blast was heard 3,000 miles away, and its shock wave
registered up to five days later, reverberating seven times
around the world. Ash rose 80 kilometers, affecting
weather patterns for the next five years.
Mighty Mouse showed his true democratic nature when he
rescued Krakatoa Katy, who was "no lady when she starts
to swing her sarong." That was pretty racy for the
straitlaced 50s, even in a song about mice.
Krakatoa was just one of the volcanoes on the Ring of
Fire, the rim around the Pacific Ocean where tectonic
plates collide. As one plate moves under another
(subduction), it can touch off a volcano along the line
And that particular point on the Java Trench isn't through
yet. A new volcano, Anak Krakatoa, "Child of Krakatoa,"
has arisen over the past 85 years to a height of 300 meters
and began erupting in May of 2008. We have yet to see if
the child will mimic its destructive parent.
Krakatoa before the
Mighty Mouse with Krakatoa