Episode 60 – Volcanoes and Water Towers

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This week we’re taking a closer look at what happens when the government procrastinates on its homework.

Olivia tells the story of the “white city” of Armero, Colombia, where a 1985 volcanic eruption resulted in the deadliest mudslides in human history. She recounts the haunting story of 13-year-old Omayra Sanchez, and how the tragedy highlights the need for robust emergency management.

Then Elise looks into the ancient origins of water towers, some more recent horror stories, and why we should care about how the government regulates water safety.

Other topics include Sally Rooney, having an Oscar Wilde quote for everything, and buying sweaters in a heatwave.

Story #1: Armero Volcano Disaster (Olivia)
Nevado del Ruiz volcano in 1985. Photo taken by Katia and Maurice Krafft. Source: Smithsonian

What do volcanoes have to do with climate change?, NASA
Climate Change Likely To Increase Volcanic Eruptions, Scientists Say, NPR, December 22 2017
Nevado Del Ruiz, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Global Volcanism Program
Volcanoes Can Affect Climate, USGS
Residents Buried in Mud : Armero: ‘White City’ Now ‘Land of the Dead’, LA Times, November 17 1985
Early tremors foretold danger in the mountain, The Sacramento Bee, November 15 1985
Avalanche of deaths takes old path, The Miami Herald, November 17 1985
The Girl Who Was Fed and Interviewed While Dying, History of Yesterday, Sept 21 2021
The Death of Omayra Sanchez, Dark Tales

This story was inspired by the documentary Fire of Love, which tells the love story of Maurice and Katia Krafft.

The bolded article above is where you can see famous photos of Omayra Sanchez, which we’ve chosen not to post directly on our site.

Story #2: Water Towers (Elise)

Chicago Water Tower, Britannica
The Shape of Water Towers: An Engineering History, TPO Magazine, July 23 2018
Historic Water Towers, Pittsburgh Tank and Tower Group
Why Do We Have Water Towers?, Henderson Water Utility
Dead snakes and mice, toxic sludge: How pathogens go unnoticed in America’s water towers, USA Today, June 1 2021
Water Management, The University of Wisconsin-Madison site for Ancient Engineering Technologies
Water Towers, Wikipedia

List of historic water towers by state.

Similar episodes mentioned during this episode:
Episode 19 – Earth – the Ogoni Nine and Frankenstein’s Volcano – about the year with no summer that resulted in the writing of Frankenstein
Episode 13 – Water – Rob Bilott and Erin Brockovich – the first episode in our Elements series
Episode 52 – An Inconvenient Truth about Grizzly Bears
How to Survive Extreme Heat

The Dump
  • Mosha Lunstrom Halbert on TikTok reviews water. And talks about all the water and the flavors of the water in Karlovy Vary in Czech Republic. Highly recommend.
  • Conversations with Friends, Normal People, and Sally Rooney
  • Black Gold documentary and Loot on Apple TV

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Thanks for listening!

Sharing Is Caring [Down the Rabbit Hole Minisode 9] World Is Burning

This week we’re back with a minisode all about the sharing economy, or as they used to call it: sharing! Elise explains how community building can escalate quickly (in the best way) –– one day you’re bringing your wheelbarrow to the communal mulch pile, and next thing you know you’re on a free transatlantic trip with your neighbor. Subscribe/follow/press the button to keep up with new episodes every other Wednesday! You can also follow us @worldisburnin on Instagram and Twitter, and check out our website worldisburning.com for extended show notes including sources and photos. World Is Burning is hosted by Olivia Hamilton and Elise Nye. Our theme music is by Kaycie Satterfield, and our logo was made by Sonja Katanic. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/worldisburning/message
  1. Sharing Is Caring [Down the Rabbit Hole Minisode 9]
  2. Ep. 69 – A Positive Obsession with Octavia E. Butler
  3. Ep. 68 – Climatepunk – Vivienne Westwood and David Byrne
  4. Ep. 67 – 2022 Rewind: The Good, The Bad, & The Updates
  5. Ep. 66 – Myths, Part 2: The Overpopulation Myth