There's been an awful lot of geological activity of late, although I suspect most geologists will happily point out the Earth is a very busy planet with lots of moving and shaking going on at all times.
But while most attention is focused on the HCR bill, Iceland is experiencing the eruption of a volcano dormant for almost two hundred years, evacuations and the potential of a larger eruption that could affect the entire globe.
Iceland is preparing for an even more powerful and potentially destructive volcano after a small eruption at the weekend shot red-hot molten lava high into the sky.
About 500 people were safely evacuated from the land close to the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which is around 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of the capital, Reykjavik. The country's two airports were closed for most of the day and transatlantic flights re-routed to avoid the risk of ash blocking visibility and destroying engines.
The original fear was that the volcano had erupted directly underneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, which could have caused glacial melt, flooding and mudslides. Instead, the volcano blew inbetween Eyjafjallajokull and the larger Myrdalsjoekull glacier.
However, the danger is that the small volcano is just the beginning and that it will trigger the far more powerful volcano of Katla, which nestles beneath Myrdalsjoekull.
“That has to be on the table at the moment," Dave McGarvie, senior lecturer at the Volcano Dynamics Group of the Open University, said. “And it is a much nastier piece of work.”
Icelanders agree. "This could trigger Katla, which is a vicious volcano that could cause both local and global damage," Pall Einarsson, from the University of Iceland, said.
I take a couple things from this article.
- The Iceland language has such wild words that you can tell they limit immigration by making it tough to speak their language. But on the plus side, their words look awesome and foreboding.
- A secondary, but more catastrophic eruption could affect the planet. The article finishes with this:
The island's worst eruption in modern times was in 1783, when the Laki volcano blew its top. The lava shot to heights of 1.4 kilometres and more than 120 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide was released into the atmosphere.
A quarter of the island's population died in the resulting famine and it transformed the world, creating Britain's notorious "sand summer", casting a toxic cloud over Prague, playing havoc with harvests in France — sometimes seen as a contributory factor in the French Revolution — and changing the climate so dramatically that New Jersey recorded its largest snowfall and Egypt one of its most enduring droughts.
Nothing like a little nature and geology to take your mind off the political circus of the weekend. We may already be baffled by current weather trends such as the heavy snows on the east coast while the Winter Olympics are held in springlike conditions in British Columbia. A large scale volcanic eruption could twist things even further.
At the very least, visit the Google News Page on this particular story for some fantastic photos of the eruption.
You can shake your fist in anger, but the volcano will always win