Science: Tickling Vesuvius

During an eruption of volcanic Mauna Loa in Hawaii in 1935, U.S. Army airmen tried (with debatable success) to divert the flow of lava by dropping a few bombs on strategic spots. Last week Allied bombers, flying over the smoky craters of Mt. Etna in Sicily and Mt. Vesuvius on the Bay of Naples, thought of other strategic spots: could a few well-placed bombs start Etna and Vesuvius erupting?

Dr. Gerald F. Loughlin, chief geologist of the U.S. Geological Survey, gave the answer: "No." Reporting to his volcanic boss, Secretary of Interior Ickes, Dr. Loughlin estimated that the chances were three...

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