Saturday, April 17, 2010

Eyjafjallajökull Eruption: Two Years, Last Time

"Experts: No end to volcano ash in sight"
CNN (April 16, 2010)

"Weather experts predicted Friday that a volcanic ash causing chaos to air traffic across Europe would affect the region well into the weekend and possibly beyond as the dust cloud continued to spread.

"Scientists said it was too soon to predict when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland would cease spewing ash, raising the prospect of thousands more grounded flights in coming days...."

"...He said if the volcano in Iceland volcano continues to spew ash at the same rate, disruption would continue. If the ash ejections lessen combined with weakening winds, conditions could improve through the weekend

"The UK's Met Office said Eyjafjallajökull was now releasing ash in 'pulses' rather than a steady plume, but scientists say it is too early to predict how long the eruption would last. The volcano's last major eruption in 1821 lasted for two years...."

I'm glad I'm not one of the folks whose travel plans were upset by the Eyjafjallajökull eruption.

Eyja- - - How do You Pronounce That?

"...NPR librarian Kee Malesky checked with Iceland's embassy in Washington and came away with this: 'AY-yah-fyah-lah-YOH-kuul.'..."
Works for me. That's a sound approach, by the way: taking a question to someone who's likely to know the answer.

Volcanoes, Ash, Inconvenience and the End of the World

Somebody's probably working on the next best-selling 'and we're all gonna die because - - -' book that includes the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, the earthquakes in China, Chile and Haiti, and maybe something about Nostradamus and the stock market.

Although I'm pretty sure that folks in Europe are in for some unpleasantness, I really don't think that we're looking at 'the end of the world,' or even 'the end of civilization as we know it.'

Or, looking at things another way, we are looking at 'the end of civilization as we know it,' and have been all my life. I remember the fifties. The sixties were different. Then came the seventies: and Western civilization survived Disco.

The point is: change happens. 'Civilization as we know it' keeps changing: so yes, what we're used to right now will be gone in a few days. At the rate things have been changing recently, a year from now we'll have seen quite noticeable changes. Ten years from now, Intel's neural interface may start hitting the market.

Yeah, change happens.

The Eyjafjallajökull Eruption: In Perspective

We live on a planet where it's not, on a geologic time scale, all that unusual for a volcano to blast a hole in a glacier and scatter ash over a non-trivial fraction of the globe. The glacier is a little special, actually: We're either in, or coming out of, one of Earth's periods of continental glaciation. Earth's had about seven of those, so far. (March 24, 2010)

The Eyjafjallajökull eruption, though, is a rather modest affair: compared to events like the periodic Yellowstone caldera blowout. Then there were the eruption(s) that left the Deccan Traps.

I think it's a good idea for folks to think about how to deal with volcanic ash in the water supply. But I'm not exactly overwrought about the perilous plight of delicate little 'Mother Nature.' She's a tough old mother.

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