Monday, January 25, 2010

Group Stop Blog Entry- Natalie Molz

Natalie Molz

I enjoyed visiting White Island more than any other place so far. I have never been on an active volcano, and I think it's awesome that it could have erupted at any moment while we were on it. From pictures it looked like we were on mars. It was interesting too to see the acidic water in the middle of the volcano. Our tour guide told us that a man had committed suicide there but no traces of him were ever found. It's amazing that a body of water can be so powerful as to virtually dissolve all traces of someone. Seeing the steam come out of cracks in the rocks was also pretty powerful. The experience made me feel really realize how powerful nature is. In an instant we could have all perished if the volcano were to erupt. In a second, if one of us had slipped into the acidic water we would have died. It made me think about how little control I ultimately have in life. In a second our fates can be decided by a natural disaster and there is inevitably very little we can do to stop it.

While on the volcano I didn't see any animals other than birds. Seeing as the birds were able to fly, if they could not find food on the volcano they could simply fly back to the mainland whereas other animals would starve. The guide told us that when people used to work on the volcano the brought over rats to see if they could survive. Only the rats and very few other animals could make it under such harsh conditions. There was also a little area right of the volcano that was said to be infested with sharks. While we didn't see any sharks when we were actually on the volcano, once on the boat we saw a shark (probably a lone hammerhead) and a pod of dolphins.
At some points in our walk around the volcano, the sulfuric smell grew so strong that we needed to put on our face masks. There were some pieces of pure sulfur on the ground and a lot of rocks had a yellow dust on them from the sulfur. There was some water that was so filled with sulfur that it could clean the dirtiest penny. We dipped half of a dirty coin in the water and could see the obvious distinction between the clean part and the dirty part. As powerful as the chemicals in the water was however, it was also safe to drink. It tasted exactly like it smelled, and while it might not kill you to drink the water, it certainly was not pleasant.

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