Mount Etna erupting in Jan. 2011March 8, 1669: Mount Etna (at right, erupting in Jan. 2011) erupts, threatening the Sicilian town of Catania. The Catanians furiously dig a channel to divert the lava from their homes and toward the neighboring village of Paterno, prompting a battle between residents of the two towns.

March 8, 2008: Monty Python meets mammalian biology: The BBC reports that a castle in Doune, Scotland featured in the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" has become a field lab for studying migratory bats. A small bat called a pipistrelle was discovered spending its winters in the castle where a foul-mouthed French soldier (John Cleese) once taunted King Arthur and his court.

March 8, 2010: A memo sent by Halliburton to BP warns that the cement mixture used to seal wells is "unstable." Six weeks later, the Deepwater Horizon well blows out in the Gulf of Mexico, with the concrete seal as a prime suspect in the tragedy. Both BP and Halliburton later make public assurances that the concrete was not a problem, but the memo is revealed in October by the Presidential Commission investigating the spill.

Photo: ZUMA Press

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.
March 8
An Italian volcano erupts, and BP is warned about 'unstable' cement.