Dangerous Neighbors highlights the positive and negative aspects of volcanic activity. A volcano is a tourist attraction in many countries. In Italy, people trek to Mount Vesuvius to enjoy a warm mud bath or enjoy a swim in a hot swimming pool. This is possible because of the volcanic activity. I live in Hawaii. I have seen the beauty of a lava flow. I don't mean to sound ignorant, but I did not know how mud flows ash flows and steam can also cause damage to a landscape. This book reinforces my belief that a while a volcano can cause great destruction, it can also produce great beauty.
In the Philippines, people enjoy fresh tilapia fish in the crates of Taal volcano. There is a neat picture in the book of a stamp that commemorates the eruption of the Taal volcano in 1965. Tourists climb Mount Fuji in Japan ever year despite the volcanic activity around the area. Ecuador grows the most beautiful roses because of the volcanic activity. Coffee beans grown in Washington State can create delicious expresso coffee that I love to drink.
This book also highlights the destructive effects that a volcano can have on a country. Volcano ash destroyed an elementary school in Japan. I learned that volcanic ash contains glassy particles that can melt anything it touches. The steam from a volcano has enough force to create physical damage as well. Volcano can emit large amounts of carbon dioxide that makes it hard to breathe. I learned that mud flows from a volcano can have a powerful effect on land. Mud flows killed mammoth elephants in Mexico City. I wish this book explained more how scientists study the ground for volcanic activity, and how they can detect harmful gases from volcanoes. I think that would have been fascinating to learn. The information that Grant Heiken does provide is interesting enough for me to recommend this book. Dangerous Neighbors motivates me to do more research of volcanoes on my own to learn more.
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