Image via AP.

Today in the New York Times you’ll see a stunning photo of Mount Mayon, an active volcano in the Phillippines, barfing up ash and fire from its peak. Mayon is reportedly “ready to blow” (more than 70,000 nearby residents have been forced to evacuate), and the Times piece is a harrowing depiction of life on its edge. But Mayon’s current eruption is just one of many alarming geological disturbances to occur along the 25,000-mile-long Ring of Fire over the past few weeks. If you’re like me, reading this news has left you absolutely terrified.

In a piece published by Vox this week, a “professor of earth and planetary sciences” named Emily Brodsky (is an easier title here “professor of geology and astronomy” or am I being rude?!) was asked whether Mayon and recent earthquakes in Alaska and California were related. She said, “The short answer is yes, earthquakes and volcanoes can interact.” Her long answer was more like but ACTUALLY it’s way too early to tell and we don’t fully understand the relationships between different geological events just yet. But here I am, with a higher-than-average heart rate, looking up prepper-friendly water bricks on Overstock.com.

Ah, but wait! Here’s a story on BBC News assuring readers that this month’s activity along the Ring of Fire is “entirely normal.” An Australian “geology expert” named Professor Chris Elders (again, what’s with these weird titles?!) said, “There’s nothing unusual about what we’re seeing at the moment,” adding that the Ring of Fire has been a hotbed of tectonic activity “for hundreds and thousands of years.”

A New Zealand volcanologist (I like that one) named Janine Krippner put it more bluntly in a tweet:

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Thank you, Dr. Janine for providing us with such a calming, rational interpretation of these recent events! Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to take a casual stroll over to Express.co.uk: