from Fairy Tales, Folklore, Fables, Nursery Rhymes,
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(excerpts from posts)
(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain)

I'm looking for how volcanoes or earthquakes began.

1) I assume you are looking for stories and not scientific data. Yes? If so, here are some links to myths and legends on the creation of volcanoes and earthquakes. Pele is the Hawaiian Goddess associated with volcanoes. Some of the sites have stories, others have short synopsis' on myths/legends from various countries. It would give you a starting point. I hope this helps.
Pele Goddess of Fire
About.com: http://www.coffeetimes.com/pele.htm
Legends about Volcanoes
The Legend of Naupaka, Waikoloa, Big Island, Hawaii
The Legend - Volcanoes - Forces of Nature
Legends - Earthquakes - Forces of Nature
Myths & Legends - Earthquakes
Mongol creation stories
Creation of Earthquakes

2) Legends of Landforms by Carole G. Vogel, Millbrook Press 1999, ISBN 0-7613-0272-7. Collection of NA and other traditional tales of the origin of landforms, each coupled with a brief scientific explanation.
Legends of the Earth, Their Geologic Origins by Dorothy B. Vitaliano. Bloomington IN: Indiana Univ Press, 1973. Includes many world legends with scientific (NB 1973) descriptions of events which likely inspired the tales. Hiroko Fujita tells me that in her childhood, the elders predicted earthquakes by watching the catfishes and Koi in their ponds. When the fish got restless, a quake often followed. The old tales said there was a giant catfish under the earth whose wriggles CAUSED earthquakes.

3) There are two classic eye-witness accounts of the destruction of Pompeii - two letters written by Pliny the
Younger. Well, one is actually slightly second hand - he was not present at his uncle's death, but apparently got his information from those who were, shortly after the event. The second letter tells of his own experience. He says he made notes at the time, so so his letters are accurate, though written some years later. They make dramatic reading, and also telling - though I have only told them once. Here's an introduction to the two letters, with the sites of the letters themselves.
Lois Tzur Kibbutz Naan Israel
Eye Witness to the Eruption of A.D. 79!
At the time of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 the Roman fleet under the command of Pliny the Elder was stationed across the Bay of Naples at Misenum. Pliny launched ships and sailed toward the erupting volcano for closer observation and to attempt a rescue. No rescue was possible and Pliny himself died during the eruption, not in the streets of Pompeii, but across the bay at Stabiae. Pliny's nephew, whom we know as Pliny the Younger, was with him at Misenum, but did not venture out on the ships with his uncle. He stayed back at Misenum and observed the events from there. He also received first-hand reports from those who had been with his uncle at his death. Based on this information Pliny the Younger wrote two letters to the historian Tacitus that recount the events surrounding the eruption of Vesuvius and the death of Pliny the Elder. The letters survive and provide a vivid account of the events. Provided below are links to the two letters. They are translated by Professor Cynthia Damon of Amherst College and are part of her Web site for Classics 36 Pompeii and Herculaneum. The letters are used here with Professor Damon's permission.
Pliny Letter VI.16
Pliny Letter VI.20

4) Michael Caduto includes, Jishin-uwo, the Japanese Earthquake Fish in his 1997 book Earth Tales from around the world. The myth has it that the god, Kashima, keeps a close watch on Jishin-uwo and, when the fish becomes restless, jumps on his back and rides him, holding on by the monstrous fish's gills and pushing down with his feet on the fish's gills. Vivid image!

Judy Schmidt (FransDotir@aol.com) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who was awakened during a nap one summer day some years ago when the bed shook slightly - a mild, but totally unexpected, earthquake with the epicenter in Lake Erie had occurred. You might want to research the New Madrid earthquake back in the 1820s. It was centered in Missouri and was quite a phenomenon.

5) I had never heard of this event but your post peaked my curiosity. The first two links are eyewitness accounts to the event and the second has other links as well.
It certainly would make a good historical account/story.
The Virtual Times: New Madrid Earthquake, account 1
The Virtual Times: New Madrid Earthquake, account 2
Missouri: New Madrid Earthquake of 1811-12

6) For accounts of the New Madrid quake you might also check the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. You can link to it via our library, where it's housed:
The New Madrid fault lies from just south of Paducah, KY through the Missouri bootheel down to near Wynne, AR (10 miles north of 1-40). The quake caused the Mississippi River to run backwards. The New Madrid fault is one of those that is expected to relieve itself here real soon---with dire consequences for Memphis, especially.
Other sources related to this particular fault would be the Geology Department at UALR: www.ualr.edu (Shel--a friend of Sterno's and SubG's---Jay ??? is now working in that department and specializes in
earthquake education)
I also know that the Jonesboro, AR school district has done alot on earthquake preparedness---in fact they had just finished putting up theier emergency kits for earthquakes and tornados the day before the Wstside Middle school shootings---it saved several children's lives because their teacher had all the necessary medical supplies at hand to treat the victims..

(This web page updated 8/3/04)


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