Saturday, April 17, 2010

Icelandic volcano

Smoke & steam from volcano, 14 April. From the Examiner.
Wow. Most of us have seen these pictures, and more, about the Icelandic volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, disrupting air travel all over the world. It is shooting out smoke and steam as high as 55,000 feet. As most of us air travelers know, we usually fly around 30,000 feet in transatlantic flights. London Heathrow and most other European airports are closed. Planes cannot fly safely through the ash, because it gets into the engines and makes them freeze up. Not a good thing for anybody. Flights are being allowed at lower VFR (visual flight rules) altitudes, but the whole mess is complicated by the fact that the volcano shows no signs of letting up. Not to mention that the high pressure over most of Europe is keeping the ash from dispersing.

This is not the first time that an Icelandic volcano has caused such disruptions. I found that the Laki eruption in 1783 is thought to have had worldwide ramifications for years. It continued to erupt for eight months. There is a great Wikipedia link about this one, and I found this to be very frightening:
The consequences for Iceland—known as the Mist Hardships—were catastrophic. An estimated 20-25% of the population died in the famine and fluorine poisoning after the fissure eruptions ceased. Around 80% of sheep, 50% of cattle and 50% of horses died because of dental and skeletal fluorisis from the 8 million tons of hydrogen fluoride that were released.
That was in Iceland. In Europe, tens of thousands of people died because of the massive amounts of ash and sulfur dioxide that traveled across the water to Europe. The link gives some fascinating information (not at all reassuring), and blames the Laki eruption for the French Revolution!

We can only hope that worldwide travel disruptions will be the only thing that we humans and other animals experience from this one. It makes me remember how little we can protect ourselves from catastrophic events, and how powerful they are. Does anybody else feel like these things (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc.) are increasing?


  1. No kidding to just hoping a few days/weeks of air travel is the only thing interrupted. I heard/read last year that a volcano(s) under Iceland were getting active.

    As my hubby says now and again, "We (the world) are going to be in a world of hurt if this volcano continues on for the next eight or so month."

    To answer your last question, yes, I do think these major events have increased. The experts are saying it is cyclical, but then I can't say that I believe them. :D Ok, I have government trust issues. lol

  2. I have a friend who sells hotel reservations in a call center and it is amazing how angry people are that the flights are canceled! They act like it's directed at them personally! Have they given any thought, as you have, to the effect on this earth?
    And.... and here's a thought.... Is it simply the earth's checks and balances and the 'natural' order of things?

  3. They do seem to me to be increasing. I think I'm more astonished about the disasters happening that I've never known of before, like this one. I thought I'd lived long enough to have seen everything.

  4. It is very scary having all these disasters happening one right after another. We have been fortunate here in the US, but it is only a matter of time before we have our own or are affected by these others. I don't think most people grasp the significance of this Icelandic eruption and how many countries are being impacted. I can't help but wonder if these calamities aren't what was predicted as signs of the end times in the Bible. Even if they aren't, I'm afraid we are on a collision course for some global emergencies that we haven't even begun to consider.

  5. The idea that Rae is correct is rather frightening. I am certain that we really have no idea how widespread the damage is with something like this. Thank you for the link. I have never heard of this eruption - not exactly something we studied in school - and probably wouldn't have heard of it now if not for you. It may seem greatly distant, but when you consider what it'd be like to lose your family to the poisoning it becomes much more real. I pray that these travel delays are all we see as a consequence of this eruption.

  6. Yep...our country Philippines is situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire and earthquakes are often felt in different parts of the country. Just this month a couple of earthquakes has been felt, from intensity 4, 5 or even higher. Earthquake drill were always done especially in the metropolis, people along the coasts are always prepared for tsunami alerts and it is so scary!


  7. I had noticed that earthquakes and volcanic activity seems to be on the rise in the past couple of years or so. Something is definitely going on.

    For a volcano to be so serious as to disrupt air traffic for days -- and perhaps many more days (weeks) to come, is really frightening.

    The most frightening thing of all is that my boss is due to fly to Ireland in a few days and he *gasp* might not be able to go. Noooooo, say it isn't so...! *heh*

  8. Well I'm over here for the forseeable future, so it seems. I am booked to return to the U.K. on July 5th, ash cloud permitting. I am fortunate that I am not paying expensive hotel bills but I also feel that I should be offering accommodation in my English house, to those unfortunate passengers who are stuck at Luton airport, unable to go anywhere and without money to pay for anything.
    Blessings, Star

  9. Yes, I feel like they ARE increasing, DJan. It seemed to start in epic proportions with the Tsunami that was so devastating a few years ago. And among friends and family, personal and daily hardships and serious difficulties are multiplying. Of course, the world and human frailty are a part of each moment in history but it would seem forces are gathering.

    I am grateful to the great "I Am" of the Bible who is still in control and who I can lean into though terror shake me. I could NOT stand without that great hope.

  10. Every week or two there seems to be an earthquake someplace..and now this volcano..and the one right next to it is much larger that this one that is spewing chunks of ice as big as ice cream buckets..
    In 19890 when Mount St Helens blew her in vehicles was difficult in the Northern part of the USA ..and it was scary.
    I suppose it will all continue..earthquakes and such..not much we can do to stop it:(

  11. This is very scary when you think about it!! What is going on!!

  12. I am very worried about the increasing earthquakes and volcanos...and especially about is past due for the big one...and it would be devastating!

  13. Mother Earth has always flexed and shifted, sometimes more violently than others. During the time I lived in Alaska three different volcanoes erupted. Each of them affected air travel in the state and beyond. Most folks outside of Alaska and maybe the SeaTac area never knew they occurred. The same was true of some of the larger quakes up there.

    I think we are just hearing more about such occurrences than we did twenty or thirty years ago.

  14. For personal volcanic anecdotes:
    * this bloody volcano kept my sister (in London) from joining us for our big family weekend in Mallorca.. but then it gave the rest of us 2 extra days there because our flights back to the peninsula were cancelled! :p
    * I have a friend who was stranded in Boston for an extra week... fortunately for him it was a business trip so his job covered hotel costs etc...
    * One of my English students must have been on one of the last flights to get into London on the Thursday when everything shut down (he was there as a "good grades" 4-day weekend prize with his parents), he got an extra 2 days and a big adventure to get home as the embassy organised a bus to get Spaniards home: crossing the channel by ferry, traversing France and reaching Bilbao, and then they had to get another bus to madrid and a train to Alicante. 36h!!! but he was all excited when he told me about it (his parents on the other hand worried about extra days hotel/food bills)

    I just hope the other volcano doesn't start up or we'll all be in big trouble!


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