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-----------------------------------------------   By Corey Conley  ------------------------------------------------- 

Just when you thought you could finally throw out all that Spam you bought for Y2K, you heard the end of the world was headed our way May 21st, 2011. Talk about a disappointment.
 
cloudStill, you may want to keep your bomb shelter clear for another year or so. According to one interpretation of the ancient Mayan calendar, the Earth is due for a dramatic overhaul in 2012. Although doomsayers have had a terrible track record so far (we’re still here, after all), they’re feeling lucky this time, with the recent rash of tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes making the front page news.
 
Last year Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, which may be the only geographic feature named by somebody rolling his face across a keyboard, erupted. Its gigantic ash cloud grounded planes all over the world, and smoked out air travel over Europe, leaving millions stranded. Now Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano wants a piece of the action, and is threatening to once again choke off pan-Atlantic travel.
 
While we don’t know how great the Mayans were at prediction (mainly because they missed their own decline), we decided we want our loyal readers to survive the coming probably-not-oclypse, so we whipped up this quick and painless guide to surviving volcanic eruptions.

volcanoThe First Rule of Volcano Survival:Get To High Ground
Monstrous, bubbling lava flows are the first thing that comes to mind when you think about volcanic eruptions. Whether they rush at you like scalding Hot Pocket filling, or mosey down your street at the pace of a hypoglycemic turtle, the way to dodge all lava flows is to get to higher ground.

The Second Rule of Volcano Survival:Get to High Ground
Moving to higher ground will also help you avoid the mud and debris flows (call them “lahars” if you want to sound smart) that the eruption causes. This is actually the deadliest part of the volcano, with huge rivers of dirt and ash pudding killing people miles and miles from the blast itself. These lahars actually make a distinct roaring sound, so listen up.

iceland2A Blast from the ‘Clast

What about the fireworks? Falling pieces of red-hot volcanic rock called “pyroclasts” can seriously ruin your day. If your volcano is losing its lunch all over you, protect your head any way that you can. If you can’t find sturdy shelter, head for the hills and put the tallest one between you and the hot stuff.
 
Pain in the Ash

You know those disaster movies that show a car driving through a snowstorm of ash? Don’t do that. Don’t expect European jetliners, you, or your car to run for long when sucking that stuff in. Ash is actually very tiny pieces of rock and glass, so if you must go out in it, make sure you use a wet cloth to cover your nose and mouth. If you’re stuck inside, tape off all windows, doors, and vents to keep it out. The goal is to preserve your life and not your body, like the hapless citizens of Pompeii in 79AD  
 
He Who Smelt It, Dealt It?
If you smell something foul after an eruption, don’t blame it on the dog. A volcano can emit deadly gases during an eruption. The good news? Just like lava and mud flows, these gases mostly stick to the low road, so you can avoid all three by getting to higher ground.
 
houseRun Forrest Run!
The most violent eruptions create a searing hot cloud of ash and fire that can move over 300 mph, laying waste to everything in its path. If you see it your options are already slim, but try to use your last seconds on earth to move toward a steep hill or overhang, a basement, or a bomb shelter.  If you’re feeling really lucky, bodies of water will probably buy you some time, but only as long as you can hold your breath. If you manage to survive the initial blast underwater, cover your eyes and mouth with your soaked shirt before you surface.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 123 - September 4102
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