‘I should warn you, you’re standing in what’s probably the most dangerous spot on Earth’, so said the tour guide we’d followed, with a small group of other tourists, to the emerging caldera of the reforming volcano at Santorini. She went on to tell us the fumarole a few yards distant was issuing at least four lethal gases, and the developing volcano had erupted unexpectedly a few decades previously, ‘…and might again, at any time!’. But there was laughter in her eyes and tone of voice.
It was a wonderfully warm day, the sun was shining, our tour boat, complete with drinks to enjoy on deck, awaited us when we finished our tour, and the warm breeze dispersed the killer gasses before they could poison us. As we continued our wander around the bare ground, we spotted numerous monitors, every one of which was sending signals back to the centre on shore to warn of any activity. We knew we’d have plenty of time to board the boat and sail to the far side of the island should a threatened eruption occur.
It struck me, there on that smouldering, toxic, rocky outcrop awaiting its next eruption, that this is how and where all life on Earth originated. Nature is a remarkable giver of life, producing flora and fauna from the most unpromising of environments. Just as well, considering the mess we humans have made of the gift nature provided us, eh?
Some of my pictures appear in the Gallery.
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