How a 1979 Jimmy Buffett song is still relevant today

3/23/20232 min read


"Don't want to land in no Buzzards Bay.

I don't want to land on no Ayatollah.

I got nothin' more to say."

lyrics from Volcano

Back in 1979, Jimmy Buffett, along with co-conspirators, Harry Dailey and Keith Sykes, wrote this this off-beat little gem, which has gone on to become one of Buffett's onstage standards. The steel drums, augmented with a catchy calypso beat, really gives this particular tune a Caribbean flavor. Just so happens the songwriters are expressing their concerns about Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat island in the Leewards. Since the song's release, way back in 1979, when another Jimmy was President, the volcano has erupted several times, the most recent being in the spring of 2021. At this time, much ash was released into the atmosphere and evacuations occurred on part of the island.

Seems to me, Buffett and crew are on to something here. The Caribbean is a very active place for not only volcanoes, but earthquakes as well. Even though the song is whimsical, there is an instinctual and innate fear of the wrath of nature that can't be swept under the rug. We now know that excessive amounts of volcanic ash can effect world weather and also that intense geological activity could possibly create tsunamis, which might on rare occasion travel around the Atlantic, releasing destructive forces as they did.

Following is a video clip of Mr. Buffett singing "Volcano", live in Anguila, which is not too far from Montserrant.

Recently, I got fascinated by volcanoes and as a result I wrote several articles about the naturally occurring monsters, hoping to make a few bucks, while doing something I enjoy. The financial results were disappointing to say the least, but I did learn something about these natural events. For starters, the Hawaiian islands are not part of the Ring of Fire, for in reality, they are a geological hot spot sitting right in the middle of the Pacific.

But the science gets weirder than this, for most recently I learned that there is a season for volcanoes. December through April is volcano season and it occurs because a combination of ice/snow build-up in the northern hemisphere and a corresponding soar in the evaporation rate in the southern hemisphere, add up to cause more stress on the earth's crust and thus more volcanoes and perhaps more earthquakes. Here's the article.

Though not always erupting, the Soufriere Hills are almost always blowing smoke. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

And for some more weird science, check out this relationship between Supermoons and earthquakes. Who says fact is not stranger than fiction?