Friday, April 23, 2010

"Eyjafjallajökull" or "Eyjafjallajokull:" Either Way, Iceland's Volcano is Making (Seismic) Waves

I say "Eyjafjallajökull," you say "Eyjafjallajokull:" Either way it's a pretty big eruption. This post is a sort of scrapbook of what's happened recently.

I've noticed that American-English news often turns Eyjafjallajökull into Eyjafjallajokull. My guess is that it's a whole lot easier for folks at the keyboards. Icelandic and English both use a Latin-based alphabet, but we've made regional modifications in the fifteen centuries since imperial Rome went out of business.

Then, some headlines avoid the name entirely:

"European Airlines Press to Get Everyone Home "

AssociatedPress, YouTube (April 22, 2010)
video, 1:22

"European airports sent thousands of planes into the sky Thursday after a week of unprecedented disruptions, with airlines piling on more flights and bigger planes to try to get as many people home as possible. (April 22)"

Need something to worry about? Try this on for size:

"Scientists warn Eyjafjallajokull could trigger the Katla volcano to erupt"
Helium (April 21, 2010)

"While the after effects of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull are slowly beginning to dissipate, scientists warn that there may be more to come in the near future. The concern is not centered around Eyjafjallajokull erupting again now or in the near future, the new concern surrounds Katla volcano. While some consider this concern unwarranted or alarmist, history often has a way of repeating itself, and Eyjafjallajokull and Katla have plenty history...."

Good news: with less ash coming out, European air traffic is getting sorted out.

Not-so-good news: This isn't over yet.

"Iceland Volcano Tremors Stay Strong, Ash Plume Low
ABC News (April 22, 2010)

"Iceland's volcanic eruption was still causing strong tremors on Thursday, though far less ash and smoke was pouring out into the air.

"Huge ash clouds spewed from the volcano last week and led to European air traffic being grounded for days. The smoke and fumes coming from the volcano have much less ash now and the plume has stayed at low levels.

"However, the tremors coming from it are stronger now than when the ash plume was at its highest, at about 9 km (5.6 miles), said meteorological office geophysicist Steinunn Jakobsdottir.

" 'We don't know exactly what this is telling us. This is kind of telling me that it is not stopping yet ... As it looks now it could go on for a while,' she told a news conference...."

Bad news, for Iceland:

"Iceland closes airports for first time due to volcanic ash cloud "
CNN (April 22, 2010)

"Iceland will close two airports on Friday for the first time, a week after ash from an Icelandic volcano forced the shutdown of airspace over much of Europe and stranded thousands of passengers around the world, the Icelandic aviation authority announced Thursday.

"The Keflavik International Airport and Reykjavík International Airport will be closed beginning early Friday morning, the aviation authority said, according to a statement on the Keflavik airport's website.

"Though the ash cloud originated in Iceland, the country's airports have been spared from closure until now. Strong northwest winds had been blowing ash from the volcano, in the south of Iceland, out to sea and over Europe.

" 'Now the winds have died down, and the cloud is lingering around Iceland,' said Chris Almond, a forecaster with Britain's Met Office, the nation's national weather service...."

Really good news: The news is about airline schedules and people fussing about having travel plans being disrupted. We could be reading about cities being abandoned. The Eyjafjallajökull is a pretty big deal: but it's a damp firecracker, compared to some blowouts Earth's had.

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