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Rosetta Stones

Rosetta Stones

Adventures in the good science of rock-breaking.

A Volcano Changes Everything

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We focus a lot here on geology (this being a geology blog and all). But the thing I love about science is how you can start with one and end up visiting most of the rest as you explore. For instance: take the Mount St. Helens eruption. It's a hell of a geology story, one which isn't nearly finished - but that dramatic geologic moment caused a cascade of other events that have scientists of all stripes sitting up and taking notice.

It also has them saying, "Well, that was unexpected."

For a look at why scientists are surprised at how the flora and fauna are recovering in the devastated area, and why insects may be a bigger player in the succession game than we'd considered before now, see Eric Sorensen's fascinating article "A New Land" in Washington State Magazine. For one thing, you'll learn a bit about why these beautiful little flowers are vitally important to forest recovery in a blast zone:

Lupine growing in the devastated area at Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Lupine growing in the devastated area at Johnston Ridge Observatory.

And why willows change everything. Well, lots of things. Volcanoes going ba-boom change a lot, too.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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