Volcano Prank

Volcano Prank


On April 1, 1974, a prankster ignited 70 old tires in the Mount Edgecumbe crater for an April Fools' Day joke. The dark smoke rising from the crater convinced nearby residents of Sitka, Alaska that the volcano was erupting.


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Mount Edgecumbe is a dormant volcano located at the southern end of Kruzof Island, Alaska. The volcano is about 9.9 miles (16 km) east of the Queen Charlotte Fault that separates the North American and Pacific Plates and is the highest point in the Mount Edgecumbe volcanic field, an area of about 100 square miles (260 km2) on Kruzov Island that also includes Crater Ridge and Shell Mountain.

The indigenous Tlingit people considered the mountain to be sacred. In the Tlingit language, the mountain is called L'ux, which means "to flash" or "blinking," purportedly because the Tlingit people first discovered it while it was smoking or erupting.

On August 16, 1775, Spanish explorer Juan de la Bodega named the mountain Montana de San Jacinto to honor Saint Hyacinth, whose feast day is celebrated on 17 August. Captain James Cook passed the mountain on May 2, 1778, during his third voyage and named it Mount Edgecumbe, presumably after a hill overlooking Plymouth Harbor, England, or possibly for George, Earl of Edgcumbe. Explorer George Vancouver later adopted the name chosen by Cook, and it came into popular usage.

On April 1, 1974, a local prankster named Oliver "Porky" Bickar ignited 70 old tires in the crater, which he had flown in for an April Fools' Day joke. The dark smoke rising from the crater convinced nearby residents of Sitka, Alaska that the volcano was erupting. The hoax was soon revealed, as around the rim of the volcano, "April Fool" was spray-painted in 50-foot (15 m) letters. The Guardian reports that Bickar had been planning the prank for four years, and lists it among the ten best Aprils Fools hoaxes of all time.


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