Saturday, 29 April 2017


10 Unbelievable Hidden Homes
By Michelle Nati,
Oddee, 17 April 2017.

You may not know they're there, but check out ten amazing secret houses that are worthy of discovery...

1. A hidden triangular home built into the earth in Austin, Texas


Austin's Edgeland House is a unique, triangular home designed by Bercy Chen Studio that is built into the earth and covered with a thick layer of sod. It is highly efficient, and can stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer from the added thermal mass and insulation - and you certainly can't see it from the street!

The architects excavated 7 feet of soil from the site, and they installed a lush green roof. The home also features a “smart pool,” which provides additional thermal mass that ties into the geothermal heating and cooling system.

2. A cabin hidden in the remote mountainside of Norway that can hold 21 people


Norwegian architecture firm Snohetta created this completely remote cabin, built out of natural elements like rocks and grass. It is not only secluded, but it practically disappears into the landscape.

It's bigger than it looks in the photos - the 376-square-foot cabin can actually hold 21 people, so the architects claim. There's an eye-catching fireplace for guests to gather around, and the beds along the walls double as seats. There's even room near the entrance for cooking and storage.


You'll need some stamina to get there - it's on the Ã…krafjorden mountainside, so you can only go by foot or by horse, but once you do, you'll love the breathtaking views just the same.

3. A home built atop a 19th-century Victorian prison vault


This home, actually dubbed “Hidden House” by the architects, is located in London's Clerkenwell neighborhood and sits atop a former 19th-century Victorian prison vault.

The 775 square-foot residence, built by Coffey Architects for Selim Bayer, was specifically designed to not draw attention to itself while maximizing space and light. It is also is simplistically designed - storage is integrated into the walls, bespoke oak furniture matches the oak paneling, and floor-to-ceiling windows open up to a shared garden and a private patio.


"This special place is hidden, part building, part garden, mostly sky. It's difficult to find but well worth the effort," said architect Phil Coffey.

4. A Texas barn houses a luxury hideaway


From outside, the only thing extraordinary about this Texas barn is its enormous size. Inside, however, the 6,600 square foot, two-story structure is an extravagant country man's lair with wood-paneled walls and floors, leather furnishings, and glowing chandeliers.


The structure was custom-built by Morton Buildings. The company repurposes barns like this one into bowling alleys, indoor swimming pools, or swank showrooms. The builders also cater to the wealthy with spacious workshops and eccentric “hobby buildings” that will put any craft room to shame.

5. A British couple's home is built in the walls of the town it inhabits


Berwick residents Jim Perry and Susie Seui call their flat "the hole in the wall," because it is, quite literally, a hole in the wall. It is one of the few private properties set into the town walls of Northumberland, U.K.

The one-bedroom home is reached by a cave-like passage, which has no name and is located next to a similar passage called Sallyport, both of which are cut into the stone wall of the town.


Berwick's original city walls were built in the 14th century to provide fortifications during frequent battles between English and Scottish soldiers. A new set of walls was constructed in the 16th century resulting in the destruction of the earlier medieval stonework, and they have been adapted differently over the years. Today, they are home to a variety of businesses, including restaurants and guest houses, and are protected as a Grade I-listed buildings.

The couple put their hidden home on the market in July 2016 for £65,000.

6. The luxury villas that sit atop a Chinese mall


These quaint luxury villas sit on the roof of a Chinese shopping mall.

The houses feature bright blue roofs, pastel yellow walls, wraparound verandas and are divided by white picket fences, while trees and bushes grow in their courtyards and along the pathways between them.

Authorities say developers did not have the proper licenses to build on the mall roof and have banned them from either knocking the villas down or selling them. They now sit in limbo and are used as homes for the migrant workers who helped build them.

7. A restoration reveals a settlement cabin hidden inside a larger home


A home renovation project in Ocean Springs, Mississippi has revealed some interesting findings - namely a home within a home.

Developer Karen Bryant purchased the 19th-century house which was listed as a Victorian property but told a very different story when it was gutted - a little cabin was hidden inside the larger home.

Bryant researched the property and discovered the original structure dates back to the 1850s, and the walls in part of the house were covered in whiteboards, which she says "were commonly used in frontier cabins, settlement cabins. They are cypress. They are white washed for the interior, because it was thought it was a cleanliness issue."

The residence was once home to the mayor of Ocean Springs, Frederick Weed, who was in office from 1899 until 1910. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

8. The cozy cabin built on a Manhattan rooftop


This rustic rooftop cabin is owned by David Puchkoff and Eileen Stukane in Manhattan's West Village. From the street, the building looks like any other, however, from the vantage of a helicopter, you can see a full porch, complete with a dining table, and a beautiful yard.

Per a 2006 article in The New York Times, the little cabin is "a glorified bulkhead over a hole punched in the ceiling of the family's loft to make way for a nautical stairway that rises to a landing with a galley-like kitchenette, with two paned windows and a door that opens to the roof. Now, the couple doesn't have to leave the city to hear the slam of a screen door, or watch a flock of mourning doves pecking for insects and seeds across the meadow."

9. A large underground home hides behind an unassuming office door on a quiet British street


It may look like nothing more a tiny office from the street, but behind this unassuming door is an architecturally ambitious, underground home.


The "Hidden House" in Knightsbridge spans over 2,100 square feet and hides three bedrooms. LTS Architects designed the residence so that passers-by can see none of its fascinating features. The stunning, but secret, abode took 16 months to complete, at the cost of £1.9 million.

10. The secluded residence built into a Utah canyon wall


How cool is this? A home has been carved into a canyon in Montezuma, Utah!

This unique and secret abode is entirely self-sustaining and features solar panels, a 12,000-gallon freshwater retention system, a multi-acre vegetable garden, orchard, and vineyard with ripe fruits, veggies, and wines for every season.

The hidden hideaway, appropriately nicknamed Cliff Haven, was sold at auction in February 2017.

Top image: Edgeland House. Credit: Bercy Chen Studio.

[Source: Oddee. Edited. Top image added.]

Friday, 28 April 2017


Lemons are plentiful, but these little yellow fruits are often underused. In the following infographic by On Stride Financial, you'll see how you can get the most out of this citrus fruit!

Infographic Sources:
How to remove limescale
2. Getting Rid of Ants
3. How To Make an All-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner Using Citrus Peels
4. How To Clean Wooden Cutting Board with Lemon and Salt
5. How to Clean Copper Naturally With Just Lemon & Salt
6. How to Remove Rust & Rust Stains
7. Natural Weed Killer
8. How to Whiten Laundry Without Chlorine Bleach
9. Cat Repellent Recipes You Can Make Yourself
10. How to Keep Avocados Fresh For Days
11. Spoilage Science
12. 5 Ways To Get Rid Of Bad Refrigerator Odors
13. Soup Too Salty? 5 Tips for Fixing It & Making Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again
14. 15 Foods You Should Freeze in an Ice Cube Tray
15. About The Buzz: Use Lemons Instead Of Salt?
16. How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally with Just a Lemon
17. 11 Beauty Uses for Lemons
18. 21 Things You Can Do With Lemons and Lemon Juice (That Don’t Involve Food)
19. Garlic breath? Eat an apple or drink lemon juice
20. Natural Wart Removal
21. Relieving A Cough
22. How-To: Make A Lemon Juice Foot Soak
23. How to Make Your Own Shoe Polish
24. How To Make Invisible Ink With Lemon Juice
25. Forget Kindling: Start Fires With Orange Peels
26. The Things You Can Do with Lemon Peels and Juice

Top image credit: Comfreak/Pixabay.

[Source: On Stride Financial.]

Thursday, 27 April 2017


Underwater Mailboxes Around The World
By Kaushik,
Amusing Planet, 25 April 2017.

Remember the last time you were diving underwater and you suddenly remembered an important letter you had to post that very instant? Yup, it has happened to all of us. Fortunately, these five places has us covered.

1. Hideaway Island, Vanuatu


The underwater post office off the coast of Hideaway Island in the island nation of Vanuatu is one of the most famous in the world. It was established in 2003 and is located in 3 meters of water. The post office provides special waterproof postcards that tourists can drop into the submerged post box with their own hands, or ask the staff to do so.

At a designated time, a scuba-donning postal worker dives down to the postbox, retrieves the postcards from the postbox, stamps them while still underwater and sends them on their way. Instead of ink, which would wash away in water, the postcards are stamped with a special emboss device.

2. Susami Bay, Japan


The small fishing town of Susami, in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, has the distinction of creating the world’s first underwater mailbox. Until the creation of another underwater mailbox in Malaysia, the Susami mailbox was the deepest underwater postbox in the world, at a depth of 10 meters.

The postbox was created as part of a fair in 1999 to promote the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail and surrounding areas in the southern part of Wakayama’s Kii Peninsula. Before the mailbox, Susami had no special attraction. Toshihiko Matsumoto, the then-postmaster of the town, put forth the idea of an undersea postbox.

Divers buy water-resistant postcards from a local store, write messages on them with an oil-based paint marker and drops them on to an old, red postbox situated underwater. Once every few days, an employee of the shop collects the mails from the postbox and takes them to the local post office.

Every year, the mailbox receives between 1,000 to 1,500 pieces of mail, and 32,000 pieces of mail have been posted in the underwater mailbox since its creation.

3. Pulau Layang-Layang, Malaysia


The Malaysia postal department broke records in 2015 when it launched an underwater post box at Layang-Layang at a depth of 40 meters below sea level.

Postcards sent from the underwater mailbox are sealed in waterproof plastic bags, have a special postmark, and are stamped with the Malaysia Book of Records logo.

4. Risor, Norway


The underwater post office in the town of Risor, on the southern Norwegian coast, is made out of a diving bell and is the only dry underwater post office in the world. The post office is located at a depth of 4 meters next to a pier. Visitors post their mail in a post box by the pier, which are then emptied, sealed in a watertight bag and taken down to the underwater post office. Inside the office's dry environment, the mail is stamped and returned back to the surface, where it enters into normal post circulation.

5. Bahamas


The “Sea Floor” post office, in Bahamas, no longer exist, but it was the world’s first underwater post office created in 1939.

The undersea post office was created by US photographer John Ernest Williamson (1881-1966), who is recognized as one of the pioneers of undersea photography. In 1912, Williamson designed a chamber with a thick glass window which could be lowered to the sea floor. From inside this apparatus, which he called the “Williamson Photosphere,” the photographer was able to observe the undersea creatures and to take photographs.

In 1939, the Bahamas-Williamson Undersea Expedition to film underwater was started. To gather publicity about this expedition, the Sea Floor post office was created. The post office was short-lived; it closed in 1941.

In 1965, the Bahamas Postal department issued a set of stamps commemorating the Sea Floor post office.

Top image: Pulau Layang-Layang underwater post box, via Free Malaysia Today.

[Source: Amusing Planet. Edited. Top image and links added.]

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


Comma is perhaps the most abused and misused punctuation mark in English. It may be just a tiny mark on a page, but a lot can depend on it. It makes a big difference in what you convey. Used wrongly, it may even cause dire misunderstanding. This video by Arika Okrent, which is produced for Mental Floss, presents five types of comma that can make or break a sentence.

Top image credit: brett jordan/Flickr.

[Source: Arika Okrent via YouTube.]


All manner of weird and wonderful items get sold at auction. Bullion Vault has put together an infographic that includes some of the most expensive items ever sold at auction. From the UK’s gold reserves to Picasso artwork to a rare Ferrari, this list contains some amazing historic items...with some seriously high price tags.

[Source: Bullion Vault.]

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Top 10 Times We Tried Controlling The Rain
By Oliver Taylor,
Listverse, 25 April 2017.

The ability to control rain has fascinated us from time immemorial. While we achieve this today by spraying clouds with chemicals, in the past we used some downright bizarre methods that might or might not have worked. In Kursk, Russia, women threw strangers into rivers or drenched them in water. In Armenia, it was the wife of the local priest that got drenched in water, and in North Africa, religious people were thrown into springs against their will. But throwing people into rivers and springs or drenching them in water are just two of the many ways we have tried controlling rainfall. Here are ten others.

10. Hail Cannons


Hail cannons are bizarre-looking contraptions that supposedly stop the formation of hail. They were first proposed by an Italian professor in 1880 and were first built by Austrian M. Albert Stiger between 1895 and 1896. Stiger’s cannon resembled a giant megaphone, and it fired smoke rings that caused an upward moving wind that supposedly prevented hail from forming in the clouds.

Stiger’s hail cannon became a hit after the region he tested it in suffered no hail for two consecutive years. It - along with several other designs - prominently featured on European farms but their reliability was questioned after hail fell in regions they were employed. Whenever this happened, die-hard supporters of the cannons claimed the hail was caused by poor usage and positioning of the cannon.

To clear the air on whether or not hail cannons worked, the Italian government tested over two hundred cannons at different locations over a two-year period. The test locations suffered severe hail during the tests, and the hail cannon was termed a failure. Nevertheless, some farmers stuck to them and they are still used on some farms today. Rather than firing smoke, they fire a mixture of oxygen and acetylene gas, which, like smoke, supposedly disrupt hail formation. While their reliability remains in doubt, there is no doubt over their loudness, which makes neighbors consider them a nuisance.

9. Moisture Accelerator


The moisture accelerator was an invention of rainmaker, Charles Mallory Hatfield. It was a mixture of twenty-three secret chemicals that Hatfield set on fire to attract rain-producing clouds. Hatfield got his break in December 1904, when he promised some Los Angeles businessmen eighteen inches (45 cm) of rain in five months for a thousand dollars. They took the deal, and he delivered as promised. This earned him instant fame and his service was widely sought after. He never disappointed and charged up to US$4,000 for rainfall.

In December 1915, he extended his services to San Diego - which was facing a terrible drought - where he promised rainfall that would overfill the Lower Otay reservoir dam, in exchange for a payment of US$10,000. San Diego took the deal, and Hatfield got down to work. First, he constructed a 20-foot (6 m) tower on which he set his moisture accelerator on fire. The city experienced light showers for a few weeks until January 15, 1916, when it began raining heavily.

The rain lasted for five days during which the San Diego river overflowed its bank, mountainous regions experienced landslides, and heavy flooding washed away houses, roads, rail, and telephone lines. Despite the catastrophe, Hatfield called the city and promised heavier rains. The rain got heavier, as he promised, and the Lower Otay reservoir dam overfilled and broke, sending forty feet (12 m) of water into the city.

By the time the disastrous rain, which was dubbed “Hatfield Flood,” was over, the town had experienced almost thirty inches (76 cm) of rainfall, large-scale destruction, and fifty deaths. Meanwhile, Hatfield calmly walked into the city to demand his pay. The city was already facing several lawsuits over the rain and only agreed to pay him on the condition he accepted responsibility for the damages. Hatfield never accepted responsibility and was never paid.

8. The Storm King’s Massive Bush Fire


Prior to the nineteenth century - and for much of it - people believed rain could be caused and stopped by noise. This was why bell-ringers rang church bells before storms. People also believed there was some relationship between rainfall, cannons, and guns, as rain had been observed to fall after great battles.

James Pollard Espy (aka the “Storm King”), the first official weather forecaster of the United States, belonged to this school of thought. However, he believed rainfall was not caused by the battles themselves, but by the warmth released from the weapons used during these battles. So, he proposed that heat and fire could cause rain.

To experiment his theory, he wrote to the US Congress and requested for a 600-mile (966 km) stretch of forest that extended from the Great Lakes at the border with Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico. His plan was to set the forest on fire to see if it would produce rain. The US Congress refused his requests over fears the wildfires could spiral out of control, and the rains might not come to put them out. Also, they did not want Espy or the government to have power over the rain.

7. The Battle of Dryhenceforth


Edward Powers was another person who linked rainfall with war. Specifically, he believed rainfall was caused by artillery used in battle. Like Espy, he requested that the US Congress provide funds to experiment his theory. Unlike Espy, Congress accepted his request and, in 1891, sent General R.G. Dyrenforth (who was actually not a general) to oversee the experiment in Texas.

Dyrenforth arrived in Texas with several men and cargoes of explosives, gunpowder, cannons, balloons, and kites. At the front of the “battle line” in his war against the skies were sixty mortars, all aimed at the sky. Close to the mortars were dynamites that were affixed to the ground, and behind the mortars were large kites and 10-20 foot (3-6 m) tall balloons that would be used to deliver explosives into the skies.

Even with his large cache of explosives and artillery, Dyrenforth’s assault against the skies was a total failure. According to unimpressed reporters on the ground, the men manning the explosives looked confused, and the bombs were fond of detonating in the wrong places. Dyrensforth’s only achievement included destroying a tree, window, and starting random fires. There was no rain, and angry Texas citizens renamed him “Dryhenceforth.”

6. Cloudbusters


The cloudbuster was a supposed rainmaking and rain-destroying machine invented by Austrian psychiatrist William Reich. According to him, the machine created or destroyed rain by exploiting the “Orgone Energy” that supposedly holds the elements of a cloud together. Whether the machine worked remains a mystery, but in 1953, Maine farmers paid Reich to make rain, which fell the day after Reich operated his machine.

Reich had specific rules for operating the cloudbuster, as improper operation supposedly led to flood, tornadoes, forest fires, and death of the operator. Firstly, the operator should never try to impress anyone when operating the machine. He should also cover his hands with insulating gloves and ensure there was no electrical or radioactive equipment nearby. The cloudbuster should also be parked in moving water that covered all its metal parts.

5. Operation Popeye


Operation Popeye was a top secret cloud seeding operation executed by the United States during the Vietnam war. It was intended to overwhelm North Vietnam and Laos with excess rainfall that would turn their roads into marshes and hinder North Vietnamese supplies going into South Vietnam via Laos. It was launched in 1967, although, experimental operations that caused rain in 82 percent of the seeded clouds had begun a year earlier.

The operation was supposed to be top secret for several reasons including the fact that other countries might blame the United States for similar unfavorable weather conditions. However, if the plan leaked, the US was expected to tag the operation as a humanitarian operation. The plan leaked, as expected, and the operation was canceled in 1972.

However, top defense officials including the defense secretary, Melvin R. Laird, initially denied its existence and only admitted it happened two years later. Then, defense officials claimed it was a success as it increased rain by 30 percent and slowed down North Vietnam’s movement, especially through the infamous Ho Chi Minh trail.

4. The Fraudulent Rain King


Frank Melbourne was an Australian rainmaker known as the “Rain King” or the “Rain Wizard.” His methods looked similar to Hatfield’s, and he claimed he could cause rainfall by mixing and burning some secret chemicals that produced rainmaking clouds.

Melbourne always locked himself in a house, railroad car, or barn when burning his chemicals, and the smoke only rose into the skies through its openings. His rainmaking activities became a source of income for his brother who placed bets against people who claimed Melbourne could not produce rain.

Melbourne went out of business when the public realized he was not a rainmaker but a fraud, who targeted his services at towns where rainfall had already been forecast.

3. Rain Dance


Rain dances are elaborate ceremonies that Native American tribes use to summon rains during droughts. It was (and is still) common among Southwestern Native American tribes like the Mojave, Pueblos, Navajos, and Hopi, who are more susceptible to drought.

Dancers dress in elaborate and colorful costumes, complete with artifacts that symbolize natural conditions. For instance, male dancers add feathers to their masks to represent the wind, and turquoise to their clothing to represent the rain. When dancing, males and females maintain separate lines, four feet apart, and take mastered steps and movements in unison. Drums are not used, and dancers depend on the sound of their synchronized steps to make up for it.

2. Rain Battles


Charles William Post was another follower of the rainfall-war theory. Like Edward Powers, he believed artillery caused rains, and he tested his theory in a series of self-sponsored experiments remembered today as the “rain battles.” In 1910, he launched the first of his thirteen rain battles in Garza County, Texas, when he released a kite fitted with dynamite into the skies.

The kite exploded as expected, but Post thought it was too dangerous, so, he switched to arranging dynamites - in fourteen-pound (6 kg) stacks - on highlands, and detonating them at ten-minute intervals. During another battle, he expended 24,000 pounds (11,000 kg) of dynamite, which reportedly started a rain. Post spent over US$50,000 on his rain battles, and according to him, seven of his attempts caused rainfall. However, observers noted that the experiments were held during the rainy season when rain was already expected.

1. Rain Stones


Rain stones have been used in elaborate rainmaking rituals in Africa, North America, Britain, Japan, Australia, and Ancient Rome since at least A.D. 1600. And for all we know, they might still be in use today. They were used to either summon the rains or communicate with a supposed god of rain.

In Australia, the stone was placed on a heap of sand, and the rainmaker danced around it while singing or reciting incantations. In Ancient Rome, the stone was called “lapis manalis,” which means “pouring stone.” It was kept in the Temple of Mars, from where it was taken to the Temple of Jupiter (the Roman god of Storms) inside the city whenever rain was needed. The labis manalis is believed to have had a hollowed middle that was filled with water that trickled over its top and down its sides to resemble rain.

Top image: Storm clouds gathering. Credit: Zooey/Flickr.

[Source: Listverse. Top image added.]


The world’s five deadliest volcanoes…and why they’re so dangerous
By Matthew Blackett,
The Conversation, 19 April 2017.

An eruption of Mount Etna recently caught out some BBC journalists who were filming there. The footage was extraordinary and highlighted the hazards volcanoes pose to humans and society.

Since 1600, 278,880 people have been killed by volcanic activity, with many of these deaths attributed to secondary hazards associated with the main eruption. Starvation killed 92,000 following the 1815 Tambora eruption in Indonesia, for example, and a volcanic tsunami killed 36,000 following the 1883 Krakatoa eruption.

Since the 1980s, deaths related to volcanic eruptions have been rather limited, but this is not entirely a result of increased preparedness or investment in hazard management - it is significantly a matter of chance.

Research shows that volcanic activity has shown no let up since the turn of the 21st century - it just hasn’t been around population centres. Indeed, there remain a number of volcanoes poised to blow which pose a major threat to life and livelihood.

1. Vesuvius, Italy

Credit: Kris de Curtis/Wikimedia Commons

Known for its 79 AD eruption, which destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Vesuvius is still a significant hazard given that it overshadows the city of Naples and its surrounds, which are home to over 3m people.

It is also known for a particularly intense form of eruption. Plinian (after Pliny the Younger who was the first to describe the 79 AD event) eruptions are characterised by the ejection of a vast column of gas and ash which extends into the stratosphere, far higher than commercial airliners fly.

Were such an eruption to occur at Vesuvius today, it is likely that much of the population would already have been evacuated as a precursory swarm of earthquakes would likely herald its imminent approach. But those who remained would initially be showered with huge pumice rocks too large to be kept aloft by the column of gas.

Then, as the volcano began to run out of energy, the column itself would collapse, causing smaller particles of rock (from fine ash to small boulders) to fall from the sky and back to Earth at high velocity. Asphyxiating clouds of gas and pulverised rock - pyroclastic density currents - would then flood down the slopes of the volcano, annihilating anything in their path. Such gas-ash features have been known to travel tens of kilometres and at terrifying speeds, potentially turning modern Naples into a new Pompeii.

2. Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of Congo

Credit: Ajith Kumar/Flickr

This central African volcano has erupted several times over the last few decades and while its eruptions aren’t particularly explosive, it produces a particularly runny - and dangerous - form of lava. Once effused, this lava can rapidly move down the flanks of the volcano and inundate areas with little or no warning.

In 2002, the lava lake at the volcano’s summit was breached, resulting in streams of lava hurtling towards the nearby city of Goma at 60km/h, engulfing parts of it to a depth of two metres.

Fortunately, warnings had been issued as the volcano’s unrest has made it the focus of intense research - and over 300,000 people were evacuated in time. Should such an event occur again, we have to hope that the authorities are equally prepared, but this is a politically unstable area and it remains seriously vulnerable.

3. Popocatepetl, Mexico

“Popo”, as the locals call it, is just 70km south-west of the one of the largest cities in the world: Mexico City, home to 20m people. Popo is regularly active and its most recent bout of activity in 2016 sent a plume of ash to an altitude of five kilometres.

In recent times, and indeed throughout much of its history, eruptive events at Popo have consisted of similarly isolated ash plumes. But these plumes coat the mountain in a thick blanket of ash which, when mixed with water, can form a dense muddy mixture which has the potential to flow for many kilometres and at relatively high speeds.

Credit: Carlos Valenzuela/Wikimedia Commons

Such phenomena, known as “lahars”, can be extremely deadly, as exemplified by the Nevado del Ruiz disaster of 1985 when around 26,000 people were killed in the town of Armero, Colombia, by a lahar with a volcanic source that was 60km away.

The Nevado del Ruiz tragedy was the direct result of volcanic activity melting ice at the volcano’s summit, but a large volume of rainfall or snowmelt could feasibly generate a similar lahar on Popo. This could flow down-slope towards nearby settlements with little or no warning.

4. Krakatoa, Indonesia

Credit: Thomas.Schiet/Wikimedia Commons

Otherwise named Krakatau, Krakatoa’s name is infamous; 36,000 people were killed by the tsunami triggered by its 1886 eruption, which released more energy than 13,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs. The eruption destroyed the volcanic island completely, but within 50 years, a new island had appeared in its place.

The new island is named Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa) and since the 1920s, it has been growing in episodic phases, reaching about 300 metres in height today. New and significant activity commenced in 2007 and since this time, further episodes of activity were noted at the volcano, most recently in March 2017.

No one knows for sure whether or not the spectacular growth of Anak Krakatau means it may one day repeat the catastrophe its “father” unleashed, but its location between Indonesia’s two most populated islands, Java and Sumatra, means it poses a grave threat to life.

5. Changbaishan, China

Credit: Bdpmax/Wikimedia Commons

Few have heard of this volcano in a remote part of Asia - and its last eruption was in 1903. However, its history tells a rather scarier story. In around 969 AD, the volcano produced one of the largest eruptions of the last 10,000 years, releasing three times more material than Krakatoa did in 1886.

One of the chief hazards is posed by the massive crater lake at its peak (with a volume of about nine cubic kilometres). If breached, this lake could generate lahars that would pose a significant threat to the 100,000 people that live in the vicinity.

Credit: NASA Johnson/Flickr

In the early 2000s, scientists began monitoring the hitherto under-monitored volcano, and determined that its activity was increasing, that its magma chamber dormancy was coming to an end, and that it could pose a hazard in the following decades.

Further complicating things is the fact that Changbaishan straddles the border of China and North Korea. Given such a geo-politically sensitive location, the effects of any volcanic activity here would likely be very hard to manage.

Top image: Mount Etna eruption in 2011. Credit: Cirimbillo/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: The Conversation. Some images added.]