Back: Pinatubo Five Years Later
MANILA, PHILIPPINES. June 15, 1996.
Five years ago today, Mount Pinatubo
blew its stack, and the island of Luzon — and the entire world
— is still suffering from the aftereffects.
The ash cloud created by the eruption has
circled the globe several times. Some 20 million tons of sulfur
dioxide contained in this cloud have been injected into the
stratosphere, and it was estimated that global temperatures
dropped about half degree Celsius between 1991 and 1993.
A bit over a year after Pinatubo erupted,
a lava dome began to build up in the new caldera. Fresh magma
rose from far below the mountain, and the volcano erupted again,
but not as violently. Heavy rains that fell during the 1994
monsoon season triggered numerous lahars, which again devastated
The pyroclastic flows that filled up valleys
have kept much of their heat over the years. Temperatures, as
high as 900 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius), are still
being recorded, and this heat may be retained for decades! When
water from streams or underground seepage comes into contact
with the hot deposits, it often explodes and sends more ash
down on the countryside. Rice paddies and sugarcane fields that
weren't burned in the eruption have recovered, but those buried
under lava flows and lahars will be unproductive for years to
come. Despite all the destruction, some of the volcanic materials
have seeped into the surrounding soil, enriching it with their
nutrients. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of today's
islanders will inherit revitalized land.
1. Fertilization of soil is a long-term effect
to the _________ caused by volcanic eruptions.
2. Describe one way in which the atmosphere may impact the lithosphere
after a volcanic eruption.
3. True or False: The eruption of Mount Pinatubo has only affected
the island of Luzon. Provide reasons for your answer.