A New Volcano Bursts from the Atlantic
Off Fayal, in Portugal's Verdant Azores, a Jack-in-the-box Eruption Smothers Villages, Awes Visitors - and Even Catches Whales
by John Scofield
Senior Editorial Staff, National Geographic Magazine
"There may have been some impressive eruptions", my friend said beside me in the dark, "but this is the first time nature ever provided a grandstand".
From our windy cliff top, which towered higher than the Washington Monument, we could see into the very throat of the volcano. Suddenly it looked as if someone had set off all the Roman candles in the world. A steady half-mile-high jet of incandescent boulders, soared into the air and then slammed down onto the ash-covered slope, to lie briefly glowing there like angry red fireflies.
To the left of the main vent, ropy lava sprayed in a dazzling fountain, painting the coiling steam clouds a gaudy orange. Lightning knifed through the inferno above the vent, and rending cracks of thunder broke the soft swish of the eruption. Behind us a full moon climbed slowly up from the sea (...)"