Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On June 3

On this day in ...
... 1991, Katia Krafft (left) and her husband Maurice perished in a sudden lava flow on Mount Unzen, Japan. Pioneers in the photography of erupting volcanos, the Kraffts, both of whom had been born in the 1940s in the Alsace region of France, "were often the first to arrive at an active volcano, and were respected and envied by many volcanologists." (photo credit) One website writes: "Their fearlessness in the face of danger, their bold folly, would earn the admiration of fans of these 'Crazy Frenchmen.'" On this day they died along with 40 other journalists who were filming the eruption.
... 1979 (30 years ago today), a 2-mile-deep exploratory oil well dubbed Ixtoc I "blew out" in the Gulf of Mexico 600 miles south of Texas. The platform caught fire and in the aftermath oil spilled -- "at a rate of 10,000 - 30,000 barrels per day until it was finally capped on March 23, 1980." By that time "an estimated 140 million gallons of oil had spilled" (right) into the Bay of Campeche off Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, placing this at "#2 on the all-time list of largest oil spills of all-time, eclipsed only by the deliberate release of oil, from many different sources, during the 1991 Gulf War." (photo credit)

(Prior June 3 posts are here and here.)

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