Plumes of smoke, geysers of orange and yellow, fields of red lava rushing over rocks. These are likely what springs to mind when you think of a volcano, dazzling yet devastating. What happens when the eruption is over, though? In 1973, Heimaey, an Icelandic island, was left with a town flooded by ash, the smoldering black particles piles so high that they nearly covered cars completely and reached toward the rooftops.
“In some places volcano cleanup is a daily chore,” University at Buffalo volcanologist Greg Valentine told Digital Trends. “For example, communities around the foot of Sakurajima volcano in Japan have a routine system for cleaning up volcanic ash from explosions that happen a few times a day.”
And as the Kilauea volcano erupts, neighborhoods on Hawaii’s Big Island who don’t lose everything face more of a recovery and not a cleanup, he said.
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