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Icelands Volcanic Eruption

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Postby sandra » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:09 pm

Iceland's volcanic eruption winding down
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer Jill Lawless, Associated Press Writer – Mon Apr 12, 11:30 am ET
REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Iceland's latest volcanic eruption is coming to an end, scientists said Monday — and the unexpected tourist boom that lifted this recession-weary country's financial fortunes may be up in smoke as well.

It says something about a country's fortunes when an erupting volcano is greeted as good news. But Iceland has had a rocky time since its banks collapsed 18 months ago, capsizing the economy and sending unemployment soaring.

Then, last month, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano began erupting after almost 200 years of silence, threatening floods and earthquakes but drawing thousands of adventurous tourists — and their desperately needed cash — to the site where ash and red-hot lava spewed from a crater between two glaciers.

All good things must come to an end, however, and scientists said Monday that the eruption is winding down.

"The volcanic activity has essentially stopped," said Einar Kjartansson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office. "I believe the eruption has ended."

University of Iceland geologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson said activity at the volcano had declined steeply in the last couple of days, although "it's too early to write its death certificate."

Thousands of people have made the trip to the volcano, 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Reykjavik, since the eruption began March 20 — and Icelandic tour companies have made a small fortune taking them there, by bus, snowmobile, souped-up "superjeep" and even helicopter.

Drivers and hikers have caused unprecedented traffic jams in the sparsely populated rural area near the site.

"It was like a festival without the music," said British tourist Alex Britton, 27, who recently drove to the volcano. "Or like a pilgrimage."

Charter airline Iceland Express says its business has risen by 20 percent since the eruption, and the Icelandic Tourist Board says 26,000 overseas visitors came to the country in March, a record for a quiet month when Iceland is still in its winter hibernation.

This rugged volcanic island of 320,000 people tucked just below the Arctic Circle had already received a tourism boost from the economic crisis, which saw the collapse of Iceland's debt-bloated banks and a dramatic fall in the value of its currency, the krona. Suddenly, a famously expensive country with one of the world's highest standards of living was mired in debt, struggling to pay its bills — and newly affordable to foreign tourists.

The volcano has made it a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers from around the world, despite the expense, which ranges from euro55 ($75) for a bus trip to view the volcano from a distance to euro200 ($270) for a superjeep ride almost to the rim of the crater.

"We have people who are staying at backpackers' hostels taking the tour," said Torfi Ynvgason from tour operator Arctic Adventures. "To drive over a glacier, in Iceland, in winter, to lava falls — if you have it in your bank account, you're going."

The volcano's popularity has proved a headache for the authorities. Iceland's Civil Protection Department says rescue teams have had to help up to 50 people a day down from the site, where temperatures have dipped to -17 Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit) in biting wind. Last week two Icelandic visitors died of exposure after they became lost and their car ran out of gas on a trip to the site.

Iceland is well accustomed to natural disasters and seismic drama. The island sits on a volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge, and eruptions have occurred frequently throughout the country's history, triggered when the Earth's plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface.

The Eyjafjallajokull eruption is the country's first since 2004, and the most dramatic since Hekla, Iceland's most active volcano, blew its top in 2000.

But Icelanders are far from jaded. They, too, have flocked to see the new volcano, and many describe it as something akin to a spiritual experience.

"It's amazing to see it," said Sunnefa Burgess, who works for tour operator Iceland Excursions. "You could sit there all day. And the noise! It's a feeling you can't really describe."

For crisis-weary Icelanders, the eruption has also provided a welcome respite from dire economic news and political turmoil. The volcano has led news bulletins and provided a new topic of chat in the coffee bars and geothermally heated outdoor hot tubs where Icelanders congregate.

Now it seems the volcanic windfall is disappearing as quickly as it came.

And there is a bigger worry smoldering in the background. Scientists say history has shown that when Eyjafjallajokull erupts, the much bigger Katla volcano nearby often follows within days or months.

Katla is located under the vast Myrdalsjokull icecap, and an eruption could cause widespread flooding. The last major eruption took place in 1918, and vulcanologists say a new blast is overdue.

"A large eruption of Katla could disrupt aviation seriously in the North Atlantic," said Kjartansson. "It has the potential to cause a lot of damage and disruption.

"But there is very little seismic activity near Katla. I see no reason to expect Katla to do anything in the near future."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100412/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_iceland_volcano_tourism
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Postby rath » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:46 am

It's going off now.

14 minutes ago

Iceland volcano erupts under glacier

A second volcano has erupted in Iceland, melting part of a glacier and sparking heavy floods.

Up to 800 people were evacuated from homes around the Eyjafjallajokull glacier near Reykjavik but no casualties have been reported, police said.

"There are large floods on both sides of the volcano, and the road in is blocked ... there are fears a large bridge will break," an Reykjavik embassy spokesman said.

Last month, the nearby Fimmvorduhals volcano erupted, spewing red hot lava down its icy slopes for weeks
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Postby sandra » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:46 am

14 minutes ago? Thats some timing there, rath. ;) Yeah, I've been trying to pay attention to this, how much longer is it going to last, or what else is going to come from it.




-- "The last time Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano blew, the eruption lasted more than a year, from December 1821 until January 1823, reports Sally Sennert, a geologist at the Smithsonian Institution.

"This seems similar to what's happening now," she says.

The volcano is erupting small, jagged pieces of rocks, minerals and volcanic glass the size of sand and silt into the atmosphere, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. This volcanic ash can even be as small as 1/25,000th of an inch across.

Volcanic ash is formed during explosive volcanic eruptions. Once in the air, the wind can blow these tiny ash particles tens to thousands of miles away from the volcano. Life-threatening and costly damages can occur to aircraft that fly through an eruption cloud, reports the geological survey.

"Silica in the ash gets into the engine and heats up and melts, which causes the engines to stop," says Sennert.

Based on reported damages from ash encounters, the hazard posed to aircraft can extend more than 3,000 miles from an erupting volcano. (Click here for a map of the ash zone over Europe).

Fortunately for the USA, Sennert says the wind direction is such that the ash cloud is traveling east-southeast, toward Europe and away from the USA.

However, as Science Fair noted previously, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano isn't necessarily the main problem. It's Katla, Iceland's noisier neighbor, that's the concern. If lava flowing from Eyjafjallajokull melts the glaciers that hold down the top of Katla, then Katla could blow its top, pumping gigantic amounts of ash into the atmosphere.

The potential eruption of Iceland's volcano Katla could send the world, including the USA, into an extended deep freeze.

"There's no telling how long the eruptions could last," says Sennert about the Eyjafjallajokull volcano."These explosions could go on for some time."

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/04/iceland-volcano-eruption-could-last-months/1


One expert said the eruption at the volcano, about 120 km (75 miles) southeast of capital Reykjavik, could abate in the coming days, but a government spokesman said ash would keep drifting into the skies of Europe.

The thick, dark brown ash cloud that shot several kilometers (miles) into the air and has drifted away from the north Atlantic island has shut down air traffic across northern Europe and restrictions remained in place in many areas.

Norway and Sweden said they would resume limited flights in their northern areas, but Poland and the Czech Republic joined the list of countries with closed airports.

"It is more or less the same situation as yesterday, it is still erupting, still exploding, still producing gas," University of Iceland professor Armann Hoskuldsson told Reuters.

"We expect it to last for two days or more or something. It cannot continue at this rate for many days. There is a limited amount of magma that can spew out," he added, saying it was the magma, or molten rock beneath the Earth's surface, coming out of the volcano that turned into ash.

Environment Ministry spokesman Gudmundur Gudmundsson said no variation was expected in the outflow of ash.

"The eruption is ongoing and we are not expecting any change in the production of ash...High level winds will keep dispersing the plume over Europe," he said.

The eruption has taken place under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, normally a popular hiking ground in southern Iceland.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Urdur Gudmundsdottir said there was some damage to roads and barriers protecting farms.

"There is still an evacuation of around 20 farms, which is 40 to 50 people," she added, noting this was less than the 800 people who had been evacuated earlier this week.

FLOODS

People living close to the eruption said the main impact on their lives was the flood waters running off the glacier, which have closed roads.

"Obviously it's all been a bit unreal. One is just managing from day to day and doing one's best," said Hanna Lara Andrews, a resident of a farm at the foot of the mountain, who had traveled to Reykjavijk with her one-year-old son.

Speaking by telephone, she said she and her family had felt a big earthquake last week. When the eruption came this week they could see a big white cloud and then ash forming behind it.

Another professor said on Thursday that the heat had melted up to a third of the glacial ice covering the crater, causing a nearby river to burst its banks.

Icelandic radio said part of the ring road that goes around the small north Atlantic island had been swept away.

To the east of the volcano, thousands of hectares of land are covered by a thick layer of ash.

The cloud of ash from the eruption has hit air travel all over northern Europe, with flights grounded or diverted due to the risk of engine damage from sucking in particles of ash from the volcanic cloud.

The volcano under the Ejfjallajokull glacier, Iceland's fifth largest glacier, has erupted five times since Iceland was settled in the ninth century.

Iceland sits on a volcanic hotspot in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and has relatively frequent eruptions, although most occur in sparsely populated areas and pose little danger to people or property. Before March, the last eruption took place in 2004.

(Reporting by Omar Valdimarsson in Reykkavik and Patrick Lannin in Stockholm; writing by Patrick Lannin; Editing by William Maclean)"

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63E2OU20100416
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
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“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
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Postby greeney2 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:05 pm

Under a glacier will make some very big mudflows.
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Postby sandra » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:46 pm

Whats the update on the flooding and things? Do you know greeney, or have you heard anything for an update over there? I havent seen anything in the news lately, if anyone comes accross an article, it would be appreciated if posted.
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
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“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby sandra » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:15 pm

“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby bionic » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:28 am

so this is where the volcano thread is!!

How weird all the BIG seismic stuff of late.

And it's under a glacier?
That makes me think of ancient organisms and viruses and bacterias getting loose, to be honest.

Also..how will this affect ocean levels, I wonder? Like thye need any help in rising.
:shock:

2012 is just around the corner (imagine a moment of dramatic music , here)
Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams
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Postby sandra » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:32 pm

I never really thought about what all could come up from
under a glacier. Or be disturbed etc.

And I should look for an update, to see if there is still
activity over there. I know alot has been effected just by the ash,
but I haven't heard any more on the water situation.
Could it really effect ocean levels????

Youre right, 2012 is just around the corner, kind of shakes me
up a bit when I see everything escalating.
Doesn't it seem like even when you watch the news now, its
just one thing after another. Can't even keep up
with all the world events. Its getting bizzare.
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby sandra » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:17 pm

Found another article that was interesting.

"While no one can say with certainty whether or not the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull stems from climate change, Icelandic scientists point to an increase in the likelihood of eruptions as glaciers melt due to climate change. It works like this: As ice recedes, the land underneath moves up, freed from the massive weight. As the ground rises, it creates tectonic instablity, increasing the likelihood of volcanic eruptions in formerly glacier-clad regions.

Some studies also suggest that changing air and ocean temperatures could create geological stresses, causing eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis the world over.

Indeed, the current eruption, which has caused billions of dollars in economic losses from air travel, tourism, and other international activities, is a useful preview of what kinds of damage climate change could cause. It's precisely this kind of economic blowout that leads most economists to argue that, whatever the price tag on carbon regulations, acting now will be far cheaper than doing nothing.

That's the bad news, but there's a little bit of good news, too. Volcanic ash, like man-made particulate pollution, has a cooling effect on the climate because it reflects solar heat. At this point, scientists are saying that Eyjafjallajokull won't have a significant effect on the climate, but an increase in volcanic activity could have a cumulative cooling effect.

It's just incredible how powerful nature is, and yet how exquisitely balanced its systems are."

While no one can say with certainty whether or not the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull stems from climate change, Icelandic scientists point to an increase in the likelihood of eruptions as glaciers melt due to climate change. It works like this: As ice recedes, the land underneath moves up, freed from the massive weight. As the ground rises, it creates tectonic instablity, increasing the likelihood of volcanic eruptions in formerly glacier-clad regions.

Some studies also suggest that changing air and ocean temperatures could create geological stresses, causing eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis the world over.

Indeed, the current eruption, which has caused billions of dollars in economic losses from air travel, tourism, and other international activities, is a useful preview of what kinds of damage climate change could cause. It's precisely this kind of economic blowout that leads most economists to argue that, whatever the price tag on carbon regulations, acting now will be far cheaper than doing nothing.

That's the bad news, but there's a little bit of good news, too. Volcanic ash, like man-made particulate pollution, has a cooling effect on the climate because it reflects solar heat. At this point, scientists are saying that Eyjafjallajokull won't have a significant effect on the climate, but an increase in volcanic activity could have a cumulative cooling effect.

It's just incredible how powerful nature is, and yet how exquisitely balanced its systems are."



Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/gre ... z0loOIfLl8
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
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“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby sandra » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:53 pm

"Scientists and flight engineers, who still are unsure what is safe and what isn't, will be studying the effects of flying through volcanic debris, which can vary in concentration, chemical makeup and toxicity.

There is an urgency in the work to be done. Eyjafjallajokull has a history of lengthy eruptions, alternately sputtering with lava and exploding with ash for months at a time. And geologists are expecting an even more powerful volcano, Katla, to become active. The last time it erupted, in 1918, men were still flying biplanes.

For politicians and regulators, the debate has just begun over what can be learned.

Aviation executives denounced the lockdown in the sky as a knee-jerk overreaction, but authorities defended their action as prudent.

"It may be too early for us to provide a full list of lessons learned, except that the safety-first precautionary principle must be applied in any future similar situation," said Philip von Schoppenthau, secretary-general of the European Cockpit Association, which represents 38,200 pilots from 36 nations.

Initial calculations put airline losses from canceled flights at around $2 billion, but that is only the beginning of the red ink, Missed flights must be refunded, hotels and meals paid for, flights rebooked. That is EU law, Kallas said. "This is not a voluntary scheme."


But airlines said those rules should be reviewed for extreme cases. "We have also learned that European passenger rights rules simply do not seem to work in conditions like this," said Henderson. Unless they are amended, he said, airlines can keep paying "until they run out of cash."

The airlines say they should be entitled to government support, just like the U.S. government granted $5 billion in subsidies to the airlines after their fleets were grounding by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

As for travelers, some will take away personal lessons from the ordeal, perhaps rethinking their dependency on air travel in a world where hopping a flight was once second nature.

The crisis only highlighted the shortcomings of airplanes as opposed to, say, trains: lengthy and intrusive security checks, shrinking leg room on board, deliberate overbooking and mounting hidden costs like paying extra for food or drink, a second suitcase and even hand luggage.

For a natural calamity of this scale, it is remarkable that no one was harmed.

In fact, no plane has ever been brought down by volcanic ash. The closest to a disaster came in 1989 when a KLM Boeing 747 flew through an ash cloud over Alaska. All four engines failed and the plane dropped more than two miles in five minutes. The pilots reignited the engines with about one minute left before crashing.

That event taught pilots to act counterintuitively: not to add thrust to a dying engine, which only heats the ash quicker and clogs up the rotors faster.

But there may be no escape from some disasters.

In 1783, another volcano in Iceland, Laki, pumped 120 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the air in an eruption that lasted off and on for eight months. The thick and poisonous haze over Europe literally suffocated thousands of people to death."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 201_2.html
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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