“We don’t think so,” says the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. (I think it has.)
Notice that they didn’t say they’re sure. It’s just that they don’t THINK so.
They do agree that the number of active volcanoes over the last few centuries “shows a dramatic increase.” However, they also note that that increase “is closely related to increases in the world’s human population and communication.”
“We believe,” they say, “that this represents an increased reporting of eruptions, rather than increased frequency of global volcanism: more observers, in wider geographic distribution, with better communication, and broader publication.”
In other words, they think the increase in global volcanism is more apparent than real.
Notice again, that they didn’t say they’re sure. It’s just that they believe that this represents an increased reporting of eruptions.
The Smithsonian includes a plot of the past 200 years (above) showing this generally increasing trend along with some major “peaks and valleys” which, they say, suggest global pulsations. But a closer look at the two largest valleys, they point out, shows that the peaks and valleys coincide with the two World Wars, when people (including editors) were preoccupied with other things.
I’m not so sure that I agree with the Smithsonian on this. Even in a world with far fewer people and communication by horseback, I think a volcanic eruption would be seared into a person’s memory so strongly that news of that eruption would somehow, someway, be reported and recorded. I think we are indeed seeing an increase in volcanism, but as of now I do not have the facts and figures to back that up.
See entire article for the Smithsonian’s reasoning:
Thanks to Jay Curtis for this link