Cooling the Lava Reading Guide
1. Cooling the lava...feat -
2. His full name is...
- What would your name be in Icelandic?
- What point is McPhee making by talking about the Prime Minister and the President?
3. To Thorbjorn's idea...skepticism/skeptic -
nascent - just being born
4. There may have even been smiles...cerebral cortex - brain, center of command
charter purpose -
acts of God -
ruddy with violence -
signal battle -
- What was the National Emergency Operation Center originally built for?
- What does it do now?
- Why are the walls concrete and the doors made of steel? Why is it pressurized inside?
- Why are pictures of the Heimaey eruption still up on the walls so many years later?
5. Heimaey is pronounced...archipelago -
craquelure - fine network of cracks
- Why does the town on Heimaey have no name of its own?
- What does the "ski huts" comment tell you know about when this was written?
- Is this saying that there is a volcano west of New York City right now?
- Why did an eruption on one tiny island cause so much alarm all over Iceland?
6. The cooling was at first confined...deployment of materiel and personnel -
- What is McPhee saying they decided they had to do in order to cool the lava effectively?
7. It was astonishing to see...insulator -
- What does McPhee mean by a "new rock?"
- What does he notice when visiting Iceland 15 years later?
- What is McPhee saying makes the lava flow like a frozen pond?
- Why did the people on the lava flow avoid standing still?
- How does the rest of the paragraph serve to explain the first sentence?
8. It was soon apparent that bulldozers...
- Why did it take so many people to run a single bulldozer?
9. One time, a bulldozer caught fire...
10. Sigurdur wore oversize boots...
11. You couldn't stand still...
12. Not much below fifteen hundred degrees...
- Why does it matter that lava stops glowing under 1500 degrees?