One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote. Its a quote that comes to mind when considering that nature, while chaotic, is also what makes life possible on this small rock. Natural disasters are manifestations of the earths restless creative energy, says David Grinspoon, curator of astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Volcanoes wipe out cities and then return nutrients to the surface of the earth. Earthquakes are part of a larger cycle that keeps the earths surface renewing itself. Natural disasters are also intriguing on a sensationalist level because theyre so amazing to watch.
Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters, which opens today at the museum, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, melds the scientific, sensational, destructive and creative sides of nature by exploring what causes tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanoes, and how people cope with the aftermath. The display includes everything from photographs, firsthand reflections and state-of-the-art animation to a high-tech tornado simulator. What I love about the exhibit is that it really does combine hands-on interactive stuff and high-tech items with some lower-tech models and really striking, large-scale photographs of Katrina and various earthquake sites, Grinspoon says. There is also a section that shows how these natural events have affected the lives of Coloradans.
Nature Unleashed, which runs through May 3, is included in the price of museum admission. For more information, go to www.dmns.org/main/en/ or call 303-322-7009.
Feb. 13-May 3, 2009