A series by Gisela Graichen
On the trail of explorer Alexander von Humboldt one discovers the secrets of a sacred mountain, searches for the origin of a deadly virus or the ruins of a lost civilization.
Wenn die Götter Feuer speien
Mount Fuji is Japan’s sacred mountain. The “most beautiful volcano in the world” is only 50 kilometres away from Tokyo and exudes a deceptive calm. If it explodes, millions of people will find hell on their doorstep. Volcanic activity has claimed over 200,000 victims in the last 200 years. Scientists around the world are working feverishly on effective early warning systems. The Munich-based volcanologist Professor Donald Dingwell has engaged in this race against time by trying to predict and prevent a deadly catastrophe like the one in 1991: at Mount Unzen in Japan there was a pyroclastic flow, a blaze avalanche rushed into the valley at a speed of 200 km/h destroying everything in its way. 43 people were killed and thousands left homeless. The anthropologist Professor Peter Knecht explores how the Japanese have dealt with the phenomenon for centuries and how it found its way into their religion.
He visits the Itakos, blind women who try to contact the deceased at volcano Osor. They believe the deceased will warn them if they listen to them closely. The volcano crater is considered by many Japanese as the residence of the deceased. In a Shinto shrine, Knecht discovers a sacred stone which legend says lies on a fish. According to the centuries-old tradition, if the fish moves, the earth quakes and the mountains spew fire. And indeed, scientists have found out that minimal water movements inside the volcano are the first indications of an outbreak.