Not by Fire but by Ice


Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs . . . and Why it Could Soon Kill Us


Iceland volcano could have global consequences

1783 eruption lead to famine

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23 Mar 10 - When blasts of lava shot hundreds of feet out of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in southern Iceland on Monday, it raised fears of a larger explosion at the nearby Katla volcano.

And Katla, often called Iceland's most dangerous volcano, threatens disastrous flooding and explosive blasts when it finally blows.

                                                           Source: ESRI

History has proven that when the Eyjafjallajokull (also called Eyjafjoll) volcano erupts, Katla also erupts — but no one can predict how soon, or how explosively.

Katla, buried beneath the massive Myrdalsjokull icecap, has produced many glacier-outburst floods. Such floods - called jökulhlaups - can reach the size of the Amazon River, and float icebergs the size of houses down its roiling waters.

Icelandic volcanoes can also have global consequences. After Iceland's Laki volcano erupted in 1783, crop production fell in western Europe. Some link that eruption, which helped fuel famine, to the French Revolution. Deadly smog from the volcano blew downwind and killed many people in the British Isles. Gas poisoning, in other words.

"The winter of 1784 was also one of the longest and coldest on record in North America," says this article on MSNBC. "New England reported a record stretch of below-zero temperatures and New Jersey reported record snow accumulation. The Mississippi River also reportedly froze in New Orleans."

"These are Hollywood-sort of scenarios but possible," said Colin Macpherson, a geologist with the University of Durham."

Eyjafjallajokull volcano last erupted in 1821. The event lasted more than a year but was relatively mild.

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Thanks to Chuck Clancy for this link

See also Iceland volcano erupts - hundreds evacuated          





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