The Great Mount Perry Fault Line |
It is well known the surface of the world floats about as chunks or islands of surface area known as tectonic plates. The center of the earth is a molten mass so the plates do on occasion move.
The point where two tectonic plates meet is a line known as a fault line. As the tectonic plates move about on the molten core of the earth, stress is built up on these fault lines until the pressure is sufficient to cause the edges of the plates to slip past one another.
When they do slip, both plates experience a shock called an earth quake. At the moment the plates shift and produce the earth quake, the molten core of the earth is momentarily exposed. Hot magma rushes upwards.
In some cases it cools way before it gets to the surface and simply acts as a cement to fuse the two tectonic plates together until more stress can build up.
In other cases the magma reaches the surface where it becomes what we call mountains. In some rare cases the mountain has a molten core running down to the magma at the earth's center. As the plates shift the passage to the surface within the mountain is open again and more of the earths molten core races upwards causing the mountain to erupt. We refer to this as an active volcano.
Most of the time, these active volcanoes simply sit there, doing very little. They periodically vent steam and ash over the surrounding country side. In time the molten magma in the core of the mountain solidifies and the mountain becomes an extinct volcano.
Then the tectonic plates shift and open the passage again. The molten magma rushes to the surface causing another eruption of the volcano. These eruptions vary in intensity depending on how much stress builds up between the plates and the force of the magma at the point of eruption.
Mount Perry sits squarely on top of The Great Mount Perry Fault Line. Because there is a very regular shift in the Mount Perry Plate, our beloved mountain continually vents steam, ash and an occasional large rock. The Swamp county Court House sits on top of our beloved Mount Perry and has harnessed the heat from the bubbling magma pool to warm the building, thus saving the Mount Perry tax payer hundreds of dollars a year.
Of course there are those rare occasions when the mountain will give up a large amount of steam and ash during an extra violent shift in the tectonic plates. This could hardly be called an eruption so we refer to it as a volcanic hiccup.
We, here in Mount Perry, have become accustomed to these periodic hiccups. The thought of an automobile sized boulder crashing down through the roof of our homes is a risk we willingly take for the privilege of living at the base of our beloved mountain. Of course it's expensive, but isn't that why we buy insurance?
It was only a few weeks ago when our beloved mountain hiccupped and a rather large rock was hurled onto the roof of Mount Perry's most eligible bachelor, Mr. Single Mann's home. The huge stone crashed through Mann's roof landing along side him in his water bed. The resulting Water Bed Tsunami, hurled Mr. Mann out of his window, across the street and into the bed of his neighbor's wife, Mrs. Short Tempered.
Unfortunately for the two of them, Mr. Tempered was just returning from a business trip and found the two of them scampering out of bed in their , --- where-with-all. Mr. Tempered was not at all amused.
Mr. Short Tempered is aptly named. In a fit of anger, he drew his gun and shot the two of them on the spot. Thus the act is recorded the only fatality because of a Mount Perry Hiccup. As part of his defense, Mr. Tempered pointed to the mountain and stated, "If the mountain hadn't belched the rock out, this never would have happened."
The verdict exonerated Mr. Tempered and found Mount Perry guilty of complicity in the murder of two Mount Perry Citizens. Exactly what the jury intends to recommend as punishment is still a mystery.
Fortunately, the Mount Perry Plate is on the small side and quite round. It acts somewhat like a ball bearing between the Gulf of Mexico Plate and the Atlantic Plate. Over the past two or three billion years of Mount Perry's recorded history, our little plate has rotated up past the state capital several times.
We are expected to arrive there again within the next thousand years provided the plates continue in their predicted directions. This is expected to cut travel time to the capital to a bare minimum. As the state capital has a growing population and a resulting urban sprawl, we might even become a suburb of the state capital for a while, on this trip around.
On the good side, the occasional cloud of soot and ash does fall on our beautiful swamp. This gives us the most fertile and slippery mud in the world. As a result we are able to grow a great variety of interesting plants in our swamp.
Among these is the giant Venus Man-eater. As a result of the extra nutrients in our swamp, this is the only plant in the world able to snatch a car off the road and suck the occupant's right out through the car window in a single slurp.
There is only one minor problem truly causing the residents of our fair town concern. The ash cloud produced by these hiccups does tend to obscure the sun for several days after each hiccup. This causes a volcanic winter in Mount Perry, until the wind blows the ash away or it settled into our swamp.
As the temperature plummets to a frigid 75 to 80 degrees, the residents of our beloved town bundle up for the duration. It's only a small price to pay for living here. Unfortunately, the insect population becomes dormant during these times. They become exceptionally hungry during this dormancy and have been known to carry unwary tourists off to feed to their young.