3 BackgroundWhen the seismograph began to record the violent earth-shaking caused by yet another eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia, no one thought that a few hours later more than 23,000 people would be dead, killed by lahars (volcanic debris flows) in towns and villages several tens of kilometers away from the volcano. Before the fatal eruption the volcano was being monitored by scientists at a seismic station located 9 kilometers from the summit, and information about the volcano's activity was being sent to Colombian emergency-response coordinators who were charged with alerting the public of the danger from the active volcano. Furthermore, areas known to be in the pathways of lahars had already been identified on maps, and communities at risk had been told of their precarious locations.Unfortunately, a storm on November 13, 1985, obscured the glacier-clad summit of Nevado del Ruiz. On that night an explosive eruption tore through the summit and spewed approximately 20 million cubic meters of hot ash and rocks across the snow-covered glacier. These materials were transported across the snow pack by avalanches of hot volcanic debris (pyroclastic flows) and fast-moving, hot, turbulent clouds of gas and ash ( pyroclastic surges). The hot pyroclastic flows and surges caused rapid melting of the snow and ice, and created large volumes of water that swept down canyons leading away from the summit. As these floods of water descended the volcano, they picked up loose debris and soil from the canyon floors and walls, growing both in volume and density, to form hot lahars. In the river valleys farther down the volcano's flanks, the lahars were as much as 40 meters thick and traveled at velocities as fast as 50 kilometers per hour. Two and a half hours after the start of the eruption one of the lahars reached Armero, 74 kilometers from the explosion crater. In a few short minutes most of the town was swept away or buried in a torrent of mud and boulders, and three quarters of the townspeople perished.
4 Vocabulary Subterranean—underground Magnitude—of great size Presentiments—feelings that something bad is about to happen; forebodingsTenacity—stubborn persistence and determinationEquanimity—calmness; composure
5 Vocabulary Fortitude—firm courage; strength to endure pain or danger Ingenuity—cleverness; originality; skillResignation—passive acceptance; submissionPandemonium—wildly noisy, chaotic sceneCommiserate—show or express sympathy
6 Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupts in Colombia, South America, in 1985
9 Omayra SanchezOmayra was trapped up to her neck in water, concrete, and other debris for three days before she succumbed to gangrene and hypothermia. During three nights of agony, Omayra seemed strong but was suffering. She sang and had normal conversations with the people who were trying to help her. The little girl was thirsty and scared. On the third night, Omayra began hallucinating, saying that she did not want to be late for school. At some point she asked the people to leave her so they could rest. Television coverage of the disaster introduced her to the world when she was still alive. The photo was taken hours before her death.
10 About the AuthorIsabel Allende was born in Peru but grew up in Chile where she worked as a journalist.After her career as a journalist, she began her career as a fiction writer.Observe how her background in journalism influences her fiction work.
11 Fiction or Nonfiction“And of Clay…” is a fiction piece based on a true story.While reading, look for clues that it is fiction.After the story, we are going to read a newspaper article about the actual event and compare them.
12 On a sheet of paper to turn in… # 9 on page 318: Compare and contrast Allende’s story with the newspaper account of the same events. Think abut how the choice of genre affects how the story is told. Consider these elements:-The writer’s purpose- POV-tone- descriptive details- figurative language-theme or main ideaWhich account do you find more moving? Which do you find more informative? Explain why.
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