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Wikimedia Commons

Rabbi Yosef Berger has stated that he believes that recent volcanic activity in the Pacific and the resulting tsunamis are signs that the end of days is fast approaching.

“This is a global phenomenon, clear for everyone to see, but the important message is for each individual to understand what is happening as part of the Messiah,” said Berger. “Most of the time, nature appears to act according to a set of rules. People who do not see God in the world mistakenly believe that this is the way nature must act and will always act. They believe that through these laws of nature they have made up that they rule over God’s creation.”

Atheists and skeptics, however, are not the only ones who disagree with Berger’s assertion that volcanic activity along the edges of the Pacific is a supernatural warning sign. The Pacific Plate, one of the seven massive tectonic plates that make up Earth’s crust, is well known for being a hotbed of volcanic activity. Those who live near the edges of the plate, such as Californians and the entire Japanese nation, are used to dealing with frequent earthquakes. In fact, the horseshoe shaped area where the Pacific Plate meets Asia and the Americas is home to so much volcanic activity that it is known as the Ring of Fire. This half-circle of volcanoes, earthquake swarms and, occasionally, tsunamis, runs off the eastern coast of Australia, up through Indonesia and South-East Asia, through the heart of Japan over to Alaska, America’s West Coast and down the western coasts of Latin and South America. The area has over 450 volcanoes that are still capable of or currently erupting and is home to many of the planet’s most destructive volcanoes. Mount Fuji famously overlooks Tokyo and is merely dormant. Its next eruption could threaten all 9 million residents of Tokyo. Similarly, the volcanoes Mayon, Popocatepetl, Santa Maria, Mauna Loa, Galeras, Sakurajimi and Cotopoxi are all located close to thriving urban centers packed with people. In addition, the Ring of Fire is home to the world’s most infamous volcano, the still-active Krakatoa.

There is no doubt the Ring of Fire is capable of creating disasters of truly biblical proportions, but despite their overwhelming destructive capability, the region is no stranger to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis. More than 75 percent of the world’s eruptible volcanoes form the boarder of the ring, and the region is responsible for 90 percent of all earthquakes in the world. As such, most of the world’s tsunamis also occur in the area, and it was home to all but three of the 25 largest volcanic eruptions in the last 12,000 years. Unfortunately, not every nation that boarders the Ring of Fire is equipped to deal with the myriad of disasters capable of befalling the area. Even those that are can still be devastated by nature’s fury, as Japan showed with the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami when the nation’s advanced preparation measures were still overcome.

The constant activity in the Ring of Fire, however, has also made it a popular target for End Times prophecies. Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi agreed with Rabbi Berger that recent activity in the region was a sign that the Jewish Messiah had been born and that the world was on the cusp of “redemption.”

“The Creator is purifying the world from the filth of the snake in order to prepare the way for the Messiah to be revealed in the world,” Artzi said. “The Redemption will come mercifully so our Father in Heaven uses nature against us: through storms, fires, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Slowly the holy one is destroying all the evil in the world while at the same time preparing the light of the Messiah. The world is experiencing destruction and rebirth at the same time.”

While the question of whether the end is nigh is up for debate, the Ring of Fire does, very literally, create and destroy simultaneously. Volcanic activity does horrific damage to human civilizations, but it is also the way in which the Earth replenishes itself. Volcanic eruptions create, quite literally, new land when lava mixes with sea water, and they are responsible for some of the most fertile soil on the planet.

The Ring of Fire was admittedly unusually active in 2018. As such, it is always possible that the increased activity and destruction is truly a sign of something important. On the other hand, it might well simply be business as usual in Earth’s most geologically active region.

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