chapter  3
25 Pages

Chaos and Selection in Catastrophic Environments: Willaumez Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

ByRobin Torrence, Trudy Doelman

This chapter considers alternative scenarios, in which a volcanic eruption may wield an influence on communities far from the volcano who would have had no knowledge of the event or the phenomena associated with it and may not even have recognised that a volcanic eruption was the cause of their suffering at all. Wider interest in Icelandic volcanism and any environmental and perhaps cultural consequences were aroused in the geographical and archaeological research communities in the early 1990s when several complimentary strands of research developed simultaneously. The chapter considers the impact of volcanic eruptions on cultures located relatively close to a volcano. Temperature reduction alone is a crude mechanism by which to assess the influence of an eruption. The great eruption of Tambora reduced hemispheric average temperature by 0.7 C, whilst the Laki fissure eruption reduced temperatures worldwide by an average of 1 C.